Monthly Archives: March 2018

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, March 23, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

We’re learning Who to lean on, Amigos .

Before I entered the ministry, I worked for more than a decade in various mental health facilities. In that context, I received a lot of training and experience in counseling folks with problems. When I entered the pastorate, I found myself doing what seemed like a lot of the same thing: counseling folks with problems. One morning as I was preparing to counsel someone, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Your counseling has no purpose but to keep people alive until I can help them.” I realized that I had allowed myself to trust my natural abilities, looking at people as a conglomerate of symptoms, then applying memorized techniques to address what I took to be their problem. God wanted me to change how I approached the entire subject of counseling people. He can do more in a millisecond than I can do in a lifetime. My job is to help folks get in a position to receive from Him. Everything else is wasted energy.

If we want the supernatural power of God in our churches, we must admit that we don’t know much and can’t do much without it. Christianity is designed to be lived supernaturally. It takes the Holy Ghost to convince a person that he is a hopeless sinner and that a Jewish itinerant teacher who died 2000 years ago is his only hope of salvation. It takes the Holy Spirit for you to preach and for others to understand what you say. We can’t even grasp His Word if He doesn’t help us. Sick people are healed by their faith and by the power of God, never by my wit or force of personality. Marriages are saved when God changes hearts, and not until. Financial affairs get better when motives go from greed to grace, from acquisitiveness to contentment. Happiness is found only by a personal submission to the plan and will of God for one’s life. That only comes when the individual gets serious about seeking God and hearing His voice. Christianity is either supernatural, lived in the Spirit and by the Spirit, or it is a social club, at best a self-help group. I have no other plan to suggest, no other advice to give, no alternative ideas to proffer. I am helpless to help.

Somebody Said: A church in the land without the Spirit is rather a curse than a blessing. If you have not the Spirit of God, Christian worker, remember that you stand in somebody else’s way; you are a fruitless tree standing where a fruitful tree might grow. Charles Spurgeon

Scripture Reading: So the angel explained that it was the following message of the LORD to Zerubbabel: I am the LORD All-Powerful. So don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6 CEV)

I am a firm believer in education. Learn all you can learn. There is no premium on being ignorant. Our temptation, however, in this secular age is to lean on what we know instead of Who we know. We will never be able to package the Message in a way to make it palatable to fallen flesh. That is not our job. Our Message is foolish. We present Jesus raised from the dead, then look to the Spirit to confirm it. Everything else is packaging. I think of the old saying describing cowboy wannabes: “All hat, no cows.” Let’s be sure we don’t become the church of all package, no power.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

Advertisements

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, March 9, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Don’t quench or despise, Friend.

Many years ago, my wife and I were at a prayer meeting in a Charismatic church. As we watched in wonder, a woman flopped face-down on the floor at the altar, only a few feet away. A group of “prayer warriors” huddled around her and began moaning and groaning and saying, “Name yourself!” The woman then began to name various ailments and conditions. At the announcement of each malady, the assembled crew would cry “Come out! Our demeanor must have communicated our shock, because a fella sitting nearby informed us that she was “standing in proxy” for folks around the world who needed deliverance from these demonic influences. At that moment, the proxy lady let out a great groan and proclaimed, “Hemorrhoids!” As the onlookers began to cry, “Come out!”, I whispered to Judy, “if this one comes out, I am out of here!” It made me want to avoid all prayer meetings in the future.

There have been so many weird and goofy things done in the name of the Holy Spirit it would take volumes to describe them all. This abundance of strange behavior has resulted in many Christians simply deciding that all of us are nuts. It is safer to go to a “regular” church where you can arrive at the last minute, hide in the dark recesses of the audience, and get out in time to beat the lunch rush. I am convinced that this was what Paul was warning us about when he said, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 NKJV)” There have always been weirdos and charlatans. That does not change the fact that the Spirit of God is trying to help people. We can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Somebody Said: The world will never believe in a religion in which there is no power. Samuel Chadwick

Scripture Reading: So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. But be sure that everything is done properly and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:39-40 NLT)

Unfortunately, many pastors have decided to avoid the problems caused by “the move of the Spirit.” They carefully orchestrate the service, making sure the production is precisely timed and rehearsed with no dangerous moments of silence. Ushers are there to patrol and control. The hall is dark, and the spotlight is on the stage where the real action takes place, well beyond the great gulf fixed between audience and performers. Whew! Safe from craziness and embarrassment, but also safe from the manifestation of the supernatural that is such an integral part of Christianity. The problem lies not with the goofies, but with the ministers who are ill-prepared or not inclined to deal with the false and the flaky. 1 Thessalonians 5: 21 gives the instructions very clearly: “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” I believe there’s a hunger for the real thing. Whatever it takes, it’s more than worth it to see God touch lives in power and demonstration of the Spirit. Let’s do this!

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes

Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

De la Abundancia del Corazon

Viernes, febrero 16, 2018

Construyendo personas de sustancia para obras de poder

Ora con firmeza, y vive sabiamente, Friend.

Otro estallido de violencia armada en una escuela de Florida, puso otra vez a la gente a cuestionarse que podemos hacer para mantenernos a salvo de semejantes barbaridades. En particular, nuestra Iglesia está discutiendo tener un plan de seguridad, incluyendo personas autorizadas para portar armas. Eso me plantea muchas preguntas, soy dueño de un arma, y desde que era un niño las he usado, mi Padre y mi Tío Charlie me ensenaron a tirar a muy temprana edad y muy seguido me llevaban, botes de cerveza y ardillas vivían en un temor constante, casi todos los que conocía tenían armas de algún tipo, pero nunca nadie recibió un disparo, cuando vine al Señor, me deshice de todas las armas, excepto por una escopeta muy usada, realmente no quiero dispararle a nadie, así que, viéndolo a través de mis ojos, aquí esta algunas cosas que pienso:

· soy un creyente, prefiero morir yo que despachar a alguien más al infierno.

· Soy un creyente, creo que Dios manda sus ángeles a protegerme y mantenerme alejado de la bola de tontos.

· Soy un Esposo, si alguien trata de hacerle daño a mi esposa, ese es un animal diferente, hare lo que sea necesario para protegerla.

· Soy un hombre, está en mis genes proteger al débil e inocente.

· Soy un Pastor, nuestras puertas están abiertas para el que quiera entrar, algunos son inestables, algunos pareciera que nos odian por ser quien somos, empezare a practicar sabiduría y a tomar las medidas necesarias para asegurarme que la gente este a salvo.

· No soy estúpido, sé que algunas personas en mi congregación portan armas, estamos en Arizona, cuando las personas están siendo amenazadas, no todo el tiempo pueden pensar con claridad, ni siquiera sus manos se están quietas, así que tenemos que hacer un plan para evitar tragedias.

Creo en la sanidad del cuerpo físico, espero vivir en salud, pero tengo seguro médico, creo que ángeles son enviados a protegernos, espero que nuestra Iglesia este a salvo, pero no estoy en contra de tener un pequeño seguro de protección.

Alguien dijo: con violencia, y con muchas otras preocupaciones, la naturaleza humana es el problema, pero igual la naturaleza humana es la solución. Steven Pinker

Escrituras Bíblicas: Proverbios 18:10 torre fuerte es el nombre del Señor, a el correrá el justo y será salvo.

Como creyente, mi corazón sufre por las victimas de Florida y sus familias, quisiera tener las respuestas para dárselas a las autoridades y prevenir estas cosas, el Gobierno hace un buen trabajo, ¿Cómo podría ser eso un problema? Por otra parte, miro a un jovencito, quien ha tenido una vida muy difícil, ha sido atormentado, ha tenido un sin número de comportamientos físicos y verbales aclamando por ayuda, ha gritado “!deténganme!” como hombre, creyente y Pastor, me pregunto “ ¿si habría algo que yo pudiera hacer para ayudar a un joven a lidiar con rechazos, frustraciones, e inevitables conflictos de la vida?” sé que si lo hay, pero se requiere prestar atención intencionalmente a los gritos a menudo inarticulados de los atormentados. Estoy bastante seguro de que el problema central no son las armas, o problemas mentales, o programas de Gobierno, el problema se encuentra en el corazón de los hombres, esa es la única razón de la Iglesia.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238