Is God Done With His Church?

Is God done

It had been almost 100 years since Kilsyth, Scotland had their “glorious awakening.” 100 years since the town had seen revival. The people in town began to sense that God was going to do something.

So the pastor, Dr. William Burns, Sr., began to lead his people to pray for another move of God. He took his people to the graveside of the pastor who preached during that, “Glorious awakening.”

Dr. Burns said these words, “God is not dead! The Gospel has lost none of its power!” He knew that in order to see revival, it is we Christians who have to examine ourselves and make lifestyle adjustments in order to see God move in our lives, churches and communities.

Psalm 102 shows the nation of Israel in trouble. Not a shaky economy, but a shattered exile. They were a nation who for all intents and purposes didn’t even exist anymore.

So the psalmist describes his heart-break over the failure of a nation that had God on their side.

Seems almost unthinkable that a nation blessed by almighty God could start out so well and end so badly. What a lesson for America!

The writer starts out with heartbreak over their condition, but then he shifts gears and begins to brag on God. With that change he breaks out in a Holy Ghost shout? He Shouts…God is Not Done!

Can I remind you: God is Not Done! He’s not lost one bit of power.

He has a plan for your life and His church. We just have to adjust to the plan of God in order to see His will clearly.

Listen to Psalm 102:12-15, “But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations.You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come. For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity. The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.”

The psalmist wanted Israel to see, like I want you to see, that the prophecies of old are still true today. What God did 100 years ago, He can do again today!

God has a purpose for His people. God has a purpose for you, for me, and for every other Christian and church all over the world. You never know how God will send revival but He will.

In Kilsyth Scotland at the graveside of the former preacher, Dr. William Burns Sr. continued his message. He said, “God is able right now to give us the same times of blessing that He gave this church 100 years ago and even greater!”

Then he asked this question, “Are you willing to let God search your hearts to see that there are no sins which grieve God and keep back the blessing.”

Dr. William Burns Sr. wanted with all his heart to see revival come to Kilsyth, Scotland. To that tiny town, God sent a man.

That young man grew up hearing his preacher beg God for revival, and in God’s time this young man surrendered to be a preacher, went off to college, came home and preached. His name was William Burns, Jr.

God used the home and the pulpit of the dad to set the son on fire.

Keep Looking Up!

Heaven is closer than you think.

May God bless your day

Pastor Rodney

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William Carey: Does Your Plan Include God?

plan

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15)

The Bible uses the words “Now listen” in verse 13. It means come on, or now look here. James is leading them by telling them to get real about whose plan they follow.

Its like he’s saying, “Do you really think you can live your life, and plan what you want to do without any thought of God?”

William Carey is believed to be the father of the modern missionary movement. He and his family and two friends left all they had behind to follow God to India. He translated the New Testament in 9 different dialects. It took him eight years to do it. Then a fire destroyed all his work. The estimated damage was $50,000. In those days, that was too much to imagine.

James is addressing making plans without God in them. William Carey’s plans had God all through them. Notice the difference?

James speaks to the wealthy merchants of Jerusalem who traveled around and sold their wares in the major trade centers. Their business could have them gone about a year. Their failure is that they were counting on the future without counting on the one who controls the future.

That is why verse 14 asks the question: What is your life?

We don’t know what the rest of the day really holds for us let alone tomorrow. It’s okay to plan for tomorrow but if we fail to put God first in the plan, we are presuming God is just going to tag along. When we are presumptuous about the plans for our life, we deny who God is and that we are His children. We forget that we need God day by day.

James is asking us in verse 15 to change our attitude. Say, “This is what I think I’m doing tomorrow but if God changes the plan, God is in control, not me.”

There is no way to rightly believe that we can control our time, our day, our week, or run our own lives. So relax. Let God be God. He knows what He is doing and rest in His care.

If we fail to do this, life will be one discouragement after the other. We will lose our joy and fail to see God has a BIG plan. He will accomplish His will even when we don’t understand it.

After the fire William Carey was greatly discouraged. He attempted great things for God and now endured a devastating loss. The loss was felt from India all the way back to England. In six weeks churches in England had raised enough money to fully replace the entire loss. More people funded the missionary movement all over the world, and more families came to India to continue the work.

By the time of William Carey’s death he and his two friends had founded 26 churches and 126 schools with an enrollment of 10,000 students. He translated scripture in 44 languages and produced grammar books and dictionaries. He started the medical missionary work, savings bank, seminary, and Indian girls’ school.

Now whose plans are better?

Keep Looking Up!

Heaven is closer than you think.

May God bless your day.

Pastor Rodney

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Peter Marshall: How to Hear God’s Call

Pastor Peter Marshall

In 1927, God sent Peter Marshall to the United States. He had a purpose, and a promise from on high to come to America and become a minister. He didn’t clearly know all the steps in his path of life in the United States, but he trusted that God would light his path.

Listen to Dr. Marshall’s words, “I was coming to the United States to enter the ministry, because I believed, with all my heart, that those were the orders from my Chief. But I did not know how or when or where. I could not foresee the wonderful way in which God would open doors of opportunity. I could never imagine the romantic, thrilling way in which God was to arrange my life.” A Man Called Peter, (pg.34)

When we get our call from God to accomplish his task for our lives, He arranges the details in a perfect mosaic. Our hearts are especially tuned in to follow the call He places in us.

The Bible tells us of another man who gets a call from God. 

In 2 Samuel 7:3, “Nathan replied to the king, ‘Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.’”

The heavenly hotline has caused king David’s heart to burn brightly. He, like Peter Marshall, knew that God had a purpose, a calling that he had to do because God had flipped the light on in his heart.

But think for a moment. How does God’s idea come into our hearts?

How can we know what to do and if that is what God would have us do? First, let me say that being faithful in the little things is how God assigns bigger things. If we can’t be kind, loving, faithful, obedient in the little things, God certainly won’t trust us with a bigger purpose in his Divine plan.

But when we are faithful in the little then God desires and designs a God-sized task.

Peter Marshall came to America on April 5th, 1927. All he knew was that God had called him from his home in Scotland to a new land.

He knew God turned on a purpose but didn’t know where that purpose might lead. It led him first working a job in New Jersey and eventually to Birmingham Alabama. There he started teaching a men’s Bible class. Finally, he was accepted to a Presbyterian Seminary named Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur Ga.

Dr. Peter Marshall
Dr. Peter Marshall

He knew God would provide, but he didn’t know how. The men’s Bible class wrote him a letter. They said they knew God had called him and wanted him to realize his dreams. They also knew ministry was discouraging and that the enemy would constantly harass him. They wanted to help. They paid for his entire first year.

It’s in those times when you are faithful in whatever small thing God has before you that God speaks in such a powerful way.

God helped young Peter Marshall get through Seminary and get ready for what was to be next. Here is where we must make our decision to go on. To determine what’s next.

For Peter Marshall it was a small town church in Covington, GA. After three years of faithful ministry he was called to Atlanta. It was there he met his wife. In the movie A Man Called Peter, his future wife a student of Agnes Scott College started attending church there. Soon droves of college students began attending.

The church in Atlanta at one time was going to close it’s doors, now people would line up and stand outside just to listen to God speak over loud speakers through this young man.

God had a bigger purpose in mind for Peter Marshall. Just like God had a bigger purpose in mind for David. So God makes a promise.

If the prophet Nathan came to you today and said, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.” What would you do?

Dr. Peter Marshall was called of God to become the pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. The church had a rich history. It was called “the church of presidents.”

Abraham Lincoln had gone to church there. Now here is a Scottish immigrant in 1937 becoming its pastor. They had long standing traditions that had them in a place of steady decline for some years and this new preacher was called there by God to shake up a church and ultimately a nation.

As someone said, “God never calls the qualified, He qualifies the called.”

Dr. Marshall became the pastor, the leader of one of the most prestigious churches in our country. He said he lacked, “the poise, the balance’ the preparation, the academic standing, the confidence and the grace to be bridled in the pulpit.” (pg. 94)

Peter Marshall
Peter Marshall

However, Peter Marshall thrived there. He went on to become the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate until his untimely death at the age of 46. He knew God would keep His promise’ but he never knew how far God’s promise would take him.

That’s the way it is with the promises of God. He was told to marry his wife Catherine. God spoke to him clearly. The romance side of the promise is one of the reasons I’m so drawn to this wonderful story of such a Godly couple.

You and I can trust God’s purpose and promise for our lives. By the way, I didn’t tell you about Peter Marshall’s wife, Catherine. She had taught school before they were married and years later after Peter went to heaven, God gave her another assignment.

She became an author. She started by writing her husband’s biography which became a best seller and then a movie. After that, she wrote more than 20 books selling 16 million copies

Her best known work is the novel Christy, which also became a movie.

I’ll give you Catherine Marshall’s words in the biography of her husband to better explain: “Dreams carried around in one’s hearts for years, if they are dreams that have God’s approval, have a way suddenly of materializing.” A Man Called Peter, (pg.86)

When people saw a shepherd, God saw a king.

When people saw a light hearted, unpolished preacher, God saw the chaplain to the U.S. Senate.

When people saw a school teacher and preacher’s wife, God saw an accomplished author.

Are you still waiting for His call?

Keep Looking Up!

Heaven is closer than you think.

May God bless your day.

Pastor Rodney

You can leave a comment on our Facebook page.

William Borden: How to Live With No Regrets

Regrets

Is it even possible to live with no regrets? How can we live in such a way that life isn’t wasted?

One of my heroes is Dr. Stephen Olford. He often said these words, “Only one life twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Someone said, “What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.” No one illustrates this truth better than William Whiting Borden.

In 1904, William Borden, heir to the Borden Dairy Estate, graduated from a Chicago high school a millionaire. His parents gave him a trip around the world. Traveling through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, Borden felt a burden for the world’s hurting people. He wrote home and told his parents God was calling him to the mission field.

A friend told him he was throwing his life away. But Borden had made his decision. He wrote two words in the back of his Bible:

No Reserves.

William went on to Yale. Borden’s classmates noticed something unusual about him, and it wasn’t that he had lots of money.

One of them wrote: “He came to college far ahead, spiritually, of any of us. He had already given his heart in full surrender to Christ and had really done it. We who were his classmates learned to lean on him and find in him a strength that was solid as a rock, just because of this settled purpose and consecration.”

William Borden knew a secret that we all have to learn.

William believed we have to say, “no” to self and “yes” to Jesus.

During his first semester, William started a Bible study and prayer group. By the end of his freshman year, over 150 students met weekly to study God’s Word. In his senior year, 1,000 of the 1,300 students were attending weekly Bible study groups. The remaining 300 became the focus of William’s outreach program.

But Borden’s outreach ministry was not confined to the Yale students. “He cared about widows and orphans and the disabled. He rescued drunks from the streets of New Haven. To try to rehabilitate them, he founded the Yale Hope Mission. One of Bill Borden’s friends wrote that he ‘might often be found in the lower parts of the city at night, on the street, in a cheap lodging house or some restaurant to which he had taken a poor hungry fellow to feed him, seeking to lead men to Christ.’”

After graduating from Yale, he turned down several high paying job offers, and he wrote two more words in the back of his Bible:

No Retreats.

He completed his studies at Princeton Seminary and sailed for China to work with Muslims. He first stopped in Egypt to prepare for the work.

While in Egypt, at the age of 25, he was stricken with cerebral meningitis and died within a month. Some would say his life was a waste, but not in God’s plan. The last two words William Borden wrote were:

No Regrets.

William Borden
William Borden

The life we live rings for eternity. We have a choice to make. How we live for Jesus determines eternity. This life is a small piece of time that only matters if we become what He wants us to.

What about you, brother? What about you, sister? Will you live like William Borden?

No Reserves.

No Retreats.

No Regrets.

Pastor Rodney

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https://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/regret.htm

Dear Christian: Can You Do The Impossible?

impossible

Faith. A simple word that makes the impossible, possible.  The Bible tells defines faith: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11 is the role-call of faith. Scattered throughout the chapter are imperfect men and women who have committed themselves to following God through unexpected events in their lives.

Specific life events are etched into our minds. When we were saved, graduated, got married, had children, are all significant life events. One of mine was the night I was ordained to be a pastor.

I’ll never forget the commitment song I Have Decided To Follow Jesus. The second verse rang in my heart, “Though none go with me, I still will follow.”

But think of what those words mean. What circumstances would cause us to doubt our faith?

If the whole world didn’t follow Jesus, would we still follow?

The song itself has a powerful story behind it.

In the 1800s, missionaries were mobilizing to evangelize India. Hinduism and tribal law were the major influences in that nation, especially northern India. That region had the most vicious tribes in all of India known as head-hunters.

This missionary effort was led largely by Indian missionaries that were working with European and American missionaries.  Many of the Indian missionaries were killed by head-hunters.

A Welsh missionary led an Indian husband and wife to the Lord, the new Christians also had two sons.  When the village chief sought to make an example of them, he had archers ready to threaten this family to renounce Jesus Christ.

When asked for their reply, the father stated, “I have decided to follow Jesus, and there is no turning back.”  So the archers struck down the two boys.

When they threatened to kill the man’s wife if they refused to renounce Christ, they were reported to have said, “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.”  The archers killed the wife.

As they took aim at the father, he was reported to have said “The cross before me, the world behind me.”  They killed him as well.

We have countless examples of Christians who have made that ultimate stand. Some have paid with their lives, and many others have been willing to die if that is what God chose for them.

Others have simply done what God told them and lived out their lives as an example of faith for all of us.

But these people are not super human. They weren’t better intellectually, stronger, or even luckier than us. They simply believed God. They had faith to stand because they believed God would be with them no matter what life through at them.

The year was 1920. The scene was the examining board for selecting missionaries. Standing before the board was a young man named Oswald Smith. One dream dominated his heart. He wanted to be a missionary. Over and over again, he prayed, ‘Lord, I want to go as a missionary for you.

Open a door of service for me. Now, at last, his prayer would be answered.

When the examination was over, the board turned Oswald Smith down. He did not meet their qualifications. He failed the test. Oswald Smith had set his direction, but now life gave him a detour.

What would he do? As Oswald Smith prayed, God planted another idea in his heart. If he could not go as a missionary, he would build a church which could send out missionaries. And that is what he did.

Oswald Smith pastored The People’s Church in Toronto, Canada, which sent out more missionaries than any other church at that time. Oswald Smith brought God into the situation, and God transformed his detour into a destiny that transformed the world.

What about you Christian? What do you believe about your faith? Can you do the impossible?

Don’t worry, God can.

Keep Looking Up!

Heaven is closer than you think.

May God bless your day.

Pastor Rodney

You can leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Why God Doesn’t Speak

Evan Roberts

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

In 1904 a young ministerial student named Evan Roberts, began to feel that God was sending an urgent message that He was going to pour out a mighty spirit of revival on Wales, which is now a part of Great Britain. Roberts began attending various revival meetings and during one he was deeply moved by the Spirit.

As he prayed at the altar he cried out to God, “Bend me o Lord!” This was a complete and total surrender of his will to God’s will.

Roberts soon returned to his home church to preach the message of revival but his pastor was reluctant to allow him to speak.

In a compromise, the pastor announced that Roberts would be speaking following the regular prayer meeting and any who wished to stay were welcome.

Only 17 people stayed to hear Evan speak and most of them were teenagers and young adults.

Evan Roberts spoke in that church for nearly two hours with a simple 4 point message that he was convinced could help God bring revival:

1.Confess all known sin to God


2.Deal with and get rid of any “doubtful” area of your life


3.Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly

4.Confess Christ publicly



When Roberts was finished speaking all 17 young people were at the altar on their knees crying out to God. They prayed until 2am that night and it was the beginning of one of the greatest movements of God in all history.

By the end of the week, over 60 people were won to Christ and over the course of the next year and a half revival swept through the nation of Wales. Over 100,000 people were led to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

The revival was so great that the national culture changed dramatically:

  • Work at the coal mines was brought to a near standstill – The mules who pulled the wagons were so accustomed to hearing foul language from the workers that after the men were saved the mules no longer recognized their voices or commands.
  • One of the few court cases that was actually brought before a judge was unusual. The defendant came into the court and admitted his guilt, the judge led the man to Christ and the jury closed the case by singing a hymn.

The revival eventually made its way across the Atlantic and swept through parts of New York and New Jersey.

There was even a daily column in the Western Mail (Welsh National Newspaper) called “Today’s Converts” that listed those who were being saved.

Times seem to have totally changed and we have to admit that our world is nothing like that of 1904. I would have to agree our world is a darker and more sinister place where revival seems almost impossible.

What about God has changed from 1904 to today?

What part of the power of Christ’s resurrection has diminished from then until now?

If God could bring revival in 1904 or any other time for that matter, why can’t He do it again?

Over the next several posts I will be outlining the reasons God seems quiet today. My prayer is we hear His voice.

Keep Looking Up!

Heaven is closer than you think.

May God bless your day.

Pastor Rodney

You can leave a comment on our Facebook page.

How to Have Faith in the Fire

faith in the fire

Let’s face it—the Christian life is difficult. Social issues abound, and if we are not careful, we will take a worldly view of our success rather than a heavenly view. Trials will come to the believer in Christ. It’s normal.

How do we face the fiery trial?

There was a man in his mid-eighties, standing in front of a coliseum of people. The Emperor and court system of his day had already passed judgement. The man had stood in front of God’s people and preached the Word for nearly six decades. Faithful to God and God’s people.

But the world was watching to see how this balding, stooped over elderly man would be judged.
Had this man lived in the boom time of the church, he would have been our most beloved statesman. He would have been the Billy Graham of today.

His success was not measurable by the world. Faith in the fire comes from a different view of success. Sir Winston Churchill gave one of the best definitions of success I’ve ever read: “Success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

What the heavenly view of success would tell us is: Be obedient. Not talented. Not the most gifted. Certainly not the best looking. Are we obedient as we walk through the fire?

You may remember the three Hebrew boys in Daniel chapter 3. Their real names were Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael. The world even changed their names. The young men were told they were disobedient by not worshiping the golden image. When the music played they were to bow down and worship this false god.

Doesn’t sound too bad—just bow to the world’s way.

But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused. King Nebuchadnezzar, the Emperor of that day, flew into a rage when they refused to bow. The king told them they would be thrown into the fiery furnace.

Their response: “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace and He will deliver us from your hand, O King.” (Daniel 3:17 NKJV)

But we have a problem today. It’s not that we don’t want to serve God, it’s not even that we don’t believe He will get His people through the fire. The problem we have more than anything else is believing He will be with “me” in the fire.

We know our shortcomings. We know our sinfulness. We know we aren’t the most talented, the most gifted, and I have checked my mirror—I’m not the most handsome.

Why would God pick us to be faithful? We have let Him down time and time again.

There was a story on Facebook a short time ago that really caught my eye. Here it is:
“I came for prayer meeting last night only to find a family of 4 (two very young children) living in a small tent behind our church. We approached them and they were fearful we were going to call the police.

But instead we welcomed them and invited them into the prayer meeting. 20 minutes later, they came in and joined us.

We were blessed when the mom prayed asking God’s forgiveness for giving up on God and asking his help. We were able to put them up at a local hotel for 10 nights.”

Like the mom, too often we have given up on God. We’ve gotten to the fiery furnace and rather than standing strong, we have melted in despair.

It’s easier to not let the fiery trial refine our faith. Cave in a little here and there. Blend in. Bow down. Let’s face it: the trying of our faith is not pleasant in the church.

We feel alone. Abandoned and sometimes cheated by this faith thing.

The three Hebrew youths were thrown into a furnace that was turned up seven times hotter than normal. The fire killed the guards who threw the young men in, but the fire didn’t consume the Hebrews.

Instead, the king saw a fourth man. “‘Look!’ he answered, ‘I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.’” (Daniel 3:25 NKJV)

We are never alone in the fire.

The old man stood before the proconsul, Asarco Philip. A few Christians stood in support, but the senior adult was alone in the arena. He had been a pastor of the church at Smyrna and had studied under the Apostles, especially John. He was the bridge between the Apostles and the future church.

“Are you Polycarp?” the proconsul asked.

“I am.”

“Consider you age. Swear by the spirit of Caesar, repent, and say, ‘Away with the atheists.’”

The Romans believed Christians were atheists because they failed to worship Caesar as Lord. They had no problem if you kneeled before Caesar and God. Just kneel before Caesar as god.
Polycarp refused.

He chose to face the fire. This eighty-six-year-old man had served faithfully and yet all he had to do was just one time bend to the world. Would it really matter?

I don’t know what you are facing, but you have a God who loves you and a Savior who chose you. Jesus would rather die than you miss heaven. The fire maybe hot, but He’s in there with you.

Polycarp was set on fire. Witnesses say he didn’t burn. The soldiers had to run him through with a sword. Flames billowed all around him but his skin wasn’t touched. They say he looked like metal in the refiner’s fire.

That’s why we go through the fire.

1 Peter 1:7 tells us, “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

You hang on. Jesus Christ is coming. He is with you in the fiery furnace. The trying of your faith doesn’t reveal you, it reflects Him.

Keep Looking Up.

Heaven is closer than you think.

May God bless your day.

Pastor Rodney

You can leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Portraits of Faith: Alvin York—How Does God Measure a Heart?

Alvin York Wedding

Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

WWI is probably a forgotten war in the lives of Americans today. It was a war of loyalty to the treaties that were signed by the nations involved on both sides.

The war introduced trench warfare. Germans dug in, and our American troops were called on to storm the enemy’s position.

trench-warfare
Trench-warfare

We are still called to storm the enemy’s position. Satan and his forces have dug in, and God is looking for soldiers who will stand their ground and fight.

War is often decided by measurements. How far an army has advanced. How much territory has been taken, or taken back. The same is true in our heats.

How far has the enemy advanced, or persuaded us to give up or give in? The ultimate goal of the enemy is for us to surrender our hearts over to him.

Our text examines that very fact. There is a measurement. A standard the Lord Jesus Christ, the final Word to man, uses. The unit of measurement is the written Word of God.

Clearly, the first part of our verse tells us that our Bibles are not dead books that should just sit on the shelf. Our verse says that God’s Word is alive!

If our Bibles have become dead to us, it’s because our hearts have been surrendering territory to the enemy.

His Word cuts to the heart and literally reveals itself to us and through us. God’s word is always clear, and the path we are to follow is always shown in front of us.

One of my heroes was the most decorated hero of WWI. He is one of my heroes because he illustrates what it means to be a hero for God.

His name is Alvin C. York. He was born in Pall Mall, Tennessee, in the valley of the three forks of the Wolf River near the Kentucky border.

A simple man from a simple time. He went off to fight in WWI, but at the bottom of his draft card he wrote these words, “Yes, Don’t want to fight.”

Alvin believed the Bible said, “Thou shalt not kill,” and he believed that obeying God’s Word was the first thing any man should do.

He wasn’t always that way. In his twenty’s he spent some time drinking, smoking, and fighting.

After his father died, Alvin became the man of the house. One day his mother had enough of his wayward ways and sat him down. She asked, “Alvin, when are you going to become a man like your dad and granddad were?”

She asked, “Alvin, when are you going to become a man like your dad and granddad were?”

God used those words of truth to cut to his heart. Shortly after, he was saved, and gone was the old Alvin.

The truth of the living Word of God can come from a variety of places. It might mean a love of a mother, or father speaking His truth. God uses that to convict or encourage a heart.

But how does God measure our hearts in obedience? You ready?

No one is obedient if they are not first loving.

In the Old Testament God tells us to keep His commandments fifty-nine times.

Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep (obey) my commandments.” (John 14:5 NKJV)

Five times in 1 John, the Bible tells us keep His commandments.

But the clincher is found in 1 John 1:5, “But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” (NKJV)

God’s word becomes alive by how much we love Him and others.

A Christian who isn’t loving isn’t truly living.

God’s Word is also a discerner, a judge, of our thinking and our motives. What we do is important, but why we do what we do is just as important.

Alvin York was drafted to fight in WWI. He struggled with the idea of having to kill another human being. He left his beloved home in Tennessee and all that he knew.

At boot camp in Georgia, he was known as a marksman. He was a sharpshooter from hunting in them there hills. But he told his commanding officer of his dilemma of killing. He needed to know clearly what God’s will was for him. They granted him ten days leave to go home to the hills and figure it out.

Alvin had to decide for himself if God would let him fight. He was given a book: The History of the United States. The answer wasn’t in the history book. He found his answer in the book with the answers—his Bible.

He obeyed God’s Word and shipped off to France to fight the Germans.

October 8, 1918, in the Argonne Forest, Alvin C. York was in the battle that would measure his heart forever. America entered WWI near the end. But in that forest something amazing happened. Corporal York saw many of his unit killed and pinned down by machine gun nests on the hill.

The enemy had dug in. The trenches were heavily fortified.

Alvin York, a nobody from the hills ordered his men to stay there and watch some of the prisoners they had captured. He crawled up the hill and systematically took over the machine gun nests, killed 25 enemy soldiers, and captured 132 Germans.

His commanding officer asked him, why he had done this, knowing his firm surrender to the Word and the Will of God.

He simply said, “Those guns were killing hundreds maybe thousands and there weren’t nothing anyone could do but stop those guns.”

He killed to save lives. Funny thing about war, whether it’s physical or spiritual, lives are at stake. There are people who need God’s love and the enemy has dug in. Many have given the enemy ground, so you and I have to take the hill.

Keep Looking Up!

Heaven is closer than you think.

May God bless your day.

Pastor Rodney

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How to Make Others Better

Priority of Prayer

We speak a lot about leadership. Being strong leaders, focused leaders, and growing as a leader.

But how do we make others better when we aren’t leading? Do we lead from behind?

During the Second Great Awakening in America, Charles Finney was in the forefront among the great evangelists. God was using him to change the culture of the church. He began what we call modern day evangelism.

Many people know him.

However, few know the name Daniel Nash.

Daniel Nash was born in 1775 at an unknown place in the USA. No one knows what happened in his life before he was 40.

What we do know about him is at the age of 40 he became the pastor of a Presbyterian church in upper New York State. During his first year there, around 70 people were saved in something of a mini-revival.

But he withdrew after being voted out of the church. The rejection from those he loved wounded him deeply. Also, as a result of a serious eye infection, he spent several weeks in a dark room where he could not read or write.

The broken preacher began to pray earnestly, and so began one of the greatest prayer evangelism ministries ever.

Nash, at the age of 48, dedicated his life to prayer. Long before Finney would arrive in a town, Nash would be there in an empty cellar or boarding house room praying for the power of God to enter the city.

Finney told this story: “When I got to town to start a revival, a lady contacted me who ran a boarding house.”

The lady said, “Brother Finney, do you know a Father Nash? He and two other men have been at my boardinghouse for the last three days, but they haven’t eaten a bite of food.”

She continued,“I opened the door and peeped in at them because I could hear them groaning, and I saw them down on their faces. They have been this way for three days, lying prostrate on the floor and groaning. I thought something awful must have happened to them. I was afraid to go in and I didn’t know what to do. Would you please come see about them?”

“No, it isn’t necessary,” Finney replied. “They just have a spirit of travail in prayer.”
Finney knew that God sent Nash to help make him a better preacher. Finney said this about Nash, “He concentrated entirely on praying for people who were so hard that they could not be reached in any other way.”

Nash is a mighty example of how God changed a man’s circumstance to make someone else better. We don’t talk about that much, but how many of us have had people who have strengthened our faith?

Being fired as a pastor isn’t what preachers aspire to. It is even viewed as negative on our resume. But God has a way of taking our worse tragedy and changing it to a mighty triumph.

Within four months of Nash’s death, Finney left evangelism for the pastorate. The great prayer warrior of his crusades was gone.

If you want to see the grave of Daniel Nash, you have to drive to upper New York, almost to the Canadian border. There, in a neglected cemetery along a dirt road, you will find a tombstone that says it all:

DANIEL NASH

Daniel Nash
Daniel Nash

Laborer with Finney
MIGHTY IN PRAYER

Pastor Rodney

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William Seymour: Chosen to Start a Holy Ghost Fire

william-seymour

312 Azusa Street Los Angeles, California was a humble mission church that became baptized with a Holy Ghost fire. But the building wasn’t as humble as the man God placed to birth the Pentecostal Church.

What kind of man does God use to start a revival? Is there something different from this preacher to that preacher?

Notice the Man

William J. Seymour was the oldest son of former slaves. He was born in Centerville, Louisiana. Even as a boy William loved reading his Bible. He moved to Cincinnati and started his theological education while expecting God was going to send a great revival before the return of Jesus.

It’s important to note what made William different was not just his love for the Word of God. But William actually believed the Lord would send a revival, and the Lord was coming—soon!

This burned in belief made William move to Houston and attend Charles Parham’s Bible School.

Parham believed that the white race was superior but he allowed William to sit in the hallway and listen to his lectures through the slightly cracked door.

William took what he learned and made his way to Los Angeles to preach.

pastor william seymour
Pastor William Seymour

Notice the Message

When Pastor Seymour spoke he believed heavily in Acts 2. The emphasis on the Holy Ghost with a baptism of speaking in tongues was prevalent through his preaching. It wasn’t just that William was preaching this, he was different in his stand for God’s Word.

Charles Parham believed in speaking in tongues and healing. But Parham believed in segregation.

William preached that the real outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost was the spread of the love of God that led 3,000 to be saved from every nation. Pastor Seymour strongly believed in racial reconciliation.

In 1906, when black men were still being hanged, William led an interracial worship service with no preference for any color. He even said, “The blood of Jesus washed the color line away.”

“The blood of Jesus washed the color line away.”

That’s still the message we need today. A message of love and reconciliation that the Spirit of God move through our churches and start a revival of love and unity.

This inspired Seymour to have a purpose unlike many others.

Notice the Mission

The Azusa Street mission became a church of healing and hope. The people believed in spreading the Gospel. They were evangelistic in their approach and intentional on seeing new people born again.

Whatever God chooses to use to spread the Gospel should help all of us understand that is still the mission of the church.

William believed this and people began to pour into the 40 x 60 feet, flat roofed building to hear how the Holy Spirit wanted to fill them and use them on mission for God.

azusa building
azusa building

The Los Angels Times sent a reporter to give an account of what was going on. He called the worshipers a “new sect of fanatics,” and Seymour an “old exhorter.” He mocked the speaking tongues as “weird babel of tongues.”

The article was published on the same day as the great earthquake in San Francisco. People learned there was a church where people believed in the soon return of the Lord.

The Revival spread!

Notice the Movement

As you research this man of God you need to know that the Azusa Street revival is unlike any other in the last 100 years. Speaking in tongues was a primary teaching but in many instances those tongues were people of other nations hearing the Word in their own language.

Today our Pentecostal brothers and sisters are reading the Gospel because of William Seymour.

They number over half a billion people. The Church of God in Christ, the Assemblies of God, Apostolic Church, Four Square Church of God, and several other “full gospel” churches are all here because of William Seymour’s preaching.

To think that God would move through a man that the world would limit because of the color of his skin.

But isn’t that just like God?

Keep Looking Up!

Heaven is closer than you think.

May God bless your day.

Pastor Rodney

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