Saving The Planet from Ourselves

Who owns the earth?Pine Ridge2

I heard a Pastor say recently that Satan owned the earth because St. Paul calls him, “the god of this world…”

…whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:4

Aegean CUThe NKJV translates this verse correctly – it is “age” (“aeon” in Greek). This represents a period of time in which Satan is worshipped, not ownership.

So Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the Lord; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. ~ Exodus 9:29

Signal PointThe earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein. ~ Psalm 24:1

…for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:26

 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:28

NH Snow MtnsClearly the planet and all of its inhabitants belong to Yahweh God. Now having said that, we need to understand that we are stewards and managers of all that we occupy on the earth. God expects us to take responsibility for our earth and its environment. Please do not confuse me with one who worships nature to the detriment of human life, and don’t lump me in with those who want to save the whales while aborting babies. This is NOT what I am saying. There is a significant difference between utilizing the earth and abusing the earth. A person with a healthy respect for the planet is very different from someone who idolizes and/or worships the planet.

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. ~ Romans 1:25

FlowersEven in its fallen state, there remains so much beauty in the earth. How my heart thrills every day as I look at the majestic hills around where we live in East Tennessee. Whether the rivers, oceans, forests, deserts, or majestic lakes, our planet is blessed. However, how sad it is when I see people throw trash in Lake Chickamauga, birds covered in oil in the ocean, filthy inner cities, and piles of junk ignored.

Phony environmentalists claim America is the problem. However, having traveled to most of the world, I find that the contrary is true. Trash is everywhere in many countries. The United States is a picture of pristine cleanliness compared to MANY places to which I have been. A lot of it is simply people too lazy to clean up their own mess.

Harrison BaySeveral years ago, a former leader in our church walked in one morning and informed the staff that there was litter on the parking lot. Our church administrator at the time, the late Dr. Jim McClanahan said, “Why don’t you pick it up?” The man turned and left in stunned silence. Dr. McClanahan went out with our custodial staff and picked up the trash in question.

So… why am I carrying on about this?

Pemmaquid PointBecause good stewardship is not just our giving. We can also show good stewardship by caring for our properties, our living spaces, and our communities on this earth. We can’t fix every thing every where, but if we start with where WE are, and show respect for what God has blessed us with, we can be an example… an example that can catch on and be repeated throughout the world.

Here is a verse that stunned me as I was doing a re-read of Revelation…

The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth. ~ Revelation 11:18

There is a judgment that falls on those who destroy the earth. Let’s be good managers of all God has blessed us with.

Morning Water

When the Writing Is On The Wall

The Bible tells of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Now, for all of his faults, Nebuchadnezzar reached a point in his life that he acknowledged the greatness of the Lord God Almighty…

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of Heaven,
for all his works are truth,
and His ways are justice;
and He is able to bring low
those who walk in pride.
~ Daniel 4:37

However, his son Belshazzar never learned from His father’s experience.

The book of Daniel tells the story of how King Belshazzar threw a huge party for thousands of the lords of Babylon. While they were partying, Belshazzar commanded that the vessels of gold and silver, that had been taken from God’s temple in Jerusalem, be brought to the party, at which point, Belshazzar and his guests defiled these consecrated items, and drank wine from them in their drunken stupor. Not only that, but as they did, they “praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone”.

If you are familiar with Daniel, you know the story… Immediately, a hand appeared and wrote on the wall, Daniel was brought in to interpret the writing, and before the night was over, Belshazzar was dead, and his kingdom was divided between the Medes and the Persians. Just before his death, Daniel gave Belshazzar this dire rebuke…

 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. ~ Daniel 5:23 (NKJV)

Belshazzar took what was consecrated before the LORD, and defiled it, making a mockery of what was sacred.

Sound familiar?

IMG_1905On June 26, 2015, the Supreme court of the United States voted in a 5-4 ruling to legalize gay marriage. The Court majority, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, made useless their oaths of office, made worthless the document they swore to defend, and made a mockery of the Book upon which they placed their hands when they swore their oaths of office. Chief Justice Roberts closed his 29-page scathing dissent by saying…

If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

Within hours of the ruling, the White House was illuminated with rainbow colors, making a mockery of a national symbol that should be above partisan politics, making profane the oldest sacred covenant in human history, and effectively shaking its fist in the face of every American who believes in the sanctity of marriage, and in the very face of God Himself.

Coptic ChristiansBut while Americans have been transfixed, distracted, and divided over fringe issues, manufactured crises, and “straw-men” such as same-sex marriage, police brutality, the confederate flag, and “climate change”, the wholesale slaughter of Christians in the Middle East continues, unabated.

Why is it that, while all our last four Presidents, as well as dozens in the Senate and Congress of the United States claim to be believers in Christ, they have allowed this slaughter of Christians in Iraq, the Sudan, Egypt, the West Bank, Kenya, Nigeria, and Iran?

Where are the voices of liberal outrage bemoaning and crying out against the slaughter of more than 11,000 African-Americans at the hands of other African-Americans since the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin? Why is tragedy only newsworthy when a white person kills a black person?

IMG_1904Why did it take nearly a week for flags in the Capitol to be ordered to half-mast in honor of the five brave, unarmed servicemen in Chattanooga who lost their lives when an Islamic terrorist murdered them in cold blood, yet took only a few hours to illuminate the White House with rainbow colors in honor of the Supreme Court’s Godless and lawless decision to legalize gay marriage?

Why is it that the only world leader who seems to exhibit love of country, opposes the “New World Order”, recognizes the threat of ISIS against Middle Eastern Christians, and openly opposes homosexuality and gay marriage is Russian President Vladimir Putin? Putin, a Russian Orthodox Christian, sees the Beast of Revelation rising from Middle East and the West, and is the only world leader standing in defense of Middle Eastern Christianity.

Why do four Americans still sit in Iranian prisons while Iran is given the blessing of this administration to continue its nuclear program… a nation that is bent on the destruction of our greatest ally, Israel?

What have we become?

In Isaiah 5:20, the prophet Isaiah warned…

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to rise up.

It is time we demand from our leadership what they demand from us. It is time to hold elected officials to the standard by which the rest of us live. It is time for officials to stop merely swearing on the Bible to uphold the Constitution, and to actually start doing it.

It is time that we demand our leadership call terrorism by its proper name, be it Islamic terrorism or any other kind. It is impossible to effectively battle an enemy until you properly identify that enemy.

It is time we vote our convictions and, when it comes to the ballot box, heed the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and vote for people based “not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.”

It is time that we demand an end to the hypocrisy and abomination of abortion. In light of the recent Planned Parenthood scandal involving the sale of aborted baby organs and tissue, it is time for Congress to immediately and without delay de-fund Planned Parenthood. How can we look at ourselves as a civilized nation while allowing the same types of behavior and atrocities for which history has so strongly condemned the likes of Hitler and the Nazi regime?

It is time we stand against the “social justice” hucksters that have precious little to do with justice, and are simply looking for their next sound-bite opportunity and 15 seconds of fame. It is time for the Church to show the world Who real justice and mercy come from.

It is time for the Church to stand.

The Church must also recognize who the real enemy is. It is time that the Church remember the words of the Apostle Paul who said…

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”  ~ ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

But… it is also time for the Church to fall.

It is time for the Church to fall on our knees, first of all in repentance and humility for our failure to be the salt and light in our culture that Jesus commanded us to be. We must repent of our apathy and complacency. We must admit our need for Him, and be willing to follow His leading, regardless of the cost. Our society has seen enough hypocrisy and fraud perpetrated in the name of God. It is time for the world to see a Church united in purpose. They may not always agree with us, but there should never be a question about where we stand on issues of faith, morality, and real social justice. There should never be a doubt that all we do is out of love for the Savior. We must seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. We must do this before we can expect any change in a world hostile to Him.

“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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  ~ ‭‭II Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NKJV

 

Hope For America

On Sunday, I addressed the people of Abba’s House, the city of Chattanooga, and the nation regarding the terror attack in the City of Chattanooga on July 16, 2015. I invite you to join us in the worship center of Abba’s House as I share the Good News…

There is still Hope for America.

#ChattanoogaStrong

Yesterday’s terrorist attack on the people of Chattanooga was an attack on our military, our community, and our nation. Four unarmed, brave Marines were gunned down by a twisted individual, and has left our city in a state of shock. It has driven us to our churches and to our knees in prayer for the families of those killed and injured, for our city, our state, and our country.

     It is past time for America to return to God, and for that to happen, it must begin with the people of God, turning to Him in repentance and humility. We invite all people of faith in God Almighty, – the Great I AM – to cry out to Him in worship and reverence, and to fill our Houses of Worship in Chattanooga and around the nation this Sunday as we seek His face, turn from our wicked ways, and ask Him to forgive and heal our land. 

~ Pastor Ron Phillips 

 

Collision Course

Collide2015-1

I’m releasing this week’s blog a day early to let you know that Collide begins tomorrow, July 9, and it’s not too late for you to get into a collision course with the Holy Spirit! Damon Thompson, Ronnie Phillips Jr, Kevin Wallace, Jason Crabb, and others will be joining our student pastor Chris Brooks for a time of powerful worship, dynamic preaching, and an encounter with the Holy Spirit not to be missed. This event WILL NOT be streamed, so come to Chattanooga and be a part of #CollideChatt15

For more info, visit abbashouse.com/collide

And if that was not enough…

THE BIG EVENT is gearing up for war August 19-23!

Our nation is in crisis, and we are at a spiritual tipping-point. Now more than ever, we as believers in Christ need to be prepared to do battle against an enemy that takes no prisoners.

This year at the Big Event, I will be joined by my good friend Perry Stone to take the battle to the enemy. This year’s BIG EVENT will focus on Spiritual Warfare. It’s time to take back what the enemy has stolen from our families, our churches, and our nation. Come be a part…

Visit abbashouse.com/bigevent for more info and how to register.

Stone-Phillips

#CharlestonStrong

Emanuel AME2

A week ago, on the evening of June 17, Dylann Roof walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church — one of the oldest AME churches in the nation — with the alleged intention of starting a race war. Hiding a gun in his backpack, he sat and talked with parishioners during their mid-week Bible study. Approximately an hour into the study, Roof pulled out his gun, and began firing. When he left the building, 8 people were dead, with one critically injured who later died at the hospital.

Within hours of the shooting, reports began to fill the airways and internet of the tragic events at “Mother Emanuel“. With 9 people dead and the subject at large, tensions were high as people already began to assume that the shooting was racially motivated. The next day, Dylann Roof was apprehended in Shelby, North Carolina — some 245 miles away. He was returned to Charleston where he was promptly charged with the murders. As news crews and TV personalities descended upon Charleston, and images of Ferguson and Baltimore still vivid in the minds of people across the nation, many on the outside of the situation wondered if this tragedy would spark yet more civil and racial unrest.

The answer came on June 19 when, in his bond hearing, Roof was addressed by the people he had deeply wounded — the people of Emanuel AME and the families of the victims. They spoke of the hurt and pain he had caused in their lives — of the wounds born of his act of hatred. Yet, in spite of the pain in their hearts and voices, they had an overwhelming message for Dylann Roof…

“We forgive you.”

In the following days, as reporters broadcast from outside of the church, what they experienced was a wounded community coming together to worship and heal.

As the “usual suspects” of racial division and disunity began to sing their familiar song of prejudice and fear, citizens of the Charleston area joined hands and hearts across racial divides and came together over the next few days in churches throughout Charleston, including the following Sunday at Emanuel AME, where Reverend Norvel Goff had a message for the world…

“A lot of folk expected us to do something strange, and break out in a riot.
Well, they just don’t know us.
They just don’t know us because we are a people of faith. And we believe that when we put our voices and heads together, working for a common good, there is NOTHING we can not accomplish together in the name of Jesus!”

As politicians and activists began attempting to re-invigorate the “anti-gun” message, the message coming from inside the walls of Emanuel AME Church was one of love, forgiveness, and faith. It was also a message of warfare against the REAL enemy…

“… For those of us that are here this morning, I want you to know that  because the doors of ‘Mother Emanuel’ are open on THIS Sunday, it sends a message to every demon in hell and on earth that no weapon formed against us shall prosper… Some wanted to divide the race — black and white and brown — but no weapon formed against us shall prosper!” ~ Rev. Norvel Goff

There will always be people of every color in America. Because of our differences, and because we live in a fallen world, there will always be INDIVIDUALS — like Dylann Roof — who have a heart filled with racial hatred. However, I do not believe that America is a racist country. In a country with a population of over 300 million, you cannot ascribe to an entire population or people-group the actions or attitudes of an individual or minority. This is not the America of the 1960’s. It is time that all of us — red, yellow, black, and white — take a stand against the voices of fear and division that would try to use these types of tragic events for nefarious and self-serving purposes. It is time for we, as a united people, to stand up and say with one voice…

“No more!”

It is time that we, the church, follow the example of Jesus in heated and uncomfortable deed, and not just in air-conditioned and comfortable word. For the people of Emanuel AME to stand there, two days after such a tragic event, look into the face of the twisted, hate-filled heart that took away the lives of their beloved family members and friends, and say, “We forgive you” — It put the love of Jesus in full color, front-row view for the entire world to see. While those with no understanding of such love asked the question, “Why did God allow this to happen?”, Alana Simmons, the granddaughter of slain Pastor Daniel Simmons, summed it up in an incredible way on Fox New’s Hannity program…

“God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves.”

What we have witnessed in the people of Emanuel AME is the example of Jesus…

  • In the shadow of His inevitable death, He shared a message that said…

“… Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and PERSECUTE you.” ~ Matthew 5:44

  • In the agony of His own undeserved death, He reached out to a thief dying next to Him and assured him…

“… Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” ~ Luke 23:43

  • As He hung between Heaven and Earth, Jesus pleaded for forgiveness for the very people who had put Him on the cross…

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” ~Luke 23:34

It is an example that the worldly mind will never understand.

Forgiveness silences the critics.

Forgiveness takes the ammunition away from the agitator.

Forgiveness leaves the voices of hatred and assumed offense in stunned silence.

In the aftermath of the events in Ferguson and Baltimore, protesters and politicians were front and center in the media for weeks. In the case of the acquitted officer in Ferguson, although he was proven to be innocent, the false narrative of the tragic event was still being advanced by people with no regard for the truth.

But in Charleston, forgiveness took the teeth out of the story.

Anger never got the front page.

The root of bitterness never found fertile soil to grow.

The forces of hatred and racism never got enough traction to have to be reckoned with.

At the end of the day, Jesus showed up in the hearts, faces, voices, and actions of a group of hurting people who understood love and forgiveness are stronger than hate.

And to those who are trying to keep the story alive by focusing on some of the fringe issues like the Confederate flag or more gun control — please — let’s keep the story where it belongs, for now…

On the lives of the “Emanuel 9″.

If we do that, we might find the message of healing and forgiveness so absent in our culture today.

The message of what it means — REALLY means — to love like Jesus.

For THAT is the message a hurting world needs to hear.

It’s Summer!

Collide2015-1

Yesterday was the official first day of summer, and I hope that everyone is already making the most of it. The weather is already telling the tale of what promises to be a fun season of days at the beach, vacations with the kids, or just hanging around the house looking for stuff to do.

Well, if you are looking for some ways to occupy your summer, might I give you a couple of suggestions…

COLLIDE is coming!

In just another two weeks, Collide is coming to Abba’s House. This year’s youth conference will feature my friends Damon Thompson, Jason Crabb, Kevin Wallace, Chris Brooks, Ronnie Phillips, and more. Heartcry will be leading us in worship, and we are expecting great things for the generation that is rising. Come be a part…

THE BIG EVENT is gearing up for war!

This year at the Big Event, I will be joined by my good friend Perry Stone to take the battle to the enemy. This year’s BIG EVENT will focus on Spiritual Warfare. It’s time to take back what the enemy has stolen from our families, our churches, and our nation. Come be a part…

Stone-Phillips