Living With The Dream Thief

President Theodore Roosevelt once said:

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

Joyce Meyer had this thought:

“A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.”

Norman Vincent Peale wrote:

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

We all have dreams. We all have a desire to be successful. No one sets out in life to be the poster-child for mediocrity. So who is the real “dream thief”? After all, in Philippians, Paul says…

Bible“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

So why don’t we?

John tells us in I John that…

“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

So why don’t we live in victory?

Maybe it is because sometimes we allow our own mindset to hold us back. Sometimes — as the saying goes — “WE are our own worst enemy.” We diligently battle the enemy of our souls, but then turn around and speak things into existence out of fear or low self-esteem, forgetting that the power of the tongue is as much a force to be reckoned with as the greatest enemy we may face. Actually, sometimes, they are one and the same.

King Solomon understood this when he said in Proverbs:

“The tongue has the power of life and death.”

So, the next time you feel the urge to speak negatively about your current situation, do this:

Stop.

Think.

Speak a blessing instead.

Pastor Ron

When Technology Touches Heaven (Can you hear me now?)

Prayer2We all need prayer. Chances are that, in the past month, you have either asked someone for prayer, or have been asked by someone else to pray for them. However, with all of our busy schedules, and the cares in all of our own lives, it is easy to let the life of prayer slip, and forget to perform the very act (prayer) that can make the most difference in our lives, and in the lives of others. It’s easy to fall into the enemy’s trap, and allow fear to replace faith, and panic to replace prayer.

Well, here’s a simple little thought that might help you. It involves tapping into the limitless power or prayer with the power of…

Your cell phone.

A friend shared this with me. He uses his cell phone to set reminders to pray for people at specific times during the day. He taps into Heaven by tapping into his phone and setting up reminders to pray for specific people, needs, etc. With such a busy society, we can all use a little help from time to time. Why not use the technology that most of us are already paying for, and is usually no more than an arm’s reach away? It’s a very simple idea, but one that can have a great impact. Here are some suggestions…

1) Pick a time in your day that you can, typically, spend a few minutes in prayer.

2) Set a daily reminder on your phone to pray for specific needs, people, etc.

3) When your reminder goes off, stop what you are doing (if possible) and spend a few minutes in prayer for those needs your reminder is set for.

4) Set multiple reminders during the course of the day. You might set one for specific people, and another for something like “What is on my heart right now”, or “What I am worrying about this moment.”

Many of you reading this may already have a powerful prayer life. If you do, that is great. However, if you don’t pray regularly, this might be just the thing to set you on the path to consistency and power in your prayer life.

Pastor Ron

A Life In Disagreement

This week marks a milestone in my ministry. My son Ronnie and I recently wrote a book together called The Power of Agreement, and this week, it hit the bookstore stands.

Charisma House (our publisher) recently featured an article by Ronnie in their online publication (www.charismamag.com).  I thought, for today’s blog, I would share Ronnie’s article with all of you. Enjoy!

“Can we agree to disagree?”

How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said it yourself? It’s a pretty popular saying, especially in the political and socially diverse environment in which we find ourselves today, but it’s a sad thing when all you have in common with another person is the fact that you disagree. Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, except they are agreed?” (NKJV). That’s kind of the million-dollar question—a question for which I had a resounding answer: Nope.

Growing up in the church, I had more than enough to disagree with. I’m not talking about theology, worship style, legalism or anything related to your admission into the pearly gates. My disagreements were far more simple and personal. As the son of the preacher, my disagreements were with unrealistic expectations placed upon me by those who thought they knew me by virtue of my name. My jumping-off point was with how “good church folk” treated my family (in particular my father) and the abuse we suffered at the hands of such people.

At the ripe old age of 23, I was mad at God, through with church, and living a life that in no way reflected my upbringing as a preacher’s kid. As a result of my poor decisions and the root of bitterness that had me firmly entangled, my relationships were strained, my marriage was a mess, and I was trying to deal with the pain, regret and humiliation of life by hiding inside a bottle. I was working my way up the corporate ladder in my secular job, but beyond that, everything else was crashing around me.

Yet in spite of the disagreements, fights, feuds and other assorted turmoil I had put my dad through, I still had to admit that he was my best friend. While I had done my best to push him away, my father, the son of an alcoholic-father-turned-church-deacon, knew what it was to be cast aside, knew the power and price of redemption, and knew that the best way to win over the object of your disagreement is with love.

Now, the problem with any disagreement is that the vast majority of the time, someone is in the right and someone is in the wrong. It pretty much went without saying that based on my lifestyle, I was wrong—although my dad would also be quick to admit he was not without fault. Still, I hung on to my bitterness and anger like a lifeline and refused to give an inch. I refused, that is, until I found myself on the bathroom floor—a total wreck—crying out and yelling at God. After consuming an inordinate amount of alcohol and a screaming match with my wife, I had collapsed on the floor of our bathroom late one night. Totally freaked out, she knew of nothing else to do than to call my father. I challenged her to do so, thinking he wouldn’t come. Ashamed and confused, I had no use for myself anymore. I figured he didn’t either.

In the middle of one of the darkest nights of my life, there was a knock at my door. It was my dad.

My initial reaction to seeing him was a hate-filled rant that quickly devolved into the cry of the prodigal. Once the angst-filled rebel gave way to the worn-down prodigal, the next couple of hours were filled with cries of remorse, tears of forgiveness, and promise—the promise of healed relationships and renewed commitment to my family, my heavenly Father and the calling He had placed on my life.

Someone smarter than me once said that the problem with running from God is that usually you end up running into Him. Living a life of disagreement with the godly people God has placed in our lives and being forever at odds with our gifts and calling will only lead to ruin and an up-close-and-personal view of the bathroom floor.

Is there happiness in disagreement? Sure. Even the Bible alludes to that in passages like Hebrews 11:25: “He [Moses] chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (NIV).

However, the momentary happiness that a self-serving life brings pales in comparison to the life lived in agreement with the call of God. Pleasures lose their luster. Riches lose their value. Prestige lasts until the next shiny new employee comes along. The only life that has any lasting, eternal value is the one lived for Christ.

Now, years later, I’ve left the parties with my friends for the peace and contentment of my family. I’ve given up the life of egotistical and selfish disagreement for agreement and harmony with my fathers (earthly and heavenly). I traded in the confinement of self-imposed loneliness and unworthiness for the wide-open spaces of promise and hope that only a life in agreement with God’s call can bring.

And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

The Fine Art of Carrying Cats

Through The Looking Glass2

I love this quote by Mark Twain…

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”

Our personal experiences – good and bad – make us who we are. Experience can be a brutal teacher. What we go through in life, and how we deal with it, can either make us or break us. Being gracious when times are good, and not becoming bitter when times are bad are both equally important.

Regardless of which applies to you on any given day, none of it is getting past your Heavenly Father. The Bible says that He “works all things together for good for those who love Him”. That means that He knows what you are going through, and regardless of what it is, He is going to turn it around for your good.

That’s a promise I can live with. How about you?

Pastor Ron

The Rhythm of the Saints

 

Several years ago, 60’s music icon Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel fame released an album entitled The Rhythm of the Saints. On this recording, he utilized musicians and musical instruments from all over the world to create a compelling, “world music” experience. As I thought about this title (with it’s obvious spiritual overtones), and thought about the debate over music that has raged in the church for years (decades, centuries, etc.), it begged the question…

What should the real “Rhythm of the Saints” look and sound like? How should we as believers approach music and worship?

The instructions for true worship and praise are clearly defined in the scriptures.

  • We should worship Christ continually.

Our lives, not just our church services, should be a reflection of praise.

“Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified.’” ~ Psalm 70:4

  • We should worship Christ in the church.

“I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people.” ~ Psalm 35:18

  • We should worship Christ with the lost present.

“He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” ~ Psalm 40:3

  • We should worship God so that praise can be heard.

“O bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise be heard.” ~ Psalm 66:8

These sounds of worship could include:

Shouting—

“… let Your saints shout for joy.” ~ Psalm 132:9

Singing—

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ Ephesians 5:18-20

Laughter—

“…then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing…” ~ Psalm 126:1-3

Musical Instruments—

“…play skillfully with a loud noise…” ~ Psalm 47:1

Clapping—

“Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!” ~ Psalm 47:1

  • We should worship God with our bodies.

How should we use our bodies in worship? We are commanded to “present your bodies a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1-2). We should not hesitate to follow the example of “the man after God’s own heart” — “… David danced before the LORD with all of his might…” (2 Samuel 6:14)

  • We can lift up our hands.

“Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.” ~ Psalm 63:4

  • We should worship God with our soul and spirit.

You are body-world conscious, and you are soul-self conscious:

“Bless the Lord O my soul…” ~ Psalm 103:1

In addition, you are spirit/God conscious. When you are saved your spirit comes alive in Jesus Christ. Praise is the exercise of the Spirit. Praise brings strength to your spirit.

“…which worship God in the Spirit…” ~ Philippians 3:3

Mary praised God by saying, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:47)

  • We should worship according to the Word of God.

Everything David did in worship was from the Word of God…

“In God I will praise His word.” ~ Psalm 56:10-11

The Pitfalls of Preference

Worship is not about musical styles and personal preferences. It’s not about “warm fuzzies”, “nice feelings”, and staying in our comfort zones. Worship is about getting into God’s presence and seeking His face above all. What may sound to us like a joyful noise (emphasis on noise) may be wonderful praise from a pure heart to the ears of Almighty God. On the contrary, what may sound reverent, impressive, and inspiring to us may be a clanging noise to the One who knows “the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The ark of God was the very throne and dwelling place of the presence of God on earth. When David and the children of Israel wanted to bring the ark of God up from Kiriath Jearim to the City of David, they had the best intentions at heart. It seemed like the right thing to do. There was much rejoicing and celebrating. They gathered all the people together, lots of music and dance, put the ark on a “new cart”, and headed out. However, God had already specified the manner in which the ark was to be carried, and a cart pulled by oxen was not in the instructions. The ark (His Presence) was always to be carried upon the shoulders of men, not on a cart pulled by a beast. So, when the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out to steady the ark, he paid for his irreverence with his life. God struck him dead on the spot, which angered the king. However, it wasn’t long until anger turned to fear in David’s heart. Instead of continuing with his ill-fated plan, David turned aside to the house of Obed-Edom, where the ark resided for the next three months (2 Samuel 6).

David had a good idea, but he did a good thing in a bad way. Worship is not about our opinion — it’s about His Presence. Following His design for how we approach Him is the key to finding His heart, and experiencing the joy, peace, awe, and wonder of His presence. When David returned three months later to move the ark to the City of David, he had a new perspective, a new attitude of worship, and approached the ark of God with sacrificial worship and praise.

One final thought…

The passage states that, “The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household” (2 Samuel 6:11). Obed-Edom didn’t just stop by occasionally and visit the ark. He made his home — his dwelling place — the habitation of the presence of Almighty God. Could it be that we are not experiencing more of His power and blessing because we are apathetic in our treatment of His presence in our lives? Could it be that if, instead of showing up at His house on Sundays and Wednesday nights, we make our own homes and our very lives habitations for His throne to reside 24/7?

Combine that attitude toward worship with the spirit of unity of believers in Jesus, and I believe that you find the unstoppable, unmistakable “Rhythm of the Saints” sounds surprisingly like the very heartbeat of God.

Seeking The Kingdom

Through the Looking Glass

Canadian writer Laurence Peter once made this observation…

“An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.”

It’s easy to look at things in hindsight, and say what we would have, should have, or could have done. However, in spite of all of our advances in technology, we still cannot accurately predict the future.

If you don’t believe me, just watch the weatherman on the news.

Maybe that is why the words of Jesus still ring true…

 “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Each day poses challenges and trials that cannot be planned for. But if our focus is on the Heavenly, and our faith is in the One who never fails, we can be confident in His hand in our lives.

Jesus said to seek first the Kingdom of God. Any future that has that as the focus is one filled with promise.

The Nature of Scorpions

Recently, I saw a post on social media in which a person, obviously hostile to Christianity, was taking scripture completely out of context trying to make a point (that, incidentally, was entirely contrary to scripture and the teachings of Jesus). When a person of faith chimed in on the post and, respectfully, called them out on their error, the hostile voice responded by chastising this person with yet more out-of-context scripture. The exchange was almost comical, had it not been so disturbing. It reminded me of the joke about the man who was looking for the will of God for his life. He said, “God, I need you to show me what to do with the rest of my life.” The man then proceeded to close his eyes, open his Bible, and drop his finger onto a verse. He opened his eyes and read the words…

“… And he (Judas) went out and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:5)

“No, no, no. That can’t be it!” said the man. “Ok, God. I’m going to try again.” He repeated the exercise, and read…

“… Go and do thou likewise.” (Luke 10:37)

Exasperated, the man cried out, “God, I’m serious here! One last try… please!” One final time, the man repeated his ritual, and looking at the newest scripture, read these words…

“… What you are about to do, do quickly.” (John 13:27)

The Strength of Error

Error is a pervasive disease. So much of what we see and hear through media is nothing but out-and-out lies. That’s why we need to be zealous for the truth in living it as well as embracing it and preaching it to those who are around us. Those in the grip of error often do not see it. We must bring them to the light of truth. Those who are growing in the LORD will be able to discern error.

The spirit of the Antichrist is at work in our nation. This spirit denies the deity of Christ and stands against everything we believe in. It breeds lawlessness and the breakdown of society. Secular humanism is the polite name we give to this spirit of error.

Dr. Bill Bright, the late director of Campus Crusade for Christ, once said…

Have you ever wondered why our society is becoming more secular, why prayer and Bible reading are no longer welcome in our public schools? The religion of humanism is largely responsible. Have you ever wondered why Americans are much more tolerant today of sexual freedom, homosexuality, incest, and abortion? The religion of humanism is largely responsible.”

James 5:19-20 warns us that error leads to death.

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

The moment we correct a lie, or refuse to embrace one, we are fighting against sin multiplying. However, if we allow the lie to run rampant, we are going to see “spiritual corpses” falling all around us.

scorpionI think of the childhood story of the scorpion and the frog. The scorpion asked the frog to carry him across the river. The reluctant frog, fearing the death-dealing sting, tried to politely decline, but was finally convinced by the eloquent words of the scorpion. When they reached the middle of the river, the scorpion stung the frog. “Why did you do that??? Now we will both die!” cried the frog as he felt the poison sear through his body. The scorpion answered, “But it is in my nature to sting.”

It is the nature of Satan to destroy. Maybe you are reading this, and have refused the free gift of salvation. Maybe you have lived for years proclaiming yourself to be a Christian, but inwardly, you know there has never been a true change in your life. If you would like to have a personal relationship with Jesus, He is a prayer away. Just pray…

Lord, forgive me for believing a lie for so long. I now believe that without Christ, I am lost. I receive His death and resurrection as my only hope. I accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Maybe you are reading this, and you have been feeling the temptations offered in the infectious pull of error. Maybe you have been considering allowing the smooth-talking scorpion to ride on your back. While it may seem harmless at first, the “scorpion of error” has a painful sting that is inherent in it’s very nature. Don’t listen to the lies! Allow yourself to embrace only the truth. Stand on the living Word of God, and the righteous truth it contains. Choose a life of freedom and promise, based on God’s principles. Stand on the power and authority of the Word of God, and pray this prayer…

In Jesus’ name, I bind the spirit of error, and command you to leave my mind. I refuse and reject all lies and twisted thoughts you have brought to me. I here and now in my life loose the spirit of truth. I love you, Jesus. Thank You for setting me free from the lies of the enemy.

If you would like more information on what it means to have a relationship with Jesus, or to speak to someone, simply follow this link.

May God richly bless you as you walk in your new-found freedom!

Pastor Ron

— Today’s blog was, in part, adapted from my book,
Everyone’s Guide to Demons & Spiritual Warfare

Life In The Age of the Little White Lie

Through The Looking Glass2

A few of days ago marked the anniversary of the passing of one of the greatest minds of the last century. Albert Einstein was a German-born physicist who, among other things, developed the theory of relativity, as well as won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921. Einstein once said…

Anyone who does not take truth seriously in small matters
cannot be trusted in large ones either.

We live in a culture that has grown to overlook the “little white lie”. In today’s society, the old adage ‘a man’s word is his bond’, is (I fear) exactly that… old. It seems that we often go from political season to political season in an attempt, not to get the best person for the job, but simply trying to avoid the worst. Whether personal, political, or business, we desire to overlook the “small issues” for the greater good in individuals, instead of looking at these issues as potential warning signs of more serious problems. Even King Solomon recognized the potential for the little things to become bigger problems when he said…

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. ~ Song of Solomon 2:15

Jesus drives the point home in the parable of the talents when the master tells the servant…

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things… ~ Matthew 25:21

While forgiveness for past shortcomings is important, so is faithfulness and integrity. Character is critical, but it is unlikely that a person will learn from a mistake they are unwilling to take responsibility for.

C. S. Lewis once said…

The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot,
without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

Accountability goes a long way in keeping the “little thing” now from becoming the “big thing” later. As believers in Jesus, we must make every effort to be truthful in all we say and do, to be lights in a dark world, and to still be “as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves.”

 

he safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cslewis115353.html#ZtszMH3OHVUD2Hmo.99

he safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cslewis115353.html#ZtszMH3OHVUD2Hmo.99
Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
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Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
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Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
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Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins165191.html#A7u8bdxcsZxtJxIA.99

Come Home for Easter

20140416-153053.jpgAs I write this, it is a beautiful (albeit unseasonably chilly) day in Chattanooga, TN. Although it hasn’t seemed like it the past couple of days (30′s and rainy), spring is in the air (as is the pollen), and that means a time of new beginnings: New foliage, new life, new birth… Tennessee is such a beautiful place in the spring.

 

20140416-153206.jpgThis Sunday is Easter, and while there are a hundred things I could say on the subject of our Lord’s resurrection, and the significance of this day, I simply want to invite you to join us at Abba’s House for Easter. We will be celebrating all that this day means, and we would love for you to come and be a part.

 

Maybe you haven’t been to church in years? Easter is a time of new beginnings. There is no time like the present to start again.

Maybe you feel unworthy of the sacrifice that was made for you? We all are. However, a relationship with Jesus is not about our worthiness (or lack thereof) – it’s all about His goodness.

Maybe you’ve been hurt by a church in the past? If you have a bad experience at a restaurant, does that mean you just stop eating? It’s time to let go of those experiences that keep you bound and trust God to show you the place you belong.

20140416-153301.jpgThe fact is, you can probably come up with a hundred reasons why you can’t make it to church this Easter. What I’m encouraging you to do is to have the courage to recognize that ONE reason why you should, and follow that voice.

And chances are, even if the reason isn’t there — the Voice probably is… inviting you to come.

Our service begins at 10:30a.m.

This is your invitation. It’s time for you to come home.

Pastor Ron

Daystar1

News From The House

I’m going to break from the normal routine (slightly) today, to let you know about a couple of things going on at Ron Phillips Ministries and Abba’s House

We are back on Daystar!

Starting on April 27, Ron Phillips from Abba’s House will be returning to the Daystar Television Network! We are so excited about this opportunity, and wanted to let you know so you can make plans to watch us on our newest home. The program will air at 10:00a.m. PST (1:00a.m. EST). Tell your friends and join us on Daystar!

Daystar1

 

5 Days of Jubilee!

Join me September 24-28, 2014 as I welcome Rod Parsley, Perry Stone, Damon Thompson, Randy Caldwell, and others for this year’s Big Event at Abba’s House in Chattanooga, TN. Registration is FREE. Follow this link to sign up for email updates.

Bigevent2014

 

The Zadoks are going VIRAL!

Recently, we had an outreach event in our church called MISSION: REACH OUT. The many ministries and LifeGroups of our church spent a Saturday out and about in the Chattanooga area. It was a great time of visiting and talking to people, washing cars, handing out bottled water, and ministering to first responders. Some of our folks had a free yard sale at the church. Others went door-to-door inviting individuals and families to “Come Home to Abba’s House“.
Our church’s worship ministry, the Zadoks, went to a local mall and participated in a “flash mob”. Our media team was there with iPhones, and recorded the event. It was posted online a couple of days ago, and is already going viral. Check it our for yourself…

Hope you are having a great week! Look for my newest weekly blog post tomorrow morning.

Pastor Ron