Got Favor?

Gas GaugeIn May of 2002, I was preaching a crusade in Nigeria. After about a week of wonderful meetings, it was time to once again climb aboard a plane and head back across the Atlantic. As we were about to leave, we were praying with our host pastor, Dr. Nick Ezeh, and rejoicing in what God had done in the meetings. After saying our goodbyes, we turned and walked into the terminal only to be confronted by these disturbing words on the flight schedule screen:

Flight #— to Lagos: CANCELLED

Now, in the U.S., this is not really a huge issue. When a flight is cancelled, most of the time, there is another flight within hours. However, since we were in Calabar, Nigeria, and not Cleveland, Ohio, this was not the case. If we missed our connection in Lagos, the next available flight was FOUR DAYS LATER!

At this point, our team shifted into overdrive, trying desperately to speak to someone who might have a solution to our dilemma. We quickly discovered that there was a flight to Lagos from another town called Port Harcourt. The flight was scheduled to leave in 3 hours and 45 minutes. Great, right? Except for one small problem…

Port Harcourt was 3½ hours away.

If we left immediately, we would have a fifteen minute margin of error. If we hit traffic, had any mechanical issues, or were in any other way delayed, chances were good that we would not make our connection, and would have to get comfortable for a four-day layover. Our team quickly gathered all of our gear, and got back into the vehicles for the long ride to Port Harcourt.

Now, one thing about Nigeria is that twice a year they shut down all of the oil refineries for a week or two for scheduled maintenance, thus creating shortages, rationing, and gas station shutdowns all over the country. It just so happened that that shutdown fell during our visit. The whole time we were there, we witnessed lines at gas stations that made the U.S. gas lines of the 1970’s look like the express line at Wal-Mart. About an hour into our drive, I glanced down at the gas gauge of our borrowed vehicle, and noticed that the needle was below empty. Our driver, a very nice Nigerian gentleman by the name of A.G. Bright didn’t seem too concerned. I leaned forward and asked him if the gauge was broken.

“No, my brother,” he answered, “but God will provide, for we prayed for mercy on this journey. Also, you and Dr. Ezeh are God’s men… He will surely see us through.”

It is difficult to admit this, but my faithless soul was not comforted. As we drove on, my mind was filled with visions of our stranded team, standing by our vehicles in the middle of the sweltering Nigerian jungle, or worse, being taken captive by rebels or robbers.

As my mind raced through the worst possible of scenarios, all of a sudden, I heard the sound of singing. Mr. Bright had started singing praises to God, and was quickly being joined by others in the vehicle. As the praises went up from our SUV, my faithless heart still continued to fret, expecting our engine to come to a grinding halt at any second. However, after another HOUR of unrelenting driving, we came to a crossroads, with a gas station that stood like an oasis at the intersection. As we pulled in, we questioned whether or not it was even open, since it was without the massive lines we had witnessed everywhere else. Upon discovering that it was open, we soon found out from the proprietor that the station had been closed for a week due to the fuel shortage, but that he had just received a shipment, and was actually re-opening his station AS WE PULLED UP!

A smiling A.G. Bright looked at me and said, “See, Pastor Phillips… God always takes care of His servants. You are in favor with God!”

While I originally told this story several years ago, it remains true today. Unlike the 3-month-old salad dressing in your refrigerator, truth does not have an expiration date. We face challenges on a daily basis. Turmoil in our financial markets, uncertainty and unrest about the state of our nation politically, and chaos and disquiet in various hot-spots around the globe make it difficult to have faith. Yet having the favor of God is not dependent upon who is king, prime minister or president. The favor of God does not hinge on “bull markets” or diversified portfolios. The favor of God is not even affected by our immediate circumstances… our job, our family, or even our gas gauge. The favor of God is about His goodness and His faithfulness. We receive God’s favor, not because we are good, but because HE is good.

Driving down those dirty, pot-hole infested roads of Nigeria that day, Mr. Bright became a shining example of how we get ahold of that favor.

Mr. Bright prayed… He prayed a prayer that said, “God, here is what I am expecting, and no one will be more surprised than me if You don’t come through.” (Contrast this with the prayer that many of us pray: “God, here is my need, and I will be shocked if You actually answer me.”

Mr. Bright walked by faith… He put his proverbial “money where his mouth was”. He had no choice but to move forward by faith, and he did it with gusto, literally driving into the unknown with nothing but a belief that God is true to His word and to His children.

Mr. Bright worshipped… He didn’t sit there and fret about the gas gauge. He opened his mouth and declared God’s goodness and faithfulness in advance.

What a powerful lesson! I want to be like Mr. Bright. I want to be the one who walks in favor, stands in favor, and lives in favor! I want to be the one whose life is centered in His presence, and in the blessing that God gave Moses for the children of Israel…

“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
~ Numbers 6:24-27

That is the kind of favor I want.

How about you?

Pastor Ron

A Reputation of Grace

Recently, I’ve been learning from God about grace. Among many things the Lord has taught me is that we have a tendency to restrict grace. In the story of the prodigal son, the words “far country“ and “great way off” are essentially the same in Greek. The father’s loving gaze and grace extended all the way to the place of wrong choices, waste, and ultimately to the pig pen. Our Father’s patience, grace, and loving welcome waits on the worst of us to come to ourselves and come home. How many of us can extend grace for the long wait? How many of us are willing to hang in their with a “prodigal” until the journey leads a friend home?

It’s easy to extend grace to someone we care about, love, and want the absolute best for. But is grace just for those we like and those who like us? Is grace prejudiced? Is grace for those who act like we think they ought to act?

Am I hearing a crucified Savior saying of His executioners, “Father, forgive them”? After all… Jesus scandalized the religious crowd by eating with sinners and being called a friend of sinners. Obviously, He had affection and compassion for those that society did not hold in regard. But to forgive and show grace to hypocritical religious types? What could Jesus have been thinking???

The apostle Paul may have hit the nail on the head when he said, “He made Himself of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7).  Jesus wasn’t worried about His reputation, about who He was seen with, or who He socialized with. He wasn’t interested in winning a popularity contest. He was concerned with winning the souls of men through grace, and pointing them to God, regardless of what that did to His reputation with the It crowd.

Wow…

For me, this grace thing is easy to talk about but hard to do.

How about you?

What limits do we put on grace? Sure, I know Romans 5:20 – 6:2a…

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.
But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid.

Maybe what Paul is reiterating is that only God has the right to set boundaries on grace. After all, it doesn’t say ”Ron forbid” — it says “God forbid”. Probably good advice for all of us.

Well, just some stuff I am learning at 70… grace to you and me!

The Road To The Resurrection

Road To The Resurrection

Good Friday is just a few days away. It is the day that we remember our Lord suffering and dying a cruel and inhumane death on the cross. It was the day that left a rag-tag group of fishermen and ruffians confused about the future. It was a day when the friends of Jesus lost hope.

Well, as they say… hind-sight is 20/20.

Had they known then what we know now, they would have known that, while it may be Friday, Sunday’s coming! They would have known that no demon of Hell could long keep Jesus in a grave. They would have understood that His single death meant LIFE for millions and millions of men and women throughout the ages…

… Men and women who have only to look to the blood-stained cross, and accept the finished work that Jesus performed there — and when He arose from the grave, dealing the death-blow to Death itself.

This Sunday, I invite you to join us at Abba’s House as we look down, and take the final step, on the Road to the Resurrection. Pastor Ronnie will teach us about The Miracle of the Promise. What is it about the Promise of this Easter Season that gives us such hope, even these 2,000+ years later? Find out on Easter Sunday!

If you are within 50 miles of Chattanooga, make the drive. We’d love to see and meet you! If you live too far away to drive, you can always join us online on our app, at abbashouse.com, or on Facebook or YouTube. Wherever you are, I invite you to get to a Bible-believing church on Sunday, and celebrate with His people the resurrection of the King!

It’s Time for All Things New,,,

For the last couple of weeks, we have made it a point to honor the past with regard to our Fresh Oil New Wine conference at Abba’s House. But folks, I’m here to tell you that we are believing God for a new thing! As I have transitioned to a new role of ministry in 2018, it has been such a joy to watch as Abba’s House has moved into a new day and a renewed focus under Pastor Ronnie Phillips, Jr. Now, with Fresh Oil New Wine 2018 beginning tomorrow, I’m believing for everything to go to a new level, not JUST for Abba’s House, but for all of those in attendance.

Watch what happened last year, and join us this week, in person or online, for Fresh Oil New Wine 2018: All Things New!

Get more information at http://www.fonw.com

The Spirit is Moving

I have been busy traveling and speaking, but thanks to our Abba’s House Media team, I get to watch the services wherever I am.

This past Sunday, an incredible move of the Holy Spirit broke out in the House. During the worship, the Holy Spirit moved in such an amazing way, and manifested in adoration, forgiveness, repentance, comfort, healing, and more. This move of the Spirit was something Pastor Ronnie discussed weeks before, and happened to air on Abba’s House with Pastor Ronnie Phillips, Jr. the same week. His message on The Power of Change ended up being prophetic as the Holy Spirit invaded the service on February 11, and those in attendance LIVED the spoken word. Watch this clip…

It is so exciting to see what God is doing at Abba’s House, especially in these weeks leading up to Fresh Oil New Wine 2018. I believe that God is manifesting His power and anointing, and what we are seeing is just a glimpse of of what is coming as He continues to make All Things New!

I hope you will join me and Pastor Ronnie on March 4-8 as we welcome Dutch Sheets, Perry Stone, Bobby Atkins, Randy Caldwell, Randy Miller, and Bernard Cornwell. There will be a Women’s Luncheon with (very) special guest speaker, Paulette Phillips. There is going to be passionate praise and worship! As always, registration (and attendance) is FREE, but we’d appreciate it if you would register so we can plan accordingly. You can click HERE to register.

I hope you will join us for Fresh Oil New Wine 2018… All Things New!
Come expecting a move of God like you’ve never experienced.

See you there!

All Things NEW!

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I am so excited about what is just around the corner…

FRESH OIL NEW WINE 2018!!!

I’m in a new season in my life as Pastor Emeritus of Abba’s House. I have a new purpose as I move into my seventies, and a new spring in my step. During this year’s Fresh Oil New Wine Conference, we are celebrating All Things New!

No matter where you are in life, it’s not permanent. Regardless of how young or how old you are (or feel), God can suddenly usher a new season into your life, and give you a new purpose you never imagined.

This year at Fresh Oil New Wine, we welcome Dutch Sheets. This is Dutch’s first time back in 5 years. We’re looking forward to the word he has from God…

Perry Stone will be back! A FONW favorite, Perry always has an on-time word. Hang on to your seat as Perry reveals truth from God’s word…

Randy Caldwell returns, fresh off a trip from Israel. We’re looking forward to fresh revelation from our brother Randy…

Bobby Atkins is back, and ready to help other ministry leaders and laborers find fresh oil and power for their lives and ministry. Bobby is always an encourager you DON’T want to miss…

Pastor Ronnie Phillips will be delivering his first word to the FONW crowd in his new role as Lead Pastor of Abba’s House! I’m excited about the fire and passion he brings to the pulpit, the conference, and the House…

There will be more… more speakers, passionate worship, and as always, the Ladies’ Luncheon with Pastor Paulette.

For now, I want to share a clip from years past… Dutch Sheets.

Join us for Fresh Oil New Wine 2018. Click HERE for more information and to register. Admission is FREE, but we’d like to know you’re coming.

March 4-8, 2018… All Things New… See you there!

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I HAVE A NEW HOME!!!

Well, with all of the changes that have been happening with our ministry, and the ministry at Abba’s House, the media team at Abba’s House Media just launched my new Facebook home, simply called…

Ron Phillips

We’ll have live videos, sermon clips, my Twitter feed, and lots of exciting content. Also, you’ll be able to keep up with my schedule to find out when I am going to be speaking near you!

“Like” my page, and follow me at https://www.facebook.com/DrRonPhillips/

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