A Time for Transition

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:”
~ ‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭

Yesterday morning at Abba’s House, my staff shared a letter from me to the congregation, and I wanted to share it with you now.

Beloved,

For some time the Lord has been speaking to Paulette and I about not only our legacy, but His plan for the church’s and our future. I will be 70 this year, and feel I still have much to offer the church and the Kingdom as does Paulette. Along with our Pastor’s Council and other leadership, we feel it is God’s will that Dr. Ronnie Phillips, Jr. assume the role of Lead Pastor beginning in January 2018. We will joyfully and faithfully continue to serve Abba’s House as Pastor Emeritus and Paulette as an Assistant Pastor .

1. I believe I can lengthen my service by shifting the yoke of leadership to stronger and younger shoulders. The priests of Israel did not “bear the yoke” after 55 years of age, though they continued to serve.

2. We can grow faster with a younger leadership team that have a vision for the generation rising. Our growth can be much stronger than it is now.

3. Your Pastor’s Council has an exciting restructure plan that will lead the church to be able to embrace the rising generation; including building, staff, media, outreach, and revenue streams.

4. Ronnie and Kelly are ready and strong with vision to touch all of our area, to the ends of the earth. They are both children of this house and love you and the greater Chattanooga area.

5. Our staff has embraced the change wholeheartedly and some will be serving in new callings.

6. I sense and apostolic calling to not only serve Ronnie and Abba’s House but the many church’s and missions that look to us for leadership. I will extend your influence around the nation and the world.

7. I feel that there are things that I can do for the future of our civilization that require me to be away more than a true pastor can be. I need to war a good warfare for you nationwide.

8. I need you to know that I will go to heaven serving this congregation. I will be preaching often…doing television with Ronnie as needed…and serving you .
Now, I need you to embrace Gods plan with all your heart and soul. I need you to be patient and loving as the changes are implemented across the next year. Wonderful and exciting things are coming from God for us all. Please pray and be fully supportive and watch what the Holy Spirit does.

 

Pastor Ron Phillips

A Tiny Fire.

America has long been a nuclear superpower on the world stage. Since the days of the Manhattan Project to our current time, the United States has possessed the capability for destruction on a scale incomprehensible to most people. And while such power becomes a deterrent to those who would do us harm, it also comes with great responsibility and peril to those who wield it.

For example…

titan-iiOn September 18, 1980, at approximately 6:00p.m., an Air Force PTS team (Propellant Transfer System) entered the Titan II Missile Complex 374-7 in Damascus, Arkansas. Their purpose for being there was to replace a small part on the missile. At about 6:25p.m., a two man team went into the missile silo to work on the missile.

Now, the Titan II missile was no small thing. As the name would indicate, the Titan II was enormous. In the documentary Command and Control (American Experience, PBS), Missile Combat Crew member Allan Childers described the sight…

“You couldn’t see the warhead from the bottom ’cause you were 8 stories down, and the cone of the warhead disappeared off in the distance.”

titan_ii_launchThe Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile stood approximately 7 stories high, weighed around 330,000 pounds (165 tons), and carried the most powerful and destructive weapon in the history of warfare in the United States (possibly the world); a nine-megaton thermonuclear warhead that had three-times the destructive capability of every bomb dropped by every army during World War II combined, including the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. This was a weapon with the capability to wipe out — not just a city — but a civilization.

As the crew began to work on the missile, the unthinkable happened. The socket they were using to remove the pressure cap disconnected from the wrench, and fell about 80 feet to the bottom of the missile silo. The eight-pound socket ricocheted off a thrust mount and struck the side of the missile, rupturing the fuel tank.

Over the next several hours, dozens of people across the military and defense department spectrum worked frantically to come up with a solution to keep the situation from turning into a nuclear disaster. During that time, over 14,000 gallons of rocket fuel continued to leak from the rocket into the silo.

In the early morning hours of September 19, tragedy struck.

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While crews on site continued their work, the fuel ignited, and the missile complex exploded in a ball of fire seen for miles. About 21 personnel were seriously injured in the blast, and one PTS crew member, Senior Airman David Livingston, lost his life. Miraculously, the nuclear warhead itself did not detonate, and the destruction was confined to the immediate area of the missile silo and complex. The nuclear warhead was later located — still intact — in a nearby ditch, having been blown clear of the silo by the massive force of the explosion.

damascus-ar-2Now think about it. This catastrophe was caused because a small, eight-pound socket — something a minuscule fraction of the size of the missile — was accidentally dropped. And all it took then was for the tiniest spark to ignite the leaked fuel for the entire facility to turn into a deadly inferno.

This tragedy reminds me of the words of James…

   Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. ~ James 3:3-6

woman in depressionA tiny bit controls a thousand-pound horse. A tiny rudder steers a massive ship on the wild sea. Thousands of acres of forest can be set ablaze by an unattended campfire or a carelessly discarded cigarette butt.

In the same respect, the tongue is among the tiniest members of the body, but has the potential of an emotional “nuke”. Wars have been started because of words. Lives have been destroyed because of the power of the tongue. Marriages and friendships have been laid waste in the wake of destructive words.

James goes on to say…

With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. ~ James 3:9-12

King Solomon put it this way…

The mouth of the righteous is a well of life,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked. ~ Proverbs 10:11

GirlsWhether it is how you whisper to a child, speak to a friend, orate to a large gathering, or proclaim from the mountaintop through media… words have meaning. Words have consequences. Words can be a fountain of life, or a weapon of destruction. Words are more than just mindless blathering… they are the reflection of the deepest recesses of the heart. Jesus drove this point home when He said…

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45

nuke-1Maybe your words have already harmed another. Maybe, because of something you said, the elements are already in motion, counting down to an inevitable explosion. It’s not too late! Just as words of anger, jealousy, and malice can set the potential disaster into motion, words of forgiveness, healing, and contrition can avert that same disaster. It just takes the putting down of pride and the willingness to be the “bigger” person; to be righteous instead of “right”. It just takes putting on the mind of Christ, and being an agent of peace and unity instead of chaos.

Don’t wait until the little “dropped sockets” of life allow circumstances to build to critical mass. Let your words be a well of Life for someone else today.

 

It’s Time to Rise Up!!!


Are you ready to see the name of Jesus lifted high in a culture that is trying to relegate Him to obscurity?

Do you want to see Him glorified in your life as well as you church?

If we surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit, and allow God to live and act through us, there is nothing we can’t accomplish for Him. His word says…

With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

Join Pastor Ronnie Phillips, Jr. and me this year at Fresh Oil New Wine 2017 as we welcome…

Damon Thompson

Perry Stone

Dr. Dwain Miller

Rabbi Curt Landry

Dr. Randy Caldwell

Matt Smith 

Tony Valdes

So join for Free Oil New Wine 2017 this March 5-9. For more information or to register, click HERE.


Fresh Oil New Wine is an annual conference for pastors, worship leaders, church leaders and anyone who needs renewal and refreshment from the Holy Spirit.

What Do You Believe In?

religion-101-a

So… what do you believe in?

It’s the age old question. Our core beliefs are what give us purpose and direction. Everyone believes in something, even if it is the belief that you don’t believe in anything. Every person has some guiding principles that they live their lives by. For most people, those principles take the form of some sort of religious belief.

religion

[ri-lijuh n]

noun
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

source: dictionary.com

As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I see everything through the lens of that belief. I view individual actions and world events through the lens of Scripture. I try to live my life in accordance with those beliefs. In Christianity, there are many absolutes: the sovereignty of God, the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus, the need for forgiveness, etc. All of these things and more make up the essentials of the Christian life.

So what makes a Catholic different from a Baptist? How does someone who is Orthodox relate to God in a way different than a Pentecostal? What are the similarities and differences between different denominations within Christianity?

But then we begin to look at other entirely different religions? What about Islam? What are the beliefs of Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, and how do they differ from mine? What about Judaism? What about Eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and dozens of others?

In today’s world, it is not enough to know what you believe; you have to know WHY you believe WHAT you believe. And even more than that, it is helpful to know what others believe as well.

Starting tonight, and for the next seven weeks, we will be teaching a series called Religion 101: A Study in Comparative ReligionI will be joined by my friends Dr. Alan Johnston, Dr. John Basham, Dr. Dennis Culbreth, and my son Dr. Ronnie Phillips, Jr. We’ll be looking at Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Judaism, and a variety of Eastern religions.

Tonight, Dr. Johnston will kick it off with A Common Core: Christianity, Catholicism, and Orthodox. This series is being taught during our 6:33 service at Abba’s House, and in conjunction with Berea Bible Institute and Seminary, and will begin at 6:33pm every Wednesday night through February 22. I invite you to join us for this in-depth and informative teaching.

If you are not in the Chattanooga area, you can watch online during service times at http://www.abbashouse.com/live

religion-101-b

A Year of Change

FlagIn about two weeks, America will once again go through the pomp and ceremony of inaugurating a new president, meaning new leadership and new direction in our nation. While January 20 (and a few days following) will be filled with all manner of spectacles, traditions, and commentary, it will merely mark the beginning of an administration that came to power on promises of ending corruption, national security, and returning us to being a nation “of, by, and for the people.” President Trump will have his hands full, leading our country during a time of political unrest, social division, international instability, and unfettered terrorism.

So, “we the people”… what can we do?

First of all, we can pray. In I Timothy 2:1-2, Paul tells Timothy…

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Israeli Flag 1Prayer is not partisan. While I never voted for President Obama, and disagreed with him on much of his agenda, I prayed for him nearly every single day. I genuinely hoped and prayed that he would be a good and just president. My prayer is the same for President Trump. I pray that he will surround himself with Godly counsel, that he will listen to wise advisers, and that he will always put America’s best interests — spiritually, socially, and economically — first (this includes an unwavering support for Israel).

Second, I would encourage everyone reading this, regardless of what side of the aisle you fall on politically — give President Trump a chance. No man or administration has the ability to fix all that ails a nation overnight. Leaders rise and fall according to the will of God (Romans 13:1), and I believe that God has ordained President Trump for “such a time as this”. If you have honest disagreements with him or his policy, fine. I’m sure we all will at some point. There has not been a president in my lifetime that I agreed with 100% of the time. But honest criticism, reasoned viewpoints, and civil discourse should not fall victim to unbridled vitriol, (un)civil disobedience, and fake and deceptive news. If there is one thing I have learned with the popularity of social media, it is that you cannot believe everything you read.

Praying      Last, I would encourage all of us — as Americans — to be diligent in seeking after holiness, righteousness, and decency. Make a difference in your own circle of influence. Last year, I wrote a book called The Unraveling of America  in which I pointed to a number of political and social ideologies and entities in our world that have led to the systematic dismantling of our nation. With the advent of new leadership, all of these adversaries and ideologies are not going to mysteriously vanish. We must be diligent. We must be wary. We must hold our leaders to account for their decisions, actions, or lack thereof. We must follow the advice of Jesus who tells us to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

It’s time for our nation under God to once again rise up and be the “shining city on a hill”, not because of our perceived greatness, but because of the goodness and grace of God that He shed upon us.

Pemmaquid PointAmerica! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

~ from America the Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates
Music by Samuel A. Ward

12 Choices for a Better New Year

Across the Water

   The future is before us in the form of a New Year, full of challenges, hope, blessings, and promise. Just like a new dawn on an open horizon, the possibilities are limitless. So, here is my formula for starting things off right and winning in 2017.

judas1. Forgive all who have hurt you and ask forgiveness of those you may have hurt.

image2. Commit yourself to the Church. Be a faithful attender and attend both Sunday and mid-week services.

 

 


Sprout 13. Pay any back tithes and offerings before this year ends. If you are able, sow a seed toward a harvest in the New Year.

 

Salvation Army4. Focus on someone or some family you could reach in the New Year.

 

DR15. Get active in a Sunday school class, LifeGroup, choir, as a nursery volunteer…. get involved sowing into the lives of others with your time and talent.

 

Coffee6. Set a plan to read Scripture and pray daily.

 

Chalk outline - cross7. Be open to the Holy Spirit and His leading in your daily life.

 


Gas Gauge8. Try to be proactive about health, diet and exercise. YOUR body is HIS temple.

 

Nica 69. Take joy where you find it and live thankfully each day… life is precious.

 

Worship10. Live focused on God’s vision and do not let the small stuff bug you.

 

Highway111. View life on earth as an exciting journey, not as a finish line.

 

Girls212. Take the risk of loving others unconditionally.

May you have favor and blessing in the coming year.

Happy New Year!!!
Pastor Ron Phillips

Glory in the Highest!

KS12499

     And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

     Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

     Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

     And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

     “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 

KS12494So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

From my family to yours…

Merry Christmas!