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Brother of The King

There was a little boy named Rick.

As a young child, his father abandoned his mother. With no income and unable to support her family, Rick’s mother had to put him and his brothers in an orphanage.

Some time later, Rick’s mother remarried a man whose name was Vernon. One day as Rick and his brothers were at the orphanage, a fancy car pulled up, and they were informed that they were there for Rick and his brothers. The car left the orphanage, and a short time later pulled up in front of a mansion…

Graceland.

As they passed through the gates of the world-famous home of Elvis Presley, the car came to a stop, and upon passing through the doors, they were greeted by “The King” himself.

“I always wanted a little brother, and now I have three”, they were told as the six-year-old Rick and his two brothers were met by their famous half-sibling. You see, Rick’s mother had married Elvis’s father.

The next morning, they discovered a yard filled with toys, bicycles, and gifts, and they ran with joy from one item to another, amazed to find themselves in such a home.

From an orphanage to the mansion of “the king”, this story reminds me of one we should all relate to — one of another King…

Jesus is “not ashamed to call us brethren.”  He is our Brother and Companion.  He has made us sons, and so all that He has is ours.  We are God’s children and are therefore recipients of His love.  All this is possible because He was willing to be a “perfect” Savior…

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. ~ Hebrews 2:10

The perfect means “complete.”  Jesus was willing to do all that had to be done to give us complete salvation.  He came to lead a new family home to glory. All of the resources of Heaven are available to us as children of the King, and co-heirs of Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but I think that is Good News worth sharing!

This week…

I will be joining Pastor Ronnie Phillips, Jr. at the RPMI Wilderness Conference in Chatsworth, GA. I hope you will join us for this powerful event. Damon Thompson, Eric Clark, and other will be with us. It all starts tonight (4-27), and runs through Sunday night (4-30). If you can’t be with us in person, you can watch it online on the RPMI Facebook page.

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What’s In A Word?

American author Russell Bradley Jones tells the true story of seven Russians taken captive many years ago in Finland. They were to be put to death at sunrise. As they waited through the long night some cursed, some cried, some called out for their mothers. One named Kos Kinen began singing an old Christian hymn.

“Where did you get that you fool?” they asked.

“My mother taught it to me.” he replied, “and I am giving my life to the Jesus my mother taught me.” “In a few hours I will be with my Savior.”

By 4:00 a.m., Kinen had led the other six men to faith in Jesus Christ. At 6:00 a.m. they marched out to be shot. They requested to die with their faces uncovered, with arms stretched to heaven they sang…

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast.
There by His love oe’r shadowed.
Sweetly my soul shall rest.

They were shot. Forgiveness turned their doom into a moment of glory.

Dore CrucifixionDuring the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, He never verbally attacked His accusers, cried for compassion, hurled desperate insults at His captors and torturers, or spelled out the doom awaiting those responsible for the circus of a trial He had forced upon Him. Pastor Rick Warren summed it up best in a comment he made during a Q & A session at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in 2016…

We are most like Christ when we are silent in the face of our critics.

The Bible tells us that Jesus remained silent in the face of the hate, ridicule, and false accusations. Even as He hung on the cross, His thoughts were of others.

A Word of Pardon.

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

  • This was the word of a Son who had influences with the Father.
  • This was the word of a Savior who was giving His life for others
  • This was the word of a Priest who stands between sinful humanity and the wrath of God
  • This is the Word of Pardon for all who will receive Him.

A Word of Promise.

“Today you shall be with me in Paradise” ~ Luke 23:43

Even in the darkest of times, His thoughts were still of redemption. As this thief hanging next to Him repented, the sinless Lamb of God made a promise of eternal life to this man who was paying the price for his bad choices.

A Word of Care.

“Woman, behold your son! [John], behold your mother!” ~ John 19:26-27

In the middle of all this, Jesus, as the first born, took care of His earthly mother. Jesus gave that assignment to John who carried Mary to Ephesus where she lived for Jesus until her death. Jesus did not shirk His earthly responsibilities.

A Word of Passion.

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” ~ Matthew 27:46

Here is the High Priest alone in the Holy of Holies. Here is the scapegoat alone in the wilderness. Here is the dark moment when the humanity of Jesus is at its peak.

“God forsaken of God” – who can imagine it? Here is how it should read, “My God, My God, why? Hast thou forsaken me?”

The answer is no!

The Apostle Paul said that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). He felt forsaken that you and I might never be alone.

A Word of Suffering.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” ~ John 19:28

Again we see Jesus’ humanity! In the awful agonies of crucifixion, Jesus suffered intense dehydration. He became thirsty, that we might drink from His fountain of Life.

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. ~ John 7:37-39

A Word of Triumph.

“It is finished!” ~ John 19:30

Jesus’ words here have four meanings.

To bring to a close.
To finish a performance on task.
To fulfill all obligation.
To pay the bill in full

Jesus brought to a close all of the law and prophets.

Jesus finished the tasks of suffering.

Jesus paid for our sins in full.

Jesus finished off Satan.

A Word of Glory.

“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” ~ Luke 23:46

Despite what the priests, Pharisees, Romans, and Pilate may have thought, there was never a moment when Jesus was not in control of His destiny. Even during each horrific moment on the cross, Jesus was still in charge and was still Lord.

This same Jesus — Messiah, Lord, Triumphant Conqueror, and King —

… wants to be the Lord and Savior of YOUR life!

Are your sins forgiven? Do you know Jesus Christ? He died for your forgiveness.

Like the Russian prisoners at the beginning of this blog, you can receive Jesus today!

Here’s how.

Facts, Fake News, and Finding Truth

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Throughout the last campaign season and continuing on through the first three months of this year, we have all heard the phrase that has become a staple of public discourse — the allegation and labeling of certain news reports as “fake news”.

We’ve come a long way from the days of Walter Cronkite — the most trusted man in America. Nowadays, “news” reports are peppered with opinion, innuendo, and bias from the very people who are supposed to be objectively reporting what is going on. From the very beginning of many news reports — especially those pertaining to President Trump and his administration — the commentary is framed in such a way as to support a conclusion that may or may not be factual.

Recently, President Trump came to Nashville for a rally. Since Nashville is a couple of hours from where we are in Chattanooga, one of my staff members volunteered to go to the rally and report back what he observed with his own eyes. Here is what he had to say…

After meeting up with a couple of friends outside of the city, we drove to the Nashville Municipal Auditorium for the rally with President Trump. We parked about 4 blocks away (after navigating through streets that were blocked off for security reasons), and walked to the auditorium. At the point at which we reached the venue, it was a little after 2p.m., with the start time of the rally scheduled for 6:30p.m. Upon walking past the front of the venue, we noticed lots of police, Secret Service agents, barricades, and people. The line had long-since formed, and stretched out of sight. There was a small area cordoned off near the entrance where a handful of protesters had gathered. The few signs on display addressed an array of topics and grievances, some of which were fairly odd. If you counted everyone in that area (sign or no sign) as a protester, there might have been about 20.

Street preachers

Street evangelists.

We proceeded past the entrance on the long walk to the end of the line. The crowd was calm, well-behaved, and respectful. Lots of smiling faces of people eager to see the President as people conversed, laughed, and occasionally broke into spontaneous cheers of “USA!… USA!…” and “Trump!…Trump!…”. There were a handful of street preachers with loudspeakers, preaching a message of salvation to a crowd who, for the most part, remained respectful of their right to be there. It was obvious that these people were not there to protest, but were simply there to use the opportunity to share the message of the Gospel with a fairly captive audience. When one of the bystanders engaged one of these men in a conversation, the street-preacher exclaimed that he had been to “other” events, and the current crowd was much more well-behaved and respectful.

#5

At this point in the line, we were only 8/10 of a mile from the entrance.

It was around 2:30p.m. when we finally made it to the end of the line. According to Google Maps, we were about 8/10 of a mile from the entrance. We got in line and began the long wait. Within 10 minutes of standing there, the line grew to extend roughly 150 yds. beyond the point where we were standing. Within 20 minutes, the line was once again out of sight. As we stood in the sea of red “Make America Great Again” hats, I was struck by a few things. In spite of the cold (and it got much colder), people weren’t complaining. The crowd itself was made up of young and old, men and women. There were a lot of high-school and college aged young people, as well as a lot of children. There were people dressed comfortably (sweatshirts and jeans), and others who were attired much nicer. There were poor people there. There were affluent people there. When the street vendors came by with hats, shirts, and buttons, people engaged them in conversation and broke out their wallets to purchase their wares. When the (very) occasional protester happened by with their signs (some of which were quite misguided and/or offensive), the crowd remained respectful and for the most part, did not engage them, even in the face of their contrary (and even bizarre) viewpoints. Those who chose to engage did so without name calling, or hate-filled aggression, but simply spoke to them about their grievance of choice, and shared why they believed them to be in error.

 

At 3:30p.m., the doors opened and the line began to inch forward. At one point, there was a commotion of police lights, and a huge cheer went up as the Presidential motorcade passed by. It was interesting to see strangers become friends, and listen to the conversations about the hope people felt in America once again.

As the line continued to move forward, the sun continued to set, and the temperature continued to drop, the crowd remained vigilant in their determination to see the President. At one point, after standing in line for more than two hours, one of the people standing next to me got a news report from one of the local news agencies on their phone. It was being reported that “hundreds of protesters had gathered to protest Trump”. We couldn’t help but laugh. From start to finish, we witnessed maybe 50 people protesting. Some of the signage of people we initially thought might be protesters turned out to be people who, with no chance of getting in, decided to utilize their time carrying signs in support of the President, and essentially being cheerleaders as they walked up and down the crowd, cheering on those in attendance.

We were roughly 2/10 of a mile from the entrance when President Trump took the stage. Those of us outside broke out cell phones, and watched the LIVE feed of what was happening inside. As the line sped up slightly, we remained hopeful that we would still make it in before the President finished.

It wasn’t to be.

We made it to within 40 feet of the doorway when the President began to close his remarks, and knew at that point that our 4-hour vigil had been in vain.

But actually… it hadn’t for me. I had come for the experience of witnessing first-hand what a Trump rally was about, and while I never made it to the doorway, I think I got just as good a sense of that during my time standing in line. What I witnessed was a lot of people who love our country and wanted to support a President who shares that love. The full house of nearly 10,000 people inside was what the country saw in news clips and social media stories. What they didn’t see was the literally thousands of people who stood faithfully outside, and never made it in… people who still felt pride in being there to support a President who has taken a lot of heat for standing up for them.

Well, my fingers and toes have finally thawed out, and I am thankful for the (albeit chilly) experience of spending a few hours with other Americans who have renewed my faith in the goodness and kindness of her people.

Proverbs 10:9 says…

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes
crooked paths will be found out.

Trust but verify ReaganIn this day and time, finding out truth is not as complicated as it would seem. I believe we have become so used to instant gratification that we determine truth the same way. “If the media says it, it must be true”, may have had some relevance in times past, but today we live in an age where people speak before the truth is known, and report before all of the facts are in. I have seen it become such a vicious cycle: Someone reports a story which is proven to be false, then tries to manufacture data or spin the story in such a way as to try to maintain some degree of credibility. It seems that people have lost the ability to say “I was wrong”, when in fact those three words are a crucial starting point to regaining lost credibility. Oftentimes, an apology can get a lot better response than a defense.

Truth is not subjective. Truth is not open to interpretation. There is not such thing as “your truth” and “my truth”. Truth stands on its own power and authority. The Bible puts a great deal of importance on truth as we read…

The LORD detests lying lips,
but He delights in people who are trustworthy. ~ Proverbs 12:22

I think if we all slowed down and took more of an interest in the truth, we would find that honesty is still the best policy, and that being truthful in the first place is less exhausting that than the ensuing damage control involved when we sacrifice our integrity.

We might also find that the place of truth is the starting point of finding favor with God.

Fresh Oil Follow-up

 

Last week, we experienced an incredible outpouring of God’s presence at Fresh Oil New Wine 2017. From the speakers to the worship, every word was timely and anointed. Thank you to everyone who attended, spoke, sang, and ministered in even the tiniest way. We are forever grateful for your fellowship, and your faithful and sacrificial service.

Here are a few of the highlights from Fresh Oil New Wine 2017Enjoy!

Perry Stone

Matt Smith

Rabbi Curt Landry

Damon Thompson

Tony Valdes

Ron Phillips & Ronnie Phillips, Jr.

Randy Caldwell

Dwain Miller

Take every step with the dove in mind…

Damon Thompson had a WORD on Monday night at Fresh Oil New Wine 2017! Here is an excerpt that is going viral…

 

Don’t miss out! Watch our LIVE STREAM during service times at the Abba’s House website, on our app, Facebook LIVE, YouTube LIVE, ROKU, and Amazon Fire!

Tonight at 6:30… Perry Stone.

Fresh Oil Flashback

As we approach the beginning of our Fresh Oil New Wine 2017 in three days, I thought I’d let you take a look back at why this conference is so special. From the diversity of speakers to the atmosphere that accompanies each one, we have had some amazing moments through the years.

In 2008, Ray Hughes joined us…

 

The next year, Tommy Barnett was a special guest…

 

Damon Thompson was with us in 2010, and joins us again this year…

This year’s speaker lineup is one you won’t want to miss. Pastor Ronnie Jr. and I will be joined by…

Perry Stone
Damon Thompson
Rabbi Curt Landry
Dr. Dwain Miller
Dr. Randy Caldwell
Matt Smith 
Tony Valdes
and more…

There will be something for everyone… Children’s services with Jeff McCullough. A Women’s Luncheon with Sandra Kay Williams. Worship and Word from start to finish!

So join us for Fresh Oil New Wine 2017! Rise Up, and take hold of all God has for you!

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Rise Up!

With all of the protests going on around our nation right now, it’s a mantra we hear every day…

RISE UP!

Rise up for this cause! Rise up for that offense! Rise up and be counted among the… well… the people who are being counted.

Allow me to invite you to RISE UP for another — more worthwhile —  reason…

RISE UP and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit!

When we allow the power of God to control our lives, He can accomplish more living and operating through us than we can ask or imagine.

This year, we celebrate 20 YEARS of our Fresh Oil New Wine Conference! It has been amazing to look back and see how God has operated through this event in lives and churches across the nation. Just to give you a couple of blasts from the past…

This is from our first Fresh Oil Conference, 1998…

Jack Taylor was our special guest on opening night in 2000…

John Kilpatrick brought a word in 2003…

This year’s conference promises to be a moment in time like no other…

Perry Stone, Damon Thompson, Rabbi Curt Landry, Randy Caldwell, Dwain Miller, Tony Valdes, and Matt Smith will be joining Pastor Ronnie Jr and I as we RISE UP to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of us!

I hope you will join us for Fresh Oil New Wine 2017! Registration is FREE, but we would like you to register so we know you are coming.

To register, go HERE.

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See you at Fresh Oil New Wine 2017… RISE UP!!!