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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!

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!

On this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday…

img_7455As we pause to reflect on this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, we recognize the holocaust that has taken place in our own nation since 1973:

60 million dead… victims of the abominable act of abortion.

But the decision to continue this barbaric practice will not be without cost. In God’s Word, we find a message of warning to pastors, leaders, the media, and politicians…

If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;
If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works? ~ Proverbs 24:11-12

This holocaust is still being tolerated in America. This horror is called a civil right and a woman’s choice. Hundreds of thousands are marching for the cause of Life in Washington DC, yet only the Fox network is covering this event. Admirably, our President and Vice President have spoken in support of life for the unborn.

To pastors of all backgrounds, I say this: This is not political… it is moral. Hitler silenced both the German church and the Vatican. How did he do it? By saying that the genocide of Jews was a political argument, not a moral one. Jews were viewed by the Nazis as less than human.

Sound familiar?

If we are silent, we will give an account for our silence. If we refuse to speak out, we will give an account for our complacency. If we ignore and refuse to take a stand, we will give an account for our apathy.

The worship of Molech included the murder of newborn children by passing them through a fiery oven. Their screams could be heard in the valley of Hinnom.

img_7454God hears the silent screams of these murdered humans. Each child victimized by the act of abortion is precious in His sight. Their cries rise up before Him, and He has not forgotten a single soul.

Church… pastors… it’s time to speak out! Babies of all races are being slaughtered. This is not black, Hispanic or white. This is not Republican or Democrat. This is not political. This is right vs. wrong. This a moral, spiritual, and human rights issue.

The time for silence is past. The time to speak up is now!

All Things New at #AHouseofGrace

As you are reading this, we are in the process of returning from a great trip to Israel with a wonderful group of people. After 27 visits to Israel personally, it never gets old! To walk the places where Jesus walked, to travel in the footsteps of the apostles, to sail across the Sea of Galilee… no words or pictures can adequately describe the feeling of being in this land.

 

While we were there, we had the privilege of taking advantage of modern technology, and a few of us watched the first service of the year at Abba’s House, under the leadership of our new Lead Pastor, Dr. Ronnie Phillips, Jr. I am so grateful for my 38 years as Senior Pastor, but I am so excited to see our congregation moving into the future with the fresh fire and anointing of the next generation! Pastor Ronnie has an exciting vision for Abba’s House, and as I have just spent time traveling through this ancient land, and have traveled paths of old, I am reminded that we can learn from and honor the past, but we live in the present, and we hope for the future. We serve a God who makes all things new…

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” ~ Revelation 21:5

I am excited for the future! As I recently said, I’m not retired, I’m RE-FIRED! I’m fired up about what God has put on my horizon, and I’m fired up about the new life and new thing that God is doing in the life of Abba’s House with Pastor Ronnie Jr. and his team!

Watch this…

Check out the first service of 2018 with Pastor Ronnie…

To be a part of what God is doing through the ministry of Abba’s House — this House of Grace — visit… http://abbashouse.com/donate

Before Our Eyes: Israel

Historic events are unfolding in Israel this week. What is taking place in this tiny country has ramifications of Biblical proportions… literally.

Here’s Pastor Ron with some thoughts about was is happening before our eyes.

A Season of Thanks

“‘Tis the season.”

When we hear that phrase, our minds are usually drawn to images of Christmas trees, Santa Claus, gifts, and nativity scenes. In all fairness, this is reasonable, considering that the phrase comes from the Christmas favorite, “Deck The Halls”…

Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Fa-la-la-la-la La la-la-la
‘Tis the season to be jolly
Fa-la-la-la-la La la-la-la

For most of us, the jump to Christmas seems to come about the time the last piece of candy is handed out on October 31st. We can’t wait to deck the halls, don our Christmas sweaters and mittens, and break out the egg nog and Bing Crosby records.

Yet, in the shuffle from the ghouls and goblins Halloween to the wonder and worship of Christmas, something tends to get overlooked in the process.

Thankfulness.

thanksgiving cornucopiaSure, we recognize Thanksgiving – the Day. We meet with family and friends, stuff ourselves with turkey and dressing, and watch football for hours on end, but do we really get a hold of the meaning of the season that we have relegated to a single day? A time of thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us by a loving and merciful God. A season of reflection and gratefulness for life in its various forms, trials, and triumphs. To me, the season of Thanksgiving is the perfect and logical precursor to the season of Christmas — of thankfulness and gratitude for the love of a Holy God that took the human form of a baby in a manger.

So with the mess the world is in, what have we to be thankful for? I can only speak for myself, but here are just a few…

  • I’m thankful for my family; for a faithful wife of many years, wonderful children, and for our beautiful and healthy grandchildren. I’m thankful for the heritage of my Godly parents, and my extended family, scattered around this country.
  • I’m thankful for my church family, who I have been blessed to shepherd these past 38 years. I’m thankful for the friendships I’ve made, for the things — good and bad — we have gone through together, for the team we have built for to share the Gospel all over the world, and for faithful friends who, through service and sacrifice, make it possible for us to do what we do.
  • I’m thankful for this season of life as I transition into a new role, and watch the next generation at Abba’s House (under the leadership of my son, Pastor Ronnie Phillips, Jr.) move into a promising future.
  • I’m thankful I live in a country where I am free to worship the God from Whom all blessings flow.
  • I’m thankful for you, the person reading this right now. I’m thankful for allowing me into your life and home by way of this blog, so that we can be an encouragement to each other, even though we may never meet face to face.
  • But most of all…

  • I’m thankful for an Abba Father who has saved me and blessed me in so many ways, and molded my life in such a fashion that I have the opportunity to be thankful for all of these things.

Maybe you are having a tough time thinking of things to be thankful for. Maybe your life hasn’t worked out quite the way you planned. Maybe, through no fault of your own, your circumstances have not offered you the promise you thought your life would bring.

Well friend, as long as you are taking another breath, there is hope for a better future. As long as your heart is beating, there is a God who is listening to the cry of your heart. I can’t say how things will work out for you, but I can say this with confidence…

As long as there is breath in your lungs, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, you have a reason to give thanks.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ~ Phil. 1:3-6

From our family to yours… Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Pastor Ron