Tag Archive | Abba’s House

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.

fonw17_s1

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

Unhinged

trump-swearing-inOn November 8, 2016, the American people spoke.

On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United Sates.

And from that time until now, individuals, groups, and organizations have become increasingly hostile, hateful, lawless, and… well… unhinged.

We have seen protests, riots, assaults, and rampant crime in our streets, all under the guise of 1st Amendment rights. We have gotten a front-row seat to unprecedented obstruction with the “slow-walking” confirmations — courtesy of Democrats in the Senate — of President Trump’s cabinet (in fact, not since the inauguration of George Washington in 1789 has a president had to wait this long to have his cabinet confirmed). We have been subjected to a steady string of “false news” reports from a media openly hostile to our new leader and leadership. We have become witness to the spectacle of Hollywood liberal acolytes using award programs and entertainment platforms for the purpose of lecturing the “uneducated masses” on the evils of President Trump, Vice-President Pence, and anyone associated with them — seemingly from birth.


The 1st Amendment of the Constitution has long been a cornerstone of the American way of life. To know that we can worship, believe, speak our mind, and have a free press without fear of persecution from the State is a right we should be able to count on.
The 1st Amendment of the Constitution declares…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

IMG_1905Many of those who rallied behind the lawful election of Barack Obama, and told those on the opposite side of the aisle to “deal with it” are now becoming increasingly hostile to the rule of law. When “We won!” was the reply to those who disagreed with the incoming flood of immoral and, in some cases, arguably unconstitutional legislation, those of a Republican or Conservative bent did not flood the streets, obstruct traffic, destroy property, and participate in disgusting and offensive demonstrations.

Of what do I speak? Well, for anyone who has (some might say ‘wisely’) not viewed news programs or current events, allow me to get you (partially) up to speed…

  • On January 20 (Inauguration Day), rioters took to the streets in parts of Washington D.C., throwing rocks at police, smashing storefronts, and setting vehicles on fire, apparently in an attempt to disrupt the Inaugural parade route. Over 200 were arrested and charged with felony rioting (a federal offense that, if convicted, carries up to a 10-year prison sentence, and up to a $250,00.00 fine).
  • On January 21, The Women’s March on Washington took place on the streets of Washington D.C., and around the nation. While the group’s policy platform includes “reproductive rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, religious discrimination (primarily that against Muslim Americans), LGBTQ rights, gender and racial inequities, workers’ rights, and other issues“, one of the co-chairs of the march was Linda Sarsour, a Muslim activist who allegedly advocates Sharia law. Among the highlights of the march were women dressed in “vagina” costumes, profanity-laced tirades and pontifications by celebrities such as Madonna, Ashley Judd, and Scarlet Johansson, and the marked absence of any pro-life women’s groups (who were told they were not allowed to participate because they were pro-life).
  • On February 1, riots broke out at UC Berkeley as the result of a scheduled lecture by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Yiannopoulous, a gay “right-wing” commentator, had to be escorted off campus by police amidst the cancellation of his lecture due to violent protests that included Molotov cocktails, masked agitators, and personal assaults on innocent bystanders. In the end, the campus upon which the “free-speech movement” began in 1964 has become a bastion of censorship and intolerance by the very people who are screaming for tolerance.

For all of their protests, riots, whining, and foot-stomping, those who protest our new administration seem to be missing an important fact…

We are a nation of laws. We pride ourselves in the rule of law. While other countries devolve into chaos and madness, America remains stable because of our laws. And while the former administration made it a point to ignore certain laws it didn’t agree with (particularly regarding immigration and social issues), the Trump administration promised to return to the rule of law. While liberals try their best to derail this administration at every single turn from doing what the American voters tasked it to do, those same voters are, for the most part, in favor of President Trump’s actions. Interestingly enough, the same people who are for the stonewalling of the Trump cabinet are the same people who are criticizing President Trump for not moving faster in accomplishing the goals he set forth in his campaign.

Seems a bit like criticizing a sprinter for not running faster… while ignoring the fact that his foot is chained to the floor.

So criticisms, tantrums, and protests aside, what does the Bible have to say about submission to authority…

 Coffee Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. ~ Romans 13:1-7

“Those who resist will bring judgement on themselves.” In the King James Version, it says it this way…

“…and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”

Regardless of what any of us think of a politician or leader, we would do well to heed the words of Paul in this passage. Whether judgement falls as the result of our earthly actions by the hands of authorities here on earth, or judgement is stayed and awaits us in the afterlife, we can rest assured that God is good for His word, and that judgement for acts or rebellion against God-ordained leaders is inevitable.

I have lived through many presidents in my lifetime, and I have probably never agreed with any of them 100% of the time. Still, while I might be critical at times, I have always been careful to pray for our leaders, and while standing for what is right, do so in a law-abiding fashion. It seems that the words “civil disobedience” have come to mean whatever methods people decide upon in the heat of the moment. It is one thing to chant, picket, and protest outside of a building. It is quite another to violate someone else’s rights by burning property, physical assault, and making threats of violence. While it is lawful under our Constitution for an individual to stand up and regurgitate whatever banal ideology they choose, it is not lawful to threaten to kill the President or hurt innocent people. Signs and slogans make you a protester. Threats and violence make you a criminal thug. While one may land you in the newspaper, the other will likely land you in jail.

For the last 8+ years, many laws have been ignored simply because they were socially unpopular, particularly laws pertaining to immigration (hence “Sanctuary Cities”), and social/moral issues. As President of the United States, the person who occupies that office has taken an oath to “uphold and defend the Constitution“. That includes abiding by the laws contained therein, or any laws passed legally through the legislative process set forth in the Constitution… whether or not that particular President agrees with their validity or not. The President himself is answerable to the people for how he carries out his oath. If a President disagrees with a law, then he has the right to have those in Congress try to advance legislation to repeal such laws.

I would contend that the ire against President Trump may have less to do with his lawfulness (or perceived lack thereof), and more to do with the reining in of an attitude that “laws were made to be broken”. Many (if not most) of the protests I have seen are people fighting back against the rule of law, protesting what should be common sense enforcement of the laws of our land. Whether it is immigration, gun control, etc… in most cases, we don’t need more legislation; we simply need to enforce the laws already passed and on the books.

At the end of the day (and to coin a phrase), there’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s dusting off a Constitution that has long been ignored.

Faith for the Finale

Think about this…

Would you run a marathon — leading the entire way by a mile — only to sit down at the end, 5 feet short of the finish line?

Would you finish Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E minor with a pianissimo oboe solo?

Would you compete for an entire season — going undefeated for all of it — only to refuse to come out of the locker room for the championship game?

vince_lombardi_bart_starrFor many of us who are sports fans, we just witnessed a historic event. In Super Bowl LI, we watched as the New England Patriots — who were down by 25 points at halftime — came back to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the 5th time in a stunning overtime defeat of the Atlanta Falcons. Never before had a team overcome more than a 10-point deficit in the Super Bowl. Never before had “The Big Game” gone into overtime. When the New England Patriots came out of the locker room for the 3rd quarter, it looked like it was all but over. I had friends who actually turned off the game because it looked like such a blowout. “On to other things.” So what happened?

Well, one of the things that the commentators kept saying was “how young the Atlanta Falcons were”… How young they were…. How quick they were… How much older the Patriots were. Yet for all of their youth and exuberance, it seems that they lacked the one thing that the Patriots did have: Focus. During the second half, the Patriots stayed focused on winning. They stayed focused on the task at hand. They kept their eyes on the prize. Whether it was blown coverages or senseless penalties, the Atlanta Falcons went from a team hungry to win to a team trying not to lose. Somehow, they lost sight of the hard-fought lessons that got them to Houston. They had the motivation and energy to make it to the championship, but lacked the grit and determination to get them across the finish line.

The entire human race is running full-throttle toward the edge of eternity. So even though prophets, preachers, seers, and scholars have been discussing the Last Days  and The Day of the Lord for over 2,000 years, how should we live now.. today? What should our mindset be in 2017? Should we be filled with fear or faith?

Among the customs of some Native American people was a ritual of a young man passing into adulthood. He would be taken out into a place away from the community; he would then be blindfolded and left in that spot all night. He was not to remove the blindfold until the morning came and the sunlight began to shine through the blindfold. So all night, he was in that place, feeling alone and isolated… unsure of his surroundings and what potential threats waited for him, unseen because of the blindfold.

Well, I am sure you can imagine his surprise when, upon removing the blindfold at morning’s light, he found himself surrounded by his kinsmen — his father and uncles. Though he may have struggled with the fear of loneliness and the unknown, there was never a moment when he was not being watched over by his elders, who remained just out of reach and by his side the entire night.

Just like the young brave was never abandoned by those who loved him, so we are never abandoned by a loving Heavenly Father who never lets us out of His sight.

It is that unwavering attention to His children that allows us to run the race, and have Faith for the Finale.

At Abba’s House, I have just begun a series of messages by the same title…

Faith for the Finale.

I want to encourage you to join us, whether in person or online, as I take you through the steps and mindset that it takes to be an overcomer in adversarial times, and what YOU need to do in order to finish well the race set before you.

See you Sunday.

Pastor Ron

The Super Bowl & The Ultimate Underdog

Wow! It was a game for the record books!

Football in grassNo team has won a Super Bowl in such dramatic fashion; coming back from such a 25-point-deficit at the half. No quarterback or coach has won as many Super Bowls. No Super Bowl had ever gone into overtime before.

Just like every other year for the past 50, another Super Bowl has passed into the history books. Kudos to both the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots for playing such a great and hard-fought game. Congratulations to Robert Kraft and his Patriots for coming out on top, and being the Super Bowl LI champions. Once again, the Vince Lombardi Trophy will make its way to Foxborough, MA.

All of the excitement of the day reminds me of the words of the man himself — Vince Lombardi…

Once you agree upon the price you and your family must pay for success, it enables you to ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure, and the temporary failures.

So as Christians, what is the cost of living the Christian life in a world that — in most cases — neither welcomes, appreciates, or respects us? What is the price we are called to pay?

The answer…

We are called to come and die.

The Apostle Paul summed it up when he said…

“I am crucified with Christ…” ~ Galatians 2:20a

We are called to die to our self-interest for the sake of something greater.

We are called to die to our sin.

We are called to die to our worldly desires.

We are called to die to ourselves.

With respect to the world, we are called to be the ultimate underdogs.

However, it is though that death that Jesus can live through us, giving us a life more abundant that we could ever imagine.

So, ask yourself this…

Are you a living sacrifice that is acceptable to God, or are you a living sacrifice that keeps crawling off of the altar?

What price are you willing to pay for the One who paid it all for you?

Dancing In The Latter Rain

tn-wildfires2For those of us living in East Tennessee, last year made us understand why rain is so desperately important. From the Smokies to the Tennessee Valley, wildfires as a result of the lack of rain brought destruction and death to many in our region. While Chattanooga faced wildfires up in the mountains surrounding our city, in places like Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, hundreds lost homes, businesses, possessions, and some their very lives.

Rain brings nourishment to plants. Rain provides protection against fire. Rain cleans the air and atmosphere, and provides clarity and refreshing — not just to our air alone, but also to our spirits. How many times have we all experienced the lifting of our spirits after a shower or storm, to go outside as the sun breaks through, revealing an earth refreshed and alive?

The Bible talks about “the Latter Rain” several times throughout its 66 books. Now, in the natural order, the latter rain was the second of two rains received in Israel for the harvest. The early rain prepared the ground and watered the seed, while the latter rain brought the wheat crop to maturity and prepared the vineyards and olive groves for the wine and oil harvests. However, in the spiritual dimension, the latter rain always has to do with Israel’s obedience, and the subsequent possession of their land.

We can see, even in our recent history, that there have been two latter rain movements in our world…

  • In the late 19th and Early 20th Centuries, The Balfour Declaration was a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, in which Balfour confirmed support for an Israeli homeland.

balfour_portrait_and_declaration

It was around this time that the Pentecostal Movement began to break out amongst Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians, being highlighted with such movements as Azusa Street.

  • Between 1948 and 1967. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, surrounding Arab nations and organizations mounted attacks over the subsequent years (the Arab-Israeli War, the Six-Day War, etc.). During those same years, as Israel took possession of their land, we saw social justice and civil rights happen under people like Martin Luther King, Jr. We saw revival happen under the likes of Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, and A.A. Allen. Events such as these became the forerunners and part of the Jesus Movement, adding names like Chuck Smith, Duane Pederson, Bill Bright, and others to the list of spiritual fathers to a generation.

Friends, we are in a latter rain period now.

kid-in-the-rain

So what does this mean to us? How should we respond to the positive (and negative) aspects of these Latter Rain times and Latter Days in which we live?

I invite you to join me this Sunday as I speak on The Promise of Change at Abba’s House in Chattanooga, TN. We are in ever changing times. With new leadership comes new direction, new policies and practices, and new hope. As our world changes, I will tell you what you need to be taking notice of with regard to Israel, the economy, and society as a whole. I hope you will join me Sunday at 10:30a.m. (EST)

If you aren’t in the Chattanooga area, please take advantage of our LIVE streaming at www.abbashouse.com/live

Snowblind!

White Mtns

It sounds dramatic and tragic… Snowblind! For those who live in areas that spend a vast majority of the winter covered in white, snowblindness can be a very real problem. I live in the south where winter almost started to show up this year, so unless you can get snowblindness from looking at pictures of Vermont or Switzerland, watching downhill skiing on television, or staring at a snowcone, I think I’m safe.

imageAccording to the website MedicineNet.com, snowblindness is a burning of the cornea by ultraviolet rays. Also known as photokeratitis, it is a temporary condition that “typically occurs at high altitudes on highly reflective snow fields or, less often, with a solar eclipse.” While it can be painful and unpleasant, resulting in temporary loss of vision, symptoms usually only last about 18 hours.

Here’s another interesting fact about snowblindness…

Did you know that God is snowblind?

That’s right! When it comes to the sins of those who have chosen to put their trust in Him, God is snowblind. In Isaiah, God said to His people…

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool…” ~ Isaiah 1:18

In Psalms 51:7, the psalmist says this…

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Though our sins makes us filthy and reprehensible in the eyes of God, and separate us from His presence, Jesus came to give us life and take the guilt and shame of our sin upon Himself. For those of us who choose to accept the forgiveness that Jesus offers through faith in Him, God no longer looks at us and sees all of our sins, shortcomings, and failures…

He becomes “snowblind”… Blind to everything that kept us from a life with Him.

He now sees us as pure and clean, washed white as snow by the red blood of Jesus.

Want to learn more?  Watch here…

The Unknown Soldier

2014-01-28-1678Visiting Arlington National Cemetery is an experience I would recommend to any American citizen. Overlooking our nation’s capitol, Arlington is the final resting place for American heroes, patriots, presidents, and other notable figures throughout our history. Among those laid to rest in Arlington are Presidents Kennedy and Taft, Governor Earl Warren, astronaut Capt. Pete Conrad, explorer Robert Peary, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and civil rights activist Medgar Evers.

For all of the statuary and solemnity that such a place exhibits and deserves, there is one grave that stands out as a place of reverence and respect…

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

2014-01-28-1701Established in 1921, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier  is the resting place of three unknown American soldiers… one from each of the wars; World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. While there had been one unknown from the Vietnam War, that body was later exhumed and identified through DNA as Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie. The Vietnam War crypt now remains vacant.

2014-01-28-1700Guarded non-stop since July 1, 1937, the sentinels guarding the tomb are committed to the respect and reverence a place of such hallowed distinction deserves. From their 8 hours of uniform preparation prior to every shift, to the precision of every movement, to their unwavering dedication in the face of heat, cold, and inclement weather, these soldiers dedicate their time of service to the physical and symbolic protection of the Tomb.

Inscribed in the face of the sarcophagus are these words…

Here rests in honored glory
An American Soldier
Known but to God

You may ask, “So why all of the pomp and ceremony? Why all of the attention to some soldiers who we don’t even know their identity?”

It is because those who established the Tomb, as well as those who dedicate their lives to guarding it, understand that just because a soldier’s name is not known does not make him any less worthy of respect and honor. They understand that bravery and dedication as a soldier of our nation deserves to be recognized and revered in the highest way, even if the rest of the world doesn’t know their name.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul said…

      But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. ~ I Corinthians 1:27-29

Maybe people consider you foolish because of what you believe. Maybe you are not the biggest or strongest warrior of the faith. Maybe you feel despised and even unknown. Maybe you do your task for the Kingdom in utter obscurity, pray in your quiet place, and live your life in quietness and peace.

You know what? You might not be a big deal (or even noticed) in the world, but God sees you. You might not be the one getting the recognition, but God is taking notice of your labors. You might not be getting cheers on this earth, but rest assured, you are receiving the applause of Heaven.

So take heart, you unknown soldier. Your labor is not in vain. Just remember…

The proud are opposed by God, but He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).

Man may see your outward appearance, but God sees the attitude of your heart (I Samuel 16:7).

The mighty may inherit the battlefield, but the meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).

Carry on, unknown soldier… you are known to God — and that is all that matters.