Tag Archive | ebola

A Time To Stand

Sometimes I feel like a man born in the wrong time in history…

BibleThere was a time in this nation when preaching mattered. There was a time when newspapers would print sermons, and preachers would not fail to take stands for Biblical truth. There was a time, not too long ago, when congregations could gather and count on hearing an unapologetic, Bible-based word spoken by a pastor who had spent time on his face before God.

Fast forward to 2014…

Today, we have preachers being harassed and scrutinized by public “servants” (I use that term loosely). Just recently, we have pastors in the Houston area being ordered (via subpoenas) to turn over their sermons, notes, and a host of other types of correspondence for legal review. In Idaho, a couple— both ordained ministers — is facing potential fines and jail time for refusing to perform gay marriages. An Oregon baker was forced to choose between shutting down her business or being fined into bankruptcy for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

I could go on and on… you get the picture.

ConstitutionWhile roughly 77% of the population of the United States claims to be Christian, less than 4% claim to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender*. Yet, in spite of this wide disparity, the silence on this matter by pastors and preachers in our nation is deafening. Our “leadership” in Washington is trampling on the very Constitution they swore to uphold and protect — the one that plainly states in its First Amendment…

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.

In spite of this very guarantee of freedom of speech and worship, the church has allowed itself to be cowed into the corner of silence and insignificance. The pop psychology pablum running off the pulpits in our country is challenging and changing no one. The problem has become that we have confused a crowd for a true church, and popularity for real ministry. We have sacrificed being righteous for being “relevant”, and “speaking the truth in love” for beating around the bush with psycho-babble that never gets to the heart of what is killing our nation and world today.

Where are the voices crying “prepare the way of the LORD“?

Where is the prophetic call to repent?

Where are the Elijahs, the Daniels, the Isaiahs, and the John the Baptists of our day?

With an end-time scenario in the Middle East, and the resurrection of the beast of the Ottoman Empire with its philosophy of genocide toward Jews and Christians, believers in Christ are fast asleep. The horde known as ISIS is sweeping across Syria and Iraq, destroying lives at will. The plague of ebola is sweeping across West Africa, infecting and killing thousands as the numbers continue to rise. Both of these calamities have spilled onto our shores, and while our leaders posture and preen in their attempt to appear effective while basking in their political correctness, the Churches of America fiddle while the nation burns.

It is time for the Church to stand… Stand with the poor. Stand with the persecuted. Stand with the voiceless and oppressed. Stand with those on the front lines of the war for our culture.

At our church — Abba’s House — we have made a decision: We will not be silenced. We will stand on the Word of God. We will stand for traditional marriage. We will stand for Israel, and its right to exist as a nation. We will stand for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We will stand for America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. We will stand on the FACT that we are still a Christian nation. We will confront Islamic terror with the Truth. We will stand on the battlefield of Spiritual Warfare, ready to fight.

I look around the city in which we live, and see nearly 1,000 churches constantly swapping members, while 230,000 souls won’t darken the doorstep of our houses of worship. Yet, I have a deep conviction that there are 7,000 in our county who have not bowed their knees to Baal, and that remnant will arise, cross over the barriers, and end the indifference. I believe that God is going to show up and awaken our cold and callous hearts once again.

Some of you reading this, for one reason or another, are no longer in church. If you are in the Chattanooga / North Georgia area, and are looking for a church that preaches the Word of God unreservedly, I invite you to visit us at Abba’s House. I’d love to meet you. We are a truth ministry that operates in grace and mercy. If you have stumbled along the way, and are looking for a place to call home, you can visit us and find welcome and restoration. If you are living out of town, I encourage you to find a church that stands on the truth of God’s Word, and get plugged in. If you can’t find one, you can join us online at www.abbashouse.com for our online streaming during worship times.

The time for complacency is long-since past. It is time that we once again believe that we are, without question – “One nation under God”.

 

http://www.npr.org/2011/06/08/137057974/-institute-of-medicine-finds-lgbt-health-research-gaps-in-us

No Expiration Date on Favor

Recently, at every turn, we are faced with stories meant to incite fear and worry.

ISIS.

Islam.

Ebola.

Political correctness run amok.

Healthcare.

Climate change.

It’s easy to get bogged down in gloom, despair, and depression with so much negativity right now.

That being said, let’s all pause, take a deep breath, and go back to the well of God’s mercy and grace. Today, I want to share with you something I shared back in 2013. It is truth that is just as real, and just as pertinent today as it was then, and I hope it encourages you today to trust in the favor God has for you as one of His favorite children.

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!”

Now here we are today, and we face challenges like never before. 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 mouthand 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