Tag Archive | family

A BIG Thank You!

Signage

I just wanted to pause for a moment on this rainy Tennessee morning and say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who came and participated in some way in our 23 Annual Abba’s House Media Golf Classic! It was great seeing so many friends and players out on the course, with beautiful weather too boot. I can not say enough about the great sponsors we had this year who donated to make this tournament a reality. Whether players or sponsors, all of the proceeds go to the same place… to help us spread the Good News of God’s love to a world desperately in need of salvation and hope. Whether it’s helping spread the Gospel through television and print, medical missions, or the work we do through orphanages, you are helping to give people hope, and making it possible for us to go through other doors of ministry opportunity as the Lord opens them.

StaffA very special thank you to Angie McGregor and her great staff and volunteers at Abba’s House Media who put in all of the hard work putting the AHM Golf Classic together, as well as all of the hard work they do every day to keep this ministry running efficiently and effectively.

This year (as we do every year), we had some great sponsors who make this event possible. Be sure to visit them and thank them with your words and by supporting the businesses of these Kingdom-minded folks…

GOLD
Mike Collins & Associates
Integrity Buick GMC Cadillac Chevrolet

SILVER
Rivers Edge Alliance
Paul Loftin
Rowlett, Inc.

BRONZE
Chattanooga Funeral Home
Daystar Television Network
Frank Steil Insurance
Robert Roberts, LLC

SHIRT
Farley Plumbing

SNACK SHACK
Dominion Senior Living
Johnston, Stuart & Associates/Ameriprise Financial, Inc.

WINNER’S CIRCLE
Lighthouse Media
R & D Wrecker Service

HOLE IN ONE
Integrity Buick GMC Cadillac

LUNCH
Five Guys Burgers & Fries

DRINK
Coca-Cola

FLAG
ABRA Autobody & Glass
Impact Stewardship

HOLE
Northgate Animal Hospital
Lighthouse Media
Webb & Assoc.
Outline Bible Resources
Eslinger Contracting Company, Inc.
Pep Boys

CART
ABRA Autobody & Glass
Rone Regency Jewelers
Pep Boys

Here are a few moments captured from the tournament. Enjoy them, and be sure to join us for The Outpouring, coming to Abba’s House September 14-17. With John Kilpatrick, Nathan Morris, Ronnie Phillips Jr., and me, we are expecting God to do “exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think”. This will be a Big Event that will have Kingdom repercussions for years to come.

 

The Outpouring

Living smart in a smartphone world.

Creación_de_Adám hands

There is an old adage…

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

The problem is, we live in a time of sound-bite-driven and movie-trailer-style culture. We want to be able to wrap up our assessments of others into nice, neat packages, put a bow on them, and divide life into “simple” categories. We want to define others by how they fit into our agenda, without the messiness or benefit of personal relationship. We have become “experts” at the 30-Second Evaluation, without considering the years (and moments) leading up to that evaluation. We don’t often take into account the bad morning (of history of events leading up to that bad morning) before we pass judgment. We look to the surface of appearance and circumstance without considering the depth of another person’s experience, psyche, or soul.

So how do we remedy this as a society? How do we regain the decency and humanity we have lost in our social-media-driven, sit-com addicted culture? Here’s three ideas that may be a good place for you and me to start…

WWJD?

It sounds a little simplistic, and a bit of a throwback to the ’90’s (remember the WWJD bracelets?), but there’s a lot of truth in that little acronym. “What would Jesus do?” is a legitimate question, especially for anyone who calls himself or herself a follower of His. So, when it comes to relationships, what is the example He sets for us? How did Jesus treat those close to Him? We find in the Gospels many examples of how He responded to people in various situations.

 

  • judasAfter Peter denied Him, He gave Him another chance without throwing His failure up in His face (John 21).
  • When the woman accused of adultery was brought before Him, He offered her mercy, then with a simple question, shined a light on the hypocrisy of her accusers (John 8).
  • He wept at the loss of a friend (John 11), lovingly corrected Martha over her frustration with Mary (Luke 10), and used the Truth as a defense in the light of criticism.
  • He quietly dismissed Judas from the upper room and Last Supper without calling attention to his imminent betrayal.

So how does Jesus see those around you; the odd, disagreeable, quirky, and unpleasant? In the face of the misfortune of another, would Jesus break out His camera phone and put that misfortune on public display, or would He pick that person up and become an agent of healing?

ACTION STEP: Before you react to another person, make the decision to ask yourself how Jesus would respond in that situation. Better yet… ask Him.

Open your eyes.

In the “ME” culture in which we live, it’s easy to pass by and not notice the suffering of those around us. When we are surrounded on every side by voices that are telling us to “look out for #1”, we must make a conscious effort to get out from in front of the mirror, get our noses out of our smart phones, and stop staring at the ground. We must notice what is going on around us, the beauty of God’s creation, and the needs of others at the end of our reach. It’s amazing, for a society as connected and “caught on camera” as we are, that we have become as blind to the needs of others as we have. Jesus didn’t wait for someone to come into the synagogue to be healed or ministered to. He hit the streets, visited the homes of “publicans and sinners”, and made Himself available to the masses. His life was the antithesis of the self-preservation mindset we see today.

 

ACTION STEP: Commit a couple of times a day (for starters) that, when you go into a public place, you are going to turn off your ringer, put up your cellphone, and take notice of those around you, looking for a way to be of assistance to someone else.

Listen.

Monitor 1One of the things that drives me crazy about politics is when, in a debate or interview, someone won’t answer a direct question. It is as though they have paid no attention to the question, and simply use their response as an opportunity to change the subject, and advance their own agenda. In the Bible, the apostle James encourages us to be “quick to listen and slow to speak…” (James 1:19). Too often, instead of really listening to what someone else is saying, we are simply working on formulating a pithy or intellectual response while they are talking. We are HEARING, but not truly LISTENING. Really listening requires undivided attention, focusing on the person who is speaking, and if they are in front of you (ie: not on the phone), observing facial expression and body language. There was a time not long ago when we were NOT connected 24/7; NOT constantly looking at Facebook and Snapchat, and NOT at the instant beck-and-call of every email or phone call. And you know what? We survived! We probably had a better quality of life, and definitely had better interpersonal relationship skills. Honestly, short of some sort of personal or dire emergency, when you are having a conversation, there should be nothing more important at that moment than the person sitting across from you with whom you are conversing.

A group of ministry friends of mine were having dinner with the pastor of a church where they were ministering; five or six men sitting in a restaurant conversing over a meal. About three-quarters of the way through the meal, the pastor looked up and exclaimed, “I just want to point out something. As we have been sitting here, the thing I have noticed is the way John (one of the guys at the table) has engaged everyone here. He has been listening to everyone, and has made it a point to draw every person here at the table into the conversation. That is a rare and wonderful ability.” In pointing out this observation about John, the pastor revealed that he, too, had been listening and observing, and had taken an interest in all of the men at the table. He was right… these days, that is a rare ability. Too often, we simply use our silence as the time in which we formulate our next opportunity to say something seemingly wise or clever.

ACTION STEP: The next time you sit down for a meeting, dinner, or just a conversation, encourage those you are with to turn off their phones, and put them in a place to the side, out of sight and mind. Whatever it is, it can wait. Commit to being a better listener.

We are made in God’s image, and it is the nature of God to want communion and fellowship with us, His creation. We all need someone to confide in, someone to talk to, and someone to listen to. It preserves our humanity. It makes us (and others) less lonely. It improves the quality of our lives and the lives of those around us.

For those of us who are believers in Christ, I am reminded of this saying…

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

So, I encourage you… saddle up, head out, go forth, and reconnect with the world around you. See others the way Jesus does, and take the time to draw them into your circle.

By drawing them into your circle, you might find them drawn into His heart.

 

Pastor Ron

Enemies Within The Gate

goebbelsJoseph Goebbels was propaganda minister for Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. He was the man responsible for propagating the demonic lies that led to World War II and the slaughter of millions of innocent people, including six million Jews. He said,

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

For at least the last decade America has repeatedly been fed “lies big enough” to now seem to be the truth to many citizens. Swallowing the propaganda of a progressive ideological agenda, our spiritual and moral base has eroded to the point that America is no longer recognized as the world’s leader in moral and spiritual convictions. America has become a caricature of her former self.

Sir_Winston_S_Churchill

It was Winston Churchill who said,

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth
has a chance to get its pants on.”

It is time for us to “put on our pants” and tell the truth before it’s too late. With twenty-four hour news cycles and a common stream of information on the internet, it is no longer acceptable to say, “I did not know what was going on.”

No nation or civilization has ever survived the radical decline we are seeing at this present hour! Edward Gibbon’s book, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, astonishingly parallels our own decline in America.

Listen to Gibbon as he speaks of the insidious termites that were eating away at the foundation of a decaying culture. He lists five marks of the decaying Roman culture:

  1. Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth
  2. Obsession with sex and perversions of sex
  3. Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original
  4. Widening disparity between very rich and very poor
  5. Increased demand to live off the state.

Gibbon goes on to say . . .

“It was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay and corruption. This long peace, and the uniform government of the Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated. Their personal valour remained, but they no longer possessed that public courage which is nourished by the love of independence, the sense of national honour, the presence of danger, and the habit of command. They received laws and governors from the will of their sovereign, and trusted for their defense to a mercenary army. The posterity of their boldest leaders was contented with the rank of citizens and subjects. The most aspiring spirits resorted to the court or standard of the emperors; and the deserted provinces, deprived of political strength or union, insensibly sunk into the languid indifference of private life.”

Will America follow the footsteps of the Roman Empire? Will she permit the continual erosion of her proud heritage? I do not believe it will ever happen as long as we remember it is not just military might and economic strength that keep us safe and secure within our own borders.

America has lost its way morally and spiritually and that is where the danger lies. I contend that America has been invaded not by military forces, but by spiritual forces that are at work at this present hour to undermine the root system that has produced the fruit of freedom and liberty around the world. The bright light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has shown in the darkest parts of the world simply because believers united in a common cause of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

The culture war is going on in every segment of society, from the board room to the class room, and from the White House to the church house. We are seeing a major shift in attitudes and actions that once defined us as the greatest nation on earth. Main-stream media has aided and abetted the ongoing nudging of America toward a progressive agenda, effectively lowering our moral and spiritual standards.

Coptic ChristiansAs the foundation grows weaker, the attacks on Christianity grow bolder and are seen in all parts of the world. War has been declared on Christianity in every part of the Middle East, with reports of Christians being beheaded at the bloody hand of ISIS (or ISIS related groups).

In America, the assault on the lives of Christians happens so often it has almost become commonplace to the masses. The assault on traditional values can best be seen in a recent survey conducted by Gallup. In May 2015, Gallup conducted a survey showing that Americans are becoming more liberal on social issues. Based on the responses of both conservative, liberal, and moderate Americans, the survey reports:

“Americans are becoming more liberal on social issues, as evidenced not only by the uptick in the percentage describing themselves as socially liberal, but also by their increasing willingness to say that a number of previously frowned-upon behaviors are morally acceptable. The biggest leftward shift over the past 14 years has been in attitudes toward gay and lesbian relations, from only a minority of Americans finding it morally acceptable to a clear majority finding it acceptable.

The moral acceptability of issues related to sexual relations has also increased, including having a baby outside of wedlock– something that in previous eras was a social taboo. Americans are more likely to find divorce morally acceptable, and have also loosened up on their views of polygamy, although this latter behavior is still seen as acceptable by only a small minority.

AppealThis liberalization of attitudes toward moral issues is part of a complex set of factors affecting the social and cultural fabric of the U.S. Regardless of the factors causing the shifts, the trend toward a more liberal view on moral behaviors will certainly have implications for such fundamental social institutions as marriage, the environment in which children are raised, and the economy. The shifts could also have a significant effect on politics, with candidates whose positioning is based on holding firm views on certain issues having to grapple with a voting population that, as a whole, is significantly less likely to agree with conservative positions than it might have been in the past.”

Adapted from my most recent book,
The Unraveling of America
by Dr. Ron M. Phillips
with Dr. J. Tod Zeiger
© 2016 Abba’s House Media

Election 2016: You Can’t Have It Both Ways

KS77849With the close of the final Presidential debate of 2016, our nation now enters the homestretch of the most unusual and heated political campaign in our history. With so much information, misinformation, and misleading journalism out there, I think it is appropriate and timely to step back for a moment, take a deep breath, look at what it is that makes us great as a nation, and what is and is not important when it comes to policy and personality.

Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and a Constitution to which every president swears allegiance. One has but to look at the writings of people like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, and countless others of our founding fathers to find this to be true. Still, we have those in the seats of power who would twist our heritage, rewrite our history, and try to push an agenda that is contrary our historically Biblical values, our Constitution, and to sanity itself.

How can a person claim to be supportive of our founding documents (of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”), as well as the rights of children, and yet support the heinous and barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion?

You can’t have it both ways.

How can a government expect to have any moral authority when it excuses the crimes of the rich and powerful? How can our leaders effectively lead when the halls of our state-houses are flooded with corruption?

You can’t have it both ways.

How can a journalist feign indignation and “shocked” outrage at offensive words and “locker-room banter”, yet smile and laugh through a reprehensible, profanity-laced interview where the interviewer refers to her as a “piece of a**”, discuss having a “threesome” with he and his wife, and discuss and disparage others who struggle with weight issues (among many other things unfit to publish here)?

You can’t have it both ways.

The Presidential oath of office reads as follows…

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

How can the person who utters these words, yet repeatedly tramples on the very Constitution they are sworn to uphold not be guilty of dereliction of duty in the breaking of that oath?

You can’t have it both ways.

How can a person talk about supporting national security, yet support open borders, increased refugee acceptance from Islamic countries, and policies that put that very national security at risk?

You can’t have it both ways.

How can a “news” media that financially supports any political candidate expect the American public to believe they are unbiased?

You can’t have it both ways.

I could go on for hours with regard to the hypocrisy that has permeated our culture. But  I will instead leave you with a couple of quotes by the late Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world
that it leaves to its children.”

What kind of society will we leave our children? Will it be a society of hypocrisy, corruption, and misguided political correctness, or will it be a society endeavoring for truth, justice, and righteousness? It is in our hand to decide.

Bonhoeffer also stated…

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running
along the corridor in the other direction.”

AppealSlowly and steadily, our society has changed trains, while Christians, Conservatives, and Constitutionalists have done little to stop the it. Those in power want to fix what ails our society by doubling down on the bad decisions that have put us in the position we are in. As Christians, we have — not just a moral obligation — but a Scriptural mandate to support, not the perfect candidate, but the candidate who is going to do the most in guiding our nation back to a place of safety, sanity, and sanctity. We must put the rhetoric, tabloid journalism, and social media debate aside, put on the whole armor of God, and vote with the mind of Christ. It is time to get off of the vehicle of self-serving destruction, and get on a path of repentance and restoration.

We are now less than three weeks from Election Day. I encourage you…

Pray to God.

Seek His face.

Follow His leading.

Vote.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~ II Chronicles 7:14

The Enemy at the Gate

Landscape#1Some years ago on a large Kansas farm, a parent left a gate open while in a hurry to do a chore. The child that was playing in the fenced yard wandered off and was lost in the great wheat field. They searched for days and finally found the child dead from exposure. The parent cried out, “I left the gate open, I left the gate open.”

So, dads and moms, are you leaving the gates open for your children? In an attempt to be the “cool parent”, are you putting your kids in harm’s way in a culture that is decidedly not “kid friendly”? Has your desire to be your child’s “buddy” left them without a parent?

In a society where anything (and everything) goes, parents have to be more diligent than ever with regard to the safety and well-being of their children. There is an enemy waiting for the gate of love and protection to be left unattended. At every turn, whether on the street, in the classroom, or on the Internet, 21st century children are faced with peril and temptation. One has just to watch the news for a few minutes to hear stories about children being abused, neglected, abducted, or killed. With online porn, online predators, and sex trafficking being just a few of the dangers out there, it is enough to make you want to build a wall around your home, station armed-guards on the perimeter, and not let them leave until they are safely into their 30’s.

However, that’s not the way life works.
It’s also not the way God intended for the family to function.

God makes it clear in His word that He has better plans for us than that. In 1 Timothy 1:7, Paul writes…

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Living in fear and anxiety is living life in the absence of faith. We have been given a Spirit of “power, of love, and of a sound mind”… it is already at our disposal if we are children of the Most High. Operating as a Spirit-controlled family is how God wants you to live.

Do you want to know how to have a Spirit-controlled home? Do you want to know what steps you can take to put the enemy to flight in the life of your family? Do you want your home to be a habitation of the Holy Spirit… a habitation of peace, safety, and tranquility?

Last night, I shared my thoughts about how you and your family can function as a Spirit-controlled family. Click this link and join me now in the worship center of Abba’s House for this crucial word.

 

 

The Way of an Eagle

KS77759From references in Scripture to it’s place as our national symbol, it is obvious that the eagle is very highly regarded.

Why is that?

Consider a few facts about eagles:

  • When eagles mate, they mate for life.
  • Eagles are very protective of their families.
  • When eagles grow old, they return to the rock of their birth.
  • After an eagle’s 60th year, it appears young once again.

Do you think you’ve missed your call in life? Are you worn out, and think you’ve outlived your usefulness? Is “purpose” a word that you believe is a thing of the past?

Maybe you’ve decided it’s time to throw in the towel. Before you do, can I ask you to do two things for me?

#1: Consider this verse…

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

#2: Watch this video…

My prayer is that after watching this, you will find your strength renewed like the eagle, and understand that with God, faithfulness, perseverance, and persistence are qualities that far outweigh the superficial qualities (money, fame, looks, etc) that the world tells us gives an individual worth.

Keep on soaring!

Pastor Ron