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Tag: anointing

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I Came For The Anointing!

2 Kings 2:1-15(NKJV) - And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they went down to Bethel. Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent!” Then Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they came to Jericho. Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” So he answered, “Yes, I know; keep silent!" Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So the two of them went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.

Elisha followed Elijah from Gilgal to Bethel, Jericho and over the river Jordan, each time refusing to turn away at Elijah's insistence. Not only that, at each stop along the way, the local sons of the prophets kept reminding Elisha that The Lord was going to remove his master Elijah that day. Nevertheless, Elisha pressed on, determined to never leave Elijah's side until he got exactly what he came for. What did Elijah have that was so valuable to Elisha? Over and over, Elijah told Elisha to leave and the chorus of junior prophets seemed to echo that sentiment yet Elisha remained resolute while literally shutting their voices out. Then Elijah did a miracle at the Jordan by taking his mantle, rolling it up, striking the water and causing it to part in two, like the Red Sea under the rod of Moses, allowing both him and Elisha to walk across on dry ground. That was it!

Once Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan, Elijah addressed the "elephant in the room" by asking a direct question. In essence, this is what he asked; "Elisha, why are you here?" Then Elisha provided a direct answer by essentially saying; "I came here for The Anointing, specifically, double the anointing on your life." Elijah explained to Elisha that his request came with a price but that didn't matter to Elisha. He had a one-track mind and was willing to do whatever was necessary to get what he came for. Yet, how did they get to that moment and why did Elisha get the anointing on Elijah's life? At first glance, this looks like an easy question. Elisha faithfully served Elijah and remained by his side all the way to the end making him the logical choice to carry on Elijah's prophetic ministry. In fact, the sons of the prophets referred to Elijah as Elisha's master, further defining the nature of their relationship.

2 Kings 3:11(NKJV) - But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

The king's servants said that Elisha poured water on the hands of Elijah. For a good sermon, it couldn't be any simpler. Elisha received the anointing on Elijah's life because he served him faithfully. Therefore, if you want to walk in a particular anointing, find someone who is operating in it and serve that person with all of your heart until the day comes for you to receive what they have. Do you want to preach like TD Jakes? Move to Texas, become his armor bearer and just wait your turn.

Do you want to sing like Fred Hammond? Volunteer to carry his bags, then try-out as a back-up singer, then follow him around until your day comes? Do you want to be an evangelist like Morris Cerullo? Track him down and get on his team, then follow him around until you get the anointing. It's hard work but it's worth it. It's a simple spiritual father/ son exchange. It's the Apostolic path to succession. The spiritual father chooses the spiritual son upon whom he will bestow the anointing on his life and the spiritual son chooses to serve the father from whom he would like to receive the anointing. The end!

Hence, the man with the biggest church or most explosive anointing will get the most people to serve as armor bearers, leaders and junior ministers because many of them believe that they will one day walk in the same anointing. I don't blame them because that's exactly what I thought for many years. It's also what I was taught for many years. Yet, there were many sons of the prophets in the days of Elisha and Elijah but only Elisha received Elijah's anointing. Nevertheless, Elisha out-served them all. So again, Elisha earned the anointing and the rest of them did not. It's an open and shut case. You serve, you get the anointing. You don't serve, you don't get it. You're either in or you are out. It makes complete sense. Well, almost...

We know that Elisha served Elijah so that's an easy one. We then know that Gehazi did not properly serve Elisha so he didn't get the anointing. So, it looks like Elisha died without intentionally passing on his anointing. Actually, in 2 Kings 13:21, a dead man was thrown into the same tomb as Elisha's bones and the remnant of the anointing on his bones was enough to raise the man from the dead. If I was preaching a sermon, I would say that if Gehazi had done what was right, he would have been able to raise the dead man instead of Elisha's bones. I would then stop there because it's a simple message. It encourages all people to serve in their local churches and leaders to pass on what they have so others could be just like them. However, nothing's ever that simple.

Luke 1:13-17(NKJV) - But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

How did John the Baptist receive the spirit and power of Elijah the same way Elisha received it? Thousands of years had passed and The Bible doesn't clearly depict a direct line of succession that can explain it. In fact, once we get to Elisha's servant Gehazi, we don't know where to go from there. Yet, generations later, another prophet was born with the same anointing and no clear path to getting it. How do you explain that? If you try to use the servant-hood approach you'll reach a dead-end. It makes sense for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Ephraim, Elisha and Elijah, Naomi and Ruth, Jesus and the disciples, Moses and Joshua, Paul and Timothy, etc. but it won't work here. Hence, there must be more to the transference of the anointing than servant-hood. It definitely has precedence in scripture but it does not present the complete picture. Here's what really happened with Elijah and Elisha.

1 Kings 19:16-21(NKJV) - Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

Let me ask the same question that I asked earlier. After reading this scripture, let's see if you change your answer. Why did Elisha receive the anointing on Elijah's life? Did he earn it by serving Elijah? No! Did he inherit it because he was a member of Elisha's family? No! Did Elijah choose Elisha as the person to receive his anointing? No! Did Elisha choose Elijah as the person from whom he wanted to receive the anointing? No! When Elijah quit on God, God told Elijah to anoint Elisha as the prophet who would replace him. In other words, like a good boss, God told his disgruntled employee, Elijah to empower and train his replacement, Elisha before leaving the company for good.

Neither of them had any input in the decision. It was a God idea! Yes, the scripture says that Elijah threw his mantle on Elisha. It also says that Elisha destroyed every remnant of his former life to become Elijah's servant. However, all of that only happened after God in his sovereignty made the decision that Elijah needed to pass the anointing to Elisha. That decision and only that explains what happened. Everything else followed. Elisha didn't serve Elijah so that he would be chosen to receive the anointing, Elisha served Elijah because he was already chosen by God to receive the anointing.

What is the anointing anyway and why is it so valuable? In the Old Testament, the word "anointing" is translated from the Hebrew word "mishchah" and in the context of this discussion, represents the ointment used to consecrate individuals who are "set apart" by God for a special purpose. In the New testament it is translated from the Greek word "chrisma" which in the context of this discussion represents the special endowment of the Holy Spirit. Other words that can sometimes be used in the right context to represent the anointing are grace, gift, power, supernatural ability, mantle and empowerment. Now let me share a personal experience with the anointing.

It's been one week since we buried my grandfather, Dr. Levi Duncan in Trinidad and Tobago. He was 93 years old and left behind a ministry legacy that remains untouched by anyone else in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. He finally received his heavenly promotion and joined his Heavenly Father for eternity. However, he left something behind that The Lord knows we still need right here on earth; The Anointing. During the funeral, my father, Apostle Emanuel Vivian Duncan and uncle, Apostle Joseph Vernon Duncan, stood on the pulpit and declared that the mantle from grandfather would fall on whomever chose to receive it that day. I knelt before the altar with my wife, Angel by my side and opened my heart to receive from The Lord. Initially, it built slowly then suddenly I felt the rush of God's Spirit rising in my heart to a level that was overwhelming.

As waves of God's glory shot through my body I started crying out to God. I didn't serve my grandfather. I barely even knew him. How can I get that anointing? It doesn't work like that. I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't earn it. I didn't fully understand what was going on anyway so I kept talking to God but God said nothing. He just released the anointing. He didn't need my input. He just needed my willingness to receive. The decision to pass on the anointing was not my decision. It also was not my grandfather's decision to pass on anything. It was God's decision. God chose Isaac over Ishmael according to Genesis 17:16-21. He chose Jacob over Esau according to Romans 9:13. He chose Ephraim over Manasseh according to Genesis 48:8-20. Each time, God went against the norm in deciding who would be next to receive a particular anointing. It was not the father's choice. It was not the son's choice. It was God's choice.

Based on my understanding, my grandfather led at least four different churches during his time of active ministry. Three of the churches are in Trinidad (Toco, Curepe and Chaguanas) and one is in the US (Plainfield, NJ). Apart from the churches he personally led, there were countless others that were birthed out of his ministry. Many of which are led by individuals who today refuse to acknowledge any connection to him and some of which chose not to honor him by even showing up to his funeral. In fact, I don't know if he ever personally laid hands on his successors and passed on what was on his life. Some of these churches are led by pastors who were appointed by denominational boards, others are in place because they won elections from the church membership. Nevertheless, they figured out what to do and did it.

What's missing in all of this is a proper understanding of the anointing. Yes, you can do what it takes to get control of someone's ministry. Yes, you can use your connection to a man of God to build your own following and become "successful". Yes, you can receive another man's financial, spiritual and social assistance to become "great" in the ministry. However, what you cannot do is walk in his anointing if God did not decide that you are supposed to receive it. That's the missing link. Elijah took his mantle and struck the water in the Jordan river so that it parted in two, then he and Elisha crossed over on dry land. After Elijah was taken up to heaven, Elisha returned to the Jordan river, took the same mantle that Elijah dropped and struck the water asking, "Where is the God of Elijah?" The water parted again because He was right there. Elijah may have left for heaven but the God of Elijah stayed with Elisha on earth.

Acts 19:11-17(NKJV) - Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

The seven sons of Sceva did exactly what Elisha did. They mimicked the person they saw walking in a particular anointing. However, there was a difference. While Elisha had the anointing he saw on Elijah, they didn't have the anointing they saw on Apostle Paul. Hence, while Elisha could part the Jordan river just like Elijah, they could only attempt to cast out an evil spirit just like Apostle Paul. Elisha called on the God of Elijah and He answered. The seven sons of Sceva called on the God of Apostle Paul and He didn't answer. Instead, the evil spirit answered and beat them mercilessly. What separated the two was not only their relationship with the person who walked in the anointing they desired. The distinguishing factor was their relationship with the God of the person who walked in the anointing they desired. Elisha knew the God of Elijah but the Seven Sons of Sceva did not know the God of Apostle Paul.

I've seen and heard pastors preach like Bishop TD Jakes. They walk like him, talk like him, they even hold the mike like him. However, it doesn't matter what they do, they do not have the same impact that he does. While they may be able to mimic his preaching style what they lack is his anointing. I've seen people try to preach like Pastor Creflo Dollar. They dress like him. They crack his jokes. They talk about wealth. Yet, their words don't have the same power because what they lack his anointing. I've heard singers try to lead worship like the great worship leaders of our time or prophesy like the great prophets of our time. Yet, they don't have the same impact. What they lack is the anointing. God makes the decision concerning who gets which anointing and when. First, you have to be anointed, then you can do what God has called you to do at the level that He has called you to do it. The people you see walking in power have the anointing and they didn't get it from a person, they got it from God.

1 Corinthians 12:27-31(NKJV) - Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

The Bible states that you can earnestly desire the best gifts. I don't know what anointing you desire. Are you amazed by the grace of God on your pastor's life and want to see it in your own also? Do you want the gifts of healing and the power to cast out devils like my grandfather? Do you want to prophesy like my father? Do you want to evangelize the world like Billy Graham or do miracles like Benny Hinn? Do you want to teach like Ravi Zacharias or preach like TD Jakes? What anointing did you come for? None of them own the anointing on their lives and it's not up to them who gets to walk in it. So even if you never had the chance to meet them, that doesn't exclude you from receiving what God placed on their lives. However, there's a price.

The anointing is a free gift from God but walking in it is expensive. Elisha paid the price to walk in the anointing on Elijah's life. God picked Elisha to succeed Elijah but Elisha had to walk away from everything he knew to receive it. The disciples received the same Holy Ghost who rested on Jesus but most of them paid the same ultimate price that Jesus eventually paid for it. Now let me ask you a direct question. What anointing do you desire? If God chooses to give it to you, are you willing to pay the price? Hopefully, you already made that decision before showing up in God's presence. My mind is made up. I came for the anointing. Did you?

1 Peter 4:10-11(NLT) - God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
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May 7, 2018 Posted by admin in angels

An Angel Visited Me at My House Last Night!

Acts 2:16-18(KJV) - But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

I woke up just after 3:00 AM this morning angrily shouting; "Satan, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus." Thank God he didn't resist and left in a flash. However, so did my desire to sleep. Hence, today's blog. 🙂 What was strange is that I actually heard voices outside after I woke up. I looked out the window and two of my neighbors who only recently moved in across the street were talking in their porch facing the direction of my house. Yes at 3:00 AM in the still of the night they were standing up in their porch talking! I don't know what that's about but it's too much of a coincidence for me to ignore. A few minutes later there was silence again. I looked out the window and they were gone. Now that I know who they are, they are about to get a prayer drive-by with some machine-gun tongues; "Brrrrratatatatat!" More on that later.

Hebrews 13:2(KJV) - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

This blog is about my angel. He came to my house last night and this time we actually talked. For what it's worth he also finally told me his name. It's Michael. I know what you're thinking. Like Michael, the archangel? I don't know about that part. That's exactly what I thought when he first told me but I didn't ask him so I'll make no assumptions. He's Michael, the angel. That's what I do know. What's unique about this encounter is that he came to my house for the first time to talk to me like that. In addition, this is the first time he didn't give me a message about the ministry. He came to tell me something personal.

Psalm 34:7(NKJV) - The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

Psalm 91:11-12(NKJV) - For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

I know by faith that angels are always there because I believe Psalms 34:7 and 91:11-12. Yet, the last time I actually saw one I was still a teenager attending college. In the space of about two years one appeared to me 3 times. He came to my aunt's basement and took me to heaven to show me where I fit in world history. Another angel met me on the side of the road outside of World Changer's Church International and told me God will take me to the nations. That angel appeared in the form of a woman in the passenger seat of a car.

Then the last time I saw an angel, he came into my 8:00 AM Statistics and Probability class at Georgia Tech during the 1999 summer session while I was falling asleep. That morning he just stood next to me saying nothing. God told me he was just there like personal security to keep an eye on things. He had nothing to say but I got the message. Since then, no encounters like that have come to my mind. I do remember last night distinctly wondering why God didn't encounter me like that any more. I just thought it to myself and it happened a few hours later.

Mark 4:15(NKJV) - And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.

What's interesting is that during that season of my life, the angel of the Lord was not the only one who paid me a visit. Satan also visited me a few times. He actually came to my bed in my aunt's basement also. He didn't say anything but he brought this oppressive darkness that made it hard for me to move or even breathe sometimes. God reminded me of that a few minutes ago. Back then I didn't know what to do but scream out to Jesus for help. This time was different. As I said earlier, I rebuked him without thinking about it and he left immediately. I won't bore you with the rest of the details but remember this. When God shows up with a Word for you, Satan will come immediately to try to take it away. Don't ever let him do that!

Now why did God send angels to visit me so many times? I can't tell you I fully understand why but I do have an idea. Since those visits I started this website, preached countless messages, wrote 6 books and started a church with my wife. God used those angelic encounters to propel me forward in ministry. Now He's doing it again. Obviously, it's a signal that a new season has started. Even the enemy knows it because he came back again trying to stop it. I wish he wouldn't but it's not my choice. When there's a shift in the spirit realm, he takes notice and tries to get in the way. That's why he got himself rebuked this morning.

Genesis 28:11-19(NKJV) - So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously.

In this account of "Jacob's Ladder" we are given a vivid picture of angelic activity. My father explained one time that the angels seen by Jacob were ascending from earth into heaven then returning from heaven to earth. In other words, they were already on earth to start with. They just went to heaven to get some stuff to bring back to earth. I know that the moment Jacob had his dream was not the moment the angels showed up. It was the moment God opened his eyes to see what was already going on. In the same way, I believe God's angels are always with us but last night he opened my eyes to see Michael.

When Jacob had his dream, he was in a period of transition. He had just received the blessing from his father Isaac and was following his father's instructions to find a wife. He was also running for his life from his older brother Esau who promised vengeance for losing the blessing. God showed up to reassure Jacob that He was was with him. Even though Jacob already received the blessing from his father, God confirmed everything that was said and added even more.

Why after almost two decades would the Angel of The Lord return to me like that? I'm in a period of transition myself. If you want to know the details, add me on LinkedIn. I plan to update it later this week. Now as I sit to write this blog The Holy Ghost is reassuring me that everything the angels told me as a teenager is about to start happening. That's why he returned. It's time!

(to be continued)

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Answering The Call of God

Answering The Call of God

1 Samuel 3:1-10(NLT) - Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did. Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.” Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

If you were sleeping and suddenly heard a voice call your name in the middle of the night, what would you do? Now put yourself in Samuel's shoes. He had no idea what was going on. As the scriptures outlined, it was rare for anyone to receive a message from The Lord at that time so he didn't have much of a reference point. Hence, his response was appropriate. In fact, his journey to hearing God's Voice clearly is indicative of what we all experience. Like Samuel, it takes us a couple times before we can comfortably discern God's Voice from everything else around us.

It took Samuel 4 times to recognize The Voice of God. Yet, more importantly, it took Eli 3 times to realize that it was God's Voice speaking to Samuel all along. Samuel was justified for not knowing God's Voice but Eli, the high priest, had no excuse. Maybe that further explains why the first prophetic Word Samuel ever received was a warning of impending judgment from God for his mentor and spiritual father Eli. If you read the preceding chapter you would also realize that Samuel was not the first prophet to warn Eli. God sent a prophet earlier to tell Eli basically the same thing. Since it didn't really work then, God had to repeat Himself which is never good.

Isaiah 6:8(NKJV) - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

I remember the first time I "heard" the Voice of God. It was during a Sunday morning service at Divine Encounter Fellowship in Arima, Trinidad. I was 17 years old and a group of us had responded to an altar call. We were on our faces in prayer before The Lord when suddenly I felt something shift in my consciousness. My eyes were closed and instead of seeing complete darkness I could see the stars as though I was deep in outer space. I then felt this overwhelming sense that God was calling me into the ministry. I couldn't articulate what He said to me because I actually didn't hear anything. I just felt something all over me and I knew it was God. So in response I told The Lord yes in whatever way I knew at that time. I didn't know exactly what I was agreeing to but I knew who I was in agreement with. As you can see, the rest is history.

Matthew 22:1-4(NLT) - Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come! “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

In this parable like most others by Jesus, the King represents God. In addition, the specially invited guests represent His chosen people Israel and the people from the street corners represent the Gentiles. Salvation was first offered to the Jews and the bulk of them rejected it so God offered it to the entire world. It may not have been a good thing that the Jews turned down God's invitation but it was a good thing for the rest of us because that's how we got invited into God's Kingdom. Nevertheless, it's easy to read a parable like this and think; "Who in their right mind would reject the call of God? What could be so important in your life that it could be worth turning down a personal invitation from God?"

Well, think about it! The VIP guests had other things to do. They had things to take care of at home or work. They had money to make. They had their own dreams to pursue. They just didn't have the time to stop living their own lives to respond to The King. They weren't necessarily bad people, they were just busy people. Of course, that doesn't include the group who killed the messengers. Of course, none of us would ever do a thing like that. Now would we? Not so fast! How many prophets have spoken God's truth into the lives of Christians who are sitting on the sidelines and got totally shot down? "Beloved, God says you need to.... Ummm... no thank you. That's not God."

Romans 11:29(AMP) - For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [for He does not withdraw what He has given, nor does He change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call].

What about you? Do you remember the first time God spoke to you? If yes, what did He tell you? Do you remember the day God called you to serve in His Kingdom? If yes, what have you done? Did you do what He said? Did you read The Book of Jonah? He thought that he could get away from God's call on his life by going in the opposite direction. God sent him for a swim with the fishes. God might be long-suffering and patient but He doesn't forget His call on someone's life. Have you tried to run away from God's plan? If you think you're just not going to do it and things are just going to work themselves out you're in for a big surprise.

Even if you've never heard God's call you have received God's gifts. Guess what? His gifts were given to you for one purpose and that's to carry out His call. If you don't think you're called by God, your gifts will disagree with that notion. The mere presence of natural or spiritual gifts in your life means God has a purpose for you and its directly connected to the use of those gifts. So even a person's inability to hear from God is not an excuse for not answering the Call of God. The gifts He's put into each of us speak to us on behalf of God telling us what He expects of us. They point us in His direction.

Find a place where your gifts can be developed and eventually used in God's service. If you can't do it where you are right now, find somewhere else. You can either stay where you are and use your gifts outside of that place or go to a place where you can use your gifts. Whatever you do, answer God's call on your life. He is never going to change His mind regardless of what you do. The only thing that changes is that the longer you wait, the less time you have to do the same thing.

Romans 12:4-8(NLT) - Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Each person in The Body of Christ has unique gifts which accompany specific functions. When you see The Church as a body you will realize how important you are, not just to God but to the rest of us. Do you know what it's like to be missing a body part? Even if all of your body parts are present, do you know what it's like when you have body parts which don't function properly? Now consider every Christian who is out of place and not doing what God has called them to do. Consider the impact their lack of function has on the rest of us. They handicap God's body by not fulfilling their roles. Are you one of those people? Are you the malfunctioning foot that's caused us to limp along for the last five years? Are you the missing finger that has made it hard for us to grasp what God has asked of us? Is it you? If it's not you, do you know who it is?

1 Corinthians 12:12-27(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

We're all in this together. When I answered the call of God on my life it was not just about me, it was about you. When you consider the call of God on your life, it's not just about you or your family, it's about the rest of us in The Body of Christ. We need you to do what God has called you to do and we need you to do it now. God is calling your name. Go ahead and say yes! Until we all do what we are called to do, The Body of Christ is not functioning at its full capacity.

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Decatur Community Workshops Highlights - Identity Crisis (Mistakes Urban Youth Make)

This video provides highlights from our recent workshop "Identity Crisis (Mistakes Urban Youth Make)". This event was a production of Decatur Community Workshops and Singles Point of View. It was hosted at The Body Church, 3009 Rainbow Drive, Suite #142, Decatur, GA 30034.

Our faith-based group hosts monthly workshops in the Decatur area that are free, interactive and open to the surrounding community. Topics include leadership, personal finances, investing, professional networking, career advancement, real estate, grant writing and many more. We are open to suggestions and are always interested in welcoming new people. If you love to learn new things especially for free, this group is for you.

For more info, visit www.meetup.com/decaturcommunityworkshops

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Decatur Community Workshops: Single Parents

This video provides highlights from our recent workshop "Single Parents - How To Set The Atmosphere In Your Home". This event was a production of Decatur Community Workshops and Singles Point of View. It was hosted at The Body Church, 3009 Rainbow Drive, Suite #142, Decatur, GA 30034.

Our faith-based group hosts monthly workshops in the Decatur area that are free, interactive and open to the surrounding community. Topics include leadership, personal finances, investing, professional networking, career advancement, real estate, grant writing and many more. We are open to suggestions and are always interested in welcoming new people. If you love to learn new things especially for free, this group is for you.

For more info, visit www.meetup.com/decaturcommunityworkshops

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Prayer: Why We Pray In The Name of Jesus

Every time we pray, we pray in the name (authority) of Jesus. In other words, we don’t expect God to answer our prayer because of who we are or what we’ve done to deserve the answer. If that was the case, we would pray in our own names. We expect The Father to answer our prayers because of who Jesus is and what He did on the cross. That’s why we only pray in the name of Jesus.

Date - October 2nd, 2016

The Body Church

3015 Rainbow Dr,

Suite #142,

Building #3009,

Decatur, GA 30034

**Located in Building 3009 in South DeKalb Office Park, 3015 Rainbow Drive, Decatur, GA 30034**

1 Corinthians 12:12(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.

Sundays - 9:00 AM

www.TheBodyChurchInc.org

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Understanding The End Times - Q&A

Every 2nd Friday at 7:00 PM, The Body Church hosts the workshop "Understanding The End Times". In this session we answer questions about heaven and the resurrection.

For more information visit our website at www.thebodychurchinc.org

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Stay Focused: Avoid Theological Debates

Stay Focused: Avoid Theological Debates

Written By: Dr. Angel

Welcome to Part 22 of our current blog series; "Evangelism". Click here for Part 21, "How Do We Evangelize? - Share YOUR Testimony!".

The seventh and final practical key to evangelism is “Stay focused: Avoid theological debates.”

Titus 3:8-11 (NASB) – “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”

Be careful that you remain focused on the goal of sharing The Gospel. Along the way, you will encounter individuals who ascribe to a different belief system, doctrine, or spiritual perspective. The reason you are evangelizing is to tell others about the love of Christ. It is the truth that make us free (John 8:32). Therefore, it is vitally important to communicate the word of God accurately so that the truth is presented. You must know the word of God and be able to give an answer for the reason that you believe at any time.

2 Timothy 2:15(NASB) – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 4:2(NKJV) – “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

However, the goal is not to win arguments, boast of your knowledge, or demonstrate your intelligence. The goal is to present the truth in love unto the winning of souls to Christ! At the end of the conversation, if you have simply won an argument but lost the heart of the person, you have lost overall. Does this bring glory to the name of Christ?

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) – “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

Mark 8:36 (KJV) – “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NASB) – “Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.”

Ephesians 4:15 (NLT) – “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”

If you do not know what to say or how to say it, pray and ask the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things, and tell you exactly what you need to say at the right moment (Luke 12:12). When you are evangelizing, remain focused on presenting the truth of the Word of God. Do not engage in fruitless debates or arguments that only result in strife and division. Present the truth in love with a heart solely motivated to win lost souls to Christ.

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Share YOUR Testimony!

Share YOUR Testimony!

Written By: Dr. Angel

Welcome to Part 21 of our current blog series; "Evangelism". Click here for Part 20, "How Do We Evangelize? - Be Relevant: Connect With People Where They Are".

The sixth practical key to evangelism is; "Be personal: Share YOUR testimony."

Revelation 12:11(KJV): “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

Your personal testimony of what the Lord has done is more powerful than engaging in a theological debate. No one can argue with you about the lifestyle change and heart transformation you experienced when Jesus encountered you. Who can argue about what your eyes saw, your ears heard, or your heart felt when you met Jesus? No one can argue with the word of your testimony concerning His blood and what His blood has done in your life! Sharing YOUR testimony is one of the most powerful tools you have when evangelizing to the lost.

Let’s look at six biblical accounts when individuals shared personal testimonies about Jesus Christ.

1)Paul’s Testimony: Paul shared his personal testimony of life before and after encountering Christ.

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (AMP) – “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has granted me [the needed] strength and made me able for this, because He considered me faithful and trustworthy, putting me into service [for this ministry], even though I was formerly a blasphemer [of our Lord] and a persecutor [of His church] and a shameful and outrageous and violent aggressor [toward believers]. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief. The grace of our Lord [His amazing, unmerited favor and blessing] flowed out in superabundance [for me, together] with the faith and love which are [realized] in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful and trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance and approval, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost [of sinners], Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example or pattern for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King of the ages [eternal], immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

2)The Samaritan Woman’s Testimony: Jesus’ knowledge of her life story caused her to evangelize. Her encounter with Jesus compelled her to run into town, testify of Christ and lead many to Him.

John 4:28-30(NIV) – “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.”

John 4:38 (NIV) – “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

3)The Blind Man’s Testimony: His testimony was undeniably supported by his healing. No one could argue with his testimony of receiving sight after his personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

John 9:6-7 (NLT) – “…Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!” His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!” But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!”

John 9:10-11 (NLT) – “They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!” “Where is he now?” they asked. “I don’t know,” he replied .Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees, because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him. The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!”

John 9:24 -25 (NLT) – “So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.” “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”

4)John The Baptist’s Testimony: John was a "forerunner voice" preparing the way for the coming Messiah. He witnessed the Holy Spirit descending like a dove and resting on Jesus. His testimony about the Lamb of God caused many to follow Jesus including two of his very own disciples. Concerning John, Jesus declared "I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist..." (Matt. 11:11) What a powerful endorsement from the Lord! 🙂

John 1:23 (NLT) - "John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: "I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, Clear the way for the LORD's coming!"
John 1:29-37 (NLT) - “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel .”Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God. ”The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.”

5)Andrew’s Testimony: Andrew went and testified to his brother Simon about the Messiah. His testimony resulted in Simon meeting Jesus and being named Apostle Peter.

John 1:40-42 (NLT) – “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”. Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter).”

6)Men Walking To Emmaus Testimony: The men testified about their hearts burning within them as Jesus spoke to them and explained the scriptures to them after His resurrection.

Luke 24:28-34 (NLT) - “By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if He were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So He went home with them. As they sat down to eat, He took the bread and blessed it. Then He broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And at that moment He disappeared!” They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as He talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.”

Remember, no one can argue with you about what the Lord has personally done in your life. Only you know the whole story of what Jesus has done in your life! So, be personal and share YOUR testimony. The enemy would like to keep you silent because he knows that your testimony could effectively lead others to Christ. Don’t keep silent! Start testifying about how the Blood of Jesus has changed YOUR life!

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Confessions of a Young Atlanta Pastor: Lesson 6 - People's Giving Reveals Their Hearts

Confessions of a Young Atlanta Pastor: Lesson 6 - People's Giving Reveals Their Hearts

Two years ago, my wife, Angel and I put our pride, reputation and comfortable lives on the line to answer the call of God to start The Body Church in Atlanta, GA. In this blog series we highlight the top twelve lessons we learned and are still learning along the journey. For the full list of all twelve points, click the following link, "Confessions of a Young Atlanta Pastor - Top Twelve Lessons Learned".

Today, we highlight the sixth point; "6) There's a strong correlation between the consistency of people's giving and their commitment to your ministry." For the previous point click the following link; "Confessions of a Young Atlanta Pastor: Lesson 5 - Enthusiasm Is Not Commitment."

Matthew 6:19-21(NKJV) - “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Find your treasure, find your heart. One of the best ways to find out who's really for you out of everyone who is with you at your church is to check the giving records. Anybody can say they are with you but you can separate the real from the fake when you find out who is giving and who is not. Not just that, giving records allow you to see the changes in a member's attitude to your ministry. When someone with a reputation of consistent giving starts scaling back without some legitimate financial reason it's an early sign of pending trouble.

This is one lesson we did not learn until after getting it wrong. We totally missed the signs until it all blew up in our faces. At that point, we had the benefit of hindsight which is always 20-20. Even when we don't know what's going on in people's lives, their giving reveals what's in their hearts. If you value your money, you will invest your money where you see value and that's a fact. The best way to evaluate your life's priorities is to find out where you invest your time and your money. Thus, the more you invest in the ministry, the more of a priority it is to you.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5(NLT) - Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

Let's take this discussion into another dimension as we analyse what Apostle Paul is saying in the aforementioned scripture. The churches in Macedonia were full of poor people who were also going through tough times in other areas of their lives. However, they were full of joy and extremely generous. Their giving was completely voluntary and not in response to any pressure or gimmicks. In fact, they insisted on giving more and more even when it appeared that Apostle Paul wanted them to take it easy.

They outdid themselves and didn't use their financial state as an excuse. Why? Before they gave the little money they had, they gave themselves both to The Lord and to Paul's ministry team. Think about it. That's the proper order. Once they had given themselves to God and the ministry first, their money came along for the ride. It didn't matter that they were poor. It didn't matter that they were in the middle of difficult times. Nothing could stop them from giving their money because they had already given their hearts. There was no struggle to give what was essentially already given.

As a result, we can safely conclude that giving money is not just about the actual money. It's about giving your heart. Your money is a tool used for expressing what's in your heart. We know you've given your heart to The Lord and to us, when we see you giving your money. Why? Whoever or whatever has your heart, has your money. How much you give, how often you give and how you give reveals what's on the inside of your heart. Like the Macedonians, when you've given yourself first to The Lord and to the ministry, you will give lavishly, frequently and with joy.

1 Corinthians 9:7-18(NLT) - What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk? Am I expressing merely a human opinion, or does the law say the same thing? For the law of Moses says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” Was God thinking only about oxen when he said this? Wasn’t he actually speaking to us? Yes, it was written for us, so that the one who plows and the one who threshes the grain might both expect a share of the harvest. Since we have planted spiritual seed among you, aren’t we entitled to a harvest of physical food and drink? If you support others who preach to you, shouldn’t we have an even greater right to be supported? But we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ. Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge. Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News! If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.

All preachers want is your money! Right? You should only give if you know how they plan to use it. Right? You should only give if all the money went to the poor? Right? WRONG! Have you ever heard any of that before or have you even thought or said it? Apostle Paul really set the church straight and we're so happy he did. He was willing to preach for free and work on the side just so that nobody would confuse his desire to preach the gospel with greediness for money.

I completely understand where he's coming from and applaud many pastors I know who work hard on the side developing multiple streams of income. These are great men and women of God who don't have to do that but choose to do so due to the sometimes toxic atmosphere that exists around the topic of money in church. People who don't have a heart for the ministry always struggle to give because their heart is elsewhere. It also pains them to know that the pastor might benefit in some way from their money.

I've confronted people over the years concerning their giving in church long before I became a pastor. I did it with a clear conscience because I understand the principle. We don't make the rules, we just remind people of their existence. Everyone has to give including us for the spiritual flow to be smooth in the church. We give our time. We give our money. We give spiritual food. We give everything we have. I know pastors who took furniture from their homes and brought it to the church so that the church would have furniture.

I know of pastors' wives who work at the church for little to nothing while the pastor works another job to support the family. Come on! May God bless them 100 fold in this time and with eternal life in the time to come. The giving in the church can't pay their salary so what are they supposed to do? They gave themselves to The Lord first and then to their church so even if they had to sacrifice to make things work, they would do it with joy.

Your giving to The Lord through the local church or the ministers you support around the world is about you and God. It is not about the preachers and if you make it about the preachers you are completely misled. When you understand the concept of spiritual exchange, you will understand that God put the principle of giving in place. It exists so that you will have a way to respond when you receive spiritual food. It exists so that you will benefit from The Anointing that's on the person you give to. Therefore, once again, it's true that if you value The Anointing on the pastor and the ministry, you will give with joy.

2 Corinthians 9:1-15(NLT) - I really don’t need to write to you about this ministry of giving for the believers in Jerusalem. For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to the churches in Macedonia that you in Greece were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of the Macedonian believers to begin giving. But I am sending these brothers to be sure you really are ready, as I have been telling them, and that your money is all collected. I don’t want to be wrong in my boasting about you. We would be embarrassed—not to mention your own embarrassment—if some Macedonian believers came with me and found that you weren’t ready after all I had told them! So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly. Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!

There's no better way to end this point than with 2 Corinthians 9. Do you know that one of the hallmarks of the early church was their giving? I don't hear many people talk about that. We talk about the miracles. We talk about their sense of community. We talk about their passion for The Lord. We talk about their prayer. However, we also need to talk about their giving because they worked hard to out-give each other. The Macedonians were big givers but the Grecian church would not be left in the dust. Apostle Paul challenged the churches to give to support the ministry as he traveled around and they responded.

It pays to give and it pays to give with joy. As leaders in The Body of Christ our job is to challenge people with The Word of God and then let God's people respond. His Word says that He will reward and multiply everything you give. He will also provide all of your needs. He considers your financial offerings as seed and intends to multiply them and return to you a harvest. Also, when you give it causes those who receive to praise The Lord. It's a win, win, win. Nobody loses.

Join us next time for the next point;

7) If you don't take personal responsibility for the success of your ministry, do not expect anyone else to do so.

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