17 Signs You’re an ‘Empire Builder,’ Not a ‘Kingdom Builder’ by JOSEPH MATTERA


Are you looking out for the kingdom or your own personal gain?
Are you looking out for the kingdom or your own personal gain? (Lightstock/Dollar photo club)

Ever since the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity divided in the 11th century, some of the greatest fears of the once united Christendom has been realized—fragmentation and division.

Even in the 16th century when Martin Luther led the Protestant Reformation, there was the hope that there would only be a few major expressions of the body of Christ—never in their wildest dreams did the reformers envision all the denominations and now various branches and networks of Christianity that have evolved—which has given opportunity for a spirit of lawlessness, independence and empire building among some insecure but gifted leaders. Whether all these expressions are of God or not is not the purpose of this article.

However, the following will show us some signs revealing when the motivation to build a church, ministry or network is akin to when the human race attempted to build their own empire-epitomized by the “Tower of Babel” which God judged and scattered across the whole earth. (Gen. 11:1-18)

In 1 Kings 11:11 and 12:16 God divided the kingdom of Israel because of religious apostasy, which is the same reason the Catholic Church was judged and fragmented—too much concentration of power in the hands of humans who deviated from the true way of Jesus and the apostles. God will judge His church and hold back revival from certain churches, ministries and regions when their key spiritual leaders are attempting to build themselves an empire rather then build the kingdom.

Leaders talk the talk but their actions speak louder then their so called “kingdom first words.” The following are 17 signs you are an “empire builder” instead of a “kingdom builder”:

1. You rejoice when other key leaders in your region are struggling

Although all leaders with their mouth say they are sad when another church, pastor or leader in their area is struggling, I have observed that some leaders seem to privately gloat or compare themselves with other failing leaders in their area. Whether the failing church or leader is right or wrong, it never pleases God when we internally rejoice or gloat when the body of Christ is not advanced in our region.

2. You are territorial and only work with those under your “covering”

Some leaders and denominations I know will only do outreaches with churches and leaders who have a ministerial and financial allegiance with them. If we are going to reach our communities, we have to be willing to cross denominations and networks and work with the leaders who are sincerely committed to advancing the kingdom.

3. You only support events that which can give you a platform 

I have seen leaders actually pull out of a city-wide or community event because their name was not advertised on the program or because they are rivals with a leader who is part of said program. This shows that their concern was not advancing the kingdom but on advancing their own name and empire-building goals.

4. You tend to exaggerate your own importance and influence to outsiders

Empire builders treat their ministry like a sporting event—they are constantly throwing around numbers and stats and comparing their numbers to the numbers of other ministers. They say things like, “We are growing in record numbers” or “This was the most significant event in our city” or “We have the largest network in our city.” Or worse yet, they claim something like “our ministry is the reason why the crime rate went down in our community or region,” and they tend to exaggerate their influence, importance and results in their region or community.

Kingdom builders brag about what God is doing through His church in His city, and they also attempt to applaud the success of others whose feet they wash instead of propping themselves up for photo shoots and publicity. I have observed that several so-called revivals in our country the past 10 years have been more or less nothing more then good advertising and marketing rather then a real move of God.

5. You are jealous of successful key leaders in your region 

I know I am with an “empire builder” when I am with a person who is always attempting to dig up dirt on other leaders, criticizing key leaders in their community, or giving “faint praise” when asked about other key leaders in their region.

6. You speak about kingdom unity as a smokescreen to hide your own selfish agenda

Some of the most self-centered empire builders I have known in the past 30 years have spoken the most in public about the need for unity in the body of Christ. They use this kind of talk to get “sheep pastors and ministers” to forsake their own agenda and follow them to aid them in building their empire! They know the entire lingo and have the biblical passages down, but unfortunately their actions do not correspond with their words and preaching.

7. Your name and picture has to be highlighted in every event you participate in 

There are leaders I have heard speak about God raising up a movement of “nameless” and “faceless” people and yet in all their conferences, literature and advertising their picture and name are highlighted more than anybody or anything else in the program! I even attended one conference in which there was a life-size picture of the leader in the lobby with the event and program advertised in small print under his picture!

8. You try to steal the loyalties of people connected to other ministries 

I have observed that one of the key signs that someone is an empire builder is when they go after key leaders in other leaders’ churches or networks. I myself have had leaders representing our Christ Covenant coalition approached by another leader in my city, asking them to join his network as a representative, even though these leaders have been part of my leadership for over 10 years!

When leaders do this, they make themselves look bad, both to the loyal leaders they approach and to the other key leaders in the city who eventually find out about the M.O. of said empire builder.

9. You love those who follow you and disregard all others

Empire builders have an “either your with me or against me” mentality and approach to life.

Empire builders will not be friends with a person if they are also connected to the ministry of a rival. One of my regional leaders was actually told several years ago that he was no longer welcome to preach in a particular church because he was keeping the company of certain other leaders (me).

The reason for this is that since empire builders are untrustworthy and use their pseudo-friendships as a platform to perpetuate their own empire, they project that same spirit and mentality on other leaders in their region and thus they cut off people loyal to other networks and ministries because they suspect others are all untrustworthy like they themselves are!

10. You have a “top-down” leadership approach and thus struggle to attract strong, successful leaders

Empire builders surround themselves which “yes men” and actually discourage strong, resourceful leaders from working or partnering with them because it does not fit their “top-down” leadership style. Unlike mature leaders who take a “bottom-up” approach—in which they try to lead through consensus with multiple participation of various levels of people taking responsibility in ministry (so that all have ownership in the process)—empire builders surround themselves with leaders of ministries they deem less significant and who want to follow their dictates without meaningful, strategic dialogue.

11. You are driven by self and not led by the Spirit

Your intense need for affirmation because of your insecurity drives your need for success—not the glory of God and work of advancing the kingdom. Thus there is rarely inner peace or rest because you are striving—constantly trying to create a platform and expand your ministry on your own efforts instead of being led by the Lord and letting Him bring the opportunities and open doors.

12. You are an opportunist when other ministries are struggling 

Empire builders make believe they are concerned when other churches or ministries are struggling, but they attempt to maneuver themselves so that they can capitalize on the struggles of other ministries and seize either their property or, more likely, their choicest leaders and key people.

13. Your main goal in life is to build some kind of monument to your success 

Empire builders are obsessed with building bigger and better buildings, and acquiring more and more property—even if they have to go into huge debt. The lower their self-esteem, the bigger they have to build to compensate for their internal lack. Unfortunately, they are often risking the future of their ministry with all this spending and they rarely if ever think about how their successor is going to fill all these buildings and pay off the mortgage! Remember, there is never any real success without a successor!

14. When possible, you will sabotage the influence and ministry of other leaders you deem a threat to your influence 

Recently I reunited with a key leader in another country after almost 12 years of disconnect. I tried numerous times to stay connected but I could never understand why there was some kind of obstruction in the relationship. After speaking for three hours it finally dawned on us that another leader who was jealous of my influence in this country sabotaged our relationship because he wanted to supplant me as the covering of this key leader.

I have also witnessed firsthand when one leader will insinuate lies about another key leader behind their back to try to stop their influence from spreading to other regions. In instances like this we need to speak up and defend the honor of those not present in the room.

15. You tend to copy those you are jealous of in your region 

It is said that when someone copies your ideas it is the highest form of flattery. Empire builders will attempt to replicate and outdo many of the things other key leaders in their region are doing. They may call it something different, but in the end it is essentially the same model but with the attitude to make it bigger and better then anything else in their region.

It is like Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s trying to reinvent themselves to keep up with Starbucks. It is borne out of personal competition and not a pure love for Christ and His kingdom.

16. You are a narcissist in relating to your desires in life 

Ultimately, empire builders are lovers of themselves. Thus they will sacrifice the dreams and lives of others so their own dreams can be fulfilled. They will throw everybody and anybody under the bus to advance their goals or save their own skin!

Their incredible commitment to the ministry is really only a commitment to advance their own ideals and dreams—which is narcissistic in nature, this is unlike the model of Christ who laid down His own life for the sheep. Ezekiel 34 speaks about the judgment God will bring on shepherds who use and abuse the sheep for their own pleasure.

17. You tell people that your church or network is the main key in your city for true revival and transformation

When giving reports about your ministry, you exaggerate the results of your work and utilize self serving testimonies that back up your claim for spiritual dominance in your region. Many pastors I know have told me of prophecies that have come forth alluding to the fact that it is their church that is going to start a revival for the nation or their community—or that revival is going to start in their region and go to the world because their region is the gate to the rest of the country. I am to tired of hearing these prophecies and so-called words from the Lord.

Unfortunately, some prophets are motivated to give these flattering words so they can be invited back to preach because they know that most inexperienced leaders fall prey to prophetic flattery. That being said, empire builders use these words, visions and experiences to back up their claim that their particular church or ministry is “the church” in their region God is going to use so they can garner the loyalties of unsuspecting and naïve sheep and even pastors.

In my experience, most churches with that attitude are judged by God and actually begin to decline until the leaders repent of pride. Although it is possible that revival can come through one church to the whole world (Azusa Street revival in 1906) it is the exception to the rule because community, city and national transformation usually take place when God visits a region or nation and multitudes of churches receive “times of refreshing” all at the same time, resulting in the formation of informal apostolic networks who partner together to continue to perpetuate the advance of the kingdom of God

Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church and Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, New York, and author of numerous books, including Ruling in the Gates: Preparing the Church to Transform Cities. Follow him on Facebook or visit him online at josephmattera.org.

So What Do We Do Now With Mark Driscoll?


So What Do We Do Now With Mark Driscoll?.

I read this article and thought to myself how sad it is that popular preachers are straying from the safety net of wise counselors by abusing their powers that not only affect the flock, but their spiritual walk with God on a personal basis.

I think the major take away from this article are the numbered items that I think are key for leaders to understand about their role. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes…but it is the attitude in which those refuse to repent or be corrected by them that worries me. I have seen this happen in a church before and all the signs are there, but people are too afraid to speak up, pay attention, or do something about it (i.e. confront their leaders). We are our brothers keeper…and it is a duty to make sure that when even a leader strays. we guide them back on the right path on the right road with love and compassion and direction. If we shy away from correcting them…are we not saying we don’t care for their lives???

This should be food for thought today.

What would Jesus want us to do? We cannot forsake our brothers and sisters…but if they refuse to change…they will have to answer to God in the long run for their own actions. Apostasy continues when people don’t stand up for what is right, allowing abuse to continue to happen.

As a watchwoman, I find this to be critical to watch out for this year…leaders will reap what they sow during the season of the harvest if they don’t repent. It is not God’s will to watch Christian leaders fall…He wants them to change their ways and humble themselves and pray and turn away from their wicked ways, and God will restore them and heal them and deliver them, if and when they do choose the path of the humble and decide to repent openly before God and their flock.

This is a good time to remind people of the warning signs of an unhealthy church:

1. Little or no accountability. When celebrity preachers seem eager to tell everyone else what to do but aren’t willing to hear correction from others, prepare for a train wreck. There is safety in the multitude of counselors (see Prov. 11:14). There is much less safety—even danger—when a leader does not seek counsel from a diverse group of his peers.

2. Spiritual elitism. If there is a spirit of control in a church, people are usually told their group is superior. If people choose to leave, they are shunned or branded as renegades. Sometimes, in extreme cases, people are even cursed if they leave. This cultic behavior inflicts unimaginable emotional suffering and also divides families.

3. An oppressive atmosphere. Authoritarian leaders control people through manipulation. This may come in the form of threats, legalistic demands, unreasonable requirements or false doctrines. In such a church no one is allowed to ask questions. Spiritual heaviness lies like a thick cloud over the congregation, and few believers manifest genuine joy.

4. Angry domination. Tyrants are surprisingly similar. Because they want to control their surroundings, they often blow up when people do not conform to their demands. Yet the apostle Paul taught that church leaders should not be “violent” or “quarrelsome” but “self-controlled” and “gentle” (see 1 Tim. 3:2-3). He also instructed Timothy that the Lord’s servant “must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone” (2 Timothy 2:24).

 5. A low view of women. While churches today differ in their views on women in leadership, it should be noted that authoritarian churches almost always discourage women from pursuing any genuine role in ministry. Women are viewed as useful only in their functions as submissive wives and mothers, and they are not encouraged to step beyond these confines to pursue ministry opportunities.

Let’s pray that the healing power of Jesus covers this situation in Seattle—and that the people who left Mars Hill Church, the people who remain there, and Mark Driscoll himself can recover from the trauma of spiritual abuse.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He is the author of 10 Lies Men Believe and other books.

A Modern Day Paul in Iran


A Modern Day Paul in Iran

Before he became a believer, the Apostle Paul dragged Christians out of their houses to imprison or kill them. A modern day Iranian named Taher was no better; he even threatened to kill his own family because they became Christians. Like Paul, he received a vision of the Lord that turned his life upside down.

Taher was the last one anyone expected to convert to Christianity. He was well respected as a Haji, a pilgrim who had made the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. His wife was a Haji-eh; she had also made the pilgrimage. So when his daughter came to Christ, Taher was very angry. When his wife became a believer in Christ, he grew even angrier. When even his son turned his back on Islam and accepted Christ, his anger turned to rage.

He tried to force his family back into Islam in every way he could. He quoted the Koran; he forbade them to visit the church; he beat them; and he threatened to inform the secret police. At one point he even threatened to kill them with his bare hands. His efforts were to no avail. His family didn’t leave Christ; instead they left him and fled abroad.

After the initial anger over his family’s flight subsided, Taher began to feel lonely. In his growing despair, he memorized Koran verses and focused on Allah, whom he served so passionately. “Please show me your face,” he begged. The resounding silence made him doubt. What if this god he was serving didn’t exist after all and his family was right? He didn’t know if he should believe Allah or Jesus, the Bible or the Koran. In desperation he cried out, “I will believe in the God who reveals Himself to me.”

The living God answered his prayers through a dream. In his dream, a man riding a donkey came toward him. He had never seen the man before, but the man hugged him and said, “I will clean you from all your sins; you are free. I will give you rest. Believe in me.” Taher asked, “But what will happen if I sin again?” The man on the donkey replied with the same words, “I will clean all your sins.” Then the man on the donkey left, leaving Taher dumbfounded. Another man approached him in his dream. “Do you know the man on the donkey?” the man asked. “No, I don’t, Taher replied. “He is Jesus Christ,” the man said. “He cleans your sins.”

Taher woke up and mulled over the dream. When he went back to sleep, the same dream played before him. Waking up a second time, he became afraid. He had served Allah for 45 years. He was a Haji. How could he leave Islam? But when he finally fell asleep again, he had the same dream a third time. Waking up from this third dream, he could not escape the conviction that Jesus Christ was the only true God.

Taher was now convinced that Jesus is the true God, but he was unsure what he should do next. Everyone in the church knew what he had done to his family, but he realized that he had to visit the church he had forbidden his family to attend, the only place he knew that could tell him more about this man on the donkey. He cautiously entered the church. The Christians present were astonished and at the same time afraid. Wasn’t he the man that threatened to kill his own wife, son and daughter because they accepted Christ? One of the church leaders stepped forward. “How can I help you?” he asked. The answer was unexpected. “I want to pray, go to church and give my life to Christ,” Taher said, “but I don’t know how.” The leader was amazed and unsure if he should trust Taher; he could be a government spy. “I saw Jesus in a dream, I saw his face!” Taher explained.

As time went by, the church leaders started trusting him. Taher was like a baby: eager to learn more and more about Christ. After a discipleship period, he quickly became involved in ministry work, risking his life for Jesus. When his family, who had been praying for him ever since they left, heard of the transformation in Taher’s life, they praised God for answering their prayers and happily welcomed Taher back into the family. Taher now lives abroad with his family, rejoicing that they can worship together without fear.

Father, we stand in awe at how You drew Taher to Yourself out of the darkness of sin and false religion, out of persecution of Your church. We praise You that You have raised him up to know You, to have a new heart, to be strengthened through Your Word and to be reunited with the family he almost destroyed. Thank You that they are living in religious freedom now, gathering as a family with the saints to worship You freely in Spirit and in truth. We pray for those left behind to nurture and disciple others in Iran who come to faith in Christ. We pray Your protection over them as You grow Your church there. And we pray for the day when all Christians in Iran can gather freely to worship You. In the name of Jesus who brings spiritual freedom to the captives. Amen.

Source: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/pray/prayer-updates/2014/May/a-modern-day-paul-in-iran.

The Christmas Gospel


Hi Everybody!

I know it’s been a busy month for everybody trying to wrap up things before the Christmas holidays, but let me just state that Jesus is the Reason for the Season and the whole point is no matter how inaccurate historians maybe about Dec 25th being Jesus’ birthday (which most of us know that it is not), the whole point is, it is a time of celebration concerning the Fact that Christ came to Save us all from the penalty of sin which is death, through what He did at Calvary by dying on the Cross and Resurrecting from the dead three days later in fulfillment of the scriptures.

Our Lord Jesus came down from Heaven to be born as a man to teach us all about God’s Kingdom, bear our sins on the cross and defeat the power of death so that we could all be redeemed and be reborn to be reunited with Him again by acknowledging that He is indeed our Savior. Such compassion shown by our God is worthy of all our praise and when you begin to realize, Jesus’ birth was not done in vain, the master plan was to restore all of us back into the fullness of our positions as joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Through this, we have so much to be thankful for and so much to give to God and to others by our way of worship back to the Father for all that He has done for us.

Jesus came down to give us the gift of hope through salvation so that in return, we would do the same by blessing those around us with the same gift of hope to return back to the heart and the love of the Father.

Extend your love to others so that the light of Christ love shining through you can reach others who live in darkness.

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 

I want to bless all my blogger friends and all those that read this blog a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Enjoy this video by Dan Stevers and the song I love called “The Drummer Boy” performed by Pentatonix  and God Bless You Everybody!

 

 

God Hasn’t Forgotten How to Provide


 


(© Istockphoto-ansonsaw; GivagA; krystiannawrocki)

If God owns it all, why do so many Christians find themselves lacking? Here’s how to experience the miracle of supernatural abundance from your heavenly Father—and what that really means.

I like to share the story about two girls who met at a camp on the East Coast. A bratty, rich girl introduced herself to the other: “Hey, there. I come here every summer because my daddy owns part of this property. Do you see that speedboat on the lake? My daddy owns that boat. Do you see that mansion on the side of the mountain? My daddy stays there when he comes to visit me.”

Looking upward, she then exclaimed, “Oh! Do you see that airplane? That’s my daddy up there,” and waved enthusiastically, as if the passengers could see her.

“So, who’s your daddy?” she asked in a condescending tone.

The other preteen was a good Christian girl but wasn’t wealthy. In fact, her mother had sold some of her personal jewelry to cover the camp’s registration fees. Feeling embarrassed and insignificant, the girl looked down at the dirt by their cabin.

Then she smiled and lifted her dejected head. With a twinkle in her eyes she said, “Do you see that large lake that your daddy’s boat is in? My Father created that lake. And you know that mountain your daddy’s cabin is on? My Father owns that mountain. As a matter of fact, do you see that big, blue sky your daddy’s plane is in? My Father owns that sky.”

Check Your Perspective

After reading that kind of story, you might be thinking, “So if God owns it all, why am I lacking?” The quick answer is that you possibly have a wrong perspective.

Perspective is everything, as shown by a recent experience my husband, Tommy, and I had. On a dark county road we noticed a red, out-of-control pick-up truck approximately 300 feet in front of us. Weaving back and forth, the driver jerked the truck from left to right and then sashayed into a circular pattern. We immediately called 911 to alert the authorities, only to discover later that the driver worked for the Texas Department of Public Safety and was testing a new type of road base. From our limited perspective he was a drunken fool. In reality, this good man was working late at night to keep our roads safe.

Perhaps you have a wrong perspective of God, believing He wants you to barely get along. But God is not like an earthly father who would say to his son, “Now, son, you know that I am a millionaire, but I don’t want you to become proud, so you can have only a dollar for lunch today.” No, no—a thousand times no. He is a loving Father who would say something more like, “After football practice, let’s go out for pizza; in fact, invite the whole team.”

I challenge you to renew your mind and think bigger. Spend time in Isaiah, where it says, “Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing” (40:15, NKJV).

One drop. Ponder that when your faucet drips tonight. Let one drop fall on a plate and stare at it. In God’s mind that drop represents 196 nations on the earth. You can tap into the unlimited resources of heaven by meditating on His greatness.

Know the Father’s Heart

It’s normal for parents and grandparents to lavish genuine gifts on their children. My paternal grandfather rewarded each of his granddaughters with a dress when we broke our thumb-sucking habit. My two older sisters both selected a conservatively priced dress. Not me! I spied a cheerful polka-dotted dress with a full petticoat and a matching kelly-green coat. Yes, it was the most expensive dress in the department. But Granddaddy never flinched. As a 5-year-old, I wore his love proudly. While my sisters teased me, they could have done the same thing if they had wanted.

Let me be clear: I believe God wants believers to prosper us with as much as He can trust us with. God is a Father. The New Testament refers to Him as a Father no less than 245 times, including more than 100 times in the Gospel of John. The issue of a believer’s prosperity is not his treasures but his pleasures. If you are ready to serve God wholeheartedly, whether abased or abounding, God can trust you and prosper you. Your Father loves you, but don’t forget that you’re on assignment.

Remember Your Source

So, let’s talk about how to live in light of God’s generosity and the truth of our need. My husband, Tommy, and I know all about this, as years ago we founded a youth camp, called Discovery Camp, that forced us to learn what we believe about faith and finances.

Early in the process, we made a covenant with each other to obey God wholeheartedly, to never merchandise the anointing, and to never, never, never develop sticky fingers. To assure that we could put the ministry on solid financial footing, Tommy refused to receive a salary for the first five years. I believe much of the supernatural provision in our lives is a direct result of that covenant. As we strive to do God’s bidding, He has been faithful to exceed our greatest expectations.

When we started, a retired accountant asked us how we planned to pay for everything, such as $6,000 in monthly land payments, food for thousands of campers and staff salaries. I remember thinking, “What a dumb question. Doesn’t he know that God provides where He guides?”

To give you some quick background, for several years Tommy and I had led successful youth ministries, first separately and then as a couple. When we married, it represented the grand climax to our respective youth networks. Brimming with optimism as we set out on our camp venture, we mailed out newsletters to 2,000 friends and ministry contacts, inviting them to support us for $5 per month.

Initially I questioned Tommy: “Only $5? Why not suggest $10? Or $25?”

“No, Rachel,” he responded. “Only $5. They are all members of a good church, and our objective is be a friend to the local church.”

Reality struck us between the eyes a month later when only 42 people responded to our newsletter. It didn’t take long to do the math—$5 times 42 people equaled $210. Suddenly that $6,000 land payment looked more like $60,000.

“What are we going to do?” I asked.

Grinning, he replied, “We’re gonna get busy reaching kids for Jesus like He sent us here to do, because God is faithful.”

I’m not sure how we made those first few payments, but we remained faithful and steady. I watched, amazed, as we were never late on our mortgage or other bills. Plus, Jesus wouldn’t allow us to call anyone for financial assistance. He continually reminded us, “Men are not your source.”

Dare to Be Debt Free

In January 1992, faith rose up in our hearts to pay off the mortgage on the camp property. Tommy led our staff in a strong confession of faith: “By Dec. 31, this ministry will be debt-free.” We confessed this constantly, despite our bills dramatically increasing each month.

(By the way, miracles don’t happen just because you repeat something over and over like a parrot. It’s the Holy Spirit who deposits in your heart the faith to believe for something. He makes suggestions that you can accept or reject. If you choose to agree with God and mix your confession with faith, you’ll receive the manifestation. I’m not referring to a selfish-oriented “blab it and grab it” claim but a genuine faith promise that advances the kingdom of God. When God is the initiator, He is inviting you to be a part of a miracle.)

Tommy felt financial burdens pressing on his shoulders that year. The cost of operating a 553-acre campus requiring ongoing maintenance of land and vehicles, staff housing, insurance and food costs seemed to regularly escalate. We rejoiced if the monthly electric bill stayed under $20,000, while Tommy said things like, “Lord, if You help me pay this camp off, I’ll give away free camps to hurting kids.” Keep in mind, no megachurch or rich men’s committee underwrote us, just faithful pastors, partners and friends who obeyed His voice. We had numerous “$5 grandmas” who accepted the call to intercede. Great will be their reward in heaven.

You have to come to the place where you declare confidently, “Man is not my source, the mail is not my source and events are not my source. God is my source.” We spent that entire year standing on His promise to be debt-free by the end of the year. On Dec. 24, I looked at the calendar and wondered why God seems to take such pleasure in last-minute miracles. Friends, don’t let go of your promise in your 11th hour. God is faithful.

By Dec. 26, we miraculously had the funds in the bank. However, we still needed to complete some legal paperwork. Our confession remained strong because we knew that “He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23). Sometimes if the door doesn’t open, you have to kick it down. Such was the case for our debt-free miracle. Tommy drove 300 miles to collect the necessary paperwork and then drove another 200 miles to finalize everything. Although some banks weren’t open because of the Christmas holidays and some doors slammed in our face, we never wavered in our confession of faith. On Dec. 29, with a check in hand for $139,604.35, we raced to the title company. Against all odds and to the glory of God, we paid off all 553 acres of the camp on the last business day of the year.

Keep Your Vows

In gratitude for God’s goodness and remembering Tommy’s vow, the next year we committed to give free camps to 2,000 underprivileged kids. We covered their registration and food and underwrote the $400 fee for a rental bus to bring them to camp. Some came from orphanages or lived on the streets with their homeless mothers. We saw no Scooby-Doo sleeping bags or designer jeans at those camps. One child’s lunch plate shook as he marveled, “I’ve never seen so much food on one plate!”

More than 20 years later, we have remained true to our vow. More than 25,000 children from impoverished backgrounds have enjoyed free camps, and most of them have decided to follow Christ. So have many of their chaperones. It seems that giving camps to these poor children opened heaven’s windows and released supernatural provisions. Solomon addressed this principle twice in Proverbs: “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given” (19:17); and “He who gives to the poor will not lack” (28:27).

Make Room for the Supernatural

Tommy had just completed a sermon series titled “Seizing Your God-Given Opportunities” when a friend alerted us about a feed store in the process of being dismantled in Uvalde, Texas. Even at a super-low price, buying iron from the dismantled building sounded like a hassle, yet Tommy felt an inner witness to pursue it.

After the iron was delivered to the camp, we learned it was worth double the price we had paid for it. It was a case of supernatural provision! We used those funds to build classrooms for our Texas Bible Institute.

The same thing happened with our camp road, which started out as 1,800 feet of dirt base. In Texas we enjoy what the locals call “gully washers,” which are relentless, torrential rainstorms. For nine years we lived regularly with mud, mud and more mud. Campers routinely tracked mud into the dorms and chapel. Our guests’ vehicles frequently got mired in the muck. We used to joke that in heaven, our shoes wouldn’t be muddy.

Read more at: God Hasn’t Forgotten How to Provide.

Nothing is Impossible


Happy Sunday Everybody!

God is sooooo good that I just had to share this little story here about what Faith is. Sometimes we have things that we can and cannot do in life. With the things we can do, we must do those things to the best of our ability, but with the things we cannot do, that is when we must learn to lean on God for help. Seek Him and Enjoy this Story.

Source: http://thebeststatus.com/nothing-is-impossible/

Nothing is Impossible.

A young man working in the army was constantly humiliated because he believed in God.

One day the captain decided to humiliate him before the troops. He called the young man and said:

– Young man, take the key and go and park the Jeep in front.

The young man replied:
– I can not drive!

The captain said:
– But then ask your assistance from God! Shows us that He exists!

The young man took the key and walked to the vehicle, praying the whole time.

…As a result he parked the Jeep to the place PERFECTLY well as the captain wanted.

The young man came out of the jeep and saw them all crying.

They all said together:
– We want to serve your God!

The young soldier was astonished, he wanted to know what was going on?

CAPTAIN was crying, and he opened the hood of the jeep showing the young man that the car had no engine.

Then the boy said:
See? This is the God I serve, the God who gives life to what does not exist. You may think there are things that are still impossible, but with God all things are possible.

THIS GOD OF IMPOSSIBILITY WILL BE YOUR GOD TODAY!

Miracles reported on set of Bible miniseries


 

By Mark Ellis

Jesus baptism on The Bible

Jesus baptism on The Bible

The hit miniseries The Bible is setting records on cable television for the History Channel, with as many as 13 million viewers tuning in for the blockbuster. But certain aspects of the filming were even more remarkable, as producer Mark Burnett reports highly unusual occurrences behind-the-scenes that he labels miracles.

The epic five-part series, which runs through Easter, is the most-watched entertainment program on cable television, according to ABC’s Good Morning America.

The show has many celebrities following it, including rapper and actor L L Cool J, actress Lisa Rinna, and even Oprah, according to ABC. Oprah tweeted throughout the most recent episode several times, particularly about Samson: “Samson distracted by Delilah. fatal flaw,” she noted. Oprah’s interest and involvement may boost the ratings even higher.

R & B superstar Cee Lo Green’s musical addition to the production is also attracting a younger audience, giving a fresh new feel to a time-honored story.

The making of the TV behemoth was filled with strange happenings that Producer Mark Burnett can’t quite explain. When the actor who portrays Jesus told Nicodemus “The Holy Spirit is like the wind,” a strong rushing wind that felt like the exhaust behind a 747 almost blew the set over and sustained for 20 seconds, Burnett told Entertainment Weekly.

“Everyone just looked at everyone like, ‘What just happened?’” Burnett said.

The production – filmed in Morocco —  also hired a ‘snake wrangler’ to make sure that dangerous reptiles did not get near the actors, and he usually found one or two snakes each day.

However, on the day the momentous crucifixion scene was filmed, the snake expert found an unprecedented 48 venomous snakes crawling around their re-created Golgotha – the place where Jesus defeated Satan, who is often depicted in Scripture as a snake.

When the baptism of Jesus was filmed in a reservoir, the producers were alarmed when part of the actor’s unique costume came off and floated away.

“Four days later, a kid showed up from many, many, many miles away, who had been seeking us through the desert to return this to us,” Burnett told Entertainment Weekly. “He didn’t know what it was why he should seek us, but he felt he had to return it.”

The series will air its final installment on March 31, Easter Sunday.