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Inside this issue:

Adornment
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by Josie Davis weapons and march through the camp, kill the people of Israel leading the sinful practices. In carrying out this command, many had to kill their own brothers, friends, and neighbors. The obedience of the Levites was the consecration of themselves to God. They were rewarded the honor of guarding and protecting the tabernacle (Numbers 3:5). These men of Levi stepped forward, seeking righteousness and following the wisdom of the Lord. The book of Proverbs’ central concern is practical wisdom for living. Levites knew what it meant to truly live that particular day. We read (Proverbs 1:7) that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. The essence of wisdom is a heart’s trembling before God. The willingness of the Levities to walk towards Moses stems from the deep desire to make themselves right before the Lord. “My son, do not lose sight of them- keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. (Proverbs 3:21-23)” Adorned on the neck of every believer is the wisdom of our Holy God. The armor Paul tells us to wear during battle is the necessary parts of a spiritual life with God. Strapped around the shoulders, hanging tightly

The Church You Can Believe In Today: Living the Gospel Lifestyle

“..then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, ‘Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered around him.” -Exodus 32:26 Moses started down the mountain, carrying in his hands the tablets made of stone, written on either side the laws of God. He descended to the place where Joshua remained, and Joshua was alarmed. While hearing the cries coming from within the camp, he feared the people of God were being attacked. As Moses and Joshua drew closer to the people, there stood an idol surrounded by a multitude of Israelites dancing around it. Moses threw down the tablets, burning with anger. The sacred stones lay in fragments before an idolatrous crowd, saturated in their worldly pleasures. Moses cleared the camp by throwing down the idol and burning it so that the people would feel his sorrow and anger. Aaron, having allowed such sin to continue, faced Moses’ questioning. Moses cried out, asking who was for Jehovah. Who has not forsaken their God? Who will come forth from this sin and serve the Lord before any idol? The Levites stepped forward. Some had indulged themselves in the nation’s sin, yet many had refrained from it from the beginning. Moses commanded them to take their

around the neck is the breastplate of righteousness. Not only does this protection of righteousness defend us from schemes and attacks from evil, it reminds us of the need to keep our hearts on track with God. The weight of this plate should remind us of the responsibility we have with the Lord. The Levitical priests, because God had consecrated their tribe, were given the command to intercede for the people of Israel. They had to be adorned with both the ephod and the breastplate. Both pieces were woven by the same type of craftsman as the inner curtains of the sanctuary of God. The shoulder pieces of the ephod were made of gold and had a stone on each side engraved with the names of all the tribes of Israel. Likewise, the breastplate had twelve precious stones embedded into the gold with the name of one tribe on each stone. Therefore, the priest wore a memorial upon their heart. Hanging around their necks was a reminder of the provision and protection of God, the source of wisdom. The Levites were blessed with the opportunity to adorn their necks with the memorials of God, not by luck, but through their boldness to seek God first. If we are to receive God’s wisdom and wear it around our necks, we must be righteous before the Lord and serve him over any idol around us.

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Being the Church: Why Pray?

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Self Acceptance

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When Troubles Come

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The Problem of Evangelism

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The Church You Can Believe In Today: Living the Gospel Lifestyle by Bruce Wilson
In Ephesians chapter 3 and verse 1 the Apostle Paul says, “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles” (Eph 3:1 ESV). He calls himself a prisoner of Christ Jesus. He was indeed in prison in Rome awaiting trial before Nero. He had certain privileges, i.e. house arrest, so he was able to stay in the house where he was living and his friends were allowed access to him. However, night and day he was chained to a Roman soldier who was his guard and whose duty it was to see that Paul did not escape. Even in those circumstances, Paul calls himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ. An ordinary person would probably have said that they were a prisoner of the Roman government. Paul was a prisoner of the Roman government, but he didn’t look at it that way. He thought of himself as a prisoner of Christ. He didn’t look at himself as being imprisoned by the Roman authorities, he thought of himself as suffering for the sake of Christ and having opportunity to be a witness for Christ and to proclaim Christ to all those who were around him. He was looking at this imprisonment as a mission field. PERSPECTIVE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD! Paul could have looked upon his imprisonment as being a victim, but he looked at it as championing the cause of Christ! He chose to be a champion for Christ! His perspective is found in verse 7 of this same chapter in Ephesians, and I want us to see it in several different versions of the Bible. Eph. 3:7 NIV: I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. Eph. 3:7 CEV: God treated me with kindness. His power worked in me, and it became my job to spread the good news. Eph. 3:7 ESV: Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. Eph. 3:7 GNB: I was made a servant of the gospel by God's special gift, which he gave me through the working of his power. Eph. 3:7 KJV: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Even in the different variations of this verse, we find that Paul understood his role as a servant, or minister, to spread the Good News. The word for minister in the Greek, “diakonos” means; “an attendant, that is, (generally) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specifically a Christian teacher and pastor (technically a deacon or deaconess): - deacon, minister, servant.” Paul knew what his calling was and was doing everything he could to fulfill that call God had on his life. The call of God on his life made him who he was, it defined him, it consumed him and it was his character. It wasn’t a job to him, it wasn’t an occupation, it was him. In other words, Paul lived the Gospel life style. His circumstances did not detract from God’s call on his life, nor did it keep him from fulfilling that call. Just what is the Gospel lifestyle? It is our conduct, our love that God has given us for others, and it is our love for the lost and our desire and our ambition to expand the Kingdom of God through the Gospel message. It is a call from God that is more precious after salvation that anything we could ever have or attain in this life. That calling and lifestyle should define us also. There are some Biblical expectations for Christians with regard to the Gospel lifestyle. We are commanded to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are called to be holy as Christ is holy. We are empower to and should strive to imitate Jesus Christ, take on His characteristics and to want to be like Him in all that we are.

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If we allow Him, He will empower us with the ability to live that way with the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit. . Speaking specifically to pastors, we are also reminded that sheep need a shepherd. “Pay careful attention to
yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Act 20:28 ESV). God has a plan for His church

and it is that congregations need a shepherd/pastor. It is a great honor and privilege to be called pastor by our people. I remember not many years after I began pastoring, I saw one of the youth from my congregation at camp meeting and they were with someone I didn’t know. When the young man introduced me to his friend he said, “This is my pastor.” It was very humbling to me and it was a moment that I realized the magnitude of what that calling was and the expectations not only Biblically, but from the congregation I pastored. Pastoring, at times, is difficult, however it is such an honor that God would call us each individually and personally to labor for Him in this capacity. I have been in meetings with other ministers who did nothing but whine and complain about being pastors. I have heard pastors complain about everything in the ministry they do and the people they pastor. I have heard them make disparaging remarks about the sheep that they shepherd. I know we all have bad days and discouraging times, myself included, but is that an excuse to not conduct ourselves as Christ like and to be obedient to God’s Word? Again, PERSPECTIVE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD! We are to see others through God’s eyes. In the last few decades we have been inundated with teaching about leadership, I’ve been to many of those conferences and read many of

the leadership books by some of the leading gurus in the circles we travel. We have been taught about paradigm shifts and use new words (I call the church euphemisms) to basically do the same things we have been doing. I am reminded that Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun, so do we really have new ideas? My point is this, now with regard to the position of pastor. Some want to be known as the CEO of their congregation and they want to build empires. We are often judged by our peers by the size of the congregation we pastor. There are some that have been faithful for years and have pastored small congregations and were excellent speakers and anointed, but they will never have a chance to be used in another capacity because of their status in ministry. There are some pastors now, who prefer to be called Life Coaches and on and on the list goes. We need to remember who it is we serve and whose we are. That makes a difference in our thinking. Again, PERSPECTIVE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD! We need to have a Biblical perspective (world view) rather than being influenced by the world. I am reminded that in Nehemiah’s day, when the Jews were just starting to do some rebuilding of the temple and the temple worship was being reestablished and the Law was being reintroduced, his admonition to the Jews was that “the joy of the Lord is our strength!” It indeed makes a difference when we are able to labor in the joy of the Lord and not in defeat to the devil! There are several verses of Scripture I want to leave you with that I hope will be encouragement to pastors and lay folks alike as we all labor for the King.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once

you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1Pe 2:9-10 ESV) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. (Mar 8:35 ESV) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith."(Rom " 1:17 ESV) Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, (Php 1:27 ESV)

Please don’t misunderstand me, you do not have to be a minister or pastor to live the Gospel lifestyle, we are all, as Christians called to live it, but pastors, especially should desire to live that way. I read these quotes somewhere, I don’t remember where but they make a great point with regard to our labor in the Lord. “To hunger to be used and to go unused is the worst hunger of all.” And “The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves.” Will you say today like the prophet of long ago, “Here am I Lord, send me.” No matter what the assignment is, no matter how big or how small, will you follow the leading and call of the Lord?

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God Strong Revival
Os Guinness wrote in his book “The Last Christian on Earth”, Civil religion, consumer religion and closed religion are ways the enemy works to undermine Christianity. Another such method is common religion (religion shaped by the priorities and demands of populist opinions and feelings.) The aim through all of them is to ensure that the Church is shaped rather than shaping, reverting to the pattern of the culture rather than renewing its culture after the pattern of God. Follow consumerism through any product line and you can easily see that once a product has been on the market for a while, the seller must in some way surpass the products original appeal to keep it selling. Once the Church adopted the idea of appealing to felt needs then, of course, this became the course it was set on, a continual effort to outdo the last appeal made to the public. Guinness confronts us with organizational development that plays into the enemies hands elevating man-rule, and in doing this, then effectively dethroning the Lord and nullifying the Church. Guinness clearly shows us the Churches break-down in effectiveness happens through subThe Truth In HD

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verting the place of Christ. In Isaiah 43 we are confronted with a series of statements that provide us with encounters with the Lord. Each of these statements bring to us the same underling question, “Do you really believe in God?”, not the god recreated within the confines of what is suitable to not offend the culture, but the super-natural God of the Bible. God confronts us with some very powerful statements in this chapter that are either going to be explained away as a creative literary device or they are true and affect our beliefs. The first option civilizes the God of the Bible to make a culturally acceptable religion. The second explanation is radical, it is declaring that God is above culture and we must conform to Him, not the other way. Notice Isaiah 43:5, “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, give up, and to the south, do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth.” Look at it this way, God has walked into the very center of life through this verse and asked who will

believe and have faith enough to stand with Me right here? This begs us to answer another important question, “Is Jesus Christ King, or isn’t He?” Standing before Pilate as the crucifixion approached Jesus was asked, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered Pilate, “You say that I am a King, for this purpose I was born and for this purpose I came into the world –to bear witness to the truth.” Like Isaiah 43, the Lord came into the culture but not to conform to the culture but to bring His kingship and to transform lives. H. M. Riggle wrote, “He came to set up and maintain a spiritual government, and this government was established in and by the truth. All who love the truth will hear his voice and attend to the spiritual doctrine He preaches” ( P. 4-5, ”Christ’s Triumphal Reign”). Every time man inserts his control in one more area of the Church, the Church’s power is diminished and authority undermined. But when God’s people respond to His authority and acknowledge the Lord as King, then the blessings of His Kingship are experienced in the Church.

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The world has become like a newsroom, editing reality to suit the desired message that will achieve the pursued end that isn't always about communicating truth but achieving ratings. The world practices achieving the desired end through any and all means. We know this as the end justifies the means. The problem we cannot escape, though, in the Church is that much of what the Bible is teaching directly relates to the means chosen to the end result. When Ahab wanted Naboth's vineyard and could not obtain it, Jezebel produced the plan of false accusation to eliminate Naboth and obtain the vineyard, all of which drew the wrath of God and the prophet Elijah delivering the message. For God's people, the way is always as important as the end. Today politicians communicate the desired end they hope to achieve and believe if they can communicate it long enough, it will be accepted as reality. Practicing that within the Church perverts the true meaning and nature of Church. We find more and more corporate boardroom practices taken up as the way to run effective meetings, attempting to avoid dealing with any open discussion that might raise a contrary voice. Editing and shaping a message only creates an accepted position that people choose to call reality, but it doesn't create truth; truth doesn't require shaping. Truth requires believing. In verse 5 of Isaiah 43, the Lord tells us, "Fear not, for I am with you." Then He goes on to tell us He will bring our offspring from the north, south, east and west! This is one of those moments we have to decide, do we really believe what

the Lord is saying? Sound bite reality is mind control through disinformation to achieve a desired end. In policy governance, it creates a hierarchy that moves the Church into a structure that becomes a humanly organized and controlfocused religious body. I differentiate between Church and religious body because they differ as to who the head of the Church really is. It was Jesus who declared, "I will build my Church," and that confronts us with the current position of Christ. H. M. Riggle pointed out, "But in a much greater and more comprehensive sense are these prophecies fulfilled since Christ has risen from the dead, ascended into heaven and sent forth the Holy Spirit as his personal representative on earth" (P. 11, Christ's Triumphal Reign). C. E. Brown describes the work of the Church as a "Spiritual Democracy" and that, he states, can only exist where men believe that all Christians are children of God by regeneration, or the new birth, and as such are members of the universal priesthood of believers (P. 127, The Apostolic Church). Brown and others believe in a Biblical governing model that allows for the participation of the Church. In a spiritual democracy, all decisions aren't kept behind closed doors and pushed up the ladder to a man-made positional authority. We should really understand that anyone in leadership isn't there to get as much done as possible without the Body's involvement, rather they are to keep them informed and involved. In the New Testament there are no corporations, only the Church, local and universal and those of a particular district. Too often it appears we are taking our ideas from the corporate world to attempt to fa-

cilitate our end. There has arisen a strong desire in some circles to control all gathered assemblies to avoid messy questions and debate. But we are missing the great truth that debate isn't evil; it's part of the assembled Church and the governing factor for debate isn't strong controlling policy but holiness and love through the Spirit of God. Isaiah confronts us with a description of the hand of God among His people and we must decide what we really believe: in a god who fits into the culture or the God who is counter -culture and revives His Church and brings seasons of refreshing from the Spirit of God. Isaiah confronts us with the Lord drawing the people to Himself as He calls them out of the four points of the compass. Every day some new plan to accomplish God's work comes across the internet. But do we ever hear the encouragement to call upon God for revival? When I look at the devastation sin has taken on our community and then our country, I realize that no small plan is going to strike a blow at this and make a real difference. We need a real miracle. We need the hand of God. To draw people together without the Lord is only to create a crowd, but to participate with Him and call them out of darkness to light, to walk the way of holiness, is the only answer and that will only happen if the Lord brings revival. In Isaiah 43:10 we read, "You are my witnesses, declares the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me

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no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me." God, Truth and the Church cannot be reduced to culturally acceptable ideas. The fact is they are counter culture, they are radical. God Himself is the radical one who broke into culture and sent His only Son. That discipleship means to be a follower of Jesus isn't debated, but to realize that it means being the counter-culture ambassador of Jesus Christ doesn't seem to be understood. The way this is accomplished isn't through nice little culturallyacceptable programs but to realize that: Knowing Jesus as Lord makes us transformation agents of the culture. It has to mean, at the least, being in the world but not of the world. This Lord who has overcome sin, death and the grave would dwell in us. What will happen through people who are sold out to the Lord? Don't you think it is going to invigorate the Church and raise up the work of God with new vitality? What will the sanctuary that the Lord occupies be like? It will have to be a cleansed sanctuary that doesn't share control with any little false gods. That's what vs. 10 said, before

Him there was no god and none after, so being our own god isn't going to work. When we come to Him with open hearts, then we can experience His fullness and know His victory in our lives. But it is based on surrender to the Lord, not compromise with the culture. Those who surrender will know Him and experience personal revival and the more who seek that kind of experience will be used of Him to spread that experience. Today is the day and now is the time for a God-Strong revival. We need our strength in the Lord, not man, not manmade structure, but The Lord Himself and then will come Revival! When you study Ephesians 6, it is only the people of God who wear the armor and so we realize that God wants a God-Strong people. Old Testament or New, we are confronted with a super -natural God who doesn’t conform to the culture, but brings people out of every bondage they are experiencing in the culture to set them free! We are called to believing faith and so we are confronted with one final question, “Will we stand in Believing Faith or unbelieving doubt that rationalizes

away the super natural God of the Bible for a culturally acceptable version that doesn’t offend?”
The Bible tells us He is King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s. I choose Him! Pray with me for revival!

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Being the Church: Why Pray?
Last month we looked at being puzzled, how we all fit together. Though each of us is different, we are one in the church because of the unity we have in Christ Jesus. We talked of how we are to be devoted, or committed, to the fellowship. That commitment does not end Sunday after service but is to be continuous as we continue to be the Church. Remember, “Devoted” is defined as, “feeling or showing great Love, commitment, or loyalty.” With great love they were committed and loyal to 4 things which we will continue to look at each month. These 4 commitments are how we are to Be the Church. Acts 2:42-47 says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. They were devoted to the Apostles teaching, the Fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. They also met regularly, day by day as vs. 44 states. They committed themselves to prayer – it was an act of will, they put their minds to it. Each of them decided in their heart to dedicate time to pray, it was something that they saw as necessary, and together, with conscious and deliberate action, they devoted themselves to being the church in prayer. Why would they pray together when they could just go to off on their own

By Kenny Seidler Praying without ceasing is not spending the day with your eyes closed, head bowed and speaking out loud. It is having an on-going conversation with God that does not end, it is keeping the line of communication open, and it is acknowledging God, practicing His presence, knowing that He is there at any and every given moment to talk to. Praying without ceasing means we consciously and quickly turn to Him with every thought and worry. In Isaiah 56:6 & 7 we see that God’s House is to be a house of prayer and Jesus quotes this in Matthew 21:13 when He cleanses the physical temple of the things of the world. Now God’s temple, or His dwelling place, is in the hearts of His people. That means that we too are to be a house of prayer! As you read through Paul’s letter to the Romans you will find that as believers, by faith, we are justified, made righteous, and sanctified – and all of this by grace. In Romans 5 we were told that having been justified by faith we have peace with God in Christ and in Christ we also, by faith, we have obtained access to grace. Accessing God’s underserved favor (GRACE) requires 2 things; being in Christ and prayer which means we will be coming to Him in Jesus name. Think about it, when you obtained salvation it was through prayer, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). When you came to Christ you prayed, in faith, asking God for forgiveness and received salvation, justification, Peace with God, His righteousness, sanctification, and access to the very Throne of God in Christ, or in Jesus name.

and pray? Well, first we need to understand a few things about prayer. While prayer is basically talking to God it is about listening as well. Prayer is communication which is a two way street. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding,” vs. 6 goes with it, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” So we are to be obedient from the heart, trusting in His promises instead of our own understanding of situations. We are also to seek His will, submit to His will, or acknowledge Him, depending on the translation of the Bible that you use. This means that we are aware of His presence and that we are to communicate with Him in the midst of our circumstances. But if our understanding of communication is telling the other person what we want from them, then we need to change the way we communicate. If you go to work or you are at home or you are out with friends and you tell everyone what you want, about all your problems, and about what you need and you fail to listen to any of them, how long before they quit listening? If Prayer is only telling God your problems and wants, then you need to change your understanding of what prayer is because you are only getting half of it right! God is not Santa Claus nor is He a wish fulfilling genie that grants us our every desire with the magic words “In Jesus name.” ‘In Jesus name’ says that you are coming as His representative, you are asking according to His will. Each and every one of us is to be going to the Lord in prayer; when Jesus taught about prayer in Matthew 6 he did not start out with ‘if you pray’ but “when you pray.” We are also commanded in Colossians 4:2 to “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” And in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are commanded to pray without ceasing.

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When we pray we no longer have to have a priest or other human intercessor. When Jesus died on the cross for our sin, the veil was torn from top to bottom signifying that God had made a way into the holy of holies for us through His Son. God the Son intercedes on our behalf; in Christ we have access to God’s underserved favor. This is a very good reason to pray! But it should not be the first. We have access to the very power that raised Jesus from the dead! Resurrection power is ours in Christ and yet the church is ineffective and irrelevant in many of the communities where God has placed us. Many times I have heard people say that it just feels like my prayers are not going anywhere, like they are just bouncing off the ceiling or that God does not hear my prayers. Psalm 34 tells us that God’s ear is attentive to the prayers of the righteous, so how could this be? Our prayers are hindered, our access to God and His underserved favor is blocked by unrighteousness, hindered because of something that is in the way. If I can’t get to you or you can’t hear me because there is a wall between us how can you answer my requests? It is the same with God, only it is we that cause the hindrance of our own prayers.

This is where prayer changes me. Oswald Chambers said that “It is not so true that ‘prayer changes things’ as that prayer changes me and I change things”. C. S. Lewis said basically the same thing “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time - waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.” It changes me because when I see that there is something hindering my relationship and communion with God, I with His underserved favor, must deal with it. The problem is that many seem to think we can go on as we are and God’s grace will cover our transgressions and even our deliberate and willful sin. We know that these things separate us from God and yet many continue to walk with the world while complaining that God doesn’t hear their prayers. They have no fear of God, without which they will have no godly wisdom. God’s word clearly states that the beginning of Wisdom is the fear of God. If there is no fear, no reverence, and no acknowledgement of God then how can you expect Him to answer your prayers. James 4:7 tells us “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” We should be asking in

Jesus name, not in our own, according to God’s will and not according to our own selfish desires. We ask for money when we have not paid for what we have. We ask for forgiveness while withholding it from those around us and we ask for things that go against God’s Word. 1 Peter 3:7-12 tells us that when we are not understanding with our spouses that our prayers are hindered, and if we do not, as God’s church, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, or if we repay evil for evil or insult for insult we will not be blessed. These things hinder our access to God’s underserved favor, but as the holy Spirit tells us in 1st John “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And in chapter 5, that if we ask according to His will, He hears us. When we find the access of God’s underserved favor hindered, when we don’t see the blessings of God. When the church is ineffective, and the land and its leaders corrupt it is time to seek God in Revival – Personal revival, as well as congregational. The Word of God tells us that if we return to Him He will return to us, that if Christians will destroy their independence from God and repent that then He will

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bring healing to our land. We need to right our relationship and follow the instruction of His Word. The Church and our nation are in peril, if we want to see revival it has to begin with His church humbled and seeking His will and not our own. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we read “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Today His people are the followers of Christ, we are to humble ourselves, this tells us that it must be an effort of will, something we choose to do. ‘Humble’ used as a verb, as it is here, is defined by the free dictionary.com, Google, and Noah Webster as destroying the independence or will of… At the fall it was Adam and Eve’s independent and willful decision to eat of the forbidden fruit that got us all into trouble. That independent, self-first attitude must go; we must destroy our independence from God and His will and seek His face and His presence in prayer. And we must decide in our hearts that we will not be of the world, turn from our worldly and wicked desires, and return to God, or repent. It all comes back to the journey, in which direction you are headed. The journey of sanctification begins afresh each and every day as any journey does. Today we must choose to move forward in Christ, being the Church, repenting of the things that have hindered our prayers, our relationship with Him, and our relationships with each other. God’s instructions for revival don’t

say if YOU pray, it calls on the people of God, the church to pray in unity, to seek His will as one – “If My people.” Then he will heal our land, and our nation and remember: “You are the Church.” So to answer the question of, “why pray,” when we pray we humble ourselves and acknowledge God as God, we communicate with Him, building our relationship, we are being obedient to the command to pray, and we obtain access to God’s Undeserved favor (GRACE), His forgiveness, His strength, and His wisdom. Prayer is the exercise of drawing on the underserved favor of God. And God has given us His Spirit so that even when we don’t know what to pray, or how to pray as we ought, the Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God. Throughout the NT we are told to pray in the Spirit Romans 8:26-27 gives us a clear understanding of what this is, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Will of God, it is aligning our will with His to bring about the purposes of God in the world. This is being the Church, the people of God. Church, are we ready to move forward? If there was ever an answer as to “Why pray” just look around you, listen to the news, we need revival. Are you willing to set aside the time that is so necessary for revival, to

turn to God, not just in individual prayer for revival, but to gather together and humble yourselves and seek His Face as His church? Are you ready to be a house of prayer? Only then can the Church access the Grace of God, only then will The Church be blessed and grow, we need to pray, to cry out to God, to seek The Lord. Church if we do not pray, God will not move. Do not pass up the opportunity to pray as a church. Devote yourself to prayer, together we can be the Church!

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Self Acceptance
“They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the most high God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them into the abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank and into the lake and was drowned. When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in

by Blair Spencer your name? Is it Tubby? Is it Manipulator? Is it trouble -maker? Is it Stupid? How about stuck up? Arrogant? Jerk? There are all kinds of names we carry around inside our heads because of the things that we have heard others tell us. In this scripture, Jesus is face to face with a man who is overtaken with demons. The demonic activity in his life was so profound that all connection, normal connection with humanity was cut off. He was living in tombs, naked, hurting others and himself. This man was chained and that didn’t even keep him. The demons instead took him out into a solitary place. Absolutely nothing was normal in this man’s life. Jesus asked “what is your name?” Instead of the man answering the demons answered. They replied “Legion” because there were so many. And in one powerful moment Jesus releases this man of the demons inside him, Jesus sent the demons away. The man could now begin living a somewhat normal life. Lots of things ruin our lives and put things into our head, mainly the world around us. The world tells us nothing but lies and shows us false reality. Henri Nouwan, a catholic theologian said “we live in a world filled with voices that shout, you are no good, you are ugly, you are worthless,

the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demonpossessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” In verse thirty Jesus asked the man “What is your name?” That is a good question for all of us to consider sometimes, what is your name? I’m not asking for the legal name you sign on important documents or the name on your driver’s license. I’m asking what the name you have for yourself inside your head is. The names that you call yourself, the names we have heard from other people that have just stuck with us and affect our self-image and the acceptance of ourselves. What is it? What is

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you are despicable, you are nobodyunless you can demonstrate the opposite.” Sometimes the world isn’t so bad, but a majority of the time it’s against us. But it’s not just the world that hurts us. Think about things with our own families and friends that have hurt us. Wounds we carry around that make us think we are worthless, unlovable, messed up, and that we are the problem. Wounds from our families are something we unfortunately carry around for years and years. Let me give you a personal example of family hurting someone and them being hurt by it for years to come. I unfortunately hurt someone (well actually a good many people but one person more than anyone else) someone very dear to my heart. Someone I was supposed to protect with every ounce of my being, love and cherish each day of my life, instead I did the complete opposite. I beat this person down completely, I said unbelievably hurtful things daily, I was very unpleasant to be around and quite honestly I was an abuser. During that time I dealt with quite a bit of depression and instead of getting help decided to just do it on my own and in turn took out every bad feeling and thought on this person and others around me. During my time of depression I quit seeking God, and that will always remain the biggest mistake of my life. Thankfully through doctors and counselors things got under control but now here I am, picking of the pieces of broken relationships and trying to mend hearts that I broke. But most of all, trying to heal my husband’s broken heart from living 5 years with a wife who showed no emotion, kicked him when he was down, and did everything but lift him up. From those 5 years he will carry

around scars for years that I left on him. Things I said and did that I can never take back that will remain with him. I can tell you that when I was able to get my emotions and depression under control I began thinking clearly again, feeling normal again, and seeking God again. But healing takes time! What I have to do is accept the things that I did in the past ask for forgiveness and show every day that I am not that same person. We need to be able to see ourselves as we really are and not according to the lies we have been told or the things about us that may have been true about us at some point, but they are not true in the here and now because God has made it different. Henri Nouwen also stated, “The world tells you many lies about who you are and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this: Every time you feel hurt, offended or rejected you have to dare to say to yourself, these feelings, as strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth even though I can’t feel it right now is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the beloved and held safe in an everlasting embrace.” Do you believe that? Do you believe that is true about you? If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior it is true! When you accept Jesus Christ the old is gone and the new has come. You turn from your old ways and follow Jesus Christ! God will heal and change us, but we have to allow him!! We need to make use of whatever help is available. Some people who are discouraged are discouraged because they want God to provide a solution, but they want God to do it a certain way.

A good example is this story, It starts flooding and the water is coming up on the porch so the guy prays that God will deliver him from this danger. And so a truck comes by that is still able to run and the guy driving the truck says, “Hey, get in I have room in the truck.” The man says, “No, no I don’t need your help. I have prayed to God and he will deliver me.” So the water comes up higher and a boat comes by and the guy driving the boat says, “I still have room, get in and we’ll get you out of here.” They man on the house again says, “No, I don’t need your help. God will deliver me, I asked him.” So the water gets up to the roof and a helicopter comes. The pilot yells down that they will send a ladder down and they will get the man out to safety before he dies. The man on the roof says, “No, I don’t need your help I prayed for God to deliver me.” As you probably guess the guy dies. He gets to the pearly gates and says, “God, I prayed for you to deliver me, why didn’t you?” And God said, “I tried - 3 times!!!” Sometimes God’s help is going to come with a human face. Sometimes God’s help is going to come a certain way but we don’t want it that way because we are too embarrassed. It might be something you have done in your past, something that has wounded us and it is still part of why we can’t accept ourselves, why we struggle in our relationship with God. It might be because of promiscuity in our past, an abortion, drug use, the wounds are still there. The problems are still hurting us because we don’t want anyone to know about it. Maybe it’s not a past issue and it’s something current. Maybe an addiction, sexual temptation, the way you are treating your spouse and you want God to help but you are certainly too embarrassed to let anybody know about it.

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These things always have an answer from God but sometimes it comes through other believers. Sometimes we need a counselor, a Christian brother or sister, a doctor. We need to receive the help God is going to give us through the face of another human being. It may not be the way we want God to heal and help us but He knows best and we need to accept that! So again, what is your name? When Jesus first asked the man his name the demons replied “Legion”. It had nothing to do with the true identity of the man but with the problem. What about after Jesus heals him? Do you think the man that is now sitting at Jesus’ feet still has the name Legion? No. Because Jesus has dealt with that and he has his real true identity back. God has also dealt with me and I can honestly say that I feel I have my true identity back. Do I still carry about the things I did in my past and the way I was? Of course I do, but now I can truly say and remind myself that now that I am in the right with Jesus Christ and following him. I am: Complete in Jesus Christ, Forever Free, Sanctified, Meant for the Masters use, One with the Lord,

On my way to heaven, Light in the darkness, Candle in the dark, City on a hill, Citizen of heaven, Hidden with Christ in God, Protected from the evil one, More than a conqueror, Born again, Healed by his stripes, Sheltered under his wings. I MUST believe that and remember that I am no longer who I was. I am a new creation in Jesus Christ, I can’t let myself be defined by who I was and my past. Who are you? Are you a follower, disciple and lover of Jesus Christ? If not, now is your chance to be a new creation. Are you a follower of Jesus but your relationship with God is hindered because you are holding on to your past or things people have said or done? Today is the day to let it go. Do not be held in the bondage of your past!

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When Troubles Come
When troubles come...I tend to travel a roller-coaster of emotions. I either start with tears or anger (depends on what kind of trouble), then I go screaming down the hill to denial, screeching around the curve to fear, then slowly back around to tears or anger. And sometimes I'll find a nice straight stretch of peace. When troubles come…My husband grows a beard. Seriously. I can always tell when he is stressed or depressed, because he tends to not shave as much. Troubles come and he will curl up into a ball of stress or sit on the couch in a heap of depression. Occasionally, those troubles erupt like a volcano in a rush of red hot anger. The point of this whole comparison is that everyone faces trouble in a different manner. We've all faced some sort of trouble, trial, or tribulation (however you want to phrase it), and we probably all handle it a little bit differently. Today, we'll look into how God handles our troubles and what our responsibility is when troubles come. Psalm 34:17-18 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. When troubles come... Notice I said 'when' and not 'if.' Troubles will come. Unfortunately, "There is this junk theology floating around out there that point to difficulties as evidence that you must not be following Jesus. The biblical reality is that when people say yes to following Jesus, they are agreeing to carry a cross, and that

by Bri Sherman Deliverance doesn't always mean we will be 'snatched away.' His deliverance means that He "intends to give us what we need, not what we think we want" (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain). He can see the whole picture, while we are focused on the tiny space in the corner. It is important to "never forget that God is far more interested in our getting to know the Deliverer than simply being delivered" (Beth Moore, Praying God's Word). Sometimes it takes a storm for us to learn who He really is. Charles Spurgeon puts it this way: "I write this with all reverence: God Himself cannot deliver a person who is not in trouble. Therefore, it is to some advantage to be in distress, because God can then deliver you. Even Jesus Christ, the Healer of me, cannot heal a person who is not sick. Therefore, sickness is not an adversity for us, but rather an advantageous opportunity for Christ to heal us. The point is, my reader, your adversity may prove your advantage by offering occasion for the display of divine grace" (Spurgeon on Prayer and Spiritual Warfare). ...The Lord will be near (vs. 18a). We never have to go it alone. Yes, we may face troubles, but no matter what, He will be there with us! We always, always, always have a hand to hold on to! He will surely "save [us] from sinking under [our] burdens" (Henry). When troubles come... We have a responsibility as well. First and foremost, in order to be heard, we must cry out (vs. 17a). But our crying out must be directed towards Him, "...He anguishes yet He waits...until the tears that have fallen on dry ground or up-

will be painful at times" (Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan). Becoming a Christian does not mean, under any circumstances, that all of our problems are going to go away and we'll only have fields of daisies and blue skies from here on out. In fact, if that were the case, Christianity wouldn't really be much of a choice would it? If our lives were that perfect, wouldn't everyone want to 'sign-up'? And well...taking away a choice means taking away free will. And I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a robot...even if I did end up with an awesome accent like Arnold Schwartzeneger (insert laugh here). But free will is an entirely different, and profoundly more complex, topic of discussion. Choosing Christ means that... When troubles come.... ...The Lord will hear (vs. 17a). His word says so! Multiple times. If you don't believe me or need reassurance, go check it out for yourself. There is so much comfort in the fact that "God never misses a single tear of the oppressed. He sees our suffering and knows the depth of our need..." (Beth Moore, Praying God's Word). ...The Lord will deliver (vs. 17b). It even says out of all of their troubles! No wait a minute. Didn’t I just tell you that Christians will have troubles? But doesn’t it say that we will be delivered from all of our troubles right here in Scripture? I have to tell you, if I read that without really digging in, it bothers me! On the surface it does sound like we won't have any troubles because God will deliver us from all of them. In fact, the Hebrew word can also be translated as "rescue," "save," or "snatch away" (Strong's H5337). All of those images bring to mind the idea that I won't have to deal with my troubles. But we have to dig deeper.

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on the shoulders of others equally frail are poured instead before His throne. He waits - not until the oppressed cry out - but until we cry out to Him. Only then will we know the One and Only who redeems us" (Beth Moore, Praying God's Word). If we are crying out and looking for help in all of the wrong places, the Lord will not hear. We must cry out to Him. Vs. 18 notes that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted. Our hearts are involved. In order for the Lord to be near, for Him to hear us and deliver us, our hearts must be broken. But that may not imply what first comes to mind. Within the word 'broken', "the hammer is necessarily implied; in breaking to pieces the ore first and the plating out the metal when it has been separated from the ore" (Clarke). Our hearts must go through a process so that they are "subdued and made obedient to God's will and submissive to His providence" (Wesley). The Lord cannot help us if we have not submitted to His will, He cannot be near if we have not made our hearts available and open to His presence! Our spirits are much the same (vs. 18b). 'Crushed' holds the same idea of the hammer. Our spirits must be "truly humbled under the hand of God, and the sense of their sins" (Wesley). We must realize that we cannot help ourselves, in any sense
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of the word. We must grab onto the fullness of the Holy Spirit! God alone is our refuge, our help, our deliverance! So, "Why does God allow us to spend so much of life in the heat of battle? Because He never meant for us to sip His Spirit like a proper cup of tea. He meant for us to hold our sweating heads over the fountain and lap up His life with unquenchable thirst" (Beth Moore, Praying God's Word). When troubles come... And they will. Hold onto the promises of God, cry out to Him, and be aware of the condition of your heart and Spirit. Time, after time, His word guides us in the way that we should go. It is so hard to remember when life knocks us down, to turn to His Word. But His Word is the first place we should run. This is just one instance of so many that will lead us on the right path. It may be straight and narrow, but it is there...and His word is our map!

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The Problem of Evangelism
One of the greatest challenges of the modern church is evangelism. We are bombarded with information about this topic, and are shown statistics everywhere we turn. We study psychology and sociology in an effort to find the most efficient ways to reach out to the lost, and then we share that information through countless books and conferences designed to teach us how to apply the programs we have created. It seems as though everything we do is focused on outreach, yet the innumerable masses of Americans remain unsaved. How can this be? Yearly we spend enormous amounts of money to reach out to these lost souls. The church has done almost everything imaginable (and some things that were unimaginable until recently) to make people feel welcome and comfortable with our worship. We have removed symbols from our buildings that represent the crucifixion of Christ, stopped singing about His blood, and compromised doctrinal teaching to make people comfortable, but nothing seems to change. Even when a congregation seems to take off and experience some type of growth, we seldom see hearts and lives changed through God’s Word. It even seems, at times, like we would rather they did not change. We want them to look as much like the world as possible. We’re continually told that we cannot reach people any other way. Is this really what the Bible teaches? I have yet to find a “strategic planning” conference, or a “visioning”

by Nick Wilson that God wanted to establish His character (holiness) in their hearts, and that character drew the lost and dying to Christ. As He was lifted up in their daily lives, men and women were saved. They spent their time in prayer and study of the Word so that they could walk closer with God each day. The results were staggering. We tend to avoid study and prayer as if it were some type of plague, and try to talk people into believing as if our faith were simply a theory to adopt. The evangelism of the early church lifted up Jesus Christ as He changed lives. I realize that many sources tell us the world will never understand the gospel if our focus is on the deep truths of the Bible. And we should certainly expect room for growth in every Christian life. But we must also realize that there is no program that will make evangelism easy. The world is blinded to God’s work, and it is the Holy Spirit working through us who reveals God to them. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:3, 4). The world cannot understand God because they are under the influence of Satan. The only way they will ever come to see God is through the lives of those who are distinctly different from the sinfulness that consumes our society. Through our studies and methods we have made every effort to appeal to

conference in the New Testament. Scripture tells us that the early church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42). The very first thing listed in their activity is the last in ours. They taught doctrine. Why would they do such a thing? How would the world around them understand doctrine? If we are to answer these questions we must understand what doctrine is. The word itself means “teaching.” The doctrine we discuss in Scripture happens to be the teaching of Christ. It is what the apostles and disciples learned from Him. The reason doctrine was important in their outreach is that it was not simply knowledge, but knowledge that changed their lives. The difference in their lifestyle was noticeable to the world. How many accounts do we read about Peter or Paul going out to find people to whom they could testify? The vast majority of Biblical history shows the people of God living their lives and taking the opportunities that present themselves. People were drawn to them because it was apparent that God was working in their lives. Incidentally, others also persecuted them for the same reason. One of the most humbling verses in the entire Bible is Ephesians 5:1. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. Early Christians did not minister to the lost by trying to be like them. They lived their lives as imitators of God. Today we won’t even entertain such a thought, but consider the outcome. They saw thousands saved at one time, we are lucky to win a few souls in a year. What’s the difference? It’s that they believed

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the intellect of the sinner, but Scripture tells us that this will not work. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). The early church spent their time learning doctrine and praying. We see that throughout the book of Acts. This was important because Scripture is clearly teaching us that our methods are not God’s means for leading people to Christ. His method is a holy church that walks with Him. That is why Peter wrote, But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). What the church proclaimed was not a slogan written by secular marketing consultants, but the excellencies of God! They told people – and showed people – what God was doing in their lives. The reason people were drawn to Christ was because He was a constant presence in their daily life. They did not simply leave Jesus at their worship service on Sunday morning, but walked with Him each day.

I know what you’re thinking: How can I write this in light of the Great Commission? Consider what Jesus said, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19)… Did Jesus say to go into the world with our slick strategies and impressive organizations? Did He tell us to go into the world as part of our congregation’s most recent campaign for new Christians? Of course not! He simply told them to go and make disciples. Disciples are more than those who simply make a profession of faith. They are followers and imitators. Jesus told them to go and make imitators of Christ. This was done by living a DISTINCTLY CHRISTIAN life. They fulfilled the command, be holy for I am holy (Lev. 11:45). God has not called sinners to go into the world to witness to other sinners. He has saved us from sin and set us apart to go into the world and live a life that is different from the rampant sinfulness that surrounds us. It is through such lives that Jesus Christ is lifted up and souls are drawn to Him. Make no mistake, I am not discouraging evangelism. But I am suggesting that maybe we need to spend some time working on our spiritual walk before we

begin the next big evangelism program in the church. Maybe we need to place some emphasis on doctrine and prayer. We do not lack for instruction in talking to the lost, but do we really know what we’re talking to them about? I was at a conference a couple years ago where we were told that the focus of the church should be, “Making more and better disciples with an overemphasis on more.” As I consider the church in America I wonder if we’re really ready for that. Maybe we need to spend some time focusing on being better disciples – or just disciples – ourselves. I’m not suggesting that we stop inviting people to church, or witnessing to them. But God gave the church the specific call to be a holy nation. People set apart for His work alone. Is that how we live? There are a lot of things happening in the church today that did not take place in the early church. And they were more successful than we are without all of our gimmicks. When it comes to evangelism, maybe it’s time for the church to do some soul searching. Are we really pursuing the lost in a Biblical way?

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do to aid you in We send this papromoting doctri- per each month nal truth. If we to carry the mescan offer some- sage of the gospel thing to help you into the world, to this end please and our desire is don’t hesitate to to walk through contact us. any door God Some of the writ- may open as we ers are available journey on this for revival meetearth as ambasings, or other sadors of His preaching enWord. gagements that you might have.