Tag Archives: education

What Do You Come to Church For?

Today’s message summary of May 28, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Why do people go to church?  Is it a possession that one holds onto?  Ultimately, every person needs to understand what the real purpose of church is.  We can lose our love for the Lord while being involved with church for a number of other reasons.  Somewhere, the church of Ephesus lost its first love…the love of Jesus Christ.

When one comes to church, one should be coming to see, hear and receive.

When you see what God is doing in the lives of His people, you can rejoice!

When you come to hear God’s Word, you come with the understanding that He teaches and also corrects you.  (Some will not come because they do not want to be corrected.)  God wants you to know that you are on a journey with Him, and His teaching will help you along as you go.

God wants you to receive Him.  He desires to catch your attention and hold it with the desire to hear Him speak to you and guide you.

You should want to see what God is doing…not only in your life, but in the bigger picture.  While there is often a focus on numbers in the church, God has done many great things with just a small number of people.

Church is not a place for gossip.  That is the wrong reason to attend a church.  The words reflected upon should be His words.

You should want to hear from God about the matters concerning you and your life, but also what He expects of you.

You should want to receive from God.  He wants you to receive His power, strength and faith (confidence) to do what He is asking of you.

There is a reason to come to church.  God desires to see you continue to grow within the church in these areas.  He wants you to have faith and the ability to step out when things are unknown or unclear.  That is where we see God’s greatest work and accomplishments.

People may argue that John the Baptist did not have a church, but John did indeed have a ministry, even if it was out in the wilderness.

Matthew 11:7-10

As these men went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes?  Look, those who wear soft clothes are in kings’ palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and far more than a prophet. This is the one it is written about:  Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You; he will prepare Your way before You.

The wilderness, where John’s “church” was located, was far from town, or what many would consider to be the comfort of home.  Your going to church should be like going to a place where God’s word teaches and convicts you to a place where you learn, grow and develop a desire to fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Church should be a place of solitary for you.  The primary focus should be on Jesus Christ.  It should be free from restraints.  It fulfills a desire of quietness in your spirit.  Church can be your desert place (the wilderness), where you are alone with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Church is to be a place of education–teaching needs to be taking place, and effective teaching does take some time.

Your mind, within the church, is to be separated from everything in life and focused on what God is saying, understanding what you are hearing, and what you are receiving from God.  What you receive is what you are going to leave with.

If you’re always in a rush, you won’t be able to hear God speak to you the way He desires to.  Church is the place where you can slow yourself down and put aside those things that can distract you from Him.

A reed could grow twelve feet tall and be paper thin, and when the wind blows, it just lays down.  It goes with the wind.

The wind, represented here by religion and government, could have caused John to be indecisive or to be shaken.  To waver or to show doubt can cause one to be unsteady.

The religion was the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

The government was King Herod and his sinful life.

John stands against these two powerful forces.

Note that the gospel of Jesus Christ must be upheld within the church setting.  It’s not enough just to call yourself a Christian.   It is about living as God calls you to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Complaints about the church:

  1. It’s not relevant.

John was relevant according to his message.

  1. It lasts too long.

How long do you sit through a movie?

  1. Church is boring.

Is it boring because it is not what you want it to be?

  1. I don’t like the way church is being run.

It’s your place to determine how church is being run.

  1. It’s the same routine each Sunday.

It is all in your approach to being educated in the Word.  It is more important to see Christ in your life,                  and understand that He never changes.

 

Psalm 122:1

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

 

Psalm 73:16-25

When I tried to understand all this,

it seemed hopeless

until I entered Gods sanctuary.

Then I understood their destiny.

Indeed, You put them in slippery places;

You make them fall into ruin.

How suddenly they become a desolation!

They come to an end, swept away by terrors.

Like one waking from a dream,

Lord, when arising, You will despise their image.

When I became embittered

and my innermost being was wounded,

I was stupid and didnt understand;

I was an unthinking animal toward You.

Yet I am always with You;

You hold my right hand.

You guide me with Your counsel,

and afterward You will take me up in glory.

Who do I have in heaven but You?

And I desire nothing on earth but You.

 

The church should be providing information to you about how to live life in these perilous times.

We go to church to hear the message that God has to give to us.

 

Matthew 3:1-6

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea and saying, Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near! For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said:

A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

Prepare the way for the Lord;

make His paths straight! 

John himself had a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then people from Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the vicinity of the Jordan were flocking to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.

 

Romans 10:14-17

But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!  But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message?  So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.


How To Keep Sin Out of Your Life

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

God keeps us in the hollow of His hand with His love for us.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t experience sin.  We must note that sin must be kept out of our lives because it brings about spiritual death.

James 1:13-15

13 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. 14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.

We’re going to look at our thought process and our way of thinking, which leads to our decision-making process.  If my thoughts are guided by our worldly system, then the thoughts that come forth will reflect what the world represents.  Those thoughts will generate sin, and they will generate spiritual death.  This is represented in uselessness for God’s kingdom.

God’s desire is to develop a system of thinking in us that is above this world’s way of thinking.

Acts 20:32

“And now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.”

God provides us with the knowledge that allows us to overcome the world.

2 Peter 1:2-4

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.

Our thought process is developed through observation, our life experiences (trust or distrust, like or dislike) and education.  Keep in mind that all of this is coupled with our own desires if we are looking to the world for our values.  All of these work together in forming a person’s way of thinking.  God wants us to recognize His role in our thought process and look to Him for wisdom and knowledge through our observations, experiences and education.

God intends to build us up through His Word in order to help them to grow in Him and overcome the world.  Without His Word, you will succumb to the world and fall subject to sin.  The peace of God and His grace comes through the wisdom and knowledge of God through Jesus Christ.  There is a distinction between knowedge as we understand it in the world and godly knowledge.  God gives you everything you need to live in holiness and a godly life in Jesus Christ.

If you proclaim yourself to be a Christian, you will need to look to God’s Word for guidance in how you should live.  Satan wants to keep believers from obtaining that knowledge and wisdom, which will render you as ineffective and corruptible through sin and its worldly influences.  God’s Word provides you the ability to live in His divine nature and a Christlike existence.

There are two different ways that you can develop as a person:

1. Natural development (according to the world’s standards)

1 Corinthians 1:20

Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish?

Proverbs 13:20

The one who walks with the wise will become wise,

but a companion of fools will suffer harm.

Proverbs 12:15

A fool’s way is right in his own eyes,

but whoever listens to counsel is wise.

Proverbs 17:12

Better for a man to meet a bear robbed of her cubs

than a fool in his foolishness.

2.  Divine development (according to God’s will and His standards)

Proverbs 12:15

A fool’s way is right in his own eyes,

but whoever listens to counsel is wise.

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord

is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 2:6, 9-10

6 For the Lord gives wisdom;

from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

9 Then you will understand righteousness, justice,

and integrity—every good path.

10 For wisdom will enter your mind,

and knowledge will delight your heart.

Proverbs 13:20

The one who walks with the wise will become wise,

but a companion of fools will suffer harm.

Believers are to operate within a “kingdom system” in the development of their thought life.

To man belongs the plans of the heart, but God provides the answers (Proverbs 16:9).  God wants to give us knowledge that develops our thinking, our imagination, and our thought process.  It is up to the believer to receive it and live accordingly.

Proverbs 16:1-9

1 The reflections of the heart belong to man,

but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

2 All a man’s ways seem right to him,

but the Lord evaluates the motives.

3 Commit your activities to the Lord,

and your plans will be achieved.

4 The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose—

even the wicked for the day of disaster.

5 Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the Lord;

be assured, he will not go unpunished.

6 Wickedness is atoned for by loyalty and faithfulness,

and one turns from evil by the fear of the Lord.

7 When a man’s ways please the Lord,

He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

8 Better a little with righteousness

than great income with injustice.

9 A man’s heart plans his way,

but the Lord determines his steps.

God knows our hearts and our thoughts.  We certainly can’t hide anything from Him.  He knows our sincerity in seeking Him, and He will provide answers that will guide us in every decision we make.

Here is an example with reference to David:

1 Chronicles 28:2-3, 6

2 Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brothers and my people. It was in my heart to build a house as a resting place for the ark of the Lord’s covenant and as a footstool for our God. I had made preparations to build, 3 but God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’

6 He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who is to build My house and My courts, for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his father.

1 Chronicles 29:2-3

2 So to the best of my ability I’ve made provision for the house of my God: gold for the gold articles, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron, and wood for the wood, as well as onyx, stones for mounting, antimony, stones of various colors, all kinds of precious stones, and a great quantity of marble. 3 Moreover, because of my delight in the house of my God, I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the house of my God over and above all that I’ve provided for the holy house.

We are to use God’s thoughts, His ways, His standards and the enabling of the Holy Spirit to develop our thought process in order to keep our hearts and minds on Jesus Christ over the world’s view of life.  In this way, we will resist sin and remain focused on our service for Him.


The Crown of Joy: Serving Christ is a Team Effort

A summary of today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:
God uses each of us as His instrument to manifest His glory here on Earth. People will see your life and even the hardships that you experience, and it can prompt the observers to ask how you are able to respond in such a positive manner. God uses us to bring people closer to making a decision to accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior.To bring about this salvation, it required a team effort through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit long ago.

John 3:16-17
16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Whoever believes is a key point. Man himself cannot believe in God. The Holy Spirit must convict one of his or her sin and enable the person to make a decision to believe in Jesus Christ.

When you serve Jesus Christ, you are on the team to reach others, and it is a team effort.

1 Corinthians 3:5-8
5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 Now the one planting and the one watering are one in purpose, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

To work for Jesus is to be actively involved in reaching others. All of us who serve Christ are part of the team–the question is your role. God will challenge your heart, first and foremost, for its sincerity in service for Him. Our love for others will be evident as we remember how God loves us.

1 Thessalonians 2:3-10
3 For our exhortation didn’t come from error or impurity or an intent to deceive. 4 Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but rather God, who examines our hearts. 5 For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives—God is our witness— 6 and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others. 7 Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead we were gentle[a] among you, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children. 8 We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember our labor and hardship, brothers. Working night and day so that we would not burden any of you, we preached God’s gospel to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how devoutly, righteously, and blamelessly we conducted ourselves with you believers.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-20
11 As you know, like a father with his own children, 12 we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

13 This is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the message about God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the message of God, which also works effectively in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, since you have also suffered the same things from people of your own country, just as they did from the Jews 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us; they displease God and are hostile to everyone, 16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. As a result, they are always completing the number of their sins, and wrath has overtaken them at last.

17 But as for us, brothers, after we were forced to leave you for a short time (in person, not in heart), we greatly desired and made every effort to return and see you face to face. 18 So we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy!

Our team effort consists of being obedient to His will and using our personal abilities to serve within the body of Christ, without letting hardships or adversity slow you down. Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is to share your life with others. It starts with your focus on living a life that is holy and blameless. Your obedience to God is what draws people nearer to you, and as a result, nearer to Him.

The result of these efforts is a testimony that brings people to Christ. We need to share, to teach and provide guidance about truth and repentance. Once we do this, the gospel can be presented. It is the greatest work that you will ever be a part of.

Colossians 1:28
We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

Proverbs 11:30
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
but violence takes lives.

Daniel 12:3
Those who are wise will shine
like the bright expanse of the heavens,
and those who lead many to righteousness,
like the stars forever and ever.

1 John 3:4
Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law.

James 5:15
The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Hebrews 12:1-2
1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

Your effective work for Jesus Christ requires a focus on Him, His sacrifice for all of us brings joy in the midst of your struggles and suffering. It reveals God’s love for us and for others who see and hear our testimony of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:15
But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct.

Romans 10:17
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

John 8:36
Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.


2012 Missionary Conference Kickoff – Guest Speaker Karen Conkle

A special thanks to Karen Conkle, today’s guest speaker to start this year’s 2012 Missionary Conference.  Doug and Karen Conkle are presently serving in the Republic of Senegal, West Africa after serving for many years in Burkina Faso with the Christian & Missionary Alliance.  Here is an excerpt from Karen’s message:

Matthew 9:37-38 (HCSB)

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.  Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” 

Jesus was asking us to participate in the harvest.  He made a huge impact on Palestine during his time on earth…a huge impact.  But he would use partners to carry that message on to Rome and to other parts of the world.  He uses us.

One of my favorite authors is Philip Yancey…and he writes it this way—‘God has made the work of the Kingdom dependent on the notoriously unreliable human species.’  Us—you and me.  One of the first missionaries was William Carey.  He came from the States.  He felt the call to travel to India and he really wanted to go to India, but some very well-meaning pastors and leaders said to him, ‘if God wanted to save the heathen in India, he could certainly do it without the likes of you or us.’  That was the response he got.  They missed the point.  God does very little on this earth without the likes of you and me.  He uses us.  God wants us to pray.  He wants us to send.  He wants us to go.  He wants us to bring that light of the gospel to everywhere in this whole world.

My husband, Doug and I, have had that privilege.  We’ve been sent by you as part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance for 35 years.  You sent us, whether you know it or not.  Through the Great Commission fund our most recent assignment was to Senegal.  And if you look at Africa, it the furthest part west on the continent—if you go as close as you can to New York.  We were sent there—our main responsibility in Senegal was to set up a new team.  When I’m in the states, I would always look for things to bring back to our new team—four young families—young couples with their kids.  I always try to think of something American to bring back to them.  The last time was back in the fall.  I actually brought back Butterball turkeys.  Frozen Butterball turkeys.  You can get them through if you put them in your suitcases.  Don’t try it on your carry-on (luggage).  Why turkey?  Because turkey is all-American.  It is something that America considers to be ours—turkeys are ours.  The turkey was almost nominated as the national bird instead of the eagle.  Can you see the silver dollar with a turkey head on it?  For one, I’m very glad they chose the eagle.

If you have ever researched the eagle, you would know what a fascinating bird it is.  That mighty bird is a great representation (of America).  One of the things it does is that it pulls all of the excess feathers and down on its body so that it can soar through the air when it flies.  It keeps itself light.  They use the excess feathers and down to line their nests like other birds do.  But they do something different when they want their baby birds to leave—to move on from the nest.  They pull the down and feathers from the nest.  They make it uncomfortable.  The adult birds pull the feathers out and make it not so comfy to stay there—it’s like if you have this thirty-five year old son still living with you and you tell him ‘you’re in the basement bedroom and you’re doing your own laundry.’  You try to make it more uncomfortable for him so that he will move on.  I wonder if, during these past few years in America, where we have had these economic woes, if God is not pulling the feathers out of our nest.  If God is saying, ‘Wake up—move on. I’ve got more for you!’  Maybe He wants us to step out of the nest a little bit.  We (Doug and I) were very comfortable in Burkina Faso for 27 years when we were sent to Senegal.  We were very comfortable—the first 15 years we were in church planting.  And I have to say that some of the places we were with unreached people groups—they were far out in the bush.  Most of the places had no electricity, no running water—it was not always comfortable, especially since it gets so hot there.  We would sleep outside in the yard.  We would move our cots out in the yard to catch the air at night when enduring the hot season.  It was not comfortable (then), but the last ten years my husband was the Field Director.  (We) lived in the big city, 24 hours electricity, running water, and we knew our job—our job was to facilitate the other missionaries, to take care of the young families.  We knew our job well.  We were very comfortable…no stress.  And it was at that point that God asked us to move on.  And we were asked by our boss to take on this assignment in Senegal, a country that is 94 percent Muslim.  I’ll tell you what—pushing into those areas, when you’re 53 and 54 years old, learning a new language—that was really a challenge for us.

The first time we had Alliance missionaries in Africa—we have had them there for over a hundred years—1929 was the first year we went to Senegal, but they only stayed two years.  They went in there, and they say the reason that the missionaries moved on was because they had this revival among the Baoli people in Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), the neighboring country.  They had this big revival among the Baoli people, which is true because it is the second largest group of Alliance believers in the world—they are located in the Ivory Coast.  Does anyone know where the largest group of Alliance believers are located—what country?  Anyone want to guess?  It’s not the United States—it’s Vietnam.  A country where (believers) have suffered.  It’s the largest group of Alliance believers in the world.  Cote D’Ivoire was second, and perhaps that’s why these missionaries left Senegal to go and help there because they had this big harvest, but a lot of people say that it was difficult there—no one responded.  The dominant people group in Senegal is called Wolof.  There are 15,000 of them that have emigrated in New York City.  It’s a large people group but they are 100 percent Muslim and they are a very proud people.  It has been very difficult in Senegal.  Great mission groups have been there like the Baptists and they have not seen a response, and they’re doing the same things that we did in Burkina Faso to see people come to Christ.  We would move into a new area.  We would call it a new people group.  We would learn the language and live among the people, and we would see people come to Christ, and then we would move on to a new place.  We would show the Jesus film and they were very responsive to that—but not in Senegal—not the Wolof people.  They were not responding, so that’s why they wanted us to go.  They wanted the Alliance to go in there because we are known as the church planting mission that gets things done.  So they asked us to go.

But what if there are no results?  It’s very discouraging when there are no results.  What if there are no results?  Well, Jesus knew about that.  Jesus had something to say in Luke 5.  It talks about Jesus and the fishermen who had no results—if you remember that story.

Luke 5:1-11 (HCSB)

As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret. He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then He sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

“Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I’ll let down the nets.”

When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear.So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man, Lord!” For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they took, 10 and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners.

“Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people!” 11 Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed Him.

Senegal is actually very much into fishing.  They’re on the ocean at the furthest point in West Africa.  They have the entire ocean there and their number one economy is fishing.  They are fisherman and they know how to fish.  They will go out in the evening and it’s beautiful to see—the boats go out and they come back in the morning with the catch, and they either have fish or they don’t have fish.  I guess it depends on the weather—I don’t know what, but they fish very much like they did in Jesus’ day except they have motors on their boats.  They go out and come back in the morning, and this is what happened in this story in Luke—it’s talking about fishermen.  Now Jesus had borrowed a boat, so to speak, and these guys were not his disciples yet—He had not called anyone.  He was standing there and the people crowded around him because he could heal people.  He had crowds all of the time so what he did was borrow the boat that he could step into and pushed it off from the shore a little bit so that everyone could hear what he had to say when he shared with them.  So he’s standing in the boat afterwards and he says to the fishermen, ‘Why don’t you go out deeper?’  Well, number one, Jesus was not a fisherman—he’s a carpenter’s son, right?  What does he know about fishing?  And he’s telling these fishermen, ‘Hey you guys, just go out deeper.’  The fishermen were discouraged.  They were out all night.  There’s no fish (caught) right now.  What a waste.  They didn’t say that though…instead, when Jesus told them to go out farther, they said, ‘because you say so, I will let down my nets.’  He was going to out farther and put out his nets ‘because you say so.’

You know, that is why Doug and I took on that assignment because Jesus said so.  We trusted Jesus.  We asked God to show us what He was doing.  We knew that God was already in Senegal.  God is everywhere and He loves those Wolof people as much as He loves me, the Irish.  We knew God was working there so we asked Him to show us what are you doing here—who are You speaking to?  Which people are seeking You?  Show us those people; because God says ‘If you seek Me, you will find Me.’ They just haven’t gotten the chance to hear.  It was then that we noticed that no one had been working with professional people.  Everyone—all of the missions—were working with the poor, which is the vast majority of the people in West Africa.  We talk in the United States about the 2 percent who are millionaires.  It’s probably less than two percent there, but nobody was working with the professional class, in other words, the educated people—the college professors.  Very few people—only 20 percent of the people in Senegal can read—have been to school at all.  So the group of educated people is very influential.  If you have an education—we’re thinking if a Wolof man came to the Lord who was a professional—what an influence he would have.  They’re not listening to anybody else—the Wolof, no, but one of their own people.  So that was our focus.  You know that one reason that we missionaries tend not to work with professional people is because it is very intimidating.  It’s very intimidating but there’s many ways to show the love of Christ to the poor—many ways.  You can give them malaria medicine.  You can help get someone’s child get to school—pay their tuition.  You can give coats…there are so many things you can do.  What can you do for someone that has more money than you do, and more education than you do?  That’s intimidating, isn’t it?  But we knew they would have a great impact on the people so we assigned two of these new couples after they finished their language study.  They’re working with the upper class and the way they learned how to use it is people like you.  We invited professionals from the United States to come out and share what they knew.  Whatever profession they had—if they sold houses, they would come out and teach that profession.  We introduced them into the university and got them invitations, because, you see, they love America.  Everyone in Senegal’s goal in life is to play basketball in the United States (laughing) or to get their kids into universities there.  They love Americans, and so it’s a draw in just the fact that we’re Americans, and we had many opportunities.  Everyone wants to learn English, because how are you going to go to the university in the United States if you don’t know English—and many of the banks there require English—it’s the universal language.  Chinese is another language that’s good to know.  Did you know that?  So there was an opportunity to teach English—we’ve sent couples there.  Two of the couples are working with business as mission—and what they do is set up little seminars—translate the stuff into the language of the people that are there and let businessmen come out and let them teach what they know.  And we’ve had people from every level and from every school come out and help in this way.


The Church’s Benefit is Truth About Life

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
Church attendance is dwindling throughout America today. The conclusion is that more people believe that the church is less relevant today. In reality, the church actually brings relevance to our lives. When we enter the house of God, it’s purpose is to give us understanding. We learn from the church that the way of the world is vastly different from what we learn in church. It is about not leaning on one’s own way of understanding but on what God states about leaning on His guidance and direction (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Newsweek ran an article about “A World Without Fathers: The Struggle to Save the Black Family” back in 1993. Twenty years later, the state of the Black Family remains in peril and is arguably getting worse.
Statistically, less than 50 percent of black men in high school actually graduate. There has been little to no improvement in the plight of children coming out of high school, in spite of the money that has been spent on education.There is a clear change in society when it comes to marriage. Many people choose living together as an alternative in order to “test out” the relationship.
Americans are creating their own religions by blending their beliefs with what others may believe. They are using the mix-and-match approach in order to conform to what works best for them. The question for this is ‘Are these blended religions in conformity with who God really is?’

These views are all the result of the world’s influence on man’s way of thinking. Some have even proposed that God Himself does not exist. The church brings insight as to what is really the truth about life and provides direction in every daily situation and circumstance.

God’s truth gives understanding to life. Life without God’s truth is nothing less than living life in a state of confusion–it is a life of disorder, embarrassment and failure. The church is a benefit for us because it is the only place we will receive truth that is directly from God concerning all of life that is correct.

The church teaches and insists upon those who claim that they are saved to trust in His Word–the Holy Bible. You cannot say that you do not believe in the Bible and also refer to yourself as a believer in Jesus Christ. It is a standard that is without compromise.

The church instructs that not one word of God’s Word will fade away. Why?

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man who lies,
or a son of man who changes His mind.
Does He speak and not act,
or promise and not fulfill?

In the church, we learn that God is not a man (John 4:24).

John 4:24
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

God does not lie–He speaks the truth, and His Word will not change.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned —those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

1 Timothy 4:1-3
1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. 3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.

2 Timothy 3:7
…always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Romans 3:4
…Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words
and triumph when You judge.

Psalm 119:89-91
ל 89 Lord, Your word is forever;
it is firmly fixed in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness is for all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands firm.
91 They stand today in accordance with Your judgments,
for all things are Your servants.

Matthew 5:18
For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God[a] and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The truth about life comes through the church and God’s Word through Jesus Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 8:32
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

God’s people are being prepared for service and work within His church and for His ministry. The church is the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers…

Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is, the church.

God does not change His mind; as a result, the church believes the words of God, stands on it, and acts upon it. We need His Word to renew our minds, to keep us and help us to endure the afflictions that come from the enemy. He is our Comforter. He has a standard that is far above that of the world that we live in. He wants us to seek His kingdom in the way that we live.

Isaiah 55:8
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.

God’s Word declares sin and the nature of the sinner.

Psalm 73:18-19
18 Indeed, You put them in slippery places;
You make them fall into ruin.
19 How suddenly they become a desolation!
They come to an end, swept away by terrors.

The believer in Jesus Christ who responds to Him and His Word will receive blessings from Him.

John 1:17
…for the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

God’s Word provides teaching and valuable instruction for dealing with the issues of life. It also provides clear information on how to worship Him and how to remain in righteous living.

The church carries out God’s plan. It is not a new plan–it was His plan from the beginning.

Genesis 1:28
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”

Matthew 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“Subduing the land” requires work. It means to conquer or bring into subjection. It is to overcome by way of persuasion or training. We all are to work with a clean conscience in how we live, and that is how God reaches us as He ministers to us while we minister to others. His truth calls us to work for His kingdom.

To make disciples calls for work. Our work is for Jesus Christ and its purpose is to reach others. It is all about all of us coming under God’s authority.


Are You a Victim or Victorious in Christ? (Part 2)

A summary of today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:
1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight for the faith;
take hold of eternal life that you were called to and have made a good confession about in the presence of many witnesses.

Being a victim or experiencing victory is a choice. Salvation is not just for getting out of going to hell…it is really for the purpose of having a relationship with Jesus Christ. We aren’t to call on Jesus just because were in trouble…we are to seek Him in all circumstances. This is the essence of a true relationship.

John 6:26
Jesus answered, “I assure you: You are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled.

Biblical salvation is based upon two things in order for the Christian life to be a success:

  • Relationship

Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit all work together to encourage you to get to know who they are.

  • Education

We are guided by the Holy Spirit in our learning.

John 14:25-26
25 “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Without education, your relationship with the Lord will suffer. In the same way, your knowledge of the Word does not ensure a strong relationship with God. If you love God, your desire to grow your relationship with Him will also show the importance of learning about Him.

Building a successful life requires hard work.

1. Education: Spiritual and Social
We need to be fully equipped to be able to perform and function well in our society.

Hosea 4:6
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I will reject you from serving as My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I will also forget your sons.

2. Health: Spiritual and Physical

Ephesians 1:4a
For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.

3 John 1:2
Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually.

3. Mental strength: Spiritual and Moral Strength
If you are spiritually strong, you will have the ability to stand and to discern over issues that may occur.

Ephesians 4:14
Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.

Ephesians 4:23-24
23…you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Your Source (John 15:1-10)
Key verses–verse 7 is how to be successful, while verse 8 reveals the purpose behind your success. It is all for God’s glory.

John 15:7-8
7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

John 15:9-10
9 “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. 10 If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the LORD,
and He will give you your heart’s desires.

When you delight in the Lord you bring everything to Him.
1. You count on God to direct your steps (Proverbs 16:9).
2. Your conversation with God and with others for guidance and encouragement is important (Proverbs 15:22).
3. You are careful to not rush into the unknown (Proverbs 19:2).
4. You are able to watch for problems and be prepared to meet them (Proverbs 17:12).


God’s Expectation of His Church

The church is the place where God’s name should be honored. The moment that you come to church should be the moment that you are preparing to worship Him and show respect for who He is. By doing this, you are much more likely to come away with answers that will bring you with a greater understanding of God and His Word, and apply that knowledge according to His will. Take the time to examine your approach regarding your church and worship time.Jesus had two instances where He had to “cleanse” the temple because of what the people had been using it for.  The first recorded instance is in John 2 and the second follows with accounts in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  First, the account in John 2:
John 2:13-17

13 The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple complex He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and [He also found] the money changers sitting there. 15 After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. 16 He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17 And His disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for Your house will consume Me.

If you look at history, this is the third temple. Solomon’s temple was the first. The second temple was built by Zerubbabel (the leader of those returning from exile to rebuild the temple–as noted in Ezra 2:2; 4:2; 5:2; Haggai 1:1). Then came Herod the Great, who oversaw the building of the third temple. He built the temple to win the favor of the people. Through all of this, we lost the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat, and all of the things that were originally associated with God’s presence in the temple. All of the temples were all ultimately destroyed because the people who professed to follow the Lord were not truly worshiping Him. The Lord was not accepting man’s way of worshiping Him and allowed for the destruction of the temples because of the change of its role and with its people. When it comes to today’s church, God will allow for the closing of a facility that does not honor Him or respect Him. He wants His followers to worship God in a way that glorifies Him, honors Him and shows the proper reverence for Him.

When Jesus went to the temple, it was over a period of time as he was growing up. He understood that the temple was a place of worship, but now, in His ministry, He saw the change of the authority of the leadership had changed and that there was no longer a reverence for God in the temple. The leaders were not looking at the temple as a place to make money and even take advantage of people.

1 Peter 5:1-4

1 Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah, and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you: 2 shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

In order to sell in the temple, there had to be a provision given to the priests in order to set up booths. Under this system, the priests and high priests, many of whom were actually Gentile, were earning money while taking advantage of the poor.

Matthew 21:12-13

 12 Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves! “

Mark 11:15-18

 15 They came to Jerusalem, and He went into the temple complex and began to throw out those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers ‘ tables and the chairs of those selling doves, 16and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple complex.

    17 Then He began to teach them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations ? But you have made it a den of thieves !” 18 Then the chief priests and the scribes heard it and started looking for a way to destroy Him. For they were afraid of Him, because the whole crowd was astonished by His teaching.

Luke 19:45-48

 45 He went into the temple complex and began to throw out those who were selling, 46 and He said, “It is written, My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves !”     47 Every day He was teaching in the temple complex. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people were looking for a way to destroy Him, 48 but they could not find a way to do it, because all the people were captivated by what they heard.

In this second account of Jesus clearing the temple, notice that Jesus, while removing the sellers and the money changers, used the opportunity to instruct and teach the people of the proper way of ministry and worship within the temple, and it was His actions that enlightened the people. His opposition tried to challenge His authority, but it was a futile effort after Jesus had removed the people who were selling in the temple and the money changers.

John 2:18-21

18 So the Jews replied to Him, “What sign [of authority] will You show us for doing these things?”

    19 Jesus answered, “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will raise it up in three days.”

    20 Therefore the Jews said, “This sanctuary took 46 years to build, and will You raise it up in three days?”

    21 But He was speaking about the sanctuary of His body.

The church, today’s modern temple, is supposed to be a place of education about God, Jesus Christ and a place to worship Him.

Isaiah 56:1-8

1 This is what the LORD says:
    Preserve justice and do what is right,
    for My salvation is coming soon,
    and My righteousness will be revealed.

    2 Happy is the man who does this,
    anyone who maintains this,
    who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it,
    and keeps his hand from doing any evil.

    3 No foreigner who has converted to the LORD
    should say,
    “The LORD will exclude me from His people”;
    and the eunuch should not say,
    “Look, I am a dried&nbhyph;up tree.”

    4 For the LORD says this:
    “For the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
    and choose what pleases Me,
    and hold firmly to My covenant,

    5 I will give them, in My house and within My walls,
    a memorial and a name
    better than sons and daughters.
    I will give each [of them] an everlasting name
    that will never be cut off.

    6 And the foreigners who convert to the LORD,
    minister to Him, love the LORD’s name,
    and are His servants,
    all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it,
    and who hold firmly to My covenant—

    7 I will bring them to My holy mountain
    and let them rejoice in My house of prayer.
    Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
    will be acceptable on My altar,
    for My house will be called a house of prayer
    for all nations.”
          8 [This is] the declaration of the Lord GOD ,
          who gathers the dispersed of Israel:
    “I will gather to them still others
    besides those already gathered.”

God wants all people to freely come to church and celebrate God–in the same way, there are some areas where things that don’t involve worship or praise of God need to be cast out of the church.

When you step into church, your consciousness and awareness of God should be awakened. God’s Word is present…it’s now just a process of believing it in its entirety.