Born Again 1

Have you ever wondered what the phrase “born again” means?  The Bible records that Jesus used the phrase in a conversation with a man named Nicodemus.  Nicodemus approached Jesus at night.  He was curious about Jesus and the kingdom of God.

Jesus told him: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  Nicodemus responded, “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4).

Nicodemus was a highly moral man who obeyed God’s law.  He was a respected leader of the Jewish community.  No doubt he was a fine man.  Yet something was lacking.  Like Nicodemus, many people today confuse religion with new birth in Christ.  Phrases like “I pray regularly” or  “I believe there is a God” often are confused with a real new-birth experience.

New birth begins with the Holy Spirit convicting a person that a person is a sinner.  Because of sin, we are spiritually dead.  For this reason, spiritual birth, as Jesus described it, is necessary.  God loves us and gives us spiritual birth when we ask Him for it.

The Bible says all persons are sinners (see Romans 3:23).  Jesus died on a cross and was raised from the dead to save sinners.  To be born again means that a person admits to God that he or she is a sinner, repents of sin, believes in or trusts Christ, and confesses faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.  Jesus told Nicodemus that everyone who believes in (places faith in) Christ would not perish (see John 3:16).  Jesus is the only One who can save us (see John 14:6).

To believe in Jesus is to be born again.  Confess your sins and ask Jesus right now to save you.  “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved”  (Acts 2:21).  After you have received Jesus Christ into your life, share your decision with another person, and following Christ’s example, ask for baptism by immersion in your local church as a public expression of your faith  (see Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:6).

From Open Windows

A Guide For Personal Devotions

Fall 2016      Lifeway

 

 

Photographs From The Ministry Of Billy Graham

The following pictures represent a ministry that lasted for eight decades and reached more people than any other ministry in the history of the Christian Church.  Billy Franklin Graham was a fiery preacher during his younger years.  Enjoy this walk down memory lane:

Poster with young Billy Graham

Poster with young Billy Graham
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Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)
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Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)

Poster with young Billy Graham

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The Ultimate Sacrifice

Romans 12:1  King James Version (KJV)

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

King James Version (KJV)Public Domain

In 1965, Jim Elliot was one of five godly men who died at the end of Auca lances in Ecuador.  In his diary he had written, “Lord, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life, that I may burn for thee.  I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.”  The Lord granted Jim Elliot’s request, and today the five, then ignited, still burns in the hearts and lives of redeemed Aucas.  What is our passion?  -Arnot P. McIntee.

Breathe on me, breath of God, Till I am wholly Thine, Until the earthly part of me Glows with Thy fire divine.  -E. Hatch

30 BRITAIN FIRST VS 3,000 MUSLIM EXTREMISTS, CHARLIE HEBDO PROTEST, LONDON

 

Britain First faces down leftwing and Muslim extremists in Burton

Muslims attack Christians in UK streets “we’re taking over” “we hate you”

The Islamic infiltration of Europe is creating scenes like this everywhere.  Praise the Lord for courageous organizations like Britain First and people like Jayda Fransen.  These are great films for liberals and the uninformed who believe that President Donald Trump has a prejudiced and bigoted approach towards Radical Islam.  Radical Islam has no desire to homogenize with people and respect the law of the land.  They say England is now “our country,” and they desire to implement sharia law throughout.  Note the continual use of the “F” Bomb by Radical Islamists, as well as their spitting and throwing eggs at Britain First demonstrators.  The politicians in Britain have foolishly given their nation away to people who despise Britain and their laws.  Will America follow suit?

Pray For Revival In America!

Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip ~ Part 6

Pastors Conference In Satu Mare, Bethel Baptist Church

On the morning of February 6, 2017, we departed for our pastor’s conference at Satu Mare, fifteen miles from the Ukrainian border.  It was held at Bethel Baptist Church, the flagship evangelistic church in Satu Mare.  I preached at this church on September 15, 2005 and was blessed with a profession of faith during the service (refer to the category for Hungary/Romania 2005).  Mehi, I was pleased to see, was still the pastor at Bethel Baptist Church twelve and one half years later.  He looked aged and weathered since I last saw him.  His twin daughters translated for us on our previous trip, and Mehi’s trademark is the twenty eight children he has adopted!  Perhaps this has matured him as well as the pastorate!

Our pastor’s conference commenced after we arrived and settled in for an hour or so.  Nine Romanian pastors came the first day, and twenty Romanian pastors came the second day, in some cases bringing their wives and/or families.  When I say they are Romanian pastors, I use that term representing the main people group, because there were those present who had backgrounds from Russia, Belarus, the Ukraine, Hungary, etc., etc.  Intermarriage among the Slavic and Eastern European Countries is not uncommon.

Bobby Herrell was assisted by Aaron Gowen, and they did the bulk of the teaching in the conference, as once again Elijah Morar did a great job translating English to Romanian.  Especially noteworthy was the great chemistry between Bobby and Elijah, both teaching with unction from the Holy Spirit and enthusiasm.  The curriculum of the conference was the Global Effect Ministry.  This was great discipleship training and well received by all of the pastors from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.  Two questions especially challenged the students:  1)What am I asking them to do?  2)What do I want them to know?

From the North American standpoint, Cornerstone Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, led this mission trip.  Their senior pastor is Bobby Herrell and their discipleship pastor is Aaron Gowen.  They do a very unique work and I would ask that you pray for their ministry.  They represent a thriving church in Texas, and a brief word about their overseas mission ventures: They currently go to Romania twice a year (every six months), and they work in India twice a year as well.  That means their team is on mission every three months!  What a great model for the Great Commission – Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8.

We later departed for Budapest in order to make our flight early in the morning.  There was a lot of light snow and sleet throughout our trip.  I was concerned about the possibility of “black ice,” but the Lord watched over us.  We rested well that night, preparing for our thirty hour journey home.  The mission trip could not have gone better, and we attribute that to the Lord’s blessings and to the prayers of the saints.  We traveled home tired and spiritually fulfilled.

Revelation 22:20  King James Version (KJV)

20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Saved, Secure, and Forever His, Pastor Steve

***************

Postscript-

When we get involved in the Lord’s work, additional opportunities always open up.  We are living in a day of international networking and advanced technology.  When I got home from this mission trip, I met Attila Kulcsar at a meeting with pastors.  Attila is the pastor of Open Bible Hungarian Church in Venice, Florida.  He speaks three languages fluently- Hungarian, Romanian and English.  He has friends in Hungary and in Budapest.  As mentioned, our lead pastor during this mission venture was Bobby Herrell.  I previously referenced that Bobby is looking for a couple of native Hungarians to help establish a foothold in Budapest for a church plant.  It seems to me, that Attila could be of great assistance in this endeavor.  Hence I passed this information on to lead pastor Bobby Herrell and to Partners In Missions International (PIMI) president Elijah Morar.  Please pray for the Lord to bless the efforts of these men to plant a church in Budapest if it His will!

TobyMac and how his song “Love Broke Thru” reveals how he came to know and believe in Jesus

DC Talk, is a Christian rap and rock trio. The group was formed in Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia in 1987 by Toby McKeehan, Michael Tait, and Kevin Max Smith.  Michael Tait is now lead singer with the Newsboys.  Toby McKeehan (Mac), has long been on a solo career, and the following song and testimony allude to his salvation at a summer camp.  Countless children and youth have been saved at summer camp and Vacation Bible School (VBS).

 

Saved At Summer Camp

Love Broke Thru

TobyMac’s Life Changing Experience And Testimony  ~  The Story Behind “Love Broke Thru”

Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip ~ Part 5

Crusade Evangelism In Oradea

Open Doors Baptist Church

Our team of preachers spoke twice at the same church on Sunday, February 5, 2017.  I preached at Open Doors Baptist Church, and went with my evangelistic standby message “The Lamb Of God,” Revelation 13:8b.

Since I was to speak again in the evening, and because a large funeral would occur in the church facility in the afternoon, I stayed with the host pastor, his wife and their friends.  We shared a meal together and rested.

The funeral was packed with people.  A person passed on who lived only a few doors down from the church.  Many more came to the funeral than came to church!  Boy, that will make you think.  It reminds me of the old joke – “Make sure the next time you come to church is not when six strong men carry you there.”  I would guess there were well over two hundred people attending the funeral, filling the upper balcony as well.  Bobby Herrell spoke to the people and emphasized the resurrection from the dead.  The good folks all wore black and the atmosphere was one of mourning the loss of a loved one.  Bobby’s message cut right through the darkness as we heard great joy in his voice, expounding on Jesus rising from the dead.  Bobby kept looking at me as I sat on the front row, and I later asked him why.  He said it was because of my positive reaction to the message.  He did not see it elsewhere.  It shows the importance for you and me to let our light shine in a world of darkness all around us.

In the evening service, I preached from Acts 1:3, “Many Infallible Proofs.”  Some of the evidences of the reality of our faith are people’s testimonies of salvation, the boldness of the Apostles, the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecies, and the spread of Christianity around the world.  This doctrine is called apologetics, and often resonates with young people.  Our preaching was well received.  As mentioned, Romanian Christians will turn out to hear the Word of God, the way Americans turn out to hear a Christian music group or artist.

The Evangelistic Crusades were a great success.  The services were anointed, the people attended in great numbers, and sixty one souls made professions of faith in Oradea.  As the president of PIMI, Elijah Morar told us as we prepared to leave on our tour bus, only eternity will reveal the hearts that were touched during the last week.  Well said.  We hated to leave.  I enjoy working in a vineyard where people are responding to the Gospel and not Gospel hardened like in America.  You have to go to these places in order to understand what I just wrote.

In His Service, Pastor Steve

Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip ~ Part 4

Crusade Evangelism In Oradea

The political demonstrations continued in Oradea on February 2, 2017.  I preached that evening at Grace Baptist Church, pastored by Radu Pop Miersili.  The theme again was The Lamb Of God, Revelation 13:8b.  We were blessed with four professions of faith:

1)Araelean Noemi

2)Araelean Ana

3)Mariti Beru

4)Meriti (The Mother)

In high school I took four years of Latin and these names sound like they belong in Rome, Italy in 100 A.D.  Praise the Lord for hearts and lives being touched.

*********************

The following morning, the President of PIMI Elijah Morar, dropped me off at the Museum and Fortress of Oradea.  I looked at the many ancient artifacts that were described in Part 3, including dragons carved on the walls, Gothic, Romanesque, and Renaissance era ruins, and implements that were used in torture, including a chair of nails, and gruesome machines that squeezed the head and/or body, and others that pulled the limbs away from the body.  It is awful to even think about these diabolic torture devices.

On the evening of February 3, 2017, I preached at Bethany Baptist Church in Saint Andrew.  Cornel Iona was the pastor and interpreter for us in that church.  The church was packed with about sixty people.  I spoke once again from Revelation 13:8b, The Lamb Of God.  Their pastor Cornel Iona, met and had his picture taken with both Adrian Rogers and Charles Stanley, during the period in the 1980’s, after the freedoms were given to the people in Eastern Europe.  He formerly pastored the large Immanuel Baptist Church in Oradea, and he is now doing a great work in strengthening smaller churches and he has assisted with church planting as well.  He is a great spiritual leader in Romania and very evangelistic.  I especially liked and admired pastor Cornel Iona and I had my picture taken with him!  Thus ended another marvelous day.

Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip ~ Part 3

Crusade Evangelism In Oradea

After a lengthly van excursion across Hungary, we arrived at Oradea in western Romania.  There is a medieval fortress in this city, complete with a moat around a fort/castle, knights in shining armor, various torture devices utilized by the ancients, and much more.  Oradea was the northernmost outpost of the Roman Empire conquered by Trajan around 100 A.D.  One hundred and fifty years earlier, Julius Caesar’s engineers built a bridge four football fields long in a mere ten days; and during the Gallic Wars, he crossed the Rhine River twice, in 55 B.C. and again in 53 B.C.

Likewise, in order to broadcast the power and might of the Roman Empire, Trajan crossed the Danube River as he conquered this entire region one and one half centuries later.  This area of  Romania and Hungary, as already mentioned, was previously named Dacia.  The history of ancient Europe is very detailed indeed.

I greatly enjoyed listening to Bobby Herrell (Senior Pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas) and Elijah Morar (President of Partners In Missions International, P.I.M.I.) brainstorm about a possible P.I.M.I. church plant in Budapest.  Bobby says they will need a strong leader or two who are native Hungarians, before a church plant would be feasible.  Elijah is the glue that’s holds this mission ministry together, and a resident of Oradea.  Elijah is the headmaster of a Christian school just across the street from the aforementioned fortress!  He also pastors a church.  Since I noted that Bobby and Elijah were such great visionaries, I encouraged them to also consider church plants in pagan western Europe.  They told me that they were already praying and pondering over it!  The school that Elijah leads, is called the American – Romanian Christian School.  In the realm of the surreal, it used to be the office of former Romanian Dictator Ceausescu!  The Dictator and his wife were executed after the iron curtain fell.  On Christmas Day in 1989, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed by firing squad.

Bobby Herrell mentioned that our tour guide from Budapest, Gabriella, was under conviction for salvation.  I told her about the truth of Christianity and the plan of salvation as we toured Catholic Churches in Budapest.  That turned out to be a great platform upon which to expound on the truth, and likewise to reveal the lies.

We seven preachers all went to different churches and preached the Gospel on February 1, 2017, the first of a five day evangelistic crusade.  I spoke at Baptista Credinta, and preached the text that I used all week – Revelation 13:8b, “The Lamb Of God.”  The folks displayed their legendary hospitality after the service, as we shared finger sandwiches, snacks and fellowship, and they did not want me to leave.  Oh, how gracious they are.  And they are so trusting, to open their pulpits to us.  Their pastor John, mentioned to me how he just conducted two outside funerals in freezing weather.

On the way back to our hotel from the church, Elijah drove us and I noticed how he rolled his tongue off of the roof of his mouth when speaking.  This is classic European and a cultural trait.  He was also an excellent driver, hitting the apex at every turn, which is a technique taught in law enforcement driving schools.  He told me that he has driven one million miles in Romania, and previously drove a truck for a living.  The weather in Romania felt like a heat wave for the locals for this time of the year, as the temperature was in the forties.  This was considerably warmer than the teens we experienced in Budapest.  Tonight and throughout the week we noted the protests of the Romanians against their government.  We saw them in Oradea, and they were most pronounced in Bucharest, Romania.  They were peaceful demonstrations, protesting the politicians and leaders who were seeking to bribe their way out of legal charges, rather than pay the rightful penalties.  The Romanians ending up winning their view points, and the politicians were held accountable.

The following is a list of our mission team, preachers highlighted in red:

Elijah Morar (President of P.I.M.I.)

Donnie and his son D.J. Foster

McCauley Austin

John and Toni Hadley

Jimmy Withers

Aaron Gowens

Bobby Herrell

Steve Thompson 

Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip ~ Part 2

Budapest   –   Day 2

Our mission team noted that the sun came out only one time during the entire trip, and that was for an hour or two prior to sunset one evening.  Some of the sights we saw as we braved the frigid temperatures in Budapest were the Danube River, St. Stephens Basilica, St. Matthias Church, the Hungarian Parliament Building, the State Opera House, Hero’s Square, the Slzechenyil Spa, the outdoor winter ice skating rink (largest in all of Europe), the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Great Synagogue.

I learned that Hungary was once five times its’ present size, when it was part of the famous Hapsburg Dynasty along with Austria.  A gentleman who later translated for me (Chip), explained that Saxons were hired to ward off the Islamic invasion from the east (Istanbul), and they settled east of Romania.  After living there for some time, they eventually formed a powerful nation.

The city displayed Jewish artifacts that spotlighted the World War II holocaust.  There were old suitcases making a monument of sorts, rocks that represented those who died, and innumerable personal effects that were shown at scenes, in order to remember their tragic years in Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  The history of Budapest goes back to ancient times.  There are buildings, archeology, and history commemorating the following:  The Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, The Hapsburg Dynasty With Austria, The Ottoman Turk Invasion (The Turks allowed Christianity), The Mongol Invasion, Genghis Khan, The Nazi Occupation, The Jewish Holocaust, The Soviet Communist Occupation, And The Insurrection / Rebellion Of 1956.  There Is A Statue Of Ronald Reagan The Liberator.  There are many Catholic Churches in Budapest, and the local kings were esteemed and magnified in the Catholic Churches in Hungary.  The history is voluminous, profoundly interesting, overwhelming and very detailed.

Later on, the British evening news and CNN called Donald Trump the greatest threat facing Europe.  They speak incessantly about Trump.  I have not heard English Prime Minister Theresa May even mentioned.  These liberal European news stations spoke a lot about Brexit as well.

…to be continued