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The Bone Scatterer by Lisa Cooke
Posted in Articles by Lisa Cooke

Psalm 53:5 tells us that “God scatters the bones” of those who oppose his people. Knowing and believing God’s attitude toward the enemies of His people is a potent advantage we can have as we wage war against any of our adversaries and especially toward any doubts that may wander into our thought life. Remember that “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12). God has made our enemies His enemies and no one and nothing can conquer Him or His will. This may sound foreign to us when we are so used to thinking about the love and mercy of God, and of course, we pray that everyone will humble himself or herself before God and receive His mercy. The Apostle Paul himself was a great enemy of the church, and he received mercy. Read this article by Lisa Cooke

Twisting Scripture Needs to Stop!
Posted in Articles by Tony Cooke

As a minister of the Gospel, it is imperative that I not only study the word of God diligently, but that I also maintain an awareness of my own heart and motives. I will answer to God for what I teach others, and I must ensure that my motives are truly for the benefit of others and not for self-gain. I recently was sent a preacher’s message, and I regret to say that he twisted and misused Scripture considerably. It is probably not surprising to you that the issue pertained to money and prosperity. Listening to this message reminded me of what A. T. Robertson said, “One proof of the inspiration of the Bible is that it has withstood so much poor preaching.” There is an enormous need today for ministers to be excellent students of Scripture and faithful proclaimers of truth. ... read more

About Faith and Storms
Posted in Articles by Tony Cooke

September 5, 2017 - Lisa and I just returned from an attempt to go to Florida. When we reached Dallas, we were advised not to go further. In addition to the cancellation of those meetings, we will also not be going to Savannah, GA this weekend either. What is a minor inconvenience for us is potentially catastrophic for thousands, if not millions, of others. With many still reeling from Hurricane Harvey’s effects and with Irma’s overall effects yet unknown, thought it good to share a couple of thoughts about storms from a biblical perspective ... read more

Why I Welcome Funeral Opportunities for the Unchurched by David Osborne
Posted in Articles by Others

Some time ago, I was getting out my car to walk into the funeral home for a person I had never met. In that moment I thought, “Am I really going to make a difference today?” I was tired and overwhelmed with many other ministry tasks yet to perform that week. In the middle of the groan that came from my soul came the familiar voice of our Savior by His Spirit saying, “Your ‘showing up’ changes everything for them.” I knew in an instant that regardless of how well I conducted the service, which is a pressure I always feel, I had already provided the family with something they desperately needed: someone to minister to their pain. ... read more

Contributory Links
Posted in Articles by Lisa Cooke

The Weymouth New Testament version of Ephesians 4:16 says “Dependent on Him, the whole body—it’s various parts closely fitting and firmly adhering to one another—grows by the aid of every contributory link, with power proportioned to the need of each individual part, so as to build itself up in a spirit of love.” The phrase—grows by the aid of every contributory link—reminds me how valuable every single person in the Body of Christ is to the grand plan that God has orchestrated concerning our time spent here on earth. The word “contributory” is defined as “playing a part to bring something about.” How are we as members of the Body of Christ to play a part and to aid in bringing something about? Read this article by Lisa Cooke

Are “Should” and “Ought” Condemning Words?
Posted in Articles by Tony Cooke

Jesus is no harsh taskmaster, but He does communicate standards and expectations to those He has freely redeemed, accepted, and forgiven. He said, “my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matt 11:30). He didn’t tell His apostles to merely teach people that they are loved and forgiven; Jesus directed, “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matt 28:20). The Beloved Apostle writes, “Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). I have no interest in laboring under a legalistic list of do’s and don’ts and should’s and must’s. Neither do I want to be a part of what Leonard Ravenhill described years ago: “Today’s Church wants to be raptured from responsibility.” That is not a right approach either. I want to live out of a vibrant relationship with God in which he empowers me to do those things that he has clearly instructed and commanded in His Word. That is not legalism; that is liberating! ... read more

Church Security
Posted in Pastors' Forum

Our church has not given extensive thought to security issues. What are some of the things, naturally speaking, that other churches are doing to address security concerns in today’s societies? Do other churches have armed security during services? What kind of training do you require for someone who is armed, and what kind of guidelines do you give ushers and others who may not be “security” in a technical sense but who do look out for the safety and well-being of the people at church? Read the responses

Effective by Dave Mickelson
Posted in Articles by Others

Several years ago, I and another pastor were doing a conference on bearing fruit. In John 15 Jesus spoke of fruit: bearing fruit, bearing much fruit, bearing lasting fruit. I concluded that His intention for His body was to be effective. While doing that conference I was very supernaturally given an emphasis—or application—from each of the nine letters in the word EFFECTIVE. When I got this revelation, I spent nine weeks teaching and ministering it to our church. ... read more

Live Devotedly with Great Delight! by Lisa Cooke
Posted in Articles by Lisa Cooke

Philippians 3:14 is the rallying cry for those whose choice it is to follow God’s ways. We make the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus” our goal and with each new day pursue afresh this high calling. But let us do this with delight because we see this goal as a treasure God has made possible for us to seek. The enemy of our souls persistently tries to steal our joy, particularly in doing the will of God. ... read more

Key Thoughts from LIFT: Experiencing the Elevated Life
Posted in Articles by Tony Cooke

What does “lift” look like when it is operating in our lives? When we have yielded to the power that flows from the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we may be surprised at how pervasive and practical God’s influence in our lives can be. Resurrection power can drastically affect our overall attitude toward life and our attitude toward others. We can see hope where others see none. We envision possibilities when others have given up. Encouragement rises inside us even in the midst of discouraging circumstances. We reject pessimism, cynicism, and fatalism. We are empowered by a confidence that does not come from this world. ... read more

Setting the Right Moral Tone
Posted in Pastors' Forum

I have been amazed, as I’m sure many other pastors are, to witness the moral decline in our society over the last decades. As a pastor, I want to set the right tone in what is ministered in our congregation. For example, I know that we have many visitors and even attenders who are living together without being married, and some think absolutely nothing about it. It seems to be a social norm. I don’t want to be known for what we’re against, but what we’re for. At the same time, I want to help people move toward godly, biblical values and standards. I understand that people coming out of the world are going to have worldly perspectives, but what especially troubles me is long-standing Christians who seem just fine with ungodly standards. Two questions: (1) How do pastors minister the love of God to people, and yet still promote godliness? (2) How do pastors help mature Christians and leaders not buy-in to compromised, worldly standards? Read the responses

The Crown by Rhonda Lee Rogers
Posted in Articles by Others

Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, was dying and was worried that his son in law would not support his daughter in her new role as monarch, so George took Phillip hunting to explain what his new role would be within the kingdom. The dying king told his son in law that his daughter would become queen upon his death and that SHE was the new job. ... read more

When Less Is Actually More by Ryan Lamberson
Posted in Articles by Others

Too often we continue to do more and more because we rarely stop and evaluate what ministries are still working and which aren’t. A good indicator that a ministry needs to be reevaluated is if the leadership feels like they have to increasingly work harder to motivate people to attend it or it has stopped growing for some time. ... read more

How Big Is Your Brave? by Lisa Cooke
Posted in Articles by Lisa Cooke

How big IS your brave? It’s OK if you feel this is an area you need and want to grow in. There is no condemnation in this question, it’s only meant to cause us to take a moment and examine ourselves to see where we are on the spectrum. Is your brave level lower than you want? How big do you want your brave to be? ... read more

A Global Outpouring
Posted in Articles by Tony Cooke

We must remember God’s ultimate purpose—a purpose that you and I have the privilege of participating in—we are laborers together with God! God is resolved to fill the earth with his knowledge and his glory. I am excited about the proliferation of Spirit-empowered, Spirit-anointed ministry that are on a mission to set captives free and to radically transform lives. I really believe that God will fulfill his oft-stated declaration to fill the earth with his knowledge and his glory! ... read more

What Constitutes Discipleship and Maturity?
Posted in Pastors' Forum

There are obviously various levels of commitment among people who attend church. Some attend occasionally, others consistently. As a pastor, what are the traits and characteristics you look to help promote and build into people as you move them deeper into discipleship and further in maturity? What constitutes true discipleship? What are the traits of genuine spiritual maturity? What can a pastor to do help facilitate and further such discipleship and maturity in the hearts and lives of the people? Read the responses

Chronology of End-Time Events by Dave Williams
Posted in Articles by Others

There is God-ordained order to Bible prophecy. Although we don't know the precise timing of all prophetic events, we can know the general schedule and why things are happening. Some people avoid studying prophecy because they think it is too frightening or difficult to understand. However, God gave us the Bible so we can read and understand what will happen in the future. ... read more

Watch and Pray by Lisa Cooke
Posted in Articles by Lisa Cooke

The alarm bells are going off in my spirit. I hear the words “watch and pray” over and over as a directive and a reminder. This is no time to relax and “sleep” but a time to be diligently on guard and “awake” in the spirit realm. These days we have before us are days of intensity and urgency in spiritual matters, and we need to be at our best and brightest in the service of our God. ... read more

Are We Asking the Right Question?
Posted in Articles by Tony Cooke

The Latin phrase Missio Dei is translated, “the mission of God.” The concept here is that God has been on a mission to reach and express his love to mankind, fulfilling his good pleasure in redeeming lost humanity to himself. When I sense a call upon my life to serve God, it is not centered or focused on me. Rather, it is an invitation to join him in his mission, something he was doing long before I came on the scene, and should the Lord tarry his coming, something which he will be doing long after I am gone. ... read more

The Law of Faith by Bill Anzevino
Posted in Articles by Others

God has provided us with an instruction manual for life’s situations called the Bible. Contained within the Bible are the spiritual laws of God. God’s spiritual laws are eternal, carry a higher level of authority, and surpass the earth’s physical laws. Sir Isaac Newton discovered the law of gravity in the 1600’s, but the law was there since the beginning of creation. ... read more

Ministerial Ethics by Diego Mesa
Posted in Articles by Others

Why are some churches seemingly more blessed, prosperous, and favored, or seem to experience more growth, increase, and health than others? Could it be related to ethics? Why do some churches initially thrive only to experience a decline in the future? Could it be related to ethics? Why do some churches last and some don’t? Could ethics possibly be the answer? ... read more

Prayer for the Laborer by Lisa Cooke
Posted in Articles by Lisa Cooke

Are you praying for an unsaved loved one, a prodigal, or someone who has lost their way in their Christianity? Have you ever prayed that a laborer would “cross their path,” speaking the needed wisdom into his or her life? I have prayed many times for laborers to have an influence in my loved ones’ lives, based on Matthew 9:38 that the Lord would send out laborers into His harvest. ... read more

When Weakness Turns to Strength
Posted in Articles by Tony Cooke

Scripture is full of examples of people who acknowledged their need and their dependence upon God. As long as they remembered that God was their source, and the strength they received was for his glory, all went well. Paul is a great example of this. When Paul was troubled over a messenger of Satan (which he called a thorn in the flesh), he cried out to God for help. Paul had come to the end of himself, and there he found strength from God. ... read more