Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Spiritual Emphasis Month

Practice Spiritual Disciplines

- Meditation (scripture parts) 10 minutes daily
- Prayer daily
- Worship daily
- Bible reading and listening
- Service
- Solitude
- Fasting

Meditation
I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds. Psalm 77:12 (NASB95)
I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word. Psalm 119:15–16 (NASB95)
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Psalm 145:5 (NASB95)
Here are some visuals to help you meditate. Spend time daily on the scripture parts located at the top of your reading calendar.
“Names of God”
“He is”

Prayer
Prayer services Prayer Monday-Saturday 6-7 pm Sunday 5-6 pm 3rd Friday of January - all night prayer service with Lupe Bernal
Pray daily. Here are some scriptural models of prayer and useful for meditation also:
- Hannah prayer, 1 Sam 1:1-18
- Daniel’s Prayer of Confession, Daniel 9:1-19
- Habakkuk Rejoices, Habakkuk 3
- Jehoshaphat Prays for Deliverance: 2 Chronicles 20:5-12
- The Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13
- Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, John 17

Worship Ephesians 5:18–19
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
I want us to have a lifestyle of worship. Our life should be worship to the Lord. There are many aspects of worship but this month we are going to focus on the musical aspect of worship. Create a worship set and sing to the Lord in your devotional time. Singing to our savior should not be something we only do corporately or on Sundays. During Spiritual Emphasis Month enjoy and give joy singing to our Heavenly Father.

Bible reading and listening
Spend 30 minutes in God’s word daily. I suggest that you get an audio version of the Bible. When you get up each day turn it on and go about your morning routine. When you travel put a Bible CD in your player. You will find that if you listen while you do regular routines you will spend more than 30 minutes daily in the word. Also it will inspire you to read portions that you have listen to for greater insight. Listed below is the order which we will read through January. Following the general guideline of 30 minutes daily it will take 37 days to go through the New Testament. If you wish to make it through in 31 days bump your time up to 40-50 minutes of reading or listening.
Bible Reading Calendar
Bible Reading with Scripture Parts
Books of the Bible

Service
Romans 12:1–2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
This month involve yourself in ministry not for the sake of making your pastor happy but as a service to the Lord. Serving the body of Christ is serving Christ. Service done right is worship, think of it that way and look for different opportunities to worship in spirit and in truth.

Fasting
Isaiah 58:1–12 is the scripture I consider to be the cornerstone of fasting.
Fasting is not a “look at me!” activity. You humble yourself, think of others and put what God considers righteous first. The heart of fasting is to deny your flesh and feed your spirit. Those who are physically able to fast should pick at least one day to abstain from food and engage in spiritual activity
If you are not sure if you are physically able to fast, then check with your doctor.
If you are not sure an absolute fast is for you then do a modified fast.
The Daniel Fast is one type of modified fasting. The short version is to abstain from meat, white flour and sugar. You eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and unleavened or whole wheat bread.
Another modified type of fasting is the Ezekiel Fast. During this fast you eat only unleavened and/or whole wheat bread and water. I suggest you use salsa or vinegar and oil to dip your bread. I choose to consume 1,000 calories per day when I perform this type of fast.
You can fast things other than food. Remember the heart of fasting is to deny the flesh and feed the spirit. If you give up something and replace it with a spiritual endeavor that is a type of fasting. An example might be if you watch the news every night and give that up and spend that time praying, then you are starving the flesh and feeding the spirit. Giving up something you desire for spiritual gain.

Solitude
Matthew 14:23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. Perhaps this is one of the hardest of spiritual disciplines. Find time to take a walk with the Lord. Practice finding lonely places to be with the Father. Spend time listening for the voice of the Spirit talking to you.


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Monday, December 7, 2015

Roller Coaster Psalm 31 at Ed the Pastor

Riding on a roller coaster is full of ups and downs, throw in a couple of loop the loops and corkscrews and you have a great metaphor for modern life. There is not too much we can do about the ride but we can take comfort that our Lord is with us from start to finish.

Roller Coaster Psalm 31 at Ed the Pastor

Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hit the Showers Genesis 35:1-15 at Ed the Pastor

Leadership begins with leading! Tell them what's going to happen, execute and continue to the end of what you are supposed to do. Follow through, Follow through, Follow through

Hit the Showers Genesis 35:1-15 at Ed the Pastor

Friday, November 13, 2015

Getting ready for Spiritual Emphasis Month 2016

Hey everybody it's that time to start thinking about January and Spiritual Emphasis Month. I think I have gone overboard with plans this time. Below is my "Manifesto" which needs to be refined and rewritten in a more pleasing format no doubt. Please head and comment to help me get this into a workable format and better hone this into something that is challenging but not overwhelming. I will enclose a link to download for those who would like to play their hand at editing.


Download in Word


Spiritual Emphasis Month



A Walk with the Lord

January 1-31, 2016
Weekly scripture parts
Week 1
Galatians 5:16–17 (NASB95)
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Week 2
Deuteronomy 10:12–13 (NASB95)
Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?
Week 3
2 Corinthians 10:2–3 (NASB95)
I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
Week 4
Isaiah 40:30–31 (NASB95)
Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
Week 5
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NASB95)
…for we walk by faith, not by sight—

Prayer services
Prayer Monday-Saturday 6-7 pm Sunday 5-6 pm
One Friday all night prayer service with Lupe Bernal
Need calendar for prayer sign ups

Practice Spiritual disciplines
Meditation (scripture parts) 10 minutes daily
Prayer daily
Bible
Fasting
Worship daily
Service
Solitude

Meditation
Psalm 77:12 (NASB95)
I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.
Psalm 119:15–16 (NASB95)
I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.
Psalm 145:5 (NASB95)
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
Christian meditation is overlooked quiet often. Many have surrendered it to eastern religion when in fact the patriarch in the Old Testament first practiced it. Whereas eastern meditation seek to empty the mind, Bible based meditation is to fill the mind.
Primarily we fill our mind with God’s works and deeds. This is done by appreciating Him by seeing Him at work in creation and in His blessings in our lives. What He has done for all and what he has done for you.
Next we meditate on precepts, statutes and word. For our purposes this is memorizing and mulling over scripture. Not just reading it, which is important, but making it stick in your head through intensely focusing on it and its application in our lives.
Lastly we meditate on God Himself. Who he is and what he has done. Personalize and internalize this step. What do you think about Him and His hand in your life? To help meditate on the attributes of God, here are two video links that will aid in your meditation.
“Names of God”

“He is”


Prayer
Pray daily. If you already spend time in pray daily, then look for ways to extend your prayer time. Make a list, ask for prayer requests, and pray for others. Here are some things and ways we are told to pray for in the New Testament:
pray for enemies, pray in secret, pray an hour, pray that you avoid temptation, forgive other in prayer, ask and believe, pray for those who mistreat you, pray as the Lord prayed, Pray at all times and don’t lose heart, pray gathered together, lay on hands, pray to receive the Holy Spirit, pray continually, pray for those in prison, fast and pray, pray and sing praise, pray for all in attendance, pray for healing, pray in the Spirit, pray with understanding, pray to be perfected and complete, pray for enlightenment, pray for love, knowledge and discernment, pray for knowledge, wisdom and understanding, pray for opportunity, pray without ceasing, pray to be worthy of your calling, the spread of the gospel, with hands lifted up, to act honorable, if you are suffering then pray, have elders pray for you, pray in faith, pray earnestly and pray that we prosper and be in good health.

Scriptural models of prayer:
Hannah prayer, 1 Sam 1:1-18
Daniel’s Prayer of Confession, Daniel 9:1-19
Habakkuk Rejoices, Habakkuk 3
Jehoshaphat Prays for Deliverance: 2 Chronicles 20:5-12
The Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13
Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, John 17

Bible
Spend 30 minutes in God’s word daily. I suggest that you get an audio version of the Bible. When you get up each day turn it on and go about your morning routine. When you travel put a Bible CD in your player. You will find that if you listen while you do regular routines you will spend more than 30 minutes daily in the word. Last year I listened to the New Testament twice in one month doing this. Also it will inspire you to read portions that you have listen to for greater insight. Listed below is the order which we will read through January. Following the general guideline of 30 minutes daily it will take 37 days to go through the New Testament. If you wish to make it through in 31 days bump your time up to 40 minutes of reading or listening.
Mark, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, and 1 & 2 Peter
John, 1 & 2 Corinthians, 1 & 2 Timothy 1, 2 & 3 John and Revelation
Luke, Acts, Ephesians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon
Mathew, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, James and Jude.

January Reading List

Jan. 1 Mark 1-8
Jan. 2 Mark 9-16
Jan. 3 Philippians 1-4 and Colossians 1-4
Jan. 4 Titus 1-3 and I Peter 1-5 through II Peter 1-3
Jan. 5 John 1-5
Jan. 6 John 6-10
Jan. 7 John 11-16
Jan. 8 John 17-21 and I Corinthians 1-2
Jan. 9 I Corinthians 3- 16
Jan. 10 II Corinthians 1-13
Jan. 11 I Timothy 1-6 through 2 Timothy 1-4
Jan. 12 I John 1-5 through 2 John 1 through 3 John through Revelation 3
Jan. 13 Revelation 4-13
Jan. 14 Revelation 14-22
Jan. 15 Luke 1-7
Jan. 16 Luke 8-14
Jan. 17 Luke 15-20
Jan. 18 Luke 21-22
Jan. 19 Acts 1-7
Jan. 20 Acts 8-16
Jan. 21 Acts 17-23
Jan. 22 Acts 24-28 and Ephesians 1-2
Jan. 23 Ephesians 3-6 and I Thessalonians 1 through II Thessalonians 3
Jan. 24 Philemon 1 Matthew 1-7
Jan. 25 Matthew 8-13
Jan. 26 Matthew 14-20
Jan. 27 Matthew 21-25
Jan. 28 Matthew 26-28 and Romans 1-5
Jan. 29 Romans 6-16 and Galatians 1-4
Jan. 30 Galatians 5-6 and Hebrews 1-9
Jan. 31 Hebrews 10-13 and James 1-5 and Jude


Fasting
Isaiah 58:1–12 is the scripture I consider to be the cornerstone of fasting.
1 “Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers. 4 “Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. 5 “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? 7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9 “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, 10 And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. 11 “And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. 12 “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
Fasting is not a “look at me!” activity. You humble yourself, think of others and put what God considers righteous first. The heart of fasting is to deny your flesh and feed your spirit. Those who are physically able to fast should pick at least one day to abstain from food and engage in spiritual activity. If you are not sure if you are physically able to fast should check with their doctor.

If you are not sure an absolute fast is for you then do a modified fast. The Daniel Fast is one type of modified fasting. The short version is to abstain from meat, white flour and sugar. You eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and unleavened or whole wheat bread.

Another modified type of fasting is the Ezekiel Fast. During this fast you eat only unleavened and/or whole wheat bread and water. I suggest you use salsa or vinegar and oil to dip your bread. I choose to consume 1,000 calories per day when I perform this type of fast.

You can fast things other than food. Remember the heart of fasting is to deny the flesh and feed the spirit. If you give up something and replace it with a spiritual endeavor that is a type of fasting. An example might be if you watch the news every night and give that up and spend that time praying you are starving the flesh and feeding the spirit. Giving up something you desire for spiritual gain.

Worship

Ephesians 5:18–19 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
I want us to have a lifestyle of worship. Our life should be worship to the Lord. There are many aspects of worship but this month we are going to focus on the musical aspect of worship. Create a worship set and sing to the Lord in your devotional time. Singing to our savior should not be something we only do corporately and on Sundays. During Spiritual Emphasis Month enjoy and give joy singing to our heavenly father.

Service

Romans 12:1–2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
This month involve yourself in ministry not for the sake of making your pastor happy but as a service to the Lord. When you offer up your body to the Lord to use it is for service to the body of Christ. Service done is worship, think of it that way and look for different opportunities to worship in spirit and in truth.

Solitude

Matthew 14:23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.
Perhaps this is one of the hardest of spiritual disciplines. Find time to take a walk with the Lord. Practice finding lonely places to be with the Father. Spend time listening for the voice of the Spirit talking to you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

We Don’t Talk About that in Church Genesis 34 at Ed the Pastor

Sexual assault is all too common and it isn't often talked about in church. We all have a responsibility to protect each other and heal the survivors. A candid look at this sensitive topic.



We Don’t Talk About that in Church Genesis 34 at Ed the Pastor

Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Losing to Win Genesis 32 at Ed the Pastor

Our struggling to get things right doesn't always work. It's best to go with what God has has for us. Go ahead and let God win, He always does anyway!



Losing to Win Genesis 32 at Ed the Pastor

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Moving Day Genesis 31:1-21 at Ed the Pastor

There comes a time when it's time to move from a job, relationship, ministry or church. The is a right and a wrong way to do it.



Moving Day Genesis 31:1-21 at Ed the Pastor

Monday, September 21, 2015

Payday Genesis 30:26-43 at Ed the Pastor

How does our faith effect our work ethic? How do you handle an abusive boss? How do I become the person God wants me to be?



Payday Genesis 30:26-43 at Ed the Pastor

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Here Comes the Brides Genesis 29:15-30 at Ed the Pastor

People will treat you according to their estimation of you and your character. God brings Jacob to a man with the same character flaws.



Here Comes the Brides Genesis 29:15-30 at Ed the Pastor

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Improving Reception Genesis 28 at Ed the Pastor

Sometimes we have a hard time hearing from God. It may take a change on our part to hear clearly what God would like to tell us.



Improving Reception Genesis 28 at Ed the Pastor

Monday, June 22, 2015

10,000 Reasons Bless the Lord

Spiritual Gifts are for Today




The Cessationalist claim that tongues, prophecy, healing and many other gifts are not for today. Here is part of their thinking:

The nature of the New Testament miraculous gifts. If the Spirit was still moving as he was in the first century, then you would expect that the gifts would be of the same type. Consider the speaking of tongues. At Pentecost, the languages spoken were already existing, understandable languages. The New Testament gift was speaking in a known language and dialect, not an ecstatic language like you see people speaking in today.

I’m still looking for a citation on this one (all the others too!) Some may point to 1 Corinthians 13:10 and say that the “perfect has come” in the form of the complete cannon of scripture and that “tongues will cease.” All spiritual gifts are partial. The perfect comes with the full revelation of the church under the personal and direct control of Jesus Christ. This was the belief of all the Apostolic and early church fathers that I can find who commented on that particular scripture, but they haven’t been to a John MacArthur seminar. If the canonization of the Bible was the perfect, then why does it contain irrelevant portions? So if portions of the Bible are irrelevant than the Bible is not perfect.

Scripturally speaking you cannot show that spiritual gifts have ceased to operate. If you take that tact then what other scriptures are no longer applicable for today? James 5:13-18 must be blotted out because healing, faith and miracles are not for today. 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14 need to be ignored. Then we have to amend 1 Peter 2:24 to remove the healing out of the atonement. We even need to discount some of the words of Jesus himself because he didn't really mean we could have power, perform miracles and ask for the impossible because the Cessationist have argued his words are not for us for the past 1,900 years. What other words did Christ speak that we should ignore?

Here is one that confuses me. 


The New Testament governed the miraculous gifts. Whenever the New Testament gifts of tongues were to be practiced, there were specific rules that were to be followed. There was to be order and structure, as well as an interpreter. Paul also lays down rules for prophets and prophecy. Tragically most charismatic practice today clearly disregards these commands.

Abuses of the gifts do not invalidate the gifts. That was the purpose of 1 Corinthians to provide correction and context for their use in the church. Paul didn't shut them down but provided guidelines. Are tongues and prophecy for today?  Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:39 (NASB95). Argue with St. Paul.

This is my favorite argument.

The sufficiency of Scripture. The Spirit speaks only in and through the inspired Word. He doesn't call and direct his people through subjective messages and modern day bestsellers. His word is external to us and objective.

The cannon is closed, yes. No other writing or word is on par with the Bible. All must be judged by the scriptures.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 2 Timothy 3:16 (NASB95). If it contradicts the word of God it is to be discounted. Does not matter if it is a best seller, a sermon, prophecy, tongues & interpretation or a Cessationist article all must not contradict what the word of God plainly says.

To say that the word of God is external and objective raises the question as how we can read the word and come up with different meanings. I read it and see that all members of the body of Christ are given a gift by the Holy Spirit. A Cessationalist reads the same passage and says no we are not. But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching. Romans 10:8 (NASB95). Does not sound entirely external.

The Comforter has come and stayed. He bought power with Him. The Holy Spirit teaches us, gives us words to say, is our advantage and is with us forever. I can find in no way that the Spirit was for the 12 Apostles only. Scripture in no way implies that His ministry was for a limited time only. He remains with us forever and inspires us revelation and wisdom all the time. Jesus said he would go away but then return. The Holy Spirit of promise continues to be with us just as He was with the first century church.  











Thursday, June 18, 2015

Spiritual Gifts are for Today

Spiritual Gifts are for Today

This is a refutation of the article “7 Biblical Arguments for Cessationism,” the first point for a discontinuation of spiritual gifts was that miracles were only for certain periods in the Bible and  states for his first argument that miracles don’t happen anymore.

The unique role of miracles. There were only 3 primary periods in which God worked miracles through unique men. The first was with Moses; the second was during the ministries of Elijah and Elisha; the third was with Christ and his apostles. The primary purpose of miracles has always been to establish the credibility of one who speaks the word of God—not just any teacher, but those who had been given direct words by God.”

The writer invokes the fuzzy phrase “primary periods.” Yes these men’s ministries were distinguished by miracles, but to try to confine to certain periods does not take into account the full counsel of the scriptures concerning workers of miracles. The miraculous was done by God through many others: Noah, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, Samuel, the prophet who spoke to Jeroboam, Isaiah, Jonah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. I would agree with the author that God gave miraculous signs to validate the message or to show His favor, but to claim there were only three periods is inaccurate.

God does make provision for the miraculous to operate as part of the body of Christ.
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues…And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:7, 10, 28 (NASB95)

It would appear that each of us has a spiritual gift and some can even effect miracles. There is not a qualifier that states that miracles were only for the apostles or that these were soon to vanish away.

Church history is rife with anecdotal incidents of miracles. It would be wrong to paint with a big brush and say that none of these happened. This is what Calvin and Luther both did when they broke from the Catholic Church.

The next biblical proof that the author cited for the cessation of the gifts of the Spirit was that the gift of apostle was a temporary gift.

The end of the gift of apostleship. In two places in the New Testament Paul refers to the apostles as one of the gifts Christ gave his church (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4). Although not all spiritual gifts are offices, all offices are gifts to the church. One of the gifts Christ gave his church was the apostles, but they were a temporary gift.

Although I am not a big fan of the modern apostolic movement I do believe that the office of apostle is a gift that continues. The main argument against apostles is that since they are part of the foundation of the church, they are no longer needed since the church has been established. I would counter that the church has not been established throughout the whole world. There is still a need for God appointed leaders to follow the Apostle Paul’s model and establish churches throughout every tribe, tongue and nation.

The author uses a narrow definition of apostle to add weight to his argument.  “No one meets the qualifications anymore, which included being an eye-witness of the life of Christ and his resurrection. You also had to be personally appointed by Christ and be able to work miracles.”

According to scriptures there were other apostles. Matthias who was chosen to replace Judas (Acts 1:26) Paul, Barnabas (Acts 13:2), Silas (1 Thes 2:7) and James the half brother of Jesus (Gal 1:19). More than just the twelve were considered to be apostles. Paul claims that there were false apostles in operation (2 Cor 11:13) and if that gift were limited to only the twelve it would have been ludicrous to claim to be an apostle in the first century. God even praises the church at Ephesus for testing men who claimed to be apostles (Rev 2:2). And if I might add that the Didache, written in the late first century or early second century, contains instructions for receiving prophets and apostles. So there is an early church tradition that there were more than just the original twelve.

Are miracles still available? Of course. God does the miraculous through men as He wills. Are apostles all gone? Not until this Gospel is preached unto the whole world. We need spiritual gifts to do the work God has called us to do.

 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 1 Corinthians 12:4–6 (NASB95)


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Gifts of the Spirit are Available Today



I came across an article some years ago stating that the gifts of the Holy Spirit had ceased to operate for around 1,900 years. You can imagine my surprise. So I formulated my response mentally and filed it away for future use. Well lo and behold I have come across this phenomenon again and it’s called Cessationism. This time I’ll put my thoughts down for your enrichment or perhaps your aggravation.


I was intrigued by the title of the article, “7 Biblical Arguments for Cessationism.”  I expected a frenzy of scriptures and proof texting but sadly there was none. I will summarize their points and offer my counter to their arguments based on the principle of the witness of 2 or 3 scriptures. This should take a couple of days. Today I will issue my primary answer to these arguments and it will be based on Acts 2:17-21; 38-39.


Peter on the day of Pentecost started his sermon with, “And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy.  And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. ‘The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:17–21 (NASB95)

This scripture speaks of a timeline by the use of “last days” and “in those days”. The day of Pentecost was the beginning of the last days and the end of days is the day the Lord shall come. Several prophetic signs are mentioned, “And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. ‘The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood”.  We have yet to experience the latter signs which mark the end of the age. Which places us in that period marked by “I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind” and”everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” It is bad exegesis to separate a scripture when interpreting it. So the outpouring is connected to salvation in the name of Jesus.

The point is further driven home by Peter’s closing statement;  “…Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” Acts 2:38–39 (NASB95)

Repent, be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit are the steps given by Peter. If the principle of Apostolic Authority is indeed a fact, then this statement is without error. Peter adds the qualifier, “as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” If the Lord is still calling, then the promise is still available. You cannot separate all the verses where Christians are “called” and say that these are available promises for us today and the “call” issued on Pentecost is not available.

This is my primary answer to the Cessationism question. I believe that every promise made in the New Testament is available to us today. Healing, Spiritual Gifts, Fruits of the Spirit and the promise of the Comforter and all that He provides for us.  




Monday, June 15, 2015

A Change of Clothes Colossians 3:12-17 at Ed the Pastor

A Change of Clothes Colossians 3:12-17 at Ed the Pastor



If this is the only sermon you listen to this year, you need to go to church more often, Getting ready for the Church and what we have to put on to be be the Church.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Battle of the Ages Colossians 3:1-11 at Ed the Pastor

Battle of the Ages Colossians 3:1-11 at Ed the Pastor

Living an "exchanged life" is a matter of making the decision to allow the Holy Spirit to make necessary changes to enter the Kingdom age and putting to death the old age deeds.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bible Reading Plan for the New Testiment

Many people get bogged down in reading the Bible because they read the narratives first. Unfortunately, sometimes, reading the same stories from the Gospels causes them to become bored. Don't feel guilty, the order of the books are not inspired. They are grouped together thematically. Try breaking up the New Testament into groups about 6, to 9 books.  Here are my groupings:

1) Mathew, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, James and Jude.
2) Mark, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, and 1 & 2 Peter
3) John, 1 & 2 Corinthians, 1 & 2 Timothy  1, 2 & 3 John and Revelation
4) Luke, Acts, Ephesians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon.

I hope you enjoy this plan. Remember 30 minutes a day completes the New Testament in 40 days!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bible Reading Challenge

Here's a simple way to keep track of your Bible reading. It's a list of the books of the Bible including the chapters for each. Just cross off the appropriate chapter when you are done. I've used one for years and thought I would share it. As always it is free but if you would like to help support my ministry please feel free.

Bible Reading List

Friday, May 1, 2015

Planning a Wedding Service

Thanks for visiting my blog. I have included a link to my wedding booklet that has all the ceremonies, helpful hints and practices that you'll need to plan your wedding. I have included seven complete ceremonies and plenty of extras. This is yours free of charge but if you would like to contribute to the "Send My Daughter to College" fund please do so! Either click on the donate link or you can send a small token of appreciation.  Pastor Ed Sullivan 151 Purple Sage Road Bandera TX 78003. Just click on the link below.

Wedding Booklet