Gene English speaks about developing a heart of thanks. One of things that came to Gene is that the development of a heart of thanks doesn’t come easy. In looking at a child, they would say give me that or that’s mine. The parents are training children to say, “Please may I have that”. It is natural for us to want. It is another thing to take a step forward and deliberately develop a heart of thanks. Gene mentions that there is a progression with that and that we began to have a thankful heart. It is not just a heart of thanks, it is also a thankful heart. Gene encourages to just stop everything and not think about what the next events are. To sit there with our eyes closed. To take a breath and begin to see where you were ten or fifteen years or, one year ago.To see where you are now and to be thankful. I am thankful to God. The word thank you is over used just like the word love. When you begin to develop the heart of thankfulness. Another progression turns into a heart of thanksgiving. Reflect on Christ’s birth. Nothing like it to give away what you have. Gene encourages us to open the eyes of our hearts. Are we so busy that we don’t see the importance of Jesus’ birth. It takes sacrifice. Contentment comes from a thankful heart. Gene read from Luke 2. and Genesis 3:14-15, the Lord is talking to Satan. Gene references John 3:16, Genesis 4:25, Genesis 9:27, Genesis 12:3, Genesis 21:12, Genesis 25:23, and Genesis 49:10. Is Jesus our schedule or is He our convenience? Gene encourages us not to get caught up. He wants us to look for the details of how Christ was revealed. Colossians 1:17. He questioned if we are too busy to see God’s extravagant love of the birth of Christ. Gene Zephaniah 3:17. Gene mentions for men to stop perverting God’s love. To accept and be who you are in Christ. Then He can do a work in you.
When God gives an assignment, it is not contingent on finances or natural conditions. Just be obedient. (Gene had a PowerPoint presentation of his trip to Siberia’s and Russia’s Teen Challenge Centers.) The authority of God must take a high priority in our lives. We need a submissive heart, approaching God with purity and a heart of humility and teachability. What is the most important thing in my life? Gene answered, “To know God.” Paul said that for him to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:20, 21). Where is your passion level for your relationship with God? Gene commented that his wife, Kathleen, gave her life to reflect God to reach him. The psalmist said in Psalm 73:25 that there is none he desired beside God. Desire to know Him more. Do you want to know Him or just to know about Him? We have a choice to serve God or Satan. Lucifer was once a beautiful praiser and worshiper, but he decided he did not need God, and in fact, wanted to be above Him. He got into pride. There are times in our lives when we walk in pride and other times we want to please God. Revival starts in our hearts as we desire God and to know Him. It takes our stepping toward Him. Luke 10:27 tells us to love Him with all our heart, strength, mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves. Deuteronomy 6:5, 6 is the Scripture that Luke’s word was taken from. The Jews wore on their foreheads and arms a reminder of their love for God. Do you yearn for God? See the world through the desire to know God more. We are to seek His face and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14). Can we filter everything out of our lives, and just love Him?
Gene English showed pictures and shared about his recent mission trip to Rwanda and Namibia, Africa. As part of the trip, he attended a Global Teen Challenge Conference in Rwanda. He also was looking for properties that could possibly be used for future Teen Challenge sites. While he was in Rwanda, he visited the Genocide Memorial, commemorating the death of the over one million people of the Tutu tribe, who were killed by a rival Rwandan tribe. Namibia also suffered much slaughter, but theirs was due to apartheid. A fruitful harvest requires a fruitful witness. We need to get past being afraid of rejection when we talk to strangers about Jesus Christ. We get comfortable, but we need to know that God is going to give us the words to speak when we step out to share Christ. We need to think about the lost. How is God going to use me to reach the lost? Remember where you were before you came to Jesus. We can see the goodness of God. You begin with the Word of God. Then you see that you are the righteousness of God. Your mind gets renewed by the Word, and you begin believing and confessing the Word. Your thinking changes. We are commissioned to reach the lost. We need to be faithful witnesses. The process may be ugly, but the result is good. Matthew 9:38, 38 tell about praying for the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into the harvest. Intercede for the lost (Psalm 2:8). Cry out for them. Gene told about Isaac Watts, who was an atheist at that time, confronting a Christian woman. She had three sons, and the first one heard from God to go to the mission field. He was killed, and her second son heard the same call to go. He went to complete the work the first one started, but he was killed. The third son also was called to complete his brothers’ work, but he, too, was killed. When Isaac Watts confronted her in the market place, he asked her, “How can you love that God? Don’t you regret it?” Her answer was, “Yes, I regret- that I don’t have another son to send to finish the work!” Ask God, “How can I be used by You today?” Let’s purpose to reach the lost for the kingdom of God. Pray that you may have a love for the lost. Are you casting out seeds? Are you multiplying? How can I build bridges? Ask God to stir up your gifts.
We are to come under the Word of God, the authority of God. Gene read many Scriptures that tell us who we are, if we are under the authority of God. We need a right response to the Word of God and a willingness to receive the Word. Text: James 1:18-22. We are to be doers of the Word. When we come to the Word of God, we need to come with a submissive heart. Be eager toward the Word of God. James tells us to be swift to hear the Word of God. Be an eager hearer. Believers have a right response that involves three attributes. The first is willingness to receive the Word with submission. We enter with a submissive heart to the Word. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word. James also tells us to be slow to speak and slow to wrath. Anger builds barriers. Not only do we come to the Word with a submissive heart, but secondly, we lay aside and lay apart all filthiness and wickedness and receive the Word with purity. We have to cast off works of darkness (Romans 13:12). We can compare it to taking off smelly, dirty clothes. We need to be cleansed, or filthiness will make us “stink” and unable to hear because we “have wax in our ears”. We need purity of heart, so we can hear and receive the life we need. The third attribute of willingness to receive the Word is humility (James 1:21). We pray that we can live out the truth that we receive.
Pastor Gene English, leader of the Men of the Word, preached on new beginnings, connecting the beginning of the world in Genesis with the new beginning through the birth of Jesus Christ. John Tobias shared his testimony, demonstrating the new beginning in a person’s life by salvation through Jesus Christ.
The team that went to Guatemala shared testimonies of their ministry time there. Those sharing were Gene English, Lynzee Hershey, Josh Yoder, Levi Lapp, Nicole English, and Eddie Bondarencko.
God has commanded us to have faith in Him. We have been saved by faith (Eph. 2:8, 9). In Rom. 1:17 and several other Scriptures we are told that the just shall live by faith. Heb. 11:1 tells us that faith is a substance, and in the Greek it is a verb- substantiate. To substantiate our faith, we have revelation from the Holy Spirit. We can believe that God’s Word is absolute. Rom. 6:6-11 says that we can “know this” and “reckon this”, which means that we can absolutely believe when we identified with Christ on the cross. We must identify with the faith of God. Matt. 16:17 and Eph. 1:17, 18 relate that the Spirit reveals things to us. Jesus’ Word is truth (John 17:17). See people through the eyes of faith, hope, and love.
Offering message: (Pastor Syd Ropp) Gal. 6:6 Pastor Syd teaches about the difference of sowing to the flesh and sowing to the Spirit. When you give, GIVE TO GOD, not to man or man’s work, and then it won’t come to corruption. In Mark 9:37,41 Jesus said that giving a cup of water to someone or receiving one of His children is giving to God. Don’t lose your focus of giving to God. Heb. 7:8 says that here mortal men receive tithes, but we’re giving it to God. Sermon: Gene English, Chester Petersheim, Jason Miller, Chani Zimmerman, and Josh Shuman shared about their recent mission trip to Guatemala and the way that Armada Commission (Armada Bible School) has impacted their lives. Gene also taught on seizing the moment with the examples of Mary’s anointing Jesus’ feet (John 12:1-8), and Kubla Khan’s (and China’s) turning to Buddhism because Christian missionaries weren’t sent to China when he asked for them. Seize the opportunity to be used by God. It’s important!
Don’t allow circumstances to cloud your mind or to measure your purpose. God has the solution for the circumstances if you take action in faith. When the Israelites complained because they didn’t have water (Ex. 15:22-26), Moses cried out to the Lord for the people. He engaged his faith to see the supernatural. In John 9:1-35 Jesus acted in compassion toward a blind man and healed him. The blind man had to act in faith to receive his sight in spite of the circumstances that the disciples questioned whose sin caused the blindness, that he had been blind all his life, that Jesus had spit and made a “slime” and put it on his eyes, and that he was told to wash in the pool of Siloam. Besides that, he was rejected and not believed by the Pharisees, and even his parents wouldn’t say how he was healed because they didn’t want to be kicked out of the synagogue. In verse 35 the blind man knew he was accepted by Jesus and worshiped Him. Don’t allow circumstances to cloud your mind and way, but engage your faith in God. We want God to receive the glory. A pure heart glorifies God. (I Cor. 10:31; John 14:13; Rev. 4:8; Phil. 1:11; Eph. 3:19)
Romans 8:38-39 says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. R-U-G. R- Receive the value of God’s love for you. John 3:16 tell you that He loves you so much! Receive His love for yourself. U- Unpack the love of God. Gal. 3:2-5 commands us to start with the Holy Spirit and to stay with the Spirit. We must engage the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is the power to take us to the next level with God. John 14:16, 25-26; 15:26; 16:6-8 tell us about the Helper, the Spirit of Truth that Jesus was going to give to us when He left this physical earth. Jesus gave us all we need to fulfill His plan for our lives. G- Give it away. God’s love and His Spirit are not just for you alone. Matt. 28:18-20 instructs us that He was given the authority in heaven and on earth, and He has given it to us to take the seed of His Word to the lost. He has given us the power and the tools (and the truth). Be passionate about saving people and plant the seed of the Word.
Acts 9:31 says that the church walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and they were multiplied. Fear of the Lord is different from the world’s concept of fear. Matt. 10:28 tells us to fear God, which means that we are to reverence Him. Phil. 2:12 tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The fear of God removes the desire to sin. Sin causes a distance from God. Caution: God is a loving God and does forgive, but if we continue to sin, there are warnings. Heb. 10:26-31 says that if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Other verses about the fear of the Lord: Prob. 1:7; Prov. 8:13; Prov. 10:27; Prov. 14:26, 27; Prov. 16:6; Prov. 19:23; Prov. 22:4. Is. 66:1, 2; Heb. 12:28, 29. Serve God with reverence and godly fear. We cannot please Him without the fear of the Lord. How do we purpose to develop the fear of God? Don’t adapt to the world’s fear. Develop the fear of the Lord by the Word of God. Meditate in it. Pursue God daily. Rom. 2:4-11 The goodness of God leads you to repentance, but His His wrath and righteous judgment will be revealed. There is a balance between love and justice. Heb. 4:11 Labor to enter into His rest. Ps. 25:14; I Cor. 7:1. Develop a holy fear of God and go into His presence and lay at His feet.