It all started because of a gospel tract left at a service station. The story begins on a hot summer day in 1975. God answered my mom’s prayers and my dad was wonderfully saved from a life of alcohol addiction. After having the car serviced, my mother picked up a Fairfax Baptist Temple tract from the counter, and soon our family began attending church. After hearing Pastor Bud Calvert preach the gospel of Jesus Christ for about four months, I received Christ as my Lord and Savior during an invitation prayer. God changed my plans! Instead of becoming a pilot, I became a preacher! All glory goes to God!
As I look back over 35 years of God’s blessings, leadership, and power in our church family, I am humbled and honored that I have been allowed by the Lord to be an under-shepherd to Jesus Christ for the saints at Valley Forge Baptist. I am certain the Lord could have chosen thousands of other more qualified men than myself to lead this wonderful church family that He has built.
Dreams Do Come True
For a teenager and a young man with a great fear of public speaking, it is nothing more than a demonstration of God’s power to place me in the ministry. It is a dream come true to pastor in one place WITH JOY for 35 years. I praise God that He has allowed me and our church family to see the fulfillment of His wonderful promises that He made to us: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3
Praising God for All He has Done!
The Holy Spirit directed both the apostle Paul and Dr. Luke to record some of the metrics of the early church. I would like to join with Paul and say, “… I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.” Romans 15:17
I would like to boast in what God has done. I take absolutely no credit or honor in His mighty work. Truly, it has been the saints of our church family who have faithfully done “the work of the ministry.” The “Difference Makers” at VFBT will receive the credit and reward in heaven for faithfully serving our Savior.
What has the Lord been doing for 35 years at Valley Forge Baptist?
Several thousand trusting Christ as Savior.
9,000 guests have heard the gospel.
320 baby dedications.
$10,000,000 given to World Missions.
4,000 kids attended VBS with hundreds being saved.
Supporting 200 missionary families.
10,000 meals served to the homeless and needy.
18 fresh water wells dug in foreign poverty lands.
Thousands of dollars given for disaster relief with the Gospel.
As a church family, we take no credit for all that God has done. We are simply servants of the Most High God. It is my joy and privilege to serve our Savior with some of the greatest saints this side of heaven!!!
To all of our VFBT Church Family, We love you, Pastor Scott & Jodie Wendal
“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:21
The blind man answered and said, “Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25
1 – Realize the Power of Your Christian Testimony
First and foremost – remember – there is power in your testimony! Revelation 12:11 says we overcome our enemy be the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.
2 – Study Examples of Testimonies from others
Paul’s Testimony, Acts 22:3-21 Acts 26:9-20
Tracts on tract rack past the restrooms on the left.
3 – Spend Time in Thoughtful Preparation
There are a few things to consider before you start writing your testimony. Think about your life before you met the Lord.
Questions to Consider:
What was going on in your life leading up to your salvation?
What problems or needs were you facing at the time?
How did your life change after that?
4 – Start with a Simple 3-Point Outline
A three-point approach is very effective in communicating your personal testimony. The outline focuses on before you trusted Christ, how you surrendered to him, and the difference since you’ve been walking with him.
Simply tell what your life was like before you surrendered to Christ. What were you searching for before coming to know Christ? What was the key problem, emotion, situation or attitude you were dealing with? What motivated you? What were your actions? How did you try to satisfy your inner needs? (Examples of inner needs are loneliness, fear of death, insecurity. Possible ways to fill those needs include work, money, drugs, relationships, sports, immorality)
How were you saved?
Simply tell the events and circumstances that caused you to consider Christ as the solution to your searching.
Tell how God spoke to your heart.
Tell who God used and how they witnessed to you.
Tell where you were at when you were saved.
Tell how you responded to that invitation
How has your life in Christ made a difference?
How has his forgiveness impacted you?
How have your thoughts, attitudes and emotions changed?
Share how Christ is meeting your needs and what a relationship with Him means to you now.
5 – Important Tips to Remember
Stick to the point. Your conversion and new life in Christ should be the main points.
Be specific. Include events, genuine feelings and personal insights that clarify your main point. This makes your testimony tangible – something others can relate to.
Be current. Tell what is happening in your life with God now, today.
Be honest. Don’t exaggerate or dramatize your life for effect. The simple truth of what God has done in your life is all the needs to convict others of their sin and convince them of his love and grace (www.christianity.about.com).
6 – Things to Avoid
Avoid giving every little detail.
Avoid being graphic or inappropriate details of your past. You can refer to specific sins in a general way.
Avoid using terms that an unsaved person would not understand – like the term “unsaved.”
Explain How God has…
– Opened your eyes to spiritual truth
– Rescued you
– Delivered you from despair
– Given you a purpose to live for God
– Forgiven your sins
– Taken away your guilt and given you a clear and clean conscience
– Changed the focus of your life from being selfish to caring for God and others.
- Write out your testimony
- Short version – 2 minutes or less
- Long version – 5-7 minutes (no longer than 10 minutes).
- Let the place where you are sharing your testimony dictate the length.
If you are talking one on one then you can take longer to give your testimony. If you are speaking to a group where other people will also be speaking, then you need to keep your testimony shorter.
- Look how Paul’s testimony is tightly put together. He didn’t ramble on about things that had no bearing on his testimony
- Practice giving your testimony so that you will be prepared to give it when the opportunity is opened to you.
The SALT Strategy:
S Say Anything
A Ask Questions
L Listen Well
T Turn the Topic to Christ
Both the Old and the New Testament declare God is PRO-Life. God is the giver of life and it is a stain on any nation that does not have laws to protect the unborn. Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I would like to encourage every Christian to do something! Contact your representatives. Below you will find a sample letter to hand deliver, email, or send to your legislators. It’s easy to do. In any search engine type in “Find my Legislators” and add your state name. In the book of Acts the apostle Paul shared God’s Word with several political leaders. You will find that he always addressed them with respect and courtesy, but he stated the truth – as should we. Not only is God PRO-Life, He is also PRO-Eternal Life. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Go Shine your light, Matthew 5:16!
Thank you for serving our community. I would ask for your support to protect the lives of the unborn in Pennsylvania. It is an irrefutable scientific fact that, at the moment of conception, every new human being represents a genetically distinct life. The survival of an unborn child should not depend on whether or not the child is wanted by his or her mother. To abort [kill] that human being in the process of development, at any stage, is to interfere with this child’s “right to live.” I am sure you are familiar with the Unborn Victims Violence Act passed in 2004, which defines a fetus as a “child in uterus” and if the child is injured or killed that is a legal crime. Furthermore, 38 states including Pennsylvania have harsher penalties if a victim is murdered while pregnant – these laws define a fetus as being a person. It would be appropriate for our legislatures to be consistent and apply all legislation to protect the unborn.
If you look back to the famous Roe V. Wade Case, the plaintiff Norma McCorvey later became a Christian and deeply regretted her involvement in the legalization of abortion. The statistics on depression and alcoholism in women who have aborted, and yes even suicide, is alarming. Abortion leaves a lifelong scar of pain and regret on each mother.
Many believe that women have the right to choose and do what they want with their body. We agree that women have rights over their own body, however, once they become an expectant mother, there is another body – another human being – inside of their womb. What should be the safest place for a new life has become a place of terror, pain, and death for millions of American babies – and disproportionately so for the African-American community.
The termination of living growing children is a silent holocaust in our state and it needs the attention of our Pennsylvania senators and representatives. We cannot continue to kill our own children and teach our young women that this is an acceptable way to handle unwanted pregnancies. Adoption is a wonderful and courageous choice for mothers. I ask you to consider sponsoring and supporting legislation like the heartbeat bill which will not allow for abortion past 6 weeks when the heartbeat is present.
I thank you again for your willingness to serve as my representative. I will pray that God guides your decisions as you help to oversee the needs of our community and that you will realize that it is your job to protect all life, born and UNBORN.
__________________ (your name)
If a complete stranger asked if he could borrow your car for a day, you’d probably say no. But if a close friend or relative made the same request you would be inclined to say yes. We can only put our full trust in someone we’ve come to know well. That’s the difference in knowing about God versus knowing God in a personal way. The God of the universe is crazy in love with you. He proved His love when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come into the world and take the penalty of your sin so that you could experience God personally and the joy of living in heaven!
Do you know God?
Religious people know about God. Genuine Christians have the ability to know God in a personal way. Becoming a child of God cannot happen by our own efforts of good deeds or religious rituals like getting baptized (Ephesians 2:8-9). But when we transfer our trust of what we can do and begin trusting in what Jesus Christ has already done for us, we can experience a living relationship with the living God. The moment you believe that Jesus died for you and rose again and commit yourself to become a follower of Christ, you can experience God in a personal way.
What Experiences of God can Christians have?
Assurance of Heaven
The moment you become a Christian the Holy Spirit of God begins to live inside of you (I Corinthians 6:19-20). The very first thing the Holy Spirit did for me when He came into my life was to give me assurance that I was going to heaven. As a child I prayed the same prayer every night – “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake. I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Think about it – what kind of prayer is that for a little kid! That prayer never gave me the feeling of assurance that I so wanted in my heart. But thankfully, when I asked Jesus Christ to become my Lord and Savior, God gave me a quiet peace and confidence that when I die I will go directly to heaven as God has promised in His Word – “… to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Daily Joy and Peace
Another experience of knowing God is the daily joy and peace that comes to our hearts as we grow in our faith. As Christians, we know and believe that God ultimately has control over everything. God is not the cause of all of the bad things that happen in the world. We live in a fallen world that has the obvious curse of sin upon it. But God is so great that He can even take the bad things that happen to us and teach us lessons that allow us to help others, Romans 8:28. God will not forsake us during the hard times of life, but rather He will give us a deep joy rooted in our relationship with Him.
We have a saying I have shared with our church family on many occasions: A Shared Joy is a Double Joy; A Shared Sorrow is Half a Sorrow.
The Bible says that Christians are brothers and sisters in Christ for eternity – and that’s a very long time. Loving others is the one virtue that Jesus said identifies Christians as belonging to Him. If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness, then it’s time to experience God through the joyful fellowship of worshipping the Savior with a congregation of people who desire to grow in their faith.
Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly” John 10:10. Abundant living is an experience that comes when you truly know God. You begin to put off some of the old habits and begin some new ones. The Holy Spirit creates an inner compulsion for us to come together for worship, learning, and fellowship at church.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” Hebrews 10:24-25
If you do not attend a church where the Bible is clearly taught and explained, then come and join us as Valley Forge Baptist where we experience God by growing closer to Him each Sunday at 9am; 10:30; and 6pm.
I am glad to say that I was greatly influenced by radio legend Paul Harvey for more than 20 years of my life. In my opinion, Paul Harvey was the greatest radio newscaster and commentator of the 20th century. His daily broadcasts were the top three broadcasts for many years. He received numerous awards in his lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award. Everyone knew that Paul Harvey was a patriot who loved America, and most knew that he was a Bible-believing Christian, as was evidenced by his holiday broadcasts. Though Paul Harvey was silenced by the grave in 2009, many of us can still hear his voice as we read his favorite Easter story once again.
A Boston preacher, Dr. S.D. Gordon, placed a beatup, bent, rusted old birdcage beside his pulpit when he told this story….An unkempt, unwashed little lad about 10 years old was coming up the alley swinging this old caved-in birdcage with several tiny birds shivering on the floor of it. The compassionate Dr. Gordon asked the boy where he got the birds. He said he trapped them. Dr. Gordon asked what he was going to do with them. The boy said he was going to play with them and have fun with them. The preacher said, “Sooner or later you’ll get tired of them. Then what are you going to do with them?” The lad said, “I have some cats at home. They like birds. I’ll feed them to my cats.” Dr. Gordon said, “Son, how much do you want for the birds?” The boy, surprised, hesitated and said, “Mister, you don’t want these birds. They’re just plain old field birds. They can’t even sing. They’re ugly.” The preacher said, “Just tell me. How much do you want?” The grubby little lad thought about it. He squinted up one eye. He calculated and hesitated and said, “Two dollars?” To the boy’s surprise, Dr. Gordon reached into his pocket and handed the boy two one-dollar bills. The preacher took the cage. The boy, in a wink, hurried up the alley. In a sheltered crevice between buildings, Dr. Gordon opened the door of the cage, and, tapping on the rusty exterior, he encouraged the little birds, one at a time, to find their way out through the narrow door and fly away.
Thus having accounted for the empty birdcage beside his pulpit, the preacher went on to tell what seemed, at first, like a separate story. Once upon a time, Jesus and the Devil had engaged in a negotiation. Satan had boasted how he’d baited a trap in Eden’s garden and caught himself a world full of people. “What are you going to do with all those people in your cage?” Jesus wanted to know. The Devil said, “I’m going to play with ’em, tease ’em. Make them marry and divorce and fight and kill one another. I’m going to teach them to throw bombs on one another. I’m going to have fun with them!” Jesus said, “You can’t have fun with them forever. When you get tired of playing, what are you going to do with them?” Satan said, “Damn them! They’re no good anyway! Damn them! Kill them!” Jesus said, “How much do you want for them?” Satan said, “You can’t be serious! If I sell them to you, they’ll just spit on you. They’ll hate you. They’ll hit you and beat you. They’ll hammer nails into you! They’re no good.” Jesus said, “How much?” Satan said, “All of your tears and all of your blood. That’s the price.” Jesus took the cage, and paid the price, and opened the door.
Yes, all of us who truly believe on Jesus Christ for our salvation are truly free. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32.
We have all met people who don’t understand God. They think wrong thoughts about God; they say wrong words about God. God gets blamed for a lot of things He has nothing to do with – like sin and death. So many people think that God kills everybody. They say, “Well, the Lord took Uncle John.” God didn’t take him – he died. Death took him. Now God took his soul and spirit to heaven – if he knew the Lord. But God didn’t kill him. Death doesn’t come from God. He created the world without death in it. In fact, Jesus Christ came to save us and destroy death – which is the last enemy, I Cor. 15:26. People who think God is angry with them are ignorant of God.
What is Ignorance?
Ignorance is “a lack of knowledge, understanding, or education; to be uninformed.” We are all ignorant from birth – we lack knowledge, understanding, and education. As we go through life we learn about the world around us and we overcome ignorance on various topics. Yet there are many things we will remain ignorant of our entire life. And that’s okay! There are so many things that it does not matter if we learn about them or not. But there is an ignorance that is dangerous. The Greatest Ignorance is to NOT know God and His Truth. This is ignorance at its worst point. Ignorance by itself is not a sin, but ignorance of God and His laws will quickly result in sin.
I wish everyone knew that God is NOT angry with them; He loves them. God is not mad at you, and He does not Hate you. He cares for you! He sent His Son, not to condemn you, but to save you. But He will not forgive you unless you by faith turn away from sin and to Him. How do we do that? Understand the bad news – we are already condemned by sin. Believe the good news – put your trust in Jesus Christ who died in your place and rose again. If you want to be forgiven of all of your sins – become a genuine follower of Christ.
Many people believe that God is going to condemn them. And if they go to church, they are sure they will feel guilty and uncomfortable. Many wrongly conclude, “If I go to church they are going to criticize the way I live and I’m just going to feel even more guilty than I already am. Why go to church if it is going to make me feel miserable!”
Jesus did not come to condemn us. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:17, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” We know this is true because that is exactly what Jesus did for 3 ½ years. He reached out to everyone – the rich and the poor; the weak and the powerful; the sick and the healthy.
God does not condemn people; Jesus does not condemn people. Why? For the simple reason – we are already condemned, John 3:18. He doesn’t need to condemn us. You don’t become condemned because one day you say, “Well, I don’t believe in Jesus Christ.” If in your life you ever came to that conclusion, you were already condemned.
Where is the evidence or proof that we are condemned? Is it because everyone is evil and wicked? No – there are a lot of decent people in the world. There are many unbelievers who do kind things for others. How do we know that all people are condemned – including myself? We die. We are all going to die. The focus of Jesus life was His death and resurrection. He said, “because I live, ye shall live also” John 14:19. The good news – the greatest news – is that our Savior arose from the dead and lives today. We do not have to live with feelings of condemnation or false guilt. When we give our hearts to Christ, we are completely forgiven of every sin we have ever committed – past, present, and future. The focus of the disciples’ message was not Jesus’ teachings or miracles, but rather that He died and rose again for us. This is great news for all of us!!! I wish everybody knew!
Has there ever been a time that you doubted your salvation? Have you ever wondered – “Did I say the right words… Did I pray the right prayer…. Was I was sincere enough?”
I asked the Lord to come into my heart at the age of 15 in the fall of 1975. We had been attending church for about 4 months and the Holy Spirit had been convicting me of my sin and during an invitation prayer, I prayed to receive the Lord as my Savior. I was baptized and began growing in my faith. At the age of 16 I read through my Bible for the first time. A year later an evangelist visited our church who said, “If you don’t know the date of your salvation, you’re probably not saved.” That made me think, “What was the date of my salvation?” I had no clue – I could only remember that it was in the Fall.
For the first time, I began to doubt my salvation. I began to think these thoughts:
• Am I really saved?
• Will Jesus say to me, “I never knew you!”?
It really bothered me – deeply. I remember getting on my knees by my bed and praying, “Lord, I love you. I believe Jesus died for me and rose again. If I’m not saved, I trust in you right now. I believe in Jesus Christ. Please give me assurance of my salvation and peace in my heart.” Do you know what? He did. But I didn’t write that date down either. But I know that I’m saved.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul says, “Examine yourselves; Test yourselves… to make sure that your faith is real – make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t just pretend that you are a Christian; make sure you really are on the road to heaven!” There are only two kinds of people in the world – saved and lost; believers and unbelievers. Jesus said, “Those on the narrow road are headed to heaven; and those on the broad road are headed for hell.” Matthew 7:13-14. He couldn’t be any more clear! You were not born a Christian. Getting baptized does NOT make you a Christian. You become a Christian by calling on the Lord, making a personal commitment to follow the Lord, and trust in Him and only Him for forgiveness.
Sadly, many churches deny the Bible’s teaching on assurance of salvation. They claim that if you say you are going to heaven with confidence, then you are prideful or presumptuous. Nothing could be further from the truth. God says, “I am giving you MY PROMISE that ye – you MAY KNOW that you have eternal life” (I John 5:13).
What if I doubt my salvation – does that mean I’m not saved? The answer is NO. Doubt can show up as fear, anxiety, and worry. How many of us have been on a plane, and for whatever reason, we had some worry that the plane was not going to make it safely to its landing. Years ago we had two young couples flying back from vacation and their plane was hit by lightning. That will make you think twice about your safety. They did make it back safely. But their worry or fear did not jeopardize the integrity of the plane or the skill of the pilot. All those passengers were safe, even though the storm and the turbulence made them feel unsafe.
So why do Christians doubt if they are really saved?
A.They are NOT genuinely saved.
If you are not truly born again, that will make you doubt your salvation… because you don’t have it.
B. Lack of Bible Knowledge/False Teaching
This one hit me. I was given wrong information – “You have to know the date of your salvation to be saved.” That’s not true. There are some religious teachers who believe that you can lose your salvation. But Ephesians 4:30 promises that we “are sealed unto the day of redemption [the return of Christ].”
C. A Strained Relationship with your Parents.
Our first impression of God the Father is from our earthly father. Some of you have great impressions of God the Father from your dads, but some of you project a false view on God that you picked up at home. It is easy to confuse conditional love from your earthly parents with your unconditional love from your heavenly father.
As a Christian, sin breaks my fellowship and sweet communion with God. If I don’t regularly practice I John 1:9 and regularly confess my sin to God, then I will feel distant from the Lord and begin to doubt my salvation.
E. Memory – “I was so young I can’t remember it.”
F. An Overly Sensitive Conscience
An overly sensitive conscience can result from several things: influence of parents, reading the wrong materials, a lack of faith to fully accept and embrace God’s forgiveness. The key to being spiritually healthy and rejoicing in Christ is to know the truth about God and yourself.
Truth – God loves you and Christ died for you.
Truth – God will save you when you trust Christ alone.
Truth – you cannot lose your salvation.
Truth – You don’t deserve to be saved, but you sure you live with peace, confidence, assurance and joy everyday you live.
God wants us to live with peace and assurance, yet we live in a world that has so many voices that tell us to doubt and deny Christ.
What’s the Truth about Doubt?
For some Christians, having doubts creates a crisis for them. They begin to wonder if they can truly be Christians with the doubts they are feeling. Do these doubts mean they are not Christians? As a result, some Christians are afraid to express their doubts.
A. Don’t confuse faith with feelings.
Some people mistakenly think that faith means a continuous religious high. When that religious high or feeling wears off, and it will, these people begin to doubt whether their faith is real. They begin to think, “Maybe I don’t have faith, because my feeling of euphoria is gone.” As we deal with doubts, don’t confuse faith with feelings.
B. It’s okay to ask honest questions.
Some people think we should never ask questions about our faith, but that is wrong. Jesus did not rebuke John the Baptist as he expressed his doubts and questions in Matthew 11:1-11. John had sincere questions and Jesus answered those doubts by telling his disciples to return to John and tell him about all the miracles they had seen which verified that Jesus was the Messiah.
Sometimes doubt is intellectual.
John may have needed simple reassurance over the puzzling questions he had. Why isn’t Jesus overthrowing the Roman government?
Sometimes doubt is emotional.
Perhaps John wanted to know the answer to a few “why” questions? John may have been thinking, “I was the forerunner and yet I have been arrested for my faith?” If you’ve had plaguing doubts, I recommend two books to you by Lee Strobel: The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith.
C. Doubt is not the problem, but unbelief.
There is a difference between doubt and unbelief. “Doubt is can’t believe; unbelief is won’t believe. Doubt is honesty; unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light; unbelief is content with darkness.”
While some people have legitimate doubts, others hide behind their doubts while trying to poke holes in Christianity because they don’t want it to be true. Their “doubts” are not honest. The reason that they doubt is that IF they discover Christianity is true, their immoral, and selfish lifestyle would have to change.
Jesus is not the least bit afraid of honest doubters. I see Jesus coming to honest doubters like Thomas, and John the Baptist and answering their questions. Christianity is not so fragile that it can’t stand up to a few questions. Questions CANNOT poke real holes in something that is true.
The apostle Paul is challenging every Christian to “prove ourselves.” What’s the proof? Let me share four evidences that are in the life of a genuine Christian:
Do I have a Desire…
A. To Confess my Sin?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:3. People in the kingdom of heaven are poor in spirit. That means we have a sense of our own spiritual bankruptcy and spiritual poverty.
B. For Righteousness?
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled” Matthew 5:6. Genuine Christians desire to be like their Lord and Master who is holy.
C. To Obey God?
“If ye love me keep my commandments” John 14:15.
Is there a compelling desire in your heart to submit to divine authority?
D. To Love
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” John 13:35
God wants you to live with Assurance of Heaven
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” I John 5:13
What is the Next Step? Share your Good News. If God gave you assurance of salvation, share it. If God saved you, then get baptized in a Bible believing church, Acts 2:41. Don’t drift along spiritually taking everything for granted. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.
To watch the entire message “Is your Faith Real?” which includes 10 tests of salvation from I John. Go to www.thecaringchurch.com/media/services/sunday-morning/. Choose January 24, 2016.
I would like to share a picture that has really help me understand priorities. It’s a multi-tiered fountain.
I want you to see your life as a fountain, and each one of these levels are your priorities – God, your mate, your family, your work, your ministry, your friends, and your recreation. Let the top pool of this fountain represent your walk with God. When the top bowl gets full of water, it will naturally overflow into the next bowl and so on. When you view your priorities as a list, something always goes wrong – there’s always a crisis that throws my priorities out of whack. I need to begin with God – my walk with God is at the top.
Speaking to the woman at the well Jesus said, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14
Here’s how our priorities actually work. Living in the soul of every Christian is the Spirit of God. Paul said, “Christ (is) in you” Colosians 1:27. He says, “Dwelling in you is the same power that raised Christ from the dead.” And this is what our priorities are really all about. We need a walk with God, so that when we are full of Him, it can overflow into your relationship with our mate, family, co-workers, and friends. God shows us what that looks like. It’s Ephesians 5:18 – “Be not drunk with wine, where in is excess, but be (ye continually) filled with the Holy Spirit.” The filling of the Holy Spirit overflows into everything else – marriage, family, work, worship, friendships.
How much time do I need to be full of God? It’s different for every person. Think about the marriage relationship. I mean, my poor wife, she married this super needy high maintenance guy – ME. When I come home, I am looking for my wife. I’m looking for a kiss, a hug, food, and fellowship. Kind of in that order! After dinner, I want to know how her day went and I want to tell her how my day went. I’ve seen couples that have a couple of good talks a week; and they’re both doing great. Not me. I want time with my wife. And she’s the same way! I’ve got to have one date a week. A couple of times a year, I want to get away with her. Our relationship takes time!
What do you need with God? Is it 15 minutes in the morning in the presence of God? A half an hour? Is it 20 minutes at night? I don’t know what you need, but I know you need Him! Time in His Word, time to pray, time to fellowship with believers at church, and living in obedience to what you get from His Word. When you walk with Christ, it overflows in how you treat your mate, your kids, your siblings, your co-workers, and your friends. Why? You are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
If the top of your fountain is empty, if it is dry, I am warning you:
– You will be empty and unfulfilled in your soul.
– You will have difficulty being close with family members.
– You will have tension with your boss and co-workers.
– You will have regular catfights with your “friends.”
Make sure you are full of God – everyday, Matthew 6:33!
This last week it was a joy to see the Spirit of God touch hearts and bring a revival to Christians and draw the unsaved into the family of God. But the capstone of the week was a teen outreach with Dr. Tom Farrell. After weeks of invitations to a dodge ball tournament, over 180 teenagers attended consuming 45 pizzas. 100 of the teens were visitors. What happened next reminded us of something that we saw in “Facing the Giants” when an elderly prayer warrior told the coach to “prepare his fields for rain!”
On Wednesday and Thursday many of our teens skipped lunch and fasted and prayed – most fasting for the first time in their life. Here is an email I received the day of the outreach from Brandon Joyner, our youth director, to our staff:
“After our prayer time with the teens last night, I have received nonstop emails and texts from people letting me know that they are bringing visitors. John Caras said that he has received text messages all morning from kids at Spring-ford High School wanting to know if they can come. I ordered an additional 25 pizzas. Please take a moment and pray for the hearts of the teens. God is working. This reminds me of two farmers that prayed for rain. One prayed and went inside and waited for the rain, the other prepared his field for the rain. We are preparing our field for the rain. Glory to God, Brandon Joyner.”
After the tournament, Br. Farrell preached a lengthy salvation message to these young people. He then led them in the salvation prayer and asked if they were serious to follow him to the back to receive Christian literature and assurance verses. 67 teens followed him to the back. More than a dozen youth leaders took small groups to talk to these teens about their decision for the Lord.
What is the fruit of all of this? Our VFBT teens have never been more excited about seeing the power of God in their lives. One of the girls, who was saved that night, led an unsaved friend to Christ this week and asked if her Christian friend would lead a Bible study at the lunch at the public school. Yes, God is still at work in America. He has not abandoned us – let’s make sure we don’t abandon Him or His work!
© Scott Wendal 2019. All Rights Reserved.