What Does it Take to have a Book of Acts Ministry

Acts 2:1-2 (NKJV) 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

I am going to depart a little from what I normally do in this space. As I was preparing to minister last week I felt that the Lord wanted me to go into the things that I wrote about last week. I usually expand upon the current week’s message here, but since I did that last week, I have nothing from this week’s message to cover. Instead, I am going to look at the topic we have been dealing with in our Wednesday night teaching time. I have been asking our church a question. What does it take to have a book of acts ministry in our area and in our day?

To give you a bit of background, we had studied the gifts of the Spirit from 1 Corinthians 12-14. In these three chapters, Paul gives us the definitions and descriptions of the nine ways the Holy Spirit manifests himself through believers. As I was praying about what to teach on next, the Lord led me to the book of Acts.

1 Corinthians is Paul’s theoretical study of the gifts of the Spirit. I knew that Acts was the place that we would see them at work in the church. I reasoned that Acts would be the practical application study of the gifts of the Spirit. We began to look at this book from the perspective of learning how to function in these gifts. I reasoned that if we could find out how to minister these gifts in our daily lives, we would release miraculous ministry in our community.

I began this study expecting to see the gifts in action. I assumed we would be able to analyze how the first church ministered the gifts. I was looking for methodologies and techniques. In a sense, I hoped to find some step-by-step instructions on how to minister in healing, deliverance and all the other aspects of releasing the power of the Holy Spirit in our area.

I believed this to be very important for the future of our church. We live in a time when people do not seem to be interested in the things of God. Recent developments in our country have led to a greater sense of need and a greater fear for the future than I have seen at any time in my life. However, this has not yet translated into people seeking the Lord. I know that something needs to change and a manifestation of the supernatural power of God would certainly help.

I am almost sixty years old but I do not spend my time thinking about the “good old days.” I believe the only relevant days are the ones we are living in right now. However, it is valuable to compare where we were with where we are so we can find the solutions to the problems we face. When we first were saved, God was moving in a powerful way. They were the days of the charismatic renewal and people were hungry to know more about the Lord.

Although there were many ministries that emphasized things like healing and deliverance, a greater influence was the general seeking nature of the people of our generation. We wanted to know what was real. As we progressed in our relationship with God, there was a wave of teaching that swept through the earth. People all over were interested in learning about God. Those who knew him through the New Birth were hungry to know how to grow in the things of God. Many came to churches to experience the healing power of God and to learn how to walk in God’s ways.

Today that does not seem to be the case. In many ways that is the fault of many of us who carried the torch of ministry during that time. We found that we could believe God for better jobs, better homes and better lives. The knowledge that God loves us and wants to bless us was right and powerful. It also allowed the devil to bring an unhealthy focus to many of those who came to the Lord in those days.

Some of us failed to remember that the blessings of God were a result of seeking God’s face. We learned principles of prosperity, healing and success. I have no doubt in my heart that our Heavenly Father wants all those things for us. However, there was a subtle shift in our emphasis from seeking to learn how to walk with God to seeking to learn how to receive from God. Where we used to want to know how to reach others with the power of God we began to be more concerned with how to obtain what we needed and wanted with the power of God.

It is not wrong to believe God for the things we need. He commands us to do that. It is not wrong to access faith in God in order to build successful lives. Any father wants that for his children. Our Heavenly Father is no different. However, when our own blessing or success becomes the point of our Christian growth, Christianity itself breaks down. We were never meant to live for self. We were meant to live for God and for others. Remember what Jesus taught in Matthew 6.

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

He said to seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness first. If we do that, all the things we need will be added to us. I believe seeking the Kingdom of God first will change our desires so that our desires will also be fulfilled. When we seek blessing first, we wander far from the kingdom of God, our desires become self focused instead of God and others focused.

I believe this has led to an atmosphere surrounding the church that causes us to try and reach out to people from the wrong orientation. We try to draw people to the church and to God by appealing to them with the blessings and prosperity that God promises. However, God does not want people who come simply for what they can get. God wants a family. He wants people who want to grow to be like him. He wants people who desire the things he desires and to work with him to enlarge his family. He wants people who will work to rescue the lost for eternity not just for prosperity. I believe in Godly prosperity but we need eternal salvation.

In realizing that people do not seem to be hungry to know God, I began to be concerned about the future of the church. The people in the world are kept distracted by the drug of entertainment and pleasure. They seem to be looking to forget the problems of our day instead of looking for solutions to them. There is a increasing attitude that says, “I deserve to be taken care of and someone will do that. I don’t have to work for what I need. The society, the government or someone will give it to me. In the mean time just give me distractions. Give me games and movies and music to help me forget the problems of the future.”

Eternity is coming to everyone. We will all die. I know that might be seen as a morbid view of life, but it is still the truth. Ignoring it will not make it go away. Eternity awaits and that should be the main concern of every Christian and the question the church should be bringing before the world.

The problem as I see it is that the world is so distracted they cannot see that far ahead. They have no concern for eternity or for any relationship with God. Unfortunately, the combination of our entertainment culture and the focus on teachings that major in how to get our needs met has caused the church to become ill equipped to communicate the message of eternity. In this mindset, I asked the question, what does it take to have a book of Acts ministry today. I thought what I would find was how to release the supernatural into the earth. In a way I did find that. However, not in the way I thought I would.

The Key to Abiding: The Words of Jesus

John 15:7-8 (NKJV) 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

In our study of fruitfulness this week, we have come to a number of conclusions. First, it is the will of God that his children be productive in his kingdom. Now is the time for you to bear fruit. In Mark 11 Jesus saw leaves on the fig tree. This indicated a healthy tree. Although it was not yet the perfect time to harvest the fruit, there should have been some fruit ready to eat. When Jesus came to the tree, he saw no fruit at all. The excuse was that it was not time for figs but Jesus did not accept that excuse from the tree and he does not accept it from us either. We have the life of Jesus within us and we can produce fruit.

That brings us to the second conclusion and that is that we cannot produce fruit on our own. Fruit flows from the source life in the tree. The tree is simply the channel for that life. We are the channel for the life of God within. It is that life which produces the fruit. We must be willing to let that life flow out of us.

The key to letting the life of God flow through us to the world is to abide in Jesus. This word means to live in a place. It means to stay there or continue there. We must continue in Christ at all times. Paul wrote to the Colossian church that our life is hidden with Christ in God. We cannot abide in Christ and separate our secular and our religious lives. We have no secular life. All of our life is to be hidden in his life. That is how we will bear fruit. Jesus said if we do not abide in him, we cannot bear fruit.

How do we abide in him? One definition I read for the word abide is to be completely conformed to the one with whom we abide. Any husband or wife knows this. When you live with someone, you will eventually be conformed to that person. My wife and I have been married 41 years. We started very young so we did not have much life experience as single people, but today I can see how we have conformed to one another.

Although we like some different foods, for the most part we eat the same things. Our tastes have grown together. We like the same things in most aspects of life. We have both changed in ways that make us more like each other all the time. This is a natural part of abiding together.

When we talk about abiding in Christ, we realize that he is not going to change to be like us. All of the changing is on our part. If we are to abide in him, we must be conformed to him. We must “like what he likes.” We must begin to see things the way he sees them. We must begin to do the things that he wants to do and seek the things that he seeks. The more we become conformed to him the more we abide in him.

We all have areas that resist this conforming process. Jesus addresses those areas in John 15.

John 15:2 (NKJV) 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

We might interpret this to mean that unfruitful people are cut off from the vine, which is Jesus himself. However, I think it is also valid to look at these unfruitful branches as areas in our lives that resist the conforming process and therefore cannot bear fruit. These things must be cut off if we are to grow. That is a harsh picture, but a necessary process.

In Hebrews 12 Paul tells us to lay aside every sin and weight that holds us back from bearing fruit. We must look at our lives and find those things that refuse to be conformed to the Lord. When we find them, we have two choices. We can either lay them down or allow the Lord to cut them off. Either way, they must go if we are going to bear fruit.

What is the key to being conformed to Jesus? We often think of the spiritual side of our relationship with Jesus as the key. We must spend time in prayer and worship. We know we must cultivate intimate personal fellowship with him in order to be conformed to his image. However, that is not where the conforming process begins. There is one element that must be applied if intimate relationship is to be reached at all. That element is revealed in today’s scripture. Jesus tells us in verse 7 that to abide in him his words must abide in us. The place abiding begins and its most important key is the written Word of God.

Paul tells us the very same thing in Romans 12.

Romans 12:2 (NKJV) 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I realize this verse does not mention the Word of God per se, but what else works to renew our mind? This term implies a change in thinking. To renew the mind is to cause our mind to see what Jesus sees and think as Jesus thinks. What accomplishes that in a believer? It is the action of the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit that produces that change.

Hebrews 4:12 is a very familiar scripture but pertinent to this discussion.

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

It is when we apply the Word of God to our minds that the Spirit of God can conform us to the image of Jesus. As we are conformed, we are transformed. As we are transformed, we become vessels able to carry the life of God within us to the world. When that happens, we bear much fruit.

Open your heart and mind to the bible today. Spend time reading and meditating on the Word of God. Make a decision to do what you see there. Allow it to become the sole determiner of what you believe about the world around you. Let it set the standard of right and wrong in your life. As you do this, you will be conformed to Jesus. You will abide in his vine and you will naturally produce the fruit that he desires to see in your life.

Abide in Me

John 15:4-5 (NKJV) 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

This week we have been looking at fruitfulness in the Kingdom of God. It is the will of God that we bear much fruit. Yesterday we looked at a related idea, that of building on the rock of the Word of God. Matthew 7 tells us of two men who each built a house. One took the easy way and simply built on the surface sand. The other took the time and did the work necessary to dig down to the bedrock and built his house with a stable foundation.

Both houses looked the same. Both did the job of protecting their inhabitants in good weather. However, when the weather turned bad the true character of each house was revealed. The house built on the sand fell while the house with the right foundation stood. We must learn to take the time to build on the rock. There are no shortcuts. If we build on the rock, our house will be a place for people to run to when other things fail under pressure.

Today I want to look at the most important key to fruitfulness in the Kingdom of God. Jesus gave us this key in today’s scripture. If we want to bear kingdom fruit, we must abide in Jesus himself.

We have already pointed out the fact that we cannot bear fruit in our own strength. When we try, we fail. A tree bears fruit because of the source life within it. The tree is only a channel for that life to be expressed. The life in the tree comes from God. When the tree simply allows that life to flow through its branches fruit will result. The only thing that will stop this process is interference from the outside. Things like drought or insects can hinder the life of the tree from producing fruit. Neglect or improper cultivation can keep the fruit immature. However, if the tree is healthy, it will produce fruit.

How can we be sure that the life of Jesus is flowing through us in a way that will produce the fruit of disciples? We must abide in him. Jesus makes it clear that any branch who does not abide in him cannot produce fruit. No matter how hard we try, we will be fruitless if we do not abide in the source of our life, Jesus Christ. We can do the works that may be necessary for fruit, but there will be no fruit. We can look like we are productive but in the end any fruit we produce will not remain. If the source life is not flowing through us, we can produce no fruit.

How do I make sure I have this life? I must abide in Jesus. How do I abide in Jesus? There are a number of things we need to understand from this verse. The first is what the word “abide” means.

Abide means to make a home in a particular place. The place we abide is the place we live. We may visit other places, but we come home to where we abide. I was recently in Kenya for three weeks. The conditions there are quite different from where I live. I have no problem dealing with the differences for 3 weeks because I know I will go home at the end of this time. It would be different if I were to abide there.

I have a friend who has lived in Kenya for 15 years. His whole lifestyle is shaped by the fact that he abides in Kenya. There are things that I may do as a visitor that he will not do because he lives there. There are attitudes and practices that are simply a part of who he is because of where he lives. I do not think the same way about Kenya because I abide in the U.S.

The same is true for him when he visits the country that was his home. We had a good laugh about the trauma he feels when he goes into a Wal-Mart. The variety is overwhelming for him. I told him that I liked a particular kind of cereal that, when we were young, was just one cereal. Now this cereal is a brand that contains many variations of cereals and snack foods. He could hardly believe it. He abides in Africa and his thinking has been conditioned by where he abides.

If we are to abide in Jesus, we must continue in our relationship with him. Sometimes we separate our spiritual and secular lives. To bear fruit in the Kingdom of God there can be no separation. We really have no secular life. Paul said it this way.

Colossians 3:2-3 (NKJV) 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

To abide in Christ means that we must set our minds on the things that relate to him and not be consumed by what concerns the earth. This does not mean that we neglect our homes, families or work. It means that we view all of those things through the lens of eternity. Our life has been hidden with Christ in God. The picture here is that our daily life is so intermingled with the life of Christ that we can no longer tell them apart. When this is the case, we will naturally produce fruit for the Kingdom of God.

We see that the converse is also true. If we are not abiding we cannot produce fruit. It does not matter how hard we work or how “good” we may be. Fruit is a product of the Life of Christ within us. There may be a branch on an apple tree that is very productive. It may have leaves, blossoms and eventually ripe apples. If that branch is cut off from the source life in the tree, it will begin to die.

The leaves will stay for a while, but they will eventually fall off. If there are blossoms or apples on the branch when it is cut off the tree, they will be the last ones the branch will ever produce. It cannot produce life if it is not abiding in the tree. It may look like it can for a while but in time the lack of abiding will take its toll and the branch will become unproductive.

If we do not abide in Jesus, we cannot produce fruit. You may be born again and you may go to heaven but if you do not abide continually in him, you cannot bear fruit. You may look good outwardly but the lack of inward life will eventually take its toll and it will be evident that you are no longer abiding in the vine of Jesus’ life. We must realize that abiding in the vine is not a nice thing to do. We must understand that it is not something for the clergy alone. Abiding in the life of Jesus is the only way to be the productive person God wants you to be.

Tomorrow we will look at how we abide in him.

Fruitfulness and Building on the Rock

Matthew 7:24-27 (NKJV) 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Yesterday we answered the question, “When is it time to be fruitful.” The answer was, “When Jesus says it is time.” In Mark 11, we studied the fig tree that Jesus cursed because it had no fruit. Although it seemed it was not yet time to pick the fruit. The leaves indicated a healthy tree. Even though the peak time to pick the fruit had not yet come, there should have been some fruit ready to eat. Instead, Jesus found not fruit at all.

Sometimes we feel that we are not ready to produce the fruit of disciples in the kingdom, but Jesus sees our leaves. The leaves represent our Christian walk. We have fruits of righteousness but we are not producing fruits of discipleship. Jesus says it is time for us to produce disciples so it is time. We can produce them because there is life within us we must let that life come forth.

One of our problems in being fruitful is that we are no longer an agrarian society. We may have a little garden but we do not live by our gardens. We know that the food we eat comes from someone’s fruitfulness but we really do not know whose. Most of our food is grown on large industrial style farms. We do not work the soil with our own hands to produce our own food.

I am not one who desires to go back to those days. I like getting my vegetables from the vegetable section of the market, the fruits from the fruit section and so on. However, the consumer society we live in causes us to think that everything is this way. Fruitfulness requires work. There are no shortcuts to growing things. They grow at the pace they grow. Someone has to dig in the soil and weed the plants. They have to be watered and cultivated. There is no other way. It is the same with fruitfulness in the kingdom. It takes work and time.

While I was teaching leaders in Kenya, I talked extensively on this subject. Just as there are many in our country who want to build churches on marketing and programs, this same kind of thinking is in other places as well. When we focus on growth as the only goal for a church or ministry, the devil will show us ways to grow that have nothing to do with the fruitfulness required in the Kingdom of God. However, the message of fruitfulness is not always popular.

Where others might tell these precious men and women of God that if they will follow a formula they can have big churches, I told them that the only way to have the kind of church that pleases God is through fruitfulness. To be fruitful we must apply the principles of the Word of God in an uncompromising fashion. We must be completely honest. We must never compromise righteousness or truth. We must work hard to build upon the rock of principle. This takes time and there are no shortcuts allowed.

In today’s scripture we read about two houses. I know that you do not grow houses, but fruitfulness in the kingdom of God extends to all areas of life. These two houses would have looked very similar on the outside. It was underneath that they were very different.

I can imagine these two builders as they constructed their homes. The one man found a good spot. Leveled the ground and began to build. It seemed that the ground was stable. As he began building, the soil supported the structure. I am sure he was done with his house and living in it while the other man was still working away at the foundation.

He might have looked out at his hard working neighbor and said to him, “Why are you going to all that trouble. Look at my house. It’s already finished and it’s just fine. If you cut some corners you would be in your house by now!” He might even have laughed at his neighbor’s hard work.

The neighbor did not listen to the ridicule. He was a wise builder who understood the principles of fruitfulness. If you apply the principles of the Word and build a good foundation, the structure will stand when hard times come not just when things are easy. The bible says that he built on the bedrock. To get to the rock, he had to dig through the sand until he found the place of firm footing. Only then did he start to build the house itself.

There is nothing exciting about building a foundation. The foundation does not look like much. It is not glamorous and it is not individual. Everyone who builds a house wants it to be uniquely theirs but most foundations look the same. Where I come from, foundations are made of cement blocks for the most part. They are grey and boring. However, if you do not have a good foundation the house will never be stable.

As I read this story, I believe the rock was there for both builders to find. The man who built on the sand did not take the time or effort to find it, but it was there. When both houses were finished, they both served their purpose while the weather was good. It was when the weather turned bad that the quality of the houses were revealed.

I believe that the same principles apply to our personal lives. Jesus is telling this parable in connection with the Sermon on the Mount. He tells us that those who hear the sayings of his sermon and do them are the ones who build on the rock. When we take the time to dig into the truth of the Word of God, find the principles within them and apply them to our lives we build something that will stand the test of adversity.

Many who take shortcuts will look good until the storms come. When the winds of adversity blow on our lives those built on the sand will fall. The bible says, “Great was the fall” of the house built on sand. We have seen people and ministries who built great things that could not stand in times of trouble because of the lack of bedrock foundation. I do not want to be like that.

To stand in adversity we must be willing to put in the hard work it takes to build a strong foundation. We must be willing to dig into the Word until we find the bedrock truths that never change. We must be willing to obey those truths and never compromise them to get quick solutions. Some will build on sand and ridicule those who take the time to build on the rock. When the storms come, the quality of your house will be revealed and then no one will be laughing.

I believe we live in a day when adversity is going to get worse and not better. I believe Jesus is looking for people who will build on the rock. When other houses fall, people will be looking for houses that can stand the storm. I believe those who build their lives and ministries on the rock will be the ones people run to when other things fail.

Follow the principles of fruitfulness and build on the Rock of the Word of God. You will see that, in the end, the results will be worth the effort.

Is It Time for Fruit?

Mark 11:12-14 (NKJV) 12  Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13  And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14  In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.

(I am back from Kenya and will attempt to “get back on the horse” so to speak.  It was a good but tiring trip.  We had some sobering news upon our return as I learned that terrorists attacked the mall in Nairobi where I had lunch just two weeks ago.  I am sure most of you have heard of this tragedy.  Please pray for Kenya and those affected by this dastardly deed.

On a happier note, we had the postgraduate ministry team from Blue Ridge Chapel School of the Prophets with us this week.  Brother Phil Cornish shared the Word of God on Sunday morning and here are some thoughts on his message.)

This is a quite familiar scripture to many of us.  Jesus spent time the day before in the temple watching the religious system corrupt and pervert the role of His Father’s house in the city.  Shortly, the narrative will shift back to the temple as Jesus drives out the money changers and declares that his Father’s house should be “a house of prayer for all nations.”  As he is thinking of what he saw in the temple the day before, he comes upon a tree. 

As we read these verses, it might seem that Jesus was being unfair to this tree.  Why would Jesus expect figs on this tree when it was not the season for figs?  However, upon further research, some commentators believe that it was not yet time to pick the figs.  As with most kinds of fruit trees, there is an optimal time to harvest the fruit.  Before this optimal harvest moment, there will usually be some of the fruit that is close enough to eat.  Some may have even come to full ripeness earlier than the rest.  When Jesus saw the tree was full of leaves it was reasonable to assume that there would be some fruit for he and his disciples to eat.  When he got close to the tree, he found no fruit at all.

I believe this is what made Jesus angry enough to curse the tree.  Although it may not have been the time to pick the fruit, the tree showed signs that it should have fruit but it did not.  The temple looked like the temple that should have been a house of prayer for all nations, but there was no spiritual fruit at all.  There was only an outward show with corruption underneath.  Jesus said to the tree what he was thinking for the Jewish religious system.  “The days when you have been able to deceive men with a form of Godliness that denies the God of the form are over!”

I want to take just a moment to apply what happened to the tree to you and me.  I wonder if Jesus, looking at us from a distance, would see in us what he saw in the fig tree.  What would Jesus find if he looked closely at our lives?  Would he find fruit or just leaves?  I do not ask this question to condemn.  God desires that we produce fruit.  If we are not producing fruit we must find out why and allow the Lord to help us correct the problem.

We might want to use the excuse that the fig tree gave to Jesus.  “Jesus, I know it looks like I should be productive.  I know that I have served you for some time now, but I am just not ready to produce fruit.”  I do not believe we can accept this excuse for our lack of fruit. 

First, let me define the fruit of which I am speaking.  The fruit of the Christian life is the outward evidence of our inward life.  Jesus is in us.  His life should produce characteristics that will identify me as different from the rest of the world.  The bible speaks of the fruits of righteousness.  It also speaks of the fruit of the Spirit.  This kind of fruit would be the outward walk of honesty, character and integrity every Christian should display.  In today’s scripture, I think we might be able to liken that to the leaves.  The leaves told Jesus that the life was there.  What was lacking were figs. 

The figs represent the fruit that affects others.  The figs, to me, speak of the changed lives every Christian should be producing in those around us.  When I look at my life, do I find fruit that can feed the hungry and dying around me?  Am I producing a fruit that others can partake of to bring forth that life in themselves?  Am I producing disciples?  This means two things.  Am I bringing souls into the kingdom and am I imparting the life I have to others so they produce both leaves and figs themselves.  This is the fruit Jesus was looking for in the tree.

When is the time for fruitfulness in the Kingdom of God?  Jesus came to the tree demanding fruit.  If he sees something in the tree that indicates it should have fruit, it should have it.  That is the end of the discussion.  If he sees something in my life that tells him I can be fruitful then I can be.  Whether I feel ready or not, I must let Jesus determine my capability for fruitfulness in the kingdom. 

What keeps us from believing we can bear fruit even when our tree is full of leaves?  When a tree is full of green leaves, it is an indication that the tree is healthy.  All things being equal, a healthy tree should bear fruit.  When a Christian is walking in righteousness, love and faith, he or she should be healthy enough to bear fruit.  What keeps us from doing so?

I believe it may be because we forget that fruitfulness is a product of the source life of the tree not the tree itself.  When we begin to focus on our ability and strength, we will never feel ready to produce godly fruit.  Jesus is the life of the tree.  It is by accessing that life that we will produce fruit. 

I was sitting with my friend in an airport restaurant waiting for my flight home from Kenya.  We were sitting with two young Kenyan men.  One was going home to the UK and the other was waiting with him as my friend was waiting with me.  In talking to them, we found that they were musicians.  The one who was staying in Kenya talked about trying to make it in music.  It was evident to me that he was struggling. 

It seems that he and his friend were part of vocal group that used to sing in churches.  His friend went to school, became a medical assistant, and moved to England.  This other young man was left alone.  He spoke of how he felt when he sang Gospel and how much he believed in the Lord.  I began to feel a prophetic unction in my heart.  I spoke some things to him about how he was feeling and things that were going on in his life at that moment.  I asked if we could pray with them and they agreed.

I do not know what will happen to this young man, but I do know that at that moment there were figs on my tree.  I did not try to force anything.  I was not depending on my ability to bring conviction upon this young man.  I simply let him pick some of my fruit.  When we left, the young man was weeping.  I believe he is going to find his way home.

Let your fruit come forth out of the life that is within you.  All the tree had to do was be the tree God made it.  All you have to do is be the you God made you.  The life of Jesus is within your branches.  If you have the leaves of righteousness, it is time to bear fruit.  If your leaves are not quite there yet, continue to grow.  Repent where you need to repent.  Study and meditate on the Word of God.  When Jesus says it is time to bear fruit, just be willing.  The fruit will come forth from the life within.  Just do not hold back that life and see what the Lord will do.

Home From Kenya

I just arrived home from a 3 week trip to the nation of Kenya.  The Lord blessed us with a good trip. We ministered to pastors and church leaders in 3 cities.  We also had the privilege of teaching on marriage in the city of Nairobi. 

As usual, it is taking me some time to get back in the swing of things after over 30 hours of travel on Monday/Tuesday.  I will try and get back to posting on Monday.  The 3rd year students from Blue Ridge Chapel School of the Prophets in Rocky Mount Virginia will be with us.  It should be a good weekend indeed.  My blog usually reflects the Sunday message so we will see what the young people have to say.

In the mean time, please look back at some messages from the past and thank you again for supporting this blog.  We have been growing consistently since I began posting in 2009.  I have heard from many of you and would love to hear from more. 

God bless,

Pastor Bill Kiefer

Greetings From Kenya

I apologize for the lack of posts over the last two and a half weeks.  It is very difficult to get the time when I am traveling.  Add to that the inconsistency of internet access and I just cannot keep up.  I will be back on September 17th, but it will probably be a week later when I start to post again.

Thank you for your prayers for our time here in Kenya.  We have been very busy since we landed in Nairobi.  I have ministered 16 times since I arrived on August 27th in three cities.  We have seen God move on many leaders in our time here.  We have also ministered to couples in a marriage seminar in Nairobi.    Pray for us that we will finish strong. 

Tomorrow we leave for the city of Narok  for a two day seminar and a Sunday morning service.  Before we leave I will minister at the morning chapel service in Harvest Fields Bible school in Limuru.

I am so grateful to David Cerar, the East Africa Director of Vision Education for hosting me and driving me all over Kenya for these meetings.  David has spent the last 15 years in Kenya.  Before that he was in Mexico for 15 years.  He has dedicated the past 30 years to reaching those in other lands with the Gospel of Christ and making available a bible school education for those who desire it.  Hosea  says that God’s people perish for a lack of knowledge and David has been fighting the battle against biblical ignorance for a very long time.

I would also request that you pray for the resources we need to go through the open doors that God has provided.  Our church, Living Word Christian Center and its people have been very generous and supportive over the years, but the time is coming when I believe my wife and I need to go to the people who are crying for our help.  I know that God will provide but it is always good to have prayer support.

I have never asked for anything from those who read this blog or visit our website however, If you would care to become involved financially in helping us reach people in Africa, India, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, Ireland, and Germany you can visit our website at WWW.Livingwordgreene.com and click on the link for donations.  Please indicate that you desire to help with or missions travel.  All of the continents and countries listed are open doors that we only need the resources to go through. 

Keep reading and I will begin to post teachings again soon.  In the mean time, there are some good things to review in past posts.  Thanks for reading and may God bless you richly.