Archive for January, 2014

Last Sunday, I made an unannounced visit to my dear friend Pastor Ross Cunningham at The Master’s Gateway Church in Milano, TX. It is located on Highway 79, northeast of Austin. Ross’ wife Beverly is also a pastor with her husband and gloriously leads worship using excellent recordings of very talented worshippers.

My visit was not for the purpose of preaching. It was to renew fellowship with Ross and Beverly Cunningham – two of the most precious people I know or have known. During our visit, they took me to a popular fried chicken fast food place. The meal was delicious and we talked and dreamed of perhaps starting back up the “Connecting the Net” ministry we had together in south central TX some years ago.

Ross told me that connections that were once vibrant in love and acceptance had faded almost entirely away. His heart is to revitalize those connections and begin some new ones. I share that dream.

Last Sunday, Ross asked me to testify about our ministry in the Philippines to hungry children from dumpsites, under bridges and city streets. Ross spoke on “Lawlessness.” In the message, he repeated over and over again that God intends for His children, the saints of God, to be and stay connected. It was one of the best messages on love and acceptance, being connected and staying connected I have ever heard.

“But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16 NASB)

On March 2 I will be ministering at The Masters Gateway Church with my wife Bev. Come connect with us in a place of love and acceptance. For more information, call Pastor Ross: 979-280-0891.

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You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever. (Psalm 30:11-12 (NASB) 

I awakened one day spiritually to realize that my world was crumbling right before my eyes. Until that moment of discovery, I had testified to people and given thanks to God almost daily of how good things were. And they were actually good.

Twelve years ago, I had triple by-pass heart surgery. Last fall I had five stents inserted in two different arteries requiring two surgeries only two weeks apart. The anesthesia twice in such a short time was a bit of a challenge at my age to overcome, but God came through for me. During all growing older adjustment, I have been advised not to climb ladders and to stay off elevated structures of all kinds. This was new and very hard to accept because I’ve always been able to physically do just about anything I wanted. But I did comply to the instructions

All of this has resulted in an increased load on my wife Bev. She really puts a huge amount of work into Christmas decorations. Because of this, our house is really gorgeous during the holidays. But it is a lot of work and I did not help as I should have done.

In a discussion about it, tears were shed and unfortunate and untimely words were spoken by both of us. Both of us were emotionally devastated following the “discussion.” We took a “time out” for a couple of days and said little to each other.

During the “time out,” I began to remember the good things and to feel pressure in my soul that I had not done my part to help Bev. As I prayed, I was solidly convicted to send her an email, to be followed by a verbal discussion, apologizing without any expectation of how she might respond. Well, she responded graciously and with forgiveness and mercy. All is well now to the glory of God. I have the best wife in the world. She always has been and always will be.

When I got out of the driver’s seat and off the throne of my life, the Holy Spirit took over with conviction, repentance and humility. He turned my mourning into dancing, removed my sackcloth and filled my heart with praise and thanksgiving for my wife and family.

Try it the next time you find yourself in a “discussion” about something that needs to be handled.

You are drawn to understand the Bible. Your hunger for God’s truth is about to be satisfied. Embrace My Bible and hold it close to your heart. Pray and ask for a way to install and activate My word so that you are approved as one of My workers with no shame. When you were born again, I wrote upon the tablets of your heart. My goal for you is that you will speak as I speak and do as I do.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB) “Be diligent to present yourself approved by God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

In that one verse, we can learn truth that will change minds and mountains. I want to break it down simply for you.

One of the churches I oversee has a pastor with grown twin boys. Both boys attained to rank of Eagle Scout. I was invited to the occasion of their being honored because of that accomplishment. The ceremony was to certify that they had crossed all the “t’s” and dotted all the “I”s” for becoming Eagle Scouts. Now they have the honor that many great leaders in America have. They all graduated as Eagle Scouts.

How about you? Would you like to attain the level of being an approved workman for God? Frankly, I can remember exactly where I was when God dropped it into my heart that I could attain to being a skilled and convincing workman for God in the Scriptures. It was on Briarwood Drive in Nashville, TN. I was a young man and God told me that chilly Saturday morning that the Bible was like an Owner’s Manual for my new Volkswagen. He said “Knowing and applying My word is necessary to get the most out of your Christian life and to show others the way.” Below are some things I learned and am still learning.

Taking the “key words” of 2 Timothy 2:15, we find that those key words become the key to efficiency in living God’s word. Let’s start.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB) Be diligent to present yourself approved by God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 

Diligence. In the Greek, the simple meaning of diligence is diligent, earnest or eager. Be diligent to read and study the Scriptures. Ask many, many questions as you read. Look up words you don’t understand. Don’t stop until you are satisfied that you know what God is saying in a verse. Also find out the context of culture in which this verse was written. What was the overall picture that makes up the truth God wants you to know?

Gaining God’s Approval. A serious disciple of Jesus wants to please God and gain His approval. Embrace with the emotions of your heart what it means to be approved by God for His will and purposes. You are presented daily to Him to make sure you are showing the attributes He desires.

Approval by God. Your aim is to present yourself approved by God. In the Greek, it means to accept or receive. Proved, receivable, tried as are metals by fire and thus are purified. Sometimes that approval comes as a result of trials by fires of adversity and difficulty.

Doing that which is honorable brings a person real approval, as distinguished from only seeming to be approved.  A workman needing not to be ashamed is approved unto God.

Being God’s workman. Firemen, policemen, military soldiers all wear uniforms. That uniform says they are authorized and empowerd to carry out their assignments. Those called and anointed by God are sent as soldiers, ambassadors, evangelists, pastors and all included in the five-fold ministry. You and I are included here. We are God’s workmen, sent to complete an assignment. Study, prepare and serve as one who need never be ashamed. You want others to see you as blameless as you do God’s will so very well. Settle in your heart that you are not to be ashamed as a workman approved by God and anointed for His assignment.

Accurately handling the word of truth. Be one who accurately handles the word of truth. In the Greek, that means to handle correctly and skillfully; to correctly teach the word of truth.

Join with me in seeking to make God proud, very proud to call us His approved workers. Enjoy your study and rejoice greatly.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (NASB)

Just think of it for a moment. We already know Christ came to live in our hearts when we became born again. You can be totally confident in that truth. I have been confident of it without a shadow of doubt since my salvation at age 12. If you are not, activate Christ with you through believing He is the Son of God and that He died for you. Tell Jesus right now that you have accepted him in your heart and thank Him for living His life within you. If you have done this, all the rest I am about to tell you is true and powerful. It will change your life forever. (Please let me know by email at info@fullnessnetwork.net if you accepted Christ upon reading this. Thanks.)

Now think about Jesus dying on the cross so that you can allow Him to live His current earthly life through you. You are so into Him and He is so into you that the life you live now is not your own but His. In summary, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NLT)

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let Him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (NASB)

Please commit with me and my family to seriously read God’s word every single day. Join us daily in reading Psalms and Proverbs and if time allows also read in Matthew, John and Acts. Go as far as you can. Keep notes in your Bible margins and in a journal of some kind. Keep sacred a certain hour in which you do this. My hour is usually at 4:30 a.m. Yours could be any time that is good for you. Do it daily. You will be transformed in your spirit and soul. Trust me and the Lord on this one.

There are some things to know and to teach your family, your church and all who will listen.

#1. God is the one who put Christ Jesus within your heart.

#2. Make absolutely sure you have allowed God to put Christ within your heart. Confirm it with Him.

#3. Decide on some verses, words, passages or books of the Bible you want to “study more.”

#4. If possible get a good concordance. Most full Bibles have a small concordance at the back of the Bible. Get a Bible Dictionary and Webster’s English Dictionary.

#5. If you use a computer, you may want to buy a Bible program called WordSearch (https://www.wordsearchbible.com/).  A good free Bible program is E-sword (http://www.e-sword.net/). There are some good free resources on the Internet. Two of them are Bible Gateway (http://www.biblegateway.com/) and Blue Letter Bible (http://www.blueletterbible.org/index.cfm).

#5 Join a discussion in a Bible Study in Sunday School or a study group.

#6 Find your own way to “know” what the Scriptures teach and how to find, get and carry out God’s will for your life. Be faithful to do His word. You will change things in your world.

Christ in you becomes your wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. Being inside you, He brings these four Kingdom qualities and plants each of them very carefully inside you. Jesus is your conduit for all four.

Having Christ firmly planted inside you, then you begin to grow your own personal garden of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. You are now the expression of Christ because He manifests each of them through your own being. For you to live is Christ. You are as He is in this world.

Let’s do it. As stated above: Join us daily in reading Psalms and Proverbs and if time allows also read in Matthew, John and Acts. Go as far as you can. Keep notes in your Bible margins and in a journal of some kind. Keep sacred a certain hour in which you do this. My hour is usually at 4:30 a.m. Yours could be any time that is good for you. Do it daily. You will be transformed in your spirit and soul. Trust me and the Lord on this one.

Many people today are struggling to make ends meet. Others are knocking on the door of hopelessness. If only you could find the sure path of God’s will and success, you would gladly walk that path. Right?

What if you found out that the path was someone, rather than a physical roadway? That Someone is Jesus who is the incarnate, resurrected and ascended word of God. You know God loves you and promises to bless you. God makes a way by and through His promises found in His word. He is ready daily to show you the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs. Wise is the one who will fill his or her mind with the will and intentions of God. In finding His will, promises and directives, you are assured of success and prosperity in the Lord. Want to try it?

It was not easy being the son of a sharecropper. There was little to encourage me that my life could be blessed with success and prosperity. God’s path for me turned out to be a man sent from God. He told me that Jesus had a plan for my life to make me to be someone special, to have a great purpose and destiny.

My mama daily read her Bible, making notes in the margins. My parents gave me a Bible and I began to do the same. I later found out that every word in the Bible is true: Romans 15:4 (NASB) For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Believing in my heart the Scriptures to be true, hope began to arise and faith started springing up.

I have always been afraid of failure. Combine this with a steady fear of abandonment and you have a young man needing hope and encouragement. My encouragement came in this promise from God to ME: Joshua 1:5 (NLT) No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.”

Please commit with me and my family to begin seriously reading God’s word every single day. Make your margin notes. Keep a journal of what God tells you. Be faithful to do His word.

The Miracle In Your Mouth

Posted: January 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

What a wonderful miracle occurs when you align your mouth with your heart. Always know that your Rock and Redeemer is listening to what you say. Think of the words that flow so freely when you speak. Often, little thought is given to the right words and phrases that can and should change the world about you. Oh how at times you wish you could find a net to capture the words you did not really mean to say and, return them to your negligent soul for cleaning by the Holy Spirit. More than anything, your words are to be acceptable to your Maker. Please Him and all the rest will fall into place. Peace will reign supreme. And when this occurs, fill your mouth with purified words of praise and adoration. Top it all off with joyful thanksgiving.

In this way you will be literally training your soul as God’s revelation comes through, from the Holy Spirit to your spirit. Think of it like training a child to grow from drinking only milk to eating soft food to solid food and eventually to eating meat. The young child needs the milk, but milk by itself is not a healthy diet for an adult. God wants His believers to be strong and healthy soldiers and warriors. The enemy of the saints is strong so the saints must be taught, trained and receive on the job direction and supervision. In this way, they will be God’s giants in the land. The healthy church is to be full of spiritually powerful disciples of Jesus.

Go to boot camp if you want to become an effective soldier. Do not duck out of the difficult exercises. Face and conquer each obstacle. In my book camp experience as a young man, I crawled under barbed wire for a great distance. I climbed obstacles that seemed impossible and much, much more. But when I graduated from boot camp, I was tough, strong and full of confidence because I had withstood the pressure. Go to God’s boot camp.

Start tomorrow morning (or evening is that is better for you). Fill your eyes with His word. Allow those words from God to then penetrate deep into your heart. Read some more and some more. Pack His word in your heart so deeply and completely that it has to overflow from your mouth and lips. Keep it up, keep it up and keep it up.

You will please your Rock and Redeemer, King and Lord. Please Him!!! Speak His words and change the world.

Psalm 19:14 (NASB) “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” 

Fill Your Life with God’s Word

Posted: January 23, 2014 in God's Word
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Fill your eyes, heart and mouth with My word and I will give you eternal life, prosperity and deliver you from destruction. Most believers have little to no idea the power of God’s word on their lips when it is spoken in faith, believing. Father God wants to fill your eyes with His word to the point that the wisdom and power of His words penetrate and flood your heart to overflowing. You will speak from that which fills your heart – the dynamic word of God. First your eyes, filled with committed discipline of reading and meditation. Next, your heart is continuously stimulated and activated to beat in rhythm with God’s heart. Finally, faith words find expression from the lips of your mouth that are consistent with what God has quickened.

Angels are waiting for your words that they may obey them and carry them out to reality. God has empowered these angels to do the work you cannot do. Your role is to keep your eyes full, your heart teeming and overflowing and your mouth speaking words of life right from the heart and will of God the Father.

Deuteronomy 30:14-15 (NIV) “No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” Psalm 103:20-21 (NIV) Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.”

More on Forgiveness

Posted: January 22, 2014 in Forgiveness

Are you totally innocent of all wrong doing? Are you living in a state in which you are free from guilt or blame? Maybe you feel as though you are impeccable and without fault in the situation you face. Even if it is so, we cannot use our innocence to justify not forgiving one who has wronged us.

Have you ever unwittingly or unintentionally hurt someone? The hurt is the same whether intentional or unintentional. Even if the wrong done by you is truly unintentional, you still have to ask for forgiveness.

The Lord says today, “Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Until you have resolved the issue of forgiveness and unforgiveness, you are spiritually stymied and have put both yourself and your adversary in a prison, cut off from the full blessings of God. I tell you, do not let another Sunday worship or other spiritual gathering go by without being reconciled with your brother or sister.

Go out of your way to humble yourself and even initiate a conversation with your adversary to resolve all offenses and transgressions.

Forgiveness

Posted: January 21, 2014 in Forgiveness, Uncategorized
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Sunday morning worship service is often riddled with worshipers contaminated by unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is destroying the church, our families and our nation. Surely we as believers in Christ will not sleep this one out and wake up one day to find ourselves angry and hating one another! The Lord speaks, “Wake up church, families and body of Christ. See the truth. Jesus set the example for us as He died on the cross and forgave those who put Him there. No subject was stronger in his heart than to command us to do as He did and “forgive those who wrong us for they know not what they do.”

People are leaving our churches in droves. Thousands enter the church week in and week out, but within weeks or months, they leave because they find no solution to their pain, their anger, resentments and unforgiveness.

Jesus looks down from the cross with fresh blood on his face, down his side, dripping from his hands and feet. He says to us this day “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” He paid, through His suffering, the full price for us. He forgave us and says for us to forgive and ask forgiveness. He could not have made it more plain: “Forgive them. Ask their forgiveness. Resist revenge and retaliation. Remember, what goes around comes around.”

Matthew 6:12-15 (NASB) “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

Church attendance has always been important to my family. Most of those who gather at church seem like family to us. In most worship services I am greeted with hugs and holy kisses. I enjoy also giving those hugs and kisses in return, just as I do in my biological family. It has always been that way. I have given over fifty years of my life to serve and defend the local and global church. My personal desire is for the church to rise to spread the good news of the gospel and godly living across America and around the world. It is my goal to do what I can to help equip the church for that task. How about you?

However, a look at the current condition of Christianity in America is really disturbing. A rather caustic remark heard from too many born-again Christians is, “I don’t go to church anymore because I have already been.” This implies that they went, were disappointed and no longer embrace today’s church.

Pastor Jonas Bohlin (Fullness in Christ Church, Fort Worth, TX) recently shared this in the morning worship service: It is based upon surveys taken during 2008 to 2010.

The State of the Church in America — 2008-2010:
a. The majority of Americans (73–80%) identify themselves as Christians.
b. About 15–20% of Americans have no religious affiliation.
c. Americans who say they attend services nearly every week are 36%.
d. Only 9% of Americans in a 2008 poll said religion was the most important thing in their life. This is compared with 45% who said family was paramount in their life and 17% who said money and career was paramount.

What is wrong? The clergy blames the people for their lack of loyalty and commitment and the people blame the clergy for not making the church the most exciting and fulfilling place they can find.

Let’s look at what Scripture says about the shepherds (pastors) of the flocks.

Defining a Shepherd (Pastor) and Its Role in the Life of a Christian

 A “shepherd” is defined as a keeper of sheep. The first keeper of sheep in the Bible was Adam’s son Abel (Gen. 4:2). Shepherding was the chief occupation of the Israelites in the early days of the patriarchs: Abraham (Gen. 12:16); Rachel (Gen. 29:9); Jacob (Gen. 30:31-40); Moses (Ex. 3:1).

As cultivation of crops increased, shepherding fell from favor and was assigned to younger sons, hirelings and slaves (compare David in 1 Sam. 16:11-13). Farmers such as those in Egypt even hated shepherds (Gen. 46:34).

The Bible mentions shepherds and shepherding over 200 times. However, the Hebrew word for shepherding is often translated “feeding.” Shepherds led sheep to pasture and water (Ps. 23) and protected them from wild animals (1 Sam. 17:34-35). Shepherds guarded their flocks at night whether in the open (Luke 2:8) or in sheepfolds (Zeph. 2:6). They counted the sheep as they entered the sheepfold at night (Jer. 33:13). They took care of the sheep and even carried weak lambs in their arms (Isa. 40:11).

The word “shepherd” came to designate not only those who herded sheep, but also kings (2 Sam. 5:2) and God Himself (Ps. 23; Isa. 40:11). Later prophets referred to Israel’s leaders as shepherds (Jer. 23; Ezek. 34).

In Bible times the sheep cared for by shepherds represented wealth. They provided food (1 Sam. 14:32), milk to drink (Isa. 7:21-22), wool for clothing (Job 31:20), hides for rough clothing (Matt. 7:15), and leather for tents (Ex. 26:14). Furthermore, sheep were major offerings in the sacrificial system (Ex. 20:24). They were offered as burnt offerings (Lev. 1:10), sin offerings (Lev. 4:32), guilt offerings (Lev. 5:15), and peace offerings (Lev. 22:21).

The New Testament mentions shepherds 16 times. They were among the first to visit Jesus at His birth (Luke 2:8-20). Some New Testament references used a shepherd and the sheep to illustrate Christ’s relationship to His followers, who referred to Him as “our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep” (Heb. 13:20). Jesus spoke of Himself as “the good shepherd” who knew His sheep and would lay down His life for them (John 10:7-18). Jesus commissioned Peter to feed His sheep (John 21). Paul likened the church and its leaders to a flock with shepherds (Acts 20:28). The Latin word transliterated “pastor” means “shepherd.” (Elmer L. Gray, Holman Bible Dictionary).

Blessings and Disappointments in Good and False Pastors (Shepherds)

Blessings. A good pastor/shepherd in your life is a blessing. That pastor was given to you as a gift from the Great Shepherd, Jesus, and has a role in your life that is vital.

Right up front I want to say that it is my pleasure to report that my wife and I have a couple who pastor us quite well. In fact, I often say to our congregation, “We have the best pastors in the whole world.” That’s our opinion and we are sticking with it. They feed, tend, heal and spiritually lead their flock very well.

The testimony of my wife and me is that we cannot recall ever having a bad or false shepherd. We salute and bless the good shepherds (pastors).

Disappointments. Sadly not all shepherds are good. Even good ones are not always perfect. It saddens me to hear reports of those who have experienced false or abusive pastors and shepherds. Perhaps they were taken advantage of or came to feel they were “used” by their leaders. Stories of such treatment fuel gossip and negative publicity for the present day church.

Understanding Old and New Testament Words for “Shepherd” (Pastor)

Qualities of a Good Shepherd. The job of a shepherd is to feed and defend the sheep. In 1 Peter 5:2-3 (NASB) we read: shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.”

Qualities of A False Shepherd. A person who feeds off the sheep, taking advantage of them and using them for personal advantage is a false shepherd. When a new sheep appears and becomes part of his flock, they immediately seeks ways they can take advantage of assets and talents to their own advantage. Instead of feeding the sheep, they take their food unto themselves.

Discerning Good and False Shepherds. Does it really matter? Let God speak to you through these Old and New Testament references concerning good shepherds and false shepherds: 

John 10:11 (AMP) I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep.”

John 10:14 (AMP) I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me.”

1 Peter 2:25 (AMP) For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian (the Bishop) of your souls.”

Ezekiel 34:2 (AMP) Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them, even to the [spiritual] shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the [spiritual] shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the sheep?”

Ezekiel 34:5 (AMP) And they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild beasts of the field.”

Ezekiel 34:7-8 (AMP) Therefore, you [spiritual] shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:
 As I live, says the Lord God, surely because My sheep became a prey, and My sheep became food for every beast of the field because there was no shepherd—neither did My shepherds search for My sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves and fed not My sheep.”

Ezekiel 34:9-10 (AMP) Therefore, O you [spiritual] shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My sheep at their hand and cause them to cease feeding the sheep, neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more. I will rescue My sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.”

Ezekiel 34:12 (AMP) As a shepherd seeks out his sheep in the day that he is among his flock that are scattered, so will I seek out My sheep; and I will rescue them out of all places where they have been scattered in the day of clouds and thick darkness.”

Ezekiel 34:23-24 (AMP) “And I will raise up over them one Shepherd and He shall feed them, even My Servant David; He shall feed them and He shall be their Shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God and My Servant David a Prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.”

In the next article, we will begin to illuminate Christ’s ascension gifts to the church, which are: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor-Teacher.”

Ras Robinson