Saturday, February 25, 2012

John Fletcher on Checking Your Heart

John Fletcher's heart check questions

By Rev. Mark O. Wilson | Released: Feb. 24, 2012 | In: Feature Holiness

My hero, John Fletcher, the 18th century Vicar of Madeley, was a seeker after God. His heart's desire was to press in to love Him more fully.

When I visited his grave a few years ago, I prayed, "Lord, make me a John Fletcher."

He drew up this list of questions for personal reflection at the end of the day:

1. Did I awake spiritual, and was I watchful in keeping my mind from wandering this morning when I was rising?

2. Have I this day got nearer to God in times of prayer, or have I given way to a lazy, idle spirit?

3. Has my faith been weakened by unwatchfulness or quickened by diligence this day?

4. Have I this day walked by faith and eyed God in all things?

5. Have I denied myself in all unkind words and thoughts? Have I delighted in seeing others preferred before me?

6. Have I made the most of my precious time, as far as I had light, strength, and opportunity?

7. Have I kept the issues of my heart in the means of grace, so as to profit by them?

8. What have I done this day for the souls and bodies of God’s dear saints?

9. Have I laid out anything to please myself when I might have saved the money for the cause of God?

10. Have I governed well my tongue this day, remembering that “in a multitude of words there wanteth not sin”?

11. In how many instances have I denied myself this day?

12. Do my life and conversation adorn the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Rev. Mark O. Wilson is senior pastor at Hayward Wesleyan Church in Hayward, Wisconsin.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Simos Family Ministry Update


Dominican Republic - Simos Family
Our Freedom team has been busy with a new Pre-school, English classes & Bible Studies. In January, our team started a Pre-School with 24 kids from Lima & PInones. We praise God for this opportunity! Every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, we have the privilege of teaching & discipling these 4 year olds for 2 hours.
Every Tuesday & Thursday, we are teaching an adult bible study class, several english classes, and 4 bible study classes for the children. We would ask you to join us in prayer for wisdom & discernment. Our passion is to see God glorified in the lives of Dominicans and in our lives as well!
We would love to have you come share this experience with us! There is still time to plan a short term missions trip
. Please contact
Click here for Take a Trip video
Freedom housing for missions teams
Toni teaching English
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Toni teaches the children of batey Lima and batey Piñones bible lessons in Spanish . Recently, Toni has started teaching English to some adults in batey Cabeza de Toro.
Josh, Wonder & Victor working
Josh, Wander and Victor have started a project to build new benches/pews for the church in batey Lima. Our group has been blessed to use this church while ministering in Lima.

Friday, February 17, 2012

There's a Miracle in the Making!

I know you have all heard the old saying, “Out with the old and in with the new.” Well, that is exactly what 2012 has brought to me and my family.

I am so honored to say that God has blessed me so abundantly with a wonderful family and also with such great Christian friends. It is in that darkest hour when you realize just how much your family and Christian brothers and sisters in Christ mean to you.

On February 5, 2012 I found just how faithful those family and friends were, but most of all, I know that no matter when or where, I can always depend on Jesus Christ.

My family was involved in a horrific car wreck in Clermont, FL at approximately 7:51 p.m. on February 5, 2012. After a wonderful service in Port Charlotte, FL, we were en route back to our hotel in Davenport, FL enjoying the evening, when we stopped at a red light. Suddenly, at a high rate of speed, a car hit us from behind, knocking us 35 yards. In the extreme of things, another car hit the same automobile that hit us. The next moments were so sudden, my wife Trish recalls our son Joseph hollering for her help, as he was bleeding and suddenly, I realize I cannot move my arms. They are completely numb and I too began to holler for help. Trish hurried to try to get to us both, not taking the time to notice her own injuries. What seemed like forever, was only moments before the Paramedics were on the scene and has ushered me away. As Trish began to unfold the events to me, I was even more amazed at how God had surrounded us by his protection. Joseph too was taken and Trish realized her own injuries. As we were all taken to the nearest hospital, Trish and Joseph were quickly treated and released, as their injuries were not life threatening. However, I had already been taken to the trauma hospital in Orlando, due to sustaining what they so commonly call, “A Broke Neck.” I suffered 3rd and 4th lumbar fractures to my neck, with my spinal cord pinched.

The most amazing starts to unfold here. Trish had enough power on her cell phone to contact our daughter, son, my dad and place a call to Chapel Valley and leave a message to please start a prayer chain on my behalf and then, all contact was lost with the outside world for the next 48 hours. However, people all across the United States were praying for me and the prayers of the righteous availed much. As the neuro surgeon recommended surgery immediately, the down side was explained. If I had the surgery, I would never sing again, as it would damage my vocal cords. I simply could not see this as an option, as God had given me the voice I have and it is my life and my being. Many may say you were foolish to not do it, but I know the man who can and did. I was admitted to the hospital for them to observe me. Naturally, they thought they would change my mind, but the great physician had already stepped into the room.

After three days, they released me. It was so wonderful to really see the power of God at work. People were contacting us at the hospital, even though we did not have means and ways to make contact with them. Not as much as to let anyone know where we were. God always has his ways to get his message out.

On Friday, after I was released, I was sitting on the edge of the bed, when all the feeling in my arms and hands returned. Trish shouted and cried and I could not do anything but cry and praise the lord. All the prayers that had been sent up had reached the throne room of heaven. My miracle had taken place. I have always loved the song, "There's A Miracle In The Making," tonight, I know that miracle and the miracle worker, as he worked one specifically for me.

I will forever praise him and forever proclaim what he has done for me. It changed me and my family and we have seen love among our brothers and sisters, friends and family that is immeasurable. Through it all, God has worked a significant change in our hearts, as we have always loved people and loved everyone, but the change is loving them through the eyes of Christ. It is definitely a new 2012, out with the old and in with the new.

The first of March, I will have a new release out to National Radio. It is entitled, "I Love You Son!" The song is a perfect description of God's love. Even though the song had already been planned for release before the accident, it definitely was in God's timing. Be sure to call your radio stations and request, I Love You Son on the Chapel Valley Comp Disc.

May God Bless each of you,

Ron Brewer
Mercy Road Records
Chapel Valley Studio

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Spiritual Adoption-Its a Bible Thing!

“The Biblical Principle of Spiritual Adoption”

by Keith Kiper

A Message from Romans 8:18-28

Life sure goes by fast, doesn’t it? Our daughter Kristy is 22 years old and a college student. Those of you with children can relate I’m sure. Just seems like yesterday she was only a baby. I can still remember her first day of school, sweet sixteen birthday parties, and then High School graduation. But you see, December 15th, 1989 was a very special day for Vicky and myself. Our daughter Kristy came into our lives that year. Although we will probably never meet her, Vicky and I thank God every day Kristy’s biological mother chose life. There were a couple of times the agency thought they had a child for us, but things just didn’t work out. At the time it was hard to understand why. We were even willing to take a child with medical problems. But you see, God always knows what is best for us, even when WE can’t see the big picture!

The Bible talks about adoption. When reading what Paul tells us in Romans chapter eight we quickly learn that Spiritual adoption is a very important Biblical principle. Our key verse 23 tells us, ”And it’s not only the Creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free.” (CEB) The NASB calls this being set free, ”the redemption of our body”

You see, the one who does yet not know Christ, or have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within-groans from their innermost being until they are adopted into the family of God. The Greek word used in this passage to describe adoption is arraboon. We can also find it in 2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:14. In the common Greek usage it would mean the same as a pledge, much so as with an engagement ring. In the Roman world of that time, an adopted son could not be deprived of his father’s inheritance. The son was recognized legally in the same way as one born naturally. Paul was explaining God’s love to them in a way that they could understand. The English word for adoption is derived from the Latin word meaning to choose - option is derived from the same word). The translation simply means the acceptance of another person's child as one's own. Adoption is very ancient, and is commonly found everywhere in the world among many cultures. The Bible perspective on adoption expands the principle of natural adoption to include national and spiritual adoption. The last one, spiritual adoption, is "the point" of God's offer of eternal life, made available to everyone of all nations who will exercise their option to genuinely repent and truly obey Him

Paul used adoption to illustrate his point because Natural adoption was common during Bible History. Some Bible examples are:

"And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son; and she named him Moses, for she said, "Because I drew him out of the water." (Exodus 2:10 RSV)

"He had brought up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother; the maiden was beautiful and lovely, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai adopted her as his own daughter." (Esther 2:7 RSV)

Spiritual adoption is available to all who will repent and obey God:

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature." (2 Peter 1:3-4 RSV)

"But to all who received Him, who believed in His Name, He gave power to become children of God" (John 1:12 RSV)

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him" (Romans 8:15-17 RSV)

Romans tells us the whole earth groaned in travail after sin entered God’s perfect Creation through Adam’s disobedience. Because of Adam’s sin our sin separates us from God. Death, disease, sin, and sickness are in the world because of our spiritual death through our biological parents, Adam and Eve. Adam did not die immediately after he sinned, he lived to be several hundred years old. And yes, when we correctly understand Genesis, we know that Adam really lived this many years. Spiritual death was immediate for Adam, physical death came later. Physical death will come for all of us here today save the return of Christ.

You can stop watering a plant, or cut it from its stem. It will eventually die. It is the same way with all humankind. Sin separates us from God. Without Christ in our life, through Spiritual Adoption, we are dead spiritually and then will die physically. Just as we can water the dying plant, the Bible tells us Jesus is the living water! Jesus restores our relationship with the Heavenly Father. We are then justified. Remember the old familiar bromide, “Just as if I never sinned?”

When our daughter Kristy first came into our life, she was 2 ½ months old. There is a reason for this. The state of Florida has some of the best adoption laws in the nation. I believe that is one of the reasons why God led us there in 1983. When a child’s biological mother contacts an adoption agency, the child is placed with foster parents for 2 ½ months. After 2 ½ months the agency places the child with the adoptive parents. The main reason is this allows the mother and/or father time in case there is a change of heart. After this passage of time and the judge drops his gavel, it’s a done deal as they say. Not even the president of the United States can reverse his or the parent’s decision. If every state did this, it would save a lot of heartache. Kristy was our daughter the same as if she was biologically ours…birth certificate and all. Can you see the Spiritual application here? It’s the same with God’s love through Jesus His Son. When we accept Christ’s forgiveness, we are born into God’s family. We become His son or daughter. Just as if we never sinned! There is then the heavenly birth certificate called the book of life. Our name is entered there. No one can remove it but we ourselves.

This doesn’t mean we will then be without trials and tribulatioins. They will come but they will pass. God provides the Comforter the Holy Spirit to live in and through us if we will allow and submit.

From now on, our sense of significance derives not from our performance but our position in Christ. Who we are, and indeed what we are, derives from the fact that we are adopted by grace. From this knowledge flows our sense of value. No longer are we preoccupied with the way others see us. We are wholly taken up with the way God sees us. We should also not judge others by their circumstances, only God knows the whole story. As that great philosopher Jack Handy said, "Never criticize someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then you will be a mile away, and you will have their shoes."

Mark Stibbe the Vicar of St Andrew’s, Chorleywood. Mark was adopted as a child and has authored a book on the doctrine of adoption, From Orphans to Heirs. In closing, listen as I read his list of privileges from his book that we have when we are adopted into the family of God.

I have been given the right to be [called] a child of God (John 1:12).
I am no longer a slave but a friend of Christ (John 15:15).
I have been bought for adoption through Christ’s blood (I Corinthians 6:20).
I was predestined for adoption (Ephesians 1:5).
I am a child of Abba by adoption (Romans 8:15).
I am God’s work of art (Ephesians 2:10).
I am no longer under any condemnation (Romans 8:1).
I cannot be separated from the Father’s love (Romans 8:35).
I am loved by the Father himself (John 16:27).
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14).
I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20).
I have not been given a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1: 7).
I am no longer a slave but a son (Galatians 4:7).
I am seated with the Son in heaven (Ephesians 2:6).
I am of the same family as Jesus (Hebrews 2:11).
I am a brother of the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 2:11).
I can approach the Father with confidence (Hebrews 4:16).
I am a brand new person in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).