Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shame On You!

Dear BFWC Family & Friends,

I grow weary of seeing people wounded by the condescension of religious people who act like they're so holy that they're God's model of perfection for the rest of us struggling saints. Truth be known, people who walk around with religious pride and entitled arrogance probably have more skeletons in their closet than you can shake a stick at.  

People who have to put you DOWN in order to lift themselves UP... are dealing with much more than meets the eye. It's interesting to me that some people can swallow a camel but gag on a gnat.  In other words they can eat 12 chocolate bars and then tell you, you should eat a salad!

As a pastor, I deal with the brokenness of humanity each and every day.  There are so many people who are hurting who have been wounded by the church, society and by their own families.  To make matters worse, it's often "church people" who are the greatest offenders at belittling others and placing guilt and condemnation on those who they feel aren't as "worthy" as them or aren't living up to "their" expectations.

I know I'm going to make some people mad with this email...but let me just say it like it is: 
  • Until you get your own house in order, don't talk to me about my house.  
  • Until you can get your own weight under control, don't talk to me about my weight. 
  • Until you can quit gossiping, don't talk to me about my mouth.
  • Until you can quit your unhealthy habits, don't tell me how to overcome mine.

Friends, don't let anyone put SHAME ON YOU...ANYMORE! Shaming is a technique used by abusive people to divert attention away from their own behavior and their own issues so they can put pressure on you and maintain control over your life! You won't have to walk away from them...because the moment you REFUSE to let them put shame on you...they will walk away from you!

I want you to know today...
  • You ARE NOT bad...you are GOOD! 

I don't care who told you that you'd never measure up to their standards!  MAKE THE BREAK! You don't have to live under a SHAMING SPIRIT anymore!  Don't believe the lies they've been telling you!  YOU ARE LOVED!  YOU ARE VALUABLE!  YOU ARE WORTHY!  YOU ARE GOD'S CHILD! GOD LOVES YOU!

Join us Wednesday night for our study on this subject...we're gonna PUT AN END TO THE SHAME GAME!

7 Principles of Father/Son Relationship

More and more we are seeing the Kingdom of God reproduced and expanded through the principle of Father/Son relationship.  This Biblical relationship is notoriously described in the relationship between Elijah and Elisha.

1. God told Elijah to anoint Elisha as his protégé. (1 Kings 19:16)
  • Elijah was pouting in the cave when God told him to anoint three people.
  • Even in the cave God can give you vision!
    • Hazael to be king over Syria.
    • Jehu to be king over Israel.
    • Elisha to be his son in the faith. (protégé)
  • Father's have the authority to anoint and affirm those with whom they've been entrusted.
  • Father's recognize your gifts and talents even when you can't see them yourself.
  • Father's understand the timing of your calling.
  • Father's are always looking for sons to anoint.
  • Father's are happy to have their quiver full of mighty arrows. (Psalms 127)
2. Elijah found Elisha plowing in the field. (1 Kings 19:19)
  • Elisha showed up for work.
  • Elisha was where he was supposed to be when the prophet came looking for him.
    • Imagine what would have happened had Elisha called off that day.
    • There's something to be said about leaders who are consistent, competent and have character.
  • Elisha was hard at work. (Plowing with 12 yoke of oxen before him.)
    • Luke 16:12 "And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?"
3. Elijah laid his mantle on Elisha. (1 Kings 19:19)
  • There is no record here of any conversation from Elijah to Elisha when he laid his mantle upon him.  He merely walked by, laid it upon him and kept going.
  • Elisha knew the significance of this act.
  • When God begins to put a mantle upon you...no words have to be spoken for you to know that your inner man is being impressed upon by the Holy Spirit for a specific assignment or even a life call.
  • The calling of God is HEAVY!  
  • Accepting it is not a light matter.
    • Romans 11:29 "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."
4. Elisha accepted his calling & ran after Elijah. (1 Kings 19:20)
  • Notice that Elisha ran after Elijah and not the other way around.
  • Elijah did not have to continually coax Elisha to keep up the relationship.
  • True sons run after their father's heart.
  • They stay in tune to what their leader is feeling and thinking.
  • They anticipate the next step of their leader before it's ever taken.
5. Elisha prepared a farewell feast for his family and friends. (1 Kings 19:20-21)
  • Elisha made a complete break from his past.
  • He made a complete surrender to God and broke off all ties with the old life.
  • He took the yoke of oxen he had been plowing with and slew them for the purposes of an offering before God and a feast for his friends.
  • He made firewood out of the plow and the yokes.
  • His friends and neighbors saw him burning all his bridges behind him, cutting off all connections with his former life.
6. Elisha went to Elijah and the relationship of Father/Son began. (1 Kings 19:21)
  • Elijah became his spiritual father.
  • Elisha took the humble place of being his servant.
  • He served God in the serving of his leader.
  • We see this principle so many times in Scripture...both in the Old and New Testaments.
    • One example is in Joshua 1:1-3 "Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying, Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses."
    • "So the Lord said to Moses, Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation; and commission him in their sight. And you shall put some of your authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him."
  • True sonship is first being a true servant.
  • Then, and only then, will you find yourself one day in the same place as your spiritual parents.
  • Our problem in networking has been that the sons have expected the fathers to serve them.
  • We have had this backwards as with many other things in the Church.
2 Kings 2:1-2 "And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, stay here please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel. But Elisha said, as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you. So they went down to Bethel."
  • This was a test for Elisha (who may have thought by now that he would not need any more testings) and he passed it without even hesitating.
  • This expression "as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you" could be restated this way: "As sure as God lives in you and in me I will not leave you!"
  • This is an absolute and final statement!
  • This is a CHOICE in which there is no backing down.
"...so they wen down to Bethel."  "Bethel" means "house of God" or literally means "household of God."  This again speaks loudly of the meaning of this relationship and we come into greater understanding of the meaning of "spiritual family" in our time.

7. The significance of the Father/Son relationship. (2 Kings 2:4)

"And Elijah said to him, Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho. But he said, As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you. So they came to Jericho."
  • Again we see Elisha passing another test and they went to Jericho.
  • "Jericho" represents the place of spiritual warfare, entering into activity against forces of evil in the heavenlies.
2 Kings 2:6 then says, "Then Elijah said to him, Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you. So the two of them went on."
  • For a third time, Elisha passes the test and they go on to Jordan.
  • Jordan speaks of death.
  • It represents death to the self-life. 
  • Jordan stands as the place of Israel's separation from the self-life in the desert to the life of warfare for the Lord in the land.
  • This resounds loudly in the statement made by Jesus in 
    • Mark 9:34-35, which says, "And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, if anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it."
  • Evidently Elisha was willing to follow Elijah anywhere at anytime the Lord directed him. Let's now look at the results of all this.
2 Kings 2:7-14 says, "Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. Now it came about when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you. And Elisha said, Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me. And he said, You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so. Then it came about as they were going along and talking, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. And Elisha saw it and cried out, My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and it's horsemen! And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and struck the waters and said, Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah? And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over."
  • Notice that when Elijah departed, Elisha did not shout "my pastor, my pastor", or "my prophet, my prophet," but cried out, "my father, my father!"
What did Elisha ask for when the offer came from this great prophet of God who was his mentor?
  • He did not ask for fame or fortune, but for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah.
  • He was not asking for twice as much faith and spiritual force as that which was characterized in his spiritual father.
  • He was asking that he might be considered as Elijah's eldest son, the heir to his spirit, the successor to his work.
  • It was all RELATIONAL!
Elijah said, "If you see me when I am taken..."
  • This means, if you are still with me when I go.
  • In the past we have experienced spiritual "sons" who wanted to be SONS FOR A SEASON, and then desire a peer relationship with their fathers because they now see themselves as mature fathers.
  • I will tell you a truth, a true father should desire his sons to carry greater anointing than they, but the sons must realize that even if this happens, they will always be the "son" to their spiritual father.
  • Dad will always be dad  no matter how great the sons becomes.
  • We really miss God when we stop sitting at the feet of our elders because we think we are now more anointed and mature than them.
  • I personally know great apostolic fathers in the faith who have been "put out to pasture" and are scratching for provision because their sons in whom they invested much of their life and resources have let them and stopped honoring them with their support. 
Deuteronomy 21:17 says, "But he shall acknowledge the first-born, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion  of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the first-born."
  • This is what Elisha sought, and this is what he certainly obtained.
  • What a powerful example of a Father/Son relationship we see through this story of the passing of a mantle.
Now is the time for all of us to check our MOTIVES and begin building everlasting covenant relationships with those whom God has placed us.
  • All relationships that are entered into with the thought of divorce if things don't go our way will fail to bring fulfillment of the will of God into our lives and ministries.
  • Many ministries begin to move in an anointing and believe that they have received a mantle.
  • These are two different things.
  • An anointing is just for a specific time or place or situation, but a mantle is that which one carries at all times, through all situations and circumstances.
  • You must wait for a mantle to fall and then have the integrity of character that you have earned by keeping your relationship in Godly order so you may properly use it with a double anointing.
God is now "smiting the land with a curse" (Malachi 4) because the fathers and sons have not allowed the Lord to deal with their hearts to walk in close covenant relationship.
  • Most "networks" are still more organizational rather than relational. 
  • Will you be counted among the true sons and daughters who walk closely with their spiritual fathers through the oncoming kingdom battles, or are you just doing your own things while being accountable to no man?

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Lord Of What's Left

Dear BFWC Family & Friends,

It's been a full week of serving, loving, helping and sharing with our community and covenant family.  Beverly and I would like to thank each of you for stepping up to the plate and serving where needed.  

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we said "see you later" to John Sexton, a loving man in our covenant family, who went home to be with the Lord.  He will be greatly missed here at BFWC.  As often as you remember, please continue to pray for his wife, Judy, that she may find comfort and courage in the days to come.  She has a large family to support her and along with the encouragement and strength she receives from her church family, I believe she'll receive strength.

One thing that I can say about our church body is that there is heartfelt love ingrained in the sweat, labor, tears and work we're doing.  

Thank you for:
  • Loving one another unconditionally, 
  • Believing the best about one another, 
  • Giving a hand up and a hand out when needed, 
  • Standing in strength when another is weak, 
  • Caring enough to send cards, make phone calls and 
  • Truly reaching in love!

As humans, it's easy to see the negative in life's situations.  As Christians, we're instructed to look for the good and then speak life to our circumstances.  When you choose to speak life over people, problems and plans...you're declaring the Rhema Word of God (God breathed word) from your mouth and commanding a BLESSING to be released! 

Friends, I challenge you today to use your MOUTH to speak LIFE. For those of you using social media as a tool to communicate...choose to speak LIFE.  We gain no advancement for the Kingdom of God when we vent our frustrations over the internet, subtweet and take jabs at people.  However, we can build the Kingdom of God when we lovingly speak words that will encourage, inspire, advance and promote unity, harmony and peace.  

Paul said in Colossians 4:6 "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."

Recently, a dear friend sent us a sermon called "The Lord of What's Left."  This message was very inspiring and pointed us to take a closer look at the God who can take your fragments and use what remains...for His glory!  See, each of us have fragments and broken pieces left over from battles we've fought, wounds we've incurred and trials that have seemingly depleted our resources. Yet, God in His abundant GRACE & MERCY...picks up what's left in our life and begins to reshape it into something of beauty. Ultimately, it's His desire to use us, entirely, for His glory.  

Perhaps you feel like you're at the bottom instead of on top. Or, you feel discouraged rather than encouraged.  Friend, focus on what God has done already...and believe He can do it again!  Focus on what you HAVE...not what you LOST. Give God praise in advance and allow Him to rebuild your courage, restore your health, reignite your passion, renew your strength and replenish your soul!

Regaining your momentum takes time.  It's a process. Not everyone will understand your decisions, know your journey, be acquainted with your story, agree with your path or believe in your future. That's ok. You're not serving people...you're serving God.  Just keep LOVING.  Remain sweet in your spirit and forgiving when the opportunity to be offended arises. The Scriptures teach us "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." (Romans 12:18)

I'm proud of you and the CLIMATE you're creating in this house.  A climate that VALUES PEOPLE and loves them regardless of where they're at, what they've done and who they are.  A climate that is producing a CULTURE of HOPE for people who have been rejected by the religious, overlooked by the elite and discarded by the world.  Truly, BFWC has become a fulfillment of Mark 2:17 to be come a HOSPITAL for the SICK not a HOTEL for the SAINTS!

"They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

As we head into the weekend, please continue your PRAYER & FASTING as we continue to believe for the HURTING to be HEALED, the LOST to be FOUND and the DISCOURAGED to be ENCOURAGED!

In addition to our two morning worship services on Sunday morning (8:30 & 11 AM) we will host our 3one7 Student Ministry Service at 6 PM!  Our National Youth Directors, Randy & Dawn Lawrence, from Dallas, Texas, will be ministering.  Invite a friend! Everyone is welcome to attend!

Saved by grace,

Russell Hylton

Monday, July 14, 2014

Missile Defense System

The Word of God always has nuggets of truth that are just waiting to be uncovered! Obviously, after 2000 years, there is no new revelation...but there are definitely things to be revealed that we do not yet have knowledge of.  

Isaiah 54:17 has long been a passage that has been quoted and used in sermons, testimonies and songs.  Recently, this passage and the verses before it have brought about a greater meaning to me.
  • 14. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
  • 15. If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you.
  • 16. See it is I who have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and produces a weapon fit for it's purpose; I have also created the ravager to destroy.
  • 17. No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgement. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, says the Lord.
This passage has become even more real to me as I've watched the conflict that is presently taking place in Israel.  Israel has a Missile Defense System that has, up till now, been able to counterattack every missile that has been fired against it.

You and I have a Missile Defense System!  God has released His Angels to counterattack every missile that has ever been or ever will be fired at us!

God says that we are ESTABLISHED in RIGHTEOUSNESS!  We are LIFTED ABOVE OPPRESSION and do not have to fear...for TERROR WILL NOT COME NEAR US!

Verse 15 says that whoever is stirring up strife, gossiping about you, running your name down or trying to get others to turn against you...they will FALL as a result of their loose tongue!

God declares to us that it is He who has created the SMITH!  Who is the smith?  Well...it is the HOLY GHOST who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon fit for our purpose.  In addition, the RAVAGER is the ANGEL of the Lord who God has assigned to minister to us and protect us! (Psalm 91:11)

The Angel of the Lord will take out every missile that has been launched against us!  Praise the Lord today that God knows us by name and has declared that ... even when a weapon has been formed by people to try to take us out ... He declares that IT WILL NOT PROSPER and that EVERY TONGUE that has lashed out against us will be shot down in judgment!

God is your VINDICATOR!  Never forget that God has established your heritage to include a MISSLE DEFENSE SYSTEM!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Are Your Steps In Order?

God is a God of order.  Everything that He does is inline and intact.  In fact, the Apostle Paul declared "Let all things be done decently and in order." (1 Corinthians 14:40)

When serving in ministry, we ought to be able to do it with joy. Ministry shouldn't be a drudgery or a downer.  It only becomes laborious when we are out of alignment with God's ordained protocols.  As a result, ministry can become tiresome and wearisome. 

To rid ourselves of this draining dilemma, we have to restore order back into our life.  How? Well, the first step is to start with our relationship with God.  If we allow ourselves to become so taxed with duties that we neglect the intimate relationship afforded to us through our personal relationship with God, we can come to resent ministry and become slothful in our diligence and duties.

  • Are you in harmony with HEAVEN?  
  • Does your life and ministry have the sound of melody accented with the triad of harmonic balance?  
I've found in my own life, that when my fellowship with God is in order, my spirit man has the ability to be in balance with both the natural and the spiritual world. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I'm able to remain consistent in my spiritual habits which in turn catapults me to greater effectiveness in natural things.

The Results of Order
  1. Consolation - comfort in knowing your ducks are in a row.
  2. Mutual respect from your peers and leaders.
  3. Promotion.
  4. Increased performance and results.
  5. Decreased stress.
  6. Accelerated production.
  7. Horizontal and vertical appreciation.
  8. Increased anointing.
  9. Discernment of people and situations that are out of order. 
  10. Cost savings.
  11. Synergy with likeminded leaders.
Protocol Precedes Promotion

When you read John's description of Heaven, it is clear that Heaven is a place of order. With that being said, God designs that His church be a place of order as well as our homes. 

Order gives birth to various levels of leadership within organizations that can be hierarchal in nature.  

As long as delegated authority is in place, we will always be cognizant of rank, service, position and authority. Leadership longevity is sustained by maintaining and mastering our rank.

Giving 100% Regardless of Your Rank
  1. Giving your all no matter where you serve on the team will increase your level of anointing and increase your desirability within your sphere of influence.
  2. Knowing where you fit on the team defines what your level of authority is and is not.
  3. No matter the task, washing windows or organizing an event, your rank dictates what projects are assigned to you.
  4. Knowing who you are and whose you are frees you from competing with other people's positions and placements.
  5. The number of keys on your key ring dictates how much responsibility you've been entrusted with.
  6. Serving with faithfulness and fruitfulness will yield a harvest of blessings!  On the other hand, withdrawing, pouting and MIA stirs up a dust cloud of disappointment from those who are cheering for your success.
Colossians 3:17 "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."

Hebrews 13:17 "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

1 Timothy 1:12 "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enable me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;"

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Are You Tough Enough?

There's a saying I grew up hearing that says, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"  This has indeed been a true statement for anyone who has had to hurdle past obstacles and climb over life's disappointments.

The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 30 that there are four things that are little upon the earth, but they are exceedingly wise. The first is the ANT.  Solomon says they are not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer (v 25).

ANTS know that they don't have long to work before the chill of Winter sets in.  So, they gather all they can to feed their colony, while they have strength and opportunity.  ANTS do not wait for an invitation to your picnic.  They show up unannounced and are happy to carry away anything within their reach. 

ANTS are relentless.  ANTS are persistent.  ANTS use every muscle they can muster to carry their fair share of the load.  In the ANT'S world...you've gotta be TOUGH to survive!

How TOUGH are you?

Where did we ever get the idea that everybody would appreciate us?  Certainly not from Jesus!  He said His blessings were reserved for the "persecuted and the reviled" (Matthew 5:10-11).  If you are "thin skinned" you'll have a rough time, because that makes you an easy target for the enemy.

Endurance is the secret; not popularity!  
  • Paul endured desertion by his friend.
  • Ugly letters from the Corinthians.
  • Disappointment with the Galatians.
  • Mistreatment in Philippi.
  • Mocking in Athens.
  • Imprisonment and beheading in Rome.

What do we really have to complain about?  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 16:13 "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."

1. Watch ye! - "Be on the alert!" - Why?  Because you have an adversary who is out to get you.  What's he after? The DEPOSIT of God that's within you.  You are a SEED, capable of producing a harvest for God in the earth!

2. Stand fast in the faith! - "Be firm!" - Why? Because you can't stand on your feelings, your circumstances, or the opinions of others. Those things change constantly. You can only stand on the Word of God.

3. Quit you like men! - "Act like men!" - Why? Because being childish won't cut it when the battle rages. It's time to grow up! Learn from your mistakes and keep going!

4. Be strong! - "Toughen up!" - Why? Because weakness is an invitation to your enemy. Furthermore, it always precedes surrender, and quitting is not an option for you. God told His people that the Promised Land was theirs, but they had to fight for it. God's saying the same thing to you today!

You don't have to stand in your own strength!  

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."