Revival Dream

Revival Dream

CLI Student, Elieser Mercado Jr, has experienced the suffering this world is filled with but he has not been overcome by pain instead a revival dream has been stirred in Elieser.

Read Elieser’s testimony in his own words below:

My name is Elieser Mercado Jr. better known as “Pastor Eli.” I am 34 years old and currently reside in Orlando, Florida. I was born in Brooklyn NY. of Puerto Rican parents Elieser Mercado and Iris Santiago. I have a total of 4 amazing sisters that range from the age of 32 to 15 years old and with that came a handsome nephew and 2 beautiful nieces which melt my heart on a consistent basis. 

I was brought up in a pentecostal church where unfortunately tradition and religion were a need for the gain of salvation. I was taught ritualistic Behavior, in essence, everything that opposes Grace. My parents became pastors in a hostile part of Brooklyn called Brownsville or East New York. The schools were rigged of gang violence and I got caught in that by default, the ones who would help me had parents that were very involved in gang activity. Looking back at that place I can see how God’s hand was over my life providing protection and keeping my heart interested in who He was.

My parents were pastors and both of their parents were pastors also, I think I’ve been called to Pastorship by genetic default, kidding of course! When I was about 10 years old my parents took me to a church called Brooklyn Tabernacle in Coney Island, New York. I distinctly remember that there was a clown Ministry to kids and then this clown did something amazing. He compared him dressing up as a clown to when Jesus dressed up as a man and gave up his power to be able to reach mankind. He proceeded to take off his clown makeup and taught us that when Jesus died and Resurrected he was transforming back into his Divine State and at that young age it hit me. All that Jesus had done with me in mind. This was the first true encounter I had, after that I was in love with Jesus.

My father unexpectedly passed away when I was 12 years old due to a stroke. Which needless to say was pretty traumatic for my family and for myself. I truly started having to seek truth for myself and gave me a chance to let go of religion and truly start to seek a relationship. This also gave me a passion for reaching out to this generation that I know from personal experience and experiences of people that are near and dear to my heart, that somehow, someway we have been fatherless.

I truly believe that the United States of America and many places around the world have had a lack of mentorship. There are very few, that are willing to become a father, for many reasons which are probably unmeasurable. This is why I believe Christian Leadership Institute (CLI) is so important. CLI is just not creating a platform that is accessible and in my opinion Kingdom Minded, but also, CLI is taking a huge part in providing the proper mentorship that was not given to many that have not had a father figure.

CLI is granting me the necessary tools that I need to be an equipped spiritual father, able to enable and equip others in their walk with God and therefore ensuring that they effectively affect those in their sphere of influence. I am so grateful that this Vision was implanted I’m a man with a kingdom mindset and with a heart to reach people and see them walking out there calling.

My prayer and revival dream is that this would spread out like wildfire and people start to perceive the necessity of equipping themselves. I believe this will have a huge impact in the Ecclesia and this will provoke a new wave of Revival in the United States and all over the world. I ask that you keep me in your prayers as well, for God to provide resources but more importantly to give me boldness, guidance, and wisdom to walk out every inch of what has been predestined for me.

If you want to help bring more revival leader click here and see how you can help CLI with their revival dream.

Revival Ministry in the Philippines

Revival Ministry in the Philippines

CLI student, Mark Castillo, is training at Christian Leaders Institute in order to start a revival ministry in the Philippines as well as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where 80-90% of the people there are Muslim.

Read in Mark’s words about his passion for bringing a revival ministry in the Philippines below:

My name is Mark Ralston Castillo from the Philippines. I am 31 years of age and the eldest of the two siblings. I am currently working as a nurse in the United Arab Emirates. I began my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ when I was in my secondary school in our class and my age at that time was about 15 years old when one missionary from Campus Crusade for Christ shared to us how to have a relationship with Jesus and I accepted Him as my personal Savior and Lord. From then on my journey with God started.

Every day is a day with great hunger and thirst for the Lord. In my college years, I am a youth leader and a youth camp director once. I love teaching the youth and those people who are teachable in heart regardless of age, sex, and race. At the age of 29, I worked as an Overseas Filipino Worker here in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi. I got married to my beautiful wife Christina at age 30. I have been a Christian for almost 16 years now but I still felt inadequate and still a baby Christian in my walk with God.
By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am going to use my ministry training to be a missionary to my fellow Filipinos especially the youth and a church planter to every place where God wants me to be. I am going to be used by God to start a revival to my fellow Filipinos through discipleship and training them to be disciples also for free.

I was born in the Philippines but I am now currently working as a nurse in the United Arab Emirates since 2015. The people here are 80-90% Muslims though this is an open country yet it is very difficult to evangelize people especially Muslims. If one is caught by the police converting Muslims to Christianity, it is a serious offense and one of the grounds for immediate Deportation to one’s home country. Bibles here are very limited and most Bibles here are online. We are open to have a worship service to specific places but we are not allowed to invite Muslims, only my fellow Filipinos. People here are busy at their job and no time for God because to them they live to earn money but I believe as a Christian I am commissioned for a specific purpose and God will be glorified wherever I go and people will know that Jesus is the Messiah and Lord of lords and not Allah.

My ministry dream is to start a revival ministry in the Philippines and to my fellow Filipinos here in abroad and to plant churches in my home country. To share to them that Jesus Christ is the Living God and to train disciples to become disciple makers for free. I see myself as a Youth Leader, Mentor and a Church Planter to where God wants me to be especially Philippines and UAE.

In my college years, I was a youth leader in our church and I saw hundreds of people especially the youth who are hungry to know God and are willing to be trained. The youth are willing to learn and always curious and that drives me to study and learn more about God and his work so that I can pass on to them everything I have learned and will learn in the future.

I encountered unique challenges here in my current place of work. Most people here in the UAE are Muslims and the language barrier is great because most people here speak Arabic, Hindi, and Urdu. I only speak English and bibles here are not distributed anywhere and evangelism in public is a serious offense in the UAE law.
My church in the Philippines is supporting me through prayer and that the mission of the Lord Jesus in me will be fulfilled. My wife Christina is a very supportive to me. We are praying every day, doing devotional and bible study and she supports me in my CLI training. She also joined CLI for the purpose of learning and growing more in Christ Jesus.

My scholarship in Christian Leaders Institute is my answered prayer and a great blessing in training me to know my calling and my ministry because there are no bible schools here in UAE. I need every prayer and support from all Christians because only by the grace of God that I can continue and be able to graduate in this institute. To God be the glory.

Read about other students that want to start a revival ministry like Mark on our Facebook Page.

Free Preaching Course is Endorsed by Experienced Pastor

Free Preaching Course Endorsement!

by Evan Galvez

I had been in the teaching profession in college for more than 10 years already and have been involved until now in ministry, teaching and preaching the Bible. With my experience in preparing my own lecture and sermon notes and using presentation tools, I thought that what this free preaching course called Sermon Construction and Presentation course would offer I already know. I was wrong!

While it may be true that experience is the best teacher, one cannot disregard the learning or training that can be received from a teacher-student learning process such as I had experienced in this free preaching course. I am glad that I took this course seriously just like the other courses I have already taken at CLI despite my experience in preparing and presenting a lecture or sermon.

Personally, one of the important ways that this free preaching course has helped me is that it made me reflect on my past experiences in preaching. In fact, this class many times made me smile in embarrassment and made me think, “Ah, so that‘s what I should’ve done or be doing next time” when I am reminded about a past preaching experience, which I could relate to a specific topic or lesson in this class. It also showed me some flaws in the way I prepare the sermon especially in how to conclude it. In addition, the class made me aware and conscious of my mannerism when I am already in front of the audience presenting.

The most valuable lesson I found in this free preaching course is in the area where I thought I was weak, which is the conclusion of a sermon. While it may be true that “The old preaching adage reminds us that preaching a sermon without knowing how to end it, is like taking off in a plane you have no idea how to land” according to the introduction of the article How to Write a Sermon Conclusion (eHow), I realized that there is really no plane to land if the plane hasn’t actually taken off. I found that the sermon introduction must be equally important as the sermon conclusion since the sermon conclusion must be written with the introduction in mind. What I thought earlier as my weakness in writing the sermon conclusion is actually a sermon introduction weakness as well. I plan to correct these weaknesses of writing the sermon introduction and conclusion by writing the sermon body first so it becomes the basis of my introduction and conclusion.

Another lesson I found valuable is the use of sermon illustrations. In my experience I don’t use sermon illustrations intentionally. It just seems to come out when needed while I am presenting the sermon. I never thought of it as something to be intentionally included while preparing or constructing the sermon. But I have learned in this class its importance and that it need to be planned and included in preparing the sermon. This is an area that I believe I also need to work out. In fact, I plan to go through the Week 7 lesson on Effective Illustrations in Preaching to improve in this area and to start intentionally including illustrations in my scheduled Sunday’s School preparation and assignment in our church.

I am so blessed by this free preaching course and it is a great learning experience for me. I may have had a lot of experiences standing before an audience to present but this class made me realize a lot of areas I need to improve and grow in order to be effective in performing God’s call in my life in the area of preaching a sermon. What I thought to be automatic or natural like the use of gestures while presenting the sermon has to be planned and thought of according to the different resource persons in Week 6’s session. In fact, it is great to observe and learn directly from observing the different sermon videos how each preacher used their body language in presenting their sermon to the fullest advantage, however, for Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell’s preaching on Matthew 16:13-19, Keep Up With Your Keys, I’m not sure if I could do the same style as he did though personally it was really great preaching. The preaching videos had exposed me to different styles and techniques of preaching by different preachers and I found each style unique to each preacher. What amazes me is that no matter the style and technique each has used, I am convinced that the message they intended to convey has actually reached their audience because it has reached me as one of the audience watching and listening to them.

The teaching videos of Andrew Bryant and Karen Friedman were especially helpful too since what they taught was not limited specifically to presenting the gospel by preaching alone but is also very useful in general ways of making a presentation.

Finally, as Prof. Henry Reyenga has said that though different preachers may have different styles and that even I myself will develop my own style, I should never forget that the most important thing is the content of the message, which is the Word of God, and the role of the Holy Spirit in working in the heart of the audience listening. Personally, I am reminded of Jesus’ Parable of the Sower where Jesus presented different types of soil, which He used to symbolize the four different types of man’s heart who will receive the gospel. And my prayer to God is that whatever style or technique He may guide me to use in presenting the gospel, He will make the heart of my audience free from hardness, stones and thorns so that the gospel may not only grow but also bear fruit and multiply.

Editors Note:  Existing pastors, enroll at Christian Leaders Institute and gain access free immediately. After the getting started class you can enroll in this free preaching course. All the classes are free at Christian Leaders Institute. This free preaching course includes many of the best practices of preaching today!  If you are a new student, rest assured that CLI is free are you will get high quality ministry training!  After you finish your getting started course, you can take this free preaching course as well as over 22 other classes. Join now.

Many pastors and students cannot believe that a free preaching course or a free ministry training school is not a gimmick. Just enroll and find out for yourself.

Fisher of Men – Free Ministry Training for Called Leaders Everywhere

Fishing is a hobby I enjoy. I have, over the years, been able to find time to go fishing even if things were rather busy for me. It is a relaxing, meditative time. I can be quiet and calm, and enjoy the creation as I wait for the fish to bite on my hook. As a proverbial little saying puts it, “A bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work!” Here in my region of the world, we are just coming on toward spring. The lakes are thawing from their winter ice cover. And, below the surface of the lake, the fish are getting ready to spawn. So, here in Michigan, we have rules about when the fishing season opens. One cannot disturb the mating of the fish or they will soon be depleted by over-fishing. But, that does not stop us fishermen from looking forward to the day when the fishing season opens for us to pursue our hobby.

Called to be a Fisher of Men

Fishers of MenI know that some of you who are reading this are fishermen by trade. You earn your living at fishing. Fishing, for you, is much more than a hobby to be occasionally engaged in – it is an everyday endeavor. In those terms, you are much like some men I read about in the Bible than I am. We know then as Peter and Andrew, James and John. These are the first men that Jesus called to be his disciples.

The story goes like this (see Matthew 4). Jesus had been subjected to a period of temptation by the Evil One in the wilderness. Upon returning from the wilderness, Jesus heads to the area of Palestine we know as Galilee. It was the geographical area in which he had been raised. His hometown of Nazareth was found there. It was also the place where there was a large inland lake called the Sea of Galilee.

The sea is formed as the Jordan River runs south from the hills to the north. It enters a large area where it flows slowly in the currents of the 64 sq miles (166 sq km) of the lake. What is interesting about the lake is that it is nearly 700 feet (210 m) BELOW sea level. The Jordan River takes up its course again as it flows south from the lake to finally end up at the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is a place where, in Jesus’ day, a flourishing fishing trade was found. The ancient historian Josephus tells us that 230 boats were regularly out on the lake engaged in fishing for a living.

Jesus Said, Follow Me.

Among them were two boats owned by the brothers Andrew and Peter, and the brothers James and John. One day, as these men were washing their nets at the water’s edge, a man came along and simply said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” What happened is that these guys to whom very few paid any attention in the religious world, these guys simply left their boats and followed Jesus to become fishers of men. These men formed the heart of the group of disciples of Jesus. They as men trained to be fishermen, would become the great leaders of the church as it was born. One could almost say that Jesus and these men formed the first edition of Christian Leaders Institute!

Free Ministry Training

Jesus took people as they were and trained them to be the leaders of his church. He did not ask them for a payment of tuition. He carefully taught them the truths of God. He sent them out to practice. Then, when they came back, he went over how things had gone for them in their efforts to put into practice what he taught them. Their training often centered in the towns around the Sea of Galilee, so they were not asked to relocate to a different area hundreds of miles away.

The way Jesus worked is still going on today. At Christian Leaders Institute, we are discovering how many people are busy in an occupation when Jesus comes along and gives them a new vocation (a calling) to be a person who is a fisher of people. Listen to one of our students,

I am Roslin Marcelus. I was born in Haiti. I am married and father of three. I have a degree in automotive from the New England Institute of technology and a Bachelor of Science at the University of Bridgeport. I have a Master’s degree in Global Development and Peace. I have also earned a certificate in human resources management.

When I approached the Christian Leaders Institute website to start learning about ministry, I did not have in mind that it would be a hands-on training opportunity. I was offered a way to personally improve my relationship with God. Now I am starting to understand my mission. I want not only to serve God but to be able to be an instrument that helps others come to know the Savior, Jesus Christ. The Year 2014 will a new beginning as I pray the Lord to guide me to the next step.

So here is a man who is busy at his occupation and along comes Jesus and calls him to become a fisher of men. It is a great privilege for us all as the staff of CLI to be engaged in doing the training which is needed for these individuals to become the best servants of Jesus they can be. Here they learn of their mission as Jesus calls them, not to give up their life’s work, but to see it embellished with the added joy of going fishing!

Trusting God in the Tough Times

In the book of the Bible we call Daniel, in the third chapter, we have an intriguing passage. The great King Nebuchadnezzar had set up a big statue of himself. Then he gathered all his royl bureaucrats to the capital city. Once they had arrived, he instructed them to bow down and worship the statue that he had made of himself. It seems he did this to ensure that they all were totally devoted to his cause. But there were these three guys who turned him down as far as the worship thing went. They said,

16 …, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Trusting GodWhen a tragedy like a great storm happens as it did in the Philippines a few months ago, there are survivors who immediately think about giving thanks to God. It seems to be on everyone’s lips – even journalists who otherwise would not invoke God except on a horrific occasion such as the massive tornado. (Oh yeah, Wolf Blitzer found out that not everyone is thanking God, see http://mobile.wnd.com/2013/05/wolf-blitzer-to-atheist-thank-god-right/  after the Moore, Oklahoma tornado in the USA last year) But what about those who did not survive? What about those whose loved ones are dead today? What should they be saying?

In the Bible book of Romans, there is a place where it says, “22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” When the mighty typhoon Haiyan blew through the city called Tacloban in the Philippines, the creation itself groaned in sorrow. When there were flood waters inundating many different areas in the world last year, the creation groaned.  When people are faced with difficulties that tax their ability to cope to the breaking point; the creation itself groans.

We do not know what to pray sometimes. Other times God seems so far away. Sometimes God seems to not care as the three friends at the mouth of the fiery furnace could envision. But God is always God. And God is always near. We just do not always know of his holy presence.

Our pain, our loss, our fear, our sadness, our souls groaning and aching for the end of evil all get in the way of sensing God nearby. But if we listen to the creation and we hear the groaning, then we can renew our hope that one day, one day all will be right. We walk by faith today. Not by sight. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction about things not seen. When even we groan, that remains the only way to live.

The Christian faith is a way of life that is committed to the understanding that God is in charge of all the universe. We do not always understand the ways of God. Nor do we always have a way to calmly face the dire circumstances we are dealing with. But the Christian faith reminds me that nothing in the world can separate me from the love of God that is mine in Christ Jesus our lord. There are times when those in authority will order us to forget our commitment to the God who is invisible and give our allegiance that an idol that can be seen. But it is at that moment that we can say with the three friends, “the God we serve is able to deliver us …, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” That takes faith.

Culture or Christ? Reaching the Next Generation for Him

There has seldom been a time in the United States when reaching the next generation for Christ was more difficult and less acceptable. We are at a point where we can no longer choose culture and Christ. We must often make the choice: culture or Christ.

This truth is seen increasingly in all major societal indicators. News writer and commentator Todd Starnes recently published an article that encompasses several recent stories about religious rights in America. These include the removal of Christian symbols from military chapels, regulations against speaking about God in the armed forces, charges against Christian bakers, photographers, and other similar occupations for asking Christians to violate their spiritual convictions and the Internal Revenue Service targeting Christian non-profit organizations involved in pro-life activities. Everywhere you look in the United States, speaking out for Christ is becoming less popular and, in some cases, criminally prosecutable.

Katherine Gloede, a student at Christian Leaders Institute, knows the importance of reaching out to the next generation. She recognizes that even in the educational system there is a constant push to choose culture over Christ. In a reflection paper in the class Sermon Construction and Presentation, she talked about her ministry to the girls in the youth group at her church.

Reaching the Next Generation for God Starts in the ChurchReaching the Next Generation

It made my heart swell with joy when I saw the faces of these young teen girls just loving God, and wanting to be better for Him, and not just for themselves. A few of the girls that I teach had started to fall into the stereotypical high school drama that a lot of girls deal with. Between peer pressure on things like relationships, immodest dressing, drugs, and just all around discontent, I saw these girls start to fall. I know that God has bigger plans for them, so I made the point to try to cast my net, as well as I could to keep them from falling any farther.

I thought that the story of Esther would be a great topic to share with these girls. The book of Esther never mentions God, no one prays, no miracles happen, and the book is never even mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. It is as if God was on vacation during the time of Esther. The hero of the book is a Jewish young woman who hides her identity. And she’s not just any woman, but an orphaned girl who grew up to be so beautiful that the great King Xerxes chooses her as his bride!

Despite all this, Esther is instrumental in saving the Jews from certain genocide and succeeds in having all of her enemies destroyed in a bloodbath. It’s not exactly the type of story you read your kids at night. No one comes off looking good, and everyone has a hidden agenda. A story full of action, suspense, what’s not to like about the story itself. It’s a Hollywood producer’s dream!

The story of Esther seemed to be in perfect timing with everything going on around these girls. They feel like they don’t have anyone to lean on, that they are totally alone. But, just like these girls, Esther meets God, and she is totally transformed!

I know that I may not change the world just by myself, but I truly believe that I changed a few hearts and minds over those three weeks. It made it so much easier for me to write on subjects after that. So when it came time to write the first sermon in the class, I was excited for it!

Esther was a woman of faith who chose to be identified with God’s people in a time when they were under the most intense persecution. Even knowing the king’s edict that all Jews in the kingdom were to be killed, she came forward and identified herself to the king as one of the Jewish people. She could have trusted in her position as queen to deliver her from death. She likely could have been left alive in the palace while the rest of her people died throughout the kingdom. Yet, at great personal risk to herself, she believed it better to be identified with God’s people than to escape persecution for His name.

Katherine Gloede was empowered in her quest to reach the next generation as she took the class Sermon Construction and Presentation at CLI. In her reflection, she wrote:

Overall, this class really improved my public speaking skills, and made it easier for me to relate to my audience and keep them engaged on what I’m saying. Having a class within the class, on delivering the topic well, and keeping your audience involved really helped out as well. the videos that were used in order to demonstrate different preaching styles gave me pointers, but it didn’t limit me on what to say or how to say it.

If the United States’ current trend is to be reversed and religious freedom to once again exist in our society, we must inspire and motivate our young people to take a stand for Christ. Katherine understands the importance of teaching the youth in her church the importance of living for God, but each of us can have an impact on somebody for Christ. Each of us can take a stand, and teach those we know to do the same. We pray that God will turn our hearts and minds to Him, that we may stand firmly on the cross without wavering. We long for the day that the United States of America may once again be called “one nation, under God.”

PAUL’S THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER

I am preparing an expository sermon.  This is a message for a multi-ethnic church starting the week without a pastor on a Thanksgiving Sunday.

This is to encourage and challenge the congregation to be thankful even in the most difficult situation on life –personally and as a church; and to remain faithful to the praise and glory of God.

PAUL’S THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER
(Philippians 1:3-11)

INTRODUCTION:

What are we thankful for today? We thank God for his many gifts. For happy occasions, it is easy thank God, but what about during unhappy occasions? What about if we are in the midst of urgency can we still thank God? Do we have the joy to do that?

Illus: There was a simple farmer who did not know much intellectually but knew how to walk with God. One day, he lost his only horse, which he needed for working in his fields. His neighbors remarked, “bad, very bad.” But the farmer answered, “good or bad, only God knows.” A few days later, the horse got tired of the competitive life in the jungle and decided to go home to his master. With him came other wild horses. His neighbors commented, “good, very good.” The farmer repeated, “good or bad, only God knows.” His only son who helped in their livelihood fractured his leg while trying to tame the wild horses. Once again, the neighbors reacted, “bad, very bad.” The farmer replied, “good or bad, only God knows.” Their country entered into war and all the able-bodied young men of their region were drafted into the military. The farmer’s son was not drafted because of his broken leg. The exclamation, as usual, “good, very good.” What do you think was the godly man’s rejoinder? “Good or bad, only God knows.”

As I was reading and meditating upon our passage for today I thank God for giving me the strength to challenge the church to be thankful even under the most difficult circumstance in life.

The Apostle Paul, of course, was no stranger to difficult circumstances, and yet in the midst of that Paul overflowed with thanksgiving. One of the letters he wrote while suffering in prison was his Letter to the Philippians, the first congregation that he founded in Europe.

Let us notice what he also wrote to the Colossians while in prison, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body,” Paul wrote, “And be thankful… And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:15-17).

Paul begins his letter with warm and sincere thankfulness and offers a prayer for the Philippians’ continued progress in the faith. The same thanksgiving and prayer you and I can expect for this church.

I –THANKSGIVING (vv.3-8)   what were his Reasons for Thanking God?

  1. CONCERN FOR THE GOSPEL (v.5a) …partnership in the Gospel.

Paul’s joy is prompted by the Philippians’ commitment to the Gospel. From the beginning of the ministry the Philippians were there proclaiming the gospel, establishing the believers in faith, strengthening and edifying each other. They were ready to suffer for the advancement of the Gospel in Philippi (1:30). They have given their life, time and finances.  Paul was thanking God that they understood their marching order.

As some of you partnered from the inception of the church and for most of you who were called to be a part of her till 40 years and looking forward to more glorious years let us encourage and challenge each other to continue to be concerned for the gospel.

2.CONTINUANCE OF THE MINISTRY (v.5b) …from the first day until now.

Recalling their active progress in the faith assures Paul of their certain future. No matter what happened they continued. We believe that in the ministry there are a lot of hindrances, trials, hardships, and headaches. But a true church will just carry on doing what they know is right.

The Philippian believers persevered –they prolonged their fellowship, they endured –they are ready to defend the gospel (v.7)

Illustration: A pastor was challenging the church, “We need to be a stable church – the congregation responded, “Let it walk!” “The church needs to be stable and growing”, the pastor continued. “Let it run!”, the congregation shouted. The pastor with a commanding voice, “The church needs to be stable and growing and continue to remain strong”. “Let it fly!”, the resounding response of the congregation.  “So then it requires your commitment and zealousness”, the pastor said. Then the congregation responded, “Never mind pastor let it walk.”

Are we willing to persevere and endure and commit for the ministry to continue?

   3. COMPLETION OF THE WORK (v. 6) …bring it to completion. Carry it on. NIV

This is strong statement. It means to be fully and firmly persuaded or convinced. Paul’s confidence springs from a deep conviction that God is at work. God never gives up. God will go on working in and through us! Good news, bad news, difficulties, blessings, happy or unhappy occasions –they serve a purpose.

1 Thess. 5:24 says, He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” God cannot leave His work incomplete. Paul’s certainty is on the faithfulness of God. And this is our certainty – God is faithful. He is not through with us yet. We’ve experience His providence, we’ve sense His purpose, we’ve felt His presence, we’ve seen His patience for so many years, let us believe His provision for another man to lead His church.

    4. COMMUNION OF THE BRETHREN (vv.7-8) …partakers with me of grace.

They began, they continued, they rejoiced for the assurance of the completion and they commune. They built a strong relationship with Paul and with one another. They had participated with him in the defense of the gospel.

Like Apostle Paul, let us thank God for our partnership in the gospel, for the continuance of the ministry, for the completion of the work for our communion of fellowship with each other.

While Paul continues his thanksgiving, he can’t help but assure the Philippians  that he too is remembering them in joyful prayer (v. 4). And he detailed his prayer for them in verses 9-11).

II – PRAYER (vv.9-11) Paul was saying, “You are not alone…Someone is praying for you!”

Here we see Paul’s passion for the spiritual maturity of the believers under his care through prayer. That was his great concern. We see this passion revealed in his prayer life. As Paul prays for the believers, he prays for their maturity. This is the very focus of his prayer life. Let this be our focus also for each other, to the glory of God.

A. Request -growing love exercised in wisdom

Paul’s prayer begins with an encouragement for the love that they have to grow more and more. (“still more” – KJV)

Warren Wiersbe commented, “The Philippian church was composed of a mixed group of people, but they were bound together by love.” Where unity is threatened (2:1-4; 4:1-3), love brings together (Col. 3:14).

Aside from his prayer for growing love, Paul prays for increasing maturity in knowledge and depth of insight also.

This leads us to the reason of his request, growing love exercised in wisdom enables the believer to be completely discerning, and that leads him to a pursuit of things that are excellent. What a passion, an excellent pastoral prayer.

B. Reason –discerning what is best

C. Results

  1. being sincere and blameless – “Till the day of Christ”
    Paul is telling the first century Philippians that they  are to live sincere and without offense until Christ returns. What a challenge to us believers in the 21st Century. If the thanksgiving of Paul and the results of his prayer are true to us this day until the return of Christ it will absolutely bring God glory and praise!

Wouldn’t today be a great day for every member of the church to get sincere about the work we have to do?

2manifesting the fruit of righteousness

In such lives where growing love and increasing knowledge are taking place in every area of life, the outcome of which is purity and righteous living, and God receives the “glory and praise.”

3.    bringing God glory and praise

Paul’s supreme ambition in life is the glory and praise of God. Just to see an example in his letter to the Ephesians he keeps on mentioning “to the praise and glory of our God.”

Jesus said in John 15:8, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Paul’s prayer says we need for our love to abound still more and more. We need to approve the things that are excellent and we need to be sincere and without offense until the day of Jesus Christ bringing God glory and praise!

CONCLUSION: In the light of Paul’s thanksgiving and prayer let us be thankful that we partner in the gospel and be certain that God will complete what He started good, be more loving to each other, be thankful in all circumstances, and be passionate in bringing God glory & praise.

Bible Preaching School – Why Should We Itch ?

Bible Preaching School Note: Christian Leaders Institute is please with submissions by students for publication at our Bible School News landing page. At Christian Leaders Institute we are serious about offering classes that bring students a Bible preaching school learning place. The following message comes from this Christian Leaders Institute student as approved for publications.

  – 2Timothy 4:1-8

Very often we use the term itch as to refer to an uncomfortable feeling. In its definition itch means: “A feeling felt on an area of the skin that causes a person or

animal to want to scratch. «The French word for this is “Démangeaison.” And in Spanish it’s “Picor”. In other words an itch is a desire, something we want and we do our utmost best to have whether its consequences will be good or bad. 2 Timothy4:3 says ” For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings.” In this verse Paul don’t speak about itching skin but about itching ears. Some may ask how can my ears itch me without provoking a desire to scratch my skin ?The itch that’s referred to isn’t a physical experience but a spiritual experience that is to say, it’s a spiritual desire that you do your best to fulfill. To be more precise what do you seek or Who do you seek? This sermon that is going to be presented unto you contains two phases. Firstly a phase of encouragement, secondly a phase of warning.

We should itch:

I) ….For GOD’s word

  A) Most people refuse to listen to GOD’s word; they rather listen to amusing stories, to sound doctrines. But it is important not only to hear but to listen to the word of GOD because GOD’s word transforms, changes and above all it gives faith. Paul under the anointing of the HOLY SPIRIT underlines that fact when he declares in Hebrews 11:7“Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of CHRIST.”

  B) Therefore we as Christians should be itching to hear the word of GOD. Many Christians fail to know what GOD wants from them that is the reason why they stray. As children of GOD we should seek to know what GOD expects from us. We should meditate on his words Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, not sits in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the LOED, and on His law he meditates day and night.”

II) ….To seek GOD’s presence

   A) In GOD’s presence there is protection, security, there is fullness of joy. “As the deer pantheth for the water so my soul longeth after you” Psalms 49:1

B) We as Christians our desire should be itching for the things of GOD for the presence of GOD. In every situation we ought to seek GOD’s face. “And ye shall seek me and find me when he shall seek me with all your heart” Jeremiah 29:13

III) ….To proclaim the word in season and out of season

   A) Leaders let your mouth itch to speak GOD’s word at all time. Don’t try to find ways to give to the people what they are itching for. But itch to give to them just what GOD commands you to.

2 Timothy 4:2

“Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.”

  B) Be GOD’s mouth. The word must be voiced as it is given by GOD without operating any changes in order for it to be pleasant unto the people or in order to preserve the people. GOD’s word has to be accepted as it is.

For example When the spokesman of the king is given a message for the people he gather the people and read the message saying “Thus sayeth the king” or such as the prophet Isaiah in the book of Isaiah 1:20 ” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken”. He doesn’t add nor subtract a word from the original message given unto him by the king. He is just a medium through which GOD communicates with His people.

In conclusion our main desire should be for GOD. Nothing should be more important in our life; we should not allow anything or anyone to separate us from GOD. In Matthew 6:33 JESUS himself urges us saying “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well”.

GOD’s central preoccupation is our well-being that’s why He gave His best unto us. He gave us His only son JESUS CHRIST of Nazareth to die on the cross so that we could be saved. Let us itch to offer our best , our all unto GOD just as He has given us His all through CHRIST.

Check out Christian Leaders Institute where you can learn at this Bible preaching school and experience over 20 more classes that help you in your ministry training. Apply now if you have not enrolled.

Can anyone be changed without a touch from GOD?

Can anyone be changed without a touch from GOD?

And these went with Him a band of men whose heart’s GOD had touched” 1 Samuel 10:2.
According to this verse no man can accomplish GOD’s WILL without being touched by HIM.
To touch generally means to make a physical contact with someone or something. In so far as GOD is being Spirit how does that touch occur? A touch from GOD deals both with the physical and the spiritual, the changes produced by this touch take place within one’s spirit and are reflected on the outside.
The conversion of Paul is a very relevant example for the understanding of GOD’s touch as much as it illustrates the definition given higher up. GOD touched Paul both physically and spiritually. Acts 9:28 relates the story of how Paul who was formally Saul has been converted by GOD’s touch of both his spirit and his sight. Just as the band of men was submitted to GOD’s will after being touched by HIM, Paul experienced this same divine touch.
Anyone who desire transformation, who is yearning to work for GOD , who seek for healing, who strives to obey Him faithfully cannot fullfill neither one of these desires without recieving a powerful touch from GOD. Therefore we ought to be ready and position ourselves in order to receive this DIVINE TOUCH.
The word touch contains five letters. It refers to one action but each letter symbolises an attribute of GOD’s DIVINE TOUCH

I) The touch of GOD T-ransforms
A) The touch of GOD brings forgiveness of sins to those who repent and believe. It also brings cleansing and power to those who yield themselves totally to GOD.

B) The transforming touch of GOD renews everything concerning us: We recieve a NEW LIFE in JESUS CHRIST, a NEW HOPE of everlasting life, NEW DESIRES and NEW ACTIVITIES

2 Corinthians 5:17 declares «If any man be in CHRIST, he is a new creature”

II) ….O-rdains
A) A considerable number of Christians are unsuccessful due to the fact that they do not work for GOD. For some, witnessing to those who are unsaved in order to gain their soul for CHRIST, is a task reserved to Ministers only.

B) However the touch of GOD Ordains all Christian into GOD’s service. We all are mediums which could be used by GOD to share a smile, a helping hand, a prayer.

“I have …ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit” says JESUS CHRIST himself in the book of John 15:16

III)…. U-unifies
A) A great aggregate of denominations fail, for the people forming part of them work in division, they are torn apart thus, they work in different directions.

B) Therefore the touch of GOD brings harmony and love and enables us to accomplish HIS will in “the unity of the spirit” (Ephesians 4:3)

“How good it is for brethren to dwell together in Unity” says David a man after GOD’s heart Psalms 133:1

IV) ….C-onquers
A) Much Christians quit too easily, they lower their arms and give up whenever they’re persecuted, rebuked or whenever they fail to get their own way.

B) Whereas the Touch of GOD gives us courage to conquer, CHRIST provides us with the strength which enables us to persevere and endure.

Romans 8:37 “We are more than conquerors through HIM that loved us.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through HIM that strengthens me.”

V) ….H-eals
A) A great many of people have never experienced divine healing due to lack of faith. In fact we cannot suppose that we can please GOD or even receive any blessing from HIM if we don’t first of all trust HIM. Paul statement in Hebrews 11:6 is the best example to illustrate this argument: «By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death.”

B) The touch of GOD allows physical, mental and spiritual healing. We can have this Devine experience by reading HIS word, praying unto Him, believing in HIM, accepting and obeying HIM. Matthew 9:29 says: “Then he touched their eyes saying, “According to your faith be it done.”

Matthew 8:3 “And JESUS put HIS hand and touched him.”

GOD’s touch is essential in any and every individual’s life. The Bible declares that no man can come to GOD if he isn’t draw by the Spirit. In other words this signifies that its GOD touch that saves us and gives us eternal life. No man can accomplish GOD’s will if he isn’t first touch by GOD. Experiencing the touch of GOD enables us to understand who He is and gives us faith in Him.

Topical Sermon – How God truly sees your heart.

Topical Sermon – This topical sermon was submitted by a student at Christian Leaders Institute. Topical sermons are one of the types of sermons that are taught at Christian Leaders Institute.

Topical Sermon – How God truly sees your heart.

Topical Sermon Audience – I belong to a very small congregation of about 10-20 men and women with about 5 children. Where I am a Minister in training.

Topical Sermon Content
Today we are going to talk about how God truly sees your heart. Do you have the love of God in your heart? Or are you going through religious practices thinking your impressing God. Let’s visit is your heart right with God? Or is your heart deceitful with God?
Jeremiah 17:9 the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The heart is deceitful above all things: it deceives in the business of religion it makes a person believe that their holy and a righteous person. The heart will make him feel that he is already on his way to heaven when he is far from that. The heart will trick you in to becoming self-righteous; you will begin to compare your outward conduct with others.
Making you feel like you are a better religious person than they are, and that you are more holy in Gods eyes than they are because
1. I go to church every Sunday
2. I make bible study every week
3. I make prayer meeting every week
Not saying that these things are not important because they are, but if you are doing these things out of habit and not because God is in your heart and because you truly love God, you are mistaken and you have been deceived by your wicked heart with it wicked imaginations. Where is your heart with God? Why here today? Are you coming to church because you love God or are you here to see what sister Mary wore today? Or did you come to find yourself a nice christen woman or are you here because you love Jesus? Why are you here? Where is your heart with God?
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
1. Angels do not
2. Satan can not
3. The man that is still in the flesh does not know the plague of his own heart.
4. Only the spiritual man can know the things of his own heart, the plague of it the, the deceitfulness and wickedness of it. Even the spiritual man doesn’t know it all only God knows it all.
God is the only one who truly sees the heart and all of its wicked imaginations.
Proverbs 6:18 “An heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,”
The heart is either desperately wicked or pure. God will judge our hearts, not our deeds. These wicked imaginations here in this scripture are speaking of people who imagine evil things which will cause trouble for other people.
People like
1. Osama bin Laden
2. Saddam Hussein
3. Adolf Hitler
These are all people with wicked imaginations. We also see in this scripture that an evil person is eager to get into all kinds of mischief. Their Feet are quick to run to mischief. Where are your feet running to? Are they quick to run to sinful things or are they quick to run after righteousness? Are they quick to go to a party where there will be drinking and ungodly music? Then your feet move real slowly when it comes to Sunday morning. Where are your feet running to? Are you running to the righteousness of God I know I am. How about you? When we choose to do these things our hearts get further and further form God?
Matthew 15:8 these people draw near to me with their mouth, and[a] honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
In this scripture Jesus Corrects the Pharisees and Ministers to Gentiles.
“And honoureth me with their lips”:
1. They called him to be their creator and there sustainer;
2. They made their boast of him, and of their knowledge of him,
3. as the one only living, and true God, and as the God of Israel;
4. They brought their sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, even the fruit of their lips, unto him,
5. for their many peculiar mercies, privileges, and favors, as a nation, church, and people,
6. They did this with much seeming sincerity and affection.
“But their heart is far from me”: They had no true love to God, nor faith in him, nor fear of him; they were not at all concerned for his presence with them, or for communion with him, or for his honor and glory; their hearts were in the world, and after their covetousness; they made religion a tool to their secular purposes, supposing gain to be godliness; sought the applause of men, and contented themselves with bodily exercise
God does not want us to be like a robot going through all the formalism. He does not want us to talk a good belief in Him, but to truly believe way down deep in our hearts. As I have said so many times before, we must be in love with Jesus, not just obeying Him when it looks good. He wants our hearts to be stayed on Him. Where is your heart with God? Are you honoring God with your mouth as well as your heart or are you too proud to serve God.
Deuteronomy 8:14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
The spirit of pride in the heart will cause you to forget the Lord your God. You get so proud that you believe your way is better than Gods. You begin to believe that you do no sin because of the pride in your heart. You get so proud in the heart that you think you do not need forgiveness. We too like the children of Israel forget what God has done for us. God sent his only begotten son to die on the cross for our sins. Those sins that you are too proud to get on your hands and knees and ask forgiveness for. You have to let go of the pride in your heart and remember what God has done for you. Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Until you confess the name of the Lord Jesus Christ you will not see the kingdom. Is your heart truly with God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit? When God looks deep in your heart what is he seeing?
I want you to look back with me on how god truly sees the heart.
1. God sees the heart as desperately wicked.
Causing you to become self-righteous and believe that you are righteous in Gods eyes when you are far from that.
2. God sees the heart has wicked imaginations, that are quick to run to mischief
Are you quick to run to mischief and slow to worship God.
3. He sees your heart is far from him
Do you talk a good game for God but when you leave church on Sunday you won’t live by his word the rest of the week.
4. He sees your heart as becoming so proud that you forget about the lord.
You get so proud in the heart that you start to believe I got this, what do I need God for? I am doing fine, forgiveness for what; for your sins and my sins. God did not create a perfect man or women, pride sets in our hearts and we tend to forget that we are not perfect. Until you get down on your hands and knees and repent and call the name of Jesus you will not enter the kingdom Amen.

Daniel 1 – Sermon from Johnis Burton of Jamaica

Name:                     Johnis BurtonDaniel

Scripture:              Daniel 1 (focus vs 7)

Theme:                  There Is Something In A Name

Sermon #1 in the Sermon Construction Class at CLI

Summary of the Author of the Book of Daniel

Daniel the author of the book of Daniel was one of the Major Profits in the Old Testament era. Daniel’s account was of a historical format. He was born in the 17th century BC and died about 6th Century BC in Bobylon.

Daniel in Hebrew is “Daniyyel” which means “God is my judge”. When Daniel was a young man, he was educated in Chaldean thoughts. However, he never converted to Neo-Bobylonian ways. Through “divine wisdom” from his God, Yeheweh, he interpreted dreams and visions of kings, thus becoming a prominent figure in the court of Bobylon.

When the lion’s den event occurred, Daniel was in his 80s. Through a life of hard work and obedience to God, he had risen through the political ranks as an administrator of this pagan kingdom. In fact, Daniel was so honest and hardworking that the government officials – who were jealous of him – couldn’t find anything to remove him from office. So they tried to use Daniel’s faith in God against him. Eventually he had apocalyptic vision of his own that have been interpreted as the Four Monarchies. Some of the most famous accounts of Daniel are: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, The writing on the wall, and Daniel in the lions’ den. (web search www.christianity.about.com and en.wikipedia.org/wikidaniel.com)

Daniel  1:7 Focus 

Examining how a name takes on a character take for example the name of Jesus which means. It is written in the word of God that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess who is Lord … (Rom 14:11). Therefore a name is truly powerful.

The Hebrew names of these young men showed that they were worshippers of the true God, Jehovah! The following names were the Hebrew names given to the three Hebrew boys along with Daniel.

Daniel which means “God is my judge”

Hananiah which means “ Jehovah is gracious”

Mishael which means “who belong to God”

Azariah which means “Jehovah helps”

Daniel 4:8 reveals that king Nebuchadnezzer renamed these Hebrew after his gods! New name were given to these captive from Israel, not to just blend them into the Bobylonian court, but to change their allegiance from their God to the gods of Bobylon. And as we continue to read the story of Daniel we will notice that Daniel nor the three Hebrew boys were not affected by the name change because they remained faithful to their God and was rewarded for that faithfulness. Research from the web www.dedication.com

These are the name change as follows:

Daniel was changed to Belteshazzar with the first three letter of his name “ Bel” meaning “Marduk” Nebuchadnezzer favorite god.

Hananiah was changed to Shadrach which means “command of Aku” the moon god.

Mishael was changed to Meshach which means “who is like Aku” the moon god.

Azariah was changed to Abednego with the first four letters of his name meaning “servant” and the last four “nebo” instead of “nego” meaning “god of wisdom”.

True Attributes of a name:

Naming could be attributed to God originating through a divine birth announcement (Gen 17:19; Luke 1:13). Naming took place near birth in the Old Testament and on the eighth day accompanying circumcision in New Testament narrative (Luke 1:59; Luke 2:21).

The Bible concept of naming was rooted in the ancient worlds understanding that a name expressed essence.To know the name of a person was to the promise of God through character and nature. Revealing character and destiny, personal names might express hope for the child’s future (Congregation participation). Changing a name could occur at divine or human initiative, revealing a transformation in character or destiny (Gen 17:5; 17:15; 32:28, Matt 16:17-18).

The knowledge of a name implied a relationship between parties in which power to do harm or good was in force. That God knew Moses by name occasioned the granting of Moses’s request for divine presence (Ex 33:12). The act of naming implied power of the namer over the named, evidenced the naming of the animals in Gen 2:19-20 or Pharaoh’s renaming Joseph Gen 41:45, compare Daniel 1:6-7; 2 Kings 24:17.

Proper names consisting of one or more terms consciously chosen by namer conveyed a readily understandable meaning within the biblical world. Reflecting circumstances of the birth Rachel called “the child of her death”. (Ben-oni, “ son of my sorrow” (Gen 35:18)). Jacob was named “the supplanter” for he tool hold of Esau’s heel (Gen 25:26). Moses, “the stranger in a strange land” named his son Gershom (Ex 2:22). Research www.studylight.org

Picking the right name for a child is a parent’s job, but giving a child a name like Mercedes for example or Champaign tells a lot about the parent and the child. The best way to get a name that is God approved or will spiritual fits a child is to seek God’s approval on the name you have chosen for your child.

SUMMARY:

My research clearly indicates that a name takes on a character and expresses an essence. Look at some of the problems in our society today and the chaos in the school system. It is a fact truth that some children wear a name and what it represent as the nature overtake them. Do we research a name before we give it to our children? A child that is called “DEMON / DAMON” what is that name saying about the child? The child will live out the meaning and essence of that name. It is not that a child is born bad, but what his character draws him to good or bad things helps to form him for the future.

We also need to be careful when we give our children “nicknames” or call them a name when we are angry with them. It scares them for one, but it also helps define their character in the physical and spiritual. Don’t be surprise you see your child / children acting a certain way they can’t help it they are wearing a proverbial garment that you gave to them that they will wear for the rest of their lives.

Preaching Confidence – Ebenezer Osafo Aikins of Ghana

REFLECTION PAPER ON SERMON CONSTRUCTION AND PRESENTATION

BY EBENEZER OSAFO AIKINS

Preaching Confidence – My name is Ebenezer Osafo Aikins. I am a student of Christian Leaders Institute from Ghana. It has always been my dream to study at a Christian Seminary in order to prepare myself for the greater works God has called me to do. When I enrolled at Christian Leaders Institute in March 2013, little did I know that I will get to one of the challenging courses of study as Sermon Construction and Presentation? But I thank God for seeing me through all the time even to this point. My preaching confidence has increased!

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the leadership of Christian Leaders Institute for making it possible for me to take this course. I will forever be indebted to you for the wealth of knowledge and preaching confidence you have imparted to me through this course.

When I started this course, I didn’t know what I was actually going to learn. I thought about the title of the course “Sermon Construction and Presentation” and concluded I may to be given a formula or just some tips in preparing an effective sermon. But I was surprised the more when the first slide, “Introduction to Sermon Construction and Presentation” stated it as one of the things I will never get out of this course. I therefore opened myself to receive everything the Preaching Confidencecourse has for me. In doing so, I have come to learn a lot of things from the very beginning of the course even up to today.

First of all, in Dr. John Piper’s article, ‘What I mean by preaching is expository exultation’, I came across some things which are still guiding me in ministry. In the course of explaining why preaching is expository, he says, “The preacher’s job is to minimize his own opinions and deliver the truth of God. Every sermon should explain the Bible and then apply it to people’s lives. The preacher should do that in a way that enables you to see that the points he is making actually come from the Bible. If you can’t see that they come from the Bible, your faith will end up resting on a man and not on God’s word.” I have come to realize that the preacher should not only preach the message but should also make the people get the understanding of it. If after preaching for a long time nobody really seems to understand what I was saying, then it comes to mean I have been speaking to myself all this while. This can be made possible when I do not emphasize my opinion but allow the pure Word to speak. I believe by relying on the Holy Spirit, I can be able to bring out the message to God’s people as clearly as He would want me to.

He also highlights the point that preaching is not the totality of the church. And if all you have is preaching, you don’t have the church. A church is a body of people who minister to each other. I have across services where all the singing will be done but when it is time for the sermon, an announcement will be made that we have now reached the most important aspect of the service. Everything that happens from the start of the service to the end of it should be taken on the same serious note. I have a charge to keep. I am ministering to people with eternal souls and should therefore take time to be with the source of the Word in order to hear from Him. This will help me speak from the heart of God to His people knowing that I will give an account of whatever I did in my capacity as a preacher one day. I know a day is coming when people will not accept sound teaching and may even leave the church and go find teachers who scratch where they itch. And eventually they will wander off into myths. But I should not let this deter me. It is not a sign of my failure. Therefore I will not quit.

In the beginning of a sermon, Professor Henry Reyenga helped me to understand that the seed of a sermon is the Word of God which comes out of the truth of my own walk. I therefore have to maintain a life that is consistent with the doctrine I preach. My lifestyle should not contradict what I preach. There will also be different soils and different receptivity to the sermon I preach. Not all are the same in the hearing of the sermon. The only factor to make a sermon effective is the Holy Spirit. I can’t make it happen through any other means. This is where preaching confidence comes from!

There are other things I have learned in Sermon Preparation some of which I want to outline here. The first thing I have to keep in mind is my audience. I have to know the people I am going to speak to in terms of their ages, interests and needs. Another thing to think about is the occasion and the place where the sermon will be presented. I also have to conduct extensive research from which I will gather materials which includes but not limited to Bible verses, materials from books, articles, and notes from other peoples sermons, speeches, reports, conversations. After all these have been done I will commit myself to studying the materials I have gathered before the presentation of the sermon.

In walking with God, George Whitefield explained what the term “walking with God” actually implies. First of all, he says that walking with God implies that the prevailing power of the enmity of a person’s heart be taken away by the blessed Spirit of God. This enmity he speaks of as an enmity of man’s desperately wicked and deceitful heart and that before a person can be said to walk with God, the prevailing power of this heart-enmity must be destroyed: for persons do not use to walk and keep company together, who entertain an irreconcilable enmity and hatred against one another.

 Preaching Confidence – Bring People to God

He also says that walking with God not only implies, that the prevailing power of the enmity of a man’s heart be taken away; a person is actually reconciled to God the Father, in and through the all-sufficient righteousness and atonement of his dear Son. This is the same as what is recorded in Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Therefore in order to walk with God, I have to yield myself to the Holy Spirit and the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have to maintain a constant abiding position in the Word of God and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit so that whatever is in me that does not agree with the Word of God can be dealt with. I should maintain a holy walk with God in all of my ways. The desires of God should be my desires. I have to walk in-step with Him. This means I do not go ahead of Him or stay behind. I have to be at His side at all times. It is only when I abide in Him that I will be fruitful.

These are some of the things I have learned in Sermon Construction and Presentation. I would not have learned these at any other place. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone here for helping to make this dream of mine a reality and increasing my preaching confidence.

God bless you all.

Pastoral Care and Marriage Reflection – Milton Edwards of Canada

Reflection on the Pastoral Care and Marriage Course

Pastoral Care – When I signed up for this course, I thought lightly of it and had the preconception that it was all about teaching each partner in a marriage relationship how to love each other better. I did not know that there was so much involved in marriage! Although I am married, I found out that I needed to learn how to love my wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. This course really exposed me and showed me that I was not doing what I am expected to do in marriage. I was not playing my role as husband and head as I should. It also reminded me how women are more emotional than men and need to hear sweet words spoken; that husbands should also demonstrate our love to them by our deeds, like taking them to dinner.

I learned about buttons and how we need to be aware of each partner’s buttons and not deliberately push them. This is something we don’t usually think about. We sometimes try to fix or change the other partner, but I found out that’s the way they are and we have to deal with it. I might have been guilty of trying to push my wife’s buttons instead of showing the love of Christ. I am now aware of that!

pastoral careI was really blessed by the presentation given by Brian F. DeCook Esq. of peacefire. I learned about the peace fire and the wild fire. He really put it in a way I never heard before. I was reminded of the peace that Jesus gives in the midst of the fire. I can now hold on to the promise of Jesus that He will be there in the midst of the fire to cause His peace to overwhelm the wildfire.

I also learned from this pastoral care course about how important boundaries are in order to fulfill the purpose of God. Sometimes I work without acknowledge the importance of boundaries. I gained an insight into how boundaries are vital in every aspect of life. Bible studies and prayer come to mind when I think about boundaries. I found out that if I don’t set boundaries, I would not be able to get enough time to study the Bible and pray.

I learned how dangerous it is to do marriage counseling alone. It just sounds like a pastor’s job is very dangerous. He seems to be in constant danger. I now have great respect for marriage counseling. It is not sometime I would want to do without first setting some serious and vital boundaries. The temptations and snares are too great, and that’s why this is such a scary area. All marriage counselors really need God’s grace and protection continually. This can be very destructive if care is not seriously.

The pastoral care course on hospital and home visit caught my attention, because I certainly would have done all the things that pastor Henry says not to do during a visit without thinking twice. Things like asking, “ how are you doing today?”, or walking straight into the patient’s room without washing my hands. I just didn’t think of a hospital visit the way it was presented in the course. I think everything I would have done would be contrary to the teachings of the course. I would have failed!

The pastoral care course on legal issues was a surprise to me, because I did not think that the church was supposed to report child abuse to the police. I know it’s the right thing to do, but I just did not think about the government and law being involved with the church. I found out how serious it is to be a pastor. I found out how a pastor must take all necessary precautions to protect himself from lawsuits and other issues, not only with men but with God.

Pastoral Care Summary

In summary, I can say that I learned a lot of things from this course of which I did not consider or had taken lightly. I now have a more alertness to my calling to being a pastor/leader of God’s people. I really have a sense of calling to ministry and would like to be fully prepared for what to expect. I have now learned even more in this course about being vigilant and watchful because of the adversary the devil, the flesh, and the world. We have got three enemies to fight and that in itself is a challenge to any child of God. I found out how many obstacles we have to face in this world, living as ambassadors of Christ.

As Jesus warned us, we would have tribulations in this world, and that was no lie! Also, He said we would suffer persecutions, trials, and temptations, which is strongly demonstrated in this course. We are citizens of the kingdom of heaven living in a hostile world that is against us and that’s why we must be so watchful. I just pray for all pastors that God will keep them from all evil and preserve them blameless until the appearing of Jesus Christ to whom be glory, power, and dominion forever Amen.

God bless all His faithful pastors and leaders in Jesus name Amen.

Church Planter – The Missionaries of Tomorrow

Missionary Church Planter

Church Planter – The missionaries of tomorrow are going to be Christian Leaders like Zachary M Gachango. Here is a man just over thirty years old who lives in Nakuru, Kenya a city of almost 400,000 people. If you visit Nakuru, you will want to check out the Nakuru Lake Park and go on a safari. The new indigenous missionary movement in Kenya is happening in this beautiful place.

This future missionary church planter, Zachary M Gachango is being sponsored by his pastor, Apostle John K. William at  Kingdom Seekers Fellowship Church. Zachery is married to Lucy Mwangi and they are blessed with one child, (Myrene Beth). Kingdom Seekers Fellowship was founded in 2003 and has grown to over 3000 people reached. Now Zachary is not only reached there, but is wanting to take the next step and become a missionary church planter.

 Church Planter Calling

Zachary Gachango tells the story of his calling into church planting:

” I am currently living in Kenya where I was born in 5th may 1981. I had a long time struggle with God’s conviction to give my life to him, until 6th April 2001 when I surrendered to Jesus and got saved. I have a call from God to reach out through church planting. I believe that through Christian Leaders Institute, I shall be laid in a firm foundation and also acquire knowledge that will help me to speak the Word of God with boldness.”

Zachary is part of that future army of Christian Leaders that makes up Mission Kenya. This future indigenous missionary church planter has an effective mentor Apostle John K. William and is taking Bible School classes at Christian Leaders Institute. Zachary has completed his Christian Basics Certificate and now continues on for even more advanced online ministry training.

Zachary is grateful for the donors that support Christian Leaders Institute. Zachary asks his supporters at CLI to lift him up in prayer.  He asks, “Pray for me that God may continue to give me the wisdom and understanding, that i may be more effective in the work of ministry, and that i may be able to speak the truth of the Word without compromising.”

Support this church planter with a gift to Christian Leaders Institute.

Student Reflections – Killian Mafuzha of Zimbabwe

As Christian Leaders Institute continues to grow, one area that is difficult to effectively teach on line is preaching. Traditional Bible school has an advantage in this respect, since the interactive environment that aids in preaching development is present in the traditional seminary building. However, in the class Sermon Construction and Presentation, Christian Leaders Institute has developed a method that delivers great results while not departing from the online bible school model.

Killian Mafuzha, a student from Zimbabwe, reflected on his experience in this course. He said, “…I am just wondering, what have I been preaching all along? I didn’t know how to write a sermon, I didn’t know how to deliver a sermon… …The first thing I learned is what is a sermon. The presentation by Preachology on types of sermons  such as personal testimony, textual, biographical, historical incident, topical, expository and springboard was such a blessing to me… …Now that I know how to construct and deliver an effective biblical sermon what’s next? I plan to utilize the knowledge I have acquired and begin to deliver effective sermons in our church and our community.”

In his final reflection paper, Killian touches on many aspects of constructing and delivering sermons that really affected him. He sees that he is able to construct a message with focus and intent, giving his preaching a much greater potential for increasing the kingdom of God. This is a good sign that students can effectively learn and practice good habits in creating and delivering sermons with the knowledge they receive in this Bible school class.

Bible School Certificates at Christian Leaders Institute

Like every other student at Christian Leaders Institute, Killian began his study with the class Getting Started: Christian Basics Certificate. This class serves as an orientation to the Christian Leaders Institute Bible school model, at the same time, it asks students to introduce themselves to the CLI faculty and board. In his letter, Killian says, “…There are high crime rate and more pubs than churches. HIV and AIDS prevalence is high due to high prostitution rate… …Evangelism is slow due to limited finances and resources. Some areas are difficult to access is due to poor roads. This has resulted in a lot of people dying unsaved… …As I was saved by the Lord’s grace I also want to turn my city for Christ starting with my own family members , church members and the whole community at large… …To do such a huge task I need to be trained and equipped for ministry, that is why CLI scholarship is so important to me.”

Killian’s completion of the course Getting Started: Christian Basics Certificate allowed him to continue on to further studies at Christian Leaders Institute. Many other students do not even complete this orientation course, and are thus unable to take advantage of CLI’s full online training potential. However, students that do complete this course and continue further all reap great gains from their efforts.

 
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