River of Life Church
THE ROAD AHEAD
August 22, 2021
Main Scripture Reference(s)
Acts 4:19-32

THE ROAD AHEAD

August 22, 2021 / Acts 4:19-32

“THE ROAD AHEAD.”

INTRO.:

I have been asking the Lord what He wants us to do for moving forward at ROL.

-I have told the Lord for 3 weeks. This isn’t working. We can’t go on like this.

We can’t go on…. living life like we are doing.

The only thing in life that is unchanging is God’s word and God himself. Everything else changes at regular intervals.

Why did you come to church?- Rhetorical Question.

*Answer in your head. (To get blessed, to see our friends, I’m hurting, I am looking for something that I don’t have, I am a committed Christian, someone invited me, I am seeking Direction)

-None of those reasons are wrong or bad, but the question we ask ourselves will determine the answer we find.

Could you add another reason not in spite of, but alongside your reason? Could it be that God is attempting to change you today for tomorrow? Could it be that God is wanting to change you for His purpose which adds immeasurable joy to your heart? Today is God preparing you for your tomorrow.

TEXT: Acts 4:29-33

Vs. 17 -Threaten them.  Vs. 18-Commanded them not to preach or teach in Jesus’ name.

-The early church fathers lived in a culture that was not friendly to their message, their beliefs, and their practices.

-They lived in a geo-political climate that was not conducive to the advancement of the cause of Christ. (Sound familiar)

-They endured incredible persecution, they were verbally attacked, their reputations were assaulted, tarnished and damaged.

-Our faith in America, has come under attack by people who no longer want to live in a country with Traditional American Values.

-The cancel culture seriously impacted the Olympics, so much so that the viewership was the lowest in 30 years.

-With the rejection of traditional values, there has been an attack on the church -the likes of which we have never seen before.

-Our Biblical worldview is in conflict with the educational worldview.

-Our Biblical worldview is in conflict with the sociological worldview.

-Our Biblical worldview is in conflict with the political worldview.

-Our Biblical worldview is in conflict with the Hollywood worldview.

-Our Biblical worldview is in conflict with the theatrical worldview just to name a few.

-Our belief in 1 God, although divinely directed is socially unaccepted.If you say you believe that Jesus’ name is above every name; if you say you believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him. If you say that there is only 1 way, then you are a bigot and hater according to the world’s system. GUILTY!

-If you believe in a Bible-defined marriage, the one recorded in Genesis 2-3, you are unloving, unkind, intolerant and a homophobe.

Whatever label they want to assign to you on that day, that is what they will call you. If we say that men should act like men, and women should act like women; if we say that men shouldn’t wear women’s clothing, and women shouldn’t wear men’s clothing, and if we say that we are divinely identified, rather than self-identified.

Suddenly. you are intolerant to people who do not know who they are or what they are because they don’t recognize what God made them to be.

-Under the current system, we are told to put our money into a slot machine, and you will love the results. It is a false system that doesn’t determine who you are, GOD DOES.

The cancel culture has strategically and systematically attacked the church.

-The information is new every day everything is changed. 

-God we need a new plan! How do we navigate this season?

-We live in a day when it is difficult to understand what we need to do. There are more questions than answers.

-I am going to try and help you today. You need to download this message from our website.

 “New Direction, New Focus For moving forward at ROL.”

If you are watching online, you’ll need to watch to the very end or you’ll miss it. After today – I pray that we will have a new understanding of what to do for the ROAD AHEAD.

TRAFFIC LIGHTS: RED, YELLOW, GREEN.

 

1. RED – STOP! THINK ABOUT THE TIMES. Acts 4:18-20

-This has been the conundrum for the church.

We want to be good citizens, but we are called to please God first.

We are called by God to speak the word of God to our world.

Demons have called the church a dangerous place, I would like to see the science on that.

I think the church is one of the safest places you can be.

-The devil is often in the details. The details will absolutely wear you out. “It is the little foxes that spoil the vines.” (Little foxes that ruin the blooms.) (SOS 2:15)

-The amount of information that we are exposed to on a weekly basis is absolutely staggering. It has created a focus glut for many NPO’s and Church organizations.

-My #1 job as a pastor is to provide worship services in the most anointed manner as is possible. I am not a pastor that listens to a few news stories, and mega-church sermons and then serve you a regurgitated MRE (Meal Ready to Eat).

I try really hard to see what God is saying to ROL.

Society, the world, political parties are unhinged.

Keeping our focus is necessary for spiritual health.

You can’t be spiritually healthy talking about the devil all the time. You can’t be spiritually healthy talking about the news all the time. You can’t be spiritually healthy talking about COVID all the time.

OUR ASSIGNMENT AS A CHURCH is to preach the gospel and baptize believers.

Matthew 28:19-20 is STILL the great commission.

-One of our core values is that we would minister to the children and youth. We believe in young people.

-We release that call through anointed Youth & Kid’s pastors. 

 -We want people to receive from the Lord. Matthew 24:6-8

-Never have I worried about so much to distract me from the goal post.

-Good information has been trashed; bad information has been reclassified as good.

-In an effort to keep ROL safe, I have actually been tested 18 times for COVID. WHY?

-I didn’t want anyone to catch anything from me.

ILLUS.: I have a permanent mark on the back of my brain……after they drilled for oil so many times.

*I have tracked everyone at ROL who has tested positive for Covid.

*I quit counting at Easter, which was about 230 cases.

*I estimate that as many as 280 people have caught the virus and recovered.  NO ONE HAS CAUGHT THE VIRUS AT ROL.

ILLUS.: Last week when we paused Wednesday Connect Night, we did it out of the abundance of caution.  We found out that it was work-related not-church related. I spent nearly 15 hours on that one situation. This is something that we have done probably 20 times since last year.

-I sincerely appreciate those who have stayed home when they didn’t feel good. I don’t want the Rhino Virus, the Bird Flu, the revenge of Montezuma, or IMPOLITIS. 

-Being too close to people has been an issue. Some people didn’t want to get close before Covid-now they are really far apart.

THE ISSUES ARE DEMONIC

-The Racial Divide-Black vs. White 

-In my opinion, most black and white people are not prejudiced.

-The Police Divide

   -In my opinion, the overall vast majority of policemen are

   wonderful civil servants.

-The Political Divide- The devil was very successful in getting the church to focus on a political party rather than the cross.

-The Virus Divide- Most information is outdated the next day.

POINT: “People have always used humanity’s pain for their own personal profit.” You have to be very careful about what you listen to.

The Mask Divide- I field more questions on the subject of a mask in 2-3 weeks than 12 months of Bible questions. A shame.

-I would love to field a question about God’s voice.

“Pastor, what is God saying right now?” “Pastor, I haven’t been in service for a while, would you just speak in the Spirit on the phone, I need God’s presence…”

-The Vaccine Divide-Vaxers and Anti-Vaxers.

*It is a health choice – whether you are vaccinated. It is up to you.

My concern is that you have had a Shot of THE HOLY GHOST.

The Vaccine is not the mark of the Beast. Revelation 13:15

-Education Divide-CRT-Pastor, do you see what is happening.

-The Social Distance Divide-I have never had a problem moving out of the way to make someone feel comfortable.

“Treat others like you would want to be treated.”

ILLUS.: I have learned that you can’t tell people what to EAT or not EAT. You can tell people to eat Broccoli, but as soon as they pass that Gas Station, they are going to stop & throw that broccoli out of the window and buy some fried chicken.

You sure can’t give people medical advice. You tell most people that the paint is wet, they will ask, “Are you sure?” They will touch it.

People have to decide for themselves what is best for them.

DIRECTION: We have a large number in the church who have been vaccinated and who have recovered from Covid (close to 80%). We have developed our own herd immunity of sorts. Therefore, I will no longer be spending my time on Sars-Covid-19 as I have in the past. The pastoral staff will purposely refrain from speaking about Covid in the services.

-I WANT SUNDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS TO BE SACRED, HOLY, AND GOD-FOCUSED.

THE LORD SAID YOU TELL THE PEOPLE THIS:

-The VIRUS has a demon attached to it…..

-People think they are more spiritual because they don’t wear a mask.

-People think they have more fruit of the Spirit because they wear a mask.

-People saying….I’m trusting God by not wearing a mask.

-People saying, you don’t love me…because you are not wearing a mask.

-People get mad at everyone, people put out because someone doesn’t have their point of view….

-If you don’t want a mask, then don’t wear one…

-If you want a mask, please wear one….

-If you want a Vaccine, please get one….

-If you don’t want a vaccine then don’t get one….

IN THE NAME OF JESUS NO MORE…..

POINT:  I am giving the people at R.O.L. the responsibility for their own health. How you protect yourself from Covid is up to you. 

-If you want a seat away from people, let me know, I will put your name on it.

-It is too complicated to teach everyone what he or she needs to do. The rules change all the time. There are more questions than answers.

-We are doing everything we can to keep our children & youth protected, and we want their ministries to flow with the anointing.

In foreign countries, people die because they believe in Jesus, in America people stop going to church and stop believing because their feelings get hurt.

-Measure me by the Bible, measure me by how much I allow the Holy Ghost to move in the services, but don’t measure me by a mask, or an elephant, or a donkey.   

-I am charging you that WE will not talk about people’s health decisions. You do what you need to do, and don’t worry about anyone else.  

DIRECTION: I will give you the option of wearing RED, YELLOW, or GREEN BRACELETS. If you want to.

DIRECTION: RED: I want my distance. YELLOW-I will talk at a distance. GREEN – Get as close as you want.

-The decision to wear a mask will be up to you. The decision to wear a bracelet will be up to you.

NEXT SUNDAY: There will be a small display in the back, where you can take your bracelet.

-I have been vaccinated and I have had covid.

-I am not telling anyone to do anything with that statement.

If you’re taking notes: I also use Crest toothpaste, Suave Shampoo, and Men’s deodorant. I distinctly dislike fresh deodorant that doesn’t smell like a man.

YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

 

2. YELLOW – SLOW DOWN & LISTEN TO GOD. Jeremiah 29:12-14a

-We have all exercised some degree of caution.

-We have all wanted to be right without being wrong. Jeremiah 29:12-14a

GOD’S PRESENCE CHANGES EVERYTHING. WHEN YOU SENSE HIM, EVERYTHING CHANGES.

WE want HIM to walk into this room. Getting into HIS PRESENCE is the goal of every Christian.

Prayer has not weakened, prayer is not any less powerful, prayer is not inept, it is not incomplete, prayer has not become debilitated, diminished, or decreased.

Prayer is available-

God’s primary way to speak to you is through Prayer.

Prayers are prophecies about your future, the lack of prayer means you are not prophesying about your future. It means you are not inviting the Master of the Universe to come and declare your future.

We have not we because we ask not.  We receive not because we ask amiss.

The only future that you and your family have are the prayers that you are praying for your marriage, for your children, for your future.

The reason that some people don’t experience anything different is that some people don’t understand that prayer is the prophecy of their future.

It is OK for prayer to recall the moments of life’s frustration, but if prayer is the prophecy of your future, then prayer should sound something like this:

“Lord, the battle is strong, but I know that you will deliver me.

Lord, I know you are mighty, and I know you will do miracles in my life.” YOU JUST PROPHESIED TO YOUR FUTURE.”

“Lord. I know you are my healer, that you are my helper.”

*Pray for your faith and not your fears. Get up out of the mud, “I know that God is on my side, and I know that He will answer me in the day of my trouble.”

We need to put our sons and daughters in a prayer circle, and we need to speak to their future, “God I pray that every wrong, and every evil person is removed from this circle. I pray that you bring every right person into their destiny. Lord, I pray that you will cause my kids to bump into your presence.”

-When you are praying about things, God will help you to be forewarned about things to a point. Forewarned is to be forearmed.

-I encourage you to pray bold prayers and target everything the devil has targeted in your life. You must believe that God can break the arm of what the enemy has lifted against you.

  • Crises force us to face our fears.

Fear is a natural reaction to danger, death, and uncertain times.

Fear leads some people to minimize the threat, while others magnify the danger as all-consuming & ever-lasting.

Sickness & Disease can be a wake-up call to our roots, causing us “To return to obedience and charity,” loosening our grip on the world’s toys and reminding us that our “true good is in another world” and our “only real treasure is Christ.”

  • Crises are an occasion to seek the Lord.

Does anyone believe that we are in a CRISIS? Consider the contrasting responses of Asa and Hezekiah and their severe sickness: (2 Chronicles 16:12)  (2 Chronicles 32:24)

There is a fundamental need to “seek the Lord” in CRISES.

Our nation, our world has not sought the Lord.

THINK BEYOND COVID

-Our Borders are wide open.

-Our Intelligence Community is politicized. 

-Our Military is WOKE.

-Authorities encourage defund the police movements. 

-Our major cities have become war zones.

-Educational system teaches CRT and is overtly Anti-God.

-District Attorneys and Judges do not believe in punishment for crimes.

-Afghanistan’s prisons have turned all the prisoners loose.

-23+ Billion of dollars of military hardware has been placed into the hands of the Taliban & Al-Qaeda.

-We have an Administration that believes everything is fine.

-A disease has touched every corner of the planet.

THIS IS A SET-UP FOR A PERFECT STORM

DIRECTION: Sunday night 6 pm – Tuesdays 6 pm are fasting days. Every month, I will call for an intensive week of prayer and fasting starting on September 20-23. (M-T) 

Asa commendably led his people to seek God with their whole hearts and soul. (2 Chronicles 15:12), however, he relied only on human experts in his time of personal need rather than prayerfully turning to God.  

  •   Crises test our faith and reveal our hope. (1 Peter 1:6–7).

The apostle helps believers recognize that their present struggles—whether due to social ostracism, threats, sickness, etc.—are not  random blows of Fate but a divinely designed test to prove their

faith and prepare them for glory.

YELLOW=CAUTION: We NEED an AWARENESS of God’s

Voice. Seek the Lord. Get to church. You need to be in worship.

 

3. GREEN – GO! We NEED an EMPOWERMENT to Serve. Acts 1:8

Jesus promises the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

After the death and resurrection of Christ, Jesus revealed the promise of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8)

-You won’t make it in this life without the power of the HOLY SPIRIT. YOU’RE NOT THAT GOOD.

  • The outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1–13)

Along with the physical evidence of speaking in tongues, there is also continuity in Luke’s theological premise:

“Empowerment follows an individual who is filled with the Spirit.”(Acts 2:16–17)

This is a new dispensation of the kingdom of God being made known for all believers. Now, not only would Elijah, Moses, and the Old Testament prophets be given prophetic utterance, but all believers could be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

*This empowerment would bring about an effectual gospel proclamation.

  • The Apostles spread the gospel empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  1. Peter- Before Peter preached to the crowd in Jerusalem, he was filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:1–4). Peter had cowered at the crucifixion of Christ. (Luke 22:54–62). Now, he preached boldly the need for repentance and the truth of the resurrection.

This is the New Testament pattern.  

  1. Stephen. What was Stephen known for? Powerful speech, and signs and wonders (Acts 6:8).
  2. Philip –Now we see the gospel spreading to other regions around Jerusalem. Philip went to Samaria and proclaimed the gospel empowered to move in signs and wonders (Acts 8:4–8).
  3. Paul-
  • Paul is converted on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–7).
  • Paul receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17–19).
  • Throughout Paul’s missionary journeys, we see him proclaim the gospel message empowered by the Holy Spirit with evidence of miraculous signs.
  • The Holy Spirit empowers us today as his witness.

-If you are filled with the Spirit, you have everything you need to share the gospel.

-You are not filled with the Spirit simply to be depression-free. It is not based on your persuasive abilities.

It is not based upon your particular evangelism style.

POINT: You have been empowered to proclaim the gospel to the lost. The power is in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

 

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