Posts Tagged ‘church’


YOU Were Kidnapped at Birth

Friday, January 17th, 2014

©2013 Stan Hallett

key-in-jail-door(It’s your choice to be captive or free.  The only bonds that hold you are in your heart and mind.)

We Were Created by God in His Image

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26)

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  (Genesis 2:7)

Kidnapped Children

I got this message right after the three kidnapped girls (Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight) were rescued back in the Spring of 2013.  They were held hostage and abused for 9-11 years. Then I recalled a similar story regarding Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was rescued back in April 2011. Jaycee was held hostage and abused for 18 years. Psychologists say that the women have many long years of intensive therapy and rehabilitation ahead of them, to begin to undo the damage left by the captivity and horrific abuse that they suffered.

Update: There is a more recent but similar story of Kamiyah Mobley who was kidnapped from the hospital at birth by Gloria Williams. She changed the baby’s name to Alexis Kelli Manigo who did not find out that she was kidnapped until she was sixteen years old.  She was finally reunited with her real parents at age eighteen.  Gloria Williams was arrested and the case is pending as of this post update (01/18/17).

Alexis claims that she will always love the woman who was her “mom” for eighteen years.

 Two Fathers?

God is referred to many times in the Bible as our Father, and often by the Lord Himself as He walked among us in the flesh. There were some people that Jesus referred to as Satan being their father . . . 42* Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43* Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44* Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:42-44)

I believe that you and I are the sum total of everything that we have been taught and accepted. Everything that we have taken in through our natural senses. What we hear, what we read and receive, and what we see with our own eyes, along with the things that we can touch and feel. Combine that with your own perceptions and personality and you have the sum total of you.

Young children are very malleable in their young tender years.  That is why King Solomon said Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). This is when we as parents need to teach them, not in just word, but in deed. I think that they actually learn more by watching what the parent does than by what they say.

Often parents say one thing, but do another contrary to what they teach the child. I have seen this so often even in families that have regularly attended Church all through the child’s youth. Sometimes we see a child that was raised in that way be rebellious and have little respect for a parents or a particular parent.  Why? Because the parents preach one thing and do another. They didn’t live it.  They didn’t practice what they preached, and their life was a contradiction.

If a child is raised from birth by a stranger, the relationship grows to become what is familiar, and seems natural to them. It is all that they know. The way in which they have been brought up, and the things that they know and endure become “normal” for them. The things that they believe, even though they may be false, become truth to them. Should this same child after many years come into contact with their natural parent, the real parent will seem foreign, unnatural, and false to them.

On October 4, 1987 Carlina White  was snatched from the hospital at just 19 days old. She was back in the hospital due to an infection. She was 23 years old before she finally discovered the truth. What was interesting to me about this story is that she never knew her real parents, they were strangers to her.  At last report she is trying to get to know her real mother (Joy White) with great difficulties. She claims to be willing to forgive her kidnapper (Ann Pettway) who was sentenced to 12 years in prison, and plans on maintaining a relationship with her. That is an amazing phenomenon. She was brain washed from infancy. What she believed was a lie, but it became true for her. No bonds, or locked doors were necessary. The three other young ladies were kidnapped in their teens and early adulthood.  They had to be restrained to keep them from escaping because they knew the truth of their situation.

Most people that have ever lived on this earth were raised by those that only understand and believe man-made world views, and satan influenced philosophies. They follow the traditions of men (Mark 7:13) and the doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1). Make no mistake, Satan has kidnapped the heart and minds of this world, and the world at large has accepted it from birth, never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).

When we approach those that were kidnapped by Satan with the truth, it seems so foreign to many compared to how they were raised. In fact for most, unless they are at their lowest, most desperate place, they will not believe or receive it.

I was talking with someone the other day who was saying “Why can’t I be blessed?  Why can’t I have some things that I desire like a house, and be able to enjoy life and not be stressed over money?” My response to them was “You are blessed!” I said how many real monetarily wealthy people do you see in our assembly?  How many successful doctors, lawyers, well-to-do business men? How many millionaires? Most of those people have put their trust in their knowledge, or in their abilities and in their wealth. Didn’t Jesus say that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24)?

Most do not come to God until they are at their lowest point, until God is all that they have left.  They are at their wits end financially, physically, emotionally, and God is the only direction left to turn.

Most kidnapped children are severely abused be their abductors. Similarly satan does not love us, he is a liar and a deceiver.  He hates us, and all of God’s creation, and desires to destroy us. If he can keep us in sin, in disbelief of God, in humanism, in witchcraft, in belief in evolution, in man-made philosophy, in hedonism, and focused on the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, then he has succeeded and has won.

He lies and deceives us with promises, and with the pleasures, and the entertainment of this world. His goal is to lure us further and further into sin (disobedience to God), and keep us captive.

Satan would never die for us, yet many die for satan everyday. There are no bars that keep us, no chains that bind us, no locked doors, no physical fetters of any kind.  We are only held captive by our own mind, and what it is that we believe to be true. Our true Father loved us so greatly that He paid the price for our disobedience with His own blood (Acts 20:28), to redeem us to Himself. All we have to do is to repent, turn from following the father of lies, and obey our true Father.  As the prodigal son did (Luke 15:20-24), we just need to go home.

It’s simply our choice. Satan is a great showman, enticing us with all pleasures that this world has to offer. He promises to fulfill our desires for happiness. But everything we enter into leaves us empty, unfulfilled, and searching for something else that will give us peace, and give us joy. If you’ve never heard this before it may sound foreign and strange to you, and there are so many things that you have yet to try.

Surely something will give you joy, peace and fulfillment. Perhaps promises of fame or stardom.  Perhaps positions of power or prestige, surely that will satisfy. Perhaps sex, or you could try some drug that would make you feel good, and make you forget about all of your problems. Perhaps the latest video game, or the latest sitcom will give you some laughs, some joy, some peace? Come on, there is so much to try!  Food, clothes, cars, relationships, careers, pornography, movies, booze, cigarettes, dope, sports, something is going to fulfill that need, right?

There have been hundreds of movie stars, rock stars, and celebrities that have committed suicide.  They are continually in the news. Obviously the success and fame did not do it for them.  38,329 people died of drug overdoses in 2010, and it’s climbing. Was this the peace or joy that the were looking for? About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year about 4.9 million people die from illnesses related to tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined. But they keep right on smoking. The Bible says that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Everything that you know, think, or believe is a culmination of everything that you have read, seen with your eyes, heard with your ears. You have taken that sum total and weighed them in your heart and your mind, and formed your own unique philosophy based on that information and thought.

What you believe in, as much as you believe a thing, becomes true for you. We’ve all had experiences where we have come across those that have some beliefs that we cannot imagine how they could possibly believe such a thing. In fact I think for most of us, it happens so often that logic would dictate that we ourselves probably have areas of belief that are probably in error. In other words we would have to admit that there are most likely things that we believe that are quite possibly, totally wrong.  That’s tough for some of us to admit.

Many of us that were not raised in the Church, and were not raised by Christian parents, were raised by world dominated views. It is the world system that is orchestrated by who the Apostle Paul referred to as the “God of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). He has kidnapped and deceived most of mankind, and desires to abuse, violate, torture, and spiritually and emotionally maim each and every one of us.  It is His goal that we perish without God, and therefore suffer the same fate that he is doomed to. Even most of what the world considers to be “Christian” is not true Christianity at all. Most of man-made religion falls short of truth, short of the true Gospel message, and therefore short of salvation.

Even many that have found truth, and have once believed, only to have wandered off enticed by the world, and the lies they still cling to. They say things like; “God knows my weaknesses.” or “Nobody’s perfect.” They may say “God will forgive me for this one little thing”.  “They drank wine in the Bible, what’s wrong with getting a little high?”  “The Bible doesn’t say that smoking is a sin, does it?” “Hey, all the famous preachers get caught doing it.”

It is reported that there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations in the world today. It is no secret as to why. . . orchestrated confusion and diversion from truth.

If God did not draw us, did not lead us, and did not guide us, how could anyone have a chance to find truth? The world, including most that consider themselves to be Christians are still deceived by the greatest deceiver of them all. Oh yes!  The Bible says “13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  14* And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  15* Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

If  you have not repented, have not been baptized in the name of Jesus, and you have not been filled with the Holy Ghost, then may I inform you it is no coincidence that you are reading this now. That being the case, and after your true Father has paid the ransom for you, after He has brought you to this point to tell you the truth regarding the captivity that you have been in, and after knowing that regardless of the overwhelming deception in the world. . . You by His grace and mercy have found your way here. How could you come this close and not respond with brokenness and joy to have finally, after all these years of lies and captivity, now having come to the knowledge of your true Father, the only one that loves you with a love like none other.  The one that suffered to pay the price for you to be redeemed to Himself, and safely returned to Him.

What a joyful thing to be able to come home and cry “Father forgive me, for I have sinned against you!” and be forgiven and received. He desires to have a personal covenant relationship with you.  He said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). The Gospel is simple. . . Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38) 15:1* ¶ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  2* By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  3* For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

He does not ask us to die on the cross as He did for us. But rather he requires us to die to ourselves through repentance, which means to turn from our ways and follow Him. He does not ask us to be buried in a tomb as He was, but in like figure we are buried with Him in the waters of baptism in His name. Then He promises us that the very same Spirit that raised Him up on the third day would also be given to us with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance. …the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:39) The choice is yours today.

The only bonds that hold you are in your own mind. Yes, that’s right! The greatest battle known to mankind, having the greatest consequence, is fought on a very small battlefield. ”And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.“  (Luke 2:4,5). God formed us and breathed the breath of life into us.  He created us to have fellowship with him, to be His children. But God did not create us as robots or slaves.  He gave us free will, free choice. It’s your choice to be captive or free.  The bonds that hold you are only in your heart and mind.

We Are His Children

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God(Romans 8:14) That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:15) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3:1) I beseech you, I beg you, If you are here, and you have not repented, or you have not been baptized in the name of Jesus, and you have not been filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38), then may I inform you it is no coincidence that you are here now, regardless of the circumstances that caused you to be here at this moment. If you need help in finding the right Church, then please contact me.

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Reaching Out to the Wounded

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

©2013 Stan Hallett

hurtingI have attended a lot of Church services over the course of my 64 years, all across this country from sea to shining sea. Although I have had some experiences with denominational “Churches” in my life, my primary experience has been what has come to be known as “Apostolic Pentecostal”, or as some refer to us as “Oneness Pentecostal”. I have been part of, and have attended many assemblies whose pastors are licensed with the *United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI).  In fact I was baptized in Jesus’ Name in 1976 by a UPCI pastor (The late David F. Gray, Revival Tabernacle, San Diego, California).

I have also attended some assemblies affiliated with other organizations, and have been part of the leadership of others. I have also attended, and been part of some Independent Apostolic Pentecostal Assemblies, as I am now. You should also know that I consider all that are repented, baptized in Jesus’ name, and are filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance, and continuing to walk in the newness of life, no matter what organization, or what the name of their assembly is, to be my brothers and my sisters.

Having said that; I agree that man-made organizations have done much good in the kingdom due to the organization of efforts, I feel that they have also done much harm due to the exclusion of those ministers, pastors, evangelists, and elders that are not card-carrying members. The spirit of exclusion, the spirit of competition, of disfellowship, and disunity is alive and well in the Church, which should not be. Nowhere has this been more prevalent and obvious to me than in my own home state of Maine. This has done, and continues to do harm to the Church as a whole. What some have intended to be a tool to unite like-minded brethren, has only served to divide us just as much.

The answer was never in man-made organizations and bylaws. The answer was in what Jesus already built (Matthew 16:18). Paul instructed us that “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). You might ask why we don’t just submit, and join the ranks of this organization for the sake of unity? For me the answer is very simple.  While I agree with the basic doctrine of salvation, i.e., Acts 2:38, I do not agree with other false doctrines, the prevalent legalism, and the traditions of men which have harmed, and continue to harm the Church. It does injury to those that otherwise might have been saved through love. Jesus said; Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30).

There have been many rules, or what are referred to as “Holiness Standards” put in place that are often not Biblical, or are taken from a misinterpretation of the Old Testament law, and do great harm to the Kingdom of God. This has been a yoke too heavy to bear for many new converts, and some older saints as well. There are also many traditions of men that are put upon the church as a yoke, which is often too heavy to bear for many.  I’ll not go into these here simply because I do not always know who my reader is. It is not my desire to cause harm or division in the Church. I will say that true holiness comes from the heart, and a covenant relationship with the Lord. True holiness does not come from a set of rules, the keeping of the Old Testament law, holiness standards, the personal convictions of others, or any man-made traditions.

What I do want to do is reach out to those that are of like faith, and that have been hurt by some of these false doctrines, standards and traditions of men, and may have given up.  I am reaching out to the wounded and hurt Saints of God that may live in or around the area of Northern New England. It is to them that I would like to invite to visit us at the First Apostolic Church of Biddeford, Maine. I can testify that I arrived here drawn by the Lord, in my mid 50’s and have been here ever since.  I came with a bit of baggage, thinking that I was well rooted, and had a pretty good understanding of doctrine.  I have learned much since I have been here and have grown in the Lord greatly. I am anxious to share it with you!

Come and visit us as you are, and where you are in your walk with God.  If your heart is to seek, learn about, and serve God, you are welcome here (See About Our Church Assembly). Have Questions? Want to talk? Feel free to email me, or call if you would like.  Or if you prefer, just come, and if you come, please make yourself known to me.

First Apostolic Church of Biddeford
One Apostolic Way
Biddeford, Maine 04005

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Stan Hallett
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 * The United Pentecostal Church (UPCI) is a ministerial organization of which only it’s licensed ministers are members. It is the largest Oneness, Apostolic, Pentecostal organization of ministers. It is not a denomination or a church organization, although many congregants feel that they too are UPCI if they attend services where a licensed UPCI minister is the pastor.

 

 

 

 

Placebo Christianity

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

Placebo:   A placebo (pləˈsiboʊ/ plə-see-boh; Latin placēbō, “I shall please” from placeō, “I please”) is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient. Sometimes patients given a placebo treatment will have a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition, a phenomenon commonly called the “placebo effect.

In medical research, placebos are given as control treatments and depend on the use of measured deception. Common placebos include inert tablets, sham surgery, and other procedures based on false information. However, placebos can also have a surprisingly positive effect on a patient who knows that the given treatment is without any active drug, as compared with a control group who knowingly did not get a placebo.

In one common placebo procedure, however, a patient is given an inert pill, told that it may improve his/her condition, but not told that it is in fact inert. Such an intervention may cause the patient to believe the treatment will change his/her condition; and this belief may produce a subjective perception of a therapeutic effect, causing the patient to feel their condition has improved — or an actual improvement in their condition. This phenomenon is known as the placebo effect.

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Jesus asked Simon Peter “Who do ye say that I am?” Peter said; “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus said; “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:15-19).

There are three Biblical truths that I want to point out in that portion of scripture:

(1.) Who Jesus is, is a revelation from God. Most of the religious, and even proclaimed “Christians” do not fully understand who Jesus is.

(2.) The name Peter is derived from the Greek Πετρος (Petros) meaning “stone”. This is a translation used in most versions of the New Testament of the name Cephas, meaning “stone” in Aramaic, which was given to the apostle Simon by Jesus. But when Jesus said; “thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church“, He wasn’t saying that He was going to build his church on Peter, or even beginning with Peter as a foundation, but rather on the verse before, which is the revelation of who Jesus is. That is the foundation on what Jesus built His Church on.

(3.) That it was Jesus that built His Church, not Simon Peter, not the Christians, not the Jews, not the Mormons, not the Catholics, not the Pentecostals, or Apostolics, not the Baptists, nor anyone else but Jesus. There is but one Church.

(4.) That the keys that Jesus told Peter that he would give to him were not physical keys, sorry Catholics. St. Peter is not the physical keeper at heavens gate with a big key ring. The Keys that Jesus gave to Peter were spiritual keys that Peter then shared with us in Acts 2:38 where he said; “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Death, Burial, and Resurrection, those are the keys to heaven, and that is the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

God has given us free volition, and free will to choose and live as we please. Without God’s allowance, satan also cannot violate our free volition and free will.

There is a great spiritual battle going on, from the time that God created man, right up  until this very moment. It is a battle waged in the hearts and minds of men.

Satan uses trickery, lures, traps, and deceit, which are seemingly endless. For the most part he has most of the world convinced that either there is no God or they have a very warped, worldly conception of God. However, just in case they use that free will and try find God, he throws in great confusion.

Primary Religions of the World

1. Christianity: 2.1 billion
2. Islam: 1.5 billion
3. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
4. Hinduism: 900 million
5. Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
6.Buddhism: 376 million
7. primal-indigenous: 300 million
8. African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
9. Sikhism: 23 million
10. Juche: 19 million
11. Spiritism: 15 million
12. Judaism: 14 million
13. Baha’i: 7 million
14. Jainism: 4.2 million
15. Shinto: 4 million
16. Cao Dai: 4 million
17. Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
18. Tenrikyo: 2 million
19. Neo-Paganism: 1 million
20. Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
21. Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
22. Scientology: 500 thousand

Just in “Christianity” alone there are now reported to be approximately 41,000 Christian denominations in world, many of which cannot be verified to be significant. Talk about confusion!

Let me ask you a question. . . without direction, or revelation from God, how would anyone know what is truth, or find the true Church? Remember there is only one true Church, the one that Jesus is building.

But that is just what so many in the world try to do! The paths are as varied as there are people in the world. Some choose a religion or denomination based on a family members, a friend, a neighbor. Many simply try to find what seems right to them. Many go from religion to religion, denomination to denomination, assembly to assembly, looking for something that they can accept, and that feels right to them. A place where they can be happy or satisfied, and feel good about.

This is why 2 Timothy 4:3 says “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”. 4* And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Many folks were born into whatever religion or denomination that their parents were a part of. They were born a Baptist, or a Catholic, or whatever, and they are going to die a Baptist, or a Catholic, or whatever.

It’s an psychological and emotional attachment for most. Many will stay with the Church that they got “saved” in, or won over to because of this. They have a psychological loyalty to their philosophy and their Placebo Christianity.

Colossians 2:6-9

6* As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:  7* Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8* Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  9* For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Many in false religions and false Christianity have been spoiled through philosophy and deceit. They either will not get into a discussion with you regarding it due to instructions they have received, or they know that they lack the ability to adequately defend what it is they believe. Some will argue and debate with you to justify or prove out what it is they believe, never able to see truth (2 Timothy 3:7).

2 Timothy 3:1-9

1* This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2* For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3* Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  4* Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  5* Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6* For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7* Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8* Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9* But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Why?

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

©2012 Stan Hallett

Do you ever wonder why about things?  Why we are?  Why do we do what we do?  Why are we here?  What is it all about anyway, and why do we believe what we believe about it?

I meet, hear about, or read about more and more people that do not believe in God. People that believe that the Bible is just a book of fairytales. This is the person that I feel the most sorry for.  The Bible says; “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God” (Psalms 53:1). The Bible also says that we are without excuse (Romans 1:20). The evidence and proof that there is a God is staggering, and all around us.

Why do people believe what they believe? Whatever they believe, it becomes truth for them. It’s their truth, their reality no matter how varied or different. Many go through their entire lives never pondering the question; why do I believe what I believe, and what is the truth of the matter?

The world’s opinions on life, our purpose, God, creation, etc., has almost as many variations as there are people in the world.  Each person having their own set of ideas, concepts, ideals, traditions, religions, and beliefs.

Take just the area of Christianity alone;  There are more Christian denominations in the “Christian” world than anyone can accurately number or list.  Yet,  this is contrary to what Jesus had established.  The one true Church was built (Matthew 16:18) and added to (Acts 2:47) by Jesus.  Jesus’ last prayer while he was still with us in the flesh, was that we would be one (John 17:22).

Truly there is still is, and can be only ONE Church, regardless of what assembly one belongs to, or what sign is out front of the building where they meet.  Some are part of the true Church that Jesus founded, but sadly most are not.

Which are and which are not?  You have to decide for yourself, but be very careful, your eternity depends on what you believe or accept.  The criteria set forth for this determination is found in the Word of God, but do you know where?  It is primarily found in the book of Acts. The book of the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ is the history of the early Church.  This is the Church that Jesus founded, not Martin Luther, not Joseph Smith, not L. Ron Hubbard, not Budda, not Mohammed, not John Wesley, or anyone else.

If you want to learn how to make sure you are in the Church, you have to go back to the beginning.  Back to where people were told what they needed to do to be saved. Back to where the gospel was first preached. Back to where the people first obeyed the gospel. Most of the books of the Bible that follow the book of Acts are epistles, or letters written to those that were already in the Church.

If you want to know how to be part of the Church, you need to go to the beginning, back to where the Church began, in the book of Acts. If you want to know what the early Church believed and did.  If you want to know if you are in the Church, you have to compare what you believe and do based on what is written there.

Why are there so many denominations? It’s for the same reason why there are so many religions and creeds, traditions, beliefs in the world. . . deception. Satan is the great deceiver and the father of lies. The Bible says that “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Corinthians 4:3).  The revelation of who Jesus is and the Gospel is a revealed to us by God Himself. You can go on following man-made traditions, or you can seek God for a revelation of what the truth is.

In my opinion it would be virtually impossible once having looked at all of the religions and beliefs in the world, to choose the right one based upon our own understanding. Yet that is what the vast majority of mankind tries to do.  We often choose based on our own intellect.  What seems right to us.  Sometimes just because of tradition.  It is often heard that one is what they are because that is what their parents were.  “Our family has always been Catholic”, or Baptist, or whatever.

A person will often choose a “Church” based on if they like the people, or the pastor, or if the Church is convenient, or they have nice music or activities.  Often its just that they feel uplifted when they leave, and that is what they feel they need (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

Most people naturally desire to be part of something that caters to their flesh. The flesh wants to be entertained, but entertainment is often satan’s substitute for the joy of the Lord.  Most people want to hear that they are saved, or going to heaven because they accepted some creed, or said some prayer, without really having to change their lifestyle or give up the things that they enjoy in this world, or want to do.

Most that consider themselves to be Christians in this world are very difficult to tell apart from the rest of the world.  They still do most of the things the world does.  Perhaps they have cleaned up their act a little.  Perhaps they watch movies, just not the x-rated ones.  Perhaps they have quit swearing or taking the Lords name in vain, at least when they could help it.  Perhaps, they gave up drinking or smoking, at least while around other “Christians”.  Perhaps they abstain from fornication, and perhaps they try to be honest, but for the vast majority, truthfully that’s about it.

The Word of God says that unless we repent, which is to turn from our ways to God’s way, that we cannot be saved. It’s not just changing our ways, but true repentance means that we have changed our mind.  Changing your ways simply because you are told it is what you should do, will find you right back doing the same thing, because you never truly had a change of heart.

The truth is that we were created by God to have a relationship with Him.  The truth is that sin has separated us from Him.  The truth is that He has paid the price for that sin to redeem us to Himself. The truth is we need to merely obey the Gospel to be born again into a relationship with Him.

But what is the Gospel?  Is it not just that Jesus died for our sins, and all we have to do is accept Him as our Savior?  No, the Gospel is clearly laid out in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. “Moreover brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I have preached unto you, which ye have also received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures”.

That’s the Gospel!  Now pay attention! 2 Thessalonians 1:8 says that Jesus will take vengeance on them that obey not the Gospel! You may say; “Wait, isn’t  1 Corinthians 15:1-4 just a historical event!  How do I obey a historical event?”

Answer: Jesus does not ask us to die on the cross as he did for us.  He asks us to die to ourselves through repentance.  Turning from our will to His will.  He does not ask us to be buried in a grave as He was.  He asks us to be buried in like figure in the waters of baptism for the remission of sin.  Then He promises to fill us with His Spirit.  It is that same Spirit that raised up Jesus on the third day, that will also raise us to meet Him when He returns for His Church.

Peter confirmed this in that same book of Acts I told you about, where he said; “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38).

Jesus Himself confirmed it in John 3:5 where He said; “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.

If the the assembly you attend does not preach repentance, then you are not in the company of the true Church. If the assembly you attend does not preach baptism in Jesus’ name of the remission of sin, then you are not in the presence of the true Church.  If the assembly you attend does not preach about the infilling of the Holy Spirit with the same evidence as found in the books of Acts, then you are not in the presence of the Church.

The true Church today is they same as it was on the day of Pentecost 2000 years ago.  Read the book of Acts and compare.  It is the true measure.

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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All of the Church is in the Ministry!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

©2011 Stan Hallett

There is no such thing as a laity/clergy division in the Word of God. There is such a thing as the ministry of the saints (1 Corinthians 16:15).

In Acts 8:4 we read that “…they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Who preached the word? . . . Those that were scattered.

But if we back up to Acts 8:1 we read “…they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Who was scattered? The Church! . . . Except for the apostles!

The Church went everywhere preaching the word!

In Ephesians 4:11,12 we read:
11*And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12* For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:12 is one sentence broken into three parts. Part number one states that these gifts are for the “perfecting of the saints”. Part number three also says that these gifts are for the benefit of the saints. . . “for the edifying of the body of Christ”. It then stands to reason that part two would not be redundant, or state the obvious, but also refer to the benefit to the saints, “for the work of the ministry”.

In fact no where does the Word of God declare that these are “gifts of the ministry”, only that they are gifts (Ephesians 4:8).

The truth is that all that have obeyed the gospel having repented of their sins, having been baptized by immersion in the Name of Jesus, and have been filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance, as clearly laid out in the New Testament book of Acts, are in the ministry!

Some teach that only those with these “gifts of the ministry” are in the ministry.  That is false!  These gifts are given to some of the Church for the edifying of the Saints and perfecting of the Church for the work of the ministry.

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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Witnesses Wanted!

Monday, July 18th, 2011

©2011 Stan Hallett

Are you a Christian? Really? What is a Christian? Is it not someone that is a follower of Jesus Christ? Is it not someone that believes that he is our Lord, and not just our Savior? Is it not someone that is obedient to His Word?

Would you then not agree that if someone does not obey His commandments that they indeed are not Christians, and if they say that they are, they have made themselves liars? Harsh words I know, but is it not the truth?

Did Jesus not command us to go into all the world and preach the gospel? Did he not tell us that we would receive power when the Holy Ghost is come upon us and that we would be witnesses even to the uttermost parts of the earth?

Which of you that have been given so great a salvation, that has received the revelation of the one God in Christ Jesus, and who has been baptized in His Name and been filled with His Spirit, now feels that they are exempt from service?

Are you ashamed of the gospel? Jesus said; “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in His own glory, and in His Father’s and of the holy angels.”

Did you think it was just for your pastor, or a select few of hyper-spiritual folks in the Church to do? Are we not all members in particular of one body, the Church. (1 Corinthians 12:27). There is only one Church. It has no town or denominational name over the door. You are either a member of the Church or you are not. The Church is not a building or a place you go. We are the Church!

You don’t get into the Church by attendance or signing some Church membership application. You don’t get into the Church by any man-made ritual or acceptance by committee. You get into the Church by obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as laid out by Jesus in John 3:3 and John 3:5 and as defined in Acts 2:38.

You stay in the church by continuing to walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4), dying to yourself daily (1 Corinthians 15:31), and being obedient to the Word of God.

Get you armor on! Spend time in the Word and in Prayer daily! Do your friends know of your faith? Have you witnessed to them? Have you witnessed to the neighbors? Have you even spoke to them? Do they know you’re a Christian? Have you invited them to Church or to a Bible Study? Do your co-workers know that you’re Christian. If they don’t then maybe you aren’t!

Ever hit the streets, going wherever God would lead, and sharing the gospel to all that would listen? (Unless God directs otherwise, always go by two or three).

Don’t have all the answers? Did you meet objections you cannot overcome? Questions you could not answer? Great! An opportunity for growth for you. Go find out the answer so that you can overcome that issue the next time it arrises.

Get going! Jesus is coming!

Do you have questions?  Feel free to write to me via my contact form.

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