Maleness or Manhood?

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 KJV)

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT)

So, the company that used to bring me the “The Fight of the Week” is now trying to make me a better, gentler, less competitive, more sensitive man.  Gillette is running a controversial ad that encourages men to be better dads, better role models, and do a lot less drooling and groping around pretty girls. The media responded with such a hubbub that I took the trouble to watch.  Truth be told, I didn’t find it too offensive.  The worst part was the implication that every man everywhere is a sexist, violent dolt.  That is simply not true.  But the idea that there are a bunch of us who could use a good “daddy” lecture is not so far off.

Men are different from women physically and emotionally.  All men are certainly not all the same, but as a group, we tend to be aggressive, minimalists in communication, competitive, and physically active.  While the social progressives would like us to believe that this is primarily a social construct, we need only read history to realize it is eternal and universal.  Men and mankind are fallen creatures.  We have inherent characteristics given by God for specific purposes.  Those purposes became perverted in the fall, and the use of our gifts in the service of self and Satan lead to a culture that is certainly not godly.  This is true for all of us, men and women.

Every culture in recorded history has had some set of tribal rituals, rites of passage, and shared traditions that served to harness the brute in us.  In our nation, the constructs of family, faith, and schooling in a common heritage have all deteriorated.  Many live now in a moral vacuum, influenced by media and what passes for education.  What we now see as a crisis is simply the widespread entry into the culture of behaviors that my dad would have solved with a very politically incorrect whoopin’. “Son, don’t talk like that to your Mother!” 

I liked the Fight of the Week.  The boxing was fun, but the time with my dad watching the boxing was the real attraction.  I learned the rules and the importance of following them.  He taught me that when men don’t follow the rules somebody might get hurt.  I learned that real success takes hard work and the ability to take a few punches, that there’s a time to fight and a time to spit, and if you don’t keep your hands up you’ll get a bloody nose. I learned that the same man who told me on his death bed, “Son, take care of your mother,” enjoyed a good fight and wanted me around to watch it with him.  I wanted to be a man.

The Apostle Paul encouraged the Church in Corinth to “quit you like men,” a rather literal rendering of the Greek andrizomai. It comes from the word for man or husband and indicates behavior that befits manhood.  Interestingly, the more modern translations go with things like courage and bravery.  Kenneth Wuest translates it, “Be showing yourselves to be men.” There is a tacit understanding that there is a behavior set that goes with manhood. We all know there is.  In that same passage, Paul expands the concept: Stand on guard, follow the faith, be strong, and temper it all with love.

I think our culture could use a big dose of manhood, not just maleness.  Being male is a genetic happenstance that comes with consequences.  Being a man is so much more. Maybe the best idea is not to do away with manhood, but to remember that the raw force is here for a reason but must be tempered by the grace of God in order to be of maximum benefit. As men, we need a real encounter with Jesus, a faith that shakes our world, and a real encounter with men whom we can emulate in courage, faith, and self-sacrifice. These things have always been so.

While reading about men and manhood, I stumbled across several lists of characteristics that were included as codes of chivalry among knights in the Middle Ages.   The existence and number of such codes tell me that this is not a new thing. This list of manly virtues from the Duke of Burgundy in the 14th Century might not be a bad course outline for today: The chivalric virtues of the Knights Code of Chivalry: Faith • Charity • Justice • Sagacity • Prudence • Temperance • Resolution • Truth • Liberality • Diligence • Hope • Valor.

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Ask and you shall receive, Friend!

Speaking with tongues as part of the experience of being filled with the Spirit is a gateway into the supernatural realm. Unfortunately, many churches don’t practice or preach this experience. Why would Spirit-filled people who have experienced this great blessing shy away from seeking to pass it along to others? Fear. Fear of offending people. Fear of being thought odd. Fear of praying for someone who fails to begin speaking in tongues. We don’t want to be embarrassed!

If you are one who speaks in tongues, I want to give you a few simple pointers that will help you bring others into this wonderful experience. If you are a Christian who wants to speak with other tongues, I want to provide a simple pathway for you to follow.

There are many ways to receive, but simple faith in God’s Word always works. (Mark 11:24)

1. Faith comes from the Word. Show them scripture. Acts 2:1-4. (Other examples: Acts 8:4-8, 14-17 / 9:10-19 / Acts 10:44-48 / Acts 19:1-7 ) Point out 2 things:

a. They all spoke. When you receive Christ you are as pure as you will ever be. God wants you to receive!

b. They did the speaking. God will not speak for you. He gives words. You speak.

2. Show them how to exercise their faith to receive: Luke 11:9-13

a. Everyone receives if God is their Father.

b. It is a gift. There is nothing you can do to deserve it. All that is required is to ask.

3. Verify their understanding and readiness. Be sure they are Born-Again and that they want the Holy Spirit baptism. Let them ask questions.

4. Read Acts 8:17, “They laid hands on them to receive.”

5. Explain what will happen, then do it. “We will pray according to Luke 11:13, then I will lay my hands on you. God will pour His Spirit upon you, and you will be able to speak in other tongues.”

a. Lead them in a prayer confessing Jesus as Lord (just to be sure God is their Father) and asking God to fill them with the Holy Spirit.

b. Lay hands on their forehead and say, “Be filled with the Spirit.”

c. Begin to pray in tongues out loud. (Do not allow them to speak in their own language. You can’t speak in two languages at once)

6. Encourage them to speak loudly enough to be heard. Have them stop and start several times. Sing in tongues with them. Do not have them imitate you or speak some nonsense syllable. Let the Holy Spirit do the work!

7. Encourage them to pray in tongues for several minutes every day. Arrange a time to follow up. The devil hates this, so he will try to talk them out of it.

Remember: It’s God who does the work here, not you! So, quit worrying and being timid, and let Him use you to do what He wants. Help others to step over into this wondrous realm of Holy Ghost reality.

Somebody Said: ““”The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.” – A. W. Tozer

Scripture Reading: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT)

In my experience, the most important thing to remember is that God wants to fill people with His Spirit. He wants it more than you do. He wants it more than they do. It is not a question of Gods will. It’s all about exercising faith and letting Him do the rest. Get convinced yourself, then pass on that confidence to the one you pray for. Encourage them to use faith – Jesus said if you would ask, God would give. You asked, God gave. That is settled. Now say “Thank You!”

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Check out my blogsite at www.pastorvirgil.com. For more insight on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, visit the FCF Tucson YouTube channel

Sunday Supernaturally: He is Good

[8] The LORD is merciful and compassionate; he is patient and demonstrates great loyal love. [9] The LORD is good to all, and has compassion on all he has made. [10] All he has made will give thanks to the LORD. Your loyal followers will praise you. [11] They will proclaim the splendor of your kingdom; they will tell about your power [12] so that mankind might acknowledge your mighty acts, and the majestic splendor of your kingdom. 

Psalm 145:8-12 (NET)

What a wonderful day to think about the goodness of God.  If the only benefit He provided me was missing Hell and making Heaven, that would be sufficient to prompt dancing and shouting.  But there is much more! His compassion sustains my life, He gives me breath. His goodness has given me friends, and purpose, and provision beyond my dreams, and certainly beyond my merit.  

It’s Sunday.  If you don’t do anything else today, get with the family of God and join the other loyal followers in praising Him.  Talk about His Kingdom, give testimony of His power, and let the rest of mankind know that God is good, not as an abstract concept, but in concrete ways that have touched your life.  It will make you feel better and make Him happy.

Un anuncio del Pastor Virgil

Saludos, Friend,

Tengo una gran noticia que darles. Por favor toma unos minutos para leer.

Hace un ano aproximadamente, hemos sido conscientes de que estábamos entrando a una nueva etapa, a medida que continuábamos orando y escuchando la voz de Dios, sentimos que algo tenía que cambiar, y eso lo oí en el otoño de este ano (2018). En Octubre, mientras estaba en México, el Señor me hablo y me dijo, “la asignación tiene que transferirse.” Supe exactamente que me quería decir: es hora de que me enfoque más en misiones, comisiones y redacciones. Está a sido nuestra cuarta Iglesia, y ha sido parte de nuestra tarea más grande y duradera. Hemos centrado mucha energía y atención en el arduo trabajo de Pastorear, aunque también hemos continuado haciendo otras cosas. Esta Iglesia desempeña un papel vital en la preparación de los creyentes para realizar la obra del ministerio. Porque los cimientos están aquí, hemos podido hacer lo que Dios nos pidió que hiciéramos en otras Naciones. Ahora es tiempo de enfocarnos en otras cosas y permitir que la siguiente generación que hemos edificado, tome el liderazgo en nuestra Iglesia local.

Nuestro primer servicio en FCFTucson fue en Febrero 22, 2004. El domingo, Febrero 24, 2019, estaremos celebrando 15 años como congregación. En ese día, estaremos transfiriendo el manto de liderazgo a los Pastores John y Valarie Smith. Ellos han sido un gran apoyo como servidores y han tenido un rol muy importante en nuestro ministerio desde el 2001, así que están más que listos para este gran pasó. Como Iglesia iremos de gloria en gloria.

LES INFORMO: NO ME ESTOY RETIRANDO, tampoco necesito un “avivamiento.”

Judy es testigo, me queda mucho fuego todavía. Hay mucho más en mi corazón, que muchas horas tiene un día, Judy y un servidor seguiremos siendo parte de FCFTucson, como los Pastores fundadores, tendremos un desempeño en el caminar de la Iglesia, como predicar según nuestro horario nos lo permita y a la vez estaremos impartiendo clases. (También proporcionare nuestra Barbacoa gratis de vez en cuando), nos enfocaremos en nuestra gran asignación:

· La misión de entrenar Pastores y Lideres continuara, la comisión que Dios nos ha dado por treinta años es de transformar creyentes “de estar sentados en las bancas de la Iglesia a levantar la cosecha.” Nuestro programa de entrenamiento

Bíblico, Instituto de entrenamiento en el ministerio de la Fe, es el motor de nuestro tren.

o La escuela Bíblica en Hermosillo, Sonora continuara y eventualmente se parara sobre sus propias piernas. Queriendo decir, que si lo consideramos estamos hablando de unos dos años mínimos. Adicionalmente, estaremos visitando otras localidades donde el material de IEMF ya se está usando.

o Continuaremos poniendo el IEMF a disposición de Iglesias y Pastores locales y del extranjero. Proveeremos materiales, entrenaremos maestros, y daremos seminarios. Nuestra escuela Bíblica es una herramienta muy poderosa.

· La comisión para “luchar por lo sobrenatural” se moverá más allá de nuestras cuatro paredes. Mi amigo Erick Sonera dijo esto recientemente, “lo que me gusta de ti es que regularmente te mueves en el Espíritu, pero no eres raro.” Esa es una declaración excelente para mi ministerio. Creo que podemos ayudar a Iglesias y Pastores a ser líderes e Iglesias supernaturales sin tener que ser raros.

· El Señor me dijo, ¡“escribe”! he estado escribiendo por años, pero el ritmo necesita acelerarse. Libros nuevos y nuevo plan de estudios para la escuela Bíblica pronto estarán disponibles.

Aquí está tu parte:

o Si te gustaría que visitáramos tu Iglesia, favor de mandar correo electrónico a virgil@fcftucson.org

o Si estas interesado en nuestro material de entrenamiento, o sabes de alguien que lo este, contacta fcftoffice@fcftucson.org, o llama al 520-792-FCFT para más información.

o Visita nuestra página de Facebook

o Visita nuestra librería en fcftucson.org

o Si te gustaría sembrar en un buen campo, este es un excelente lugar que entrena Pastores y Lideres, te puedo ensenar los frutos. Todas las ofrendas van dirigidas a: FCFTucson, 3141 W Ironwood Hill Dr. Tucson AZ 85745 o en línea: fcftucson.org

· Pero sobre todo esto, necesitamos sus oraciones, en este tiempo de transición. Los cambios son emocionantes, pero también hay un poquito de nerviosismo.

Muchas gracias por su amistad y por todo el apoyo que recibimos. Creo que lo mejor está por venir para todos nosotros a medida que nos apropiamos y nos posicionamos para esta nueva etapa.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes

Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson

Tucson, AZ 85745

www.pastorvirgil.com

www.fcftucson.org

Office: 520-792-3238

Improve your pastor’s preaching!

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

Hebrews 5:11-12 NLT

Abiding on my hard drive, I have notes for around 1360 sermons preached in our local church.  That is only counting our two weekly services. That does not include bible school classes, special seminars, or leadership training. That means, on average, I have preached 1.75 hours per week to the regular attenders here for 15 years. That is nearly 57 days of teaching 24 hours per day.  I really strive to provide a balanced and diverse spiritual diet, but even a cursory perusal of sermon topics tells me there is considerable repetition. (That’s not a bad thing, by the way).

Why am I thinking about this? Because I see in these verses from Hebrews an indication that there comes a time in the life of a believer when they ought to be doing some teaching themselves.  In fact, if they don’t, they tend to become spiritually dull.  It was never God’s intention that a person come to Christ, come to church, then sit and stare at a pulpit weekly ad infinitum. A review of Paul’s ministry reveals that, though he often checked up on the congregations he planted, he only stayed with them for a few months, three years at the most.  He then appointed elders (some of whom were specifically responsible to teach, 1 Timothy 5:17) to care for them and moved to the next stop.

If you find yourself thinking, “Pastor just doesn’t have it any more. He doesn’t feed me like he used to,” consider that it might be a problem with your hearing, not his teaching.  Ask this, “What have I done with the Word I have already received?” Many folks come to get healed, get delivered, get their family straightened out, or whatever.  Having then been restored to some level of stability, they never move out of “give me” over into “me-give.”  If you’ve been sitting in the same church for years, if you know the basics of the Christian faith, then consider telling someone else what you know.  When your ears open up as a result, you may be shocked at how much better your pastor starts preaching.  

De la abundancia del corazon

Construyendo personas de sustancia para obras de poder

Aprópiate de los milagros!

Recuerdo una mañana muy ocupada y soleada en 1981. Algunos de los vecinos estábamos siendo testigos de personas en las calles en un barrio muy feo de bares y burdeles. Al cruzar la calle miro asombrado como se acercaba un caballero Nativo Americano, muy intoxicado, sin pensarlo un momento, la Esposa de mi Pastor se acercó a Él y, en lo que nos apartábamos para orar, ella le presento el evangelio, Él lo acepto, y oraron. Ella fue muy sabia y puso sus manos sobre El para que fuera lleno del Espíritu Santo, justo ahí, parados en la calle, este hombre empezó a hablar en lenguas y a glorificar al Señor. Lloro al realizar como el Señor le transformo su corazón de piedra y fue lleno del gozo del Señor. Todos éramos conscientes del milagro que el Señor había hecho a través de la Esposa y la madre. “oh, la maravilla de los milagros!

Dios está interesado en hacer milagros. En 1 Corintios 12:10, Pablo lo llamo “el hacer milagros” como una manifestación dada a la Iglesia, no a los Apóstoles, a la IGLESIA. Por supuesto, los Apóstoles hacían milagros, pero había otros más: El Diacono Stephen hizo milagros mientras alimentaba a las ancianas (Hechos 6), el Diacono Philip hizo milagros mientras huía de la persecución (Hechos 8), y un hombre llamado Ananías fue usado por Jesús cuando resucito para devolverle la vista a Saulo de Tarso (Hechos 9). La nueva traducción viviente de la Biblia tradujo el hacer milagros como “actividades que producen milagros” “¿podría ser que hay más milagros esperando por esas personas dispuestas a salir y hacer algunas de esas actividades?” ¡Oh, la maravilla de los milagros!

La audacia de salir y hacer “actividades que produzcan milagros” es impulsada por el Espíritu de Dios. Aprender a obedecer la voz de Dios y salir de nuestra zona de comodidad es un proceso para la mayoría de nosotros. Hay dos manifestaciones del Espíritu que yo las llamo “dones de alto nivel” ya que todas son promesas de Dios. Todo creyente puede ser lleno del Espíritu Santo y hablar en lenguas. Toda persona que es llena del Espíritu Santo puede profetizar. De hecho, Pablo nos animó a que profetizáramos. Si estas hambriento de ese poder milagroso en tu vida y en la vida de tu Iglesia, entonces empieza usando estos dones que son para todo creyente. Practica más el rendirte al Espíritu de Dios. ¡Oh, la maravilla de los milagros!

Alguien dijo: “en todos estos dones, la presencia del Espíritu se manifiesta con hechos reales. Si los dones son reales y creíbles, entonces hagamos uso de tan preciados dones. Estamos inundados de los dones del Espíritu.” Hilary of Poitiers (310-367 A.D.)

Escrituras Bíblicas: así que, hermanos, procurad profetizar, y no impidáis el hablar en lenguas; pero hágase todo decentemente y en orden (1 Corintios 14:39-40 NVRV)

Si tu vida como creyente ha perdido el sentido de creer en las manifestaciones de hacer milagros, que solo están a un susurro de ti, entonces necesitas alinearte. Un toque de nuestro Dios puede cambiar una vida en un instante. Lo único que El necesita es un recipiente dispuesto que lo escuche y que dé un paso de Fe, haz una actividad que produzca un milagro. Si estas interesado, entonces empieza a orar en lenguas 30 minutos todos los días, además, pídele a Dios que te use para profetizar, eso significa hablar en el Espíritu y serás usado sobrenaturalmente. Párrafos del antiguo canto de Buffy Sainte Marie, “Dios está vivo, los milagros siguen en pie.” Dilo conmigo: “Oh, la maravilla de los milagros!”

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
www.pastorvirgil.com
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Church Supernaturally: First Things First

I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me. 

(Proverbs 8:17 NKJV)

Here it is!  The first Sunday of 2019.  For me, the first Sunday, even the first month of the new year, is the most important time in the local church.  My personal practice has been to review what God has done and cast direction for what lies ahead.  This is where those who are part of the vision come to be sustained, encouraged and empowered. 

Most folks in the church are there because of their own personal need, whether it is for healing, ministry recognition, social interaction, or religious guilt-easing.  All these will come and go, or they will move over into group 2. Group 2 is comprised of those who have attached themselves to the plan of God for the house.  This is their church. They have an ownership stake. This month is for them and for those who will eventually join them.

I urge you to get down to whatever church you call home and listen for the pulse that beats there for this new year. Listen for a place to put your gifts and interests to work.  God loves you even if you don’t do anything. You can make Heaven by faith alone.  But you can never live out His full plan for you without being planted somewhere.  Faith saves, faithfulness serves. Faith works by love.  See you in church!

De la abundancia del corazon

Viernes, Diciembre 14, 2018

Construyendo personas de sustancia para obras de poder

¡Aférrate! AMigo.

Los medios políticos han estado informando sobre el surgimiento del populismo en el mundo, particularmente en los Estados Unidos y Europa. Pasan de un Te canasta y Trump, al movimiento Brexit en Gran Bretaña y los chalecos amarillos en Francia, la gente normal esta irritada y toma acciones políticas. Los políticos civiles y no tan civiles parecen perplejos en cuanto a la causa, William Galston de la Institución Brookings, lo resumió muy bien, “es evidente ahora, que el populismo se fortalece de la oposición publica a la inmigración masiva, liberación cultural y la percepción de rendición de la soberanía Nacional a organismos internacionales distantes e insensibles. “La era de la comunicación instantánea no restringida por los mismos medios y las Elites políticas ha hecho que El Sr. De clase promedio esté al tanto del funcionamiento interno espantoso y enrevesado del Gobierno y las finanzas y obviamente no le gusta lo que ve.

Creo que lo que estamos viendo en lo natural, siempre va a reflejar algo en lo Espiritual. Dios está haciendo algo aquí en la Tierra. Impulsado por el surgimiento de un “nuevo despertar” y “laicos” empoderados, Dios está comenzando una ola que la “alta sociedad” no puede entender. Lutero y los reformadores se liberaron de un milenio de osificación eclesiástica, restaurando el maravilloso regalo de un nuevo nacimiento a través de la Fe individual en Cristo. Los Pentecostales le dieron la bienvenida de vuelta en las Iglesias a El Espíritu Santo, y los carismáticos recibieron la presencia del Espíritu Santo en las bancas de la Iglesia. Hoy es tiempo de mirar el poder del Espíritu Santo moverse de la Iglesia a el campo de cosecha. La Iglesia está a punto de pasar de ser una conferencia doctrinal, o un espectáculo de Vodevil, o un discurso motivacional de un grupo de creyentes unidos por una misión, movido por compasión, y orquestado por un conductor invisible. El mundo está cambiando, Dios está detrás de todo esto, ¿estás listo?

Alguien dijo: dame cien predicadores que no temen más que al pecado y no desean nada más que a Dios, y no importa si son clericós o laicos, solo ellos sacudirán las puertas del infierno y establecerán el Reino de los cielos sobre la tierra. John Wesley

Escrituras Bíblicas: varias manifestaciones del poder de Dios están vigentes en todos lados; y solamente Dios está detrás de todo esto. Cada creyente tenemos la responsabilidad de mostrar al mundo quien es Dios: ¡todos lo reciben, todos se benefician! ¡Todos los dones son repartidos por el Espíritu Santo, y a toda clase de personas! (1 Corintios 12:6-7 MSG)

Cada cambio importante en la comunicación y el transporte, trae olas de avivamiento a medida que la información y la locomoción se vuelven disponibles para la gente común, la reforma transformo la imprenta. El avivamiento pentecostal fue difundido por el telégrafo, periódico local y teléfono, a medida que el mensaje se transmitía por tren y automóvil, la televisión y aviación llevaron el movimiento carismático al mundo. El internet y todo lo que le sigue han ampliado las oportunidades para todos aquellos misioneros que poseen un teléfono inteligente. Para nosotros, significa adaptarse constantemente para enfrentar las oportunidades y las complicaciones que todo esto conlleva a medida que equipamos a los Santos para el ministerio. ¡El Genio esta fuera de la botella! ¡Sacúdete el sentido de imaginación y sabiduría y en el poder del nombre de nuestro Dios hagámoslo!

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.pastorvirgil.com
Office: 520-792-3238

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Getting your wonder back!

I remember a brisk but sunny morning back in 1981. Several of us were out on the street witnessing to people in a very rough neighborhood of dive bars and brothels. Staggering across the road came a very intoxicated Native American gentleman. Without a moment’s hesitation, my pastor’s wife approached him and, as we stood apart and prayed, she presented the Gospel to him. He accepted, and they prayed. Then she became really bold. She laid her hands on him to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Right there, standing in the street, this guy started to speak with tongues and glorify God. He wept as he realized he was now stone-cold sober and filled with a new joy. We were all very conscious that we had seen God do a miracle through a housewife and mother. Oh, the wonder of it all!

God is in the miracle business. In I Corinthians 12:10, Paul names “working of miracles” as a manifestation of the Spirit given to the church, not to the Apostles, to the CHURCH. Sure, the apostles worked miracles, but there were others: Deacon Stephen worked miracles while feeding old ladies (Acts 6), Deacon Philip did miracles while running from persecution (Acts 8), and some guy named Ananias was used by the Risen Jesus to restore sight to Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9). The One New Man Bible translates working of miracles as “activities that call forth miracles.” Could it be that more miracles are waiting for more folks willing to step out and do some of those “activities?” Oh, the wonder of it all!

The boldness to step out and do “activities that call forth miracles” comes from knowing the promptings of the Spirit of God. Learning to yield to Him and step out of your comfort zone is a process for most of us. There are two manifestations of the Spirit that I call “entry level gifts” because they are promised to all. Every believer can be filled with the Spirit and speak with other tongues. Every person who is filled with the Spirit can prophesy. Indeed, Paul encouraged us to desire to prophesy. If you’re hungry for more miracle power in your life and the life of the Church, then start by using these gifts that are for every believer. Practice yielding to the Spirit of God. Oh, the wonder of it all!

Somebody Said: ““In all these gifts the presence of the Spirit is manifested in concrete effects. If the gifts are effective and profitable, then let us make use of such generous gifts. We are inundated with the gifts of the Spirit.” Hilary of Poitiers (310-367 A.D.)

Scripture Reading: Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:39-40 NKJV)

If your Christian life has lost its sense of wonder, of the anticipation of miracles lying just a whisper away, then you need a reboot. One touch from our God can change a life in an instant. What He needs is a vessel who will hear Him and take the step of faith, do an activity that will call forth a miracle.. If that interests you, then begin praying with tongues for 30 minutes every day. In addition, ask God to use you to prophesy, that is speak by inspiration of His Spirit, then expect to be supernaturally moved. To paraphrase an old Buffy Sainte Marie song, “God is alive, wonder is afoot.” Now say it with me: “Oh, the wonder of it all!”

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes

www.pastorvirgil.com
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
www.fcftucson.org
Office: 520-792-3238

Check out the video concerning big changes coming in our ministries: Special Announcement

An Announcement from Pastor Virgil

We have some big news.  Please take a moment to read.  (Or watch the video here)

For the last year or so, we have been aware that we were entering new seasons.  As we continued to pray and listen to God, we felt that something needed to change, and that we would hear about it in the Fall of this year.  In October, while I was in Mexico, the Lord spoke to me and said, “The assignment has shifted.” I knew exactly what that meant: it is time for my focus to move to missions, commissions, and writing.   

This church, our fourth, has been part of our larger and longer assignment.  We have focused much energy and attention on the job of pastoring, though we have continued to do other things. This church serves a vital role in preparing believers to do the work of ministry.  Because of the foundation laid here, we have been able to do what God asked us to do in other nations. Now it is time to shift our focus to the other things and allow the next generation we have raised to take the lead in the local church.  

Our first service at FCF Tucson was on February 22, 2004.  On Sunday, February 24th, 2019, we will celebrate 15 years as a congregation.  On that day we will officially transfer the Lead Pastor mantle to Pastors John and Valarie Smith.  They have served us in a supportive role since 2001 and are more than ready for this new step. The church will go from glory to glory.

PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOT RETIRING, nor do I need to “re-fire.”

Judy will testify, I have plenty of fire left.  There is more in my heart than there are hours in the day.  Judy and I will continue to be part of FCF Tucson, staying on as Founding Pastors, and will have a role in the ongoing life of the church, preaching as schedule permits and teaching classes. (I also will provide the occasional free barbecue) In addition, we will be shifting our focus to our larger assignment:

  • The Mission to train pastors and leaders will continue. God’s mission for us for thirty years has been to move Christians “From the Pew to the Harvest.” Our Bible training program, Faith Ministry Training Institute, is the engine pulling that train.
    • The Bible school in Hermosillo, Sonora will continue and eventually stand on its own legs. That will mean considerable effort there for at least another 2 years. In addition, we will make visits to other locations where FMTI materials are already in use.
    • We will continue to make FMTI available to churches and pastors here and abroad.  We provide materials, train teachers, and teach seminars. Our Bible School on a stick is a powerful tool.
  • The Commission to “Contend for the Supernatural” will move beyond our four walls. My friend Eric Sonera said recently, “The thing I like about you is you have a regular move of the Spirit but you’re not weird.”  That is an excellent mission statement. I believe we can help pastors and churches to do church supernaturally without being weird.
  • The Lord said, “Write!”  I have been writing for years, but the pace needs to pick up. New books and new curriculum for the Bible school will be coming soon.

So here’s your part:

  • If you would like me to visit your church, please email virgil@fcftucson.org
    or call 520-792-FCFT
  • If you have an interest in our training materials or know someone who might, contact fcftoffice@fcftucson.org, or call 520-792-FCFT for more information.
  • Follow the blog site: www.pastorvirgil.com
  • Check in at the Facebook page
  • Visit the Bookstore at fcftucson.org.
  • If you need a great place to sow into training pastors and leaders, this is good soil. I can show you fruit. All offerings should go to Pastorvirgil c/o FCF Tucson, 3141 W Ironwood Hill Dr., Tucson, AZ. 85745. Online at http://www.fcftucson.org
  • Above all, we need your prayers in this time of transition.  Change is exciting, but it’s also a little nerve-wracking. 

Thank you for your friendship and support.  I believe the best is yet to come for all of us as we get positioned for this next wave.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes     www.pastorvirgil.com Office: 520-792-3238

Church Supernaturally: But BE!

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking Him, “Lord, has the time come for You to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

(Acts 1:6-8 NLT)
Believer Being.

It’s New Year’s Day, and time for preachers the world over to proclaim what God is saying for this year.  I don’t think that He is changing what He says to suit the calendar, but He does move in times and seasons, and He wants us to be aware.  In Acts Chapter 1, the first recorded question to Jesus after His resurrection was when the new administration was going to happen. Paraphrasing the Lord’s response: “That is none of your business.  God will take care of it. But you are going to receive the same power of the Spirit that you have seen on me.  You are to take that power and live lives that reflect and proclaim who I am and what I have done.”  I love the phrase, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” Then the KJV says “be witnesses.”

I want to live on the right side of the “But.” I want to BE! He didn’t say, “Go do witnessing after you finish the class.  Just show up for the outreach program.  It won’t be much trouble or take too long. I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you.” No! He said to be witnesses.  It’s not just what we do, it’s who we are.  And it’s not just for preachers.  He wasn’t just talking about the Apostles.  He said, “These signs will follow them that believe. (Mk 16:15)” That means you!  The New Testament emphasizes 3 aspects of being witnesses:

  1. Live it.  We are supposed to look different, live different, speak different. 1 Peter 2:11-12 / Titus 2:14
  2. Proclaim it. Jesus is alive from the dead. He died for your sin, was raised the third day, and now lives to represent you before God. That message is what changes people.  No Message, no salvation. Period!  Romans 10:13-15 / 1 Corinthians 15:1-10
  3. Demonstrate it.  Jesus is alive from the dead, and the Holy Spirit is upon you to give demonstration of that reality.  We don’t need better arguments, we need to use the power He gave us.  You have received power! Acts 1:8 /1 Corinthians 2:4-5

God is now moving the Church over to the right side of the “But” in Acts 1:8. We are going to see every-day believers taking possession of the power of God that is on them.  Not preachers or TV stars, but regular humans who have committed themselves to BE doing the works of Christ in the marketplace, the academy, and the byways.  Quoting from a previous post, “I have experienced and seen so much, the scripture is so full of examples, that I can’t just let it go and sit back on the padded pew to offer the occasional “Amen” for a well-crafted homily.  So let’s sing another chorus of “Takin’ it to the Streets,” and do away with the idea of “Laymen.” Instead let’s empower the people of God to do the work of God by the power of the Spirit. I have the sense that God is offering us a choice: Will we allow the things of the Spirit to be moth-balled for the museums, or will we decide to be the supernatural church that Acts Chapter 2 envisioned?  Status quo is not an option.”

De la Abundancia del Corazon

Construyendo personas de sustancia para obras de poder

Hola , Friend. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! De Virgil y Judy

Esta mañana mire en las noticias que Putin (Rusia) se estará juntando en los primeros días de Enero con líderes de Turquía e Irán para discutir el futuro de Siria a la luz de la inminente retirada de los Estados Unidos. Que gran resumen para un ano emocionante en eventos proféticos. Parece que el 2019 será grandioso. Nunca he sido capaz de hacer que cada evento se ajuste a mi idea del cumplimiento del tiempo final, pero a veces hay que decir algo. Recordando que Israel es el centro de la historia, prepárense para el 2019, echando un vistazo rápido a algunos eventos que sucedieron en el 2018:

· Al Norte, Ezequiel 38 se está alineando ante nuestros ojos. La invasión de Israel predicha en Ezequiel 38 incluye Rusia, Turquía e Irán. Si miras el mapa del mundo, podrás ver que Siria es la puerta de entrada a Israel para esas naciones. Hay una razón por la cual Israel ha sido tan terco en colgarse de los Altos de Golán.

· Mientras tanto, al Este, China está enamorando a Corea del Norte y del Sur, mientras que al mismo tiempo realiza enormes inversiones en el poder militar, especialmente en el Pacifico Sur. También están haciendo amenazas en la frontera del Himalaya con India. ¿y qué? De nuevo ¡mira el mapa! Armagedón requiere del avance desde el este de un enorme ejército cruzando el Éufrates. Revelaciones 16:12-16/ 9:16

· El día que tengamos que tener un tipo de marca para comprar y vender, está a la vuelta de la esquina. Suecia, EAU, Corea del Sur, el Reino Unido, y China están comprometidos a llevar a la sociedad a un mundo sin efectivo en los próximos tres años. En Suecia, esto incluye en implantar un dispositivo debajo de la piel el cual puedan usar como una tarjeta de débito. El 13 de Mayo de este año 2018, en China salió un Titular en las noticias diciendo: “miles de personas en Suecia reciben implantes de microchip como una nueva forma de vida.” En Agosto, una compañía en Wisconsin puso microchips a sus empleados después de que el jefe de la compañía visitara Suecia. Todos los Gobiernos están presionando por una sociedad sin efectivo para así poder monitorear todas las transacciones financieras con fines fiscales. ¡aquí vamos! Revelaciones 13:16-18

· Mientras tanto, el lanzamiento de la tecnología 5G para la transmisión de datos está en marcha. En un futuro muy cercano, toda construcción será monitoreada a una red que va más allá del sitio y será supervisada por quien tenga la autoridad administrativa. Las casas serán monitoreadas, los carros también estarán conectados a esta red, e implantes con dispositivos médicos serán monitoreados. ¿Qué podría salir mal? ¿la Matriz?

· Y en Israel, en el 2018 fue la llegada del primer Novillo rojo como cosecha totalmente aprobada por los sacerdotes para ser utilizada en el servicio en el Templo. (Números 19) el movimiento del Templo se está preparando activamente para la reinstauración de la adoración en el Templo, preparando la mesa y entrenando sacerdotes que son de la Genealogía correcta. Esto es necesario para la venida del anticristo. 2 Tesalonicenses 2:3-4

· Podríamos seguir, pero ya lo has visto, guerras y rumores de guerras, desastres naturales, todo esto continuara a medida que se acerca el día. Marcos 13:7-8/ Lucas 21:9-11/ Mateo 24:6-7

No importa lo que creas acerca de los tiempos, su palabra siempre permanece: ¡Jesús viene pronto! Tú sabes que eso es verdad. Prepárense.

Alguien dijo: “las enseñanzas bíblicas sobre la segunda venida de Cristo, se impartían como una predicación del día del juicio final” pero ya no más, es el único rayo de esperanza que brilla como un rayo de luz cada vez más resplandeciente en un mundo más obscuro.” Billy Graham

Escrituras Bíblicas: como ya sabemos perfectamente, de que el día que el Señor venga lo hará inesperadamente como ladrón en la noche. Cuando la gente esté diciendo “paz y seguridad”, entonces los desastres caerán sobre ellos tan repentinamente así comenzaran como los dolores de parto de la mujer embarazada. Y no habrá escapatoria. Pero tú no estás en la obscuridad sobre estas cosas, queridos hermanos y hermanas, y tú no te sorprenderás cuando el día del Señor venga como un ladrón, porque todos ustedes son hijos de la luz y del día, nosotros no pertenecemos a la obscuridad y a la noche, así que mantente en guardia, no dormido como los demás. Mantente alerta y seamos sobrios (1 Tesalonicenses 5: 2-6 NTV)

Estoy esperando el día en que el Oriente Medio encuentre la paz firmando un contrato influenciado por un Líder mundial dinámico. Cuando el mundo diga: “paz y seguridad,” mira hacia arriba, en lugar de debatir el momento de su venida o ser cínico porque él no ha venido, vamos mirando el tic- tock del reloj bíblico y motivémonos a hacer las cosas que Él nos mandó que hiciésemos: orar, vivir en lo correcto, y ensenar a otros acerca de Jesús.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
Office: 520-792-3238
www.pastorvirgil.com