Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Paul's prayer for the Ephesians

Hello everyone, sorry i didn't send anything last week. I didn't have access to a computer where I was. Anyway, my father is safely home after having a great trip to Brazil. He had the opportunity to share the gospel with around 2000 people, most of whom had never heard the gospel before. Many of them made the commitment to follow Jesus so please continue to pray for them and their continued walk with Christ... Today I want to share the prayer Paul had for the church at Ephesus. It is the same prayer I have for my friends, family, and for every person on earth.

Ephesians 3:14-21 "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

P.S. I need some prayer right now. I might have the opportunity to help begin a ministry with some pretty lofty goals. I need lots of discernment to determine if this is something that God wants me to be a part of. Please ask me if you want more specific details

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prayer Request

Hey everybody, i just wanted to ask everybody for some prayer this week. my father is leaving today for a mission trip to Brazil. he is leading a team to the cities of Sao Luis and Maranhao. this is an area dominated by the Quilombo people. the Quilombo people are the descendants of runaway slaves who escaped the Portuguese slave-traders and continued living a tribal lifestyle in the Amazon. there is a great need for these people to hear the gospel and my father will have the opportunity to speak with several thousand of them. he will be there until the 26th of october. if you want more info about this trip or the ministry in general, please check out the website i've linked to below. thanks so much for the prayers, i pray that everyone is having a blessed week.

In Christ,
Steve Stockwell

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Narrow Path

One of the most well known passages in scripture is Matthew 7:13-14,

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

This is a great scripture, I think most people understand its meaning. There are two possible paths that people can take with the belief that God, Heaven, and eternal life lie at the end. The first is the logical, well-paved, and well-traveled highway of good works and religion. Many people will take this path because it makes sense and looks good from the human perspective, but the Bible is abundantly clear that this path leads to destruction and eternity in Hell. The second option is the winding, rocky, narrow path through the woods that is salvation by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ as LORD and savior. This path doesn’t look good. It is counterintuitive and doesn’t make sense from the human perspective, but the Bible promises us that this path is the only way we can get to Heaven.

Its not the understanding of this scripture I’ve struggled with, its the application of this scripture to everyday life. This is something God really convicted me of and showed me the truth a few years ago. **Many Christians are so focused on not stepping off the path that they forget to move forward on it.** We often focus more on not sinning than we focus on actually following God. One of Satan’s most effective lies is that we are unable to be used by God due to our sins. We will never be completely free from sin while we are on earth. We will all continue to have lustful desires, and tell lies, and be proud and selfish, etc… If humans must be perfect to be used by God, nobody on earth could ever be used. This is a lie from the enemy designed to take away our effectiveness. If Satan can’t get us to reject Jesus completely, the next best thing he can do is to take away our effectiveness to tell others about Jesus and guide them in their relationship with Him. If we keep our faith to ourselves, the Devil wins. We are called to be fishers of men. If we aren’t helping others grow closer to Christ, what is our purpose for being on earth?

I’m in no way condoning sin. We are commanded to hate evil and to hate sin. If there is sin in your life, if you are stepping off the good path, you must confess, repent, get the sin out of your life and get back on the right path. I’m simply saying that you shouldn’t dwell on your sins and allow them to cause unnecessary separation between you and God.

1 John 1:7-9 If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death”

Once God has forgiven us, we are completely free. Why would we continue to withhold forgiveness from ourselves after we have already been completely forgiven by God? Victory over sin doesn’t mean that you will never sin again. It means that we are no longer slaves to sin and that we have victory over the judgment and punishment for sin. Any time I am about to go witnessing, the Devil always tries to remind me of sins from the past and tries to convince me that I am not good enough to tell people the gospel. I always tell him, “You’re right. I’m not good, I’m just forgiven. Now get out of the way while I tell them how they can be forgiven too!” This has also happened each of the last few weeks right before I start writing the Wednesday email! I can always determine how close I am following God by how much the Devil is trying to attack me. If I’m not being attacked, I know I’m not doing something right!

Summary: I know I’m going to screw up and sin, but I’m not going to let that stop me from following Jesus and achieving the purpose He has planned for my life. I’m going to run along the narrow path. If I stumble or even if I fall, I will get up and start running along the path again as soon as possible.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I pray that you will be blessed as you travel along the narrow path. 

In Christ,
Steve Stockwell