Thursday, December 26, 2013

Apostolic Briefing I - Winter Edition, "The State of God's Union/Answers to Disunion"

A word about the season we are in. We must be alert about how this season is being celebrated. What is the primary reason why we as Believers are to celebrate what is commonly known as Christmas? In the economy of the Kingdom here are the facts which should govern our celebratory exercises. Firstly, according to pattern, man was formed by Creator from the dust of the earth. When Adam abdicated, the title deed to both his origin and territory of which God delegated him as ruler, went to the domain of the enemy. 

Since man was made from dust, the redeemer of mankind had to mirror the error in order to correct the disparity. God could not bring correction merely by having Jesus come straight from heaven. He had to come in the same fashion in which the person who abdicated was in at the time of abdication. Being born in human flesh (dust of the ground) qualified Jesus as the redeemer. What we commonly know as Christmas should of truth be celebrated as the Believer's thanksgiving. So, as you sojourn this season, be thankful for the manifold wisdom of God to provide a kinsman redeemer through Jesus! Happy Thanksgiving Day!!

THE STATE OF THE DISUNION

Prediction: 2 Timothy 3:1 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come..."
Believer's Position: Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free." Ephesians 6:14 "Stand therefore, having our loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness." Matthew 24:15 "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place..."

To refresh our memories, a brief is precise instructions that give essential information concerning the tenor of our times. By design the brief will not suggest explicit actions, but will encourage each ministerial gift to seek God's counsel on the manner of response that should be given to each point in each brief, 

As 2013 closes, a whole new set of changes stand to test the faithful and aggravate certain vital aspects of our church world, as we know it. This includes, but is not limited to, a direct application of some of the printed prophetic words given to men and women of God as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. There will be a great "falling away" in 2014.

The isolated incidences that plagued the Body of Christ last year will be pale considering the upcoming bold attacks that will be launched against the Body of Christ. Legislation is not just being bantered about merely to facilitate the next moves for the enemy of righteousness, it is designed to further attempt to impede the necessary functions of the Body of Christ in areas of instructions by our Chief Apostle, Jesus Christ!

There is a term that I want to explore with you. The term is semblance. In both kingdoms, semblance is vital to the success of the ventures of the Kingdom of God as well as the Kingdom of darkness. Semblance is "one that is like oneself." Note, this is not merely resemblance, but in all facets of being, the one produced is like the original. 1 John 4:17b "...so are we in this world."

Our challenge is not what is being produced in the world through sin, but ignorance of the purposes of God in our assignment. Is it possible that the reality is that most Ministers are ignorant of the mission of the Church? It appears that church services are being conducted to facilitate an ego building forum for insecure men and women. The procedural pattern of Ephesians 4 lays out the schematic for the existence and mission of the local congregation. An evaluative view of this passage explicitly states these dynamics for developing God's people. 

It must be understood that these facilitations and these only are requisites for spiritual operations and authority in the Body of Christ. The explicit statements of Ephesians 4 are "...working within Christ's Body, the Church, until we are all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ." (Message Bible) Additionally, from verses 12-13, Living Bible states "...to prepare God's people for works of service so that the Body of Christ may be built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ." (New International Version)

It is an insult to the Spirit of Intelligence for us to read these verses and not comply with them in complete obedience. Now is the time of adherence. Now is the time of full implementation. Did you see the term maturity and unity in Ephesians 4? Unity will never be accomplished with immature thinking or behavior. The presumption is that a Word oriented group of Believers is a mature unit of the Body. With the lack of results that have evaded this present generation of the Body of Christ, it will appear that the awareness that since immaturity breeds separation and division of the Body, that sincere men and women in leadership would work to eradicate this menace to our assignment. Unity and serving are not optional possessions of the lives of Believers, they are essential and required for effective Kingdom living and service. 

All of the accomplishments above are achievable by the fully functioning of the Five Fold Ministry Gifts. They are causation to the entire process of maturity and activation of the congregations. They are pivotable for the "...working within Christ's Body, the Church, until we are all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ." (Message Bible). In light of these clarifications, there must be a re-evaluation of our understanding and commitment to the mission of the Five Fold Ministry. 

Please hear my heart on this, but in the past twenty years, the Five Fold Ministry Gifts appear to have operated as a renegade pose' and loose cannons. It appears that the claim to the title and privileges belonging to the office were more prevalent than knowing and doing the will of God for the fully functioning of His Body. In addition, the Five Fold was to mirror the excellence in government from the Heavens and shed light upon the malfunctioning and corrupt government by man in nations of the world. Have we accomplished that expectation? Are we willing to abandon all else and pursue heavenly goals and perspectives?

With respect to the statements above, 2 Corinthians 10:6 clarifies this point. "...and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." This leads to a very interesting twist. Rather than "as goes the world, so goes the church." Rather, we are products of the prophet words of Jesus, "...you are the light of the world, a city that is set upon the hill." So, as goes the Body of Christ, so goes the economy, the civil and governmental functions, and peace in our cities. Joy to the world, The Lord has come through His Body and He, through His Body, rules the world in truth and grace. Then heaven and nature sings, Glory to the new born King. 

Part Two of this brief will introduce and explain the term Semblance. 

Your feedback is essential. Please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts.

Remember THE INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT IN THE SON. There will be an Early Bird Special on Saturday, February 15, 2014. This is a special featuring Dr J's famous home made buttermilk biscuits. This speciality has been a standard gift to the early birds for several years now! You must be at Dr J's house between 10AM and 2PM in order to partake. In fact, due to the popularity of this feature, you must now sign up BEFORE Thursday, February 13, 2014. If your name is NOT on the list, you cannot be admitted because of the need that I have to rest for the next morning's Sunday School Class at the Hotel.

You must sign up by writing an email to Atpvad@aol.com and stating your intensions to attend. 

Sincerely In Him,

Dr. Earl D Johnson
Team Lead
According To Pattern Apostolic Team

Saturday, October 27, 2012

ELECTION ‘2012: THE RESOLVE OF INTEGRITY


2012 NATIONAL ELECTION APOSTOLIC BRIEFING
by Dr. Earl D. Johnson
 
Pray for those who have the rule over you…
 
Of wisdom, it is written in Proverbs 8:14-16, “counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding, I have strength. By me, Kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, and even all the judges of the earth!”
 
Cast the care of the election on the Lord. Give His wisdom an opportunity to work. Yes, be responsible and cast your ballot, but do not fret yourself because of evildoers. This is not the time for Believers to become entangled with the cares of this world.
 
This is a time of testimony. We are to testify of the effectiveness of God reign in our lives. We are to testify of His gracious provision in the midst of negative decisions governing they economy of the world, (cosmos – world’s arrangement systems, and order). There must be a vigilant adherence to the knowledge that we are “in this world, but not of this world.”
 
The exercise of our civic responsibility is to be carried out with the same watchfulness as in other responsibilities we have as Believers. As our example, Jesus paid taxes. This act alone is monumental for Believers because it establishes precedence. Jesus provided the example for us that by participating in this system, it clarifies our maturity and due diligence to civil authority while we diligently maintain our heavenly connectivity and loyalties.
 
to Romans 15Wow, what an assignment! To pray for those who govern has a specific and direct order for the Believer. The intent of the Holy Spirit is to maintain in the Believer a sense of loyalty to Kingdom and not political allegiances based on parties, causes, and events.
 
As citizens of the Kingdom of God, we are expected to participate in the political process. However, we are not to get preoccupied with the futility of systems, parties, and lies. For clarity on the actual condition of our age, read 2 Timothy 3 in its entirety from Amplified Bible.
 
While in Jamaica, I sat with an Elder from Barbados. As we talked about the campaign in America and other issues of importance, I was keenly aware of his astuteness on American affairs. He was not only versed, but demonstrated knowledge about how we arrived at the point where we are today. What point are we?
 
We are in the generation that does not know Jehovah. We are in the biblical time period where a form of godliness, but denial of the truth is inherent. We are in the age of apostasy. We are in the period of a lack of knowledge about the former works of God. We are lost in ourselves. We are seekers of the prosperity who blindly neglect posterity.
 
This election is not about the two candidates, it about which God America will serve. The God of the Amorites or the God of Israel? The God who parted the Red Sea or the god who invented new age philosophy and gnostic behavior in our nation?
 
Election ’12 in November is for this nation as repentance and substantive change is important to the Body of Christ. I will not tell you what to say to your congregation. I respect you as men and women of God. However, I would like to offer some suggstions that might be helpful in what NOT to say your congregation.
 
These four points need to find their way into the ears and hearts of your people:
  • DO NOT WORRY – When I pastored, a candidate that I had wanted to win lost the election. It set me back for a minute. The Holy Spirit spoke to me one day and said “Earl, there was NO election in Heaven, God is still on the throne!” Do not lose hope regardless of the outcome
  • PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS – Encourage voter participation, but remind them that their citizenship is in Heaven and not in the earth. They are officially registered as Saints of the Most High, Children of the Kingdom, and Heirs of the Promises. Vote, but avoid depression if your candidate did not win.
  • PRAY – The central most important activity during this election is PRAYER. Encourage individual and corporate prayer for the nation, cities, candidates, and people everywhere voting and participating in this crucial decision
  • EDUCATE THEMSELVES ON ISSUES/CANDIDATES – an informed individual is an effective aid to any process. Remember, “in all thy getting, get an understanding.”
 It is vital that the Body of Christ emerge from Election Day with a resolved heart. RESOLVE = make decision, solve difficulty, settle argument, dispel doubts, express joint opinion. Resolution, decision, steadfastness, determination, tenacity, firmness, and resolution
 
SUBMITTED BY:
APOSTLE EARL D JOHNSON
AND THE ATP APOSTOLIC TEAM

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ministry Confidential | By Dr. Earl D. Johnson With Introductory Comments By Dr. Woodrow Walker

OCTOBER, 2012

2008 EDITION: MINISTRY CONFIDENTIAL
EDITIORIAL NOTE: The concept presented in this article was actually penned with the intention of release prior to the 2008 elections. For whatever reasons, that release did not take place. On the eve of election 2012 and after consultation with a myriad of persons, the decision is to release this article in full content and follow up with MINISTRY CONFIDENTIAL 2012 prior to November 2012.

The following statement precedes and has contributed to many of the minds that read this article. However, there is a purposeful insertion of comments made in the review by Dr. Woodrow Walker of Lithonia, Georgia. As a contributor in the history of the Civil Rights movement centered in Atlanta and having pastored many of the voices for change during the height of the quest for justice, Dr. Walker’s voice rings authoritative in assisting to analyze the past as well as the impact on both sides of this very complex coin.

Please review the prologue and then read the article penned in 2008 and stay tuned for a series of collaborative articles which will hopefully assist in navigating you and your congregations through the 2012 election and the myriad voices therein.

********************

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS:


The primary reason for any article of this magnitude is to assist in harnessing the emotions of believers who participate in a political system but who are more loyal to the principles of God than they are in allegiance to political process or parties. This is meant to encourage this attitude and also to alert them of potential “land mines” naturally imbedded in a system laced with worldliness.

The assertions made about the nation being conflicted, along with the disappointments of the “Black” counterparts with both the system and the nation, has a deep and mostly unfinished history in America.

Dr. Woodrow Walker, long-time friend and Senior Pastor of Abundant Life Church in Lithonia, Georgia commented, “Good article and very direct. It addresses the epidemic among our culture to celebrate the person over the cause. There is a need for a voice to confront the error that exists among us. However, in the process of doing so, it may add insult to injury if there is no empathetic voice that gives reason for things being as they currently are. The mass mindset of African-Americans developed over time as a reaction to racism and discrimination. Many believe that whatever may be the conservative position contains a Trojan Horse for something that could possibly undermine the efforts of over 200 years of struggles.

This conflicted condition has given rise to the expression of deeply imbedded feelings in the hearts of many who have suppressed them over the years as result of legislation, We are now in a good place to address the heart of the matter and to direct people towards the heart of God, and towards the understanding that "Christ is the sum of every culture."

*********************
AMERICA: LAND OF THE CONFLICTED, HOME OF THE CONFUSED

"[How to think about a problem:] The first step is to make the problem specific; The second step is to form theories freely of how to rid yourself of that burden; The third step is to develop in foresight the consequences of your proposals; The fourth and final step in thinking is to compare the consequences of your proposals to see which is best in the light of your scheme of life as a whole ; Whether you choose a vacation or a spouse, a party or a candidate, a cause to contribute to or a creed to live by - think! Brand Blanchard

Good Morning America! Election ’08 has caused to surface a condition of great magnitude. Growing up, I was told that worse than having a problem is the person who is not aware that they have one. Hmmm…

America, you have completed your fiscal examination and the lab reports that you are suffering from the disease of being CONFLICTED! The symptoms are experiencing or marked by ambivalence or a conflict of emotions.  Upon further examination, it also carries the symptoms of acute contradiction. This disease reacts to simultaneous and self-contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action. Some of the behavior exemplified by being conflicted shows a continual fluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite); and an uncertainty as to which approach to follow.

The population in the nation that is most affected by the first wave of the disease is the people of color. Observations by experts note that the present experience of history is being made. It is being made in the fact that this nation from a person of color lawfully obtaining the nomination of a major political party. Those suffering most from the attack of the Conflicted are those whose moral conscience has never allowed them to vote for a liberal agenda that supports abortion at will, gay and lesbian lifestyles, and other positions clearly opposed in the Book from which they govern life and living.

On one hand, they are forced to review in their minds the past eight years under a person who they elected to uphold these ideals and under whose administration all of the above items flourished. When you figure all of these factors, please do not forget to include the larger number of non -blacks who have sought for years for an ideal political wagon. Thinking that they had found one, they hitched their little wagon to the larger one and headed for the utopian moon.

The wagon not only failed to reach its destination, but it fell short, plummeted to the ground, and is now wallowing in the mire of failure and greed. The nation has been plunged deeply in debt; prices are soaring, joblessness increasing, and godliness prospering. THINK, America! Aren’t both sides filled with jargons and sayings that do not touch where you live? They are irreverent of God, irrelevant on issues, and are confident that people are puppets that can be manipulated into the camp of the most persuasive. For so long, they have pushed their wares on abandoned street corners, feeling that lying to you is necessary for the security of the nation, or for the security of getting into the Oval Office.

America, you must deal with the reality of being conflicted! You cannot keep your head in the sand. You must awaken and take the control out of the hands of the deceivers. They must be stopped or greater evil will follow. Let’s imagine this political fan fare as a horse race.

How widespread is this disease? The Washington Derby, no less...The shadows of a negative economy; state and federal mishandling of important matters of state, and the uncertain navigation through murky economic waters, emerged the bulk of this conflict. But a factor, which is taboo, gave birth to the other side of this conflicted mood of this nation. It’s being born Black in America; It’s where you lived the most of your life as a Black citizen and what you were taught, exposed to and both a product and participant in as a black in this nation.

Whenever a Black man comes on the scene in this nation, extreme qualification must follow. He is singled out as a hero in one sense and a reject in the other. Let me give you an example: what pride can a nation have to still have country clubs with exclusion clauses which must be altered to allow the number one seed in golf to compete in the Master’s Open? We just suck it in America, and say, these changes shed light on the manner in which we must progress in order to keep pace with the times. Truth: America was not prepared for the eventuality of a person of color dominating in this particular sport, so the Jim Crow laws that discriminated by color remained in practice.

At home, the American black wanted to raise their hands and say, Lord, first the Williams Sisters and now a Black man, Tiger Woods at the helm of the golf world. Pride night! Then, News Flash: TIGER WOODS ANNOUNCES THAT HE IS NOT BLACK! The American Black is thrown once again in the cesspool of no one wants to claim blackness. Blacks are once again, CONFLICTED.

Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Democrats have had hard fought primary races. The zigzag across this country, the name-calling, the tears of disappointment and YES, history before our eyes… The very first time a black man has carried the distinction of being the Presidential Nominee of a major political party in this nation’s history!

CONFLICTED! A large majority of blacks hate that the highest abortion rates in America are in Black neighborhoods. Those blacks therefore vote against a platform that advocates rights, which, in the opinion of the analyst, empathizes with the “other side of the fence.” Blacks want to have a celebratory attitude, dance, shout, grab hands, and spontaneously sing, “We have overcome, and we have overcome, today!”

For many, however, that party is put on hold! America: The home of the Conflicted has done it again. She’s behaving like James Baldwin’s Native Son! Trying to help, trying to keep things in order and because of fear, the approaching blindness, he accidently kills the white girl he tried to protect.

***********************

Earl D Johnson
Determined by destiny to serve!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

PASTORAL PASSAGE THROUGH THIS AGE OF UNCERTAINTY

Doing More than "Making It," or "Getting By" during the turbulence

A UNIVERSITY OF WISDOM PUBLICATION
An encouragement by Earl D Johnson to Pastors in the Body of Christ
Thursday, November 20, 2008

There are times where instruction and point by point "how tos" are necessary. It's been in my heart to write you and let you know, and for the most part, remind you that our way through has already been provided.

I quote 1 Corinthians 10:13 as evidence of you being an overcomer: "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (NIV)

Pull out of these verses the following points for your victory focus:

1. There can be no trial or test that is not "adjusted to human experience" and passable! The present situation has already been overcome by other human beings, otherwise it could not be used against this generation of human beings. Whatever you are going through, whether it is sickness for yourself or a loved one, economic slump, or attendance challenges, victory is proclaimed through your stand on this word.

Peter encourages us that whether it is suffering because we are being talked about, persecuted, or just enduring the ugliness of the times, there is a posture we are to assume: "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV)

Add your own from what you know about God not abandoning us. Your offerings, your attendance, your buildings are all on His list of things you are not to worry about. Mt 6 admonishes us to leave tomorrow's cares to tomorrow.

2. God is faithful. What an awesome reminder. What an awesome truth! It is NOT the situations you face, it is the faithfulness of the God you serve. HIs faithfulness is demonstrated in two aspects mentioned here. The first: "he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear." God knows our limits, our ability to handle pain and situations. He knows out exit points and our tolerance levels. Yes, He does some stretching, but the test are fitted to our ability to trust Him and know that He is faithful to His Word first and to our overcoming, second! You need to daily exercise this truth by repeating it aloud often and sincerely. GOD IS FAITHFUL!

The second demonstration of His faithfulness is in His assurance that you will endure to the end, past this test and overcome stock market woes, worries of the economy, immorality issues, and any other thing that would aggravate your spirit. It is stated in this fashion: "But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." Not only does He know our limits, as stated above, He knows our trust factor and strengthens it so that we make it. He is our constant tutor through the presence of His Holy Spirit, glory! GOD IS FAITHFUL!

This would be a great time for us to practice what we've prayed from the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray: "give us this day our daily provision-manna." Your stash for a rainy day won't work on this trial. NO matter how much you've saved, the value of what you have as opposed to when you put it away is off centered. You are upside down with respect to value, so you must NEVER encourage your members to use their "rainy days savings" as a means of escaping planting in the Kingdom.

So, what is a pastor to do during these times?

A. PASTOR the flock of God. Organize and visit every household of your membership/partnership. Of course, you can't do this alone, the work is too great merely for you, "look ye among you men and women full of the Holy Ghost..." This is the time for PASTORAL CARE! Tend the sheep... Motivate and mobilize your leadership to TOUCH the sheep during this time.

B. PERSEVERE through these times. "Build yourself up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost!" "Consider Jesus...lest you grow weary and faint in your minds!"

C. PRESS to be faithful to the message that God gave you for your congregation, your city, and your sphere of influence.

D. PREPARE for a great renewal. In hard times, a good God steps forward and the hearts of men, women, boys and girls become soften and ready to hear the great message of peace. Start now preparing for the harvest that will follow this time of testing

E. PASS up every opportunity that would steal your time and cause you to be ineffective in the above items. Keep a close watch on your time and spend it wisely during this period of time. This is an excellent time for the Word of the Lord to be confirmed by His showing Himself strong in behalf of the Saints of God!

Romans 15:33 "The God of peace be with you all. Amen."

Brother Earl D Johnson

Sunday, March 22, 2009

GLOBAL UNITY INITIATIVE

Wow, what a big statement for a small amount of time and energy. Yep, that's the assignment that my two brothers and I have come into. There are two dynamics which have defined this awesome responsibility of seeing the Body of Christ united and they are: (1) that our responsibility is only within our "sphere of influence and (2) the unity will occur according to Ephesians 4 at the connectivity of joints and ligaments.

Our search is for compatible joints and ligaments that will come together, stand and flow together for the Body to be effective. While there is awe on one hand, there is glory on the other. An opportunity in our day to see the awakening of body parts, as was in the valley of "dry bones" into one expression of unity and oneness is possible through our obedience.

In an attempt to vocalize the assignment, I came across a discovery from Ephesians 4:3. It reads, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." In most of the minister's meetings I've attended where the discussion of unity has occurred, this verse is quoted. I've not seen it this way before, but note the emphasis, unity of the spirit. James 2:26 says, "the body without the spirit is dead." We have kept the unity of the spirit, but have not applied that spirit to the Body and therefore an incomplete is being realized. To state it frankly, the presence of the Body of Christ on this earth is "dead" because those of us charged with this manifestation have not applied ourselves to understand how to do the task of asking Holy Spirit to visualize for us what this union of Spirit and Body would resemble.

This is an open invitation for you to join my brothers and the ATP team in going to class, digging into the Word of God and discovering what this union is and how it is accomplished in our generation. We proclaim that we are students attempting to comprehend that for which we have been apprehended!

Want to join us, please contact me at ejohnson@accordingtopattern.org. Leave your information and I will contact you and set a time for us to connect. Also feel free to browse our site at accordingtopattern.org.

Blessings...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WHOSE IN CHARGE OF THIS STATE-CALIFORNIA?

Really, whose in charge here? They removed a governor because they said he was inefficient in ruling and elected an actor. Yes, a man whose never held political office, never made major decisions for a neighbor, city, or state and now he is the Head of State for one of the largest states in the nation. 

The people went to the polls in record numbers and voted against Prop 8. Right or wrong, they spoke and they disagreed with same sex marriages. Now, the Attorney General of the State, a former Governor, has filed suit to have the action overturned. The various city, county, and state offices of key political figures have said, "away with the people's voice," we will also file suits and have the action overturned.

Really, whose in charge of this state? Are the elected officials so presumptuous to override the voice and will of the people? What happens when a state violates citizens in such fashion and expect to return to their seats of power? 

In my travels I come across many who ask, why are elected officials working so hard to get Prop 8 overturned? Because of the growing belief that elected officials know best? The growing belief that the general public has the power in numbers enough to elect these officials, but after they gain control of the seats of authority and power, they become detached to the people and are now the experts on how this state should be run. Again, I ask, whose in charge of this state?


Thursday, November 20, 2008

PASTORAL PASSAGE THROUGH THIS AGE OF UNCERTAINTY

Doing More than "Making It," or "Getting By" during the turbulence

A UNIVERSITY OF WISDOM PUBLICATION
An encouragement by Earl D Johnson to Pastors in the Body of Christ
Thursday, November 20, 2008

There are times where instruction and point by point "how tos" are necessary. It's been in my heart to write you and let you know, and for the most part, remind you that our way through has already been provided. 

I quote 1 Corinthians 10:13 as evidence of you being an overcomer: "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (NIV) 

Pull out of these verses the following points for your victory focus:

1.  There can be no trial or test that is not "adjusted to human experience" and passable! The present situation has already been overcome by other human beings, otherwise it could not be used against this generation of human beings. Whatever you are going through, whether it is sickness for yourself or a loved one, economic slump, or attendance challenges, victory is proclaimed through your stand on this word.

Peter encourages us that whether it is suffering because we are being talked about, persecuted, or just enduring the ugliness of the times, there is a posture we are to assume: "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV)

Add your own from what you know about God not abandoning us. Your offerings, your attendance, your buildings are all on His list of things you are not to worry about. Mt 6 admonishes us to leave tomorrow's cares to tomorrow. 

2.  God is faithful. What an awesome reminder. What an awesome truth! It is NOT the situations you face, it is the faithfulness of the God you serve. HIs faithfulness is demonstrated in two aspects mentioned here. The first: "he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear." God knows our limits, our ability to handle pain and situations. He knows out exit points and our tolerance levels. Yes, He does some stretching, but the test are fitted to our ability to trust Him and know that He is faithful to His Word first and to our overcoming, second! You need to daily exercise this truth by repeating it aloud often and sincerely. GOD IS FAITHFUL!

The second demonstration of His faithfulness is in His assurance that you will endure to the end, past this test and overcome stock market woes, worries of the economy, immorality issues, and any other thing that would aggravate your spirit. It is stated in this fashion: "But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." Not only does He know our limits, as stated above, He knows our trust factor and strengthens it so that we make it. He is our constant tutor through the presence of His Holy Spirit, glory! GOD IS FAITHFUL!

This would be a great time for us to practice what we've prayed from the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray: "give us this day our daily provision-manna." Your stash for a rainy day won't work on this trial. NO matter how much you've saved, the value of what you have as opposed to when you put it away is off centered. You are upside down with respect to value, so you must NEVER encourage your members to use their "rainy days savings" as a means of escaping planting in the Kingdom. 

So, what is a pastor to do during these times?

A. PASTOR the flock of God. Organize and visit every household of your membership/partnership. Of course, you can't do this alone, the work is too great merely for you, "look ye among you men and women full of the Holy Ghost..." This is the time for PASTORAL CARE! Tend the sheep... Motivate and mobilize your leadership to TOUCH the sheep during this time.

B. PERSEVERE through these times. "Build yourself up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost!" "Consider Jesus...lest you grow weary and faint in your minds!"

C. PRESS to be faithful to the message that God gave you for your congregation, your city, and your sphere of influence.

D. PREPARE for a great renewal. In hard times, a good God steps forward and the hearts of men, women, boys and girls become soften and ready to hear the great message of peace. Start now preparing for the harvest that will follow this time of testing

E. PASS up every opportunity that would steal your time and cause you to be ineffective in the above items. Keep a close watch on your time and spend it wisely during this period of time. This is an excellent time for the Word of the Lord to be confirmed by His showing Himself strong in behalf of the Saints of God!

Romans 15:33 "The God of peace be with you all. Amen."

Brother Earl D Johnson