Tapping Into God’s Power

Acts 1:8 
…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” NASU

Sunday, October 1st the Power of God fell at Victory Word Church like we’ve never seen.  As we were worshipping a strong spirit of intercession fell on the people.  It was something like I had never seen in Japan.  God has a great desire to do something in Japan, however we are His hands and feet and need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to make things happen in this realm.

Many people who have accepted Jesus as their Messiah have been duped.  They’ve been told that being filled with the Holy Spirit is something that happens automatically when you accept Jesus as your personal savior.  If this is true, then why do ‘believers’ do such nasty things to Christians and unbelievers as well? Have you ever been ripped off by a “Christian” or lied to by this type of person?  Well, unfortunately, I have seen in time and time again. 

Just recently, I know of a Spirit-filled believer who had become pretty good friends with a person attending a Baptist church (a graduate of Oral Roberts University to boot!).  The Spirit-filled gentleman was being an encouragement by giving the other guy all sorts of tips and hints on how to succeed in business in Tokyo.  Unfortunately, the ORU graduate evidently didn’t honor that and started sharing that information with the Spirit-filled believer’s competitor.  When the ORU graduate was confronted regarding the issue, he evidently thought it was a joke.  What a sad situation!  Even unbelievers familiar with the situation recognized this lapse in integrity. Just because someone apparently accepted Jesus or graduated from a great university like Oral Roberts University, does not make them any closer to God.  We’ve all got to personally know Jesus as Lord and be filled with God’s Spirit, not the spirit of this world.

People who are filled by the Holy Spirit will be cleaned up by the Holy Spirit.  Darkness and light cannot dwell together.  Very frankly the Bible has the filling of the Holy Spirit as a special gift by the laying on of hands.  This is very clear and is two separate acts of obedience, just as communion and being baptized are two things we are commanded to do.

Don’t be duped!  The infilling of the Holy Spirit IS NOT automatically received with acknowledging Jesus as your Savior and being ‘born again’ as John 3 talks about.  It is a separate act.  You receive the Spirit by having the leaders of the church pray over you and lay their hands on you (Acts 8:17). That is why in the book of Acts people who were ‘born again’ were able to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when asked even though they already believed in the Lord Jesus the Anointed One (Acts 19:2). 

If you are not filled with the Holy Spirit, ask God for that gifting so that you can be ready for anything that comes.  Ask your pastor or minister at a Spirit-filled church to pray for you for the infilling of the Spirit.  You’ll never be the same!

Posted on 1 November, 2006

Making Dreams Come True

Commit your works to the LORD

And your plans will be established. Prov 16:3 NASU

It is so easy, as a highly-motivated achiever type of person to plan out of lives from every type of job we will work to how many children we have; all the way down to their names. There are so many self-help, time management, and leadership training books, seminars, and other resources out there to help us plan out our lives.

With all this information it is easy to go into information overload and lose track of our gifts and callings and how they related to God’s perfect plan for our lives. He does have a perfect plan for each and every one of us and part of planning our lives is having God’s involvement in those plans. He wants a part in what we are doing.

I remember working on a project at my job. We had the project meeting, worked through systems configurations and had ordered all the necessary pieces to connect to the rest of the world. Everything was set and the customer was ready to install the systems. A week before the cut-over the whole project was cancelled. We had not received the customer’s approval on the final plans and did not have their involvement in the project. While we were working, budgets were allocated to some other ‘priority’ project. All the work we had done came to nothing. We lost time, money, and face on the business.

God wants us to make plans and set goals. He wants us to work hard but also smart. He wants us to grow and develop and be on top of things not under smothered under things (Deuteronomy 28). Some believers just act as if everything that happens to them is from God and that He will just drop everything in their “spiritual laps”. They accept whatever comes as if that is God’s will for them.

Common people know that to succeed you have to be uncommon. God wants us to make our plans and submit them to Him so that He can be involved. We all have gifts and callings He wants to enhance and help us so that we can realize our greatest dreams. Our plans with God’s involvement are super-powered.

The original Hebrew word for ‘commit’ implies to ‘roll over’. God wants us to roll our plans over to Him so that He can show us where they match His perfect will and where the miss the mark. If we give our plans to God, not only will we have the pleasure to make the plans and know that He has called us to them, but we will get to see them come into being. If our plans our established with God, then we will see them come, materialize and make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. This is the real dreams coming true life.

Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed.

Prov 16:3 NLT

Posted on 29 August, 2006

Finding a Good Church

Heb 10:23-25

Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near. NLT

In this world of volatile world of human relationships, people come and go in our lives. Some people are acquaintances, people we know for a time, while others are true friends for a lifetime. Friends are people who stick with us through the thick and the thin issues of life. They don’t trash the friendship just because of something someone else says, they don’t get something financial out of the relationship, or they have to spend time getting to know you. Friends are people who care for us because of who we are.

Well, in our country the best friends we have should be born again or more accurately, ‘born from above’ (John 3:16 NAS) believers who love God. To be friends, we have to spend time talking, caring, and sharing. When Jesus won back the authority we lost in the Garden with His resurrection from the dead the first thing he did was talk, care, and share with those who loved him and followed Him. That was the beginning of the church. What is the church? The church is the family of God on this earth.

What is the purpose of the church? To allow God’s family to talk, share, and care for others and the people around them. It is the basis for the community. That is why Hebrews exhorts us never to forsake the gathering together of the family of God. If we withdraw and pull back from our community, we lose track of what is going on with other people, our community, our world.

In this earth are many people; just as there are many people, there are many families. But which families are the ones that know God, and encourage us to develop our relationship and go deeper with God? Let’s look at the key points for choosing your church family.

Charisma In Leadership 
Humble Seekers of God 
Unmoved by people, moved by the Word 
Reaching people 
Consistent 
Holy Before God

Charisma In Leadership 
I remember as a high schooler going to church thinking that I was going to church for the people and the fellowship. That is so true. But someone once said, “You can only go as spiritually high as your pastor”. Those words changed my perpective on church leadership and especially the importance of having a good pastor who has a living, active relationship with the Almighty God.

Humble Seekers of God 
In these last days it seems many people focus on programs in the church more than the relationship with God. Youth groups, Kids church, orchestra, cell groups, the list of various things to keep people involved goes on and on. However, more than anything our church leadership has to be humble seekers of God. The strength of the Brownsville Revival of the 1990s was the prayer and intercession of the church before and during the revival. 
We have to always be hungry for more of good. Jesus said, “I Am the bread of life…” When we are hungry for God, what we got yesterday is not enough for today. We need to feed constantly on His Word and wait on Him.

Unmoved by people, moved by the Word 
Any good church you visit is a good church because it has good leaders. Good leaders listen to people. But not everything the people bring to the pastor is God’s will. A good church family always has a pastor that listens to his church, but more importantly seeks God’s Word for His church. 
I remember when we got our first facility, I had resistance from some people in leadership within the church. But I knew that God’s will was for us to minister to the people of our neighborhood. Well, those people are gone but we had God’s Word for our church and many more have come.

Reaching people 
The church is a family of Believers. More important than anything else, we have to remember that the church is there to minister to the needs of people and the city. When a church because focused on internal issues, church growth is stunted. When a church is overflowing in the neighborhood and reaching out to the people of the city, there is life and there is growth.

Consistent 
If there is any favorite word of the day, being consistent would have to be it. So many people fail for being inconsistent. Just as they are coming to the end of the race they just give up. Many times it is like they have just run 25 kilometers and are just 10 meters from the finish line, all the sudden they throw up their hands and say, “I am finished, I have had enough” and stop running. IF they would have only kept on the race of our spiritual life and continued for a few more steps and they would gained the prize for all the hard work. Consistency is the key to success. Churches also have to be consistent to be successful and meet the needs of the people.

Holy Before God 
Holiness seems to be the forgotten ingredient in so many churches. Everyone visits their church on Sunday but many are thinking about lunch than the message God is speaking. Some places can become overcome by a spirit of lethargy. 
As we are growing in Him, we desire more of a relationship with Him. If we are holy before Him, it is so easy to turn off that television, secular music, movie, or anything else that desensitizes us to the move of the Almighty God. 
I will never forget attending revival meetings in Florida. As we worshipped the Father I had a vision of Him on the throne. I had to get myself to the floor because I could not stand in His Presence.

Whether you are looking for a good church family or are attending the church that your family has been attending for years. Keep the real meaning of what a church is in your heart. To gauge a good church you will see a church that is;

Charisma In Leadership 
Humble Seekers of God 
Unmoved by people, moved by the Word 
Reaching people 
Consistent 
Holy Before God

Posted on 17 October, 2006

The Christian and Giving- First Fruits

Firstfruit and Our Finances

Prov 3:9-10 
9 Honor the LORD from your wealth 
And from the first of all your produce; 
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty 
And your vats will overflow with new wine. 

In my early days of ministry, I remember serving in my denominational church in Japan. We served there three plus years and during that time we prayed for the sick, cast out demons, and saw many miracles. You would think that seeing all the great things that God does, people would want to go deeper with God and tap into that authority He won back for us. However, we found that most people are always looking at their wallet. If they are “blessed”, that isn’t some spiritual thing. It means they have all the provision (money, food, and things) that they could possibly need.

In the Japanese church, I found that the most common question was how do I walk in financial prosperity that the Bible preaches? Being a good student of law in my University days, I answered their question with a question. I always asked them, do you tithe regularly? The answer was always, one-hundred percent of the time, yes that’s 100% of the time, a big NO.

After a handful of people responded to the same question in the same way, we got smart and started a course on Sunday after church called God’s Financial Plan. In that way we were able to teach the whole church how God’s Word works in the financial area. To tap into God’s Financial Plan one of the very basic things is you have to be a giver. But that is not just a giver, but a regular giver. What is a regular giver? Well, Proverbs 3:9,10 lays that right out for us. If we are believer in God, then we need to honor Him with our Firstfruits. What are the Firstfruits? We are to give of the Firstfruits of our income. In the Old Testament, that was usually the first fruits of our crops. That is the top ten percent of what we produce was given to God in thanksgiving for all that He has given us.

If we are a farmer, then that would be taking the best off the top and offering it to God. Some might ask, “But Pastor, God does not need our money…” Well, He doesn’t need our money in Heaven but He does use it to work on this earth to work through His servants. Just as Abraham gave a tithe to the priest-king Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20) to honor the Lord for His victory, we are to honor the Lord with the Firstfruits of our labor.

It is interesting that Abraham chose to give off the top ten percent (10%) of his income, hence the beginning of the word tithe, which means 1/10th. Personally, I don’t think we are limited to giving the first 1/10th of our income. The point is that we are needing to be a consistent and thankful givers. Rather than saying tithe, at our church family we like to call our tithes our Firstfruits as that is exactly what they are; the first fruits of our labor, the cream on the top of the milk we have skimmed off and offered to God. They can be whatever percentage of your income that you have faith to give for. For our family, the ten percent is a minimum as we are so thankful what God has done through our local church and we want Him to keep it up.

For the founder of a major US corporation, his goal was to give 90% and keep 10% for himself. And he did it, but not only did he do it but he built the best company in his field because God blessed him for honoring God first.

Well, what is God’s Financial Plan?

1) Give your Firstfruits to the church you are ministered to at and where you call home. Your offerings can go anywhere as these are above your regular giving.

2) Give consistently. If you are experiencing financial lack, it is most likely because you are not giving consistently. If you are on a salary, most people give the Sunday following the receipt of their paycheck.

3) Give with a cheerful heart. This is probably the most important point. If you are not happy and thankful about giving then you should keep your Firstfruits. God wants you to give because you love Him and want to do so.

One other guideline we follow is we give our Firstfruits to the church where we are being ministered to. Anything above that becomes the offering. Offerings can be given anywhere God leads you to give. We give offerings as God directs to orphanages, missionaries in other countries, intercity ministries… however you are led by God’s spirit. You can even give regular offerings to ministries that God really ministers to you through.

The amazing part is the connection you get as you tithe your Firstfruits and sow your offering seeds into ministries. We have seen a direct connection in our lives between where we give and how God provides for us. It is amazing how when we are giving into a ministry that is good ground we are blessed. What is a good ground ministry? A good ground ministry is one that is 1) Proclaiming God’s Kingdom 2) Healing the Sick (Matthew 4:23). When we began giving into good ground ministries as well, our income increased three-fold. What does that mean in monetary terms? Ten-thousand Japanese yen became thirty-thousand Yen. For those who operate in dollars, $100 became $300. Hallelujah!

Praise the Name of Jesus! God is SO good. He is the ultimate giver who gave His Son to die on our behalf. 

Posted on 10 October, 2006

The Benefits of Participation

 

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:3-7, NASU

Participation- 
As we are study through the book of Philippians at Victory Word Church, the theme of the book becomes very evident.  In Philippians 1:5, Paul commends the believers for their participation in the work of the Gospel. 

In this world, I have heard that participation by people in various groups is on the downturn.  The Rotary Club, the Lions Club, various civic groups are struggling to gain new membership.  People are no longer willing to spend time working for various causes as everyone becomes more self-centric, overloaded with too many other things to do, and just plain distracted.

This is not true for the church of Jesus Christ the Son of God.  The work of Jesus Christ on the cross is still changing people from the inside out.  People are changed by the power of the Gospel.  There are physical and spiritual healings, deliverences from drugs and sexual sins, and complete changes in people as they go from the darkness to the Light of God.

But, what makes believers different from all of these other dying groups?  The difference is the power of the Word of God (the Gospel) that acts in people’s lives as they apply the Word and act on the Word.  That power is activated as people participate in the church that God has called them to.  In Japan, many people start attending church at one particular body of believers (church) and stay there until they die.  This in general is noble, however it is trouble if the pastor stops seeking God’s direction and heart for the people of the area.  If the pastor is not spiritually sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, how can he lead the church into a deeper relationship with God?  The church needs to be praying and interceding for the pastor.  If there is no change, or no desire to change then it might be time to seriously consider looking for a healthy church.

People need to participate in the work that God has called them to.  Find a great church and get involved.  As you get involved in the giving of your tithe, your time, your love, your patience, your leadership, your support, your lifting the leadership up in prayer, yourself; God will bless you exceeding, abundantly above all that you could ever ask or think.  The church is not a building, but the family of God.  Families are made up of individuals.  The more that you add to the family, the more you benefit.

Come join us as we study on in the book of Philippians.  You will be amazed as the great plans God has for you.

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!  Philippians 4:4 

Posted on 12 September, 2006

Thirsty For His Presence

Matt. 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

In these days of being so busy many people sometimes forget how our Father God wants to be involved in our lives.  Just as a good earthly father wants to spend time with his children, our heavenly Father wants to spend time with us.

In the late nineties, I founded a company out of my bedroom.  It was a lonely start as I had gone from building the business of America’s largest telecommunications company in Japan to a one-man show starting out of my home.  However I knew in my heart that God had called me to this work.  As I first started out, there could have been a lot of anxious anticipation as to how we would live. However by God’s Spirit I knew where I was going.  I knew God had a plan of great success for us.

I remember my little children coming into my home-office just wanting to see their papa.  They wanted to play on the floor in my office.  They just wanted to be with their daddy.  It was hard for me to say no and I enjoyed them coming in but I tried to focus on my business.  Towards the end of the workday I would have more time to focus on them and I loved it.

God is clearly the same with His children.  He loves it when we make time to fellowship with Him.  Like little children we are anxiously waiting at the door to get into His presence.  Make time daily to spend time with Him, the benefits are amazing.

Is. 40:31 Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

Posted on 5 September, 2006

The Brownsville Revival

The Revival at Brownsville

How can one even begin to describe the move of God that took place at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida? The revival that began on Father’s Day, June 18, 1995 has truly impacted the world and the Kingdom of God in ways that we will never fully know and understand. Around 4 million people walked through Brownsville’s doors and thousands of lives were saved and re-dedicated to Jesus. Through this move of Holy Spirit, a fresh passion and desire for His Presence and Glory has been placed in the hearts of believers world wide.

During the revival, Brownsville Revival School of Ministry was established to raise up men and women of God who would take the fires of revival to the ends of the earth. They are a major part of the fruit of the revival.

Over the years many scoffers and critics have risen up and spoken against the revival. However with the fruit that has lasted and come forth from this move of God, there can be no objections. God breathed upon Brownsville and the millions who traveled there in a fresh, new way. And because of that the nations will never be the same.

Though things may have changed at Brownsville and people have come and gone, the fact still remains that God wants to move in and through His Church. Brownsville brought forth an awareness of that reality, and for that we will be eternally grateful.

“There Must Be More!”

 

Timeline of the Revival at Brownsville

Below are highlights of different events surrounding the Revival at Brownsville.

1993

  Praying for Revival
Two-and-one-half years prior to revival, Pastor Kilpatrick responded to God’s prompting to make Brownsville a house of prayer in an even deeper sense. He promptly set aside tradition to designate the Sunday evening service as a prayer service, with members responding in true Brownsville commitment.1

Revival Prophecy of Dr. David Yongii Cho
Dr. David Yonggi Cho, pastor of the Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul, Korea, the world’s largest church, conducted a meeting in Seattle, Washington. As he prayed for revival in America, he questioned, “God are you going to send revival to America, or is she destined for judgment?” The Lord instructed him to get a map of America.

He did so, and the Holy Spirit told him to point his finger at the map. As he did, he felt his finger drawn to the Florida panhandle and to the city of Pensacola. “I am going to send revival to the seaside city of Pensacola, and it will spread like a fire until all of America has been consumed by it,” said the Lord to Dr. Cho. Dr. Cho shared his experience with others and the word predictably spread to many of the pastors in the Pensacola area.2

Dick Reuben’s Teaching
In March 1993, Dick Reuben’s week of teaching was said to have helped in getting Brownsville in line for the outpouring. Also during that week, Dick Reuben prophesied about the outpouring over ten times.3

1994

  No Info Available
1995

  Lindell Cooley
In April 1995, Lindell Cooley became the music minister at Brownsville.1

Father’s Day
Holy Spirit falls at Brownsville.

Revival Statistics
As of September 11, 1995, total attendance had passed 160,000, with 70,000 first-time visitors, 6,700 people saved, and hundreds baptized in water.2

Pastor’s Conference
December 1995, Brownsville held their first Pastor’s Conference with about 500 pastors in attendance.

1996

  No Info Available
1997

  Birth of BRSM
January 14, 1997 marked the birth of Brownsville Revival School of Ministry. Dr. Michael Brown was the first President of the school.1
1998

  Revival Statistics
As of March 1998, over 1/2 million had gone to the altars with 128,000 saved.1
1999

  No Info Available
2000

  Steve Hill Moves On
In June 2000, Steve Hill announced he would no longer stay at Brownsville, preaching every revival service. He continued his ministry traveling the globe preaching the Gospel.

Leadership Changes at BRSM
In December 2000, Dr. Michael Brown is released from BRSM as President. Thus FIRE School of Ministry is birthed in Pensacola, Florida.

2001

  No Info Available
2002

  Lightning Fire Burns Brownsville Sanctuary
Due to an electric storm, a portion of the sanctuary at Brownsville was burned. No one was hurt in the fire.1
2003

  Brownsville/FIRE Reconciliation
On January 12, 2003, a joint service is held by the staff, faculty and congregations of Brownsville and FIRE to bless and reconcile with each other.

Pastor Kilpatrick Resigns
On October 19, 2003, Pastor John Kilpatrick resigned from Brownsville Assembly of God as Senior Pastor. He pastored Brownsville for 22 years.1