VOLUME I MEN'S MINISTRY NEWSLETTERS - MICHAEL MCPHERSON
I have to admit during my walk with the Lord I have had no palpable or conscious fear of
God. Until a week ago, when Brother Reidhead talked to me about sin. And at the core of
a fear of God is his holy nature and how God must judge sin whether it be committed by
the righteous or the sons of perdition.
The foundational text is Ezekiel 33:11-16: "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God,
I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and
live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
[God calls “the wicked” in this context not the heathen but the covenant people who have
"Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of
the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness
of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness;
neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth."
"When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own
righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but
for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it."
"Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do
that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had
robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he
shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he
hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live."
When we sin, children of God, Satan goes into the assembly and stands before the Lord
like a prosecutor in a court of law. He puffs his chest and with one hand points to me and
you and with hand still pointed he turns his head to the most High and violently shouts,
"Look, look, he has sinned!" And after the thunderous accusation, the court becomes
quiet as the heavenly hosts observe the proceedings. And then Satan continues his
"The same sin for which you banished me to hell and bound me in chains and committed
me to darkness for eternity, your son has committed. Look, look!"
And God must judge wickedness. Sin must be judged as the crime it is. Whether you are
saved or unsaved, He will sharpen his sword, bend his bow and prepare for the wicked
the instruments of doom. (Psalm 7)
You see dear friend, God to be holy and just must judge wickedness. And when the child
of God sins, the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26) must adjudicate. And until repentance is
made posthaste, our prayers are impaired, God’s hedge of protection is removed and we
are open to to the enemy of man who comes to devour and destroy.
For the first time I trembled at this picture of the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10)
prosecuting me before the Lord. Declaring in his argument that I must be punished
because I have committed the same sin that cast angels into hell.
He, being Satan, protests that my act of sin makes me a rebel, a traitor an anarchist in
the Kingdom, and my crime cannot go unpunished. The fear of God came upon me for I
had the revelation of the tremendous consequences of sin.
Except ye repent ye shall wallow in a life never fulfilled. A life that brings no joy and glory
to our Lord. And no victory in our lives. "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,"
says the Lord. My dear brother, "turn ye, turn ye," and choose life.
Christ died for us, and as us, so he could be in us. The threefold picture of victory tells us
that the shed blood caused forgiveness of sin, but then we must nail our old man to the
cross, seven inch nail in hand and foot as He died as us. And then upon the crucifixion of
self, the glory of the Spirit of our Lord can flourish in us bringing victory, hour by hour,
and day by day.
The Checklist Manifesto
Harvard Medical School professor and New Yorker Magazine scribe Atul Gawande has
published a book called "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right." The
humblest of quality-control devices, the checklist is invaluable in preventing potentially
fatal mistakes and corner cutting. Failure in the modern world, according to Gawande, is
really due to mistakes we make because we don’t make proper use of what we know.
As we near the Christian Film Festival, where some of us will be counselors, a checklist
given to us by the Apostle John came to mind. A checklist for self-examination so all
those who pursue God can know where they stand in their walk. And prevent the fatal
mistakes that lead to damnation.
However, before we go over that checklist some background is needed. Let’s look back
on church history, specifically in the 1800s, a period which gave birth to the trends of
"easy believism" and "shallow evangelism."
Easy believism describes the concept of someone thinking they have become a child of
God because they intellectually assent God is real and Jesus is His son. And shallow
evangelism describes evangelistic efforts with the measured result of "decisions for
Christ" – counting the number of people saying yes to Jesus and no to Hell. People of this
ilk often say "I asked Jesus into my heart," or "I accepted Christ as my savior" and their
religious leaders affirmed they were now automatically saved for eternity.
In both the aforementioned instances the person never had a heart that repented unto
God. Repentance being a renouncing of one’s will and the submission of the heart,
through faith, to God. Studies that followed both types of "converts" find the vast
majority of these people never were transformed and continued to live as heathens –
with the exception that they attend church.
Both approaches abrogate the scriptural process of regeneration, also called conversion
or the born again experience. Simply, conversion is an act of God who discerns the heart
of those who seek Him. Conversion does not happen when someone intellectually assents
that God is real or when the unrepentant heart asks "Jesus to come inside."
So teachers and priests with Godly wisdom never proclaim a person saved – adult or
child, only the witness of the Holy Spirit can do that. And how do you know if you have
been born again? The Apostle John (1 John) gives us the checklist manifesto from the
Holy Spirit himself, that describes a true child of God.
The life of the born again believer should be characterized by these qualities:
1. Does not walk in darkness (darkness is defined in Ephesians 4:17- 5:6). Darkness is:
given over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual
lust for more: does not speak truthfully to his neighbor; unwholesome talk comes out of your mouth
- obscenity, foolish talk, gossiping or coarse joking, which are out of place;
bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice,
sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity or greed
2. Keeps God’s commandments. The greatest of which is to Love the Lord
with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as thyself
3. Loves his brother. He who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar.
Your brother in this context is consistent with the great commandment of loving your
neighbor. And your neighbor is the person who you can see, who has a need. And
whatever you would seek for yourself, as a believer in Christ, you would also seek for
your neighbor. You have a genuine burden for the lost and those in need, just like
4. Does not love the world. If you love the things of the world; possessions, money, fame, career, influence,
power, sexual entertainment (lust of the flesh) or you hold any of these things in
higher priority than God, then John says the love of God is not in you.
5. Continues in his profession of faith. If you fall away from the brethren into false doctrines,
other religions or just stop worshipping God, then the Spirit of God was never in you
6. Does not practice sin but practices righteousness. Whoever is not righteous is
not a child of God, says John.You hate sin as God hates sin. You are holy as God is holy.
So here we have the checklist for the born again believer. What we find from experience
is that these qualities typify a regular practice of the Christian. So does this mean if any
of us slip up we are not a child of God? No, because in 1 John he also says that if we say
we have no sin then the truth is not in us. However, the true believer becomes convicted
when he does stray, confesses his sin and gets back on the path of righteousness.
And why does a true believer become convicted when he strays? Because it is not the
natural man that convicts, but the Spirit of Christ which has come to dwell
inside, which is the miracle and supernatural wonder of regeneration.
The Wise Man
Today we talked about wisdom and how pride can keep us from acquiring godly wisdom.
When we think we know what we don’t know, when we fail to see the need for
repentance, when we fail to humble ourselves before God and before our fellow man.
We heard excerpts from "Thoughts for Young Men," J.C. Ryle's handbook for young men,
replete with warnings, exhortations, and instruction about this life's many trials,
temptations, and common pitfalls. First written toward the end of the nineteenth
century, it remains to this day one of the most relevant and helpful book on the subject of
The Blind leading the Blind
On the topic of wisdom I was treated to a devotional from James Robison. Some of you
may know him from Life Today, his popular program shown on several of the Christian
channels. James is a pastor who now serves to bring water, supplies and nourishment to
impoverished children around the globe. Here is wisdom and also a call to arms,
brothers. Heed these words from Robison:
Quotes from James Robison
"Because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to vomit you out of my
mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do
not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." (Rev 3:16-17)
This message was directed to the church in Laodicea. It was a severe warning to the
body of believers who had forgotten why God saved them (to do His will) and to let them
know the wrath of God would be upon them. In case anyone has any doubt, the Lord can
and does dispense strict discipline (i.e. punishment) to those he calls who stray from his
Robison used this verse to illustrate a call to arms for those in Christ. Those who have
been resigned to sip latte in the back of the church, while souls are being lost every day.
"We should be so excited about being able to see clearly the will of God and His ways
along with the profound results of this transforming experience that we simply can't wait
to share with others. It is too special to be kept secret and withheld."
"Even when threatened by persecution and prison, the New Testament believers in the
book of Acts boldly proclaimed, "We cannot help but speak the things we have seen and
heard!" (Acts 4:20) It is sad to acknowledge, but much of the church today is not only
asleep, they are by their failure to lead others into the light proving to be blind to the
truth and their responsibilities."
Jesus said, "You are blind leaders of the blind, and when the blind lead the blind they will
both fall in the ditch."
"We are witnessing firsthand the tragic effect this has on the church and our nation. We
are blindly being led into the ditch of defeat, despair, dissension, division and debt. It is
amazing to watch those who are in the ditch trying desperately to make it more
"In the Christian church, people seem to find false comfort in stained-glass windows,
cushioned pews, and sweet little messages that move no one to action, but enhance the
slumber. We air-condition the ditch, decorate it, install magnificent pipe organs, have big
choirs, loud praise and gifted musicians and take pride in the gathering, but only a few
dare to come out from under the covering of conformity and compatibility that
leads to compromise and an ineffective witness."
"We hide the light under this bushel and refuse to put it on the lamp stand, then standing
up ourselves and having stood to stand firm and truly pierce the darkness with the
transforming light of God's truth."
"Greed and selfishness are problems clearly defined as sin. These problems are not only
to be addressed by the church and its leaders, but, as believers, we have the only
solution to the problems and that is changing hearts and changing lives."
“In the family of faith we have made people like us, rather than like Christ. We
have made disciples of men rather than Him. God forgive us.”
"Isaiah said, "Who is so blind as my servant?" (Isaiah 42:19) In a later chapter he said,
"His watchmen are blind. They all lack knowledge." (Knowledge of the truth that sets
men free.) "They are mute dogs, and they cannot bark." (Isaiah 56:10) I believe they
are refusing to bark because of the fear of man and the fear of opposition."
"I, for one, will not remain silent. The horror and coming despair is too great to bear.
Hear me loudly and clearly! I say this as emphatically as I can: Unless the church allows
the glory of God to rise and shine, and stands together to rebuild the walls and restore
the foundations, freedom hope and prosperity as we have known it, will vanish from the
"Betty and I are pursuing Him with our whole heart every moment and seeking to lead
others to follow Him with all their hearts. We love Him. We love you, and all those He
desires to love through you. May God give us all eyes to see clearly the way out of every
ditch that blindness has led us into."
End quotes from James Robison
He Restoreth My Soul
I just came back from the wake for Connie Johnson, sister of our Brother Bob Fearon.
Connie’s memorial card featured her smiling face and Psalm 23. And in the Psalm I was
drawn to the text, "He restoreth my soul." In the context of today’s discussion we heard
we are commanded by our King to go, not sit and memorize verses, but to go into the
world. To be his hands, his feet, his voice, and his comforting arms.
And one of the mysteries of God’s plan is that when we "go" we receive great joy, wisdom,
fullness of Spirit and power to do the will of God.
My dear friends this is all part of the plan of restoration. You might know this by another
name, the plan of salvation. In the early church salvation was not about being saved
from hell, it was about being restored to God’s favor. And in that restoration man would
be saved from his enemies and receive the peace, joy, prosperity and blessings of God.
For God was among us. The reign of the King had come down to men. First in the person
of Jesus Christ and then in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore the message preached was to; (1) repent, turn back to God and the first and
great commandment (love the Lord thy God and thy neighbor), (2) confess which means
to acknowledge Jesus is Lord and (3) be baptized (converted) by the Holy Ghost in the
name of Jesus.
The impartation of the Holy Ghost was important because it enabled you to obey God’s
commandments and sealed you until the Day of Judgment. Without it, as Jesus said "it is
impossible for a man to enter the Kingdom." This is why everywhere Peter and Paul went
they asked the believers, "Have you been baptized by the Holy Ghost?" The Holy Ghost was
the gift from God based on the substitutionary atonement for sin accomplished by the death
and resurrection of Christ. Without the Holy Ghost (born again experience) you are a believer
– but subject to fall away from the faith, subject to evil spirits, subject to becoming a dead branch in Christ,
yielding no fruit, and you have no access to the power or promises of God.
(Which describes most believers according to some pastoral commentaries.)
By doing the latter three things you could receive God’s promises while you were alive
with the additional promise of eternal life. So the focus in the early church was on the
now, not the heavenly afterlife.
He restoreth my soul. Men, sit for a few minutes and ponder the depth of what God
desires for His children. To be restored in His image, which is the image of Jesus Christ,
how we were formed before the foundations of this world.
As we go into the world we must have no doubt, no wavering and unshakable belief in
the mission. The first time I layed hands on a man and saw him burst into tears as the
Holy Ghost came upon him it was exhilarating. A rush. As the power of the Lord goes
though my body to do his work I desire to do more. I am on a natural high as I see a
word, a touch, a deed be the conduit for the power of God.
As I focus on doing the Lord’s work I am cured of my issues and dysfunctions.
Revelations come daily and His Spirit spills from my lips unto dry soil, bringing life to that
which was dead.
You see men, part of the mystery of restoration is that all the promises, joy, provision,
miracles and power of God come when you completely abide in His will. And His will
commands us to commit our will, thoughts, desires and strength in service to Him,
according to His will.
He restoreth my soul. I see His glory and I desire more. I think this is what motivates
Brother Rich. He desires for us to seek and see the glory of God. And when we see the
glory we will desire more, charging ahead for our King without regard for body and life.
My plate is as full as any other, with children and work. But I pray for renewed strength
and energy and my Lord hears me. He hears me brothers. And He gives me the strength
so I may do His will. Praise God, my Lord and redeemer in whom I was resurrected from
death unto life. I owe him my life brothers, how can I not serve Him with all my heart,
soul, mind and strength. I cannot do any less for He is worthy of all that I have.
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou
art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23