A Word From OCOSBE Members
|Posted by BJ on September 3, 2016 at 2:40 PM||comments (0)|
By Evangelist Kolby King
I don't think I've ever seen anyone cry so hard.
This past July I sat next to a 47-year old man who had attended one of our events. In the service I had shared about Jesus and Peter walking on the water.
"I just don't know how much of that I can believe," he said, with tears in his eyes. "I want to believe but how can I believe in a 'good' God when all I've ever seen is bad."
He continued to tell me about his childhood and how, as an adult, he had gone to prison for attempted murder.
"I even have a 9-year old daughter that I've never met," he said.
We talked. He struggled. God was moving in his heart. We talked about his life. We talked about Scripture, about how Jesus had called Peter to come and how Peter had stepped out of the boat. He didn't need to have all the answers to simply trust.
I walked him through the plan of salvation. He asked questions and then he told me that he needed time to think. I asked if I could pray for him and as I prayed, he began to sob harder than I have ever seen anyone cry. Tears literally dripped in a stream from his face.
I gave him my phone number and told him to call and let me know how he was doing. He talked to me the next day.
"Last night," he said, "I was washing my clothes and a pastor was there doing his laundry as well. We talked for three hours and I decided to surrender my life to Jesus Christ."
It's amazing how God puts people in the right place at the right time to share His love.
|Posted by BJ on August 24, 2016 at 11:55 AM||comments (0)|
By Evangelist John "BJ" Hall
Several years ago the Associated Press carried a story from England about a couple that gave their newborn daughter 139 names. They said they will call her Tracy, but officially, she will be: Tracy Mariclaire Lisa Tammy Samantha Christin Alexandra (you get the idea). When the father was asked why he said, “We just wanted to give her something for when she grows up.” Obviously these parents were not thinking about the meaning of her names. They just wanted something unusual.
All through Scripture there is an importance given to names. In the Hebrew and Greek mindset, names were more than just a title to call someone; it was a revelation of the persons character.
In Genesis 32 Jacob (whose name meant cheat, usurper) wrestled with an angel. His name was changed to Israel or “to struggle with God.” Jesus Christ gave Simon the name Peter which means “rock.”
My name “John” means “God is a gracious giver.” But we will not go there today.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who has many names. However, in our Lord’s case ALL of His titles are very significant. Today we focus on one of those titles. Isaiah 9:6 (NASB) “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
We sing the song “His Name is Wonderful” in our churches today. The Old Testament word for Wonderful can be translated several ways. It can be translated as “Miraculous” or “Lovely.” It can also can mean “Distinguished” or “Apart from the rest.” It is a word of awe, astonishment and reverence. You might ask “What was wonderful about Jesus Christ, the Messiah?”
Jesus was born like no other person in the world. He was born from a woman that was a virgin. Matthew 1:23-25 (NASB) " BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, " GOD WITH US." 24 And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, 25 and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
Jesus did what no other could have ever done; He lived a perfectly sinless life. He never did anything that was wrong. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB) “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
This was the only reason that He could be the Sacrifice for all of our sins; He had never sinned. If He had sinned EVEN ONCE, the He would have died for His own sins, not ours.
Why is Jesus death wonderful? Because, without His death we could not know the true meaning of life. It is because of His death on the Cross that you and I might be saved.
Without His resurrection His death would have been meaningless. He arose from the Grave. Death could not hold Him. He arose from the grave so that from that point and forevermore the victory over death could for all who would simply put their faith and trust in Him.
|Posted by BJ on July 13, 2016 at 6:30 PM||comments (0)|
By John BJ Hall
As I have worked with churches and pastors over the past forty six years. I have found that there are some missing pieces in Evangelism.
Personal Evangelism – The first missing piece for so many churches and Christians is personal evangelism. It seems that many feel “That’s what we hired the pastor for.” The problem with that thinking is that the pastor is not a hired gun. Of course he should set an example for others to follow. But, the pastor does not know the same people you know. The most important word in personal evangelism is – personal. Each believer sharing what Christ has done for them. To do that effectively it is important to know the one you are sharing with. This leads to the second missing piece
Passion For Evangelism – If I know the lost one, it should make me passionate in my witnessing. I want those whom I know and care for to be with me in heaven. If I believe that Heaven is real, then I must also believe that Hell is real. Why? Jesus talked more about Hell than He did about Heaven.
He told us about the reality of the torment and the flames when He introduced us to the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. There is one truth that cannot be avoided in this passage. Once the rich man found that there would be no relief from his torment, he became passionate about making sure his brothers didn’t come there. This leads us to our third missing piece.
Priority of Evangelism – Evangelism became a priority for the rich man. There was urgency in his plea for Lazarus to go back to earth and warn his brothers. Is there urgency in your heart to reach those you know and come in contact with? If not, why not? If there is even the slightest possibility that your loved ones and neighbors might suffer for eternity in the flames of Hell, why would you not make it a priority to tell them of the path to Heaven? The next missing piece is…
Persistence in Evangelism – We should not be satisfied with one attempt to persuade the lost to trust in Jesus. Time and again in my ministry I would see people, accept the Lord only after I had planted, cultivate, watered, and fertilized the seed. Many times it was seed someone else had planted that sprouted and took root in the heart. Other times I planted and someone else gathered the harvest. Finally the last missing piece we will discuss here is the glue that holds it all together. It is the fuel that drives the engine.
Prayer for the Work of the Holy Spirit – Only the Holy Spirit can convict a person of his/her lostness. The seed can only sprout after the Lord of the Harvest has prepared it. Just as the rich man prayed for his brothers, we pray for those we come in contact with.
Prior to the 2015 Oklahoma State Evangelism Conference I attended the prayer vigil on Sunday night. My heart was moved in a marvelous way. After the vigil I stopped at a small restaurant on my way back to the hotel. As I sat eating the Lord spoke to my heart, “Talk to her.” I looked around and saw the young man who had prepared my meal, but no one else. Again the Lord said, “Talk to her.” As I turned from my table there was a young lady arranging potato chips in a rack. I dumped my trash in the bin and introduced myself to her. Her name was Laticia. I asked if I could talk with her for a moment. She agreed. About five minutes later she asked Christ to come into her heart.
I had prayed at the vigil, “Lord lead me to some ready soul.”
Don’t let these five pieces be missing from your life. Souls are in danger. We ALL must "do the work of the evangelist."
|Posted by BJ on June 27, 2016 at 3:55 PM||comments (0)|
by Evangelist Bobby Smith
The Word of God is always a source of comfort especially during times of testing. Life is made up of tests.
Some of our people are going through tough testing times. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 the Bibles reminds us of three things to consider about tests. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
If you are going through testing times, rest in God’s promise that His grace is sufficient.
|Posted by BJ on June 19, 2016 at 10:15 PM||comments (0)|
By Evangelist John "BJ" Hall
Many in the world today believe that everyone goes to Heaven. They don’t believe that there is a hell. Beyond that they believe that God won’t judge them. That however is not what the Bible says. The writer of Hebrews said chapter 9:27 “. . . it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment”
Jesus himself said in Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Some believe that this is teaching a works salvation. That God will balance their good against their bad and if the good outweighs the bad they will have eternal life. But He also said in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
The Apostle Paul clarified this further when he wrote in Romans 3:27-28 “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”
For you see God does not grade on a curve. He judged on The Cross.
|Posted by BJ on June 11, 2016 at 10:10 PM||comments (0)|
By Evangelist Kolby King
Imagine a fourth grade student meeting another child in the McDonald’s play area. They play for a while. Then he asks, “Can I tell you about the greatest thing that ever happened to me?” The new friend responds yes and the child begins to share his salvation testimony. Soon the student is drawing on the back of gum wrapper a picture that walks his new friend through the plan of salvation and before long they are bowing their heads to move from new friends in McDonalds to new brothers in Christ.
Imagine a fifth grader at a sleepover. He has been thinking about sharing Christ with his friend and looking for the right opportunity and before the night is over his friend has accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
Picture a fourth grader at Chick-Fil-A. He and his dad are getting ready to leave when he says that he feel that God wants him to go to the play area to tell the other children about Jesus. Dad sits down and watches as his son meets new kids, tells them about Christ, sits down with a girl and eventually leads her to saving faith in the Lord.
Imagine a second grader on the back porch with a neighbor. They talk about a lot of things but on this day he tells her what Jesus means to him and continues to tell her how he was saved and how she can do the same. Moments later his dad is across the street, talking to her mom about how she gave her life to Christ. Her mom wipes tears from her eyes and says, “Thank you.”
These are all true stories of kids leading kids to Christ. In the backyard, at school, in the cafeteria, on the bus, on the ball field, at church, and even on the playground, these children are doing more than just attending Sunday School—they are learning that God has given them a very significant task in everyday life.
If a child can do this…so can you. It simply begins with a willing heart.
One of our kindergarten students, who attended a Christian school, drove past a public school in our community. Her mom said, “You know, the teachers there can’t talk about Jesus.”
Her daughter was quiet for a moment and then said, “I want to go to school there.”
“Why?” the mom asked, surprised.
“Because someone has to tell them about Jesus.”
Isaiah said: “I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8-9a).
You have the message. You have the opportunity. Like these children, will you have the willingness to share?
Written by Kolby King – www.threethirtyministries.org
|Posted by BJ on May 26, 2016 at 8:40 PM||comments (0)|
By Becky Wright
(Reprinted with permission from www.blog.beckywrightsongs.com “Inspiring Hope” Blog)
It was October 11th, 1995. Unfamiliar with the song the worship leader selected, I was concentrating to read the notes accurately as I accompanied him on piano at church that evening. My heart was heavy, though, as I dreaded the anniversary that tomorrow would bring: the death by miscarriage of the baby we’d waited so long for, exactly 364 days before.
In the middle of verse two, I began to hear a brand new song — not the one I was playing — in my spirit. As a life-long songwriter, I’d grown familiar with those special moments when I sensed Heaven opening, and giving me a song to write. I could hear the new music clashing against the hymn I was trying to play. With an unspoken and slightly annoyed prayer, my heart lamented, “Lord, can’t You save this until a bit later?? I’m trying to read music right now!” The music didn’t stop.
I finally settled in my pew and quickly began writing down the words and a few music notes that were still playing in my head, before I forgot them. I knew God was speaking, but I didn’t realize how truly wonderful and precise His timing — and His comfort — would prove to be, once again.
The chorus came first, as it often does when I write. It’s the main idea, the repeated part, “the hook” as we call it in songwriting. “(excerpt) I’m looking for good things, walking in His Spirit…. Every good thing comes from the Father above.” (James 1:17) The opening line of verse one came straight from scripture, like a shaft of light piercing through the dark cloud smothering me: “No good thing will God withhold from those who walk uprightly before Him.” (Psalm 84:11) The bridge of the song reiterated Jeremiah 29:11: “God’s plan for our lives is for good and not evil, to give us a future and a hope.” Why was I hearing this new song, and specifically, why tonight?
The next day, with great trepidation, I went to our local pregnancy center ministry for a free pregnancy test. I prepared myself for another negative result, as I’d been let down several times before, conducting home pregnancy tests. The kind nurse offered me a hug before sharing the results with me, so I tearfully received her embrace, certain of the bad news coming. She then asked, “What color of baby booties would you like, blue or pink?” We both laughed and cried and hugged all the more! I was expecting a baby! I was finally pregnant! It was a great day for the nurse, too, since 99% of the women coming into the center were unmarried and did not want to be pregnant. My visit there (married and happy to be pregnant) was refreshing, I suppose. Perhaps she needed a “happy ending” with some good news, too.
As I share this testimony, I am reminded of how many times God has used a “song of deliverance” to lift me out of a pit, to shine like a silver lining behind an ominous cloud of grief, doubt, disillusionment, disappointment, and even death. “Good Things” is one of those songs (yet to be recorded), but there are many others God has used as a lifeline when I felt I was drowning. Some I’ve been assigned to write, but many others written by others have ministered deeply to me at critical times.
Our loving Heavenly Father knows just what we need, and just when we need it — and always sends it at the precise time — so we know it’s God speaking. That’s His amazing grace; not just Jesus providing forgiveness of our sins by His sacrificial death on the cross (as if that weren’t enough), but loving us enough to be intimately involved in every minute detail of our lives. That kind of overwhelming love is life-changing. I only need to respond in faith to a love like that. I needed to hear that prophetic song that day, at that moment, interrupting my pain and disappointment, interjecting joy at that precise moment. His timing is always perfect!
“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7
Challenge / Response:
Is there a song that has helped you during a critical or difficult time in your life? Has something on the radio, at church (or even running through your memory) arrived at just the right time? I want to hear about it! Leave a message in the comments below.
|Posted by BJ on May 6, 2016 at 8:55 PM||comments (1)|
By Craig Hobbs
Imagine for a minute your favorite thing is ants;
It may sound quite silly but give it a chance.
Imagine that for ants, anything you would do;
Imagine that ants are the most important thing to you.
Now imagine these ants are out in the road
Carrying their supper back to their abode,
When off in the distance a tractor you see,
But the ants do not see it, no matter your plea.
No matter how you holler, they don’t understand,
But as the tractor approaches, you come up with a plan.
You can become one of them, and then you can try
To get them to look up, so they won’t have to die.
You make them understand what you’re trying to say,
And you tell them to hurry and get out of the way.
But just part of them believe that what you tell them is true,
And you watch the others die because they didn’t follow you.
And it breaks your heart to watch them die
After to convince them so hard you did try.
After going through all this, you saved just a few;
Now think, -- Isn’t that just what GOD did for you?
He saw the judgment coming in the distance behind,
But we couldn’t see it, ‘cause we were all blind.
And as it approached, He figured out a plan;
He’d become one of us, so we’d understand.
But very few listened and from the road did leave,
And the tractor’s running over those who didn’t believe.
And GOD’s heart – broken and can’t understand
How he could reach out to help them, and them spit in His hand;
And the tractors still coming; some move and some stay;
And JESUS – heart-broken – pleads, “Get out of the way!”
Copyright 1977 by Rev Craig Hobbs
|Posted by BJ on April 24, 2016 at 11:55 PM||comments (1)|
by John "BJ" Hall
We live in a world that desperately needs change. In fact if we do not have an awakening in America soon, we will fall to God’s judgement.
Our Lord practically began His ministry by cleansing the temple (John 2:12-17) and His last word to the churches was, "Repent." Spiritual awakening, like judgment, begins at the house of God. It begins with confession.
• Confession (2 Chron. 7:14).
The setting of this passage is the dedication of Solomon’s Temple. The Lord had just warned of judgement if they were disobedient to Him. He then gives this command and promise. “. . . and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
God’s command is to His people not to political leaders. Awakening comes when God’s people (believers) turn their hearts toward God and away from the things of the world. This leads us to our next point
• Separation (1 John 2:15).
John begins this paragraph with a command to separate ourselves from the things of the world. 1 John 2:15 (NASB77) “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The things of the world are, and always have been, opposed to the things of God. Satan’s greatest desire is to use whatever means possible to undermine the work of the Kingdom. That includes tempting us to compromise with the world and destroy our witness in the process.
God demands a difference between us and the world. 1 Peter 1:16 (NASB77) “because it is written, " YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY." We are to be a “peculiar people.” The differences between the world and the Church should be obvious. In order for this to happen we must be submissive to our Lord.
• Submission (Rom. 10:9).
Romans 10:9 (NASB77) “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;” Jesus was the greatest example of the submission needed for awakening. Matthew 26:39 (NASB77) “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt."
When we submit to His control we take a major step toward awakening. The Lord responds to that submission by filling us with His Holy Spirit.
• Filling of the Spirit (John 7:37-39).
John 7:37-39 (NASB77) “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, " If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
The Holy Spirit not only takes up residence within us, He guides, convicts and directs us in our daily lives. Each day brings a new filling as we renew our submission.
• Continuance (John 8:31).
John 8:31 (NASB77) “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;”
The Greek word for abide is ἐπιμένω, pronounced epimenō. It means "to abide in, continue in, tarry," sometimes indicating perseverance in continuing.
The concept is similar to when you move into a new house. If you abide there long enough it becomes your home. You are comfortable there.
It is possible for believers to abide with the Lord so closely that it is a comfortable thing to be with Him. When that happens awakening is complete.
Prayer is the life blood of renewal. And it is the only hope for our world.
|Posted by BJ on April 13, 2016 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
By John McMinn
Many opportunities come for us to be a witness. Is this witnessing?
For example: I have a post on www.mostimportantthing.org which gives my testimony before knowing Christ, the discovery of my need for Jesus, and how my life has changed since knowing the Lord. When people visit that page, I receive notification that someone read my testimony. Is this witnessing or merely a witness?
Witnessing is a verb where being a witness is a noun.
This simple grammatical fact can help you see that witnessing requires activity and intentional action. It is something that you do. The website just sits there waiting for someone to come read it. I don’t want to discount the value of having a testimony posted online, in writing, or in any other form of media. However, as Christians we called to do more than live isolated lives posting on social media, feeling smug because we believe we have satisfied our Lord’s directive to “Go into all the world...”
Witnessing is an honor, a privilege, intoxicating, addictive, and never ever an accident. There have been many times in my life that the opportunity for me to witness or lead someone to belief in Jesus, was unexpected. Not an accident. These encounters were arranged by God. He was very intentional about who with, and at what time, the God moment would take place.
You can’t save anyone.
I was greatly humbled when I heard a preacher say that the Lord added to their number this morning a new family. I realized that this comes from Acts 2:47:
“And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.”
We can’t save them because Jesus does all the saving. We choose to be obedient. We choose to do what He asked us to do. We even make preparation for the tasks that we hope for.
Prepare for the order.
Did you go to school to learn how to do your job? Did you study before someone was willing to pay you to do it? Maybe you are a welder, a truck driver, a shoe cobbler, or a doctor. In all these professions you had to do your homework before you were qualified to do the job.
Why is it that so many are afraid of witnessing yet do nothing to grow in confidence and command of the scriptures? Many say, “Someone else is better qualified than me.” or “I’m afraid!” These are prompted by emotions of insecurity and sometimes pride. However, emotions are not sin. Failure to do what God says is sin. If we allow our insecurities to keep us from even preparing to be a witness then of course we are going to be embarrassed and fearful in a witnessing encounter.
We want God to go before us and soften the hearts of others before we speak. We want to speak boldly, knowing that we know who we are in Jesus, and what He has done for us He will do for others.
Don’t plan for failure.
If God were asking you to go out and get people saved. We would fail miserably. However, God’s plan is for His church to grow and for people from every tribe and nation to come to faith in Jesus.
Plan to be ready for the God arranged appointment. He has promised in Rev 7:9
“After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”
Think about it. They will listen, they will repent, and they will become saved. Who does the saving? Jesus! Who will do the telling of how to be saved? Those that plan for it.
Because it’s God’s plan.