Nov
03

She’s A Hard One

She'sAHardOneBlogIf I told you right now to take out your cell phone and scroll down the contacts would there be someone there that needed Jesus? If not we should be perusing a friendship with people who do not know Jesus. You might say, “Riley I’m not called to that type of ministry. I don’t have the gift of evangelism. I give to ministries that minister to the lost.” That’s an excuse that most Christians and churches use to cover up the truth of them not wanting to get out of their Christian bubble and minister to the lost in the real world. It’s kinda like that movie the Truman show. We are caught up in our perfect little Christian world. With never a grasp on the real world. Someone once said, “they’re to spiritual for earthly good.”

Jesus gave us a mandate to go into all the world to reach out to everyone. A pastor told me one time, “Riley, I never can find someone who doesn’t know Jesus.” They said they would ask people, (like most do) “Do you know Jesus?” And the response she would always get was “Sure, I know Jesus.” Then they would assume after that response they were a Christian and say, “God Bless You” and then leave the person. That is not evangelism at all. We are called to share the Good News. Do you know Jesus isn’t good news.

 

Many people know about Jesus but have never had a personal relationship with him. That’s why we must spend a little more time to find out where they’re at and not just assume they are a Christian. 

 

Jesus was a friend of notorious sinners the bible says they came to hear him speak and he even ate with them. (Luke 15:1-2 NLT) If Jesus was here today he would not be at a believer’s convention, he’d be hanging out with sinners winning the lost. And if you are following him you would be hanging out with sinners winning the lost. I was at a church in Maine and actually had the people in the congregation to pull out their cell phones and to this day do it often. She scrolled down her contacts and saw a lady who wasn’t saved and she thought “she’s a hard one, I’m not calling her we’ve been working on her for years.” Then she kept scrolling. That very second the same lady she commented on called her! She knew this was The Lord so after the service she went to a Sunday school room and called the lady. She told her she loved her and knew she needed to ask her if for some reason she died would she be confident she would be in heaven. The lady answered no she wasn’t sure so she shared the Romans scriptures and then led her in a prayer to receive Jesus! God’s word will not return void! Let’s all spend a little more time with those around us. Let’s stop working on ‘em and love on them.

 

I pray today you’ll make a new friend to add to your contact list so you can reach out to them and love them in to a relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Oct
29

Turn Your Light on at Halloween

Riley Stephenson HalloweenWhether or not to participate in Halloween activities has been a big debate among the members of the Body of Christ. As believers, we have nothing to fear when the Holy Spirit is our guide. What does He have to say about this issue?

The Bible tells us not to “copy the behavior and customs of this world” (Romans 12:2, New Living Translation). But this verse should not be an excuse for us to shut the door on the world. We also need to let our light shine, as my family and I learned a long time ago—especially on the darkest day of the year!

For years my wife, Kim, and I would not turn on our porch light at Halloween. When persistent trick-or-treaters knocked on our door anyway, our family ignored them. We would not let our girls carve pumpkins or color Halloween artwork at school or go trick-or-treating.

Then one year the Lord spoke this scripture to our family: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, New King James Version). We realized that God wanted us to reach out to our neighbors on Halloween night. So we changed our MO! We bought good candy, not the cheap stuff—you know, the kind that has bubble gum in it that loses its flavor as soon as you put it in your mouth. We got chocolate bars! And we began to minister the love of God to those who were participating in Halloween. We handed out candy to our neighborhood kids, gave them tracts, and asked them if we could pray with them about anything.

Halloween is a great time for us to get to know our neighbors. Streets are packed with parents and children. Paul said it this way: “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:22–23, NLT).

As Christians, we walk every day in the burden-removing, yoke-destroying power of God (see Isaiah 10:27). If we close our door on our neighbors at Halloween, if we “turn our lights off,” we miss a big opportunity to remove burdens and destroy yokes from other people’s lives.

My family’s outreach began with just us. Later we started taking friends out with us onto the streets in our community to share the love of Christ at Halloween, and over time the ministry grew.

One church in Athens, Ohio, found out about what we were doing and invited me and my ministry team to come minister at the nation’s largest Halloween block party, which takes place in their city every year. This block party draws about 80,000 college-age kids, who come every year to drink and party on Halloween night. In 2009 we started taking teams to the event to share the gospel with young people, and since then thousands have received Jesus as Lord and Savior on the darkest day of the year.

Another church, this one in Roscoe, Illinois, whose pastor is a friend of mine, uses Halloween as their biggest outreach of the year. They bring carnival rides in and provide free popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy. They clear out their sanctuary and set up games for the kids, and then they present a gospel skit. Every year at least 5,000 people attend this event. A lot of people in the community don’t even offer candy for trick-or-treating—they send people to my friend’s church instead!

I’m not saying that we should dress up as the devil and participate in dark activities. We should dress normally when we minister on Halloween night. When people see us loving, rather than judging the people who go to haunted houses or go trick-or-treating, the Bible says they will begin to glorify the heavenly Father. We should be a light in the darkness.

The Bible says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). When we begin to look like love, talk like love and act like love, God who is love will manifest Himself through us, spreading His light to a lost and dying world. I pray that this Halloween you will open up your door and turn on your light to harvest souls for God’s kingdom.

Watch the Video. CLICK HERE

 

Sep
18

Obedience Brings Blessing

ObedienceBlogChad went to our evangelism training one Friday night but was unable to go with our team on the next day’s Saturday outreach. But God still had outreach plans for Chad!

As Chad drove through the city on Saturday, he saw a man sitting on the side of the road. As he passed the man, the Lord asked him if he was going to put into practice what he had learned at the evangelism training the night before. Chad was a little nervous, because this was the first time he’d ever tried to lead anyone to Christ. But he immediately turned his vehicle around, parked, and got out to talk to the man.

This man had a case of beer by his side and a can of beer in his hand. Chad ministered to him using our pocket reference card, and the gentleman prayed to receive Jesus! As he prayed, tears began to roll down the man’s cheek. He was so thankful that Chad had stopped what he was doing to minister to him.

Then, unexpectedly, the man continued to give Chad thanks. With tears still in his eyes, he reached to shake Chad’s hand. “I felt something in his hand,” Chad told me “and I knew exactly what it was.” When Chad opened his hand, he saw a hundred-dollar bill. Chad didn’t want to receive it because he hadn’t reached out to the man in the hopes of being rewarded, but the man insisted because he was so thankful for what the Lord had just done for him. So Chad received the blessing from the gentleman.

When Jesus needed money to pay His tax, he told Peter to go fishing, and Peter found the tax money both for Jesus and for himself in the mouth of the fish he caught. Chad and his family really needed that hundred-dollar bill. The Lord knew that, and basically, He had told Chad to “go fishing.”

Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19, KJV). The Lord needed Chad to minister the good news to this man sitting at the side of the road. Chad was obedient to hear from the Lord. He acted on the word of God to him, and he found a blessing on the other side of his obedience. The Bible says, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land” (Isa. 1:19, NKJV), and, “He who reaps receives wages” (John 4:36, NKJV). I’m sure Chad and his family ate well that Saturday night! There is always a blessing on the other side of our obedience.

I’m so thankful there is another name written in heaven! All of heaven is rejoicing! I pray today that you will be obedient to the Lord’s prompting when He wants you to minister to the lost. You can do it! If God is for you, no man can be against you!

 

 

 

Jul
23

Hearing God’s Voice to Win Souls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to listen to the Spirit of God in the area of leading someone to Jesus comes from meditation on and study of God’s Word. When we choose to obey God in the slightest things, it brings us to maturity in the Lord.

God told Joshua to never stop speaking about the Word of God. He told him to recite it day and night so that he could carefully obey everything written in it. That is what made Joshua accomplish his objectives and made him successful (see Josh. 1:8). Jesus Himself said, “I only do what I see My Father do, and I only say what I hear My Father say” (see John 5:19; 8:28).

If we lack knowledge of what God says to do, it is difficult for us to know when the Spirit of God is leading us to a person. The Spirit of God will never lead us in opposition to God’s written Word. The Bible says that it is God’s will for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (see 1 Tim. 2:4), so we know that God wants us to share the gospel with others.

When you’re not sure whether the Holy Spirit is leading you to minister to someone, rely on the peace in your heart. The Bible says, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33, kjv). Before you go out to share your faith, ask the Lord where He wants you to go, and then, when you get there, ask Him who He wants you to talk to. It’s really simple. And it takes the pressure off us! God shows us exactly where to go and what to do.

On one of our evangelistic outreaches, we were in a Walmart. As we were getting ready to leave, one of the ladies said to the Lord, “Lord, if You’re done, I’m done, but if You’re not done here, show me what else You want me to do.” Right then she heard the Lord say, “There will be one more girl your age for you to talk to, and she’ll be wearing a pink shirt.” Almost immediately this woman noticed a lady her age wearing a pink shirt. She spoke with the lady using our pocket reference card—and prayed with her to receive Jesus!

Notice that this woman did three things:

1. She waited for peace in her heart—she let the Word of God in her heart “act as umpire” (Col. 3:15, amp).
2. She talked to the Lord—she asked God, “Show me what to do,” knowing that it was not about her.
3. She obeyed exactly what the Lord showed her to do.

It is so simple to hear God’s voice and then to obey it. We need to realize that we are not the ones who bring about salvation in others. The Holy Spirit leads, guides, and directs us as to where we should go, whom we should talk to, and what we should say.

Jesus said, “I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say” (John 12:49–50, nlt).

I pray that you’ll be open today to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and that you will obey what He tells you, knowing that His words spoken through you will lead someone to eternal life.

Apr
14

Share Your Faith This Easter!

Riley Stephenson Easter

Share your faith – use these free resources!

This season is sure to open doors for you to share your faith…and I’m going to help make it EASY for you with a bunch of FREE resources you can download today!

First, grab this handy card with prompts for breaking the ice about your faith, scriptures you can share, and three simple sentences anyone can pray to make Jesus their Lord.

Next, download these two tracts. The first one is another great help when leading someone to Christ, and the second is perfect to leave with them afterward, so they know what to do next.

Then, I want to sow two of my books into your life. The first will stir your faith for soul-winning. In the second, I show you how to maximize the effectiveness of your witness. They’re both quick reads, and—yes!—feel free to share them with others.

Finally, if you want more, right now you can get both of my full-length books for the price of oneThese books contain not only my heart on sharing your faith and some great Bible studies on evangelism, but they also include the practical tools you need to take the Good News to the world.Order now!

I hope you download, enjoy and USE all these powerful resources this season. Together, we’ll be bringing in a HUGE harvest of souls!

Increasing His Kingdom,

Riley Stephenson

Minister of Evangelism

Kenneth Copeland Ministries

P.S.  Remember kcm.org/next, too! It’s a great resource website with videos and more for sharing your faith, and for following up with those whom you minister to.

Don’t wait—these downloads will only be available for a little while. And the special offer on my books will only last until May 15, 2014. Get them all now!

Mar
03

Guaranteed to Succeed

Gone FishingWhat if I told you that if you’d follow one simple rule, you’d be guaranteed to succeed?

In 1998 the Lord gave me a key to success. He told me to look at both Matthew 6:33 and Luke 19:10 in the Amplified Version. Here is what the two verses say:

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. (Matt. 6:33)

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)

Looking at these two scriptures together opened my eyes to something: Seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33) includes seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10). When we win the lost, God will give us the things we need as well.
In other words, if we need money or provision, we should win the lost—and God will meet our needs.

Wow, Riley, is it that simple? Yes, my friend, it is. When we make it our priority to seek and save the lost, God will give us everything we need to get the job done.

How does it work?

First, if we are going to win the lost, we must be followers of Jesus. Jesus told His disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19, NKJV).

Jesus had to show the disciples what following means. One morning a crowd was pressing in on Jesus (see Luke 5:1–11). Jesus noticed Peter’s empty boat, so He stepped into it—without asking Peter if He could—so that He could teach the people without being crushed. Peter went along with this arrangement, and when he did, his boat became a tool for the preaching of the gospel.

Then, after Jesus used Peter’s boat to preach, He told Peter to go fishing. Peter and the others launched his boat, even though they were tired. They had already fished all night and caught nothing.

What was Jesus trying to show these guys? He was teaching them that following Him means going where He goes, doing what He does, saying what He says. If we are going to seek and save the lost, we have to follow Jesus and be willing to do anything He asks us.

Second, if we want to receive God’s provision, we must allow God to use our resources. Proverbs 19:17 says, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD—and He will repay you!”

Peter let Jesus use his boat to preach the gospel, and Jesus repaid Peter far beyond all he could ever ask or think. When the disciples gave their time and strength and headed out for one more round of fishing, they caught a boat-sinking load of fish!

Much later, after Peter had followed Jesus for many months, the same principle was at work. When Peter needed money to pay a tax, Jesus told him, “Go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first; and when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money: take that and give it to them for Me and you” (Matt. 17:27, NKJV).

In John 4:36 Jesus said, “The harvesters are paid good wages” (NLT). What kind of wages was He talking about? Well, the answer is twofold. Jesus went on to say that the fruit they would harvest is people brought to eternal life. Glory to God! But did Peter and the others receive only a spiritual wage from that boat-sinking catch they made? No! They turned that catch into provision for mission. They used it to become fishers of men. Where God guides, He provides.

A pastor friend of mine recently told me, “Riley, your breakthrough might be in the mouth of the next fish you catch.” Wow! I’d say it’s time to fish!

When you follow Jesus and let Him use your resources to win the lost—you are guaranteed to succeed!

Oct
22

Destination

Riley Stephenson Destination

In commercial airline travel, there are many flight options. Some flights are direct. Others connect through one or more cities on the way to their final destination. Sometimes flights are delayed or even cancelled.

Recently I was scheduled to speak at a church in Elmira, New York. I decided to arrive in Elmira a day early so that I would have plenty of time to prepare for my first service. I flew out of Dallas, Texas, and landed in Chicago for what was to be a short layover. After hours of delay, however, I was informed that my flight out of Chicago had been cancelled and that there were no flights heading anywhere near Elmira.

At this point I had a decision to make. I could take my shoe off and wave it threateningly at the airline staff while cussing, or I could find another way to my destination.

People ask me all the time, “How do I fulfill God’s calling on my life?” or, in other words, “How do I get to my destination?”

The answer is easy: cast all your cares upon God. Psalm 37:23 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly” (nlt). Our problem is that too often we attempt to lean on our own understanding instead of trusting in the Lord.

Don’t believe me? How many times have you prayed, pondered and begged God in order to figure out your calling in life? As human beings, our flesh nature wants to be in control. We don’t just want to know all the details of our lives, we crave to know them. Regardless of our desires, however, God doesn’t want us to crave our destiny. He wants us to crave Him.

When you were seven years old, did you ever guess that your life would pan out the way that it has? Have you made good decisions as well as some bad ones, and have you walked through things that seemed out of your control? You see, though, God planned for all those “unexpected” detours in your life. He is the One who gave you the freedom to make choices, whether good or bad. But thankfully, God also so carefully designed His plan for your life that He provided you more than one way to arrive at the destination He has in mind for you.

God wants you to trust Him, no matter where you are, because His perspective is bigger than yours! He wants you to arrive at your destination. But the journey you are on as you make your way there is forging you into the person you will need to be when you arrive at your stopping place.

So what did I do when I found myself stuck in Chicago? While everyone else started a small riot at the ticket counter, I calmly left, rented a car, drove seven hundred miles to Elmira and made it on time to the service. It wasn’t the way I had hoped to get to my destination, but God was faithful to get me where I needed to be as I committed myself to trust Him, one step at a time.

Sep
12

Autopilot

Riley's Auto Pilot BlogHave you ever stopped in the middle of the things you were doing and realized that you were stuck on autopilot?

You know what I mean. The alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. You stumble to the coffee pot, get dressed, get the kids ready for school, make and eat breakfast, fight the morning traffic, work all day in your cubicle, see your co-workers, go home, make dinner, watch TV, go to bed—and the next day you hit the repeat button. Sure, some things may differ a bit from day to day, but by and large you could probably traverse your daily routine without even thinking about what you’re doing.

People often say that they want change in their lives, but for all our alleged desire for change, what happens when something messes up our routine? What happens when things don’t go exactly the way we expect or want them to?

I recently had such an experience. It had been a long day, and I had gone to a restaurant with my friends. I just wanted to get my food and relax. The restaurant, however, was packed. Once we were seated, our waitress had so many patrons that she could barely keep up with them all. When my order didn’t arrive exactly as I had placed it, I got a bit upset that she hadn’t been paying more attention to me and my selfish “needs.”

At this point one of my friends noticed that our waitress needed prayer for healing. He asked her if she wanted prayer, and she responded, “I can always use prayer.” So my friend said, “Riley, why don’t you pray for her?”

Now I was having a temper tantrum in the restaurant that day. I didn’t want to pray for our waitress. But I did it anyway. I grabbed the woman’s hand and prayed that the Lord would remove any sickness in her body.

Not only was our waitress healed, but she prayed then and there to rededicate her life to the Lord. I had almost missed the opportunity to be a blessing to our waitress that day!

I truly believe that most Christians want to see the lost saved and the sick healed. But at times we get so busy with our own lives that it’s as if we’re stuck on autopilot. We pray for God to give us opportunities to reach out to others around us, but we fail to see the opportunities He gives us because all we see is ourselves.

My prayer for you is that God would give you eyes to see the lost and the hurting on a daily basis. Join me in this prayer: “Lord, give me eyes to see beyond my wants and my needs, and use me to reach the lost and hurting around me. Amen.”

Apr
24

Led by God’s Spirit

Riley ministering in BarI was at a church one weekend leading evangelism training sessions, and after the Saturday morning meeting, we went out into the city for the day to minister to people about Jesus. That evening, as we continued walking the streets, I started hearing in my spirit the letters “VFW” over and over again. The impression persisted, so I asked one of the ladies who lived in the city if they had a VFW there. She told me that they did.

I told the group that I felt like we should go to the VFW, so off we went. As we walked into the building, we saw people playing pool. Others were standing at the bar, and there was a big group sitting at a table.

I walked up to the people at the table and began ministering to the whole group. At first they all listened, but when I started quoting Scripture, half of them started talking among themselves. But there was one woman standing near me who was listening intently. This woman was holding a beer mug and a lit cigarette, both in one hand, and she kept right on smoking and drinking as I talked. I was astonished that she could do all that with one hand!

But this lady heard the gospel message, and when I finished talking, she prayed to receive Jesus! I knew that God’s word would not return void and that it would prosper in her life.

Several months later I saw the pastors from the church where I had taught, and they told me that they had seen the lady from the VFW. She told the pastors that at the time we had seen her, she had been going to church and also going to the bars. She had been riding the fence with her faith. When we came into the VFW that night, this woman said she knew it was a sign from God. She rededicated her life to Jesus that night, quit going to the bars and has been in church ever since. Glory to God! I believe the Lord sent us there for that one lady!

Being led by God’s Spirit is the most adventurous and rewarding life! Open your heart to hear what the Spirit is saying to you today!

Mar
31

A Father’s Love

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about the prodigal son in Luke 15.

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 NLT)

I love that “filled with LOVE and COMPASSION” he ran!

The Father in this story had every right to be mad and offended at his son. He had every right to disown him. The young boy had stooped to the lowest level of society. He could have demanded a full repayment of the money that had been spent. I believe everyday the father was looking out into the field saying to himself, “that son of mine is coming home.” While the son was out in the world partying up to his neck in sin, the father was watching, waiting, longing for his son to come home.

Compassion sees a problem and has an overwhelming desire to alleviate the suffering.

The father when he saw his son, covered from head to toe in pig slop didn’t turn up his spiritual nose! No! He gave him a big hug and a kiss. He told the servants to restore him! He never gave up on his son. He didn’t stop believing, and he never gave up.

We cannot lose our compassion for those who are lost. The bible says “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT) They don’t even know what they are doing because they’re not in their “right mind.” In verse 17 it says “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself…”(Luke 15:17 NLT) It’s our job to pray for the lost not to judge or condemn.

God never gave up on us when we were out in the world in sin. We should never give up on our family members. Never give up on our co-workers. Never give up on or friends. Never stop believing for them. God will show you how to minister to them. Like the father, fill yourself with love and compassion concerning the lost and soon you’ll see yourself running after them bringing them home.