Archive for September, 2014

A Harvest in Liberia

I received a phone call yesterday from one of the pastors in Liberia that I visited last month. I had only been able to preach at his church for one service because of the Ebola Crisis, but I was able to give out copies of Four Steps to Revival to everyone there. It was a great service, but as soon as it was over I had to leave.

Sometimes you wonder what is going to happen next. No matter how exciting a service may be, there is always the possibility that in a few days or weeks, everyone will settle back into their old routine and the fire will dissipate. Just as water seeks its own level, the human tendency is to settle back into that “comfort zone” that you have been used to. It is the evangelist’s job to light the fire; the pastor’s job is to continue to fan the flames, but it doesn’t always happen that way.

I am not like Paul who would sometimes stay with a church that he had planted for years to make sure it was established on solid ground. I am more like the disciples whose directive was to go out and spread the message to every town and village in Judea. I have to keep going. But I do a lot of looking over my shoulder.

Sometimes I will leave a place and never hear from them again. What happened after I left? Did they take the message to heart and go out and win souls? Did they continue to have exciting services? Did the church grow? Was the fire still burning that I had lit? Sometimes you just never find out.

And then sometimes, you will hear back from a pastor or a church that you were at three, four, or five years ago to find out that they had doubled, tripled, and quadrupled in size all because they took the message you brought to heart. Last month, we heard from a pastor in Tanzania whose vision was to plant 300 churches, but he just didn’t know how to do it. He called to tell us that because of the message in the book, he had done it — 300 churches in 3 years! That makes something bubble up deep inside you that chokes you up and comes out in tears. It’s working; it’s really working.

Yesterday’s call had an added twist to it. I could tell when I was in Liberia that something was going on in the invisible world of the Spirit, but, because I had to leave so early, I wondered if I was going to be able to accomplish anything at all. What was the point of me coming to a couple tiny churches in such a small area and then leaving so quickly? Had I made any kind of difference at all, or was this just an exercise in futility? Sometimes you just never know. But it’s not your job to figure out; your job is to show up. God’s job is to take it from there.

The pastor told me that because of the message I preached, his people were heading out into the streets and marketplace every Friday to witness and win souls. Let me remind you that this is in the middle of an outbreak of a deadly disease that has killed thousands in Liberia. Few people venture outdoors unless they absolutely have to.   But these kids don’t care – they are full of the fire of God and they cannot sit and do nothing. They have got to tell somebody about Jesus Christ!

The pastor told me that the church has been packed! More and more people are coming in every week. They are on fire! This was because of one service in a small church. What would have happened, the pastor wondered, if I could have been there for three or four services?

I don’t know. It is enough for me to know that God really is not only in charge, but He is actually engaged!   When you trust Him completely and allow Him to lead you – enough even to have Him send you into the midst of a deadly pestilence – there is no telling what God can do.

And every once in a while, as you glance over your shoulder down the path you have so laboriously trudged down, He will let you see a glimpse of the harvest that was planted.

Brother Dale,

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Sampson & Delilah


* 12-minute broadcast *

Excerpts from the above broadcast –
“When we get to a place where we think we have arrived and that we don’t have to worry about those things — we’re made out of a little bit better dirt than the next guy , or we have a great calling in God — we are setting ourselves up for a fall.  And that is exactly what happened with Sampson.”
“If you are not reading and praying and seeking God’s face, how can He deal with you?  How can He prosper you?  Do you think that because once upon a time you were somebody  in God that will mean something?  Today is the day of salvation.
“Because Sampson did not prepare his heart to seek the reproof of Word of God, Delilah was able to deceive him and he ended up shorn and in a prison house grinding corn.

“Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD”
(Proverbs 1:24-29)

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No Oil


The five foolish virgins thought they were going to Heaven, but there was no oil in their lamps and, as a result, they had no fire and no light.
“You can’t be an on-fire Christian and be satisfied with ‘church as usual’.”
“Only the fear of the Lord will bring you into that holiness that brings you into the love of God.”
“Going to church three times a week, wearing a Jesus t-shirt or having a fish on your bumper is not serving the Lord, neither is it having oil in your lamp.”
“How hot do you have to be? So hot that you will suffer persecution for the Gospel.”
“The airways are filled with false prophets that encourage you will words of Peace, peace, when there is no peace, but they are like those foolish virgins that had no oil and cannot set anyone on fire for God.”
“Just because you go to church does not mean you are going to Heaven. What a horrible deception to wake up on the day of Judgment on the wrong side of Eternity!”
“We need the oil to flow through us so we can be a testimony of light and fire to show the world the Truth”.


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Pretty Good

Ol’ Asa was pretty good, but in the end being pretty good was not enough.


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