Garland Family Prayer Letter (July-August 2018)

16 09 2018

Greetings:
We hope you are growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Street Ministry:
We have seen good crowds at the Courthouse and the bus station. It seems we have one-to-one conversations at the Courthouse every week. We gave out 424 tracts as part of our street ministry in July and August. We were also able to provide clothes to 250 needy people.

Prison Ministry:
Lancaster: I have had a little trouble getting into two of the yards. The officers keep finding reasons to cancel services but the other two yards have been going well. I have seen a few new faces and a few of the men have been sharing stories of opportunities they have had to witness on the yard. It has also been a blessing to see a few of the men released and find good churches to get involved with.

North Kern: My Friday night Bible study has gone down in attendance since the prison transferred most of my regulars, but the group that remains has been very faithful which is a blessing. We go verse by verse and they seem to be learning and growing from it. Pray that more men will arrive on the yard and join our group.

Reception yards have been amazing this summer. It feels as though every time I preach one of the men tell of how they were dealing with the topic I preached or they had read the passage I preached recently. It not only confirms to me that I am preaching according to the Spirit but that God is working in the hearts of these men by preparing them for the preaching.

I faced several times that the yards were closed for various reasons but Praise the Lord it didn’t last long. The Lord allowed me to preach to 208 men and give away 40 Johns/Romans, 80 Bibles and 165 tracts. I saw 5 men call on the Lord for salvation and 9 men were stirred about their souls but had yet to come to Christ.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers as we desire to serve the Lord full time in the Gospel ministry. There are so many people who need to hear the Gospel and so little time to labor and serve the Lord in this life.

You can give a tax deductible donation online by clicking on the “Donate” tab or to give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon





June 2018 Prayer Letter

1 07 2018

Greetings:
We hope you are growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Street Ministry:
We have seen good crowds at the Courthouse and the bus station this past month. While preaching at the bus station we have see many people gather to hear the preaching after we start. Some pretend not to care but we notice them move closer to hear. We gave out 370 tracts and 2 Bibles as part of our street ministry in June. We were also able to provide clothes to 150 needy people.

Prison Ministry:
Lancaster: I am seeing amazing spiritual growth among the men as well as a hunger for the Word. I have seen first time visitors in each service this month and more of the men take up the challenge to pray better. Several men have had life sentences lowered in answer to prayer and others have been fighting sins and have seen victory over those in response to their prayers. We were also able to send 4 books to inmates seeking help with spiritual growth.

North Kern: I have seen God prepare hearts in certain men before they came into chapel. My Associate Pastor got to start coming in with me and he has been blessed by being among the men there. I have seen men stand up in services and confess their sins. A great moving of God is going on. I was able to preach to 144 men this month.

One former pastor felt he could never be forgiven but we went into Romans 8 and he was greatly comforted that God is willing to forgive. Another man was worried God wouldn’t forgive a murderer so we went into the many murderers in Scripture who found forgiveness in Christ. 5 men confessed they were not ready to give up their sins but they felt convicted about them so pray God moves them to repentance and faith. I gave away 22 Bibles and 174 tracts to the men in the prison this month.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers as we desire to serve the Lord full time in the Gospel ministry. There are so many people who need to hear the Gospel and so little time to labor and serve the Lord in this life.

You can give a tax deductible donation online by clicking the donate tab at the top of this page or to give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon





March-May 2018 Prayer Letter

7 06 2018

Greetings:
We hope you are growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. This update will cover March through May because we got a little busy and haven’t had a chance to update.

Street Ministry:
We were blessed to join some friends in Fresno for an outreach among the needy. We fed 250 people and we were able to provide clothing for 300 people. We gave out 636 tracts, and 13 Bibles.

Prison Ministry:
In Lancaster I am seeing amazing spiritual growth among the men as well as a hunger for the Word. I am holding 4 services a month currently and wish I had time for more. Some of the men have begun witnessing to their loved ones while others have taken up my challenge to pray better and are experiencing answers to prayer.

One man bore testimony before a State committee testifying that it was his salvation that turned him from a constant offender to a man of honor. He pointed out that before he was saved he had constant behavior issues but since his salvation in 2011 he hasn’t had one mark against. He told them it’s the power of the Holy Spirit not education that will change men.

At North Kern I continued my discipleship class teaching through the book of Colossians. We started in February and we are still in Colossians 1 so it’s a pretty in depth study. We are seeing amazing growth in their lives as well. One man was struggling with a false doctrine and was able to settle it on his own through prayer and study of the Word. It was a blessing to see him stand on his own that way.

1 man trusted Christ and I was able to give out 300 Johns/Romans as well. I was able to preach to 239 inmates. God has blessed me with a fellow laborer named Gerry. We have done street evangelism together for years and now he is preaching in the prison as well. It’s a blessing to see the Lord burden others for this needy field.

Other News:
In May I was able to attend the Master’s Men conference in Fresno, California. It’s a blessing every year to come together with other men for singing, preaching and fellowship.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers as we desire to serve the Lord full time in the Gospel ministry. There are so many people who need to hear the Gospel and so little time to labor and serve the Lord in this life.

You can give a tax deductible donation online by clicking the “Donate” tab or to give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon





New Missionary Video

8 03 2018

We put together a new video to introduce our missionary work. A special thanks to Myke Diego of Redwood Baptist Church for putting it together.





February 2018 Prayer Letter

5 03 2018

Greetings:
We hope you are growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. February was a very busy month but we definitely felt the joy of serving the Lord.

Street Ministry:
We gave out 341 tracts this month. In addition to our ministry in Downtown Bakersfield we attended several other outreaches. We took part in the Super Bowl Outreach in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was cold but we bundled up and had a good time. The warmest I think it got was 14 degrees and the coldest I believe was -7.

It was my 6th Super Bowl Outreach and probably my favorite. We preached and had many good conversations. One benefit to the cold was that those who stopped to talk seemed more interested then at other times. I watched one young man go from proud to very humble as he came face to face with the Word of God and the reality of his sin.

About 2 weeks later I joined a few others to preach and tract at the NBA All Star weekend in Downtown Los Angeles. We split our time between the Santa Monica pier and the Staples Center. Many good seeds were planted and several asked very good questions and took tracts.

Prison Ministry:
I began my monthly rotation at Lancaster prison. The men were hungry for the Word and several had to be turned away due to the chapel being overcrowded. In the other yard the church had a split and many stopped attending. It was a blessing to have 6 men at my first service for that yard.

At North Kern I continued my discipleship class teaching through the book of Colossians. This is a new series as I just finished teaching through Titus. The class has grown with several new men joining in. My ministry partner Gerry had his first opportunity to preach to the men. I’m praying that this will spark a new ministry from his church.

The reception yards are in so much need of Gospel preaching. I met a man who had been waiting nearly 3 months to be called for chapel. Each service there was full with several being turned away and told to come to the next service due to lack of room. 85 men heard the Gospel, 20 took Bibles and 3 men made professions of faith with 3 others expressing concern for their souls.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers as we desire to serve the Lord full time in the Gospel ministry. There are so many people who need to hear the Gospel and so little time to labor and serve the Lord in this life.

You can give a tax deductible donation online by clicking the “donate” tab at the top of the page or to give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon





Thoughts on Ash Wednesday

14 02 2018

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent leading up to Easter Sunday in Roman Catholic tradition. Catholics get a cross made of ash put on their forehead as an outward sign that they are fasting for Lent. I wanted to address some major concerns about this practice in light of what the Scriptures teach.

Ash Wednesday is a violation of the spirit and letter of Matthew 6:16-18

Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

Jesus is very clear that we are not to appear to fast in front of other people. Ash Wednesday violates this directly. I don’t believe that Jesus is just addressing the heart because He does tell us not to physically look like we are fasting. Catholic.com tries to cover for this by saying that Jesus didn’t really care if we look like we are fasting He was just concerned with the heart. They even argue from complete silence that the ones He is addressing were not truly fasting:

“First of all, Jesus’ primary concern is hypocrisy. What he is condemning are acts undertaken to show off one’s personal piety. If the intention in doing an otherwise good act of mortification is to draw public attention to oneself, then, Jesus says, the attention received from the public is the only reward that person will receive, rather than the heavenly reward for which we are searching.

It is also noteworthy that Jesus says these hypocrites are “neglect[ing] their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting.” Perhaps those Jesus was condemning were not actually fasting but creating a surface impression so as to win the praise of others for their presumed piety. God, who sees the heart, knows whether or not they were really fasting. Hypocrisy, after all, is creating an appearance that is at odds with reality. (Article by Michelle Arnold, 2017)

To argue they were not really fasting is to argue from silence. To argue that the only important point is humility which is the spirit of His instructions is to ignore the plain meaning of the text. Yes humility is the reason we are commanded not to make our fasting public but the command to not make it public is still valid. It would be a gross misunderstanding of the Scripture to say that Jesus meant only don’t make it public if you’re not humble otherwise its okay.

This same article argued that the practice is Biblical because of a text in Maccabees 3:47. First of all that text is not even accepted as Scripture by the Jews. It was never a part of the Hebrew canon and was even rejected by Jerome and others because of that fact. Secondly, these were Jews performing a historical mourning ritual. There is no command for or example of Gentiles doing this.

Also of note, they rent their clothes and wore sackcloth. Why only a partial obedience by Rome? The truth is that Rome is notorious for finding Biblical passages that have even the vaguest reference to one of the non-biblical doctrines to support it. Even though they argue against Sola Scriptura they know the importance of it. Another point is that these ashes were sprinkled on their heads not smeared on the forehead.

Another point in reference to the above article is that they say it’s not to be done as an outward form of false humility. Many, if not most, American Catholics rarely attend church or practice their religion, yet they accept Ash Wednesday in large numbers. What you have is millions of people with no sincere desire to follow the church wearing a false symbol on their heads simply to look righteous.

This is also part of the system of penance set up by the church. Penance is the idea that we need to help pay for our sins. We need to make satisfaction for our sins. This is a spit in the face of the work of Christ. He made a perfect offering for sins.

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:12-18)

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the propitiation or satisfactory payment for sins.

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

If He is the satisfaction for our sins (and a perfect satisfaction I might add) how can we do anything to satisfy God’s wrath on our sin? The answer is we cannot. The article does end well and I want all Catholics to heed what it says.

“Believe in the gospel!”

The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins. We cannot make atonement for our sins because we are dead in sins. A perfect atonement is needed and that perfect atonement is given by Jesus Christ. We are not saved by contributing good works to the work of Christ but by trusting entirely in what Christ did on the cross.

On the cross Jesus paid in full the debt of your sin by taking on Himself the guilt of your sin. He now offers you His perfect righteousness as a free gift. You can be right with God because in salvation we are united to His Son. All you must do is to put your faith and trust in Christ and what He did on the cross. Call on the Lord to save you. You can be perfectly purified right now for all sin by putting your faith in Christ. Turn to Him today He is a perfect and loving Savior.





Lancaster Prison Update

11 02 2018

This is a brief ministry update for 2/11/18

 





January 2018 Prayer Letter

5 02 2018

Greetings:
We hope that your new year is going well. It’s been very busy for us but definitely fruitful.

Church:
On the first Sunday of the year our church voted unanimously to call Don Thomason as pastor. Pastor Thomason took over officially on the 21st of January. We are blessed to have him and look forward to serving with him for years to come.

Street Ministry:
Our street ministry has been very active as the year gets underway. On New Year’s Day I was at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena with a few others sharing the Gospel. It was my first time there so I wasn’t sure what to expect but it went very well.

We also continued our ministry on the streets of Bakersfield. We gave out 664 tracts, helped feed 3 people in need and gave away clothes for 100 people. The crowds at the Downtown bus station have been larger than normal so we have had many hear the Gospel.

Prison Ministry:
The men in Lancaster have been suffering from the flu and many of the buildings have been quarantined. What I found so encouraging was the hunger of the men present to hear the Gospel. Some had been sick and had to miss services and there was a definite hunger to get back into the Word.

North Kern has been busy but so much still needs to be done. 1 inmate told me he had been waiting 2 months for services and during another chapel I was told men wanting to come had to be turned away for lack of space. My heart breaks when I see men desiring to come who can’t. I have been having 3 or 4 services per week but there are so many men.

I’ve started a weekly evening Bible study more for discipleship to help the men nearing release. This service focuses on how to live the Christian life. My hope is to strengthen their walk before getting back to the outside.

I was able to send 3 Christian growth books to men as well as receive several letters from inmates sharing what God has done in their lives. I gave out 63 Bibles, preached to 120 men and saw 1 man put his faith in Christ and another 7 were stirred about their souls.

Other News:
We took on 1 new supporting church in January which was a real blessing, but there are still many needs. Pray we can share our work in more churches and see more support come in this year. I look forward to the day when I can hold 15 or 20 services a week in the prison and preach several days a week on the streets.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers as we desire to serve the Lord full time in the Gospel ministry. There are so many people who need to hear the Gospel and so little time to labor and serve the Lord in this life.

You can give a tax deductible donation online by clicking the “donate” tab at the top of the screen or to give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon





False Prophets

31 01 2018

I wanted to address an issue that I believe is overlooked in much of the church today. The issue of false prophets. I’m not talking about Joel Osteen or Kenneth Copeland. I’m talking about false prophets that are not as easily identified as those in Charismania or in the common cults such as the Watchtower Society, Mormon church, or Roman church.

A false prophet is a person who speaks for the Lord or from the Lord and speaks falsely. The person who says God has said something but God didn’t speak. This person is defined as a false prophet and according to Scripture they are not to be listened to.

“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:22)

I attend a Baptist church and the issue of people speaking for the Lord and then not following through is out of hand. I attended one particular church where over several years half a dozen people stood in front of the church claiming God had called them to pastor or be missionaries. None of those men followed through. One was even put into the office of a deacon after the fact.

They stood up in the assembly of the saints and said God had called them to something that they never acted on. This tells me God didn’t call them or they walked away from the call. If they walked away from the call there should be some concern. We should think twice before giving them any duties within the church.

If God didn’t call them then there needs to be an acknowledgement before the church. If they claimed God spoke publicly they should confess their error publicly. I attended one particular church where a man claimed to be called to preach. After a year he decided he was wrong and in a strong integrity move he went back to the church to confess it.

I can’t tell you how many church planters have come through saying God called them to a city only to try for several years then decide it’s not working and leave. If God called you there who are you to decide it isn’t working? Missionaries in the old days would labor sometimes 7 or 8 years without a single convert. They pressed on because God had called them. Today we have such a results based almost business like model of ministry that a person really feels they need to produce results or quit.

I suppose to sum the point up we need to be careful when saying God has spoken to us. To say God called me or God led me should carry a lot of weight and not be phrases we just throw out lightly. Churches need to hold members accountable to fulfill what they claim God has called them to and address the issue when they don’t act on the claim.





What Does Prison Ministry Look Like?

15 01 2018

A question I receive a lot is: what does prison ministry look like? I want to answer that as best I can. It may vary from situation to situation but I’ll share my policies and practices.

As for policy I keep it simple. I don’t want men to put me in any questionable positions. This means that while they may offer seemingly harmless gifts as thank you I simply refuse.

Don’t create an opportunity for blackmail. My policy is direct. I give only the Gospel and take only their gratitude.

My rules are simple. I give away only material that I bring in, no bathroom during chapel if there is no officer available for escort and no interruptions. If they are only there to get out of their building for a little while that’s fine with me as long as they don’t interrupt. I stress you respect me and I’ll respect you.

I give away Bibles to anyone who needs one and try to get right into the Word and preach. It’s preaching that saves sinners.

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

I typically preach anywhere from 45 to an hour and then I open it up for questions. Some chaplains recommend against this but I have found it very helpful. I don’t want to give the impression of a performance. I don’t want them to feel like they are just there for me to lecture or yell at.

Many of them have honest Biblical questions especially after an hour long sermon. If someone seeking truth has questions I want to address those as best I can.

I always give a chance to respond to the Gospel whether they are saved or lost. I urge them to apply the message to their own lives. If they need to be saved I urge them to call on the Lord and if they profess salvation I urge them to surrender themselves again and get things right.








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