Prayer Letter (April-June 2020)

21 08 2020

Greetings:
We greet you in the name of the Lord and hope this letter finds you well. We are still on lock down. The prisons are still closed so I have been finding other ways to minister the Gospel. The good news is that people are out and moving around more so that creates more opportunity to get them the Gospel. Our family is doing well and the kids are growing. Dale starts Kindergarten this year which is an exciting new step in his life. Sky is working on some preschool materials to help her prepare for next year when she starts Kindergarten.

Street Ministry:
We don’t want to waste this time of societal change. We want to redeem the time and keep busy in Kingdom work. We have continued our ministry at the bus station. It seems to be business as usual there. The Courthouse has been put on hold due to less in-person court hearings. We have moved to include some neighborhood outreach. We are giving away tracts and Scripture house to house. With more people staying home we figure it’s time to take the Gospel to them.

We preached 5 open air sermons, gave away 427 tracts and 520 copies of John/Romans booklets.

Prison Ministry:
Not being able to go into the prison hasn’t stopped me from ministering in other ways. I have been ministering by letters to 4 men and I sent 2 Christian books to an inmate requesting them as well. Pray for the men as their ability to attend services has been greatly hampered. I was blessed to hear that on one yard the men were using their 2 hour yard time each day to gather in worship.

Please pray with me that the prisons will reopen and that God is using this time to prepare hearts for a great revival in there. I believe that this is all within God’s plan and that we need only trust Him.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers. You can give a tax deductible donation.

Giving Instructions:

Give online by clicking above
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





Prayer Letter: January-March 2020

22 04 2020

Greetings:
We greet you in the name of the Lord and hope this letter finds you well. We are on lock down as you are I’m sure.The prisons are closed for now and there has been little opportunity for street ministry with so few people out and about. I was able to get some ministry work done in January and February. I pray this ends soon so that church and ministry can continue.

Street Ministry:
I was able to attend the Super Bowl Outreach in Miami, Florida. This was my 8th year attending and it was a blessing. We preached in Downtown Miami as well as South Beach. The crowds were amazing and we had many good one-to-one conversations. I know of a few who made professions of faith and many others who took tracts or Bibles.

In town we had good outreaches at the Courthouse and bus station. It seems like a lot of tracts were accepted and we had good responses to the preaching. I was hoping to preach at the NFL draft in Las Vegas but the virus panic cancelled the event. I am hoping to make a few trips to Los Angeles this summer to preach but it depends on the circumstances of course.

I gave away 15 John/Romans as well as 188 tracts. I was able to join Arks of Bulrushes ministry at the abortion clinic. We preach the Gospel and offer help to the women. We talked to 10 or so women and saw 1 turn away and keep her baby. We are in an ongoing effort to help her during her pregnancy.

Prison Ministry:
The prison ministry started off really good until services were cancelled. I was supposed to preach the Easter revival but that was cancelled as well. Before they closed the facility I was able to give away 19 Bibles, 1 Gospel of John and 2 John/Romans. I gave away 11 Christian books, 26 tracts, and preached to 195 men. I also received 126 prayer requests and corresponded with 4 men.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers. You can give a tax deductible donation.

Giving Instructions:
Give online by clicking the “Donate” tab at the top of the page. All gifts are tax deductible.

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





2019 Year End Update

21 04 2020

I guess I forgot to post my last ministry update for 2019 so here it is. Sorry it’s so late and thank your for your prayers.

Greetings:
We greet you in the name of the Lord and hope this letter finds you well. We were blessed to finalize our adoption in November. We welcomed Dale Michael Garland and Skyeisha Grace Garland to our family. The Lord’s hand was evident both in how quickly we got them as well as in how fast the process took. Many families struggle for years to adopt and we were blessed to be able to complete the process in just over a year.

Street Ministry:
We have had good crowds on the streets and many people showing an interest in the Word of God. I was able to preach at the PAC 12 Championship game in Santa Clara for third straight year. I gave out 100 tracts and got to preach to hundreds more.

Prison Ministry:
The Lord allowed me to preach the Christmas banquets in Lancaster which was a blessing. The sermons led to two or three divine appointments with men struggling with the truth of the Gospel. I gave out a Bible and New Testament, 111 tracts and 9 Christian books to the men. I was able to preach to 149 men over the last two months.

2019 Year in Review:
I almost hate to make summaries since ministry is far more than mere numbers but I do think it’s helpful to look at what has been accomplished while giving thanks to the Lord.

Bibles: 147
New Testaments: 7
John/Romans: 112
Gospel of Johns: 1
Tracts: 1,813
Books to inmates: 31
Professions of faith: 13
Prayer requests received: 938
Men attended preaching: 969
Letter ministry: 8
Food ministry: 111
Clothing given out: 100

Praise the Lord for a fruitful 2019 and may He increase the field of labor in 2020!
Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers. You can give a tax deductible donation.

Giving Instructions:
Give online by clicking “Donate” at the top of the page. All gifts are tax deductible.

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





A Lock Down Reminder

20 04 2020

 





Celebrating Good Friday

10 04 2020

I come from a Christian tradition that doesn’t necessarily celebrate Good Friday. There is debate as to whether Jesus died on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. There are good arguments on all sides of the debate but I’m not planning to weigh in on it right now.

The question is this: is it wrong to celebrate Good Friday? My answer is no, in fact my family attends Good Friday services even though I am not convinced that is the actual day of His death. I want to address two common arguments used against Good Friday to see if they have any validity.

1.Good Friday is a Catholic holiday.

The problem with this objection is that you could make the same arguments against Christmas and Easter. In fact many people do make that argument. I find that most of the people I know who are against Good Friday do in fact celebrate Easter and Christmas. We should strive for consistency in our Christian lives.

Also consider that Catholics doing something or believing something doesn’t make it wrong. Seventh Day Adventists condemn us for meeting on Sunday because Catholics meet on Sunday for example. Catholics believe in the Trinity as do I. Catholics believing something that’s true doesn’t make it wrong for us to believe it. Catholics doing something doesn’t make it wrong to do as long as it doesn’t violate the Scriptures.

2.I don’t believe Jesus died on Friday.

This is the second most common argument. Do you celebrate Christmas? Was Jesus born on December 25th? I know a lot of people who use this argument who would also deny Jesus was born on December 25th yet they celebrate Christmas.

This is hypocrisy. Once again we need to be consistent in how we live our lives. This argument is one of the most inconsistent. I was reading that the Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on July 4th, If I remember it was July 3rd yet those who rely on this argument never take a stand on the 4th of July.

My point is that Good Friday is a day set aside by many Christians to remember the death of Christ. This is not a bad thing, in fact all secular calendars mark the remembrance of the death of Christ. That can’t possibly be a bad thing. I feel many Christians waste an opportunity to preach the Gospel because of their man mad tradition which is all opposition to Good Friday is.

It’s not a consistent argument which hurts our Christian testimony and it’s not a Biblical argument because the Bible is clear on the subject.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” (Romans 14:5-6)

If you don’t celebrate a certain day then that’s okay but don’t judge those who do. For those of you that don’t it’s fine as well. I’m not judging you or saying that you should. My argument is that each needs to be persuaded in their own mind but don’t use inconsistent arguments against your brother. We need to strive for consistency in our Christian lives and in understanding towards others in the body who do things a little different than we do.





Free but Servant to All

31 03 2020

My pastor recently preached from Romans 14 about Christian liberty. The Bible makes it clear that we are not under the law.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

We have liberty having been freed from the curse of the law by Christ who was our perfect law-keeper and who met the demands of the law on our behalf. The text in Romans 14 deals with judging others for using their freedom differently then we use ours.

While we are free the Bible also teaches that we are servant to all. We are to serve one another and live our lives for the benefit of the brethren.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)

In Acts 15 a council was called in Jerusalem to consider what was required from the Gentile believers. The answer was given by James.

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” (Acts 15:19-20)

The argument was that since they were justified by faith why put them under the law which was a burden that even the Jews couldn’t keep. James said the Gentiles had to abstain from a few things but why?

The answer is unity. There were tensions in the Jewish/Gentile church and many Jews were trying to bring them under the law. James didn’t take away the liberty of the Gentiles but instead affirmed it then advised they abstain from certain things offensive to the Jews.

Often times we boast in our liberty yet we forget that things we enjoy in liberty others cannot and we may weaken the faith of our brother.

But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” (Romans 14:15-21)

We have tremendous liberty in Christ but with that liberty comes great responsibility to act in a manner that conveys love for our brother. The faith of others is more important than the liberty we possess. All things must be done in love looking to the things of others before our own things.





Come and See

10 01 2020

I preached this message at McKee Road Baptist Church on 1/5/20 for the Sunday Morning Service

 





Resolutions

31 12 2019

This is a sermon I preached at McKee Road Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Ca. on 12-29-19.

 





What was God Doing in the Christmas Story? (Part 2)

13 12 2019

The place of His youth. (Matthew 2:23)

“And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Now this is an interesting verse. It’s often used by enemies of Christ to prove the Bible is wrong. The reason is that there is no verse in the Old Testament that predicts the Messiah will be a Nazarene. Let me tell you what I believe this means.

The town of Nazareth comes from the word netser which means branch or sprout. Now follow me on this. Matthew didn’t say it was spoken by the prophet singular, but the prophets plural. The other prophecies were by a single prophet but this one was by more than one prophet.

Where is it spoken that the Messiah would be a netserene or a branch or sprout. It was spoken by several prophets, plural.

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” (Isaiah 11:1)

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” (Jeremiah 23:5)

“In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:15)

“Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.” (Zechariah 3:8)

“And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.” (Zechariah 6:12)

He is a yes to the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah.

The trip to Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-15)

“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.”

Herod hears from the wise men that the King of the Jews had been born. Fearful for the loss of power he tries to destroy the child. He kills all the male children 2 years old and under. Joseph is warned to go to Egypt until the king dies and it’s safe to return.

Why Egypt? The reason is that it was prophesied by the prophet Hosea.

“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” (Hosea 11:1)

This was based on a historical event that served as a type of the coming Christ. Everything in the Old Testament points to the coming Messiah even the Exodus from Egypt. We also see God using normal means to accomplish prophecy.

Just like He used a tax to bring them to Bethlehem, God uses the evil desire of the King as a means to take them to Egypt so that He can call them back out.

Also note that Egypt had once been a place of death for Israelite males but now it serves as a place of refuge for the holy child Jesus. God can make a river in the desert and bring calm in the midst of a storm.

He is a yes to the prophet Hosea.

The Rage of the King. (Matthew 2:16-18)

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”

The King orders the murder of all males 2 years old and under. This fulfills a prophecy about Rachel weeping for her children. Rachel here the mother of Israel weeping for her children. This refers back to Jeremiah 31.

Jeremiah is writing about the carrying away of Israel into captivity by the Babylonians.

“Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.” (Jeremiah 31:15)

As the captives marched past the tomb of Rachel she is said to be weeping over them but not just about the captivity. Many of them would return this was looking forward to this event when the children of Rachel would be slaughtered.

In that same chapter Jeremiah talks about the new covenant that God would make with His people and here we have not only the fulfillment of this prophecy about Rachel weeping but it’s at the birth of the Messiah who would initiate this new covenant with His on blood.

He is the yes to the prophet Jeremiah.

I could go on and on. At the death of Jesus and throughout the ministry of Jesus we see many more fulfilled prophecies. We have many examples of the yes that Jesus is to all of God’s promises.

What God was doing in the Christmas story was showing that His word was trustworthy and that He could be trusted to fulfill His promises. He kept His word about the coming of Messiah so they could trust Him about the sacrifice of Messiah.

We can look back and see that He kept His promises about the death of Christ and trust that all He promised us in Christ He will likewise fulfill.





What was God Doing in the Christmas Story? (Part 1)

5 12 2019

I love the story of Christmas. It’s a beautiful story that only God could tell. It’s a story that only God could write. We know the basics of the story, it’s all very familiar to us. I don’t want to hit on the basics I want to dwell for a few minutes on the facts less talked about.

I don’t have a single text because we will be all over the place but if I had to have a set text from which to jump into the subject it would be Galatians 4:4-5:

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

What we have in the Christmas story is the middle chapter a longer story. It’s kind of a bridge between the types and shadows and the fulfillment. The story began in Genesis 3:15 with the prophecy from God Himself that a Savior would be coming.

From there a foundation is laid throughout the Old Testament with types and figures of the fulfillment of this great promise. How could such a Savior come to fulfill these types that we see played out in story form across the Hebrew Scriptures?

It’s clear you would need a separate story to bridge the promises and the fulfillment. Certain prophecies were written into the story hinting at what that bridge would look like. Prophecies hinting at how such a Savior would come.

Then we get to the birth of Jesus and we begin to see these prophecies played out in real life. God was doing more in the birth of Jesus then giving the world a Savior. He was keeping His word and demonstrating that He was faithful to bring this Savior.

Have you ever noticed the emphasis God places in the Old Testament on His previous works? The Psalms which were the songs sung in Israelite worship constantly recount the mighty acts of God on behalf of His people.

God over and over again tells the people of Israel remember when I parted the Red Sea, or delivered you from the house of bondage, or gave your fathers manna in the wilderness. His keeping of his word became the evidence that they should trust Him in the future.

This is what Christmas is about. Jesus and the events of His birth are the proof that God keeps His word.

“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

All the promises of God are yes in Jesus because in Jesus we find the great fulfillment of all that God promised. So let’s look at the Christmas story with the eye to see the the Word of God to His people fulfilled.

1. The nature of His birth. (Matthew 1:18)

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

After going through a list of this father begat this son Matthew comes to Jesus and he is like the birth of Jesus the Messiah was in this way. In other words not the normal way. He was born of a virgin.

This was promised by God through the prophet Isaiah 700 years before His birth. This was in Isaiah 7:14. If Jesus was born in the normal course of things then God’s promises would be void but they are yes in the birth of Jesus.

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23)

We see these events play out in Luke 1:26-35.

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

2. The place of His birth. (Luke 2:1-4)

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David.”

The place of His birth is vital because the prophets spoke of it long before it happened. The Jewish leaders understood this, in fact even the Roman authorities knew it had been foretold.

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” (Matthew 2:1-6)

Where are they quoting from? They are quoting the prophet Micah.

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

He had to be born in Bethlehem and then God used ordinary means to bring it about. A census was taken in order to tax the population. We often forget that God uses mundane day to day activities to accomplish His purpose.

God tells the king to take a census and the king thinks it’s his decision and doesn’t realize that God is using him to bring the Savior in the world. He is the yes to the prophet Micah.

To be continued…








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