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

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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





Was Judas Saved?

14 06 2018

A question I have heard many times is whether or not Judas who betrayed Jesus was saved. He was chosen to be an apostle, and preached along with the other apostles. When they performed miracles Judas performed them right along with them. Does this mean he was saved? The answer is clear from Scripture and that answer is no. The Bible says that it would have been better for him to have never been born.

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.” (Matthew 26:24-25)

We are also told that Judas was possessed by Satan which I believe is not a possibility for a believer.

Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:26-27)

Jesus called Judas a devil.

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” (John 6:70-71)

Jesus Himself said Judas did not believe.

“But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.” (John 6:64)

We are not told that he went to heaven in fact the Scriptures seem to hint otherwise.

“That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” (Acts 1:25)

We don’t see the fruits of repentance in his life. Judas kept the money for the ministry of Jesus and was a thief.

“This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” (John 12:6)

Why would Jesus appoint an apostle who wasn’t a believer? The answer is to fulfill prophecy.

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)

Some would say Judas repented so he must have been saved. The word repent in the New Testament means a change of mind. When Judas returned the money he changed his mind but it wasn’t Godly repentance. Godly repentance works life but worldly repentance works death which is exactly what happened to Judas.

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)





Biblical Authority

1 03 2018

The Bible has put into place within the local church definite authority. The authority is vested into a position the Bible calls Elder, Bishop, or Pastor. One thing we don’t take serious today is the authority of the local church. I probably take local church authority further than most in the modern church. I’m saddened at how uninvolved the church is in the lives of the people.

The Bible speaks of definite authority vested in church leadership.

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” (Hebrews 13:7)

The rule here is authority, they have authority because they are watching for your soul. Don’t buy into the hype that a pastor can’t tell you how to live your life or raise your kids. They are vested with the responsibility to instruct from the Word of God in these issues.

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-3)

Here Peter says the elders are to take oversight. They are not to do it forcefully but by being an example. Pastoral authority shouldn’t be authoritarian in nature but by demonstrating through their own lives Christ-likeness.

When I grew up I learned of two incidents my grandma had with two different pastors. She felt they had done wrong and she confronted them about it. After she spoke her peace that was it.

We never heard about it, at least not until we grew up. She didn’t leave the church and she didn’t talk about it in front of the family or bad mouth the pastor. I have no doubt she didn’t even hold onto it herself. She spoke her disagreement and let it go.

Today people get upset about something and they leave the church. This is because they are not truly submitted to the authority of the church. If they were they would have a sense of commitment and work through their problems.

This is also why people sit and bad mouth their church leadership in front of their families. They bad mouth the pastor then wonder why their kids doubt what the pastor preaches. This is also why people leave churches after a new pastor comes in.

It’s common for people to vote in a pastor then decide a few weeks later they don’t like him and they leave. In my opinion this is sin. If you want to leave a church then leave before a new pastor comes in but once he is there you need to submit to his leadership unless he violates the Word. We need a new dedication to the authority of the local church. We need to stay and work out our problems. It’s no wonder our kids don’t learn commitment when we teach them to leave at the first sign of trouble.





Murder is not Subjective

20 02 2018

Abortion is murder. There I said it. Now that the truth is out I want to address a blatant hypocrisy of the pro-abortion crowd. In America if you kill (whether intentionally or not) the unborn baby of a woman it is counted as murder. If you kill a woman with child then you are charged with double murder or if you just kill the unborn child you are charged with murder. This is a Biblical point of view.

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life.” (Exodus 21:22-23)

The utter hypocrisy is that our society counts the unborn child as a life unless the mother doesn’t want it, then we say it isn’t. This is insanity. Either it is a life or it isn’t but our desire for it can’t decide that. Can you imagine if we applied that logic to anything else. Divorce laws go out the window because she is only my wife if I want her to be. Killed your 12 year old? Well if you didn’t want him he wasn’t really alive.

The truth is that we know it’s a life and we suppress that because we love our sin. This is what the Bible says.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18)

This verse is saying that we suppress the truth because we love our unrighteousness. The truth is that we know a baby in the womb is still a baby but when it suits our wicked desires we deny it yet when we feel it’s something we want we claim it’s a life. Men and women are in prison for murdering unborn children and yet abortionists do the same thing everyday.

Men and women are in prison for hiring someone to kill a person and yet women pay abortionists every day to violently rip a baby apart. We think we are soothing our conscience but one day the conscience will stand to condemn us on the day we stand before God in judgment. We must repent as a society of this double-minded standard and protect all life.





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

 








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