Seeking What Satisfies

October 24th, 2016

Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

And your wages for what does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

And let your soul delight itself in abundance. 

Incline your ear, and come to Me.

Hear, and your soul shall live…”

 Isaiah 55:2-3 NKJV

 The perfectly-loving Father who created you has also created a perfect plan, unique calling, and God-ordained vision for your life… and in His will is the only place your soul will ever know satisfaction

 The whole world seeks satisfaction, but so few find itA recent survey suggests that as many as 50% of Americans age 14 and over are suffering from significant depression or anxiety (or both).  It’s not your imagination: this world has become a tremendously stressful place for many of us, and man’s solutions (from vacations to prescriptions to shopping to chocolate and many more) may help ease symptoms, but cannot heal the source of our need. 

 With all the turmoil in our nation, all the violence in our streets, all the corruption in our political processes, all the strife being stirred up by the race-baiters and others who seek to divide and incite us… Now more than ever, we need to “Listen carefully” for the Lord’s voice, to “incline our ears and come to Him” as Isaiah 55 says, to be refreshed in His presence and surrendered to His will: 

 In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 Psalm 16:11 NKJV

 The Lord alone can heal your heart and restore your soul…

Only in His presence will you find the refreshing and strength you long for…

Solely by surrendering to His will can you find the satisfaction that you so deeply need. 

It is all in His will, His presence, His love… and nowhere else.

The Father doesn’t need us to struggle or strive or strain in order to know His will… Simply to seek Him, and to say “Lord, I surrender… Thy Kingdom come – not mine… Thy will be done – not mine.  I surrender my rights, my dreams, my life itself – so that you can be glorified in me.” 

If you ask and seek, He will come… He will move on your life in power – with cleansing and refining fire, stirring up spiritual hunger, a longing to walk more closely to Him, renewed joy in reading His Word, more care and thoughtfulness for others, and much more – and He will make you ready for whatever the season ahead holds in our nation and this world. 

Let us not be like the foolish virgins Jesus described (see Matthew 25) who went into the night without oil in their lamps… Now is the time to seek Him, so the oil of His Spirit can overflow from our lives and be a mighty blessing to those around us

May the Lord fill and refresh you as you seek Him this week,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016

 

 

 

An Urgent Word

October 18th, 2016

The foundations of law and order have collapsed.

What can the righteous do?

But the Lord is in His holy Temple;

The Lord still rules from heaven.

Psalm 11:3-4 NLT

In just over three weeks, Americans will cast votes for our next president… But in reality, we may be casting votes for the very future and soul of our nation.

Despite the absence of a viably Christian candidate, more Christian leaders and pastors have spoken out regarding this election than perhaps ever before in our nation’s history. Many are sounding essentially the same trumpet call: “This is not just another political event… this may be the most significant election in our nation’s history.”

I share their sense of urgency: it is a crucial season for God’s people to pray and fast, and then to vote for a candidate who supports the most Biblical agenda possible. I believe the future of our nation weighs in the balance, and next month’s election is in many ways the fulcrum, the tipping point that will help determine America’s final chapter.

Let me be clear: this battle is not about politics, liberal vs. conservative, him vs. her, etc. –this is a battle being waged by demonic principalities to fully plunge our nation into an agenda of lawlessness from which there could be no return.

THE AGENDA:

  • Fully submerging our country into a culture of death, where the cost of killing unborn babies is underwritten by every American taxpayer, where “assisted suicide” is promoted and advanced, and where (eventually) the aged and infirm are pressured to choose “death with dignity” (the mantra of those who promote euthanasia) rather than continue to “burden” their families.
  • Fully indoctrinating our children and youth into satan’s lies about sexuality. Homosexuality and gender dysphoria will be further celebrated as normative and good, and those who hold traditional views (for instance, “men are men, and women are women”) will be castigated as intolerant, hateful, and in need of “re-education” (this has already happened in some places in America, friends). Satan’s goal is to shred the human soul at a terribly young age, to corrupt their sense of identity at its core, and to create little children who are preoccupied with sex and homosexuality long before puberty even hits. In so doing, the family structure will be undermined and rendered powerless, and a generation of young people will look to government first for things like identity, provision, and direction.
  • Further isolating and turning America’s back on the nation of Israel. Our current administration has been our most hostile toward Israel ever. God’s promise to “bless those who bless” Abraham’s descendants still stands, as does His warning to “curse those who curse” them. If we elect an administration that is an even greater curse to Israel, it will mean terrible repercussions for America.
  • Lastly: the goal is to destroy every last Bible-believing church in America. The groundwork for this has been laid through our current administration’s vehement advance of a radical homosexual agenda. The bullying and lawsuits against Christian business owners by homosexual activists that we’ve seen on a small scale will go mainstream through far-reaching “hate crime” laws.

In essence, any church or ministry willing to compromise what Scripture teaches on human sexuality and marriage and to embrace culture’s norms will be given a pass, and will be allowed to retain their 501c3 tax-exempt status. Any church or ministry which insists on teaching (or even espousing in their statement of faith) the authority of God’s Word on such matters will be liable to prosecution under hate crime laws, subject to lawsuits, etc.

Pastors will be forced to officiate same-sex “weddings” or else face fines/prison. Churches that don’t comply will lose their 501c3 status, meaning that gifts made to the church are no longer tax-deductible (which will be devastating for local churches).

HOWEVER, it gets worse: once that church is no longer a legal non-profit entity, they will be classified as a “for-profit corporation,” and therefore subject to corporate “hate crime” and discrimination laws regarding hiring homosexuals and those with gender dysphoria (cross-dressers, etc).

This means that if the drop in tithes/giving from loss of tax-deductible status doesn’t sink the church, the lawsuits by homosexual activists demanding to have their “gay wedding” in the sanctuary, or applying for the children’s pastor position, will finish them off. Churches will be unable to cover overhead, unable to exist and still adhere to God’s Word, and they will fold.

Tragically, many other churches will bend the knee to god of government, using the false rationale, “Well if we cease to exist as a church, then we can’t help anyone… So we’ll go with the flow about sexuality and gay marriage, so that we can still help the people and families that need us so much.”

HOWEVER: it won’t work. Churches and pastors that agree to compromise with the spirit of antichrist will help no one. And it won’t stop there – more demands will be made on these churches, further compromises required to show their allegiance to government first, God second.

Remember: had the German Lutherans and Catholics stood up to Hitler and his Nazi government, there’s no way Hitler could have accomplished his satanic schemes – it required a complicit national church. Doing so would have meant suffering and imprisonment for some pastors and Believers – perhaps even thousands – but would have certainly saved millions of Jewish lives (and others).

Given the outcome of this 2016 election, we may have the opportunity in the years ahead to show if our faith in Christ will stand the test and bring God glory through the fires of persecution.

THE HOUR IS LATE:

We have 21 days until the votes are counted and this is a season of intense spiritual conflict. Let’s endeavor to pray, to fast, to vote, and to encourage our brothers and sisters to do the same.

The Lord bless and strengthen you,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016

 

 

 

The Ananias Factor

September 19th, 2016

…there was a man named Ananias…

who sold some property

 and brought only part of the money,

claiming it was the full price.

Acts 5:1-2 TLB

“Ananias” seldom makes it on the “Most Popular Bible Names” listsIt ranks right up there with “Herod” and “Blastus” (great name! Acts 12:20). We remember Ananias for a reason no one wants to be remembered by: Ananias lied, Ananias died.

His problem:

Claiming to give ALL to God,

But subtly keeping SOME for himself

Does that hit close to home for anybody but me? I’m not talking about the realm of tithes or money or possessions (which are pretty measurable), but the far more subtle realm of the heart, the lordship of one’s life, the “driver’s seat,” if you will.

“I surrender all… I surrender all… All to Thee, my blessed Savior…”

I’ve “surrendered all” at times, and so have you. We’ve sung it, prayed it, meant it ~ and that’s good… But “self” is a sneaky foe, and sometimes “self-rule” subtly takes back some of what we surrendered to Jesus. And it can lead us to act as though our lives were OURS to control, as if WE called the shots and charted the future – instead of the One who purchased us with His own blood.

Our Father lovingly calls us to a life of CHOOSING to be last so that JESUS can be first in us, of learning that only as “SELF” decreases and dies can we experience and enjoy the abundance of life and love He desires for us (John 10:10)

Just as our Good Shepherd willingly laid down His life for us out of love, we get to choose to lay down our lives for Him the same way – not religious duty, not a heavy burden… just because we love Him, and He is worthy. And THAT sort of life is true FREEDOM.

Our alternative: the Ananias factor =

Imagine that we’ve given Jesus everything,

but still maintain control over our lives, stuff, decisions, desires, etc.

Ananias’ decision resulted in sudden death; the Ananias factor (if allowed to reign in our lives) results in a slow, subtle death – starving off joy, fellowship, and spiritual sharpness as we serve the idol of self.

GOOD NEWS: His Spirit will be faithful to show us our hearts, help us in our need, and make us new. Our part is very simply to bring our hearts humbly before Him as David did:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24 NKJ

May His love kindle a holy flame of revival in our hearts this week, and may you experience afresh the joys of surrender and friendship with Him,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016

CONFIDENCE

September 12th, 2016

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;

Though war break out against me,

even then will I be confident.

Psalm 27:3 NIV

They do not fear bad news;     

they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

They are confident and fearless     

and can face their foes triumphantly.

Psalm 112:7-8 NLT

This world’s version of “confidence” is based on the absence of troubles, on favorable circumstances, financial provision & possessions, a great job, good health, physical strength – all things that can be lost in a twinkling of the eye. In essence, worldly confidence is a house of cards just waiting for a breeze of adversity to blow by and knock it down.

To the extent that we find a sense of confidence and security in anything other than Jesus, we open the door to disillusionment, anxiety, and fear… Because everything that I place confidence/security in other than Him will be something I must try to keep, protect, insure, and control in my own strength (which is a recipe for a miserable life).

GOOD NEWS: God has much, much better than that for us.

True Confidence is built upon the reality of the Father’s perfect love, flawless care, and undefeatable power constantly at work on our behalf.

That means that when things don’t go our way, when finances or health or the job situation appears to be against us instead of for us, even when a whole nation seems to be seething against those who truly live for Jesus (as in places like Sudan, Pakistan, North Korea, and many others) – EVEN THEN the follower of Jesus can experience and enjoy a confidence in His love and care that is truly UNSHAKEABLE – the world didn’t give it, and the world can’t take it away.

How do I get there?

If you want to disarm and dethrone all false confidence from your life, here are a few simple steps to take in prayer that will help you place your confidence squarely on Jesus’ perfect love and care for you. Make some time when you can be quiet before Him, sitting at His feet with His Word open and a journal or paper & pen handy (these steps are not a formula, just a form to help you get started ~ His Spirit will guide):

  • “Father, would You please show me everything that I look to for confidence and security other than You?”
  • Write down the things He shows you, then one by one surrender them to prayer with a simple (but powerful) prayer like this:
    • “In Jesus’ name and authority I fully surrender this area to You ~ I repent of having put my confidence in anything or anyone other than You, and I break its hold off of my heart and mind. I put my confidence in YOU ALONE; please fill me afresh with Your Spirit and grant me the grace to trust You more than ever. Help me believe what I already know is true: You love me, You never fail, and trusting Your love is the only real source of confidence in the whole world. Amen!”

May your life be planted on the rock of His perfect love for you this week,

Matthew

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016

Fresh Anointing

August 30th, 2016

…And the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

Isaiah 10:27 KJV

This word used in Hebrew for “the anointing” is “sheh-men,” and it is the precise word God used when He instructed Moses regarding anointing a king or a priest (see Exodus 29, for instance). This was a sacred oil reserved for those set apart by God for special purposes and callings, and it symbolized and promised His presence and power upon the life of the one called to minister.

And without that anointing, they could not serve, regardless of their calling. No one – not even Moses’ brother Aaron or King David – was allowed by God to serve in their calling until they had been anointed with holy oil.  

Why am I writing about this? Well I’m so very glad you asked!

YOU (yes, YOU) have a sacred calling from God

“ME? I’m just a churchgoer… right?” WRONG! God calls YOU a “royal priest” in His Kingdom (1 Peter 2:9); in fact, a “KING AND PRIEST” (check out Revelation 1:6, 5:10) unto Him! WHO KNEW?

Therefore YOU, my friend, Need a sacred anointing from God

(And He wants to give it to you!)  🙂

Memory lane time… When I was a young worship leader (late 80’s – early 90’s), people in the “worship movement” of that day spoke much about “anointing”… in fact, probably much TOO much. Many a worship leader sought “an anointing from God” instead of seeking God Himself, just for who He is. In desiring to minister under God’s power, our proverbial pendulum had swung out of balance to the point where some were seeking God’s power in ministry as an idol or for personal validation. 🙁

HAVING SAID THAT… at least back then we were aware that we needed an anointing from God to minister effectively! In the years since, I’ve witnessed the American Church’s pendulum go waaaaaaaay out of whack in the other direction – we’ve had an ocean of man-made, man-centered, man-powered programs, sermons, and songs that have neither sought nor relied upon a genuine anointing of God’s Holy Spirit.

IN FACT, I fear that a generation of young Christians have arisen who aren’t even aware that true ministry requires an anointing of God’s Spirit – that multi-colored stage lights and smoke machines are NOT a substitute for God’s genuine, manifest presence! (Truthfully: the largest market for stage lighting and smoke machines in America is no longer theaters and stages; it is churches.)

AHHHHH but I digress… My point is simply this: just like Israel’s priests of old, YOU and I have a special and holy calling from God to minister unto Him – and this calling absolutely necessitates His Spirit’s anointing!

“Anointing… Isn’t that just for ‘Charismatics’ or ‘Pentecostals’?”

British minister Charles Hadden Spurgeon (1834-1892) is to this day widely considered the “Prince of Preachers,” having written the most-read sermons outside of the Bible itself. And he was a devout Baptist (not a Pentecostal by a longshot). Listen to what Spurgeon had to say about our need for a fresh anointing from God:

The Holy Spirit, who anoints us for all holy service, is indispensable to us if we would serve the Lord acceptably. Without His aid our religious services are but a vain oblation, and our inward experience is a dead thing. Whenever our ministry is without unction, what miserable stuff it becomes… To go before the Lord without anointing is as though some common Levite had thrust himself into the priest’s office–his ministrations would rather have been sins than services. May we never venture upon hallowed exercises without sacred anointings… It is not to be imitated. It comes alone from God, and it is freely given, through Jesus Christ, to every waiting soul. Let us seek it, for we may have it, may have it this very evening. O Lord, anoint Thy servants.

May the Lord anoint you with His Spirit’s power, refresh you with His presence, and fill you to overflow with His love and goodness as you seek Him this week…

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016

Never Give Up!

August 9th, 2016

One day Jesus told His disciples a story to show that they should

always pray

and

never give up.

Luke 18:1 NLT

Ever felt like giving up? Like the person or need you’re praying for is hopeless, and there’s no use continuing to ask?

Last week I received a letter from an inmate at a federal prison in California who had just read The Return: an End Time Epistle to the Church in America (a book I wrote some years back). He shared how his drug addictions led him into a life of crime, and that he’s been in and out of prison many times over the years. In fact, he’s currently serving his eighth prison sentence – and he has one more sentence to serve after this one is done.

EIGHT? Can you imagine serving EIGHT prison sentences (with #9 on the horizon?)

Can you imagine being the friend or relative who’s praying for this man – you ask God for a miraculous change, you think that at some point he’ll get tired of going back to prison, you hope for the best… but the only thing that changes is the prison address where you send him letters. Year after heartbreaking year, one disappointment after another…

Hopeless, right? Too many years of addiction, too much chemical and psychological dependency, too many demonic strongholds to be broken down…

But God…

 This inmate writes:

“This is my 8th time in prison, but this is the first time I ever picked up the Bible while incarcerated. I read it once while I was 17 (I’m 47 now), but never studied it until now; and now, not a day goes by that I don’t dive into it and meditate on His Word… I was truly devoted to my addictions – my selfish spirit has caused a lot of pain, but now (by God’s grace) I am just as devoted to Him; and am forever grateful!”

Beauty for ashes… A wasted life redeemed by the undefeatable love of our awesome Redeemer… Deeply entrenched strongholds broken by the Word of God under the power of the Holy Spirit… A new beginning at age 47, when all seemed lost.

Someone was praying for that man… Perhaps a grandparent long since gone, but whose prayers still weighed in the balance for his soul… Perhaps a neighbor from childhood who recognized danger and asked God for mercy… Perhaps a fellow addict who found Jesus and interceded for his old buddy in crime…

Whoever it was, make no mistake: those prayers mattered. Someone wouldn’t give up… someone prayed through… and Jesus won the war being waged for this man’s soul. He’s now our brother in Christ, his name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

ISN’T THAT AWESOME?

So how about YOU? What’s YOUR hopeless-looking need? Lost cause? Beyond-help situation? God is listening… So pray in faith! And never give up! Your prayers are being heard, they weigh mightily in the balance, and there is yet hope.

May the Lord refresh, strengthen, and encourage you this week as you pray,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016

Let us not become weary in doing good,

for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 NIV

Simply Believe, Fully Expect

July 25th, 2016

Sometimes we make complicated what Jesus made simple… When His disciples were arguing about which of them was the greatest, Jesus’ response was to set a little child before them as a picture of true greatness in His Kingdom (Matt. 18, Mark 9).

A “little child” certainly possesses no great education or ability, no great power or wealth, nor anything else that the disciples might have called “great.” But there is one thing that a healthy, loved little child typically does far better and more naturally than us adults:

A little child BELIEVES what their father tells them,

and EXPECTS it to come to pass.

SO I’ve been meditating on some of Jesus’ words (both questions and statements) about faith, belief, doubt, and fear… And I’m impressed by how little sympathy He shows toward unbelief and doubt! It’s as if Jesus is saying, “In the light of having a perfectly loving, caring, almighty Father in Heaven watching over your life – how could you possibly doubt or fear?”

So let’s feed our faith this week by simply meditating on Jesus’ words, and letting His encouragement renew our minds and refresh our hearts (this is a partial list of Jesus’ teaching on the subject – there’s much more in the Gospels):

“As you have believed, so let it be done for you.”

Matt. 8:13

“Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”

Matt. 8:26

“Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

Matt. 9:28

“According to your faith let it be to you.”

Matt. 9:29

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Matt. 14:31

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matt. 19:26

“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”

Matt. 21:22

“Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

Mark 4:40

“Daughter, your faith has made you well.”

Mark 5:34

“Do not be afraid; only believe.”

Mark 5:36

“Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

Mark 6:50

“All things are possible to him who believes.”

Mark 9:23

“Your faith has made you well.”

Mark 10:52

A desperate father once cried out to Jesus in his dire need, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). I think most of us can identify with that father at times… We long to honor God with our trust, and to believe His promises unreservedly ~ but our hearts don’t always cooperate!

I pray that this week the Lord anoints you with fresh faith to simply believe His promises, and to fully expect that He will bring them to pass in your life in His own timing and way. Remember: “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thess. 5:24 NASB)

Love and blessings to you in our precious Savior,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016

 

 

Speak, Meditate, & Celebrate

July 11th, 2016

One generation will commend your works to another;

They will tell of your mighty acts. 

They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,

And I will meditate on your wonderful works.

They will tell of the power of your awesome works,

And I will proclaim your great deeds. 

They will celebrate your abundant goodness

And joyfully sing of your righteousness.

Psalm 145:4-7 NIV

My, but that’s a lot of “action words” in those few verses!  Here, King David shows us a vital secret to maintaining and growing in God’s joy, regardless of our circumstances:  speak of His goodness, meditate on His faithfulness, celebrate His love! 

Doing so keeps us strong in faith, joyful in spirit, and ready to be used by God in whatever comes.  And God’s people in America need that spiritual readiness like never before.    

Heartbreaking mass shootings, countless political corruption scandals, military suicides increasing exponentially, flames of racial strife being fanned, and many more – no doubt, we are facing some heavy and painful issues in our nation. 

It’s good to be informed unto prayer and intercession for America and especially for those who mourn ~ but it’s so very easy to become consumed with the rapid-fire tragedies, the political posturing, the non-stop reporting and “social media reactions” of people whose opinions are truly irrelevant…

For the sake of our own hearts abiding in the Lord’s peace and presence, and for the sake of being effective in prayer for our nation in this season, we must resist getting sucked into the hopeless, man-centered mindsets being pumped out through the media.   

Fixing our hearts and minds too much on the cares of this world will attack our faith, hope, and joy – and that renders us powerless in prayer.  So let’s stay strong in God’s Spirit as we follow the example King David gave us:  talk about God’s goodness to you, meditate on the faithfulness He’s shown, and celebrate His unfailing love! 

I encourage you to limit your time in the media – only allow a certain amount of the bad news to fill your heart and mind – and then increase your time in the GOOD NEWS of God’s Word, enjoying His presence in worship, and interceding for the hurting ones in our country.  Doing so will keep you focused, refreshed, and filled with the joy of the Lord (which is our strength – Nehemiah 8:10).  

Let’s face it: until Jesus returns, there will always be more bad news somewhere to read about.  We must live in the joyful expectancy that a KING is returning to Jerusalem (Acts 1, Zechariah 14), and “of the increase of His Kingdom there will be no end” (Isaiah 9).  No more presidents and politicians, no more abortions and godless laws, no more strife and divisiveness, and no more twitter feeds. J

May the Lord fill and refresh you by His Spirit’s power this week

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016

 

 

America’s Last Days?

June 20th, 2016

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked;

For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

 Galatians 6:7 NASB

Has the thought ever crossed your mind that America might be in her last days? That the spiritual cancer caused by having rejected the mercy, love, and truth of God is entering “late stage” in our nation? That the idols we have bowed down to are finally leaving us morally and spiritually destitute, and vulnerable to our enemies?

I am becoming increasingly concerned that it is later in our nation’s history than we think, and that our days are potentially few. I am concerned that the shameful mocking and rejecting of God’s love, Word, and ways by our culture has resulted in Him allowing us to reap what we have sown, that His hand of protection has been removed, and that we are in for a very rough ride… UNLESS:

Sow for yourselves righteousness;

Reap in mercy;

Break up your fallow ground,

For it is time to seek the LORD,

Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

Hosea 10:12 NKJV

Scripture tells us of Abraham interceding for Sodom, Moses interceding for Israel, of Daniel, Isaiah, and other men and women who stood in the gap on behalf of their nation. It’s the heart that cries out,

“Yes Lord, I realize we deserve destruction –

But Abba, in Your mercy send revival!

Begin at Your house, and show Your power…

Purify our hearts and lives with Your holy fire – and Lord, begin with me!

Rekindle my love for You like never before!

I repent of my sins, and the sins of the Church –

Make us a humble, pure, powerful witness for Jesus once again…

Grant us brokenness, repentance, and revival, God of mercy!

I ask in Jesus’ name… Amen.”

 

IS IT REALLY THAT BAD?

I truly hope I’m wrong, and that America has decades to repent and return to the Lord. However, if one considers the rapid rate at which our nation is diving headlong into a moral abyss as evidenced by the radical sexual agenda being enforced by our government, the increase of addictions, murdered unborn babies, violence and racism, corruption and greed, the abysmal political landscape, and a host of other indicatorsall these suggest that the hour is late and the time for prayer is now.

Then consider the state of the Church – one survey after another show that our statistics on divorce, adultery, pre-marital sex, and pornography are eerily similar to those outside the Church – as in, epidemic. And moreover, the statistics among professional ministers are only marginally better.

But those are just symptoms of the real heart issues within the Church – we have set up idols of self, gods of mammon and comfort, and have coddled lifestyles void of prayer, sacrifice, and self-denial. We have talk without power, religion without cross-carryingWe have enabled the broken state of our nation by our compromised and prayerless Christianity.

I am throwing no stones – I am suggesting that if ever there was a time for radical obedience and reckless abandonment to Jesus for His Kingdom purposes in our nation, this is it. I am committing to prioritizing prayer for America, fasting, worship, and seeking God till they become “normal everyday life” in my own life like never before.

I believe that if we seek God there is hope for one last great revival in our nation…

Will you seek the Lord, and stand in the gap for America?

“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

Ezekiel 22:30 NKJV

Your prayers matter more than you could possibly imagine…

May the Lord bless and empower you this week,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016

Right Step, wrong assumption

June 6th, 2016

“Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

So He said, “Come.”

Matthew 14:28 NKJV

Ever felt like Peter? You took a step of faith and obedience to what you believed God was asking of you, but it didn’t work out quite like you expected:

And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid;

and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

Matthew 14:29 – 30 NKJV

Human nature thinks: “Ah, now that I’ve obeyed the Lord and gotten out of my comfort zone, surely He’ll reward me with some smooth sailing!” Yet sometimes the opposite occurs: like Peter amid the waves, after taking the step of faith we may actually encounter more trial than before!

Been there & done that one, Pardner

In 2000 I felt God was calling me to leave my job in Texas (a wonderfully-compensated worship staff position at one of the largest churches in America), to come back home to Portland – a city famous for little church attendance and much vice – to start a small church in the inner city. Overnight, I went from a church of 25,000 to a church of 25.  🙂 

From a human standpoint, it made no sense whatsoever. But when God presents you with a step of faith, don’t expect it to make sense to the natural mind… He simply shows you the stormy sea, and bids you come walk with Him.

Honestly, I expected the greatest season of ministry blessing I’d ever known when I made that sacrifice and planted that little church. We set to work growing the church, discipling Believers, starting two home groups, sharing the Gospel, doing outreaches and prayer walks, airing a weekly teaching/worship broadcast on local radio, starting a ministry to Japanese people here in Portland ~ in essence, we gave Jesus our absolute best. And during all this, I made a worship CD called “In the Father’s Arms,” a collection of ministry songs to help hurting Believers experience the love and healing only found in their Father’s presence.

Not so happily ever after

But instead of unparalleled success, we experienced the greatest tests and trials our family had ever seen… An onslaught of health attacks, financial challenges and loss, ER trips, relational attacks and betrayals – it seemed like all hell was breaking loose against us. And after several years of serving and sacrifice, the Lord ended that season and the church closed… Instead of seeing thousands get saved and discipled, we saw more like “dozens.” Not exactly what I envisioned when I stepped out of the boat…    

AND YET… we never know what the Lord is doing, even in the midst of our biggest storms and greatest disappointments. He will be faithful to reap good fruit from every step of faith you take – and most of that fruit you won’t see until you stand before His presence on that Day. When your step of faith seems to come up empty, just leave it with the Lord… He’s making your obedience a blessing in ways you cannot see.

I recently received an email from a precious sister in Christ who walked through a terrible trial some years ago – and unbeknownst to me, the Lord used that same CD made during my biggest storms to help her through hers:

“Your CD ‘In the Father’s Arms’ especially ministered to me during a very difficult time… Some years ago my husband left me and our 4 children… I was broke and devastated… I was very alone and essentially abandoned.  I listened to ‘In the Father’s Arms’ many a night with tears in my heart. I was so comforted by the music.  You will never know how much the music ministered to me. God used you for me and undoubtedly many other people… I am so happy that you will be starting a new project soon!  I have prayed and will continue to lift you, the project, and your family up in prayer.”

No step of faith and obedience is ever wasted… What seems like a “failure” in our eyes is being used by the Lord in ways we cannot yet see. Since only eternity will tell the full story, let’s make this our aim: Just keep stepping out of boats whenever He says, “Come,” and leave the rest with Him. 🙂

Much love and blessings to you in our wonderful Savior,

Pastor Matthew (Casey) Langston

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2016