“A Time–Share God”

Mollie and I were in Branson, Missouri on a weekend getaway. We had taken this little excursion on the condition that we would tour a time-share condo–while the condo was beautiful, the price was not. We would be able to use the condo two weeks out of the year, but with our schedule, God only knew exactly when those two weeks would be. To me, it seemed like buying a new car, making the payments on it, and paying for yearly maintenance—only to have someone else drive it for 50 weeks out of the year!

While we were there, we met up with some old friends from Florida and started catching up. They were excited about the big revival they had just attended in Brownsville, Florida. All they could talk about was what God was doing there. The services were lasting until after midnight, and people were staying and praying around the clock. People were coming from all over the world and being impacted by the Holy Spirit in a mighty way. Miracles and healings were everyday occurrences and it was glorious!

However, I couldn’t help but ask them, “What about Toronto? The last time we saw you, the big revival was going on in Toronto, Canada, wasn’t it?”

“Yes,” they said, “but it fizzled out.”

“God fizzled out?” I asked.

Their answer was that it was time for God to move on. The time for revival there was over, and now it was Florida’s turn for God’s presence and the moving of the Holy Spirit.

Their Turn

It almost took my breath as I sat there, puzzled in my heart. Wow, is God like this time-share condo—one part of the country gets Him for a while and then another part gets their turn? Down through ages, history records the accounts of the mighty outpourings of God—of countries, cities, and hamlets that shut everything down for the cause of Christ. However, there’s not one mention of God ever fizzling out! The bit in the mouth of every revival came from the bridle of man.

The world needs God, but we need a full-time God! God will stop being a time-share God when His people awaken to their need for continuous revival and stop expecting a twice-a-year touch from Him.

I Noticed It

After returning to work, I was updating my new 2012 desk calendar and adding carry over appointments from 2011–this was when I noticed it. There were two weeks blocked out, one in May and one in September with the words, Campmeeting! Although I didn’t buy into the time-share condo, I had unwittingly settled for a time-share God in 2011. What I had considered appalling was staring blatantly up at me from my desk calendar. I wondered which other people, churches and other ministries were enjoying the presence of my precious Lord the other 50 weeks when my time-share was over.

A New Commitment  

This was where I made a new commitment to myself and to my Lord–I will set up a permanent residence with Him just as He has done with me. I must stop settling for a time-share God a couple of weeks out of the year and start hungering for the time when His presence is overflowing and everlasting. I will pray as never before for a worldwide revival and believe that because Christ died for the sins of the world, He can have a worldwide revival for the repentance of those sins. I will pray that no matter how many miles may separate communities or countries, whether it’s in Australia or America, our God can be in both places changing lives. Isaiah 2:2 says, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.”

At the bottom of my 2012 desk calendar I drew a line blocking out the entire year and penned, Lord help me not to Fizzle Out! Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” You may want to check your 2012 calendar to see if you have your two weeks scheduled for your share of God.

   Pastor Hal Steenson

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“Go See What Is Available”

Mark 6: 34-38 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.

Jesus already knew what He had to work with—five little barley loaves and two small fish. However, what he was verifying was the “Who” He had to work with. His disciples were concerned about the people and their hunger, while Jesus was more interested in proving the disciples’ willingness to present what was available to their Lord. It turned out that Phillip did not even consider the little lunch they found available to be worthwhile, but Andrew anticipated the thought of Jesus doing a lot with just a little.

The boy was from a poor family because the loaves were made of paltry barley and the fish were probably the size and variety of smoked sardines. Nonetheless, Andrew approached him about his meager lunch, the small amount that would feed over five thousand people. Andrew didn’t search through the multitude to find the biggest bounty; Jesus had said, “Go see what is Available,” and what he found was that scanty amount.

The Scripture is silent on how Andrew may have asked for the meal, but I do not believe the boy hesitated when he was approached. I believe he was overjoyed with the prospect of Jesus needing his food. I believe that not only did the child make his lunch available; he also made his life available. He may have said, “Yes sir, the Master may have my food, in fact, the Master may have all of me to use any way He desires.” Jesus saw fit to take, pray and break that humble offering and feed the entire mass of men, women and children.

Wouldn’t it be great to think that the twelve baskets of leftovers gathered by the disciples actually became a processional that followed the child though the streets of his village? What if they stopped in front of his house with the baskets filled with fish and bread and watched him as he invited everyone in his neighborhood to come and dine on the “All you can eat Free Buffet,” compliments of Jesus.

Jesus is still telling His disciples to “Go and see what is Available.” So, if you’re approached and asked to give what you have for the cause of Christ, you may just be the next little child of God that witnesses yet another miracle for the multitudes because you made what you had available.

  Pastor Hal Steenson

“A Miracle That Birthed A Mircle” Part 10

A retired couple from Apison, Tennessee, looked over the simple little newsletter that a friend had passed on to them which told about what God was doing in southern Illinois. It wasn’t a worldwide mailing; Danny had typed it himself on a Commodore 64 and sent it to a meager two hundred people. However, it had so impressed Marvin and Rosella McColpin, that they sent in a small donation.

Now they had decided to call, and when Danny answered, they told him they were headed to Newfoundland to see about helping a ministry there, and wanted to know if they could stop by and talk to him about the 3ABN vision.

“Of course you can,” Danny said. “We would love to have you visit us.”

Marvin and Rosella were planning to spend only one day with the Sheltons, but they got so excited about the project they canceled their trip to Newfoundland.

What were they so excited about? The Holy Spirit got them excited over trenches. That’s right—trenches dug to pour the concrete footings. Isn’t that exciting? It was to them, because they caught the vision.

When Marvin asked Danny how much money was set aside to put up the building, he almost choked when Danny replied, “We  have about $200 in the bank, and that will go for renting the construction equipment.”

“You mean you don’t have enough money to pour the footings?” he asked, amazed that Danny had even started to build. “What if you get the footings dug and it rains before you get money for the cement?”

“Well,” Danny laughed, “maybe the Lord wants three-foot deep ditches! Besides,” he explained, “how can we expect the Lord to give us more money if we haven’t used what He’s already given us?”

“How much do you think it will cost to put up the shell of the building?” he inquired.

“Maybe fifty thousand dollars,” Danny answered, as truthfully as he could.

The McColpins were kind people, and interested in God’s work, but Danny could tell they didn’t have much to give, by the simple way they lived. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit had already started prompting their hearts to donate when Danny’s phone rang that night. It was Clarence Larson calling to tell Danny they needed a miracle.

What no one knew, of course, was that God had decided to demonstrate His power to Marvin and Rosella, and birth one miracle from another miracle.

God wanted Marvin in the back seat of that van as Danny and Clarence drove down the gravel roads of Thompsonville, looking for a three-phase power miracle. God wanted him there to see this miracle, not just hear about it.

Then, after witnessing this miracle firsthand, the McColpins presented the Sheltons with a check for $25,000!

Danny was shocked that night, but overwhelmed the next morning, when they handed him another check for the same amount!

Undoubtedly, he thought, they must have this money in savings. However, he found out later that this was not the case when the McColpins asked him not to cash the checks until they returned home and made some arrangements.

You see, they were so impressed that 3ABN was God’s work, they went home and mortgaged their house for $50,000, making it possible for 3ABN’s first studio to be built before winter!

“In the next six months, our business of reselling land made more money than we had ever made before,” Marvin told Danny later. “In fact, we made enough money to pay off that mortgage, and still had as much money left over as we did before we gave the $50,000 to 3ABN!” 

  Pastor Hal Steenson

Miracle Whip

Whenever I start getting into self-righteous works and getting away from God; I must ask myself some hard questions. In addition, whenever I realize that I’m promoting or soft-selling myself, I have no other choice but to examine myself. The apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 11:28 “But let a man examine himself…” Personally, I believe this Scripture pertains to every aspect of our lives, not just our outward signs of a relationship with Jesus. We are to put to death anything we endorse as being beneficial to the body of Christ, if it is not.

It’s a humbling thought to read in John 2:13-16 the account of Jesus entering the temple in Jerusalem and seeing the money changers taking advantage of God’s children, pretending it was for the benefit of His Kingdom. It’s only when we are totally willing to become servants of God that we can count ourselves nothing other than a child of obedience to Him. As obedient children, we must be willing to bow before Him, desiring to do only His will, not ours.

What if we had been there, standing in the outer court of the temple, promoting the carnal aspects of our lives, pretending we were in the perfect will of the Father? What if we saw Jesus sitting there, looking at our hypocrisies as we wondered what He was doing—not knowing He was about to demonstrate our desperate need to stop making profit by buying and selling our worldly wares and calling it righteousness? We would have had no idea what we were about to experience. All we would have cared about was our money in hand and the profit being made off the children of God. So many of the worshipers had come great distances and could not bring their sacrifices with them. The only way they could offer a sacrifice was to buy one from our table.

Jesus was just sitting there with a handful of small cords, weaving them together, and undoubtedly  making some sort of whip. What was He going to do with this whip? Then He stands to His feet with whip in hand and heads toward us. The closer He gets the clearer the ungodly selling of oxen, sheep and doves for profit is revealed. All of a sudden everyone’s animals begin to scatter. He overturns every one of the money changer’s tables—scattering their CD’s everywhere, destroying their sets of DVD’s, and spilling their entire rack of books to the ground.

Would we fall on our face before Him in godly humility realizing His ways are higher than our ways, or run from Him as did the animals? If we had humbled ourselves in this mental picture, we might have opened our eyes and saw something hanging down near His leg; it would have been a “Miracle Whip.” A Miracle Whip in the hands of Christ could drive out every self-serving sacrifice of our lives that is devoid of God’s purpose. Though physically untouched by that miracle whip, it could open the eyes of our heart to see the necessity of our leaving the outer court of works and entering into a place of total commitment to Christ.

The opening to the outer court is wide, anyone may enter in, but the opening into the Holy place of service is narrow. There is no room for anyone worldly to enter in, only those who desire to be like Him and are willing to die to self. The apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Jesus will never stop drawing us into His presence as long as we continue to allow Him to cleanse our temples with the “Miracle Whip” of His Word and His love.

Dear Lord, at Your next advent, please don’t let us still be found in the outer court as were some at Your Passover, but challenge us to get past what many churches and Christians say You are and let us know who You are. Lord help us understand that You are not huge buildings, silver communion services, padded pews, or harmonious choirs. Please let us see who You really are; You are the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. Please Lord, turn over all the self-made tables of our lives and lead us into a place of serving You without any selfish motives.

Galatians 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Pastor Hal Steenson