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Should You Turn Your Light On This Halloween?

Whether or not to participate in Halloween activities has been a big debate among Christians. As believers, we have nothing to fear when the Holy Spirit is our guide. What does He have to say about this issue?

The Bible tells us not to “copy the behavior and customs of this world” (Romans 12:2, New Living Translation). But this verse should not be an excuse for us to shut the door on the world. We also need to let our light shine—especially on the darkest day of the year! My family learned this important lesson a long time ago.

For years my wife, Kim, and I would not turn on our porch light at Halloween. When persistent trick-or-treaters knocked on our door anyway, our family ignored them. We would not let our girls carve pumpkins or color Halloween artwork at school or go trick-or-treating.

Then, one year, the Lord spoke this scripture to our family: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, New King James Version). We realized that God wanted us to reach out to our neighbors on Halloween night. So we changed our MO! We bought good candy, not the cheap stuff—you know, the kind that has bubble gum in it that loses its flavor as soon as you put it in your mouth. We got chocolate bars! And we began to minister the love of God to those who were participating in Halloween. We handed out candy to our neighborhood kids, gave them tracts, and asked them if we could pray with them about anything.

Halloween is a great time for us to get to know our neighbors. Streets are packed with parents and children. Paul said it this way: “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:22–23, NLT).

As Christians, we walk every day in the burden-removing, yoke-destroying power of God (see Isaiah 10:27). If we close our door on our neighbors at Halloween, if we “turn our lights off,” we miss a big opportunity to remove burdens and destroy yokes from other people’s lives.

My family’s outreach began with just us. Later, we started taking friends with us to the streets of our community to share the love of Christ at Halloween. Over time, the ministry grew.

One church in Athens, Ohio, found out about what we were doing on Halloween. They invited me and my ministry team to come minister at the nation’s largest Halloween block party, which takes place in their city every year. Annually, this block party draws about 80,000 college-age kids, who come out to drink and party on Halloween night. In 2009, we started taking teams to the event to share the gospel with young people. Since then, thousands have received Jesus as Lord and Savior on the darkest day of the year.

Another church, this one in Roscoe, Illinois, whose pastor is a friend of mine, uses Halloween as their biggest outreach of the year. They bring carnival rides in and provide free popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy. They clear out their sanctuary and set up games for the kids, and then they present a gospel skit. Every year at least 5,000 people attend this event. A lot of people in the community don’t even offer candy for trick-or-treating—they send people to my friend’s church instead!

I’m not saying that we should dress up as the devil and participate in dark activities. We should dress normally when we minister on Halloween night. When people see us loving, rather than judging the people who go to haunted houses or go trick-or-treating, the Bible says they will begin to glorify the heavenly Father. We should be a light in the darkness.

The Bible says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). When we begin to look like love, talk like love and act like love, God who is love will manifest Himself through us, spreading His light to a lost and dying world. I pray that this Halloween you will open up your door and turn on your light to harvest souls for God’s kingdom.

Click here for more helpful information about Halloween. http://bit.ly/1LCo4Uj

 

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Share your faith! FREE resources!

Riley Easter

This season is sure to open doors for you to share your faith…and I’m going to help make it EASY for you with a bunch of FREE resources you can download today!

First, grab this handy card with prompts for breaking the ice about your faith, scriptures you can share, and three simple sentences anyone can pray to make Jesus their Lord.

Next, download these two tracts. The first one is another great help when leading someone to Christ, and the second is perfect to leave with them afterward, so they know what to do next.

Then, I want to sow two of my books into your life. The first will stir your faith for soul-winning. In the second, I show you how to maximize the effectiveness of your witness. They’re both quick reads, and—yes!—feel free to share them with others.

Finally, if you want more, right now you can get both of my full-length books for the price of oneThese books contain not only my heart on sharing your faith and some great Bible studies on evangelism, but they also include the practical tools you need to take the Good News to the world.Order now!

I hope you download, enjoy and USE all these powerful resources this season. Together, we’ll be bringing in a HUGE harvest of souls!

Increasing His Kingdom,

Riley Stephenson

Minister of Evangelism

Kenneth Copeland Ministries

P.S.  Remember kcm.org/next, too! It’s a great resource website with videos and more for sharing your faith, and for following up with those whom you minister to.

Don’t wait—these downloads will only be available for a little while. And the special offer on my books will only last until May 15, 2014. Get them all now!

 


Destination

Riley Stephenson DestinationIn commercial airline travel, there are many flight options. Some flights are direct. Others connect through one or more cities on the way to their final destination. Sometimes flights are delayed or even cancelled.

Recently I was scheduled to speak at a church in Elmira, New York. I decided to arrive in Elmira a day early so that I would have plenty of time to prepare for my first service. I flew out of Dallas, Texas, and landed in Chicago for what was to be a short layover. After hours of delay, however, I was informed that my flight out of Chicago had been cancelled and that there were no flights heading anywhere near Elmira.

At this point I had a decision to make. I could take my shoe off and wave it threateningly at the airline staff while cussing, or I could find another way to my destination.

People ask me all the time, “How do I fulfill God’s calling on my life?” or, in other words, “How do I get to my destination?”

The answer is easy: cast all your cares upon God. Psalm 37:23 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly” (nlt). Our problem is that too often we attempt to lean on our own understanding instead of trusting in the Lord.

Don’t believe me? How many times have you prayed, pondered and begged God in order to figure out your calling in life? As human beings, our flesh nature wants to be in control. We don’t just want to know all the details of our lives, we crave to know them. Regardless of our desires, however, God doesn’t want us to crave our destiny. He wants us to crave Him.

When you were seven years old, did you ever guess that your life would pan out the way that it has? Have you made good decisions as well as some bad ones, and have you walked through things that seemed out of your control? You see, though, God planned for all those “unexpected” detours in your life. He is the One who gave you the freedom to make choices, whether good or bad. But thankfully, God also so carefully designed His plan for your life that He provided you more than one way to arrive at the destination He has in mind for you.

God wants you to trust Him, no matter where you are, because His perspective is bigger than yours! He wants you to arrive at your destination. But the journey you are on as you make your way there is forging you into the person you will need to be when you arrive at your stopping place.

So what did I do when I found myself stuck in Chicago? While everyone else started a small riot at the ticket counter, I calmly left, rented a car, drove seven hundred miles to Elmira and made it on time to the service. It wasn’t the way I had hoped to get to my destination, but God was faithful to get me where I needed to be as I committed myself to trust Him, one step at a time.


A Father’s Love

A Fathers Love

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about the prodigal son in Luke 15.

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 NLT)

I love that “filled with LOVE and COMPASSION” he ran!

The Father in this story had every right to be mad and offended at his son. He had every right to disown him. The young boy had stooped to the lowest level of society. He could have demanded a full repayment of the money that had been spent. I believe everyday the father was looking out into the field saying to himself, “that son of mine is coming home.” While the son was out in the world partying up to his neck in sin, the father was watching, waiting, longing for his son to come home.

Compassion sees a problem and has an overwhelming desire to alleviate the suffering.

The father when he saw his son, covered from head to toe in pig slop didn’t turn up his spiritual nose! No! He gave him a big hug and a kiss. He told the servants to restore him! He never gave up on his son. He didn’t stop believing, and he never gave up.

We cannot lose our compassion for those who are lost. The bible says “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who dont believe.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT)  They don’t even know what they are doing because they’re not in their “right mind.” In verse 17 it says “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself…”(Luke 15:17 NLT) It’s our job to pray for the lost not to judge or condemn.

God never gave up on us when we were out in the world in sin. We should never give up on our family members. Never give up on our co-workers. Never give up on or friends. Never stop believing for them. God will show you how to minister to them. Like the father, fill yourself with love and compassion concerning the lost and soon you’ll see yourself running after them bringing them home.


His Tank is Always Full

Riley Stephenson - Mercy TankIt wasn’t too long ago that we started this new year, and now we are into our second month—well on our way into 2013!

I hope you’ve kept your New Year’s resolution so far. But maybe, if you are like a lot of people I’ve met, you have let a few of them slip. If you are already feeling discouraged this year about falling short of your goals, I want to let you know today that God’s mercies are brand new every morning.

You might say to me, “Riley, my mercy tank is on E.” Well, guess what? Every morning your mercy tank gets a fill-up! Glory to God! No matter what your yesterday looked like, today all things are made new!

I want to encourage you: I have heard it said that 2013 will be a year of great grace. If you have fallen at the very beginning of this year, get back up and start again. All you have to do is to receive God’s grace by faith! Every day when you wake up, say, “Lord, I thank You that I have all the grace I need for today.”

Do you want God’s favor in your life in the coming year? If you do, let the beginning of your year rest in Jesus. Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end” (Rev. 1:8, NLT). And in John 1:1 it says, “In the beginning was the Word”—the Word being Jesus. Don’t focus on your mistakes—find out what Jesus wants you to do today, and do it.

If you want to keep Jesus first throughout your year, put Him first at the beginning of every day. We should begin each day with the Word of God. As you take the time to pray and read your Bible at the start of every day, your mercy tank will overflow, and you will watch God’s favor manifest in your life in this year of great grace.

Great grace spiritually! Great grace in your soul and body! I’m standing in faith with you for 2013 to be a year far beyond all you could ask or think!


Reason for The Season

As another year closes and a new year begins, it is so important to take a moment and reflect on the many blessings we have been given. Although believers in Jesus Christ may understand the “reason for the season” the holidays, for many, can be a painful reminder of all the obstacles life has thrown against us.Riley Stephenson Haltom City

What a wonderful holiday season we’ve had for ministry!

It began with our “Thanksgiving Reach,” Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ holiday outreach in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Joseph Storehouse. On the day of the event, dozens of workers arrived before sunup to set up an outdoor stage, a sound system and 2,000 chairs as well as bounce houses and other fun stations. As morning broke, thousands of locals lined up to receive a frozen turkey and a twenty-dollar voucher for groceries.

Before we distributed the food, we held a worship service. It was wonderful for me to see both of my daughters and many close friends onstage worshiping the Lord. Hundreds of the people who attended the event responded to the message that was shared, many coming forward for a healing prayer or to pray the prayer of salvation.

After the service we handed out the food as the kids played in the bounce houses and enjoyed face painting and clowns.

The testimonies of the day were astounding! One lady told me that her family would not have had a Thanksgiving meal if we hadn’t provided it for her. By the end of the week, we had handed out 1500 turkeys, and 272 people had prayed to receive salvation. Watch video!

But that’s not all! For our “Christmas Reach,” we partnered with the Joplin Family Worship Center in Joplin, Missouri, a city that experienced a huge amount of destruction and loss in the tornado of 2011. Our team set up a toy store for local families to be able to choose brand new toys, free of charge, for their children this Christmas. Over 300 families received a total of 2,500 toys that would be given to 810 children. One lady told us that she was amazed at the quality of the gifts we provided. She also added that the toys were exactly what her children wanted.

As people chose their gifts, we shared with them the love of Jesus. Through the course of the event, 404 people give their lives to Jesus, and over 50 people receiving physical healing.

It was truly awesome to watch people receive our gifts, but it was more amazing to see them receive the greatest gift of all—the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Watch video!


Friends

Jesus was a friend of sinners. I like how the New Living Translation puts it: “Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!” (Luke 15:1–2, NLT).

Jesus was a friend of “notorious sinners.” If Jesus cared for objectionable people, so should we.

But as Christians, we sometimes get caught up in our own little bubble. We watch Christian TV. We send our kids to private Christian school. We listen to Christian radio. We do business with Christians and have Christian friends—the whole time never associating with the world around us. We can get so caught up in the me-and-my-three syndrome that we fail to reach out to our neighbors, friends and co-workers.

Once, as I taught on this passage at a church, I asked the group, “Who in your city could be labeled a notorious sinner?” I wasn’t looking for a public response, but someone shouted out, “The mayor!” The county in this area had been a dry county and had just turned wet, and the mayor had played a big part in that decision. So I encouraged the church to become friends with the city officials!

There’s a scripture in Jude I like that illustrates how we are to respond to sinners: “Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives” (Jude 1:23, NLT). We are supposed to hate the sin, but not the sinner. We aren’t to condemn or judge sinners—we are to love them. John 3:17 says, “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world but to save the world through him” (NLT).

I was speaking on this subject in a small town in Texas. After the teaching, teams of students and leaders went to the streets to apply what we had been learning. I had brought with me a few people from our ministry to help with the training, and one of our ladies rode with the associate pastor and his wife.

As they drove, this lady noticed a man digging in a dumpster. “Stop the car! Stop the car!” she called out. The pastor stopped, and the woman jumped out and ran over to this guy. She began to tell the man how much God loved him and that the Lord had a great plan for his life. She shared the Word of God with him—and that man prayed to receive Jesus.

When the teams came back to the church, I asked for testimonies. The associate pastor came forward and shared what he had seen. “Every day,” he concluded, “we see this guy walking down the street, digging in dumpsters.” Tears began to flow from his eyes. “But we’ve never even thought about where he might spend eternity.”

Let’s not be so caught up in our own world that we lose sight of those whom Jesus came to save.