Autopilot

Riley Stephenson Auto Pilot BlogHave you ever stopped in the middle of the things you were doing and realized that you were stuck on autopilot?

You know what I mean. The alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. You stumble to the coffee pot, get dressed, get the kids ready for school, make and eat breakfast, fight the morning traffic, work all day in your cubicle, see your co-workers, go home, make dinner, watch TV, go to bed—and the next day you hit the repeat button. Sure, some things may differ a bit from day to day, but by and large you could probably traverse your daily routine without even thinking about what you’re doing.

People often say that they want change in their lives, but for all our alleged desire for change, what happens when something messes up our routine? What happens when things don’t go exactly the way we expect or want them to?

I recently had such an experience. It had been a long day, and I had gone to a restaurant with my friends. I just wanted to get my food and relax. The restaurant, however, was packed. Once we were seated, our waitress had so many patrons that she could barely keep up with them all. When my order didn’t arrive exactly as I had placed it, I got a bit upset that she hadn’t been paying more attention to me and my selfish “needs.”

At this point one of my friends noticed that our waitress needed prayer for healing. He asked her if she wanted prayer, and she responded, “I can always use prayer.” So my friend said, “Riley, why don’t you pray for her?”

Now I was having a temper tantrum in the restaurant that day. I didn’t want to pray for our waitress. But I did it anyway. I grabbed the woman’s hand and prayed that the Lord would remove any sickness in her body.

Not only was our waitress healed, but she prayed then and there to rededicate her life to the Lord. I had almost missed the opportunity to be a blessing to our waitress that day!

I truly believe that most Christians want to see the lost saved and the sick healed. But at times we get so busy with our own lives that it’s as if we’re stuck on autopilot. We pray for God to give us opportunities to reach out to others around us, but we fail to see the opportunities He gives us because all we see is ourselves.

My prayer for you is that God would give you eyes to see the lost and the hurting on a daily basis. Join me in this prayer: “Lord, give me eyes to see beyond my wants and my needs, and use me to reach the lost and hurting around me. Amen.”

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Led by God’s Spirit

TheMultitaskingWoman_BarBlog

I was at a church one weekend leading evangelism training sessions, and after the Saturday morning meeting, we went out into the city for the day to minister to people about Jesus. That evening, as we continued walking the streets, I started hearing in my spirit the letters “VFW” over and over again. The impression persisted, so I asked one of the ladies who lived in the city if they had a VFW there. She told me that they did.

I told the group that I felt like we should go to the VFW, so off we went. As we walked into the building, we saw people playing pool. Others were standing at the bar, and there was a big group sitting at a table.

I walked up to the people at the table and began ministering to the whole group. At first they all listened, but when I started quoting Scripture, half of them started talking among themselves. But there was one woman standing near me who was listening intently. This woman was holding a beer mug and a lit cigarette, both in one hand, and she kept right on smoking and drinking as I talked. I was astonished that she could do all that with one hand!

But this lady heard the gospel message, and when I finished talking, she prayed to receive Jesus! I knew that God’s word would not return void and that it would prosper in her life.

Several months later I saw the pastors from the church where I had taught, and they told me that they had seen the lady from the VFW. She told the pastors that at the time we had seen her, she had been going to church and also going to the bars. She had been riding the fence with her faith. When we came into the VFW that night, this woman said she knew it was a sign from God. She rededicated her life to Jesus that night, quit going to the bars and has been in church ever since. Glory to God! I believe the Lord sent us there for that one lady!

Being led by God’s Spirit is the most adventurous and rewarding life! Open your heart to hear what the Spirit is saying to you today!


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!


Momma Got Saved!

Recently I ministered at a church in Milwaukee. During our evangelism training, I encouraged the people in the congregation to make phone calls to unsaved friends and family members. I suggested that all of us go through the address books in our cell phones, see who needs the Lord and then call those people.

I told them to say, “Hey, Mom, this guy named Riley told me to call you. He wanted me to tell you that Romans 3 says, ‘All have sinned,’ Romans 6 says that ‘the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life,’ and Romans 10 says that ‘all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Mom, Riley said to pray this prayer . . .” I had told them to lead the person in the prayer on our Pocket Reference Card.

The next day a lady who had attended the evangelism training walked up to me. “Riley,” she said, “I did what you told us to do. I called my Momma. I asked her the questions, and I read her the Scriptures, but she started cussing and wouldn’t pray. So I told her, ‘Riley said to pray this prayer.’” The woman’s mom retorted, “Then tell Riley to come over and pray with me!”

I told this lady that on Saturday afternoon I’d make a house call to see her mother.

On Saturday, around noon, we all went to Momma’s house. When we arrived, Momma was asleep on the couch, but as we walked through the door, she woke up! “We’re here!” her daughter called. “Hey, Momma,” her daughter continued. “Do you remember the other day when we talked on the phone and I told you that Riley wanted you to pray a prayer?”

“Yes,” Momma said. “Well,” replied her daughter, “Riley’s here!” So I sat down on the couch and ministered the love of Jesus to this lady.

And guess what? Momma got saved!


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.