Tag Archives: Witnessing

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.


The Gift of Evangelism

“Riley, I would love to do what you do, but I don’t have the gift of evangelism.” The words came from a well-meaning Christian who was referring to my street ministry. At the time I was training people in evangelism at my church every Friday night. We were taking teams into the city and seeing fifty to one hundred people pray to receive Jesus every weekend. I told that man that he could do what I do—because he was a believer.
The Bible says, “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied [it]” (Mark 16:20, AMP). Amen. Signs and miracles will follow us as believers!
God has given certain gifts of service to us as believers. Take a look at them: “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (see Ephesians 4:11–12, NLT).
The Bible tells us that these five-fold ministry gifts are for the “perfecting of the saints” to do the work of the ministry. Based on what we just read, the job of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is to teach, train and equip you as a congregation member to do the work of building up the body.
But there is no such gift called “the gift of evangelism” recorded in the Bible. It’s not your pastor’s job to fill the empty seats in your church. It’s not your pastor’s job to reach your city.
It’s yours.
Now, when I’m sent to a church to do evangelism training, I’m sent as an evangelist. But when I’m not standing in a pulpit under the office of an evangelist, and I’m simply going about my day, I’m constantly listening to the Lord as to who He wants me to minister to. The Lord speaks to us constantly; all we need to do is tune in a little closer so we can hear what our assignment is for the day.
My family and I recently went to lunch at a local Italian restaurant. The place had just opened, and we wanted to try it out. The waiter seated us and handed us the menus.
I was in one of those moods in which I didn’t want to even look at the menu; I just wanted to ask the waiter for a recommendation. When the waiter came to our table, my wife and daughters ordered from the menu. Then young man turned to me. “Sir,” he asked, “what would you like?”
I asked him what he would recommend. Happy to oblige me, he pointed to a particular item on the menu and said to me, “Sir, if I was on death row and this was the last meal I would ever eat, this is what I would order.” I was shocked by his comment about being on death row. But I knew at that point what the Lord was about to do. I ordered what the waiter had suggested, and it turned out to be an amazing dish.
When the waiter came back to the table for the check, I had another question for him: “If you were on death row and these were your last few moments to live, where do you think you’d spend eternity?” The young man looked down and told me, “I’m really not sure.” I shared with him the Scriptures from Romans from the script our ministry uses. And then I led him in a prayer to receive Jesus. During the prayer our waiter began to cry, and as he lifted his head, he said, “Thank you so much. I was just thinking about my life. I know I need God.” My family and I got ready to leave, and the waiter stopped by our table one more time. “I believe God sent you here,” he said.
God wants to use you today! Be bold and courageous! You don’t need to have a fivefold ministerial calling with a “gift” in order to see miracles and signs following. All you need do is listen to the little promptings you get every day from the Lord—and then be obedient!


Your Mouth Is a Tool


In the book of Mark, there’s an interesting little story about a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years. This woman had no options in the natural. She had spent all her money on doctors and had only gotten worse. But she heard about Jesus and how He had been healing the sick. So she started meditating on Jesus, and she began to use her mouth as a tool. “She kept saying, If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health” (Mark 5:28, AMP).
This woman began to speak what she wanted instead of what she was experiencing. She started speaking words of faith! She made a determination in her heart that if she could just touch Jesus, she would be made whole. She kept saying!
The Bible tells us that if we do not doubt in our heart but believe that those things we say will be done, we will have whatever we say: “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him” (Mark 11:23). When I first saw this scripture years ago, I got so excited that I immediately began to put it to work in my life.
I really wanted to wear nice clothes to church on Sunday, because I thought it was important to dress my best in God’s house . But we had no extra money, so my only option was to use my faith. The finest clothes I had in my closet were two pair of pants, one navy and the other khaki, and I had one white button-down shirt and one light blue one. So every week I switched out my look: one week I’d wear khaki pants with the blue shirt, and the next I’d wear navy pants with the white shirt. Every time I ironed my pants on Sunday morning, I would say, “I thank You, Lord, for my new clothes.” Then I’d iron my shirts, and I’d say, “I thank You, Lord, for my new clothes.”
Not long after I began thanking the Lord for new clothes, I painted the exterior of a lady’s house. This woman told me that before her husband had died, she had bought him some nice dress shoes. “If they fit you,” she said to me, “I would love for you to have them.” So I tried them on, and guess what? They were a perfect fit.
When I brought those new shoes home, my wife said, “Wow, Riley, those are Johnson & Murphy. They’re two-hundred-dollar shoes! If the Lord is blessing you with shoes like that, suits are coming!”
So I changed what I was saying. Every Sunday morning when I ironed my clothes, I started saying, “Thank You, Lord, for my new suits.”
Three months later a couple invited my wife and me to join them for lunch at their home after church. After the meal the man asked me to forgive him. He told me that three months earlier the Lord had told him to give me a gift, and he hadn’t done it. Of course I forgave him. As soon as I told him so, the man went to his closet and brought out five suits and five ties for me! Yes, he did—and every one fit perfectly!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33, NKJV).
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19, NKJV).
Whatever situation or circumstance you may be going through, whatever your needs may be, train your mouth to be obedient to the Word of God. Whether you need healing, financial help or deliverance, use your mouth as a tool to bring in your harvest—spirit, soul and body!


The REACH – Birmingham, AL

Throughout my life the Lord has always put very specific people and places on my heart. Whether a single individual or an entire city, I am unable to rest until that group has been reached. Several years ago the Lord specifically put Birmingham, Alabama on my heart. I began to pray and intercede, not only for the people of Alabama but for the city as well.

On April 27th 2011 the state of Alabama was struck with over 200 tornadoes in a 48hour period. In that 2 day period of time countless people lost everything, including many who lost their lives. Kenneth Copeland Ministries immediately sent our Disaster Relief team to Birmingham and the surrounding affected areas to ensure our partners were safe and provided for. We were overjoyed to find that our partners had stood on the Word of God and had been spared from the destruction.
Upon returning home, our leadership team began planning a Thanksgiving Outreach for the people of Birmingham. Partnering with Word of Life Christian Center, a local Birmingham ministry, we prepared to hand out 1,300 Thanksgiving dinners complete with an entire turkey and all the fixings.
Our team touched down and began ministering in the streets of Birmingham on Tuesday, November 15th. By Friday the team had led 205 people to the Lord! Saturday morning, the day of the outreach, my heart was overwhelmed with joy when we pulled into the church parking lot to find a line of people waiting for their Thanksgiving dinners two hours early!

What the people who stood in line that day didn’t know was that they were about to receive much more than turkey. They were about to be blessed spirit, soul and body!  Before we distributed the meals we held a short service with praise and worship and a message of love from the Father.

 I fought to hold back streams of tears as 539 people responded to the altar call.

The devil tried to destroy the hearts of the people of Alabama, but the Lord had other plans. When the Lord puts a burden on your heart don’t ignore it. Even though we don’t always understand why He asks us to do something, if we are faithful to step out in obedience, lives will be changed every time! Praise the Lord!

 


Halloween Outreach in Athens, Ohio

This past weekend, I had the honor of training believers in Athens, Ohio, on “How to Share Jesus Effectively.” We met at Abundant Life Church with Pastor Bob Gall and his team. After the training, we embarked on the adventure of winning souls at “The Nation’s Largest Halloween Block Party” in Athens. Athens is home to Ohio University, the number one party school according to the Princeton Review. Our team has ministered the love of Jesus at this event for the past few years.

Team members drove in from as far away as Milwaukee, WI, and flew in from Jacksonville Beach, FL, and Fort Worth, TX.

We began at 6 p.m. making our way through all of the costumed Halloweeners. We asked the Lord to show us specifically whom we were supposed to talk to. Taking the Gospel in love, and to the glory of the Lord, we were able to pray with 136 people to receive Jesus.

One of our “Snatch & Rescue” laborers walked up to a man standing against a wall. We asked him If he were to die tonight would he go to heaven. He said, “Man, I already know I’m going straight to Hell. I just want to make sure my 3 yr old makes it to Heaven.” We ministered to him and he prayed to receive Jesus. We were all excited for him.

A couple of other team members prayed with a young man while his girlfriend, already a Christian, looked on with tears of joy in her eyes.

Team members reported that several people thanked them for what they were doing. I think it’s because we tried to be led by love, and the love of God is irresistible. By contrast, a church from out of town had taken up a position at the main intersection in town. Their approach was what one person called “bullhorn Christianity” – yelling at people about how evil and sinful they were.

Jesus referred to what He preached as “good news.” It’s not good news just to hear that you’re a miserable sinner. People already know that. The Bible says the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The good news is that Jesus came so people could have eternal life. He came to deliver people from the kingdom of darkness and to pick them up and transport them into the kingdom of God. He came to restore THE BLESSING. That is good news! And it’s that good news that 136 people responded to.

If you want to see a video about this outreach, look at the one on my YouTube channel by following this link: http://youtu.be/Sj3cWMEFoxU. Thanks for all your prayers and support.

 


Top Five Reasons People Don’t Witness About Their iPhone

A couple of years ago I was blessed to receive something truly amazing. When I got this it changed my life. So many of my daily tasks were not only made easier, they were so much fun now. I couldn’t wait to show all my friends the wonders of my new iPhone. To this day, years later, I still show off the new tricks and apps this phone possesses. I know it seems like telling your friends about your new phone would be easy, but in my experience there are five main reasons people are afraid to tell others about their iPhone.
1. The number one reason is fear.
With all of the available options in the smart phone world what if people don’t like my iPhone? What if I go tell my friend about my iPhone and they already have and Android phone? I can’t tell them how dangerous the Android application market is and how safe the Apple store is because they will think I am judging their phone. Don’t even get me started on all the other little smart phone niches like Nokia and Pantech. I know my iPhone is the only true option for ultimate connectivity and safety, but everyone has to make their own choices when it comes to smart phones.
2. Excuses!
I just don’t have the time. They wouldn’t like the iPhone anyway. If they knew I used an iPhone they wouldn’t talk to me anymore. Someone will tell them about the iPhone eventually. Surely everyone has already heard about the iPhone.
3. I have to feel compelled to tell people about my iPhone.
I can’t just run up to a stranger and tell them about how I can’t live without my iPhone, I have to know it’s the right time. I have to feel led. I don’t want to over market my phone. The iPhone is so amazing it’s benefits are obvious even without me saying anything.
4. Some people work in Marketing and others work in Sales.
I feel ok telling people about my iPhone, but I can’t ask them to buy one too! My job isn’t to sell them, just share my personal experience with them. I don’t want them to think that I am being pushy. I don’t want them to feel pressured. Someone else will get their iPhone business.
5. “I’m not qualified.”
I’m not MapQuest, I can’t lead people to Apple. I don’t work for the genius bar. I am not personally related to Steve Jobs, people won’t listen to me. If I try to tell them that Android phones will never truly fulfill them I will sound judgmental. I love my iPhone and I know that I can’t live without it, but I simply can’t try and convert anyone else.

As silly and trite as all that sounded how many of us have put more thought into how we will tell people about our new phone instead of how we will tell others about Jesus. There are a million excuses we will encounter on a daily basis for why we can’t witness to someone who may die without the love of Jesus. No matter which excuse presents itself Mark 16:15-18 says: And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be
saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these
signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out
demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up
serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt
them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Jesus commanded ALL Christians to preach the good news of salvation. It may not always seem easy and fear may try to creep in, but Jesus died so that we may ALL have eternal life. None of us are perfect, but we are specifically designed by God to be able to reach those people that we were ordained to come across. Don’t allow an excuse to possibly jeopardize someone’s opportunity to spend eternity with Jesus.


Prayer in a Catfish Restaurant

As our final day in Alabama came to a close, we prayed for our last KCM Partners and decided to find a place to eat as we headed back to our hotel. We had already discussed eating at a different restaurant, but as we drove, a Catfish joint caught our eye. The restaurant had some live entertainment, and as we walked in I noticed the opportunity God had given me to pray over the people who were also enjoying their catfish meals.

I wrote the man who was playing a note asking him if he would sing Amazing Grace, and if I could pray over the people once he’d finished; however, the man didn’t not see my note so once he finished I personally asked him if I could pray over the people who were affected by the devastation of the tornadoes.  He was more than happy to allow me to pray. As I took the microphone I began to pray over the people of Alabama; at the end of the prayer, I had the people in the restaurant all bow their heads and we all prayed the prayer of salvation together. Everyone in the restaurant, staff included, bowed their heads and prayed the prayer with us. The Lord purposefully had us eat catfish that evening so that we could bring his encouragement and love into a dismal and hopeless place.

Watch Video!

 


It Really Is All About the Numbers

Note: The following blog is adapted from Riley’s book It’s All about the Numbers, Newark, TX, 2009.

I have a confession to make. I hope you’re sitting down. If not, grab a chair.
This may come as a shock to you. Are you ready? Here it comes: I confess that I’m “in it” for the numbers!
That’s right — I do what I do for the Lord for the numbers. I want to see people by the millions coming to Jesus before He returns! I want to see “numbers” of people from every race and religion and from every nation on this planet saved! It’s God’s will that all be saved! Not everyone will accept his or her salvation, but the harvest of souls that God desires to reap represents large, large numbers!
Let’s be honest. We’re all “in it” for the numbers. It just depends on what our “it” is. Your “it” might be your job. At the end of the week when you get your paycheck, the “numbers” reflect the hours you worked and the compensation you receive. If you’re an accountant, a pollster, or a math teacher, you’re in it for the numbers. And if you work for the IRS, you’re definitely in it for the numbers!
Think about someone who’s on a strict diet. Their “it” is calories or pounds. They count how many calories they can have, and they definitely count how many pounds they lose!
A runner counts how many miles he has run. A businessman will let you know how many years he has been in business. A good businessman will set a goal every year as to how much money he wants to make by year’s end.
Some businesses advertise right on their sign the date they were established — so people can see how many “numbers” of years they’ve been in business. This usually gives them more credibility.
What about churches? They do the same thing. They record the “numbers” in attendance. They plan annual budgets for programs based on the “numbers.” Also, a church will evaluate the success of a meeting based on numbers.
Did you know that God is in it for the numbers too? He wrote a Book in the Bible called Numbers! Let’s face it: Numbers are important to God! In John 21:11, the Bible says Peter caught 153 fish! God thought “numbers” were so important that He recorded the number of fish Peter caught that day. So let’s not get “all spiritual” when someone sets a goal for souls! God’s desire is that people come to Jesus by the thousands! As believers, we desire to see all of our family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances pulled from the flames of hell (see Jude 23)! These people represent “numbers.”
One of my favorite quotes says, “We count people because people count.”
Christians have said to me, “Now, brother, you shouldn’t count the number of people you led to the Lord. You shouldn’t make it look like you’re putting another notch on your Gospel belt.”
“Thank you for saying that!” I always reply. “I want my ‘Gospel belt’ so notched up with souls who give their life to Jesus that you can’t even tell anymore that it’s a belt!” My goal is to see as many “numbers” of people go to Heaven as I possibly can! This goal has been the driving force of my ministry. Some have assumed that I’m only it in for the numbers. And do you know what? They’re right!
I once heard a respected minister say, “The only thing you do in life that will matter when you die is what you’ve done for the Lord.” That statement had a profound effect on my life — it still does to this day.
What about you? Do you share the dream for souls? Do you share a desire to love what God loves — the “precious fruit of the earth” — the harvest of men’s and women’s souls (see James 5:7)? If you do, I bet you’re a number-lover too. It really is all about the numbers!