Monday, January 31, 2011

A Family of Friends!

Well, we are so privileged to have a house full of friends who have become like family. The Kinzer family arrived January 8th, 2011 and are staying with us until they get on their feet and get settled in the community with work and a place to live. God radically spoke to their hearts this past year through the Word and prayer and the people of God and confirmed their calling to come to North Carolina and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Calvary Chapel Spring Valley in Las Vegas sent them out as part of the "church plant team" here in Raleigh and God has raised up many to pray for them and us as we all seek God's will for this community and our own personal lives. They are great friends and wonderful servants of Christ!
There are 7 of us here now, which is a perfect number for starting a church! There's Greg, Angela and baby James. There's Anthony, Melanie and baby Niah. And of coarse there's Holly, who we all call Yaya! This is the family of friends God has sent here to serve Him as we love one another and the people in this community with the love of God! What a blessing. Our common bond is Jesus Christ and our common calling is the Kingdom of God!
God's Word, the Bible, clearly communicates that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are a family, "The Family of God." We are not a group of like-minded religious people, we are not a club or business, or students who learn from the same teacher, or buddies who share similar interests or hobbies, or groupies of the same band. We are a family, an eternal family that will be together forever along with all believers who have called upon the Name of the LORD throughout the history of time. And because we are more than friends, but brothers and sisters who have been born again by the Holy Spirit, with God as our Father, we care for one another as brothers and sisters should care for one another, deeply.
Please pray for us as we live together and serve God together.

Our prayer requests would be:
1-God's Love and Unity in our home
2-God's Kingdom to expand through each of our lives
3-Work and relationships in the community

We want to thank everyone who has joined us in this adventure either through your love and prayers, phone calls, texts, emails, financial support, etc. Thank you soooo much! We have totally experienced God's love through the Body of Christ during this transition, ministry and merging of lives. The Lord has built a small church family in our home and we pray our lives together will be an honest reflection of what Jesus said would mark His true followers: Love and Unity. We understand that we do not build His Church. He does it! As we love and follow Him, the overflow of that relationship is the building up of His Church! And we believe God is going to expand His Kingdom one precious soul at a time.

We love you all!
The Stephens Family

You can check out our friends here:
The Kinzer Family at:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm a Tree Hugger!

It's true, I'm a tree hugger.
But I only hug one particular Tree.
I cling to that old rugged Cross of Christ.
The True Tree of Life, Eternal Life!
And the True Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil.

You see, it was on that One Tree that God displayed His greatest act of Love toward mankind, when Jesus willingly gave His life for us, dying on the cross for all the evil that we have ever committed, and then through His resurrection, and faith in His resurrection He gives to us freely the goodness of God, making us new.

The Bible says, "For He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21

Through the death of Jesus we have been freed from ever having to keep any religious law to be right with God. Everyone who does not have Christ in them is under the curse of God's Righteous Law. God's Law, the 10 Commandments condemns us as liars, as thieves, as blasphemers for using God's Name in vain, as idolaters for not loving God supreme, as murderers for having hatred in our hearts, and as adulterers for being full of sinful lust. The punishment for sin is death. Jesus died in our place, received our curse, and took our punishment on the cross so that God can now forgive us having received Christ's payment for our sin.

The Bible says, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), so that the blessings of Abraham might come upon all those who are not Jews in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Galatians 3:13-14

Jesus Christ rose from the dead as evidence that He paid our penalty and truly is God's Righteous Son and Savior. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historical fact, not a religious fable. Jesus Christ is alive and able to give eternal life, spiritual strength and forgiveness of sin to anyone who comes to God with faith in that Tree, that old rugged cross of Christ, and His resurrection.

The Bible says, "The God of our Fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance...and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit who God has given to those who obey Him." Acts 5:30-32

The Cross of Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life, because it is through that cross that God brings us into peace with Himself. Through that Tree we obtain peace with God and receive the peace of God! And before we can be at peace with God, our sins must be taken care of. So God, who is the source of all life, came and gave His own life for our sin, so that we can have true spiritual life and peace with Him forever. Jesus Christ was the invisible God becoming visible and dying for our sin. God was in Christ saving us from from the judgment our sin deserves. And it is the blood of God in Jesus Christ that paid for our sin, purchased our redemption, and purifies our souls!

The Bible says, "For it pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) all the fullness of God should dwell, and by Jesus to reconcile all things to Himself (the Father) by Him (the Son), whether it be things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross." Colossians 1:19-20

The Apostle Paul, in speaking to early church leaders, reminded them that God's people were bought and paid for by the blood of God when he said, "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." Acts 20:28

And the last book of the Bible praises God and Jesus when it says, "...To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood..." Revelation 1:5

And so you see that it was on that "Tree" that God changes our eternities!
It was on that Cross that Jesus, the Carpenter that once held nails and wood, was being held by nails and wood.
It was on that Cross that God hung as a man, dying in my place, for my sins.
And I will never go to hell because of what He did for me on that Tree!

Therefore, "I'm a Tree-Hugger!"
Because Christ was willing to hug that bloody tree for me, I will gladly hug that tree for Him!
I will cling to that Old Rugged Cross and hug that Holy Tree forever!

And I echo what Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14 "...God forbid that I should boast in anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

Thank you Jesus!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Recently my mom purchased me a GPS for my vehicle.
Not only have I found it incredibly helpful when it comes to driving around a new city, but I find in it an amazing illustration for God's Word, the Bible.

Think through this with me.
My GPS is portable. I can take it with me wherever I want to go.
It's reliable and dependable. Much time and effort have gone in to ensuring it's trustworthiness and accuracy.
My GPS tells me exactly where I am, where I've been, and where I'm going. It even tells me how fast I'm going whenever I'm moving.
If I want to get from where I am to where I want to be, then all I have to do is tell it where I want to go and then do what it says. It can tell me all day long what direction I'm suppose to go, but if I don't eventually put my vehicle into drive I'll go nowhere.
My GPS is in the language I speak. The words are in English and the person speaking the directions also is speaking in English. It's great to actually have a GPS translation in my own language. And the translation is accurate!

You see, all I have to do is put FAITH in my GPS and it will take me exactly where I want to go!
It doesn't even take a lot of faith. Just enough faith to get me to put the vehicle in drive and step by step, road by road, turn by turn obey the voice and commands given by my GPS. It's actually very simple and takes very little faith. The GPS does most of the work for me.
And if I make a wrong turn or miss my turn, its ok, because it will re-calculate my situation and get me on the right track in no time at all. It's wonderfully forgiving!

If only I would put that kind of FAITH in the Word of God, the Bible.
The Bible is God's Positioning System for us. God's Plan of Salvation, God's Powerful Solution!
The GPS has only been out for a few years now, and yet God's Word has been around for thousands of years steering, guiding and directing millions of people into forgiveness, joy, peace, eternal life and heaven.
All you have to do is read the Words and obey them. It's simple.
God's Word will tell you exactly where you are, where you've been and where you're going.
God's Word will tell you if you've taken a wrong turn and even how to get back on the right road.
God's Word will tell you if you're going too fast or too slow, and it will also give you a heads up if you need to turn right.
God spent over 1600 years programming/writing the Bible and ensuring its accuracy, reliability, precision and trustworthiness. He had over 40 authors involved in its development.
God's Word is conveniently available in most languages.
My GPS was over $100, but God's Word is free!
And God's Word is also wonderfully portable!
All you have to do is take it with you, open it up, read it...and it will tell you exactly where you are and where you need to be going.
Then you have to actually exercise FAITH and trust it, put your life into drive and go exactly where it tells you to go.
If you do this my friend, you avoid many accidents, much confusion and you'll enjoy the ride a whole lot more!

I've had my GPS for only a month now and it has never let me down. And I use it all day, every day for work.
Well, G.P.S. (God's Perfect Son) saved my soul and changed my life 10 years ago!
I've been reading the Bible ever since and God's Word has never let me down.
I know where I've been, where I'm at, and where I'm going.
I'm enjoying the ride, staying in the right lane, and listening for the next command.
Jesus, take me home!

B.I.B.L.E= Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth

"Trust in the LORD with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." -Proverbs 3:5-6

"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
-Psalm 119:105

"All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is beneficial for teaching, reproof, correction and for instruction in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." -2 Timothy 3:16-17

"Obey God's Word! Don't fool yourselves by just listening to it."
-James 1:22