Pastor Rodney Lord
The Pentecost Walk led by Tom Demaree and the annual Pentecost Sunday Celebration is gaining history and momentum. What started as a phone call from a friend in Washington, D.C. has become a catalytic unity event that spans denominations and faith traditions bringing many church leaders and their congregations together. On year one, intercessors from all over the MOV prayer walked 63 miles together. ( I remember...I walked them all) We ended with a combined worship and prayer gathering on Sunday night in an old historic downtown Parkersburg church and then walked to the flagpole at City Hall. This year, on our tenth anniversary, we will meet at First Baptist Church Williamstown for worship, sharing and prayer followed by an ice cream social. We are also planning a prayer walk across the Williamstown Bridge to Marietta. Come and join us as we Celebrate what only the Holy Spirit could have accomplished among us!
Pastor Rodney Lord
A national day of prayer was called for by the first Continental Congress in 1775 and was first established by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. In 1952, Congress unanimously voted to establish a National Day of Prayer. The day was made official when President Harry S. Truman signed it into law.One of the people who advocated most strongly for that 1952 law was the Evangelist Billy Graham, who led a weeks-long prayer "crusade" to Washington that year, and on Feb. 3, 1952, gave a speech urging Congress to introduce legislation establishing a National Day of Prayer. This was something he'd been suggesting for years, but it finally stuck—becoming law in just a couple of weeks.
In 1988, Congress and President Ronald Reagan amended the law to designate the first Thursday in May as National Day of Prayer.
The national day of prayer is a powerful reaffirmation that we are overwhelmingly a people that trust God and believe in the power of prayer.
What an honor and expression of freedom when we stand united and rehearse the blessings of God that have been poured out on America and pray into the promises of His Word.
From the very founding of this nation prayer led the way. From Presidents to Generals, to legislators, to judges and to the common citizen on the streets….prayer has been honored and practiced. In times of crisis and triumph God has responded to our prayers with mercy and blessing.
It was founding fathers John Adams and John Hancock who wrote:
"We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!"
Join us as we gather at noon Thursday May 4th at the Washington County Courthouse. The Greater Ohio Valley will join together in prayer for this region and the nation.
Pastor Rodney Lord
We are excited to announce that in the area of youth ministry, Tyler Preston is stepping up to lead and serve. Tyler’s unique style...which you have seen in his announcements...certainly lends itself to be an engaging leader for youth. Tyler is also a passionate worshipper and young man of integrity. He has been a friend to our family for a number of years. We believe, and so does Tyler, that this is God’s timing in his life to step out of the comfort zone of the past and serve in the area of spiritual growth and development of our youth.
Tyler will not be alone in this endeavor. I had a divine appointment a few months ago while I was at the hospital visiting someone. I stopped in to see Chuck Blevins who leads the imaging department at MMH...no small task.. In the conversation, we were reminiscing about all the youth parties and Bible studies that he and Heather helped lead and host in their home. Of course my wheels were turning and a week later, I asked if they would consider serving and assisting Tyler in developing the youth ministry. They agreed! If you know Chuck, you know he is a big kid at heart, loves to have fun, and is serious about spiritual matters. Heather is the well balanced adult/mom that will take care of many details and see everything that the guys miss. Someone has to be the adult.
We are very blessed at FGC to have new babies arriving, growing kids and youth, and young adults that are stepping up to serve. Over the past few years, these young men and women have been involved in Freedom Groups, Treasure Hunts, Streetlife in New York and other ministry initiatives. They are modeling some powerful things for the youth, and older adults to see. Two young adult leaders that are stepping up to provide further leadership within the college and career age group are Justin and Cassidi Shoaf. The Shoaf's came to FGC already having significant ministry training and have spent some time doing international missions. Their heart to see the Kingdom released into the culture through supernatural expressions of ministry is exciting. Prior to their missions deployment, they were working professional marketplace jobs in this area. We are a growing family and I am excited to see some additional structure and leadership to support the growth and direction in the lives of our young adults. I love the Shoaf's faith- filled adventurous spirit that they carry….it will inspire and challenge!
By Pastor Rodney Lord
I had never had an experience like this before. I was in my early 20’s and sat through a ten hour course on the grace of God and wept for at least 80% of the time. Before me was an old man, a broken man, but a true pioneer in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. He had one glass eye and had to hold his notes close to the other one to read. He wore large oversized “Frankenstein” shoes due to the damage to his feet caused from the poisons of coral. He was forced to walk to shore on coral reefs when his boat had wrecked.
As a young man, Dr. Sam Sasser dreamed of taking the gospel to the unreached in the Marshall Islands. His missions board said to go to the Fiji Islands because it seemed that the gospel was taking root there, but his dream was the Marshall Islands. Newly married and desperately needing confirmation, Sam flies from Los Angeles to Dallas to visit a man he thought would give him direction - Gordon Lindsay, the President and Founder of Christ For The Nations.
Without an appointment, he sat all day in the waiting area. At the end of the day, Gordon Lindsay beckoned Sam into his office and the dream was shared. He unfolded his vision of going to the unreached Marshall Islands. They talked into the evening and at the end “it seemed good to me and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13) for Sam to go to the unreached Pacific Islands.
As a young man, Sam loved baseball. He had been drafted out of high school by the San Diego Padres and played for their club in the Pacific Coast League. In his first and only season, Sam led the league in number of hits and batting average. I think those records stood well into the 1980’s. But this dream was bigger than baseball. Leaving his wife at home for the first year, Sam went into territory that he would pioneer for the Kingdom of God. He would paddle a boat to reach the chain of islands with the gospel. Once a month during that first year, a plane would drop mail as it flew by. Sam said every month there was a letter of encouragement that fueled his dream from none other than Gordon Lindsay.
It’s hard to take notes when your eyes are so blurry from tears. As Dr. Sam Sasser told of exploits that were empowered by the grace of God to bring the gospel to those Islands, we knew we were in the presence of a living Apostle. That day we did not need pen and paper...his message of the Father’s grace was being etched on our hearts.
Before Sam, the Marshall Islands had very few believers. Today, the citizens of the Marshall Islands are a Christian majority. Dr. Sasser’s dream had taken him to the ends of the earth and he could say with John Newton…”Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”
Be confident that the power of the grace of God will fuel your dreams as they become reality!
Dear Freedom Gate Church Family,
Many of you know the Heartbeat Bill did not pass in this session which is now nearly over.
Thank you for engaging in what will someday be known as the greatest war in American history....the war to protect the innocent unborn. The number in the United States alone is approaching 60 million. Unfathomable. In all of our wars together since the Revolutionary war, 1,305, 836 lives have been lost fighting to protect our nation and it's citizens. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war#Overview)
I have great respect for the courage, tireless effort, and faith-filled leadership of Janet Porter. She has been willing to go up against a corrupt, evil, and well financed war machine. She has raised the banner for pro-life people and the church to recognize where the battle is being fought and how to rally to the front lines. It is not often that you see a leader who is so deeply committed to a cause that has had 40 years of momentum piled up against it.
There are many political leaders and even some church leaders that are offended by the methods that have been employed by the Heartbeat Bill leaders, namely Janet. She has used tangible items like red balloons, teddy bears, baby outfits, and etc to illustrate that these are real babies in the womb that are being lost...every day. These items were delivered to our Ohio leaders to ask for their support. You and I were asked to make phone calls to the Senators and Representatives...which we did. I have no regrets over any of these efforts and I trust that our resolve as the church in the nation is growing stronger.
Under Janet's leadership the foremost authority and face of the pro-life movement, Dr. Wilke and a well respected constitutional attorney, David Forte came together to draft this historic piece of legislation back in 2011. Thousands around the State of Ohio and the nation have come together to pray and give credible voice to this movement as well. Many political leaders joined in with promises...especially during their election seasons. Many of the promises by so-called pro-life legislators have been broken. The evidence is well stated below. But just as Wilberforce never gave up until the slave trade in Britain was dismantled...so too will those engaged in this war.
It will reach a tipping point. God will raise up Eliakims in answer to prayer. The grave injustice that America has too long accepted will see the glorious day of change. In this season of illumination of the light of truth we remember the words of Isaiah 9: "the government will be upon His shoulders..." We are His Body in the earth so we are directly connected to this decree. Jesus is our Victorious Champion.
Keep Advancing! Life Is Good!
HB 248 - Heartbeat Bill Testimony - Pastor Rodney Lord, Marietta, OH - 11/20/14
Mr. Chairman and members of the Health Committee, it is an honor to be here today. I am Pastor Rodney Lord standing here as a proponent of House Bill 248, the Heartbeat Bill.
I know that I am a representative voice for hundreds of clergy in this state and many more tens of
thousands of their church members. This legislation has captured the attention, the hope and the
expectation of so many because of its clear, simple message and application.
I ran across this story a few days ago. Two young brothers, Bert and John Jacobs dreamed of having their own t-shirt business. For 5 years they tried with very little success... traveling in an old van together, up and down the East Coast, going from college campuses to local businesses. Out of money, they almost gave up...until one day they went back to something Jake designed out of his own creativity and added these three simple words to their t-shirts...”life is good.” This became the turning point. The hope found in that short phrase printed on a t-shirt birthed a 100 million dollar company, Life is Good.
There is a verse in 1 Peter 3 that starts out.. "Whoever would love life and see good days …
The Heartbeat Bill represents a hope for life just as the heartbeat itself has always represented a hope of life.
I do a daily radio show in Southeast Ohio. I often speak of the hope found in the Heartbeat Bill legislation and the need for courageous civil leaders that will lead it forward.
Since I am a pastor, I will add a little Bible to my testimony here today. Historically, Israel was carried into exile in which they would remain for 70 years. In this circumstance of hopelessness and despair, the prophet Jeremiah writes a letter to the exiles and essentially tells them...carry on with life, build homes, get married, have children...and then you read this often quoted Scripture that is still true today. “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, ...to give you a future and a hope.” We believe that Jeremiah 29:11 applies to every life, including the life of the unborn.
Before I was a father to seven children, I was a young newly married man in Dallas Tx. There is an image still captured in my mind of over 20,000 people... young and old, moms and dads, children and
grandparents... marching through the center of that vast metropolitan city on a beautiful spring day to
stand for the life of the unborn and pray that days like this one...where legislation of life... would
become a reality.
Thank you for joining us in this sacred pursuit, the pursuit of giving life and hope to thousands of
unborn babies waiting to discover for themselves that “Life is Good. “
You have heard it asked before, “What's in a name?” Last week at a girls' softball game I overheard one of the girls saying “It's hilarious, you look like your name.” It reminded me of the recent emphasis I have been sharing of the importance of identity. When our identity is secure in Christ and growing more fully in that understanding, we are in a healthy place to move forward into our world and His assignments for us. Jacob looked like his name as the story of his life of scheming, supplanting, deceiving and manipulating unfolded in his early years. When he met the messenger of the Lord and struggled with him until daybreak, he confessed his true identity and in that instant, the angel of the Lord said, “your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel”...a prince having power with God.
On Sunday, October 6, I shared regarding the direction of a name change. For the past three years, I have sensed that our name, Valley Harvest Church, needed to be changed to better reflect the growing identity we have been experiencing, identifying and building. Since this is a very significant step in the life of a church, I have not been in a hurry. I am not a first born, and I tend to weigh things out for awhile before acting.
Over three years ago, I had a conversation with Dutch Sheets about possibly using their name Freedom Church, because the dynamic of freedom is so powerful, comprehensive and expressive, that it carries a lot of life with it. He said, “go for it.” Well, that was three years ago. Since then the elders and I have discussed it without any sense of critical timing....other priorities were before us like launching “Freedom Kids,” paying off the church mortgage – financial freedom, and having our leaders become trained in Sozo, a ministry that is focused on personal freedom.
In the fall of 2012 Dr. Hope Taylor was ministering here on Sunday morning. As we were driving to lunch he said, “I almost gave a word to the church that I felt that a name change was coming and that it had to do with freedom.” All of us in the car just smiled and looked at each other and confirmed that we were sensing the same thing. In a recent conversation he recalls thinking then that a name change with “freedom” would be a more accurate identity and more contemporary.
On March 17 this spring a small group of our leaders were in Zanesville for a Sunday night county-wide prayer event with Dr. Tim Sheets. I have assisted in a number of these over the past years. As we were in worship, I believe the Lord stirred the thought of “gate” in my mind as a significant and possible part of our growing identity. In 2008 there was an abundant emphasis on gates...I am sure I could resurrect a number of sermons with that theme. It was an election year and the church in the nation would play a pivotal role on who would govern at the gates of our nation and in our states. Unfortunately, much of the church in America checked out. I believe it was in that year also that an intercessor, Kim Patterson, gave me five gates. I recently brought them from our mantle at home to the fireplace mantle in the lobby. During that year and in the ensuing years, Marian has led our intercessory team to strategic gate places in our city, our adjoining counties, and places in the state. We have also joined national leaders in this type of intercession. As a body, we have been walking in an increasing revelation of gates.
When Nehemiah discovered that the walls of his city were torn down and the gates were burned with fire, he went from being a cup bearer to the king to a governor/builder in Jerusalem. The first work was the restoration by the priesthood of the sheep-gate. The sheep-gate gave access for the sheep and lambs used for sacrifice....worship. In essence, they first restored the gate that fueled their worship. I really like that! That's who we are and what we do...worship the Lamb who is enthroned as King as first priority.
Another important point that I shared on Sunday has to do with plateaus. A plateau is a level place that extends for awhile. When I have climbed Mt. Katahdin in my home State of Maine, it is always refreshing to get to the plateau they call Chimney Pond. I still remember taking my “girlfriend” Stephanie there in 1984. We sat on a boulder on the shore of this pristine spring fed mountain oasis as we considered the future. At a plateau there is refreshing from the climb, an incredible view, and a few moments to savor the accomplishment. In business, a plateau is a place to develop what has been gained by hard work, research and development and a time to build resources. It is also a time to prepare to go to the next level. I believe it is the same in the Kingdom and in the church.
On September 1st Pastor Rick Jolliff said to me during Sunday service, “Something has shifted here.” He went on to speak over us that “this place will see all kinds of healings, physical and emotional...this church will be paramount and will be used by God especially during worship.”
Five Freedom Gates
This year I have been sharing out of Luke 3 & 4 what I understand as five steps that Jesus walked through. 1. He was identified by the Father at His baptism, “this is my beloved Son.” 2. He was affirmed by the Father....”in whom I am well pleased.” 3. He went directly into the wilderness andcontended with the devil. 4. Jesus later goes to Nazareth, enters the synagogue, picks up the scroll of Isaiah, reads the prophet's words in chapter 61 about His assignment and confirms that He was the fulfillment of that passage. 5. Jesus goes on into full activation of His ministry.
I would like to submit to you from observation that this five fold pattern released freedom at every step and provided the grace and strength for Jesus to advance into full activation of His calling. It is a process of growth that is ongoing and a healthy cycle of repetition. There is more to be said here in the future.
I believe that as a church, we have the audacity, the confidence, and the resolve that we can not only lead others to Christ, but through a freedom journey that propels them into their destiny and into the culture. They will be equipped, anointed and empowered to change their world. This is a biblical discipleship process and it is currently in development in our leadership. I am excited to see a model emerge that is intentional, spiritually dynamic, and produces freedom. This is a discipleship mandate that we are calling “Last Command” in this year's upcoming missions conference.
Jacob had a God encounter early in life as he was running from home. He had a spiritual dream and the Lord spoke a powerful promise to him. Jacob declares, “This is the house of God, the gate of heaven.” The process of change began in this gate place. Like many people today, there was a long season of delay in Jacob's spiritual growth. But it was reaffirmed and reignited when he returned to the gate place in his life.
Jacob got a new identity, affirmed by a new name, because he was willing to contend with his own nature...(that was the angel's job..wear him out till he got to the truth). Jacob crossed the river and confirmed his transformation when he said to Esau “I see your face as one who sees the face of God.” This began a new chapter of activation of his legacy.
It is interesting that we have just recently entered the Hebrew year 5774. Ayin Dalet. The Hebrew numbers also have a picture associated with them. Ayin is eye and Dalet is the door or flap of a tent. Abraham went through the door (gate) of his tent and looked out at the vastness of the stars as the Lord spoke to him to look to the heavens. It was there again that God reaffirmed his covenant with Abraham. (Gen. 15)
As we advance into this new season, I believe this: we will see the gates the Lord is opening to us, the gates He is calling us to possess and govern, and the gates He wants closed and new levels of freedom and growth for the body and the region.
We haven't posted any signs by the road yet or changed our tiny little ad in the yellow pages...but as a body we are endeavoring to discern the heart of our Father....so we can declare together “it seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit.” We want to apprehend all that we have been apprehended for!
At the end of the message on Sunday, there were four or five that came forward to share some level of confirmation of what I had shared. We will get that to you in another email.