WHY THIS WASTE?

Matthew 26:6-13

There is an amazing encounter of two followers of Jesus in this passage of scripture.  Mary is shown at the feet of Jesus pouring out her most precious possession.  She is anointing Jesus with (compare Jn. 12) one pound of spikenard valued at approximately one year’s wage. 30,000 dollars worth of perfume, Judas was offended at what he considered excessive displays of affection and wasteful uses of her resources.  Judas confronted Mary in anger and posed his famous question, “why this waste?”

 

Obviously Mary and Judas had different value systems.  Mary was focused on the spiritual while Judas was hung up on the natural world.  The reason for these different values was found in both of their perceptions of the ministry of Jesus.  Spiritual understanding of Jesus and His kingdom comes only by revelation; obviously Judas could not see the spiritual realities that were obvious to Mary.

 

Mary loved the teachings of Jesus; she loved to hear his word.  “Never a man spoke like this man.” To her, He had the words of life and she lived off of every word.  To Judas, Jesus had just another opinion; His words open to question and discussion.

 

Mary also loved the anointing.  After Jesus was baptized by John a fresh anointing for ministry had come upon Him.  He was known as the anointed one.  Today, His anointing is poured out on all flesh but not all flesh appreciated and value His presence.  Some people would go anywhere or do anything to sit in His presence, while others can never make time for church, because frankly it is just a waste of valuable time.

 

Jesus said that Mary was anointing His body for burial.  Mary had accepted the painful news of Calvary and began to understand the message of the cross for all of us.  She was grateful for the message of redemption, and she was pouring out her love while she could.

 

Judas had no use for the cross. He wanted an earthly kingdom. When he saw that Jesus was not about politics or power, he was offended and his offense led to betrayal.

 

In John 17:12 Jesus called Judas the son of destruction using the Greek word apoleia, the same word used for waste in Matthew 26:8. Jesus was saying that Judas was the one wasting his life, choosing to live for this world rather than the one to come.

 

We have the same conflicts that existed between Mary and Judas in the church today.  It all boils down to spiritual revelation which gives birth to our value system today.  Why this waste?  What are you wasting your life on?  If you seek God and His kingdom first, the people of this world may not understand but you have chosen the best part.

THE HIDDEN KINGDOM

Parris and I recently went on a trip to the Virgin Islands, it was a gift given to us to celebrate our 30th church anniversary.  We had a great time.

One of our outings in St. Thomas was a snorkeling trip.  We asked around and found one of the favorite places to go.  When we arrived it was just a “normal” beach.  It was a mixture of locals and tourists on the beach, enjoying the sun and warmth just a few feet from the water’s edge.  Lying on the beach, you can be unaware of the “other world” that lies just beneath the ocean’s surface.  This other world has different kind of life forms living a whole different kind of life.  This contrast of “worlds” and the different kind of “lives” reminds me of the contrasts that are all around us everyday.  We live in a natural world with natural people living natural lives.  This natural world is a picture of this carnal man, unaware of the kingdom of God all around us.

Then there is the kingdom of God, the world of the Holy Spirit.  This is the world opened to us by the forgiveness of sins made available to us by the blood Jesus shed at Calvary.  Through this forgiveness, we are brought to God and become aware of this other life available to us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We began to see the parallels of the kingdom of God all around us, as Parris and I entered into the ocean that day and began our snorkeling experience.

First, we saw creatures living in a different substance.  In the natural world we live and are sustained in this “ocean” of oxygen.  We live and breathe it and are totally dependent on it.  In the undersea world, the creatures live in a different substance: they live in water and somehow get their life support through this other substance.  This is just like the kingdom of God.  When we are born again, we begin to live in this new atmosphere.  It is the atmosphere of heaven.  This atmosphere is a different substance.  This substance is the love of God.  This love is alive and is actually a person.  This person is the wonderful third person of the godhead, the wonderful Holy Spirit. It is in Him we live, breathe, rejoice and have our existence.  We are sustained and totally dependent on Him for our life.

As we continued our underwater journey, we began to see some amazing creatures.  We saw a family of squids, all moving in formation, flowing in the life of rhythm of the ocean.  We saw large schools of hundreds of fish with beautiful colors all flowing together with the current and flow of the ocean.   Everything seemed to flow in beautiful harmony.  When we are awakened to the kingdom of God, we begin to perceive a different rhythm, a different melody, a different source of life.  As we yield, our life begins to flow with God.  God Himself is like the ocean, too big to comprehend, full of life and purpose.  As we yield to Him, we find ourselves flowing with God to fulfill His plans for our life.

At one point in our journey we came around a piece of coral and a strong current was flowing against us.  We tried our hardest to swim against it but we became so exhausted and had to turn back.  We wanted to see what was on the other side, but the “ocean” had other plans.  Maybe you are trying to move against the flow of God.  Sometimes it is better to turn back and flow with His current that to try to launch out in human effort.  Exhaustion and frustration are always the result of fighting against the plan of God.

The unseen world of the Holy Spirit is a very real place.  It is actually the very atmosphere that we will live in for eternity with the Lord.  Today, we catch glimpses and tastes of this world that is breaking in on us.  As the return of Christ draws nearer, His kingdom will increase all around us.  Now is the time to launch out into the deep.  There is an unseen world of God all around us. Dive into this new adventure.  He has awesome plan for you.

 Pastor Frank Bailey

ANCHOR OF THE SOUL

In Hebrews 6:19 Paul refers to Jesus as the “anchor of the soul.”  He is describing something that holds us secure in the most difficult times and circumstances.  He is writing to Christians in the midst of persecution, telling them there is an anchor for their soul to hold them in those difficult times.  This anchor of the soul is Jesus, our heavenly High Priest.  He is seated before the Father representing mankind and calling us into a fellowship of intimacy.  It is that fellowship with the Lord that is our “anchor of hope” that lives behind the veil.

                Many of us in southeast Louisiana and the entire gulf coast found this anchor of hope as faithful during our recent experience with Katrina, Rita, etc.  We found Jesus as more than enough to satisfy and sustain us in the most difficult of times.  Paul spoke of this when he referred to “those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12).  The greatest promise of all is the manifest presence of God which has become our treasure, our portion and more than enough for us in all things.

I believe 9-11 and hurricane Katrina were signs to us of the coming difficult times in our world.  There are political, economic, and weather storms brewing and will possibly increase over the months and years to come.  We must prepare ourselves spiritually for these times. 

In the past, Christians have responded in a natural way to anticipated times of tribulation.  As we draw near to Him, we become steadfast and secure, unashamed of the gospel; we then can provide a refuge and hope for others to and come to find shelter from the storms of life. 

In the ‘80s we were warned of economic collapse and were told to move to the country and store up our canned goods.  We were told similar things as we approached Y2K.  I think we need spiritual preparations rather than natural.

When difficult times come, Christians should be at their best.  In these times of darkness, our light shines brighter.  We are to be lights in the midst of a dark generation.

Our preparation is nothing new.  We must consider Jesus, the apostle and High Priest of our confession.  We must look again to His heavenly ministry. 

As our heavenly minister, He has opened heaven for us.  We must draw near to Him.  We must draw near to His presence by the blood of Jesus.  We must access this new and living way to live our lives. 

On the news side, we are open for business at Mary’s Song.  Mary’s Song is our Christian rehab for women.  It is connected to Teen Challenge and is serving for an intake program for Teen Challenge of Louisiana.  Please pray for our workers and the ladies in this program.  This is truly a front line ministry.  Our facility is beautiful but in need of all the furnishings.  Call our office if you want to help. 

Blessings to you!

INTO THE DEEP

The Lord told Peter to launch out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch.  This was an unusual command to a fisherman, especially coming from a preacher.  What did this carpenter, turned preacher know about fishing anyway?  Peter found himself listening and obeying anyway.  There was something strangely irresistible in His voice.  The next thing Peter knew, his nets began to rip, and then 1 boat, then 2 boats began to be swamped.  Peter had never seen such a catch of fish.  In all his years on this lake nothing like this had ever been heard of.  Something new was happening.  Peter’s world could never be the same.

 

In 1999, the Lord told us at Victory to launch out into the deep and let down our nets.  The deep was revival and the net was Beyond the Grave.  When Beyond the Grave first started we had no great expectations.  10 years later we have seen about 60,000 individuals make decisions for Christ.  These results were unexpected and unplanned.  They were a supernatural, unprecedented act of God.

 

The Lord is speaking to us again, “Launch out into the deep, let down your nets for a catch.”  This time it seems as if He is speaking this word to all of us.  Launch out in prayer.  Launch out in new depths in studying His word.  Launch out into the realms of His anointing.  This challenge is going out to all who have ears to hear His voice. 

 

He also is saying, let down your nets for a catch.  Could it be that He will use you?  He loves to take untrained and unqualified vessels to display His glory.  You are a candidate for a boat sinking harvest.  What can you do?  Pass out some tracts.  Start a home group. Get involved in prison ministry.  Work with the children or maybe the youth.  Just do something.  2009 can be a pivotal year.  As we launch out into the depths of God and let down our nets of discipleship and evangelism anything can happen.  All things are possible with God. 

 

Just like Peter, standing on the shore listening to the words of Jesus, he had no idea the adventure he was about to begin.  The same may be true for us.  Listen to His voice, I think Jesus is about to step onto your boat. 

                                        .

UNPRECEDENTED ACTS OF GOD

Recently the Lord spoke a word to Parris through our friend Dick Mills.  He called her to check out Isaiah 48:6, 7.  He told her that 2009 she would experience things she had never experienced before.  In 365 days, everything would be different.  When you look up this verse in the ESV Study Bible, you see some interesting reflections.  It described unprecedented acts of God on the horizon, unprecedented so we do not treat His acts “dismissively”.  In Isaiah 43:18, 19 the ESV Study Bible describes a series of exodus like deliverances.

 

Recently we had one of those famous flooding thunder storms on a Saturday night.  The kind of rain that dumps 5 inches in one hour in certain spots.  The weather forecasters call this kind of a phenomenon the “training” effect.  The thunder storm cells begin to line up one behind another like the cars in a train.  I believe this is a picture of the “new thing” and the “unprecedented acts of God” the Lord is speaking to us about.  I believe that the Lord is lining up His train of unprecedented signs and wonders. 

 

The Lord began His church at Pentecost with signs that had never been seen before.  There were tongues of fire on the disciple’s heads.  There was a rushing, mighty wind.  There was a strange manifestation never seen before that time, speaking in strange mysterious languages.  If I know anything about the Lord or His ways, I think He has saved His best for last.  He has not run out of miracles, His supply is not depleted or diminished.  His supernatural train is coming for a visit, it may be this year.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Just as Augustine said “Our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in you”.  Mankind is in a constant state of restlessness.  He is worried about the crime and violence, as the crime rates soar through the roof.  His is worried about the economy as the stock market has fallen 40% in 2008 in the U. S. 

 

Man is worried about terrorism as threats of nuclear and biological threats become more likely everyday.  He is worried about health as it seems to be harder and harder to take care of yourselves in this rapid pace we are all caught up in.

 

Restlessness, anxiousness, loneliness, unhealthy ambition, they all seem to steal away our peace and our enjoyment of life.

 

Hungry Heart

 

Restless heart you struggle so

Searching for repose

Looking for that place of rest

That rest man seldom knows

 

Lonely heart-your grieving so

When will the sadness end

You get back up- to face the world

To just fall back again

 

Anxious Heart- You worry so

Your trust seems far away

Who can you trust when things go wrong

Who will you trust today

 

Ambitious heart- it never ends

Will there ever be a time

When you can stop this torrid rush

And place your hand in mine

 

Hungry heart has found its food

To still this longing soul

To satisfy the heart of man

To make the sinner whole

 

In Bethlehem the house of bread

Not far from Calvary

I gave my life for you my son

That you could feast on me

 

As you take off some time for Christmas ask the Lord to give you a hungry heart.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, they will be satisfied.  Jesus said he was the true bread from heaven.  If we would feast on Him we would never hunger, we would have a satisfied heart.

 

I will never forget my first Christmas as a Christian.  Parris and I were newly married. We had nothing.  We lived in a rented travel trailer, we had no money for gifts, but we had Jesus in our lives.  Our restless days had ended; we had begun our feast, our great Christmas feast.  I worked at the chicken ranch, we had a “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree, we were 2,000 miles from home, but it was the greatest Christmas ever. 

 

And in this mountain

The LORD of hosts will make for all people
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,

 Of well-refined wines on the lees.

Isaiah 25:6

 

This year come to the Christmas banquet—the banquet of the Lord.  You will be satisfied and your heart will be restless no more.

REFLECTIONS ON THIS RECENT PRESIDENTAL ELECTION

America has elected Barack Obama as its new president.  The most obvious result is that our country has elected its first African-American President.  This could prove to be a great encouragement to African Americans of future generations, that in America your dreams can come true.

 

The other reality is that we have elected a president with controversial and unscriptural views on many areas.  Of course, Pres. Elect Obama is a strong supporter of abortion rights.  He has even supported the right to have an abortion in the third trimester of a pregnancy.  This is obviously against the clear teachings of the Bible.  Secondly, Pres. Elect Obama has a very unbiblical view when it comes to sex between members of the same gender.  This is clearly against the direct teaching of the scripture.  He even wants to include children’s books which are promoting a homosexual lifestyle into our public elementary schools curriculum.

 

We are presently observing the secularization of our society.  Our culture and laws have been framed by the word of God.  Our country is the great result of the protestant reformation.  At the present rate, we will be the same as Europe in the next generation, a godless, secular society.

 

Our hope is in the plans of God.  I believe we are nearing a great move of the spirit, probably the greatest move of our generation.  When we see the events unfold in our world we should rejoice, our redemption is drawing near.  Luke 21:28

 

We should pray for our new president.  He has been placed in office by the hand of God.  Daniel 2:21 The Lord will orchestrate His plans through our new president.  God will be glorified—He always is. 

 

Pastor Frank

ELECTION

I am writing this blog as we are on the verge of a critical election in just a few days.  I think the political events we are now observing are just an indication of the spiritual condition of our country.  When Bill Clinton was elected President in 1992, I was struck with the prayer offered by Billy Graham at President Clinton’s inauguration.  He prayed from the prophet Hosea in Chapter 8:4, 7.  He prayed that we have selected Kings, but not by me.  (The Lord was actually speaking).  He said they had … to the wind and will reap the whirlwind.  It has been said that the Lord makes sure we receive the candidates that we deserve.  We must pray that the Lord would have mercy on our nation. 

 

As a Pastor, I am not a politician and do not become involved in political campaigns my focus in on the spiritual condition of our country which can be clearly seen by choices that our country makes.

 

We are living in a very dark time.  Our society does not value human life (ex. Abortion seems to be just accepted behavior).  Our society has become more and more secular, to talk about God seems to be treated as radical unacceptable behavior.  Immorality, divorce, drunkenness, drug use, profanity, course talk and behavior seem to be the order of the day.  To have any standards of holiness is considered to be ridiculous and even judgmental.  If you were to share your faith it would be considered as narrow minded and hypocritical.  We are in need of a true move of God.

 

Despite all of these conditions, we should be encouraged.  In the darkest of times His light shines brightest.  We are poised for a great awakening in our country.

 

As we continue to follow after the Lord and press in to Him He has promised a response.  Hosea the prophet also spoke of this response. 

 

Hosea 6:1, 3

“Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that He may heal us, He has struck us down, and He will bind us up.  Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is as sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rain that water the earth.” 

 

Let us press on to know the Lord; His coming is as sure as the dawn.

 

Pastor Frank Bailey

NEW SUNDAY SCHEDULE BEGINNING NOVEMBER 2

Greetings to you in the wonderful name of Jesus!

 

We recently conducted our Harvest Overflow Conference and the Lord brought something to my attention.  I became aware of a hunger in the body for good teaching on various practical areas.  I have been reflecting on this hunger and need and discussing it with our ministers over the last several weeks.  As a result we have come up with our New Life Series which will offer various classes at various times. 

 

Currently we are offering Biblical Foundations and Forgiven and Set Free on Monday nights.  We will be offering several new classes on Sunday mornings as we begin a new weekend schedule this November. 

 

Our new Sunday schedule will be as following:

Airline Campus in Metairie

            9:30am New Life Series (Various classes will be offered – TBA)

            10:30am Morning Worship Service

            7:00pm Converge Service

 

Victory Fellowship North Shore in Covington

            6:00pm Saturday Worship Service

            9:30am Sunday Worship Service

 

Broad Street Mission in New Orleans

            9:00am Worship Service

 

Our new service schedule will provide a later, more convenient time in Covington and at Broad Street.  We will be offering great classes at the main campus with a slightly shorter morning service.  Of course, we will still have our Converge/Holy Ghost service on Sunday night.  Wednesday night we have a night of Saturation in teaching in the awesome presence of the Lord.

 

I am excited about this new schedule and hope it will be a blessing to you.

 

Blessed by His Grace,

Pastor Frank Bailey

THE TIMES ARE A CHANGIN’

These are the famous prophetic words of Bob Dylan from the time we call the ‘60s. I feel the winds of change blowing through our world once again.  Winds of change can cause a feeling of fear, doubt, and insecurity to live with us on a daily basis.

 

We seem to move from one warning sign to the next.  We endured Gustav to be terrorized by Ike.  Before the memory of Ike fades away, there are castrophic collapses in our banking institutes with words like “the great depression” being spoken by our leaders.

 

We have become cold to other dangers on our radar screen. A restless Russia seems to be looking for a place to start a fight. Iran continues to thumb her nose at Israel and the west as it rushes towards nuclear capability.  Korea reconsiders and begins to restore her nuclear capabilities.

 

While the world is reeling in birth pains, preparing for horrific times, prophesied that would precede the coming of the kingdom of God, the church, and the U.S. continue to sleep.  She is content to preach herself improvement sermons while Armageddon is breathing down our necks.

 

The times they are a changing!  Jesus is coming back.  In the meantime we need to return to a God centered message to build our lives upon.  I am thankful for the foundation of God centered theology.  The Lord brought into my life to prepare me for our experience with birth pains called Katrina.

 

Only the foundation of the sovereignty of God in all things and the intimacy of the Holy Spirit sustained me during those incredibly difficult times.

 

We need to wake ourselves and turn fully to the Lord in these perilous times.  Return to a daily time of devotions with the Lord (if you stopped or never started).  Spend time worshipping the Lord and praying in the spirit daily.  Read some old books (Luther, Edwards, Spurgeon, Bunyan).  Prepare yourself for the shaking that is surely upon us.  I believe the best days for the church are the NOLA areas are ahead of us.  Do not be caught sleeping. The Lord’s return is at hand.

 

35“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Luke 35-40

 

The extravagant love of our heavenly Father, the amazing grace of our Lord Jesus, and the Intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

 

Blessings,

Pastor Frank Bailey