November 2009 Update

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

As I reflect on the awesome workings of the Spirit of God in the most recent evangelistic meetings, my thoughts bring me to one of the most celebrated sermons in the church age. This sermon, found in the book of Acts, was proclaimed by the apostle Peter, who had previously denied the Lord Jesus. Yet, now, he was boldly dispensing the truths of the Gospel, in the power of the Holy Spirit! As Peter concludes that Pentecostal proclamation, the Bible tells us, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do’?” If we take a close look at the context of Acts 2, we notice some vital truths about this message. Peter was no longer wielding the swords of men, but he was confidently wield-ing the Sword of God’s Word. There were no religious techniques and tactics used by Peter or the other disciples. There were no contemporary gimmicks and gadgets which have so thoroughly con-taminated the evangelical church today! These men of God had received power, because the Holy Spirit had come upon them. They trusted the reality that the Word of God is living, powerful, sharper than any 2-edged sword! They were convinced that only the Word of God, empowered by the Spirit of God, can lay open the true condition of a human heart. So, dear friend, when Peter preached the Word of Truth that day, he was not concoct-ing a sword of his own making. He was wielding the Sword of God’s Word, in the power of the Holy Spirit. This rugged fisherman possessed no unusual communication skills, nor did he hold theological degrees of any kind! What is even more amazing, is that when Peter approached the conclusion of his sermon, there is none of the psychological ploys or human manipulation that have plagued the modern church. He preached a plain message, a personal message, a practical message and an extremely powerful message, di-rectly from the Word of God! Friends, why was this message so effective? The Holy Spirit of God had baptized these disciples, in answer to their passionate and persevering prayers. There had been a long season of united, fervent and believing prayer, on the part of the entire church. Those believers were in one place, in one accord, with one heart and one mind. They were crying out to the Lord to send his blessings. Then, suddenly, the Holy Spirit came in mighty power upon them and baptized them with a fiery courage and compassion! This man, Peter, who had previously drawn man-made swords to fight for the Lord, was now drawing God’s ordained Sword, which each one of us are commanded to use for spiritual battle!

 Peter mightily heralded the truth about the Person of Jesus; the sinfulness and rebellion of his au-dience; the work of Jesus in the cross and resurrection; and the Lordship of the ascended and en-throned Jesus! Upon hearing these truths, verse 37 tells us “they were cut to the heart”. The word ‘cut’ means to experience an anguish and an alarm in their souls. The Word of God had deeply penetrated into the inner core of their beings. The Holy Spirit, was powerfully planting the duels roots of conviction and contrition, which alone leads to authentic conversion. Peter’s audience suddenly realized their destitute and desperate condition before the Holy Lord God! They experienced that same sense of spiritual bankruptcy and holy mourning that the Philippian jailor knew, when he cried out to Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?”

It is that godly sorrow that God speaks of through the prophet Zechariah, saying, “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a first-born.”

Brother and sisters, there must be this piercing to the heart, at least to some degree, if there is going to be a genuine conversion of the life! There must be this penetrating conviction of the Holy Spirit, before there will be the cleansing from sin; and a covering of His righteousness. It has well been said that, “Conviction is the key in the hand of the Holy Spirit that opens the heart unto salvation”! Friends, did you notice when the Holy Spirit penetrated the hearts of this group of people, that Peter did not have to manipulate them in any way; nor did he have to pressure them with any humanistic techniques and tactics. Did you notice their response? And they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” They had come to the realization that they were poor, wretched, miserable, naked and blind. They were brought to the understanding that they had despised and even crucified the One, Who is the lover of their souls. They cried out in this holy anguish and alarm, “What shall we do, to acknowledge our rebellion? How can we amend our wicked ways? What must we do with this Jesus, whom God has made both Lord and Christ? Peter’s audience was experiencing the reality of the tremendous lyrics of John Newton:

 I saw the One hanging on a tree, in agonies and blood
Who fixed his languid eyes on me, as near His cross I stood
Sure never till my latest breath, can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with his death, though not a word He spoke.
My conscience felt and owned the guilt, and plunged me to despair;
I saw my sins His blood has spilt, and helped to nail Him there.
Alas! I knew not what I did; but now my tears are vain;
Where shall my trembling soul be hid? For I the Lord have slain
A second look He gave, which said, I freely all forgive
This blood is for your ransom paid; I died that you may live!

The Holy Spirit had powerfully applied His Sword in an awesome manner, resulting in the sound conversions of 3,000 souls. These were not superficial professions of faith, which are so prevalent in today’s contemporary churches. These were people who were radically liberated and transformed, by the power of the Gospel! Oh that we might be energized by the Holy Spirit to live lives that are consumed with Jesus! Oh, that we might be willing to sacrifice and suffer for the extension of the Kingdom of God! Oh, that we might saturate our minds with the Sword of the Spirit!

 Thank you

We are filled with gratitude, as we approach this ‘Thanksgiving Holiday’. As we complete our 26th year of ministry, we are so thankful for the Lord’s mercy and grace toward us. We are absolutely amazed, when we think of all the various opportunities that He has given to us. We praise the Lord for your love, your prayers and your financial support of this ministry. Even this morning, as I was reading about Epaphras, who was a co-laborer with the apostle Paul, I began to think about those of you who co-labor with us. We are so thankful that the Lord has placed you in our lives, to help us carry out God’s great mission. We truly give thanks for your persistent prayers, your steadfast love and your gracious giving to this ministry. Please continue to pray for us. The annual conference for church-planters in Holguin, Cuba is quickly approaching. We have just received the license from the Dept. of Treasury today. We are excited about finishing this year with vigor, with excitement and with expectancy. We Love you and pray that you will know the blessings of Almighty God.

Colossians 1:9-10

Ed & Dianne Lacy

 

 

OUTREACH IN WOMEN’S CONFERENCES

Dianne

This has been an extremely busy, yet exciting time of ministry. As you have seen, by reading this newsletter, Ed and I have been involved in many different outreaches. Since September, I have had the opportunity to teach God’s Word in two Women’s conferences. Crosspoint Bap-tist Church in Baton Rouge, held it’s first Bible Conference for women. Our theme for the weekend was “The Value of Discipleship”. The women were very open and attentive, as I taught from the book of Ruth, focusing on the life of Naomi. Several women shared with me that the Lord used His Word to encourage and exhort them to purposefully seek out opportunities to invest their lives in others. One woman shared how the Lord convicted her of being selfish with her time. She had been unwilling to be available and consistent in this area of her life. The Lord has graciously given her a new attitude to reach out to others and build relationships with them. One young, college woman from New York was in town visiting one of her relatives. There was no doubt that the Lord had orchestrated the timing of her visit. She had been raised in an idolatrous, religious background. But she had never sat under the teaching of the Word of God. As I taught through the scriptures, I noticed that she appeared to be hanging on every word. This young lady was so excited about what she was hearing, that she called New York to tell her loved ones about what was happening in the conference. But sadly, instead of being excited about what was taking place, these religious people warned her to stay away from the conference. Upon arriving Sunday morning to conclude the conference, I was sad-dened to see that she had listened to the enemy and neglected to attend. She returned home to New York on Sunday evening. However, I am absolutely convinced, that the Word of God IS quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword! We are trusting that she will not be able to forget the Word of God that was planted into her. I continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal the Lord Jesus Christ to her.

Also, I spoke at a Women’s Conference here in the Mobile area. The ladies at First Baptist Snow Road had prayed and prepared for months for this weekend. Our theme was “Rekindling First Love”. The Lord was gracious to us, as we asked Him to stir the embers of our hearts, and to revive us to be aflame for Him. Several churches from the Mobile area were represented in the conference. Once again, the ladies in atten-dance were intimately involved throughout each session. We were amazed and appreciative to the Lord, for blessing us with a oneness of heart, both in the music and the message. Several women shared of the reality that the Lord was truly renewing them. Some testified that they had been experiencing a lethargy and coldness in their love for the Lord. But the Lord was now stirring their hearts in a wonderful way. His Word was coming alive to them, afresh and anew.

 MONTHLY OUTREACH AT THE HOME OF GRACE

For the last 10 years, I have had the privilege to teach on a monthly basis at the Home of Grace. This is a drug & alcohol rehabilitation center for women in the Mobile area. I am thankful for the sisters in Christ who go with me, to plant the gospel into the lives of these ladies. The last few months of outreach have been especially favored by God. The women of the Home of Grace have been very responsive to the teaching of the Word of God. Just as on the day of Pentecost, these women have been openly asking questions; even while I was teaching the Word. Many have received our gospel tracts and have been examining their lives. Every time I stand before these women, my heart goes out to them. The consequences of their sins have inflicted so much agony on them and their loved ones. It is always shocking to see and hear the life stories of these women. Many were raised in churches; some from affluent families; and others off the streets. But some of them are profes-sional women, who were caught up with the momentary deceitfulness of pleasures. But one thing always stands out in my mind. The vast majority of those in the Home of Grace can tell you about a ‘so-called’ profession of faith, as a child or a youth. But they were never new crea-tions in Christ. Their lives have never been changed by the gospel. The Holy Spirit has never come to live in them. They have never been deliv-ered from the tyranny of sin. Many of them were raised in a religious background, but have never known about the godly sorrow that pro-duces repentance. But we thank God for the privilege of bringing the only message that can set the captives free. Only eternity will reveal all the Lord accomplishes, as we plant His gospel seed in their eternal souls.

A FRUITFUL FALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD!

Once again our time at Winn Correctional Facility in Louisiana, was a great blessing. This was the 3rd annual opportunity to preach the liberating truths of the Gospel to many men who are incarcerated. It is an awesome opportunity to bring the truth of the only hope that can set the captives free! Immediately following the prison crusade, I had the privilege of preaching at Red River Baptist Church near Shreveport, Louisiana for a six day revival emphasis. Pastor Don Fletcher testified,  “We had a remnant of the church that had been praying for a great visitation of the Lord. It had been years since the church had set aside a season for revival services. We were in serious need of the renewal of the believers and regeneration of the lost. Each message from God’s Word was exactly what we needed! In every morning and evening message, God was building upon the previ-ous message. I praise God for the souls that were saved. I thank Him for moving in the hearts of the members and the visitors. Some-thing good has happened here, Bro. Ed, because of your ministry of the Word. I am convinced that what has begun here, is going to issue into even greater blessings from God! Brother Ed, I cannot say enough about this week. Thank you so much for your faithfulness to the Word. It was indeed understandable, not only by your presentation, but also by the Holy Spirit giving witness of the truth in our hearts.”

 Two weeks ago, I had the joy of preaching for the first time at First Baptist Kennet Square, which is a suburb of Philadelphia, PA. There were manifold evidences that the Holy Spirit was working mightily in the hearts of the men and women in attendance. We are continuing to re-ceive notes and e-mails from those who attended. Last week, I had the privilege to teach the “Christ-centered Evangelism” study to a full house at First Baptist Church of Roosevelt, Tx. God has brought many young couples into this body, who have a passion for the Lord and His great mission. Pastor Bobby Magee was sharing with me, even today by phone, about the many workings of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the believers and some of the unconverted people who attended this meeting. Pastor Bobby writes, “Having Bro. Ed Lacy at our church has always been a blessing from God. This is the third time he has been with us at FBC Roosevelt. Each time God has used him to challenge us to be faithful to the Word and stay centered on Christ. The Lord used this teaching to grip hearts to be on mission with Him. We have been seeing this in our giving toward missions and evangelism; and in our evangelistic intercession for lost sinners; and our planning to shared the gospel with those lost sinners. Others have been convicted about their standing with the Lord and are seeking Him for the salvation of their souls. Public School teachers are burdened over students, that they interact with everyday. One of them testified, even today, about an opportunity to share the gospel with one of their students. To God be the glory! On a personal note, the time that we had to fellowship together was both rich and edifying for my walk with the Lord and my ministry as a shepherd.

Brothers and sisters, I am so very grateful to be a living witness of the work of the Holy Spirit, in so many, many hearts and lives!

NEVER DYING SOULS ARE STILL BEING ‘CUT TO THE HEART’

I have witnessed this blessed work of the Holy Spirit on numerous occasions, since the last newsletter. I think of a catholic lady, who attended the church meeting where I was preaching. She lived in another state, but was in this city to visit her sister. This lady had been in Roman Catholicism for over 50 years. On the first evening, as I preached the Word of God, I noticed that she was weeping throughout the message. I mentioned to the pastor that the Holy Spirit may be doing His mighty work of conviction in her heart. On the 2nd evening, again her eyes was filled with tears throughout the message. During the 3rd evening, as I was coming to the conclusion of a message on the glorious cross of Jesus, I asked the audience a rhetorical question, saying, “If God were to stop your next breath and you entered into eternity, would you be numbered among the sinners?” This lady, sitting in the midst of the congregation, cried out aloud these words, “I know that I would be in hell!”, as tears flowed down her face. After the message concluded, I had the wonderful privilege of planting the gospel truths in her soul once again. Two evenings later, at the conclusion of the service, she stood in the midst of the congregation and asked the pastor, “May I say something?” Standing before the entire church she testified, “I have been saved by the grace of God”!

I think of a man, who is probably around my age, who was pierced to the heart by the Word of the Spirit during a recent meeting. After hearing the Word of God, He went home with one of our gospel booklets, and he sought the Lord until 3:00 a.m.; before he had the peace that He was right with God! The last night of the meeting, he stood and testified of the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart. But, also, in this same meeting, I recall a pastor’s adult daughter, who had obviously spent her entire life inside the walls of a Baptist church. She was old enough to be the mother of teenagers. She was a faithful worker in the church. She would have probably been at the top of the list in this church, as a committed church member. Yet, the Holy Spirit graciously produced an alarm and anguish in her heart; and brought her to the realization that she had never come to Jesus Christ on His conditions. She began seeking the Lord and striving to enter through the narrow gate. On Tuesday morning of that meeting, she was wonderfully converted! On that very evening, she testified to her dad and to the church that she had been born from above!

In another meeting, I think of an elderly lady, who is in her early 80’s. She had made a false profession of faith as a child. Following that counterfeit experience, she lived for decades in sin, selfishness and worldliness. She testified to me and the pastor, “that for all the decades of her adult life, her husband had been her idol. She lived her life for him; not for the Lord.” Jesus Christ had never been the supreme love of her life. Her husband had always been her supreme love! But she had recently begun attending this precious local church. She began coming to the “Christ-centered Evangelism” teaching on Sunday evening. After the 2 ‘50 minute sessions’ each evening, she told us that she would go home and pour over the notes. On Monday eve-ning, she testified of the Holy Spirit’s piercing and penetrating work in her heart. I had the privi-lege of witnessing to her briefly that evening; and then I sent her home to read our gospel booklet and challenged her to consider the Person; the work; and the terms of Jesus Christ. On the following evening, I had the joy of preaching 2 sessions that are saturated with these same truths. The next afternoon, the pastor and I visited this dear lady. She began telling us that she had read through the gospel tract 4 times on the previous evening. She searched through all of the numerous verses that are found in the booklet. She openly testified about her idolatrous life, her false profession of faith; and the destitute and desperate condition of her soul. I will never forget her statement, as she looked at us and said, “I have wasted 82 years!” We are praying that this is the working of conviction, contrition and conversion in this precious lady’s soul. These are just a few of many other evidences of the Holy Spirit planting His convicting and converting work in the souls of man. Glory to His Name!

We must never be satisfied with any religious experience that does not radically change the human heart. There must be a deep plow-ing of the Holy Spirit in the conscience; and a planting of the precious Gospel seed in the human heart. There must be this powerful piercing in the heart of a sinner. When there is a beginning of godly sorrow that is always a good beginning. A faith that knows no tears of godly sorrow may be a blind faith; but a look of true faith at the Cross will melt the coldest hearts with the tears of conviction and contrition!



 

Christ Centered Evangelism Nicaragua

During the last week of July, I once again had the glorious opportunity to teach in Nicaragua. Almost 100 pastors from a number of denominations, (Baptists, Mennonites, Centro-Americana Mission, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal Four-square), were in attendance. This opportunity was afforded to me by the R.H. E.M.A. Bible Institute. Each morning, we began at 8:30 and would conclude between 3:30 to 4 p.m. One of the key men on the national board of the Mennonite denomination for Nicaragua, Maynor Curtis testified at the end of this conference, "I have received so many blessings from this conference. I had to ask the Lord to please forgive me, for the way that I had been carrying out my evangelism. I have been witnessing with means and messages that men had created! I had been attempting to get "decisions" in my timing; instead of using God's ordained means and message, and watching prayerfully for God to perform a supernatural, miraculous new birth, IN HIS TIMING! I have come to understand that when we use man's means and message to entice decisions in our timing, we produce many Ishmaels! God has taught me, through his servant, how to do His work; His way; for His glory! I now understand that the sinner must repent and believe the Gospel; but this happens in God's timing and not ours! God has revealed to me that I WAS WRONG! I did not take the appropriate time to study the scriptures, to learn how to do God's work, in the manner that is pleasing to Him. I thank the Lord that Bro. Ed did take that time, so that he could teach pastors and leaders in Nicaragua to return to God's way of evangelism! Last night at my home church, I began to teach this workbook to our people. I am going to bring the entirety of this teaching to our church. We have heard the "pure Word of the Lord" from the scriptures this week. We have come to know, in our hearts, that this ministry has come to us directly from the Lord Jesus Christ, and not from men! He has not taught us the wisdom of men, but the wisdom of God! When the Bible speaks, the Lord Jesus is speaking to us. And He has spoken powerfully to us this week. We will never be the same because of this wonderful week." After returning home, Pastor Curtis, contacted me, issuing an invitation to come in January 2010, to teach these same truths to the National Conference of the Mennonite Denomination.

Read more: Christ Centered Evangelism Nicaragua