TWO VERY FRUITFUL CONFERENCES IN OCALA, FLORIDA

I am rejoicing over the privilege to once again serve two precious congregations of believers in Ocala, FL, in recent weeks. The first conference was held at Woodside Baptist Church, where I taught 6 messages from ‘The Armor of God’ in Ephesians 6. I would roughly estimate that ’90% of the assembled group on Sunday morning stayed with us until the last message. This body of believers exhibited such a precious hunger for the teachings on our call to ‘fight the good fight of faith’! The following testimony is just one of many encouraging comments on what the Spirit of God accomplished among us during those days. The following words are from the Associate Pastor and dear friend, Kenny Rodrigue. “Words cannot express our eternal gratitude for God graciously sending you to us, to again refocus our Christian lives on what really matters! From the pastors and the  entire body of Christ at Woodside, we want to say THANK YOU! It was obvious to me, because of the depth of the teaching, that you prepared hours upon hours with much thought, meditation and prayer, to rightly divide the Word of God. Your teaching that we are redeemed to fight the good fight struck my heart, because I am a man who does not like conflict. However, I understand now that we are not battling people. We are battling Satan and his minions. Consequently, when God’s character and truth are under attack, we must battle for our Commander-in Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ! Another great reminder, in your teaching, was that our armor is the Lord Jesus Christ. My armor is not comprised of what I can do to protect myself. My armor is not my faith in my faith. It is my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as my protection, in all 6 areas-the belt of truth; the breastplate of righteousness; the shoes of the Gospel of peace; the shield of faith in the One who is our shield; the helmet of the assurance of glory to come; and the sword of the Spirit! Bro. Ed, the sword of the Spirit session convicted both me and my wife that we need to purposefully prepare ourselves for the daily battle, both to defend and to go on the advance, by employing the Word of God and not our own words. We must employ the mighty power of the truth of the Word. Woodside Baptist Church has purposed to prepare for all of the possible situations that we may encounter in the future, in relation to the edification of the saints and the evangelism of the lost, by employing the Sword, which the Spirit has provided. Thus, we will heed your teaching and seek the Lord for the appropriate verses to employ in each situation. Once we have completed this extensive list, we will put the list out to our congregation, so that we can prepare our people for the battle that is before us. Then, as you taught us, we can trust the Holy Spirit to bring the appropriate dagger that we need to defend and advance for the glory of our Captain! This teaching was extremely impactful to the glory of Jesus Christ and the building of His church. We love you, Pastor Kenny Rodrigue

Our Lord also blessed us with a tremendous week of ministry with my dear brothers and sisters in Christ at Olivet Baptist Church in Ocala. These precious bodies of believers have been rooted and grounded in the solid truths of the Word of God for many years, under the ministry of Pastor Mike Davis, a dear friend in Christ. I was privileged to teach my workbook, entitled ‘Redeemed to Worship’ to these very hungry and teachable disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God brought illumination, application, renovation and transformation to many of these precious followers of Jesus. The following is a testimony from Pastor Mike. “Greetings Bro. Ed, What a joy it continues to be to count you not only as a dear brother in Christ, but also a precious friend. I have always greatly benefited from your ministry at Olivet Baptist Church over the years. But this time was very special to me personally and to our church corporately. I want to give a testimony about the dramatic impact of your faithful teaching on this subject, “Redeemed to Worship”. I was greatly encouraged and edified by this Bible conference. How appropriate it was for each of us to consider the truth that our glorious God has saved us to worship Him, in this season of ‘social distancing’. For you powerfully reminded us that there must not be any ‘spiritual distancing’ between the true worshiper and his Lord and God! I was very challenged, convicted, and at the same time comforted by each of the sessions. For in a true Puritan sense of the work, the teaching was a combination of ‘light and heat’! You set before us the penetrating truths of passages that I myself have studied and preached over many years. The session on magnifying Christ, from Philippians 1:20-21 spoke greatly to me, on a personal level. This  call to magnify Christ in my life was a refreshing reminder to me that my entire life is to be wrapped up in worship and adoration of the Living God. Furthermore, to proclaim the majesty of our Lord, through both our lives and our lips, must be the supreme goal of my life. Likewise, the sessions from John 4 were tremendous. You set before us the true nature of worship. As a matter of fact, I could walk through each one of the ten sessions, and testify to the mighty impact on our lives. I have heard countless testimonies from our members, as to the tremendous impact that each of the sessions have made in their lives. But the ones, which seem to have impacted the people the most, were the three sessions on Job and ‘The Crisis of Worship’. This was a tremendous treatment of the life of Job and the manner in which he worshiped the Lord God in the midst of satanic accusation and attack, which were both permitted and limited by the Father, for God’s own purpose and glory! I would highly recommend to any church that they schedule this conference, as soon as possible. For these are timely truths which the church desperately needs to hear. There has never been a greater need for the church to be the church, then right now! Furthermore, the church exists primarily to worship God in Spirit and in truth; as well as to proclaim His excellencies to the world! Thank you for your faithfulness to serve our Lord dear brother. We are looking forward to having you come again soon! In Christ’ service, Michael Davis, Teaching and Preaching Elder, Olivet Baptist Church, Ocala, Florida”

 

ENCOURAGEMENT FROM JOHN 17

Recently my Facebook devotions have been focusing on John 17. So, today I would like to encourage and exhort each of you from this powerful portion of our Lord’s High Priestly prayer to God the Father. On the eve of His crucifixion, He interceded on behalf of everyone who would ever be converted by the mighty demonstration of the power of the Gospel, “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” Our great Intercessor was praying that ‘all of those, whom He had selected out of the world, (through the birth from above)’, would then be propelled into the world, to carry out the Great Commission. Notice carefully, that the Lord was not only praying for us to enter into the blessed reality of eternal life, He was also praying for us to be sent into this wicked world for the purpose of declaring His glorious Gospel! Friend, if you have been called by a heavenly call of grace, then you have also been commissioned to be a caller to other needy sinners. In other words, if you have been reconciled to God, then the scriptures declare that you are a minister of reconciliation!

God the Father has sent His Son into the world, for the singular purpose of accomplishing His great salvation mission. Now, the Lord Jesus was sending these original eleven into the same hostile world, for the sacred purpose of effectuating their personal responsibilities in this majestic mission. Friends, this same mandate from the Master is assigned to all who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Every bonafide disciple has been ‘set apart to be sent’! Earlier on this very eve of the Cross, our Lord had issued an awesome promise, saying, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, … .” (John 15:8)

Brothers and sisters, we must remember that the ‘proclamation of the message of the Cross’ is an offense to all sinners, until they are born from above! For the Cross confronts men and women in their rebellious, guilty and condemned condition before the pristine holiness of God and His moral law. The message of the Cross is offensive to the ‘falsely imagined morality and superficial religiosity’ of the self-deceived church member. The message of the Cross is foolishness to the poisonous pride of every unconverted sinner. And yet, Paul could faithfully testify, “I am determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. Oh dear ones, may each of us demonstrate a stronger determination and a resolute devotion ‘to know nothing, but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, risen and ascended as our King of kings and Lord of lords!

 

GLOBAL FRUIT FOR THE GLORY OF THE LAMB!

Even though there remains a ban on International travel, the glorious Gospel is still bringing forth fruit in the harvest field of this fallen world! Only yesterday, I received a Facebook message from a Cuban pastor, who reminded me of this precious reality. When I initially met Nelson, (nicknamed Andy), he was a 17 year-old gang member in the streets of Santiago de Cuba. He was invited by a friend to attend El Caney Baptist Church on a Sunday morning, where I was the visiting preacher on that particular day. I preached the truths concerning ‘the bad news of the sinner’s terrible problem before the Holy Lord God’. Of course, I followed that bad news with ‘the Good News of the Person and the Work of our Lord Jesus Christ’; as well as, the Gospel commands of repentance toward God and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This young man was pierced to the heart with Holy Spirit conviction and contrition. I witnessed to him for quite a while after that morning service, and upon the conclusion of our conversation, I sent him home, urging him to seek the Lord!

He returned for the evening service, still under the powerful ‘prosecuting work of the Spirit of God’. Later he would testify, that on that Sunday evening, in his bedroom, he was graced with the assurance from God that he had been born from above! Immediately, he began to witness to his family and his friends. Shortly afterwards, he was called to be a preacher of the Word. He attended the Eastern Baptist Seminary in Santiago de Cuba. A number of years later, I had the joy of teaching him the Word of God in a church-planter’s conference in Santiago de Cuba. You may remember the story of this young man from past newsletters. Pastor Andy, as he is called, had planted a church near the city of Baracoa with only 4 believers. But he had seen a number of adults converted to Christ. The church was growing and they were meeting outdoors on a concrete slab. They were in desperate of a church building. Friends, the Lord God used your gifts to this ministry to supply their needs, as you will see in his message below. Look at it now! - On-going fruit is being produced from your work.

53159E2A C693 4DC5 9F2C 17DB2077CB27 4 5005 cHello brother Ed. This is Pastor Andy from Cuba. I came to know the Lord in Ed Caney, Cuba in one of your evangelist campaigns. I hope you remember me. The Lord called me to be a church planting missionary a few years later. We met again in one of your ‘church planters conferences’, 14 years later! The Lord led you to give the funds to construct the church building for our church plant. This is a recent photo of the assembled church in the church building that your offering built. God bless you very much. To God be the glory! I hope you write us a few words. Please continue to pray for Cuba and for our Church”.

 

God is continuing to open incredible global doors to proclaim his Word and to train pastors and church-planters within the nation of India. My dear brother Raj Eleazar, who has been my interpreter for many ‘Christ-centered Evangelism’ conferences in India, has just completed 29-sessions of teaching the ‘Christ-centered Evangelism’ workbook to hundreds of pastors in the Hindi language. After each major section of the study, I would have a ‘Q and A’ session, which would last about 2-hours with the pastors and church planters via ZOOM meetings. There were pastors and church-planters from every state in the nation of India, as well as leaders from the United Arab Emirates. Already we have had as many as 500 to 700 to join in on these ‘Q and A’ sessions. They are being posted on Facebook and youtube for others to be able to study. I have now begun teaching my workbook ‘Redeemed to Worship’ in a ZOOM meeting with many of these same leaders, as well as, laymen and university students. Additionally, I will also be privileged to teach ‘The Life That Glorifies God’ workbook, (which is an exposition of John 15:1-10), the last week of September and the early days of October via ZOOM in India. The Lord has also opened the door to teach ‘The Armor of God’ workbook for a number of weeks in November, to an ever-enlarging group of pastors and church-planters in that nation. Furthermore, even at this moment, a group of pastors in South Africa, who are associated with Heart Cry Missionary Society, have requested that I teach the ‘Christ-centered Evangelism study on Facebook Live. Presently, we are seeking to arrange it in my schedule. Moreover, another precious brother and interpreter in the Telugu language in India, has invited me to teach “Christ-centered Evangelism” with a group of pastors. I am thoroughly amazed at these new ‘open doors of ministry’, which our Lord has presented, even in the midst of these months of pandemic. Please pray for these.

 

July 2020 Update

Dear Friends in Christ,

We pray that you are doing well, in the midst of all that is taking place in this world. If you are like our family, your conversations are often accompanied by phrases like, 'This is SURREAL'; or questions like, 'Now, what day is this'? But even though we are walking through uncertain days, we have the sweet assurance that our Lord is reigning on His throne and His promises are standing sure. As I have been studying through John 17, the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, I have been reminded of the great gifts that our Lord has given to every child of God. One of our Savior’s precious gifts is the certain promise that we may be filled with His joy, in the midst of the storms of life! Friends, this assures us that no matter the adversities, the afflictions or the challenges that we may face, we can know the sweet assurance that ‘the joy of the Lord is our strength’. You may be passing through a troubling and chaotic valley. Nonetheless, you must remember that nothing can take away the unspeakable joy that God has placed within your inner man. We are well aware that all of the destruction and mayhem, which we are witnessing, is exposing both the futility and depravity within the lost souls of men. And yet, the Lord has placed us in the midst of this collapsing culture, as living witnesses, for such a time as this! We are to live as light and salt; and we are to fix the our eyes of our hearts on the joy set before us. We are to live our lives in such a manner, that we are shining a spotlight on the One who has saved us and filled us with His Holy Spirit. We must never forget that just as the Lord Jesus was our only hope for salvation; He is the Only Hope for others to be saved. So let us be faithful to live our lives in the joy of God’s salvation, as well as, possess an ever-increasing burden for the lost around us. May we be daily reminded of the urgency of the hour.

These last few months, I have been given the privilege of preaching weekly at the Mission of Hope in Mobile. I was also given the precious opportunity to preach a 4-day outreach meeting at the Mission. It has been a great opportunity to build week by week upon God's Word, with the same group of men. The Mission has been very organized in the way each service is carried out. Strict precautions were implemented to keep everyone safe from the possibility of being exposed to the virus. Their plans have proven to be very successful; for they have had no cases whatsoever of COVID- 19. One of the greatest blessings was to have men accompany me, who were converted in the past few years at the Mission of Hope, through the ministry that God has given to me! They were preciously addicted to drugs and alcohol, but that have been set free to be witnesses unto Jesus! These extended months have also afforded me an extended period of time to prepare my new workbook on the Great High Priestly prayer. This intensive time of studying this magnificent chapter has been both a tremendous encouragement and powerful challenge to my life.

Additionally, as we shared with you previously, we have been given many wonderful opportunities to help people experiencing great need during this pandemic. This has not only been true here at home, but in a number of other countries as well. This pandemic has severely affected all of the pastors and church planters that I have taught on numerous occasions, throughout India and Kenya; as well as their congregations. The pastors and church planters that we work within these countries, have been encountering tremendous needs among their people. These faithful servants of the Lord have been faithfully giving of themselves and their limited resources, to help others. Most of the people that they are serving have no other means to help themselves. God has allowed us to be a ‘channel of physical blessings’ to literally hundreds and hundreds of believers and non-believers in these nations. We have been able to receive both messages and videos from some of these precious pastors, which blessed us with visible evidences of how the funds that we gave were being used in providing food and a witness to hundreds of people. I wish I could share some of these videos with you. I would love for you to be able to see the joy on the faces of these brothers in Christ, as they served the needy souls around them. I am thinking of one particular video, which was a special blessing to our hearts. Let me attempt to describe it to you. They prepared a very large vat of food, which is an Indian staple for them.

After all the prep work and cooking is completed, they loaded this large and heavy vat into the trunk of their small vehicle. Once they arrived in a poor, dirty and dilapidated village, people of all ages with all types of medical issues and deformities lined up to receive the food. It was amazing to view this event, because everyone in line was awaiting their turn so patiently. This was so remarkable to us, because it was just one large vat of food. There were no guarantees that there would be enough food for all of the people who were standing in line. And yet, one by one, they patiently came to the pastor's car and handed him whatever container they could find, that would hold some food. One little girl may have had a small plastic bag. A teenage boy may be holding a small pot. A man or woman, who lived in a cardboard shack, may be holding out a small, rusty tin can. This precious pastor who was obviously filled with the joy of the Lord, would scoop the food into whatever they brought to him. The faces of these pastors, which I have taught in past conferences, were filled with such a loving and caring smile. As we gazed into the background of the video, we could see that the area was so dirty and impoverished. The video was so vivid, that you could almost imagine the stench that had to surround them. These were people that the Indian government and the vast majority of the Indian people totally ignore. Oh, but not these pastors who have been called to shine the spotlight of their lives on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friends, why do I share these things?--Because you are such a vital part of all of these blessed opportunities. For it is because of your prayers and your willingness to give, that we can help so many others. Dianne and I wish that we could see each of you, individually, and express how very thankful we are for you. We realize that this has been an unusual and trying time for all of you. No one has been exempted from various types of major changes, that have occurred in their lives, in the midst of this pandemic. Many have walked through health-related issues, financial challenges, separation from loved ones and even the loss of close friends and relatives. There have been radical changes in the way that we buy groceries and conduct our daily activities. However, your faithfulness to pray for us and support us, in the midst this deep and dark valley of adversity has been unwavering! Our hearts are overflowing with joy, love, and gratitude for you. Your thoughtfulness and generosity, which you have so willingly shared with us, is truly an amazing blessing to us, to this ministry and to countless thousands of people worldwide. We thank the Lord for you. Your heart to share and be a blessing to others is truly a gift from the Lord.

Please be in prayer for us. This next weekend will be the first time that I will resume preaching in a church meeting. As you can see from the schedule, I will be in Ocala, Florida. This county has had very few cases of Covid- 19. So we feel that it is safe to carry on with this meeting. I think that this study on the Armor of God will be a much needed and timely message for these days. So again, please be in prayer for the Word to go forth in power and for people to be blessed for His Name Sake.

Your Servant for Jesus’ Sake,
Ed Lacy