This Is Why I Wrote “Scattered Sheep”: Falling Doesn’t Have to End In Failure

Scattered Sheep is written for those who know about the ditch of denial; those who know how it feels to be entangled in the thorns of confusion, discouragement or anger. This book is written for someone who has fallen. And here is the most wonderful truth you could ever imagine: Falling doesn’t have to end in failure.

Through this look at the life of Peter, I hope that we will find an ally who will encourage us to win the war for our heart, our marriage, our family and our ministry. So comrades, let’s take up our arms as we read. Let’s use the arsenal that is at our disposal to keep from falling. We’ve got the undying love of the Father, the resurrection power of the Son and the gifts and fruit of the potent Holy Spirit. We’ve got the precious Living Word of God, the angelic realm, the fellowship of the Bride which is the dynamic Church of Jesus Christ. We have unlimited resources that can keep us from falling.

But for those prone to wander, this book reveals a secret weapon that causes all of hell to shudder in anguish: Complete restoration through grace. Even when we fall, our faith does not have to fail.

Failure is simply this: An unwillingness to be restored.

As you read this book, I am praying that you will hear Christ speak about what He sees deep inside of you. I hope that you will encounter His passion to gather you in His arms and hold you close to His heart. Don’t let the enemy win. . .

And please, when you have been restored, strengthen your brothers and sisters.

You can go to the “Rich’s Books” page by clicking on the cover above. There you can purchase any of my books on Amazon by clicking its cover.

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Avalon Beach Church is Just 8 Weeks Away!

Get your flip flops and your beach chairs ready! The 1st Sunday of Avalon Beach Church is just 8 weeks away! We launch our 4th season on the 30th Street beach in Avalon on June 4th at 9am. We are believing for our best season ever in 2017! Come join us in the most amazing sanctuary of all for worship, message and prayer ministry.

As we prepare for this summer’s service, would you pray with us that some would come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord for the very first time? Would you pray that we would be able to baptize new believers in the ocean again following our services (so far we have baptized 24 people!)? Would you also pray that many Christians would be encouraged in their faith and healed of any sicknesses?

We are believing that Christ’s Kingdom will come on the beach this summer just as it is in heaven! It’s all happening on June 4th at 9am on the 30th Street beach in Avalon, NJ. Can’t wait to see you!

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Here’s a Sneak Peak at a Story from “Let’s Dance”

lets_dance_cover_for_kindleDancing with Blisters

I’ve had the chance in 30+ years of ministry to lay my hands on and commission hundreds of young leaders in missions and church planting. For a number of them, I’ve led them in a service of ordination for ministry. I have a prayer that I have prayed over many of them: “Lord, give them tough skin and a tender heart.”

That prayer is borne out of experience with Jesus and ministry to people. It’s a prayer that has proven itself. It is important. You are going to have to get tough skin if you stay with Jesus. The problem is that it is also easy to get a tough heart.

In the Winter of 2011, I had the privilege of leading “A Father’s Heart Forum.” It turned out to be one of the highlights of my ministry. My led the worship. I spoke at one of the main sessions and my father spoke at the other. Three generations led in ministry that day. I could not have been more proud of our family’s continuing heritage in Jesus.

My father spoke a message that I had never heard him speak before. It was entitled: “The Things I Learned from My Father.” He spoke about his father, his namesake: Harry Richard Stevenson, Sr.

My grandfather was a farmer and a master builder. He planted crops, built houses and made furniture. He worked three jobs during the depression to provide for his family. He was a stern disciplinarian. His hands were just one big callus. His heart was pretty hard as well. He didn’t give his life to Jesus until he was in his 70’s.

I will never forget hearing my dad tell this story about his father.

“I remember the first time your grandfather said anything encouraging to me. I had just finished building a room on to our cottage near the shore in New Jersey. He came to inspect my work. I just sat down and let him look at the room. I fully anticipated that he would come back and tell me where all of my mistakes were. When he came back into the room where I was, he sat down and said: ‘That’s a good job Harry.”

As my dad was telling me this story, he was in his 70’s and he was crying. He said: “that was the first time your grandfather said anything encouraging to me. I was 39 years old.”

My grandfather had tough skin and a tough heart. But my dad was different and I saw it clearly as he was preaching at our Father’s Heart Forum. He didn’t cover up my grandfather’s weaknesses as he spoke on the things he learned from him. But he had found the rays of grace that streamed through my grandfather’s toughness and he spoke with gratitude, not regret. He spoke not as a victim, but victorious because of Jesus.

That’s the power of a tough skin and a tender heart.

It comes from dancing with blisters.

YOU CAN ORDER “LET’S DANCE” ON AMAZON IN PAPERBACK OR THE KINDLE EDITION:

RIGHT HERE!

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Something To Do Before the Kickoff

super_bowl_li_logo-svgARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

Why don’t you take a few minutes prior to the kickoff and the commercials for some time with God’s Word?

Here is a Superbowl Sunday Bible study taken from a quote from one of the truly great coaches of all time.

lessons-from-lombardi

“Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”

Vince Lombardi – 5 NFL Championships – 1st Two Superbowls

  1. Perseverance – James 1:2-4,12

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

  1. Self-Denial – Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

  1. Hard Work – Colossian 3:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

  1. Sacrifice – Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

  1. Dedication – Philippians 4:8,9

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

  1. Respect for Authority – Hebrews 13:17

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

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In My Most Recent Letter to Our Malachi Network Friends, I Share My Thoughts on This Election

Dear Malachi Network Friends,

As you get this letter we will be counting down the days until our country’s election. For those of us who are trying to hold on to Kingdom values, it is hard to have much hope. As we follow the news cycle of the last weeks we seem to be faced on the one side with immorality and on the other with criminality. It truly is an unprecedented time in our nation’s history.

There is an alternative focus. . .we really are not forced to depend on either immorality or criminality. I encourage you to focus your mind and your heart on this: Sovereignty.  

Jesus is right now on a throne. He is not twiddling His thumbs nor is He wringing His hands. He is not disinterested or disengaged. He cares deeply for us. He has all the power in heaven and on earth. His sovereign power enabled Him to use both Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar to fulfill His purposes on this earth. He is faithful to use both blessing and judgment to bring about His goal of a radiant Bride preparing for His glory to flood the earth as the waters cover the sea. Our Sovereign God delights in allowing His children’s light to shine the brightest when there is much darkness.

His purposes are not captive to human initiative and earthly government. We are citizens of a Kingdom and our King is alive, engaged, perfect, and powerful. Christians. . .listen to Him, do what He says, stand your ground and be ready to surrender everything for his purposes on this earth. There is a day coming when our faithfulness in the midst of immorality and criminality will be rewarded by a Sovereign King.

We are so thankful for your faithfulness to our family and to our ministry with the Malachi Network. Our summer focus with Avalon Beach Church was the best yet. The first year we averaged about 30 people each week. Last year we averaged about 50 people. And this year we averaged about 70 people worshipping Jesus on the 30th Street beach. We baptized 9 believers in the ocean following our services. And we prayed with many for salvation and healing. What joy to ministry with 3 generations of Stevensons in what has to be the most beautiful sanctuary of all!

We would also like to thank many of you who shared your love with us during the passing of Tania’s father, Dr. Robert R. Moore. What a great man of God! He served faithfully as a pastor and professor at Asbury University. Please continue to pray for our family, especially Tania’s mother, Tillie.

Our Fall has been filled with ministry opportunities. I was able to meet with an amazing church planter in Barcelona, Spain. He is looking for connection and we are praying about the possibility of partnering with his work in Europe. I will also be traveling in the next weeks for ministry in California, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Thank you for the way you cover us in prayer.

We are also very grateful for your faithfulness in supporting us financially. We never take your sacrifices lightly. We are very aware of how many people it takes to fulfill our ministry purpose: “Making the Name of the LORD great among the nations.” Last month we hosted one of our most gifted families for a week. This couple, along with their 4 children, are serving Jesus in a very hard place in the middle east. As I fell in love with them again through our time together, I felt huge compassion for their parents/grandparents! The whole extended family sacrifice greatly for the cause of Christ. Thank you for helping us make such sacrifice possible. Please continue to support our ministry with great generosity.

In His Amazing Grace,

Rich and Tania Stevenson

(You can send checks marked “Stevenson” to The Malachi Network – PO Box 368 – Avalon, NJ 08202 or give online at http://www.malachinetwork.org by going to the MN Family page and clicking “Donate” by our name)

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