Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Preach The Gospel To Every Creature

Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned," Mark 16:15-16.

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come," Matthew 24:14.

I got my first taste of mass-media Ministry at the age of 18. While attending Bible College, I was a singer and soloist in the "Revivaltime" Choir - which sang weekly on 650 radio stations around the world on the ABC Radio Network. I sat behind the legendary C.M. Ward during that year of college, as he preached to an audience of many millions, live every Sunday night. Having personal contact with the "Revivaltime" staff, I was privy to the thousands of letters that came in the mail each week from listeners all over the world. That was both an exciting and a sobering experience to see the hunger in the souls of men and women from every walk of life, asking for more of God.

Returning to Beaumont, Texas in 1971, I joined the staff of a church with a national radio and television ministry. I became the editor of a Christian magazine with a circulation of 35,000 per month, and I traveled around the United States holding gospel crusades with my Pastor, B.H. Clendennen, as the crusade pianist and soloist, meeting with our television viewers in major cities from Spokane, Washington to Rochester, New York, and scores of other cities in between.

I made the connection between the media and the people. I saw, at that young age, the vast potential of the media - print and broadcasting - for delivering the gospel message to the masses.

For more than forty years since then, I have been engaged in the ministry - the preaching and teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As an Evangelist and as a Pastor, I have ministered in hundreds of Churches in about forty states in the US, and in several countries. As a writer, I have been the editor of three Christian magazines, and written hundreds of articles for several major publications. As a broadcaster, I have produced hundreds of live and recorded radio programs, and dozens of television and video programs.

But today, the potential for ministry via the Internet surpasses anything I have ever experienced. Whereas print and broadcast media require vast outlays of cash, and are generally labor intensive, the Internet levels the playing field, and opens the door for virtually anyone with a computer to enter into world-wide Missionary Evangelism.

I published my first Christian website in 1996, and for several years, most of my articles had first-page listings on Yahoo on a wide variety of Biblical keywords. Literally many millions of people have visited my website and a multi-generational ministry has followed. Articles that began as a Sunday morning sermon have circled the globe, and in many cases, been translated into other languages and republished in the form of tracts, Bible Study handouts, and articles in newspapers and magazines in dozens of languages.

What began as a (very) part-time endeavor is now the heart and soul of my ministry. My Daily Bible Studies (four mini-lessons per day) now circulate to subscribers in at least 211 nations. The letters I receive by email each day are more than I can answer.

At the present time, I am in the fourth year of a self-imposed Sabbatical, having returned to my home church in Texas and to my Pastor since 1983, Rev. John W. Harrell. The death of my wife, Dixie, to cancer in 2003 precipitated several major changes in my direction. I am currently writing six books, and producing a 26-week video teaching series that will constitute a complete Pentecostal Bible curriculum - teaching the entire Bible, with special emphasis on Prayer, Doctrine, Holiness and Bible Prophecies about the Last Days. I am also working on a musical project to record an album of songs I have written.

All these, with God's help, will go to every nook and cranny in the world. I have prayed since my youth that God would enable me to produce a comprehensive Bible curriculum that will be used by Pastors, Evangelists and Missionaries in every nation on earth.

My biggest enemy is time. Jesus is coming, and time is running out. I know of no other endeavor that is more needful than the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God never told me to save the world. But He did tell me to preach to the whole world. What THEY do with what they hear is between them and God.

"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel," 1 Corinthians 9:16-18.

"Not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved," 1 Corinthians 10:33.

Preach the Word!

And, please. Would you pray for me and this ministry?
Thank You. God bless you.

Ken Raggio

PS: Be sure to visit my main website and subscribe to the free Daily Bible Studies.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Does The Church Have The Holy Ghost? It's A Fair Question.

Rev. B. H. Clendennen died in December, 2009, at the age of 86, after having spent the last 16 years of his life circling the globe, preaching and establishing his "School of Christ International" in more than 130 nations.

I was profoundly influenced by him from the age of 19, following my Bible College days. A close, personal friend introduced me to him in May of 1971, and Pastor Clendennen hired me on the spot to work with him in the ministry. We were kindred spirits. He and I were traveling companions in the ministry for almost three years, until after I married and entered into full-time preaching ministry of my own.

When I first went to work for Pastor Clendennen, he was pastoring a Pentecostal congregation of about 500 people in Beaumont, Texas. He needed a singer/musician to travel with him in crusades around America. He also gave me the task of being the Editor of his monthly magazine, which circulated to about 35,000 households. I was the Church pianist and the choir director. I produced scores of radio programs, and participated in the weekly television broadcasts. After a while, he made me his Associate Pastor, and I filled the pulpit in his absence, and helped tend to the care of the Church members.

In those days before Christian television networks existed, he expanded his ministry into about 30 radio markets and 150 television markets. We traveled 2-4 days every week, on average, to hold gospel crusades in cities across America. Every month, I personally edited and proof-read his articles for the magazine. I also edited literally hundreds of his recorded messages for publication.

Pastor Clendennen's preaching was heavily influenced by the writings of T. Austin Sparks. Sparks was a minister from England and Scotland who wrote prolifically in the early 20th century. Among his recurring themes was the subject of the enmity between the old man and the new man - the carnal mind versus the mind of Christ.

To this day, because of that teaching, virtually everything I know and believe about Christian living is challenged by the question, "Is this carnally-minded, or is this the mind of Christ?"

"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his," Romans 8:5-9.

I was convinced, early on, that God has no use whatsoever for the carnal mind. Pastor Clendennen convinced me in those days (as does the Bible) that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary to the ability to do the will of God.

Without the Spirit of God dwelling in a man, it is impossible to please God. Therefore, every believer must be filled with the Spirit. Pastor Clendennen preached that without the Holy Ghost to quicken your mortal bodies, you would not go up in the rapture. I believed that then, and I believe that now.

I have lived to see Christianity supplant that vital truth. A huge percentage of the most influential leaders in Christianity today utterly deny the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.

The classical non-Pentecostals like Billy Graham, W.A. Criswell, and Jerry Falwell were shameless to disassociate themselves from speaking in tongues. Today, Rick Warren, Charles and Andy Stanley, John McArthur and an endless list of highly influential Christian leaders have effectively re-written New Testament Church WITHOUT the baptism of the Holy Ghost and its evidence of speaking in other tongues. Even in the so-called Pentecostal denominations, only a small percentage of their membership actually speak in tongues.

I say, "Whoa!" Is there really a Church without the baptism of the Holy Ghost? Wasn't the early Church BORN on the day of Pentecost? Didn't the entire early Church speak in tongues? Yes, they did! Jesus said, "Ye shall speak with new tongues," (Mark 16:17).

Where is THAT message in contemporary Christianity? How is it that tens of millions of professing Christians are either completely illiterate about the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, or they have been programmed to believe that it is either "of the devil" or is the behavior of lunatics?

Jesus commanded His disciples, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," (John 20:22). Now, at that particular time, "the Holy Ghost was not yet given," (John 7:39). But Jesus explained, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth," (Acts 1:8).

That was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost in the Upper Room at Jerusalem, fifty days after Jesus died on Passover (and subsequently resurrected).

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance," Acts 2:1-4.

The true Church is Pentecostal. The true Church is filled with the Holy Ghost and speaks in other tongues as the Spirit of God gives the utterance. The infilling of the believer with the Holy Ghost corresponds doctrinally to Jesus' resurrection from the dead. To receive the Holy Ghost is to receive eternal life.

Nowadays, we have hours of music, ten minutes of preaching, and nobody receives the Holy Ghost.

Imagine that Jesus, instead of commanding His disciples to "receive the Holy Ghost," had said (as does the largest association of Churches in Australia) that Churches should focus on having:
  • enjoyable, superbly run meetings that people enjoy and want to come back to, and which create ‘transcendence’ through music and the arts;
  • preaching that is relevant, practical and inspirational—that connects with my daily life and needs and struggles, and helps me to flourish;
  • a culture of activism, volunteer service, social action and community involvement.
I will not carry this any further for now. I will just land this plane by saying that it's time for Christianity to re-discover what Christianity really is, and what it really is supposed to be and do. Unless and until the modern Church receives the Holy Ghost - it's not the Church at all.

So, how does one receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost?

Peter answered that question in Acts 2:38-39.

"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

Receive YE the Holy Ghost.


See related article at kenraggio.com

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