In the closing chapter of the last book of the Bible (Revelation 22:17) it says,“Come! And let him who hears say, Come! And let him who thirsts come! Whosoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”
This is a universal invitation for anyone who would desire a relationship with Jesus Christ to come to Him. Regardless of where you have been, the invitation is to come to Him. This is also the invitation of Raven Outreach Ministries. We are more concerned with where you are going than where you have been!
This is a ministry that will be much different than what you have previously known in your life. Our desire is what Paul the Apostle stated in:
Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, (or have already arrived) but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
We are not trying to be more like the world to reach the world. We are trying to be more like Jesus to reach the world. We are to be “in the world,” but not “of the world.”
We will make every possible effort to “go out into the world” with the message of hope, life and salvation and also provide a place for those who would desire to know Jesus to come and “taste and see that (He) is good.” Psalms 34:8
We believe that the primary purpose for the “Church” or meeting place established for worship is: 1) to provide a place for believers to gather together to worship and minister to the Lord; and 2) to provide believers a place to come and be discipled or to be trained and instructed in the Word of God.
While there will be some people who make an initial decision for Christ Jesusduring one of our worship services- they are not designed for the unbelieverbut instead for those who belong to Jesus already. Most of the new converts who come into this fellowship or ministry will make their initial decision for Christ in the streets, in their neighborhoods, or in the work place where true evangelism should be taking place.
In Acts Chapter 1 and 2 there were 120 “believers” gathered together in the upper room (church or meeting place). There they prayed, worshipped and sought the Lord. After the “Spirit” fell upon them (or after the worship service concluded), they spilled out into the streets where the unbelievers were gathered. There, the Apostle Peter stood and gave an evangelistic messagethat resulted in 3000 unbelievers surrendering their hearts and lives to Christ.
In Acts 2, as the Apostles began going and ministering from house to house (we call it Adopt-A-Block) it says, “The Lord added to the church daily (not just on Sunday) such as should be saved.” Again, “saved” outside the church and brought into the church through faith.
In Acts 5, “multitudes were added to the Lord, both men and women” as the sick were brought “into the streets!” This resulted in even greater multitudescoming out of the cities and into the streets where they were preaching tounbelievers. This was not popular with the “religious” people (Chapter 5:17,18) and they had them “throne into prison.”
Raven Ministries endeavors to “Go into all the world to preach the Gospel” so that those who will believe can be saved from their sin and thus be able to“come boldly to the throne of grace and that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Those who are not presently walking with Jesus (back sliders) and those who have never exercised faith in the sacrificial work of the Lord Jesus upon the Cross are certainly welcome to attend one of our services. That being said, wecannot and will not seek to avoid making you feel “uncomfortable” by abandoning or in any other way diminishing our worship of the One who came and gave His very life so that we might live.
Chances are, if you are living a destructive life of sin and selfishness and have refused to repent (turn from that lifestyle) and ask Jesus to lead and guide you- we would be very surprised if the Spirit of God did not convict you of that sin while attending one of our services.
God is a God of love. God is also a God of holiness, truth and judgment too. He loved you enough to send His only Son (Jesus) to live and then die upon a cross for your salvation– but if you are not walking in that faith— His righteousness demands penalty from you.
Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Our advice to the unbeliever: Recognize and receive the grace, mercy and forgiveness that Jesus has made available to you before it is too late.
If you are searching or seeking and answer–we will gladly come to your house or meet you somewhere to explain to you the Word of God and how Christ Jesus can transform your life (or) you can come see for yourself the transformation that has taken place in the lives of the believers who will be gathered in our worship services.
We endeavor to maintain Biblical integrity in everything that we do. There is a pattern that has been established for the Christian walk and for Christian ministry (the Church) that is timeless and perfect in its mode and manifestation. This is the pattern that we desire to imitate and follow to the best of our abilities, understanding and revelation of the Word of God
We will never try to “trick” anyone into the Kingdom of God through manipulation, compromise, man-made motivation, “dumbing-down,” watering down or otherwise making the Gospel more palatable.
Jesus said in John 10:1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
That message is clear. There are not “many roads that lead to the truth.” There is ONE way, ONE truth, ONE life and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was and is explicit in what it takes to be a follower (disciple) of His.
Matt 16:24-26 explains, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Christianity is not joining a church or attending enough services or even living a good moral life. Christianity is coming to the end of yourself that you might be made alive in Jesus Christ. You cannot be a Christians apart from “denying yourself, taking up your cross (embracing that which truly causes you to decrease) and following Him (doing what He did).
If you attend a service or an event sponsored by Raven Ministries there are some things that you can expect.
You will be loved. Regardless of where you have come from, what you look like or how you have been raised, we are committed to loving people unconditionally. We may not agree with you on every subject or have the same view on certain things but this will in no way deter us from loving you.
You will see Jesus lifted up. The reason that we gather together in worship is to “lift up Jesus”. It is not to entertain you or to accommodate your need to satisfy some religious quota for the week. We are about serving, knowing and worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are more concerned with TRUTH over TRADITION. We do not have a monopoly on every truth. We are in the process of having His word revealed to us in a greater and clearer way day by day. My motto is, “You don’t have to know everything – just know what you do know real good!” We will never do anything “just to please” people. People are rarely pleased with anything for any great length of time. We are here to minister the Word of God into peoples lives and to love them; not to cater to the needs of their flesh.
You will see the gifts of the Spirit in operation. We will never make excuses or cower from the fact that we believe the whole Bible; even the parts that may make us uncomfortable or go against the things that have been ingrained in us through past affiliations or denominational upbringing. You may hear people “speak in tongues.” You may see people “healed” by faith in the work of the Cross. What you will not see is a bunch of “flakey”, unbiblical manifestations “just for the sake” of being “spiritual.” We know that the Word of God has revealed enough POWER IN TRUTH and genuine manifestation; that we will call to order that which is not. If it is of God, then the person operating in a particular gifting should not be opposed to having that particular gift or manifestation measured or judged in accordance with the Word of God. While we firmly believe in the gifts of the Spirit–it is not what we primarily seek–we seek the Person of the Holy Spirit to operate in our lives, ministry, and services and we welcome His “gifts” as the fruit of that relationship.
You will see people of all races, creeds, nationalities, and socio-economic backgrounds worshipping with us. If you hate a person of another color- either repent or find somewhere else to go. If you are rich and despise the poor or you are poor and despise the rich this will probably not be the place that you would want to come and feel comfortable. Everyone is welcomed in our ranks.
We will seek Him first and foremost. If you are looking for a quick “fix” for your religious cravings and all you have is 45 minutes or an hour to spare, then there are many places that will be more appealing to you. While we endeavor to not “waste time,” our main objective is to come and have an intimate time of worship and hearing the Word of God.
There will be “liberty in worship.” Some people may jump and dance before the Lord. Some people may kneel at the altar and pray. Some people may lift their hands and weep. Some may just want to sit quietly and listen to His voice. There is liberty here to do all of those things.
If you are a member of this body you will be required to be not only a “hearer but a doer of the word.” This is not a place of all inspiration and not application. Everything that you will learn here is so that you can actually go out and do it. Everyone has a part and no one is excluded.
Our primary reason for serving God is so that we can be equipped to go out and win others to the saving faith in Jesus Christ. EVERYONE who claims Jesus as Savior is a “minister of reconciliation.” YOU are to witness and tell others about Jesus as your “primary” ministry.
You will be instructed in truth and righteousness. Our purpose is not to implement and espoused the vain philosophies of man in the hopes to draw a large crowd or increase our church coffers. Our purpose is to invest into your life the unchanging, all-powerful word of the Living God that you might live a victorious life.
The human phraseology employed in this statement is not inspired nor contended for, but the truth set forth is held to be essential to a full Gospel ministry. No claim is made that it contains all the truth in the Bible, only that it covers orthodox fundamental matters.
- THE SCRIPTURES INSPIRED
The Bible is the inspired Word of God, a revelation from God to men, the infallible rule of faith and conduct, and superior to conscience and reason, but not contrary to reason (2 Timothy 3:15, 17; 1 Peter 1:23-25; Hebrews 4:12).
- THE ONE TRUE GOD
The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent, self-revealed “I AM,” and has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association, by simultaneously existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; Isaiah 43:10, 11; Matthew 28:19).
- MAN: HIS FALL AND REDEMPTION
Man was created good and upright, for God said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” But man, by voluntary transgression, fell, and his only hope of redemption is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Genesis 1:26-31; Genesis 3:17; Romans 5:12-21).
- THE SALVATION OF MAN
- Conditions of Salvation
The Grace of God, which brings salvation, has appeared to all men, through the preaching of repentance toward God and through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; man is saved by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, and being justified by grace, has become heir of God according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 2:11, 3:5-7,Romans 10:13-15; Luke 24:47).
- Evidences of Salvation
- BAPTISM IN WATER
The ordinance of baptism by immersion should be observed (as commanded in the Scriptures) by all that have repented of their sins and in their hearts have believed on Christ as their Savior and Lord. In doing so, they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they have also been released to walk with Him in newness of life (Matthew 28:19; Acts 19:47,48; Romans 6:4).
- THE LORD’S SUPPER (COMMUNION)
The Lords Supper, consisting of the elements, bread and fruit of the vine, is the symbol expressing our sharing in a memorial to His suffering and death, and prophecy of His second coming, and is enjoined to all believers “until He comes” (John 6:48,51, 53-57; Luke 22:19,20; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 Corinthians 11:25).
- THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
All believers should ardently expect and earnestly seek the Promise of the Father, which is the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire. With it comes the infilling of power for life and service, and the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31). This experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the New Birth (Acts 2:38; 10:44-46; 11:14-16;15:7-9).
The gift of tongues is a spiritual gift given to believers (1Corinthians 12:lO; 12:28-30). The primary use of the gift of tongues is for the edification of the Church (Acts 2:2-4; 19:6). Tongues (prayer language) are given to the believer for personal edification (Acts 14:2,4a).
By the power of the Holy Spirit we strive to obey the command, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” Sanctification is the will of God for all believers, and should be earnestly pursued by walking in obedience to Gods Word (Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15,16; 1 Thessalonians 5:23,24; 1 John 2:6).
- THE CHURCH
The church is the holy body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her great commission. Each believer is an integral part of the Church, and their names are written in the Lambs Book of Life.
Divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for a two-fold purpose: (1) The evangelization of the world; and (2) The edification of the body of Christ (Mark 15:15,20; Ephesians 4:11-13).
- DIVINE HEALING
- THE BLESSED HOPE
The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation, together with those who are alive and remain unto the Lord, is imminent and is the blessed hope of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Romans 6:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51,52).
- THE MILLENNIAL REIGN OF JESUS
The revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven, the salvation of national Israel, and the millennial reign of Christ on the earth are scriptural promises and our hope (2 Thessalonians 1:7; Revelation 19: 11-16; Romans 11:25; Revelation 20: 1-7).
- THE LAKE OF FIRE
The devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, and whosoever is not found written in the Lambs Book of Life shall be consigned to eternal punishment in the lake which burns fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelation 19:20; 20:10-15).
- THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH