Ezra chapter number 7, the part that I want to focus on is beginning verse number 6 where the bible reads. This Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses which the Lord God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all his request according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. Then jump down to verse 10, the bible reads. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. What I want to preach about tonight is this subject, a ready scribe. I want to preach about being prepared, preparing your heart, and being ready unto every good work.
Now Ezra is a man that because he was prepared by God, and because he had spent time preparing himself and preparing his own heart, when an opportunity came to do something great for God he was ready to step in and fill that role, and make history as a great man of God. Why? Because he was ready at the right time. You see, it wasn't that the opportunity wasn't there. It was just that the right man had to be found for the job. Many people today, they focus more on opportunities than on preparing themselves. What do I mean by that? You hear a lot about people talking about finding the right job, or the right job being out there, or there aren't enough jobs, or we need the government to create some jobs.
You know what I've always found is that there's always a prepared place for a prepared person. A person who is ready, and prepared, and skilled, and trained, and studied will always find a place to fill that role. A lot of people today, they think that the reason why the world is not being evangelized is that there isn't enough money to do it. They think that if we just had more money, we could send all this missionaries to the field. In fact I was visiting a church not too long ago and the pastor got up and said that there are all these missionaries that just want to go to the field and do a great work for God, but they just can't get there because the money isn't there. If God's people would just dig a little deeper and give on to missions, then the world would just be getting the Gospel and everybody be hearing it. The whole world will be evangelized because there are just all these great missionaries that are just waiting to go out.
I don't believe that for one second. Brother Richard Miller made a great point when he preached recently. He said this, he said, "Well, if that's really true. If there are all these wonderful missionaries that are just waiting to get to the foreign field, and if they would just get the money to get there, well then that would mean that America is just filled with all these fiery soul winners. That would mean that the United States must just be getting the Gospel like crazy. I mean if there's just all of these just amazing fired up soul-winning missionaries that are all stuck in the US. I mean they must just be knocking doors like crazy in turning this country upside down.
No. The reality is that the average missionary is a [muchonary 00:03:28]; not a missionary, a muchonary. These guys talk about all the big talk that they're going to do when they get to the foreign field. If they can just raise all this money and raise all this support. The reality is that most of them are not doing the soul winning right here. They are not working hard here. Let me tell you something. If they're not doing it here, they're not going to do it over there. It's harder to do it over there than it is here. Here, it's easy. Here, everybody speaks English. Here, you know the culture. Here, you just get in the car and drive for 5 minutes but we're supposed to believe that when they get on the other side of the world, all the sadness switch is just going to go off and they're just going to be this amazing soul winner that's just going to be starting all these churches. They're going to be the next Apostle Paul.
It's not real. Let me tell you something. I praise God for a guy like Brother Garrett Kirchway who for the last 8 years has had his nose to the grindstone and had been winning souls and working hard right here; not waiting for some pie in the sky mission's plan or whatever. Now the reason I bring that up is because right here in this passage where we see the prepared person, Ezra the prepared man. I mean he was ready. He was a ready scribe. He'd been studying the law of Moses. He had learned it. He knew the bible. He was ready to live by its teachings and he was ready to instruct the whole nation of Israel. He was prepared. He was ready for a great work.
Notice how God just miraculously supplies the finances when the prepared man shows up. Look what it says in chapter 7 verse 21 there. "I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven shall require of you, it be done speedily; unto a hundred talents of silver, and to a hundred measures of wheat, and to a hundred baths of wine, and to a hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much." Now, I don't know how much a bath is but it sounds like a lot. I'm just picturing bathtubs full of wine and oil. I don't know how big that is but it's got to be a lot. He is saying, "Just give this guy whatever he needs. Give him the money he needs. Give him the food and the drink he needs." He puts a limit on it. He doesn't want to just give him a carte blanche.
He says, "up to" but he says up to a pretty huge amount, 100 talents of silver. God is using this king who it doesn't really quite makes sense why the King of Babylon would want to finance this and would want to give him all this stuff. I'll explain to you why. It's because God wanted him to have that stuff. If God wants you to have stuff, he'll give it to you. If God wants a work to happen, he will actually work in the hearts of people. The bible actually says in the New Testament that God will cause men to give into your bosom many times. If he wants to reward you, he can do that. The problem today is not a money problem. The problem today is not that there aren't enough job openings in the ministry, or enough opportunities for men of God to do something big. It's just that people aren't prepared to do it. There aren't enough Ezras today. There aren't enough prepared scribes that are ready to do the work for God.
God has all kinds of job openings. He has all kinds of opportunities. There are all kinds of places that you could go and do something big for God if you would be ready, if you would be prepared. Now turn if you would to 2 Timothy chapter number 2 in the New Testament. Now obviously this sermon applies to everyone in the sense that God has work for all of us to do not just as a preacher or a missionary. Now obviously we think a lot about preaching and being a missionary, being a pastor just because the work of the Lord is so important. It's so important to us that the Gospel go out to all corners of the world. Frankly there is a void of leadership right now amongst God's people, of strong leaders, of solid preaching. We think a lot about that because we want to see that void be filled.
Honestly for every man, woman, boy, and girl, there's always a prepared place for a prepared person. Not just preaching, not just pastoring, not just starting a church, not just being a missionary, but the bible says in 2 Timothy chapter 2 verse 21, if a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flip over to Titus just a couple of pages to the right in your bible. Look at Titus chapter 3 verse 1. The bible reads, put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work. Now here's one good work that you should definitely be ready for, go to Romans chapter 1.
Romans chapter number 1, and while you're turning to Romans chapter 1 I'm going to read for you from Ephesian 6. This is the scripture about putting on the whole armor of God. One of the components of the whole armor of God the bible says in chapter 6, verse 14: Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Our feet are shod not with just the gospel, our feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. You see, we ought to be prepared to preach the Gospel. We had to have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel peace. Look at Romans 1:15, so as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
There's also the famous verse on 1 Peter 3:15, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. You see, if you're prepared to preach the Gospel, God will literally bring people across your path to win to Christ because he knows you're ready to do it. There's always a prepared place for a prepared person. If you are prepared to win souls and if you know what you're doing, God will bring people across your path to win to Christ. Now, that doesn't mean we should sit and just wait for them to come to us. Obviously, the bible tells us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. Obviously there are all these doors just waiting for you and you can just walk out, and knock these doors anytime you want and win souls to Christ.
I can tell you that ever since I started door-to-door soul winning and I actually learned how to do it, and I was actually ready to do it, God has also brought people across my path that pretty much just fell in your lap and practically said to you, "What must I do to be saved?" It happens. God knows, right? I mean literally one time, this is probably one of the most extreme examples of that happening. I remember several years ago, I was on a business trip in California. Just think of it, I'm almost 1,000 miles from home. I'm out in the middle of nowhere. I pulled into a gas station. I put the gas nozzle in the pump and the guy next to me is pumping gas. Somehow I just got in a conversation with this guy and he was like the most receptive guy that I've ever talked to that just so easily got saved. He was just ready to get saved. He practically asked me "What must I do to be saved?"
He walked up and started talking to me. He started the conversation. It was the weirdest thing, but it was like God had just brought me 1,000 miles. I thought I was going to do a job over here. God had another reason where he just caught ... We're both on long trips. We're both out in the middle of nowhere. We just meet at that exact moment at that gas station. The guy who wants to be saved and the guy who knows how to get him saved, who's prepared to get him saved, and the guy got saved. It's exciting. I was excited. I was like, "Wow! That was God." That was God's work. This guy was talking about how he'd been concerned about his soul and not knowing if he's saved. I was able to win him to Christ. It was so easy and it was just of the Lord that this guy was in my path.
Think about how you'd feel. I want you to apply this to yourself tonight. I don't care if you're a man, a woman, a boy, or a girl. Think about how you'd feel if you were in a situation where God brought someone across your path like that. Where it was just so obvious that this was a divine appointment. That person practically just ask you, "What must I do to be saved?" You're basically just stammering, and stuttering, and tripping, and you can't quote the scriptures. You don't know the verses. You don't know how to explain it to them properly. You're not skilled. You're not prepared. I mean wouldn't that be a shame? Wouldn't you feel like a fool?
Not only that if you'd be prepared, I think God will even give you more opportunities like that; if you're ready, if you're prepared. You say, "Well, Pastor Anderson how do I get prepared to preach the Gospel?" Being prepared to preach the Gospel, being a soul winner, it's similar to speaking a foreign language in a sense. The best way to learn a foreign language is by speaking that foreign language; by actually practicing with someone and talking to someone. That's your best training for foreign language. Then there's also some study that you do on your own where you're reading books. You're listening to audio programs and you're learning. When I went to Germany, I learned how to speak German fairly quickly when I was in Germany because I was in Germany for 3 months. Basically throughout the day, I'm speaking German with people.
Stammering, and stuttering, and messing it up, but I was getting a practice and getting the feel for it. Then every night I do a little study out of the books. I did that for 3 months and by the time I came home, I knew the language fairly well. Soul winning is kind of like that. The best way to learn soul winning it to go soul winning. Now, there's no pressure. You don't really have to do anything because you just go as a silent partner. You go as a silent partner and you just soak it in. You take it in. You observe and you go with a variety of people, and observe, and learn how to do it. Then another thing that some people do as a baby step is to basically, they knock the door and invite the person to church. Ask them if they can present the Gospel. Then if the person says, "Yes." They say, "Okay. He's going to show you." Then they kind of turn it over to their soul winning brother. Has anybody ever done that before? A couple of people, anyone? Anyone?
That works. I remember when I first started, I've done that before or like when people are first learning how to do it in Spanish. They'll greet the person and talk to the person a little bit in Spanish and they'll say, "Hey, is it all right if my pastor shows you? Is it all right if he show ...?" "Sure." Then just kind of pass it off to them. You learn by doing it. You learn by getting out there and hitting the streets and knock in the doors. You start out as a silent partner. Then there's some additional book learning that you can do as well. Like how about memorizing the verses that comprised the plan of salvation? How about memorizing Romans 3:10? Memorizing Romans 3:23, memorizing Romans 6:23, memorizing John 3:16, memorizing Acts 16:31 so that you're ready to preach the Gospel. I can't even count how many times that I had the opportunity to witness to someone and I didn't have my bible with me. I didn't have a bible. So it was all just from memory.
Even if you have a bible with you, it's so much easier to show the scriptures and to read them fluently if you have them memorized. You're more comfortable. You have more confidence because you know the material. Let me ask you this, "How much preparation are you putting into being a soul winner?" Have you memorized the Roman's road? Have you memorized the soul winning verses? Have you spent any time out door-to-door soul winning as a silent partner? Look, you can say whatever you want about how hard it is, or how it's just not your gift. You know what? You don't have to be that gifted to walk around and stand next to somebody while they give the Gospel. That doesn't take any gift.
How gifted do you have to be, to walk up to a door with someone and just stand there while they preach the Gospel? Just provide that person with fellowship and provide that person with silent prayer in your head? That doesn't take much of a gift? That doesn't take ... Jesus Christ drag the cross up Calvary's mountain and was crucified, and died, and was buried, and 3 days later rose again. He did a lot for you, are you willing to walk down a street and just be present for some soul winning? I mean the bible commands us to go out into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. The bible commands us to teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. The bible commands us to be witnesses unto him both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and into the outermost part of the earth. Are you fulfilling that command? Are you even ready to fulfill that command?
You see, preparation, being ready is of the greatest importance that you might be used of God. You have to start by being prepared. You're going to have opportunities with your parents, your siblings, your cousins, people that you work with, people that you love. I'm going to tell you this. The more door-to-door soul winning you've done, the more likely you will win your love ones to the Lord. I can speak from experience because I remember when I was a teenager, I tried getting co-workers saved before I've done soul winning before. Before I was in the soul-winning church, I'd learn about soul winning. I tried to get schoolmates saved. I tried to get co-workers saved. I tried to get relatives saved, and I failed 100% of the time. I got zero people saved. Then I started going door-to-door learned how to do it, got some preparation, got some skills, learned what I was doing.
Then I went back to my job, won people to Christ, talked to relatives, won them to Christ; talked to friends and family, and won them unto the Lord. Why? Because I got the preparation. I got the training. It's important. Not only soul winning, how about being ready to preach a sermon? Go 2 Timothy chapter 4 and obviously this is for the men. Sorry Joyce Meyer, but this is for the men to preach the sermon, to preach in church. Look I can tell you literally of 2 stories from people that I know personally where they showed up at a church. I know this sounds weird but this is a true story. Two different people who showed up at a church on a Wednesday night, and they got there. It's a smaller church.
They got there and the preacher wasn't there, and nobody was there to preach, and nobody knew what to do. Both of these situations, this guy got up and say ... It was 2 different guys but got up and said, "You know what? I'm a preacher and I'll be glad to preach the sermon." They basically just said, "Okay. Get on up there and preach." He was able to preach in church until like 50 people that he didn't expect to be preaching. Now think about how cool that would be for that to be you. You young guys that are interested in preaching, that are learning how to preach. Think about how cool it would be if you were visiting a church on a vacation and the preacher's AWOL. They said, "We don't know what to do. We don't have anybody to fill in." You stepped in and said, "I'm a preacher. I'd love to fill in." You were able to preach the word of God, and stir people up, and do a work for him. Wouldn't that be exciting to be used like that? When preparation meets opportunity, it's exciting.
Now look at 2 Timothy chapter 4 verse 2 it says, "Preach the word, be instant." Now the term be instant means that you're just ready to go at a moment's notice. What is instant coffee? It's ready. It's ready to go. It's that fast and you're drinking it. When the bible says preach the word, be instant, it's saying, "You are just ready to preach at any moment. You're ready to go. You're instant." In season, out of season, you're instant. Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine. There's always a prepared place for a prepared person. I'm telling you if you write a good sermon, God will give you the opportunity to preach that sermon. I believe that. I don't have any doubt about that. There's not a shortage of places to preach. There's not a shortage of places to start churches. There's not a shortage of places to evangelize. No, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he'll send forth laborers into his harvest.
Let me tell you something. The emphasis on the word laborer, meaning people who want to work hard. What we lack today is people who want to work hard, and step in, and fill these vacancies, and fill these opportunities. You see all over America right now, there's a great hunger for soul-winning, King James Bible preaching Baptist churches that won't compromise the truth. That's why when we hold these soul-winning marathons all across America, just a whole bunch of people that we don't know show up. I mean a hundred will show up. Who are these people? Most of them have never ever been soul winning, but they're ready to go soul winning. They show up and they're ready, and more than half of them have never even done it. A lot of them aren't even going to church.
Anyway, they're ready to go. They're waiting but they're like sheep having no shepherd. They need a leader and I can't even tell you. I literally get an email every day, or message, or some kind of a voice mail or something. Brother Baker could testify to these kind of messages, "Hey, send somebody to this city, send somebody to my city, send somebody to this state. We need a preacher like you over here. We need it over here. We need it over here." Here's the thing. I want to send out preachers out of this church. I'm not trying to build the biggest church in the world here. I want to send you out. I want to start churches all over America and all over the world. I want to take my best church members and get rid of them. Why? Because I'm not trying to just hoard them all for myself. "Oh, I got to keep all these really good like tithing families, and these really good faithful members so that they can work for me." No, no, no. It's about getting the Gospel to the whole world, not just Phoenix.
Look, even if we send people out our church is still going to grow. It's still growing. Look, I want to send out as many preachers as possible. I want to send out pastors. I want to start churches all over America that are independent Baptist Churches. You know what? We don't have people that are prepared. It's a shame. The mission fields are there. The cities are there. In fact, think about when I started Faithful Word Baptist Church, I didn't know ... There was nobody waiting for me in Phoenix. Phoenix and Tempe were not clamoring for send us Pastor Anderson. We want Pastor Anderson. Nobody was asking for me. I did not know a soul in this city. My wife and I showed up with our 3 kids and a Ford Escort. Everything we owned was in that Escort, literally with the 5 of us.
We had stuff under our feet. We had stuff behind our heads. We had stuff in our laps. That was just all of our earthly possessions was able to fit in a Ford Escort with the 5 of us. We got here and we knocked on doors. Let me tell you. It was hard to get started because I'll tell you what? It's hard when you're running 7, 8, 9 and you're meeting in your house. It's hard to get people to come to church because people look at it like, "Whoa, you only got 8 people. You're meeting in your living room." They want the big, the building. They want like what we have right now where it's nice, and there's a big nice building, and there's a few hundred people. That's what they want.
We showed up and we didn't have that. After a year of laboring, we were averaging like 10 people in our services after a year of working hard. After 2 years, we averaged 20. After 3 years, we averaged 30. After 4 years, we averaged 40. After 5 years we averaged 50. After 6 years, we averaged 60. Not exactly phenomenal fast growth. Then after 6, 7 years, it really started to pick up speed and now we're growing by like 60, 70 people a year. For the longest time it was just 10 people a year. It was a slow going. Let me tell you. It was hard. It was discouraging. You felt like why is it growing so slowly? What's the deal? What's the problem? It was hard work and it was frustrating. It was difficult.
Let me tell you something. Right now, the guys that we're sending out to start churches right now, that's not their situation. I mean we sent Brother Romero to start a church in Fort Worth, Texas. This was a couple of years ago. He already had like 40 some people waiting for him. Just first Sunday, he's got 40 people at his church. Then our friend Brother Perry started a church in San Antonio. Same thing, boom! 40 some people right there. He had 70 people on his first Sunday morning service. Like I think 40 some people stuck with him. Some people were visiting from out of town. I mean these guys are able to skip like the first 5 years of struggle. They're able to just bypass that difficult like starting from scratch.
It's hard, right? They're able to just skip that. That's awesome. Why? Because the first Sunday, the first Sunday they're baptizing people. They're performing a wedding like a week later. They got 40 some people. They'll have 20 people out soul winning the first week. I mean they're able to just do great things for God just from day 1. They're already thriving and moving forward to God. I mean that's a pretty cool opportunity. I would have loved to have walked into an opportunity like that. Where you start a church and there's already 40, 50, people that are just on fire. Soul winners just waiting for you ready to work, ready to roll up their sleeves, ready to be a part of the team. I mean that's awesome.
I believe that if we send people out to start churches in the future, it's going to be more than that because we've grown so much in the last year or two. It will probably be more like starting with 60 or 70 people on these towns if they start in a bigger city. The question that I have is, where are all the guys to go do this work? Where are all the guys for me to train? Where are all the men that will say, "Here am I, send me." Where are the Ezras? Where are the ready scribes? Where are those who are preparing their hearts for this work? The sad thing is, that they're all these cities that are begging for us to. They want us to send a preacher there to start a church in that town. We have barely any guys to train.
It's a shame. It's a tragedy. Therefore the work goes undone. The cities go unevangelized. America suffers as a nation. Thank God for the men that are being trained. Thank God for the men that are serious about their training and that are serious about actually doing the work to get trained, and actually have a plan and a goal to get their butts out there and do something big for God; not just a bunch of talk and pie in the sky. You know what? It's not enough. The laborers are few, pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he'll send forth laborers into his harvest. Go if you would to Proverbs chapter number 16. Now, here's the thing. A lot of young men will frequently ask me this question because maybe they're 17, 18, 19 years old. Their heart is desirous to be that next man of God, to be that next man for the next generation. They want to be that pastor. They want to be that missionary, but obviously they're too young.
The bible says that we should not suddenly lay hands on any man and we should not send out one who is a novice or one who is obviously not prepared. Young men frequently asked me, "What should I do to get prepared?" "What can you do to train me or help me to get prepared?" The biggest thing that I see is that people aren't reading the bible. It's like you got a young guy asking you, "Hey, what can I do to get prepared to pastor?" Then you ask that guy, "How many times have you read the bible cover to cover?" "Once, twice, 3 times." "You know what? You're not even really ready to talk seriously about going into the ministry if you can't even read the bible."
Here's an idea for you. When you're young, when you're 18, 19, 20, 21, why don't you get all that bible reading done at that time? Why don't you start learning because you know what? Ezra's preparation was he knew the bible. Because he knew the bible really well, and he was ready to live it, and he was ready to preach it, God put his hand on him and said, "Well, you're ready to go. We'll I'm ready to use you." He had the good hand of God upon him. Then the finances were all taken cared off. Ezra made it look easy. He just waltzes in. He's got all the money. Everything's going perfect. God's hands upon him. He's got favor with the king. Everything's working out great. He was even tax-free. Did you catch that when we read Ezra 7? It will be unlawful to impose any taxes or tribute on any minister of the house of God. Which God that that were the law in America today?
The funny thing is the liberals always say, "It must be nice to be a pastor, to be tax-free." That's funny because I just wrote the IRS a check for 7,500 bucks recently. That's tax-free huh? Pastors aren't tax-free. That's a lie. That's a lie that liberals love to tell. It's not even true. I wish it were true. I wish the king of Babylon would cut us some slack on our taxes. I mean Ezra is making it look easy. What you don't see is all the preparation though where Ezra is just spending hour, after hour, after hour doing what? Reading the bible, reading, and reading, and while other people are goofing off, and fooling around, and doing everything else. He was skipping some of that stuff, and sitting down and reading his bible, and learning the law of God; so what when the time came God just opened doors for him, just opened the doors and led him right to it.
There's always a prepared place for a prepared person. You want to be a soul winner? You want to win your friends and love ones to Christ? You go to get prepared. Do the reading. Do the same. Say, "Oh Pastor Anderson, I want to be a pastor someday." "Okay. How many times you read the bible?" "Well, I'm just finishing my first time through." "You know what? Come back and talk to me once you've read it like 10 times." Honestly, that's the easiest thing you could do to prepare. It's one of the most necessary things to be a pastor is that you know the bible. It's really important. You'd hate to get to a point where you meet the qualifications. You're the husband of one wife and you got your faithful children. You rule in your house and you're given the hospitality, and you're apt to teach. You have the ability to preach. Then it's like, "Oh, whoops! I haven't done the bible reading." Then, "Okay. Well let's all sit around and wait while you read the bible now."
Do you think that that God's will when people are dying going to hell? When there's all these places that need churches? You know what? That's a big problem today amongst the guys that want to go start churches and pastor, is that they haven't done the reading that they need to do. They haven't prepared their hearts to seek the law of the Lord. It's a shame that God's work goes undone. You see, in all labor there is profit, but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. Not only in all labor is there profit but I believe that in all learning there is profit as well. If you learn skills, God will give you opportunities to use those skills. If you learn the bible, you'll have an opportunity to teach the bible.
You see, "Well I'm a lady. What can I do?" You can teach the bible to your children. You can teach the bible to other ladies in the church. You can teach the bible to your friends and love ones. Honestly you say, "Well, I just really want to get married someday. I'm a single girl. I'd like to get married someday." "Okay. Why don't you get prepared to be a good wife? Then God will give you a good husband because there's always a prepared place for a prepared person." See, the bible says the prudent wife is from the Lord. Guess what? If you would work on making yourself a prudent kind of a woman, then God's going to give you to some dude because you're prepared. Why don't you get prepared to be a godly wife and a godly mother? Why don't you read the bible young lady and young girl? Then as you get yourself prepared, you'll just watch opportunities just open for you. I'm telling you.
Just like in Ezra's life where it just seems like everything's just fallen into place. Doors are opening. Look, if you get prepared, everything works for you. If you don't put in the work to be prepared, you're going nowhere. You don't memorize that Roman's road, you're not going to be a soul winner. You don't learn how to win souls. Why would God bring people across your path to win to Christ? Why would he give you those opportunities when you're not even ready to take them in the first place? Preparation. Look what the bible says in Proverb 16 verse 1. What I want to show you in this chapter is how God leads us. God leads us when we're prepared. God will actually lead us and give us the opportunities if we're prepared for them.
It says in verse 1, the preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. The bible is saying here that God guides our preparations. If we yield ourselves to him, if we desire to do a great work for God, he will guide us into the preparation we need if we're willing to do the work. Look at verse 3, commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established. Look at verse number 9, a man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps. What the bible is saying in this chapter is that if we will yield ourselves unto the Lord, if we will commit our works under the Lord and desire to do work for the Lord and commit ourselves unto him, then he will guide our preparations. He will guide our steps. He will direct us to the life that he wants us to live.
How do you end up having a godly marriage and godly children? How do you end up pastoring a church or being a missionary? How do you end up being a soul-winning church member, or a godly deacon, or whatever? This is what you do. You spend your time prepared for whatever God has for you because no matter what God has for your life, it involves knowing the bible. I mean think about it like how can you go wrong saying, "Well, I'm just going to read the bible a lot. Then whatever God ask me, I'll be ready for it." I mean how can you go wrong with that preparation? How about this? You know what? I'm just going to get really good at soul winning. I'm just going to learn soul winning, practice soul winning, get out soul winning, and then God can just use me however he sees fits.
You know what? If you'll commit your works unto the Lord and say, "God I'm willing to do the work of reading, doing the work of studying, and doing the work of going out and learning soul winning." You know what? He'll direct you into whatever his will is for your life. See, people are so into determining God's will. What does God want me to do? I don't know if God wants me to start a church here, or if God wants me to ... Who cares? You're not even ready to start a church. Who gives a rip whether you start it here or there? They both need it. That's why the what of God's will is more important than the where of God's will. Young boys are so worried about finding God's will. Who am I going to marry? Which woman is the right one for me to marry?
Really, are you even ready to get married? Do you even have the income to get married? Do you have the maturity to get married? Do you have the knowledge to lead your wife spiritually? That's what you ought to worry about because I promise you, that if you get the knowledge, and if you get the wherewithal, and you're ready to go and you desire a wife, God will give you a wife if you're ready. If you're a woman who prepares her heart and loves the Lord, God will bless you with a husband. Worry more about preparing yourself than trying to find that opportunity that you may not even be ready for. Worry more by just preparing yourself, getting ready. People want me to train them for the ministry but they haven't even gotten the first base in their own personal life of reading the bible.
You know what? I don't have time to train people for the ministry that aren't ready. Hey listen. It's not that I don't have enough time for people. If you are a man who wants to pastor a church and wants to be a preacher, I have all the time for you in the world. I mean that. I will drop everything. I will stop everything. I will put everything on the back burner and I will train you and teach you everything I know about how to be a pastor and how to be a preacher, as soon as you actually show that you're serious about going into the ministry and actually do your part, and do your prerequisites. I will literally, I promise you I will drop everything and spend as much time with you as you want to spend with me. I will personally mentor you and train you.
You know what? I've been successful. I'm not bragging. I don't think I'm anything special at all. That's why I believe that any man who actually gets fired up and wants to do what I've done, will be able to do what I've done or greater because I'm nothing special. What you have is the opportunity to have Pastor Anderson who has done it successfully, teach you how to start a church. He'll devote all his time to you. He'll teach you everything he knows and then he'll send you somewhere where there's already 60 people waiting for you to just join your church. Can you open your bible and read it? Can you show up to church? Can you show up to soul winning? Can you put forth some effort because that's all I'm looking for? I'm telling you it's important. People's lives are hanging in the balance. Souls are hanging between heaven and hell right now. We as God's men stand between the dead and the living. The opportunities are everywhere but nobody's there to take them. Nobody's there to be trained.
Look, if there's anybody out there that's listening to this sermon online who wants to pastor, I hope that they would hear this sermon and come here. Come to me and present themselves at Faithful Word Baptist Church and say I'm serious. I've read my bible. I know what ... I'm ready to do work for God. I'm ready to be trained. I'd say, "Hallelujah. You're the person I'm looking for." The harvest truly is plenteous but the laborers are few. Pastor [inaudible 00:43:18] made a great point when he preached on the church camping trip that we were just on a couple of days ago. He said that there's a lot of talk about praying for revival across America. I know this. An independent Baptist Church as I've been in, it's a common theme. We need to pray for revival.
They talk about revival like it's this magical thing. It happens and it's like you don't know when it's going to happen. It just sort of happens and it's just like, "Oh wow! It happened." You're just kind of waiting and you're praying for it to happen. Then you kind of sit around wondering if it's going to happen. These churches that are scaling back, they're so ... Listen to me. The churches in Arizona, the other Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches many of them are literally scaling back soul winning. They're not increasing soul winning. Oh, no. We're trying to add soul. We are [inaudible 00:44:13] soul winning times, we're trying to add more, add more, more soul winning, more people at soul winning, more time. You know what they're doing now? They're scaling it back where they don't even have one per week anymore.
I'm not even going to name the churches, but the Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches around Phoenix several of them that are the soul-winning churches, they are not doing it twice a month for one hour on Tuesday nights, twice a month. Some of them are scaling it back to once a month. Once a month soul winning for one hour. In the past it was every week. Not it's once a month. They're scaling it back. All the while they're talking about praying for revival. Pray for revival. You know what? This pray for revival thing is the stupidest thing I've ever heard and I'm sick of it, sick of it. You can have revival whenever you want, whenever you want. Pray for revival. What? Pray, "Oh God, please help me to stop being lazy." Is that how you pray for revival? That's the only prayer for revival that would make any sense.
"Oh God, would you please help me to get rid of all the pink shirts in my closet, and all the little lavender shirts and ties? Would you please help me to be a man and start preaching hard in my church? Would you please God help me to get my butt out soul winning? Would you please Lord help me not to be effeminate, and lame, and weak of a preacher? Would you please help me to actually start preaching against sin and actually start preaching hard, not being afraid to offend? Lord, would you please give me some courage? Would you please help me not to be a weakling? Would you please help me to stop scaling back soul winning to twice a month, and once a month Lord?" Is that what they're praying?
"Oh God, send us a revival. Oh God, just like in the days of Billy Sunday, and D.L. Moody, and Charles G. Finney. Lord, would you send us a great revival Lord?" Shut up and go make a revival happen because you know what? God and his power are available at any time, anytime. Don't you believe that? I mean God's power is available at any time. God is just sitting up in heaven waiting for you to get out there and do some work so that revival can happen. The bible says the eyes of the Lord run to and fro in all the earth just looking to show himself mighty, just looking to show his power, just looking for somebody that he can use, looking for an Ezra, looking for a ready scribe. God is ready to send revival in your life. God is ready to send revival in your family. God is ready to send revival in your church. God is ready to send revival in our city, in our state, in our nation. It's us that are the problem. It's not God.
I mean God must be frustrated. I mean he must be. God is patient. He's way more patient than I would be. Imagine how irritating it must be for God to listen to these prayers. I mean it's just like, "Oh God, send us revival." He says, "What are you talking about? What in the ... What do you want me to ... What do you think I'm going to send?" What are we, charismatic now or something? Like all of a sudden [inaudible 00:47:50]. Then revival comes. What do these people think revival is? You know what revival is? It's when people are getting saved. People are getting baptized. People's lives are being changed. People are getting sin out of their life. People's lives are being transformed. The church is growing. The church is thriving. Men are being sent out into all the world to preach the Gospel. Men are being sent out throughout the nation to start churches.
That's what revival looks like and involves rolling up our sleeves and working. It involves preaching hard. It involves taking a stand. It involves being instant. It involves preaching the word, and it involves some preparation and work on your part. It doesn't involve God just pouring out some kind of foo foo dust on a bunch of dead, lazy, liberal Christians. Then all of a sudden just, "Revival!" These people are going to be praying for revival for decades and it's never going to happen in their lives because they're not making it happen. "Oh, you're just carnal. You're trying to do it yourself. We got to just sit back and let God do it. "That's not what the bible teaches anywhere.
No. The bible tells you go work. Commit your works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established. The bible says a man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps. It doesn't say man sits around with no plan. Man has no plan, no idea, no ambition, no zeal, no attack plan. He just sits around praying for revival and then God directs your steps. Let me just explain something to you. God can't direct your steps if you're not walking. If you're sitting in a chair, "Okay God direct my steps. You're not even going anywhere." I mean look down at your bible there in Proverbs 16:9, a man's heart deviseth his way. First you got to come up with a plan. You need to do some preparation. You need to say, "You know what, I'm going to do it." Now, here's the thing. God might alter your plan and direct you in directions that you never thought he would take you. Sitting and going nowhere, how can God lead you when you're not going anywhere? When you're not doing anything?
Look if you've never showed up at a soul winning time, you think you're just going to become a soul winner by osmosis? I mean if you're a guy that never talks to girls, how do you expect to get married? "Oh God's going to send revival in my love life." No, he's not. You got to do something. "I really want to be a soul winner." Really? No, you don't. If you want to be ... "Oh, I just love lost souls." No, you don't. Not if you're not at soul winning. You're love has wax cold if you don't show up to do the work. If don't show up to go soul winning. "Oh, I really want to be a pastor someday." No, you don't. Not if you're not getting prepared. You're not even taking the opportunities to preach that are given to you. You're not even fully involved in the ministry of our church here, but you're going to go pastor someday. No, you're not. You have no zeal.
It's funny, people want to be trained to pastor by me but here's the thing. If you want me to train you to pastor, that means that you want to be a pastor like me. Right? Because if you wanted to be a different style of pastor, you'd go somewhere else to be trained in that church and be that style of pastor. Here's the thing. If you want to be trained at Faithful Word Baptist Church to start a church that's a Faithful Word Baptist style church, obviously it's not going to be exactly the same. Nobody's exactly the same. We're all independent Baptists. It's not a denomination. Everybody's a little different. That's totally fine. The guys that we trained and sent out are a little different than me.
That's fine. God use as all in our own way. Assuming that you want to be like me, then here's the thing. Why don't you understand that when I started Faithful Word Baptist Church, I read the bible 24 times? Then you think that you're not going to read the bible about a handful of times and then you're going to go out and duplicate what we're doing here. How's that going to work? You want to be lazy and spend very little time preparing for the ministry. You want to work your 40-hour a week job and go home and sit on your butt all evening; and not really put a lot of effort into getting prepared for the ministry, not really put a lot of effort into getting involved in the church program here. Then you're like, "Well I'm going to go out and do like Pastor Anderson." No, you're not because that's not what Pastor Anderson was doing when he was at your stage. I was getting prepared. I was doing the reading. I'm not trying to lift myself up because God knows my heart. I'm nothing special.
I'm just here to tell you that you have to do some work. You have to put in some effort, if you're going to succeed in the ministry. You know what I mean? It's not just going to come to you. You say, "Well, I'm offended. Are you hurting my feelings?" You know what? You're hurting my feelings. If you want me to train you to pastor and you're not taking it seriously, that hurts my feelings. I'm putting a call out tonight to all of God's people that there's a whole lot of work to be done for the Lord. We have a great opportunity before us. A great open door before us. We need some men to step in and fill that void. You know what? The guys that I'm training right now, I want them to go out and serve the Lord and many of them are on that right track. They're working on it, but they need this to be refreshed in them. I hope that there's some other guys out there that are hearing this that would be inspired and say, "You know what? I'll be that man. I'll be that pastor."
You know what? I'll bet you. In fact I'm just going to do it right now. Let me just ask you this. Out of everybody in this church right now, publicly in front of everybody, who would raise their hand and say, "You know what? I'm interested and just possibly I might like to pastor a church someday. I might like to be a preacher someday." Put up your hand real high if that's you. Now look around the room and you see people that are saying, "You know what? That's me. I have that desire. I have that interest." I'm telling you. You say, "Why are you preaching this sermon?" "Well, did you look around all the hands?" That's who I'm talking to primarily tonight. Let me say this. It's not just going to happen of its own accord. You have to get serious.
Look, what if I said, "Hey, who wants to be a lawyer tonight? Who wants to go to law school and be a lawyer?" Yeah. I know you don't want to be a lawyer. Who wants to be a lawyer tonight? Let's say a bunch of hands went up. Let me ask you this. Do you think you're going to be a lawyer by spending less than 1 hour a day preparing? How long do people train to be a lawyer? How long do people train to be a lawyer Brother Davis? About 8 years of training to be a lawyer? How long do you think they train for about 30 minutes a day for 8 years? About 20 minutes a day? Much more than that, right? Then you know what? You know what today's generation thinks? They think they could be a pastor of a church and they're going to spend 20-30 minutes a day preparing for that.
Okay, who thinks that preaching the word of God is more important than being a lawyer? I do. Okay, what about being a dentist? How long do you train to be a dentist do you think? At least like 6 years, right? What? 20 minutes a day? 15 minutes a day? No. These guys that are trained to be a doctor, a lawyer, a dentist, whatever, they spent hour after hour, after hour studying, and studying, and studying, and working, and working. You know what? They show up to classes, right? If they don't have their homework turned in, they're teacher gives them an F. You failed. You're going to have to retake this course. They don't just pass them through. No dentist left behind. No lawyer left behind, just kind of brush with it. No. They say no. You better do the work. You better get trained. You better learn.
You know what? If you can't make it, you know what? Maybe you're just not cut out for this line of work. Today's young man who want to preach, they have an attitude that just says, "Well, just pass me through anyway. Even if I'm half-hearted and not doing the work." Look, you have to study hard. You got to do the ... Just like a lawyer would be studying for the bar exam, you better study the laws of God. We don't need another preacher who doesn't know what he's talking about. Who's getting up and teaching the pre-tribulation rapture because he doesn't have the clue about bible prophesy; because he didn't know the reading and studying on his own. Nobody reads and studies this book on their own and teaches the pre-trib rapture. That's for people who just don't know bible prophecy. It's nonsense.
Long before I ever came along, there were people on every church who rejected that garbage. They didn't talk about it because you're hated of all men if you say like, "Hey, it's not pre-trib." It's like, "Ah". Look, we don't need another unknowledgeable preacher. We don't need another guy to get up and preach, he doesn't know what he's talking about. We need people of all those hands that went up, I'm talking to you. Hey, why don't you if that was your hand that was raised, why don't you decide to start treating it like you're training to be a lawyer. Look, people are even going to night school to even be nurses, or I don't know. What other type of jobs do people go to night school for? What about an accountant? What about a CPA? What's it take to do that? Four years in school and then you study for the exam. Is it a pretty easy exam? Pretty simple. Anybody can pretty much is going to wing it? You just kind of have a basic? No. It's a really hard test that people spend hours, and hours, and hours, and hours studying for.
Then people read their bible 2, 3, 4 times and they're ready to pastor. "Read the bible 4 times, ready to pastor." No, you're not. No you're not. Look, a lot of those hands that went up were young guys. You know, 18, 19, 20, 21-year-old. Hey, you know what? Praise the Lord. Start reading now so that by the time you're married and have the kids, and you're established, you'll be ready to go. I started this church when I was 24 years old. Pastor Roger Jimenez started Verity Baptist Church when he was 24 years old. Why? Is it because we were 23 and we're like, "You know what? I want to pastor." Then we spend a year preparing. No, no, no. The reason we were able to start young is because we start preparing as teenagers. When others were partying, when others were out late and screwing around, Roger Jimenez and I were going out soul winning together week after week, and reading our bibles, and getting prepared, and getting serious.
We talked to the girls. We got married. We have the kids. We did the study. We'd read our bibles. We started the churches because we were ready to go folks. Every single one of you that put up their hand, you know what? We could use you. You could be used of God, but you're going to have get serious about the preparation and getting ready. You're going to have to take it seriously. Look, if you play games about it, don't expect me to take you seriously. I'm not going to take you seriously. If you're serious and you want to work hard, I've got all the time in the world for you. I mean it. If you come to me and I say, "Well, you know are you married?" "No." "Well, come back when you're married then. Here's your first assignment. Get a woman to follow you."
"You can't even get a woman to follow you, but you're going to have a church of hairy legged men following you? No, you're not. At least get one woman to follow you. One woman to believe in your message, and want to follow you, and want to look at you as a leader before you're going to get grown men to follow you. Good night." You come to me, "Hey, I want you to train me for the ministry?" "How many times you read the bible?" "Oh, 3 times." "Well, come back when you've read it 7 or 8 times." When you come back and you've read it 7 or 8 times, then we can start training you because look, here's my minimum standard for sending somebody out to start a church. Read the bible 10 times. That's the standard. That's the minimum.
I'm not going to send somebody out to start a church that's read the bible 5 times. It's not enough. Look, if you're a layman and you've read the bible 5 times, praise the Lord. You know what? If you're going to pastor a church, shouldn't there be a higher standard? You know how long it takes to read the bible 4 times a year? One hour a day. Okay, how much do lawyers study? How much do CPAs study? How much do dentists study? I guarantee you, it's an hour a day. Can you spend 1 hour a day reading the bible? Then you read the bible 4 times. Then it would take you 2-1/2 years to reach that 10 read minimum. Okay. If you're starting a church, you should have been saved for about 7 years minimum.
That's my other standard; 7 years saved, married for at least 4 years, have 2 kids, and you've read the bible 10 times. Those are my just kind of just minimal rule of thumb right there. If you've been married 7 years, I'm sorry good night. If you've been saved 7 years and you haven't read the bible 10 times, then that means you're reading the bible less than 30 minutes a day. You know what? If you're a mother or you're a real busy hardworking layman and you're reading the bible 15 minutes a day, praise the Lord. I'm not down on you. Hey, if you're just a layman and you're reading the bible 15 minutes a day, praise the Lord for that. You know what? You're not going to pastor a church on 15 minutes a day of bible reading. I'm sorry, but a pastor is supposed to be an expert in the word of God. You should be reading the bible at least an hour a day if you're training to be a pastor. Good night.
Then it would only take 2-1/2 years to reach that. Look, that's a low level. I kind of went off on a tangent tonight. I wasn't even planning on talking about that. I think the spirit of the Lord just wanted me to talk about that for some reason, because frankly I'm surprised by how many hands went up. I knew that there were guys in our church that wanted to preach. I didn't realize that there were that many. I think God wanted me to talk about this because it's just something that everybody needs to hear, because I've been talking about some of the stuff with the guys that I'm training. It's something that we need to talk about to the whole church so that basically, other guys could get in and get inspired, and understand what to do about preparing; to be Ezra, to be a ready scribe prepared unto the great works. Look, I'm not just up here blowing smoke. I don't blow smoke. I don't say things that I don't mean, all right? I'm being honest with you tonight.
Honestly, I am not a talented person. It's like, "Oh, Pastor Anderson you're just being shy. You're just being humble." My wife, she's like, "Yup. He's right." She knows. Was that a yes or a no? What is that head movement? Listen. I'm not a talented person. I'm not a silver-tongued order; not talented. Literally, and I'm not saying this to be down on my wife because I love my wife, and my wife loves me very much and has been extremely supportive of me. Literally, 6 months before I started the church, my wife literally said to me, "Are you sure you want to be a pastor? Because I honestly I'm just not sure." She said it very nicely and gently. She said, "I just am not sure that you actually have the ability to be a pastor." She said, "I just don't know if you have the ability to preach." Honestly, she was right. I'm not kidding. I'm being perfectly honest. She said that to me about 6 months before I started. You know why she's said that because she heard me preached a sermon.
I got out and I preached a sermon. She was just kind of like, "I don't know about this. I mean, is this what we're going to spend our lives doing?" She didn't know. I'm not faulting her for that because honestly, my preaching was a little bit poor. The only reason that I sort of halfway know how to preach now is because the fact that I preach like thousands of times. It's just work. It's just working at it, just keep doing it, keep doing it. I mean if you keep doing anything, you'll get good at it. Just keep doing it, keep doing it, keep doing it. I've known people that were talented. Who just they got up and they preach, and it was just amazing. The first time, I mean Brother Jimenez was like ... I remember Brother Jimenez. I heard like his fourth time preaching ever and it was just like a great sermon. My first time preaching is on YouTube. When I was a teenager, and people say, "Yeah, it was all right."
Here's the thing though. That was like beginner's luck. That was like my best sermon ever for a really long time. It was all downhill from there. I'm just glad that that one was captured on tape and upload it as I had something halfway. I mean, that sermon wasn't anything special but let me tell you something. It only went down, down, downhill from there. It took me a long time to even get back to that level. That was beginner's luck right there where God was blessing me with and just trying to encourage me or whatever. I'm here to tell you that the only reason why I've been able to accomplish something for the Lord and why the church has grown, and why people all over the world are listening, and why we can hold this soul winning marathons and do all this stuff. It's not because I'm talented. It's just simply because I did a lot of reading, and I just did a lot of soul winning. I just tried to just get involved in the program of my church and do the best I could.
Honestly sort of like Ezra, God has just kind of open doors over the years. God is just kind of caused the resources to be available. He'll do the same thing for you because he's not a respecter of persons. Honestly, and I'm not just playing games, or pretending, or being humble or something. I'm telling you, if I could do it, anybody could do it. I really mean that. If I could do it, anybody could duplicate what I'm doing up here. You know what's funny is when people think that they can duplicate it without putting in the works that I put in. That's never going to happen. People think that they can duplicate it by living a 9 to 5 lifestyle. I've never lived that lifestyle my friend. I have spent ... I mean back when I only worked 40 hours a week, that's how I was just reading the bible for hours a day when I wasn't working.
You know what? You got to work 75-80 hours a week my friend in order to make things happen. This clock in, clock out 9 to 5 mentality. Then you want to go home and it's like, "Oh, whoa! Don't ask me to read the bible an hour a day after my 8-hour shift." It's a joke my friend. You're never going to duplicate what I'm doing. Look, like I said anybody could duplicate what I've done, but you have to do the work. You have to be prepared. You know what? Some of these other guys are proving that anyone could duplicate it because look at all the other guys that we're sending out. They're starting churches and they're doing great. They're preaching sermons every bit as good as mine. Why? Because there's no magic formula. Just this book and hard work. That's it.
Let's bow our heads in a word of prayer. Father we pray that you would please just raise up a generation Lord of preachers. That's what we need. We need leadership and we need some ready scribes Lord. There's just ... Yeah, there's a lot of guys who want to be scribes but they're not ready. Help them to get ready Lord. Help them to take it seriously, and help them to realize that nothing in this world happens by accident. It doesn't happen through praying and then not doing the work Lord. Help them to realize that they have a part to do and then God steps in and provides the power. God provides the direction once they get their feet in motion. Lord help every man who raise his hand and said that he wanted to preach and possibly pastor someday Lord. I pray that every single one would get serious, work hard, and make it happen. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.