Lessons From The Lawn


Well, in spite of what seems to be a never-ending winter here in the Tennessee Valley (as I write this, it is 32° in April), it has supposedly been Spring for almost a month, and time to break out the lawnmowers to begin the battle of lawn-dominance between the human race and the amalgamation of weeds allied against us. For most of us, mowing the lawn is a tedious, love-hate relationship. We hate taking the necessary time to mow the lawn, yet there is nothing quite like the feeling of looking across a freshly-manicured estate (even if that “sprawling” estate is less than an acre).

Recently, one of my neighbors shared something with me that struck a bit of a spiritual nerve. He was sharing with me about the history of his lawn. In the corner of his otherwise wide array of various weeds, trees, and other flora, there is a rather large area of beautiful, lush grass. He explained to me (I’m fairly new to my neighborhood) that the area that is so lush was once inhabited by large pine trees, and was actually quite desolate. Over the years and one by one, the trees died, fell, or were cut down, subsequently leaving him with several stumps he took great pains to have removed. What this left him with was a wide open, unshaded area, perfect for seeding. He threw out a bunch of grass seed, and watered it like crazy until the grass sprouted. What he ended up with was a beautiful area of lush, healthy grass… that looks absolutely NOTHING like the rest of his yard.

You see, he admittedly didn’t bother to do anything to the rest of his yard other than mow it. The rest of his yard is a collection of various and odd weeds and bare spots, with intermittent blades of grass mixed in. When I asked him about it, his reply was, “I’ll get to reseeding the rest of the yard one of these days.”

I look for God moments in the small things, and the lesson from my friend’s lawn was not wasted on me. You see, his lawn is a perfect example for how we live our lives, and the principle of sowing and reaping. Sure, as a preacher, I tend to use the example and laws of sowing and reaping as a representation of financial stewardship, but it is SO much more than that. Look at what Paul said to the Galatians…

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. ~ Galatians 6:7-8

That which we deem important and take the time to cultivate and develop in our lives is what will become evident. Just as my friend reaped a beautiful patch of grass on his property, so what we spend our time, energy, and resources on is what will become obvious to those around us. However, the mistake we all too often make is to focus on one area, while ignoring other areas of equal importance…

  • Seeding the one area of our lawn while the weeds take over the rest.
  • Parents… spending our time working to acquire “stuff” to make a nice life for our kids, while at the same time, failing to spend time with (and show love to) the ones we are trying to make the nice life for.
  • Employers… singling out a new employee for praise and attention while taking for granted the faithful employees who have faithfully invested their lives into your business.
  • Christians… becoming so busy for the “cause of Christ” (through evangelism, missions, outreach, ministry) that we completely miss the “Christ of the cause” (personal devotion and worship, meditating on His word, prayer).

Can I hear an “AMEN”? Or maybe just an “OUCH”?

It’s an easy trap to fall into, but living a balanced life (especially as a Christian) takes focus, diligence, and intent. Are you up for the task? Are you ready to make the entire “lawn of life” have meaning and purpose? Are you ready to live completely free and fully alive?


Then here’s a thought: Think about one person in your life who maybe you’ve ignored or taken for granted, and reach out to them today. Give them a call or send them a text, and just let them know you are thinking about them.

While we're talking about sowing, if you are looking for good ground to sow financial seed, please consider Abba's House. We are alive and growing --- whether it is helping the less fortunate in Chattanooga or feeding orphans in the Caribbean --- and your generous contributions help us carry the Good News of Jesus, as well as practical humanitarian aid, to a world desperately in need of both. You can find out more or contribute by clicking HERE.

Happy gardening!

A Grace Place... pt1


What is the meaning of Church? Are we just a social club of like-minded individuals that like to spend time together a couple times a week, drink coffee, sing songs, and listen to a feel-good message? I sure hope not! As the body of Christ, we have a Divine calling on our lives. Over 40% of people that are listed on a church roll somewhere are not faithful in their attendance. On the whole, church has lost its appeal, as evidenced by declining attendance and lack of enthusiasm and excitement. As Lead Pastor of Abba’s House, I want to change the way people view “church”; this includes helping you understand the vision of Abba’s House and why you matter to this body.

First and foremost, I want the church to be a Grace Place. We must be evangelistic and center our lives around leading the lost to Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ is “The Good News”... the most powerful message of love, forgiveness, and hope the world has ever known.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
~ 1 Peter 3:15-18

So what is grace, really? Simply put, grace is...

  • Unmerited and undeserved favor;

  • A new beginning for you;

  • A gift purchased by the Blood of Jesus on Calvary;

  • A lifestyle of gratefulness.

It is up to us as believers in Christ to extend that grace, through salvation, to others.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
~ Romans 6:1-4 NKJV

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. ~ Romans 6:12-14 NKJV

Grace is our conviction which means it is our salvation. Hebrews 10:1 explains that the Old Covenant sacrifices were “a shadow of good things to come”. The Greek word for shadow is “skian”, which means an outline. Religion offers the faint shadow of Christ, but blocks the vision of a grace-filled lifestyle. If all you get from church is some pretty sermons and a “get-out-of-Hell-free” card, then you have missed the point. Grace is given to all who ask, not as a license to sin, but as a standard of forgiveness. Christ wants an intimate relationship with us. When we receive His salvation, we have the opportunity to enter into an intimate relationship with Him through covenant. Church should then be about broken people, who have received undeserved and unmerited favor through the grace of God, getting together, edifying each other, and praising Jesus for all He has done. Church should be a place people long to be in, not a weekly chore to check off a list.

Grace can also be a compass for us when we get lost. Sometimes we get so worn down that we let the flesh begin to talk our Spirit out of, or into, things we shouldn't be in. However Christ offers us a promise.

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,  "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. ~ Hebrews 10:14-18   

Christ will direct our paths even when we have got off track and still walks with us no matter the situation we may find ourselves in. Last, grace is our calling.

“Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” ~ John 20:21

“... For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” ~ Luke 19:10

You and I have been called for such a time as this! Just think for a moment how God chose us to live in this very hour and location because He knew He would gift each one of us with gifts that others would need. We have the incredible opportunity to go out in our community everyday and show someone the love of Christ. The goal is not to grow the church building, but to see others come to know Jesus intimately. A grace-centered lifestyle is one of compassion and forgiveness. Helping show others that Christ loves them despite their sin, and will change them from the inside out, is a powerful tool we must begin to use more often if we choose to live a grace-filled life.

I challenge you today to show someone grace and share with them the love of Christ. Tell them what He has done for you, and let God do the rest. Church is not a building, it's a lifestyle. Enjoy life and extend the gift of grace to someone who needs it today.

God Bless,

Pastor Ronnie Phillips

Are you a Butterfly?


     As I reflect on the incredible words released during the outpouring at Abba’s House, a word that Evangelist Nathan Morris has stuck with me. Last Saturday night Nathan preached a message he titled “There is going to be a magnificent metamorphosis”. The night before, Pastor John Kilpatrick had also mentioned that there was about to be a metamorphosis take place. According to the dictionary, a metamorphosis is “1. the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages. 2. a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means”.

     I truly believe that the Church is transforming into an adult stage as we continue to mature and grow together in faith. As the body, we must continue to work on ourselves with the mindset that our actions affect the entire church body we are connected to.

 1 Peter 2:5-6 states, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”

     Remember, you are being built as a precious stone that the spiritual house (Church) needs to fulfill our purpose and calling. This requires letting God transform you by progressing you through immature stages and help you become a spiritual adult. Being spiritually mature is not connected to physical age, which is why it is so important to invest in the upcoming generation today. They should be allowed to minister and release what God has put on the inside of them.

      As you begin your transformation, your entire form will be changed by supernatural means. Nathan Morris mentioned in his message how Jesus had gone as far as he could go in his current fleshly form and had to die to change his form so the Greeks could be reached through the supernatural form of God that we call the Holy Spirit.

John 12:20-26 teaches us,

“Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival.  They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me”.

     As Jesus died, he did not lose his life, instead, he sowed it. With his death, many seeds were planted through the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. I believe that many Christians do not grasp the importance of hosting the presence of the Holy Spirit. Apostle Damon Thompson says, “If we made every decision with the thought of the dove that rests on our shoulder in mind, that many decisions we make would be different”. The Spirit causes us to think, talk, and walk differently in our daily lives. Nathan Morris said, “people want the fullness of God without the sacrifice that comes with it”. I want to be one that is honored by God because I have served and followed him in everything that he has asked of me to do.

       When I think about metamorphosis, I think about a butterfly undergoing a radical change from a caterpillar. Through time, pressure, fasting, and a willingness to be molded, a caterpillar emerges from its cocoon as a beautiful butterfly, which is considered the adult stage of the insect. Will you choose to go through the same process to let God take you through metamorphosis so you can be all he has called you for in the kingdom? Will you choose to be a butterfly that represents the God in everything you do?

        As I travel back from Jamaica, I understand the major needs of this area and have begun the process of transforming how ministry is done in this country. There are many souls that have yet to be reached, and I believe that with your help we can make an impact in this country for the glory of God. Will you consider partnering with me to get the gospel out in Jamaica where every penny will go to preaching the gospel to the lost, supporting local pastors, and feeding and teaching orphans daily? Please pray about partnering with me as I believe this ministry is in a metamorphosis and transforming into a Church that will have 1000 points of light around the globe. If you feel that God is calling you to sow into this need then please go to the following link to help with getting the gospel around the world.



God Bless,


Dr. Ronnie Phillips Jr.