Thursday, January 6, 2011

Buy Oil

In February 2010, Stan Smith underwent emergency surgery to remove a large brain tumor, and some doctors are describing his recovery as “miraculous.” Nevertheless, ongoing medical treatment and some of its side-effects have made travel impossible for now. 

If you would like to donate to a fund to help Stan and JoAnn with their financial needs during this time, please contact our Business Office at 315-429-8521, Ext. *812 or Or, donate directly to Stan and JoAnn’s ministry at We hope those of you who have been blessed by Stan’s ministry will be willing to be a blessing to him now.

Buy Oil
by Stan Smith

There are many good things to say about the anointing, but I’m going to boil them down to a single thought: the oil Jacob poured on the rock represented God’s manifest presence. The house where God lives must be a house that makes room for His manifest presence.

As a teenager, a troubling question made its way around the churches: if God withdrew His presence from the church, how many of us would know the difference? And how many of us would continue doing what we’d always been doing, totally unaware that God Himself had left?

I didn’t know if I could answer the questions well, but I resolved early in my Christian life that I would build my own ministry on God’s manifest presence, in such a way that if He withdrew, I would be unable to continue.

In John 14:21-23, Jesus gave a simple recipe for His manifest presence:

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."

This isn’t a call to live under the law; it is a call to grace, which we enter into by repentance and faith. And it is a call to intimacy, a life of hearing and responding to His voice.

In the beginning of my ministry, I didn’t know how to access the voice of God. If He spoke, I was likely to mistake it for my own thoughts. I missed a lot in my early days.

But I always looked for scriptures I could act on, and there are plenty. I learned that a deep walk with God doesn’t consist in prowling around in the obscure passages of scripture; it consists in finding the simples commandments and acting on them.

They’re simple, but they aren’t necessarily easy. Humble yourself. Submit to God. Serve one another. Love one another. In everything give thanks. Pray without ceasing. Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord.

And I John 1:9 is one I’ve needed when I’ve sinned: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It’s easy to say, “Yeah, yeah; I already know that.” It’s better to take a few minutes to do it, and to do it as often as necessary.

Jesus talked about oil in the parable of the ten virgins – it’s in the first few lines of Matthew 25. He told of ten virgins who needed oil in their lamps so they could participate in the part of the wedding that happened in the middle of the night.

I won’t try to explain the wedding customs in Jesus‘ day, but suffice it to say that His hearers found the story very believable. The point was this: five of the virgins were wise because they had bought oil during the day, and five were foolish because they had not.

It wasn’t a big purchase. I’m guessing they needed to spend about as much as someone might spend for a flashlight battery today.

In more than forty years of following Jesus, I’ve seen that this parable holds a key for all of us. It is impossible to pay a great price today to buy all the oil we’ll ever need. But we can make a small transaction today, exchanging a few minutes here and a small effort there to invest in God’s manifest presence.

Small investments add up.

Don’t be fooled by get-rich-quick schemes. See if you can find a small opportunity to buy oil before you go to bed tonight. Look for another before lunch tomorrow.

Buy oil. Small investments add up.

Stan Smith is a 1975 graduate of Pinecrest Bible Training Center and a passionate worshipper who uses his diverse gift-mix to equip the church, assuring the whole body of Christ that God wants to walk them into rich encounters with Him. Stan and his wife JoAnn live in Avila Beach, California and often minister together in prophetic teaching and in gifts of prophecy and healing. Stan has taught in Bible schools and was a pastor for 17 years, engaging in prison ministry, inner-city evangelism, and travel to many nations. Stan continues his writing ministry at

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bethany Welcomes Guest Teachers for the Third Quarter

We are pleased to welcome Mark and Paulette Swiger and Dan Beaulieu as guest teachers for the Third Quarter. Mark and Paulette will be teaching Evangelism and the School of Missions and Outreach; Dan Beaulieu will be teaching the School of Preaching, Kingdom Principles, and Principles of Leadership.

Mark and Paulette Swiger are graduates of Pinecrest Bible Training Center who have served the Lord together for over 30 years. For the first twenty years, they pastored in small non-denominational churches. In 1996, they accepted a call to serve in the nations of the world, and since then, they have ministered on five continents, conducting more city-wide campaigns in India from 1996-2006 than any other international ministry. The Swigers currently reside in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Dan Beaulieu is a Pinecrest graduate, a member of Bethany’s Membership Board, and the pastor of The Fellowship of Believers. He and his wife, Joan, live in Winstead, Connecticut.