Sunday, January 6, 2024, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


As I have been seeking the Lord for the New Year, 2024, I am not hearing words of wars, rumors of wars, upheaval of nations, thrones and economies, although that is happening.  No, I find myself searching my soul and the Lord’s direction for the Kingdom reset for the coming year.  We are to count the cost, or we may not be able to finish.


Luke 14:27-30 is not about building a house or tower, but the cost of following Christ.  Do not misinterpret what I am saying that I am applying this scripture to the finishing of the construction of our church, but the application is to the spiritual completion of our calling, commission, and Kingdom ministry.


Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it--- lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, “this man began to build and was not able to finish.” (vs. 33) Likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.


You may consider this only applies to those who are called to full-time ministry.  Well, I certainly know the scripture applies to me.  However, all disciples of Christ will be asked at some point in their spiritual journey to pick up their cross and follow Him.


Going forward, I am again counting my costs, searching my soul, and asking for spiritual and physical strength to fight the good fight of faith. I want to be able to finish.


 Lord Jesus purge out the old leaven, that I may be a new lump. Since I truly am unleavened, For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us (1 Co. 5:7).


This past Sunday, I preached a message on humility. This week, I manifested pride, came under conviction, and repented.  I will leave out the names and the details to protect the innocent.  I have unknowingly been carrying this “offense to my pride” for the past 10 years.  A certain pastor spoke down to me and our congregation using condescending words.  I did not respond to the words, but resentment entered my soul.  My pride was that we (Eastgate Church) carried the presence of the Lord and we had fulfilled over and above all of our financial responsibilities, even blessing his requests.  At the time, I was able to walk away and trust the Lord was sending us on our next assignments; BUT I took “Pride in” and took up defense (and attitude) of what did not belong to me, but totally belonged to the Lord: His Presence! His Glory! His Finances!


Now that we got that cleared out of the way, moving on to “The Love of Money.”


For the past three months, I have been under a heavy burden about finances, which I have not been able to shake off.   Due to contributions from friends and family, the church’s finances are solvent with $30,000.00 to finish construction of the building.  The Lord has greatly blessed us to be debt free.


My personal finances are also solvent, and I am debt free except for all the debts of love I owe to all of you, my family and friends.


So why do I have this heaviness of a financial burden?


  It is because God’s people are hurting financially, not just with debt, lack, or fear of the future, but with sins of greed, control, hording, hustling, coveting, jealousy, selfishness, mooching,  strife etc.


1 Timothy 6:6-10: Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.


The financial burden the Lord has laid on me is for me to cry out to Jesus to deliver His church from the love of money and the roots of evil which attach itself to money, whether it is need or greed.


The love of God brings financial blessing and increase with Godliness and contentment i.e., happiness.   The love of money causes men to fall into temptations, snares, foolish and harmful lusts. 


I will use as an example people’s attitudes when they first walk in this church building.  I have discernment, so I usually pick up on these things.


1.     “Where is she getting the money to build this?  I will find out who is providing the money and I will get money for myself from them as well.”

2.     “Oh my!  It is going to take a lot of money and hard work to finish this building.  I will move on to a church that is already complete.  That way, no one will hit me up for money.”

3.     “I walked in the door and felt the ‘Presence of the Lord.’  This church is filled with angels.  I just want Jesus and am so happy to worship Him with the saints.”


This Friday and Saturday (7:00 p.m.), we are having a conference with guest speakers, Prophetess Andrea McDougal, and Dr. Candice Smithyman.  They both move in the glory realm.  I have told you the story of how the Lord used Andy to pull me back into ministry.  After the church in Baton Rouge, I gave up pastoring and public ministry.  Andy came to see me in Houston.  The Lord was using her powerfully in the Golden Glory Revival meetings.  She pulled me out of my cave into her meetings. 


When we bring in the apostles and prophets, the meetings do not increase the coffers of the church.  It never has. We save our money to pay for visiting ministers, and conferences etc.   Our purpose is to make deposits of power, prophecy, healings, deliverance, salvation's, wisdom, and glory into our people and the region for the soon coming harvest.  We bless these ministers giving them a good offering and paying their expenses which is the responsibility of the local church.  We have the offering ready when the ministers arrive so they don’t have to spend their time taking up the offering or hustling the crowd for money.


Warfare against the demonic spirits attached to the love of money is the same as all warfare against Satan.   


2 Co. 9:6: This I say, He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.  God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.


This is a promise!  It is a Kingdom principle.  If we hold on to our money, it will disappear.  If we give with a free heart and for the love of God, we reap bountifully.


 I usually only preach about money once a year, but it is my duty and responsibility to lead the church into all righteousness that you may be blessed.  If any are suffering because of financial hardship, the Lord has made clear His provision:


2 Co. 9:10-15: Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God, while through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!


In this world there are both givers and takers.  The local church is responsible to disciple both into the blessing of the Lord.  His indescribable gift in 1 Co. 9:15 is the blessing of righteousness, godliness, happiness, joy, peace, and contentment in all things free of fear.


Greed, jealousy, covetousness, spirit of acquiring, hoarding, control, selfishness, etc.  are all painful spirits causing misery to those who are under their power.


Doug Stringer: “Step into Your Moment.  Greatness is not something we’re born with.  It’ something we step into.  It takes a choice.  We are in a pivotal and significant moment right now, and it’s more important than ever for us to realize we have a destination that we need to step into.  But are we willing to do that?  Will we choose to step into the Ruach, the dunamis moment?  …In 2024, let us determine to return to our first love, to the place of God’s calling.  We need to focus on hearing the voice of our Father.  We need to worship Him, regardless of the obstacles and adversities.  God is bigger than our circumstances.  When we hear His voice, we’re able to walk with Him and continue the work He has called us to do…”


James 1:12 ESV: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial for when he has stood the test you will receive the crown of life, which god has promised for those who love him.     


Prophetess Lavonne Chandler said the Lord was going to use us as a deliverance church.  Today is a good day to start.  If anyone needs prayer, please come forward.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church


Scripture from NKJV – quote from Doug Stringer as noted.

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