Monday, December 22, 2008

A Praise Report That Blew Me Away

Just as we were beginning to start Sunday School yesterday a member of the class got up -interrupting the class - and gave the following narrative:

"I saw David Pitts Wednesday and I asked him how he was doing.  I hadn't seen him since we buried his father October 30th.  He said he was fine and then told me that his grandson went to the doctor for more tests the day before.  He has a blood problem like hemophelia.  Well, he said that the doctor asked his parents what was going on...this is the best test ever!  The father said that he knew what happened.  When they were at the eating after the funeral the pastor there asked if he could pray for the boy.  He prayed for him and since then he hasn't even had one bruise!  The doctor said that he'll be happy with medicine and miracles wherever they come from.  
Folks, he said that that boy doesn't take to strangers well.  He said that at the visitation he was fascinated with Brother Marty.  He went up to him and wanted to be held by him.  Brother Marty told the proud grandpaw that his little grandson will make a great running back somewhere, someday.  When he said that David told him...that ain't gonna happen with this see...he was born with a blood disorder.  He can't play like other kids.  He bruises easily and cuts don't heal well at all.  Then the next day after the funeral Brother Marty asked his mom and dad if he could pray over the boy...he told them that it certainly couldn't they said okay.  Brothers and sisters...God is not out of the miracle business...and Brother Marty.....what can I say....them folks are moving to the area in about a month and I know where they're going to go to church.  God bless you, Brother Marty."

The very moment he told this to the class (half of the congregation) I was overwhelmed and started trying to stop the tears of joy that were streaming down my face.  All I could do is sit there saying "Praise God, Praise God, Praise God."  A woman from a few pews back came up and gave me a paper towel - with tears flowing down her cheeks.  I looked around and there wasn't a dry eye in the room.  They started with the lesson but I couldn't focus on anything other than praising I left for my office to try to regain my composure for the service that would begin 45 minutes later.  

I get personal praise reports from individual whom I pray for from time to time.  But this one came from right field.  Like it says in the title of this blog, we need to shout it from the highest peaks that God is not out of the miracle business.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christian Healing: Why Do I Share These Things?

I often resist posting about a healing session because I believe that there are those who believe and those who don't...and nothing I say can change those perspectives.  But the occasional email I get from someone who has a testimony about God's healing power motivates me afresh to share.  To those who don't believe God answers prayers in a powerful way, I must say I disagree.  To those who say that if God uses someone for healing then why don't they go to the local hospital and pray away everything that ails the patients...I must don't understand.  God decides who He will heal including when and where.  Those called to provide healing prayer do so as led by God to do.

I don't put up a sign inviting people to come for healing.  I have in the past - on the church sign - and only a few outsiders came.  It's like the Gospel account of the woman with the issue of blood...she sought out Jesus.  When people seek to find healing in the name of Jesus, they are drawn to people who believe that Jesus will heal them...if only they ask with everything that is in them.  Read through this blog to find examples of what I'm talking about.  If that is too time consuming, then let me tell you about this past weekend.

After a Saturday morning of running around to the hardware stores and Walmart, I came home and checked the phone for messages.  I had two messages at my office and one at home all saying that a church member was in need of Christian counseling.  I went to her house with her brother and she was a mess.  She has cancer in her thorax and was for the first time confronted with fear that she won't survive the treatments.  Fear was gripping her every expression.  I said, "I'm you want me to pray for you?"  She said she wanted prayer...and wanted to have faith again that she will make it.  We prayed.   I put my hand on her head and prayed away the agent of Satan: Fear.  I put my hand on her upper chest and prayed that the cancer cells be washed away by the power of the Holy Spirit.  She, her brother and I were all shaking uncontrollably in the presence of the Holy Spirit filling her body with a washing of everything bad inside of her.  When God said stop, we stopped.  Tears of joy were streaming down her face.  Her brother was crying and I was spent.  I could hardly hold my head up, the drain was so intense.  

She had not been able to get out of bed for the past week as a result of the chemo treatments.  We talked more then I anointed her head and chest with oil then prayed for the staying power of the anoitment.  She got up and walked us to the door.  I had to regain my composure before trying to drive the 20 miles home.  That was Saturday.

Sunday morning, who is in church with her non-churchgoing husband?  She was.  I greeted her and she asked if I was ok.  I asked her why she thought I wouldn't be and she said that whatever had a hold of her left and she hoped that it hadn't got a hold of me!  I assured her that I had prayed away anything that may have come from her to me (which I did before driving home).  We both looked into each other's eyes and smiled. doesn't end there.  That night was the church Christmas program.  Again, she and her husband were there!  

I call that God's healing.  I don't know yet if the cancer is gone (but if it is it wouldn't be the first time) but I do know that Satan's grip on her is gone.  I know that she has no room in her life for fear.  And without that fear she has a renewed vigor.  All I can do is praise God.

This past weekend tells the story of Christian healing.  Like the woman with the issue of blood, she sought Christ's comfort and healing.  When the calls were made to me to come pray with her, I believed that I was the hands and heart of Jesus brought to her.  I certainly didn't plan on it as I had already planned a full day with no healing prayer anywhere on the agenda.  But when God calls I dare not refuse.  

I never ask for money.  If we have a healing service at church we never take an offering.  It isn't about money.  It isn't about ego.  It isn't about religion.  It isn't about anything other than learning to love our God with all our hearts, minds, bodies and souls AND loving our neighbors as ourselves.  If God gives you the tools to build something...Build It!  If He gives you a gift for singing, then sing.  If he gives you a gift for administration, then administer.  And if he gives you a gift for healing...heal.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

What a Wonderful God We Serve

A member of the local United Methodist church where I attended prior to becoming a pastor at another UMC church was suffering from a punctured colon after gastric bypass surgery.  What should have been a routine procedure was anything but.  Last Thursday morning I got word over the phone that she was in critical condition and that the doctors couldn't find the source of the puncture.  They were considering another operation if her condition didn't improve.  That was early Thursday morning.  At work I got the morning deposit together and walked to the bank, a mere half block away.  I stopped in a botique along the way.  It is owned by a fellow church member and in the shop was another member.  We talked about the person in the hospital and as we talked we were drawn to pray for her.  We prayed powerfully and thanked God for the healing He was providing.  That was Thursday.

Sunday I was in Birmingham (Alabama) where the church member had been hospitalized.  I mentioned to my wife that we should stop in and visit the woman who had the problems.  She told me that she had been released last Thursday afternoon.  WOW!  Yesterday I stopped in the botique and the same two women were there.  We spoke briefly when one of them said, "Isn't it awesome how God answers prayers?"  We looked at each other silently for a moment and all said "Praise God".  

I stay constantly awed by the wonders of Our God.  When we turn to Him and pray with boldness, He answers boldly.  May we continually acknowledge His riegn.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More on the Power of Love

I was asked to explain more about the power of love and healing.  I don't know that I have the wisdom to accurately relate how love enters into healing more than I've said in my previous post...but I will try.  I'll try because in the past week I've been brought into some situations where God revealed things to me that I hadn't considered before.  Isn't it marvelous how Our Lord gives us just enough...then when we think we have it He gives just enough more to challenge what we thought we understood?  With that said....

The love that brings about healing isn't the love we have for those in need.  It is God's love, brought into the situation through us.  Let's try that again to make sure it is clear:  It isn't our's God's love, that heals.  Those of us in the healing ministry recognize how love heals, but we often believe that it is OUR love that heals.  No!  It is God's love that heals.  We simply facilitate the actions of God's love.  

With that statement made, let me confess shortcomings of healers' facilitation of God's love.  We're human.  We're who we are with all the baggage that comes with anybody struggling through life.  But in spite of ourselves, we can, at times, be conduits for the love of God to work miraculously where our love falls short.  That's the essence of it all.  Being willing to be used by God.  I'm utterly humbled that God uses me.  I'm a sinner-supreme...while at the same time a servant-supreme.  I take a back stage to what God wants and merely be the mouth, the hands, and the mind of Christ.  When that happens, miracles happen.  Don't get me wrong; I often stand on the sidelines of God's love.  But if my mouth can say what God wants said, and my hands can be the hands of God, I succumb and say..."Lord, use me"!

No ego trip here, rather, a confession that I'm not worthy.  But I'm willing.  In that state of unworthiness God manifests Himself extradorinally time and time again.  Were I to give any advice to someone wanting to see a miraculous healing, I would say, let God work through you.  Let God burn in your heart until you feel the same pain as those to whom you would minister to.  Let God be the one who makes it happen, not you.  Let go...and let God.  

Not an easy notion to entertain, but one that we must not only entertain, but make a reality.  Let God be the fountain of love that enters into a situation, and let go of anything that is about oneself in order to be a channel for the love that is beyond explanation.  Again...I'm not worthy...but willing. Can you be willing to let God work through you?  If there is love in your heart, He will heal.  If, no matter what you feel about the afflicted one, your desire is to be about God's business FIRST...the things of this world, including illness, pain, suffering, and disease, will all go away.  Our Lord wants nothing to stand in the way of us giving Him all our praise.  He will heal!

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Power of Love

Love incarnate.  That is Jesus Christ.  When he told us that we could do all that he did and more through the Holy Spirit, many did not know what that meant or how it could be.  Of late, I've had my eyes opened to what that meant and how it could be.  Live Love.  

Love the terrorists who vie for our demise.
Love the racists who see through hate-filled eyes.
Love the rulers who yield power more that care.
Love the loveless, close to home and everywhere.

When love rules our lives, Christ resides within us, empowering us to be His hands, feet, heart and soul.  But it's so hard to love sometimes...and some people.  In spite of how our "of this world" minds react to negativity, we must force ourselves to look at all that happens through the eyes of love, not the way we would see things.  When that happens, the power of love is revealed.

Laying hands on someone and praying for them is meaningless without a genuine love for the very soul of that person.  When we pray for healing we're actually praying for wholeness such that the love of Christ literally dwells within our midst. When our spirits are no longer at a dis-ease with love, then disease, pain, broken hearts and all that ails us is washed away.  It has happened to me and to those with whom I've prayed.  It has also failed to happen when that deep, Christlike, compassionate love was not mutually felt and embraced.  

I pray that when someone prays for healing that it first stem from a desire to love more; that it comes from a desire to be utterly filled with Christ's love.  In that prayer, in that state, God heals.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Healings all around us

It has been a long while since I last posted.  In that while, there have been numerous healing services.  A woman with problems with back and leg pain has been healed. A woman with back pain has been healed.  One with bone cancer has been healed.  One with blood cancer has been healed. Dear Lord...what a wonderful manifestation of your love has been realized here in our little neck of the woods.  I stand in wonder of your healings.  I stand in wonder of your willingness to minister to our little flock.  I'm in wonder!
Please, Lord, keep on keeping on.  We're ready and willing.  I'm awed by Your Presence and Your willingness to minister to us.   To those who don't have healing services...please do so.  You'll be marvelled by the love of Our Lord.  Awesome!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What of When the Healer Needs Healing?

Sunday night was a wonderful night for me. I have a hip problem and it has plagued me since June. I threw out my hip at Vacation Bible School when I was prompted to participate in a kickball competition. I kicked the ball like there was no tomorrow. I kicked it out of the park a few times and was on top of the world. Since then, my right hip has been giving me sheer hell.

After a few months of waking up in the night screaming in pain, my wife said that I should have the people of the church I pastor to pray for me. It was humbling. I asked for them to pray for me, and lay hands upon me in the name of Christ. The love was overwhelming.

That night and the day after I had no symptoms of the ailment that had afflicted me. The next day, Tuesday, I was in pain. I asked God to take me to that place where the love was so strong and fervent..and the pain went away. It was miraculous. So I continue in that same way, to recapture the love that was shown to me that night, and at every attempt to recapture it...the pain goes away.

How powerful is the love of Christ? We challenge it and refrain from it...but the power of Christ's love is a mountain that cannot be moved. When we go to Him, in humility, He washes away our pains and sufferings, and makes us new creatures in Him. I'm a new creature in Him, today!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Healing Revival Tonight in a Rural Alabama Methodist Church

Tonight was the culmination of a 4 night revival for the church I pastor. I've been there since late May and they've been told via my sermons and prayer meetings that I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, specifically, as it relates to the sign-gift of healing. Sunday through Tuesday was all about the power of the Holy Spirit, specifically, being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Tonight, it was the final night and the Holy Spirit was present....INDEED! Eight people (from an attendance of about 40) came for healing. More powerfully, I asked everyone to close their eyes and be in prayer for everyone there, and I asked who wanted healing prayer without having to come publicly - to receive it where they sat. Three quarters of those there raised their hands. What an awesome God we serve.

First things first...of those who came for healing we prayed for suicidal tendencies, demonic possession, as well as diabetes, arthritis, lung disorder, addiction to alcohol, cancer and other maladies. The expressions of those for whom prayer was administered moved the entire congregation. More specifically, each one prayed for felt the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit. I was so totally drained from the prayer that the prayer team sat me down in the prayer seat and prayed over me until I was able to continue the service. (I didn't realize that it was so obvious that I was drained and depleted...but their prayers worked wonderfully and I continued.) Then came the most challenging, demanding, prayerful experience I've ever had in the healing ministry.

A young husband came to the alter for prayer. He had just recently lost his mother (a week ago) and was in a terribly difficult situation with his step father about everything. He was forbidden to attend his own mother's funeral. He was distraught. When I looked him in the eyes and asked what he wanted prayer for, his eyes became bloodshot and he said...."I want to leave my wife. I want to leave my child to be. I want to leave this world. I don't want anything good." At once I realized that I was talking with a young man who was possessed. Rather than anoint him one time with the sign of the cross with oil, it was put on my heart to anoint him three times. I looked him in the eyes and asked if he wanted deliverance. He shrugged. I asked again...he shrugged. Then I called him by name twice and he said yes.

I've only once before been called upon by Our Lord to cast out demons and I was weak in faith at that time...but I couldn't resist the word of God as it pertained to this young man. I tried to sit him down but he resisted. I tried again and he resisted again. I said..."In the name of Jesus accept His love". He sat down. He looked at me with piercing, bloodshot eyes and I asked him if he was ready for healing prayer. He didn't say anything. I told him I was going to pray for him whether he wanted it or not. I complimented him on beating down the resistance to make his way to the alter. So we prayed. There were 5 prayer warriors plus me praying for him. And we prayed. Without knowing the names of the demons in him (and not wanting to know their names) I prayed over him saying that Jesus knew who was trying to control his life and in the name of Jesus they are to be bound and cast from him. I was moved to bind and cast out 3 different demons in this young man in the name of Jesus Christ.

At once, his bloodshot eyes became clear. He proclaimed Christ as the ruler of his life. His countenance became one of calm and peace. But we didn't stop there. We continued to pray over him for strength and perseverance in Christ for the moments, days and weeks ahead. Oh what a glorious time it was in the service of our risen Lord.

We closed the service by praying for those who lifted their hands earlier that didn't want to be publicly brought into the love of The Lord. My friends, it was a powerful ending to a wonderful 4 nights of revival. Indeed, revival happened in our rural church in Alabama. It happened in ME!

In Christ....

Monday, July 28, 2008

We're Leading Up To Healing Revival, Wednesday

The theme of the revival this year at our little rural church is Baptism In The Holy Spirit. I've been talking about how the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not limited to those early Apostles, rather, for all believers who succumb to and totally submit to the presence of the Holy Spirit in themselves. It is an awesome thing to let Christ live through us today. When reflecting upon John 17: 20-22, it is apparent that we are here now, to be Christ for the world.

As Christ healed...we heal. Period. I've witnessed everything from freedom from terminal cancer to beyond...and it is awesome to behold. Are we worthy? The question I would ask is are we willing? I am willing. Are YOU?

The last thing I seek is to make hippocrates of anyone in the healing ministry. Rather, may we be subject to His will? I make myself subject to His will in these regards while I'm unworthy, yet willing. In a back-handed way I ask, can we all? Let us be subject to His will and create new persons in Christ, through the mystery and majesty of His presence. I'm awed by His presence. Aren't we all? In His name I pray...Amen.

Revival Preaching Night Two

Tonight I was able to use some of the material I had worked on so hard to be a part of the sermon. I say "some" because of the 5 typewritten pages of material, I used 2 illustrations and 2 sermon passages. The rest was not what I had planned, rather, what God wanted to be said. And powerful it was! With attendance of about 40 people, a father and his very young son came to the alter. A stalwart of the church that most would perceive as being one who wouldn't do such a thing, came to the alter for prayer. A woman whom most would think had it all together, came to the alter for prayer.

When the service was over, one man who I thought slept through the service shook my hand so vigorously that I thought he was going to take it home with him. His wife fell into my arms and thanked me for letting God talk with her. WOW! I could give 20 more inspirational anecdotes but the thing that really got to me was when the church was almost empty, and we were ready to turn off the lights and head home, 3 came back into the church for prayer. A half hour later we were working on a plan to bring the spouse of one who came back to grow to yearn to have Christ in his heart. What an honor and privilege to be approached for prayer like that. I was moved in the Spirit, deeply.

I've never been one to do the revival thing. I always thought it was hokey, if you know what I mean. But being charged with bringing revival to our small church I've grown immensely under the umbrella of the challenge. I'm being revived in the process. I share with the attendees that when I point a finger to them saying they're too much consumed with feeding the flesh...3 fingers are pointing back at me. I'm as much challenged and changed by revival as those to whom I'm preaching. What an unexpected thing.

I don't know if any of the Methodist preachers/pastors who may stumble across this blog are equally impacted. I would hope so. God isn't through with any of us. As the bumper sticker says....."Sorry, God isn't thru with me yet". Whatever our position may be, may we all be stricken by the notion that we are a work in progress, and that God isn't through with us yet. At least, I've come to understand, He's not through with me.

The power of the Holy Spirit was evident tonight. Arms were raised in praise, tears were shed in joy, and lives were changed. At least a few, in a rural area. But it's one person at a time through which the kingdom is brought down for us all to revel in. I thank God for the few who made a BIG impact in my ministry. May I be more greatly used for His purposes. I hope that this sharing empowers someone else to be equally challenged and utilized by God, the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen, amen, and Amen!

Revival Preaching

Prior to last night I'd never preached at a revival service. I had prepared and studied my sermon for days. I prayed and prayed that God would speak through me what he wanted those in attendance (as well as myself) to hear. Of the six pages of prepared text, all that I used was the scripture. After reading Acts 2, nothing else I'd prepared came out of my mouth! God revealed what he wanted us all to know: When we say that we're not worthy of the gifts of the Holy Spirit...we are living a lie! We say we're not worthy when we're actually saying "I'm not willing".

This revelation cracked open the hard shell that our souls keep tightly bound around the indwelling Holy Spirit. Realizing this, we open our minds to the realization that God is never finished with us. He wants us to open our hearts, minds and souls to the abundance that comes from loving Him with all that is in us. The more we open up to Him, the more His Holy Spirit works through us.

I've been so blind for so long, I pray that now I can stop living the lie of unworthiness, and start living a life of willingness. In Jesus' name I pray.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

God Heals....Some of Us Let Him Use Us

I've been slow to post as I'm otherwise engaged with my time and attention. But tonight I want to share. At our church's youth gathering tonight we had a 19 year old give a sermon and testimony. I was moved by it. When she was finished, one of the 9 kids came to the alter to give her life to Christ. I was specially moved by her preaching as she told of the various miraculous healings she has witnessed since being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

When she finished her sermon, and after prayer, I took the pulpit and endorsed her words about how the Holy Spirit will fill you and change you. Before she spoke I pulled her aside, at the urging of the Holy Spirit, and said to her, "Let the Holy Spirit speak...and you just be the mouthpiece"...or words to that effect. At least 3 times during her sermon, she looked at me and said..."I didn't plan this but I've gotta share it". It was awesome.

As with all young people, there were scoffers and disbelievers of what she had shared. I took the lead and (as an older geezer) endorsed what she had said about God working miraculously in the lives of true believers. The kids took the message seriously. She now feels empowered to share with a broader audience. She asked me if she could deliver the sermon this Sunday...and I told her she could. It is the culmination of a weekend youth retreat, so it is appropriate that church on Sunday be reflective of that. What joy in that person. What radiance in her. What a move of the Holy Spirit I witnessed as she left grateful for the opportunity to share what God has put on her heart with the church.

How many of us hold on to our territory so hard that we cannot let someone come in and interrupt it with a testimony and word from God that is placed on their hearts? I will gleefully step aside this Sunday for this young lady's testimony and message. (Although I did tell her to pray for discernment, as this will be a mixed/blended crowd of new and mature Christians). I don't know what she will preach, but I will support it as I know it is Christ working through her.

I titled this post about healing. This young girl prayed for and witnessed the healing of a deaf child at Children's Hospital in Birmingham, AL. She let's God use her. Can we all learn to let God use us? His providence is more than we can imagine.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A year later...the river is still wonderful

It's been about a year since I posted about swimming in the river. But, darn's worth posting about again. Today I walked to the river. Our river is one of the cleanest in the entire USA. There were no canoes, kayaks or otherwise travelers on the river. I walked down (about 100 yards from the house) and looked upstream and downstream...and saw nobody. I took off my clothes and jumped in. Normally I'd wear shoes or something to protect my feet, but today I didn't. From the top of my head to the heels of my feet it was wonderful!

There is a mystic comfort that comes from being totally washed by nature...AKA...God's revelation to us all. Today, I was washed. My swimming was like a baptism. Does that make any sense? I was one with the creator...and one with one of the elements of this earth...water. I only wish that others could feel this wonderful presence of God's love for this part of His creation. I felt at one with it...I felt at one with Him.

The lack of gravity...the lack of burdens...the lack of anything worldly is what God has for us who dwell deeply in His nature. Be it a walk in the woods...or a dive into the lakes, oceans, or it and embrace it. There's no telling what will be revealed! God is love...and nature is love made manifest.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Morning on a Mission

A week ago I woke up on a mission. Earlier in the morning I was awoken with a vision. I saw a woman cut open from head to toe, and outstretched hand to hand, with bright white light emanating from her entire body. That is, except for the dark spots that shielded the light in different parts of her body. I've had these visions before. They tell me that someone needs healing prayer. It wasn't a comfortable vision and I went back to sleep hoping that it would go away. When the alarm went off, I arose with the same vision.

During our morning devotional I shared this vision with my wife. She said, "God will lead you to who it is that he wants to use you for His healing". As I left for work I stopped at the place in the woods where I have my private prayer every morning and sought discernment. I tried to think of what woman I knew of who needed healing prayer and I thought I had it figured out. NOPE. The moment I walked into my office the first thing one of my associates said was that a neighboring business owner had a migraine and that I needed to pray for her. HOLY SMOKES! This does not happen every fact it had never happened before. I immediately went to that person's business and we prayed and thanked God for His healing. Two days later I had occasion to see the woman and she gave her testimony. She said that she started feeling better the moment we finished praying and that by the end of the day she was operating on "all cylinders" as she put it. She went on to say that she'd been coping with that headache for over a week and it hadn't come back since we prayed.

My prayer is that God does this more often, as I relish every opportunity to stop and acknowledge His greatness with fellow believers. In the process, my hope is that it will bring non-believers to Christ.

The Healing of the Microphone ;-)

Every once in a while God brings awe and wonder to us in ways that we cannot anticipate. Last Sunday I filled in for the pastor of a local church for the early morning service. I preached on John 6: 35 on the topic of believing in Jesus and never thirst or hunger again. Specifically, I addressed how we can thirst for healing in our lives, and how believing in Jesus - with everything in us - He will quench that thirst.

As the service started, I got wired up with the wireless microphone and the worship leader stood at the pulpit where the stationary microphone is. When that mic at the pulpit is on, it glows red. About 5 minutes into the service, the pulpit mic went dead. The worship leader fidgeted with it and ultimately gave up and proceeded through the service without it (it didn't occur to me to offer him the wireless...must've been a God thing). When it became time for the message, I went to the pulpit with my wireless turned on and began my sermon. (I always opt for the wireless mic as I do not stay behind the pulpit...I walk around, make gestures, all that stuff.) I was about 3/4 of the way through the message and said, "If only we can believe with everything in us that God heals, He will heal!"...and at that very moment (as I would later be told) the pulpit microphone lit up. I was totally unaware of it as I wasn't looking at it.

At the very moment the service concluded, a man rushed the alter and asked me if I noticed what happened. With a dumbfounded look on my face I said "no...what?". He said that God healed the microphone and told me that the light came on precisely when I mentioned believing and God will heal. The moment we were finished with our conversation, the worship leader came up to me and asked me if I saw what happened with the microphone. I told him that I had just been informed. I observed others chitchatting and pointing to the pulpit. Wow!

In retrospect, I may have slapped my hand on the pulpit for emphasis and - like smacking the TV on the side when it isn't working right - it came back on. Then again, I honestly don't recall whether I did or didn't, as I was a bit caught up the the Holy Spirit at time. Still, I pray that God touched someone through this unexpected event.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Neophyte in Ministry - DUH!!

Anybody ever been caught off guard and propelled into situations where you thought you were unprepared? I thought that. Really. But not now. I've put "myself" in the back seat for a ride that only the Holy Spirit can drive. I look up and see glimpses of what it is all about....but only glimpses. When I ask..."what shall I do in this situation"....I'm assured that I should sit in the back and let the Holy Spirit drive. OK...I'm in for the trip!

Today I had a wonderful opportunity to pray for someone. She and I instantly became brother and sister in Christ. She suffers from migraines and physical malaise that accompanies it. God put it on me to pray for her and I was uplifted from the experience. I hope she was. But it was for ME that her malady came to my attention. I was moved to take time off of work and do something of God. And ya know what? I was lifted. My sincere prayer is that she was lifted as well. I know that she hugged me and assured me that God was with her...and me at the time of prayer. WOW!

I ask people of God if they recognize when the Holy Spirit is overwhelming them. Some say they have a flitter in the eyes...others say they have a flush feeling....for toes contract uncontrollably. Today...while praying with my friend, my toes contracted uncontrollably. Not me...the Holy Spirit was in charge.

This is personal stuff but I think it is universal as well. Does God touch you in a special way when you are overcome by His presence through the Holy Spirit? Just wondering.

Reflections on Death as the Ultimate Healing

In the past month I've come to have to deal with death in a manner in which I was not prepared. In one situation, a young boy died from a brain the other, one who's time had come. I can deal with both emotionally...but it is the "intellectually" thing that somewhat disturbs me. That is, until I come to realize that death is the ultimate healing for some. In the cases mentioned above, it was just that. Today I spoke with the recent widow of a man in my newly appointed church and she volunteered that her children had come back to support her in this difficult time. She said that they have never been united before, but now they are...and God orchestrated these events to bring the family closer together. There is a love amongst family members that never materialized before now. That is a healing!

In the other, I can only speculate based upon what others have told me. But I was there for the healing services for the young boy. I held him, prayed for him, and shared that it is the love of God that manifests itself in trying times. Reported to me is that the family has congealed, and become one...for the first time. What a tragic catalyst for this to happen...but happen it has.

So, in venting these situations, I become more in tune with the fact that my will, our will, is not God's will. May we be always subservient to God's will.

Stepping into the Unknown

My first official week into my first real appointment in the Methodist faith and I have a funeral to conduct. On the one hand, awkward, on the other, a blessing. I had the privilege of meeting the person who has since deceased in the week prior to my appointment becoming official. He, and his family, touched me and my wife in a very deep and sincere way. Now, being the new pastor at the deceased's church it is in my hands to conduct a funeral....but without a body. He donated his body to science.

I lift up this situation as I cannot find in the "Pastor's Pocket Edition" of the Book of Worship for a situation such as this. Perhaps in the full Book of Worship there is a liturgy for this type of occasion...but I wouldn't know as I do not possess one. Is there any help anyone can provide that may give me an assist in this situation? I'm leaning towards the "Family hour or wake" section of Services of death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit will provide, but if someone can provide some helps it would be appreciated.

On a personal note, I can't think of a better way to be brought into a body of believers than to be there to be a spiritual guide in difficult times. I'm truly blessed, humbled, and wanting to serve in the highest possible way. Thank you in advance.

Friday, June 13, 2008

When God Shows HIS Will to be HIS

I pray for people regularly. I touch them, pray for them, and move on. I constantly seek God's will in each and every situation. Today, a boy for whom I prayed for healing was buried. He died from a cancerous brain tumor which could not be stopped by prayer nor medicine. He was the recipient of the "Make a Wish" foundation in his last days and visited the beaches of Puerto Rico. He was buried today. God challenges us all.

I entertain the notion of questioning God's will when an innocent dies after much prayer and supplication. I entertain it. But when all is said and done, I do not know God's will, so I cannot question it. I merely submit.

A very young man, age 11, was taken to be in God's glory a few days ago. Today we buried what was left of him. I do not question...while I entertain the notion of questioning....I merely submit.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Teens and Contemporary Worship

Tonight I had an opportunity to share with teenagers the love of Christ. We were talking about how and if we hear God talking to us, and I shared that while praying after the worship music that God touched my heart and revealed to me that I should love everyone who was nobody was there against their will. To my surprise, when I shared that God spoke to me, inquiring minds wanted to know what God sounded like. I believe that in sharing that experience with the kids some were moved to listen to that quiet voice, discounting it as not being mere conscience...but the actual voice of God. A few hung around afterwards sharing how they thought they were nuts thinking they heard God telling them to do this or that...or refrain from things. It was awesome. I found myself cultivating a new, deep love for fellow worshipers, regardless of age. It was too cool.

Friday, June 06, 2008

No outside electronic goodies

While this is a blog about healing...I must confess that there are times where I must get off subject. Today, because of a remodeling we have going on, our satellite reception died. It was just a little bump or something, but the satellite didn't bring our regular TV and music channels. So tonight the Mrs. and I listened to old CD's in the CD player that we haven't used for over a year. I must admit, it was lots of fun to dance and sing the oldies. We had a special time together in the midst of being cut off from the world. I think that when I'm longing for the good times....I might just jar the antennae a little off base. T'was a good night.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

She Said NO

Today I got my breakfast from where I usually get my breakfast. The cashier had smashed her thumb under the cash register and broken a bone. Her cast was off and she appeared to be healing. I asked..."How's your thumb?". She said that it was hurting and that arthritis had settled into it and it was very painful. I asked if I could hold her thumb and she said, "NO". I didn't elaborate on how I'm into the healing ministry...I just asked if I could hold it. She said no. How sad, as I was moved to hold her and minister healing prayer to her. But she said no.

How often do we make efforts to bring Christ into the lives of those around us who need His love? How often do we try to minister to those in need? I felt rejection, as I felt Christ's rejection when He gave his all for us. I know...I'm just me, but it imprinted upon my brain the rejection of love. Of Christlike love. I just wanted to pray over her...but she said "NO". So now I'm convicted to ask her again, tomorrow, and again...the next day, to let me hold her thumb. may seem "out there" to some, but I'm convicted that if she lets me hold her hand and pray...she will be better. All glory to God! Those in this ministry are nothing without the love of God. I'll persist until she gives in or asks somebody else to take my order. ( their sausage biscuits...mine with double sausage and mustard....yumm). God'll get her someday...and I pray it will be because of her thumb. Just a thought.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Thanks for your prayers

This week I "unofficially" began my appointment at my second church. I was briefly appointed as pastor of a dying UMC church that has moved to withdraw from the denomination. Their 8 regular attendees will move where the spirit moves them. I now pastor a church of 60 regular worshipers. I'm so moved by the love and acceptance of these worshipers.

I wish to thank all those who have prayed for me in this period of transition. I'm humbly acknowledging the hand of God in this situation, and the results of prayers as well. Awesome, simply awesome. This is a good church family to be associated with. I'm moved deeply to bring my best. Also moved deeply, to bring God's best. I pray that I may be a facilitator of both. Duh, isn't that what "pastor" is all about?

While this is a blog about healing, it isn't out of line to point out that this appointment is for me both a pastoral, and a healing, appointment. There is a great need for healing here. And I, with the grace of God, will facilitate that healing. But only by the grace of God. Please pray that healing and grace will abound. I have an unyielding faith. Isn't our God an awesome God?

Friday, May 23, 2008

God Spite of Us

God can heal us if only we turn to Him and ask...sincerely ask. I know of a person who is afflicted with many maladies...and she suffers from them daily. After weeks of suffering she simply turned it all over to God and the symptoms simply went away! Is that a testimony or what?

We are all, healers and healee's (if that's a word) subject to the will of God. All too often we try to put God in a box and say, "heal this or you're not real". Or, "heal me or your healing isn't for this time". All rubbish. God's will is merciful...yet reserved for Him alone. I'm currently suffering from a prayer for healing that isn't taking place. It is disturbing, yet grounding. I do not know the will of Our Father. But I pray that it be the same as mine.

An 11 year old boy named Lucas is dying of a brain tumor. I've prayed for him before he knew he had the tumor, and after it became known what had afflicted him. I pray for him daily. If it is God's will that he join Him in heaven sooner than his family wants him to go, so be it. But I pray for healing nonetheless. Will you join me in praying for a healing of young Lucas? Thy will be done...but can I influence that will? I pray that I can. Join me in prayer.
Thank you dear brothers and sisters in Christ....thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sometimes We Heal Ourselves

Often people make it a "God thing" that they are healed. More often than is a "get real with yourself" thing that brings about healing. Ministers of healing are often the facilitators of this phenomenon. With that said, there are exceptions.

There are times when the will of the person being prayed for has nothing to do with their healing. It is purely by the mercy and grace of God. I could cite many times where the person being prayed for truly lacked faith, but the mercy of God overwhelmed the situation, and brought about healing. What a conundrum this brings. In spite of a lack of faith, our wonderful, loving God, Heals.

Why, I don't know. How, I have no clue. But heal, He does. And I'm proud to be a witness of this. I am overwhelmed at times by what He does...but subservient at all times to letting Him do His will through me or anybody He chooses. Isn't our God an Awesome God?

My prayer is that we all let God, through the Holy Spirit, influence our lives in ways we cannot imagine...we dare not imagine...and bring His fullness to this world we call Earth.
In Jesus name I pray...Amen.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some Make it Tough to be in the Healing Ministry

Just gotta say, there is an outpouring (if you buy into this stuff) in Lakeland FL. A certain person in the name of Todd Bentley from Canada (no ill references to decent Canadians intended) is Big Time into revival in Lakeland, FL. I hold this person in disdain.

Give me money. Buy my CD. Be a "partner" for $30, 50, or 100 more a month...and God will bless you in a special way. I'm almost embarrassed to be in the healing ministry! Why do these charlatans get such press and support from churches throughout the nation? I don't get it? Is there nobody who has discernment? Again, I'm somewhat embarrassed to be in the healing ministry because of charlatans of this like.

Some may read this blog thinking that I'm into anything "healing". Nope. Not. I'm into the healing that comes from God, Almighty, who sometimes picks on someone like ME to be a facilitator. I do not buy into the alleged revival of this Todd Bently person. Not for a moment. It's all about making a dern good life off of sheep willing to give big bucks to be in his good graces. Charlatan...nothing less.

If I offend any friends who follow this blog, I am sorry that I have rained upon your parade. If you think he is of are mislead. For anybody who doesn't know about Todd Bentley, please Google his name and read. Your eyes may be opened.

I know of two people from our very small community who have attended the revival in Lakeland, FL...and none are any better for it. Oh yes, they felt an euphoria at the time...but their symptoms and problems came back immediately after coming out of the influence of the hypnosis that this supposed revival is all about. False. False. False.

Our loving Lord reveals Himself through deep, spiritual, selfless prayer and love. In that, healing comes. If you have to buy anything...BEWARE!

I sometimes wish I could pave the way to easy street by being a charlatan...but God says NO...don't fall for that crap. Please, believers...don't fall for that crap!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Prayers answered by a powerful prayer warrior

A woman who works at a nursing home is a faithful believer in the power of God's healing. She often prays for people in their last days and her prayers are answered by means of extending some lives so that finalities can be facilitated. Unfortunately, her health became an issue with cancerous tumors invading her body. She was lifted up in prayer and simultaneously lived a prayerful life. When she went to the doctor for a pre-op exam, he informed her that her tumors were totally gone. No sign of them at all! Praise God!

I do not see this as an ordinary event, while statistically in the realm of normal, natural healing. Nope...I see it as the hand of God at work in a servant. Call me stupid, naive, or sheltered (which I'm definitely not)...just call me a believer in the miracles in Christ. Do you believe in miracles?


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Awesome Intercessory Prayer

A dear church friend had emergency double bypass surgery this past Friday. On Thursday night a group of us met to pray for her. It was an awesome time of prayer and the presence of the Holy Spirit was felt by all. NOT to our surprise, she sailed through the procedure. Call it coincidence...or call it divine intervention...we call it God answering our prayers. The presence of the Holy Spirit was strong that night. No if's, and's, or but's,...God was there when we prayed.

No matter what life throws one's way...turn to The Lord in prayer and supplication, and His mercy shall prevail. Can't say anymore than that. Our God, is an Awesome God!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cool Sermon by Bishop Willimon....and I met my new charge

Last Saturday we had a Methodist Festival, called Celebrating New Life. Our bishop, Will Willimon, delivered a sermon in the worship service that followed the lectionary. I have no idea how many pastors took his message and worked it into their own Sunday sermons, but I know of at least one. In the Luke passage for last Sunday, from Luke 24, is the account of the walk to Emmaus. Jesus revealed himself to the two with whom he had joined on the walk to Emmaus. Bishop Willimon suggested, why didn't Jesus, upon his resurrection, go to Pilate and show up next to him saying...."I'm Back"? Why didn't he go to Rome to the emperor and say..."I'm Here"? No, rather, Jesus showed up clandestinely to his own followers and revealed himself. What a wonderful experience it was hearing this beautiful sermon on how Jesus revealed himself to his followers, against their own better judgment, he revealed himself.

Jesus reveals himself today to us all, yet we sometimes find it hard to fathom. He reveals Himself every Sunday in every church. Yet, we find if hard to fathom. Remember, He said...."when two or three are gathered in my name, I am there..." yet we find it hard to fathom.
Well, Jesus comes to us each and every Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday, when we gather in His name. Are we humbled by His presence, or otherwise engaged that we don't stop to see he is there? Psst...He is there.

Tonight a mere 14 people gathered together to worship. Jesus was there...and we were touched by His presence. Can we expect Him to be there when there are 50, 100, 500, or more? Yes, indeed! As a popular hymn suggests...."Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place"...I'll ask...."can you feel His mighty power and His grace?".

On another note, last week, at the festival, I met with key people from my future charge. I introduced myself to them and said that I was their next pastor. What a warm embrace I received from them. What a warming in the Holy Spirit there was. I pray that in the next few months when I'm put in their charge, I'll faithfully serve and be the person that God means to have there at that time. I am deeply humbled, and taking on a servant's heart. Any prayers that one wishes to lift up on my behalf are deeply appreciated.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Nothing from Vegas Stayed in Vegas

After 3 days of exhibiting in Las Vegas and staying at a local hotel and casino, I'm proud to say that nothing from Vegas stayed in Vegas. We brought back plenty of great leads and contacts and it was a good business venture. I have to admit that I was awed by Caesar's Palace, with the artificial sky and statues of Roman was awesome to behold the creativity of man to replicate early Roman times. The shops were overpriced and the food overpriced...but it was all good. Very good.

We have nothing to hang our heads about as everything was good and above board. We met some truly wonderful people. Everything from born-again Christians to Orthodox Jews...and the rest of humanity...we met plenty of good people and made plenty of good contacts. Everything from Vegas came back as leads and prospects.

Some of our best contacts were people of Christ who were making a living in Sin City. We met numerous Christian cabbies. To the shagrin of those with us, I engaged numerous cabbies about their spirituality and was amazed to find many bibles in cabs. I recall one Phillipino cabbie who was into the healing ministry and a follower of Father Fernando Suarez, a Catholic priest who is in the ministry. What a joy to converse with him.

So, even in the midst of Sin City,there is hope. I'm glad I was there to be a part of the hope.
In Christ....

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Annual Trip to Sin City

Once again I head to Las Vegas on business. Once a year my business requires that I go to Las Vegas to exhibit and find new customers. It is always good for business, yet a glimpse of what it must have been like to have been in Sodom. I remember from last year seeing billboards, traveling signs and giant high definition movies depicting lust on the faces of major casinos. I remember free newspaper machines with porn on seemingly every corner. I remember illegals passing out passes to sex shops and venues that elevate everything associated with sin as an attraction. Yep, going to Las Vegas.

In what free time I have I hope to find people who are feeling equally like fish out of water. They're there...I know. Please don't get me wrong, as I'm not ignorant to the ways of the world. Not at all. It's just that the underbelly sticks out so very obviously there that it always brings me down. I'll eat very good food, and see an uplifting show. Around and between these things, I'll be exposed to things I'd rather not. I'll probably have a good time even while being around the filth. I can say this: There's nothing that I'll want to do in Vegas that I'll want to stay in Vegas. I want to bring back good sales leads and good memories of the good we find there. Forget the rest.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Preacher vs Minister

I get caught up in the differences between being a minister (to a congregation) and a preacher. While I struggle, although mostly victoriously, with being a preacher...I struggle more with being a minister. To be that person who comes to the side of families in times of trouble...well...that isn't what I signed on for. But it comes with the territory.

I see the need to share the scripture for a "person of God" to make things more bearable. There is a need in a difficult situation and I hope to help make it easier to bear. That's ministry...and something I've not dealt with. I think that is a "pastoral" problem. So, I'll deal with it and hope that God provides a way. While I've not yet confronted such a situation in the early days of my charge, I know it will come. Is there some manual for this stuff? Maybe the Book of Worship for Methodists? Maybe the school of hard knocks. Don't know.

I share these thoughts because I'm a few months away from being appointed to a church with about 100 on the roles...with about 75% attending regularly. I worry, and yet I anxiously await the opportunity. While I'm not seeking advice...I'm merely venting about the prospects of facing matters of faith for which I'm not prepared. I know...God will make a way.

Putting things in perspective, preaching connects one with a congregation. Hopefully that will lead to a ministering perspective that I may not perceive me being capable of providing. Yet, it may.

Thoughts, ponderings, reflections from a lay person appointed to be a "MINISTER" to people of Christ. I pray that I'm adequately equipped to serve in situations where called to serve. Nonetheless....DUH...I'm a preacher...never before a minister.

But hold on a minute. This blog is about healing. I must admit that I'm a minister in this regard, but only to those who seek this specific type of ministry. Is it possible to connect the healing ministry with the world of general ministry? Notions are popping around in my mind that the answer is yes. So there may be something to draw upon. Time will tell.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ever Been in a Tight?

It's a saying we use to say...ever been caught unprepared...or not ready for what you were responsible to do? I ask again...ever been caught in a tight? Today, I was.

I had been behind all week in my real job...and had to deliver a sermon and conduct worship at a new assignment. At 4am this morning I was up trying to cover all the bases. No sermon to speak of ready for well planned order of worship....just plain behind. I thought about giving $39.95 for a subscription to but wouldn't succumb to that. So I sucked it in and studied, and studied, and left for church with only a hope and a prayer. Funny how God works! The sermon was "spot on" as my Euro-friends would put it. God works in wonderfully mysterious ways. But wait....there was the Sunday night service! Again...insufficient preparation...only prayer...but it too was a success.

I humble myself before Our Lord. Isn't it awesome when the Holy Spirit convicts us and takes over our meager human preparations (or lack thereof) to empower us to deliver what our sovereign Lord wants to happen? I stand on the sidelines just in awe.

So I offer this testimony up to anyone who may be reading. Sometimes, Our Lord provides, in spite of ourselves. Imagine what He can do when we give Him all He deserves. I think that's what tonight's sermon was about. I'll have to review my notes to be sure.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Brothers and Sisters in Christ

I must acknowledge the wonderful posts, replies, and words of encouragement since announcing that I've been appointed to a pastoral position. Duh, I'm just a Jesus Freak!

I'm particularly moved by those who find a renewal in their positions by virtue of my newfound-enthusiastic appointment. Too cool. May my experience bring excitement and enthusiasm to anyone who is reading.

So, here I am with the task of bringing true worship to a congregation that has lived without it for all too long. Next week (the week after Palm Sunday)...Easter Sunday...I'm bringing communion to them. It's been years since they've had communion. What a privilege. I hardly know what to say or do...cuz it's such a wonderful thing to embrace. While I'm not an elder...I'm having the elements blessed/consecrated by one. And they will experience the love of Christ, through communion, in a deeper way than before. Is this cool or what?

So starts my ministry as a local lay pastor. I'll report as time progresses, and hope to report good things.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Slain in the Spirit - A Personal Baptism

Wow, don't know if I should go here, but I will. I have a friend who's been seeking an experience where he could be "slain in the spirit" and experience God's overwhelming presence in his life. Two weeks ago it happened. He brought a relative of his, a charismatic, to visit me at my office. We secluded ourselves and talked about things of The Spirit. In the midsts of our dialogs, there was a presence that could not be denied. It was the presence of the Holy Spirit. And my friend sought a personal experience with the Holy Spirit.

I've "been there...done that" but was especially moved by my friend's desire to be slain. In the midst of our prayer, in the ecstasy of having God present among us, he was ready. He was "swooning" as in, feet planted securely upon the ground but moving about in circles. I was overwhelmed and asked the charismatic relative of his to invoke the Holy Spirit in him at that time and place. He put his hands upon him and told him to experience the love and mercy of God, NOW, and submit to it. He did, and he was overcome by the Holy Spirit.

I share this because this friend has been a missionary to South America and Africa. He has seen others overwhelmed this way, but never experienced it for himself. He had a sort of "envy". That day was his day. And it was, indeed, a blessing to him. My friend, was baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is a baptism, that if you haven't experienced, should make you yearn for it. It is wonderfully Godly experience that should be yearned for. And for those who experience it, it is a pivotal, point to that day, experience.

I only share this because there may be some who are entertaining the notion of being "slain in the spirit" or merely stepping into the unknown in the name of Jesus. DO IT! You may be surprised by what is revealed to you. Trusting in Christ is the key to knowing what tomorrow may bring, because you are equipped to deal with it, whatever it may be. Trust in The Lord, and let Him have His way with slain if that's what it takes. But trust in Jesus Christ.

On Healing Services....Worth It Or Not?

In late February our church held a healing service. It was open to the public and to anyone who would come. We had nobody in particular to pray for, but advertised and spread the word by word of mouth, and it happened. There were over 20 who came.

We prayed over a boy with a brain tumor. We prayed over a man with lung disease. We prayed over a child of God who had a bone tumor. We prayed. And we prayed.

I NEVER ask for a report card on how God worked in the situations prayed for. I just don't do that. I trust that word will come back to us about how God entered into the situations we prayed for. I cannot report on this or that, but I can report that there was a testimony given today in our church about the results of that service. A woman came forth to ask us to pray for her daughter who has a tumor on the bone in her arm. That tumor led to her bone breaking unexpectedly. She testified that when we prayed for her daughter, with her being there to represent her by proxy, that the bone tumor had healed more in one week than it had in the 5 months of medical treatment. Isn't our God an awesome God? She went on to testify that she had had a terrible headache, which she never has, and that the headache was miraculously healed when we prayed over her for her daughter. Again, an awesome God!

The man with lung disease....left under his own power, pulling the detached oxygen tank and breathing under his own power. I don't know the fate of the child with the brain tumor. In due time, I'll get feedback.

I pray that we, Christians, and even those of the Methodist fold, appeal to our Lord for miracles to happen and that God manifests His glory in our lives. He will reveal Himself...if only we invite Him to do so. I'm a witness to miracles. Are you?

First Post in over a MONTH!

Sometimes life, and church life in particular, make for busier days than normal. I, being a self-employed person, have been busier than usual with work as well. But, it's time for an update.

This week I answered the call to enter into ministry. I've been appointed as pastor over a small, shrinking church. But that definition may change. Today was the first day of me being the shepherd of a small flock. I love these people. They are so very open to anything and everything that I can bring to their congregation. Imagine that...a clean slate from which to start! I turn to God for guidance and direction. Already He has responded. They don't have an order of worship for their weekly gatherings...they don't follow any particular liturgy....they don't have music...they don't have bible study...they don't have much...but what they have, they have with enthusiasm. And it is my privilege to be there for them.

This church is marked to be dropped from the denomination because of their shrinking numbers, lack of payment to be part of the fellowship...and because they are a dying church. I'm a living, breathing, God-loving leader, and if they accept me, there will be change. I will lead...and Lord willing...they will follow.

How many of us have ever been given a clean slate? Truly...a clean slate where those in worship have said...."whatever you think is good for us, Pastor, we will do"? It is an awesome privilege and honor to lead willing followers into the unknown. I am overwhelmed by the prospect, while, simultaneously enthused. Duh...who wouldn't be?

I don't ask for prayer for me in this situation...but if you're so moved to do so...PRAY! These 10 people can turn into 15....then 20...then more.....and more.....if they embrace the move of the Holy Spirit to ignite them into witnessing and inviting others to share in the praise and worship of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. I know that I'll be pushing the envelope for them to go out into the community and witness. Did that today...let's see what next week brings.

So, that's what Brother Marty's been up to lately. Working his butt off in the day job...preaching every Sunday evening at our praise and worship service, and getting appointed to a church that is on it's last dying leg. Lotsa fun...lotsa challenges....but most importantly, lotsa opportunities to serve Our Savior. I love it. Anybody else had any challenges lately?

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Girl and the Others....

In the last post I spoke about the girl asking about the pendant I wear. There were others with her. Specifically, there were four others. I responded to her, but saw the amazement in the eyes of the others she was with. While speaking to her others were moved to be part of the conversation. I saw in the eyes of one, a special gift. He was looking at her, but listening to me. How strange.

I mention (and blog) about this because we don't often realize the effect we have on "others" when we share what God has in store for us. I saw a kindred spirit in those listening. I saw a fascination for what God can do in the eyes of those lurking on the sidelines. I saw more than this one person wanting to be part of God's ministry to us lost souls...I saw hope.

I share this because I want to share how sharing the message of hope offered through following Jesus Christ is bigger than we know. May we all be ministers of His love, grace, and mercy, to those who seek, as well as those who are bystanders. You never know what it will turn into.

FINALLY...a Question About the Pendant I Wear

I wear a necklace with the pendant of the Order of St. Luke the Physician to church and all religious meetings I attend. Tonight, someone finally asked me about it. It is a necklace with the logo of The Order of St. Luke, the Physician....(like seen in the left sidebar of this blog) and I was enthused to talk about it. To my amazement, this young lady (17 by my best guess) was enamored by it and inquired as to what it meant. I told her that it is a symbol of people who believe in the healing miracles of Christ...for today. I further told her that I'm an associate member of the order and that we pray, in a special way, for healing to come to those who need it. She said..."I want to be part of this". I invited her to be a prayer team member when we hold a service to pray fervently for relief of what ails the people who come. She was ecstatic. So, I'll call her daddy and ask that he give her permission to come pray with us at our next service.

I was awed by the faith of our youth. This child is wanting to participate in the revelation of God's glory, in the healing of someone. Are you as grounded by this as I am? God works wonderfully through children (and a 17 year old is a I am a child of God) and I'll invite this young person to pray for others at the earliest opportunity.

God works mysteriously through us all. May this sharing of the desire of a young person serve as testimony that God isn't through with us yet. By No Means!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Small, Rural Churches

I'm part of a small, rural church. I preach and worship at other small, rural churches. I find worship in congregations of less than 50 to be refreshingly different than when I was a member of a church with 4000 members. Not better or worse, just different.

Last Sunday we installed the officers for the next year. When every member of every committee was called to the front of the church it was interesting to see that the majority of those in attendance that morning were up front. Most of the people who come to church are responsible for some facet of the life of the church.

Worship can be interestingly more sincere when most who gather together are accountable to each other for the life of the congregation. There is more of an intimacy when everyone knows one another rather than being a "number" in larger gatherings. I can't think of a single time in the 6 years I've been in a rural church that I didn't give or get at least one hug. As best I can recall, I hugged someone twice in the 11 years I spent at the big church.

The culture at my home church isn't unique to that congregation. When delivering a message to other like sized congregations I find the community of believers to be equally warm and hospitable. Not because of anything having to do with the message, rather, something to do with the joy of gathering together in Christ's name. In that special time of worship, small numbers tend to get to deeper level of intimacy.

In the larger churches the intimacy comes in small group bible studies, discipleship courses and the like. That's wonderful. But Sunday morning is more corporate and ritual. Less personal. I find no fault with that in any way, as it is what it needs to be. But small church Sunday mornings where intimacy and communal worship are combined, is beautiful.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Praying With Authority

Do you ever pray with authority? Seriously, is there ever a time in your prayer life where you believe that God is listening, moreso than ever before? Those times come to me. Those times come with a humility that is indescribable. God's authority, for me to embrace. Awesome!

OK...this may be hard to swallow by some, but it is indescribable to me that I know God hears my prayers and will act upon them. And when I open my eyes, my ears, my heart and my soul, His glory has taken place where I prayed it would. Not every time, but often enough to know that I'm a work in progress, and with time, my faith, but a grain no larger than a mustard seed, is sufficient. Our God is an awesome God!

May I entreat anyone who reads to believe...believe with all your heart...that God listens and answers. Can I ask that of you?

In Jesus' name.....

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lent...What To Post?

Last year I made a vow to post daily on the miracles of Jesus. Can't (shouldn't) do this again for lent this next year, but I want to vow to make daily posts uplifting Christ. What to do this year....I don't know?!? Or should I? Last year it was about the personal healing experiences recorded in the Gospels of Jesus healing people. Maybe this year it might be about the healings in Acts or the letters of the church fathers? Again, I don't know.

Maybe it will be a sharing of what Google brings to me from the daily posts throughout the blogosphere about healing. Daily I'm uplifted by these accounts I receive through these wonderful accounts of the love, mercy, and grace of God working His miracles throughout the world. Do you get overwhelmed by them, or should I be a wellspring of hope by reporting them. I don't know. Lent is a special time for me as I hope it is for all Christians.

We'll see what is put upon my heart this year. But I will be faithful.

Total Depravity

Do you ever entertain the notion of total depravity? I mean personally...not from a pulpit or a Sunday School desk. Personally.

All too often we focus upon the death and sacrifice of Jesus, rather than the promise he made that God would send the Holy Spirit to make us even stronger followers of the light and the love of God The Father. We bury Jesus, but fail to embrace the risen Christ. He lives...He lives...Christ Jesus lives today. Forget the tomb and remember the ascension. Through that ascension the gift of the Holy Spirit is here for us TODAY...if only we succumb to it.

I often get caught up in the sacrifice of Jesus. Who wouldn't? But the true, higher calling, is to embrace the resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit. It's not an easy goal to have; being a kingdom servant...but a necessary goal for all who call themselves disciples. Accepting this notion, calls for acknowledging one's total depravity. I don't experience it as often as I should. But when I do...I witness God working miracles in these people He calls His children. And He will through you, too, if only you submit.

I hope that I'm not perceived as preaching, rather, sharing what God has put on my heart tonight. He wants our total submission...not part of us...not a budgeted amount of time...but all of us. And in that submission, confessing our total depravity, He will reveal Himself in ways we cannot imagine.

May the abundant grace and mercy of Our Lord rain down upon every follower of Jesus Christ. And may we stop burying Him and start following Him..."Repent, for the kingdom of God is near." That's what Jesus said...can we believe it? Can we accept it? Can we follow it in light of His resurrection and ascension into heaven? Or are we stuck in his burial? I follow the risen Christ and His promise for us all.

Discernment - a Key to Discipleship

Counselors and therapists make careers in discernment. What is the root cause for what ails someone. Why is this attitude or that problem really there. How do we help to make it go away? I learn so much from the committed Christian healers as it goes to the issue of healing physical problems, when I realize that the physical manifestations of pain and disease so often stem from a mental or spiritual affliction.

At one of our healing services someone came forward for healing. She had a general malaise and was in a deep depression. What could I pray for? What healing was she truly in need of. She is a friend and I knew that she was very upset about the loss of her sister who had been in Hospice for a few weeks prior to passing on. I was stuck in the moment, not certain what to pray for. I closed my eyes and prayed that God would reveal how to pray for her. Suddenly I heard myself telling her to let it go..."you're not responsible for her dying. It was God's timing and you had nothing to do with it." what my mouth said without my brain directing it! We then prayed for her to be released from guilt and when we had finished she was radiant.

In that moment I realized that God revealed what it was for which she truly needed healing. I realized that in my quest to be a better disciple God provided the discernment that I could not. Discernment is a gift that we can open ourselves to through deep prayer. And when that moment of discernment comes, one may find themselves speaking prophetically and simply following what God has revealed. I pray that the next time I'm called for healing prayer that true healing comes through God revealing the root cause so that it can be healed, rather than the symptoms.

I Finally Pastor a Church (kind of)

It's called Common Ground. Believers of all denominations are welcomed to praise and worship thru music. Housed in our Methodist church, it reaches out to Baptists, the unchurched, as well as others of different denominations. We welcome all followers of Jesus Christ.

Tonight we had a mere 30 worshipers. It will grow. The power of praise and worship through music is new to me...yet compelling to me. I serve as the preacher in this service. And when planning, I serve somewhat as a pastor. For me...unchartered territories. But it is an awesome experience. We're three months into this and it is growing...not so much in numbers, but in new faces. Two joined our church last week because of this ministry...and I expect yet another in the next week or so. More to come.

Common Ground is just that...a place for believers to come together to worship Our Lord...on common ground. Forget denominations...forget preachers...rather, come together for common worship. In the process, some will identify with the host church. Two did last week...may there be more.

On Being Slain in the Spirit - aka - Resting in the Spirit

I have a friend who desires to be slain in the spirit. He somewhat envies those who experience this phenomena. I don't know how to address this desire he has. It's more than a conversion experience, rather, it's something that overwhelms one. It is the very presence of God in one's life, to such an extent that it overwhelms one, to the point where you can do nothing except God's cleansing of your spirit and soul. I speak with first-hand experience of this.

I have somewhat of a disdain for those desiring physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit, yet, I desire it at the same time. A conundrum, if you will. I believe that it is a personal experience that can only be accepted...personally. When it happened to me in 1988 I was awe-stricken. It changed my life forever. But it was God's time and at His place for me. I cannot command it nor entreat it. It is personal.

I see it, in reflection, as an event that God had planned for me. It was personal. If God so deems to reveal Himself to another the same way...I'm all for it. But if He withholds and decides not to reveal Himself to others...may His will be done. My heart hurts for my friend, as he deeply seeks a closer relationship with God. Perhaps, in time, God will wreak his heart, and overwhelm his existence, that he feels slain. In the Lord's timing...only.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Gifts Given.

I can't explain why God does what he does through me...why me...why me?
I dare not resist what he wants from me...dare me...dare me.
He puts in my path those needing His mercy.
He wells up my eyes, I bow and I curtsy,
Why does He do what he does through me...why me...why me?

Responding to Him, I reach out and touch.
Responding to Him, His agenda is much.
I become all about Him.
On purpose, not a whim,
Responding to Him, I reach out and touch.

A woman was sick, with hemorrhage and pain.
God said "Hold her...her life's not in vain".
She called me to say....
It all went away...
He does it again...and again...and again.

Last Monday at our New Year's Eve vigil, a woman in our church confided in our pastor that she was suffering from hemorrhaging and pain. She was planning on going to the doctor's office the next day. Pastor said we should hold a brief healing service for her after the service. I approached her and asked if she would be willing to stay for healing prayer. She said that she was feeling very sick and had to go home as quickly as possible. All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with the desire to pray for her and I asked her if I could pray for her right then and there. She said...."ok". I held her...prayed to God mentally, and when she wanted to break away I said..."Wait". As I held her a tear came to my eye. I was moved to kiss her cheek. I said, "It is done". That was that.

I called yesterday trying to speak to her husband about helping with moving some furniture. She said: "I'm healed...I don't need to go to the doctor. The problem went away. Thank you". WOW!!!

All glory and honor goes to God, our Father. Again, I say...why me?

If God chooses any of us to serve Him with the gifts he freely gives to us all, we should embrace those gifts, and act upon those gifts. Whether it be administration, healing, or any other gift, let us embrace those gifts and put them to work for His kingdom. I am just a humble, unworthy, servant. How do you answer God's calling for you? I, though unworthy, just show up, and leave the rest to Him.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Healed of Cancer - Praise God

Word came back to me today that God is not out of the miracle business. In the early fall we held a public healing service...that is, one that was advertised and open to all who desired to come. A woman attended with her husband and she was the last to come for healing prayer. She had been diagnosed with a massive cancerous growth. Her prospects were bleak. We prayed for her and laid hands upon her. I remember that the Holy Spirit was powerfully present at that very moment.

The couple came from about 30 miles away and I'd not seen or heard from them since. Until yesterday. The husband called a mutual friend and he called us to say that the doctors were dumbfounded. After analyzing her last MRI they said that the growth is gone! There is no sign that it was ever there and they have no way to explain it. She and her husband know what happened to it...God made it go away.

God blesses the faith of believers. God blesses us all when we turn to Him with expectancy, humility, and faith, regardless of what the world throws our way. Praise God!