Category Archives: Ministry

Simple Gospel

I expect to soon be called on to pray with a 5 year old child regarding some trauma its family has subjected it to. While praying about what to pray, I started to also wonder how to include the child in the prayer.

How can I communicate to the child that we are going to talk to Yahweh? How to describe the love and the power of Jesus? How to communicate good and evil and healing and freedom?

It made me laugh when I was encouraged by remembering how much children can handle of invisible and impossible and lack of detail or rationale. I thought of how well they accept the lies we insult them with regarding equinox rabbits and solstice reindeer and the many stupidities we relate to the day before November 1 (All Saints Day).

If they can thrive in all of that trash, they should really do well when we honor them by telling them the truth about Jesus and teach them to talk to Him and listen to Him.

Service on Purpose

One of the most likely methods of overcoming depression or selfishness or unforgiveness or sadness or hopelessness is to search for someone to serve.

Seeing others gain comfort or provision or safety or happiness can be a valuable source of the same things to us. The more I am focused on others’ needs, the more I am stepping into a condition and/or position in which my God can meet my needs.

The more I spread graces of encouragement and comfort and provision and protection, the more of those graces will be available for me when I need them. Some days, just moments later. Sometimes much later. Usually at just the right moment.

Generosity with a real sense of giving, not just hiding things so that I can find them unused by others, is the power that makes the supernatural blessing return. Give, and it will be given to you.

 

From God or Man?

“Was John’s baptism from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”
(Mark 11:30 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

One of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant, my husband, has died. You know that your servant feared the Lord. Now the creditor is coming to take my two children as his slaves.”

Elisha asked her, “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”

She said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”

Then he said, “Go and borrow empty containers from everyone—from all your neighbors. Do not get just a few. Then go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour oil into all these containers. Set the full ones to one side.” So she left.

After she had shut the door behind her and her sons, they kept bringing her containers, and she kept pouring. When they were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.”

But he replied, “There aren’t any more.” Then the oil stopped.

She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debt; you and your sons can live on the rest.”
(2 Kings 4:1-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

I ask you, now: was the miracle of the oil from God, or from Elisha? And I suggest that you allow your answer to influence your expectations of miracles in your life.

Yahweh wants to bless you. He wants you to ask for His blessings for others. Expect the best and the most impressive things – those that bring Him much glory and that offer much exposure to humanity of His love and power.

The miracle of the oil happened because Yahweh is good, not because Elisha was powerful. Yahweh is still good. He’s your God now.

Going to Heaven

I feel as though I am about 40 years late doing the things that I believe I am in the earth to accomplish. Among other reasons, this sense that I have not really entered into my destiny here yet makes me pretty annoyed when the church around me is singing songs like “Precious Lord” – asking for permission to leave the work in the field unfinished and go to Heaven for the eternal picnic on the streets of gold.

Most of the songs written by the church in the ’30s through the ’50s were about going to Heaven. Much of what was written in the ’80s and ’90s was worship. Some was about the harvest – the unbelievers we have the privilege of offering good news to about salvation and the Kingdom of Heaven. Our songs declare our hearts – we sing about what we treasure.

The more our minds are set on manifesting the culture and power and persons of Heaven in the earth, the more successful we will be at populating Heaven with converts. The more we are whining about wanting to leave the harvest ripening in the field and spend the “afternoon” of the ages in a rocking chair instead of in the heat of the workplace, the less likely we are to be successful at bringing the Lord of the Harvest the nations.

They are an offering that He deserves. They are worth His life to Him. They need to be very valuable to us. They need to be brought to Him.

Eying Others’ Needs

Proverbs 22:9 has an interesting phrase in it. In the Holman Christian Standard Bible, it reads:

A generous person will be blessed,
for he shares his food with the poor. 

Young’s Literal Translation left a picture untouched in it, though:

The good of eye — he is blessed, For he hath given of his bread to the poor.

The person who has a view to see others’ needs is a profitable servant to the King. That person is looking for ways to bless the Lord: “When you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40) That person is thinking of someone other than her- or him-self. That person is harboring love in their hearts.

A man with an evil eye hastens after riches,
And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.
He who gives to the poor will not lack,
But he who hides his eyes will have many curses. 

(Proverbs 28:22, 27 NKJV)

Running Out of Time

If we knew we only had one day to live, that knowledge would likely affect the choices we made about how to spend that most valuable day. Wisdom would demand that we seek the Spirit of the Lord for advice about how to spend that day, and we would count it off in hours first, but soon in minutes.

Any day could actually be our last, though! If we knew that in advance, it would change our day. If we only found out after it was over that it was our last, what would that change? Would we be disappointed in our choices of activities that day?

Two ideas challenge me from these thoughts:

Why not live each day with the desperation we would have to get it right if we knew it was our last?

What difference should there be in the last day in contrast to the third from the last? Why shouldn’t every day have the same astonishing value: we are privileged with 24 hours of opportunities to serve the King of glory and to praise His name and bless His honor.

Today is the only day you have right now. Squeeze it. Squeeze every opportunity out of it. Leave it completely spent and used up like the last drop of fragrant ointment from the alabaster box that broke open one second after midnight last night, and apply the whole thing to Him as an offering of love.

There is a Prophet

Naaman, commander of the army for the king of Aram, was a great man in his master’s sight and highly regarded because through him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man was a brave warrior, but he had a skin disease.

Aram had gone on raids and brought back from the land of Israel a young girl who served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would go to the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his skin disease.”

So Naaman went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. Therefore, the king of Aram said, “Go and I will send a letter with you to the king of Israel.”

So he went and took with him 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and 10 changes of clothes. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, and it read: When this letter comes to you, note that I have sent you my servant Naaman for you to cure him of his skin disease.

When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and asked, “Am I God, killing and giving life that this man expects me to cure a man of his skin disease? Think it over and you will see that he is only picking a fight with me.”

When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel tore his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Have him come to me, and he will know there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house.
(2 Kings 5:1-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

We live too often in little pens of our limited imaginations. Our world views are as small as our experiences or they are shrunk by others’ lack of imagination. Even worse are our expectations that there might be someone around whom we could trust to have abilities or wisdom that we need.

Joram, the king of Israel, could only think from his little pen of suspicion and fear when king BenHadad sent him a letter that sought a miracle for his general, Naaman. The servant girl in Naaman’s household had a worldview that stretched far beyond her captivity and limits. Her hope was as big as Yahweh.

Pastors can’t trust prophets without a supernatural dose of the fruit of the Spirit. Evangelists can’t trust pastors or prophets to raise up the new believers they lead to the Lord without a dose of faith from the Spirit that makes them able to see over the fence of their pens.

We will soon begin to grasp that as we work together, trusting each other because we have prayed over each other’s ministries, that God can actually use the rest of His silly people just like He can use us – by transforming us into His likeness.

We will bless each other and expect that when someone comes forth with a need, no matter how great it is, that there is a servant in God’s household who can manifest the Lord of the house and meet that need.

Satan and the Pit

Many of my charismatic and pentecostal friends have a habit of commanding satan to “go back to the pit” where he came from. This prompts me to enjoy on days when I see someone about to eat a peach or cherry or apricot to warn them to be very careful with the pit, looking very serious. When they ask why, I respond that you can never tell which pit a careless pentecostal might have cast a demon into…

Actually, satan came from heaven, not from a pit of hell. He still has access to heaven, and he has power in any place in the earth where humans are silly enough to honor his ways or to serve him. Examples are nations or cities or businesses or congregations or false religion meeting places such as North Korea, Somalia, San Francisco, Berkeley, Washington DC, Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Masonic Halls, Mosques, and even congregations of the Church that are being controlled by witchcraft or fear.

One day, satan, a very powerful false prophet, a being called “the Beast,” death, and the grave (sheol or hades) will all be thrown in a place John saw that is called the lake of fire. Some spirits are already bound in darkness, according to Peter (2 Peter 2:4) and Jude (vs. 6), but satan is not one of them. Those spirits are described as having abandoned their places, and Lucifer is described as being removed. Satan is on the loose, prowling about – looking for a soul to harm:

Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world.

Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. To Him be the dominion forever. Amen.
(1 Peter 5:8-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible® © )

 

Maturity

Time doesn’t heal wounds. Rottenness invades wounds and grows there.

Even when we forgive those who have sinned against us, the work is not finished with one act of forgiveness, no matter how genuine and love-motivated it may be. Every time I think again of the offence, I have to go through the entire process of forgiveness again. Every time I need the thing that was stolen, every time I reach out to use the arm that was injured, every time I think of something I want to say to the one who was murdered, I have to reprocess the original event through the power of the cross and the Spirit of Jesus.

Healing happens when I have applied enough of the fruit of the Spirit to a situation by responses that are birthed in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fullness of faith, gentleness, and self-control. Maturity is the state of having been healed. When I have become a sweetened, useful, ripe offering to the world on the tree of Life.

Weird Faith

At what point does it become weird to have faith in Jesus?

The woman with perpetual menstruation had seen all the physicians who could be seen, apparently. The boy on the funeral cart near Capernaum was not getting anymore opinions about his condition. Bartimaeus was definitely blind. Their problems were out of the reach of the professionals of the day.

Just because some need is out of the reach of the professionals of our day, does that mean I have to settle for their pro-gnosis? Can’t I seek another opinion? Can’t I ask the One Who designed my body what He thinks can be done regarding some sickness or injury? When does that become weird? How much of a miracle is too much to ask for?

One day we will stand before a Judge Who is so glorious and fierce and righteous that heaven and earth will be afraid to be in His presence. In that position, we will be shown from books all of our actions and inactions, with the intent that we answer for them. (Revelation 20:11,12)

I have decided that in that place of unimaginable awe and blazing scrutiny, I would rather be asked, “Why did you ask Me for all of those crazy and impossible things?” than “Why didn’t you ask Me for more? I told you that I loved you and that you could ask me for anything.” Weird suddenly moved to a completely different place on the spectrum.