St. Luke’s Retreat Rocked!

Dear Friends,

This last month I had the distinct privilege of spending three wonderful days in N. Carolina at Lake Junaluska, a Methodist Retreat Center. I was there to speak at the regional retreat for St. Luke’s Fellowship. These are a group of people from different areas that are involved in the healing ministry. They come together once a year to rest, refresh, be healed and encouraged.

The first night that I spoke my purpose was to encourage them. This was with all those who were part of leadership and the prayer teams that would be praying for people during this retreat.

During this time of ministry John Rice (the leader of this fellowship) and I, felt it was important to pray for them and impart to them what God had deposited in me. Over the years I have sat under the teaching of and been mentored by some incredible men and women in the Kingdom of God. Through them God has deposited significant gifting in me and I believe that part of my ministry is to impart that gifting to others that they might go out and do what Jesus did. It was a powerful time of prayer, healing, and empowering them.

On Friday my first message to the group was, “Who Was Jesus?” The goal was to remind them not only who he was, but also what he did, and then who we are through him and therefore what we are to do. I find that we often forget the power and authority we have available to us because of our relationship to Jesus. Not only that but we can easily fall into forgetting that we are called and commanded to go out and proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel. The question I often ask is, “If we don’t do it, who will?”

I had two more talks on Saturday. One was on “The Traps of Unforgiveness” and one was on “God’s Message and God’s Power.” I was having a struggle about which of these to do first and after much prayer felt strongly that God wanted me to talk about unforgiveness in the earlier session. So, I talked about the Traps of Unforgiveness, which are Condemnation, Intimidation, and Accusation. During the ministry time I asked God to bring to everyone’s mind people that they needed to forgive. Almost 90% of the people were reminded of someone they needed to forgive. It was a powerful time of ministry and quickly became evident by what followed this session that unforgiveness was exactly what was needed at that time during this retreat.

The last message on Saturday was, “God’s Message is Demonstrated With God’s Power.” I spoke about our calling to not only proclaim the message of the Gospel but to demonstrate it. If we are Christians then that means we are “Christ Like Ones.” The question is can we really call ourselves Christians if we don’t do what Christ did? Here’s and example:

Suppose I joined a skateboard club. Every week we gathered and talked about skateboarding. We studied the different types of boards, the wheels, bearings, techniques of skating, the various types of ramps and jumps. We bought skateboarding T-shirts and caps and talked about the heroes of skateboarding. We even went to events to watch these champions do their incredible tricks and came back excited, hoping that one day we might be able to do that. But we never got on a skateboard. Are we skateboarders? I don’t think so!

That was a question I challenged them with. It’s easy to be a Christian safely behind the walls of the church. But what about out in the marketplace? I wanted to challenge them but also encourage them by reminding them that we have within us all the same power and authority that Jesus had. That’s stunning to think about.

The entire weekend was filled with people who were freed up from internal stuff they had been carrying around for years as well as a number of physical healings. My sense is that they left this weekend feeling much better than when they came.

Thank you for your continued support of Wholeness Ministries. We continue to see God do exciting things and there is much on the horizon we will share with you in the coming months.

God bless,

Mike

The Mission Does It Right!

Mike-P1020072-200Dear Friends,

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to speak on Wednesday mornings at The Mission here in Bakersfield. This has given me an opportunity to observe what great programs they have. When we think of The Mission we often think only of their ministry to the homeless, but as I’ve discovered they are so much more than that. They also have an excellent year long rehabilitation program for those struggling with various addictions plus many ways to help individuals get back on their feet with jobs, apartments, and support groups in the community.

The men that I have been teaching on Wednesday mornings are very attentive, teachable, and inquisitive regarding how to live as a strong witness of the change God has brought about in their lives. It encourages me to see the way the leadership deals with these men and women who have come to a point in their lives where they feel almost hopeless that things are going to change and improve. They listen to them, encourage them, and help them find ways to make good decisions to do those things that are helpful in their integration back into society in a positive way. I’ve discovered that The Mission is doing it right!

GOD, HELP ME! The other morning I had one of those moments as I was reading Psalms when I was struck by the words, “steadfast and willing.” The passage reads, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from you presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalms 51:10-12. What struck me about this passage were the words, “renew a steadfast spirit within me”, and “grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” When I looked up “steadfast” in the dictionary it said, “unchanging, steady, loyal, constant.” When I looked up the word “willing” it said, “to decide on, to choose, to yearn for, desire.” As I thought about this, I realized that in order to be steadfast and willing in my journey with God I was going to need God to show me how to do this because I could not be willing and steadfast in my own fleshly power.

I turned over to Proverbs and just happened to be reading in chapter 3. As I was reading He began to answer my question, “God, how do I do this?” I’m going to take a little editorial license here but I think you will get the point. He begins in verse one with, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart.” My response was okay, but why? He continues, “for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” This is good I can understand this. Then He says, “let love and faithfulness never leave you.” Again I’m thinking why, ” Because you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” By this time I’m becoming very interested. As I continue to read He says; “do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” Why? “Because this will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Health and nourishment, that’s good, I like this, so I read on. “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.” Okay, what’s the benefit? “Then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

Then He ends with, “my son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke.” Why? “Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” I’m thinking wow, this is great stuff! God shares with us His wisdom, and shows us exactly how it will affect us. If you heed His counsel, this is what will result. Doesn’t it make sense that if you don’t, what you will reap will be the opposite of the good that God desires for you? What was exciting for me was when I fully began to realize that when we ask God to help us be steadfast and willing in our walk, He has already provided not only wise counsel but the benefits of relationship with Him as our loving Father.

WHOLENESS RECEIVES 0.5% OF YOUR AMAZON PURCHASES
AmazomSmile is a program where Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to Wholeness Ministries. As many of you shop on Amazon this could amount to you giving a significant amount of money to us over a years time. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. The shopping experience is identical to Amazon.com with the added benefit that the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate to the charitable organizations selected by customers.

IT’S EASY All you do is go to http://smile.amazon.com, register, and designate Wholeness Ministries as the organization to which you wish funds to be given, and they do the rest. Then 0.5% of your purchase price will be transferred to us at Wholeness Ministries.

Thank you for your continued support of Wholeness Ministries. We continue to see God do exciting things and there is much on the horizon we will share with you in the coming months.

God bless,

Mike

Ignite Rocks

Dear Friends,

Last month I had the opportunity to spend a week in Burlington, VT at the Ignite Conference put on by Francis & Judith MacNutt of Christian Healing Ministries. This is a yearly conference for them that attracts about 400 people. The speakers were Judith MacNutt and John & Carol Arnott.

The first night Judith spoke on forgiveness, a topic that is often ignored. During the ministry time it was apparent many of those attending needed to deal with issues of unforgiveness. John and Carol both gave powerful talks regarding the Holy Spirit and the Fire of God in your life. It was exciting to watch them minister the power of a spirit filled life to those that came for prayer. During the conference people gave testimonies that both physical and emotional healing was taking place. It was great to connect with old friends and be part of a ministry that emphasis healing and equipping people to do what Jesus did.

Look Busy – Jesus Is Coming!
I had to laugh when I read this line in one of Brennan Manning’s books. It so poignantly expresses how many of us live out our Christian experience. We have this misunderstanding of not only who we are but who God is and what He both desires and needs from us. In his book, Alone with the Alone, George A Maloney writes, “The God we cannot understand or even appreciate is He who waits lovingly for us with an attitude not only of wanting our love but also, apparently, of needing our love.” We would probably respond that God doesn’t need anything. Consider this; God created us to love us that we might love Him back. While in the strictest sense of needing anything, He doesn’t need anything from us to remain God, but I agree with the author in that God does need our love, and that’s why He created us.

It’s difficult for us to grasp that God wants relationship with us, relationship that goes beyond just doing things for Him. We feel that if we are not busy doing something for God we should be. We have this nagging feeling that He is not going to be pleased with us unless we are engaged in some important Christian work.

I also believe God wants us to live every moment of every day that we have on this earth; both the good and the bad. One of the topics Brennan Manning writes about in his book, Ruthless Trust, is living in what he calls the “Nowhere.” The “now-here” is living life to its fullest. Not always thinking about the past, or worrying over the future but actually living the moment given to us each day. I would call that, “taking time to stop and smell the roses.” Often we are so caught up in what we have just done or what we have left to do before the next task, that we don’t enjoy what we are doing at the moment.

If we can move to a place where we understand that we don’t have to look busy to be loved by God, that we are already His beloved and His intention is that we live each moment of each day as much as it is humanly possible then we will caught a glimpse of what it means to rest in that knowing and we will not have to worry about looking busy because Jesus is coming!

WHOLENESS RECEIVES 0.5% OF YOUR AMAZON PURCHASES
AmazomSmile is a program where Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to Wholeness Ministries. As many of you shop on Amazon this could amount to you giving a significant amount of money to us over a years time. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. The shopping experience is identical to Amazon.com with the added benefit that the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate to the charitable organizations selected by customers.

IT’S EASY All you do is go to http://smile.amazon.com, register, and designate Wholeness Ministries as the organization to which you wish funds to be given, and they do the rest. Then 0.5% of your purchase price will be transferred to us at Wholeness Ministries.

Thank you for your continued support of Wholeness Ministries. We continue to see God do exciting things and there is much on the horizon we will share with you in the coming months.

God bless,

Mike

Josiah Worship Center Hit It Out Of The Park!

Mike-P1020072-200Dear Friends,

This last month I had the privilege of ministering at Josiah Center in Maplewood, MN. Pastors Dave & Julie Carlson are growing a congregation that is bringing significant changes in the lives of people. They are guided by this statement on their website, “We are committed to creating an atmosphere of God’s presence where the Holy Spirit is alive and powerful. A place where people are healed and empowered!” I can say from my experience with them that they are doing what they have committed to do.

I also had the privilege of meeting and ministering alongside Pastor Damien Wong from Life Church in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii. Damien brought his 17yr old son Jesse Wong. Jesse is a very gifted young man that I later asked to minister along with me on Friday night.

Here’s a glimpse of what happened at the conference. We started Friday night with a significant time of worship that drew us into the presence of God and set the tone for the evening. My message was centered around the power of the Good News and demonstrating that power through prayer. As we came to the time of prayer I had people line up across the front of the room and moved from person to person praying for them as I felt the Lord leading. Because I sensed such a gifting in Jesse Wong I asked him to join me. As we went down the line together his gifting was obvious as he was able to quickly discern with some exactly what they were dealing with and how we needed to pray. It was fun to watch him minister to people with such gentleness, compassion, and power. Watching his father I understood where he learned this.

Because there was so much power a number of people “rested in the Spirit” as we prayed for them. When they were able to move they went to one of the prayer teams for further ministry. Later, I began to hear testimonies of backs healed, legs growing, eyes and ears healed. As the ministry continued we began to hear testimonies of Inner Healing and in some cases Deliverance from the influence of demonic spirits. All of this is done so quietly most of the people in the conference didn’t know it was going on.

Dave and Julie have been using my book, “Why Not Waste Time With God” in the school for the last several months. Saturday afternoon I taught a session on the book and further encouraged people to not just read about this but to actually do it. I was encouraged as a number of people in the school came to share with me how the book had changed their lives. Understanding that God wanted to spend time with them was a new concept. When they actually began to do it they were surprised at how significant the time was and the impact it had on their lives.

PERHAPS YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK AGAIN, OR IF YOU HAVE READ IT, DO WHAT IT SAYS!

Many of us draw our value from who we know, what we do, and what we have. Do you long to experience the intimacy, joy, and freedom that comes from being deeply connected, soul and spirit, with your Father God? If so, you must prepare yourself to “waste some time” with God. You will be able to break free from dependence on others for approval. You can stop your pretense and striving for approval, and instead, sitting quietly with your Father God, you can be confident that you are significant, accepted and loved. You can purchase “Why Not Waste Time With God” from Wholeness Ministries Bookstore.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. You have been faithful and we have been careful and faithful with the support you send us. We appreciate your trust and your prayers.

God bless,

Mike

I Know God Loves Me!

Dear Friends,

I heard a man say, “If you claim to know what you don’t know, you will never know what you do know.” This was a bit of a brain twister until I began to grasp what he was saying and apply it to my understanding of what it meant to be God’s beloved.

For many years I thought I knew how much God loved me. I thought I understood what it meant to be God’s Beloved. As a result, my relationship with God was comfortable, safe and about as exciting as a bowl of yogurt. Sort of like the place that many of our relationships end up when we take each other for granted. The passion and fire of our “first love” is reduced to a pile of barely smoldering embers. I only began to understand in the last few years that what I thought I knew I didn’t really know.

For instance, it was life changing for me to discover what it means to live by grace and not performance. I knew and understood that He loved me because I was doing things for Him. But I did not understand that He also loved me when I was not doing anything for Him, when I was hiding my sin, running from Him, playing the impostor. To simply come to the place of living in His grace, (defined as a state of being protected by God), helped me to see that there was so much more about Him that I did not know.

If I had stayed in that place of comfort claiming that I did know God, I would never have come to the place of wanting to know Him more. When I began to understand how deep His love is for me then I began to grasp the verse in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That’s incredible!

You might ask, “How did this happen, that you came to a place that you wanted to know?” It came about as I made a conscious decision to spend more time in His presence. Brennan Manning wrote in his book, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, “The longer you spend in the presence of Jesus the more accustomed you grow to his face, the less adulation you will need because you will have discovered for yourself that He is enough. And in the Presence, you will delight in the discovery of what it means to live by grace and not by performance.”

If you were to ask me, “Do you know God?” I could say both yes and no. Yes I know Him as much as I can at this point in my life, but no I do not know Him as well as I will next year. My quest is now to know what I don’t know, which will help me to understand what I do know. My question for you is, “Do you truly know how much God loves you, how valued you are?” I suspect not. What are you going to do about that?

My book, Before You Get Here subtitled, Baggage To Drop On Your Way To Heaven, has been an invaluable tool to help people discover freedom from the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat many Christians today.

Chapters include: The Importance of Forgiveness, The Traps of Unforgiveness, Harmful Words and Harmful Connections, Let Yourself Be Loved By God, The Recovery of Intimacy, and more. Copies are available at Wholeness.org in the bookstore and at Amazon.com

Many of you have been faithful supporters for years and I appreciate your faithfulness. Like everything else our expenses creep up from year to year but God is faithful in providing for our needs. Join us in praying for others to come along side as new supporters of Wholeness Ministries. Thank you for your love and prayers. We are experiencing exciting times and know that 2017 is going to be an even better year than 2016.

WHOLENESS CAN RECEIVE 5% OF YOUR AMAZON PURCHASES!
AmazomSmile is a program where Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to Wholeness Ministries. There is no cost to Wholeness or to you the customer. IT’S EASY All you do is go to http://smile.amazon.com, register, and designate Wholeness Ministries as the organization to which you wish funds to be given, and they do the rest. Then 0.5% of your purchase price will be transferred to us.

God bless,

Mike