The Homeless – Shun, Ignore, or Embrace?
February 1, 2018
This last month I attended the Bakersfield Prayer Breakfast here in my hometown. I’ve been told this is the second largest prayer breakfast in the nation. In addition to the great food and all the Christian brothers and sisters you get to meet with, there is always an outstanding speaker. This year was no exception. We heard from Mike Yankoski who for five months lived as a homeless person so that he might actually experience what it was like to be homeless. His story of those months is chronicled in his book Under The Overpass. Quite a sobering read.
As I listened to Mike and later read his book I felt both convicted about my past behavior towards the homeless and how I was going to change my response from this point on. I had been guilty many times of not seeing them and/or justifying my response with thinking, “They will just spend it on drugs or booze so why bother. Besides, there are places like The Mission where they can go and receive help.” While there are places where help can be found if all the homeless were to show up they would be overwhelmed.
Mike talks about how we as believers can respond to the homeless in ways that can offer them hope and much encouragement. Even a smile, engaging in conversation or offering them a meal is huge. But his experience more often than not was to be ignored and shunned. He gives some practical ways that one can respond to the homeless as we go about our lives and come across them, often when we least expect it. I highly recommend you read his book and look at your own attitude towards these often forgotten people. It could well change how you see them in the future.
DO YOU TRUST ME OR NOT?
Everywhere I go around this nation, again and again I hear Christians who are dealing with issues in their lives, involving relationships in their families, or at work or school, or issues with their health or finances. We look around us and see our nation in chaos, the level of stress and frenzied activity in our lives is increasing dramatically. Never have I seen an election for President bring about such contention among people. Once again God brings us face to face with this question, “Do you trust me or not?” I am reminded of a time when my son and I were at a gentleman’s home here in Bakersfield. This man was well known and quite knowledgeable in dealing with snakes. He had in a cage the largest Diamond Back Rattlesnake in captivity. He said to my son, “I want you to reach in that cage and pick up that rattlesnake.” This rattlesnake was coiled and ready to strike. When my son hesitated the man said to him, “You came to me for help and information regarding reptiles because you needed my help; now I am asking you to do something. I am telling you that if you reach in and slowly pick him up he will not hurt you. Now, DO YOU TRUST ME OR NOT?” The point is that often we go to God when things are going well or we need his help in the day-to-day circumstances of life. But then there comes a time when we are facing something very scary and He allows it to bring us to a point where the question from Him becomes, “DO YOU TRUST ME OR NOT?”
My newest book, Before You Get Here subtitled, Baggage To Drop On Your Way To Heaven, is a guide to assist in discovering freedom from the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat many Christians today. Chapters include: The Importance of Forgiveness, The Traps of Unforgiveness, A Look in the Mirror, Harmful Words and Harmful Connections, Let Yourself Be Loved By God, The Recovery of Intimacy, and more. Copies will be available at Wholeness.org and at Amazon.com.
$$$$$ This last week I spent part of my time signing letters and writing notes to those of you that faithfully support this ministry. I was looking over this stack of donation letters and I was overcome with such deep thankfulness for you that believe in what we are doing and have been faithful in your support. Some of you from the very beginning over 23 years ago! The amounts range from small to large but what is important to me is your heart of giving believing that what you are doing will make and difference in the Kingdom of God! A simple thank you seems hardly adequate to express how I feel about you but it’s the best I have to say. So, THANK YOU!
Looking Forward to 2018!
January 1, 2018
As I wrote the date on this newsletter, it struck me how significant many of us feel this coming year will be. Though I strongly believe we are living near the end of recorded history as we know it, and hope that we will see Christ return during our lifetime, I believe we are living in one of the most challenging times in the history of the world, and that we need to be looking to the future as a time filled with exciting possibilities.
People today are looking for something real in their lives. They have tried alcohol, drugs, sex, power, money, possessions, and religion, finding all of them ultimately unable to fill the void that only God can fill. While we are seeing in our country an overall rapid decline in morals, an increase in crime and violence, the deterioration of trust in the political leadership of our nation, the breakdown of families and many of the values that have made this country so great, we are also seeing a fascinating change taking place within the church body.
I am seeing throughout our nation people gathering together for the express purpose of interceding in prayer for our Pastors, Churches, Cities, States, and our Country. They are humbly on their faces before God, repenting and asking Him what He would have us do.
I am seeing here in Bakersfield, across the country, and in other parts of the world, Pastors and Priests, Elders, Deacons, and the laity, coming together to pray and build relationships with each other, regardless of denominational affiliation. I am seeing the hand of God shake the church as He moves among us in ways we don’t understand. I believe God is calling us to a new level of commitment and intimacy, where He will no longer allow us to “play” church, we must be The Church of Jesus Christ in all its fullness.
His hand is moving over the church in the United States, and around the world. As He does this, we are coming face to face with the reality of how complacent and bankrupt we have become both individually and corporately. God in his mercy and grace is waking us up from our slumber, equipping us for warfare, and calling us back to intimacy in relationship with Him, which releases power and authority in our lives. I hear, read, and observe among the young people of this generation, a hunger for God as they gather to seek Him. As they gather He touches them and uses them in powerful ways to bring their generation into the Kingdom of God. What an exciting time to be alive! What opportunity lies ahead of us as we enter into this next year.
I recently read this from a friend in Michigan, Pastor John Piippo and wanted to pass it on to you. “Two Sundays ago I projected a list of sins on the overhead projector which God says defile a person on the inside. They are…
evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, folly, quarreling, jealousy, outburst of anger, factions, disorder, impurity, sexual sin, bitterness, rage, brawling, lust, evil desires, filthy language, lying, deceit, hypocrisy. (Mark 7:20-23; 2 Cor.12:20; Eph. 4:31-32; Col.3:5-9; James 4:11; 1 Peter 2:1-2)
As I read this list God was giving me a fresh revelation of the great gap between who I am and who He is. I could again see the real difference between the perfect holiness of God and the not-yet-perfect character of myself.”
Don’t dip yourself into that which Jesus came to save you from.
Turn from sin, be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Then, drink of the River of God that is flowing in our midst. Christ the Savior was born to save us from our sin and give us His abundant river of life.
Isn’t that great news! How easy we immerse ourselves in those very things Jesus came to save us from. As you move into this New Year, Decade, Century and Millennium I pray that God will keep you strong, protect you and immerse you in His River that flows from His throne.
Thank you for your continued support of our work. We appreciate you faithfulness in standing by us. God is so good to us and we know you are blessed as we are blessed. What a joy to be a part of what He is doing.
What an Amazing Year!
December 1, 2017
When I ended the 2016 Newsletter with, “WHAT AN AWESOME GOD WE SERVE!” I did not know what 2017 would bring to Wholeness Ministries. As I look back over the last year I could easily repeat this same headline for 2017. Below is some of what we experienced as God powerfully moved in our midst.
Over the last couple of years I have developed a mentoring relationship with Rabbi Nathan Joiner of Ruach Israel, a Messianic Jewish Community in Needham, MA. One of the areas he was most interested in was healing prayer and how I could help him in leading and training their existing prayer teams. In the 23 years I have been doing this, this is my first invitation to a Messianic Jewish Community.
Ruach Israel Rocks!! March of 2017 I did the first healing conference at this Messianic Jewish Community in Needham, MA. Here are some testimonies: We heard many testimonies that people received healing for assorted pains in their backs, necks and hips. One young girl shared with me that she prayed for a lady and actually saw her leg grow! They were both excited. I also heard of a gentleman who asked for prayer for one of his eyes, as it was cloudy due to cataracts. He told us it cleared up! One lady had chronic ringing in the ear that went away!
BETH YESHUA-Sacramento, CA – December 7-9, 2017 One result of this relationship with Nathan in Massachusetts is an invitation to conduct a healing conference at a Messianic Community led by Rabbi Joshua Rubenstein in Sacramento, CA. This is the second door God has opened thus far into this stream of ministry.
Josiah Worship Center Hit It Out Of The Park! In April 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 they are doing what they have committed to do.
During the conference 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.
St. Luke’s Retreat Rocked! In August of 2016 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. 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.
Fairfax Assembly November 2016 – Pastor Marcello Rodriquez invited me to speak two Friday evenings at the Spanish speaking congregation on the subject of Inner Healing. Working through a translator we experienced a powerful time of equipping and ministry to those dealing with Inner Healing issues. I praise God for these opportunities.
The Bakersfield Mission I’ve had the opportunity to teach and minister weekly to a group of men in the year-long discipleship program at The Mission. This has been exciting and encouraging to watch them grow in their walk with God and also receive both physical and emotional healing.
I also had the opportunity to teach at Summit Bible College from my book, Why Not Waste Time With God, and two sessions on Inner Healing at Bakersfield Bible Institute at New Life Center. The New Year is going to be an exciting one for us. I am looking forward to the doors God has opened around the country to do ministry.
As we go into the Christmas season remember why we celebrate. Yes, the presents and getting together with the family is fun, along with the music, games and laughter. But of most importance is to remember it is a season to reach out in love and offer ourselves to those in unfortunate circumstances. Also, take time to think about why Jesus came and its significance in our lives today.
Thank you for your faithful and continued support of our work. It has been an amazing journey. Have a blessed Christmas!
I Don’t Want To Be Normal!
November 1, 2017
How deep and how rich are the ways of God! Is there any limit to what He can do? The obvious answer to this question is no. Emphatically NO! The more important question is, “Is there any limit to how much He can do with us, in us, and through us?” The answer to this question is Yes! We can limit God!
God will not violate our will. He is certainly able if He chooses, but He will not. He will not force us into relationship with Him. He will not force us into unfamiliar territory if we do not want to go. He will allow us to be status quo Christians if that is what we want.
Sadly, many Christians have no higher goal, no greater aspiration, than to be status quo. We like familiarity, we like routine, we like the “normal.” We do not like to step out of the boat and walk on the water because it is scary and we might drown. Peter did not hesitate to step out of the boat, but once he realized where he was, he became afraid and wanted to get back in the boat because it was familiar. It was safe in the boat. There is nothing wrong with the familiar, but staying comfortable with those things that are normal and familiar keep us from experiencing the extraordinary. “If He would expand us to receive the eternal, He must rescue us from the limitations of the temporal.” (Francis Frangipane)
Jesus calls us to follow Him. Just as He called his disciples into unfamiliar territory, so we have been called to be alone with Him for extended periods of time. Francis Frangipane says, “We must understand: God does not want us “normal,” He wants us Christlike!”
To become Christlike, we must do the things that Christ did! His definition of normal would be far different from ours. He wants us to become familiar with Him, but God is so deep, so high, so wide, so entirely unfathomable to our finite minds that always we will be challenged to move further away from being comfortable, satisfied and normal. There is nothing normal about God.
Keep these events in your prayers.
New Life Center – October 30, November 7, 14, 28
Fairfax Assembly – November 3, 10
Beth Yeshua, Sacramento – December 7, 8, 9 Rabbi Josh Rubenstein – Three Day Healing Conference
PERHAPS YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK AGAIN!
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!
God continues to supply through His people, our financial needs, for which we are most grateful. Interestingly, although we do not have enough monthly commitments to meet expenses, there is always enough money every month when it is needed. When you receive this letter with the enclosed envelope please use the envelope for sending back prayer requests regardless of whether you send any contributions. It is important for us to know specifically how we can pray for you. Again, please know that we pray over all your prayer requests and delight in hearing from you as to what God is doing in your life.
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.
Faith: The Ability to See with Your Mind What You Cannot See with Your Eyes
October 1, 2017
I recently heard this quote on a tape and it was a reminder to me of the necessity of consistently seeking God in this journey of faith He has me on, and also a reminder of His goodness and faithfulness in the midst of the journey. Let me share with you some of this journey. Perhaps in this sharing you too will receive encouragement.
We launched Wholeness Ministries out on its own on “a wing and a prayer.” From a practical, realistic standpoint, what we were doing was described by various friends as risky, courageous, foolish, amazing, wise, and/or impractical. For me, it was a simply a matter of choice. God made it very clear to me that if I was to continue to operate in the ministry He had called me to, then I must resign my current full-time position at the church and step out. For me it was scary as I had a wife and three small children at home, and numerous financial responsibilities that needed to be met each month.
Would I make a choice based on what I could see with my eyes and discern with my mind or with what I could see and discern with my spirit. Obviously you are aware of the choice I have made. These years have been at times a little scary, confusing, occasionally frustrating, but mostly exciting and very fulfilling. My journey in “Faith” over the years has gone from, “Prove it to me God,” to “Okay, I’m going for it, I expect you to do what you said you would do.” I still have questions, struggle with some of what I see happening around me, and often ask God, “Okay, what is next?” Through all of this I have seen His hand move in interesting, exciting, and amazing ways.
In addition to supplying for all of our financial needs for twenty-three years, God has opened doors for me to minister in churches of many different denominations, both Protestant and Catholic. I have had opportunities through workshops to teach and equip people in the healing ministry, and conduct healing services around the world.
I am currently teaching here in Bakersfield at Summit Bible College, New Life Center and The Mission. This is in addition to meeting with people weekly for Inner Healing prayer both at my office and using Skype and Facetime. These tools allow me to pray with people throughout the United States. This has been an exciting walk of faith for which I am grateful. I feel honored that God has allowed me to walk this journey and I trust it will continue for many years.
KEEP THESE EVENTS IN YOUR PRAYERS
Summit Bible College through November 2nd
New Life Center October 30, November 7, 14, 28
Fairfax Assembly November 3, 10
Beth Yeshua Rabbi Josh Rubenstein, Sacramento CA three-day Healing Conference December 7, 8, 9
AN IMPORTANT WORD ABOUT INTERCESSORY PRAYER
Since the beginning of Wholeness Ministries we have stressed the importance of undergirding all that we do with intercessory prayer. We would choose not to function in this ministry without knowing there is a group of intercessors praying for the ministry itself, and our family. There is a small group of us meeting each Thursday morning for this purpose. I know there are many of you who also pray for us weekly as you have occasionally shared with me what God is showing you. I want to thank you for your prayers as they are much needed and appreciated.
God continues to supply through His people, our financial needs, for which we are most grateful. Interestingly, although we do not have enough monthly commitments to meet expenses, there is always enough money every month when it is needed. We want to thank each of you for you faithfulness. When you receive this letter with the enclosed envelope please use the envelope for sending back prayer requests regardless of whether you send any contributions. It is important for us to know specifically how we can pray for you. Again, please know that we pray over all your prayer requests and delight in hearing from you as to what God is doing in your life.