I Know God Loves Me!
May 1, 2017
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 donates0.5% 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.
Ruach Israel Rocks!!
April 1, 2017
Last month I was invited to conduct a 3-day healing conference at Ruach Israel, a Messianic Jewish Congregation located in Needham Massachusetts. I met Rabbi Nathan Joiner two years ago at a conference in Vermont. We immediately connected and became friends. He was very interested in bringing the healing ministry into their community, and so we talked about how do to that and in full agreement with his senior Rabbi we were able to accomplish that in March of this year.
This was my first time to attend a Messianic Service and it was fascinating. We started with the Friday night Shabbat Dinner and ended with the Havdalah on Saturday, which is a celebration to close the Sabbath. Before I arrived Nathan had started recruiting and training some to be on prayer teams, as they wanted people available to pray for the sick during their normal Saturday services.
Using my book Learning To Do What Jesus Did, I introduced them to what I describe as Level 1: Entry Level Healing. These topics are: Understanding the role of faith and authority, how to pray for physical healing, how to hear from God and what Inner Healing is all about. They were very receptive and excited to learn.
One of the exercises I do is a practical way to hear from God. After my teaching on hearing Words of Knowledge, I break people down into groups of three and then pray for God to speak to them about someone in their group. Well over 75% heard something immediately. They are always hesitant to share but as they share what they are hearing most of the time it is right on as confirmed by the other members in their group. Then when I repeated this exercise well over 90% heard something. It’s fascinating to watch God bring people into an understanding that he does talk to them.
Derrick Steele who traveled with me did the teaching on Saturday afternoon on Faith and Authority. This is so foundational as we need to not only understand the role that faith plays in healing but the authority we have available to us through the Holy Spirit. Derrick is great prayer partner and an excellent communicator.
Saturday night after the Havdalah I went into the healing ministry time and I prayed for all those that wished to be filled with a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. Many of them experienced “Resting in the Spirit” for the first time. It was a powerful time of watching God move as only He does. I gave some words of knowledge for healing as did another young man and then invited them to go to various prayer teams for healing.
We heard testimonies that people received healing for assorted pains in 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. And in the process of ministry there was some deliverance taking place. I’m sure we will hear of other stories as it was evident that God was present and doing some powerful work.
This experience gave me a new appreciation for the Messianic community where I found a caring and joyful community where Jewish life and love for Messiah Yeshua go hand in hand.
WHOLENESS RECEIVES 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 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.
Thank you for you 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.
Have You Been Cheated!
March 1, 2017
Do you know Jesus as a person or a painting? Is he a perfectly carved, crafted statue with a beatific smile on his face or does he have flesh and blood that sweats, smells bad and bleeds when he cuts himself. Does your Jesus stub his toe; accidently hit his thumb with his hammer and react? Does he get tired and weary with people always wanting something from him or is he at all times perfectly composed, gentle, kind, gracious, and happy to see them?
You may wonder why I am asking these questions. It’s because I believe we have been cheated. Many of us have a Jesus that is not really human, who lived his life in another world and is totally untouchable, unapproachable, or out of touch with the reality we have to live with.
We are told in Scripture (John 8:29) that we will be conformed to the likeness of his Son. If that is going to happen here and I don’t have a realistic picture of Jesus, of how he really was as a flesh and blood man, then for me that scripture is unrealistic and unattainable.
A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and our greatest happiness; to be mistaken about him is the saddest mistake of all.
In his book Beautiful Outlaw, John Eldridge writes, “If you do not know Jesus as a person, know his remarkable personality—playful, cunning, fierce, impatient with all that is religious, kind, creative, irreverent, funny – you have been cheated.
If you do not experience Jesus intimately, daily, in these very ways, if you do not know the comfort of his actual presence, do not hear his voice speaking to you personally – you have been robbed. If you do not know the power of his indwelling life in you, shaping your personality, healing your brokenness, enabling you to live as he did – you have been plundered.”
Cheated, robbed, plundered! Those are pretty strong words. As I read them and thought about my own personal feelings about Jesus and how I saw him, I realized that for much of my life I did not know him as a man with flesh and blood. I saw him as someone so holy, pure, and righteous that for me to even think of being in his presence was crazy. I do sweat and smell and bleed. I do say more than, “Oh darn,” when I accidentally hit my thumb with a hammer. I do get tired and impatient with people and want to be left alone.
To try and be like Jesus for any length of time was so far out of my reach that it was for me unattainable. Sure, I could be like Jesus on Sunday morning when I was at church, or when I was around my “religious friends.” But what about when my teenager has just smarted off to me, or when that driver in front of me is poking along and talking on their cell phone?
But then all of that began to change. I did begin to know him intimately, hear his voice, and see him as a friend. I did see the side of him that is playful, irreverent, funny, and impatient with all that is religious. I began to see his humanness and understood that through the power of his indwelling presence he was healing my brokenness and shaping my personality so I could live as he lived.
I don’t have to try and be perfect, sinless, and always in control. In fact, it’s not even possible. But I can be better, and over time, conformed and transformed so that people hopefully see more of Jesus and less of me. But most importantly I began to see Jesus as a human dealing with many of the same feelings and issues I have. And I can fully know that he understands those contradictions in my life and still loves me.
So the question is: What is your Jesus like? Have you been cheated, robbed, and plundered? If so, you can change that by replacing that unreal Jesus with the one who had flesh and blood and is much like we are. Spend some time with him; get to know him as a friend. Get honest with him and you will discover he will be the best friend you ever had.
Thank you for your support and prayers. It’s a joy and an honor to be able to travel around and do the things we do. We never take for granted your support of Wholeness Ministries.
God bless you,
God is Full of Surprises!
February 1, 2017
It never ceases to amaze me how much God blesses us. This last month I attended our citywide prayer breakfast here in Bakersfield. This is an event that has been held for the last 37 years. This year’s event was attended by 1,100 people from a variety of backgrounds. The Mayor, Police Chief, Fire Chief, leaders from the California Highway Patrol our city and state political offices, Pastors, Educators, business leaders as well as many that understand and believe in the power of prayer. I believe this is one of the reasons God pours out such blessing on Bakersfield.
Early this month I was invited to speak to the Women’s Aglow group in Arroyo Grande. This organization has been around many years. Their purpose is to pray for our political leaders, pastors, churches and anything else that God lays before them. Many of these women who have been prayer warriors for years pray with fervency and expectancy. It’s exciting to know there are prayer warriors around that have the faith of these women.
Some of you are aware of my passion for training and mentoring young men. For those of you who are not, let me give you a picture of the importance this plays in my life. In the late 1980’s while at a Vineyard Conference in Anaheim, California I was given a prophetic word by a man I trust that I would be leading an army of young warrior’s into battle and that we would be involved in a life and death battle to take back what Satan has stolen. This warfare will help bring in the reign of the Kingdom of God. At the time this sounded pretty far out there for me so I put it on the back burner. Over the last 17 years I have at times spiritually fathered and mentored three or four young men that I’ve watched grow into mighty warriors for God. Also in the ensuing years the original prophecy was confirmed by other prophetic words from people who knew nothing of the earlier prophetic word.
In 2011 I felt strongly that God was leading me to take this fathering/mentoring of one or two individuals at a time to a new level. I began to meet at my home on Saturday mornings with a couple of guys for coffee to see where it would go. They started inviting their friends who then invited their friends until I ended up with a houseful of young men passionate for the things of God. They come from a variety of churches here in Bakersfield of both the Catholic and Protestant traditions. Their backgrounds vary from the conservative liturgical tradition to the charismatic Pentecostal. Some are new believers while others were raised in the church. They are not interested in “playing church” or “being religious.” They are passionate in wanting to know how to integrate this walk of faith into their daily lives, how to walk in holiness and purity, and how to become warriors equipped to witness with their lives what it means to be a Christ-like-One. Their passion for relationship with God is infectious. It challenges me to recognize that if I am going to lead these young men into deeper intimacy with the Father I have to consistently step up my personal commitment.
Thank you for your consistent prayers and faithful support over the many years we have been doing this ministry.
New Year – New Location
January 1, 2017
There are exciting times ahead for the New Year. We have a number of dates booked and I am moving to a new office. My friend and Pastor Tony Kim of Renaissance Church offered me office space at his church which is located in southwest Bakersfield. This will be both convenient and help us financially. I am always thankful when God comes up with these surprise blessings. I wasn’t even thinking about moving when this offer came out of left field. Another exciting part of this for me is that Tony asked if I would help establish a healing culture at his church. They are already quite extraordinary in what they do but Tony wants the entire church more involved and moving in the healing ministry. He is especially interested in exposing them to more training in the area of Inner Healing and wants this to be a part of their ministry school.
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. I met Nathan at a Christian Healing Ministries Ignite Conference in Vermont. At that time he asked me if I would mentor him. So over the last couple of years, we have talked weekly on the phone. 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. They invited me to come in March to train and equip their community and help them raise their healing ministry to a new level.
In the 20 years that I have been doing this, this is my first invitation to a Messianic Jewish Community. I think that is exciting and I am looking forward to other doors this may open into other Messianic Communities around the country.
Yes Lord, We Will Ride!
One of my favorite worship songs is, “We Will Ride.” This song is based on Revelation 19 which pictures Jesus riding a white horse. We are riding with Him in His victorious army, “clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” In order to ride with Jesus, we must walk in holiness, purity, faithfulness, truth, and righteousness. We must allow Him to bring us under submission in order to “ride with Him.” This song expresses beautifully our victory in Jesus and the freedom we bring to the captives as we bring the Good News, as we Set the Captives Free, as we Heal the Sick! Some years ago I made a commitment to the Lord that I would do whatever He wanted me to do and go wherever He wanted me to go. Since that point, many others have joined me and we have seen God lead us into places we would never have dreamed of going.
Based on how the new year is shaping up I believe we are going to those places in 2017. 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.
God is always full of surprises.
Thank you for your prayers and continued support. You are much appreciated and understand that all that you donate to this ministry is wisely used.