I Don’t Want To Be Normal!

Dear Friends,

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.

God bless,

Mike

Faith: The Ability to See with Your Mind What You Cannot See with Your Eyes

Mike-P1020072-200Dear Friends,

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.

God bless,

Mike

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