No More Hiding!
May 1, 2016
This last weekend I went to a Men’s Conference at Dominion Worship Center here in Bakersfield. The theme was “No More Hiding.” I realized as I was sitting there listening to the speakers that what they were teaching was applicable to both men and women. The teaching centered around Hiding from God and others. The focus was on why do we hide and how do we break out of that place?
Why Do People Hide? Four reasons…
1. FEAR – we are afraid that if people found out what we were really like they wouldn’t like us. If they knew what we struggled with or some of the thoughts we harbor they would be shocked or would not want to be around us. This is the result of believing a lie. A lie that says that the Father doesn’t love us, that we have to work to be approved, or that he only loves us if we live up to certain standards and expectations, etc., etc. One of the most effective ways to counter this lie is to understand who you are in Christ and that there is nothing you can do that will change His love for you!
2. SHAME – the enemy is very good at accusing us whenever we do anything wrong. In fact, we ourselves are good at doing things that allow him to cause us to feel shame. This is the shame that drives us to hide instead of running to Him asking for forgiveness. Shame is one of the enemy’s most effective tools in keeping us from being open and honest with God and people. I’m not saying that we should all go around airing our most secret sins to everyone. But we need to have someone in our lives that we can go to and talk about anything. Someone we can be completely honest and transparent with.
Of course when you think about it there is nothing hidden from God, but sometimes we need someone with skin on with whom we can bare our souls. Someone that will help us deal with the shame in a way that allows us to understand that we can go to our Father God and confess our sin. He will immediately take away the shame if we believe He has forgiven us and we let Him do it. Unfortunately, for some of us, it is difficult to grasp this kind of forgiveness and love so we stay hidden in our shame. Do not allow the enemy to keep you trapped there!
One of the biggest struggles men have in the church today is pornography. The number of men among Christian and non-Christian men that struggle with this is almost the same. There is a lot of shame associated with pornography and many fail at staying away from it again and again. But we must realize that we can also bring these failures to God and he will forgive and release us from the shame. He wants us to come be in a place of intimacy with Him. A place where we are naked, unencumbered, open, real and comfortable in our own skin. One of the quotes I heard this weekend was; “Anything apart from divine intimacy is distorted.”
3. INSECURITY – many of us have a difficult time believing our security is in Christ. We try to amass stuff, money, power, and things to feel secure. We put our trust in our job feeling that therein is our security. We invest in bonds and securities’ believing that therein lays our security. In reality, none of these are truly going to provide us with security. They can all be gone in a heartbeat. Understand that I am not saying these are all bad things and we should not do them. That’s nonsense. Obviously there are some wise things we need to do, but anything that is of this world is not where you should ultimately put your security. Our only true security must be in God alone!
4. DISAPPOINTMENT – perhaps in the past you have experienced deep disappointment. Maybe it was a personal tragedy and you blamed God. Or it could have been something someone did to you or said to you that hurt deeply and you don’t want to be disappointed again so you don’t trust. You don’t allow yourself to ever be placed in a position where you are not in total control.
God created us to dream, to create and utilize the gifts He has placed in us. Whether it is writing, painting, photography, or any other thing that allows you to get those creative juices flowing it is a gift from God and will grow as you allow yourself to create. God is calling us to dream again. To come out of the hiding place and into the “secret” place. It’s a place with Him that He alone can satisfy.
Because of who you are you can come to Him and give Him your fears, shame, insecurities and disappointments. He will cast them away from you and free you of these things that satan will use against you.
God is calling us out of hiding and into a place of encounter. A place where we can stand before Him in complete abandonment knowing that His love for us is so overwhelmingly complete that none of these things written above can keep us from His loving us.
$$$ If you can remember to keep us in you prayers regarding finances it would be much appreciated. April was a difficult month for us as our donations were almost $2,000 less than what we needed to pay our expenses. We hope to be able to catch up in May. Thank you for your prayers and your continual support of this ministry.
Angels Are Real!
April 1, 2016
I’ve been reading recently the book “Encountering Angels” by my friend Judith MacNutt. In her book she tells true stories of how angels touch our lives every day. It is a great read and I highly recommend you get a copy.
It also reminded me that I’ve had a number of encounters with angels which I’ve actually shared with very few people and I thought this would be a good time to share a couple of those stories. Not only do I believe in angels but I believe that from the moment of our conception we each have a guardian angel. (My wife thinks I need two of them especially when I drive).
Years ago I was in Belfast, N.Ireland speaking at St. Anne’s Cathedral. It was a Monday night and we didn’t expect a large crowd because of a bombing that had happened at the fish market on Saturday that killed a family of seven. During that period of time when a bombing took place many people stayed home because they feared that there would be retaliation from the other side.
When we arrived at the cathedral there was a large crowd. That was a surprise. The second thing that was interesting about that night was that I had prepared a message but when I was on my way to speak the Lord said that he wanted me to share the story of my father’s death and how I had to forgive those that beat him so badly that he died.
I had never shared that publicly with anyone and I was nervous about talking to them since my personal story seemed to pale in comparison to what they lived with everyday of their lives. At that time in Belfast the bombings were a common occurrence. Since God was very specific I decided it would be best to do what He asked of me.
Prior to my message we were worshiping and I felt the Lord prompting me to open my eyes. As I did I saw this huge angel standing up in the front on the left side of the cathedral. I poked my friend Joseph, who was standing next to me, and he looked up and saw the same thing. It was a being about 30 feet tall in a brilliant white robe with a huge sword in his hand. I asked God who that was and he said that it was the Arch Angel Michael and he was there to provide protection. It was an amazing night of physical and emotional healing. In addition a large number of people came forward to receive salvation.
Another time I was at Aslan’s Place with my friend Paul Cox. He sees angels quite easily and once when we were praying he said that an angel was present. I could not see anything so he told me where the angel was standing and that I could feel it if I reached my hand out. Paul pointed to a place and I put my hand there and actually felt something that I could not see. My hand was trembling from what I was feeling.
There have been many occasions over the years when I have felt the presence of angels and have even heard angels singing but did not see them. Also a number of people who see angels frequently have come up to me after I’ve been praying with people and told me about the angels they saw standing behind me as I spoke and prayed for people.
If you wish to know more about angels Judith has another book titled “Angels Are For Real”.
Thank you for your support of this ministry.
Mexico Was Amazing!
March 1, 2016
I returned recently from Acapulco, Mexico. I didn’t know what to expect as this was my first trip to Mexico. Jay DeVries a missionary to Mexico invited me down to Acapulco. Jay is the gentleman in the white shirt. He has a heart for the people of Mexico in the villages and surrounding areas of Acapulco. The man on the left is Bruce Quinlan a friend from Florida that helped arrange the trip and also did some of the teaching. Bruce is a great guy and gifted teacher. Danny Ruiz is one of my young guys that accompanied me. Danny is gifted in the prophetic and praying for the sick. Plus he speaks Spanish, is a good teacher and just fun to have along.
Pictured here with Danny is the lady that did the translation for me. She is a sweetheart, easy to work with and lots of fun. It’s difficult to find an interpreter that flows well with you but she has the ability.
During the day Bruce and I shared the teaching from “Learning To Do What Jesus Did” with the Pastors and leaders. I took two cases of the books in Spanish which we gave to the leaders with the hope that they would take it back to their churches to train their people. I’ve since heard that three of the Pastors have already started groups in their church utilizing the material. Others have asked for permission to copy it as they intend to do the same thing at their church. That’s exciting for me!
I wanted you to see the church that sits up on a small hill, which the people have to walk up to get to the church. I’ve also shown you a picture of two people walking up the hill through the dirt and weeds. This stuck me as I know this would not happen here in the U.S. as we try very hard to make our churches “user-friendly.” But it just shows me the level of commitment these people have. In comparison to the living conditions of many of them this was a matter of no concern.
Just below is a picture of the crowd in the evening. We saw a number of significant healings. As a team prayed for one man they watched a cataract simply disappear! Needless to say, they were all excited. One of the ladies I prayed for had been suffering from migraine headaches for 30 years. The pain went away and for the entire time we were there it never returned. Not only were there a number of physical healings taking place but significant Inner Healing and deliverance was happening. Danny and I prayed with a young man who had invited satan into his life due to early abuse. We started praying for inner healing that led into praying for deliverance. God brought complete healing and freedom!
One of the things that excites me is when I watch people who have just been trained take what they’ve learned and begin to use it to pray for others. There are always several hundred to pray for in any healing service. What we did was utilize the leaders we trained during the day in “hands on” ministry each evening. This was a new experience for many of them and they were excited to try it out and utilize it in their churches.
WE NOW HAVE AN OFFICE! We have finally been able to locate a new place to operate from. It will be located downtown as we are renting some office space from 1st Presbyterian Church. We will need about $300 a month more to come in to offset this. If you can be of help let me know. Thank you for your continued support of this ministry.
Listen to The Music
February 1, 2016
Often someone will ask us, “what’s happening?” And we reply, “nothing.” But there is never nothing going on. Even when we are in a place of total solitude and quiet there is the music of what is happening. Even silence is the music of what is happening. Often, no matter what we are doing we are thinking or living in excited anticipation of what’s waiting in the future. The future being that marshmallow sundae we’re going to have as soon as we finish dinner. Thus we miss the music of the moment. It’s been said that life is a symphony, but some would say that it is a tragedy. For some life is meant to be lived for others endured. In the song “Time,” by the Pozo Seco Singers, one line goes, “some people never laugh, some never cry, some people never live, some never die.” It’s tragic that we so seldom live in the moment.
What do I mean by the music of what is happening? Life is filled with sound. There are cars and trucks rumbling by on the freeway, jets roaring across the sky, babies crying, people dying, mothers sighing.
Sitting in a quiet forest where nothing is happening, if one is listening, is also a place filled with music. Woodpeckers pecking, birds singing, bugs buzzing, or a deer unexpectedly walking by where you are sitting, crunching through the dried leaves and pine needles as it somewhat nervously moves quickly away after you have made eye contact. We often don’t hear the music of life because we don’t recognize it as music.
Fionn MacCumhaill asked his followers, “What is the finest music in the world?”
“The cuckoo calling from the tree that is highest in the hedge,” cried his merry son. “A good sound,” said Fionn. “And Oscar,” he asked, “what is to your mind the finest music?” “The top of music is the ring of a spear on a shield,” cried the stout lad. “It is a good sound,” said Fionn. And the other champions told their delight: the belling of a stag across the water, the baying of a tuneful pack heard in the distance, the song of a lark, the laughter of a gleeful girl, or the whisper of a loved one. “They are good sounds all,” said Fionn. “Tell us, chief,” one ventured, “what do you think?” “The music of what is happening,” said great Fionn, “that is the finest music in the world.” (John J. O’Riordan, The Music of What Happens (Winona, MN; St. Mary’s Press, 1997) 109-10.)
The music of what is happening can only be heard in the present moment, right now, right here. Too often much of life seems filled with busyness, noise, chaos. There is so much to do each day that we seldom live or fully experience whatever we happen to be doing, rather much of the time we are working to get it done so we can move on to the next task.
In his book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, (pg.74) the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh in recalling a visit from a Christian leader named Jim Forest beautifully illustrates living in the now as excellent preparation for prayer.
So they finished dinner and Nhat Hanh said he would wash the dishes before getting the tea. Jim offered to do the dishes, while Nhat Hahn was preparing the tea; but Nhat Hahn said, “I am not sure you know how to wash dishes.” Jim laughed at him and said, “Of course I know how to wash dishes. I’ve been doing it all my life.” “No,” the monk said, “you would be washing the dishes in order to have your tea and dessert. That is not the way to wash dishes. You must wash dishes to wash dishes.”
Living in the ordinariness of every day, doing all those trivial tasks that seem meaningless is where real life is lived. And that’s where most of us live. Whether life for you is “Song Sung Blue Everybody Knows One,” or “Everybody Knows I Got A Happy Life,” fully live every moment of every day and listen to the music of what is happening.
City-Wide Prayer Breakfast
I had an opportunity to attend this event here in Bakersfield the end of January. It was so encouraging to see thousands of people gathered in the Civic Auditorium to pray for our city. In addition we were led in prayers for our nation, our national and local leaders, law enforcement, business people, the media, ministers, educators and countless others. We truly live in a city where much of it’s leadership is openly willing to talk about their faith and pray for each other. Thanks be to God for Bakersfield.
Continue to pray for this ministry. I will report in next month’s newsletter about my trip to Mexico. As I write this letter I am about to depart for Acapulco. Thank you for your prayers and support.
Acapulco In February
January 1, 2016
I will be going to Acapulco, Mexico the first week of February to conduct a 3-day training conference. I will be taking with me Danny Ruiz, one of the young guys I am mentoring. Danny and I will be training Pastors and other leaders from various towns in Mexico on how to pray for both Physical and Inner Healing. We will also cover such areas as Deliverance and Spiritual Warfare. I have been invited by Jay DeVries the missionary that works with the people in Mexico. This came about as the result of his receiving a copy of our Learning To Do book in Spanish. He was very excited that we had this material in Spanish as there is very little available on these topics that can be used by Spanish speaking people. Pray for us as we go to present this material and equip these leaders to train others in praying for the sick.
2015 was a good year for Wholeness Ministries. We are looking forward with excitement to 2016. One of the challenges we face is locating an office that we can call home. It was necessary for us to move from our current location. One of my friends Elizabeth Deeths who is a counselor has been kind enough to let me use her office when I need to meet with people, so that has been helpful and something I am thankful for. Pray for us to be able to find a location soon.
Gouge the Heart Out
In some of my reading I came across a quote by Edward Schillebeeckx and it rocked me back a bit when I caught what he was saying. The entire quote is, “In a revealed religion, silence with God has value in itself and for its own sake, just because God is God. Failure to recognize the value of mere being with God, as the beloved, without doing anything, is to gouge the heart out of Christianity.” He states that this is the bottom-line reason for waiting on the Lord. And, if you don’t recognize this, you are missing the point.
Scripture indicates that God not only wants us to spend time with Him but that in order for this to happen we not only must learn to wait but also to be separate. When I think of the word, “gouge” it brings to my mind a violent act. “To reach in with your hand and violently rip the heart out.” So if we fail to recognize the value of merely being with God without doing anything we are violently ripping the heart out of the very thing we so deeply believe in.
If merely being with God, not doing anything, is the heart of Christianity, why do so few Christians take time to do it? I believe the answer is both simple and complex. Simple in that it is so foreign to our normal way of life and complex in that it involves ignorance and fear, shrouded in mystery and mysticism.
Being separate and waiting often brings about guilt. We have this nagging feeling that we should be doing something useful. Part of why we feel guilty is that we do not fully know the God with whom we are spending time! We would not feel guilty spending time with a brilliant scientist or a famous author or a world-renowned artist, so why would we not want to spend time with the God who made it all? If we truly understood that the God of the universe, the God who made everything that is, wants to spend time with us, we would do anything, give up anything, go anywhere to be with Him.
The mystery and mysticism swirls around stories we hear and read of many of the saints of the church spending hours, days and years in solitude, meditation and prayer. Their spirits are caught up, overwhelmed with or plundered by the very presence of God. They are left speechless and without strength. They write and speak of the mystery and wonder of “being Alone with the Alone.” These things are not only foreign to us but may even seem threatening.
I have discovered the cure for this unfortunate state of being. It is coming to an understanding and acceptance in your relationship with God that you know that it is good to be “there,” even if you don’t know where “there” is, just because He is God and you are His beloved.
Don’t be so shy about spending this incredibly important time with God. He wants to be with you, as a Father wants to be with their child. Grasp the importance of this. Don’t let anyone convince you that God is too busy and has more important things to do this spend time with you.
Why wait until heaven to be freed of the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat you? God wants you to face those burdens now, on this planet, and through the power of specific prayer be freed from them. My newest book, subtitled 0, is a guide to assist in discovering freedom from the invisible burdens that oppress and defeat you.
Go here to purchase: www.wholeness.org/shop
Thank you for your continued support of this ministry. All your gifts are much appreciated.