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.
What An Awsome God We Serve!
December 1, 2016
2016 is about to end and it stuns me to think about what God has allowed us to experience.
I went back to some of the newsletters we sent out in the very early years and begin to read over some of what God has done. I thought it would be fun to recap some of this for you as we move into 2017 and our 21st year of ministry.
December 27, 1994
“In our first six months, we have seen God meet every need (both financial and otherwise) through the faithfulness of His people. Some examples: Each month our budget needs have been met both by your contributions, and conferences we have conducted. We rarely have had more than a months expenditures in the bank at any one time. I suspect this is God’s way of reminding us that He is our Provider and we must continue to depend on Him for our needs. It is indeed an exciting and interesting way to live.”
June 1, 2001
“Budapest, Hungary. One young man who was involved in martial arts came up. He was experiencing pain for over a year in his shoulders, down the inside of his right leg, his knee, and his ankle. We began to pray and as we prayed the Lord miraculously took most of the pain completely away. We saw him the next day and he said all the pain and discomfort was gone except for a little in his knee and shoulder. We prayed again and it all left immediately!”
“Calvary Baptist, Gardena, CA. 62 Years of pain – GONE! That’s what happened to one lady we prayed for on Saturday night. I had asked those with back pain to stand and for those present to gather around them and pray. She later testified that she felt something similar to hot oil pouring down her spine and that the pain completely left. She had injured her back when she was 13 and she was now 75!”
February 1, 2005
“Late in January, Jane and I were at Praise Alive Worship Center in Monterey Park, CA. Pastor John Long and his wife Angela were our hosts. One lady had scoliosis as a child and was still experiencing some curvature of the spine and pain in her lower back and hips. As we prayed the Lord totally healed her, all the pain went away and she could freely move without any pain at all!”
February 1, 2012
Jay and Eleni wrote this: “Mike testified about his first healing conference at The Falls Church some four years before. He recounted how a mother brought her young daughter forward for prayer for what turned out to be flat feet. After a short prayer over the girl, Jesus give the girl arches in both of her feet at that very moment completely healing the condition with a creative miracle! It was put on our hearts in that moment that we needed to find a way to get our 10-year-old daughter, whose feet have always been as flat as a duck, to the healing service. We were off to the side praying with other individuals as our daughter was up front receiving hands-on prayer. When we returned home late that Sunday evening, my daughter asked as we were tucking her into bed -‘Do I still have flat feet?’ When we checked her feet we were stunned and shocked to find arches formed in both her feet!”
February 1, 2015
St. Dennis Catholic Church. During the second evening the presence God was so powerful I was having a difficult time speaking. When I began to speak it was as if God closed my mouth and would not let me say anything. When I was finally able to speak it was a simple word from God. I kept hearing over and over “Tell them how much I love them.” That’s what I said. Later that evening two people came up to me and shared what they saw while I was speaking. The first one said, “I saw Jesus standing next to you while you were up there trying to speak.” Then a short time later a man walked over and said, “While you were speaking I saw a huge angel standing over by the wall just to the right of you.” I have no reason to doubt either of these testimonies as this has happened in the past at other conferences.
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,
Really? You Want Me To Trust You With Everything?
November 1, 2016
Everywhere I go around this nation, 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 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 questions, “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 is well known and quite knowledgeable in dealing with reptiles. 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. DO YOU TRUST ME OR NOT?” My son reached in and picked up the rattlesnake with both hands then turned to me and said, “Here dad, you want to hold it?” I did.
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?”
Over the 20 plus years that Wholeness Ministries has been in existence, God has placed me in numerous situations where I have had to trust him. All of my overseas trips to Hungary and Romania were gigantic steps of faith. From the cost of the airline tickets to food and lodging when I arrived. Many times I was presented with situations that I knew there was no way I could help these people except through the power of God. Each time I pray for someone it is an act of faith and trust.
For example, in Budapest, a professional basketball player came up and asked for prayer for his knee. Doctors told him he might not ever play again. I prayed for him and at that time we noticed no difference in his knee. When I went back a year later he came running up to me and said that his knee was completely healed and he was playing basketball again!
Deep Hurts? We Can Help!
In last month’s newsletter, I wrote about the freedom we see when people come for Deep-Level Inner Healing. Many of us carry around hurts that are the result of things that people have done or said to us in the past. Some of these wounds can be as recent as yesterday or they can go back to childhood. No matter when they occur, if we have not dealt with them through healing prayer we carry these hurts around with us. The unfortunate result is that when we carry this baggage around it can affect our relationships with others, ourselves, and with God. In addition, it can make us physically sick and can, in some cases, prevent God from healing us.
To Contact Us Call: 661-833-2920 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our “Personal Ministry” page where you’ll find the steps to follow to set up an appointment with us.
We Appreciate Your Financial Support
Recently I wrote regarding our finances and that we were in a tight situation. I have been receiving partial paychecks for several months’ and as of now we are behind in our salary for the year just over $7,000. Please consider increasing your donation or becoming one of our monthly supporters. It would be very helpful for us.
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Many of you have been very faithful over the years. Thank you for your continued support.
REFORMERS PLEDGE – NOVEMBER 17-20, 2016
“On earth as it is in Heaven”
This is a conference being held at one of our local churches that you will not want to miss. There are speakers coming in from around the world like; Che Ahn, Stacy Campbell, & James Goll. This conference is hosted by my friends Tony & Jessica Kim at Renaissance Church. To register simply click the banner below.