The Freedom of Simplicity
October 20, 2015
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness
and all these things shall be added unto you” Mt. 6:33
We live in a complex society and it is not easy to simplify but it is possible. In comparison to many of the places I visit overseas, we live like kings. When I examine my own lifestyle I could easily feel hypocritical when writing about simplicity. I have a nice home, two cars, closets full of clothes, gadgets to play with, etc. I think I live a very simple lifestyle. I also feel that I am rich and blessed by God, not because of anything I do or don’t do, but because He loves me.
“God made man simple; man’s complex problems are of his own devising.” (Eccles. 7:30 JB)
Richard Foster wrote, “The Christian discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style. If you possess the inward reality of simplicity it will have a profound effect on how you live. Likewise, to attempt to arrange an outward life-style of simplicity without the inward reality leads to deadly legalism.”
In my life and ministry I am disciplined in spending a significant amount of time with God in quietness, solitude, and what I call “Wasting time with God.” I have discovered that for me this is the key to simplicity. As you deepen your relationship with God by spending more time hanging out with Him you become less enamored with the things of this world.
You also begin to look for ways to simplify your life. You begin to understand your immense value to Him and realize that you don’t need impress Him. You start to love yourself and be at peace with who you are.
We live in a world which is fractured and fragmented. We make a lot of our decisions out of fear of what others will think of us. Because we do not have God truly at the center of our lives we have this attachment to things and a lust for affluence.
“We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.” (R. Foster)
We feel ashamed to wear clothes or drive cars until they wear out. We always want the latest fashion. I have enough shirts in my closet I could go ten years without buying another shirt. How many of you actually bought a new car because the old one was worn out?
Until we come face to face with how unbalanced we have become we’ll not be able to deal with this lust for more, nor will we even desire simplicity. I remember well growing up in Bakersfield. I didn’t leave here until I was 20 years old. Life seemed pretty simple and uncomplicated. When we called a store for some help we actually talked to a real person.
We didn’t have Desktops, Laptops, E-Mail, Twitter, Facebook, PDF’s, VHS’s, VCR’s, DVD’s, CD’s, iPod’s, and the mighty cell phone. Many years ago when computers first came out I remember how excited I was by this device that would obviously save me much time. A friend of mine, a former scientist said, “that computer will not save you time, it will create work for you.” I thought he was crazy, but now I look back and realize that that is exactly what computers do, they create work!
Now don’t get me wrong, these are good things. But, we have allowed them to become necessities which control us instead of us controlling them. We have bought into what the marketing media tells us we must have! They create a product and tell us that if we don’t have this product we are out of touch. Since nobody wants to be out of touch we go out and buy the product.
DO NOT WORRY – Mat. 6:25-33
As I was casting about for how to address this topic I read some material from Richard Foster on simplicity. I ended up in Matthew 6:25-33 and realized that here was the key to simplicity. This chapter begins by talking about giving to the needy, then prayer and fasting, storing up treasures and then at verse 25 he says: “Do not worry about your life….if you seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness of his kingdom first everything else comes that you will need.”
If you focus on the kingdom of God first, you are moving into a place of intimacy with God that will bring you to a place of trust and peace that in itself moves you into a lifestyle of simplicity. You come to the point of accepting that God will provide!
Suggested Attitudes That Foster Simplicity
Expect God to supply: I have been in full-time ministry for about 38 years. When I was in seminary I was commuting to Fresno 2 days a week. Money was tight and I remember one night saying to Jane, “I don’t think I’m going to have enough money for gas to get back and forth this month.” We prayed and the next morning I opened the door to walk out to my car and there was an envelope on my porch. I opened it and it contained a $100 bill that was exact amount I needed for gas for the month! We had not told anyone about this need. We learned later that one of the college kids we had in our group felt prompted by God to do this. He did not know we needed it but simply obeyed.
Enjoy Things without owning them: We have three children who are now grown. In my position as an associate I didn’t make a lot of money. Over the years we have been given clothes, toys and places to go for vacations. One year we were having an auction at the church to raise money for the school and one of the items being auctioned off was a trip to Disneyland including all meals, a fancy hotel and passes to all the rides for three days. After it was over Jane and I were walking to the car with our kids and the man who bought the Disneyland package walked over and said, “I want you to have this to take your family to Disneyland.” We were blown away!
Freely Give What you Can: We have been able to give away three different cars. At one time we were driving an old Ford station wagon that was on its last round. One afternoon a man pulled up in our driveway with a beautiful used Oldsmobile and said, “Here are the keys to this car, it’s yours!”
After a few years we wore that one out I went looking for a good used car hoping to trade in my old worn out car. We went to a local car dealer and he asked me, “what do you think you can afford.” I told him and he called in one of his appraisers and told him to have a look at our old car and see what it was worth. Then he said to me, “Go look at the new cars and tell me what color you want.” I said, “I can’t afford that and he replied, “That’s okay, I’m going to give it to you.” So I went home with a new car and $1500 in cash for my old car! When I pulled up in the driveway my wife thought I had committed financial suicide.
Be Willing To Take Risks: When I first began Wholeness Ministries we didn’t have much. I was on staff of a large church with a decent salary, and a good benefit package. In obedience to God I took a leap of faith, resigned my position and stepped out not knowing where the money was coming from to pay the bills and put food on the table. At this time Jane and I had three small children. God has been providing now for 21 years!
When my first book was being translated in Hungarian they contacted me from Eastern Europe and said, “We need another $1,000 to get this done and we need it within 24 hours.” I was frustrated and replied, “If I’m going to be able to send you $1,000 God will have to literally drop it in my hands in the next 24 hours.” I don’t even remember praying about this. The next morning I received a call from a man who was in emotional distress and he asked if he could come and talk to me. He came, we talked and prayed and he started out the door. Then he stopped and said, “I almost forgot what God told me to do.” He pulled out his wallet and laid ten $100 bills in my hand and walked out the door. I was stunned. I just stood there and laughed at God’s sense of humor. He had laid $1,000 in my hands in less than 24 hours.
In this passage from Matthew, Jesus makes it clear that freedom from anxiety is one of the inward evidences of seeking first the kingdom of God. There is this joyful unconcern for possessions. I’ve know people who are greedy and people who are miserly and they don’t have this kind of joy. It has nothing to do with your abundance of possessions or their lack. It is an inward spirit of trust. Just because someone is living without things doesn’t mean they are living in simplicity. You can be developing an outward life-style of simplicity and be filled with anxiety. Conversely, wealth does not bring freedom from anxiety.
Freedom from anxiety is characterized by three inner attitudes:
1. If what we have we receive as a gift.
2. If what we have is cared for by God.
3. If what we have is available to others.
(1) We are dependent on God for the simplest elements of life: air, water, sun. We cannot manufacture these for ourselves but we are totally dependent upon them. Life itself is a gift. If we think that what we own is exclusively the result of our own personal efforts all it takes is a drought, a job loss or an accident to help us realize how dependent we are for everything.
(2) It is God’s business to care for what we have. Ultimately, only God can protect what we possess. It is common sense to take precautions, but if we believe that precaution itself protects us and our stuff we will be riddled with anxiety.
(3) When we cling to our possessions rather than sharing them it’s because we are anxious about tomorrow. If we truly believe that God is who Jesus says he is, then we do not need to be afraid. We can freely share because we know that he will care for us.
If we seek His kingdom first above everything else, “all these things” will be provided. You can live a simple lifestyle. Try it, you might like it!
FREEDOM! Seminar October 16 & 17, 2015
September 19, 2015
FREEDOM! is Coming
October 16 & 17
FREEDOM! reveals the common “roots of bondage” that the enemy uses to keep us from rising to our full destiny as Kingdom people. Participants are provided material to be read before the Friday evening/all-day Saturday mini-retreat where each of the roots is broken off through worship, the declaration of the Word, exercising our authority as believers, and prayer. The cost is $60 which covers materials and the retreat. Attendance is limited…first 40 paid participants will be accepted. Check out the following video then Register for the upcoming FREEDOM! Seminar today!
When The Money Becomes Tight!
September 19, 2015
I seldom write about money but I need to let you know that we are in a difficult place. In addition to providing funds for the daily needs of this ministry such as my salary, utilities, and administrative costs, I do many other things that require funds.
I meet with people weekly for one on one-prayer ministry sessions that usually last two hours. Some of the people are able to donate to the ministry but many are not. I don’t turn anyone away for lack of funds. In addition to those that can come to the office I do a number of ministry prayer sessions over Skype, which is a great tool for meeting with people, many of whom are out of state or overseas.
In addition for 4 years I have met with a group of young men in my home each Saturday morning to mentor and in many cases be a spiritual father to them. This may seem like a small thing but in addition to Saturday I meet with them during the week for ministry or coffee or breakfast, etc., just to spend time with them. It is very fulfilling to see the profound impact this has on their lives. They come from a variety of backgrounds, churches and experiences. Many of them are active in their church or some area of ministry directly as a result of this time spent with them.
We also support two missionary families in Eastern Europe for $650 per month. Adam & Orsi Balogh and their family in Hungary. Adam has a significant ministry and travels throughout Eastern Europe. You can read last month’s newsletter for more detail.
Eduard & Ibi Rudolf and their family in Romania. They minister among the gypsies in Apata and the surrounding villages in Romania. They also have a profound impact that you can read about in our February 2015 newsletter.
The invitations to travel and speak have dropped off some and I’m not sure why however this has allowed me more time to spend in Bakersfield meeting and praying with people as well as the other duties I have outlined above. My time here was limited previously because of my travels. I honestly think I have more of an impact on people’s lives this way.
We have a bare bones budget and operate very close to the bone each month. The last three months have been difficult. We have experienced a significant drop in donations to such an extent that I only received one full paycheck in August rather than two and September looks as if it may be a repeat of that. There are also bills that we are running behind on that need to be paid. I don’t like being in this position and it is not a good witness to the people with whom we do business.
If you can help one-time gifts are much appreciated but we also need additional donors to come alongside us monthly. We need about $2,000 a month more than we are currently receiving. If you are donating to Wholeness Ministries would you consider increasing your donation? If you are not would you consider becoming one of our regular supporters. We have been doing this for 21 years and from the testimonies we receive many lives have been profoundly impacted.
You can go onto our website under Donate and give one-time gifts or become one of our regular partners in ministry. Go to www.wholeness.org/donate. Or you can mail donations to Wholeness at P.O. Box 80503, Bakersfield, CA 93380.
Thank you for your consideration and may God guide you in this.
Our Missionary Family In Hungary
August 28, 2015
I wanted to give you an update on Adam and Orsi Balogh who work in Budapest and also among the villages in Hungary. Wholeness Ministries has been a significant part of financial support for this family for many years and we want to be able to continue that support with your help. It’s exciting to read what they are doing. Wanted to give you an update by sharing parts of Adam’s newsletter.
Greetings in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ. I truly hope your heart remains strong in every way to continually love and serve Him. I have been thinking of you and praying for you during the course of this year and time has come now to encourage you with what the Lord has done in and through us. This year the greatest family event for us was the birth of Noemi our fourth daughter. She is most precious and wonderful baby. She revived our family life in almost every way.
Evangelism: We’ve continued our evangelistic outreaches in Hungary and Europe. We consider evangelism as our main calling. We constantly develop and improve our means and methods to reach the people. We’ve been holding Philip Courses in Hungary and in the Ukraine. As you know the political situation in the Ukraine is quite unstable. A war is being waged on the eastern part of the country, the economy is broke and the people are anxious. We’ve been able to arrange revival meetings in different towns in addition to the Philip Courses.
We had one Fire Rally this year. It was very blessed. – The weekly street outreaches are continuing. It seems to me the city of Budapest is more open than in the previous years. We’ve been able to touch the lives of thousands through street ministry. – We conducted elementary and high school outreaches in Budapest and other towns in Hungary. Surprisingly many schools are wide open. – We were also invited by country churches to do outreaches in their villages. – The This is the Day Festival was held twice this year in the Budapest Sport Arena. We had one in the spring and one in the autumn. Both were very well attended, close to ten thousand youth came.
The Homeless Center we operate is well established now. Over the years we’ve been through the storm of many difficulties spanning from financial situations, personnel management issues to even the gay community attacking us but by the grace of the Lord we have overcome them all. The center is a cutting edge ministry in its own ranks. Hundreds of people have been helped spiritually, emotionally, physically and financially. Since 2011 we were able to find jobs for over 200 homeless people. Read more at:
Only One Mission (English Site)
Csak Egyet Szolgalat (Hungarian Site)
Training: We have on our hearts to minister to men. We hold men’s prayer breakfasts biweekly and organized a men’s weekend in March, which was very blessed. We ministered at a summer youth camp of evangelism and discipleship. Close to three hundred youth came for five days. It was an amazing time. – In September we organized a conference for leaders in Orodea, Romania. The Lord worked profoundly throughout the weekend and we were able to impart vision and courage to over one hundred leaders. – In the autumn we held an Asaph Course in Cluj, Romania. This was a five-day course on prayer and worship. – We were invited to teach at a weekend organized for university students. The Lord poured out His Spirit and the Word came strong. It was a life-changing weekend for most of them.
• In the area of Evangelism: Please pray for our ongoing evangelistic efforts: Philip Courses – Alpha Courses – Street outreaches – Missions in the Ukraine, Serbia and in Romania – This is the Day! events – Homeless Center – the expanding ministry to the poor
• In the area of Training: We are launching an advanced Bible study in January for people who really want to know and do the Word. We need lots of prayer in this area. – Men’s ministry – One on one discipleship of young believers – International Pastors Conference in June – New Jerusalem Community growth and progress.
• Family: With the new addition to our family both the blessing and the workload multiplied. Especially Orsi’s home life has become a bit crowded. So please pray for us that we will have wisdom to well use our time and energy.
As you can see from this newsletter Adam is quite busy with a number of projects and ministry outreaches. It has been our privilege to be part of the support system for him for over 15 years. Remember that part of what you donate to Wholeness Ministries goes to support these two missionary families, this one in Hungary and Eduard and Ibi Rudolf in Romania.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
21st Year Anniversary!
July 31, 2015
July 1994 was the inception of Wholeness Ministries as an official independent Non-profit organization. We are excited to celebrate this month our 21st Year Anniversary. It hardly seems real to me that we have been at this for 21 Years. I went back to look at that first newsletter that I mailed out and decided to quote some of it for you so you can see what I was thinking and expecting God to do with Wholeness Ministries 21 years ago.
“Let me share with you some of what we envision in the years ahead. It is our intention at this time to remain here in Bakersfield. We want to provide a safe place, a Wholeness Healing Center, where people can receive prayer ministry and a place where those who are called to prayer ministry can be trained and equipped to pray for others. This is to be a place for short and long-term prayer ministry. Ministry will include prayer for physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Also we want to be available as God opens up opportunities for training conferences both here in the U.S. and internationally.”
“God made very clear to me what I see as the Mandate for Wholeness Ministries. That mandate being Luke 4:18-19..”The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
“We are asking each of you who are friends of this ministry to seek God in prayer, asking Him to direct how you might support the continuing growth and development of Wholeness Ministries. As of now we have about half of our monthly salary provided by monthly commitments. We praise God for those who have lovingly and prayerfully committed to stand with us for the financial needs and we continue to praise Him knowing He will provide for all of our needs “according to His riches in Christ Jesus.”
As you can tell from this quote we have tried to stay true to what I saw God doing 21 years ago. We continue training people, we provide a place for people to receive deep-level and long-term prayer ministry. We have traveled extensively nationally and internationally to equip people for ministry through conducting healing conferences.
Interestingly enough about half of my monthly salary is still provided by monthly commitments. Not much has changed. The summer months are always a tough time for us financially so if you are able to send a little extra it would be much appreciated. If you would consider coming alongside us as a monthly donor that can be easily done by direct deposit through our Website. Simply click on Donate or send a check to Wholeness Ministries, P.O. Box 80503, Bakersfield, CA 93380.
FAITH & TRUST – IGNITE 2015
In July I was part of a speaking team at the IGNITE Conference held in Cromwell, Ct. This is a yearly event put on by Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville, Fl. by my friends Francis & Judith MacNutt. This event is designed to equip and empower the body of Christ through powerful teachings, spirit-led worship, healing prayer, and group fellowship.
Two of the speakers were Judith MacNutt and R.T. Kendall who is the author of over 80 books and an international speaker. It was an exciting time as we watched God move powerfully healing people physically, emotionally and radically changing lives in the process. I’ve stayed in touch with some of the young men that were attending the conference who worship at a Messianic Jewish Synagogue. They are still talking about how much they learned about healing and the changes that are taking place in their lives because of what God started at this conference.
Renaissance Church pastored by Tony Kim and located here in Bakersfield, CA. has a school that I teach at which is the: RENAISSANCE SCHOOL OF REFORMATION. It is an equipping center bringing reformation and transformation to the world around us. Through activation, impartation and practical training you will receive powerful tools to bring change to families, communities and nations. For additional questions contact: SchoolofReformation@irenaissance.org. Or call 661-241-4174
Thank you for your prayers and support.