Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Impacting The unchurched

I have a poem and need music for a song. Send your suggestions

Don't Go Near the Water

Don't go near the water
Til you learn how to swim
Don't go near those sinners til they look like Him

Those people that are drinking and swearing
As they walk this sod
They can't come near us til they act like God

Don't go near the water
Til you learn how to swim
Don't go near those sinners til they look like Him!

Jesus never talked to sinners and He never had a drink
You must come out from them
You know what they think!

Don't go near the water
Til you learn how to swim
Don't go near those sinners til they look like Him!

Never water the GOOD NEWS down with mercy, kindness, grace and love!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Biblical Leadership

How can we minister to a hurting world when so many people are in pain? Do it the way Jesus did. Start small and build deeply! Then call each of them to find some people to equip the same way they were equipped. Before long that small group had become a large movement. 

In the Old Testament we can see how God revealed His plans for taking the Kingdom back for evil. Take a look at Moses and why he decided to delegate. See Exodus 4:

Moses was killing himself until his father in law, a pagan priest, said he was on the road to burning himself out. Like any good consultant, Jethro told Moses the truth about what his egotistic desire for control would do to his people. It will burn them out as well!

We need more people to adopt the discipleship and multiplication process. But it is hard work. It makes us reduce our need for control. That is the biggest barrier!

It also requires us to place large events in their proper perspective, at the bottom in the Kingdom.

I read a blog last week by a well-known church researcher and consultant. He focused on Eight Ways Pastors are ill prepared to head a church. Several can be boiled down to an lack of training and ability to work with people.  Included was an inability to equip, train or disciple members. I agree. Those are not taught or emphasized in most Bible schools and seminaries.

The responses were many and many were defensive. Not a few blamed the people for being unsaved wolves rather than sheep, blind, stubborn, rebellious, etc. It came down to blaming today's Christians for being much worse than in past generations.

From my brief studies of Church History I cannot agree that believers today are worse than ever. Are they worse than those in Germany that supported the Nazi party? Are they worse than the slave owners of America? Are they worse than the pagans in the First Century that raped, pillaged and burned Christians before they were saved?

As my Dad was fond of saying, "Gary Ray, sin was not invented in this generation. It has been around a very long time. Leading and Pastoring has always been difficult." It is important that we not give up doing good.

Exponential growth of Christians into maturity is critically important. Recruiting and equipping the laity is hard work but very rewarding. I was a layman that was discipled by a defrocked Presbyterian Minister who taught me how to pray, lead small groups, do Pastoral hospital visits, do Bible studies, and so forth. The laity we recruited and trained came out of drugs, sexual perversions, stealing, homelessness, etc.

It was hard. It was very hard and it was thankless! In fact, despite staying up all night to minister to these people after working all day and feeding them the last thing in the fridge they complained about Karen and my lack of commitment. That is what immature people do! Dozens of these young people became outstanding husbands and wives and solid Christians. Some even went to seminary. It was exponential healing, change and growth.

Do you have any nominations for exponential leaders from your life?Who led you to Christ and who equipped you?

I am going to repeat my focus on this man. Who would you say was the most influential Christian leader in history? I have asked this question many times in a variety of places, including this blog. I think it is a most provocative issue that cuts across the grain of Christianity. It scares most Pastors so they refuse to discuss it. 

I have asked people at seminars and seminaries; churches and church elder boards; sermons and solo pastors. I get some rather interesting answers. Here are a few of the nominations.

  • Mark (He wrote the first Gospel)
  • Peter (The Rock on which the Church is built)
  • Mary (The mother of Jesus)
  • Paul (The great preacher to the gentiles and writer of many books)
  • Luke (He wrote more of the Bible than any other person)
  • James (Brother of Jesus and wrote a book)
  • Luther (He started a revolution)
  • Mohammed (Without him, Christianity would be much bigger)
  • Billy Graham (A modern evangelist of repute)
  • Bill Bright (Founded Campus Crusade)
All of these nominations are worthy of fame, fortune and many books but they are not my pick. I nominate a man that gets little contemporary press. He did not write any of the books in the Bible nor did he have the gift of oratory. He operated behind the scenes with power, wisdom and incredible influence. 

Without him, there would have been no Paul, no John Mark, no Luke and no gentile church and no missions to the gentiles. He was a multiplier and is lost to history because he had few big audiences and most of us fear his approach. It was the same as Jesus. 

And, it was more than what Jethro told Moses!

Our web has some good books to help your train and equip others into maturity. When you open that link you will see a book on witnessing to Muslim neighbors. It is a fantastic book. Donna Thomas, one of the most successful Missionaries of the last century has a book for you. My Mentor Dr. Richard Walters has a couple of great books that will help laugh your way out of legalism!

The book that has an anonymous author and a title about the Threads of God tells how a married couple retired and took the equipping tools from our church across the whole country. Want to be inspired?  Go see them. 


Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Danger of Setting Faith Goals

It can be a great motivator to set faith goals if properly done. However, goal setting can be a trap when done wrongly or with the wrong idea.

For example many faith driven preachers put a huge emphasis on outcomes that are dependent on God's miraculous interventions. They read certain passages of scripture and then "Claim the results of the passage".

I realize we can read places when the Bible says, "Jesus healed all their diseases." This passage is read as "We can and should heal every disease". Then we should claim success "by faith". So everyone is told they were healed so quick acting sick.

That is essentially claiming we are in control of God's actions.

This is bad theology and bad promises. It is based on presumption not faith.We do not control God so we cannot control the outcomes that depend on His sovereign will.We cannot decide on a goal by our own logic and then hold God accountable to do it. Good intentions and the ability to dream are not within our power to achieve.

I trust God in all things regardless of the outcomes. If it rains or does not rain. If the crops fail or prosper. If I am healed or get worse. God is my source of love and hope.

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How Can we Impact so Many that Need God?

Over the last few years we have seen a flood of pain, sickness, addictions and domestic abuse in the Eastern Bloc led by the USSR. They had been the second world power to the USA but it was falling apart socially, culturally and spiritually. For 70 years Communists thugs had attacked the churches, killed the best leaders and wiped out families who had talents and skills because they were able to achieve more than others!

The results of atheism and anti-religious fanaticism was predictable. For the first time in history, a western nation saw a decrease in the life expectancy and population growth. It was a terrible crisis, at least ten times worse than anything we had seen in America; even our inner cities.

God showed some of us that we were to go and minister to those broken people. WHY? What could we do to help 200 million people, most of whom were suffering from massive Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

I was a Counselor. Should we open an office and help as many people as possible? We had an in-patient clinic for addiction and psychotherapy. There were millions of addicts. Should we open a hospital in Moscow or St. Petersburg?

We had written several books and developed videos to teach people about healthy Christian living. Millions needed that teaching. Should we write and develop videos?

Should we plant a church? The Communists had killed over 100,000 Pastors and Priests and the need for churches was terrific.

Should we start a graduate school?

Millions needed to hear the gospel. Should we buy a big tent and travel from town to town preaching, healing and giving Bibles away?

Where should we start? Jesus faced a similar situation when He came to earth 2,000 year ago. It was a brutal, illness filled, area of hostility, war, persecution, rape, domestic abuse and addictions. What was His model for changing the world? Did it work? Want to read ahead? Get my books that are on sale now so you can see how to change the world. See The Healing Release of the Holy Spirit as a starter.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Thanks for the Birthday Blessings

Peter heard God say, "Take eat from the whole world and leave the old ways behind." So did I.

So many great memories flood my mind as I read the several dozen, over a hundred, birthday blessings from all over the world. I love to hear from my friends old and new.

They remind me of the incredibly rich life I have been given by the Lord. I was reared in poverty along with all my neighbors in a depression era village that sent her soldiers off to war when I was a baby.

From that meager beginning I have been able to travel to many nations and develop deep friendships with people from every socioeconomic and religious background. I discovered that peaceful relationships are possible with every person regardless of background when we interact with mercy and grace that projects respect for each individual.

A young woman in my classes in Asia asked, "Dr. Gary did you always want to be a Christian Missionary and fly around the world to equip people like us"? I knew this question probably came from teaching that we need to have a big vision and big plans.

I said, "I always wanted to be a Missionary but it never occurred to me that I could fly around to different nations and equip Christians to serve the Lord."

When I became a teacher and counselor it never occurred to me that God would use my education to train others to do Soul Care. But God is a very creative Father and I learned to simply respond to His call rather than act on traditions that rejected medical and psychological research.

So, thanks for your affirmations that confirm my choices to leave professional, secular things behind so I could focus my attention of moving with the Spirit.

Maybe God is not finished with me yet.




Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Speaking to the Lord in Prayer

There are 3 kinds of common prayers that we need to implement in our walk with the Lord.

Seeking Prayers that recognize the fact that "W can do more focused prayers when we first ask God's Spirit to guide us since we "Do not know how to pray..."

The second is "Speaking Prayers that we cover today. After Seeking God's direction, we can speak to the Lord more directly about the things the Holy Spirit has revealed. We can have confidence that we are on target when God had directed us how to pray.

Speaking Prayers

I usually do not respond directly to the Seeker in my intersession but seek God's direction and then focus as I am Directed.  There have been many times when we prayed for people and were directed to go in a direction not desired or even wanted by the Seeker.

One of the most useful spiritual gifts we can receive as a prayer team is discernment. Others key gifts are wisdom and knowledge. (See I Corinthians 12, 13, 14.) If a Seeker has an unknown or hidden problem the Holy Spirit can reveal it to us so it can be removed as a block to an desired answer.

We usually pray and pause to ask the Seeker if anything is stirring in them physically, mentally, or emotionally. I recently asked for prayers for my neuropothy and the woman leading the team prayed specifically for more oxygen to flow in my legs. She did not know that is a big issue with neuropothy.

So, relax and understand that We do not even know how to pray but God does and can direct us. Be humble and receive what the Holy Spirit gives us.

Here are some eBooks and materials on ways to bless others.

You Can Help Us Remember A Great Young Man

Last Sunday I attended the memorial service for Ethan Roser, age 20. Ethan was the son of Mark and Pat Roser who served the Lord in Zimbabwe for over 20 years.

Ethan was attending Wheaton College when he was struck by a iron bar from a hammer throw at the college track and field event. He was a stellar young man that touched many people in his young life.

Mark Roser served on the Sweeten Life Board and we want to encourage you to support their memorial to their son by donating to the Ethan Roser Ministry Scholarship. Send them to Uttermost Missions, P.O. Box 499024, Cincinnati, Ohio 45249