Play It Again, Dear Jesus

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Pentecost Sunday memorializes the Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples ten days after Jesus’ Ascension, held on the seventh Sunday after Easter. Pentecost is a Greek word meaning fifty, Easter +49 days.

Last week I visited Bethel Church in Redding, which acknowledged Mother’s Day as most churches do, which is fine. Unfortunately, even Pentecostals rarely celebrate the Day of Pentecost, which is Biblical. We celebrate Christmas and Easter but usually not Pentecost.

Negative comment on my eyewitness report of the Bethel claimed that the church represents New Age mysticism. Pentecost ushered in a New Age, the Church Age with a mighty mystical experience, when the 120 were filled with the Holy Spirit accompanied with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

I spoke on the subject of Pentecostal at Praise Chapel in Yuba City; and did a FaceBook live stream.

We need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Pentecost as not merely a historical event; the Holy Spirit is ever present to endue the Church with power to make Her great and powerful once again. The Church should be the dominating influence in America and the world; we need revival and Pentecost is the key.

Play it again, dear Jesus.

God, Virtue, and Immorality

As Brother Mikhail and I walked through the Memorial Church on the Stanford University campus erected by Mrs. Stanford in loving memory of her husband, I wondered about the faith of Leland Standard. I found the following except from a eulogy of the so-called “Robber Barron.” I enjoy studying the Captains of Industry of the 19th Century some of whom were men of the Christian faith:

“Finally, sir, I may be permitted to say that all his moral nature was based on profound religious convictions. While making no ostentatious professions of religion, and not a member of any church, his mind, liberalized by the reading of modern science and philosophy, yet clung to the primal truths of Christ’s teaching—God, virtue, and immortality. In the charter of the new university he prohibits sectarian instruction, but requires the teaching of “the immortality of the soul, the existence of an all-Wise and beneficent Creator, and that obedience to His laws is the highest duty of man.” After his son’s death his thoughts turned with increasing solemnity to contemplate the vast issues of the eternal life.

Like ancient Cato, as reported by Cicero, he might have said:


Glorious day, when I shall remove from this confused crowd to join the divine assembly of souls! For I shall go not only to meet great men, but also my own son Cato. His spirit, looking back upon me, departed to that place whither he knew that I should soon come, and he has never deserted me.

If I have borne his loss with courage, it is because I consoled myself with the thought that our separation would not be for long.

In whichever of its many aspects we contemplate the life of LELAND STANFORD, as a successful and honorable merchant, as a great chief of industry, as a patriotic war governor, as a Senator of the United States, as a wise and generous philanthropist, he reveals himself as a unique and commanding figure in our country’s history and a noble type of American manhood. ”

Peace to his ashes and honor to his memory!”

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EYE WITNESS REPORT FROM BETHEL CHURCH

Bethel Church in Redding, California has a congregation of 8000 in a town of 92,000. I am impressed, whenever I see that many people spending two hours in church, plus there are other things going on throughout the week. Many of the multitude are not mere pew sitters but they are active in the ministry.

Brother Mikhail and I entered the sanctuary about 30 minutes before the service started and there was a line stretching across the altars of trained disciples praying for peoples’ needs from the previous service.

The Bethel House is built on prayer. Outside the church building there is a hill top chapel devoted to 24-hour prayer with large windows overlooking a beautiful vista. The garden surrounding the prayer chapel makes it an ideal place for prayer walks. There must have been 25 folks praying inside and outside the chapel 30 minutes after the service ended.

The worship team played contemporary music; I was not familiar with any of the songs; however, the lyrics were definitely directed towards the Lord. The music was not too loud. There were two dancers, waving banners throughout the worship time, which lasted for 40 minutes. People were very much entering in to the praise period.

One of the pastors encouraged the congregation with two words “fresh grace” and “breakthrough.” He then asked the congregation to pray in the context of the two words and lay hands on neighbors. Two women prophesied briefly over me. One quoted from Philippians 3, “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

There was an offering taken and buckets passed; there was no pressure or promises of return connected with the offering. The church is in the process of building a new campus; hopefully, within the next three to five years. It appears they are making wise use of their finances.

One of the pastors spoke on the plans of the church to rent an old ornate movie theater downtown. They anticipated they would be filling it with 1000 worshipers each Sunday. They told downtown merchants, especially restaurants and coffee shops that they might want to stay open on Sundays, because they will be encouraging their people to eat or shop before and after services. Bethel has a vision to bringing prosperity to the city of Redding, as the church prospers.

A lady of the church, who had been connected with the ministry for over 20 years, asked all the single mothers with children at home to stand. She honored the moms for fulfilling a very difficult task. We were encouraged to give money directly to these dozen women. They were quite moved by the compassion the congregation demonstrated.

Senior Pastor Bill Johnson was not in the service. Pastor Eric introduced his wife Candance as the speaker. I suppose since it was Mother’s Day the ministry wanted a female perspective. Her theme was on building, “Strong People, Strong Families and a Strong City,” thus showing the Dominion or Kingdom Now perspective of Bethel.

Candance testified that she had been saved in an A/G church at fifteen and soon after went on a mission to Mexico. From then on, she had a burden for missions. She went through some of the YWAM program and later graduated from Bethany College of the Assemblies of God in Santa Cruz, where she met her husband. She initially had difficulty dealing with the isolation of Redding, since she had a vision for the nations of the world.

Candance warned that there may be seasons in our life, when our situation does not make sense; meanwhile we must praise and trust God. She spoke of longsuffering being a fruit of the Spirit. Eventually, with the rise of Bethel’s Revival Training School of thousands of students from all over the world, God brought the nations to Bethel, thus she could now reach into the world from Redding.

She reminded us of the faith of Abraham and Sarah, who had to wait for 25 years for their Isaac, which shows that we need to believe what God says. This is important in a church with so much emphasis on the prophetic word to individuals.

One of the pastors made an altar call for salvation, healing and deliverance after Candance’s message. Scores of people responded.

Steve Conn an old friend from Praise Chapel Redding, where I had ministered last time in 1991, joined us in the service. I had not seen him since speaking in his church; however, we have been in contact on Face Book. We walked to the Prayer building after Church where Brother Steve, Brother Mikhail, and I took communion just among the three of us.

This is an outstanding work; the emphasis is that revival is associated with the supernatural. In Acts 8, Philip the Evangelist had a revival in Samaria. “The people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.”—Acts 8:6.

Bethel is getting world-wide attention because of the reports of the supernatural in their services and multitudes are coming to know the Lord.

I did not hear or see anything bizarre or weird in the three hours we spent on the church grounds. I would caution Christians not to judge the ministry based on its critics on the internet; most of whom have not first-hand observed the ministry. Much of the criticism comes from cessationists, who teach that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the apostolic age.

There are always the critics. There are those who have put out videos and writings against my ministry on the Internet, that misrepresent what The CMUSA is all about, which is reaching out for the salvation of souls.

I am now in Yuba City, CA, hosted by an old pastor friend, Chris Madsen. He said this evening, “From my experience, the critics are the ones who have little success in the ministry.”

 

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Mother’s Day Tribute To My Wife

My father said to his sons and daughter: “It is up to you to celebrate Mother’s Day for she is not my Mother.” Consequently, that is the way I have always looked at Mother’s Day, it is mainly up to the daughters to honor Cindy this day.

Of course, Dad was trying to encourage my siblings and me to honor our mother on her day; he was always kind to her every day.

I do want to say on this Mother’s Day. One of the things I appreciate the most about Cindy is the love that she had for my mother, which was equal to my own. The truth be known Cindy might have been better to my mother than I was. The first few years of our marriage we lived with my widowed mother.

Cindy always encouraged her in the loss of my father. As a care giver Cindy surpassed me, especially when my mother in her last several years suffered a broken hip and certain complications with the new hip. Also, Cindy was helpful in ministering to my mother during the disease that resulted in her passing.

My mother was exceedingly energetic for almost all her life; she was a great influence, example and inspiration to Cindy.

Cindy took notes on my mother’s cooking and learned to prepare all my favorite foods. As I recall, Cindy even took notes before I asked for her hand in marriage, just in case she got a proposal from me. Eventually, Cindy added her southern flair to my favorite dishes and prepared new ones that I enjoyed as much as my mother’s.

After we did get our own home, Cindy was always ready to visit my mother or have my mother visit us. There were no mother-in-law issues. Of course, my mother dearly loved Cindy and helped her mature in Christ and learn to be the lady she became. My mother was a one woman finishing school for Cindy.

Cindy grew up with five step mothers, one of them twice. Thankfully, Cindy had the opportunity to know my father for a few years before his passing, so she was exposed to the stable Christian marriage of my parents. Having known my father, Cindy knew what to expect from me.

 

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Now Play Ball

Casey Stengel charged home plate in a World Series game. Mikey Mantle having a full count, did not swing on pitch number 7. The home plate umpire yelled “Strike 3!”

Casey was furious, as were most of the Yankee fans. He charged the umpire and got in his face, screaming, as only Casey could do.

The umpire responded in a clearly Brooklyn accent of the period: “I’m the umpire. I calls ’em as I sees ’em. Now play ball!”

Among open-air preachers there is strong controversy about what is permissible to say or not; whether or not a preacher can carry mace or forcefully defend himself, whether or not one can lie to the authorities to avoid trouble or arrest, etc. There are other such issues.

Some are calling preachers with whom they disagree to repentance. They are even shunning those who refuse to change.

Many want to act as umpires and make the decisions for others as to what can be said or not said or do or not do? Who appointed these umpires? We all call ‘em as we sees ‘em. I see the differences as judgment calls as to what is effective and what is not. In my opinion the differences are not moral issues.

Preachers, quit arguing and play ball! Stop putting down one another and go about your business of preaching to the lost. I am glad for all who are playing ball as they think best, including the ones who are denouncing me. I am going to continue going about my ministry, as I have been doing for 45 years, whether the wanna be umpires like it or not.baseball.jpg

Mother’s Day

My mother (1911-1994) was the love of my childhood. When I started school, I insisted for several years that my mother wave to me from our bay window as I walked one block from our home to Fairbanks Elementary School in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The last thing I would say to Mother upon leaving for school with my books in hand was, “Don’t forget to wave.”

On very rare occasions she got busy, so I would wait a few minutes at the corner and if she did not appear, I would run back to the house and remind her of our daily ritual. I don’t remember when or why we stopped waving.

Sadly, with the passing of the years, when I reached the age of accountability, my heart turned cold towards my mother. By the time I was 15, I was living a life of self-indulgence and dishonor to my mother and father. This was a very shameful period of my life.

I remember one terribly inconsiderate Mother’s Day, when my mother lamented at the end of the day that I had not wished her a happy Mother’s Day. How does a boy from such a loving home become so selfish? Saint Paul called it “the mystery of iniquity.”

Thankfully, when I converted to Christianity at 29 years old, my love for my mother was quickly renewed as I learned to walk with God day by day.

Mother has been in Heaven for 24 years. I look forward to the future when we will meet again along “the river of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” never to part.

Is it any wonder one of favorite songs of this Hoosier boy is, “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away?” My childhood home on South Sixth Street was just blocks from the Wabash River. This nostalgic song by Paul Dresser, which is the state song of Indiana, is also a wonderful Mother Day’s song.

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On the Banks of the Wabash

Cussing Preachers

There has been a controversy on my newsfeed concerning “cussing preachers.”

One of the things that separates man from the animal kingdom is our wonderful gift of the language arts. We have the ability to express great thoughts and ideas with words. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.” God spoke and it was done. Our words also have creative powers. So, we should choose our words carefully. We can make or break another person’s day by the words we speak.

Sinners on campus are often incapable of speaking a few sentences without the use of four letter offensive words, which are intended not to edify but put down those with whom they disagree. Their working vocabulary is limited.

Occasionally, some preachers use a cuss word or vulgarity for effect or shock value as a turnaround or to gain more attention. However, I would think that this only be done rarely, if at all. In the below pictures sinners are either directing their curse words against God or their fellow man for selfish reasons and for loss of temper, which is always wrong. God considers our motives more than our actual words. We should not curse those whom God has blessed; nor should we bless whom God has cursed.

One should always take into consideration his audience and the setting. For instance, one should not use questionable words in church or among children or the presence of ladies of whom I fear there are few these days. Women have often become fouler than men. Personally, I find such crude expressions as “pissed off” objectionable or the even use of “butt” instead of buttocks. But then I am of the older generation.

Those who believe that they have the liberty to use questionable language should be understanding of those who are reticent or have scruples against such terms. I do not consider the use of occasional cuss words as a reason to part company or even be overly critical.

We all have our quirks and different ideas as to certain behaviors we might or might not condone. Among those who have been arguing over this issue there does not even seem to be agreement as to what words are permissible and what ones are not.

Visionary Preachers from the 70’s & 80’s, where have they gone?

When I was saved in 1972, there were numerous big-name preachers, who wielded strong influence in and outside the Church with the Word of God. These were men of vision; who put into action their vision throughout the 70’s and 80’s.

Billy Graham was still in his heyday and holding his city-wide crusades and counseling Presidents. Multitudes were making decisions for Christ in large stadiums and countless others responding in their living rooms to Billy’s invitation for sinners to come, “Just as I am.”

Oral Roberts’ television program was popular and he was promoting healing and seed faith over television. OR University had been established and was growing. Roberts was breaking with classical Pentecostalism and to become a leader of the Charismatic Movement. He was determined to unite divine healing with the Medical Arts by establishing a hospital.

Jerry Falwell was promoting the Moral Majority and politically activating fundamentalists, who had traditionally removed themselves from politics. Republican presidential candidates were seeking the support of Falwell. Without Falwell, there may not have been a President Reagan. Falwell’s influence was to follow through his son, who was instrumental in the election of President Trump.

Robert Schuller pastored Garden Grove Community Church, which was founded in an outside drive-in theater; he was the successor to the legacy of Norman Vincent Peale. Schuller’s “Hour of Power” TV program introduced the witness of Christian celebrities to the masses.

Chuck Smith, generally known as the father of the Jesus Movement, was baptizing new believers in the Pacific Ocean. Soon Calvary Chapel Churches were being established in cities nationally and internationally. Those affected by the Jesus Movement took Christ into the streets.

Pat Robertson, Jim and Tammy Bakker and Paul and Jan Crouch were establishing Christian TV networks and hosting Christian Talk Shows and introducing Christian groups and singers on a world-wide stage. Robertson became politically influential enough to make a serious run for the presidency in 1988; he also established Regent University.

Bill Bright’s Campus Crusade for Christ was the leading voice of Christianity on college campuses. Meanwhile, Holy Hubert Lindsey’s open-air preaching at Berkeley was usually gathering larger audiences than the leftist anti-war radicals of the era. Other voices would follow Holy Hubert and confront sin on university campus and in the streets.

Kenneth Hagin from Tulsa, Ok, and his disciples were broadcasting a message of faith for healing and prosperity.

Jimmy Swaggart out of Baton Rouge, LA, at the time of his fall may have surpassed all the others on this list in national and world-wide influence. Considering his singing and piano playing and preaching abilities, he may have also been the most talented preacher of his time. Had not he fallen, he could have become was of the most influential preachers in the history of the Church.

There were other famous and popular preachers of that era, which need to be acknowledged.

My question is who and where are the preachers today with a vision, who are having the impact that these men had?

The Most Important Event in the Community

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Among the books which influenced me as a young Christian was Halley’s Bible Handbook.

Halley stated: “If all Christian people would stir themselves up to be faithful, in this one fundamental Christian duty of going to Church every Sunday, it would set forward the influence of the Church, and the Christ for whom the Church stands, more than all the rest of the things the churches are doing put together.”

Halley wrote the above in the first half of the 20th Century, when Christians still considered church attendance a duty. It seems it has become an option in the 21st Century.

What do you think? Do you consider Church attendance an obligation?

“God instituted the Church, and God appointed the First Day of the week as Church Day. All Christendom has so recognized it and has made this day a day of cessation from the ordinary activities of life,” wrote Halley.

There is nothing more important going on in your community tomorrow morning than Sunday Worship services. At God’s appointed time, turn out, en masse, to honor HIM in whose name the Church exists.

Church is Not Optional

“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches.” This the Lord’s admonition to each of the Seven Churches of Revelation.

Five of the seven churches he calls to repentance. The two that he is exclusively positive about are Sardis and Philadelphia. With the others he observes positives and negatives, except for the Church at Laodicea to which he has nothing good to say.

Usually, Christians are concentrating more on what the Spirit is saying to them as individuals instead of what he is saying to the Universal Church. Of course, in the admonition to hear what he is saying to the churches in general, he addresses particular churches. As well as telling individuals to be overcomers.

I don’t hear him saying to come out of the organized churches. He does teach in Revelation to come out of Babylon, which symbolizes the world.

The Churches are the called-out ones from the world, who then assemble in particular congregations.

What I hear from my newsfeed about the churches is usually the negative, usually from people that have come out of the churches. In reaction to all the negativity, I typically emphasize the positive and urge men to work within the church to bring about the necessary reformation.

The Lord is speaking to the angel (pastor) of each church. He is still speaking to the pastors of particular churches today.

Hopefully, Pastor has been in his study all week praying, seeking the Lord and studying his text to hear what the Spirit is saying to his church and churches in general in our time. It would be a significant hearing aid, if we all were in attendance each week to hear our pastor’s message.

The Apostle John was not afraid to say negative things about the churches. But John himself was a churchman, not a renegade. He addresses churches in The Revelation, which he is believed to have founded, except for the Church at Ephesus. As founder of these churches for which he is burdened, he earned the right to a hearing and personally knew their strengths and weaknesses, and, yes, even their sins.31143697_10156280851658917_4630883512923193344_n.jpg