Thursday, November 23, 2006

This Is What I See

I know the last few blogs have sounded like I'm not sure we're supposed to BE in Harrsiburg, but that's not what I'm getting at. The main issue for me, is "What are we supposed to be DOING in Harrisburg?"

To explain the reason for the impasse, I must deal with the prophetic words that mentioned Philadelphia as a place of ministry for us. I must deal with the 30-year vision of a production facility in St. Louis. I must deal with the apostolic calling to establish many churches, training and sending out pastors.

Also to to answer that, I must go back to what the Lord continues to show me over and over again. The one thing that HE brings to my heart is the one thing that I have shunned to even talk about because I didn't want to be perceived as being some big shot, know it all, self proclaimed producer.

What I see, is a Production House. That's all I've ever seen. Even when we were in the building, I tried to set it up to look like the set in a television studio.

I can fully describe what I see. The TV Production studio is set up with a sofa and love seat. I see tables and chairs with a backdrop that looks like we're in the living room of a home. I see, off to the side, a second stage area for a live band. I see an audience set up like what you might see on the Oprah show, ovation seating that rises up on tiers with the front row at eye level of the stage and rising up a few rows until you reach the back.

From the TV production set, I see Carol and me teaching with Power Point and video clips. I see question and answer sessions. I see guest, like my pastor, being interviewed and teaching. I see seminars and wokshops. I see musical guest and comedians. I see all of it being taped to be aired on local cable TV, internet streaming video, and distributued by DVD's.

The facility also has other studios within it: animation studio, music and video editng suites and a computer graphics lab. Then there are the many floors that provide video and table games, a computer lab, a coffee house and a library.

I don't know if you can call it a church that has a production house or a production house that host a church. I just know that, that's what I see. The reasons I've struggled the last few weeks with the true direction of the Lord for Fruitful Life is because the more I try to pursue establishing a church, the more this picture comes up into my spirit.

Almost 30 years ago, God gave our oversseer a vision. Part of that vision involved a multi-media center in St. Louis. The Lord spoke forth the names, "Chris and Carol" when HE showed him that part of the vision. I have carried this in my spirit ever since he told us about that vision. Also, when we were commissioned and released in May 2004, the prophet mentioned Philadelphia several times. So with all these visions and words of knowledge, I need the wisdom to know what portion of the vision we are supposed to do in Harrisburg.

SO the question is, do we establish the production house in Harrsiburg, or should we be establishing a church in Harrisburg? Is it both or is neither one of these a part of the purpose for being in Harrsiburg? Is it something completely different like establishing a cable TV broadcast, just to help unite the church community in this region.

According to the Word just brought forth from our Bishop, we are to invest in the place where God has us. I believe that means God wants us to sow into the lives of the precious people we meet with each week in our home. I believe that it also means we are to sow into the works of other pastors and leaders in Harrisburg. That's all we can do anyway because we have nothing else to offer at this season.

I'm receiving training on my job to be an internet steaming video producer. I'm beginning to believe that our main purpose for being in Harrisburg was for training, education and preparation for the next level of our calling. We can still provide ministry to people while we are here, but it may never have been meant to be the place to acquire a facilty or operate from a public building. If it is, GOD will have to open those doors. We will not push or drive the church congregation for those things.

One thing we know for sure; the ministry in our home is very affective. We know for sure, to continue with that. God has even sent confirmation through my mother's dream concerning this. That's why I said that of all the things we have to consider and work through, I know we are to go forth with the in-house aspect of our work in Harrisburg.

"No, you didn't miss God"

Carol and I just received the most wonderful letter from one of our dear daughters. We've known her and her husband since , well let's just say before they were married. We know and love all three of their daughters and we cannot imagine our lives with out this family in it.

We had a true set up encounter meeting and conversation during our recent trip to Saint Louis. We had a serious reconnection, reconcilation and restoration of our relationship. I've been writing some very soul searching logs lately and this note came from our daughter in the midst of all I've been feeling. She had no idea and yet she wrote the following:

Pastor Chris and Carol


Even when the picture that is painted before us looks so like we don’t, we actually have already won.

Let me say this. If you guys hadn't came to Saint Louis this past weekend we would have been in the same place in the same state of mind.

God knew that you would be where you were at that particular time, when you told us how you got the money to come and how long it took for them to find you or get in touch with you. God already knew.

Robert and I like to say he plans your future at the end. You have already won. We just have to walk it out.

This is really awesome. You are there in PA for a reason. God is forging Carol’s relatives and giving other people another chance to embrace him and, o my God, he is using the most realest people in the world in that place.

Yes, it is only for a season. No you didn't miss God.

Robert and I were at church yesterday and he started laughing and saying I’m in the same exact seat I was in over ten years ago. The enemy would try to make it look as if all of the places that we have been were in vain or just a waste of time. I leaned over and told Robert that this time we are different. The things that we have learned, we will have the opportunity to teach others, at Metro. We will be able to help with the vision of the house and to see things come to pass.

So. Yes even when it don't seem as though we heard God, the act of obedience said I'll go where you want me to go and I'll do what you want me to do.

I personally did not want to come back to STL over 5 years ago. It seems mean, but I didn't. I was comfortable where I was. Even though my mom was ill, that was her problem. "Also, on a side note we didn't know that you felt the way you did when we came back and we really do apologize. It wasn't toward you all at all. We just were dealing with issues."

But out of obedience,

When I look at my children, reading in bible study at your mom's house, it was worth it!

When I look at us coming to church and we all are being embraced and my kids feel a since of belonging, it was worth it!

Thank you for everything. Thank you for being there when no one else was there. Thanks for being the mom and dad that we didn't have. Thanks for sowing seeds into our lives and allowing us to be us. Thanks for putting us on your email list so that we can keep up with current events like you coming to town.

Robert and I are fully engaged and others may say what ever, it aint about that. We all have a job to do and that job is to serve God with everything in us in spite of all of our insecurities and hang ups.

We love you. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Shawn Parrish

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


One thing I'm learning through all of this is to just follow the Lord. I've gone from being so sure that I understood what various prophetic words, dreams, and even the commissioning exhortations meant, to only being sure of one thing, and that is, “I must follow the presence and peace of the Lord.”

I look back through my journals, e-mails, and web-logs and I sounded so sure and confident two years ago. I thought I knew exactly what to do and how to do it. Now I'm just sure of one thing. I know HE is faithful. I know to follow the direction HE is giving me. I'm trying to stop jumping ahead of HIM and assuming I know what HIS directions will lead up to.

I can go all the way back to the first dream the Lord ever gave me about Harrisburg and it was about me being inside of a gigantic prison/ maze. The people inside of the prison were not even looking to get out. They were partying and having a good time. As soon as I realized that it was a prison, I started looking for the way out. The very moment I started looking for the way out, a very evil, sinister presence was immediately aware and on alert. It knew that someone wanted to get out. I walked around in the maze trying to find the way out (without looking like I was trying to get out), but there were only dead ends. I looked up and I saw an opening in the ceiling of this massive place, which was bigger than a sporting event arena. The only way I could get out was to climb up along the prison bars of the thousands of cells inside this place. Slowly and carefully I climbed up and out of the place and even that climb was tricky and treacherous because I had to do it without drawing attention to myself.

Once I got out, I looked back and I recalled, by memory, the path or trek I had taken along the bars to get out. I knew I could tell or even show others how to get out.

Today I realize that I assumed a lot about what that dream meant. I also realized that I never asked the Lord, just who I should go after, if I attempted to go back in and show others the way. Now I know you have to find those who are ready and willing to get out. Only God can orchestrate that. Many have come across our path, but very few have been willing and ready to get out of their prison. Maybe the purpose of that dream was to show us what things would be like for us in Harrisburg. I took it mean it was our mission, purpose and assignment, rather than a word of knowledge and a word of wisdom for a season and place we would one day experience.

Then there’s the powerful dream that GOD gave me regarding rescuing HIS church from a prison/ tower of religion. In that dream, there was a one-year season of preparation before being released into that assignment. I think I’m in that season of preparation right now.

Again, I assumed many things about that dream and our purpose for being in Harrisburg, PA. It looks like GOD was identifying the place where HE would train us for that assignment to rescue HIS church. HE was not identifying the place or region from which we would operate in that mission. Even in that dream, it involved coming to grips with issues concerning Carol and her family. We are in the midst of that right now.

I know my last few entries have sounded pretty shaky and unsure, but they really aren’t. I’m just keeping an accurate journal of the true nature of our journey. I thought GOD meant one thing, but the journey with HIM has brought me to a completely different understanding. It has also taught me some very important lessons about interpretation of the commands of the Lord. Pastor Ray was always cautioning us to stop and get the understanding of what GOD meant by what HE said and to not go running with just what HE said. I used to get “A’s” in this when I was an associate pastor. It’s been “D’s” and “F’s” since we’ve been here. I’m so grateful we serve the GOD of a second chance; third and fourth chances, sometimes.

I think the Lord has used all of this to shake me from putting my confidence in anything or anyone, but HIM.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Standing In The River

Sunday night, my mother called me from St. Louis to share a dream that the Lord gave her about us. She told me that in the dream, Carol and I were leading a small group of people through a heavy, thick forest or jungle type area.

She said we led them to the bank of a river and I told everyone that we were going to cross the river and get to the other side. She said Carol and I went out into the river and stood in waist deep water and kept encouraging everyone to come on and cross the river.

Two things stood out to her in the dream: First, the water was very clear. It was so clear that she could see our feet on the floor of the river. Secondly, we stayed in the river until we were able to get everyone across. There were some who were very hesitant to cross, but we kept encouraging them until they all made it.

When she woke up from the dream she said the Lord brought to her remembrance the story of Israel, crossing the Jordan River to come into the land of promise. She said the Lord made her to know that we were in Harrisburg to bring this group of people out of bondage and into the land of promise, more specifically, into their deliverance.

She wanted to know if I thought the dream represented a literal or a spiritual land of promise, and if this was our true assignment in Harrisburg, to lead this small group of people out of the bondage they were in. She said she did not recognize the faces of the people. She only knew that she had never seen them before.

I cannot answer the questions that she asked because I honestly don’t know. I only know that what God showed her was very accurate.  We do indeed, lead small groups of people and I know we are standing in the middle of the flow of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. We are trying to live what we are teaching, so that we are presenting more than lip service, but a life service.

We are no longer assuming that we were sent to build and establish a church here. What I mean by this is: I believe God sent us to Harrisburg to build people, not to build a ministry. The best part is that I'm at peace with that. We just know that we are to stand in the river and lead small groups of people out of the jungle they are familiar with, and to cross over into the land of promise.

Mom wanted to know if we are going to return to St. Louis one day. Again, I don’t know what the future holds. God’s reason for sending us to Harrisburg, PA has been manifold and a big part seems to have more to do with our personal restoration, family reconciliation and emotional healing, than anything else.

We recall that GOD called us catalyst for this community. I know from my studies in chemistry that catalysts don't always become part of the reaction that they cause. The catalyst can start a reaction, and yet not become part of the substance. I see and understand, now, that it is possible that that's all we were sent to Harrisburg to do, as far as reaching the community goes. I’m beginning to accept that possibility.

Right now, I can’t concentrate on all of those questions and scenarios. I’m just concerned about getting this first precious group of people to cross the river and come into God’s purpose for their lives.

After we complete that assignment, I don't know what comes next for us.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Waters in the Wilderness and Rivers in the Desert

Saturday night, we had a house full of young men in our basement/studio, working together on music and rap. They were all excited as they made plans to bring the new sounds to our weekly meeting. Carol and I sat down to talk with one of the young men. He attends the local community college with our son, Christopher. He said that when he walked into the house, he just suddenly felt excited. Later that
evening he said he kept hearing a word in his spirit and that word was, "Big fellowship."

He said he will invite his friends to come and be a part of this. He said he's been to homes where they tried to do this, but it was kind of boring. He felt that since we're including DVD's, video games, and music, along with some time in the word, that this would be something he'd like to attend. He stayed, long into late night hours. It was very encouraging to us. Carol looked at me and said, "So, now it begins..."

Then Sunday night, Carlette (our spiritual daughter from St. Louis) came over to our home and gave us a scripture the Lord put on her heart to pass on to us. It's Isaiah 43: 19-21. It speaks for itself:

"Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honor Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise."

Praise God!

Monday, November 6, 2006

Life Group

This week, in our Life Group meeting, we were able to make our first steps in some of the new strategies that we believe the Lord has impressed upon our hearts. Thursday night we went out and bought a coffee maker, some refreshments, and a ton of supplies to sustain a weekly "coffee house" setting. We're calling it the ultimate house party.

Before we're done, we want to have music videos playing, a table game area, a video game area, our mini studio, and our meeting room all available for those that come.

We had a special visit from one of our dearest sisters and friends for many years. Kim Tolliver (pictured above) dropped in on us during our Friday night meeting. It was so wonderful to see her. We stopped the meeting to hug and greet her, and then returned to the teaching. Carol and I shared, back and forth, on some of the principles for receiving personal healing and deliverance.

Kim, who visited us last year while we were still in the building, was a wonderful breath of fresh air and encouragement. We stayed up until 2:00am talking with her as she brought us up to date on some of the happenings back in Metro Christian Worship Center in St. Louis.

What was really special was the encouragement she gave us the next morning. She began by asking us how we were doing in the corporate/ government world. We swapped stories of market place ministry and I sat there realizing how timely the Lord was being with us again by sending someone who is primarily involved in the corporate world to come and speak these words of life to us. She told us that we were having a bigger impact than we realized and to just give it some time because we would eventually begin to see some change around us. And even if we didn't see it, the people who we are around everyday can no longer hold on to their sterotypes about black men, black women, pastors, Christians, etc.

Kim has no idea how timely her words were for us. Once again, in a moment in which we truly felt like quitting, God sent someone along just to let us know that He is moving on our behalf, even when we can't see it.

We're still facing some very tough financial decision like should we sale the house and move to another part of the city. The house would be perfect for the ministry that we are launching in it now, but our personal income cannot sustain it since our mortage payment leaped due to a big mortage rate increase. Another rate increase is due in about 3 months and there is just no way to keep this up. At least no way in the natural.

That's where I begin to question myself. Was the pursuit and purchase of this house just more of my blind selfish ambition and pride from two years ago? Once again, Lord, I will own up to my mistake. Just help me get my family out of this if this is not your will. I don't want to be in a house in which WE are just making it work for your purpose. We want to be in the purpose of God.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Sustained by God in the Wilderness

One of my co-workers (Deb S.) sent me an e-mail back in July to ask about Fruitful Life. She was asking because she was considering referring her teenager daughter to come. I told her about the battles we have had over the past 2 years and she responded with the following e-mail. It was astounding to me and brought much understanding about why we have had so much warfare and it gave me insight as to the kind of things that have been happening here and the affect it has had on the people of God. She writes:

"And yes, this IS a tough region. It is VERY tough up where I'm from too -- about an hour away -- way out in the country, as our church sometimes says "in the middle of nowhere" but we know that it is NOT the middle of nowhere, it is the middle of somewhere and we claim that it is the City of the Lord!

Our church isn't very big. There are many strongholds that our church encounters -- religion is one of the primary strongholds, and witchcraft is one as well. There are a lot of churches in our area, and a lot of people attend them, but the people that attend them do not necessarily know Jesus. I can say that without a shadow of a doubt because I attended church my whole life but didn't know what it meant to be saved until about 8 years ago. There's a lot of religion, but not a lot of relationship.

Actually, I got saved at a Methodist church that had started a contemporary service and the pastors in charge of that service were hired specifically for that service and were not Methodist pastors. They eventually went on to start their own nondenominational church and I followed them there. The rest of my family (including my daughter) got saved there also. Unfortunately, tragedy struck a couple of years later. The pastor's wife, suffering from anorexia, attempted suicide. Thank the Lord she was not successful and God prompted someone to go check on her.... in fact when she didn't answer the door this person went through the house, room to room (the pastor's personal residence -- they let themselves in) until they found her unconscious in bed with a suicide note and an empty bottle of pills next to her. They called the ambulance, her stomach was pumped, she spent a while in the psychiatric ward of the hospital. The church closed.

About a year later, she left her husband for another man and they divorced. It is extremely sad what the enemy can do. And he really does go after the pastors and the churches.... those that are on fire and making a difference for God's Kingdom... the enemy will attack in many ways, and one is to try to bring division.

But HE that is in us is greater than he that is in the world.

My family then had to find another church -- we are now attending (for maybe 3 1/2 years now I think?) Their teaching is rock solid. The pastors have been pasturing there for 25 years. The church isn't very big yet, but as we mentioned earlier, it is a HARD area. Most people in our area call us "religious fanatics" and those "Bible thumpers" and stuff like that. But GLCF is full of truth and light. And I do mean a lot of truth -- and people often don't want to hear the truth. There's also a lot of darkness around.

Honestly, I haven't gotten as involved in this church as my daughter has. I think I'm carrying some fear of getting involved or some unresolved issues over everything that happened with 'My Father's House' church. Trust issues or whatever, but I'm really trying to let the Holy Spirit work in me to resolve these things. It was a tragedy at My Father's House and I were good friends with the pastor's wife, and I still can't understand why she did what she did (I mean I can, the enemy, but I can't, because she knew better and to hear her teachings she REALLY knew better).

It has just been hard for me because it was so close to me. I was so close to these people and loved them so much and I put a lot of my trust in them. I've learned to put my trust in God and not in man, but I know God wants us to work together as well, but I tend to separate myself, and sit in the corner at my new church and all that. I know that's not what God wants but it is where I am right now.Although my daughter was very hurt also, she has recovered much better than I. Sorry I was so long winded -- Have a great rest of the afternoon and evening!"

After reading this, I know that all of you have a better idea what we are dealing with in this region. I shared this with our intercessors so they will have more understanding and compassion for church leaders and members, even for those that left us and returned to St. Louis. We all under estimated the warfare we were moving in to. Bishop Raphael Green did not under estimate it, though. He was always strongly urging us to be prayerful and watchful.

Ever since our death and burial, our resurrection has seen us slowly develop new growth and strength. One can see why we are so grateful and thankful to God. From what we have heard, many new churches, like the one my co-worker described, have shut down after a couple of years. Only the grace of GOD has sustained us through the sever blows of the enemy. Those that have come to visit us from time to time (from St. Louis) like DeVata Davis, Tiffany McCreight, Kim Tolliver and Mike & Mary McCollum, can testify that GOD has sustained us, and it is indeed a miracle!

Friday, November 3, 2006

What God Calls Clean

It occurs to me that many people have a very particular image in their mind of what revival will look like in their church or community. However, when the Lord gives them a glimpse of what it will really look like, or what it will take to see it, many reject it vehemently the same way Peter rejected the word that came to him in the vision of the unclean animals that the Lord told him to slay and eat.

Many are really struggling with those things that they have been taught all of their lives that they are never to touch or even be around. Now we have God telling us to partake of things that we have always been forbidden to consume. But it’s the very things that we call unclean, that God is calling clean.

This is a real issue because the things that God has put on our heart and the people God has put on our heart are all things that are considered unclean in this region.

Now the Lord has instructed us to go for it with the weekly coffee house party strategy. So we’re going to buy supplies and have coffee, hot chocolate and refreshments ready each week. We’ll talk and get to know people. We’ll play games and music videos. We’ll rise, slay and eat what has always been considered dirty and untouchable.

Well Lord, you know the atmosphere here. We will do what you say, but if it all fails this time, we have no back up plans and no other recourse. It will definitely be time to pack it all up, sale the house and get out of here. We can’t take another round of failure. We can’t pay all of our monthly expenses even now. If it doesn’t work this time, I’m resolved to stop it all and return to St. Louis with my tail tucked between my legs. I’m willing to admit that I totally missed it. We thought it was God, but it was just our own desires and dreams gone out of control.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Don't feel like no super hero

Don't feel like no super hero (Lord, what has happened to me?)

I feel so beat up. I used to be so confrontation and direct. What happened to the man who used to wear the construction hard hat and would go into people’s lives, marching into demonic strongholds, tearing down walls, speaking into lives, casting out devils and taking no prisoners. Then two or three days later I would think, “ I can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe I had the nerve to say that.”

Now I’m all timid and concerned about how people are going to take what I say or do. I feel so beat up. I feel like I’ve been jumped on and mugged. I remember a dream that Sherri Moore had about me a few years ago. It was something about me leaving the church and going across the street, getting beat up by some men, and then returning to Metro all beat up and bloodied. I’ll have to send an e-mail and ask her if she can recall that dream. I forget how that unfolded. I was puzzled when she told us about it back then, but it certainly seems to apply right now. I didn’t realize, but that seems to have been a real word of knowledge for us.

In the meantime, while I’m going through this inner turmoil and questioning, Carol is really battling also. I know she feels out of shape and unattractive. She’s so beautiful, but I cannot make her see what I see and feel what I feel toward her. When we were assistants, it was much easier to show and tell. Now, with this new level of battle, it seems like sometimes she cannot see or hear me. I realize, she’s under the same attack that the spouses of pastors are enduring all over this region. I think of the pastor's wife that Deb told me about who was fighting anorexia and emotional problems and eventually left her husband (the pastor) for another man. I'm not afraid that she'll do that. it's just that I can see the intense war against her mind and emotions.

The battle is on and I’m fasting everyday until I see breakthrough. I hate this wilderness, but we do not want to have to stay and wander around in it because of unbelief.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Will We Return?

I can’t help but to think back on 7 years ago. Funny how fast time flies, but emotions and feelings stay in the same place. My brother, Mark, passed away seven years ago, and even though the pain is gone, the void is always there. There are so many things that could have been, but will never be.

I could use his advice right now. I know him though. He would just tell me to do what I know is in the heart of GOD for my family and me. It is obvious that the Lord has many things going on that we are not aware of and much more is happening than we can see. I guess I was looking for some kind of outward, positive response, but thus far there hasn’t been much that we can see. What God has given us to release here seems to be so radical and so different that hardly anyone can receive it. The church rejects it and the world can’t receive it. I guess we have some idea of what Jesus went through while He walked the earth.

The most significant things that have happened have been the things that have happened to us. I came to Harrisburg expecting to open and start a ministry that would begin with a core group of people who would eventually become the leaders of a vibrant and excited community of believers. I thought they would be part of laying a foundation from which we could take new believers through the "Healing Encounters" and see healing and restoration come to hearts and homes.

When Bishop came and laid hands on us and we were set in as the pastors of Fruitful Life Worship Center, I thought that was the signal for growth, but it turned out to be the start of our burial. We found ourselves buried in the will of God. The church aspects of the ministry fell apart as people abandoned us for their own sense of survival. Only three people remained. Then, through another misunderstanding, one more person left also. Her leaving triggered much pain and disappointment in our sons and they were ready to quit, too.

Then, in the midst of all this disappointment, God brought another family to us. Full of their own pain and family tragedy, they came and received and accepted the Word of God through us. They continue to come and we are still amazed at their faithfulness and consistency. They’ve only missed one time and that was to take the son back to college.

Then one our spiritual daughters moved here, to help us. She jumped right in and began to assist us in the ways that she could. We had some neighborhood children attending for a while. She reached out to them and even baked some birthday cupcakes for one the girls. When she took the cupcakes to their house and met their mother and grandmother, the children were not allowed to come back. Thus, the same pattern that we have encountered since we’ve been here, continued. As soon as you reach out to be a blessing, the doors close and the attendance stops.

I heard that R.W. Shambach is from this area and he had to eventually leave because of the hardness here. I heard that one of the leading men in the 20th century revival currently lives here, but his ministry is far more effective outside of this area than within.

So, I stopped and asked the Lord, “Why would You send us to such a barren and difficult community? If some of Your best and greatest cannot stay here, why would You send us here?” I believe the Lord gave me the following scripture. I did not try to make this up and I’m not looking for a reason to quit and leave. The answer just took me back to the words I spoke to Pastor Ray before we moved here. Luke 4 presents it in the best way I’m trying to communicate:

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,but by every word of God.’”

Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you, and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.

Could it be that just like Jesus returned to Galilee after the time of temptation in the wilderness, that we will return to the area from which we came?

Monday, October 23, 2006

House Church

I'm so grateful and thankful that the Lord our GOD is ever mindful of all of us. His grace and mercy are ever flowing upon all of our lives.

Carol and I continue to meet, weekly, with those whom the Lord has entrusted to our care. I find it very interesting that ALL who meet with us on Friday evenings are people who are working through the pain of divorce and desertion. In some way, shape or form, every single person is living with the pain of some form of devastation from covenants that have been broken.

Pastor Raleigh Wingfield, one of my dear brothers and friends here in Harrisburg, told me that this is a very serious and common issue in Harrisburg. He has encouraged us that it was a very good move to take our meetings into our home. He shared with me that there are so many churches in Harrisburg that a gathering in our home will prove to be a very effective strategy for this community.

So, at least for this season, Fruitful Life Church is a "house church" and a newly, budding congregation. Yet, as Pastor Raleigh has reminded us, Chris and Carol Green should not see themselves as newly budding. Pastor Raleigh recalled the prophetic word that he heard from the video of our commissioning service, that we were being sent to Pennsylvania fully mature and in full bloom. He said he was receiving us in that light and understanding. It really amazes us, still.

The Lord has put on our hearts to return to those things that we lay aside many years ago in submitting to the vision of our senior pastor. He also told me to return to writing the songs that were in my spirit. Since we've been here, I haven't written very much. I used to write songs in the midst of trials and pain, but since we've been here, I've only written 5 or 6 songs. Those who know me would be in shock to hear of such a thing. That means I've only written about 2 or 3 songs per year. Usually I'm writing two or three songs per month.

Well, the Lord is directing us to spend the next year in preparation. In preparation for what? I don't know? We just know that HE has told us to prepare for a new move.

The first thing HE directed me to do was to dig up an old story I began writing back in 1987. I even had it copy written in 1989. Once we submitted and began working with the church in St. Louis, I stopped writing the story and it's been buried ever since. It's an allegory called "Kingdom Warriors" and very few people, outside of my immediate family, have ever known about it. I posted the original text on the e-group site so our intercessors can view it.

Through our spiritual daughter, Carlette, the Lord confirmed the prompting about writing songs again. I returned to our little music studio this week and the Lord just began to download a new song that is a declaration of His faithfulness to us over the past two years. I just wept and worshiped as I played and sang in the solitude of the studio. It was a familiar place in the spirit. I just sighed and cried; "Now, this is what I remember."

I couldn't believe how far I've gotten away from doing this. This was my normal pattern in ministry. I'd still away with the Lord and just worship and pray. He would give me songs in the midst of my quiet time. A lot of my quiet time was at the computer keyboard, in the studio. I wasn't trying to write songs. I was just worshipping. Thank God, HE got my attention to return to focusing on my time with HIM and not just "preparing for ministry."

So our prayer request involves this season for preparation. Like Esther, we want to be ready for our appointed time with the king. So it comes down to this:
1.) Carol and I will continue to minister to the core group of Fruitful Life Church.
2.) We will continue to take the "full bloom and mature" ministry of the Fruitful Life Network, to those who can or will receive it.
3.) We will prepare for our moment of destiny by finishing the "Kingdom Warriors" books that have been hidden and buried for 17 years and
4.) We will write and release the new worship and praise music that has been locked up inside of us the past two years.

We continue to look to the Lord to help us through the upcoming winter. The church continues to recover from the debts left over from the building that we were once in. Once that is cleared up, we will be able to direct funds to current ministry endeavors. Our personal finances are still very tight, but the Lord keeps coming through for us through those who send offerings to help us, from outside of Harrisburg.

Through it all, the Lord has really used my wife to encourage and speak into my life. This week she told me that the Lord says, "Harrisburg has been our wilderness test."

We had to learn that man does live by bread alone. We had to learn to never tempt God. We had to learn to never compromise and bow to the enemy in any area of our lives. We had to learn it with no family or long time friends around us. We had to learn it, alone in the wilderness.

After the testing, the Bible says that the angels came and ministered to Jesus. We feel like we're in that place now. God has sent some special people (angels), like the pastor and members of Zion Assembly and Christ Community, to minister to us in our wilderness. Now HE's impressing upon us to get ready to come out of the wilderness season.

So we are making the necessary preparations in our family, life and ministry.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Lord, It's Your Move

Just my random thoughts....

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating our second anniversary of ministry in Harrisburg. We conducted the whole weekend in our home. After hosting the first meeting, Tuesday night, in our home, the atmosphere was so comfortable that we all just knew, we need to keep the rest of the meetings in our home. I don’t know if this means we’ll stay in the house even after this weekend, but I feel a strong leaning toward staying in the house. Man, the one thing I didn’t want to become is what we are becoming. I have resisted being a “house church” since we first moved here. Now look at us. I’ve been brought full circle and we find ourselves the leaders of a house church. God you are so funny. I guess it’s been a lot of pride on my part. It’s been all about image. I guess one more layer of pride is being stripped away.

Okay Lord, it looks like we’ll be a house church for a while. But, where this fits into the great scheme of things? I don’t know. I know we are a catalyst so we are being used to spark change. We are also like a general contractor to help build and strengthen the Body of Christ in this region. Okay, I’ve heard you clearly on that. I still don’t know where things fit with what you showed me about the vessel being filled and then poured out and the torrents of water being sent out all over the city. Maybe that was part of the catalyst part. Maybe it’s another aspect of the ministry that I don’t know about yet.

But, here we are, with a house church and a whole new view. Actually it’s very exciting. I love the unknown and the pioneering aspects of the journey. Then there’s the apostolic part of the work that we never talk about. We are pastors of pastors. We still feel like we’re to work with Metro Associates back in St. Louis, and to keep the connection with the Arts and Multi-media aspects of the work that the Lord showed a young man by the name of Raphael Green. God called Chris and Carol’s names, out to him. He called our names when HE showed Raphael Green the work in St. Louis. We still know we are to be connected in that way. So when will we return to the Midwest? I’m a Midwesterner to the bone, so what am I doing out here on the east coast?

Why are we out here in Harrisburg, PA in the farmlands and rural part of the state of Pennsylvania? This is not the Urban Mission Vision, but the Lord clearly sent us here for a reason and a season. Lord, I just lay all of this out before you. You must give me clarity and direction. I don’t want to be unstable in all my ways simply because I have become double-minded.

I will await your word. In other words, Lord, it’s your move.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Part of Something Bigger Than Us

I recall on the night that we began our Friday sessions, before leaving our home to go to the church, I checked our church e-mail and this was sent to us from the brother in law of the senior pastor of our sister church in Kansas City, Missouri. God is so faithful and so good to us. I just broke down and cried when I read it.

April 21, 2006
Everything is going to be alright. The threats you have faced shall cease. For this house that I have built, not just built, but birth, shall bring true liberty. The enemy is fighting against the freedom that I have ordained to be. Lift up your heads oh ye gates and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors, for the King Of Glory is coming in.

You being there is a fulfillment of prophesy. My servants in this area of the former generation have prayed for this day. They did not have a face, but a promise. They did not know the name or person who would fulfill this call, but they had a promise. NOW STAND where I have called you and know today, this day, April 21, 2006, that I have commanded a release from heaven. Back up is on the way. Resources from heaven are on the way.

And the Lord shall expose the discrediting of His word. The enemy came to discredit the word of the Lord over your life, your church, and your family. Rally your people right now. Tell them that I, Jehovah, is still in there midst. Tell them, don't run away in fear. The spirit of intimidation is broken on today and what you have decreed from your pulpit shall be established.

The Lord says to you, Pastor Chris; just say it and I'll back you up every step of the way. It's My word that I shall perform in your midst. So rejoice, for it is a new day for you and your house. And yes, I say to you again, you and your people shall be fruitful. For this is the season of harvest for your house.

Isaiah 54:14-17 NIV
14. In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.
15. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.
16. See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc;
17. no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD

Last week I shared this with our new prospective members. It was the first time they ever heard it. It is a wonderful reminder for all of us of the faithfulness of GOD.

I recalled this word because I spoke with one of the elders of Metro Christian Worship Center (St. Louis, Missouri) on Wednesday of this week. Elder Ted Boldin encouraged me with a powerful Word of exhortation for us to be patient because GOD is building something special. He just kept saying it over and over again for us to be patient because GOD is setting us up through all the many new relationships HE is establishing for us. He said GOD was making me tough to say "no" and to stick to what GOD has told us to do.

Carol and I are greatly encouraged. I told him (Elder Ted) it was a timely word. We have some tough decisions to make in the near future, but we will stay on course with the Urban World Harvest Vision that GOD has given through our Bishop, Raphael Green. As we said many times before we were sent out, we are not starting our own ministry. Chris and Carol Green and Fruitful Life is just another step of obedience to the command of the LORD in submission to the vision GOD gave Raphael Green. This minstry will be unique to this region of the country, but we're still part of something bigger than ourselves.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A New Release

Life has been pretty busy for us since my last journal entry. The Lord continues to amaze us with the things HE is doing in us, for us, and through us.

We are coming up on the second anniversary of the official start of the ministry. Our little family continues to grow strong in every way as we minister to them. We've added an additional time (for the summer) of ministry by setting aside a time to talk with the youth and young adults on Tuesday evenings. We are going through and highlighting the major points from the book that I wrote for young adults called "What Now?". This continues to be a very special time for all involved.

Our Friday evenings are really special. We've spent several weeks thoroughly combing through the core values of Fruitful Life. This has brought wonderful harmony and unity to have this understanding come forth.

Now we have moved into the core ministry of Fruitful Life and that is the "Time of Healing" ministry. Since our earliest days as youth pastors, Carol and I have always been involved in the lives of youth and young adults in helping them receive healing for the deep, dark secrets and broken places in their hearts. We were so involved that we eventually went through a 30-week lay-counseling course to help us understand how to minister to people more effectively. We bought Josh McDowell's book that gave a step- by-step instructions on how to minister to young people in every crisis from abortion to suicide. This was not a ministry that we sought after or felt some great need to go into. We found ourselves smack in the middle of the lives of young people whose lives were spiraling out of control.

One of the first prophetic words ever spoken over us was that we would be known as "Healers of broken lives." This word came when all I was doing was administration and the tape ministry in the church. So even though we have been involved in street ministry, food outreach, teen ministry, college and career young adults, singles ministry, pre-marital ministry, media outreach, and even in praise & worship, the one ministry that has been at the core of all that we have done over 16 years, in obedience to GOD, was the ministry of healing to broken hearts and lives.

Now, after two years in Harrisburg, PA, we are finally moving into this aspect of the calling on our lives. The past few weeks we have been meeting with Pastor Raleigh Wingfield, his wife Renee, and the elders of Zion Assembly (our hosting church) to discuss with one another and try to discern the mind of God for our joining together to build the Kingdom of God in this community.

Yesterday, we had a meeting in which Carol and I showed video clips of just a small portion of the prophetic words that have come to us, over the past 15 years. After we played the video, everyone just sat for a moment to absorb it. Then the wisdom of God began to spill forth as each person spoke about the portions of the word that impacted them personally.

Pastor Wingfield and his wife encouraged us to change the way we see ourselves. They told us (and I'm paraphrasing) to not see ourselves in light of the young stages of the church (Fruitful Life Worship Center). The church is just getting started, but they said our ministry is being received as being fully mature. They reminded us of the part of the prophetic word that said GOD was sending us to Harrisburg in FULL BLOOM. So they said they are receiving us as a ministry that is in full bloom, fully mature.

From that acknowledgement, Carol and I disclosed that our true passion, beyond praise & worship and youth, is the ministry of healing of broken hearts and lives. Carol explained that we do not conduct this ministry in such a way that it exposes people's secrets publicly. Unfortunately, in the name of prophetic ministry, people have been severely damaged by supposed, healing ministry. I mentioned the way Jesus ministered to Zaccheaus, and that struck a chord of confirmation because one of the elders had just ministered about Zaccheaus that day.

I gave an example to Pastor Raleigh that what we do is similar to a ministry called Breaking Free that is ministered by a mutual brother and friend (John Shuey). What we do is just a more culturally adapted approach so that urban, inner city people can receive this vital ministry.

So Pastor Raleigh has asked that we meet again to discuss how the full, mature gift and ministry that GOD has sent, can be released in the Zion Assembly community.

For Carol and me, this was major. The healing anointing on Jesus was not received by his own folks because they were not willing to receive him for WHO he was. We've been here for two years and Pastor Raleigh is one of the two or three pastors to receive us for WHO we really are. I remember when I was asked to minister at Christ Community Church last year. I recall that there was such a perfect flow and it was because Pastor Dave Hess received us in the NAME by which GOD sent us. They made a demand on the anointing in our lives.

Pastor Raleigh Winfield has done the same thing. God has brought us directly to the apostolic leadership that HE wanted to reveal us to, so that the anointing on us and in us, could be released in Harrisburg. Various pastors and leaders have received us as singers, youth pastors, children's ministers, and even as good church leaders. Therefore, we were not released to BE who we were supposed to BE. We were not able to DO what we were sent to DO.

Jesus spoke forth a powerful principle about receiving a prophet in the name of a prophet and so forth. If we don't receive the gift that GOD sends in the NAME by which HE is sending the gift, we don't place a demand on that gift and we won't access the anointing that GOD sent that gift to release upon our lives.

We have been careful to NEVER self-declare or self-proclaim. We knew we had to wait for the one's whom GOD would reveal our true identity to. We had to wait for GOD to use them to acknowledge WHO had been sent. It had to come from the apostolic in Harrisburg because of the spiritual authority that an apostle has in a city. The spiritual leaders and authorities of a region must acknowledge and receive WHO GOD sends, in the name for which GOD sends them.

This morning, as I write this, I feel a new release for us in this city.

Monday, August 21, 2006

"There Shall Be Children!"

"…For the builders, for the builders, for the builders…. I’m seeing a breaking forth of expansion, now, of the work as under builders under the apostle of this house. And the Word of the Lord is, ‘There will be children. There shall be children! And these children shall help you build and they shall help you establish, they shall help you stabilize and they shall help you groom the harvest that is coming in. For what has been laborious, MY Grace shall remove the labor out of it with these children." - Prophetic word to Chris and Carol Green through Prophetess Melissa Clayton, 1999

We are so happy for the arrival of one of our spiritual daughters, Carlette Mack, who just moved to Harrisburg, PA to assist us in the ministry here. Carlette comes to us as one who has lived in our home, back in her teenage years, and has real "history" with us. We've known her since she was 12 years old.

God opened up a marvelous employment opportunity for her, as she will begin a new job and career in banking. She's already moved into her apartment and spent the weekend driving around getting familiar with her new surroundings.

Before leaving St. Louis, she had an official exit interview with one of the elders and his wife along with the senior pastor's executive administrative assistant. Since she was able to pass the questions and counseling at that stage, Carol and I were assured that she has been thoroughly challenged about moving into ministry with us.

With the help of one of our other spiritual sons (Phillip) and two of our many daughters (Tiffany and Dawn), she packed up her children (two sons) and her life and the three ladies made a 13 hour journey to Harrisburg. Tiffany, Dawn, and our sons helped with moving her into her apartment.

They all joined with us on Friday night as our Little Sprouts from the community arrived just after we had finished ministering to the adults. We began singing the songs they have come to love and danced around. Carlette jumped right in and the kids fell in love with her right away.

After praying for the children and before releasing them to go and play, one of the little girls, whose name is Precious, said to everyone, "I want my mother to come. She's not saved. My grandmother is saved, but my mother is not, so I want her to come. I'm telling her to call off from work so she can come to church next Friday."

Only our intercessors know how much we needed help and it is just the awesome timing of GOD that Carlette, who has a wonderful gift and influence with children, has arrived just after the Lord has begun sending children to Fruitful Life . This has assured me that the LORD will continue to provide help for us in a very special way. He promised that we would build with our children and Carlette's arrival is part of the fulfillment of that prophetic promise.

We're just overwhelmed and deeply touched. We would never have thought that the troubled teenager we took into our home so many years ago, would one day step in and help us in our deepest time of need. Just when we were on the verge of despair, concerning our part in the Urban World Harvest Vision , one of our daughters has stepped out and said, "Here am I Lord; Send me!"

This is marvelous how GOD is moving in our midst! The disappointment and pain of the past year is being wiped away with each week.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Little Sprouts!

The Will and Purpose of God

Often times I reflect back to the prohetic words spoken over Carol and me the night the elders and prophets prayed over us in our commissioning service back in St. Louis on May 30, 2004. I love to recall that because it serves as a powerful way in which the Lord has kept us encouraged as we literally watch HIS word come to pass in our lives and in this ministry.

One of those Words dealt with the kind of people we would minister to. The description spoken through Prophetess Melissa Clayton was that we would minister to those who were
1.) sprouting,
2.) budding,
3.) blossoming and to
4.) those in their fruitful bearing years.

The past few weeks, the little "sprouts" have come forth. Every Friday night, just before we get started, four little children from the neighborhood come strolling into the facility where we meet. Two boys (who happen to be twins) and two girls, make their way from the apartment building situated directly across the street from the church, and come marching in happily to learn songs and let us pray for them before we let them go play on the fooseball, air hockey and pool tables.

It all started one particular week when they wandered in and we just let them play. After a couple of weeks of that, I called them into the sanctuary with us and told them we'd all learn a couple of songs and then they could play. Carol and I taught them a couple of the children favorites from back in St. Louis: If We Build It and The Lord Reigns. They are fun songs that incorporate some dance steps and hand movements. Afterwards, we prayed for them and let them go play.

The next week they came back asking for us to sing the Build It and the "ocean song" (part of the lyrics from The Lord Reigns). We sang the two songs and played a Veggie Tales video. Once again we prayed for them and let them go play.

Last week, they came in as ususal and asked to sing the two songs, but this time they wanted to learn something new. So we taught them one of our all time favorites called "Nod Your Head" Well, they didn't want to STOP singing that one. WE had to stop because WE were tired and out of breath.

This time though, I took a few moments to talk to them about Jesus. They were full of questions and comments, so we just listened for a while. Then I asked them if they had ever asked Jesus to come into their hearts. They talked about praying to GOD for their grandmother, but I said, "Praying to GOD about grandma is really good, but that's not what I asked. I asked, have you ever asked Jesus to come into your heart." They each said no, so we took the time to explain why Jesus came and had to die. They were really full of questions on that point and one little girl remembered to movie, The Passion, and it really helped to explain that the people didn't just kill Jesus, but that Jesus let them do that to Him for US. By the end of that conversation, they let me lead them in a simple prayer to ask Jesus to come into their hearts.

After that, we let them go play!

I write this because it reminds ME that this is why we are here in Harrisburg, PA. Right now we are ministering to 14 people (when you include the four children) who come in EVERY week, hungry and anxious for the worship and the Word!

We are just as passionate and excited about ministering to these 14 as we would be to 140 or 1400. The LORD prepared us for 14 years to move to Harrisburg, go through all that we have been through thus far, and finally come to a place where we could say, we love these 14 people and despite all that has happened, we are not failures. I find it amazing that when we started with Pastor Ray in 1987, it was only seven of us. Now we have this new start with fourteen of us. We have twice as many and we are twice as grateful and thankful. We are in the will of GOD; the purpose of GOD.

It is the Will of GOD for us to pour into these 14 people. We're not focused on, or wishing for something bigger. With so much apathy in the church in America, it is a blessing to minister to people who have a hunger for the things of GOD. We've expereinced some of the other side of negative repsonses in the church and this is a whole lot better. This has nothing to do with numbers. It's not about quantity. It's about the QUALITY of the quantity.

GOD said we would minister to people in various stages of personal and spiritual growth and the past few weeks, HE has allowed us and honored us with the priviledge of leading these little SPROUTS into HIS Kingdom and HIS will for their lives.

To GOD be the GLORY!!!

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Youth and Young Adults of Fruitful Life

We are so pleased to say that we had a very successful first gathering of all the youth and young adults of Fruitful Life in the living room of our home, last night. It was such a great meeting that we've decided to meet each week, at least for this month, until everyone goes back to school.

The ages ranged from 16 to 26 and our discussion centered on the introduction section of the book we published four years ago, titled "WHAT NOW?"

We opened the evening by allowing each person to introduce him or herself and tell us about their personal interest and goals in life. We learned that we have a lot of "kool-aid" lovers. Many priorities involve eating and sleeping. We also discovered that we have quite a few artists who all love to draw pictures and share similar interest in cartoons and animation. Carol and I find that very fascinating that the Lord has put within us a desire to produce comic books, video games, and cartoons and now HE has surrounded us with young people who can actually pull this off.

Even for the business aspect of such a vision, there are some business/ accounting focused youth, along with some music and video editors and producers. Let's just see how GOD brings this all to pass in the years to come.

Anyway, it was a great discussion as we covered such things as the greatest resources that they will ever need. We talked about wisdom being more valuable than rubies and its fruit being better than gold or silver according to Proverbs 8: 11,19.

Somehow that took us into recounting the story of how we had a $35,000 medical bill after the twins were born, reduced to $300. Believe me when I say, that story made the point that we need GOD more than we need money. We need HIS favor more than money.

We answered a very important question that was brought up on how does one recognize when GOD is speaking to them. We took everyone through the practical principles of how to discern and recognize the voice and will of GOD for their lives.

We love it when young people ask that question!

We also answered the question regarding living with seemingly unanswered prayers. I related one of the most precious missionary stories I've ever heard to make the point that we may ask GOD to do things that are not part of HIS will and that we must trust HIS answers, even if they disappointment us. We must trust HIM.

We talked about getting to know the WHY in life and not just the WHAT. People who know WHAT to do will have a job, but people who know WHY will be their bosses. We encouraged all to move beyond just gathering information and knowledge and to begin to embrace a life of WISDOM because it is the know-how ability that you get from GOD. You must know what to do with all the knowledge that you may acquire. GOD WILL TAKE YOU BEYOND INFORMATION TO THE REASONS WHY THINGS WORK THE WAY THEY WORK.

Finally, we just spoke directly to the group that they are a generation that has been united as a global culture. We pointed out that they have the potential for global revival because of the unique opportunity they have as the first global culture in human history.

All in all, it was a wonderful start to a ministry we have desired to launch since our beginning. Thanks to Gary Foster, we even had a multi-ethnic mix because he brought two young people (ages 18 & 20) who go to a church started by Christ Community Church.

You may recall that I spoke at Christ Community two times last year. It is a predominantly white congregation in Camp Hill, PA that has embraced us as their own. We love the pastors and staff there. When I told the visitors about our relationship with the CCC pastors, we had instant connection and they were very open to us from that point on.

So there's my update for this week with the new beginnings we are experiencing in Fruitful Life.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Fresh Start and A Second Chance

A lot has happened since my last entry. There's lots of pain and loss as well as some victories in between and I won't go into all of that here. Maybe I'll put in the next book that I write which will be an expanded version of chapter 9 of the my current book titled What Now?

Chapter nine deals with repairing broken places in our lives and in our hearts. In our first few months of establishing a new ministry here in Pennsylvania, a whole lot of my broken places came to the surface. One of the local pastors who befriended me told me that the first five years of their church were for him. He said the first years of a church are all about the forming and shaping of the senior pastor. He added that the people who stick with him while he's going through his process, those are his leaders. "The ones who can't go through it with you," he told me, "they are not supposed to be with you."

I learned that lesson the hard way. I discovered that I still had not gotten over the abuse we took from many people, as associate pastors. There were many years of taking blows from people in the congregation. I buried it deep inside, but when we started the work that God sent us out to do, I unleashed a lot of that anger and frustration.

Our sons and daughters who followed us here to try to help us had all been abused by leaders in their lives. So when leaders who had been abused by people tried to work with people who had been abused by leaders, all our broken places came out!

I trust that one day we will be able to reconcile. God has done a lot to heal us and restore us since that season. We are now just "regular people" working "regular jobs" and ministering to a small group of people every Friday night out of our life and marriage. GOD has caused us to prosper and excel here. I'm working in my profession of communications. Carol is working in her area of skill also. Our income is good and solid. We are connected with a good church and pastor and our children, now, have friends and young people they can connect with. Our home is, again, filled with teenagers on the weekends. It hasn't been like this, for us, for a very long time.

I pray that all goes well for everyone that had to leave us, as well. Even though we HAD to part ways because we were all still dealing with the wounds of the past, I pray that they receive the kind of healing God is giving us. We will not be able to fulfill what GOD sent us here to do without this healing.

I see that the true lesson in all of this is forgiveness. If you don't forgive the ones who hurt you, you will, one day, hurt the ones who trully love you. We all did that to one another.

I thank God for a fresh start and a second chance!