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.