Category Archives: Ministry

How to Understand the Manifested Presence of God

What A. W. Tozer May Have Meant:

I have read a phrase in some of Tozer’s writings, the “manifested presence of God.” I understood him to mean the difference between the omnipresence of God and the experienced presence of God: “God is everywhere” compared to “God is here.”

For example, look at what David said,

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?”

and,

“In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

No one can escape from the omni-presence of God. We should pursue the “manifested” presence of God where we experience God’s joy and pleasure.

Another Meaning:

I have also heard some pastors and church leaders using the phrase “manifest presence” with a different intent. They appear to mean the presence of God with physical manifestations.

These physical manifestations may be a various combination of things: overwhelming emotional sensations, prophetic utterances, extra-biblical revelations from the Holy Spirit, incantations, shouting in tongues, weeping, wailing, uncontrolled laughing, animal noises, dancing, shaking, falling on the floor, smoke, glitter, feathers, odors, angelic choir sounds, rumblings, strange lights, and other phenomena.

These types of church leaders often encourage the pursuit of these manifestations. I have witnessed some of these manifestations used to confirm a preached message, and that sermon definitely needed some external confirmation since the speaker had taken a path that departed from Scripture.

There appears to be a desire to experience the presence of God in our own way, directly through manifestations, bypassing the Scriptures.

There also appears to be a desire to treat any and every type of manifestation as if they were the “gifts” from the Holy Spirit in a way that arrogantly exalts the experience of that person as more “spiritual” than those that don’t have manifestations.

A Substitute for the Real Presence of God

It is my opinion that this second type of manifest presence is a substitute for the real manifest presence of God of the first type.

The Dominican Republic does not need me.

I am going on another “missions trip” by Connection Point Church to the Dominican Republic. We will do some construction and will do a few school assemblies. We hope to do some good while we are there.

The Dominican Republic does not need Connection Point Church. The DR needs Jesus Christ. God has already set people in place to minister the Gospel. He asked us to come and see, listen, learn, love. Primarily, we will be built up.

If we can return that blessing to someone there, then we are blessed.

How to Work with Diligence

Ephesians 4:28

 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

Share with the needy.

Colossians 3:23,24

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

All your work is unto the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 2:9

 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.

Do not burden others.

1 Thessalonians 4:11

…that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,

Lead a quiet life.

2 Thessalonians 3:10

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

Work to eat. (Not eat to work.)

How to Neglect Diligence

Diligence

1st Timothy 4:15

 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.

A diligent person immerses himself in the Lord’s work.

Ecclesiastes 5:4

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.

Do not procrastinate the work of God.

Hebrews 10:24

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,

Motivate one another to do the work of God.

John 9:4

As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.

Take advantage of the appropriate time for work to be done.

John 17:4

I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

Glorify God by completion of your work.

Negligence

Proverbs 13:4

A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,
    but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

A negligent person is never satisfied.

Proverbs 15:19

The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns,
    but the path of the upright is a highway.

A negligent person always finds an obstacle.

Proverbs 12:11

Those who work their land will have abundant food,
    but those who chase fantasies have no sense.

A negligent person fantasizes about hypothetical situations.

Proverbs 14:23

All hard work brings a profit,
    but mere talk leads only to poverty.

A negligent person talks and talks and talks.

Proverbs 28:19

Those who work their land will have abundant food,
    but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.

A negligent person lives in poverty, imagining work that they could be doing.

Are You Sinning Because You Have Alzheimer’s Disease?

This week, a fellow minister visited my church for a district ministers’ conference. He preached that:

When a person is born into a family where there are abnormalities, it is very easy to come into agreement with negative things.

He said that sickness is an abnormality and used the specific example of Alzheimer’s Disease. Furthermore, he indicated that Alzheimer’s is caused by a demonic spirit. The apparent cure for Alzheimer’s Disease is simply taking authority over it. Furthermore, you are sinning when you allow a family member to have Alzheimer’s disease because you are in agreement with a demonic spirit.

The preacher asked us to turn to Genesis chapter 3.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The passage does not say that Adam attempted to “take authority” over the serpent, Satan. Therefore, the original sin was not disobedience to God’s command, it was actually Adam’s agreement with Satan and his failure to take authority over his wife.

At this point, the minister encouraged the audience to shout and praise the Lord in acclamation of his new teaching. It was incredible.

Incredible.

Literally incredible.

 

How to Free Your Prayers of Fads and Fancies

I have read a number of excellent prayers. I have learned from reading other people’s prayers. However, reading a prayer is not praying.

The Scriptures commend us to pray. They do not tell us to read prayers, no matter how eloquent or lofty those prayers maybe.

Jesus never intended for His disciples to repeat His model prayer word for word. The words were given to guide His followers into finding their own words.

Prayer models are a popular fad that may or may not improve our prayer lives. If we are simply repeating the words that someone else wrote, we are not praying.

Let’s “just have a little talk with God.” It’s more effective and more personal.

How to Fail at Church Camps

camp

Summer is church camp season. Boys and girls on break from school are packed onto crowded vehicles and dropped off with their suitcase at a lakeside dorm. We hope something good will happen at camp.

  1. What is the stated purpose, mission, vision of your camp? Without a direction, the camp will be controlled by the strongest personalities in the group, perhaps even the most carnal person of the group. I have heard camp stories that sounded like a missing chapter from The Lord of the Flies (wrong Lord).
  2. Are unqualified leaders treated as counselors at your church camp? Scripture says that a companion of fools will be destroyed. A good parent would not let a stranger babysit their children without proper credentials and references. Camps do not exclusively employ mature leadership. Campers are vulnerable. Campers have been known to become attached to their group leader based upon age and appearance. That good-looking young leader may not possess a pure heart, a good conscience or a sincere faith. They may not have a good grasp of sound doctrine or appropriate behavior.
  3. Are there cult-like persuasion techniques at your church camp?
    • Removal from normality of life
    • Isolation from parents and family
    • Denial of outside communication and contact
    • Extreme peer group pressure
    • “Love bombing” to produce rapid emotional bonding
    • Denial of personal privacy for sleeping or bathing
    • Unquestioned acceptance of new values and suppression of dissent
    • Self-criticism encouraged and rewarded
    • Obligatory participation in activities, never left alone
    • Activities designed to result in public humiliation in front of peers
    • Loss of free time
    • Reduced time for rest resulting in sleep deprivation and fatigue
    • Change of diet, fasting
    • Unorthodox rules and traditions enforced uncompromisingly
    • Loud repetitive music intended to create an altered state of consciousness
    • Compulsion to confess intimate personal failures and weaknesses
    • Compulsion to give financially
  4. Do the daytime activities encourage the pursuit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness or are they foolish, unholy, coarse and carnal? True spirituality shouldn’t need to be switched on for evening vespers.
  5. Do campers display a godly change when they return home? Campers should not return home with an attitude of arrogance. “I’m spiritually superior to you now.”

In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. (1 Corinthians 11:17)

 

How to Separate Bible Study and Devotional Reading

I was told that studying the Bible for sermons was not an equivalent to devotional time in the Word of God.

I am not in complete disagreement with this thought. However, I have failed to find this clear distinction within the Instruction of Scripture.

The inspiration for a sermon should begin in personal reading. Furthermore, the preacher should be personally invested into his sermon, both in preparation and delivery.

Therefore, a minister should not divide his reading. What strength is in a sermon without devotion? What use is devotional reading without the elements of persuasion and practical application?