HELP! I Don't Have Enough Faith to Get Healed!!

As I've stated before, I was told that I had cancer in my mouth the first week of January, 2016.  As a result I have gone through full rounds of both chemo therapy and radiation.  As of today, August 25 the tumor is still present, actually growing larger and I have severe mouth sores as a side effect of the treatment plus there is a strong possibility that the cancer has spread to a lymph  node on the other side of my neck.  So here I am..... a preacher that can no longer preach!  (At least with my mouth!) I now await an appointment with a surgeon.

My wife and I both felt led and very comfortable to seek medical treatment for this affliction, all of the time believing for a miracle of deliverance from God.  I can't tell you how much prayer I have had during these days!  People all over the world are praying for me.  Last Sunday a young man, the son of one of our members, was visiting our church service.  As he was leaving he came up to me, gave me a huge hug, and said, "Pastor Larry, I want you to know that I pray for you every day."  He had tears in his eyes as he said that!  I was blown away!  I find, often through the grape vine, that I'm on prayer lists all over the country.  I have been anointed with oil, had people with miracle ministries pray for me, had so much laying on of hands that I've had more hair rubbed off and yet the miracle I'm believing for has eluded me.

So, what have I been doing wrong?  How have I failed God?  Why is God angry with me? Or, what lessons is He teaching me through all of this?  These are the traditional questions that old covenant religion has taught us to ask. The fact is that none of these, or any others, really apply to me.  If you are going through a battle of health they don't apply to you either!

I guess I've never asked God, "Lord, why me?"  I have never doubted His love for me and I've never doubted His healing virtue! Over the years of ministry I have experienced and seen just way too much of God healing people, yes, even cancer, to ever doubt that He no longer heals the sick.  Yet, I'm still awaiting "my miracle!" 

Therefore, the religious answer must be, "I don't have enough faith to be healed!"  I must then read more "healing scriptures," quote and confess that I am healed more, command and demand that the devil takes his hands off of me, etc., etc., etc! All of which adds up to just some more charismatic works!  Instead, even in spite of my days of pain and tears and seeming faith failures, I've been pretty much able to enjoy the rest of God!  That has been wonderful!

Here is a bold statement....GOD DOES NOT HEAL THE SICK BASED ONLY ON THEIR FAITH!  The TV Evangelists have taught us that, but friends that is not the truth!

Please go back with me to ancient Egypt.  There we meet two Jewish slaves, Moe and Curly.  They are neighbors and both were present in Goshen when God told Moses that the last of the plagues was about to hit, that being the death angel who was to smite to death the first born of the entire land.  God told Moses, "They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the door frames of the houses where they eat the animal.The animal was the first Passover lamb that each family must slay and eat entirely that night. God told His people by doing this that they would be safe from the death angel. 

Our two neighbors have gone to their families, prepared the meal and applied the blood to their doors.  And they now wait!  During this waiting time Moe is a pillar of faith to his family.  He leads them in prayer and worship knowing that nothing bad will come to his family.  On the other hand, Curly, is falling apart! He is fretting, pacing back and forth hoping that Moses was telling the truth!  If you were to see Curly he sure wouldn't be displaying any faith at all!  What a contrast!

Now the big question....Of these two slaves which one would be experiencing the greater favor with God and be more assured that the Death Angel would miss his house?  Would it be the man of great faith or the man seeming to lack any faith at all?  The answer is simple, both are equally safe and secure because God said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.Wow!  Do you see it?  This great deliverance was not dependent on the faith of Moe or Curly, it was only dependent upon the blood that was shed!

My Friend, likewise your healing, your miracle is not dependent on what you do or don't do, it is only dependent on the blood that was shed for you 2000 years ago!  Therefore you and I only need to rest!  We rest in the plan of God for our lives!  Here is the deal, even if I am never healed in this life of cancer, I cannot loose because I will forever spend eternity cancer and sickness free.  I am the winner!

So kick religion out of your health situation and enter into the wonderful rest of God, through the finished works of Jesus Christ!  You will never be sorry!

Grace and peace!

So What Happens In A Church When The Pastor Gets Sick and Can't Preach?

So the title of this post is rather long, but the question goes, "What happens in a church when the pastor gets sick and can't preach?" 

In Bible college I was taught that when a pastor can no longer function fully that the church he/she's laboring in is automatically placed into a crisis position.  Therefore if a pastor falls into moral failure, unexpectedly resigns, suddenly passes away or becomes incapacitated via illness, that church is in trouble!  To be honest, in my years of travel, I have actually seen churches get fit this discription.  One church, I recall, was in extended revival type meetings.  They actually were making a tremendous impact on their little, rural town with people traveling from all over the country to attend their nightly meetings.  After a period of several months it was discovered that the evangelist that was doing the nightly ministry had some issues in his past life that were not the best and were not rectified.  The evangelist left and the pastor was blamed for the guy's moral failure.  Several left the church because they felt like the  pastor had failed by not having enough discernment by allowing the evangelist to minister there.  What a mess!

The title question becomes a lot more personal to me as this is exactly what is going on in our church, New Covenant Grace Fellowship in Inverness, FL. I am the Sr. Pastor of our church.  In the last 6 months I've probably only ministered 4 times.  In early January of 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 2 or 3 oral cancer.  My lower, left gum line has a large tumor that seems very resistant to radiation and chemo therapy.  I've had all of my lower teeth pulled and due to mouth sores and the swelling it is very difficult for me to talk.  Eating has also become a chore and as a result of the side effects of the treatment I remain pretty weak and have a very difficult time talking.  So preaching is pretty much out of the question!

My wife, Corinne, is a very capable minister in her own right!  Sometimes I feel that she is far better than me.  She is full of love and it seems revelation just naturally flows through her.  Yet, when cancer hits one in a marriage relationship, it fully hits both partners!  There is so much that I can't do at home any more, and she has taken up the slack.  She even is the main driver now when we have to go places.  For a time I was getting radiation treatments 5 days per week and this lasted 7 weeks.  So, she is under a lot of burden too.  During this time she has ministered several times, but the majority of the pulpit ministry has been done by people in our church.  One of our leaders has taken it upon himself to book the Wednesday night and Sunday morning schedule.  Very often he steps up to the plate and shares his heart as well. 

The result of all of this is....OUR CHURCH IS NOT IN CRISIS!  Actually this has made our church very, very healthy.  Sometimes I'm in awe by some of the things that comes out of our people's mouth!  Me getting sick hasn't hurt our church one little bit!  Actually it has made us strong!  During some pretty dark times in my life, I could feel the support and strength of our people.  It's been a really neat experience.

Here is an important couple of verses that really fit in here: Eph. 4: 11-12 (NLT),

" Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ."

I've often called these verses, "My Job Description."  Paul emphatically states that a pastor isn't to do all of the ministry, but rather, to equip his/her people to do the work of the ministry.  Therefore I've had to take note of the fact that based upon the results taking place in our church that I've been doing my job rather well! 

Thank you Lord for giving us such a strong church!  Glory!

Grace and peace!

"Larry, What's That In Your Hand?"

The other day someone asked me if I was still preaching in our church.  I had to tell them that since the discovery of oral cancer in me that I've probably not preached more than 4 times in the past 6 months.  I am so blessed to see the people of our church step up and share the wonderful, life-changing stories of grace while I've been unable to.  I have such a wonderful church!  (New Covenant Grace Fellowship in Inverness, FL) I think its rather interesting that a preacher (Me!) is fighting a situation where he can't talk!  Of course I'm getting a lot of the "He's gonna hit us with long sermons when he gets back to preaching" type of jokes! 

Here is my problem....I can't preach or teach but the Lord just keeps pouring on the revelations of New Covenant Grace.  I'm seeing so much lately!  It's like I'm asking the Lord to back off as I can't assimilate it all!

Then, like Moses, I sensed that the Lord asked me, "Larry, What is that in your hand?"  Remember He asked that of Moses when Moses was giving the excuses to the Lord in setting his people free from Egypt?  Moses replied, "It's my rod."  It was that rod that when thrown to the ground turned into a serpent.  As well it was that same rod that when held over the Red Sea the Sea dried up so the Children of Israel could cross over on dry ground.  So when He asked me that question, at first I didn't understand what He was getting at.  A preacher's main tool is communication.  Yes, it's mostly communication that is oral and that is where I am lacking right now as it often hurts me to talk, thus my "favorite tool" cannot be currently used.  However, the Lord was showing me that I can still communicate.  My rod of communication currently is writing!  Therefore, I'm being challenged to throw that rod on the ground and watch what the Lord does with it!

So, during this time of less oral communication, I'm going to be doing everything in my power to share with any who would be interested, written communication and the message is Grace and More Grace!

Once again the Lord is taking my situation and turning my lemons into lemonade! Glory!  I will not be silenced, especially when so many are hungering for the simple truths of New Covenant Grace!

Lol....That's my STORY and I'm sticking to it!

When the Miracle Doesn't Happen

Last Fall I was having a problem with a tooth, my lower last tooth on the left side of my mouth.  The tooth was getting loose.  In consulting with my dentist I was told that most likely the tooth was dead, thus the looseness.  The remedy was to have the tooth pulled and replaced.  So in late November the tooth was extracted. Within a couple of weeks there seemed to be a unnatural swelling and pressure in the gum line where the tooth was.  I've had enough teeth pulled to know what to expect and this seemed strange.  In speaking to my dentist, She told me that when she pulled the tooth she suspected something wrong and suggested a biopsy.  The Wednesday before Christmas I went to an oral surgeon for the biopsy and was told that I would not have any results back until after the New Year due to the Lab being closed for the Holidays.  On January 2 the Oral Surgeon's office called and I was told that I needed to get there right away.  Later that day Corinne and I were told by the Doc that the results came back as Squamous Cell Carcinoma, a form of skin cancer that can grow in the mouth. I was referred to a local oncologist where I was told that the cancer was Stage 2 or a little better, and that I would need several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.  In the process, prior to radiation it would be required for all of my lower teeth to be extracted because no major dental work can be done for at least two years after radiation and to reduce the risk of a broken jaw bone the teeth should go.  

What I've stated above is the simple version.  In the midst of all of that there was a lot of pain, both physical and mental.  I had to fight with insurance companies, face many, many delays in treatment as a result. However all of that time, I was expecting a miracle to take place.  As time progressed the left lower side of my mouth was consumed by the tumor.  I had severe pressure, sometimes with uncontrolled bleeding.  I recall eating breakfast at a local restaurant and all of a sudden my mouth began bleeding, running out onto my plate.  I rushed to the men's room and began rinsing with warm water and my mouth finally stopped bleeding.

The truth was, I needed a miracle! Every day I expected to feel something strange in my mouth, and just spit the tumor onto the ground!  I had several pray for me that that would happen.  However, it just didn't happen!  

As I write this, July 13, 2016, the 7 weeks of daily radiation treatment and many rounds of chemotherapy have been completed.  The tumor is probably 85% or better gone, the severe mouth sores which are side effects of both radiation and chemo are about gone.  I have a PET Scan scheduled in a month and we will see where we go from there!  I am still expecting the miracle!  Today very well could be the day that I spit the remaining tumor out!  Why not? Giving up is not the answer, for me or for you!  Keep expecting your miracle my Friend!  No matter what you are going through, keep expecting your miracle.

However,  if the miracle doesn't come, please enter into the place of rest that you can only find through the finished works of Christ on His cross!  Remember He said, "It is finished!"  That means that He is not going to do it for you, He already has!  So you don't have beg, plead or do anything else to see God do something for you!  Early on in this cancer battle Corinne and I came to peace about seeking medical treatment and following the advice of our doctors.  I made it very clear that I didn't want to hear about how many "healing verses" I needed to confess every day!  I didn't want to hear about eating certain diets, drinking certain fluids, etc.  I, actually we, just planned on following the leading of the Holy Spirit, to just rest in God's love through a difficult time in our lives.  The peace we both have is just out of the box!  I have watched many cancer patients over the years work themselves into a frenzy trying to do everything right in order to obtain their miracle.  That is works and it will only lead to condemnation!

In the middle of this battle Corinne and I have peace, lots of it!  Do I want it to end right now?  You've got that right Bubba!  However, we have peace, boat loads of peace!  In all of this we have been able to obtain rest, lots of it!  I've been able to minister to many and it's going to get better and better!

I'm not out of the woods yet!  However, as I look back over the past several months, I see that I have changed.  I'm not the same person, husband, father and pastor that I used to be. I've grown in God's perfect love and acceptance and I look forward to sharing that with many.  Hey, I never want to go through this again!  Yet, it has been a good thing for me to go through!  You may not understand what I just said, but I am seeing the lemonade that God has made out of some lemons.  Isn't that a miracle?  I believe it is! 

So, I will believe that you get your miracle the moment you read this post.  If it doesn't come, I'm standing with you at your Lemonade Stand!  Glory!

Most I know Don't Attend Church!

Here is a truth that most Pastors won't tell you.....YOU DON'T HAVE TO ATTEND CHURCH IN ORDER TO BE A CHRISTIAN!  That's right, God is NOT keeping track of your church attendance!

True Christianity is based upon our relationship with our loving God and NOT by the things we do or don't do!  I wrote on my Facebook Timeline this morning, "Holiness is not based on what we do or don't do, but rather it is based by who we are!"  God makes us holy and our church attendance really doesn't effect this at all.  Yet, religion makes church attendance almost mandatory! 

Now, before your think that I've really sipped a cog today, please let me say....I LOVE ATTENDING CHURCH!  Now in all fairness, allow me to more properly define that statement.  I should say, "I love attending our church!"  Now this is not based on me being the senior pastor, rather it's based on my understanding of God's grace, our church's teaching on God's grace, and my relationship with God and with His Kids who also attend our church.  Every time our group gathers we have fun!  That's right....we have fun!  I look forward to laughing and even crying with our awesome group.  Often we even go out to eat after the service just so the fellowship and fun can continue!  The motto of our church (New Covenant Grace Fellowship of Inverness, Florida) is, "Our goal is for people to feel better about themselves when they leave than when they arrived!" 

Now to be honest, there are some churches, maybe more than "some," that I wouldn't attend either.  I often tell people if their only choice is a legalistic, very religious church they would be better off staying home than attending.  I certainly would not want my children attending a church like that.  Why teach them a false gospel!  You heard me, legalism and religion equate to a false gospel!  Again, I'm probably not making some pastors very happy right now, but why teach our children something that is not correct and something that they will one day have to unlearn?

Now here is a little test for you.....This is a way to know that you are in the right church or not....Are you constantly taught that you have to do things to become righteous and holy or are you taught that God has made you righteous and holy?  Are you taught to do more, work harder to please God or are you taught to rest, that God is already pleased with you through the finished works of Christ on His cross?  Here is a word of advice...If you are being taught to "do, do, do" then my advice is to "run, run, run!" 

Here is a great verse to back up what I'm saying: Galatians 2:16 (NLT), "Yet we know that a person is made right (righteous) with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law.  And we have believed in Christ Jesus so so that we might be made right (righteous) with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law.  For no one will every be made right with God by obeying the law." Now this is a message that our church teaches all the time.  When people begin understanding this they really do leave our church feeling better about themselves when they leave!  Glory!!

Grace and peace!

Do You Live in a Hard Spiritual Area?

Years ago I was very much involved in the "spiritual warfare movement!"  I won't go into all of the details suffice it to say that spiritual warfare dominated my time and ministry. Since coming into revelations of grace I have since begun learning just how complete Christ's victory at the cross was for us.  When He said, "It is finished" I now believe that He meant what He said!  How about you?

Since coming into revelations of grace, with many more revelations to come, by the way, I've discovered that verses like Colossians 2:14-15 mean a lot: "He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.  In this way, HE DISARMED the spiritual rulers and authorities.  He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross." So if Christ has disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities, why o why does the Church spend so much time fighting against a disarmed, shamed, defeated adversary?

Back in the days of Corinne and I traveling the country, ministering in churches all over the nation, we would often meet pastors for the first time.  Most of our meetings were booked because one pastor knew another pastor and would recommend us to minister in their church.  We would often pull into town the day prior to the meetings beginning, at least we tried!  I recall in the early days when we were first learning how to book meetings that we often would have to drive 12-15 hours and often have meetings that night.  Thankfully we were able to see that change early on!  Glory!  However, we'd pull into a town, hook up our motor home and often have lunch or dinner with our host pastor.  In just about every instance something like these words would soon come from that pastor, "The Lord's shown me that our region is one of the most spiritually dry regions in the country!"  In other words he/she was saying to us, "Brother Larry, Sister Corinne....don't expect too much out of our church as God has shown me that our community is in the midst of the most spiritually dead areas in the country!"  Can you say, "Excuse?"

Corinne and I used to get a pretty good laugh over these pastor encounters.  We had it happen dozens and dozens of times.  We used to ask each other, "It is amazing how many most spiritually dead areas in the country there really were!

Allow me to conclude with more of Paul's words, "You have died with Christ, and he HAS set you free from the spiritual powers of this world." (Colossians 2:20)  I don't know what you think, but I'd have to say that the need for spiritual warfare ended 2000 years ago at the cross!  Therefore, instead of making excuses why nothing is happening in our church, maybe we should just begin to go forward as the spiritual giants that we really are and take the land that we were given!  I think that this is a great idea for today!  What thinkest thou?

Grace and peace!

Why Doesn't Everyone Get Healed? Part 2

To begin, I'd suggest that in order to fully understand this post that you would scroll down and read the first in the series.  That way you will be reading this in full context!

The title is, "Why Doesn't Everyone Get Healed?"  This title is a little confusing because I believe that everyone does get healed, no matter what the symptoms of the day look like.  Listen, even in death there is healing!  I know some do not understand that, but to a Believer in Christ, death is no longer an enemy!  So, if you are indeed a Believer you can never be defeated by health issues, never!

As I stated in the first post, when I was told that I had cancer in my mouth my little world came to a screeching halt!  The first thing I had to face is that my life for sometime to come would look very different than it did prior to the prognosis.  I sure was correct on that!  Wow!  How things have changed!  Everything in my life is different now than it was even six months ago!  To be honest, some things will never return to the normal of those days.  For instance, I had to have all of my lower teeth pulled prior to radiation because after radiation I'm not allowed to have any major dental work done for a period of two years!  So, a person like me, who enjoys good food is now relegated to not eating the same.  For instance, I had a grilled cheese sandwich last night for supper.  I have to cut it up and soak it in soup in order to eat it!  See what I mean?  So if you are going through any major health issues, be prepared for a changed life!

Saying that, I fully believe that God has healed me!  Even though I still have some of the tumor remaining, I am fully convinced that I was healed 2000 years ago.  Why I'm still dealing with symptoms I have no idea, but it doesn't diminish my faith if Christ's works for me one bit!

I have many people praying for me.  I so appreciate that!  However, I was very careful, especially in the early days in asking for prayer!  What I didn't want was a bunch of "good ideas" on how to get rid of cancer!  Here is a fact....I CAN hear from God!  Guess what? So can you!  So when the Job's Comforters show up on the scene telling you that you must have secret sin in your life, or that you are not quoting enough Bible "healing verses" or that you just do not have enough faith, etc., etc., you can just turn your face from that nonsense because if you did indeed have a problem in one of those areas God would make it plain to you!

Listen, healing is not a big mystery!  You don't have to perform, do everything just right, in order to be healed.  If you are going down a road like that, please know that you are totally on the wrong road!  The New Covenant is one of rest and peace!  If you are experiencing anything other than rest and peace you are indeed on the wrong road!  If you are under condemnation you are especially on the wrong road!

A couple of years ago, a dear Brother in our church, Bruce, was diagnosed with a very vicious cancer. It seemed like just a couple of weeks after the cancer was made known Bruce began physically going down hill, really fast!  Our church ministered to Bruce in every way we knew how to.  We prayed, laid hands on him many times.  We counseled him to the very best we could, but Bruce continued to get more frail daily! Finally, within a few weeks he was completely bed ridden.  Several families brought food in for he and his wife, including Corinne and I.  One late afternoon we brought over the evening meal.  I could tell Bruce was very troubled.  He was totally condemned by the fact that he wasn't healed!  I felt that the Lord would have me to say to Bruce that he was OK!  In fact, I told him that it was even OK for him to die!  As I continued to encourage Bruce I could see the condemnation breaking off of him.  A few days latter Bruce passed away.  He did so completely within the perfect will of God!  I know that is very hard for some strong Charismatic faith people to swallow, but it is truth anyway!  It was time for Bruce to go home and remain for eternity in God's physical presence.  Who cannot say that Bruce was perfectly healed at that time?  I sure can't!

Here's a word of advice...stay away from Job's Comforters!  They are religious people who will only lead you into condemnation!  Listen to the Holy Spirit within you.  If he wants you to eat different food then he will tell you.  If he wants you to quote "healing verses" he will tell you.  If he wants you to see Doctor X over Doctor Y he will tell you!  Then my friend, rest!  God is in charge of your destiny!

So here is how I am doing this thing.  I'm living, trying my best, to live and overcome one day at a time.  I am following the doctors in my life, taking and heeding their treatment and advice.  However, I'm doing all of this, with one eye on Jesus, because I know that any day the full miracle of the manifested healing in my body can take place.  You see I fully expect to one day spit the remaining tumor out on the ground!  If it comes any other way, well, I'm OK with that too.  I just know that I was healed!  I also know that you were too!  Glory!

Grace and peace!

Why Doesn't Everyone Get Healed?

I have waited a long time to write this post!  I've done a lot of soul searching, praying, meditating, reading my Bible, etc. in order to investigate this subject more fully.  So, this isn't some knee jerk reaction to things that are going on within my body!

First, I have to state that I do believe in the healing properties of God! Without a shadow of doubt I embrace this as I've  seen way too much to not believe in it!  In all of my years of ministry I have prayed (ministered to) maybe hundreds of people who have been healed as I've laid hands on them.  Even members of my own family have been healed, including my wife and children.  I remember well they day the doctor told my wife that she did have cancer and that now she doesn't.  This didn't come from medical treatment, but rather from the ministry of the Holy Spirit!  I've been healed of many things over the years as well, from bad head colds to severe back problems, and some issues worse that that!  So, yes, I am a believer in the healing power of God!

So when I was told this past January that I had stage 2-3 cancer in my mouth, my little world was shocked, yet my faith in God's healing power wasn't the least bit shaken!  I expected a miracle to occur at any moment!  Both Corinne and I had complete peace on seeking medical treatment.  I recall in days gone by that I made rash statements like, "If I ever have cancer I'll NEVER submit to chemotherapy or radiation!"  Yet, we both felt total peace on seeking medical help, which did include both chemo and radiation, yet all the time expecting the healing to manifest!

I have learned a very important lesson about healing issues, that being that NO ONE has all the answers on the subject.  Some preachers seem to know it all, yet in all honesty they don't!  I recall from years ago a famous "faith preacher" who would chastise his congregation if they ever went to a doctor, yet he had to wear a lift in his shoe as one leg was shorter than the other.  Then another "faith preacher" who had to wear a micro hearing aid so that people that he ministered to didn't know that he had hearing issues himself.  I could write chapters on this subject alone, but for now, I'll pass right on!  The fact is, if you ever find a person who tries to tell you that he/she has all the answers on healing, you best run for your life, as that person is a liar!  Therefore, I'm not ashamed to tell you that I don't have all of the answers on the subject!  I'll just keep ministering healing though, no matter what!  What happens after that is totally 100% up to God! 

From the onset of my condition I made it clear that I didn't want to hear all of the formulas, diets, life style changes, etc., etc., that some well meaning folks wanted to see me embrace!  Corinne and I felt certain that we had a clear cut path to walk, and that is what we did!  Still one guy suggested that every message in our church had to be dealing with healing!  I was still told that I needed to confess more of the Word!  It was even suggested that daily I'd walk around our property declaring healing scriptures!  It seems that when it comes to cancer everyone has their pet answer!  In evaluating all of these things we quickly ascertained that most of them came from works.  In other words, how much scripture must I confess daily in order for God to rid the cancer from my mouth?  When do I declare the Word enough for the healing to be manifested?  How many healing messages to I need to hear in our church in order for God's healing to take place?  To Corinne and I the answer to all of that junk was....ZERO!  All of that stuff is works, it's law and it only can lead to condemnation!   Yes, condemnation!  If I don't do enough for healing to take place then that means that there is something wrong with me!  Condemnation is the only thing that can follow that thinking!  Have people been healed by walking around their property confessing healing scriptures?  I am sure they have been!  Yet, is that God's method for everyone?  If you think so, then I've got a bridge to sell you!

I am going to be writing more on this subject in the days to come.  My heart is full on this subject!  But I wish to end today's post by stating that if you are dealing with condemnation in your own journey to health, if you are wondering what more can you do in order for God to heal you, I wish to assure you that you are on the condemnation path to no where!  Instead, please rest in the finished works of Jesus Christ and watch what He will do for you!  Actually see what He has already done for you!

About my condition....Monday I finish the last dose or radiation, over 7 weeks of it!  I also will be done with weekly chemo treatments. The tumor has dramatically been reduced, yet there is still some remaining.  The radiation is to keep on working for a month or so, so I'll be waiting on what the future holds.  In the meantime, I still give all the glory to God for my healing!  I am quick to say that, "Ive been healed by the stripes of Jesus Christ!  I also refuse to live under the veil of condemnation, I'm too good for that as Jesus has made me righteous and holy!

More on this subject later!

Grace and peace!

Why Don't People Attend Church These Days?

As a pastor of a new, small, local church, one of the most frustrating questions I have to ask myself is, why don't people attend church these days?  Often it seems like every known "trick in the book" isn't enough to entice people to make a 10:00 a.m. Sunday commitment.  A year ago, our group bought a large block of very well produced, relevant radio ads on two local secular stations.  The results were dismal!  I think we saw one visitor! 

I believe that the answer to my nagging question may be in 2 or 3 parts.  The first part is the times we are living in.  In May I turned 69.  I can recall as a child growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that Sundays were known as "Church Day."  Certainly not everyone attended church, my own father didn't (latter he did, faithfully!).  However, there was no such thing as going to the store for a loaf of bread on Sunday as the stores, all stores were closed for the day.  Even most gas stations were closed on Sundays.  In those days the local school boards would communicate with the local churches to make sure that school events would not conflict with church events.  My how times have changed!

Today, due to both parents working, sometimes 6 days per week, taking time to attend a Sunday morning worship service just doesn't fit in with the schedule!  Have you ever noted that no matter how bad the economy is, restaurants are always busy every evening?  Why?  Because when Mom and Dad get out of work they are just too worn out to cook a meal, so no matter what it costs, eating out is the norm, sometimes for most nights of the week!

Secondly, many people do not attend church because they have had bad experiences in the church.  I know that here in Citrus County, Florida, I have really made it a point to seek after what I call, "Unchurched Christians."  These are people who have a love for God but some how have been hurt or tainted in bad church experiences. They feel that church attendance is no longer relevant, especially for their busy lives.  I tell these people that, "our church is different!" However, they very often never believe me as they have had others tell them that same line and later found out that they were being invited to more church as usual.

Thirdly, Sunday morning has become a play time.  Due to their busyness people today view Sunday morning as the only time they get to sleep in, play a round of golf, go hunting or fishing, so church attendance just no longer fits their busy schedules!

Maybe you fit into one or more of these descriptions of why people no longer attend church.  Actually you might have other ideas on the subject, and I sure would be interested in your comments.  Please share them below!  However, to me, stating this not as Pastor Larry, but as Larry, a guy who loves God, church attendance if very fulfilling, at least our church is.  For instance, last night, Wednesday night, a very small group of us showed up at 7:00 p.m.  We usually have a short meeting on Wednesdays, and last night was very short, less than an hour.  We didn't do a lot!  We didn't pray down heaven!  We didn't worship for a long time!  Instead one of our guys got up and shared his heart for about 30 minutes.  Then another guy shared his heart for another 10 minutes.  When it was time to leave, I felt like a million dollars!  It's amazing what takes place within me as I meet with my Brothers and Sisters of the faith!  Was it worth attending that service last night?  You got that right!  I came home a better man for my effort!

Well, I have asked a question and maybe shared some opinionated answers to my own question.  You may or may not fit into my answers, and I know what I have written probably will not convince you to visit my church Sunday morning.  However, I do hope I have managed to get you to think a bit about this.  Listen, one more very important thing here, I am not asking you to attend a very religious, law breathing church!  Please stay home from that and worship the Lord in your own way.  But if there is a church ministering the true grace of God near you I might suggest that making a commitment to be there Sunday morning just may benefit you more than sleeping in will.  I have also discovered that the fish do still bite Sunday evenings as well as Sunday mornings!  Just something to think about here!

Grace and peace!

My Take on the Bible!

I believe that we are living in exciting times!  The Holy Spirit is revealing truths that have been set aside for hundreds of years and the Church is reaping great benefits as a result!  Some of these revelations, the majority of them are spot on. However, there are some that fall short of absolute truth.  I don't want to get into all of that in this post, suffice it to say, that the ones that fall short usually seem to be, what I call, "stretching the Bible."  Many today are not so certain about the Bible.  I hear things like, "There have been a zillion denominations in the world and they have all stated that they get their doctrine from the Bible."  Some are saying that today  we are no longer interested in doctrine.  They are simply stating that whatever the Holy Spirit is showing you is OK. 

Up front, please hear me when I say,  I love my Bible!  Some state that, "The Bible is not the Word of God, Jesus is!"  How about that....I fully agree!  However, even here I have to throw out an interesting verse of the Bible...I Thessalonians 2:13, "Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his (Christ's) teaching FROM US, you didn't think of our words as mere human ideas.  You accepted what we said as THE VERY WORD OF GOD-WHICH, OF COURSE, IT IS. and this word continues to work in you WHO BELIEVE."  To be honest, I've never heard anyone do any teaching on this subject.  Paul was not speaking of every word found in the Bible,  but rather the words that Christ, the Living Word, gave to Paul to pass on to his followers, of which you and I are!

As far as doctrine goes, Paul states this, "For a time is coming (today?) when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching (doctrine KJV).  They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.  They will reject the truth and chase after myths."  I think there is a whole lot of "myth chasing" going on these days!

I've stated this many times before, but in the early days of God releasing His wonderful revelations of new covenant grace to me, I heard, very clearly, many, many times, "Preach the message that Paul preached!"  Where is that message found?  You guessed it, in my Bible!  The Holy Spirit took the words of Paul and made them light to my spirit.  As a result I have been transformed.  Now, I'm sure that the Holy Spirit could have shown me grace without my Bible, but He didn't have to as He used a tool that He has already provided me!

The problems with all the denominations isn't the Bible's fault, it's theirs!  They never learned how to properly interpret the Bible. Like my pastor of days gone by used to say, "Every word in the New Testament is for the Church except John 3:16."  Well, he was wrong!  Dead wrong!  Every word in the New Testament is not written to you and I, living in the new covenant, who no longer under the Law.  Even many of the words of Jesus, found in the four Gospels are not written to you and I.  They were spoken to men and women of Jesus' day, who were still living under the Law.  You and I are not there.  I repeat...we are not under the Law!  If you are a Gentile, you were NEVER under the Law as it was only for a few people living over 2000 years ago, and to put yourself there can only be done by not properly interpreting the Bible!

I am so thankful that God has given us the Bible for today.  I hope you are as well!  Together, we can learn how to use this precious tool that God has given us and hold onto truths that are in no ways myth! 

Grace and peace!