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November 2016

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!