Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Oh the pain, the deep grief. I have hardly been able to watch the reports coming out of Newtown, CT. Seeing the faces of panicked parents, scared little kids, and the extreme agony of loss causes me to grieve with them. The grief is deepened by the inexplicable reason for the massacre. The senselessness of the murders and the cold hearted execution of children renders the mind reeling, trying to find some connection that would cause such an atrocity. But sadly, none is found, leaving closure an impossibility.
Children are a gift from God to parents, to the world. They are a source of joy, love, hope, and aggravation. Children are somewhat of a blank page. They have certain innate, God given talents, but they need instruction, correction, and encouragement. Children do not raise themselves. Too much of current parenting is a hands off approach. It does not direct, teach, or correct. It allows unbridled emotions, actions, and verbal expressions. The result is unruly, undisciplined, rude, wild, obnoxious little brats. They are dangerous. I see them hitting their parents, running wild banging into adults and other children. Sadly, I see parents take the abuse and refuse to discipline the child. It is like they do not know what to do. They have no parenting skills.
So, we have a generation of parents who have little or no clue how to rear children and we have children who are unrestrained and receive little or no guidance from their parents. They are being trained by videos, violent games, peers, and teachers who are afraid of lawsuits. Even teachers are being injured in schools as administrators tolerate near criminal behavior in fear of the ALCU and special interest groups with high powered lawyers. Meanwhile we are growing a nation of emotionally ruled babies that grow into unbalanced adults. This is not an indictment on all since there are some doing a great job of parenting; however, the trend leans toward the undisciplined.
With this as a backdrop, we, the church must change our culture since the church has been deeply affected by the secular educational philosophies. We have segregated the family over the past number of decades, have bought into the “generation gap” and have concluded that families need to be separated so they can learn. Against that philosophy, we have around 2000 years of families being together.
We currently have a serious illiteracy in the area of Bible knowledge in children especially and in adults too. We cannot seriously address the culture when there is no character strength based in the word. We are swimming in a sea of ethical, religious, and moral pluralism. We are drowning in tolerance which is defined, not as respecting another position, but defined as anything goes and nothing is really right or wrong. So, our children are being taught in such a manner that true, absolutes do not exist. You cannot change the world with anything goes.
Thus, we must make a determined effort and program of training the children in the basics of God’s word. The establishment that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, that the Word of God is true, that the Word of God is reliable and authentic becomes a gargantuan task against the tsunami of relativism permeating the secular culture.
We cannot stand against the forces with bland, weak teaching. We cannot stand against the problem with entertaining or babysitting the children. There has to be a concerted plan that involves parents and mentors. We have to be on the same page and work diligently, not for a semester, but for years. This is not the job of mentors or teachers in church; it is the job of Christian parents to engage their children. Really the basis for this is God’s delegation of procreation and the responsibility of the parent as a steward of God’s creation. 
With that in mind, we are going to do everything possible to support parents in the training of their children. Home is the greatest greenhouse of character and education. Church can help, but it cannot succeed without the home working on character.
My granddaughter in law is a teacher as is my granddaughter. She commented that the kids come to school and do not even know the basics of civility. They do not know kindness, sympathy, basic manners, or the necessary relational skills that allow education to take place. She said that this should not be her job, but the job of the parents.
So, our Herculean task is to turn things around in our midst. It is to focus on children as a treasure and not an inconvenience. It is to see the future in the eyes of our children and invest in them. It is to recognize that godly character is taught in the home and reinforced at church. It is to provide the tools to help parents be good role models, good, loving disciplinarians, and to be good teachers of God’s word.
To stop the slide, there must be dramatic changes and a commitment from the church to do this. It will take everyone on board. It will take mentors in the classes, but it will also take folks supporting and aiding the parents in church. It will take, we, the leadership, upholding the vision and supporting it in the way speak, act, and invest.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk in the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Duet. 6:7     -Pastor Bill

Heritage. What kind of legacy do we have and what kind of legacy will we leave?
There are numerous cultures that have traditions through stories, legends, holidays, religious observations that relate history and important events that have shaped history. The Passover is an excellent example since it has been celebrated for millennia. Every Jewish child is taught thoroughly the meaning of the Passover and how it has formed a nation, a people.
For Christians, The Passover has taken a meaning as well. The institution of the Communion comes from the Passover. We now know who that Passover lamb is. We understand the blood on the post and lintel. We celebrate this Communion on a regular basis. We want to remember the importance and significance of the event. Spiritually, we are impacted in different ways at times as the Spirit shows us something anew in the simple act of taking bread and wine.
The scripture, in the law, instructs the nation and parents in particular to train their children regularly, if not daily, in the ways of God. The scripture indicates that parents need to leave a spiritual heritage and a financial one as well. The passing down of items, stories, history, and character are all important to God. There is a spiritual principle and law involved. God blesses those who love and serve Him for generations. So, a godly man and woman grant blessings to their offspring and their descendants to several generations. Who knows, we could be living the prosperity granted to ancestors we never personally met or know much detail of their lives.
I have sons in the food business. Their heritage in this area comes from several directions. Their grandmother, Cathy’s mom, was in foodservice most of her life. She was the dietitian at the college I attended. She was responsible for feeding 1,200 students three times a day. On my side, my great grandfather was a purveyor of food. He traveled the countryside selling groceries from his wagon, kind of a forerunner of the Schwan trucks.
I taught school for a couple of years and my sister is a retired school teacher. My grandfather and grandmother were school teachers. My grandfather went on from there to be a doctor and a well known surgeon. As I look back at the lives of some of my ancestors, they tended to be hard workers. On my mom’s side, my great uncles were supervisors of water works for major cities. Not everyone is a great success, well known, but everyone leaves some sort of influence.
The admonition to train a child up in the way he should go from Proverbs seems so important to me now. As a father and mother  of four children, we worked on it. I think our home was loving, but strict on standards. There were heaps of love and laughter, and times of discipline and tears. Much of those events are now replayed at family gatherings eliciting tons of laughter.
From the position of a pastor, a grandfather, and now, a great grandfather, I am deeply concerned for the heritage or lack of heritage we are providing for our children. While attending the children’s sports events is good, will we be remembered as the old man and woman who watched? I remember my grandmother for the stories she told, the bread she baked, the walks we took, the discussions and debates we had. Will we ever be able to get our kids to look up from their phones? Will there ever be a serious conversation without an interruption of dinging text?
Some might think that moving to rescue family and work toward entrusting the next generation with the Gospel is impossible. Maybe some feel we are too far gone or maybe we are too irrelevant now. Personally, I do not think so. If the Scripture calls for it, then it will work. It is an universal truth; good for all people, in all places, in all times. If that is not true, the scriptures fail to be relevant to this society, and that is not true.
The steps we are taking are not easy. Working to leave a heritage of faith takes work and commitment. The self centeredness of this generation was engendered by our generation. Kids have inherited what has been provided. Parents have been indulgent to the decadence of the youth. The church has entertained, but not instructed. We have seen flickers of spirituality as mission trips and camp have momentarily inspired young people, but the long term, foundational, character training has been missing. Kids have had momentary expressions of God, but do not know His word, His character, His holiness. Most would fail a simple bible test of information and stories. Obviously, from their lifestyles, they have failed the character test because they spout the philosophy of the world, not the Scripture. Even when we work hard at the truth, we have lapses in our young adults. Often those brought up in Christian homes, fail miserably in their character as young adults, choosing the ways of the world, or as John Milton put it, Vanity Fair.
Attempting to turn the tide may seem impossible, but we must die trying if necessary. To do nothing is inexcusable. So, we launch out to leave a legacy, to be a heritage, leave an inheritance.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Life is Short

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower thereof falls away.” 1 Peter 1:24       -Pastor Bill

Life is long. Life is short. 
It depends on your place in life. It depends on your circumstances. There are those that are fighting for their lives, battling cancer or some debilitation. There are others contemplating suicide, murder, and escape because of circumstances that seem too unbearable to live in, diseases, addictions, bad marriages, broken hearts etc. Probably more suicides take place from emotional problems than any other. Cases in point: a grandmother kills herself and her three grandchildren using carbon monoxide poisoning after her daughter wanted to restore custody from her mother after the daughter had been abusing her kids. Another, a mother stabs her children to death in revenge for her husband neglecting her. These are just two in the last week.
Reports continue grow of custody battles, abductions of children by estranged parents, murders of estranged wives, lovers, and then the murder of the children involved. The settling of affairs or the getting even is accomplished by death to all, even the innocent.
This is purely symptomatic of a society with no values. There is nothing to hold onto in times of extreme difficulty. Irrationality is common. The guidance of self in times of emotional upheaval leads to extreme measures which later prove to be devastating beyond imagination. Where does one appeal when there is no moral authority? Who or what can give you sanity and perspective in the midst of the emotional storm? What character traits guide your life? How do you know what is true or false?
Without a moral undergirding, society is left in a sea of personal opinion and self guidance. All that is left is to satisfy the flesh, the carnal mind, the animalistic urges, and the brutal nature of fallen man. With no standard, we cannot achieve to higher thinking, altruistic acts of kindness, forbearance of ill treatment, unrequited love, and misunderstandings.
The Bible says that life is short. Really, the life on this earth is short, in this mortal body; and then life is eternal in the spiritual state, the eternal state. Suicide does not end life. It prematurely transitions the person into the eternal state, prepared or not prepared. It is a ruse of the enemy to make people believe if they take their life, it is all over. You cease to exist, the pain is gone, and blissful nothingness ensues. Wrong. The Bible indicates that the soul is immediately taken to Hell or escorted to Heaven depending on the relationship with Jesus. In my opinion, most of those who commit suicide do not have a relationship with Jesus. Mostly the transition from the pain of this world results in entering the realm of pain for eternity. It is not a relief, but an intensification of the same agony.
Yet, without the message of hope and the foundation of faith and morals, where can they find guidance? Obviously, all our studies in psychology have not remedied the situation because for all the counselors, there is an increase in the hopelessness. For all the blaming of parents and environment, we still are not seeing the healings and the healthiness of the society. It is actually sicker.
But, as I was preaching Sunday, where are the Christians whose lives exemplify godliness? When you as a believer are comfortable using gross, foul language and are purveyors vile behavior, where is the grace, the message? If you as a believer are living a life with little character value, where is the salt to change the world? If we view sexual immorality and promiscuity as normal and okay, where is the light of the world? 
Till we really begin to see the eternal picture, we are going to sway with the winds of the world and offer no hope, no answer, no guidance. If we fail, it does not change who God is, or change his message, or change the fact of His absolutes. It is we who have failed God and have failed the society, the time, the culture, and our place in history. The messengers, the light bearers, the salt shakers have failed those who are desperate, the hopeless, and the intellectual who finds no joy in living, and the wealthy who has nothing in his character. The hopelessness crosses all strata of life. Money or the lack there of does not cure the ills of the soul or guarantee a happy life or insure the destiny after the world.
The saints, the believers, the church, the kingdom of God, whatever you want to call yourself, it is imperative that we begin to live in a manner that makes a difference. You will not be exempt from marital problems, kid problems, job problems, health problems, but you will certainly handle them in a manner that is dramatically different than the world. Our hope is in nothing less than Christ and His redemptive sacrifice.
Jesus came and gave us guidance. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Pretty straightforward and simple. Life is short. The learning curve is very steep. 
Life is long? No, Life is short!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Voice

Scathing. Sharp and to the point! No holds
barred. Shocking.
I am not referring to the presidential
debates; I am referring to the prophet Isaiah.
I am referring to the anointing of the Holy
Spirit that spoke through him. Yet, I find his
indictments against the nations to sound so
familiar, so current, so contemporary.
God was speaking through Isaiah, not only
to the nation of Israel, but also to the nations
around them. He indicted Israel, Syria,
Moab, Egypt, and numerous other cities and
The main issues for Israel was the lack of
relationship with God in the determination
of the nation. God was bringing judgment
for the people turning to every supposed aid
other than to God. They were seeking aid
from Egypt, making alliance with Assyria,
paying tribute for protection and all the
while, their protector was waiting for a call,
a prayer, a petition. He indicted them
because they turned to other gods and
worshipped petty idols and gods of
immorality. Yes, even fornication and
adultery can be dressed up in religious
forms as the fertility cults practiced so well.
So the natural lusts of humanity are placated
and endorsed by making it a religious
exercise and calling it holy.
God was not pleased. They also came to the
place they did not want to hear the
prophets. They were told not to prophesy,
but speak soft, kind things. The seers were
told not to see. Essentially, it was the
rejection of any kind of input from those
who were spiritually watching for the
nation. It reminds me of Ahab, King of
Israel, saying that the only true prophet he
knew would not say anything good about
him; so he would not call on him.
There are voices in our nation who are
crying out. They are speaking warnings,
concerns, and deep, dark prognostications.
They warn of things to come if we do not
turn as a nation. The values of our
foundations are being undermined and our
connection to God is being forcibly
disconnected. We are allowing a vocal,
powerful, minority to undermine our
country. We may be at the brink, the tipping
point, where we move headlong without
restraint into a moral morass.
There comes a time in the dealings of God
where repentance is too late. Those souls
who pass everyday into eternity lose their
opportunity for repentance. There have been
those who have made deathbed confessions
of faith and repentance and are spared, but
there are those who decide to repent too
late. At that point there is no turning back.
So it is in the history of nations. There is a
point where judgment is unstoppable. The
nation may attempt to repent or say they are
sorry, but it will be too late. The motions of
judgment are in place and will not be
revoked. The Israelites certainly knew of
their God and probably cried out to him as
they were being starved to death in siege,
cried out to him as they were being marched
to a foreign land for slavery, or begged for
mercy as their children were being
slaughtered by ungodly mercenaries. The
tipping point is a place of no return.
You may say how harsh I am writing. I do
not like it, Isaiah did not like it, no man of
God likes it. Throughout the scriptures, the
warnings are delivered by men of God to
the people who have lost their way
spiritually. The warnings go to those who
have embraced the world and gone after
other gods or who have become proud,
arrogant, and self sufficient. Instead of
turning to God, they turn away to self
improvement, self esteem, and cult heroes
that they think will rescue them.
This is the last newsletter before people are
going to vote. The news this morning,
liberally biased as it is, says that the election
is so close that it is beyond prediction. It is
also called the most critical election in over
50 years. So, do we March on to Socialism or
do we return to the Democratic Republic
that was constituted years ago? Do we
throw values and morality away and
embrace moral anarchy or do we return to
the God of the Bible and his moral, social
Most people will look at the election solely
from an economic view, but I see deep moral
and value issues. My vote is not about the
economy; my vote is about the values that
shape a nation and bring God’s blessings. I
know that a nation that blesses Israel, will
be blessed as promised from the book of
Genesis. I know that a leader that snubs
Israel, who coddles their enemies, will bring
destruction to our nation. My vote is for
those that support Israel because God does.
Billy Graham put full page ads in major
newspapers this past week.
I quote, The legacy we leave behind for our
children, grandchildren, and this great
nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th
birthday, I realize this election could be my
last. I believe it is vitally important that we
cast our ballots for candidates who base
their decisions on biblical principles and
support the nation of Israel. I urge you to
vote for those who protect the biblical
definition of marriage between a man and
a woman. Vote for biblical values this
November 6, and pray with me that
America will remain one nation under
God.” - Billy Graham

Thursday, October 18, 2012


“ is appointed for man once to die and then the judgment” Hebrews 9:27
-Pastor Bill

Mortality. We live with it, it will not go away. We all are living with a clock ticking away the moments of our life. Some live well; others live poorly due to choices of their own or circumstances beyond their control. Every time you pass a cemetery, it is a reminder that life on this earth has an expiration date. 
Death comes marching, bringing with it all kinds of exits to life. We all dread the idea of disease and particularly, cancer. The “C” word strikes fear in the hearts of all. It is equated with pain and suffering and usually a long, drawn out wasting away. To those who have been told they have cancer, they respond that they have been handed a death sentence. There are sudden deaths through accidents and disasters and then there is the protracted death of some maladies.
Immortality. This is the often forgotten part of life. For every soul, there is an eternity. Immortality is also living with us daily. While the body will experience that moment of separation from the soul through whatever the cause, old age, wearing out, disease, accident, disaster, the soul lives on even after being separated or ejected from the body. The consciousness of the mind is not the same as the consciousness of the soul. The body and mind can be comatose on a table in a surgical unit and the soul can be observing or gone.
Those who say death is final and that ceasing to exist is the termination are greatly misinformed and deceived. The evidence of scripture, the teachings of Jesus, and the many testimonies of people who have died is weighty evidences to the eternal state of the human soul.
Mortality is prepared for by most people. There are the arrangements made for the funeral beforehand. The burial plots are purchased, wills have been made, financial planning has been reviewed. People are prepared to die unless an accident surprises them. It is inevitable.
Immortality is just as inevitable. Once the human soul leaves the body, it is ushered into the eternal state. The Bible says that for Christians, “to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.” So, Christians are escorted immediately to the presence of God, heaven, re-union time with the saints and believing family. For the lost, there is an escorting of the soul to Hell to await the final judgment. The sad thing is the moment of death reveals the irreversible state that eternity will be spent in.
However, so few truly prepare for immortality. If we could only see that the days on this earth are purely ephemeral compared to the longevity of eternity, mankind would surely pay more attention to it. Surprisingly, those who have near death experiences and see Hell, tend to forget the experience in a matter of days. This is according to a doctor who has studied these experiences for years. He also stated that people who experienced heaven, always remembered the detail and never forgot.
The deception of the enemy to capture the souls of men and women for eternity in a state of lostness is profound.
Mortality is supposed to be swallowed up by immortality. Death surrenders to life. Disease is forever defeated. Eternity is a splendor of God’s glory, daily life in a pleasant, harmonious way. There will be no temptations, sin, rebellion, revolt, ugliness. Who would not want to live in this place of immortality.
Mortal means “death doomed.” Immortality means there is “no death doom.” There is nothing more hanging over our heads. There is no sword of Damocles. There is nothing lurking in the background of joy threatening an end.  Eternity is that place where death shall be no more. You cannot get sick and die. There will be no accident to take your life. There will be no curse to hinder your joy, ruin the day, hunt you down, dog your path.
Yet, for the lost, there will be no end to the suffering, the despair, the regret. It is actually hard to write of this. It is literally unfathomable to consider the lost state. The mind and soul start to grieve even thinking about it for me.
There are businesses that prosper in retirement planning, financial planning, and career directions. But, start to talk of life after the passing of the body and people quickly change the subject, walk away, or say, “I do not want to talk about that.” The most important decision of eternity is ignored, avoided, and angrily denied.
For many, they would be thrilled to live and then there is nothing more. But the Bible says that he has put eternity in their heart. Oh, the rude awakening for some and for others, the sad realization of truth that once was heard, and oh the agony of those who heard, who were taught, and refused the plan of salvation laid before them with passion from someone that loved them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Judgment: Children

Throughout history there has been a discussion about children. God said to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Adam said that his wife, Eve, was the mother of all living. God planned that man and woman would have a family, populate the earth, rear children for His eternity.
However, children have either been the boon or the bane of societies. Socrates complained of children in his day and Elisha had children follow him making fun of him. It did not end well for the children. Cultures have either blessed the children or ignored them or hated them.
Judgment: Children
“...I will make mere lads their princes and capricious children will rule over them.” Isaiah 3:4
-Pastor Bill

The Egyptians killed the Hebrew children. The Chinese today are limiting child birth. The Europeans are down to the place that children are an inconvenience and their birth rate is less than replacement, under one child per marriage. In China, child abduction is a growing concern since the government limits families to one child. Also, the preference is to have a boy; so the population is unbalanced with an excess of boys to girls. The ancient Spartans got to the place that the society died because there were no children.
The Bible has some clear direction regarding children. It speaks of training them, disciplining them (corporeally) as well as instructively. The Bible has strong admonitions to fathers and mothers as to their duties.
There was a saying years ago that went like this, “children are to be seen and not heard.” In some societies, children are segregated from the parents. As austere as that saying and approach is; it does bear some reflection.
Personally, I believe the word of God is the prescription for child rearing. I also know that one size does not fit all with kids. Each child provides its challenges to the parents. When a couple has a child that is quiet and calm, sleeps through the night as a baby and responds quickly to discipline, they can think that child rearing is a snap. Then comes number 2 and the child is colicky and screams and cries through the night. I have heard some parents say if they had that child first, they would have had no more.
Parenting is not easy. It takes time and loads of energy. It takes wisdom and constant attention to detail. 
But those are the very things that are lacking in so much of parenting today. So few parents are putting the energy into rearing their children and the lack of wisdom is obvious. Observing our culture, I see children running their parents. The kids have turned the parents into slaves and ATM machines. If the parent does not cough up the money, the kids are irate, yelling, complaining. The sad thing is that the parents take it. Instead of disciplining, they cajole and promise. 
We were in the restaurant the other evening. We were planning a nice evening of conversation with friends when there is this roaring sound from a table not far from us. It was not once but incessant. It was agitating, disconcerting, rude, and very loud. We looked and it was a little boy with six adult women at the table. Not one of them is stopping him, correcting him, disciplining him, telling him to be quiet. The waitress passed by and I asked her if she could do something about it? She looked at me with fear and moved on.
After this continued for a while, I got up and walked to their table and asked them if the child needed a doctor that it sounded like he was in great pain. They answered no, that he was just playing. I told them that it was very disturbing. They quieted him and left shortly thereafter. A little later a lady came to our table and shook my hand and said thank you to us. She said she was glad I did it, because she is Irish and she wanted to hurt them.
So often I watch children misbehave while their parents watch and do nothing. They are disturbing the peace, hitting someone, running around, and the parent watches as if nothing is going on. I have said many times that the parents are the ones who need disciplined.
So we have this culture that hates having kids, aborts them, but if they do have them, no one wants to raise them. The parents who want kids and want to raise them have bought into the psycho babble trash of modern child rearing that allows the kid to do anything because you might damage their ego or psyche. So we have ended up with a nation full of spoiled, indulged, rude, self-centered brats who are thankless, entitled, and out of control.
It is time for parenting to return to the Bible guidelines and bring order to the house. Children are not the rulers or the head of the house or family. The parents are to be large and in charge. Return to the norms of discipline even if means warming their backsides. This whole “time out” game is not working. I have always preferred God over Dr. Spock.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

For the Love

“I don’t love you anymore. I hate you. I want out. This is not working. I think I have fallen out of love with you. We just do not have anything in common anymore. I want to see someone else. This is too hard. We are always arguing. You make me sick. I want to pursue my career and you are in the way. You don’t want to do what I want anymore. You don’t make enough money and I want a better life.”
On and on it goes. Our society, including the church, has lost the commitment and resolve to make marriage work. The “till death do us part,” has become null and void. It is a trite line in the marriage ceremony that no one takes seriously. The pledge to faithfulness is lost and ignored. 
I am realizing that no one expects marriage to last. When we say I have been married 48 years, most people stand there in dumbstruck awe. The idea that once the romance is gone the marriage is over is a lie of this generation. The society has overdosed on Hollywood romanticism and sexual exploits. They feature the courtship, but they ignore the hard work and the day to day grind. “And they lived happily ever after,” is a pipe dream. They may have lived ever after, but there were certainly bumps along the road.
I hear the hurt and the pain in so many voices. Men and women abandoning their marriages; some just walking away with no warning or seemingly no serious issues. Spouses are left in confusion and children, whether grown or still at home, are dazed by the abandonment.
I fully understand there are legitimate reasons for separation and divorce. God made provision in the word for these cases. We walk through some of these from time to time.
There are some contributing factors to the trends. First, the laws make it much easier for divorce. Secondly, the society has little or no stigma attached to divorce any longer. Thirdly, the independence of women and their growing self sufficiency has led to women not staying in abusive relationships. Fourthly, the self sufficiency of women has made them less likely to work harder at keeping a marriage together. Fifthly, the shrinking size of family and low birth rate has created less responsibility on both spouses for providing. Sixthly, the constant barrage of enticements for freedom and license have made marriage to appear restrictive and fun killing. Seventhly, men remaining little boys and not wanting the responsibility of family.
Marriage takes a lot of work. But the work cannot be done solely by one partner. Both spouses need to work at the marriage. The machismo of “me Tarzan, you Jane,” does not work at all when you consider the woman a helpmate as scripture says. That will work when the woman is considered chattel as they are in many societies and religions, but that is not really a marriage; it is enslavement.
Men, today, are challenged to be communicative, open, and nurturing. Women are challenged to be supporters of their husbands and work together to make the marriage work. The male-female roles are being redefined by the world which has caused troubles in marriages. Even Christian homes are challenged by the contemporary views. Finding a Biblical basis for life is a firm foundation but still has its challenges. 
The test the church faces is ministering to all the broken lives caused by the fracturing of marriages. The ones most devastated are the ones who cannot grasp what has happened. Adultery is a clear breaking of covenant. Death is a finality that releases the spouse from the marriage. But we are faced with all kinds of breakage defined with the least of excuses all under the general category of “incompatibility.”
I believe this cultural lack of commitment and the damage from divorces has contributed to the increasing number of people living together and having children, often multiple children, before ever thinking of marriage. They share the same bed, they support one another, they live like they are married, but they have the back door open all the time without the legal damage. Yet, marriage is a totally different animal than cohabitation. People who have cohabited with consensual sexual relationship will testify that marriage is very different.
God has intended that we marry. Marriage is honorable. Marriage is intended to reflect the love of Jesus for the church. Marriage is the place of the greatest pleasure and the harshest pain. It is just like Jesus and the church. A marriage is worth working on. There are days when it is bliss and it has days where it is hellish. But underlying all is that commitment to one another. It is finding a way to work it out, learn from one another, adjust to one another, respect one another, want the best for one another.
It is a journey with romance, but hard days too, but it is God’s design.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Value Voting

We are now experiencing the conventions of both political parties. We have heard speeches, promises, vision, and political half truths and twisted facts. Sorting things out is an indomitable task. Yet, we have this constitutional responsibility to be informed and exercise our duty by voting. It is the cornerstone of the democratic republic.
However, many have lost confidence in the system and have failed to vote. Some have expressed their dismay with all candidates and have dropped out to the electoral process leaving things to fate and those who are adamant about their agenda.
I attended a meeting recently regarding “value voting.” They quoted a statistic that concerned me. There are 350,000 pastors in the USA and Ohio has 17,000. They determined that of those 17,000; 10,500 were Bible believing and values based based on the Scriptures. It is an alarming fact that one third of pastors who are influencing congregations no longer hold Biblical values.
To demonstrate the fact: in 2004 there were 300,000 more votes cast in rural counties in Ohio than 2008. In 2008, 300,000 voters did not vote in Ohio’s rural counties. Obama won Ohio by 195,000 votes. Could those 300,000 votes made a difference to the other side? Very possibly. It is not the major cities that determine which way Ohio goes; it is the rural counties that swing the elections.
As Christians, we are not called to be Republican or Democrat. We are not called to support one party or the other. We are called to be salt and light. We are to influence our culture with the values of the Bible, the values God has established in his word. We are to uphold the absolutes in a culture awash in relativism. 
The reason people can support such a wide variety of positions and believe they are all right is that there is no absolute truth. Positions can shift as the tide of popular opinion sways. Thus, gay marriage results from popular opinion rather than truth. Agendas that express anti-biblical truth are easily supported from pop culture since there is no under pinning of truth. Even the Constitution is under attack since it provides a rock solid reference point.
To be a “Value Voter,” a person looks at solid values. For Christians this means looking at the values of scripture and voting accordingly. We look to issues that reflect the values of God. In so doing, we probably never completely endorse everything of one candidate. However, our obligation is to vote for those who best represent the values of scripture. Someone commented that they did not like any of the candidates; so they were not voting. Sorry, Jesus is not on the ballot. As one friend said, “I hold my nose and vote for the lesser of the two evils.” 
The pastoral team felt that we must be involved in the process. So, we have set aside the month of September for voter registration in the foyer of the church. We are committed to informing our members of the issues and the values we hold as Christians. We will also hand out voter guides with the records of all congressmen as to their voting record. 
When 20 million evangelicals and 22 million Catholics did not vote in the last election, we have a job to do. The only thing that can be said of Christians is that they have been derelict of duty. When our forefathers established the Constitution, they were building a country for freedoms. When we refuse to vote and educate ourselves as to values, we are allowing militant agendas to come to power regardless of the values they hold. Indifference is the opiate of the people, apathy is the precursor to dictatorship, and complaining and whining is an exercise in futility if you will not act.
Through all the negative campaigning, the mud slinging, the horrible TV ads of accusation, half truth, twisted facts, mean spirited comments, allusions to Nazism, socialism, etc., etc., ad nauseum, we are to sort through the garbage and find truth. The best way to find truth is to know it before you start. The truth is found in the word and His values are well stated. Go from there and you do not have to listen to all the diatribe that is thrown at us incessantly. I have gotten to the place, I mute the TV for the ads that repeat and repeat and repeat, pounding home a position that is not the truth according to the Bible.
There are less than 60 days to the election. Just don’t sit there, do something. There have been elections that have been decided by one vote. Your vote does count. Exercise it. Be a Value Voter and be proud of it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


“...after this, Job live  140 years, and saw his sons and his grandsons, four generations.” Job 42:16         -Pastor Bill

We have grandchildren. I have a picture on my wall in my office which I look at every time I am sitting at my desk. It was taken when Billy and Caytie were in high school. Caytie graduated from college this year and Billy is a senior in college. The youngest was a little girl sitting on Billy’s lap and now she is eleven. They are growing up. Several have started high school this year and Emily starts college. I love my grandkids dearly. Cathy has her license plate marking her grandkids.
Now they are tall, grown up. Liz is so tall that if she wears high heels, she looks me straight in the eyes. I miss the babies, the cuddling, the story telling, the cuteness of little kids learning to talk. Rocking them to sleep and just holding them while they sleep is such a pleasure. But now it is cell phones, texting, loud music, styles, friends, and school. Grandparents are those people you see now and then giving you a sloppy kiss, asking about school, and generally looked at and then back to being a teen. They are the fogeys from another space and time. As Garrett once stated, Cathy and I were married in Bible times. Someday they will all come around again as they get older, but the babies are gone and the adults have arrived. They are really good kids, but I miss the babies.
Life for the past several years has been extremely difficult in many ways. Stress has had its effects with blood pressure, rosacea, and worry. Working through all that has been a run of faith and trust. Sometimes we were just worn down. In the midst of good things, there were the tough things too. Sometimes in life you just wonder where you are. You question everything. Re-evaluating ministry, purpose, direction, decisions, everything is on the table for scrutiny. Tired. Tired is the word.
Last Christmas, a surprise and happy announcement was made by my granddaughter, Caytie and her husband, Joe. They announced that they were expecting. The baby would be their first child, Bill and Missy’s first grandchild, Cathy and I, our first great grandchild, and my mom and dad’s first great, great grandchild. There would be five generations. We were all pleased, thrilled.
So Cate marched in graduation carrying the baby, fully expecting. She was cute. Then came July and our great granddaughter was born. When we walked into the room and there was this baby just hours old, something happened to me. I fell in love again.
Isabelle Faith, all 9 lbs., 3 Oz., was life again for me. It was almost a born again experience for me. As I held her, I realized that life was worth living. She breathed hope into me again. I cannot describe what another generation has done to me. After all the darkness, here was light in the smile of a newborn. After all the turmoil, here was peace in the tranquility of a sleeping babe. 
Since then, I have felt better. I love to see her. I love to cuddle her, hold her. She ministers to me in some kind of way. When I look at her, often I get choked up and cannot talk. 
What do we see in new life? What wonders are there? What does the human spirit feel when new life is born? What makes us as grandparents rejoice and dote over our grandkids? My mother as the great, great grandmother was jubilant at the announcement of the coming child. Is there some kind of spiritual blessing in “be fruitful and multiple” that is for more than the parents? I believe there is. I have wondered, “How can people live without family?” How lonely. How incomplete. Quelle Triste! 
The word of God speaks of the blessings of generations. He tells how our family can be blessed for generations to come. He speaks of the honor of wisdom and the gray head. He also says that he sets the solitary in the family.
“For unto us a child is born...” Isaiah says. He is speaking of the Messiah coming; yet I feel that scripture while ministering hope to Israel also has spoken to me today in the cute little face of my great granddaughter.
I have her picture on my lock screen of my iPhone. Every time I open the phone, there is her face. I cannot but smile or say “ahhhh.”
I wonder if God does the same and even more when any of us are born? He does rejoice over us with singing. Could the tragedies of abortion break God’s heart and rob grandparents of the joy I feel? Is the meaning of life wrapped in the beating heart of a child?
All I know is that for me, something spiritual happened and continues to happen through this little girl. I told Cate that I fell in love with another woman and her name is Belle, my great granddaughter.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


“...woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”Isaiah 5:20 

There is a growing frustration in our country, our world really. When injustice grows through tyranny, or in our country’s case, through rampant anarchy in the name of tolerance and diversity, you will find the people become restless and agitated. Now you may recoil, but the words, tolerance and diversity have been redefined. Tolerance no longer means that I believe what I believe and I agree to disagree. It has become everyone is right and there is no debate or standard. Morality is being rewritten to make that which is evil, good; and that which is good, evil. Injustices are present and people know when they are being taken advantage of, or when they are being manipulated. There is somewhat of an inherent understanding of right and wrong, particularly when you are the one wronged.
Out of this frustration which comes from the lack of uniform rules and protection through a government that protects its people, there have been and will continue to be outrageous acts of violence with no seeming reason. The media continues to report and wonder what is going on, but down deep in the culture there is a growing frustration.
We produce movies about bullying, but where is the protection from the bully at school. Teachers do not protect the student anymore because they have no recourse of discipline. The superintendents do not back the teachers for fear of lawsuits. The schools are segregated into cliques including nerds, geeks, goths, and jocks. Some are lost in the middle. So, rather than a simple rod to the rear of the offenders applied by those in authority such as the teacher or principal, frustrated students who fringe, resort to the ultimate equalizer. A geek may not be able to fight a jock in school, but a gun levels the field. The senseless violence and loss of innocent lives is in part the responsibility of a failed educational system that has stripped the power of discipline from those who are supposed to educate and protect our children. The schools are entrusted with our children for so many hours a day and even into the evenings with the various activities; yet, they have been stripped of the necessary tools to discipline and protect all the students.
We think there are a few who just snap and go on rampages killing and then usually taking their own lives. The repeat of this scenario has grown into an “I do not care about the consequences. I will just get my moment of revenge.” To allocate this to insanity on the part of the occasional lunatic is naiveté at its worst. The disease goes much deeper into the culture.
Sad as the Columbine, the Chardon, the numerous other schools, the college campus shooting in Virginia, Texas; workers who shoot fellow employees, assassination attempts of political leaders, and the craziness of the theatre shooting this week, they are indicators of a pandemic failure of morality, society, government, and church.
To stop this slide into anarchy, it will take moral change. Gun legislation will not change the heart of man. The liberal media attacks at that point every time there is a crisis of this nature. No one ever addresses the moral decay of the society, at least in the media.
There are key areas which need salvation.  The first is the home. The high divorce rate has contributed to much of the lack in our culture. Children have little or no discipline in a litigious society. Children have learned to play the game as the state asserts itself as the parent of all children. Children now accuse their parents and bring prosecution. They threaten parents and teachers with child services even though it would mean the end of their lives as being normal. The systems wants to label all parents as abusive, sexual predators, and incapable of raising a normal child. While we need some protection in place, the overall threat is undermining the sanctity of the home and the discipline that is needed for children. There is anarchy in our families. Where children rule, the society is doomed.
The second place is the schools. Yet, with the current climate, discipline is hard because parents are non-supportive of the teachers. They are quick to threaten and sue rather than helping the school handle their brat. Sometimes the parents are more a problem than the student.
Thirdly, government is being controlled by people with little or no moral fiber. The perpetrators are better protected than the victims. They are incapable of leading in a positive direction.
Fourthly, the church has become anemic and more like the world. A stand for righteousness is hard to come by in the church world today. Injustice. Frustration. Chaos follows. Change is needed on many levels.  A new voice needs to be heard.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kitchen Disaster

 Did you ever walk into a situation with your children that took your breath away with the damage or the mess and they are standing there smiling because they thought they were doing something nice for you? The kitchen is a disaster, but the child was fixing you breakfast. The yard looks a mess with mohawks everywhere and the child is proud they mowed the lawn. You are now in a quandary. You want to discipline, you want to teach, you want to correct, you want to scream. I remember doing that once as a kid. I decided to clean the basement in the old house where we had a coal furnace. I thought I was really helping. When dad got home and saw it, he was really upset. I remember mom telling him that I was just trying to help. Honestly, as a kid, I had no idea what I had done wrong. As an adult now, I probably just pushed a lot of dirt and ashes around and made a big clean up job for dad.
As parents, Cathy and I have had a few of those moments. One particular vivid moment was Mary trying to help mom by taking care of baby brother. The brother happened to be John who is three years younger than her. John was a baby; so Mary was three. She came walking into the room helping mom by carrying John, but she was carrying him around the neck. Cathy gasped, but kept her calm and told Mary, “thank you honey,” and immediately took John. No panic. But in her mind, there was panic.
Responding to children when they are doing their best; and for you doing their worst, is an art form. Encouraging the child to do well, encouraging their willingness to serve, encouraging their innovation and initiative is so important to their healthy development into responsible adulthood. It is sad that wrong responses at a moment like that can scar a child and defeat their creativity. Harsh words when the heart of the child was to serve are damaging beyond the parent’s imagination.
Those in authority such as parents need to realize the power that is in their words and responses. The aggravation of a child’s mistakes can cause responses that are damaging and life altering. The child loves the parent and is attempting to please. Often, they are copying what they see the parent doing. Gardening may cause the child to help and pull flowers instead of weeds. Mary knew Cathy loved roses and she picked the neighbor’s rose for her. It was the town mayor’s rose. A son may want to help dad in the garage and mess with his tools; dad later finding them in the yard after a rain. Remember the first time your son washed your car? Yes, it was streaked and places missed.
The authority figure, the parent, boss, or pastor, or teacher has an inherent place of responsibility. The parent is to teach, encourage, and train. Perfection is not in the child’s repertoire. Little hands, inexperienced hands cannot accomplish what the parent expects fully. But with training and encouragement, sometimes the gift in the child exceeds the parent.
In the spiritual realm we must accomplish the same thing. Everyone who starts out to be a man or woman of God and wants to move in the power of God are like our children. Beginnings are imperfect. It takes time to develop into mature Christians, and especially those who seek to move in the Holy Spirit.
As a pastor, I am watching for the flock and over the flock of God. There are people who have latent gifts that need to be developed. I remember when I started to move in the gifts of the Spirit, it took God to move on me so strong that when I finally yielded it would come out in a torrent, sometimes loud and strong. Early prophetic words were fairly generic, but I was learning. I had a few good people to encourage me to keep going. I had an old cowboy evangelist kick me to get me to prophesy. I got a cowboy boot in the leg during that meeting and was told to let it go. Prophesy.
As I have worked on stewarding the gifts, working on people to move in the gifts, I find all kinds of responses. I have those who are afraid. You have to work with them to get going. I have the bold who get something and think that now everything they get is God. I have those who hear God, but expand it so much that they flow into the flesh with their opinions and reflections on the core God gave them. I have had those who when God is moving have strange motions and affectations which cause people to question the message. Weirdness is not a sign of anointing.
Responses to those learning is important. Too many in authority just shut down, forbid, teach against in order to control. We cannot develop a spiritual church by shutting down the Holy Spirit. We must learn to steward the move, encourage, train, and lead. We all can get better at hearing the voice of God and following Him. We need more young Christians learning. 
Encourage and Train!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Need of Exercise

“...from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies...’” Ephesians 4:16
Andy Griffith once described football as a strange game. He said it was best defined as 22 men on the field in desperate need of rest while 50,000 people in desperate need of exercise watched.
This could well describe the church too. Most church books say that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. This is a sad commentary since we are to be the “body” of Christ. What would happen if 80% of our body shut down? Probably we would die. Now, I think that this is not so much an indictment on the people, but more so on the way church is practiced. The common approach really sets people up for failure and lethargy. 
Once we entered the age of the Gnostics, the church has been defending itself from heresy. So, in order to protect, the official approach has been to form a hierarchy (priest rule) and entrust the few with the exercise of the faith. Then once the church codified the faith into sacraments, it needed a few trained professionals who had special access to God. Out of this was formed the laity (the crowd) who were allowed to watch and could have sacraments dispatched to them through the hands of the priests. In essence, a large body of lazy Christians were created, not because they did not want to serve; they could not.
In Protestantism the mold was attempted to be broken, but the accoutrements of the catholic system followed and still is present in all movements today. Thus, the continuance of a system that shuts people out exists to this day.
Counter pointed to this system is the exhortations of scripture which speak of the Body of Christ, every joint supplying, fellow laborers, and ambassadors. The scripture is full of descriptions indicating participation and activity. 
The other contributing factor is the thought that all activity of the kingdom must take place in the church building or programs in the building. This makes the number of opportunities to be active in the kingdom of God small.
So, people enter the kingdom of God happy to be in the Lord, saved, and then they want to serve. Serve because they love God and are appreciative. But where become the question.
The realistic figures that we should strive for is to have 80% of the people involved in ministry of some sort. There are ample opportunities in the church and outside the church to build the kingdom of God. But this number cannot be reached in traditional forms. A complete cultural change needs to take place. 
For years we have talked of being a New Testament Church. What does that mean to you? Some think a New Testament church would be one which holds to the teachings of the NT. Some think it means to be free from legalism. Some think it means we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Some think of a modern approach to ministry. Some think it is a March back to the 1st Century.
Well, there is no way we are going back to the 1st Century. Obviously in our desire for that New Testament Church we have lapsed back into the familiar forms. To be a New Testament Church we need to function more as a body. Now there was much teaching on the body, but very little action regarding it. Like many of our teachings, they soon are relegated to fine doctrine and poor execution.
However, the problem with pursuing more participation from the whole church is the lack of order sometimes. Body ministry is not a free for all. It is meant to be a coordinated function of a healthy body moving forward, not in a spastic parade, but a coordinated, well trained, efficient body. The fact that body ministry has been interpreted as a free for all, an open mic, “do what you want” has done damage and caused many to revert to the hierarchy system for safety sake.
There is a lot to do in the kingdom and it is not all on Sunday morning. As we progress in growing the church, we will work on body ministry. As we identify the giftings of each, we then hope to employ those giftings to build the kingdom of God.
As we move through the healing seminar, the goal is not just information, but application. How exciting it will be when those on the teams lay hands on someone and they are healed. How amazing to watch as God performs a miracle in front of your eyes. Jesus will be lifted up and praises will fill the house. This is a start in the right direction.
We have much work to do to get more people equipped and deployed. This is a building process. We want the 50,000 exercised and the 22 to get some rest. An army goes forward as all advance and all fight.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Vision for Healing

We live in amazing times. The progress that has been made in the medical field is astounding. The ability to transplant hearts and other organs is purely a miracle of modern medicine. The constant research opens new doors and cures for people who otherwise would die prematurely. Curative drugs abound as the war on disease continues. There are people alive who in just 50-100 years ago would have been gone; yet they remain alive, healthy, and active.
Still, there are life threatening diseases and some beyond medical reach. Still, doctors come to places where they say they have done all they can do. While research moves at a pace that is fast; it is still slow for those waiting. We still have diseases appearing that have not been known to man. Sexually transmitted diseases have increased in number to over 30. While years ago there were less then 10 or so to fight; now there is an explosion of various types.
You may wonder why I am siting such things and lauding the medical profession. The medical profession is an honorable duty. It is a God given gift to care and have compassion. The problem has come with the arrogance of science and the deification of doctors and particularly when it is self directed. Luke was a physician and the Bible never says not to use them. However, they have their limits as does any scientific pursuit. The Bible indicates that healing comes from God and he has put the various herbs and leaves in the world for healing. Science has exploited them and synthetically produced them.
So, as we move toward prayer for healing and asking God for a greater manifestation of the gifts of healings, what do we say? Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in God. Meaning, we start with our trust in God. We go to Him first and foremost. We fight disease on every front. We fight with prayer, we fight with medicine, we trust the Lord.
It is a proven fact that those who are prayed for in the hospital heal faster, have a better countenance, and respond positively. Prayer is a key to healing. The body responds to prayer. This definitely indicates that there is a spiritual side to healing that is mostly ignored. I firmly believe that all healing comes from God. Doctors can administer surgeries and prescriptions, but healing is only aided by them. They do not heal. 
In the Bible we see both the administration of medical help and the application of divine healing. There seems to be no conflict in the scriptures. We see the woman with the issue of blood having spent all her livelihood on doctors for healing, but it was beyond them, but there was no condemnation from Jesus. She needed help beyond what medicine had to offer. We find that the Lord is mostly incensed when people remove Him and put their trust totally in man.
One of the greatest experiences of healing and care is when the doctor loves the Lord and understands that he is an agent of God to administer compassion and care. 
So, how can we operate in faith. Does faith exclude the medical profession as some have said and practiced? I would say not. I believe that life is precious and the enemy is evil. I believe we should fight the enemy with every weapon we have at our disposal. I have still not figured out the mysteries of faith and healing and miracles. I have watched as those that declare faith to the exclusion of any help have died and others completely delivered. I do not know why? And I certainly am not going to condemn or try to appoint blame on their faith. It remains a mystery to me.
I do believe that we should pursue God for healing. We need to pray, look for the deliverance, and trust the Lord. We should seek the anointing and exercise it completely. We need to know the scriptures and confess their power. We need to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We need to hold the Lord as number one.
We know from the word that healing is included in the atonement. It is in the blood of Jesus. It is the promise of Psalm 103. He heals our diseases. The benefits of serving the Lord are manifold. We should be appropriating those benefits and reading our policy to know what we have in it.
So, as we prepare to begin our healing room, we will be getting in line with the word and exercising the prayers that heal and aid in healing. We will see quicker healings, we will see instantaneous relieve and healing at times, (hopefully lots of them) and we will see miracles. We are expecting our faith to grow and the army of the Lord to grow. Mountains will be moved! Hope will soar. Joy will abound.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Vision For Healing

 We have heard numerous prophecies about the church being a place of healing, a hospital for bodies and souls. We hear, but now we have to implement a walk toward that prophetic word.
For years I have heard the stories of people who spoke of how the church has hurt them, wounded them. A common joke of sorts was that the church was the only group that shot their wounded. Sad, but true in many cases. As a result, we have the jetsam and flotsam of Christian churches floating in the sea of humanity not necessarily in the world, but not in the church. Some people I know will not even talk about what happened to them and others will tell everyone of their hurt. The statistics indicate there are upwards of 10 million confessed born again believers who do not attend church. The hurt runs deep.
Some have overcome through the years, but walk cautiously with large amounts of distrust and a wild animal wariness of church and its leadership. In talking with a man this week, he spoke of how he disliked church because of cliques. Wary, distrustful.
But, when there is a move of God, many of these will be looking, once again, to find fellowship and an atmosphere of the Holy Spirit. But for them to fully engage there will be a necessary healing to take place. We must posture ourselves to provide an avenue of healing for the distraught and distrustful. It takes time. We once had a black lab that had been abused and neglected. We found him in Pennsylvania where our friend said there was this black lab the neighbors had, but neglected. He asked the neighbor if we could have the dog. The neighbor agreed and we headed home with a back lab which we named “Pepper.” Pepper did not trust us much at first. He guarded his dog dish and water with paws on both sides, keeping it directly in his possession. He had not been fed regularly and who knows how often he was given water. As the weeks went by, Pepper realized he was being fed regularly, water was always there, and there were kids that played with him and he was not tied up. He became the best frisbee football player we had. It took time to convince him it was safe and he was cared for.
The Hospital that God is calling us to be is more than a triage where we administer some short term fix. This is a call to healing that will embrace many facets and take time. Christians need their trust rebuilt through significant, long term commitment to their health. If you notice, insurance companies are now spending much more time in preventive medicine and strategies rather than the time worn attitude of dealing with it when it is a crisis only. 
Then there is the defeating “Pentecostal, Charismatic” understanding of healing which is manifested in the desire for the dramatic. Of course we want to see the instantaneous miracle, but it does not always come that way. We have produced a theology which implies or directly states that if it does not happen instantaneously that we did not have faith, the person did not have faith, or that God did not want to heal. So, we ended up in a blame game as to who was at fault.
Really, we need to change our attitude and theology. Healing is a process which man cannot duplicate. We can aid it, we can diagnose the problem, we can operate, but healing is a process of God. So, when we pray for healing, we should proceed with the idea of a process and rejoice if it happens instantaneously which, in my mind, moves it to the miracle category.
It seems John G. Lake had a grasp on that concept when he established the healing rooms where people would come and stay and be prayed for on a consistent, prescribed schedule. They had spectacular results through the years that it operated.
Our vision is to have the Healing Room available after every service where folks can be prayed for with intensity and time. In our services and ministry times we often cannot give the extended time it takes for healing and deliverance. Healing will take several prayers sometimes as progress is made. One of the approaches is to pray and if there is any movement and release of pain, the process resumes with more prayer. Sometimes it beings complete healing or a significant improvement. The prayer continues until there is no progress. Then the person is encouraged to come for prayer again next time. 
We are going to take the month of July and study healing in a morning seminar and then in August or at the latest, September, we will have our healing teams in place and will begin to regularly minister healing to those who come. Healing of the body and soul is our vision.