Unhurried LANDMARK and a Remarkable Family

Without question it is to my disadvantage that I do not know the Haney family well. Some of us are acquaintances, of course, seeing that for years Jerry and I were active in the Western District of the United Pentecostal Church, as were several of the Haney family. Though I do not know them closely, I deeply admire those great people and the work their family has done in the city of Stockton, CA; indeed around the world. I believe their church building is the largest in California that was actually built as a church; it seats several thousand. On another piece of property stand their older auditorium and multiple other buildings, including a Bible school campus.

Well beyond my admiration for the physical monuments the Haneys have erected is my respect for their attitudes, their closeness to God, and their obvious deep dedication to works of The Spirit. Last night’s service of their conference LANDMARK was an example of what I feel and am trying to say. I watched on my computer by live-streaming. Let me make a list; It is a short, but notable list that certainly will not encompass every positive aspect of the scenario, but it will help you understand the remarks I am making.

1. From the beginning I was struck by the lack of “hurry.” It was slow and deliberate, quite lacking in frenzy and any sense of desperation. The opening prayer service, led by Pastor Haney, lasted at least thirty minutes, and during this time, “we” were led into the Shekinah. True worship sang throughout that magnificent auditorium.

2. Pastor Haney gave every appearance and every sound and every sense of having been long in the presence of God. He was comfortable with it. He was authentic. He exuded a drift of foundation–deep, solid, robust. Yet, Pastor Haney appeared humble and unassuming. An aura of the Holy wound about him.

3. The musicians and singers were multiple, and almost without exception when the camera would pan on them, they appeared to be in a state of worship, sometimes with tears running down their faces.

4. Boldness, still without hurry, was marked throughout the service, as Pastor Haney ministered, calling groups to the altar area, and then other groups . . .and healings came and miracles, no doubt.

I believe it good for you to know these things.

http://www.clministry.com/

The Mystery of Apostolic Preaching

Many years ago, I considered the matter long and hard, scrutinized its details, examined its ramifications, and came to a conclusion that even after this lengthy period of time has elapsed I remain sure of. There is nothing in this world like Apostolic preaching. Nothing. Hear me: Nothing. Anointed preaching is of another world. It goes beyond mere sentences found in a dictionary or printed on a Bible page. It exceeds words formed in his mouth and spat from the tongue of a human being. There is something about an Apostolic preacher that takes on the heavenly, and as a lightening spear alters drastically a black sky, so is that man  transformed into an apparatus of divine deliverance. The Voice of God is heard.

Such a thing happened last week in Louisville, KY. at the National Youth Congress of the United Pentecostal Church Int. Watch here as a young man named Cortt Chavis, formed from the dust of the earth, is transformed into a pendant of glory. There is no earthly explanation.

 

God’s Unstoppable Church

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church transcends denomination, organization, or fellowship. The Gospel is supreme, stands on its own, and extends beyond culture, tradition, or man’s acceptance or rejection.

Yesterday morning Jerry and I attended The Lighthouse in Yucaipa, pastored by our dear friend Patrick Garrett and his remarkable wife Holly. Growth is evident there, Apostolic worship was apparent, and Brother Garrett preached from the Word of God. The Lighthouse is associated with the Worldwide Pentecostal Fellowship, commonly referred to as the WPF.

At 5:00 last evening, I settled myself into a comfortable chair here in my dining room, a cup of coffee beside me, and tuned in by computer live streaming to The Anchor, a church in San Diego pastored by James Larson and his talented and sweet wife Joni. The Anchor is associated with the United Pentecostal Church, commonly referred to as the UPC. A powerful move of the Holy Ghost unfolded, for as I watched, an associate pastor, Brother Sam Gutierrez, pushed past what seemed to be the “order” of the service, and called the congregation to an extended period of worship. Then followed the scheduled preacher for the evening, Youth Pastor Ron Boling, who was so moved in his spirit that he set aside the message he had planned for the evening, instead encouraging the congregation to continue in their deep worship. Several minutes into this distinct time, Pastor Larson took the microphone and said he believed Brother Andrew Buxton, a lay-minister, had a word from the Lord. Brother Buxton took the pulpit and spoke in a powerful way for 20 minutes or so.

Recently, in Tulsa, OK, the WPF concluded its national youth conference named PEAK. Last week, in Louisville, KY, the UPC concluded its national youth conference which it refers to as National Youth Congress. More than twenty thousand persons attended this meeting which some referred to as perhaps the best conference they had ever attended. One minister who attended PEAK told me it was an outstanding meeting. I have not been able to determine the attendance there.

In Gatlinburg, TN, on September 4-6, the national conference of the WPF will convene. On October 1-4 in St. Louis, MO, the national conference of the UPCI will convene. (There are other apostolic organizations which have similar meetings with similar results, but I am only closely acquainted with the two I have been mentioning, thus my use of them for this discussion.)

So, Apostolic youth from across the country have recently been invigorated as a result of their national conferences, and in early fall both of the aforementioned organizations will gather from around the world to do their required business and to encourage and prompt each other. Propagation of The Gospel is the theme of these meetings. It is a precious thing, and of little matter is the flag under which God’s full Gospel is preached. . . “Unstoppable” is God’s church, Andrew Buxton said last night.

………And so it is.

Does Form Matter?

A few hours ago, I had a provocative talk with a young man who just attended a major youth meeting of an Apostolic group. He was very disturbed to observe that on the platform where sat many ministers, only one person had a bible. They had phones that had bible programs on them, and the scriptures being discussed were projected onto a large screen. So, in one sense they possessed bibles. From the platform, one minister actually read scripture aloud from his phone screen. Anything wrong with that?

Does it matter the form? Is there anything significant about holding in our hands a book that says Holy Bible as opposed to reading the same text on a computer screen, a telephone screen, or a projection screen?

I’m very interested in your opinion.
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It greatly pleases me that this photograph I took last year has been viewed more than 6000 times. There are still many people who cherish and value the Holy Bible.

Praise Him in the Dance!

A Psalm of Praise.
1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
3 Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre.
4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!

Love for the Word of God

During Sunday morning’s service one of the ministers mentioned that particular occasion in the Old Testament where the Book of the Law had been lost, and how when it was found, the people stood from morning until evening as God’s Word was read to them. I was stricken as I remembered that story, and I forced myself to be honest. Would I stand all day to hear God’s Word being read? Is It that important to me? Do I cherish the Scripture to that degree? Do I come even close?

We’re planning a crusade–just a local meeting–but in doing so, we have talked and planned and considered the music to a great extent. Music is important, not only to us who already know Jesus, for it is deeply moving and can be of soul-stirring depth, but it certainly is to those whom we want to attract, those who do not yet know the Lord. After choosing the preacher for this event, the subject of music has been in the forefront of our planning and discussions. Nothing wrong with that for we must be realists, and we’re wanting lots of people to attend these services. Our goal, of course, is to reach the unsaved, and we believe music will be a powerful attraction.

Being scaldingly honest here, though, I wonder about our regular services and about our personal worship. I wonder about myself. Am I more in tune with music and emotion than with God’s Word? Am I more moved by anointed singing than by anointed preaching? Do I spend more time with music than with His Word? Do I consider it more important?

I believe I am honest in saying I consider there is nothing as stirring as is anointed preaching. But how about the clear, unadorned reading of the Word? Would I be as moved–or even as apt to even be there–for an hour as someone read into a microphone the actual words of the Bible–verse by verse, chapter by chapter. How about two or three hours…or a full day? Would we do that? Would I?

As I thought on this and studied this morning, I read again the 8th chapter of Nehemiah, and bring it for you to think about. These Israelites listened to the reading of God’s Word for eight days. Eight days! …and they were glad, they were happy about it. Now I suspect along the way, someone might have picked up a tambourine, or slapped together a couple of cymbals, or danced or sang with a clear high voice. Look at verse 12:

And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.

But it was the Word that was the emphasis. They rejoiced, had a celebration, because they had understood God’s Word. Think about that today…as certainly, I have.

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.

2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:

6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.

8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.

12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.

13 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.

14 And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:

15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.

16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.

17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.

18 Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.

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My other blog is here.

Privilege

A Blessed Child, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Frequently, over the past few days, this scene has come to my mind. On more than one occasion, while attending the youth conference in Tucson last week, I chanced to sit behind this family. I’m not sure of the name of the beautiful little girl, but she belongs to Pastor and Mrs. Kevin Bradford of Bakersfield, CA.

Oblivious–completely unaware–this child occupies a place that to any clear-thinking individual is one of unusual desirability and of ultimate safety. Having no say in the matter, having no perception even of being, into the middle of an obscene and corrupt world this little soul was placed.

She’s one of the few–one of the rare–for her parents are God-fearing people whose lives are directed by God’s Word and by His Spirit, whose Deity is their center, whose Master is their core. From conception her developing ears have tested the sound of worship and of devotion. From birth she has been carried into the sanctuary. And I watched last week as she nuzzled into her father’s shoulder and squirmed in her mother’s arms.

Around this privileged child–around me, a privileged adult–rose the wondrous sound of praise and worship, its notes lovingly thrown from the throats of men, so that finally the atmosphere was of Heaven and hardly resembled the earth. I saw children raising their tiny arms, miniature silhouettes of their mothers and of their fathers. I watched as they clapped their baby hands…and at that moment, last week in Tucson, the issue of privilege overwhelmed me, and when I look at the image above, I see its face.

For I know other children, whose lives are as different from these as is golden dawn from the ink of midnight, whose privilege is low and miry, whose atmosphere is alcoholic, and dank and evil and drug infested. And this afternoon, here in Lake Havasu, I weep for those babies.

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My other blog is here.

Singing!

“And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:3

Some time ago, someone sent us a DVD on which is a sermon entitled, A Sermon in Song. The preacher of the sermon is Charles Grisham, a pastor for many years in Detroit, Michigan, and a long time friend of Jerry and me. Last night, on his computer, Jerry watched the DVD and although I was doing something else, I couldn’t help but see and hear Jerry’s response. He laughed, cried, I believe, lifted his hands in worship, and talked back to the computer. Once he said to me, “Charles Grisham is brilliant!” The “sermon” was preached at the request of Paul Mooney, the pastor of Calvary Tabernacle Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. (This is an excellent site, not just to learn about this church, but it offers extensive audio and video recordings of services there in Indianapolis, and of various conferences and other special meetings.)

The sermon is unique; indeed, it is a sermon in song–I could tell that from what I heard last night, and from Jerry’s exclamations. Throughout the sermon, which lasted nearly two hours, Charles Grisham spoke of the words of songs, and his church experiences with songs, the significance of old hymns, and he sang as he preached–dozens of songs.

Singing is wonderful. It is liberating, refreshing and cleansing. It reduces stress, preaches sermons, prays intensely, releases tears, brings laughter, quiets babies and soothes the dying. It leads people into worship, entertains, instructs, quotes poetry, looses the reluctant tongue, rouses the heart into emotional response, and evokes feelings of patriotism and allegiance (think The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America.) Singing elicits deep commitment beside evening campfires and, in altars around the world, draws repentant people to their knees.

Oh, yes, there are sermons in song. And with Charles Grisham, but from our own mouths, come the new song–a song not sung before, but sung heartily now–one of praise unto our God.

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My other blog is here.

The Glory of a Trained Child

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

He is ten years old and has been taught the ways of God since his birth. He is from a single parent home, and although his father faithfully supports him and is quite involved with him, it is his mother who has been the dominant force in his life.

He stood beside me as the minister made the necessary plea for a camp expense offering last night. From the edge of my eye, I watched, as from his trouser pocket, he removed his nylon wallet. We were near the front of the tent, and as the offering pan came closer to him, I saw Nathaniel fingering his money, as though trying to settle the issue.

Mind made up, Nathaniel drew four dollar bills out, and as the container passed, he dropped them in. He never knew I watched.

I’ve been with him for several days now and I knew that his spending money for camp consisted of $20.00. He had given 20 per cent of that during camp’s first night offering.

Train up a child…

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My other blog is here.

Angels, Both Heavenly and Earthbound

 

 

The subject of angels is close to us who love God, and if there comes a person who has encountered such a heavenly being, we are entranced by the story and want to hear each glowing detail. According to Paul in Hebrews 2:7, angels are higher creations than are men: “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels…” We are not to worship them, however.

Angels fill the Heavens with sounds of glorious worship, carry messages to earthlings (think Mary and Elizabeth and Gideon…) and fight battles (think Jacob and the Israelites) rescue God’s people (think Daniel in the den of lions and Peter in jail). At the end of the ages, angels will be relegated to the background when the redeemed of the Lord are gathered in Heaven and we sing redemption’s story and rejoice because of the shed blood of Jesus. The angels must then “fold their wings,” for indeed they cannot sing such a song.

I have never seen angels, but I have definitely felt their presence. In a ladies prayer meeting in Rialto, Ca. many years ago, there came such a palpable presence of God, that as I prayed, I felt I was being pushed through the floor. When the prayer ended, one of the other women told how during this exceptional time of prayer, she had actually seen angels standing shoulder to shoulder around the church auditorium. They were massive, their height extending from the floor to the ceiling.

I’m curious to know if you feel you have ever been in the presence of an angel—I mean to the extent that you felt a presence or sensed a glorious being. Do you know anyone who has ever seen an angel? Would you want to see an angel? I have thought about this and am not sure if I want to see an angel. I expect my final decision if I had the opportunity would be yes, I would choose to see such a being. My reluctance is that it would be such a holy and fearful place. What say you?

Last week at a ladies conference banquet, I was in the presence of five tiny angels—albeit earthbound ones. The cherub pictured above and here is Kasey Lynn Clark. If you want to hear her angelic voice as she prays, click on the Sonific selection on my other blog.