We offer spiritual direction counseling to pastors and church leaders. Jim has been in ministry for over 50 years and with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, having planted three churches, done evangelistic work and chaplaincy, he realizes that those in ministry need “safe” personal counsel at times. His goal is to help pour the love and wisdom of God into those with needs. Please contact the ministry by phone or email for more information.
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“…All things are made new…”
A MESSAGE FOR 2021
January 05, 2021
" old things are passed away: behold, all things are made new>"
II Corinthinas 5:17
This is a quote on a plaque that was given to me when I started a new church plant in the 1980’s in Beverly Hills, California. The plaque is from our dear long time friends Heinz and Christina and I have held onto it and it has meant something very special whenever some new chapter of life has started. Well we have started a new chapter as many of you have.
As we have come out of one of the most difficult years in our lives and country, let alone the world, we have to keep several things in mind. In pondering the new year, I have seen and heard some things concerning people and their lives and futures. It is a fact that no one’s life will be the same after what we have gone through. I am not just talking about a pandemic. The virus itself was impactful but what government officials have done with it has been maybe more impactful that the virus itself. There seems to be a strong spirit of fear that has gripped people of every strata of society and even Christians.
I have lived many years and gone through major upsets and things such as riots, (lived in LA), earthquakes, (lived 5 miles from the epicenter of the Northridge quake and lost much including our home) and other things including the deaths of my family, parents , siblings and best friends, I have come to some major conclusions in this past year. Some conclusions from spiritual insight I believe given by God and some from observations and experiences this past year. To say I would not want to live through another year like this past would be an understatement. I have seen many things happen from rioting to deaths and the destruction of thousands of small businesses and large ones. It has brought loss with the destruction of families through fighting because of the lockdowns, loss of jobs and income and the horrible fear of the so called pandemic.
What then shall we do and as the saying goes, “How then shall we live?”
I have learned one thing that overshadows everything including my own beliefs about pandemic, lockdowns, masking etc. The major thing is that America and other nations lack the most and that is trust in God. I saw just last night in the presentation of the New York New Years program some of the most lewd, ridiculous music that shows the secularism and lust that has taken over American culture. There is only one answer that will truly make a difference whoever is the leader of our country or whoever is in politics and that is that we desperately need to turn back to God and the Ten Commandments. They were given by the Almighty Himself for the moral good of mankind and they are eternal truths. God’s laws do not change in the midst of any national chaos.
“…old things are passed away, behold all things are made new.”
Pray, believe and hope. nothing ever remains the same. Those are the words I have for 2021. God answers prayer, faith and hope in His eternal goodness and love. Don’t give up. Teach our children His ways and they will not commit suicide or harm themselves, especially if they see us modeling the good moral life that God wants us to. Put your life and heart in His hands, rededicate your life to Christ, or if you haven’t give it to Him, do it now and see the miracles ahead for 2021. As the angel said, “All things are possible to them that believe!”
Dear Heavenly Father;
All things are in your power and almighty hand. Help us who are struggling with the events that have shaped an America we barely recognize any more. Hate has torn apart families and friends. Sickness and loss of jobs have devastated lives. Turn us back to You, the source of all goodness and the provider of all that is good. We trust in You! You have promised to never leave us or forsake us as we put our hope in You. Change us and change our world! Make us new.
In Jesus’ most powerful Name I ask it.
When Heaven Touched Earth
Christmas Poem December 26, 2020
very A Star shined bright on that holy night,
Was not a night that seemed to shine.
The crowds milled around looking for a place to bed
and a place to have their animals fed.
For the census had brought them from miles away
To Register the next day among the fray.
Many did not know why they came,
Just to be counted or bare some blame.
A couple who traveled with a baby due,
Had a very hard journey and labor she knew.
The time was upon them but they saw no room,
Of the strenuous journey which jarred her womb.
They didn’t see the future with the birth of their baby
that shepherds and angels and glory would be,
their spiritual companions to make things right,
Their hope seemed dashed with no place in sight.
A dirty stall, possibly a cave,
Where animals bedded and shelter was made,
It was far from a place to bring in a baby
With clean bed and grace. but there’s always a “maybe”!
Maybe God’s plan was not what it seemed
To bring in a baby the world would redeem.
His plan is far above what the eye can see,
It uses the lowly things to bring us to our knee.
The cry of the baby amidst the dark,
The filth of the place made the surroundings stark,
The Moon and stars lit up the sky
And like a light in the dark The baby did cry.
Away in the fields, some shepherds were scared
Should they look at the sight if they dared,
As some heavenly creatures appeared with loud sound
Mightier than what they'd seen and they fell to the ground.
What can come from a lowly trough bed? Straw, sheep,
animals led, by some men who the world would never expect.
The lowliest God chose to witness His plan
To free a lost world, To give hope to man.
When our lives seem the lowest
We have to look up
In the darkness of night,
There is always the Light.
The Hope of the world will always be there
A baby, a king, a savior we share,
So in hardships and trials please do not mourn,
See God’s gracious light, His child is born!
A Wise Observation
Thoughts About a Pandemic.
Now it is almost nine months since we first locked down after hearing of this new “pandemic”, which has in no uncertain terms changed our world and all who live in it. If you have been one who thinks deeply about things and questions events and all you hear both from the media and people, you may have come to some of the same conclusions that I have or yours may differ slightly from mine. I will be forthright in saying what has been my experience and what I believe God has shown me.
I do not claim to be a prophet but I do believe that in over fifty years of serving the Lord in ministry, and more years as a committed Christian, I have experienced wisdom that comes with studying the scriptures, experience and age.
The lockdown, mandates and closing of churches has had a deep impact on me. It started in March and April and I do believe that I heard from God and if you are honest and especially if you are a Christian you will concur with the first revelation I had, I was going to bed on a night after the lockdown . I was walking through the house to go to my bedroom with most lights out except a night light in the hallway . I was perplexed and upset at what we were experiencing with the lockdown and my heart cried out to God, “What is going on?” I will never forget as long as I live what I heart in my spirit and mind. I do believe that the Holy Spirit showed me and it came as words although not audible. “ALL THE FORCES OF HELL HAVE BEEN UNLEASHED!”
I do think that in recounting events from lockdown to rioting and hatred between people to the masking of the world, that it has proven true. My question is “what can we do about it?” If all the forces of hell have truly been unleashed, then do we individually have any control over it? The answer is yes and no. We can do one thing alone and together and that is fast and pray.
The Masking. After the masking mandates have gone out, I was deeply upset and angered by it. I have tried to figure out in my own mind just what are the implications of it other than the possibly wrong idea that it is stopping the pandemic. That is for another article. I will add here that I do believe that the masking is part of a diabolical plan to destroy the freedom that we have and also the Christian witness. Do I believe that masking will slow or stop the Covid 19 virus? Well, I am not a doctor but I have listened to many and seeing the surge in cases, (albeit not nearly the amount of deaths as before) I am not convinced that it has done any thing but prolong the spread and stretch it out. As well as showing the fact of how easy it is to control a population because of one thing or another, in this case a health scare.
I do want to end this on a positive note. I do believe that there are evil forces at play in our world and nations and it is easy to see that, but I also know that what the enemy of our soul plans for evil that God can turn around for good. The Church has been in decline both in numbers and most of all in morality and Christian commitment the past few decades. If the only good thing that comes out of this is that God causes people to focus on eternal things, namely God and the question about where we will spend eternity, then it will have been worth it. Much change has gone on and I recognize it in myself as well as in the nation. If nothing else, accept the thought that God loves you and is allowing this to draw you to Him, whom to know is eternal life. As I age, I realize more than ever how short life is and how important it is to ask Christ into our life and then live for Him. After all, what have we got to loose other than our soul? To trust in Him and then to get to know Him is to learn how much He loves us and realize how could we not love a God who loves us enough that He came to become one of us. He came to this earth to pay the ultimate price for all the sin that we have done so that we might live forever in that beautiful place called heaven with Him, who is LOVE and with those we love here on earth. We would have lived a good life and had the blessing of eternity. Let us trust that He has this whole thing in His eyesight and His plan will ultimately be done if we trust Him and pray.
What was Pentecost? Pentecost was the birth of the Church but it was not only the birth of the Church, it was an outpouring of God‘s Holy Spirit that started a new age, the age of the Church. Pentecost changed the lives of about 120 people gathered in an upper room which was actually part of a house in Jerusalem. If you know the story from the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit came as Jesus had promised at a time after they were praying and lighted upon them first in tongues of fire and the rushing mighty wind. The Bible says that it filled all the house where they were sitting with the Power of God. The Holy Spirit‘s power came and changed those people who had been hiding, many of them from the Roman soldiers and the Roman government who had been oppressing Israel.
Things changed and then people changed. It was God’s way. It started the Christian Church which then went throughout the world. For 300 years people were persecuted for being Christians. They met in homes and did start to build some churches in areas where they were allowed to.
Many of us were hoping that this last Pentecost Sunday would be a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit and another great awakening. Last night as I was going to bed The Lord opened my mind and heart to the fact that as the original Pentecost happened with one small group of people in one room and started a worldwide movement, that this Pentecost, although it was marred by many riots throughout our country, may have been exactly the same. My heart was open to the fact that somewhere the Holy Spirit was poured out on a group of people as was promised through many prophetic words of hope, faith and prayers of many people and now it will spread. I cannot tell you where it happened or exactly how it happened but I believe that in the midst of the chaos of our nation this past week that God had poured out of His Spirit and a new great awakening will start. It will spread, just like it did in the early church. God is moving in the midst of commotion, chaos, death and problems. There is nothing new and the world was a very hard place when the original Pentecost happened. Remember that the great Charismatic Movement started in two Catholic prayer groups in two universities in 1966. It spread and affected the church all over the world in almost every country and denomination.
Did the Holy Spirit birth a new movement of God in our day on Pentecost Sunday this year. I believe that He did as I was shown last night lying in bed contemplating. I am encouraged this morning tremendously that God did begin to move in the midst of the chaos that has been brought on our land. God never leaves his people helpless. God is moving and I believe that we’re going to see it spread. I believe that God is pouring out of his Spirit in a new way and that we are going to see the Great Awakening that we have prayed and believed for. Be encouraged and look up and believe that God will move in your life and the lives of countless of millions of other people in our nation and throughout the world. Let us believe God and not circumstances and pray for peace in our nation and a great outpouring of His Spirit that has already started! Come Holy Spirit!
An Open Letter to Pastors and All
September 04, 2020
As we face the fear of the coronavirus pandemic, let us do so with Faith, Wisdom and Trust in our Lord and His protection. Epidemics will come, as they have from time immemorial. We who are God's people MUST not lose faith and think that this is the end of everything we know but we must use faith and wisdom to carry on our daily lives. It keeps being said that "this too shall pass". Yes it will but there are other things in the future that will challenge us as we near the coming of our Lord. So, what should be our attitude? Martin Luther lived during the Black Plague. Thousands died and it was more horrible than we can imagine. Here is his advice which can help us in our day five hundred years later. The 16th-century theologian Martin Luther had this to say during the bubonic plague, offering his thoughts in a letter titled "Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague" on how best to practically and spiritually overcome:
You ought to think this way: "Very well, by God's decree, the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal. Therefore, I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person,
but will go freely."
So how do we react? First and foremost PRAY! Then do all we can to help avert the spread especially to the most vulnerable, the elderly and sickly. These are wise words. We should protect the elderly who are vulnerable and quarantine the sick. We have something wonderful that Luther did not have, TV and the internet to view church services, sermons, teaching etc. It is not the same as gathering but it is a good for those who cannot attend church. Trust God and He will bring His people through. So here is my suggestion:
As the corona virus has been causing so much fear and problems for people, I have an idea for pastors that just might be a good thing for church people and just might be something that brings revival to our nation and beyond. This is a time when pastors should call their people to pray and even fast. This is one spiritual way that we can combat this thing. What a better way to observe it but by prayer and fasting. God will prevail! We can trust Him and trust that He is with us through everything that we go through.
Think about it!