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Posts Tagged ‘God’s love’

The Turning Point

08/01/2014 3 comments

With his shaved head and white robe, he answered calmly, “God confirmed to me that Hare Krishna is the right way.” His peaceful demeanor was impressive.

That was 1968, very early in my theological journey. I had invited the local Hare Krishna monk into my graduate cubical at The University of Texas at Austin. We had a conversation that lasted about four hours. He demonstrated a profound peace that I’d seen in few Christians. His inner stillness was inviting, fascinating, intriguing. He was able to maintain his calm confidence in face of some very challenging questions.

The challenge that elicited the above response was my statement that God had come to me personally in a very real way in Japan in 1957. God came into my barrack room in the form of liquid love and, for the first time in my life, I knew I had a Father who loved me.
My expectation was that this Krishna follower would be impressed with my testimony and ask me to share more.

To my surprise, he didn’t even flinch. He told me how his personal spiritual journey had led him to a retreat center in Canada where God had spoken to him and confirmed his choice to pursue the way of Hare Krishna. Inwardly I asked myself how I could bring him to question his experience since he thought it was God who spoke to him.

I mentioned the miracles of Jesus and the Apostles. “Miracles are cheap,” he responded as he told me of several signs and wonders performed by yoga masters in India.

Our discussion continued in this way for several hours with my challenging him and his calm, peaceful responses. “The real issue,” he said, “is to learn to accept the world as it is and come to peace and rest within yourself.”

I know inner peace is a good thing, and it certainly should be a goal for all of us. “But there’s an element missing in him,” I thought, “and I can’t seem to find the key that would open him up and expose the missing link.”

Finally, after about four hours, I asked him, “How do you deal with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?” With that question, he was visibly disturbed. For the first time there was restlessness in his demeanor. He had no answer. He promptly excused himself and left my office saying there was something he had to do.

I thought about this experience many times after that. As I consider the implications of his inability to handle that question, I saw that the real difference between Christianity and world religions hinges on the reality of the resurrection of Jesus. Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, and others all died. They are still in their graves. The mere mention of victory over death had shaken the peace this man was carrying.

I never saw him again, so I don’t know if the discussion had any lasting effect on him. I know the experience did have an effect on me. The question bubbled up within me, “What is the power behind deception that causes people to shut down to a discussion when a serious challenge rises?” I’ve seen that happen many times since.

Two Scripture came to mind after the conversation. By definition, people who are deceived really believe they’re right. Paul spoke of the false signs and wonders and wicked deception that would overtake those who refuse to love the truth but take pleasure in unrighteousness (II Thess. 2:9-11). So, the first problem is a refusal to love the truth.

Yet this Krishna monk insisted he loved the truth. He certainly appeared to be seeking the truth. According to Scripture, however, he was under a delusion. Paul added, “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false” (II Thess. 2:11). If a person is unwilling to change, he has no guarantee that deception will not overtake him. He will really believe he’s right.

As I continued to consider this problem over time, another Scripture came to my attention. Jesus said, “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority” (Jn. 7:17). Up to this point in my journey I identified myself as a truth seeker. Something in me shifted when I read this verse with new eyes.

To my surprise, the key was not a desire to know the truth but a desire to do the will of God. Seeking truth is certainly a necessary venture, but it has no value without a desire to do God’s will. Some people learn a lot of truth but do nothing with what they learn. It appears that one is susceptible to deception if he or she is not seeking to be personally involved in the advancing kingdom of God.

That experience was a turning point in my journey. I began to realize the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me to all truth, as Jesus promised. This new openness on my part prepared the way for a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. The guidance was actually unconscious at first, but a series of encounters and experiences brought me to a conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. But that’s another story.

The point of this blog is simple: learn all you can learn, but focus on obedience to the voice of Father God. Those who are satisfied with head knowledge often resist any idea of the Holy Spirit’s involvement in their daily life. After all, if they begin to listen to his voice, they would have to change their way of doing life. I did.

What is he saying to you today?

Looking forward,

Fount Shults, President
On Word Ministries, http://www.onword.org

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Dethroning Intellect

07/12/2014 4 comments

“Jesus is the sweetest name I know,” I was singing in the van on the way back from a conference on deliverance. That was 1974.

In the previous blog I mentioned a phone call from Jimmy Darnel, a pastor I worked with from 1973 till 1981. Our conversation caused me to reflect on days gone by. The ride back from that conference came to mind. As I sang, “He’s just the same as his lovely name,” it suddenly dawned on me; there’s no inconsistency between what his name claims and who he is. “His name is Wonderful; and he is. His name is Counselor; and he is,” I spoke those words out loud as tears rolled from my eyes.

The presence of the Holy Spirit filled the van. We had to pull over to the side of the road and regain our composure before we continued our journey home. That was one of the most meaningful times of my early experiences with the Holy Spirit. It was heavy, and it was sweet.

At the conference I had responded to a ‘generic’ altar call. “If you want more of God,” the pastor said, “just come up front.” Well, who wouldn’t want more of God? So I went to the altar. I heard the pastor was praying blessings on everyone as he approached me. But when he came to me the atmosphere changed. “I command that intellectual demon to leave, in Jesus name,” he said.

I literally felt something like a band break from around my head. I had picked up an intellectual demon while studying on various campuses and didn’t even know it. I had just finished the coursework for toward a Ph.D. in the Hebrew language at The University of Texas at Austin. When he prayed for me, all of a sudden I no longer needed the credentials. The discipline of learning stayed with me, but the certificate of graduation no longer had meaning for me.

The reality of the new found freedom had come to conscious awareness in the van while singing that chorus. Intimacy with our Father and with his Son by the Holy Spirit was a new experience for me. After that prayer I no longer related to God with my reason. My heart had come alive in him. I understood what Solomon meant when he said, “Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the issues of life.”

Since that time touching people’s heart with Father’s love has been a priority over academic standards. There’s no longer a need to impress people with how much I know. That was the beginning of a new leg of my journey. The only thing that motivates me now is the advancing of the kingdom of God in the lives of individuals and church communities.

Moments like that don’t come often, but they always mark a change in the way we do things; a new focus comes in with the experience. Father had visited me in 1957 and changed my plans to remain in the Air Force till I retired. In this visit he set me free from a drive to prove myself as a teacher.

The challenge before all of us is to allow the experiences of life to bring us to a deeper place in Father’s bosom and a more impassioned involvement in advancing his kingdom. Church is boring when there is only the presence of the pastor and worship team. We need the life-changing presence of the Lord of Glory.

Fount Shults
President, On Word Ministries
http://www.onword.org

Just Do It

“Fount, give me a call. I have a story from many years ago you will want to hear.” The message was waiting for me when I finished ministry and turned my phone back on.

It was the voice of Jimmy Darnel, a pastor I worked with in the early years of the Charismatic Renewal. When I called him back he told me this story:

“My son, Timothy, went to Nicaragua on a short term mission,” he began enthusiastically. “A pastor came to him and asked if he knew Jimmy Darnel.”

“Yes, he’s my dad,” Jimmy’s son answered.

“Well, then do you know Fount Shults?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Back in the 70s Brother Fount cast some demons out of me and my life has never been the same,” exclaimed the pastor.

Now, that was many years ago, and I’ve come a long way since that time. The process of helping people has become more effective and is much more refined than it was then. But our Father is faithful to help people in spite of our faulty understanding of how things work.Father loves his kids; join him in loving. If we wait until we understand everything perfectly before we reach out to help, we will never reach out.

We simply do today what we understand today. If tomorrow we learn something different, we’ll do things differently. But our Father ministers to people even when we are doing things wrong. I remember a time during those early days when a young college girl started weeping while I was ministering to her. I began casting out a “weeping spirit.” She experienced an awesome breakthrough in her life.

The following week I learned about healing emotional wounds. I realized God had been healing a broken heart while I was addressing a demon the week before. This experience gave me confidence to simply follow my ‘instinct’ and leave the results up to God. He’s the one doing it anyway. I just love God’s people with his love. He does it right even when I do it wrong.

I’m fully aware that the way I do things today may need adjustment. People are receiving freedom through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through my understanding of the process. “Apart from me, you can do nothing,” Jesus said. But I am not apart from him; I am with him and he is with me – even in my lack of understanding.

I’ve often said, “In and of myself I can do nothing. But I am not in and of myself; I am in Christ, and I am of God.” That perspective keeps me moving forward toward maturity and more effective ministry.

Join me in the light of day. Rise, shine, your light has come.

Fount Shults, President
On Word Ministries http://www.onword.org

Father’s Delight

“I don’t know why I keep crying,” she said. The tears continued to flow. It was the first time we had seen one another for several years.

She had been among those students who looked to me as their “favorite teacher” while she was in my classes. (Students tend to gravitate to those teachers they can relate to best.) She had begun to tear up when I agreed with her that I was more than a teacher on the campus. I was a father to the students and pastored those who were in my classes. She knew I cared for their personal development beyond what they might learn (or not learn) in class.

She had returned to minister to people in her home country after she received training here in the States. She was finally able to return to the States after several years. I had driven several hours to spend some with her. We had been sharing together how our Father has been leading each of us since she left the campus. She had matured and was touching the lives of many, ministering to them as I had ministered to many students. As her teacher, I was delighted to see she was advancing in God.

As I shared how God was taking me into a new phase of ministry focusing more on the world at large rather than a college campus, she often broke into tears again. She expressed her delight that many others would be exposed to what she had experienced under my teaching. But when I said I would love to come to her country to share with her group, the floodgates opened. She obviously loves her people.

We both felt that something else was moving beneath the surface. We couldn’t put it into words, but we both knew it was very deep. Part of it was the delight she was experiencing just being present as I was sharing new insights. Another part was my delight in hearing what she was doing among her people. There was also the mutual love and delight we both have in our Father and in one another. Delight! That’s the best word to describe what we were both feeling. But there was more, and we both knew it.

It wasn’t until after we parted and I was driving home that it occurred to me what was happening. I have become a father in the faith after years of teaching and working with students. There are many who see me in that light, some even call me Papa. That’s because Father God expresses his fatherhood through me as I speak to his sons and daughters. So, here is what I saw:

She was soaking up the love like a sponge, and she was delighting in my presence as she sensed Father’s presence in me. Love was flowing both ways. As I meditated on the experience, I suddenly saw what was happening beneath the surface. I was experiencing the delight our Father has when his sons and daughters receive his love and delight in his presence. I was “in the Father” experiencing Father’s emotion of delight as I released his love to her. It was like our Father God was embracing us both.

John addressed the children, the young men and the fathers in the faith in his first epistle. As we grow in Christ, we mature from being children to being the youth then to being fathers and mothers in the faith. “I am writing to you fathers,” John said, “because you know (intimately experience) him who is from the beginning” (I Jn. 2”13). I now understand that text in a new light.

My challenge to all who read this blog: Receive Father’s love and release it to everyone who will receive it. It’s the sharing of his love that triggers the growth process in the spiritual life. Those who receive and never give will never grow beyond babes in Christ.

Fount Shults

President, On Word Ministries, http://www.onword.org

Your Light has Come

It’s night in the church at large in America. Many are walking in the light of torches lit by the flesh. They think they’re in the light, but it’s a human light. Things are rapidly changing in our world as the light of Father God’s love is rising in the hearts of many. The glory of the rising Sun of Righteousness will far surpass the light of human torches. Faith will become sight for those who, like Abraham, “hope against hope” for the coming of the glory of our Father upon the American church. Arise, Shine!

Even though many in the church  lie prostrate on the ground, overcome by the sleep of self-security, the promise of the our Father God is that she will rise again. The night which brought her to the ground, intoxicated with dreams of greatness as she sleeps, that night of the so called “enlightenment” is now at an end. The words of Isaiah are appropriate for our day, “Arise, Shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.”

The paradigm of Modernism, the paradigm of man’s self-importance, is shifting as the light of the dawning of a new day is already glowing on the horizon. Those who are still sleeping do not see this light. They are enamored with the dreams of their own human light as they sleep. But the rising of the glory of our God will become so bright that it will wake them from their slumber. Those who refuse to change will wake to resist the new thing; those who desire more will wake to enjoy Father’s manifest presence.

The renewed church will itself become a light to the nations as Isaiah said. This is already happening in China and in the Arab world. This light will bring unity and wholeness to all who walk in it, but those who are intoxicated with self-importance will walk away from it to avoid exposure. Those who walk away are exposed anyway, for they have rejected the the Father who loves unconditionally. This light of Father’s presence is a light that exposes us all in our weakness. It will continue to shine in a world in spite of the darkness that fills the earth.

It’s time to choose light. It’s time to reflect the light. It’s time to choose to love our neighbor. It’s never enough to have a doctrine of loving; we must actually do loving things for those our Father brings into our path. The light of righteousness is the light of love.

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On Word Ministries is a not for profit organization dedicated to training and encouraging church leaders worldwide. Like all such organizations, we depend on the offerings of those who partner with us in this vision. We covet your prayers, and we use all finances to fulfill the vision. If you share our vision, you can make a donation on our website, http://www.onword.org

Please forward this blog to any of your friends who you think will be blessed by them.

Fount Shults

President of On Word Ministries

Father’s Daughter Receives Healing

04/18/2014 2 comments

The traffic was five lanes one way as we made our way on the “loop” to our second school. Two of these lanes would cross the Han River; the other three would make their way to the loop on the west side of the Han. These three lanes would become only one as the cars manipulated their way into the line. You can imagine how slow this process was. Yet there was no honking of horns. All the drivers were willing to allow other drivers to merge into the one lane even though it slowed them down.

As we continued our journey, I remembered a lady in one of our first sessions who was struggling with the fact that she was unable to ask Father for help financially. She mentioned that her dad had died when she was about 12 years old, so I thought that might be the source of her difficulty. Her dad had never given her money even though he was able to outwardly express his love for her. As I moved toward ministry it became obvious that this was not the real problem.

It turns out that she had never asked her dad for money. She was secure in his love. Lynda asked her, “What is your earliest memory of wanting money and not receiving it?” That question took us immediately to the source of here reluctance to ask. When she was five years old her mother was preparing to go to the market. She asked her mother to bring back something for her. When her mother returned, she had forgotten to purchase the item the girl had requested.

The five year old experienced this as a rejection and concluded that she was not good enough to ask for things that cost money. That painful memory was triggered every time she wanted to ask Father God to help her financially. Because of the false shame based on the lie (that she was not good enough) she could not bring herself to ask. She was afraid she would be refused and that would prove that she was not good enough.

We invited Jesus to come show her what he thought about her. She “saw” Jesus come, take her in his arm and begin to stroke her hair. Tears of freedom began to flow as the lie was defeated and courage to ask Father for help began to rise up in her.

Fount and Lynda Shults
http://onword.org

First School Complete

04/16/2014 3 comments

Our driver wound her way through several narrow side streets. There was hardly room for one car, yet we were facing other cars that were making it two-way traffic. She had to pull into a little niche while the other cars passed, then move forward a few yards and pull aside for another group of cars coming at us. The little korean shops on each side were bustling with customers as many pedestrians were also walking in the narrow street to find their way to their destination. We had just completed the first of four YWAM BEDTS (Business Egals Discipleship Training School) groups we will share with this year here in Seoul, Korea.

As we approached the apartment where we are staying, Lynda and I were remembering how the deep weeping and wailing had shifted to peace and joy as they experienced intimacy with our Father in response to the prayer ministry. The word of healing and deliverance had deeply impacted the students as our Father God came to free them from the emotional pain they were carrying, pain they didn’t even know they had before our lectures and personal  testimonies brought it to the surface. Jesus proved himself to be the burden-bearer once again and students experienced personal freedom.

Our second school is a night school. There are fewer students, but our expectation is that Father’s love will flow through the isles into the hearts of those who are attending. We have been with the leader of this school, Paul Choi, several times. He has become a good friend and we look forward to sharing in his school each time the main office assigns us to the Gang Seo evening school. We are expecting this group to experience Father’s embrace as the first school did.

Looking forward,

Fount and Lynda Shults

www.onword.org