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Posts Tagged ‘intimacy’

See For Yourself

09/27/2014 2 comments

While teaching on the college campus, I often began the semester with an announcement: “I’m not here to teach you what to think; I’m here to teach you how to think.” Many religious leaders want to tell you what to know rather than how to know. They want to tell you what to see when you read Scripture rather than how to look and see for yourself. This way has produced leaders who have borrowed doctrines with no personal experience.

Someone might object, “But what if the students don’t come to the right interpretations? Aren’t you taking a risk here?” That line of questioning comes from the same platform as those who tell you what to think rather than training you how to think. The basic assumption here is that I am right. What if the student sees something I haven’t yet seen? I would be closed to learning anything new myself.

Here are a couple of principles I learned in the process of teaching and relating to students since I began my academic career seriously in 1959. I had been an Art Student in the University of New Mexico in 1955-56, but that was before the Lord encountered me in 1957 while I was in Japan as an airman in the United States Air Force.

First: The most important thing I learned is that love precedes all true knowing.

It’s not by accident that in both the biblical languages, Hebrew and Greek, the words translated into English as “to know” actually refer to an intimate relationship, like a man knowing his wife. It’s altogether possible to learn facts about a matter without intimacy with the thing itself, but that’s not learning in the biblical sense. Learning facts about your wife will never impregnate her.

This is what Jesus had in mind when he said to the Pharisees, “Go learn what this means; I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” We’ve mentioned this in another blog, but it’s very appropriate here. You may be able to spout off the dictionary definition of the word mercy and quote what theologians have said about it. The only way to know mercy is to extend mercy to another who needs mercy. Then you have the experience of mercy.

Generally speaking, those who’ve never received mercy will not show mercy. The reason they’ve not received mercy is that they actually believe they don’t need mercy. They think being right in their doctrine puts them in a place of superiority. To admit they need mercy they’d have to get off the pedestal they’re perched on. God offers them mercy, but they prefer to make all the right sacrifices (study time, tithing, etc.). Jesus came to those who need healing, not to the healthy.

Second: Words often become substitutes for reality, or a way of avoiding reality.

Proclaiming the reality of the Holy Spirit, for example, becomes a substitute for being led by the Spirit. It’s as though teaching on being led by the Holy Spirit exempts me from being led. How often have you been in a meeting where the message of healing was proclaimed but no one has been healed there for many years? We don’t need more words; we need reality.

To know the word is not to know the thing itself. Words are only pointers, or signs. They indicate which direction to look or what to do to experience the thing they refer to. On another level, words don’t actually mean anything. People use words to mean something. Any particular word can be used to refer to several different things or experiences. Words are tools. A shovel can be used to dig a hole or to fill in a hole; it can even be used to kill someone. Words are like that.

This simply means that, if you really want to know what a text means, you must ask the author. This brings us back to intimacy. I must be intimate with the Author to have the meaning of any biblical text uncovered to me. One reason I don’t expect students to come to any particular understanding of the text is that the text has meanings on several different levels. We must learn to listen to the Author to hear what he is presently saying to us. We must also be open for him to speak something different tomorrow.

“But that leaves us vulnerable to be deceived,” you say. Yes, you’re right. But you’ve probably already believed some things that aren’t true anyway. I’m willing to live with the fact that I’m human and fallible. Being a student of the Word requires this humility.

There are other things I’ve learned, but that’s it for this blog. If you appreciate what we offer, share with your friends.

Looking forward,
Fount Shults, President, On Word Ministries

Rest in God

: “How did you develop the ability to remain so quiet and peaceful as you teach?” asked one of the young people attending our seminar in Santo Domingo.

That’s a question I heard many times while teaching on college campuses. Through the years I’ve developed the ability to relax in Father’s presence during my lectures and in private time with students. I learned to trust him to speak what they needed to hear. That doesn’t mean I didn’t prepare for classes, but, having prepared I simply settled into the bosom of Father while I teach and while I talk with students after class.

It was like a shot in the arm for me when about 25 college age young people came to our lectures. They had a day off from the ministry they were involved with. They were going to minister to eleven different nations over eleven months with a ministry called World Race. I asked one of them if it was like YWAM. She said it’s like YWAM on steroids.

Since leaving the college campus I’ve been going through withdrawal. Working with young people had been my life for over 40 years. These kids were like sponges drinking in the word we were sharing. Don Richter, AJ Baisch and I were there to train pastors and leaders in leadership principles. All three of us were impressed with how attentive and engaged these young people were. They were full of pointed questions during the breaks. It was during one of these breaks one of them raised the above question.

The answer is really simple, though it isn’t easy to apply. The Scriptures that speak of waiting on God are all about becoming so intimately connected to God that his presence and leading determine our attitude and our activity. It doesn’t say, “Wait for God to do something,” it says, “Wait upon God.” Dying to the self-life, dying to the desire to have our way precedes the ability to enter into his rest.

When we are insecure in ourselves we focus on the problem and the solution rather than on the presence of Father. That focus disconnects us from the source of the resolution. If we think we have to prove our brilliance, our ability or our power, we will end up wounding others and completely missing the will of God in the situation. Instead of mounting up with wings as eagles, we dismount and become tired and irritable.

Hopefully the guy who asked the question understood enough to begin his journey into that level of connection which allows this active rest. “Active rest,” that’s actually the meaning of the concept of Sabbath. In the Hebrew thinking, the day begins at sundown. Adam and Eve were created last on the sixth day, so their first day was Sabbath. They entered into rest in what God had already done.

We were all born into a world of sin and alienation. It’s a struggle for us to enter into this rest, but those who are serious about life in the Spirit will gladly pay the price. We don’t joyfully crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. It’s a lifelong journey, so don’t expect results overnight.

Ministry trips like this one to the DR would not be possible without the friends of On Word Ministries and their generous offerings. Thanks to all of you who have contributed regularly through the years. And thanks to those who recently began to support On Word financially.

Looking forward,
Fount Shults, President and Founder
On Word Ministries http://www.onword.org

Categories: Reflections Tags: , ,

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

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