24/7 prayer tent to come down 5/30/2007

MISSISSIPPI RIVER PRAYER WALK TO CONTINUE

JUST A NOTE: THIS IS PROBABLY THE SIXTH TIME THAT I HAVE EDITED THIS PAGE! THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE MAY REALIZE THAT I HAVE REMOVED THE NAMES OF THE PASTOR AND THE CHURCH I WAS WORKING WITH AT THE KATRINA RELIEF SITE IN LOUISIANA ON THIS PAGE AS WELL AS ON MY HURRICANE KATRINA NEWSLETTER, PAGE, BECAUSE MY INTENT IS NOT TO SPEAK ILL OF ANYONE OR TO ATTACK THIER MINISTRY. I AM ON A PRAYER WALK, PRAYING FOR THE CHURCH IN AMERICA, NOT PRAYING AGAINST IT! I RESPECT THE PASTOR WHOSE MINISTRY I WORKED UNDER WHILE I WAS AT THE RELIEF CENTER, AND I AM GRATEFUL TO HAVE WORKED AT THE RELIEF CENTER AS LONG AS I DID, AND THE PURPOSE OF THIS PAGE IS NOT TO ATTACK HIM, HIS MINISTRY OR ANY OTHER MINISTRY. THIS IS MERELY AN ATTEMPT BY ME TO DETAIL TO THE READER AS ACCURATELY AS POSSIBLE THIS CHAPTER OF OUR SERVICE TO THE LORD!

THE PASTOR WROTE AN E-MAIL TO ME RECENTLY AND TOLD ME THAT HE FELT LIKE I WAS TAKING A "CHEAP SHOT" AT HIM AND HIS MINISTRY BECAUSE OF "HURTS" THAT WE EXPERIENCED WHILE WE WERE THERE. BUT THAT WAS NOT THE CASE...I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT I LOVE THE BROTHER, AND I RESPECT HIM AND ALL THE WORK TO FURTHER THE KINGDOM OF GOD THAT HIS MINISTRY HAS DONE. I HAVE REMOVED MORE STATEMENTS THAT MAY HAVE BEEN PERCIEVED TO BE INFLAMMATORY TOWARD HIS MINISTRY. My intent isn't to offend anyone...just to present the facts of our time there, and my observations of the things that took place there. The sad truth of the matter is that I have spoken to brothers and sisters who were involved in other relief centers in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, and thier observations of what went on behind the scenes are very much the same as mine. So regardless of what a person may think the purpose of this article is, it's NOT about the ministry I was working with!

I BELIEVE THAT THE LORD ALLOWED ME TO WORK SO CLOSELY WITH THIS MINISTRY BECAUSE OF THE PRAYER WALK HE HAS ME ON, AND TO ENABLE ME TO SEE MORE CLEARLY THE AREAS WHERE THE CHURCH IN AMERICA NEEDS PRAYER. IF IT WERE NOT FOR HURRICANE KATRINA, I DON'T THINK I WOULD EVER HAVE HAD SUCH AN INTIMATE LOOK INTO HOW LARGE MINISTRIES AS WELL AS NOT SO LARGE MINISTRIES WORK. PRIOR TO THIS CHAPTER IN THE MINISTRY THE LORD HAS CALLED US TO, WHILE WE HAVE WORKED ALONGSIDE OF MANY OTHER MINISTRIES, WE STILL DID NOT SEE THE INTERNAL "POLITICS" THAT TAKE PLACE IN SO MANY MINISTRIES. MY EYES HAVE BEEN OPENED. A LOT OF WHAT I SAW WASN'T PRETTY, AND GAVE ME MORE OF A SENSE OF URGENCY TO PRAY. To my surprise the pastor told me that this page was on several blogs. If you have posted this page to your blog, please either remove it, or replace it with this edited page. If you know who this article is about, let me tell you, that despite the shortcomings that I mention here, that church did more for the Katrina relief work than any other ministry I know of. If you don't know who this article is about, Praise the Lord! Because it is all about the Church in general.


What follows is my personal evaluation of the result of a small ministry (Crosscountry Ministries) working for the past 20 months with a Large International type ministry. Because of the nature of each ministry involved, the perspectives and priorities of ministry will differ. As they say there are three sides to every story: Yours, mine, and the Lord's.

What is written here is NOT intended as an indictment on any other ministry. Having said that, I do want to go on the record as stating that I believe that the bigger a ministry gets, the more out of touch with real one-on-one ministry a pastor can become. The more ambitious one becomes in expanding "his ministry", the less involved with "common people" he will become. On my prayer walk, I have been praying that pastors in America would return to their first love. That they would remember what it was to simply minister and not administrate. That they would repent of their building their own Kingdom mentality, and begin to seek each other's good before their own. The Lord has made me walk out the prayers that I pray.

For twenty months I have worked with a local church to see the city of New Orleans impacted for Jesus Christ, and in doing so, to assist the Pastor and his ministry to be restored to pre-Katrina standards or even better. During that time, the Lord opened my eyes to seeing how other "recognized" ministries operate. I am glad I have remained small. Hallelujah! I believe it must be very difficult to hold on to a semblance of integrity when you are courting other churches for the support you need to make your corporation run! What follows is my personal observations of the past 20 months.



Praise the Lord! Our season at the Hurricane Katrina relief center is winding down. After 20 months, the time has come to head North back to Central Louisiana, and to resume the Mississippi River prayer walk after we spend some time up there getting our personal affairs in order.

I have enjoyed the time the prayer tent was up, and the opportunity I had to work with other like minded ministries who came to minister nightly under the tent and to pray for the church and the city of New Orleans.

I have mixed feelings about leaving the relief center. On the one hand I really don't think that there is anyone on the Church staff that will be available at any time of day or night to meet the needs of those who come to the relief center for help, unless someone else comes on board as a permanent volunteer to fill that need. That has been my joy here; to be available for ministry at any time of night or day for those who need someone to listen to them.

If it seems like boasting on my part, that is not my intention; but during this time at the relief center, everyone that I had contact with knew that they could come to me at any hour of the day or night. There were many nights that I stayed up until three o'clock in the morning counseling someone or comforting them in their loss. I never took the title of "pastor" for myself...It was just what I did and how I lived that caused people to recognize that I am a true shepherd of the sheep. One of the hardest things about leaving is that I have no where to commend my sheep that the Lord committed to me. I know they won't be content with the twice a week ritual of 3 fast songs, 4 slow songs, 45 minute oration from the paid speaker that prevails in most churches. But they are His Children, and I was able to disciple them in a way that they know they are to remain in fellowship.

Plus, I got to see some of how a "big" church conducts ministry as it seeks to broaden its influence in the area. In all the years that I have been in ministry, and have worked with numerous churches, I have heard of the term "church politics", but have never been close enough to it to understand what that looked like. What's really scary is that the existence of "church politics" is accepted as the norm. Call me naive, but I have seen too much red tape and delegating of responsibility as people in positions of authority scramble for recognition and leave the real work to the "little people" while the "Big I's" take all the credit for what has been done. I KNOW that isn't the way it is supposed to be in ministry, and unfortunately, much of what is called ministry in the churches today is not ministry. The artificial compassion that is demonstrated from the pulpit in many churches (NOT NECCESARILY THE ONE I WORKED WITH) does not carry through in the everyday life of the paid pulpeteer! That's made evident through the office hours they keep. Jesus said you will know them by their fruit.

Though in the pursuit of building up their own kingdoms and acquiring some degree of recognition, some men may be content with playing at ministry or with fitting ministry into their "schedules", I don't ever want to fall in the trap of "PLAYING MINISTRY".


There are too many ministries in the United States who PLAY at ministry while furthering their own selfish ambitions. It will be a terrible day when "ministers of the gospel" stand before God and find out the programs they bought into became substitutes for the Holy Spirit, and they had been deceived all those years that they perpetrated those things! There is going to be a shaking and a judgment coming on the self professed ministers of God who take that which God has entrusted to them lightly. Yet there is no fear of God in their circles.

I have seen jealousy, gossip and vain ambition among some of the official staff at the relief center result in many offenses. I have seen too many people who have a title of ministry such as pastor so-and-so come on board to "assist" in the relief center, and yet it seemed to me that their concept of ministry is to be in the lime light and to make the relief center look good to the church groups there so they can be sure to get the financial support they need. From my perspective in the relief center, I have personally seen more business being conducted than ministry by SOME (not all) of the "ministers" of this church, and as a result, the immediate needs of the "little" people are sacrificed on the altar of personal gain. Of course, my perspective might be wrong. But that's what I have seen.

Again, as they say, hind sight is 20/20, and from my perspective looking back on all that had gone on at the relief center, the real ministry that went on in the neighborhoods, on the streets and at the center was always done by the permanent volunteers who led the temporary volunteers into the opportunities for ministry. Some of the Church staff made occasional appearances at the relief center to greet a team that just came in (particularly if they were from a larger supporting church), but it was the full time volunteers who did the real work. I don't think I ever saw a church staff member (except for faithful Chris) out at the food distribution site, sweating alongside of the rest of the volunteers. It's that hierarchy mentality that the Church in America needs to repent of. It's that kind of thing that makes me question the genuine sincerity of any ministry.

The relief center would not have functioned without the volunteers and ministries that came from elsewhere to work with them and it was the work done by those volunteers that gave the Church the good name that it got from the things done at the relief center. I believe the pastor would be the first to admit that.

It wasn't always like this. When Chris and I first opened the relief center, there was nothing but pure ministry that happened. The only thing that mattered were the souls that needed to be ministered to. All the church staff were gone. Once the staff started coming back, more and more rules began to be implemented...programs and protocol began to be the standard. As time progressed, every Monday and Tuesday Chris had to be gone the greater part of the day because of meetings.

The more the church staff began to get involved, it seemed like less individual ministry needs were being met at the relief center. That's where digging into my own pocket to help people came into play. The church was generating hundreds of thousands of dollars through donations to the church and the relief center, and yet the person on the street had a tough time getting a motel room or a bus ticket.

Standard protocol was to call the office, go through the steps on the electronic answering machine; "If you know your party's extension press one..." and then hope that someone was available to talk to regarding the need that we were trying to meet. Of course in such a system, the need has to arise between 9 and 5 P.M., and you weren't always assured of getting the person you needed to talk to any way. Call me simple minded, but I don't believe ministry is supposed to be that complicated. A person who reads this might say, "But Lance, there is such a world of difference between your ministry and the ministry of Big churches. Just the volume of everything that needs to be done requires so much more for them to function than your ministry."

I believe when ministry becomes more like a corporation and blurs the simplicity that is in Christian service, it is time to reevaluate your priorities.

According to 1 Corinthians 12, every member of the Church is to be trained to be an effective minister. If that actually took place in the churches in America, just imagine what the large congregations could do to impact their cities. There would be no need to import volunteers from outside of the Church, because every member would be an effective minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

For eleven months last year, the church blessed us financially each month from some funds they had received from another church, and I was able to use the bulk of that money to buy motel rooms for individuals who came to the center and needed shelter for that night, or to buy bus tickets for some who needed to get out of the city, or food, gas, car parts for those who had broken down, even hospital expenses on a couple of occasions! Because of the financial blessings during that time, I was even able to deliver a brother's car from Mississippi to California. There were many people who had great need that either couldn't (because of the time of day that the need presented itself - No ministry from the paid staff after 5 PM) or wouldn't ("we don't do that here") be met by the church or the relief center but because of the generosity of that church or churches toward the church, I was able to skirt all of the nonsense that comes with the red tape of men's organizations and just do what needed to be done!

My intent here is not to boast on what was accomplished by me, but just to illustrate how a ministry on a shoestring budget with seven children to feed was able to meet more out of pocket after hours individual ministry needs than a ministry with hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s kind of comical. Sometimes I was “refunded” when Chris would hear of what I did, but for the most part I kept those things between me and Jesus and the parties involved.

I am grateful for the church's generosity in sharing some of those funds with us during that season. Because of that extra money, I was able to do many things to help others that I couldn't have done otherwise; but I had been able to keep my integrity before God and I didn't have to solicit any of it from the church.

I am absolutely convinced that ministry is supposed to be a 24/7 lifestyle. Those of us who are ministers of the Gospel are NOT supposed to be in it for wages, and the whole "paid office staff" business type mentality in the churches is WRONG!

That's been one of the hardest things to come to terms with here. How can anyone call themselves a shepherd of the sheep and hold office hours? It doesn't matter how one would like to justify their position, they are inexcusable if they think the 9-5 weekdays and 8-12 Sundays are sufficient to pastor the Flock of God. If you desire to be known by a title, you need to live up to that title. A true shepherd of the sheep needs to be watchful at all times, but it is in the night that the wolf really prowls around, looking for a lamb to devour! The more I have worked with the corporate setting of something that has the semblance of "church", the more disgusted I have gotten with the 9-5 mentality. It's really just a farce. I know the 24/7 availability of a pastor is possible, because I have walked it out for the past 20 months. I believe it is time for "church as usual" to come to an end. If you are a minister of the gospel you need to repent of your hireling mentality. Either get serious about your calling, or get another job, and quit making a mockery of the things of God! Is that harsh? Maybe so.

BUT ONE DAY WE WILL ALL STAND BEFORE GOD TO GIVE AN ACCOUNT OF THAT WHICH HE ENTRUSTED TO US. WHEN YOU CAME TO JESUS, DID YOU COME TO HIM ON YOUR OWN TERMS? IF SO, YOU AREN'T EVEN SAVED. IN THE SAME MANNER, WHEN YOU STEP INTO THE MINISTRY HE HAS CALLED YOU TO, THERE ARE NO "TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT" THAT YOU CAN INSIST ON. THE ONLY TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT ARE THOSE THAT HE HAS LAID DOWN. ONE OF THOSE TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT IS THAT A GOOD SHEPHERD WILL LAY HIS LIFE DOWN FOR THE SHEEP. THAT MEANS THAT OFTEN YOU WON'T HAVE A PILLOW TO LAY YOUR HEAD ON. ANOTHER TERM OF EMPLOYMENT IS THAT YOU ARE NOT TO BE IN THE MINISTRY FOR FILTHY LUCRE'S SAKE. YOU ARE NOT TO BE A HIRELING! ONE OF THE REASONS PEOPLE HAVE NO FEAR OF GOD OR NO REVERENCE FOR GOD IS BECAUSE THE MINISTRIES THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING HIM DO NOT HAVE A FEAR OR REVERENCE FOR GOD. THEIR BUSINESS PRACTICES, THEIR PASS THE PLATE MENTALITY, THEIR SELF CENTERED "LISTEN TO WHAT I HAVE TO SAY, I AM A GIFT FROM GOD" MENTALITY FILTERS DOWN THROUGH THE CONGREGATION AND BY THE TIME IT REACHES THE STREETS, IT STINKS IN THE NOSTRILS OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE LOST! UNTIL THE MINISTRIES IN AMERICA REPENT OF THEIR PENCHANT FOR BUILDING THEIR OWN PERSONAL KINGDOMS INSTEAD OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, THIS NATION WILL CONTINUE ON IT'S DOWNWARD SPIRAL.

If you are a pastor and have fallen into the 9-5 hireling mentality, let me encourage you to return to your first love. Chances are that there was a day when you used to be available at all hours of the day, and you were blessed to be a blessing, but you bought into that leaven that the American Church ministry has bought into. If you don't repent of the hireling attitude, you will have to ultimately answer to God for it. Chances are that most pastors who read this will have their consciences so seared that the last statement won't bother them at all!

Again, I am not aiming to blast the church or the pastor I was working with. THIS ISN'T ABOUT THAT.

The 9-5 office hour ministry is the mentality of most pastors in America. But pastors with that office hour mentality are really not pastors in the Biblical sense of the word; they are ADMINISTRATORS at best. YOU MIGHT CARRY A CARD SAYING YOU ARE A PASTOR. YOU MIGHT EVEN INTRODUCE YOURSELF AS PASTOR SO-AND-SO, BUT IF YOU HOLD OFFICE HOURS, AND YOU ARE NOT EASILY AVAILABLE TO ANYONE AT ANY TIME OF DAY OR NIGHT, YOU ARE NOT A PASTOR. IN MY ESTIMATION YOU ARE AT BEST, A BUSINESS MAN TRYING DIFFERENT METHODS (PROGRAMS) TO EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS, AND TO GET MORE PAYING CLIENTEL! That is not intended to be a "cheap shot" at anyone. If someone has a different perspective to offer that will justify the 9-5 ffice hour mentality of ministry, please e-mail me and set me straight! crosscountry4jesus@juno.com

I just believe that there is a simplicity to ministry, and when you emulate the ways of the world to make your ministry "more effective", you will lose that simplicity, and people who need you will fall by the wayside. I am grateful for the season of ministry I personally was able to do here, and I couldn't have done it if I was not
called to work here.

I am not neccesarily totally against office hours...used properly, that should give a person an opportunity to be assured that they can visit the pastor any time of the day if need be. But the pastor also should be available at all times of the day or night. I can say that because for the past 19 years
I have walked in that reality. This is stretching it, because I personally believe that whoever views himself as a “senior” pastor should be in the field with the rest of the flock, but if there is a large staff, they should at least have people take certain nights where they would be available at any time. If nothing else, have a card that tells people where to call if they have a need after hours.

Need help? We have staff available 24/7 to be of assistance to you.
Mondays call Chuck at 555-555-5555
Tuesdays call Susan at 555-555-3333
Wednesdays call Sam at 555-555-2222
Thursdays call John at 555-555-1234
Fridays call Jim at 555-555-1342
Saturdays call Mary at 555-555-2435
Sundays call Chris at 555-555-4325

You might say, "well, I don't have a staff," or "no one is willing to be available after hours." Well, if that is the case, just suck it up! Or, as the Bible says, "Quit ye like men!" Bring your petition to the altar, and pray that the Lord will bring laborers to work alongside (not for) you. Start training the members of your church to minister. If you can't handle the opportunities the Lord brings to you, then find another job.

The Bible doesn't mention anything about ministers having spiritual burnout because of too much work or holding office hours. If you have a true heart to serve the Lord, He will equip you if He has called you! You just need to repent of your backslidden ways and return to your first love. Ministry is NOT a job. It is a life long calling, and this Nation is deteriorating fast because of the pursuit of popularity and acceptance by those paper generals or hireling pastors who call themselves "men of God."

From my perspective, if a ministry has office hours that have been designated for ministry, it's more a business than a ministry.

The watch men have left their posts to fly to this speaking engagement or that "pastor's conference", and the enemy of apathy has crept into their churches and their cities. Ministries have opted to entertain the spectators that come to their theaters, rather than equip the Body of Christ for warfare and to occupy the land. Recovery programs modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous prevail, where the only hope that someone has is to stay connected with a support group that will help them stay clean and sober. These programs substitute the Power of the Holy Spirit for man centered psychological nonsense.


In the twenty months that I ministered to my small flock under the tent I have seen some with drug and alcohol issues get set free. I have seen some with suicidal tendencies delivered. I have seen some with severe depression come out of that funk and begin to walk in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Every one of them became able ministers of the gospel. It just required some personal late night ministry on my part, and preaching the uncompromised Word of God, while letting the Holy Spirit do what He does best!

One of the hirelings who held a title here offended many of the permanent volunteers with his youthful arrogance, and liked to use his position to bully the permanent volunteers. I was told by a "pastor" on the staff that "he was young and inexperienced, and he was learning." That's the clergy-laity mentality. The Layman volunteer wasn't as valuable as the "novice" clergyman in training. This "inexperience" caused one of the volunteers to eventually break and to speak some threatening words regarding wanting to "kill him", and the volunteer had to leave. He was one of the most accomplished and dedicated volunteers we had here, had worked selflessly to build the good reputation of the church, and because of a moment in the flesh, he was kicked out and the hireling continued to work in his position and to aggravate and offend others. That's why the Bible speaks against "novices" being put into leadership roles.

As far as I can tell, the issue was never to address the hireling and to wonder what would cause the volunteer to be moved to such anger to say such a thing. It seems that because the man was a church employee and the permanent volunteer was just a volunteer, the volunteer was seen as expendable, so he was asked to leave. Before the volunteer left, I spoke with him as a pastor and encouraged him in the things of the Lord, and to leave his bitterness behind.

Then there was the jealousy issue. Before I go on, I need to clarify that I still respect the lead pastor of the relief center I worked with for the things that this relief center has accomplished in this city. Thousands of people have been impacted through the relief efforts that were initiated by the pastor who unselfishly responded to the call of God to help the people of New Orleans. I just believe that the bigger the organization gets, the more church politics come into play, and what was once a God idea degenerates quickly into a good idea that has gone terribly wrong.

At the last part of 2005, a pastor/evangelist who was holding Sunday morning services in a tent at a relief center had put out a vinyl sign advertising his web site, and the sign had to come down. Early on in the relief effort, a ministry from outside of New Orleans joined forces with a local Church ministry, and many of the volunteers that came to work the relief effort saw more people from that ministry than they did from the church, so the other ministry started to get the credit for the relief center. They soon got phased out from the relief center. In some places, permanent volunteers were required to pay 20 dollars a day to work here at all hours of the day and night, and if they got donations from other ministries to help pay for their stay here, they were called into the office, rebuked, and often asked to leave.

Even though some of what I am writing might seem harsh and critical against the church, that is not my intent. I have edited this web page numerous times already ( and once again on October 4, 2007) because I didn't want to make the church seem like the bad guy. There are a lot of staff members that I love and respect, including the Pastor...I am just trying to give an accurate report of what I have seen as far as the relief center and corporation type ministry was concerned. This IS NOT about the church I worked with. I believe that as a part of my prayer walk up the Mississippi River, the Lord blessed me with the opportunity to work in the shadow of a corporate ministry so I can see some of how they function.

As far as reaching out to the community, this church is better than a lot of churches we have fellowshipped at, and to be honest, it doesn't seem to be much different than a typical American Church. But I believe that pastors are very responsible for the direction the church goes, and will one day have to answer for their compromise in ministry as they emulate techniques that are extra Biblical in order to expand their influence. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Emulation is a work of the flesh, and it seems that most ministries try to emulate other "successful" ministries.

Anyone who knows me knows I work intimately with churches to build the Kingdom of God in a city or a neighborhood, and I am not about slamming them or putting them down! But the Lord has given me eyes to see and ears to hear what His Spirit would say to the churches, and to call the Church in America to repent and to reform before it's too late, and the lead pastor and his church are not exempt from that call!


PASTOR, EVANGELIST, PROPHET, APOSTLE, TEACHER, BISHOP, MINISTER, REVEREND, CHRISTIAN...WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE TO BE CALLED...TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR OUR NATION AND FOR THE FREEDOM TO PRACTICE CHRISTIANITY AS WE DO NOW. UNLESS YOU REPENT OF YOUR SELF SERVING GLORY SEEKING WAYS, JUDGMENT WILL FALL! REPENT OF THIS HUMANISTIC WATERED DOWN PSEUDO-CHRISTIANITY BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE! IF YOU CONTINUE TO REFUSE TO HUMBLE YOURSELF, AND TO SEEK THE FACE OF GOD AND TO PRAY, REPENTING OF YOUR WICKED WAYS, WORSE THINGS THAN KATRINA WILL HAPPEN. WHAT GOOD WILL THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS YOU INVEST IN YOUR SANCTIFIED THEATER HALLS BE WHEN THE LORD DECIDES ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?

I believe that all of this is just an extension of my prayer walk up the Mississippi River. I believe the Lord allowed me to be here and to work with this church to be able to see how far off track the Christian Church has gotten from what true Christianity is! And He has called me to expose the folly of the American Church for what it is.

The section of my web site concerning the leaven that has crept into the Church in America came as a result of seeing first hand how Corporations that refer to themselves as ministries
conduct themselves. There were many times when I wanted to leave because of MY PERCEPTION of the deviation from true service to Christ that I have seen here, but the Lord always held me back from leaving. I still am grateful for all the wonderful opportunities I had personally to pour my life into others here, and it wouldn't have happened without the pastor having the vision to open up the relief center. I just believe that the church needs to regroup and focus on the Kingdom of God and on what true ministry is.

I never took offense at the Church of New Orlean's lack of participation in the tent; (I believe that the mentality of many pastors in America is if it's not their idea, they won't get behind it); all I know is those who did not get the vision for the 24/7 prayer missed out on a wonderful opportunity to partake in an awesome move of God in this city. If it is not centered around some kind of program, most pastors don't even understand the concept.

FOR MOST MINISTRIES THE ISSUE IS CONTROL. IF THEY CAN'T CONTROL WHAT IS HAPPENING, THEY ARE AFRAID OF IT. THE RELIEF CENTER WAS NO EXCEPTION! ALMOST EVERYONE WANTED TO HAVE CONTROL! SOMETIMES IT WAS ALMOST COMICAL TO WATCH THE LITTLE POWER STRUGGLES THAT TOOK PLACE! THE SAD THING WAS THAT THE MORE MEN GOT THEIR AGENDAS INTO PLAY, OOPS! THERE GOES THE HOLY SPIRIT OUT OF THE PICTURE!

Because of the desire for control, churches in America have substituted Programs for the Holy Spirit. As I said, I was grateful for the opportunity to contribute our part in impacting this city for Jesus. The fact is that I came to help the church and my friends Chris and the pastor...I never came to be helped by their church!

I have never asked any of the churches that came to work at the relief center for any kind of support for the ministry the Lord has called us to, and never even asked the church for anything as well, except for once when the pastor asked me if there was anything they could do to help us, I told him there was one item which was donated to them by another church that would be a great help to us, but he couldn't see donating that to us anyway.

Even as I asked for it, I felt like I compromised our walk of faith just by asking for that thing! It's no excuse, but I guess after working for twenty months along side ministries that rely on men's assistance by soliciting help and donations from them to facilitate or to expand their ministry, I allowed some of that leaven to creep in for a moment.

The Lord gently reminded me of how Abraham would not receive any spoils from the king of Sodom for assisting him in regaining and reclaiming his kingdom.

Gen 14:21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: 24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

I am not comparing the pastor to the King of Sodom, but that is the Scripture that the Lord reminded me of, and He confirmed that Word to me the same day through the mouth of a person who came to the tent service as he was telling me that he had read that scripture earlier that day. Receiving help from man has never been the focus of our ministry, and we shouldn't begin now to rely on men to be our providers!

One of the Scriptures we have lived by as a model for the ministry for these past 19 years is Acts 20:33 where Paul declares: "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel."

I can echo Paul's words to the Church in Corinth as I leave the Hurricane Katrina Relief center:

2Co 11:7 Or did I do wrong in making myself low so that you might be lifted up, because I gave you the good news of God without reward? 8 I took money from other churches as payment for my work, so that I might be your servant; 9 And when I was present with you, and was in need, I let no man be responsible for me; for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, gave me whatever was needed; and in everything I kept myself from being a trouble to you, and I will go on doing so. 10 As the true word of Christ is in me, I will let no man take from me this my cause of pride in the country of Achaia. 11 Why? because I have no love for you? let God be judge. 12 But what I do, that I will go on doing, so that I may give no chance to those who are looking for one; so that, in the cause of their pride, they may be seen to be the same as we are. (Bible in Basic english)

We have had devotions under the tent, and generally at least 5 days of the week I have been blessed to be the one to lead the devotions, encouraging the volunteers who come to work with us to pursue after following the Lord in service to Him and to others, not just for a week long mission trip, but all the days of their life.

The devotions have personally been a blessing and an extension of my Prayer walk up the Mississippi River. As I have been praying that the Body of Christ in the United States would rise up and work together to further the Kingdom of God, I have been blessed to encourage hundreds of groups from all over the United States to continue doing what they do here in their own home towns.

On my prayer walk, I have been praying that Christians would walk in the Authority of Jesus Christ, and I have been able to exhort them to do so in the morning devotions.

I have been praying that Christians would understand that each one is called to ministry as service to the Lord, and that the Christian walk is more than just a two hour a week attendance at a building, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to speak those words to the groups that come.

I have been praying that those who are in ministry would stop trying to compete with one another, and that they wouldn't be jealous of their pulpits that someone might be noticed more than themselves, and that they would be truly about the establishment of the Kingdom of God, rather than their own kingdoms.

While I realize that if it wasn't for the pastor opening the door for me, I would not have been so blessed with these opportunities, I also know that the Lord is the ONE Who opened the door for me through the pastor. I have spent literally months with just 2-6 hours of sleep a day for the ministry here at the Hurricane Katrina relief center. That's not a complaint; it has been a real blessing to me to be there at 3:00 in the morning for the one who needed somebody to minister to.

Summer is coming, and a great many volunteers and churches will be coming here, and maybe our absence will facilitate more of the local church staff to fill in the gap and get involved in the one on one ministry that is in such great demand here at the relief center.

Or maybe the focus is going to shift from meeting the needs of the more "undesirable" people that come to the center to rebuilding the church building on the relief center campus. The church has sustained millions of dollars in damage, and the stores on the campus are a major source of funds for the church, and as I said, the tent and the trailers could be too much of an eyesore for generating business. I just came here to help for a season, and the season is over.

Praise the Lord! I am thankful to the pastor for giving me the grace to set up my tent on his church's property and to have these past 20 months to bathe this city in prayer and for the opportunity to open my tent up to the various ministries that came on a weekly basis.

I personally believe that New Orleans needs a prayer and ministry tent (not necessarily mine) to be established and that the Church in New Orleans needs to get involved in it. I say "tent", not because I have a tent, but because for years before the beginning of this 24/7 prayer/praise and worship/evangelism effort I have seen clearly the necessity of the church to come out of the four walls and to go outside and attack the devil's turf.

There is a wonderful move of prayer walking and 24/7 intercession in this Nation, and those who engage in the prayer walks understand the principle of claiming the ground for Jesus Christ. Satan is referred to in the Bible as the Prince of the Power of the air, and the god of this world, and when the Church goes out, it is invading Satan's turf. But in addition to prayer walking there has to be Gospel preaching in the marketplace.

In the early years of the 1900's, gospel tent meetings were common place. In the '30s through the '50s, many powerful evangelistic tent crusades were invading the atmosphere with the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ and impacting the nation for the Glory of God. Miracles and healings were commonplace at these tent meetings, and many were saved.

Of course, the Devil won't just sit back and passively allow men of God to invade his turf, so he went to war. Some of the evangelists fell to various forms of temptation, and their ministries were effectively put to silence. Some fell to the power of alcohol. One of them died from cirrhosis of the liver, and they found his apartment strewn with pill bottles and alcohol. Others fell to the alluring power of wealth and success, and started to preach about money more than they preached about the Gospel of Freedom from sin that is in Christ Jesus. Others fell to the power of pride and began to further their empires instead of the Kingdom of God. William Branham declared that he was Elijah the prophet. And still others fell to the seductive power of lust and infidelity, and soon the tent crusades became a source of ridicule and mockery by those who saw the hypocrisy of the men who had fallen to Satan's devices. Gradually, Christians stopped "going out" to preach the gospel, and started to build their kingdoms in auditoriums and eventually mega churches.

I don't believe Satan much cares about what goes on in a building. As long as he can convince the church that "normal Christianity" is a two hour service once a week inside four walls, and then the rest of the week Christians can be conformed to the ways of the world, he wins. He does NOT want Christians to realize that Jesus came to establish a priesthood of believers.

As long as he can convince Christians and Pastors that the clergy dominated entertainment industry that passes as "normal Christianity today" is
legitimate, he wins. It doesn't matter to Satan how many programs are instituted or how many buildings are erected in the name of the church; as long as they remain "seeker friendly" and continue with the "I'm O.K. you're O.K. but you would be better if you gave your heart to Jesus in the secrecy of your pew while no one is looking around" mentality.

The gospel (which is not the Gospel of the Bible, but is another gospel) that is being embraced by most of the leadership of the church and being presented to the Church in America is this: "If you just give your heart to Jesus, you can have the same type of music and entertainment that you have always liked; we'll just put the name of Jesus in it once in a while. You won't be required to change much. Certainly, you don't have to worry about 'going overboard' and becoming a minister of the Gospel. That's the job of the pastor and his staff! All you really have to do is just attend our entertainment halls for a few hours a week, and join us as passive spectators while we speak about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket!"

The Brownsville "revival" is a case in point. I was carrying a cross through Pensacola while it was going on in 1997 and even visited the church a few times. People were "falling under the Power of God", "manifesting" and testimonies were being given of people receiving healing and being saved. Yet while all of this was going on indoors with all the people coming from all over the world to hear the anointed men of God who ministered at the famous revival of Brownsville, I evangelized the neighborhoods around the church, only to find rampant drug abuse, prostitution and multitudes of unevangelized people.

What a sorry state the Church in America has gotten herself into because of her compromise with the devil! It really makes me weep to think about it, but I literally weep when I find that men of God I have once esteemed very highly have bought into that same deception, and I have known many pastors and evangelists who have done just that. Unless the leadership in the Church repents of its self seeking self serving "me and my kingdom" mentality, there will be more catastrophes that will hit this city and this nation. Our Father has ways to get our attention. We need to repent of the leaven that we have allowed to creep into our ministries.

While I have been here I have met a few ministries that are truly about seeking the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Trumpet of Truth, Jesus' Miracle Power, Verbo Christian Fellowship, Timothy House, Bethel Colony, Pastor David Johnson, and Pastor Jagen, Pastor Don Eskine of No Cross No Crown ministries (Raven Gulf Coast chapter), Brother Frank on Bourbon Street, and I know that there are others as well who intercede for the city on a daily basis, and have no other agenda but to see the city impacted for Christ. I have met a couple of pastors who have a real burden to pray for this city and the church on a consistent basis. I have met pastors who have ministries that truly reach out on the street level and who give unselfishly of themselves to see those who were held in bondage to sin delivered by the Power of God. They are here. There are just a very few. The majority of them are still confusing the pursuit of establishing their kingdoms and their programs with ministry.

The Mississippi River Prayer Walk will continue. The Church in America still desperately needs prayer. This has been a wonderful parenthetical adventure in ministry that we have partaken in. Many souls were saved and discipled underneath the tent. 55 people were baptized, and we recieved many testimonies of healings and deliverances. Thank You Jesus!

In addition to the Pastor for allowing us to work here for as long as we did, I want to thank my brother and friend Chris for all his dedication to the cause of the furtherance of the Gospel. The truth is NONE of this relief center would have happened like it did if it wasn't for Chris. If I begin to mention names of people who have been essential to this relief center and the prayer and worship tent, I know I would probably forget to mention someone, so you know who you are, and I thank you.

I do want to thank each member of my family for their selflessness in service to the relief center. They got hit the hardest by the big church business political goings on that have happened here. The ministry the Lord has called us to over these 19 years has always been simply about reaching out to souls. A few of them have become disillusioned about what Christianity has become in the organized church as a result of seeing the garbage and the artificiality of what is called ministry here in the Name of Jesus. It's because of the leaven that so many pastors have embraced that many Christians and non-Christians shy away from the organized Church. I believe we need to be lights to our brothers and sisters who have fallen into error, and we can't do that if we stay on the outside. The Church in America is in drastic need of reform, but we can't just throw the Baby out with the bathwater. Most self seeking pastors weren't always that way...they just got caught up with the lights and the glitter. Someone needs to work beside them to demonstrate what true ministry is. It's ALL about Jesus and it's ALL about Souls! As flawed as I might be, God has called me to be an example. I don't just preach it, I walk it to the best of my ability.

I will continue praying for the Church in America. I will continue to work with the organized churches. With the help of the Lord, I will strive to continue to demonstrate by my lifestyle what
true Christian ministry is supposed to be. I am flawed. I have faults just like any one else. But I certainly don't want to be found guilty of keeping silent as my brothers and sisters muddy the waters of Christianity and make a mockery of service to God.

PASTORS, EVANGELISTS, PROPHETS, APOSTLES, TEACHERS: UNLESS WE REPENT OF OUR RELIGIOUS VANITY, AND GET BUSY ABOUT ESTABLISHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN OUR CITIES, DIRE TIMES ARE AHEAD. JUDGMENT MUST FIRST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD. YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE SIZE OF YOUR CONGREGATION OR YOUR ABILITY TO CONVINCE PEOPLE TO SOW INTO YOUR MINISTRY ARE NOT INDICATIONS OF GOD'S FAVOR UPON YOUR MINISTRY. SATAN HAS THE POWER TO GIVE YOU WEALTH, PRESTIGE AND KINGDOMS, AND HE WILL AS LONG AS YOU COMPROMISE YOUR WALK BEFORE GOD BY LORDING IT OVER THE FLOCK, AND ESTABLISHING A BUSINESS INSTEAD OF A MINISTRY. AWAKE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS AND SIN NOT, FOR SOME HAVE NOT THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, AND I SPEAK THIS TO YOUR SHAME! SHAKE OFF THE VAIN PHILOSOPHIES AND TRADITIONS THAT YOU HAVE EMBRACED, AND PURPOSE IN YOUR HEART GIVE THE LORD 24/7 OF YOUR LIFE, EQUIPPING EVERY BELIEVER TO FULFIL THE CALL THE LORD HAS FOR THEIR LIFE.

If you haven't read it yet, you can read about the first eight months of the hurricane relief effort in my CROSSCOUNTRY4JESUS NEWSLETTER.

 

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A 21ST CENTURY PASTOR'S PRAYER FOR REVIVAL