Whatever your GIFT is…USE IT!!!

2 Timothy 1:6-7 downloadKing James Version (KJV)

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

Paul wanted to remind Timothy to “not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (verse 8). Paul was encouraging his spiritual son to preach the gospel as well as to raise up disciples and leaders within the local churches he was entrusted to shepherd. Timothy had to use his spiritual and organizational gifts, keeping the fire of the empowering Holy Spirit lit within him.

With this in mind, here is how you can stir up your spiritual gifts as revealed in 2 Timothy 1 …

  • Remember to stir it up and use it (2 Tim. 1:6). Paul was reminding Timothy about what God has done in him, so you can think back to when and how He saved you and filled you with His Spirit, or when hands were laid on you and prophecies were spoken over you and then use your gift often and intentionally.
  • Share in the sufferings of the gospel (2 Tim. 1:8). Share the gospel with others, staying close to those in the apostolic office, staying with them through the good and bad of ministry, sharing in all things. It is the power of God that is prevalent through this.
  • Stay true to sound teaching (2 Tim. 1:13, 2:15). Study and listen to Scripture often as well as lessons from biblical teachers, getting intimately acquainted with the treasures within the Bible.
  • Guard your gift (2 Tim. 1:14). Paul told Timothy to “guard it,” which is not to use it haphazardly, but instead, to use it joyfully for its intended use. Treasure it, protect it, and walk humbly with it, all the while glorifying Jesus.

This is not an exhaustive list, but its truths are foundational when stirring up your spiritual gift. The purpose of these things is to glorify God and to encourage, edify and comfort His precious bride, the church. Stir up the gifts within you by the power of His Spirit!

 

Bible Verses About Prayer For Healing

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James 5:15 – And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Mark 10:27 – And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men [it is] impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Philippians 4:6 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. James 5:14 – Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

Matthew 18:19 – Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

James 5:15-16 – And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (Read More…)

3 John 1:2 – Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

James 5:16 – Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Acts 10:38 – How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Isaiah 53:5 – But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 1 Peter 2:24 – Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Matthew 8:17 – That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare [our] sicknesses.

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. James 5:14-16 – Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: (Read More…)

Matthew 10:1 – And when he had called unto [him] his twelve disciples, he gave them power [against] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Mark 16:18 – They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ephesians 6:16 – Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

James 5:14-15 – Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: (Read More…)

Exodus 15:26 – And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I [am] the LORD that healeth thee.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Psalms 41:1-3 – (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.) Blessed [is] he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. (Read More…)

1 Corinthians 12:9 – To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; Mark 11:25 – And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Mental Illness Can Strike ANYONE

 

Mental Illness is one of the most misunderstood maladies in our society. I believe that mentally Ill people are unfairly stigmatized, especially by the church. A lot of people try and lump all mentally ill people in the category or “demonized” or “criminal”. Mental illness is just that…AN ILLNESS! Imagine if you went to church and you told your pastor you were diagnosed with Cancer, and he brought you to the front of the church and tried to cast a devil out of you, you wouldn’t like that would you? Well that is how mentally ill people are often viewed in churches. Now as a clergyman and a theologian I realize that there ARE demons and at times people are under heavy demonic influence, however the church does a great disservice to people when they lump everyone in a “demonic pool”.
Mental Illness can affect anyone at any time; I have had my own bouts with depression and insecurities from things I experienced as a child. There are numerous biblical references to depression, one of the human race’s most common and distressing afflictions. It is likely that the first humans to experience depression were Adam and Eve, after they sinned against God. This book is a careful examination of humans in the Bible that suffered from mental distress and illness. After reading the Psalms of David many times I have concluded that David may have suffered from Clinical Depression. (Psalm 13 and 18)
While sin is the main cause of all of man’s distress, some people are innocent in that they have been the victims of rape, molestation, and torture of some kind that may have caused the mental torment they endured. I pray this book helps you realized that the person sitting next to you in church may be in need of your understanding and compassion. When we go to church on Sunday we “put on” our best face, behind the face may be depression and anxiety. Many great men and women in the Bible suffered from mental illness and distresses. Having faith doesn’t exempt us from trouble and pain. I have been a minister for over 27 years and a Chaplain in a Psychiatric Hospital the last 3. Most of my patients are people of faith, and they love God just as much as you or I.
Mentally Ill people are just like you or I, they have hopes and dreams and can accomplish things for God and man. Every human has within their spirit a plan and a purpose given by the Creator that needs to be fulfilled. If you are mentally ill I pray this book helps you are not alone, God cares and so do I. If you are not mentally ill then I pray this book makes you more sensitive to their dilemma. When I was 12 years old my doctor wanted to medicate me because I was diagnosed as being “hyperactive”, my mother refused to medicate me, I am glad she did. However I DO believe medicine can help and does help a lot of people. Unlike many clergymen I am NOT anti-medicine; I believe God gave men the intellect to create medicine. I believe faith and medicine combined is what helps many people. In my case I use prayer, meditation, and music to lift me out of my bouts with depression. Whatever works for you, use it! But get help when you need it.
Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, ThD

God Wants EVERYBODY Saved!


prison cell

escape from prison cell. 3D creative concept

 II Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as
some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing
that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

     Every promise the Lord made will be kept; with no exceptions.
Whatever He promised, He will do. It may seem to us as if it is a long
time coming, but the little time each of us wait is nothing compared
to all of eternity. The only reason the Lord has not already come
back, is because He wants every single person to be saved. We have
only to look at the numerous times God forgave the Israelites {on
their way to the promised land} to know just how longsuffering He is.

     II Peter 3:10 "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in
the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great
noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also
and the works that are therein shall be burned up."

     Just as the day of the flood finally came, the time of the end
will come, also. There is an appointed time that only the Father
knows. The return of the Lord to the earth as King of kings and Lord
of lords is not to be confused with the end of the planet. The earth
will be ruled by the King {Jesus} for a thousand years, then the earth
will be destroyed by fire, and there will be a new heaven and a new
earth. I believe the coming of the Lord and the judgement of fire on
the earth itself to be two separate happenings. Revelation 21:1 "And I
saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first
earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."  We, also, know
that the works of man will be tried in the fire, to see if they are
pure.  The destruction, in verse 10 above, seems to be speaking of the
final judgement of God upon the earth.  Since God does not count time
as anything, the two happenings in verse 10 could easily be thousands
of years apart.

Why Does God Love US?

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THE NATURAL MIND OF MAN HATES GOD AND LOVES SIN

When the Scriptures speak of the “carnal mind” of man or “the flesh” of man, it is speaking of his spiritual condition and attitude, until God converts such a person through a spiritual process of repentance.

We have many statements which confirm the weak and sinful condition of the human heart. Here are but a few:

  1. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23)
  2. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, “Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21)
  3. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked : who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
  4. “Because the carnal mind is enmity [hatred] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7)
  5. “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good no NOT ONE(Rom.3:9-12)
  6. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6)
  7. “For God hath concluded them all [both the Jews & Gentiles — that’s all humanity] in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all (Rom. 11:32)

Notice that God will need to “have mercy upon all” because “all have sinned.” God made the human race, and He made them spiritually weak, and as such are not able to obey the spiritual laws of God. Eve failed her first test. God told them what they could and could not eat. Eve immediately gave in to her “lust of flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life” when Satan presented her the opportunity. This weak spiritual mind and heart of Eve did not develop over a life-time of sinning, but was with her from her beginning. It therefore, behooves God to take away man’s stony heart and convert his carnal mind after they have served God’s purpose in the spiritual development of man. Paul gives us a detailed description of man’s natural makeup:

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like” (Gal. 5:19-21)

Seriously, how could God love “adultery, witchcraft, drunkenness, and murder?” He couldn’t, and neither does God love people while committing such crimes.

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23)

We are told:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked [Heb. ‘exceedingly WEAK’]: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)

prison cell

escape from prison cell. 3D creative concept

Five Reasons to Say No to a Church Membership Covenant | From Apologetics Index

Church Membership Contracts or Covenants: Should you sign them?

Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, had this to say about oaths:

But I tell you, don’t take an oath at all: either by heaven, because it is God’s throne; or by the earth, because it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Neither should you swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.
– Source: Matthew 5:34-37, Holman Christian Standard Bible

Nowadays many churches require that prospective members sign a ‘membership contract’ or ‘church membership covenant.’

Make no mistake: whichever term is used for the agreement, these signed documents are contacts.

Some of these legal documents appear quite innocent. Others make you sign away certain rights and/or force you into making specific promises. Oaths, in other words.

These promises are usually related to

  1. the church’s authority structure
    specifically, your commitment to obeying the leaders
  2. finances
    in particular the flow of money from you to the church

Money

To start with money: The Bible in the New Testament does not tell us precisely how much to give. Yet more often than not church covenants do stipulate a certain percentage.

We recently heart about a church where prospective members had to sign a contract in which they promise to tithe 10% of their income to that church. When asked about this requirement, one of the pastors said, “Look, we’re not going to change that. It is part of our articles of incorporation.”

We’ll address the subject of tithing in an upcoming article.

Authoritarian Structure

More dangerous than the financial aspect is the fact that most church membership covenants are designed to protect an authoritarian structure.

For instance, many such contacts contain specific instructions on whether and how you may question, criticize, or otherwise share your concerns regarding various issues.

The Bible teaches that Christians should grow in discernment, which naturally includes the need to judge righteously.

But pastors and other leaders in authoritarian churches are very much opposed to Christians who think and act independently of the church’s leadership. They prefer that you ‘come under their spiritual covering’ (read: authority).

A certain amount of structure in a church is necessary for it to function well. But the policies and stipulations in most church covenants can quickly turn abusive in churches where criticism or even questioning is seen as an offence.

‘We will not allow you to resign your membership’

Failure to follow the bylaws stipulated in signed membership contract can also have serious consequences.

Example 1:
In a high profile case, several years ago a woman in Texas annulled her marriage after discovering that her husband engaged in sexual abuse.

Her church subsequently ruled that she had violated its covenant by failing to obtain church leaders’ permission to file for an annulment.

The church explained that by “signing the Membership Covenant, a member agrees … to receive our care ….”

When she then wished to withdraw her membership, the church would not allow her to do so. It explained that since the woman had refused to come under their care, the leaders had placed her under church discipline — and members under discipline cannot withdraw from membership.

We have been perplexed by your decision to file for an annulment of your marriage without first abiding by your covenant obligations to submit to the care and direction of your elders. As I [Pastor Matt Younger] mentioned in my first letter, this decision violates your covenant with us—and places you under discipline. Per section 10.5 of The Village Church bylaws, you are prohibited from voluntarily resigning membership while subject to the formal disciplinary process. We cannot, therefore, accept your resignation.

After much negative publicity, church leaders later apologized to the women, stating that “after further review of her situation, that she did have biblical grounds for divorce or annulment, that she should have been released from Covenant Membership as she requested and that she should not have been put under church discipline.”

Some view the apology as an effort at damage control, rather than a genuine sign of repentance over having engaged in spiritual abuse.

Example 2:
After suffering through many years of emotional and psychological abuse, a woman in Massachusetts divorced her husband.

She told her pastors that shortly after she and her then-husband had completed several months of biblical counseling, the man had reverted to his abusive behavior.

The church leaders disagreed with her reasons for divorcing her husband, and tried to pressure her into reconciling with him.

The woman then sent a letter to the church, resigning her membership.

The church refused, stating, “The covenant that you entered into when you became a member does not permit you to resign during circumstances such as these.”

A local newspaper reported

Despite her break with the church — and even after her lawyer sent two cease-and-desist letters asking church officials to stop contacting her — she received a letter from the church’s elders that said, in part, “if you will not re-engage in conversation or repent of your own sinful response then we are called to continue to pursue you.”

In their letter, the church leaders outlined their intended course of action, which included sharing details of her ‘sinful response’ with others “[if] we have not heard from you by December 23rd ….”

The church finally accepted her letter of resignation two weeks after the paper had sought the leaders’ comments on this situation.

Meanwhile, such spiritual abuse continues not just in that church, but in many churches like it.

Pastor gives Five Reasons to Say No to a Church Covenant

In chapter 10 of his book, Fraudulent Authority: Pastors Who Seek To Rule Over Others [ Kindle edition], Wade Burleson gives five reasons why Christians should say no to a church covenant.

    • A church covenant makes the Holy Spirit irrelevant in my life

      We are called in Scripture to be led “by the Spirit.” Though there is counsel in the wisdom of many, when I sign a church covenant I abdicate my right to hear from the Spirit myself.

    • A church covenant replaces my one true Mediator with inferior mediators

      I have only One High Priest who stands between me and God – Jesus, the Son of God – and anyone who comes between me and Jesus as I walk by His counsel and His wisdom is a detriment to my growth.

    • A church covenant makes the institutional church equivalent to the Kingdom of God

      [An] … institutional church plays an important role in the Kingdom of God, but the local church is not the kingdom of God. Anyone who knows history understands that institutional churches who demand spiritual authority over individual believers have wrongly placed their institution on par with God’s Kingdom.

      Burleson here refers to examples of churches whose leaders falsely believe that they hold the keys of life and death and of heaven and hell.

    • A church covenant by its nature is designed to protect an authoritarian structure.

      When a Christian signs a church covenant that demands submission to elders/ pastors, he or she is enabling that institutional church to maintain an authoritarian structure. Rather than the weak and wounded sheep being the focus of attention within the church, most modern covenants are written with phrases that seem intent on bringing church members into “submission to church authorities.” Quickly scan any church covenant. If “submission to church elders” is anywhere found, then know the covenant is designed to keep control of members and maintain the authority of the leaders.

    • A church covenant requires something more than a simple “Yes” or “No.”

      Jesus said that anything you have to do that goes beyond your simple words of “Yes” and “No” is from the “evil one” (Matthew 5: 37). When I join a church, I will forever refuse to sign any document, whether it be a “tithing card,” or “a membership covenant,” or any other document that requires a vow from me regarding my future performance or activity. In fact, if I ever attend a church that requires such a thing, I will refuse to join on the basis of a principle.

– Source: Wade Burleson, Fraudulent Authority: Pastors Who Seek To Rule Over Others, Chapter 10.

Escape spiritual church abuse

Note that these reasons were penned by a longtime pastor. Wade Burleson has been the pastor of Emmanuel Enid, in Oklahoma, since 1992.

His book is like a breath of fresh air to all who have been subjected to the spiritual abuse fostered by fraudulent authority.

In his foreword Burleson writes,

Finally, I would like to acknowledge those of you who have suffered under horrible spiritual abuse and didn’t know how to get out from under it. I could write story after story of people who’ve written to me about their trauma of abuse by authoritarian pastors who act as if they are God’s vicar on earth. Some pastors seek to control – and sometimes punish – those who oppose God and God’s “ordained authority” on earth, or otherwise known as “the pastor.”

You know your story.

I tell just a couple of stories in this book. My greater purpose is to help you understand how to come out from under abusive spiritual authority, recognizing it as the opposite of biblical Christianity. For all you who love the Bible and God, but question the pastor and the rules of the church, I hope you read and understand Fraudulent Authority so that you can escape spiritual church abuse with clear biblical thinking and a heart filled with grace and understanding of what Christ’s Church should look like.

And in chapter 10 — the one on church covenants — Burleson reiterates:

The premise of this book is that the major problem in modern evangelical Christianity is the authoritarianism of evangelical leaders. I have sought to explain how pastors/ elders “twist the Scriptures” and demand “obedience and submission” to this alleged authority. Jesus tells us that that true ‘spiritual leaders’ are only servants, never masters.

Evangelical leaders seem not to be listening to Jesus.

Will YOU Be a Mentor?

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No one achieves success without HELP, TRAINING, and A PUSH. Everyone needs a mentor and everyone needs to MENTOR someone else. From a Biblical perspective this is called DISCIPLESHIP! Here are some of the MEN that served as a MENTOR to me….

 

13 of the Men that had a great Influence on my life:

 

  1. Alfred Mellow – He was my mother’s boyfriend, he was the closest thing I had to father growing up. He was a hard worker that showed me that hard work pays off and he spent time showing me things men have to do like be responsible.

 

  1. Lou Stevens– through my big brother I learned how to be tough, he was a great athlete and I admired that. His love for sports and Judo was passed on to me and I stayed with it until I got a Black Belt. He also introduced me to Marvel Comics, I miss our arguments over who was the greatest superhero, and he was my hero when I was a kid.

 

  1. Joseph Tisdale – My WWII vet uncle, he used to give me “the talks” that my mother really couldn’t deal with. I looked forward to the rides to the Barbershop with Uncle Joe; he was a hardworking man, owned his own house and always dressed sharp and had nice cars.

 

  1. Charlie Tisdale – My cousin and son of my Uncle James, Charlie always made sure I was working, he would pay me to clean up his yard and garage, and got me my first real job with ABCD sweeping streets, it was nice to have cash and learn the importance of hard work.

 

 

  1. Coach Tug Williams – My High School football coach, he was tough as nails and mean. I was NOT a good football player but I tried hard. I came to practice with the flu, throwing up and had a fever and he sent me home…but complemented me for trying. He even mentioned how hard I tried at the banquet, which meant a lot to me.

 

  1. Pak Ho Sik – My Tang Soo Do KarateInstructor – He pushed me really hard but he saw something in me and he worked with me after class, I helped him with his English and he kicked my behind until I made 1st Dan.

 

  1. Isaiah Sierson – A Baptist preacher that loved soul-winning, I learned more about Apologetics from him than any book I ever read. He knew Christology better than any human I ever met.

 

  1. Errol L Woolard– I met him in the Air Terminal at Andrews AFB when I was in a backslidden state and he was spiritual and restored me in the spirit of meekness. We later met up in Korea and he introduced me to the next man…

 

  1. Herman G. Platt (in the photo) – This man was my first COGIC pastor and mentor, I learned the importance of prayer from this man. Also influenced me to go back to school and get a Christian/ Seminary education. I learned some valuable tips on Deliverance Ministry from him also.

 

 

  1. Morris K. Baxter – This man is like a father to me, I learned the importance of diligence and devotion. There was no quit in this man and he really loved his people and would do anything for the people on his watch. He emphasized the importance of worship and giving God praise. He also turned me on to reading Watchman Nee.

 

  1. John Dicks – Chaplain Dicks was probably the NICEST pastor I ever knew, he wasn’t a dynamic speaker, but he was a PASTOR that loved God’s people. He helped people and NEVER wanted attention he just did it. He also PUSHED me to stay in school!!!

 

  1. Herb Hirt – Was one of my professors at Philadelphia College of Bible and IJS. He was a brilliant man that knew the Bible and how to study it properly. He stressed the importance of CONTEXT! He was also very kind and was a foreign missionary that taught me WHY Apologetics was vital in outreach.

 

  1. Warren Wilcox – I was an intern at Riverfront Prison for a year while doing my Clinical Pastoral Education. He was always gracious and hospitable and treated me like an equal and not a student Chaplain. He was an example of an anointed educated man.

 

 

Rev. Dr. M Hamilton Stevens

 

One Night Prayer Revival @ Mt C

Acts 2:1-4. When the day of Pentecost came. Pastel & pen. 26 May 2012.

Acts 2:1-4. When the day of Pentecost came. Pastel & pen. 26 May 2012.

7th and Market St. , Camden NJ

THURSDAY NIGHT 7 PM 19th JANUARY 2017

We are going to pray and praise The Lord and hear a Word from God, and we will open the altar for PRAYER for any and everyone!

If you know someone that is struggling with drugs or alcohol addiction, chronic illness, or anything that requires the healing touch and mercy of God PLEASE come and bring a friend.

We all need a touch from God so don’t be afraid to come, we are a loving non-judgmental church that want to you healed, set free, and delivered! 

Pastor Mark H. Stevens, Th.D., CPRP

What Have YOU Done for (Others)Jesus Lately?

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When You do for others you ARE doing it for Jesus! Here are some reasons WHY the Church isn’t  really doing too much!

1. American’s worship MONEY…not JESUS! Jesus said you cannot serve MAMMON (Money) and Him…for you will love one and HATE the other. The Church has been corrupted by the Prosperity Message, actually it didn’t start with Jim and Tammy Bakker, it started in Rome when the Church literally SOLD salvation through indulgences. Martin Luther had a contract put on his head for preaching against it…guess that is WHY no one invites Mark Stevens to preach in their churches.

2. We have politicized Jesus…The Conservatives have Him carrying a rifle and the Liberals have Him waving a Gay flag….Jesus came to SAVE us not represent our false ideals and sins.

3. Pastors are SUPPOSED to be SERVANTS and our Pastors are being SERVED…plain and simple! Men especially avoid church because they see through the game many Pastors are running on women. A Pastor is SUPPOSED to make Disciples of Jesus Christ not cult members.

4. We have forgotten beside preaching the Gospel (Death, Burial, and Resurrection) we are supposed to HELP the POOR, VISIT the PRISONERS, Visit the Widows, and Fatherless…this is TRUE RELIGION!

5. We have made the Bible irrelevant by claiming it is outdated and creates homophobia. We have made our perverse desires OUR TRUTH and made the Bible a FABLE.

M. Hamilton Stevens, ThD

 

 

 

Mental Illness is one of the most misunderstood maladies in our society. I believe that mentally Ill people are unfairly stigmatized, especially by the church. A lot of people try and lump all mentally ill people in the category or “demonized” or “criminal”. Mental illness is just that…AN ILLNESS! Imagine if you went to church and you told your pastor you were diagnosed with Cancer, and he brought you to the front of the church and tried to cast a devil out of you, you wouldn’t like that would you? Well that is how mentally ill people are often viewed in churches. Now as a clergyman and a theologian I realize that there ARE demons and at times people are under heavy demonic influence, however the church does a great disservice to people when they lump everyone in a “demonic pool”.

Mental Illness can affect anyone at any time; I have had my own bouts with depression and insecurities from things I experienced as a child. There are numerous biblical references to depression, one of the human race’s most common and distressing afflictions. It is likely that the first humans to experience depression were Adam and Eve, after they sinned against God. This book is a careful examination of humans in the Bible that suffered from mental distress and illness. After reading the Psalms of David many times I have concluded that David may have suffered from Clinical Depression. (Psalm 13 and 18)

While sin is the main cause of all of man’s distress, some people are innocent in that they have been the victims of rape, molestation, and torture of some kind that may have caused the mental torment they endured. I pray this book helps you realized that the person sitting next to you in church may be in need of your understanding and compassion. When we go to church on Sunday we “put on” our best face, behind the face may be depression and anxiety. Many great men and women in the Bible suffered from mental illness and distresses. Having faith doesn’t exempt us from trouble and pain. I have been a minister for over 27 years and a Chaplain in a Psychiatric Hospital the last 3. Most of my patients are people of faith, and they love God just as much as you or I.

Mentally Ill people are just like you or I, they have hopes and dreams and can accomplish things for God and man. Every human has within their spirit a plan and a purpose given by the Creator that needs to be fulfilled. If you are mentally ill I pray this book helps you are not alone, God cares and so do I. If you are not mentally ill then I pray this book makes you more sensitive to their dilemma. When I was 12 years old my doctor wanted to medicate me because I was diagnosed as being “hyperactive”, my mother refused to medicate me, I am glad she did. However I DO believe medicine can help and does help a lot of people. Unlike many clergymen I am NOT anti-medicine; I believe God gave men the intellect to create medicine. I believe faith and medicine combined is what helps many people. In my case I use prayer, meditation, and music to lift me out of my bouts with depression. Whatever works for you, use it! But get help when you need it.

Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, ThD, CPRP