This is a clip from the Leadership Advance held out at Bethel Church in Redding, California in May 2009. It seems that Muslims in Indonesia have been beheading and dismembering Christians. That, however, is no deterrent to God when He decides to put someone back together again. Literally. Listen and enjoy, and let your faith be challenged to reach out for more. There’s always more with Jesus!
God is doing amazing things in Indonesia once again. The recent The Call held there drew 90,000 people. If you are from my generation, you remember Mel Tari related amazing stories from the Indonesian Revival of the 1960′s in his book, A Mighty Rushing Wind.
Who is Dr. Leslie Keegel, named as the source for these stories?
Leslie & Belen Keegel
Leslie was born to Christian parents and came to know Jesus at age 12. On two successive nights Leslie saw the crucified Jesus who spoke to him. Jesus told him that He died to save and heal him and that if he dedicated his life, Jesus would use him to bring many to Himself, at home and abroad. Leslie began to minister at once in the church any way he could. At 16, he became the youth leader at a church in Colombo. He later attended the Foursquare Bible College in the Philippines, where he graduated in 1981 and where he met his wife, Belen, They were married in June 1981.
In 1983, missionaries Richard and Betty Kaiser left Sri Lanka to return home. Leslie was appointed the national leader of Foursquare Sri Lanka and initiated a unique discipleship program that increased the number of churches from three to more than 1,000 meeting places and churches. Leslie and Belen have three daughters: Blessie, Julie and Rosie.
The goodness of God never ceases to amaze me, especially when He just decides to do stuff to prove to those who don’t know Him that he is good.
This appeared on the Sleuth For Truth blog today. Miriam created this site solely to attack Stephen Manning and I. Guess WordPress agreed:
Now if they would just take a good look at the End Time Prophetic Words site…
Update: A couple of minutes after I posted this, I got a comment from Sleuth for Truth (thanks for being a subscriber, Miriam!) which began:
You mock Sleuththetruth for being taken down for “violating terms of service” (when it had not violated t & c’s)
Looks like WordPress.com feels that you did.
But cheer up! I’m sure you can move your content to a less well regulated site or even self-host. Never let things like a little matter of libel stand in the way of your overwhelming desire to defame people. Why, folks, she’s even decided that Billy Graham’s not a Christian.
This is an article from Iris Ministires, and you can read it on the Iris site.
Unstoppable Love and a Boat
By Heidi Baker
Greetings from Iris to all our friends and family around the world; blessings, joy and peace.
As another wonderful outreach in the north of Mozambique concludes, I want to thank all of our amazing donors once again. Your love for the poor and your remembrance for the downcast, the orphan, and the widow are enormously appreciated. Without your generosity, it would be impossible for us to continue reaching the lost and feeding the hungry. You have a great part of all the fruit from this Iris family.
We have just returned from ministering in some of the northern coastal villages, where a deaf mute was miraculously healed on the first evening. As always, it was a truly awesome experience. Everyone in the village had known this person, so the healing was greeted with widespread excitement, exuberant cheering and clapping. Now the whole village wants to follow Jesus!
We stayed at this village overnight, and began our next day fresh at 4:30 am, when the whole village awakened. That morning we held a beautiful wedding at a church in a mud hut. The church family and all the local children sang and danced loudly in celebration of this couple’s union. After that, we went to visit people in their homes and pray for the sick. God continues to do glorious miracles among us! So many people were hungry for spiritual food, we might almost have forgotten how hungry they were for natural food — but after breakfast we also saw children scraping out the bottom of our pans after the pastors and visitors had eaten. The Lord again put it strongly my heart that love looks like something. So we prepared lunch, and everyone in the village who was hungry came and ate. We left solar-powered audio Bibles and a soccer ball, then we had to leave for another village.
The next village was one we had planted a church in several years ago. The pastor there has been through two training sessions at Iris, and is doing well. No words are enough to thank you all for helping us train these young, motivated Mozambican leaders! We won’t stop until every village and tribe is reached by the unending, bottomless, ceaseless love of Jesus. His love compels us. We have been so blessed by your ongoing generosity — God bless you all! And we ask you to remember us in your prayers.
Now I would like to share another story, one that is really close to my heart. In part it is about the boat that took us on our outreach, but it is really about Tenacious Love.
One day my husband, Rolland, was flying me in our little bush plane over a certain area of Mozambique. I noticed that there were no roads at all, but I asked Rolland to take me as low as the plane could possibly go, and when he did I looked down and saw village after village passing below me. And I started sobbing! I was sobbing because there were no roads, and it seemed like there would be no natural way for me to get to those people. I was weeping because I have read the Book, and I know my God — I can’t imagine anyone on this planet not getting the opportunity to know this beautiful Savior! I can’t imagine not doing everything I can to give them the chance. I wept and asked God what I should do. And He said, “get a boat!” So, we began to pray and believe for a boat.
For two years I was told again and again how impossible it was to get a boat to Pemba. Likewise, many of you reading this are chosen and called by God for great tasks, but there may be a lot of people telling you why you cannot go, why it is impossible for you to do what God is telling you to. They may try to explain it to you in detail. They may quote books about what they think we cannot do, and what they think God cannot do. I have read those kinds of books. But the Book tells us what we can do! I know my God, and if He says “get a boat,” He means that we should really get a boat.
So — we got a boat!
The government said that we could not bring it into the country without paying a seventy percent import duty. God provided, and I said, “Here is the money; give me the boat!” No one is going to stop me! Actually, I got really angry at the devil. How could he think he could possibly stop us? When you are in love, you are unstoppable!
It took two years and ten days for the boat to finally get here. On the way, while it was being hauled overland on rough roads, the transporters damaged the hull and put cracks in both the engines! At one point the donors who had paid for the boat came to see us, and it was still just sitting, waiting for repairs, covered in dust and dirt in the backyard of a non-Christian man who owns most of the city. Their investment was not looking very impressive. I thought, “God, this is not what I had planned.”
Sometimes it is like that. It looks like your vision is in the camp of someone who doesn’t even know God. It looks like your vision has been captured and carried away. It looks like it is full of dust, covered over, and without any fuel. And yet God says: “Believe what I said! And do not stop!” Love is tenacious. Faith is tenacious. Love doesn’t give up, even when the engines are toast and you have to pay seventy percent duty! Do not stop short of your promise. Do not stop short of your destiny. Do not stop short of His glory.
I had to keep searching for somebody to fix that boat, and even some of the people I love most told me repeatedly that it could not be done. Finally, I found a Filipino man who said he could repair it — but it took another year just to get the parts! After that, I was told that the hull was too deep, and I wouldn’t be able to get close to those villages because their coasts were so shallow. So I asked them to get me a dingy. I was told, once again, that this couldn’t be done. For some reason we couldn’t get a dingy in Mozambique. But I was convinced that there surely must be a dingy available somewhere! I had seen them! Someone said to me, “You just don’t stop, do you?”
I cannot stop! Everybody needs to know! Every tribe, every nation, every tongue! I am a woman possessed by His heart for the lost. Wholly possessed by the one I am in love with!
After another few months, they finally found me a dingy somewhere. And the day we finally took the boat on our first outreach, one of the engines blew. But the other one worked!
Of course it would have been nicer to have two. But since we had the one, I told the captain to keep going. When we got to that first village, by boat and then by dingy, everyone who lived there came running to us. And I was able to tell them that I had come with good news!
I shared every word that I knew in their tribal tongue of Makua. They had never heard the name of Jesus before that day. We sat in a little carpenter’s shop, which consisted of a few sticks and a ripped piece of plastic, and shared all about Jesus while some of the villagers made furniture. Everyone came. I shared, I sang, and I gave them some little solar-powered audio New Testaments in Makua. When I asked them who wanted to receive Jesus, they all said yes!
What if we had stopped short? What if we had given up?
Do not be stopped by difficulty! Never stop short of what God has promised you! He has a destiny for you.
A few months later we went back to this little village, and even before I had the chance to get out of the dingy, almost the whole village had run up to me, singing songs and quoting scriptures they had memorized from their solar Bibles! What a joy! God has made Himself known to this village, which had been totally forgotten by the outside world. We are now in the process of building a church and a school there, the first of either that this village has ever seen.
What a privilege we have, to share the gospel about Christ Jesus! Oh thank you Jesus! We get to be part of bringing people into His presence! We get to give our little lives. Without Him we are just dry twigs. But He calls us to fruitfulness, to intimacy, and to fearless, tenacious love. Whatever it costs… we count it all joy!
Love and blessings,
There are those who claim to be part of the Body of Christ who spend their time picking apart others while they themselves do nothing to reach the lost. They claim their motivation is purity of doctrine. Well, I don’t seem to recall a single instance of Jesus ever contending for purity of doctrine. He had a much higher purpose — contending for the eternal souls of those he came into contact with. He came to DESTROY the WORKS of the evil one. He wasn’t concerned about words, he was concerned about the bondages that people spent lives in.
Jesus said to believe the MIRACLES because they testified of him. He came to set at liberty those who are oppressed and those who were in prison.
It is the strategy of HELL to get the people of God divided over WORDS, while failing to do the WORKS of the Master. Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. And it is my duty as a recipient of that grace to pass it on to as many as possible.
Heidi reminded me again what it is to be compelled by a love for the Master that refuses to quit, that refuses to accept defeat. Jesus loves the lost, and if we love Him, we will love them, too. We will lay our lives down to reach them, just as He did.
The true counterfeit Jesus is the one that values doctrine over people. If your heart is that in tuned with Jesus that you love who and what He loves, the Holy Spirit will correct your. Scripture teaches that the Spirit was sent to lead us into all truth.
But if your heart loves words more than the person of Christ, if you are devoted to being correct over reaching the lost, and blessing those who are reaching the lost, then you are nothing more than a whitewashed tomb full of dead men’s bones, and an enemy of the Gospel, just as surely as the Pharisees were. The Pharisees were the most doctrinally correct of all the Jews, but their hearts were so caught up in pride at their “correctness” that they missed what that correct doctrine should have revealed to them: Jesus.
The following quote is from The Final Quest by Rick Joyner:
The Evil Army
I saw a demonic army so large that it stretched as far as I could see. It was separated into divisions, with each carrying a different banner. The foremost and most powerful divisions were Pride, Self righteousness, Respectability, Selfish Ambition, and Unrighteous Judgment, but the largest of all was Jealousy. The leader of this vast army was the Accuser of the Brethren himself. I knew that there were many more evil divisions beyond my scope of vision, but these were the vanguard of this terrible horde from hell that was now being released against the church.
The weapons carried buy this horde had names on them: the swords were named Intimidation; the spears were named Treachery; and their arrows were named Accusations, Gossip, Slander and Faultfinding. Scouts and smaller companies of demons with such names as Rejection, Bitterness, Impatience, Un-forgiveness and Lust were sent in advance of this army to prepare for the main attack. I knew in my heart that the church had never faced anything like this before.
The main assignment of this army was to cause division. It was sent to attack every level of relationship — churches with each other, congregations with their pastors, husbands and wives, children and parents, and even children with each other. The scouts were sent to locate the openings in churches, families or individuals that rejection, bitterness, lust, etc., could exploit and make a larger breech for the divisions that were coming.
The most shocking part of this vision was that this horde was not riding on horses, but on Christians! Most of them were well-dressed, respectable, and had the appearance of being refined and educated. These were Christians who had opened themselves to the powers of darkness to such a degree that the enemy could use them and they would think that they were being used by God. The Accuser knows that a house divided cannot stand, and this army represented his ultimate attempt to bring such complete division to the church that she would completely fall from grace.
Trailing behind these first divisions was a vast multitude of other Christians who were prisoners of this army. They were all wounded, and were guarded by little demons of Fear. There seemed to be more prisoners than there were demons in the army. Surprisingly, these prisoners still had their swords and shields, but they did not use them. It was shocking to see that so many could be kept captive by so few of these little demons of Fear. These could have easily been destroyed or driven off if the prisoners had just used their weapons. Above the prisoners the sky was black with vultures named Depression. These would land on the shoulders of a prisoner and vomit on him. The vomit was Condemnation. When the vomit hit a prisoner he would stand up and march a little straighter for a while, and then slump over, even weaker than before. Again, I wondered why the prisoners did not simply kill these vultures with their swords, which they could have easily done. Occasionally a weak prisoner would stumble and fall. As soon as he or she hit the ground, the other prisoners would begin stabbing them with their swords, scorning them as they did so. They would then call for the vultures to begin devouring the fallen one even before they were dead.
As I watched, I realized that these prisoners thought that the vomit of condemnation was truth from God. Then I understood that these prisoners actually thought they were marching in the army of God! This is why they did not kill the little demons of fear, or the vultures-they thought these were messengers from God! The darkness from the cloud of vultures made it so hard for these prisoners to see that they naively accepted everything that happened to them as being from the Lord.
The only food provided for these prisoners was the vomit from the vultures. Those who refused to eat it simple weakened until they fell. Those who did eat it were strengthened, but with the strength of the evil one. They would then begin to vomit on the others. When one began to do this a demon that was waiting for a ride would be given this one and he or she would be promoted to the front divisions. Even worse than the vomit from the vultures was a repulsive slime that these demons were urinating and defecating upon the Christians they rode. This slime was the pride, selfish ambition, etc., that was the nature of the division they were a part of. However, this slime made the Christians feel so much better than the condemnation that they easily believed that the demons were messengers of God, and they actually thought this slime was the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Then the voice of the Lord came to me saying, “This is the beginning of the enemy’s last day army. This is Satan’s ultimate deception, and his ultimate power of destruction is released when he uses Christians to attack other Christians. Throughout the ages he has used this army, but never has he been able to capture so many to be used for his evil purposes. Do not fear. I have an army too. You must now stand and fight, because there is no longer any place to hide from this war. You must fight for My Kingdom, for truth, and for those who have been deceived.”
There are two sources of revelation: God and Satan. The question is how can you tell the source of something you are reading or listening to? Even false prophets claim to be motivated by a love for truth and purity in the church, and they usually truly are.
Prophetic words that come from Satan will have one of two characteristics. One will be a pollyanna outlook that will lull people into a false security that allows for compromise and sin. Most Christians with any maturity at all can readily see through these.
There is another type and it is typified by the description of the prisoners above who mistake condemnation for anointing. Any prophetic ministry that spends the vast majority of time spewing judgment and condemnation in the name of truth and standing for righteousness has the evil one as its source. If they are continually attempting to destroy the ministry of others and bring forth dirt and even slander and accusation that later turns out to be false, the Holy Spirit is not their teacher. If you can’t find ministries they are commending in their words, steer clear. They are as false as the day is long.
The passage above gives a very beautiful allegorical picture of their actions. They stab and tear those who fall, and just radiate condemnation and judgment. Any person or group that sets itself up as being superior to others is in deception. Beware.
Jesus, however, gave us some good principles to judge prophetic words by.
Luke 6:44 – 45
44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Even when Jesus brings rebuke to his church, he still has words of encouragement and hope:
1“To the angel[a] of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
The Father, likewise has shown his heart towards his people, even when they are in sin:
15 “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal,
I hated them there.
Because of their sinful deeds,
I will drive them out of my house.
I will no longer love them;
all their leaders are rebellious.
16 Ephraim is blighted,
their root is withered,
they yield no fruit.
Even if they bear children,
I will slay their cherished offspring.”
7 My people are determined to turn from me.
Even if they call to the Most High,
he will by no means exalt them.
8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboiim?
My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
9 I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man—
the Holy One among you.
I will not come in wrath.
Prophecy is to speak forth the mind and will of God. If you are speaking, God’s words, they will have God’s character about them. Even in the harshest rebuke, he has compassion for his people and encourages them to repent. Even when the Father brought destruction upon Judah for its sin and failure to repent, he spoke these words:
10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
God’s heart is ALWAYS redemptive because while we were yet sinners and an enemy of God, Christ died for us.
Minsters are people and as people, they will screw up. They will sin. They will do the most amazingly stupid things. And they will repent and God will forgive them.
But how do you judge a ministry? Again, you look at the fruit.
- Are people getting saved?
- Are people falling more in love with Jesus?
- Are people seeking to be more Christlike in the way they live?
- Is the vast majority of the dealings of the ministry done with integrity?
- Does the ministry hold to the elemental truths of the faith?
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
Anything that Jesus is involved with is going to look and sound a lot like him. And that’s the bottom line. Do you see Jesus in their words and actions?
Here is the second part of Rick Joyner’s 3/30/09 update on Todd Bentley’s Restoration.
Understanding vs. Justifying
Please understand that when I spend a lot of time trying to express what or why something happened, it is not in any way to justify it, but for the purpose of possibly helping others avoid the same traps.
The burnout Todd experienced resulted in him fighting deep depression for more than a year. When I was with him during that time, he related that he had not felt anything for so long, not even for the Lord. He was just void of feeling. Extreme is fashionable with the youth today, and probably one reason why so many of the youth are attracted to Todd is because he is the poster boy for extreme. He does not do anything part way, and during this time Todd fell into some extreme and fleshly behavior. He became addicted to tattoos, and just about covered himself in them. He started watching unseemly horror movies and on several occasions got drunk.
Many people emailed me with stories or experiences with Todd during these periods, but Todd had already told me everything. He was not trying to hide anything but was trying to help me help him. Transparency is not a problem that Todd has. I also think Todd tries to fully own his transgressions as soon as he sees them, and tries to repent the best that he can. I don’t want to make excuses for them either, because God does not forgive excuses, but He forgives sin when it is confessed and repented of, which means to turn away from it. However, though I have never experienced depression for more than a few hours, it is terrible. You can be in the most wonderful place, with the most wonderful people, and want to die. Todd was in a deep depression that he could not climb out of during that time. He was desperately trying to feel something, and then anything. We have all probably seen children who will do something wrong just to get their parent’s attention, even though it hurts. This is common among gifted people who almost all battle serious depression.
Again, this is not to justify any of Todd’s behavior, which he is not trying to do either, but overseeing those with Todd’s nature and gifts needs to be understood, and I think very few do. Immediately after one of Elijah’s biggest victories in which he called fire down from heaven on Mt. Carmel and was able to rid Israel of hundreds of false prophets and false priests, he fell into such a depression that he asked the Lord to take his life. Possibly everyone who has ever walked in extraordinary anointing has experienced this, but few seem to understand it or are able to get free of it. If you’ve experienced it, you know it is very hard to endure for just a few hours. To think of enduring it for days or months is almost incomprehensible.
I can’t imagine what it was like for Todd’s wife or staff as he endured eighteen months of this, but they’re all saints in my book. As I said, Todd feels that he should take full responsibility for his marriage failure and other failures, and I don’t think I’ve heard him saying anything negative about his wife or anyone but himself. Todd has not tried to blame the depression, or what he calls “the dark night of the soul” on anyone, but he has expressed a few times that he cried for help but no one knew how to help him. That’s understandable as almost no one seems to understand this, even if they’ve been through it. I think it is another one of those answers we must find.
Right now about all I can do for someone in this situation is tell them what Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” As we are told in Psalm 126:6, “He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” When this comes on you, one of the best things to do is just keep going and you will come out of it, and usually within a few hours or at most days. Some of the greatest prophets and preachers of all time have experienced extended periods of this.
However, coming out of such depression is wonderful. It feels so good when you emerge from depression that it is amazing how you start to appreciate even the little joys in life so much that the big joys are almost overwhelming. When Todd started coming out, it was understandable that he wanted to just minister to people all the time, but even God took one day off after working six. When we violate God’s law of rest, we are in for a fall. That is literally why the Lord had Israel carried into bondage into Babylon, so that the land could have its Sabbaths. They stayed in bondage for seventy years to make up for the seventy Sabbaths the land had missed. If you violate this law, you will eventually fall into bondage just like Israel did. When the outpouring broke out in Lakeland, Todd went more than 120 days without a break. When he started taking a break from the meetings in Lakeland, it was usually to go preach somewhere else. When Todd went home at night, he did not have much peace, but was fighting the after-meeting depression and with his wife as their relationship continued to break down. That is a sure recipe for disaster, and it came quickly.
I’m not implying this is the whole reason for Todd’s marriage failure, or the reason for any other transgressions, but it was a big factor. Working like this is pride. To think we can go that long without rest when even God rested after six days is pride. It’s a pride that implies we are the ones holding the universe up—in the work of God that is a definite recipe for disaster. It’s happened to him twice now, and the consequences this time are worse than the first.
That is one reason why I have not put any timeframe for Todd’s restoration. Neither have I given Todd a twelve-step plan for restoration. These can have their place, but a fundamental issue has been a failure to rest in the Lord, which results in us taking yokes we cannot bear and is a root cause for most burnout in ministry.
After Lakeland and the breakup of his marriage, Todd spiraled down even further into a deep hopelessness. Many had told him he would be out of ministry for years, and some implied his ministry was over. That was really all Todd had at that time. I’m not saying this was right, but it was a fact. He had nothing else that he thought was valuable for others, and it was basically his reason for existence. When I talked to him and told him he could be restored, he started coming out of the hopelessness immediately.
When I told Todd that I did not put a timeframe on how long or short this would be, no doubt he felt this meant that he could be restored much quicker than others had been telling him. I only said I did not know how long it would take, but when it was done it was done. This no doubt increased his hope, and I wanted it to. The hopelessness he had fallen into was deadly. However, now the opposite is working on him. Because I have not put a time limit on it, he’s starting to worry that it could actually take longer. That is a possibility too. When the job is done, it will be done. This is now forcing Todd to trust and rest in the Lord even more and to find his hope and his identity in the Lord.
I know the reasons why some put time limits for people to be out of ministry if they have had a moral failure. They can have good reasons for this, but I do not see that anywhere in Scripture. I felt that the Lord showed me that this is an affront to Him. As we are exhorted in II Peter 3:8-9, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” The Lord can do in one day what we think should take a thousand years, and the reverse is also true—He can take a thousand years to do what we want done today!
I make no apology for the fact that we are seeking to restore Todd to ministry. I would like to see it done as quickly as possible, but only if it is done right. I understand that many think it is the wrong signal to send to put someone back in the pulpit right after divorcing their wife or husband. However, it is also the wrong message to send out that people are disqualified if they’ve had such a failure in their lives. That is an affront to the cross too and belittles its power to redeem. I also don’t think the Lord likes to be put in some of the time boxes we come up with for Him.
One common theme we also face a lot with Todd’s situation is the desire on the part of many for him to be punished for what he did. They would never call it that, but it is in fact what they want. Granted, he deserves it, as we all do, but that too is an affront to the cross and to the justice of God. The justice of God is that Jesus was already punished for everything Todd has done, or we have done, and for us to be punished for it too would not be just. Discipline in the Lord is never for punishment, but it is for our salvation and deliverance.
The biggest trial in Todd’s life right now is to just rest in God and love Him. There is a reason why we’re told in Hebrews to “labor therefore to enter into that rest” (see Hebrews 4:11 KJV). It’s hard work to learn to rest! But if you’re disappointed and demanding to know the twelve-point process we will be using to help restore Todd, you’ll just have to wait like he is.
Because I have not done this, many have jumped to all kinds of conclusions, most of which are far from the truth. One of the first things the Lord said to me about Todd’s situation was that He was going to use it to expose a lot of foolishness because “fools rush to judgment.” Impatience is not a fruit of the Spirit.
However, the encouragement to me is how many are expressing such incredible grace, mercy, and patience. As we are told, we will reap what we sow, so if we want to receive mercy, we need to sow it every chance we get. If we want to receive grace, we need to sow grace every chance we get. Even so, our grace and mercy must not go to the other extreme of unsanctified mercy, which is giving mercy to the things which God has under judgment. That is why I try to listen to all sides, but by this, I also sometimes end up offending people on all sides. I can’t worry too much about that, but just try to please the One who gave me this job.
I hope this is helpful, as your responses to us have been. We have many other great questions about this that are valid and important, but I cannot deal with them all at once. Later, I hope to address most of the questions.
Also, many assumed after the last Special Bulletin that the request for contributions to support Todd indicated that he was already back in ministry. Not so. Many had expressed the desire to support him through this process, so we were just giving a way for this to be done. I have asked Todd to spend some time working on the infrastructure of his new ministry so that when he is restored to ministry it is on the best possible foundation.
Thanks to all who are wanting to stand by him in this way. The wise invest in people, and the wise way to invest is to “buy low and sell high.” You get a much better return when you invest in people when they’re down. The ones who invested in King David when he was living in a cave, looking like he had no hope for a future, became the royalty and mighty men of Israel. I have no doubt that Todd will be back in a greater way than ever, on a more solid foundation, much more aware of where the traps are, but more than anything, leaning on the Lord.
Rick Joyner, 3/30/2009
People attempt to post a lot of hate filled invective on this site, and I don’t allow it. Todd is my brother and it doesn’t matter what he’s done, it matters Who he knows. Any of you who have a younger sibling who is a prodigal understands. It doesn’t matter what they’ve done, they’re your sibling and you love them and you’d do anything to help them find their way into the kingdom. I am committed to seeing Todd walk in all God has for him because Jesus is committed to him.
Todd is making clear in his restoration videos that the problems in his marriage were of long standing. He and Shonnah made every effort to work things out, and he accepts full blame for the things that he did that alienated his wife. He has more than once referred to the ministry as his mistress, and that is a mistress many in the Body have. Whether it is ministry or work or family or kids, whatever holds your affection above your mate, other than Jesus, is your mistress.
People want to focus on Todd’s relationship with Jessa, and Jessa was never the issue. Todd’s drive and passion for the work of the ministry was one of the main issues. At one point, he was holding 300 meetings a year. How many marriages are going to survive that kind of schedule?
But what about you? Are you alienating your mate by the things you are giving your affections to?
What about your and your church’s relationship to your pastor? Are you creating this same situation in his marriage by endless demands? Do you expect your pastor to put the needs of his church above the needs of his family? Do you expect him to do EVERYTHING? Visit the sick? Visit the homebound? Be at every function? Be available 24/7 to solve the crises you create in your lives?
Before we sit around and condemn Todd, let’s make sure we are not involved in the same adulterous affair in our own lives.
By the way, I want to thank whoever it was that submitted Rahab’s Place to Alpha Inventions. Those guys are great! That submission has greatly increased the traffic to this blog, and I can’t say enough good things about them.
It would seem that the self-proclaimed prophet over at End Time Prophetic Words has been sued in England on multiple counts of Business Fraud and Extortion. Rosalind Miriam Franklin owns the publishing house Diggory Press. At the current time, there are no less than 83 authors trying to recover royalties, manuscripts and other services. There have been two court hearings and the next is scheduled for October.
End Times Visions and Christian prophecy for the church and for the nations from a servant of God called to speak God’s word (Miriam Franklin): bringing prophecies and prophetic words of revelation, warning of End Times apostasy and lukewarm Christianity, and trying to bring people’s hearts, minds and souls back to the Lord their God.
Evidently, she’s called to speak God’s word, just not obey it.
Here is the nutshell version from one of the defrauded authors:
Dec 15th 2008
First of all, thanks to all the authors who have taken the time to email their experiences with Mrs Franklin these past months, and especially to those of you who have sent in statements of fact to be presented in Court.
We now have seventy authors who have engaged Mrs Franklin’s ‘services’ since 2006 who feel they have just cause for complaint. Most report non-payment of royalties; overcharging; rudeness and aggression; and (in many cases) being attacked and falsely accused in emails if they dare to air any concerns or make enquiries about the status of their accounts.
Several aggrieved authors have already taken independent action via the Small Claims Court in order to secure the monies owed to them, and despite Mrs Franklin’s increasingly desperate attempts to stall or circumvent the process, some are reporting success. Approximately three weeks ago for example, one County Court Judgment was enforced against Diggory Press to the tune of around £1,400 UK pounds. But when PayPal tried to refund monies to another aggrieved Diggory client recently, Mrs F made sure there was nothing in the account.
Meanwhile, Mrs Franklin continues to use every trick in the book to avoid being accountable to her clients; obfuscation; feigning illness; claiming not to have received recorded documents; and the usual litany of lies, exaggerations, and false counter-accusations levied at anyone who dares to stand up to her.
Most of you will be aware that both Private Eye Magazine and The Guardian Newspaper have written articles on the situation, and we have now had two Court hearings in Cornwall. At the first hearing in August, ‘The Seventeen’ presented their Small Claims together in the hope that we would be of mutual support to each other. However, amongst many other false accusations, Mrs Franklin accused several of us of ‘fraud and conspiracy’ etc., which, despite the evidence to the contrary, obliged the Judge to schedule our cases to be heard on a ‘Multi-Track’ basis. In effect, this means scheduling the cases to a higher Court that will cost remaining claimants £1,000 each to proceed.
Naturally (and quite understandably) under the advice of the Judge, several claimants felt more inclined to try to mediate with Mrs Franklin rather than pay another £1,000 – often much more than they were claiming in the first place. It is worth noting however, that of the four-or-five claimants who agreed withdrawal terms with Mrs F – none have reported receiving monies back, despite Mrs F’s promises to the contrary. In frustration, three of them had to reinstate their claims again in Court. It now appears Mrs F’s main intention was to use those mediation agreements to ‘run out the clock’ on Court deadlines, and thus have claims struck out by default.
As things stand at present, a small but determined group of us continue to press ahead with our claims – despite a withering flood of false counter-accusations and exorbitant counter-claims from Mrs F. At the latest hearing on Dec 10th, the Judge admonished Mrs F on several occasions–as well as in writing–for the rude and uncivil manner in which she referred to certain claimants. He also drew her attention to the absurdity (although he didn’t use that word) of her counter-claim for £1,045,185 against myself – especially all the undocumented ‘costs and damages’ she seems to have pulled out of thin air. The result of the latest hearing was that we are now scheduled for a full-blown five-day civil trial sometime in 2009, where (if we get that far) we fully expect an outright win to all the remaining cases. However, given the amount of ‘evidence’ Mrs F is going to have to magic into existence if she has any hope whatsoever of presenting a reasonable or rational defence… some of us will be surprised if we ever do get to trial. It is not unreasonable to anticipate Mrs F being unable to present a coherent case or defence at the document disclosure stage – and therefore being liable for all our costs, expenses, and damages…
As always, I have to be careful about how I present the information here, but in response to many requests by aggrieved authors, may I advise that you take the following steps if you wish to extricate yourself from Mrs F’s / Diggory Press / Exposure Publishing influence:
- Write or email to RF formally cancelling your contract
- Request a full account statement and payment of royalties due (you should not have to pay for this).
- If you are not happy with the response, then write to Lightning Source (printer-distributors) with a copy of your ‘cancellation’ notice to RF, and advise them you are ‘in dispute’ with RF, and that she no longer has your permission to publish your copyrighted work. Lightning Source should NOT print any more of your books under these circumstances.
- Contact Neilsen Bookdata (UK-Europe) and Bowkers (USA) and advise you wish to have that ISBN ‘suspended’ or ‘abandoned’ as per 1 and 3 above. Their options are limited if Mrs F actually owns the ISBN – but every complaint counts, and they can eventually stop selling her more ISBNs.
- Lodge a Small Claims Court action via the HMCS website (Her Majesty’s Court Service).
- Once you have done this, feel free to contact me and I will advise as best I can how you might republish your book at minimum cost and inconvenience.
- Tell as many people as you can about your experiences.
Meanwhile, we are investigating why Mrs F publishes titles under different imprints. Although illegal in the US, and a ‘highly irregular’ practice in the UK, we will have to wait for more data before sharing any conclusions.
Finally – I paste below a couple of Internet links that will take you to a couple of other ‘manifestations’ of our good Mrs Franklin. On one site she poses deceptively as an ‘independent author’ who just happens to believe that Diggory Press is simply the most wonderful thing to have ever tumbled from the heavenly realm.. and, whilst repeatedly denying she is affiliated with Diggory, advises all who will listen to take their business there.. http://selfpublishingnews.wordpress.com/about/
And the second site – only recently discovered – is where Rosalind claims to be an end-times prophetess no less – in direct touch with God Himself! Given our knowledge of who ‘Miriam Franklin’ really is, I believe it’s fair to say that the posts on that site (many of which condemn liars, false prophets, charlatans and the like) beggars belief. The scary part is that the site has apparently registered over 2 million hits – on the prophetess’ words of wisdom, prophecies and revelations, as well as many ‘divinely-inspired’ judgments on various individuals and religions whom she personally deems to be apostate / heretical / or downright demon-possessed..
For example, the prophetess says..
“The charlatans a-plenty who do not fear man, God or Beast are out to fleece the vulnerable and undiscerning for every last dime… Then there are the more sinister ones who intentionally prey like vultures – …who disguise themselves as angels of light… Satan knows scripture, (and very well), albeit he twists it for his own ungodly purposes. He is a good counterfeiter, looks, walks and talks almost like a real Christian.”
Trust me, this is even better than fiction folks.. (if any link doesn’t work because Mrs F has already taken them down – then please try the others in the following message, including the archive pages…)
http://propheticwordsrevelation.blog…-biblical.html (Editor’s Note: This site has now disappeared.)
Then there is her latest ‘enterprise’–Kingdom Come Publishing–where she has again received a ‘mandate from God’ to take as much money as she can from unsuspecting Christian authors I suppose? See for yourself folks..
http://kingdomcomepublishing.com (Editor’s Note: This site has now disappeared, but the DIggory Press site clearly says Diggory Press and Kingdom Come Publishing.)
Hopefully there is enough material here to help those of you who need to, to make some speedy and informed decisions.. And please feel free to pass on this information on to any who need to hear it..
Finally, the list of the first 18 complaints (now 70) from authors on my personal website – and other related evidence. I apologise that I haven’t updated it in quite some time, but I have moved the site to new servers, and need to work out how to get access. Please scroll down the page to the Rogue’s Gallery.
Thanks again for all the encouragement and support. Next general update when we hear of any developments.
Best wishes – and a happy festive season to all..
I came across an article regarding this in the UK paper The Guardian. Here’s some screenshots so no one thinks I’m just just making this all up:
And here is a PDF of one of the compaints that has been filed in the UK courts.
So it would appear that this particular member of the doctrine police is not nearly as upright she has portrayed. Since she has failed to act in an godly fashion in her business dealings, I would strongly urge those who are following her blog to reassess how much validity they place in her “discernment” of the sins of of others. There are over 1500 posts on her site railing against minister after minister for their “ungodly” behavior and their “lack of accountability.” I would ask you to consider who does Miriam Franklin hold herself accountable to? Apply the same standards to her, that she has “applied” to others.
Miriam, you need to come clean and repent. And I am sure, in spite of all of the nasty and ungodly things you have said about the brothers, Rick Joyner and the Morningstar team would welcome you to Fort Mill and work with you for your restoration, too. That’s what true believers do. They desire your good, not your destruction.
Rick Joyner has released another bulletin on Todd’s restoration process. I so appreciate the openness and honesty that Todd, Rick and the restoration team have been trying to walk in. I appreciate the fact that Todd is willing to open up his life to this extent.
Divorce is a plague in the church. I think the first place to look to cure this, O Pastor, is who are you marrying and why? I have seen pastors perform marriages that anyone with two functioning brain cells could see had no hope of working. Things like oh, this guy’s been saved all of 2 months and he has a track record of beating every woman he’s been in a relationship with. Maybe he needs a bit more of a foundation in Jesus before he takes on the pressure of a marriage, whacha think?
Or the classic of two kids barely out of their teens, neither of which has a job and “God told us.” The fact that they fight continuously and don’t have two thoughts in common is not sending up a big enough flare for pastors to say, “No, I’m not officiating at this fiasco.”
I remember a pastor I served under actually using some sense. Two newly converted people came to him after dating two months, maybe, and said, “We’re in love. We want to get married.” And his response was priceless, “No, you’re not. You’re in lust. Come talk to me in six months.” They broke up a month later. He decided he wanted nothing to do with Jesus a few months later. She later married a committed Christian, and they have been blissfully married for many years.
I know of a nationally known pastor who once pastored in Australia before he be became a megachurch darling. That church has an over 80% divorce rate because of his lack of judgment in performing marriages and the policies he had in his church.
But that is not going to fix the trainwrecks that are in the church. We have to find a way to bring biblical restoration and healing to the 50% of Christians who are divorced. The church is such a loving place that 50% of Christians won’t go there. Those two statistics alone should break the hearts of the people of God.
This is why I am watching the restoration process Todd Bentley with such interest. I think it is giving a lot of people who have been kicked to the curb by the church that Jesus holds a different view of them, and that maybe, just maybe, he meant what he said when he said, “I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.”
Todd Bentley Restoration Part II
By Rick Joyner
The response to our announcement that Todd had begun a restoration process was even greater than expected. It seems that not only is Todd’s restoration of great interest, but restoration in general is too. That is encouraging. This Special Bulletin is about much more than Todd, and it touches on some issues that may be the most important for Christians to examine in these times.
Before continuing, I would like to share briefly on some of what we’re facing. For months, there was a large and increasing demand for Todd to make some kind of statement about what happened. When he did, there was an outcry for him to stop, though the overwhelming response was to please continue. Others were demanding an apology from Todd. His apology on the video bulletin we posted was not scripted and was appreciated by most, but there was also a vitriolic response from some. We know some are not going to like anything we do, and we can’t address every question, but we do want to tackle the big and important ones with as much depth and candor as possible. We do not mind the controversy because we think it is making many address and consider important issues. Thanks for the concern that many of you have expressed, but we are okay with this and are not offended by it.
Also, doctrinally, I have received many brilliant, insightful and biblically- based communications about what we’re doing or should be doing. For every one of these that takes a certain position, I almost certainly receive those that take the exact opposite view just as brilliantly, with biblical references to back up their position. Often I think they’re both right! We do see in part and know in part, but I don’t think anyone has the whole picture, which includes me and our whole team. That’s why I appreciate all of these and try to learn from them. However, it’s a process in which we’re learning deep things about almost daily. Therefore, I cannot answer even a fraction of the emails and communications I’m getting, but they are appreciated, and as much as possible, considered.
There is also a whole lot of misinformation circulating about this issue, and many assumptions made about what is happening now that simply are not true. Those who are patient will have many of their concerns and questions answered, but we just cannot deal with all of them at once. However, we have no illusions about convincing everyone or causing everyone to change their positions, but it is forcing many to examine some basic issues and doctrines, which do need to be examined. That’s one reason why I think Todd has the gift of being so controversial.
Again, we are not going through this process thinking that we have all the answers, but we do have some, and we believe we must have the rest. We must have a victory in the body of Christ over some of these ultimate issues.
The Big Picture
Restoration is actually the most basic theme the Bible, and is the theme of all but four chapters in the Bible—the first two and the last two. In the third chapter of Genesis, there is the Fall, and after that the entire Bible is devoted to the redemption, reconciliation, and restoration of man and the earth from the Fall. In the last two chapters of Revelation, this restoration has been completed.
In this age as well as the next, restoration is the most basic purpose of God. The church is called to be the vehicle through which it is ushered in and will rule with Christ through this process in the next age. Yet it seems very few churches have a plan or are even willing to attempt restoring fallen members, much less leaders. It seems that most do not even understand what the process of restoration is, which is truly remarkable.
Of course, some have sought the grace and empowering of God for this and have reaped greatly by this pursuit. It does touch the basic issues on the heart of God, which is what the cross was all about. This is certainly an important and timely issue for us to confront, and it is not likely that we will really believe our gospel of redemption until we get it right.
From the responses we received from our first Bulletin and the videos, we see just how wide the chasm in the body of Christ is over this issue. This exposure of such division is an opportunity to address it and possibly heal some deep divisions in the church. I am not concerned about this causing division because it is obvious the division is already there.
We are told in the Scriptures that the foundation of the Lord’s throne is righteousness and justice, and this issue touches some very basic issues of righteousness and justice. It also touches on one of the worst plagues and crises in the church today—divorce, which the Lord Himself said that He hates. If He feels that strongly about something, we need to know why. For this reason, we are taking our time and trying to walk through this with great care. In some ways, it seems like we are trying to find our way through a minefield. While most seem to be cheering us on, some are throwing grenades at us. We knew this would come with touching something this important, and it has only increased our resolve, but if at times we seem to be ducking some things—we are!
Where We Are
We must face the issue of divorce and not cover it up or pretend that it does not exist. It is one of the worst and most damaging problems in the church today, as well as the world. It is at the root of many of our most devastating social ills, including the immorality, perversion, and violence. Neither the church nor civilization can last long if the present level of this crisis continues, but it is not continuing—it’s getting worse.
The toll in suffering and backsliding, or falling away from the Lord, caused by divorce is not only a great tragedy, the with the times we’re in, will exacerbate it significantly if we do not address this now. Regardless of perception, immorality is not the number one cause of divorce, but financial problems are. With the increasing financial crisis, the pressure on couples is increasing fast.
However, the church does have the ultimate answers to human problems. It is now time to be proactive in facing the crisis, with a resolve to see a complete victory over this terrible enemy.
It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of all Christian marriages will end in divorce, and nearly 50 percent of all Christians in the church have been divorced. It is also estimated that more than 50 percent of all Christians are no longer in a local church. One of the major reasons for this is the shame and/or shunning that they have suffered because of divorce. This is likely the single biggest and most crippling wound in the body of Christ today.
There may not be anyone in the church whose lives have not been negatively impacted by a divorce in their family. It is easy to see why the Lord hates divorce. My primary questions now are:
- What is causing this plague of divorce in the church?
- What must we do to stop this plague?
- How can we see those who have been wounded by divorce get healed?
This plague and every other one can be stopped. We can prevail against every gate of hell that has been opened in the church. Our goal is not just to see a standard raised against this flood, but to reverse it and see all who have been wounded by it healed so that they become healers.
If you have been deeply wounded by divorce, you can be healed and become a healer of others. It is by the Lord’s stripes that we are healed. The same principle is true for us, and we can receive authority for healing others in the same place where we were wounded. All who have suffered from divorce can actually become an army of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration, which will bring healing and deliverance to the church and our land.
For this we not only welcome, but would love to have anyone who has been through a divorce in our churches. We view you as a potential soldier in one of the important battles of our time, and we believe you can be mightily used by the Lord. We want to be sure you have been healed of your wounds, and if you caused the divorce through your own failures, of course we want to know that you have repented and been restored to the righteousness and justice that is the foundation of the Lord’s government. We will work with you to help you get there if needed. We consider this an honor to do.
Tolstoy began one of his classic novels Anna Karenina with a profound insight into this problem when he wrote, “Happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” What makes happy families is very simple, but the causes of unhappy relationships can be varied and complicated. One reason I am thankful to be working with Todd is because of the complexity of his situation. Few things have driven me to seek a deeper understanding of some basic human problems, as well as God’s solution to them. We knew it was a minefield and that the risk was great, but I for one am excited to try to find a way through it because it will make a way for many others who are desperate for that way.
Now back to Tolstoy. The recipe for a happy family is the same—to love God and love one another. That is the ultimate answer. When you apply this, we begin to understand what Paul meant in Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” “Eating and drinking,” speaks of worldly pleasures, but they will never lead to true peace or true joy. Righteousness, or doing what is right in the sight of the Lord, is the only foundation for true peace and true joy. The righteousness of God is founded upon loving Him above all else and then loving one another.
Jesus summed up the whole law in these two commandments because if we keep them, we will keep the whole law of God. If you love God above all else, we will never worship anything else. If we love others, we will never hurt them, steal from them, envy them, and so on. This is the core value of all righteousness, but we also need to address His justice, which is the second key pillar of what His throne, or authority, is based on.
Recent studies on happiness revealed that our possessions actually have zero impact on our happiness. This study also found that the happiest people on the earth tended to be the poor who lived the most simple lives. Those who lived simple lives also had the strongest relationships, which of course, are built on love for one another. Many “successful” people have stated that they would give up all of their success to have their families back. This includes many who have become “successful” in ministry. A diversion from the core values of righteousness into complex and intricate ambitions is a cause of many breakdowns in relationships.
Doing what is right in the sight of the Lord should be a primary drive in our lives because we love Him above all things. We may all know this is the first commandment. We may also know and love the great discourse on love in I Corinthians 13, which makes it clear that all of our religious devotion and performance is worthless without love. However, it seems that very few actually pursue loving God above all things, which alone can enable us to love one another as we should.
If loving God is the first and most important commandment, then the true definition of a successful human life would be one that loves God above anything else. If this is true of us, then serving Him, pleasing Him, and knowing Him better would be the chief pursuits of our lives. Failure to love God above all else and to pursue growing in our love for Him, is the root cause of every human problem, including divorce.
We can have the best teaching, even memorize all of the Scriptures on marriage, divorce, truth, righteousness, and unrighteousness, but if you do not love God, we will probably fall, or if we don’t fall to the sin, we will fall to something worse—self-righteousness.
I have been warning Christians for thirty years about how the idealistic and legalistic teachings on marriage were going to destroy Christian marriages. I sounded this warning because I was given it by the Lord, who also told me to watch those who wrote the books or gave these teachings. Almost all of them have now been through at least one divorce. When I started giving this warning, evangelical Christian marriages that failed were a tiny percentage. Now half of all Christian marriages are ending in divorce. This cannot be allowed to continue.
Both those who are idealistic or legalistic often have sincere desires for protecting God’s people and for seeing a holy bride kept for the King. If Satan cannot stop someone, he often gets behind them and pushes them too far, and that is the case with many of these. Others are reacting out of wounds that their own loved ones have suffered. Even so, there is a ditch on either side of the path of life. One is lawlessness and the other is legalism. Lawlessness is not the answer to legalism, and legalism is not the answer to lawlessness, but we must find the path of life that is between these two ditches.
Personally, and as a ministry, we have resolved that if we are going to lean in the direction of either of these that it would be in the direction of freedom and grace. At times, I do think we have leaned too far and maybe too close now. That’s why I have some close friends who I know lean pretty far in the other direction, and I greatly appreciate them!
I was also persuaded more than thirty years ago that being in the ministry can be one of the most difficult places to get closer to God. It should not be this way, but it is because of the modern form that ministry has taken. This is a generalization and is certainly not true of all, but it can be the most deadly trap of all.
I have asked Todd several times what he thinks caused his divorce, and he has given the same reply each time, referring back to how he got married when he was nineteen, entered full-time ministry, and became married more to the ministry than to his wife. This can happen in ministry, or with any profession, job, hobby, or anything else that becomes an affection that eclipses our love for Go, and one another. Ministry can actually be an idol that we start to worship in place of God. We need to understand how and why this happens if we are going to avoid it.
One issue that seems to be a focal point in our seeking to restore Todd is how wroth some leaders are to this very idea that Todd could actually be restored to ministry after what he has done. Not surprisingly, most of these seem to be the same ones who were critics of the Lakeland Revival or to Todd’s ministry before that. I don’t want to marginalize their concerns regardless of their previous or present positions, and I consider that most of these are sincerely concerned for the sake of righteousness and/or not causing many more to stumble by thinking too casually about divorce. These concerns I share. However, we need to also consider how much of this concern is also rooted in a flawed perception of what ministry is supposed to be. To many, it is a profession rather than a calling and viewed as a means of self-promotion or self-fulfillment rather than the sacrifice it is supposed to be.
I do consider that God’s redemption, reconciliation, and restoration are meant to be total. I went into this process of Todd’s restoration to see him fully restored to ministry in the truest sense of the word—a life of sacrifice, of taking up the cross daily to do the will of the Lord—not just building a big or famous presence in the church or the world. However, I also recognize that Todd has that characteristic, which is also an anointing, to attract multitudes. This is also part of what makes people either love or hate him, with very few being indifferent. That is not going to go away, but it will likely increase.
One advantage of the extraordinary attention Todd draws is the huge number of people, especially those who have suffered a divorce, who have been given hope that if Todd can be restored and be useful to the Lord, so can they. Some of these really made terrible mistakes, for which they are now sorry, but they have not found forgiveness or restoration from the church. Todd’s very public failures have broadcast to many that there is hope.
However, restoration is hard. The one-thousand year reign of Christ over the earth is for the purpose of restoring it to its original purpose—to be the paradise it was created to be. However, it will take one thousand years to accomplish this under the best Leadership there could ever be. Restoration is hard, but it is worth it.
Now, let’s look a bit more deeply into how ministry can be a distraction that can keep us from God, and be perverted into a means of self-promotion, rather than the life of the cross that it is supposed to be.
After the Fall, the curse on man was on his job—that by the sweat of his brow he would bring forth fruit from the earth. The curse on the woman was connected to relationship and family—that it would be through much pain that she would bear children. The reason for this is that man’s identity tends to be in his job, and a woman’s identity tends to be in her relationships. A man will feel like a failure if he is failing at his job more than he might if he is failing at a relationship, including his relationship to God. A woman will tend to feel a failure if the relationships are not doing well more than if her work is not going well.
These are generalizations, and therefore are not always true. Todd still cannot understand why his former wife did not seem to appreciate his success in ministry. She married Todd, not the ministry, and the ministry was causing increasing problems in the relationship, which was more important to her and would be to most women. At the same time, Todd obviously felt unappreciated for all that he was accomplishing, and this can be a dangerous open door to inappropriate affection from others who might seem to appreciate that kind of success more.
Women have it right—relationships are more important than what we accomplish. Who we are is more important than what we do. This is true with God and with our families. However, it can actually help a relationship for the wife and family to show appreciation for the accomplishments of their men. If the identity of the man is so wrapped up in what he accomplishes, feeling his wife does not appreciate what he does, he will feel rejected. This often drives men to try to accomplish even more, or they will start staying longer and longer at work because they feel more appreciated there. This is a trap, and it is one that Todd fell into. If it had not been the ministry, it likely would have been something else he was trying to accomplish.
The way a man and woman become one in marriage is not by the man becoming a woman, or the woman becoming a man, but by the fitting together of their diverse gifts and personalities. Most men need to work hard to make their relationships more valuable than what they accomplish in their professions or their callings. Again, as Paul expressed so articulately in I Corinthians 13, it does not matter what we accomplish if we do not have love, and that love is for our relationships—to God first and then to one another.
Most marriages do not fail overnight, but the failure is actually years in the making. There is a constant eroding of affection, and divisions grow wider. When this happens, a man will often become a workaholic, devoting himself more and more to his job where he feels appreciated. When a woman is not appreciated, she will often close her heart toward her husband to protect herself from further rejection or hurt.
When I went to speak at a Fresh Fire Conference several years ago, I could not believe all that Todd was doing. They were putting together more than a dozen crusades in Africa a year, and about as many conferences in the U.S. and Canada. They also had a school, church, were publishing, and were even producing music CDs. When I heard a couple of years afterward that he had experienced a meltdown and burnout, I was amazed it had taken so long at the pace he was trying to keep.
I know that all of the activity above sounds like MorningStar, as we too have all of these aspects to ministry and a few more. However, we are not putting on crusades in Africa, but rather are sending speakers to crusades or conferences that others are hosting. There is a huge difference. When we previously hosted conferences in hotels, even ones in Charlotte where our headquarters were, one conference would take most of the wind out of our staff for up to three months. It is different now that we’re having conferences in our own facility. As stated, Fresh Fire was moving from city to city in the U.S. and Canada and on top of that putting together large crusades in Africa. I still marvel at the stamina of Todd and his team for what they did over those few years, but God made our bodies and minds to need rest.
The rest of God is the special place where we draw near to Him and get to know Him. It is very easy to get so busy working for God that we don’t spend much time with Him. That is the recipe for spiritual disaster, which will lead to every kind of disaster.
I really appreciated the zeal around Fresh Fire, especially during times of such lukewarmness in the church in general. However, there was an increasing cost in relationships with the added workload. After Todd hit the wall with burnout, he then fell to an emotional attachment to a staff member. There was no physical relationship, and the girl did not return even the emotional attraction. When Todd went to his leadership team about what he was feeling, they immediately sent the girl away. Todd, trying to be open, then went to his wife to confess this attraction. Todd was trying to be transparent, but he is convinced that this was what killed what was left of his relationship to his wife.
Todd often called this attraction “an affair,” but it was not one. There was no physical adultery or even physical contact with the girl. However, Todd said that he knows he would have entered into such a relationship if she had been willing, and therefore, he felt that he needed to repent of it as if it had been an affair. I can appreciate Todd feeling this way. Because of the way rumors spread and grow, many still think that Todd had an actual affair several years ago, when in fact he did not.
There is much other misinformation circulating about Todd. Some is coming from what appears to be reliable sources, and just about all of it Todd has been willing to accept. He wants to take full responsibility for his marriage failure, and just about anything else he is being blamed for. Even though that might make my job easier, that is not justice, and it can hurt those who hold to false accusations as much as it can hurt Todd in the future. If we are going to deal in truth, we need to address what is true, not what may be a perception.
To Be Continued…