Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Abuse of Power….ANY Power. MY THOUGHTS ON HARVEY WEINSTEIN.




 The news of Harvey Weinstein flooding the airwaves has once again started my wheels turning.   And as always, I think things a little different than most.

Something seems to be happening in America and I am happy about it.  There is no doubt that there are some dangerous waters ahead, but never the less, it is better than staying where we are. 

 Over the last, who knows how many decades, the powerful have grown more and more corrupt.  Of course this has ALWAYS happened throughout history but it does seem to come in ebbs and tides. 


For a long time now America has been the capitalistic market for people that hunger for power.  If you are willing to pay the price, you can get above the lazy, the common and the ignorant.  Once atop, you can have a better life of luxury, feasting on grand food and feeding your other appetite as well.  Your appetite to control people, to be right and be in charge of things.  To bless those that bless you and hurt those that hurt you.    It is the flesh at it’s greatest.  It is human nature. 

As these cycles go.  People first don’t realize what is happening, then they ignore it out of denial and laziness, a few try to stand up to abuses of power and they are crushed by those with the power, then the people begin to develop a system where abuses are over looked, considered baked into the game and only the most egregious offenders are dealt with.  Eventually most of the power to abuse is controlled at the very top by just a handful that are considered insulated and almost un-touchable.  This is basically true whether it be business, politics, family, church, gang or club. 

If you look at the eventual swell that has come from the people themselves over the last several years in America, you can see where the anti-power is coming from. 

Roger Ailes, who built the Fox News empire, was taken down.  Bill O’Reilly was taken out.  Police are being called into question all over the country.  Some abuses are definitely being discovered.  Even terrorist groups like ANTIFA are garnering their power to continue to influence our culture from the anti-establishment ground swell.  A boisterous, showman is in the White House pushing buttons and tweeting tweets. All because the people have had enough of the abuses of power. 

The strength of this ground swell is what allows people to come forward against people like Harvey Weinstein.  When most of the power is at the top and the people are all basically sedated and in no mood to fight it, then abuses of power are rampant.  When the people begin to be agitated and win a few small victories here and there, then power begins the process of leveling out again. 
 
There are many dangers of this continued occurrence throughout the history of humanity.  One is that there will only be changes in those who hold the power and not changes in the power structure, thus starting the slow but sure cycle all over again. 

Another fear is that good men will be taken down with the bad.  There are always extra casualties.  Yet another danger is when the people rise up, they get caught up in taking down those that are doing wrong and forget to focus on a better system of doing it right.  They get more of a mob mentality and it becomes all about hate and revenge and less about a correction. 

In business, family and ministry, I have learned my lessons the hard way.  There are basic rules to protect yourself against being one who abuses power and or being an enabler of one who abuses power.
 
First, being an enabler.  Do not let yourself get lazy.  Do not believe things because they were told to you by good people.  Believe them because you found them to be true.  Do not allow yourself to worship men, places or ideas.  This is the greatest danger that most people will find themselves in.  Being in AWE of someone to the point of attaching your worth to being attached to their worth.  Love great men, admire them, follow them and have confidence in them.  But judge for yourself every single word, work and deed.  When a man is right 50 times and then wrong twice, those two wrongs are just as wrong as anyone else’s.  You greatly harm the youngest generation that is present, when you pretend that a good man’s mistake is not a mistake because he was a good man. 
 
As far as abuse of power…two things.  Spread the authority and spread the wealth.  No one man will always be right.  Nobody is so good at anything that they won’t make mistakes at it from time to time.  If you are at the very top of an entity with no direct oversight you are in the greatest danger of abusing power.  If there are 2 or 3 of you at the top and you get little to no input, oversight or corroborating with others, you too are in jeopardy, perhaps not quite as much. 

Surrounding yourself with peers, elders, oversight and constant input that you will listen to, is one of the greatest things that you can do for your success, your chances at being right and for the health of those under you. 

Lastly, no one ever needs a 10 bedroom house, 250,000 dollars worth of vehicles or to have a personal worth of tens of millions of dollars.  I have had friends that meant well and tried to do good and great things with large amounts of money but they ended up hoarding it, keeping total and complete control of it and they ended up believing that they were the only ones that knew best how to use it.  Some of them just slowly developed fancier and fancier lifestyles and absorbed much of the wealth to themselves.  One man had the means to do great and incredible things with an abundance of wealth but the people that he wanted to share it with wouldn’t “obey” him enough so he never surrendered any of it.  He died a wealthy, lonely and greatly mistaken man. 


When you have what you need, find the best possible causes that you can and spread the rest around.  Use wisdom, do some research, but get it out there and give it a chance to do good.  If mistakes are made it is not the end of the world.  I have found that the mistakes of the sincere are often times more successful than the successes of the insincere. 

Ministry leaders, be wise and beware.  This isn’t the good ol boys family church days anymore.  The people are coming back to their causes and their senses.  It happened with Luther, it happened with Washington and the continentals, it happened with Trump and if it keeps up…it will happen at the churches, in the meetings and in the fellowships.  It is scary, but it is mostly a good thing. 


Take head, make notes, use wisdom young people.  Pray through and follow Christ and Christ alone.  Brother Todd is staking everything he has on you. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Amazing Bethany IV

I have written quite extensively about my home church and I suppose that you would just have to be there sometime to really understand why.  In writing about Bethany Holiness Church in Sand Springs, OK, my intentions are not just to brag on and show my thankfulness and admiration for these people, but also to hopefully inspire others to strive to be ever more like them.

The amount of ministry that is done on and from this place is exhaustive...and exhausting.  HaHa!  But it is not just the activity and action in and of itself that is so impressive.  It is often the hidden talents of so many people that only a true need will sometimes bring out.

Many places that I go, and they are many, have the talents of all of their people on full display at each event, happening or occurrence.  The best singers will be singing, the best preachers will be preaching, the best leaders will be leading, etc.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  But amazingly enough, I see more and more incredible strengths and talents in our people just by accident.  Or I at least seem to find out about them by happening upon them, because they are not on display.


Incredible cleaners, amazing organizers, those that are great with children and problem solvers, cooks, meal planners, handymen.  Ask any Pastor or leader and they will tell you that these are the things that they need most!  And these seem to be the types of people that we are overwhelmingly blessed with.

I thought that I realized this completely until very recently.  I am of course the President of HMA and we put on an annual Outreach Conference.  This year, for the first time, we held the conference at Bethany.  The 4 previous years we had it at Revival Tabernacle in Richmond, KY and Pastor David Lamb's staff did outstanding.  I always made my phone calls, sent my money and showed up for the conference like everyone else.  It was so incredibly easy for me because Revival Tabernacle did almost all of the heavy lifting.

This year I prepared for a much different experience.  My local Oklahoma staff and I (many of which already attend Bethany) were geared up for putting on this conference without the hands on help of many of the Revival Tabernacle people that we had grown so accustomed to.  We had a meeting about a month out from conference and I asked for volunteers and took down names.....THAT WAS IT!  The next thing that I knew, it was as if the conference was putting itself on.

Our Bethany family has worked events, prepared meals for homeless people, hosted funerals, weddings and showers, put on fellowship meetings and done outreach and Vacation Bible School to the point that everyone knows who is good at what, who does what, where each other's strengths are and where the weak spots are AND.....THEY KNOW HOW TO "JUST DO IT".  They do not have to be seen, heard, told or given the credit.  It is an amazing testimony to the leadership, the leadership style and the type of people that are willing (and not willing) to attend church here.

I will give you an example:  As soon as the meeting was over and everyone had their subsequent jobs to do, a young lady approached me and said, "Pastor Todd, I am just making a suggestion, but I noticed that people will be coming form all around the country and there will be day and evening services and you do not have a specific plan for children.  Is there a need for something for the children to do while the parents are in these intense study sessions?"

I immediately realized that there could be such a need and I just didn't think about it.  I told here that something for the children to do could become an issue and I would get back to her.  THE NEXT WEEK, a couple called from Kentucky and said that they intended to come for conference but they ended up not having anything to do with their three children and were just checking for options.  I called the lady that I had spoken with and asked her if she could put something together.  She then informed me that a children's church plan had been put in place, there were activities that were built around Bible stories that had been planned and that there were young workers for each activity as well as adults to oversee the whole thing already prepared to be there.

These people are just does, that's all there is to it!  They help, they work, they plan, they are flexible and they do not have to be micro-managed.

After conference was over, the parents of the children came to me and bragged and bragged on the children's group and thanked me for it being possible. I tried to explain to them the entire situation and they just kept thanking me.  I was embarrassed for getting any kind of credit for it.  I later found out that there had been 24 to 29 children in the kid's activities almost every session.

This is just one of many examples that I could use to show how it was just GETTING DONE in the background almost literally while I slept.  All week long people were fueling vehicles, preparing food, cleaning up until 1 and 2 in the morning.  Coming in early before morning sessions and picking up after us all, praying in the sanctuary between services and on and on and on.....

Listen closely, THIS DOESN'T JUST HAPPEN!  This environment is developed...over time...on purpose...with great effort and great intent.

God has been so good to my family and our ministry and one of the best things that He ever did for us was guide to a real home church.  A church full of people that love, work, strive for unity, solutions and Godly behavior.  God bless Bethany Holiness Church!

Your humble servant,
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dealing with mental, suicidal, emotional homeless people.

This is another response to a Pastor that we are working with that has asked questions about working with homeless people in Arkansas and running into a lot a mental instability/suicidal stuff: 



Finally getting around to your question.  Sorry!  I have to admit that this is such a broad question that there is no complete and right answer to it.  Every situation is different.  There are many general rules to use as guide lines but none of them work every time.  Except the ones that you already know. 

Get them to Jesus is first and foremost, BUT how, is another story.  If they will come to church great.  Have the best JESUS services that you can and let them absorb that over time until they surrender to The Lord and His will.

Constant interaction with saints is another basic but pure response.  People that love unconditionally, correct carefully and don’t sin or approve of sin.  This is generally a side of God’s humanity that they are not very familiar with.  It is refreshing and often life changing for them.

After that, it gets tricky.  Be very leery of over medicated people.  There are more of them than the ones that are not.  Study medications.  Not just on google and Facebook and shallow stuff like that.  Really study them.  Don’t start telling people to flush their meds if you don’t know what you are talking about.  Don’t just quote something from the pulpit that you heard on the Drudge Report or something.  If you are going to be an expert, the first thing you must do is become one. 

Suicide is also very careful business.  Most suicide “attempts” are for attention purposes only.  But you better know what you are doing because one mistake can cost an eternity. 
 
For example:  There are some suicide attempts that are almost never genuine, there are some that are rarely genuine, there are some that are often genuine and there are some that must be assumed to be genuine.

ie.  Wrist cutting is the most commonly talked about and “attempted” form of suicide.  But I will let you in on a little secret.  I have dealt with dozens, probably hundreds of suicide attempts and I do not know of anyone who has “successfully” killed themselves by cutting their wrists.  Zero!  It is almost always a sign of emotional attention problems and it is almost never a serious attempt at taking ones own life. 

Things like overdosing on pills, taking poisons and attempting to drink oneself to death are a little more serious and a little more commonly successful. 

Jumping out in front of a train, shooting oneself, jumping off a bridge, etc. these are even more serious and even more commonly successful.

The number one successful form of suicide that must be taken gravely serious is hanging. 

You must also remember that when dealing with American homeless people, almost every one of them is homeless because of an addiction.  They will talk about their job problems, family problems, society, government, etc.  but they are homeless because they have an addiction and can’t obey rules. 

The ones that do not fit this category are the ones that you suggested in your question.  The mentally unstable.

This category is broken up into 3 groups.  Those that are clinical, which is most likely the smallest group. (Though the doctors and the government treat them as the largest group).  Those that are mentally unstable because of the medications that they take, abuse or are mis-prescribed to them (This probably being far and away the largest group).  And those that are possessed.  And of course do not forget the possibility of many of them being a combination of these groups.    

So, to answer your question.  How do you deal with these.  I will take them one category at a time. 

If they are addicts.  Then you deal with them based on our addiction teachings that are on our website, in our teachings, all over the web, etc.  Addicts are the most selfish amongst us and the selfish cycle must be broken by helping them get to rock bottom as soon as possible.  This of course is done by removing all of the enabling.   When they hit their real rock bottom, then they have a choice that has to be made and hopefully they choose Christ.  Also, hopefully, you have been Christ like enough and around them enough that when they need help being discipled on HOW to serve Him, they contact you. 

If they are possessed, and you continue to follow the Biblical rules of engagement and you and your ministry are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, they will manifest and it is a matter of taking authority over them and casting them out, thus freeing the individual to choose a new master.  Again, Christ, with your help. 

If they are truly mentally unstable, with a retardation or brain damage or something, all you can do sometimes is love them, befriend them and make sure that they get the needed services.  They are God’s special children and they should not be homeless and they are generally very abused when they are.  God will bless you for caring for them. 

If they are temporarily mentally unfit due primarily to abuse and over prescribing of medications….this is the hard one.  Primarily you can love them, befriend them and gain some trust.  Next you want to advise about  and possibly even call into question certain aspects of their medical and medication history.  Informing them with the best and most accurate facts that you can.  Knowing that at some point you are going to cross their doctor, case worker, etc.  (So you better be right).  All the while trying to love them and continue to gain their confidence because if they are coming around saints, services, etc there are always chances for them to get saved and or delivered from their prescription abuse.  Then you have a whole new person on your hands to work with. 

Warning:  Many will get saved and still be addicted to their prescriptions.  This is a very delicate balance.  You need to seek to be in contact and even know personally the doctors, clinical nurses, EMT’s, parole officers, judges, etc in your area.  This is something that we always teach here at HMA for reasons just like this.  You don’t want to send them to any doctor, therapist, etc.  Most of them are the type of person that helped get your new convert hooked in the first place. 

I cannot stress this enough.  YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR STUFF!  If you want to be in the ministry in 2017, not just have a pulpit and belong to a fellowship or a denomination, Pastor a church, preach some meetings…..But be involved in real new testament Biblical ministry.  You need to apply effort to learn the tools of the trade.  Bible, Bible application, counseling, relationship studies, drugs, addictions, and on and on and on. 

Too often I hear, “I don’t know about these things Brother Sloggett, can you take care of this for us?  We just don’t understand.”  It is one thing to BE ignorant of something, it is another thing to STAY ignorant of it.  The information is available but you have to want it more that you want to play video games, have parties and attend events.  This is no reflection of you personally.  You are actually doing the right thing.  But I am answering in general of course. 

I hope this is helpful my friend.  If you have anything more specific, I can probably get a little more detailed.  God bless you!

Your humble servant,

Rev. D. Todd Sloggett

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Inter-COLOR-marriage

I have, once again, been asked to attempt some Biblical clarification and perspective on an EXREMELY sensitive and volatile topic.  I hope everyone that reads this prays as much about it as I did while writing it. 

The question this time came from a young couple in Tulsa, a Bible college student and an elderly Pastor in North Carolina.  All of them basically confused about the Church’s stance on so called “Interracial Marriage”. 

I am willing to admit this much right now.  I haven’t seen where the Church has much of any kind of a credible doctrine on this issue.  I have traveled the country over, preached in many churches and held meetings and conferences for two decades and in most cases:  The leadership is against it about 70/30 and the masses of the people are for it about 70/30.  The people that are against it often twist and misquote scriptures and it is usually fairly obvious that they have more of a Knee jerk reaction/Social prejudice/Emotional response to it than they do most other doctrines.  The people that are for it generally use social injustices and hypocrisies in the doctrines of those that are against it, as their main points and arguments. 

I have some reservations myself but they are NON-Biblical in nature.  There is NOTHING in the Bible that would cause me to question that type of a relationship based on nothing but color of skin or origin of birth.  This is one of my big problems with it as a doctrine.  It is EXTREMELY inconsistent.  Almost ALL men that I have ever spoken to are not really against interRACIAL marriage.  They are against interCOLOR marriage.  As a matter of fact, they are not just against two different colors.  They are more against it if the two colors are further apart in shade than if they were closer together in shade.  For example if a “white” person married an “Asian” person, that is not as radical “bad” as if a “white” person married a “black” person.  The same is true, that if a “black” person married an “Asian” person, that is no where near as “bad” as if a “black” person married a “white” person.  This gives an extraordinary appearance of a doctrine based on social behaviors and learned prejudices.

If the argument is about the old testament and God not wanting the Israelites to marry the Canaanites, etc, there are some issues there.  First of all, if you want to use that and have pure doctrine that is consistent and not hypocritical then:  It is “unbiblical” for Germans to marry the French and Spaniards to marry the Ecuadorians and so on.  But that is not a problem for almost all people that are against so called “interracial marriage”.  But those are interracial.  It is almost always acceptable…..because the colors match.

Something else, according to the letter of the law in the Old Testament, Israelites were not supposed to allow Canaanites to marry into their lineages.  But in the New Testament it is revealed that Rahab (a Canaanite woman) is in the lineage, not just of AN ISRAELITE, but THE ISRAELITE, JESUS.  It’s ok though, because it is actually consistent with ALL scripture if it is all taken in context.  Most Bible scholars say that the reason Rahab was allowed into the family of Israelites is because she was “converted” at Jericho in Joshua chapter 2.  Her conversion was signified by her faith in Jehovah, her covenant with the two spies and the saving of her and her household during the battle.  This agrees also with the New Testament where 2 Corinthians 14 says “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” 

This verse is about Christians not binding together (marriage, business, etc) with non-Christians.  And Rahab was of the “race” that wasn’t allowed into the “Christian” lineage UNTIL she was converted and then it was allowed.  That was a type and shadow of the spiritual understanding that would later come in 2 Corinthians. 

My reservations are bases on peer pressure, societal discrimination and the mental and emotional welfare of children that would be born into such marriages.  I think if a couple that were of different “colors” were considering marriage, they should seek wise and Godly counsel about the social issues and peer pressures that they could face.  They should also think well ahead and prepare a plan for raising children in such an environment.  But I would say the same thing about a young person from a very affluent family marrying a mate from very meager means.  I would say the same thing about a person from a very strict and rigorous religious family marrying a person from a conservative but less rigid religious family. 

Now, I am not going to make a shadowy demi-doctrine to cause people to believe that I don’t think God would approve of rich people marrying poor people or a more conservative individual marrying a less conservative person.  I would just point out the difficulties.  If said type of people did marry said type of people, it wouldn’t bring a stigma with it……would it?  Or is that just somehow reserved for color? 

From a STRICLTY BIBLICAL perspective, all humans are descendants of one man and one woman-Adam and Eve (1 Corinthians 15:45; Genesis 3:20).  Thus, if the Bible’s history is accurate, biologically, only one race of human beings exists.  Christians need to examine such matters from a Biblical perspective, instead of blindly following their cultural programming or geographical prejudices.  From a spiritual perspective, the only two “races” are those who are of the kingdom of light and those who are of the kingdom of darkness.  The Bible emphatically declares this by stating that a Christian should never knowingly marry a non-Christian in 2 Corinthians 6:14.  It is also implied in Ephesians 5:21-33 and Matthew 19:4-7.
 
So the only “interracial” marriage that I can find that the Bible warns humans against is between 2 opposing spiritual races, a believer and a non-believer.  This again is best shown in the story of Rahab. 

It is important that Christians think about marriage as God thinks about each one of us.  When the prophet Samuel went to anoint the next king of Israel, he thought the oldest of Jesse’s sons was the obvious choice due to his outward appearance.  However, we read in 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

There is so much to teach each generation about God and his ways and the Church is losing more of each generation, I don’t understand why we are not spending more time spiritualizing every day life for them and teaching and preaching about morality, prayer life, giving, forgiving, Godly duties of parents to children and spouses to each other and the jobs that the Holy Ghost empowers people to do and…………But I do understand one reason why we are not doing all of that.  It is because it is so difficult and so time consuming to teach and preach indoctrinations that are not provable or not plainly stated in scripture and then even more difficult and even more time consuming to try to keep people convinced to believe what they have been taught in a world full of mass communication.  So there isn’t enough time to teach all the true Bible basics if you have to indoctrinate also.

This article, of course, is not exhaustive for several reasons.  First and foremost, I do not like to pit one scripture against another as some do.  Secondly, this is one of the few subjects that is almost always purely emotionally charged and lastly, it is one of the last standing emotionally charged doctrines, as such, that really has no pure argument for it.  I cannot believe that it is even still around. 

To be fair to this article, I asked 3 prominent Pastors in our movement, that I know are against interracial marriage, to give me 5 minutes of their time on why it was Biblically inappropriate.  When they misquoted scriptures, I pointed it out.  When they twisted meanings, I pointed it out.  I asked a question or two or three and they tried to answer them.  ALL THREE OF THEM CONCLUDED THE SAME THING WITH ME!  “We do not really have a “biblical” stance against it but it just causes confusion, hurt and there will be problems that are not being considered.” 

In turn, I agreed with them that, there are cultural, local, regional and emotional issues that should be considered.  But GOD should not be used as a tool to dissuade.  That is disingenuous. 




Cultures, barriers, presuppositions, philosophies, prejudices, beliefs and religions, form vast chasms between the message of Christ and the mind of man. 

-Ravi Zacharias




Your humble servant,

Rev. D. Todd Sloggett