Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I read a testimony from a dear friend of mine the other day and I have decided to share this excerpt. This is from a missionary in a creative access country, where sharing the gospel comes with great risks. It blessed me, convicted me and challenged me and I can only hope and pray that it does the same to and for you. Here it is.
I went to the gathering of our small international group. As I entered the room, I saw that everyone was crying. My friends told me that a man from our group had been killed in a motorbike accident. I did not know him well, but he was the worship leader at our gatherings, and he had a real heart for worship. He and his wife and children have lived in this country for several years, and he was greatly loved by everyone who knew him. He had a great passion for life, for music, for people, and for his Lord. In a room filled with grief, we started to worship and then listened to the message from the preacher. God was comforting us through his Word. Halfway through the message, a group of people entered the room. They were local people, who had heard of our friend’s death and came to sympathize. They sat near the front and were crying uncontrollably. At the end of the service, we closed with a song. The chorus says: “And I will trust in You alone...” Despite the hurt of loosing a brother, people were lifting hands to the Lord, and the presence of the Holy Spirit was there. I looked at our local friends and thought, “they must think we are crazy.” How do we explain that we can have joy in the midst of sorrows.
A few days later we had a memorial service. The little church was packed and the majority of those present were local people who loved him and came to say goodbye. During the service, many people shared about how this man had touched their lives, but I was mostly touched by the testimonies of his local friends who fearlessly shared about the hope they had found through their friendship with him. At one point, his wife shared something he had written years ago about the meaning of life and that death has no hold on us anymore. We ended the service with some of his favorite songs. As we worshiped our King, people all over the room were crying and laughing. His wife was dancing with her arms in the air. I looked around at our local friends who did not understand this joy. This is foolishness to the world. I thought of the hope our friend had and how Christ was glorified throughout his life, and even in his death.
In that moment of worship, I prayed to God that my life would also shine...that whatever time I have in this country, would be used to make Him known...that He would be glorified though my life. I also prayed that as this faithful servant has died, God would raise up 10...20…100 fold more servants and that others will count the cost and come in his place to continue the
Though we cannot share this missionary’s identity in public, please pray for God’s blessings and protection.
Friday, July 26, 2013
I realize that this will upset a few people and probably even dampen my “popularity” for a while, but I feel a great responsibility to say these things. Most of you will understand that thousands of people are looking to us for guidance and some are getting mixed signals.
I am deeply concerned about the large amounts of church people that are peddling “quick fix”. “do nothing” weight loss products. I for one definitely believe that gluttony and over indulgence are huge sins in the church and that a better life of a moderate, more natural diet and minimal exercise would be Biblical and Godly. (I lost some of you already) But the problem is, many are promoting chemicals, herbs and systems that are faddish and attempt to remove the personal responsibility of the weight problem. Personal responsibility is something that the church should be absolutely encouraging not discouraging. I have listened to many of the pitches for these products and they almost always hurt rather than help the idea of personal responsibility. They say things like. “Eat what you want and lose weight too.” “Just take this product and don’t change anything about your lifestyle”. “Watch the pounds and inches MAGICALLY fall off.” You may think that I am being ridiculous and radical but this sounds like a charismatic, “come to Jesus and He will give you money and a gorgeous spouse and a great job” routine. These products sound like something that would be promoted by the likes of Joel Osteen. How can we tell a generation that they can eat as much as they want, not exercise, fill up on sugar, fat and caffeine AND lose weight and then expect them to believe that it doesn’t work the same way with not paying your tithes and offerings, not attending church faithfully, not having a prayer life???
I also am concerned about the way that it is presented in subtle undertones that lead people to believe that skinny and pretty equals happy and content. Is that the taste we want to leave in their mouths? That sounds like something Hollywood movies or MTV would try to slip in.
It worries me when Godly people can seemingly remove their spiritual direction long enough to make money or can possibly do something wrong as long as the ultimate outcome is right. I cringe at the idea of some people believing that God would want ministries and ministers making income off of telling people that they can have something for nothing. To me that is the slippery slope.
I know that this will create a little controversy and some are even going to say that this makes me look like a flip flopper or a hypocrite from my last major “controversy”. But that is not true. I feel the same way both times. Do not expect me to start hating or mistreating people that sell these products. Many of them are my close personal friends and I love everyone and try to show it every time. Many of these people are very spiritual and I have a lot of confidence in them and I am sure that I am doing some things that they wish I would stop doing too. (like posting on fb haha) While none of us are perfect we should all be free to speak our hearts to each other without risk of being alienated. It could actually help us all mature one from the other.
Some may immediately want to bring up my wife and her weight loss. I will take care of that right now. My wife lost almost 60 pounds in about a year and a half and did it 100% by eating smaller portions, educating herself on nutrition and very mild and minimal exercise. In doing so she has made herself healthier in the long run, improved her lifestyle biblically and responsibly and not brought any reproach on her testimony or our ministry.
This is not a scold or a scandal. This is a clarification. Please do not use this as an opportunity to start a big fb war. I didn’t post this on your page, I posted it on mine. Any rude, crude and argumentative comments will be removed.
It seems I spend much of my ministry trying to show people that one radical view over another doesn’t make either side right. There are right principals and there are right ways to go about them. And everyone of them takes some PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.
I love everyone of you and this is how Brother Sloggett feels but do not hold these concerns to anyone else’s charge but mine. God bless you.
Your humble servant,
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett
Thursday, July 25, 2013
One of the last services before I left to preach around the country this time was awesome. Here are a few testimonies from some of our converts.
There was a Sister that told of how she had been sent to prison for 20 years for something that she did not do and while she was locked up the Lord sent Sister Rose Reed to deal with her and she got saved. Shortly after she was saved she was released from jail. She served 6 of her 20 years. I talked to her and she said that she was not sorry that she went to jail because she was a sinner when she was free but she became a saint while she was locked up. She said, "God knew what he was doing". Hallelujah!
One person came up to me after the service, at meal time, and said that they ride on my son's van and they didn't want to testify in front of everyone, because it is embarrassing to them, but they did want me to know that they prayed at the mission service exactly one year ago tomorrow and they have been clean off of crack cocaine for exactly that same period of 364 days. Praise be to JESUS!
NOW, for the best one of all. A man that was homeless and strung out when we met him, has prayed and been saved and has worked hard to get himself a place to live, has been attending church VERY faithfully for over a year now, probably closer to two years, does anything and everything that we ask of him and last night he testified that he has been taking online classes and in two weeks he will get his certificate in a Bible studies degree program offered by a local college. He added that he was sorry that he would miss one of our services to get it.
And people wonder why I alway say, "This is by far the hardest work that I have ever done......and by far the most rewarding!!!" Thank you Jesus!!!
Saturday, July 6, 2013
I have recently preached in several new churches that HMA has never been in before. Several people have asked me about the things that we do and who our target audience is. What type of people we are reaching and who uses our programs.
We here at HMA have a target audience of “Everyone that no one else wants”. If there are people that you don’t want to reach….those are the ones that we are reaching for!
Let me give you one example of the types of situations that we are dealing with every day and you will know two things right away. #1 Why we feel the need to desperately help these people as fast as we can and #2 Why they are the ones that no body else wants to work with.
I receive letters and electronic communications like this almost every day. If you ever want to see the original letter in the original envelope, it is on the wall in my office.
To Rev. Todd Sloggett
Hello. You came and visited me one time in the ----- county jail. Sister ----- and Sister ----- asked you to because they thought that your experiences with yourself and others were similar enough to mine that you might help me. I’m a third time convicted felon. I’m on my own as my family has never been in my life or helped me. I have a drug addiction problem and committing crimes. I have done drugs since I was a very young kid. At the age of 5 years old the state government took me from my parents due to the torture of beatings, rape and molestation from the time I was born until I was 5. Four of us children were taken away from my parents. I was tied up by my hands and feet and hung in refrigerators and closets, left hanging sometimes for hours, my head was stuffed in the toilet, I was continually molested by my step dad, beat with broom sticks, cords, belt buckles, chains and horse whips that I can remember. We were boarded up in an abandoned house for I think a few weeks. I was cut on the bottom of my feet with an oil can lid once and too much abuse to name. I have been in juvenile homes and mental wards, detention centers and 3 foster homes. I was raised in the streets mostly when I wasn’t in jail and now I am in jail again. I ran away many times and prostituted myself a lot. A pimp gave me my first shot of dope when I started selling myself at 13 and I have been addicted pretty much ever since. I have basically prostituted and stole things to support my self and my habit ever since. I have lived in motel rooms, abandoned houses, old cars. When I was 17 I was gang raped and I had a baby from it. The state government took the baby from me because of my past and present lifestyles. He is 28 now and I have been searching for him his entire life. My second time in prison I did 21 years. My first time in I was introduced to homosexuality. This time I am only doing a small sentence. I will return to the streets again with no job skills and no education. Once again I will be homeless. I’m tired of the life that I have lived. All 46 years of it! For once I want a normal life and to have new positive friends. I have written to many friends and churches while I am in this time and no one has responded to me. I only feel rejected. I am not a mean person. People have beat me all my life, stabbed me and raped me. I have been hurt so much. I want to learn to love and help people. My family growing up was always the gangs, pimps, prostitutes and homeless people. I need help and I want a better life. I don’t want to get out just to end up back in prison. I don’t want to go back to being homeless and go back to being a drug addict. I want a family and real friends. I want positive influence friends. I want new better friends. Friends that care about me. I have never even had a mother or a father in my life since I was 5 years old. I have never even experienced the love of a parent. Most of my real family are gang members. I want to help them and others. I want to get out and live good and tell people. I am an artist, I can do hair, cook, I can do crafts. I have talents. I have been trying to get a sponsor to get my high school diploma. I can do an in home, (in jail), course. I am willing to try but no one is helping me! I have nowhere to go when I am released from prison.
I need someone, anyone to write me. I don’t have basic things outside of what we are allowed in prison. I need pen pals. I need positive friends. Good people. I am struggling seriously. Please help me.
Respectfully, ---------- -------------
Enclosed in this letter was some official state prison documents showing that her food purchases were denied for insufficient funds and her high school diploma classes were also denied for lack of an official sponsor and inability to make the initial $10 payment.
After reading this you probably fit into one of two categories at least. #1 You can see why we want to reach these people so bad or #2 You can at least see why nobody else wants to get involved. You may not be the one that is sent to “get involved” in these peoples every day lives but you very well may be one of the ones that were sent to help us get involved. Pray for us, support us, make a difference today.