Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Greeting Saints,                                                                                                                  3/17/14

     2014 is already off to an incredible start.  As we continue to grow our outreaches, homeless works, drug programs and affiliates, we have specifically concentrated on our largest endeavor, our overnight stay facilities. 
     The Disciple House is one such facility.  It is a men’s half way house program that is designed specifically around salvation and Biblical principles.  Our program must be applied for and we only take the ones that we believe are trying, the best they know how, to surrender to Christ.  Men that live here actually work for our furniture store and build new dorm rooms for future clients.  They have a very rigorous schedule and routine.  Clients go to church 3 to 5 times a week, have Bible study and Bible class 2 to 3 times a week, they do their own laundry, cooking and cleaning and have to meet specific requirements in order to stay in good standing with the program.  While staying at The Disciple House they report to a dorm monitor, a teacher, a Pastor and Brother Todd on a daily basis.  While living at The Disciple House, all clients attend Bethany Holiness Church full time, attend many other special services and they have dedicated times at night to pray and study together.  We also make sure t  As they progress they are assisted in making sure that they have no warrants, get all proper identification, apply for jobs until they receive one and then get into an apartment of their own.  
hat there is good clean fun and fellowship every week.
     The men that are with us today are an amazing group of guys.  They have problems ranging from addictions, homelessness and severe financial crisis.  We do all that we can to love and help them all.  Our clients as of today range in age from mid 50’s to early 20’s.  Sin, Satan and circumstance are equal opportunity destroyers.
     The Disciple House is only one of the overnight stay facilities that we are currently administrating and supporting.  We have
recently donated more beds and more materials to The Life House that is run by our affiliates in Kentucky.
       I have heard many ministers over the years preach, teach and complain from their pulpits, about the thieves, addicts, dead beat dads and so forth, in their communities, but our staff is literally, 24/7/365, DOING something about it.  It has been a long and rigorous 18 years of ministry to get to this point, but to watch these guys clean up, repent, work, fight through, discuss, question, overcome, get to see their kids, be reunited with family, pay their debt to society and accept the debt that Christ paid for them……..makes it all worth while.  Will you help sponsor The Disciple House and our other outreaches?  We literally have to buy all of their food, sheets, towels, toiletries and much of their clothes every month in order for them to stay here.   
     These men are real people.  They are husbands, fathers, children, nephews and friends.  They hurt, they cry, they apologize and they repent.  Together with the help of HMA, our many supporters and God Almighty, they are being changed.  We are truly, now more than ever, reaching the least, the last and the lost. 
     Please continue, or begin, to partner with us.  We desperately need more prayer warriors, more monthly supporters and more 15 passenger vans.  God bless each and every one of you.  I hope to see as many of you as possible this summer and fall as I evangelize, itinerate and preach several revivals, camp meetings and conferences.  

Your humble servant,

Rev. D. Todd Sloggett 

Thursday, March 6, 2014



     I was reading my Bible the other day and, believe it or not, I found a place in the book of Romans that enlightened me and gave me clarification on texting and facebooking. 
     In Chapter 1 Paul tells the church at Rome that he plans to come and see them.  He tells of spiritual gifts that he will give them.  Now these gifts are not tangible things that can be brought in a sack.  So why does he need to GO THERE to give them to them?
     Paul is called of God to preach and teach spiritual things to this group of people.  And the thought crossed my mind.  “If he is already writing letters to them, then why doesn’t he just keep writing letters and teach them that way?  It would be easier, less expensive and less time consuming than taking a trip all the way across a continent?  Right?”  But I think we all know the answer.  Some things just have to be done in person.  Some things can never be expressed that are not expressed face to face.
     What happens is when anyone reads something that anyone else wrote, they put their own internal spin on it.  They read it as they want to hear it or as they assume it was written.  And more often than not, the “want to hear” or the “assumed” version are far from the way that it was intended. 
     Expressions of human nature such as humor, sarcasm, playfulness, sternness, compassion and sincerity can not be absorbed off of the page or “the screen”.  The written word is best absorbed factually.  Many things, including spiritual things, are more than just factual.  They are intense, passionate and very colorful.  These are rarely interpreted correctly from text.  It is why the Bible plainly says ABOUT ITSELF in 2nd Corinthians 3:6 that “…the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”  Because without the abiding Spirit of God upon the anointed text, the words themselves would undoubtedly be interpreted many different ways.  The majority of which would be destructive, even deadly.  This has all come to pass many times over. 
     This differentiating between text and personal presence seems to have happened often in Paul’s ministry.  In 1st Corinthians chapter 11 Paul was writing about several of the do’s and do not’s of the church and he ended by saying, “…And the rest will I set in order when I come. “  Basically saying, “Here are some of the facts that you must do and not do.  There will undoubtedly be some interpretation issues and some problems with things deeper than just the facts but they cannot be dealt with in letter form so when I get there we will deal with them.” 
     If you remember there was even a little debate over the difference in demeanor that Paul had between when he was writing and when he was physically present.  Paul actually commented on it in 2nd Corinthians chapter 10. 
     Now the reason that I reference all of this is to tell you that God completely understood and built into creation the use of ALL forms of communication.  The creator of communication created it with rhyme and reason.  He is not the author of confusion.  If any form of communication is causing us confusion or problems it must be that we aren’t using it correctly. 
     Look with me now at the expansion of use of modern texting and facebook messaging.  As technology expands into every second of every day life it has grown into areas where it attempts to replace certain parts of communication that are irreplaceable.  A text saying, “Mom, I had a flat tire.  Tire is fixed.  B home in 15 mins.”  Is tremendous use of technological communication.  “These are the basic facts, no drawn out phone conversation.  It stops mom from wondering what is going on and the details of the story will be explained WHEN I GET THERE.  A facebook message or post of, “Little Joey said his first words today!”  Or, “Suzy and daddy brought me supper from Olive Garden.  #MYFAVE.”  These give facts and even induce emotions and feelings that are pretty hard to get wrong. 
     But now let’s look at some other communication.  For example: I know of an 18 year old young lady that had been on drugs off and on for about two years and after trying or perhaps not trying to get clean several different times, she finally prayed and seemed to get a lot of help.  Since being on drugs she had been a very mean and negative person.  She was much more cheery and fun loving before.  One night, after being clean for only a few weeks, she sent her mother this text.  “Ugh, I went out with my friends to get pizza and the waitress was a weirdo and our pizza was some concoction of bizarre things that we didn’t order.  Oh my word!”  To which mom responded with.  “Young lady, if you don’t get a better attitude and start seeing the blessings that you really have you are never going to make it in this life.  Are you still on something?  You didn’t used to act like this.”
     Now.  When the girl wrote the text this was her thought process.  I want mom to see that I am out with normal friends.  Not hiding from social activity.  I want her to realize that I am at a pizza place and not a party at some guy’s house and I want her to read my innocent/ humorous “complaints” about the pizza toppings and the waitress and realize that I have a sense of humor again. 
     What happened was the two women took a technological form of communication that works well for factual transfers of information and random bits of updates and sharing of thought and tried to use it to build a bonding, healing, life changing moment with it and it was never INTENDED to be used as such and it very very often fails horrendously when used as such!  Anyone who believes that a heart to heart, “Mom I’m getting better”, “Honey I still worry about you but I want you to understand how proud I am of you”, “I need to explain things about my addiction”, “Dear, you are going to have to help Dad and I understand”, “Addiction, salvation, life altering, family time, personal one on one stuff can be replaced with a series of texts is greatly mistaken!
     So if we can agree on that, then what other subjects and topics are we fooling ourselves with when we think that they can be crammed into technology thus saving more time to do more things?  People have literally convinced themselves not to take on highly effective things in their lives, such as Bible reading, regular exercise, regular date nights with their spouse, etc. for the reason that they just don’t have enough time in their day.  But the same people have “habits” of playing “words with friends” or “slappy birds” or they are ritualistic, almost spiritualistic about updating their status, reposting, hashtaging or scrolling through the feed.  Listen closely to what I am saying.  There is nothing wrong with playing some modern electronic version of scrabble or posting a picture of your macho nachos but if it is altering your ability to communicate on a deep enough level thus undermining your God given ability to communicate and have right relationships……Ok, let me give you an example.  Your kids are not listening to you.  They are getting rebellious.  They talk and it doesn’t even sound like your children.  You’re losing control of them.  It is as if they don’t even respect you as their authority anymore.  Sound familiar to anyone?  If you ever had a teenager it does.  So you get together and meet at The Olive Garden and sit there with your family in close proximity and……do what?  Facebook, instagram, text back and forth.  Your children to their friends, you to the office, your wife to her mother. 
     Let’s pretend for a moment.  You are God.  You are inventing humanity.  Marriage.  The family.  You realize that there must be different levels of relationships thus there will be a need for different levels of communication.  Ahha!  You got it.  The second closest of all relationships outside of their relationship with you needs to be the family unit.  They will live in tight quarters.  Share things, see each other often, learn moods and facial expressions.  The only relationship closer is the marriage and they will share all these similar things plus a bed.  Wait, one more thing.  You will build their digestive system in a way that they will of necessity meet together multiple times on a regular basis to “have a meal”.  Why?  Why not design it any other way?!?!?!  Because this way the children can ask curious questions and the parents will fill their heads with knowledge and wisdom and inspire them with kindness, mercy and regulations.  This way the parents can delve into the lives of the youth and get the who, what, when and where of their offspring.  Look into their eyes and decipher if they are telling the truth or not, ohhhh!!!!!  Come on church!!!
     Or when the husband and wife crawl up into the bed and take the God given time that should be used to strengthen the marriage by the wife telling the husband all about her day and the husband telling the wife all about his big plans and he caressing her and her feeling his strong arms of protection.  But instead they feel the desperate need to get fully updated about how Suzy’s Candle party turned out or what whimsical quote was posted on the face of the cute kid or answer those last couple of emails and get so distracted and so discouraged by things that are happening hundreds of miles away from their little house or apartment until they are exhausted and don’t have quality time for one another.  It should be enough for her that I paid the bills, no need to talk.  Right?  Right?  It should be enough for him that I made supper, no need to be intimate.  Right?  Right??? 
Please, please I am begging you church.  I’m not being radical, I’m being reasonable.  I am not preaching “against” these things I am preaching against the abuse of these things.  My wife and I at some point or another use almost every single thing that I have mentioned tonight.  And I am only against them when they become destructive to good Godly relationships.  But when they reach that point, I am VERY against that. 
     The Bible IS the answer to ALL of our troubles.  It IS in there!  The church world always has these battles and every time that the battle lines are drawn, the radicals take up arms on the front lines and it appears to be all about the radicals and not about the reasonables.  It is reasonable to expect that if you study to show yourself approved unto God and take his yoke upon you and learn the things that are built into the perfect law of liberty that are for you and about you, that you can expect health, joy, love, strength….it is all promised.  But if God showed us how to do it right and we try to circumvent his perfect plan it will not work.  It never has worked.  It cannot work.  In the 60’s there was a movement that thought that they could have peace without God, it failed, it the 70’s there was a group that thought that they could have love without marriage, it failed, in the 80’s there was a bunch of philosophers that believed that they could have marriage without intimacy, they even made a movie about it with Harison Ford and Barbara Striesand, it failed, now in the 21st century we have decided that we can raise good kids and have a strong marriage and happy family and a powerful church without good communication skills…..IT WILL FAIL!!!
     I’m going to get on some toes now….We have children that are   running around acting crazy, have to have new things, have to have new friends, have to be entertained 24/7  and grandma and grandpa are usually scolding mommy and daddy for not teaching their children better…..and then I noticed something.  When grandma and grandpa hold the children in church and within 15 seconds the children start fussing and squirming…..are you ready for this….grandma or grandpa pulls out their cell phone and gives it to baby and baby is happy.  Now when baby is 13 and can’t sit through a church service and doesn’t know anything about the Bible and has no attention span, Is it baby’s fault?  I want to brag on my wife for just a minute.  When we were evangelizing, we never took our phones into church and she would sit Justin, Sean, Branden and Tirzah on the very front row and often times I would sit on the platform with the pastor and my children were taught from a very young age to sit still, pay attention and be good.  Not very many days ago I saw a young evangelist’s wife that sat on the very front row and had 5 children from 8 weeks to about 7 years and outside of a little fussing from the baby they all sat, listened, cooperated and obeyed.  That doesn’t just happen.  It takes communication, dedication and discipline.  IT TAKES A SERIOUSNESS TO BE IN THE WILL OF GOD!  God knew and designed all of these things to take place at the time that each child would be most acceptable and in need of it.  But we think that we can REPLACE it.  Put it off until later or do it a totally different way. I’m asking you tonight, no I’m pleading with you tonight.  For the church, for the next generation, for America…..do it God’s way!  Look at the verses and realize that he meant what he said. 

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger

Proverbs 5:18 rejoice with the wife of thy youth

1st Corinthians Chapter 7  Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with CONSENT for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan temp you not for your incontinency

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, let us reason together

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man

     These verses and many others need to be studied, understood, taken seriously and implemented through teaching, structure and example.  Then life will get better.  Church life, home life, eternal life. 
     God has a perfect plan for every moment of every life but it must be implemented Biblically, not just religiously or fellowshiply or pastorally or grandfatherly…..

     What is wrong with your world?  Drugs?  Look at Jesus’s refusal of the pain killing potion on the cross.  Adultery?  Study proverbs Chapter 7.   Selfishness?  See what the Bible says about it.  Lack of church growth?  See what the Bible says about it.  I know I know.  But brother Todd, this is the way we have always done it.  If it hasn’t worked for a long time, it’s not going to work if you do the same thing…harder.  The answer to teen preganacy still is not preaching harder on longer dresses, the answer to drugs still is not preaching harder against drug addicts.  The answer to selfish church goers and ministers without a vision still is not a tighter standard and a more political fellowship.  It’s not trying to be connected to the big names and the big players across the country or to marry into one of the key families.  The answer, the solution, the fix the repair, the restoration, the joy, the shout, the cleansing the GLORY is the answers that HE already gave us that we have not been applying.

     You want a better wife, be a better husband, you want a better family, be a better leader or a better follower, you want a better life, be a better person, you want a better eternal life, be a better Christian.   The plan of the old KJV Bible will work in any situation.  If you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth or white trash.  If your back ground made you susceptible to sin or your bad choices did.  If you were raised on a church pew or a bar stool.  Technology or no technology, 20th century or 21st century, don’t let anyone fool you and don’t let the trends of society shake you…..THIS IS THE ANSWER!!!  THE BIBLE, THE BIBLE, THE BIBLE!!!  No, I did not say Church, church church or preaching, preaching, preaching…..It’s THE WORD and the understanding thereof. 

God bless You,
Your humble servant,
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett