pastor (7)


As I sat with the Lord in prayer last week, He gave me a picture of three doorsWith the exception of our quiet times, these three doors are meant to remain open, the Presence of God accompanying us as we pass through each door into different spheres of influence. 

The first door was the door to our hearts, or our "innermost room." Jesus called believers to go into this innermost place and close the door so that we could commune with the Father in secret. The Passion Translation describes this place as the "resting place of His love" (Ephesians 3:17), the source and root of all that we do.

It is like the "Holy of Holies" - a sacred space where there is a divine exchange of our sin for His righteousness, our unworthiness for His love, and our humanness for His supernatural Spirit.
 It is the only place in Scripture I know of where we are told to close the door, seal ourselves off, and be alone. We "cap" our well, so to speak, for the sake of replenishing and purifying what He has placed within us. 

The second door opened to those closest to us: family and friends with whom we live our daily lives. This represented our secondary ministry, second only to God. 

The third door opened to the world of our communities, churches, and nations; our "metron" or expanded sphere of ministry. While many believers place this sphere first, that is not the biblical pattern. (See 1 Timothy 5:8.)

What exactly is this ministry? It is the ministry of 
reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

The beautiful truth of the New Testament is that God's "door" is always open. The veil that separated us from intimacy with Him was torn at Christ's death, and we are now able to boldly approach His throne through Jesus's righteousness! Hallelujah! 

Paul said he "resolved to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2) The message of Christ is our ministry! For our message to be authentic and powerful, we must ourselves be ministered to by the Lord. 

2 Corinthians 3, 4, and 5 describe a new perspective on ministry. Ministry at its best is not an "office" or a title, but a position of servanthood. Here is what one of the most qualified Jewish leaders of Bible times thought about Christian ministry once he was converted: 

The lives of the people you minister to are your "letters of recommendation."

As you minister to people, Christ writes "living letters" on the tablets of their hearts by the Holy Spirit, His "pen."

Any competence or skill you have (think of Paul's amazing qualifications, all of which he counted loss!) is the direct result of Christ's empowering Presence. HE makes you an adequate minister, not your works. 

You are sent forth by God with pure motives, speaking out of your union with Christ. You are an Ambassador for Christ, yet everything you say and do is heard and seen by your governing King! 

You are a mirror which brightly reflects the glory of God. If your gaze is not directed towards His brilliance you will reflect only darkness. 

It is because of God's mercy alone that you are entrusted with New Covenant ministry!

You preach Jesus crucified, not yourself glorified. You give yourself as a servant to those you desire to lead. 

At times you won't know what to do, but quitting is not an option. Failure is not an option, either, when you are listening to the Lord and following His strategies. 

You may be persecuted by people, but God does not forsake you.

Your body may be wasting away but your inner man is renewed day by day.

You don't live a self-absorbed life but a generous and poured-out life, because you follow Christ's example. 

You no longer evaluate or judge people by their external appearances. Your new perspective in the Spirit enables you to discern the heart. 

In short, God has entrusted you with the ministry of OPENING DOORS to Him, however you do it. The flavors of ministry are as varied as the people God calls! You might paint a picture, write a word, grow a garden, cook a meal, counsel the hurting, teach the ignorant, fight for justice, build for the homeless or give to the poor.

Yet no matter how you reach out, you are opening the door to what you have seen and understood about Jesus in your relationship with the Word. You are lifting the veil for someone else. Through you, God is pleading with the world to be reconciled to Him. This is ministry!

I pray that you will take time this week to reflect on why you do what you do as a believer and a leader. I pray that your ministry will always be authentic, borne out of a love for Jesus that is cultivated in the secret place of the closed door. I pray that you will emerge from your "Holy of Holies" full of the Presence of the Lord, flinging wide every other door that might be a barrier to someone else who needs Him. May you have a ministry of opening doors for those around you, so that all may be reconciled to God! 

Picture: Pastor/Shepherd Download Link
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One of the fun parts of this ministry is that I get to meet all kinds of amazing people who love the Lord! One of my favorite people is Teresa DeMatos, who co-pastors the church I attend with her husband, Lee DeMatos. Together, they have experienced some powerful encounters with Jesus and - even more exciting - some very personal answers to prayer. 

Click Here to read the interview

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Prayer Can Radically Change a Community

Around two years ago, the lead pastor of the largest church in Juarez, Mexico, was quietly praying when he was prompted by God to immediately resign his position, set up a small tent in a downtown park, and then pray and fast for 21 days.
Juarez, just over the border from El Paso, TX, made international news due to its high murder rate and very significant drug cartel influence.  Stories of dozens of daily murders became commonplace in the news.  Residents became fearful, and many moved away; if they were able to afford to move.
The pastor immediately obeyed God's command; resigning his position, setting up a tent in the park God instructed him to go to, and then fasted and prayed.
Around the fourth day of praying, the pastor was visited by a local news reporter.  The reporter, shocked to see the pastor there (the park was filled with many dangerous drug dealers and illegal activities), asked him, "What are you doing here?"  The pastor then shared all that God had told him to do.
In the days that followed, the reporter returned to check on a pastor's safety and ask for updates.  Following each visit, the reporter filed a report in the local paper.
At the end of the 21 days, the pastor felt prompted by God to visit the city's mayor.  At the same time, the mayor had been reading the reporter's updates about the praying pastor.  The mayor invited the pastor and reporter to personally meet with him.
During the meeting, the pastor felt prompted to ask the mayor, "What's the biggest problem facing this city?"
The mayor answered, "Our prison.  It's the center of all the drug activity in our city.  People find ways to get arrested and imprisoned there, just so they can profit from the drug running and money laundering happening in that place.  Also, over 60% of the prison guards are actively involved in the cartels as well.  We, as the government, feel powerless to do anything to change that situation, or to help our community's safety."
The men then prayed together.
Soon, God gave the men a plan.  They jotted it down, then set about implementing it God's way.
The next day, Mexico's military came to the prison, surrounded it, and shut all of its activities down cold turkey.  Next, hundreds of doctors and nurses, specializing in drug rehab, were brought into the prison to work with the 1,000+ men; helping them come off of their drug highs and move toward sobriety.  Next, pastors and church leaders were also brought in to pray, share the gospel with each prisoner and prison guard, and counsel each person inside the walls.
Over the next couple of months, over 60% of the people within the walls of the prison placed their faith in Jesus Christ.  Many discovered healing from addictions, and others found a passion to share the gospel instead of deal drugs.

Over the next year, the crime rate in Juarez dropped by over 90%!

This is one of many things God is doing in our world, and it's one that serves to embolden and strengthen the prayer lives of Christians everywhere!  Did you notice how the story started?  It started by one man humbling himself, praying to God, and listening for His voice/prompting.
Let's look at what God told Solomon in the Old Testament:
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there." - 2 Chronicles 7:13-16
Humble ourselves and pray.  It's pretty simple, yet also easy to miss in the busyness of our lives.
At that time, people prayed in temples.  Today, we are temples of the Holy Spirit; God's Spirit living and dwelling within each follower of Jesus Christ.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
God is working all around us, but He's also waiting for His children to seek Him in prayer for the people, places, and world around us (in addition to our own lives, thoughts, and motives).  We don't have to wait for tragedy, death, or destruction to hit our communities or neighborhoods before we begin to pray.  We can do so right now; and watch what God does as we seek His face!
Good friend, Dave Butts, the Chair of America's National Prayer Committee shares this brief, but encouraging word.
"It's an exciting thing to be in on what God is doing; to bring about tremendous change that can only happen from the Lord!" - Dave Butts


"I can just imagine Satan gathering all the demons in hell and discussing what they can do to destroy Christians. And Satan says, 'Keep them from praying. Because no matter what else they do, if they don't pray, we can beat them every time. But if they learn how to pray, they'll beat us every time. Keep them from praying.'" -Dr. Sidlow Baxter

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Reconciliation – A Missing Link!?

By Eddie and Alice Smith
U.S. Prayer Center, Houston, Texas


Sadly, as we enter 2013 we can’t help but notice that much of the twenty-first century church is in disarray.


Despite Paul’s 2,000-year-old admonition against division in the church (1 Cor. 12:22-25), it’s plain to see that the body of Christ is severely splintered. Among the divisions are:


•  Denominationalism

•  Racial tensions

•  The gender gap

•  The Charismatic versus non-Charismatic issues

•  Minister and laity distinctions


Although in the past twenty years we’ve seen some encouraging reconciliation in the church, the lost world might rightly ask, “Why are these Christians trying to reconcile me to God when they are not even reconciled to each other?”


It’s an excellent question, and one that deserves an answer. After all, reconciliation implies relationship!


But there is something else. Along with the need for reconciliation, we must offer the Lord new wineskins. God wants to pour out the new wine of revival upon his church. In fact, he has saved the best wine until last. It is a purifying wine, a healing wine, and an empowering wine. New wine however, requires new wineskins. (Mark 2:22) As someone has rightly said, “All new wineskins have one thing in common. They are freshly dead.”


To become new wineskins and truly live, we must die to ourselves and abandon the old. So the church today is in a state of flux. The only thing we can count on in the future is change! But as long as the church looks like a sieve, fraught with disunity, it will never hold water, much less new wine.


We are on the brink of what may be history’s last great revival and a worldwide harvest of souls. God is renewing the nature of the church (his bride) as he prepares her for earth’s final spiritual battle to be followed by the marriage supper of the Lamb.


However, Jesus said, “A house divided against itself will fall” (Luke 11:17). As unity enables, so also disunity disables. For 2,000 years, a disabled church has tried,


• To reach a disabled world

• To fight against the kingdom of darkness

• To complete the Great Commission


As a result of our divisions, not surprisingly, we have accomplished little. After 2,000 years of opportunity, much of the world is yet to know God and the eternal salvation that could be theirs through his Son, Jesus Christ. Two thousand more years of the same from the church will produce the same pitiful results!


That is precisely why we need watchmen (intercessors) who will “stand in the gap in prayer,” and for gatekeepers (pastors), who will move into their Kingdom positions to work effectively with them.


(Source: Eddie and Alice Smith’s book, Intercessors & Pastors: The Emerging Partnership of Watchmen & Gatekeepers, pages 5-6)



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Watch LIVE Streaming, nationwide TV video interview with Terry & Barbi Franklin from Opryland Hotel on Friday, Sept 30th, 12noon CT on "AFA Today". They are introducing the story to their first media venue. Unite with millions across our land for this prayer effort Nov 21 - Dec 31, 2011! Click this link to watch at AFR for Live Streaming Video online
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AwakenUs: 40 Days to Fast and Pray

See to learn about nation-wide fasting & prayer event!  We're calling prayer warriors and churches all across America to unite in prayer for a Spiritual Awakening in our land Nov 21 - Dec 31, 2011. Thousands have already joined the effort nationwide. Millions will be hearing about this united season of prayer over the next month. Please spread the news!
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Hey Pastor! (please forward)

Dear Pastor:

I’m writing to make you aware of a special opportunity for you to experience what for many will be an especially needed time for personal renewal.

Are you weary from the constant pressures of normal ministry where you are giving and going, teaching and preaching, administering and counseling, mobilizing and leading, loving and serving with little time to recharge your own spiritual batteries? This year LifeWay is offering two special opportunities for pastors to be strengthened, refreshed, and renewed. In a retreat setting away from the world’s distractions, with ample time alone with God, and in the fellowship of fellow servants, you will be revived, encouraged, and freshly inspired for the work to which God has called you.

In Exodus 3, Moses took his flock clear across the wilderness to Horeb (the Mountain of God). I believe he went there desperately seeking a fresh word from the Lord, and God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush. Sometimes we can hear God's voice best when we get away from normal distractions of very busy lives. I want to invite you to come aside and seek the Lord for a fresh encounter with Him. We're offering two opportunities from which to choose:

  1. In the mountains of Ridgecrest, North Carolina
  2. At the beautiful T Bar M Resort and Conference Center, New Braunfels, TX

Each retreat will begin with the evening meal on Monday and conclude by noon on Wednesday. Claude King (that's me), Discipleship Specialist and coauthor of Experiencing God and The Mind of Christ, and Bruce Raley, Manager of Leadership and Evangelism Training and Events and the Transformational Church team leader, will be coaches for the retreat. This is not just a conference or seminar filled with messages. Claude and Bruce want to encourage and inspire pastors from larger AND smaller churches with the recent testimonies of what God is doing to revive churches and transform lives and communities. You will be guided in building relationships with fellow pastors as you share and discuss common challenges and pray with and for one another. Times will be provided for you to get alone with God for the personal ministry only the Lord can provide. Themes for the sessions will include:

    • Your Story, Recognizing God's Activity in Your Life
    • Your Calling, Remembering God's Activity in Your Life and Ministry
  • Your Family, Reviewing Priorities in Family Relationships (we will preview the new movie "Courageous" during this session)
    • Your Father, Relating to God as Heavenly Father
    • Your Mission, Re-commissioning God's Shepherds for Their Mission


If you sense a need for spiritual refreshing or a fresh word from the Lord, ask the Lord if one of these retreats would be His invitation to you for a special time with Him. For more information or to register click the link below for the retreat of your choice:

Ridgecrest Conf Center

T Bar M Resort

If you have other questions, you may call me directly at the number below. If you need an encouraging word before the retreat, check out my video blog at


Yours for revival and harvest,

Claude V. King
Discipleship Specialist
Leadership and Evangelism Training & Events
LifeWay Church Resources
One LifeWay Plaza
Nashville, TN 37234-0152
Direct Line: 615-277-8451
video blog:
videos on Vimeo:

"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ" (Col. 1:28, NIV).

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