How does Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Delivers us from Religious Legalism?


Like 8:11   Now it came to pass afterward, that He was traveling through every city and village, preaching and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God, and the twelve were with Him,

2  and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities; Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,

3  and Joanna the wife of Chuza, a supervisor of Herod, and Susanna, and many others who were ministering to them from their belongings

I was intrigued by these scriptures after my wife pointed them out.

What can we glean about Jesus from them?

  • The twelve disciples were with him.
  • There were also a number of women whom Jesus had delivered and healed.
  • I checked out the original Greek, and the “many others” in verse three,  is in the feminine tense.

So the picture of those with Jesus was generally  twelve male disciples and a number of women.

  1. The first point is the importance of investing in other’s lives.

Those whom are most apt to follow you are those whom you sacrificially invest into their well being.

Give, and it shall be given back to you. Jesus is not simply talking about money.

Make it a point of investing freely into other’s lives. Don’t be selfish and just think about yourself. You will be blessed by God.

2. The second point is that most of Jesus’ financial supporters were women.

  • In our own ministry, the majority of supporters have been women.

As a matter of fact, in our global travels, the majority of supporters and attendees are women, regardless of country.

  • I thought that God  had called the men to take the rein of leadership?

Where are they?

  • The lack of male leadership in the church is a global crisis which paralyses it.

We can’t blame the attack of the devil on these poor men.  I’ve  heard this before. Nonsense!

The devil can only attack when a door is opened to him. The bottom line with many  Christian men is one of blatant disobedience to God.

Men of God, you need to repent, and repent now!

Most people whom we counsel are godly women, who have husbands dragging their feet for Jesus. These women suffer immeasurably, hoping for their men to  one day join them in the ministry.

How dare we say that women don’t  belong in the pulpit, when they assume the load of the churches’ ministry?  This is the hypocritical and must be stopped!

3.The third point is that of Joanna, the wife of Chuza.

Joanna, is a most interesting figure. Her presence, theologically challenges us.

  • Chuza, was one of the premier officials in Herod’s administration.  He was his trustee, administrator, or manager. Chuza could have administered Herod’s royal properties or even the head of his estate.
  • Thirty years earlier, another Herod had attempted to kill Jesus. Was that the father of this Herod, or an uncle?  I don’t know.

It’s interesting how God works. Whereas one Herod tried to exterminate Jesus, now a top official in another Herod’s administration is one of His biggest financial supporters. God is funny. It’s astounding how He turns the tables upon His enemies.

4.Point four. I assume that Joanna was wealthy?

  • So the wealthy were financially supporting Jesus? Wow, what a concept!

How many times do we pastors get dragged through the ground for having wealthy people give into our ministry. Some want us to be paupers in poverty, barely making it, and suffering for Jesus. We get accused of milking the flock, or of being lazy, or of doing nothing, while taking people’s money. Such a double standard! LOL!

Not only did Jesus have a wealthy person financially supporting him, but many other women which ministered to his needs from their possessions! Did I hear the word, many?

  • We pastors are indicted by others of not working or not having a real job.

Somehow the notion of traveling globally, counseling and praying for people, teaching the Bible or writing books, is not a job.

Full time ministry, they say, is not a real job!

  • But look at Jesus! He was in full time ministry. He did not have a “ nine to five job.”. He had a number of women  monetarily supporting him, because most of those whom he ministered to gave him nothing. And so it is with us today.
  • So when you are tempted to religiously  harp upon your pastor, bite your tongue and meditate on the story of Joanna,  the wife of Chuza!

Many blessings!

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Most of these women are pastors. On a trip that we took to Kenya in 2010. Where are the men?

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How Responsible Would You Make Yourself For Another’s Life


 2 King 4:38  And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.

39  And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.

40  So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.

41  But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.

There was a famine in the land of Israel.

Food was so scarce that there was not even enough to make a stew for the school of the prophets.

One of Elisha’s disciples went out and fetched wild vegetables.

Unknowingly one of these plants was extremely poisonous.

When it was time for the prophets to eat, they realized  the toxicity of the stew.

Elisha heard the Holy Spirit, tell the prophets to throw flour into the soup and then eat it.

By that act of faith, coupled with the Word of the Lord through Elisha, the stew became edible.

I have struggled with this story!

Would I have the faith to hold myself responsible for the lives of a number of people solely on what I believed I heard from the Holy Spirit?

What if I heard wrong? What if my discernment was off and many died?

Lives tragically cut off at their prime.

Wives suddenly bereft of husbands and children of their dads.

How could I live with my conscience?

How could I look into these people’s faces?

Yet Elisha had learned the invaluable lesson of having a sharp awareness and full confidence in the voice of the Lord within him.

The growth of the voice of the Lord in us has no shortcuts.

It takes uncompromising obedience which forces us to step out in faith time and time again until we learn to recognize and live solely by that voice.

It also takes the working of God’s holiness within us, which is birthed out of a very intimate relationship with Him.

Without purity of heart we will not see the Lord Jesus living inside of us.

Purity is the result of much prayer and a deep knowledge of the Word of God.

The Lord wants each of us to learn to operate solely by His voice just like Elisha did.

The greatness of the man or woman of God is found in how far they restrict their lives solely to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Could you do what Elisha did?

Could I?

I don’t know.

Yet Elisha was a man just like you and me.

Invite Jose and Mary to your meeting!

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Do we have more faith in Jesus,or that the sun will come up ? Yet this is what faith is all about!

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If A Christian Were a Pickle Why Would Life Be Splendid?


I am gathering notes for my upcoming E Book, The ABC of Living in the Spirit.

I wrote this many years back. I find it so good; I needed to share it with you.

It just shows that if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus you already have everything you need.

The problem is one of entering and living in the new identity, existence or being which are already ours.

The one who fights us from entering in is our double mindedness.

Or as motivational speaker, Loly Daskal says, “Our own contradictions.”

Blessings

Jose

 Gal 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ( submerged into the domain, sphere, or world of Christ’s influence and sovereignty ) have put on Christ (now wear Christ, whom as clothes which totally cover us, influences and affects back through us to conform us into His image.)

I once read an excellent example of Biblical baptism.  In the days of Christ there was a recipe to create a “pickled” vegetable.  It was said that a vegetable was BAPTISED into THE LOCATION or SPHERE of a vinegar solution.  After a while, the vinegar WORKED INSTRUMENTALLY BACK through the vegetable and “pickled” it.

Tofu, likewise, acquires the taste and texture of any food that it is baptized into.

We can say that with whatever food the tofu is BAPTISED INTO, it is INSTRUMENTALLY influenced back by that food to make the tofu like it.

At a meeting several weeks ago, I saw several visions of the earth, as a globe. The Lord told me, that this was the world of the Holy Spirit, and that we need to live in it.

During the worship time I dedicated myself to going deeper into the world of the Spirit.   I suddenly saw within this world the availability of everything, as all solutions to all human needs were place and positioned in different places along the sides of this world.

By the availability of everything, I mean that all things are possible, because all things that pertain to humanity were positioned in God’s reconciled, whole, and restored state.

I saw that every disease could be healed, and every problem had an answer, because there was no disease, but only the completed healing of it, in the world of the Spirit.

 Invite Jose and Mary to your meeting!

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Phone: 305.299.0633

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Why Should You Leave Club Golgotha?


Mt 27:33  And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

Mr 15:22  And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.

Joh 19:17  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

As I prayed this morning, God gave me a vision.  In it, Jesus stood crucified and dying upon that famous mount called Golgotha.

Gologotha comes from an Aramaic derivative “gulgoleth” translated as skull or head.

In Christian circles, this famous hill is also categorized as Calvary for its Latin derivative “calvaria”, or skull.

If one looks cautiously at the picture on my post, he or she will appreciate the two cavernous holes resembling eye sockets on a skull and what appears as another vertical hole below them where a nose could be.  Above the skull, in the fenced in grassy knoll, is where tradition says, that the cross with Jesus crucified stood.

In my vision, as Jesus hung bleeding and dying, God took me down into the left eye socket of the skull. I would estimate that this eye could not be more than 15 feet below the base of the cross.

Deep inside the rocky socket a wooden table was set with twelve church goers eating. I could not tell what was served but everybody was obsessed with devouring the food. No one looked up. No one spoke. Everybody was transfixed with the sole role of consumption.   How sadly ironic that Jesus was bleeding and  dying fifteen feet above and no one recognized it, or cared to do so.

Have our churches become malls for Christian consumption?  Maybe so, but this was also a “Club Golgotha; Members Only Please!”

And have our churches become Club Golgothas where we dine, socialize and just cater to one another, as Jesus dies bleeding for the world,  dripping blood on top of our heads?

In my vision, someone finally got up from the table awe-struck at the Jesus in a piece of bread which he had picked up from the food.  As everybody else continued munching down at Club Golgotha, he went to the edge of the eye socket still transfixed on the bread. I knew that he was ready to leave Club Golgotha.  I realized that person was me. That person is you. That person is meant to be every Christian.

Yes, we are to assemble and not forsake one other. Yes, we need to fellowship, we are His body.  Yes, we are to go to church.

I love the church, and have laid my life down for it.

I love the church, and so enjoy ministering within it.

But Lord, deliver me from just being a Club Golgotha member. Lord delivers us all as we go to our respective churches!

May they not become Club Golgothas, lose their saltiness, and be worthy only to be trampled underfoot by wicked people

May the unchurched not see the church as an exclusive “members only” fraternity made up of legalistic and judgmental rules which prohibit the many who want to join.

May the church get away from Christian jargon and serve the world by being authentically real and genuinely loving.

Who today is ready to serve the church, but leave Club Golgotha?

I think that it’s not just a good idea but a “God Idea!”

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Golgotha. Please click on image for image courtesy source.

How I Met St. Peters Angel?


 Acts 12:7  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shined in the prison room; and striking the side of Peter, he roused him saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell away from his hands.

8  And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals”; and he did so. And he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”

9  And going out, he was following him, and did not know that the thing taking place by the angel was true, but he was thinking that he was seeing a vision.

10  And going though the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate which leads into the city, which was opened to them of its own accord; and going out, they went forward one street, and immediately the angel withdrew from him.

11  And Peter, having come to himself, said, “Now I know truly that the Lord has sent forth His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jews.”

I’d  visit a hang out where  men of a city converged to drink and pass the night.

This place had been there forever.

You’d drive by and see men and women drunk, others reveling, some even stoned.

It had been my practice to visit the hangout, befriend the men and share the gospel in a spontaneous and non-threatening fashion.

I had been nicknamed “the preacher,”

One night though, things were very different. Some of the men had sniffed cocaine, were high as kites and were very confrontational.

As I mingled, one charged me with mal treating my children.

“I walked past the preacher’s home today and heard one of his kid’s screaming”, he snapped in a heated way.

I knew what had happened. My kids were small in those days. One of my daughters was in the habit of screaming bloody murder when she did not get her way.

That morning, my wife Mary, had washed her hair and wanted to brush out the knots.

Mary had not begun the brushing but my daughter was screaming in its anticipation.

This guy had walked past my house when this was happening.

“The preacher was beating his kid!” he rejoined, in a loud voice.

Another coked out dude joined the fray.  “Yeah, preacher, that’s really bad, what did you do to your kid?”

He began pushing me.

I expounded on what had occurred to the fifteen men that were there. None of them said a word. Many of them I knew personally. No one came to my defense.

The loud mouthed and confrontational ones continued inflaming the tempers of the others. “Yeah, we gotta punish the preacher for what he does to his kids!”

One continued to push me around. The others sat in silence, as if their tongues had been cut out.  I was dumb founded and frightened.

The ring leader retorted, “Let’s hang the preacher!”

With that he found a rope and began to make a noose for my lynching. The other one kept on pushing me, while several more hurled accusations.

I appealed to the men who knew me the best, “You’ve known me for years! You see me with my children!”

Nothing. The silence was deafening.

Meanwhile the agitator in a corner gleefully continued constructing the noose.

Suddenly, out of nowhere a girl, a teen ager, appeared.  She was a native of the city.

“Come and follow me”.

She led me past the crowd of the men. Even my agitators were speechless.

“Get in your car and get out here.”

Then she departed from me.

And so I did. I never visited this haunt again, needless to say.

This had been Peter’s angel sent to me.

It’s tragically comical that it took a woman, probably the only one in that joint to rescue me. The men who had been friends were cowardly and spineless.

In our global travels, it’s mostly the women who have supported our ministry, while the men have been heartbreakingly absent.

This is one reason I support women in the ministry. It is troublesome that men who argue against their inclusion in the pulpit are sedentary in the activities of their local congregations.

This story ends on a good note, as with all that God does.

Months later, I saw my noose maker. I said hello, extended my hand and shook his. He stared at me in disbelief, frozen in time, God’s conviction raining on him. Never uttering a word, he walked away. I’ve prayed for him on occasions. I knew he lived in pain.

To this day, I’ve not been able to find my angel to thank her. Maybe in heaven I’ll find out that she was St. Peter’s angel.

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Image courtesy click on photo

My Incredible Meeting With Baseball Giant, Roberto Clemente!


For some of you who read this entry, you’ve never heard of Roberto Clemente.

Roberto played major league baseball when I was in my teens with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Roberto was born in Puerto Rico.

He was one of the best hitters to grace the game, a true giant of the sport.

In a career that spanned seventeen years, Clemente consistently hit over .300.  His life time batting average was an amazing  .317, one of the highest in baseball.

He also had one of the strongest throwing arms in history. I watched him nail a runner crossing home plate with a straight throw in the air from the right field corner.

For his outfield expertise Roberto won twelve consecutive Golden Glove Awards.

In 1973 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Clemente was also known as the guy with the back problems who always complained.

So this is where my story begins.

It was Christmas 1972.  I was a freshman at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. My folks lived in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean Sea.

I had flown from Nashville to Miami and spent several days with my then living grandparents.  Now, I was heading to St. Croix for the holidays via Puerto Rico.

In those days there were no terrorists and no TSA.

As my grandparents walked me to the Eastern Airlines gate, I was greeted by a bunch of activity.  Countless reporters, with camera bulbs flashing preyed upon someone. “Roberto” this and “Roberto” that was all I could hear in the uproar of shouting.

I discovered that the immortal Roberto Clemente was on my flight. Like me, he was heading out to Puerto Rico for Christmas.

The flight was packed.

They had no space for me in economy. The Eastern Airlines agent asked if I’d mind being bumped up to first class. Who would mind? LOL!

I took my place next to the window, the seat to my right empty.

One of the last passengers to get on was Roberto Clemente. The interviews at the gate had prolonged his entry into the airplane. I could not believe it when he sat next to me.

“Hello, I am Roberto Clemente” he extended his hand out and shook mine.

“Yes, I know”, I muttered weakly, and back his.

When the flight took off we began to talk. I was not a Christian. As a matter of fact in that year of 1972, I had begun a ten-year journey with pot and hash which caused me to hit rock bottom and find Jesus Christ.

Shortly after takeoff a reporter came up to Clemente; “Roberto, what about your contract for next year?”  Clemente brushed him off. He did not want to talk baseball.

Looking back, I know that God spoke to me, though I did not recognize Him.

I thought that it was me, but no, it was Him.

“Everybody is always talking to Clemente about baseball. I am not going to talk to him about it. Let me ask him questions about his family,” I thought.

So I asked Roberto about his family and what he was going to do for Christmas.

This initiated an almost three hour nonstop conversation all the way to San Juan.

From brown shopping bags Clemente pulled gift after gift for family and friends. He proudly opened the boxes and displayed them. I will never forget the laminated spikes for rooster fights. I think that the man was into cock fighting, very popular in Puerto Rico.

With excitement Clemente unveiled what he purchased for his wife and kids.

He then went to talk about his continual challenges with his back and the lady who tended to it during the season.

We never once talked baseball.

I remember Roberto Clemente as one of the nicest persons ever.

When our flight landed, I was told that my connecting flight to St. Croix had been sold out and I could not leave until the following day. Roberto was a representative for Eastern Airlines. He got me a free room at the Isla Verde Airport Hotel.

In retrospect, my encounter with Roberto Clemente was the gospel of Jesus Christ. His gospel is the gospel of love. It’s the gospel of friendship. It’s the gospel of the listening ear and genuine interest for neighbor. It’s the gospel of putting the other first and yourself last.

The incredible longing that this colossal of baseball had to share his family’s treasures, makes me think that he did not have many to share them with.

Roberto Clemente for most was the Hall of Famer, the batting champion, the Golden Glover par excellence. But for few, I think, he was Roberto Clemente, the man, the loving husband, and proud father.

The world is ready for Jesus. Not the churchy Jesus. Not the Jesus who judges or condemns, for that is not Jesus. People are looking for authenticity, the real person, and the true friend.

Needless to say, I can’t ask Roberto Clemente how his wife and kids liked their gifts. One week after meeting him Roberto died in an airplane crash.  Not just as a giant in baseball but in life, he was flying supplies to victims of a devastating earthquake in Nicaragua. His plane went down off Puerto Rico.

As a kid of eighteen I was devastated, traumatized and stunned by the news.

Today, I thank the God whom I did not know, for the privilege of meeting Roberto Clemente. I think that God unknowingly used me as one of the last people apart from family to talk with Roberto Clemente, as the man, and not the baseball player, before his sudden departure from us.  I think that all along this is what Roberto Clemente really wanted.

Roberto Clemente Base Ball Statistics

 Life Time Batting Average: .317 (One of the best averages in baseball)

Batted a .414 batting average in the 1971 World Series

Hits: 3,000

Home runs:  240

Runs batted in: 1,305

Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates (1955–1972)

Played In 15 All-Star Games (1960, 1960², 1961, 1961², 1962, 1962², 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972)

Played in World Series champion (1960, 1971)

Won 12 Consecutive Gold Glove Award (1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972) for excellence as an outfielder.

Holds 4 NL batting titles (1961, 1964, 1965, 1967)

NL Most Valuable Player (1966)

World Series MVP (1971)

Babe Ruth Award (1971)

Was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973

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Image courtesy please click on picture

The benefits of having Jose and Mary @ your ministry?

  • Training you to be “cutting edge” and entrepreneurial for God’s kingdom!
  •  Exegetical “tailor made for your ministry” Bible seminars!
  • Motivational speakers
  • Apostolic, prophetic, pastoral consultation!
  • Signs and Wonders Meetings!

I Thought That It Was Ravens And Not Dogs!


This story is old, but immortal in content.

When God had us move to New Mexico in the mid 90’s I had no job and we were dirt poor.

Our family of six with four kids ages 8, 6,4, 2 lived in a small efficiency in the town of Pena Blanca.

We adopted two small mutt dogs, or better said, they adopted us.

One day, we had no money and no food.

All that was left was flour, oil and some tomato powder.

“My God, not even salt in the house. Oye!”

My wife Mary is bubbly optimistic and ever so full of faith.

I was the  grumbler in the family when trials came.

This reminds me of an old Cuban moraleja. (The moral of the story)

“A father had two sons. One was a hyper optimist. The other was a dire pessimist.

The father tried a Christmas experiment on them.

He gave them each a  wrapped box full of fresh horse manure.

The pessimist immediately bickered that he would have to dump out the manure, and clean up the mess.

But the optimist gleefully jumped, “Father you bought me a horse!”

Yes, my wife is the eternal optimist, full of Jesus’s faith.

She said that God told her, that if she made pancakes for breakfast He would provide lunch.

My God, the pancakes  were horrid!  Bland and salt less were they so that I could take but a few bites.

Bubbly Mary opened the door to give the rest to the two mutts.

Lo and behold, our yard was strewn with unopened cans of food with dog saliva on them. A can of peach, another of  beans, one jar of peanut butter, and countless other cans.

Mystified we asked our neighbors if this was their stuff.

You know the Good Book says, “Thou shalt not steal.”

But no one knew anything about the food. They said, “You eat it!”

Bubbly Mary was right and God was faithful!

Two years passed and Mary was sharing the story on New Mexico Christian TV.

A neighbor phoned her. “ I know what happened’, she said, “ I had too much food and I had put it on my porch.”

What’s amazing was that her home was about 1,000 feet from ours.

God instructed our two dogs to go back and forth, and back and forth to bring us the cans and our lunch.

Our God is great!

Hey, wait a minute I thought that it was ravens and not dogs?

The benefits of Jose and Mary @ your ministry?

  • Training you to be “cutting edge” and “out of the box.”
  •  Holy Spirit Innovation, Strategizing, Implementing, Problem Solving!
  • Exegetical “tailor made for your ministry” Bible seminars!
  • Apostolic, prophetic, pastoral consultation!
  • Signs and Wonders Meetings!

Web: http://emergingusa.com

Mail: emergingusa@gmail.com

Phone: 305.299.0633

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Our New Mexico ravens