- Hardest Cases
- Church Families
- A Little History
- Beliefs, Creeds, Statements of Faith
- More Online Limits
If you are reading here by following the link about our work in “war zones, most recently in ISIS/ISIL controlled territories,” or from previous pages linking here, then please know the contents of this page are covenant-agreements by full-time trainers and full-time students. The comments below are not inspirational wishes and wishful thinking. They are not hopeful ideals. The comments below are not abstract general principles, idle expectations, and far away dreams. The contents of this page are covenant-agreements for full-time trainers and full-time students. The content below is not for everyone.
Previous pages in this three-part series introduced impossible missions – 1) Purpose ~ Mission Impossible and gave practical details and case examples that define impossible missions, 2) Definition of Impossible Missions ~ And Why We Do Them.
This third and final page in this series starts (but does not end) with a special note about one particular and specific mission (case) that the disciples failed to accomplish. The disciples received a painful and harsh rebuke for failing this mission.
Disciples today who want the ‘always-nice’ Jesus will not like this version of Jesus rebuking his failed disciples. Disciples who otherwise know the deeper truth from long and hard experience will rejoice in this version of Jesus because they know – “Even the sting of your correction can be sweet” (Psalm 94:12).
The story of the failed mission is heartbreaking.
A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not” (Luke 9:39 and following, and see Matthew 17:19 and following, and see Mark 9:17 and following).
Our central covenant is not to repeat this failure. Our central covenant is to hear the rebuke of Jesus (below) and to practice the advice of Jesus (below) in order for this suffering to stop. Trainers and students here came to this conclusion and covenant not to repeat this tragic story individually and privately and before entering into mutual training and before joining in teams. Jesus issued a severe rebuke to his own disciples at the same time that Jesus explained that this case – this kind – was harder than previous missions and cases that His disciples already did with success and perhaps with ease (see, Luke 10:17). It is easy to get addicted to the easy. This case and the rebuke by Jesus is not about our personal shame and personal guilt and our temptations to cover our shame by covering up our failures – the rebuke by Jesus is not about our hurt feelings. Our hurt feelings do not matter.
What matters is the suffering of the demonized boy thrown into the fire and the suffering of his father. The mission was about making the suffering stop. It is not about us. It is about those who are suffering. It is about those who are suffering when we have the opportunity – but not the faith – to stop the suffering. The point of our covenant is that the rebuke of Jesus is something that we ask to feel whenever we need this rebuke – a harsh rebuke made real by the Holy Spirit – to move us to do our part to end the suffering of others. “Even the sting of your correction can be sweet” (Psalm 94:12). We either take His correction or we do not. If we do not take correction, then we fail over and over again. Our covenant together for training is based on covenants that we made privately and alone. Our covenant together as teams is for us to be ready through continual prayer and trust to do – these hardest cases for “this kind.”
It is true that many other hard cases like this exist in the world. Our small teams cannot do them all because we do not even know them all. In this case, however, the father “begged” the disciples to help – “but they could not.” Jesus wasted no time in false pampering of any hurt feelings, or the shame, or the guilt of His failed disciples. The objective was to get this job done. To stop the suffering of others. There are people begging for help. It is not about our teams as disciples giving shallow, but high sounding religious advice, and yet having no Power. It is about moving in Power sufficient to get the job done – whether soft-spoken or loud. Jesus did not give religious advice even to the father. Jesus said to bring the boy to Him.
And more, Jesus did not reason with the demon.
It is for this reason in part that our covenant agreements for work in the field are not dictated, controlled, nor dominated by authorities with religious titles in formal offices. It is true that pastors, priests, certified lay priests, and mature elders may review and influence our covenants for service – with welcome Wisdom. It is true also that these authorities are sometimes wrong about our covenant agreements and we disagree with them. It is true that religious authorities with religious titles are not always full of faith and ready to enter this warfare in the hardest cases – “I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not” (Luke 9:39). Having a title is worthless without the Power to get the mission done. The father was not begging strangers for help. The father of the demonized son thrown into the fires was begging known disciples.
Each full-time trainer is under accountability and supervision by betters and superiors for accountability to this covenant to defeat and overcome this kind.
Accountability works also in some missions as it does for missionaries sent out by aggregate groups of mission sponsors and churches with specific covenants of accountability for missionaries – we sometimes cooperate with other groups in common missions. Accountability may also include individuals in the further accountability of ‘orders’ as in Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant orders that have heads over the order for accountability for the special covenants inside that specific ‘order’. Some of the best accountability comes from peer review by those with years and years of mature faith and who are trained in business disciplines, in professional and vocational training, and peer review from those in skilled trades – accountability practiced horizontally because the Holy Spirit works from the grass roots up and works horizontally among equals and peers (see this form of accountability, “Armies of Davids ~ in Revolution Commitments“).
Anyone who has ears to listen will know that the work of the Godhead is ongoing everywhere (“Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working,‘” John 5:17) – and that accountability can come from a single word – of a single stranger.
In impossible missions and hardest cases, accountability is fueled by mutual interaction between full-time trainers and full-time students working together as teams inside each specific mission – accountability specific to each unique mission – in the world. Generic accountability is not enough. Accountability is specific to specific missions – this kind.
For those with ears to hear the Holy Spirit, accountability comes from many and parallel sources.
Accountability from parallel sources is no guarantee of fidelity.
We each come from a wide spectrum of faith-families. We confess our sins of excessive preoccupations with our differences between our faith families to the point that we have invented thousands of religious pseudo-species. We confess our sins of being self-absorbed in our religious families and in trying to save our own lives and our own families instead of losing our lives in the Spirit moving to serve unto daily dying. Some here have walked side by side in service with friends who have served in the world unto physical death – from different faith families.
Participating here are Catholics (a medical doctor, counselor, occasionally a priest, not a diocesan-church priest, but an ‘order’ priest), and an Episcopal clinical psychotherapist and ordained priest, a Pentecostal professional science research mathematician given inspirations to structure original research and to teach research sciences at graduate and post-graduate levels. Some are Presbyterian, Methodist and Lutheran full-time care givers in health sciences, or in simple home-health care services, and some serve in law as attorneys with numbingly inspired paralegals (Erin Brokovich level, amazing paralegals) – all of these often serving in pro bono (free) services. Some mentors and students are from independent charismatic churches who are professional and seasoned skilled-vocational trainers mentoring full-time students. In an unique case there are six adults that count as one student (most of the time) who are seasoned full-time workers giving 24/7 care in ‘off-the-radar’ obscure, hidden, and protected group homes dedicated to loving and fostering severely distressed and highly at-risk, court-appointed youth – rehabilitation-hopeful youth – who some day may mature to serve other troubled youth in return. Trainers and students include master-skilled tradesmen, businessmen and women, builders and contractors who have private mentorship testimonies about Spirit-inspired skills at work in impossible cases across the practical trades. A semi-retired judge contributes here, mentoring other judges and government officials in spiritual discernment – a trial court judge highly recognized for integrity, competence, ethics, having turned down appellate appointments and free to mentor others in spiritual discernment. Our chief administrator contributes in editorship and in mentoring full-time advanced students in administrative and forensic accountancy.
In summary, full-time trainers and students come from a spectrum of church-families – what they do have in common is a commitment to work up to 80+ weeks in full-time learning and service – and face the hardest cases, this kind.
The end result is to go beyond our dozens of ‘religious pseudo-species’ of denominations and tribal religious families and become united in the Spirit of service in full-time labor in the daily commons of the world. Healing and wholeness and abundant life is not trademarked and owned by any single denominational label – thank God that the Holy Spirit constantly outsizes and outsmarts us.
We do not solicit nor take online donations, offerings, tithes.
We do solicit prayer.
We are not soliciting students online. Readers cannot sign-up online for training.
As to our locations and nations (following Acts 2:6) – our registered users operate in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and depending upon specific mission locations assigned to missionaries under special ‘orders’ (Catholic orders, Protestant and Pentecostal missionaries). Participants here since 1984 have served in India, Africa, South America, and in occasional missions in Russia and Cuba. We are thankful for input from a few retired missionary families who served in ISIS/ISIL controlled lands in the Middle East, and some mission vets who served in China
A Little History
We have lost to death in the field some of our dearest mentors since we started collaborating in 1984 on beta versions of BITNIC LISTSERV. We continued collaborating in the earliest and awkward versions of various online fora under different fora names and using primitive dial-up modems and encrypted channels of private and encrypted chat boards to share mission information in 1995. We moved to parallel fora such as this one in 2004 publishing in page and post format. Many of these parallel fora are 100% private. Across these years of collaboration, we have seen no few of our friends die in service. The better part of our collaborations have never been online – but always, in the field.
The Presence of the Holy Spirit as a Free Gift (Galatians 3:14) and the impossibility of our missions, impress on us the mandatory Requirement of working together as Fire-strike teams in small Armies of Davids ~ in Revolution Commitments – instead of spotlighted super-stars and solo lone rangers. Teamwork is a life and death Requirement. Teamwork is life and death on the same order of Aaron and Hur intercessors holding up Moses’ hands during a hottest battle unto death. Teamwork means we unite side by side with each other in divine power functions, that is, in literal orders of mathematical magnitudes in which “one routs a thousand (impossible cases), or two put ten thousand (impossible cases) to flight” (Deuteronomy 32:30).
There exists a mandatory level of mutual intercessory prayer support at Aaron and Hur levels in the hottest battles. Mature teamwork must exist in side by side in our relationships, or missions and some workers and teams may end in death. We have filled our world with our idolatry of super-star lone rangers. Even Moses could not win Victory alone. Teamwork – teamwork in continual intercession and intervention – are mandatory.
It is amazing that public readers who are not registered have prayed and sent us revelation from the Holy Spirit to help us in our missions (see on accountability above, how accountability can come from a single word – of a single stranger).
Beliefs, Creeds, Statements of Faith
We require no extra holiness codes as tests of faith. The Holy Spirit is our only holiness in generating inwardly the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 — as quite enough. The Truth testified to in the testaments of scripture is more than enough as working examples of real, practical, operating-level trust – trust in action – in service in impossible cases. Some full-time trainers and full-time students love and hold to the substance of the Apostles’ Creed, or the widely beloved Nicene Creed, and other creedal statements. No no single creed alone is mandatory and required in our shared and common practical labors. Many of us – including those who hold and love historic creeds – have mixed agreements and partial disagreements with statements of faith, creeds, dogmas, and with practices in the churches that we love. No matter our favorite short and simple summaries and creeds about how and why we trust – especially trust in the field in trust tested by Fires of impossible cases (Acts 2) – we simply enjoy each other and we love each other despite our occasional “hot contentions” (Acts 15:39) and we enjoy imparting and learning mutually from each other in God’s varieties of families under one Lord, one Father, one Holy Spirit poured out on all flesh (Acts 2:17) operating across all languages and cultures out in the world (Acts 2).
More Online Limits
Another note about this online forum. This forum and our other online fora can be distractions from real service in the world.
The truth is that work and service in the world often dies in the media – dies as dead as dead bones in media graveyards and websites. Social media becomes demonic when used as a distraction and a substitute for risky and real, in-the-flesh, hands-on work, in face to face service in fields of the world – when the father of a demonized child thrown into a fire comes begging for help, it can be easier to run away to a website and look the other way and pretend that real service in the real world, filled with “this kind” of darkest cases are not our responsibility. Just run away and watch a YouTube of some worship music online. Do not face the real world. Practical care in the real world in darkest and hardest cases with – this kind – of mission often goes to the media and internet to die in white-washed online tombs.
In-worked prayer that is out-worked is services in the world is frequently off-the-radar. Without publicity. Not for show on YouTube. Service in the world dies without strongest levels of confidentiality and HIPPA levels of privacy. Service in the world needs protections from endangerment by notices and mentions from credit-taking pulpits with media and the latest toys of tech. Much face to face love and care in the world is kept in safekeeping far away from ‘likes’ on FaceBook.
This may seem an excessive anti-media rant – it is not.
It is a well considered judgment against commonly-held convictions propagated by a prophetic mentor who is an emblem and hero of the media, Marshall McLuhan, who sold the theory that the “media is the message.” This is a partial truth at best. A distraction at worst.
We disagree overall with – “media is the message.”
The media is not the message – the message of God’s Love is the message – the real media is Holy Spirit who moves the life-blood spilled out in loving sacrificial service face to face in the world, in daily dying to self in loving service, often hidden, quiet, obscure, off-radar, and not done for praises and Facebook ‘likes’ of others. The media as we have idolized the media is often our sacred golden bull of false fertility and is a frequent graveyard for face-to-face, hands-on, practical services in the world.
The Cross revealing God’s Love and judgment is the message.
The Holy Spirit is the media who communicates, imparts, and implants the Love of God revealed on the Cross.
Our current idolatry of media is not new. History shows the many prisons of the ‘media’ go way back to the religious market places of ‘merchandised’ Temple economies profiteering in religion as dens of thieves – a media where True Service is bought, sold, and Crucified in diversified portfolios of paying and taking thirty pieces of silver – just in case Jesus fails.
To be concrete and to follow up on a warning above about the catastrophic results of religion – one large church in Sacramento published names, locations, and paraded identities of sheltered residents in sacred hidden shelters of victims who needed confidentiality and privacy. This church, a want-to-be-mega church, crammed with fund-raising hype, took credit for overseeing these private shelters – a total lie. Abhorrent. Dangerous. Evil. Making merchandise of God’s hidden treasures of His protected and vulnerable people – people merchandised by a den of thieves stealing confidentiality, privacy, and Sacred Trust. Endangering lives. A church – defiant in self-promotion – proud of it. Then taking up an offering. Based on lies.
Work in the field can never publish addresses, names, phone numbers of ‘off-the-radar’ shelter homes, served 24/7 by adults who love and guide people who are sheltered. These homes include shelters for court-appointed troubled youth, who by court order must maintain anonymity, obscurity, and hidden safe-house protections. Other home-shelters are off the radar for victims of human and sex trafficking. Yet others are shelters for victims brutally beaten, drugged, and forced by demonic violence into human slaveries, forced labors in forced servitudes in domestic homes, in businesses of all kinds, in homes of government officers.
The Father’s House of Prayer – was inside Jesus when He overturned tables of money-changers and destroyed Temples housing dens of thieves in the Temple economy.
The House of Prayer was Wherever He went – setting captives Free.
And wherever two or three gather today in his name (Matthew 18:20).
We thank God for mature large churches that know the exact necessity of covert service across all scales – from large churches to small and tiny home-shelters raised up by the Spirit in deliberate obscurity and staffed 24/7 by adults who adopt victims into loving recovery, and networking in underground railroads of mature large churches that know how to protect confidentiality and privacy in giving Sacred Services.
The Holy Spirit is poured out in private offices of private businesses doing services in the Holy Spirit in which businesses cannot publish names, addresses, phone numbers, confidential and private information of people served. The Holy Spirit is poured out in private healthcare for medical patients, in confidential counseling clinics, in confidential legal clinics, in skilled trades with private interactions and private contracts for services that are confidential. Much work in the Spirit is daily, simple toiling, enduring in quiet labors, and frequently – as always is the case in undercover and covert operations – the Holy Spirit moves in covert work in answering prayers of servants pleading deeply in prayer to God for their work to be in the fullness of the Spirit only – and without the praises of others – in quiet obscurity.
We hold that the Sufficient Foundation of effective outward service comes from daily private Fullness of the Holy Spirit in the Secret Place (Matthew 6:6).
This is the primary truth that binds us together. We agreed with this before we ever became involved in teamwork. We believe this as individuals even now.
It is true that we come out of the Secret Place daily to work with each other, to double check each other, to give and take correction and confirmation. Unless full-time trainers and full-time students first go and become Full daily in the Secret Place (Matthew 6:6), we are only training and learning in desert wastelands, always training into emptiness, always compensating for inner wastelands, and reacting to one crises of powerlessness after another crises while wandering into our next wilderness – going through motions of always learning, but never coming to Truth (2 Timothy 3:7).
Those who do not want and who neglect this life starting and ending in the Father daily in Secret (Matt 6:6) — will have limitless opportunities to wish their empty wishes in covenant with limitless others who neglect, reject, and hate daily Intimacy with the Spirit. Those who do not have long term daily discipline in the Secret Place of prayer, or who want to argue about the purity of their theology, and argue over the superiority of their church governments, and argue-only about mandatory rituals – are free to live their convictions.
God is never fooled by who does and does not meet Him in Private – in Matthew 6:6.
This is the heart of what unites us.
There are practical consequences.
If practical outward toil is not overflowing from inward fullness of the Spirit, is not overflowing in practice out of the Secret Place daily, then there will be a fullness of something else. There will be a fullness of mediocrity, lukewarmness, a poverty that cannot be compensated for by any amount of sermonizing, nor by any amount of church-going in service after service, and worse, an inner emptiness made worse, even demonic, by religious fakery pretending to be committed (Acts 5:1 and following, “why has Satan filled your heart?”) – an emptiness glossed over by church-sung praises of rich young rulers who walk away sad because they refuse to sell-out and will not commit in full (Matthew 19:16–30, Mark 10:17–31, Luke 18:18–30).
Nothing can substitute for abiding alone with the Father – with “the door shut” – shut to the praises of others and shut to all other influences – daily alone with the Father unto Fullness (Matthew 6:6). Most full-time students in training and trainers have long settled this – years ago because it is a bare minimum entry-level requirement for work in the field of impossible missions and hardest cases.
The value of the Spirit poured out (Acts 2) is this – the same Spirit is daily available to us – “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven …. but when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1, 6, English Standard Version, see also the excellent, Douay-Rheims).
To credit more than one bold pastor and priest who have preached variations on this Spirit-truth – “half of you should not be in church today. You are using church like Jonah’s boat. Using church to run away from your callings to the world, to run from your calling to work in the field. Using church as a surrogate to true obedience of going into the world to face the hardest cases. We don’t want your tithes. We don’t want your offerings. You cannot buy God with money and with your time spent in church like Jonah running away to his safe boat. Present yourselves as living sacrifices to God. Do your callings. Go out into all the world.”
This trivially small forum and our other online and offline venues for prayer, consultation, and learning are no substitutes – and our media interactions can be demonic distractions – from the Volumes of quiet, ‘off-the-radar,’ Secret listening-prayers, followed by practical work in obscure toils – starting and ending in Secret (Matthew 6:6) – where Fullness of Life Counts.
The ultimate prerequisite is voluntary practice of this truth – it is impossible daily to do impossible cases daily without daily discipline in daily Fullness.
More than one of us have known agonies of our failings to do the good that we could have done daily in Full, agonies of the harm that we have caused by working in emptiness, lukewarmness, mediocrity. The hard cases that we failed because of our emptiness and causing prolonged suffering – Luke 9:39 and following, and see Matthew 17:19 and following, and see Mark 9:17 and following.
Mission impossible? – Love, care, work without notice, without praises of others, in obscurity ~ mission impossible ~ yes, impossible for human egos.
We are ordinary people.
God makes and keeps extraordinary promises.
These impossible missions are possible when – “In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams‘” (Acts 2:17, NIV) – to serve the world to the end of the age until “each one heard … in his own language” (Acts 2:6).
submitted by Michael (M.D.) , Jedburgh/SOESM, and T.J. (Jurist)
next (current), “The old ride of the old Vice ~ failed humility at the devil’s rodeo”