To address this question, I MUST consider the times and the season. Actually, I suspect that we are in the last season of God’s timetable before the Lord’s soon return to take up dominion and rule down here. From this perspective, I believe that the preaching of the gospel has already been done. Today I received a phone call from a man living on the west coast who was calling about his 93 year old Catholic mother, a recent stroke victim hospitalized on the east coast. The son requested if someone from my church would make a hospital visit, in order to “lead her to salvation.” The son proudly let me know that he is a pentecostal and that he doesn’t believe that his Catholic mother is saved.
As I listened, questions came into my mind regarding his own salvation. The mother has not lost her mental faculties, but the stroke has left her without speech. I said to the son, “I don’t lead anybody into salvation for I don’t have the power to save anyone, and salvation is according to election by the sovereign will of God. If your mother is called to salvation, then the Lord will find a way to save her. My concern is that your mother has heard and believes on “another gospel.” The son was so churched, that it never crossed his mind that I myself was willing to visit his mother. Yet I just felt unsure as to how to proceed. Going to her hospital bed and informing this aged Catholic that she has been worshipping the fake Jesus and a demon called Mother Mary might actually send her over the edge.
Without the wisdom to proceed, I rested assured that if this mother is one of God’s elect, He will certainly save her. I have learned that one of the primary principles of ministry today is to be aware of your own limitations and not “rush in” on false faith. For two millennium, the word of God has been preached from one end of the world to the other since the Day of Pentecost. The gospel is a very simple message: Jesus coming out of heaven to earth, born of a virgin, crucified for our sins, died and was raised from the dead, was seen of many, ascended and, praise God, He is coming back. Therefore, part one of the Great Commission is practically accomplished. This is the gospel in a nutshell, a word that is published every Christmas and every Easter, in spite of Santa Claus and the Bunny.
I am a clear example of an atheist who had never heard the word preached from a pulpit or from a TV evangelist, never even handed a tract nor had I ever opened a bible. If an atheist could be drawn to Jesus just based upon the word that was preached through the holidays of Christmas and Easter, ANYONE CAN BE!!! This is the reason why the enemy is taking a strong stand against keeping Jesus as the reason for both seasons. Unfortunately, it is not surprising that the church is in the pitiful condition that it is in today because of a gross neglect of part two of the Great Commission which is “go forth and cast out demons!” Therefore, I write to the faithful of the church at Philadelphia, and exhort you to remember the words of Paul to Timothy: “In the last days, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” (I Timothy 4:1)
As the word of God has foreshadowed in various scriptures, seducing spirits are thriving in the organizational church today in the form of the religious demon. So beware, oh, precious ones! Beware of demons that will come in your midst and try to hide in your sheepfolds, whose mission is to bring down the true Body of Christ. To be successful, Satan must be very deceptive. In one of His parables, the Lord announced that in the midst of His planting wheat in His field, an enemy came along and planted imitation wheat called “tares” or weeds.
Consequently, the Lord declared that toward the end of the age, there would come a point in time when the imitation wheat and the true wheat would look identical. (Matthew 13:37-43) I believe that the objective of ministry during endtimes is connected to the Lord’s coming again. As John the Baptist preached repentance and “prepare ye the way of the Lord” to unveil His first coming, I believe that ministry in the endtimes is about preparing the people for the Lord’s second coming. So, how do we do that? I don’t think I can state any better what I have already written in “The Making of a Prophet.” I have found that the demonstration of power begins at the cross. The cross of Jesus Christ is the place where we must submit our human nature. Not just the bad but the good also.
The ones who demonstrate the most power are the ones who have suffered the most—the ones who have sinned the most—the ones who have been forgiven of the most. They tend to be most humble. However, people who have always had it good, been the most acceptable to the world, people pleasers who have adapted to a success model based upon the world’s standards—these are the people who are the most difficult to demonstrate God’s power. They are too filled up with their own power. Their own thoughts. Their own ways. Their own abilities. What I hope my testimony speaks to is that it is not just the bad things that must go to the cross. It is also the things that are considered good about ourselves that are the most dangerous. Like Paul, we’ve got to cry out, “I don’t get mixed up in nothin except Jesus Christ and Him crucified!” (pg 202) Once a Christian has been dealt with—broken by God at the cross—and has emerged a servant, then he or she is ready to participate in ministry.
I believe that in this hour, the primary work of service is to undeceive those who believe that “they already know.” Once those who have been deluded and confused have been enlightened by truth, a deliverance may still be necessary and so the casting out of demons is a very important ministry in these times. Actually, I perceive ministry today as giving out nuggets of truth. Sometimes the scope of what can be confronted with captives to deception is very limited. In my deliverance counseling practice as outlined in my third book, “Faces of the Religious Demon,” I have found that the Lord is allowing some of His people to be tormented so that they can be shaken from the deep spiritual sleep in which they so proudly and boastfully rest. Unfortunately, the spiritual arrogance and pride of those who are seeking prominence and a name for themselves in Christiandom are in serious trouble because their spiritual arrogance and pride has become deeply entrenched in their hearts and minds.
Therefore, I am prepared that scores of people shall refuse to hear God’s warnings coming from an author whom they may consider “a nobody.” Armed with this knowledge, I am no longer distressed or stressed when I am rejected by them. I realize that namedroppers and wannabees have to be broken because in their proud state, many are unable to humble themselves enough to even discern the signs of the times, as they think that they are going to build a personal Christian kingdom that they can pass on to their children and grandchildren as many notable mega preachers have already done. So other than for those who enter into counseling or mentoring with me, my approach to ministry as an author is to focus on at least one nugget of truth, either by telephone or by email and then “move on” and let the Holy Ghost lead that person into the essentials of a deeper truth. For various reasons, I have found that the resistance to the truth by various captives is the result of their religious development overtime. Like a spider forms a web, religious demons on assignment have weaved an intricate, subliminal spiritual web—a longstanding strategy that has progressively hindered a captive’s ability to face this or her own Laodicean blindness “head on.”
So for me, ministry is to drop a nugget of truth, or “plant a truth seed” and then leave the plowing, the weeding, the watering and even the harvesting up to God, and I keep on steppin. Sometimes you will find that the captive does not like the style or manner of the messenger even more than the content of the message. In such cases, when I find people who will not acknowledge my words because they do not like either my style or my tone, I strategically plan my exit. As they stubbornly cling to their own ideas of how they believe that God should teach them through the organized church where they have been a member of longstanding, I “cut to the chase.” I have learned to focus my energy and go right to the heart of the matter. I will certainly avoid throwing scripture back and forth as in a contest, but I will pointedly ask a few salient questions like, “If you are really saved, then why is the devil having his way with you? Why don’t you have any joy or peace in the Holy Ghost? Why are you not assured of your salvation? Why so much condemnation, shame and guilt” Are you confused? Is confusion of God or is it of the devil? Then I sit back, wait on a response, and refuse to take either a defensive or an offensive position. In other words, I present a nugget of truth, and I don’t stick around to see whether or not that nugget was received. I just “keep it movin.” Sometimes the Lord will let me know that “the seed got planted in good ground.” Sometimes, He does not. This is the key. Ministry is the Lord’s thing. Some plant, some water, but it is the Holy Ghost Who gives the increase. www.pamsheppard.com