THE SUMMER MINISTRY TOUR
Ed Decker, the founder of Saints Alive! and author of The God Makers, joined me in Boise on Sunday, July 18 to kick off our Summer Missions Tour. That night we opened our eight days of meetings at Living Faith Church. Pastors Dan and Phyliss Ferguson conducted a rousing worship service that set the tone for the rest of the week.
During the Boise meeting, I was led to talk about the Blood of Jesus and to reference several of the old Hymns such as "Power in the Blood" and "There is a Fountain Filled With Blood." I noticed that this subject caused a young man on the front row to become quite agitated. After the meeting this man was the center of a fairly heated discussion with a few of the people who attended the meeting. He said he was a Catholic, but he was very critical of my message. Subsequently, he revealed that he actually was a Latter-day Saint.
One of my friends, Glenn Miles, who has an active ministry to Mormonism reminded me that he has seen a number of Mormons come to my meetings and misrepresent themselves as Christians. Glenn pointed out that this deceptiveness is part of a pattern: Mormon missionaries employ various deceptions in the Mormon Churchs six missionary lessons. One example is their failure to mention one of the cardinal teachings of Mormonism: that men may become gods.POCATELLO
Several people made commitments to Christ in the meeting. One particularly interesting story concerns a young man who had been emailing me for some time about his wife. The man said he was Eastern Orthodox and his wife was a Mormon. He told me he and she had been arguing religion for months and that their relationship was deteriorating. I counseled him to take it slow and to exercise patience.
He told me he was going to bring her to the meetingand he did so. She didnt respond to the message, but a week or so later the young man called me to tell me that he had gotten saved in the meeting! He said he had been religious, but he now had a personal relationship with Christ. Wow. I never cease to be amazed.
Tuesday morning, Pastor Mike Stamper, who had arranged the Pocatello meeting, had us set up to tape a television show which would air on public access TV in Pocatello. Ed and I reprised our subjects from the night before. That tape should be available from our ministries in the near future. Special thanks to Kings Way Book Store and its owner, Bruce Webb, for help in publicizing the Pocatello meeting.
Another great meeting at New Life Assembly of God, which is pastored by Mike Stearns. The meeting was conducted by my friend David Grasso of Living Faith Christian Center. Two significant commitments to Christ occurreda young woman and an older man. The man told me he had been going to church with one of his grown children. "Tonight," he said, "All my questions were answered!"
I saw lots of old friends. (I pastored in Idaho Falls from 1980 through 1989). After the meeting Ed and I drove to Bozeman, Montana, a four-hour drive. We got there about 2:00 AM.
Perhaps I was already getting a little groggy because the next morning when Ed and I went to breakfast, the hostess asked us for a name so she could seat us when there was a table. I thought she asked how many were in our party so I said "two." She said, "Two?" And I replied, "Yes, two."
She then asked me for my first name. By this time I figured out what was going on, but since I was so far down the road I told her my first name was "Juan." She really looked perplexed, but later came to seat the "Juan Two" party.
We spoke, Wednesday night at Faith Chapel, the Foursquare Church in Billings, Montana. Pastor Stan Simmons hosted a packed house (I would guess at least 500 people). Ed and I shared the microphone in that meeting, the first time we have done anything like that. It went very well.
Pastor Kenny Lee hosted our Cody, Wyoming meeting at the Holiday Inn. As we were checking in the desk clerk asked us if one of us were the notorious Ed Decker. When Ed identified himself, another clerk said, "Well, Im LDS." We invited him to the meeting.
That evening the meeting was small, but included lots of teenagers. During Eds part of the seminar, the LDS desk clerk came in, tapped me on the shoulder, and asked if he could be put on our mailing list. He had been listening off and on at the door.
A couple of weeks after the meeting, Pastor Lee emailed me to say that one of the Mormon girls who came to the meeting had subsequently made a commitment to Christ.
In spite of its size, the Cody meeting was a key one. I felt as though we made a spiritual breakthrough there in that very Mormon town.
Worland, Wyoming Assembly of God, pastored by Joe Sanchez was a personal oasis for me. The worship service was so refreshing that I gave up fifteen minutes of my speaking time and asked them to continue praising God.
This presentation sticks out in my mind because I had the impression that a Latter-day Saint in the meeting was at a crucial crossroads. I slowed down and ground away at the occult roots of Mormonism until I was sure no one could leave the meeting without understanding that the things Ed and I were saying were extremely important. I remember saying, "Dont you dare sit there and tell yourself I am lying about these things! Check it out for yourself!"
In attendance at our meeting was Judge Gary Hartman, the presiding judge in the famous "Doc" trial in Lovell, Wyoming. That trial, if you are not aware of it, was the prosecution of a Christian medical doctor who was accused, by numerous of Mormon women of sexually molesting them during examinations. The doctor was convicted and is serving a long sentence in the Wyoming penatentiary.
Again, another small, but important meeting. I saw many of my old friends there because I was born and raised only eight miles away in Basin, Wyoming. The host, CMA pastor John Henderson, has had me in his church on two or three occasions. My "second father" Stan Johnson, was in the meeting. An Episcopal Priest who attended the meeting share with me that the Episcopal Church is undergoing an Evangelical revival. He was very excited about it.
Sheridan was the icing on the cake of a very successful week of meetings. Sheridan actually was an afterthought. We had not planned on going there, but we were invited by Deb and Wilbur Holz. Wilbur is associate pastor at a Lutheran church. The meeting was held at First Baptist Church. The Holz had done the legwork to turn out a crowd which jammed the church to overflowing. Im guessing there were 300-400 people present.
I felt my part of the presentation was the best I had done in the series. I was not my normal Pentecostal self in the meeting. I slowed way, way down and very seriously dealt with the occult roots of Mormonism. I dont know if I have ever preached in that style before. Certainly not for the entire 45 minutes. Again, I felt as though I were speaking to some people who were at critical junctures in their spiritual quest.
After I got home, one mana self-described agnostichas now entered into a friendly email dialogue with me.
I cannot overemphasize the value of this ministry tour. The hands-on contact with prime candidates for conversion breathes life into me and affects my ministry for months. As a result, I am committing myself to spend more time on the road in an attempt to influence as many people as I possibly can.Jim Spencer, Aug. 14th, 1999