All posts by bentonquesthouse

About bentonquesthouse

Husband, father, grandfather, singer, songwriter, seminar leader, pastor. A provoker. A reader and writer of books. http://.www.bentonministries.com

Exemplary Men

My soul is hurting today for Matt Lauer and all his indiscretion affects. We live in an age of Jezebel. This non-gender spirit is one of the multi-age, anti-God spirits—one of the top hierarchy generals of satan’s army. Through history, this spirit has been about taking out leaders of government, business, church. Illicit sex is one of Jezebel’s tools.

I’m trying to make sense of what is happening beyond lust. On the surface, it appears to me we are seeing the depravity of man acting out. Where there is unguarded power, there will be abuse. Fame and fortune attracts groupies. Given my suspicions about conspiracy, I wonder why all of these accusations are surfacing at this point. What is crucial at this time in history that men have to be diminished? Temptation and bad choices come with a hook in the bait. Men are responding to something and now their behavior is being displayed. Why at this time? Again, excuse my conspiracy hunting. This is one more in a series of attacks to diminish men. Statues, attacks on unarmed men, extreme displays of demonic expression of depravity.

We are seeing the end throes of what the sexual revolution began. It went main stream with the Clinton era and then the routine and ritualistic removal of all boundaries, civility and proper discourse. Sexual sin has been with us in higher places of power since the Cavemen painted porn on cave walls. We’ve had morally corrupt politicians and in every industry and institution. Now, we have it on display via technology and in full view and main stream. I suspect what we are witnessing is the inevitable outcome of men and women acting naturally without inner boundaries and sharply tuned empathy.

Given my recent study and writing about Abraham and Sarah, I spent time studying and thinking about Sodom and Gomorrah. God heard the cries of some group and went to Sodom to see it first hand. His destruction of the Cities of the Plains came as result of those “cries.” It is clearly possible that God has heard the cries of the abused and in response to these prayers and pain, He is blasting the darkness away so all can see in the Light what has been hidden.

My wife believes this is the first step in a Great Awakening. The first step in every such event is repentance of recognized sin.

Lauer has taken on fixing what he has broken as a full-time job. He’ll need outside help. My immediate reaction was to ask where he could go for emotional healing, God’s forgiveness and the skills to ask forgiveness and then skills to live from a different core. I want to say “The Church,” but the Church and local churches have lost credibility with the scandals and revelations of predatory behavior.

I have spent a lot of years thinking through what a local church with the mission of restoration of predators, abusers, harassers, would look like. What if a church saw itself called to speak into the souls of kids of divorce? What about being a safe place for the Monica Lewinskys and being channels of God’s healing for women who experience daily the fear and assumptions that Zoe—the dog with long eye lashes—feels?

Whatever is going on in our world and neighborhoods, this is the time to build godly and great men. Three things are pushing me.

1. Personal evaluation.
2. Selection of one high profile “fallen” person to pray for as well as their victims.
3. Decision how you will build great men by participating in their healing and skill-building.
Resources that are currently stimulating me:

1. Stephen Mansfield’s http://greatman.tv/greatman-podcast/

The November podcasts spoke to me:
“The Power of Story.”
“The Power of a Man’s Words.”
“Every Man’s Battle.”

2. The Art of Manliness Podcast: A recent interview:
https://www.artofmanliness.com/2017/11/21/last-true-hermit/

3. The principles of Emotional Intelligence.

Thank you.
©2017 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org

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Thanksgiving–Inventory Day

Happy Thanksgiving—Inventory Day. I take holidays seriously. Monday was World Toilet Day, so I installed a new toilet. The lid closes automatically and it has its own fan. We will issue a brochure to our guests so they can thoroughly benefit from its functions.

I want to get Thanksgiving right.

A long-time friend sent a quote to me. It was the first thing I read this morning:

You aren’t the mistakes you’ve made. You aren’t the labels that have been put on you. And you aren’t the lies the Enemy has tried to sell you. You are who God says you are. – Mark Batterson

About the time my doctor put me on a new med, I gained absolute recall of every mistake I ever made from age 6 days. For a year I’ve been battered and making lists. When I thought I had confessed them all AGAIN and asked forgiveness, I began to be reminded of decisions and actions that others thought were my mistakes. It has felt like a spiritual attack by the accuser. Then I wondered if they were coming to mind so I could make them right or apologize. Can’t—too late. I don’t want you want to think I should be wearing white and black striped clothing—I didn’t shoplift anything in China. I don’t have a secret child in Idaho someplace. But regrets—I have some. (Editor’s note: regrets, not secret kids.)

My friend’s post captured me. It’s not new information, but sure feels like a gift and a direct message from The Father. I look at my list of thanks and redemption is high on the list. Forgiveness, personal growth and self-awareness.

Michael Card writes in his song, “The Things We Leave Behind,”

“Every heart needs to be set free from possessions that hold it so tight
And we can’t imagine the freedom from the things we’ve left behind.”
Sparrow Records (1994) from album “Poeima

You are who God says you are. It’s time to leave the mistakes, labels, self-accusations behind–out with the other bones. You are a “greatly bless, highly favored, forgiven child of God.” Thanksgiving!
You are who God says you are—Thank you, Jesus. Keep reminding me.

©2017 D. Dean Benton
dean@deanbenton.org

Go Forth and Build Trust

Our daughter has a miniature, white and apricot Labradoodle with two inch long eye lashes. She is a sweet dog who is afraid of men. She was rescued from a puppy mill where it appears she was abused by a man or men. It has taken her a year to take a treat from my hand, is afraid of my feet and hides if I raise my voice. She has one basic belief—people are not to be trusted.

The other day while I was lying down, she joined me on the couch and allowed me to pet her and liked it so much she begged for more. An hour later when I met her in the kitchen, she ran from me and would not take a treat from my hand or allow me close enough to pet her. As long as I’m lying down or sitting she comes close to be touched and talked to. She likes to put her head on my leg and ask me to pet her even if the velveteen comes off.

Doesn’t take a PH.D. to discern Zoe was scolded ferociously, struck by a male hand and perhaps kicked. She has a short memory. She and I seem to start from zero each morning as if she doesn’t remember the feel of my hand massaging her ears and neck.

She is about five years old; free from a small prison cage about a year and half. She loves the world of outdoors, but only if Debi is close by. She is excited about the freedom, but overwhelmed by the vastness of outdoorsland.

I love that dog. If she were mine, I would have to get a pickup to have her ride on the seat with me. I would like to see her learning day by day that some people can be trusted. Deprived of trust is a terrible loss for man or beast.

Andy Andrews’ friend Mac Richard from Austin has recently published “The Trust Protocol.” He sees trust as “The key to stronger families, teams and businesses.”

I’ve been spending a lot of brain cells thinking how to bridge the gaps between America races, cultures, generations, political opinions. Because difference builds ratings and sells newspapers, the differences get attention. I have scraped through the debris in my brain asking the reason for the lack of friends from the other side of the aisle. At base I don’t trust them.

In my new church we will focus on relationships, worship, mission. To accomplish that we will find ways to build trust—one on one. I am building a strategy.

“Attachment trauma” mimics PTSD with roots in abandonment, abuse, neglect, and other spiritual, sexual, physical, emotional, verbal maltreatment.
“For trauma survivors, trust is earned over time, not afforded by title or position,” says Krispin Mayfield a Licensed Professional Counselors who provides therapy for teens and adults.

Zoe and some of my friends need some “over time” time and a safe, welcome table under which they will put their feet.

Come put your feet under our table. (Or ride in my pickup.) A place to learn to trust.
©2017 D. Dean Benton Dean@deanbenton.org

Cobwebs

Listening to Carlos Whittaker on a podcast while on the treadmill, which is next to a window at eye level. I listen to podcasts intently and look blankly out the window.

Carlos told of going to a 7-day therapy camp. His therapist had suggested it, but Carlos didn’t know the purpose—he thought he was moving forward. He called his dad on the way to the camp and reluctantly told him where he was going. Finally, his dad told Carlos a story about preaching a revival. He invited people who needed prayer to come to the altar. A lady came forward for prayer. “Will you pray God will clean the cobwebs from my life?” Whittaker Senior was stimulated by the phrase and used it as he prayed. The next night the woman came to the altar again to ask “Will you pray God will clean the cobwebs from my life?” Mr. Whitaker was a bit surprised by the exact request but prayed the prayer of cleansing. The third night of the revival the same woman asked the same thing. “Will you pray God will clean the cobwebs from my life?”
“No, I won’t. Tonight I am going to pray to kill the spider!”

The father said “Carlos, you’ve been an excellent example of cleaning the cobwebs from your life. This is your opportunity to kill the spider.”

Carlos talked about looking past “webs” and dealing with the source. “The Holy Spirit will come and snatch that spider—remove the cause.”

I was lost in the story. I was vaguely aware there was a large spider on the windowscreen. I was concentrating on the story and the blankness out on the lawn. Suddenly a bright red Cardinal swooped in, grabbed the spider, and was gone. I’ve never seen that happen before. I didn’t even know that cardinals ate spiders.

With the appearance of that bright red bird, an already fantastic story became very personal. Hardly coincidental. God has something to talk to me about and an invitation to deal with spiders.

©2017 D. Dean Benton Dean@DeanBenton.org

Carlos Whittaker has a new book “Kill The Spider.” He also does the audio book reading—and he does it well. His podcast is terrific. If you want to follow up, check out his website for links.

Last Time I Visited First Grade

This was first posted when our college freshman granddaughter was in first grade.

Carole worked as a teacher’s aide some years ago. Our daughter has picked up the mantle. One of the true high points of my life was the weekly lunch dates at school when I ate with Carole and her class. They would ask, “Mrs. Benton is your Daddy coming to eat lunch today?”

First grade granddaughter invited me to eat lunch with her. I went early to visit her classroom. We have become acquainted with her teacher for whom we pray and like a lot. We have gotten to know some of the kids thru Hannah’s reports of who got into trouble and which kid cried and which one was sick. Hannah is a missionary to first grade. I’ve watched her encourage a kid on the playground, and I’ve seen her put her hand on the shoulder of a little girl who was crying for her mom. The morning drive to school includes blessing of each other. (I blessed Hannah today: “I bless you with a day without wedgies.” That appears to be a universal first grade concern. She blessed me with a day without offensive coffee breath.) It also includes praying for specific kids in her class who struggle, hurt or are in constant trouble.

Carole and Debi have kid magnets under their skin. They attract first graders. I watched as boys and girls rushed to hug Carole. What surprised me was the kids who got lost and found themselves coming to me to ask my name and to tell me life stories. A couple of them hugged me. I came away a little shaken by the raw, open need and how much a bit of attention will pay. A girl said to me, “You’re nice.” I was self-conscious about that. Where’d she get that idea and why hasn’t she told some of the adults in my world?

Carole says that Levi always hugs her. I watched as several of the kids hugged her. I didn’t need a spiritual gift of discernment to see that she was a safe place for them and invested something in them that they weren’t getting anyplace else.

I could never make it through first grade. All the rules!! So many rules! If you can successfully negotiate first grade, you’ve got it made.

We’ve been evaluating Hannah’s voice and reminding her to use her “indoor voice.” I decided the other day that Hannah’s voice has the texture of a kidney stone. It can cut through a diamond. Now I know why. We had a terrific lunch. I failed first grade lunch line. Only with the help of two adults and two kind first graders did I make it to the table with the hamburger, sack of carrots, a carton of white milk and a cookie. That’s when I learned rules about eating lunch. The noise level in the cafeteria will cause ear damage. Hannah instructed me about tray clearing and struck terror in me as I contemplated what would happen if I put the paper refuse in the wrong bin. Two rules especially seem to be most important. First, you can’t scream at kids at the next table. That seemed unlikely since communicating with people at our own table demanded screaming. The second important rule was that throwing hamburger buns at the next table was also not allowed. It was at the point of instruction that the wheels started to come off. Hannah was so serious and punishment so palpable, I allowed my smile to break into a chuckle which got totally out of control. Then Carole caught the giggle bug. There are no rules about laughing at lunch. We would have been busted for sure.

This is not my first trip to the lunchroom. Each time, I want to thank the lunch ladies for speaking each kid’s name and treating them with affection and dignity. Parents who never visit classrooms or eat lunch with the first graders haven’t a clue the investment the teachers make in their kids. (Hannah’s teacher spends her own money to buy school supplies. Who would guess that?) The noise I can live without, but two events made me glad to be alive: The laughter and Joseph. Joseph wears a left ear ring, dirty shirt and likes martial arts. He followed me thru the lunch line and asked if he could sit with me. He must have thought I needed the special attention.

Oh God! Be with the Josephs and Levis today. And fortify the teachers. All of them. Every grade.

Copyright 2017 D. Dean Benton Dean@DeanBenton.org

Want Fries with your Hemlock Sandwich?

Trying to take seriously the 4-principle test for communication: True? Kind? Necessary? Clear? Something in the Ethernet world grinds on me about the “Sandwich” Test. I’ll try—true, kind, necessary, clear.

A young Australian wife/mother asked her closed Facebook network (26,000) what they put in their husbands brown bag lunch. She was charged with—“Making a sandwich for your husband is a crime against feminism” and setting feminism back several decades. She was labeled as “a slave and a 1950s housewife.” The daughter of a professional feminist (article author’s phrase) said and published upon finding she was pregnant with a boy: “I felt sick at the thought of something male growing inside of me.”

The spirit of the replies is captured by this: “I was married for 20 years and my favourite packed lunch for my husband was called ‘Get it yourself’ with a side order of ‘I’m not your mother.’”

I can’t quite get a handle on what has been set loose in me by this. Let me be straight with you. I never ask my wife to make me a sandwich. The truth is I love it when she does because she makes a much better sandwich that I do. She adds garnish and care. It is not about bread and baloney; it expresses appreciation and concern for my well-being. My step-mother won my heart with the care she put into peanut butter sandwiches she made for me. Carole’s sandwiches just taste better. Her observation may say it all: “Obviously, these women have not yet met a man for whom she wants to offer the best….”

If feminism rests on the legal scales of a sandwich, the sandwich is a non-issue. It is about hatred for men and the desire that men be erased from the earth. If this defines feminism, then burn your membership card. It marginalizes feminism and makes it an example of worst stereotype.

There is a slice of meanness in me that wants to declare, If wife or any female would say the nasty things about me and sandwiches, I would pack my jar of Skippy peanut butter and sourdough bread in my briefcase and leave the building.

Andy Stanley preached this weekend about “Women submit…husbands love…” from Ephesians 5. Both admonishments were as subversive and counter-culture as anything in the First Century world. Stanley says we are challenged to “Rush to the back of the line.” Not everyone is required to seek to serve each other, just followers of Jesus and those who desire to maintain a great marriage.

While studying Abraham and his women—Sarah and Hagar—I have understood why Sarah might say, “Fix your own falafel” There are boorish men who earn the kind of contempt that the women above might revert to. What I’m reading in this 21st Century Sandwich hostility is contempt and hatred for all males. That does not end well historically for anyone—for individuals, cultures and nations.

Please allow me: Guys, if you want female fingerprints on your sandwich, go to the pantry several times over the next fifteen minutes. Look around—360—up and down and make a low moan/whimper, then leave the pantry with a loud sign. A loving wife will become concerned and will say, “Can I make you a sandwich?” If that doesn’t work, go to Arby’s.

©2017 D. Dean Benton Dean@Deanbenton.org

Calming Quivering Nerve Endings

Dr. Mark Chironna posted today:

“Cycles of history indeed do repeat themselves, and we are in one of those cycles. The current crisis in our society is usually an indication of a culture in collapse.”

He repeats what I’ve read from several historians. One historian lists five societal behaviors of the Roman Empire as it collapsed. Western culture presently matches all five. Chironna quotes 1 Chronicles 12:32:

“Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. Two hundred chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.”

Issachar has always been one of my heroes. He exhibited the tribe I wanted to be voted into. It is not enough to be a person who understands the times. We need people around us who also know what to do.

Needed: men and women who understand the times and know what to do.

Writer and political journalist (and Jesus follower) Kirsten Powers wrote a few days ago in the Washington Post that the words “thoughts and prayers” are sounding profane. Others expanded on her words to say we don’t need “thoughts and prayers,” we need action.

If we are “in the world, but not of the world,” some of us should have the Issachar spirit and gifting. Among the liberal and conservative ideas, solutions, strategies and call to “action” a Kingdom strategy should be seen and heard above the politics and agendas. A prophetic call is always a better idea than the status quo. It speaks of healing, forgiveness and a way forward.

Stephen Mansfield today issued a prophetic word about the gun issues.

“Fix the problem from within, or it’s going to get fixed for you from the outside.”

He added, “And you probably won’t like it!”

Hurricanes, earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars and a laundry list of cultural battles. And we can name every one of them. Harvey, Maria, NFL, “Knee,” and now Vegas and another storm heading for the Gulf Coast on the weekend. The heart-gripping trauma du jour. “What next?!”
Not having any control and the anxiety that one of these times the target is going to be on our backs, we face a question:

How do I shepherd my heart through this?

For forty years I pushed Inter-generational Sunday school & small groups. My family has pointed to that experiment as their best Sunday School experience. Granddaughter Hannah, now in college, is involved in an Inter-generational Sunday gathering and vocalizes what I knew was possible.

“How do we shepherd our hearts?”
1. Involvement in inter-generational, inter-racial, inter-culture gatherings.
2. Use of porches and decks and tables to talk, listen and share pain and dreams.
3. Personal quiet places to pray, think, listen to God’s ideas and views.
4. Discipline about amounts of news intake.
5. Plans for positive soul-sculpting—reading or audio books, positive music and a spiritual director.
6. Don’t call people names. Nancy Sinatra says that all members of the NRA should face firing squads. It is easier to call for the assassination of people who have never sat at your table or with whom you have not sought to understand. “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.” (Stephen R. Covey)

What has worked in the past? What works for your maturing friends? Try it.
Not an exhaustive list. It is a call to Soul Tending

THE BENTON TABLE
come put your feet under our table.
©2017 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org

Seen My Anchor?

Dormant DNA. I had never heard or paid attention to that phrase. Having heard it, all kinds of dots connected. At least tentatively. It began with an interview with Mitch Prinstein about his research and discoveries as he wrote the book Popular.

He says that we carry dormant DNA which wasn’t always dormant. There was a time in human history when being part of the herd helped secure our safety. If we were excluded or feared being ostracized or exiled, the brain opened up a section of the DNA to release pro-inflammatory response (PIR) which would go to battle to save us if we were attacked by beast or burglar. DNA is the blueprint of life and abides in every cell of our bodies. The PIR prepared the body to heal.

With the growth of civilization, the threat of being voted off the island diminished so the DNA-driven inflammatory response shut down and went underground. It became dormant.

In the 1980s society and culture changed, perhaps in response the late 60s. People moved away from their tribe and herd. Later with social media, the possibility of being excluded, bullied or shamed changed the social, psychological and cultural landscape. Being excluded became driven by a new force. The inflammatory response was no longer just pro. That response became hyper but now it was not beneficial to the individual, it worked against us.

Doug Kaufman was the specialist who first spoke to us of inflammation being the root of not only auto-immune disease, but heart disease and other major illnesses.

Do you remember Yuppie Flu? That was a mysterious psychosocial dysfunction with unexplained fatigue, inability to concentrate, weakness, malaise, nerve dysfunction and depression that affected mainly young adults. In the eighties, the problem was renamed and codified as Epstein-Barr Syndrome.

From the derogatory terms to a variety of immune system diseases, there seems to be several commonalities. Several of our friends were afflicted with symptoms listed above and each of them first experienced the debilitating symptoms following a physical trauma such as a fall, or accident. Something happened to awaken and release the inflammatory response which was the body’s natural response to the injury. It sounds like the fight or flight reaction to stress with the release of adrenalin and cortisol.

Lately I’ve been monitoring my reaction to the daily or hourly news alerts about politics, destruction of values, institutions, and the turning of all things right into wrong and up becoming down. Add NoKo, Iran, wars, rumors of wars, kingdoms and nations rising against one another, famines, earthquakes, hurricanes and signs in the sky to name a few. “High vigilance” is the term used for children’s response to parental split. “Hyper-inflammatory response.”

This funnels to a couple of questions: Why was Sarai barren? Could early temporary infertility have led to social exclusion, diminishment of self-perception which released the inflammatory component that produced chronic infertility?

The next question is about the 21st Century.
I am not a scientist nor have I stayed at a Holiday Express recently. I may have gotten off into the weeds trying to explain to you what Mitch Prinstein said that affects us. If he is on track, then what response and practices should come from Kingdom people?

I’ve been told that the FEMA website is flooded with people saying the disasters and forecast of more disasters has disabled their ability to cope.

Yesterday, I swept all of this info into a journal, went to porch and prayed. “Lord, if all this stuff is true, how are we to pray? What are we Kingdom Come People to do? What is the format and approach to be?” The first word that came to my soul was “anchor.” First we affix our anchor to the rock.

I replied to the Lord, “I don’t want to trivialize people’s loss and pain. Some friends face the afflictions of chronic fatigue syndrome every day and they love you as much as I do. You are their anchor.”

The second word I heard was “healing of the cells—all of which contain DNA—therefore, house debilitating memories.” Some researchers say the horrors we are witnessing can change our DNA and the terror, hopelessness and uncertainty will reach generations to come.

I don’t have a firm grip on this, but at this moment it seems to me we are to ask, “What is my anchor, what do I attach it to, and how do I make it permeate the cells after healing?”

Part of the anchor’s strength is belonging. If the Hyper-inflammatory response is released into the cells when we feel excluded, exiled or dumped outside the camp, then being assured that we belong is a healing agent.

We are going to set the healing chair. We will pray for healing. Facebook Message me and we’ll include you in the healing-strengthening praying.

©2017 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org Dean Benton

Your Story Is…?

It was a Wednesday evening at a North Miami Beach Charismatic Lutheran church. The place was packed. Before we were introduced to minister, the pastor invited victory and celebration statements. A stylish, fashionably made-up lady in the back row told us she had spent the day with Hollywood producers, director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert DeNiro. They were interviewing her for an upcoming movie which was in part about her.

I expected men in white coats to usher her out. Then I wondered what in the world we would sing or say that would connect or grab the crowd’s attention. Her story sounded like a precise definition of a person out of touch with reality. Well, the White Coats didn’t arrive because she was telling the truth. The lady was the ex-wife of boxer Jake LaMotta and the movie was “The Raging Bull.”

As I remember, no one else gave a testimony or celebration that evening. The regulars knew Vickie and they knew she was not making anything up. There was a buzz in that room—rafter-high emotions.
That was quite an event. I still feel the aura of that preacher. He was low-key and direct. He prayed with us and admonished me to “step into your calling.” As effective as we were that evening, he saw something else. Not instead of, but in addition to.

Trekking with Abraham’s Tribe seems far-fetched. I think the predominate mindset for me was, I just don’t fit with this group. We stunt our witness when we compare ourselves or measure our value. My fear that night in North Miami Beach was anything I said or sang would be anti-climactic. After all, I had never met anyone like Robert DeNiro and my story was not going to be made into a movie—ever! Even an eight millimeter one.

I’m pushing the boundaries a bit, because Galatians 6 has impacted me the last few days.

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.” (Message)

After taping a television program that was somehow connected to TBN, a lady said, “Jan is going to love your work.” While I was envisioning our national TV debut, the lady’s father stepped into our circle. He was an elderly Italian gentleman and began to tell me his conversion experience. I understood about a third of his heavy Italian-accented words, so his daughter kept a running interpretation in the background. God had turned his life around by just speaking his name, the man told me. I asked how he knew it was God and not just his own imagination.

“Because no one has ever pronounced my name correctly. God did! He said, ‘Alphonso’ like no one ever has.”

His daughter had heard the story and seen the evidence dozens of times. Tears filled her eyes. The story never lost its punch or implications for the whole family.

“…his sheep recognize His voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them…He leads them and they follow because they are familiar with His voice.” (John 10:3-4 Message

)

©2017 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org

Meanderings—Trekking with Abraham’s Tribe

Published this fall. An informal study of Abraham and Sarah as they learned to hear God’s voice. I use many stories of the people we met and places we visited when we were on the road.
This chapter is timely. Jake LaMotta died in recent days.

Listen, Harvey!

We were moving to Denver, Colorado our daughter was a baby. We got to western Iowa and the car broke down in a town where there was no motel which meant we bunked in the mechanic’s living room. The Methodist Church was hosting a revival meeting that week which I attended. The pastor listened to my story and told me his.

The last time they had a revival meeting, an evangelist was stranded in their town—just like us. During the singing time, one of the church members asked for prayer. The region was in a drought. The farmer said they should pray for rain. That congregation was not in the habit of praying that specifically, so the preacher said or something like “We’ll keep that in our prayers,” and moved forward in the service. A little later, the “stranded” evangelist stood and acknowledged he was a stranger and had no authority, but he said he felt they should honor the farmer’s request and pray for rain. So, they asked him to pray which he did. And it began to rain.

I asked the pastor if he could remember the stranded preacher’s name. He did. I knew that stranded preacher! He was a big guy, with a gentle manner and a Pentecostal faith. After a bit more conversation, I realized it was odd that the name was so easily remembered so I asked how the pastor remembered.

“Huh! There’s more to the story. I told you it started to rain. Well, it didn’t quit! Days and days it rained. Everyone it town knew the story that a stranger had come into town, prayed for rain at the revival meeting. A village meeting was called. We began to search for that evangelist.” The statement was more forceful: “We gotta find that preacher and tell him to get the rain stopped!” I don’t remember how they found him, but his name became emblazoned on the pastor’s mind. “We finally found that preacher and asked to pray to turn off the rain. He prayed. And it stopped!”

I’ve been asking God how we are to pray for the people of Texas. That story came to mind. I don’t know if it was an answer to my prayer or just that it linked to the file in my brain marked, “Rain Stories.”

Jesus told the winds to be quiet. He told the rain to stop. He spoke to the storm. This was my take away from my conversation with God. The problem Texas and Louisiana face is not the rain as much as a stalled storm. So we are to speak to the storm to move back out over the Gulf. There is a principle that anything that has a name can be addressed and it must bow to Christ. How convenient that this storm has an official name!

Unless someone has a better idea, I’m going to call the storm by name and in the name of Jesus and all the work of the Cross and Resurrection and tell it to go out over the Gulf. Will you join me?

“Harvey—turn around and dump the water into the Gulf, in the Name and power of Jesus.”

©2017 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org