A fascinating part of a biography I wrote of an African spiritual leader concerned the results of effective praying for the sick in the early days of his ministry. He was a carpenter who arose early in the mornings to go to the hall where people would hire workers only to find when he opened his door to leave that a large number of sick people were waiting there for prayer. By the time he finished praying for them and hurried off to the hiring hall, all the jobs had been filled. This dilemma continued long enough to seriously diminish his income. His wife, unfriendly anyway to his new spiritual walk, considered this the last straw and left him.
The rest of his story is just as miraculous, but, as I pondered this situation, I wondered just what would happen here in the USA if God gave an unlimited gift of healing to someone, much to his surprise, though he unashamedly believed in God. How would he discover that he possessed such a gift, since very few “non-professionals” in the religious world actually pray for the sick. Maybe as he visits a friend in the hospital and lightly lays a hand on his arm and says “God bless you,” a sudden and complete healing occurs.
The man with the gift doesn’t assume that it actually had anything to do with himself, but the person healed begins to tell the story to his friends who may be skeptical but who immediately begin to plan secret trips to take a sick family member to visit “the healer.”
Since the gift is unhindered, the people they bring to be prayed for are actually healed. The news spreads by word of mouth and soon a crowd gathers at the “healer’s” house. The crowd grows day by day. Soon, the “healer” loses his job. Since he accepts no payment for prayer, he faces immediate financial crisis. Additionally, he installed some shade tents in his front yard to protect the people from the heat of the sun. Soon water and food hawkers arrive and a distinct circus atmosphere covers the assembly.
The healer faces some strange choices. Though he prays for people in the order they arrive, soon limousines arrive and people not accustomed to waiting push past the crowd. Hostilities break out with people yelling and pushing. Weaker and sicker people begin to weep. What should the healer do?
However, finances merely occupy the surface of his problems. The neighbors begin to complain about the crowds gathered and accuse them of trampling their landscape. The street, now lined with cars on both sides, narrows traffic flow. Other neighbors join the complaints because traffic jams occur preventing their passage. Car horns blast away whatever peace remained. Lawsuits are threatened.
By now, city hall enters the fray, taking their clues from Los Angeles and informing the healer that his neighborhood is not zoned for such gatherings, especially if they are religious, and must cease or he will be fined, evicted and his house confiscated. The healer never envisioned nor desired such, so he considers possible options. Church buildings immediately come to mind. With their auditoriums and parking lots, the situation should be resolved.
He approaches the pastor of the church closest to his house. The pastor wants to know his denomination. The healer replies, “I am just a follower of Jesus and not a member of any denomination.” The pastor informs him that usage of his building is limited to those of the same denomination. The healer’s search continues.
The church of “us-only” informs him that they believe such gifts do not exist today and they cannot let him use their building, especially since he is not a member of “us-only.” The next church informs him that they have exercise and dance programs going on during the day and no space is available for him. Another church informs him that they have not had a pastor for several months and his request would have to clear a number of committees before approval could be granted and most of the committee members are away on vacation, but they certainly had the space and could rent it to him if approval came. When he inquired whether anyone else is renting the building, they informed him that no one had ever been approved before.
Finally, a church without a denominational name and who basically agrees that God heals, opens their doors to the healer. Soon, to the irritation of many who attend the church, their normal activities are squeezed out and some complaints begin.
Still, these problems merely floated on the surface. Serious problems arose from surprising corners. The healer urged those healed to go back to their doctor and have the healing verified. Some obeyed that instruction, but many simply disappeared from the medical rolls.
Medical doctors are notoriously unable to admit that a miraculous healing has occurred. They cover such events with convenient explanations such as “misdiagnosis” or “spontaneous remission.” Many doctors have a god-complex themselves and refuse to admit that they had nothing to do with a healing. In 1979 God healed me (Gayle) of two kidney stones, one as large as the end of my thumb and lodged in my kidney. The doctor said he would have to operate. When I told him a few days later that I was well and should be released, he objected but hesitantly agreed to take new x-rays. I will never forget as he placed the before and after x-rays on the viewer in his office and cursed violently as he looked at first the stones then the clear x-ray, and said, “Where in the blankety-blank did those blankety-blank stones go?” When I told him that an angel had rolled another stone away, our visit was over.
But, back to our story. Long-time patients began to disappear from doctors’ offices. The news finally reached the doctors that the missing patients had been to the healer. At a called press conference, the doctors accused the healer of practicing medicine without a license and urged the county prosecutor to stop the meetings.
Prosecutors have unbelievable powers to bring charges against people even in the total absence of evidence. However, who can resist the influence of the medical profession? Doctors began to inform the newspapers that if this continues, clinics would close and pharmacies would leave and then who would take care of the people? The prosecutor filed the charges forcing the healer to appear in court. The healer, unable to afford a lawyer, had to rely on a court-supplied defender who happened to be hostile to what the healer was doing.
The news media realized that a hot story now existed and cameras and reporters showed up. They shoved people aside in order to get up close and record the events and prove them fraudulent.
Glue Dross Insurance company, upon discovering that former claimants were now totally well, filed fraud claims against the people, sued for back payments and canceled their insurance. Doctors who were waiting for insurance payments were denied the payments. The doctors sued.
Though the prayers were simple and the healings true, the news media focused on the misery of the people waiting in line and asking why the healer put them through such miserable waiting. The news media also began to investigate those who were healed and found a few with police records in their past. They immediately used this to question the reality of what was going on.
By now the negative publicity and the resulting circus atmosphere forced the board of the church that had welcomed them to reconsider and ask the healer to find another location. All the local doors were closed, so they sought a vacant field out in the country where they thought they might be unhindered, but the lack of facilities and other logistics made that option short-lived.
By this point, outside forces entered the fray. Different lawyer groups both for and against the healer filed reports and brought the whole scene to national television. This only increased the crowd but also added countless curiosity seekers who cared little for the needs of the sick. Some even stood nearby and yelled constantly that the healer was a fraud and telling people to go home. The fact that sick people left healed had no effect on the detractors.
In court, the judge, unmoved by anything but the prosecutor’s charges issued an injunction for the healer to stop healing. Now, the healer faced his most difficult decision. Crowds of sick people continued to surround him wherever he went, but the courts commanded him not to pray for people. What should he do? He went into hiding, showing up unexpectedly in places he knew someone needed healing, usually in very poor parts of towns. Each time he surfaced, the news would spread like lightening and once again crowds would gather.
Throughout this course of events, the healer first taught the crowds from the Scripture and explained carefully to them the need to follow Jesus and partake in the joy of living for Him. This, of course, presented problems of its own. Some times, when a person made his way to the front to be prayed for, he firmly stated that he didn’t believe in Jesus and wanted nothing to do with him. His lack of belief left him in the same state he arrived in and caused a vocal tirade of hostilities against the healer. The news media would make their way quickly to such persons to interview them. The news media accused the healer of only serving liberals. The medical industry opposed the healer so strongly that they threatened to remove their advertising unless the networks joined in opposition.
Since the healer could not escape the presence of people wanting healing and could not turn people away, he violated the terms of the judges injunction and was arrested. His situation necessitated that he be placed in solitary confinement to avoid anyone crowding around him. I don’t know what happened after that, but I did hear that the men guarding him had become very healthy.
Soon, new people coming to town who did not know of the healer or the controversy, filled the medical offices and the drug stores. Everything returned to normal and the city breathed a sigh of relief.
— Gayle D. Erwin
1. Want to hear our radio program? Go to servant.org and subscribe to the podcast. This is especially important as we begin changing our areas of radio emphasis.
2. We are in the process of putting all the audio and written materials we have on the Web site for your free download. Many of them are already in our “Story” podcast. If you have difficulty with the podcast system, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-321-0077 and we will do our best to help.
3. You can see my speaking schedule on our Web site.
4. Streaming videos of our messages on the Web site of Renee Settles, theschoolmaster.org
5. You can receive this newsletter sooner by e-mail.
I am watching “The Nature of Jesus” right now. I am also planning on getting your “Style” books because I am in the midst of studying just who the Godhead really is. My question for you is, how and when did you start/know that you were called to this ministry? Did you wait on God to send you out or did you just know?
God so works with each individual that for me to tell you my own path could be a detriment to you. However, here in the briefest, least detailed list is my path. After you read it, discard it and trust God to lead you in His paths in the way designed for you.
1. Raised in a Christian home.
2. Father disabled when I was six. Became his caretaker.
3. Father’s injury reduced us to living in poverty.
4. Grew up wanting to be a brain surgeon – perhaps because of my father’s injury.
5. Won a scholarship to college.
6. Moved by the hopelessness of college students.
7. Called to preach.
8. Let God open the doors.
Thank you for the info and I am deleting it now. God bless you and your ministry.
A somewhat different letter and question brought a similar, but enlarged, answer that I share with you now. First, the letter.
The basic struggle for us is that we are closer to the poverty level (definitely in AMERICAN standards) and having a hard time with our affluent believing friends who seemingly are not using their gain for the greater good of ministry. Honestly, we’re jealous quite often of their seemingly easy way of life and their higher standard of living/lifestyle. Obviously the jealousy is wrong and being judgmental isn’t right either. Where is the peace in the midst of others’ wealth and choices of how they spend/use that wealth and our own financial struggles of “just making do.” It has come to a point where we are discouraged by even fellowshipping with some people because we leave feeling inferior and doubting every decision we’ve ever made in life.
Hello Dear Friend,
Sounds like the way I grew up. Because of my dad’s injury, we lived in deep poverty. My high school friends were either very poor like me or very rich. It was difficult because I couldn’t afford to date or go to the places others did because it required money. I went to college only because of winning a scholarship that covered everything. Still I had to work. There were many things that brought me shame – the college was composed of the rich and my clothes were often the subject of comment.
So, how did God help me through it?
First, I began to feel sorry for those folks, because I discovered that they were not as happy as they seemed. Second, I had seen the hand of God in my life so much that I lived in that strength. Third, that is what pushed me toward being a preacher rather than a doctor – I truly wanted to touch my world. Fifth, my ministry seems steeped in poor circles. I noted that the poor people of the land heard Jesus gladly.
As a pastor, I discovered that if I had a rich person in the congregation, he would likely do me the most damage. Sixth, this brought about the birth of The Jesus Style and the overwhelming life message that God has given me.
I could spend hours talking about moments of great embarrassment my poverty brought me.
I could spend a lifetime talking about the great wealth of spirit that God has given me. I prefer to talk about that.
So what? I choose to teach the others-centered, servant-hearted lifestyle to all (rich and poor) who will hear me. Some (not all) respond positively. I could tell you some almost hair-raising rejections I have received from the rich. In the meantime, I simply focus on what God has given me to do. Frankly, my ministry does not often put me in the lives of the rich. However, if anyone asks me, I tell them I am the richest man in the world. If Bill Gates only knew, he would be so jealous.
Was thinking of you two dear ones on your wedding anniversary as I was folding origami again. Paper is so fragile, yet it gains strength to stand when I fold it into a designed piece. Even stronger is the result when two pieces of paper are folded together, double the thickness and strength and potential. I pray that your life together continues in grace, powered by God, a blessing to yourselves as well as the congregations who love you.
Susan is a world-class maker of origami. She frequently blesses us with her skilled work. If you ever visit our office or house, you will see why we have them on display.
I just want to tell you how much your book has influenced me. I was in full-time ministry for just over 14 years, until a year ago God led me to go into the business world. I had grown very weary of all the striving, positioning, politics, misplaced priorities that I saw in the church. I just wanted to “live the life” – let my life speak louder than the words I preached and the position I bore.
I am not quite old enough to have been in the official Jesus Movement, but all of the church leaders that I had growing up came out of that. I was also very influenced by Keith Green (and still am). All of our friends seemed to be on similar paths and many ended up in traditional ministry roles.
One couple that we were very close to from St. Louis heard you speak somewhere, probably in the mid- to late-80s. They bought copies of The Jesus Style and gave them out to our college group who usually got together around Christmas. I read my signed copy immediately and then it became a part of my very large library that has mostly stayed in boxes through the last few moves.
It stayed in a box until the other day when I was helping my daughter find a book and decided to look for it (my wife and I had both been thinking about it). Reading the cover, I knew it would probably ‘fit’ what we have been through lately and I placed it beside my bed intending to read soon. Well, “soon” came last night when I awoke at 2:45 a.m. and could not sleep. So, I picked up the book and began to read. Agreeing wholeheartedly with the first few chapters, but falling asleep, I just started flipping through and reading what looked interesting.
I was dumbfounded! The ideas that I have been having about “church,” but at times had a hard time articulating, were right there in your book. I now realize that my always being out of step with the establishment and my great desire for ministry to not be about position and titles but serving and love are just the fruit born from seeds from your book and my other early influences.
I just want to say THANK YOU! I was also blessed to see from your Web site that you have continued to live a servant’s life. As I went back to bed only a short time before my alarm would begin my new day, I simply prayed to God. I want this life for me, my family, my church, but not just there; I am challenged to serve in my workplace. I have “position” among some pretty rough people. I don’t want them to be influenced because I am ordained or was in ministry, I want to humbly serve them so that they can see the authentic love of our Savior.
A Friend in Kentucky
A few days ago I called your number and spoke to a young fellow, whom I believed to be your son. After speaking to him, he suggested I write to you and tell you the following.
I am a 73-year-old man, now confined to my room in a wheelchair, with nothing to do, or anywhere to go. I asked the Universe for some sort of help or guidance. About four days later I received a package in the mail from Firefighters for Christ. Thinking it was an ad for money I put it aside. When I finally opened it, there I found free CDs. With nothing better to do, I listened to them, one of which was titled “The Best of Gayle Erwin.”
You struck a nerve.
My background was 30 years in law enforcement, and during that time I met killers, rapists, prostitutes, even the head of the New England mafia. I was disenchanted with religion, and considered anyone who said “Jesus is my Lord and Savior” was either a liar or con artist looking for something -- because it had to be false. Bottom line, I was a sinful man. I had met and known the good, the bad, and the ugly.
After listening to your CD, I located you at Servant Headquarters, and then I found your 10 videos at Schoolmaster web site.
Bottom line. Because of you I am now willing to say openly that I DO ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS MY LORD AND SAVIOUR. I have a long way to go, and 73 years of bad habits, and negative thinking. Thank you for being you, and thank you for putting Jesus Christ back into my life. Don’t know how much time I have left, but now I’m on the right track, and I’m ready. I am willing to be used in Jesus’ name.
I know where I am, I’ve been lost here before!
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.” The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”
Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Servant Quarters, Vol. 28, #1
Available by request by e-mail or by post
PO Box 219
Cathedral City, CA 92235
Web site: www.servant.org
GN God’s Nature (1–4, 8–9, 14–15) $25 (set)
Audio CD $5
1. The Nature of Jesus, Part 1
2. The Nature of Jesus, Part 2
3. The Nature of Jesus Part 3
4. The Nature of Jesus Part 4
(1–4 sold as set only)
5. Are You the One? John 1
6. The Last Supper, John 13
7. Dealing with Manipulators
8. The Nature of the Father, Part 1
9. The Nature of the Father, Part 2
(8–9, 14–15 sold as set only)
10. All that God Is, Colossians 1,2
11. The Jesus Style of Leadership
12. Jesus, the Great Hunter, Luke 19
13. Worship in Spirit and Truth
14. Spirit Style, Part 1 (Joy)
15. Spirit Style, Part 2
16. Hearing the Voice of God
17. Clues to the Nature of Jesus
18. Examples of the Nature of Jesus
19. Training of the Twelve
20. Peter, Before and After
21. One-Hour Seminary, Deut. 10
22. Three Great Relationships
23. Feed My Sheep, John 21
24. Portraits of Christ
25. Jesus and Family
26. Freedom and Bondage, Luke 19
27. For the Glory of God, 1 Peter 4
28. The Garbage Is Gone, 2 Cor. 5
29. The Two Prodigal Sons, Luke 15
30. Forgiveness, Col. 3
31. Hall of Fame, Mal. 3:16
32. Digging Wells, Psalm 84
33. Jesus vs. the Pharisees, Luke 5
34. Jesus Is Enough
35. Guaranteed Happiness, Matt. 5
36. Humanity at Poolside, John 5
37. Faith and Grace, Romans 4–5
38. Purpose of Discipline, Heb. 12:1–12
39. Access to God, Luke 11:1–13
40. The Urge to Live, John 3:16
41. Communion, 1 Cor. 11
Video DVD Sets
These sets are in video only.
Israel (4 hrs) DVD $30
Home Fellowships (4 hrs) DVD $30
Couples Retreat (4 hrs) DVD $30
The Holy Spirit (10 hrs) DVD $40
The Gospels (16 hrs) DVD $40
Video and Audio Sets
These sets have both video and audio availability.
God’s Nature (8 hrs) DVD $40, CD $25
Evangelism (4 hrs) DVD $30, CD $15
Leadership (4 hrs) DVD $30, CD $15
Encouragement, (4 hrs) DVD $30, CD $15
Books $12 each
Audiobooks (CD) $15
(Read by Gayle Erwin)
The Jesus Style
The Father Style
The Spirit Style
The Body Style
Handbook for Servants
That Reminds Me of a Story
That Reminds Me of Another Story
Not Many Mighty (new!)
MP3 $25 each
MP3–1 44 hours of messages
MP3–2 All eight books read by Gayle
Call us toll free at 1-888-321-0077
Remember, if you only get one thing from this list, get The Jesus Style book. If you want our most important teaching, add the God’s Nature Series.
Each of our single DVDs contains two messages. Each single DVD is $15.
Our best set is God’s Nature.
GN God’s Nature (1–4, 8–9, 14–15) ($40)
A. Are You the One? (5)
Jesus Is Enough (34)
B. The Last Supper (6)
All That God Is (10)
C. Dealing with Manipulators (7)
Jesus Style of Leadership (11)
D. Jesus the Great Hunter (12)
Humanity at Poolside (36)
E. Worship in Spirit and Truth 13)
Purpose of Discipline (38)
F. Hearing the Voice of God (16)
One-Hour Seminary (21)
G. Clues to the Nature of Jesus (17)
Examples of the Nature of Jesus (18)
H. Training of the Twelve (19)
Peter, Before and After (20)
J. Three Great Relationships (22)
Feed My Sheep (23)
K. Portraits of Christ (24)
The Two Prodigal Sons (29)
L. Jesus and Family (25)
Freedom and Bondage (26)
M. For the Glory of God (27)
Digging Wells (32)
N. The Garbage Is Gone (28)
The Urge to Live (40)
P. Forgiveness (30)
Faith and Grace (37)
R. Hall of Fame (31)
Guaranteed Happiness (35)
S. Jesus vs. the Pharisees (33)
Access to God (39)
T. Teachers Handbook
The Lord’s Prayer