Fat Fantasies

I’ve been on a hundred diets. They don’t work. In fact, while starting a new diet produces some dramatic weight loss in the short term, inevitably, I find the weight I had lost and then add maybe five pounds to my original weight just for good measure. That’s how you create a fat guy.

But I’ve found out some stuff in all these weight wars: it’s a marathon not a sprint. For the past decade, I’ve been leisurely losing weight – a pound here and there – since I quit dieting. I have learned my needs; I’ve harnessed my wants (those stupid wants); and, sadly, have come face to face with the realization that magic does not exist, at least on the fat farm.

In watching the fat flow past in these deliverance retreats, I try hard not to be skeptical of any long term results in the pursuit of wholeness. Fat is relative. Spiritually speaking, it is the buildup of hurts, abuses, ignorance, and ridiculous doctrines making the Saints so sluggish and unhealthy that our lives are relegated to just making it through the next week until we can assuage our consciences in the confessionals of whatever religious system we choose.

Then the weekly diet begins: I will do better, I will pursue Jesus more . . . but real life appears every stinking Monday and poof! the diet disappears. For the rest of the week we choose the Twinkies instead of the organic, gluten-free, farm-fresh food that is good for us, that with make us healthy and strong. So we lose a couple of spiritual pounds on Sunday only to gain them back and add a few more on top.

That’s called yo-yo dieting.

Now we observe the event diet. Conferences, special meetings, or, maybe even retreats come along and we tend to leave all pumped up with rapturous revelations, intentions as high as ever to reject the sugars and fats of real life in favor of these new superfoods.

But alas, the scavengers quickly steal our new thinking, or the crises of life in our own particular circle of hell come back into focus and the stress fries us to crispy critters, or friends, family, and co-workers demand we return to our default thinking so as to keep their world in order and the good food is strangled (see Matthew 13:3-9). In any case, the fat of our existence once again takes up its role of ensuring lethargy, heart disease, or the myriad of other maladies associated with morbid obesity.

You know how to lose the fat, right? It’s not quick, it’s definitely not easy, but it is simple: stop consuming junk and, wait for it… EXERCISE! It’s a spiritual work out, dudes and dudettes (Philippians 2:12), not a commitment to sitting (in a couch, a pew or otherwise).

I find it inconceivable that folks put their lives on hold, take time off work, travel long expensive miles, and pay real money to come to a Deliverance Retreat, hear what most agree is life-changing teaching, receive rare and effective ministry, and in a few days or weeks so easily succumb to the pressures of life under the tyranny of the kingdoms of this world and return to their impotent, overwhelming, life-sucking default.

So, here it is: maybe it’s time to get off the couch pew and eat pure food you grow and prepare and consume. What we have been getting is empty, over-processed calories full of false preservatives and contaminants. It’s probably time for some roughage, some hearty meat full of protein to empower us toward changing our domain and maybe the world.

Take a minute out of your day and go over the notes from your retreat, especially if you went to Death Camp as well (aka the Advanced Wholeness Retreat.) Then use the other tools you’ve gather in your walk and find Jesus’ identity in you. If you aren’t changing into Him, life is just spending time spinning around the drain.

Suck it up and be Him. Nothing else matters. But beware: Wholeness isn’t for sissies. 

Tim Mather
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No More Derek Jeter

Yankee fans (I can sense the puke rising in the back of my Southern friends’ throats) are still in mourning at the retirement of the Captain, Derek Jeter. He has been one of the greatest shortstops of all time, endearing himself in the hearts of the fans and ensconcing his name among the immortals enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But I would guess there are a couple of guys secretly thrilled at the news that Number 2 is flying the coop: the backup shortstops for the New York Yankees.

While we celebrate the talent of the man and sit in awe at his graceful play, his greatness has been in the way of others realizing their dream, their vision, their talents, and gifts.

The kingdoms of this world are smitten with celebrity. Whether it’s sports figures or actors or maybe even politicians (there comes the puke), we love them in all their natural charm and gifts. In fact, we often live vicariously through their accomplishments and calamities. When some famous person passes on, people weep and mourn as if they actually had a relationship with them.

But here’s a thought: Don’t we live in the upside-down Kingdom, the Kingdom of God? In this Kingdom there is only one celebrity and He sits on the throne above all things, the King of the Universe, the Living God, the Ancient of Days, and He shares His glory with no one. Yet, we Saints foster our own celebrity culture, degrading ourselves at the feet of mere men, forsaking the inheritance of the One True God.

We sit with our collective tongues hanging out as these self-appointed “giants” of the faith parade before us singing, teaching, preaching, healing, or prophesying without a whiff of concern that OUR gifts are being forfeited on the altar of celebrity.

What to do? I think it’s time to stand on our heads and let HIS blood rush to our heads.

Let’s talk titles. A point from our big brother:
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.       And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 
Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 
The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Matthew 23:8-12 (underline mine)

It’s pretty clear, I think: Jesus hates titles. Why? Because it is diametrically opposed to upside-down Kingdom concept of brother-kings. Look back at the underlined part. The gifted, the anointed, the talented are to be servants of the rest. Does it mean that we despise their skills? No. In fact, in our study of societies with servants (as opposed to slaves) it is a despicable thing to acknowledge a servant or the work he/she is doing; it is offensive to the servant because if they did their work well they would not have been seen. If they were acknowledged that meant they performed poorly.

That’s really upside-down thinking, especially for those of us who’ve grown up in a culture that craves fame.

The celebrities reinforce – adamantly – the ultimate celebrity culture: what they call the Five-Fold Ministry.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God
and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-13

Titles everywhere! Not so much.

Notice a few things:
      1)   Christ gave people, not gifts, talents or anointings. These aren’t intended to be titles;               they are a recognition of the nature and characteristics of a person out of whom flows some sort of activity beneficial to the Body of Christ. They are not offices or spiritual gifts, as is most often taught, but identities of individuals given as gifts to the rest of us. While we are thrilled to have them among us, they must not be placed on pedestals since that will destroy them as well as render them ineffective to those they serve.
      2)   The identities of these five kinds of people are true reflections of Jesus, the one sent with orders to reproduce himself, the prophetic voice of the Living God, the source of the good news, the good shepherd, and the model for us to follow in our quest to know Father. These folks are the five faces of Jesus.
      3)   These people must only do as models to assist in our transformation into the image of  the Most High. The danger of them doing is that the image of Christ naturally flows out their innate identity, so they will appear to be superstars to those of us who weren’t born with one of these identities.

So we spend year after year sitting on the bench watching them be them, intimidating us into nothingness, worthlessness, and pew-warming boredom. When this revelation hits us, we will move Derek and those like him into the position they were created to play: COACHING.

If you are sitting under someone’s ministry (not that I would tell anyone what to do) get what he/she can teach you and get out onto your own team where you can be a starting player. At the very least, you’ll have fewer splinters in your posterior. 

Tim Mather
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Deliverance is Messy

Deliverance creates chaos in the church. Why? In our 30 plus years of deliverance ministry we have seen pastors fear and avoid deliverance. Pastors spend much of their ministry focus and time on trying to keep the ship/church from rocking and keeping its course. Deliverance ministry is messy, not in how it is administered. If ministered correctly, prophetically, it is a simple prayer ministry that frees the individual from the strongman and his entourage. They are embedded within an individual’s thoughts and beliefs to “steal, kill, and destroy” one’s ability to experience abundant life in the Kingdom of Light.

Deliverance removes this foreigner, this squatter. Deliverance is also like surgery to remove a tumor (the demonic presence) that toxifies the whole person. But just like the need for post-surgery recovery, one needs to pursue the rest of Luke 4:18: healing the broken hearted and liberty from the bruises that rule us.

Demons are focused on maintaining the bruise in our soul. They want us to be focused on our pain, rather than experiencing the liberating healing that God provides. When we are emotionally wounded in life, our emotions are frozen at the emotional/physical age they occurred. How absurd that we Christians are working so hard to be spiritually mature when we are so broken and emotionally immature. Deliverance is the first stage of walking away from emotional immaturity. The soul healing journey pursued after deliverance is the process of maturing emotionally and therefore walking into spiritual maturity.

Comparing the church to the family, parenting immature toddlers is easier than parenting teens and young adults. Toddlers are focused on their most basic needs: food, attention, and comfort. They are immature in how to meet their own needs and are dependent upon others for meeting those needs. Teens are discovering and pressing toward independence. They want responsibility and are learning how to meet their own needs to develop a life independent of their parents.

Young adults, while physically more mature than toddlers and teens, struggle with responsibility. While they want to be on their own, often face difficult decisions and make mistakes. Life gets difficult and messy. Teens reject the strong parenting controls of their childhood, but young adults also may reject the gentle life coaching they so desperately need. In the church we call these kinds of people “rebels” because they are judged as rejecting “spiritual authority.” But refusing authoritarian controls and not wanting to be treated like an immature child is simply “growing up.”  In Ephesians 4:14-15, Paul says that we must become mature.

Growing up is messy.

That is why lots of parents emotionally abandon their grown children. It is too hard and too messy. It has easier when they were little and parents had absolute control. Very few parents teach their children how to grow up. Even if they do teach them to drive, maintain a checking account, and get a job, very few parents train them how to have healthy emotions and relationships. Even fewer parents coach their children how to function as successful adults.  The church or pastor’s goal should be to train up disciples to leave them and the safe “crib” of the church, to go into all the world and reproduce for the Kingdom. Growing up is messy and deliverance is messy but it is the beginning of spiritually maturity.

Katie Mather
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The Secrets Behind Dysfunctional Families

God’s original plan for families is that parents would have a close relationship with Him so that they would naturally reflect God’s nature to their children. As children would see the nature of God in their parents, this would create a healthy, nurturing environment for all family members.

After the Fall of Adam and Eve, mankind was no longer able to reflect God to their children. Since then, no one has been raised by perfect parents, so all parents are to some degree dysfunctional.

Families are to meet the physical needs of children like food and shelter. Parents provide training and instruction in life skills. Healthy parents should also meet the emotional and relational needs of children.

A family is dysfunctional when emotional needs are not met and relationships are not affirming. Often a dysfunctional family focuses attention on an emotionally needy family member while other’s emotional needs are neglected. Children learn that their needs and emotions are not important. For whatever reason, a dysfunctional family fails to provide appropriate nurture for developing children.

Children are taught lies about themselves which can cause lifelong damage. These are the same lies that parents learned from their parents. Children accept destructive roles within the family like: role reversal where the child emotionally takes the responsibilities of the parent, and a surrogate spouse to the opposite-sex parent. Children can feel responsible for the peace in the family or be the one who is blamed for the problems of the family.

Functional families consider conflict a normal part of life but a dysfunctional family discourages open talk about obvious problems. It is closed to the outside world and attempts to keep problems hidden and therefore family members lose perspective on what is considered normal and have an inability to communicate.

When feelings and emotions are portrayed as unimportant, children are taught to stay out of touch with their feelings by intellectualizing, minimizing, denial, isolating and stuffing their feelings. Compulsive behavior is another way to avoid feelings through repetitive behavior. The compulsion to control develops as a response to a family-life out of control.

Parents are only functional when they have dealt with their own emotional baggage and can be emotionally available for their children’s emotional issues. Dysfunctional parents carry their emotional baggage and pass it on to their children. Children can feel shame for the parent’s problems. Shame is transmitted through direct statements or a parent’s attitude towards life. Family secrets, abuse, unresolved traumatic events and unmet needs all produce shame.  A shame-based identity says to hide who you are and try to work for acceptability. People try to hide their shame by acting shameless, or through rigid, religious activity and perfectionism.

1 John 3:1 says, “How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” We are his children and He is the perfect parent we never had. God wants to undo all the damage we have accumulated in life, heal our broken hearts and extract all the lies we believe about ourselves.

God has provided a plan all throughout the New Testament of His healing and restoration for broken lives. Deliverance is the first step to remove the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy, “infesting” the wounds of the soul. After Deliverance the broken heart needs healing.

At our Wholeness Retreats, we facilitate the healing journey after deliverance. All sessions are designed to take people to another level of freedom. Whether you are stuck in your recovery or just want to get a boost to more healing, call to register for our Wholeness Retreat. Get a good start on discovering the you Father meant you to be! Please see our website page on Wholeness Retreats for more information.
Katie Mather
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Circling the Wagons

Sometimes you just need to step back from the mess and reassess. Life is messy. Relationship is messy. Family is messy. We’ve just moved to north Georgia and are living with my sister until we sign on our new house. Things are getting messier in this unique situation and chaos has ensued.

Our five children have had varying reactions to moving. Some were thrilled, some don’t care but will be excited when we get to our own house, and some are struggling. Day after day is filled with a busy schedule of school, work, gaming, eating, cleaning, watching TV, sibling spats, shopping, and more. But when the kids start fighting more than usual, we know we need to bring them together.

“Family meeting!”

The kids come from all directions in the house. There are offenses going untended. There are bad attitudes creating more bad attitudes. Everything seems to be toppling out of control.

When we call a family meeting, we never do the same thing, except one major detail—pry open the lines of communication. We talk about all the negativity floating around. Oldest girl keeps bossing around the younger kids. Son keeps calling sister names. Middle sister hit the other middle sister. The usual family stuff.

But the offenses and attitudes are not really the issue. It’s a heart issue. Under the surface of their behavior, there is something painful hiding. It is their motivation for fighting or bossing or name-calling.

I wish we could have figured it out sooner that these unseen wounds were hiding. Physical wounds are much easier to see and tend to. Wounds deep in their spirit are unspoken but are more real than the physical. They dictate whether they feel safe, whether a bossy sister will bother them, and whether being called a jerk will hurt.

We lay our children in the Father’s arms and ask him to guide us toward the hidden wounds. We talk about it, bringing light to it. We acknowledge how much it hurts. We invite the Holy Spirit into those painful places.

When it seems things are out of control and chaotic, don’t hide and ignore it. The chaos may stop temporarily but will surely return—sometimes in more painful ways. Press into your family, circle the wagons and unite your family in defense against the wounds that rule their hearts—and yours. Bring the healing presence of the Holy Spirit into the core of your home.

Heather Trim
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Webinar: Indoor Demons ~ Tim Mather

So you've been through deliverance and your biological house is clean, but you, having been a carrier, have been living in a shack with not just other people, but unclean entities as well. Now it's time to clean that house.

In this webinar Tim Mather will explore the simple process of taking authority over this next level of your domain.

Tim Mather formerly served in the pastorate for over 20 years
and doing deliverance ministry for over 30 years. Read more about Tim Mather...

Life Outside the Institution

Hi Folks,

I initially wrote this as a response to an email I received from a person who attended a deliverance retreat this past year. While writing, I realized that it should be my first blog of the New Year.

Yeah, after my deliverance I could see all the spiritual abuse in the shaming, rather than teaching on the good news of the Kingdom and how we could walk in Kingdom power. If you find people whose “minds aren’t warped,” let me know because that is a rarity.

It is good to find a community of people with which to have relationship and encouragement, but that is a difficult order to fill. Fortunately for us, we grew our own and our grown children are our closest friends. Then we have a very small circle of friends who serve at the retreats. This holiday season, we had dinner with each of them. Then we have another circle of friends that spans the country, from Colorado to Ohio to Florida. We keep contact by FB and phone calls and occasional visits. We can call on these relationships when we need personal prayer when we need more than what we send out to our intercessors. This is our network of relationships. That is what you need is to find and build healthy relationships. Some of ours go to church. Some are even pastors who know our “non-institutional” stance. All choose to be our friends, no, more like brothers, in a healthy family.

Probably one of the reasons you “can’t stand church” is because it is not enough. It is not only food that is not filling, but also distasteful and unhealthy. Your healing soul is reacting to this revelation that you have been fed food that is substandard. The dilemma is that many in this stage then look for a source with better food. I say “dilemma” because we think that we can find spiritual feeding in a better church or better pastor. In that context, it will always be tainted with the “party line” that you have to find spirituality, healthy spirituality inside the church four walls, when that was never the intention of Jesus when he walked the earth. Where was Jesus’ recorded sermon, ON THE MOUNT? It was out there among the people. His more in depth teachings were in private with His 12 to 20 close disciples. And it was through relationship. This doesn’t mean that you have to leave your church. Church is what it is. But what it does mean is that you need to feed yourself.

In our day and age, we have the benefit of hearing teaching from many others through the internet and the books of anointed authors. With the awakening of the Body of Christ to step outside the walls of the church, there are many resources available to feed the soul. Some are outside the “church” and some are still inside the church. That is where I get my teaching. And because of my years of walking out healing, I can pick the meat from the bones and find some great morsels.

These are some of my recommendations:

OrganicChurch by Neil Cole. He presents what a healthy church experience should be like. He has many other books on this subject.

Frank Viola is a prolific writer. In Pagan Christianity he describes the twists and turns that Christianity has taken over 2000 years and the “bad habits” it has picked up along the way. He has a discipleship course to feed the hungry soul. He has a blog that presents discussion. I recommend this connection.

Our friends, Tony and Felicity Dale have long been in the house church network. Felicity’s recent book (The Black Swan Effect) is about women’s role in the church compared to the historical first century church. (One of our team members here at the ranch, Suzette, wrote a chapter.) Felicity’s blog is, www.simplychurch.com.

We love Myles Monroe’s books on leadership.

What I am currently reading, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. 

Everything that James Richards writes is read worthy. In the Wholeness Coaching I recommend his How to Stop the Pain, also Escape from Codependent Christianity. You’ll find many books and teachings on CD at his website, www.impactministries.com  

Over this next year, I am going to be blogging more to encourage those who have come through Bear Creek Ranch in their healing and growth. My book, The FiveWholeness Steps is now available. Also we will be producing our own CD’s and DVD’s of teachings which will be available on our website bookstore soon. 

So my advice, find some friends and feed on some teachings. But don’t feed on your friends...  (that’s codependency).  Then share with others what you are finding and what is impacting your life. If you found a store that had make up that made you look ten, twenty years younger, or food that gave you the energy of a 16 year old or a 50% off coupon for a car, you’d tell someone, right?

Your deliverance was surgery that removed a life sucking tumor. Wholeness Coaching was the after surgery “therapy” to expose years of unhealthy emotional and spiritual living and implement a journey of emotional and spiritual health. Now discover food that brings spiritual health and invigorates life.

To Life! 
Katie Mather
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