Monday, May 24, 2010

Reminiscences of my father

I am ECSTATIC beyond any words at the news of the decades-overdue elevation of Bishop-designate Rudolph W. McKissick, Sr. -- my Father-in-the-Ministry!

As the spiritual progenitor for more than fifty of America's (indeed, the world's) finest preachers -- spanning the denominational spectrum -- and as the Senior Pstor of one of the nation's oldest historical churches (black OR white): the dynamic Bethel Baptist Institutional Church of Jacksonville, Florida -- Bishop-designate McKissick is one of the legendary fathers of Black Ministry in the contemporary age.

Some 35 years ago he took me under his wings and nurturedmy Ministry from my "Initial Sermon" on 3rd Sunday April 1975 until I left Florida for Michigan in April 1983. Along the way he taught me EVERYTHING about Ministry -- from visiting hospitals, to conducting weddings and funerals, to teaching, to writing, to developing Ministry and para-church Ministry initiatives.

Shadowing my father I was blessed to sit under the anointing of MANY Gospel giants, who came to preach and minister at Bethel, over the years -- all of whom were delighted to make some spiritual deposit into the lives of us young ministers who enjoyed the privilege of sitting in Bethel's pulpit.

My brothers are seminarians; but I am pesuaded that no amount of book-education could substitute for the step-by-step preparation that "Pastor" McKissick made available to ALL of his sons.

Today I gladly add MY TRIBUTE to this awesome man of God!

Keep the Faith
+Raymond Allan Johnson
Nanchang Destiny
Nanchang, Peoples Republic of China

I have never said this, but I want to take this oportunity to say a special "Thank you" to Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, JR!

As a young man growing up living right nest door to the church he had to endure a lot of things other children will bever experience.

But more than that, he had to share his father with all of us -- and allow US to be "Rev's" sons as WELL as him. I am grateful that he was wiling to do that, and honored to count him as my brother.

Keep the Faith

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rhoda's House

We pray when there’s a crisis – well, at least when there’s a crisis near us. We pray when we need something from God. In our churches, our “Intercessors” pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to invade our services. And sometimes we reluctantly pray, “Thank you, Jesus”, when we avoid some bad thing, or when that bad thing is over.

After 9/11 I prayed on my face with tears for more than a week. During that time I asked myself – and God – “What would happen if there were Saints/Intercessors in our churches, whose assignment would be to watch the news, and for every crisis, every emergency, every tragedy, pray specifically for those people? What if there were Intercessors assigned to pray for countries, for leaders, for groups of people – like abortionists, or people trapped in cults, or child molesters, or Conservatives/Liberals, or terrorists?

When we were starting Destiny, in Ohio, I envisioned a Ministry I called “The Upper Room”, a place where there would be intercessors, praying, 24 hours a day … seven days a week. The idea was not unique nor was it original. In my early years in ministry I read a book by David Y. Cho, where he talked about a similar Ministry at his Yoido Full Gospel Church, in Korea.

In 1973 they created Prayer Mountain – a full-time retreat where Saints can go to pray ( Prayer grottoes are open to guests 24/7, and they can pray in the grotto for as long as they wish.

What I saw was, of course, a variation on that theme. What if we could have Intercessors on standby, 24/7, to pray not only for the things I mentioned above, but also to intercede for anyone who needed it at any time? At Bethel we had a Prayer Line, where people could call any time and hear a pre-recorded message of encouragement. What if they could talk to a person, instead?

I realized, of course, that a vision of this magnitude was ambitious – at best – for a Ministry that hadn’t got off the ground; but how to involve other Saints?

The devastation in Haiti brought this Ministry to mind, again: wouldn’t it be AMAZING if God could bring this prayer Ministry to life through the cooperative efforts of a few friends on Facebook? Not just to pray for Haiti – though indeed we should pray for Haiti; not just to pray when there’s a crisis or a tragedy – though indeed we should pray then, too. But ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, SOMEBODY would be “on duty”, praying.

When Bishop McKissick was having trouble sleeping, I thought, “ask the Saints in China to start calling him up in prayer first thing in the morning. That would coincide with the evening in the U. S., meaning he would be saturated with prayer, right about the time he was trying to go to sleep.

Some of you stay up late and/or get up early. Many of you know brothers and sisters who live on other continents. We could make this a STRATEGIC project: I’m reaching out to you, you reach out to whom you know, they reach out to someone else, and – as the TV commercial used to say “and so on … and so on … and so on”!

So whaddaya say? Will you help?

"… I will bring them to My holy mountain and let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." Isaiah 56:7 Holman CSB
And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. Luke 6:12
Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church … And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. Acts 12:5-14

p.s., I know there will be an urge to admonish me regarding my theology (LOL), so let me say at the onset, I KNOW it wasn’t really Rhoda’s house: I just thought it’s be a nice name