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The Power of the Cross and Healing in a Pastor’s Ministry

The power of God in the life of the pastor is indispensable for an anointed ministry.

I have ministered for many years as a chaplain in a psychiatric hospital. Most of the patients had emotional, mental diseases that affected their lives and families. They are challenged in numerous areas of their lives. At times, a resident has come in desperation and said, “Chaplain, pray for me!” Of course, I say that I will, but I also ask, “Will you pray for me?” Do you know that I have never been turned down for a prayer! We pray together, and from the most depressed or schizophrenic person, a wonderful prayer comes from their heart. They solicit, “Lord, I lift up this chaplain wherever he may go in this hospital. Bless him as he meets others.” Sometimes I glance up and verify if this is the same person that asked in anguish for prayer. The Bible encourages in James 5:16, “pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Healing begins when we act in faith to assist someone else.

Nevertheless, the power of God in the life of the pastor is indispensable for an anointed ministry. We must remember God always heals, whether instantly, gradually or in the resurrection but God always heals! Joseph Fitzmyer testifies,

the gospel or the message of the cross is the power of God, because in that message the crucified Jesus is proclaimed as the one who brings God’s power to deliver human beings from the evil of sin and moral destruction.[8]

I recall traveling to one of the hospitals in Pittsburgh to pray for a man who was the husband of a member from our church, but he did not attend. He was in his 40’s, suffered a heart attack, and was not a believer in the Lord. As we prayed from him, he mentioned that he felt someone touching his chest. I know that I did not physically touch him in that area of his body but he went through the surgery and miraculously recovered. He started attending our church, is a member of the board, and doing considerable work for the congregation. That is what healing is about, effecting new life in people. When Jesus traveled to the home of Peter and met his mother-in-law he reached toward to her as she remained sick with fever. The scriptures say in Matthew 8:15, “he touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.” God wants to move your life forward so that you return to giving one hundred percent to the people you care about in your life, family, and church. When she received her healing, Matthew writes that she waited on Jesus. The Authorized Version expresses it, “she arose, and ministered unto them,” or as the Message Bible states, “no sooner was she up on her feet than she was fixing dinner for him.” She could not serve others when she had a fever. Now the fever disappeared and she can abundantly bless her son-in-law. Healing is about involving you in life. Healing involves reentering yourself into life. Paul wrote, in Phil. 3:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death.” The power of God is the only answer overcoming sin, evil and Satan in our modern society. The cross was more than a philosophical idea; it was God’s intervention into human history. As humans suffer in this lifetime, Christ came and suffered on their behalf; not to take away pain, but to provide salvation. On a surface reading, Christ’s suffering on the cross was hardly explainable. In our wisdom his actions appeared impractical and unrealistic (1 Cor. 1:18). Yet, Christ’s suffering became not only our atonement but also was the eschatological realization of hope in life.

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2017

About the Author: Cletus L. Hull, III, M.Div. (Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry), D.Min. (Fuller Theological Seminary), Ph.D. (Regent University), has served as a pastor with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for 30 years and psychiatric chaplain for 28 years. He also teaches courses in New Testament at Biblical Life Institute in Freeport, Pennsylvania. He has researched the growing Disciples of Christ churches in Puerto Rico and has an interest in the significance of the Stone-Campbell churches in American Christianity. His article, "My Church is a Mental Hospital" appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Healing Line. Twitter: @cletus_hull, Facebook, www.CletusHull.com

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