Growing A Chapter – Northern Indiana Style

As we all have experienced, growing a chapter is one of our greatest challenges! It’s never an easy task being a leader and having the right chemistry that not only draws others into the chapter, or even maintains its size, but having a group of individuals that enjoy getting together. The Northern Indiana Chapter has a group of riders that are a “hoot”! They love to ride and they love having fun!! It shows in how they are growing in number, and the way they all express themselves to each other. This chapter is made up of members from several churches…representing several Apostolic organizations…and they example the core ASR mentality that we can break down walls for the sake of winning souls.

I was honored to be invited to the first Annual Meeting for this chapter. Bro Tony Sell has been laboring to grow this group for a couple years and now he is seeing the fruits of his labor. Bro Sell has been working with me and has done an exemplary job of follow up with contacts that I would throw his way, and he, along with his wife, have tirelessly taken on the challenge of “selling” ASR to others in their region. Over the next few months, I (along with the ASR Board’s approval) will be handing over the Indiana Region to Bro Sell. I will be at his service, and want to publicly say that he will do a greater job than I as he grows into this next level of leadership!

The membership of the Northern Indiana Chapter, and their newly elected positions, are as follows; Tony Sell (Indiana Regional Coordinator), Pastor Mark Cotrill, Thomas Bailey, Elmer Miller, Terry Matheny (President), Jon Weber (VP/Road Captain), Serrena Weber (Sec/Treasurer), and Thomas Roberts. We tried to vote on a “Court Jester” but it seemed that they all received a 100% vote, so we had to appoint them all for that position! (Inside Joke)

 

If there is any take away that all chapters  can glean from, that would help us all grow in number, it would be comradery. Some of the members leave for months at a time, some have jobs that take them away for days and weeks, and some have been through tragedy. Through all of the busyness of life, they still make an attempt to get together each month for a time of fellowship. You feel the love for one another and a respect for their brothers and sisters, and a grand respect for God and the ministry of their local assemblies.

I wish to congratulate them all on a job well done, and I’m sure we all have not heard the last from this chapter!!

Illiana Regional Coordinator (outgoing)
International Chaplain
Mark A Hardin

A Directive, A Trial, A Question

Let’s start with a very familiar story in Scripture…

Mark 4:35-40, “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”

When someone else is going through the storm, its very easy for us to look on with passive judgement and use the person’s trial as an example of what “not to do”. But, when it is me (or you), then we are challenged with doubt, fear, anxieties, hopelessness, and all sorts of negative emotions. When the wind is easy breeze and smooth sailing with sleepy little waves, we tend to think we have great faith that can move mountains. But, when the winds of life begin to toss us like a little bobber, it is easy to question who and what we are.

The transition from powerful faith to tremendous doubt can happen in just a few seconds when confronted with a bad report. The emotional rollercoaster of life can be thrilling and at the same time exhausting! Let me assure you…its natural!

We see in the above Passage three things that we can draw from and apply to our situations going on right now. First, Jesus said “Let us pass over unto the other side”. It was a directive. More than ever before, we need to hear the voice of the Lord clearly for our own lives. Not just a word for someone else, but we need to know that the Lord has given me a directive. For if Jesus said it,, I believe it, and it is so! It’s a foundation to build on. Its a rock that anchors us when the winds of life start blowing. When God gives a direction to follow, then nothing can detour us or steal the vision from us. Direction is important to having faith when all else seems lost. His directive or command to go is the only thing we can hold on to at times.

Secondly, the storm! All the waves crashing in around us! The one thing we counted on to get us to where we were told to go is now full of the water it was suppose to protect us from. Church trouble. Church family lets us down. The list is endless of what can come against us, but the hardest thing is when the ship of Zion doesn’t seem to have enough sufficiency to keep us from the storm. We feel let down and eventually we find Jesus in the back of the boat (seemingly hid away) and asleep on a pillow. We then ask the question, “Lord, do you care?” The trial seems to be larger than life and instead of the Lord being at the bow of the boat barking out commands, we feel that our compass is spinning out of control, we can’t see the shore because of the tempest all around us, and the Lord is off sleeping somewhere. The trial is always real to the one going through it! No matter if its cancer or a hangnail, to that individual, its real.

Thirdly, Jesus asks the questions “why are you fearful” and “why is it that you have no faith”? I’ve felt the sting of those questions before! For someone that truly believes that God is able to do all things, but when I’m in that vulnerable moment in life when all hell has broke loose, the last thing I want to hear is the probing questions about my fears and lack of faith. Although it hurts, there are times we must hear those words. Faith is challenged when fear enters. The weights of fear either discourage us from exercising in faith, or it will exercise our faith to make it stronger (using a weight lifting analogy). If you are training to become a world Jiu-Jitsu Champion and you are still practicing with a green belt sparing partner, then your “faith” is not being challenged. But, when we step into a ring with the heavy weight champion one must have overcome fear with faith or learn how to dance…and fast! So, don’t shun the questions about fear and faith…embrace them and learn from them.

There are those within our ASR family that have been told that God wants to take them to places where they will do exploits in the Kingdom! Then…about the time they obey…BAM!…the tempest begins to blow and they are reeling from the repeated blows of wind and waves. Their boat seems like it is about to sink from all that they are trying to carry…and then, when they have hit their knees and finally found an audience with Jesus, He needles you with questions about fear and faith. You feel confused from it all…but, I feel led in the Holy Ghost to help you understand that when you get to the destination, there will be demoniacs there who need to be freed and this trial is preparing you to confront them. Don’t curse the directive, nor the trial, and nor the question about your faith. Just know the trial has made you stronger and that your purpose will be embraced. You are being prepared to face devils, and have the faith to know that if God could take me through the storm, He can certainly cause the enemy to flee before you.

May the Lord of Hosts be in your boat through every storm that life brings your way!

International Chaplain
Mark A Hardin

Gift Of Healings

1 Corinthians 12:28-31, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”

I feel led to focus us on the portion of “gifts of healings” this month.

Several years ago, I ask one of my Bible College brothers the question of “Why didn’t our Bible College faculty discuss with us more about our gifting?” This question stemmed from my own heart searching that led to asking what is my gifting. I was almost 50yrs old and was re-considering what my gifting was.

I’ve heard verse 31 quoted many times, implying that we are to “covet earnestly the best gifts…” but we seem to stop there and do not quote “yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” As I pondered this gifting situation, I was challenged with Paul writing to the church in Corinth about the coveting of certain gifts. In his letter to the Corinthians he transitions from speaking about a gifting being from the selfsame Spirit (1 Cor 12:7-13) and all working for the church body as a whole. We have a chapter break from chapter 12 and moving into chapter 13, but in his letter there were no breaks. So, his statement in chapter 12, and verse 31, simply leads into chapter 13 which is the “love chapter”. Without Charity all is for naught! No matter what our gifting, if it doesn’t stand firm on the foundation of love, then all ministry through our gifting is lost.

Gifts of Healings. The word translated as “healings” also can mean, cure or make whole. A gifting to bring wholeness to the body of Christ. James 5:14-15 tells us that if there are any sick among you, call for the elders of the church and they will pray the pray of faith and save the sick. If the gift of healings is listed behind “miracles”, as stated in our subject text, it quite possibly is more than just laying hands on the sick and seeing them healed of physical sickness.

Jesus healed ten lepers and one came back and worshipped him and in doing so, that one was not only healed of leprosy but he was made whole. He was made complete. That one was restored. There was an outward and inward healing that was complete! The other nine still held onto scars that told the horrifying story that they were lepers. But, this one fell at the feet of Jesus and worshipped him and was made as though he never were a leper.

With that said, I’m compelled to reach for my fellow ASR members, and especially to those called as Chaplains and Pastors…those that have stepped into the realm of ministry to people. Not everyone has the gift of healings. Not everyone has a gift to cure and make whole. But, may I challenge us today to accept the gifting from the same Spirit that called us into various administrations of ministry, that we accept and strive to heal. To heal the broken hearted, and to set at liberty the captive. To go beyond the superficial or cosmetic changes of mankind…but for those who come back and worship…those that fall at the feet of Jesus, then we, through the power of the Holy Ghost, can make whole.

This gift of healings goes far beyond the laying on of hands, but it is “hands on”. Its seeking to restore a fallen brother or sister. Its a heart (gifting) that says, I’m not just settling for the miracle of salvation alone, but to press in the spirit realm until we have brought emotional, mental, and spiritual healing to all.

Oh how the church needs more of those who will go beyond the doors of religious pious where we make the outside clean, but, where we go into the hidden rooms of the heart and make a soul complete. To have a burden to heal to the uttermost. To cure, healing all aspects of a believer’s life, to seek to make them complete in Christ Jesus our Lord. To make them Whole.

It is a gifting that few will strive for….the Gift of Healings is for those that love.

Mark A Hardin
ASR International Chaplain

Going Into The Arkansas Highways and Byways

It was an invasion of Razorback territory! It wasn’t planned to be an invasion, but, when you put together a ride and add a group of ASR members that are willing vessels in the Kingdom, then it becomes a Holy Ghost invasion!

Over a year ago, Bro Mike Womack (he is originally from Arkansas) and I began to discuss a “rolling ride” where we would not only experience the Pig Trail and other curvy roads but also reach into the state of Arkansas and attempt to open it up for more ASR membership. Mike set up an ASR table at the 2019 Arkansas Men’s Conference and had a few contacts that we wanted to invite to ride with us. Little did we know that the 16 individuals that road with us would become a Holy Ghost firebrand! The ride started innocently enough…with food! Eating at Lamberts in Sikeston, “the home of the throwed roll”, on Thursday evening. Then up early on Friday to ride 330 miles across Missouri/Arkansas to Eureka Springs, which included a ferry ride across Bull Shoals Lake and a stop off for prayer at a little church in Blue Eye, MO (where our dear friends and fellow members, Bro and Sis Cobbs go to church). Then on Saturday it was the Pig Trail and meandering back across Arkansas to Mountain View, AR, for some bluegrass pick’n and grin’n down on the square! Then…Sunday morning! Oh my, what a Sunday morn’n!!

All through the ride…each stop at convenience stores or restaurants, it seemed as though people were drawn to us. Everyone, young and old, began to put the “Go” in the “Gospel”. Folks stopped us to ask questions. Our riders opened up conversations by just being friendly. The very essence of the ASR membership and what we all stand for…ministry…kicked into gear and it was amazing to watch. By Sunday morning, it was a fire shut up in our bones! Literally!! Four times we had prayer…twice in the parking lot of the hotel…then we stopped at Hardees for breakfast where a couple came in and wanted prayer. We prayed in Hardees and the manager videoed our “commotion” and many were onlookers. We didn’t know if the manager was recording to turn us in or just for the novelty of the moment. But, when she followed us out to the parking lot and began to share that she had been backslid from an Apostolic upbringing for over 25yrs, we knew that this meeting was ordained of God! Prayer clothes were anointed and left with several along the way. Then we went to The Sanctuary in Mountain View and had some kind of church! Fired up and rejoicing in what God had done the past several days. I would not have missed it for anything…my hat is off to all that rode with us, for your sensitivity to the needs of others. And, we praise Jesus for allowing us to be in his service as ministers of this glorious Gospel!

Almost a month later, the feedback from Pastor Mize (Mt View, AR) is that they are still feasting on our visit, and still following up with those that we had met. Here are a few comments from those that were privileged to go on this ride…

“It just seemed that the ASR members that attended this ride went out of their way to, not only greet people, but to witness and pray for many souls. In my opinion, this event exemplifies what ASR is all about…” ~ ASR National President, Robert Thompson

“From our first stop to our last stop, I believe without a doubt God was leading us…What stood out more than anything was the hunger of people/strangers coming up and asking questions and asking for prayer…” ~ Missouri Chaplains Donald and Carmen Hamby

“The experience I got was a Revival Experience!…John 12:32 says, that if He be lifted up the He will draw all men unto Him! We were just the vessels being willing to be used of Him so that hungry, lost, and backslidden souls were touched…the harvest is ripe! Let’s go get them!!” ~ ASR Arkansas Regional Coordinator, Mike and Mandy Womack

“I have never experienced such a hunger from as many people as we saw that Sunday morning in Mountain View. Each one of us were willing vessels, used of God to reach out in prayer and love.” ~ Heaven Bound Hoosiers President/Chaplain Mark Wever

“Wow! Stopping long enough to pray for Bowman Pentecostal Church, its future, its Pastor and congregation, that God would bless it and lead them! Still to this day raises the hair on my arm remembering that experience!” ~ ASR Member (Rogers, AR) Troy Shaffer

“This was our first ASR ride, and we weren’t really sure what to expect. We were impressed by the comradery of the group and its acceptance of new riders. We’d heard about the ministry side but the “half had not been told!” ~ ASR Road Captain Toledo IL Chapter Gregg Johnson

As you can see, we were blessed to have been a part of something Jesus led and directed! As I watch the Biker Sundays and the various rides all around the world, I’m blessed to see this same Spirit being exampled throughout this amazing organization!! We can truly sing the song, “Your my brother, your my sister…together we will work until He comes. There’s no foe that can defeat us, because we are walking (riding) side by side…”

Until Jesus returns and we all take that last ride into the heavens!
ASR International Chaplain,
Mark A Hardin

The Ministry of “Helps”

1 Corinthians 12:28, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”

Many, when preaching about church government and the strength of a church body, will begin with Ephesians 4:11, instead of the above passage. Both Scriptures focus our attention on the gifting of members, while Paul writes to the Ephesians, he makes the bold statement about what the list of five are for…

Ephesians 4:12-13, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”

There is a slight difference in message to the church in Corinth. It seems that the emphasis isn’t as much on perfecting and growing as it is in nurturing and allowing the gifts to work within the church body.

The English word “Helps” is only used twice in all of Scripture. The one used here to the Corinthians has a root word that indicates “Relief”. Each individual is to use our gifting to help by providing relief to the rest of the body. The other time “Helps” is used is found in Acts 27:17, and its root meaning has more of a binding up or securing or supporting by using ropes or chains. The Passage in Acts is when the ship was about to fall apart and “Helps” were needed to keep the ship from inevitable destruction.

As I looked at these passages in light of the work of a Chaplain, the Lord began to impress upon me that we are to become “Helps”. It should be our goal to be a balm that brings relief to members of the body…and at times, when disaster hits people’s lives, a chaplain becomes spiritual ropes and chains that bind and secure the hurting and broken.

We are “Helps”! We may not be listed as one of the five elite ministries, but the steady work of a Chaplain will bind up the wounded and help bring relief to stressful situations. Where we will shine the most is when we are needed the most. Because we will bring a calming to a stressed member of the body.

Pray that you may become “Helps” in these trying days where the enemy would desire to kill, steal, and destroy the weakening vessels.

Chaplain Hardin
Azusa StreetRiders International Chaplain