Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
We want to thank our readers who have been praying for Ray Yungen during his 7-day cancer treatment in the hospital, which we wrote to you about last week. He is finishing that treatment up today and will be released by tomorrow morning. During the treatment, Ray’s white blood count plummeted, and he had to have three blood transfusions. But overall, he did well with the treatment. And with the 98% success rate for people with this kind of leukemia and with so many people praying for him, we are looking forward to seeing Ray’s health greatly improve over the next few weeks and months. Ray is 64 years young and has a lot of motivation to continue on with his ministry for some time to come.
While Ray was in the hospital, he had something happen that has raised that motivation even higher. Here is a synopsis of what happened by a Lighthouse Trails reader who was visiting Ray this past weekend. We think you will understand why it affected him greatly:
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I saw Ray yesterday. He is still managing the chemo well but having difficulty sleeping at night. No nausea, just sleep deprivation is making him feel a little off.
Shortly after I left yesterday, he called, quite distraught that a woman volunteer had walked into his room and offered to do Reiki on him. It shook him up considerably. In his words, “she might as well have been coming at me with a machete.” Adding to that, when he realized that this woman was free to move about the hospital and offer Reiki to the unsuspecting and vulnerable, it brought him to tears. By contrast, he noted, if someone else was to ask to go room to room and offer to pray with patients, that would not be allowed. Reiki is no less spiritual, but because it is seen as only therapeutic and not the dangerous spiritual practice that it is . . . it marches in, uncontested. It took him back because he assumed that it might be a “service” that a patient could request, but he was not prepared to have her march right into his room unannounced. On Tuesday, he hopes to be more prepared to have a conversation with the main organizer. They show up 2 or 3 times a week. Please pray for him as he is given this opportunity.
By the way, I work in the office of a Christian school. As I was going through the catalogs that come our way, on the ACSI catalog (Assoc. of Christian Schools Intl.) in a bold title across the top read “Spiritual Formation.” I took it to Ray yesterday, and he read it cover to cover and is dismayed that it has reached the elementary schools. Of course, old news at seminaries, colleges, churches, but now the elementary Christian schools. He acknowledged it is the subject of an upcoming booklet.
Dear Lighthouse Trails friends:
Last week, our author Ray Yungen was diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia, a rare form of leukemia. Ray has had a blood disorder since he was very young and was actually told by a doctor over twenty years ago that he had only six months to live. Praise God, the Lord had other plans for Ray Yungen! But in the last year or so, he has been feeling more and more poorly and finally headed to the doctor, only to be given this diagnosis. The good news (actually great news) is that if one is going to have leukemia, this is the best kind to have—out of those who receive treatment for this kind of leukemia, 98% fully recover or go into long-time remission. Yesterday, Ray was admitted into the hospital in Salem, Oregon where a 7-day chemotherapy treatment was started. We have every hope and expectation that he will be in that 98% bracket. However, he may get very sick this week while in the hospital receiving treatment, and we come to our faithful readers who have prayed for other Lighthouse Trails authors over the years and ask you to please keep him in prayer during these next seven days.
It was through Ray that Lighthouse Trails got its start as you can read about here. We are forever grateful to the Lord for Ray and how he has brought the warning of the contemplative prayer movement to the church in this current day.
Thank you in advance for your prayers.
The Editors at Lighthouse Trails
NEW BOOKLET: How to Know if You Are Being Spiritually Abused or Deceived—A Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire
NEW BOOKLET: How to Know if You Are Being Spiritually Abused or Deceived—A Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire by Chris Lawson is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is a portion of the content of the booklet. The full booklet has 101 questions. To order copies of How to Know if You Are Being Spiritually Abused or Deceived—A Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire, click here.
By Chris Lawson
Do you know a loved one, a neighbor, or a co-worker who is in a cult or an abusive church or group? Or perhaps you yourself are in such a situation. The Spiritual-Abuse Questionnaire in this booklet will help shed light on this issue.
Spiritual abuse occurs when a leader, a church, or a belief system, whether well intentioned or not, dominates, manipulates, or castigates individuals and even entire families through fear tactics, mind control, or some other psychological or emotional abuse.
Sadly, the mask of spiritual abuse deception can be worn by anyone. The following two Scriptures are reflective of what happens when the position of authority is abused within a spiritual/church setting (e.g., self-exaltation, heavy-handed leadership, etc).
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means [by their own authority]; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5:31)
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. (3 John 9-10)
It is my hope that this booklet will help people who have been through or are experiencing things similar (or worse) to what my family and I personally experienced years ago.
If you have been spiritually abused, take heart; the true Jesus desires to help and heal you as He has helped countless others.
Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire
This questionnaire is designed to help the reader think through a number of areas he or she may have never seriously considered before. As you read each question, circle either YES or NO. When you reach the end, go back through the list and prayerfully consider the questions you have answered YES to.
Answering YES to any of the following questions may be an indication of an unhealthy problem in your group or with your leaders. Answering YES to more than just a few questions is a definite cause for concern.
If this is the case, it is recommended that you take a much closer look into your group or organization’s history, purpose, and goals. Observe closely the methods, activities, and lives of the leaders. Are they using abusive and manipulative tactics on people?
The basic Yes or No questions of this questionnaire enable the reader to think critically on his or her own—something generally not allowed in abusive systems.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please note also that while this booklet can be a useful tool in helping to bring clarity to difficulties in a church or ministry, the questions offered here should also be tempered with careful thought and godly counsel. Answering yes to just a few questions does not automatically mean you are in a cult or abusive situation. One thing for certain is that every church or group is composed of fallible people who are not always as loving as they should be. Nor should we expect to be in a place where there is no authority over us. Be reflective, therefore, to your answers to the following questions with the goal of being fair to both your church or group and to yourself.
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CHURCH OR GROUP’S LEADERS
- Are you in any way fearful of your leader(s)? YES / NO
- Does your church or group revolve around one main charismatic personality who is the final arbiter of “truth”? YES / NO
- Do your leaders make claims of being “Anointed,” having “Elijah’s Mantle,” having “Apostolic Authority,” etc.? YES / NO
- Does the main leader or the leaders in your church or group always insist that they are right? YES / NO
- Does your group, church, or movement employ a corrupted modern-day version of the Moses/Aaron style of leadership where the pastor/leaders allegedly—by themselves—hear directly from God, like Moses? (This form of leadership is unlike the balanced plurality of elders found in the New Testament.) YES / NO
- Does the pastor/leader of your group, church, or movement surround himself with “people-pleasers” rather than with qualified men whose personal and public lives maintain the biblical leadership characteristics as found in I, II Timothy and Titus? YES / NO
- Is you group, church, or movement set up like a pyramid, with a hierarchy—with one single man at the top? YES / NO
- Are you discouraged or prohibited from freely asking questions about the background of your leader(s) and your group? YES / NO
- If so, are you looked down upon and considered to be divisive? YES / NO
- Would you be rebuked or chastised/punished by your leader(s) if you researched the background and history of the group and its leader(s)? For instance, would doing a background check on your leader be considered “disloyal” or “sinful”? YES / NO
- Are you discouraged or prohibited from freely discussing teachings, “prophecies,” or so-called new revelations that your group leader(s) has/have stated in the past or present? YES / NO
- Are you allowed to ask your leader(s) questions regarding their background in ministry, education, teaching, policies, etc.? If not, why? YES / NO
- Do you view those who are assisting your group or church pastor/leader as ones who simply “do what they are told” rather than people who can rationally think for themselves and if need be would not be afraid to confront the main leader(s) if questionable practices/teachings arise? YES / NO
- Are the leaders of your group, church, or organization above reproach (without blame) in morals, ethics, teaching, and the handling of your groups finances? How do you know? YES / NO
- Do any of your leaders have a criminal record? YES / NO
- Would your leader(s) allow you to freely ask questions or research their background in order to find out if they have a criminal record? If not, why? YES / NO
- Has anyone in your group ever tried to persuade you to NOT research the personal background of the leaders? YES / NO
- When issues are brought up about abusive situations, do your leaders say, “You just need to have more faith!” or, “You are being disloyal to leadership!”? YES / NO
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR GROUP AND ITS TEACHINGS
- Do you feel your group twists or takes Scripture out of its historical context and consistently or often misapplies Bible verses? YES / NO
- Does your group or church “allegorize” and “spiritualize” Scripture instead of utilizing a literal, grammatical, historical approach to interpreting documents, like you would in any legitimate Bible college or court of law? YES / NO
- Are you told what you will believe; and is questioning authority and doing further research on your own, aside from the group, discouraged or frowned upon? YES / NO
- Are you guided through the Bible by your leaders but at the same time not allowed to study the Scriptures on your own, apart from the group or organization’s own published materials? YES / NO
- Do your leaders claim to receive “new revelations,” a special “anointing,” and so-called “words” or messages from God? YES / NO
- Do your leaders withhold or avoid providing you and your group with a written “Statement of Beliefs” or “Statement of Faith”? YES / NO
- If you attend a group that is a recognized charity organization, have the leaders illegally withheld from you the organizations written bylaws when you have asked for a copy? YES / NO
- Is it difficult to get a straight answer from the group leader(s) on the group’s teachings? YES / NO
- Is your group secretive about any of its teachings, practices or meetings? YES / NO
- Does your group take “oaths” or have you commit to unrealistic expectations? YES / NO
- Are your leaders ever “harsh” in tone with you, or do you ever feel like an animal that is “driven hard”? YES / NO
- Have you been taught, told, or commanded not to share any of the teachings, doctrines, or practices that your group is involved in? YES / NO
- At any time of involvement with your group, have you ever been instructed to cut all ties with the past, with relatives (spouse, children, in-laws, etc.), or with friends? YES / NO
- Do your leaders favorably quote and endorse known false teachers and false teachings in their own sermons/teachings, messages, and materials? YES / NO
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR GROUP OR CHURCH’S POLICIES
- Does your group have any written or unwritten policies that allows leaders to use threats, pressures to conform, bribes, intimidation, verbal abuse, out-loud shaming, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or substance abuse, etc.? YES / NO
- Is foul language (cussing) or public humiliation used in any way as part of the public or private teaching within your group? YES / NO
- Would you say that your church or group has an extreme policy or guidelines for “disciplinary actions”? YES / NO
- Is, or could, your group’s policy on “discipline” be dangerous, illegal, or abusive in any way? YES / NO
- Do you think law enforcement officials would have a problem with the disciplinary guidelines and/or practices of your church, group, or organization? YES / NO
- Does your group restrict you from “visiting” other churches? YES / NO
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR GROUP’S LITERATURE AND MULTIMEDIA
- Do you rely completely, without question, upon the literature and information that your church/group gives you—for your own spiritual growth? YES / NO
- Will you be disciplined if you ever, at any time, listen to, read, or view literature and multi-media materials that are not from your group, church, or organization? Materials could include such things as books, journals, tracts, magazines, newsletters, CDs, DVDs, audio cassettes, videos, websites, etc. YES / NO
- Are you only allowed to use study aids, books, etc. that are from your group or organization? YES / NO
- Have your leaders ever told you that all Bible study materials outside of your group are considered worldly, bad, apostate, “of the devil,” or evil? YES / NO
QUESTIONS ABOUT MORALS AND ETHICS, HEALTH, AND CONSCIENCE
- Are you emotionally dependent on or require the “approval” of your leaders for what you do—what you eat, what you wear, where you go, what you say, who you spend time with, who you marry, the music you listen to, etc.? YES / NO
- Do you feel as though your life (or ministry) is being “micromanaged” by others? YES / NO
- Are your leaders cruel, vindictive, intimidating, or overbearing? YES / NO
- Do any of your leaders justify sexual immorality by telling you or anyone else things like “God told me it is okay for us to do this,” or “The Lord revealed this to me,” or “No one will ever know”? YES / NO
- Have you ever been instructed, led, forced, or coerced into any type of sexual activity with any of your group’s leaders—or anyone else in the church, group, or organization? YES / NO
- Are you or have you ever been commanded, forced, coerced, extorted, or manipulated into financial giving, tithing, “sowing your seed-faith offering,” etc.? YES / NO
QUESTIONS ABOUT MAKING PERSONAL CHOICES
- Do you feel you are manipulated when making personal choices about diet, clothing, time commitments, church/group service, tithing, friendships, dating, spouses, purchases, etc.? YES / NO
- Are choices ever made by any of your leaders that go against your own conscience? YES / NO
- Do authority figures within your group ever demand answers from you or use threats to get their way? YES / NO
- Do your leaders or the group-dynamics implemented in your group make you feel as though you cannot come and go as you please; meaning, you feel as though you’re expected to be at all or most of the meetings, and if you are not, you are in trouble? YES / NO
- If you are experiencing abuse in any way, very likely you are fearful or nervous about leaving your group, church, or organization. Are you fearful in any way that if you left, you would be hounded and harassed? YES / NO
- Do your leaders, or the group itself by consensus, make choices to involve you in things that you don’t like or would prefer not to be a part of? YES / NO
- Are you pressured, manipulated, or coerced into making decisions—any decisions at all—regarding anything with the group and its leaders, members, and activities? YES / NO
- Do you feel guilty or “dirty” after making decisions because . . . “that is just what our group does”? Or, is the proverbial “red flag of conscience” waving inside of your heart and mind saying, “This is just not right at all,” or, “This is weird” or, “We should not be doing or allowing this!”? YES / NO
- Is pressure put upon you in any way to avoid “outside information” about your group—like online reviews, assessments, and critical essays that contain quotes from your leaders and/or your organization’s published resources? YES / NO
- Are you fearful that if you make an accidental “wrong choice” your leaders will punish you or purposefully humiliate you in front of your peers, family, or the group/church congregation? YES / NO
- Have you ever been punished or abused in any of the following ways: Physically abused, out-loud verbal shaming in front of others, given the non-verbal “silent treatment,” given coded non-verbal abuse such as “the look,” financially mistreated or extorted and as a result suffered financial repercussions, sexually abused in any way, emotionally manipulated, purposefully betrayed, been the victim of sexual innuendos, spousal divisiveness, etc.? YES / NO
- Are spoken or unspoken must-obey “dress code rules” implemented in your group, and, if broken, will this lead to “disciplinary action”? (This is beyond simple personal modesty in dress in social, cultural, and cross-cultural settings.) YES / NO
- If you are a woman, are you taught or commanded that you absolutely must wear long skirts, have long hair, avoid all make-up, and wear a head covering in order to please God? Will you be chastised or considered “carnal” if you do not comply with these rules? YES / NO
- If you are a woman, do your group leaders tell you that you are to submit to your husband no matter what he does to you or tells you to do even if it is illegal or physically, sexually, or emotionally abusive to you or your children? YES / NO
- If you are a husband and father, are your church leaders overly involved in telling you what to do with your wife and children (beyond the normal parameters of biblical counseling and advice)?
This has been a portion of this booklet. In the full booklet, there are 101 questions. You may purchase a copy of the booklet in its entirety by clicking here. The cost for one booklet is $1.95 (quantity discounts for 6 or more copies)
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
SHAMANISM? A recent Columbus Ohio magazine had a story about a reiki center. Among other “professional therapies” offered at that location was “shamanic services.” Shamanism is defined by Webster’s as: “religion . . . characterized by belief in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits responsive only to the shaman.”
It’s interesting that reiki practitioners (including ones billed as “Christian reiki”) tend to speak in terms of “energies” and deny the fact that reiki has anything to do with actual spirits; yet now, facilities offering “therapies” like reiki might also offer shamanic healing, which is openly acknowledged as a calling on/connecting with spirits.
Until now (at least, in my experience) references to shamans were pretty subtle. Tiny blurbs in the occasional magazine. But this week, thumbing through the newest issue of a little New Age mag . . . whoa! Several stories/ads about shamans/shamanic healing. In one ad, the shaman even promises to “make death an ally.” (No thanks.)
I decided to search “Christian shaman” online—hoping to come up empty. But I spotted several references. Shaman, sorcerer, witch doctor, medium . . . whatever you want to call it . . . It makes me so sad to think of people engaging a mediator to connect to lesser “spirits,” when everyone is invited to go directly to THE Spirit, the Lord Almighty Himself.
Lynn Lusby Pratt (name used with permission)
Lighthouse Trails is the distributor for a film called I’ll Never Go Back. It’s the testimony of a former shaman who is now in Christ. Because shamanism is taking the same path as contemplative spirituality, we encourage you to watch a clip of this film below. And if you know someone who is involved with any kind of meditation, then get the DVD if you can and share it with that person.
I’ve had several emails asking about Pilates as a form of exercise and if it’s connected to a spirituality as yoga is? While on the subject of exercise related questions I’ve also addressed some of your inquiries about worship music accompanying fitness programs, mind control and focused breathing practices, tapping into “oneness” and “God-power”, holistic ideology and “God-glorifying exercise videos and fitness programs! A LOT of topics so let’s begin with Pilates….
Pilates gets its name from its originator and founder German born, Joseph Pilates. It’s a workout program incorporating many elements he drew from his studies into Eastern (Yoga and Zen) philosophies and Western (Roman and Greek) forms of physical fitness. He called his regime “controlology,” which he claims is the “science of control”, and borrowed some basics from Hinduism’s Yoga which is foundational to Hinduism’s religious philosophy.
Similar to Yogic practice, Pilates emphasizes the importance of focused breathing patterns and intense concentration and mind control as integral to the Pilates regime. Exercises are given names like “elephant” and “swan” much like yoga positions, or asanas have names like camel, cat and cobra.
I realize this can sound like hair splitting: what’s wrong with giving names to exercises and emphasizing mind concentration? Well, is mind concentration really physical exercise? Is self-hypnosis and visualization part of physical wellbeing? Physical and mental lines are getting blurred as body-mind-spirit ideology is accepted as legitimate!
Hinduism claims yoga is a science which becomes confusing, as the true meaning of true science is being redefined. Its original function is the systematic study of the physical and natural through controlled observation and experiment. When a philosophy or mind-control technique claims to be scientific, it shifts the true meaning to now embrace the subjective study of a philosophy based on metaphysical and supernatural aspects which must, by definition, be open to another type of observation into the spirit world, and spirits and their behavior which can’t be controlled. (For further explanation about shifting science and its behavioral ramifications to society read my book The Evolution Conspiracy)
Yoga’s basic premise is that focused breathing patterns are essential for both physical and spiritual wellbeing and the benefits of breathing correctly can be used to “invoke” better wellness all round, physically and spiritually. Invoke, obviously is a type of prayer and appeal to the spirit world which brings with it powers and experiences which, from a Biblical point of view, come with dangers because their source is corrupt. Within Eastern thinking such invocations to the spirit world are of good advantage and beneficial. Eastern philosophy teaches the mind must vacate the body (stop thinking, still the mind, go into neutral) for the spirit within to be awakened. The Bible teaches the mind must be harnessed to God’s Word for protection against spirits who want to take possession of the body and the heart must be guarded for the same reason. To continue reading, click here.
“Are you looking for reliable, Christ-centered information and healing that is safe, affordable and that really does work? Are you sick & tired of being sick & tired? Are you a healer or are you searching for effective healing that is Christ-centered? You have found your tribe.”
So says Tammy Anderson Ward, President of Hope Haven Events, who presents the “Christ-Centered Energy Healing Conferences.” If Christ-centered energy healing sounds like an oxymoron, that’s because it is. And all one needs to do is cruise around on the website to see that the nature of these conferences is blatantly New Age. But we’ll get to that in a little bit. The group is reaching out to a broad audience and is being billed as “the world’s largest Christ-centered energy healing conference;” but what caught the attention of Lighthouse Trails and author Ray Yungen more than anything is that they are reaching out to homeschool kids and parents, a traditionally conservative segment of the population.
It’s understandable that Tammy Anderson Ward is trying to reach homeschool families, she is a homeschool mom who has eight children, and we don’t doubt that she loves her children very much and seems to be a person of good will. But when you hear what these events are promoting, we think you will agree that this should NOT be called “Christ Centered.”
In the video below, Tammy Anderson Ward explains how her family got involved with energy healing.
What is energy healing? For those of you reading this who have been reading material from Lighthouse Trails for some time, you know that energy healing is supernatural in nature and is generally connected with an occultic worldview. In Ray Yungen’s booklet titled The Truth About Energy Healing, he explains how energy healing is tied in with the chakras, which are said to be “energy centers” or “spinning balls of psychic energy.” The chakras are the basis for energy healing. The energy healer places his or her hands on or over (touch is not necessary) the patient, and this energy is transferred from the practitioner to the patient. It is believed by energy healers that the chi energy connects everything together. This may sound like science fiction or something completely surreal, but after years of study and research, Ray Yungen has come to the conclusion that this transferred energy is demonic because of the underlying belief that God is in all things and man is divine. There are many theologians in the church who would agree with his assessment.
Evangelical Christianity has always presented healing in a religious sense (i.e., we pray to God and ask Him to heal with His power, not a power within ourselves that we learn to manipulate and utilize). New Age healing is always presented in a therapeutic context. In other words, it’s something you tap into or learn to do (which explains the need for conferences – you have to go there and learn to do it). Some may be thinking right now that perhaps Tammy Anderson Ward is merely calling her techniques energy healing but does not bring chakras into the picture. A study of speakers she invites to her conferences throws that assumption out the window. On the Christ Centered Energy Healing store site, there is a section selling products from past conferences. Here are some of the titles: Chakras and the Armor of God, Chakras: Know Your Energy Centers, The Spirit of the Chakras, Are Chi and Chakras for Christians? (no doubt, this speaker says yes), and Energy Healing: Dance to Heal Your Chakras. If you feel like you have just been read a list of New Age titles, we hope this news article we are writing will deeply concern you.
This past March, Hope Haven held a “Christ Centered Energy Healing” conference in Mesa, Arizona. Some of the seminars that were offered were: Creating Health: The New Era, Healing Games to Play With Your Children, Crystal Connections: Another of Heaven’s Tools, Group Energy Healing, The Peace & Power of BE-ing Present, and Sailing into the 5th Dimension, Gracefully. By the way, the 5th dimension is referring to the altered state of consciousness reached during deep meditation. Sheena Davis, one of the presenters at March’s conference, taught a workshop called Healing Methods for everyone. The website describes the class:
In the following YouTube video, you can learn more about Reiki (one of the more popular forms of energy healing):