Medical update and questions I’m asking

PrintHere’s an update on my medical condition and how it has me thinking.

After five weeks of vocal problems a specialist let me know that I have a cyst on my left vocal fold that is damaging the right vocal fold every time I talk. I’m sure you can imagine all the thoughts that go through the mind of someone who uses their voice for a living. Obviously, it must be removed as soon as possible, and surgery is 9 days from now.

Practically, this means I must severely limit my speaking until the cyst is removed, and for several weeks following. So for the next month this extremely extroverted pastor will only be able to speak a few words per hour. I can’t quite express just how humbling and discouraging this has been. This means my wife will need to lead our eight children without my verbal support for most of the rest of the year. Our staff will have to endure the inconvenience of text communication. And it will be several months before I am back to full capacity. This assumes everything goes as planned.

My friend Brian asked a great question. Do you sense this is God trying to change your focus or the devil trying to threaten your calling?

How would you answer that?

Many Christians, of course, would say this is quite simple. Of course this is the devil. God gives abundant life, the enemy steals, kills, and destroys. Fight. Resist the devil in this. Others have a different emphasis. God is sovereign. He is a good shepherd and you can trust that nothing happens in this universe outside of his control. Relax. Submit to God in this.

This is why I appreciate how James exhorts us in both directions in the same verse: “Submit to God. Resist the devil.” (James 4:7)

It is a petty theology that makes no room for affliction and God’s ability to use it for his purposes and our good. If God wants someone like me to shift direction, or give myself to solitude, or re-examine my pace, or spend more time writing, or watching, or evaluating, or praying – I would love for him to send that message in a more enjoyable package. Like a fortune cookie. But honestly, I’m not sure I’d be listening. But I am now. I submit to God.

At the same time, it is an incomplete theology that leads us down a path of passivity where we settle for unholy fatalism. Paul had a thorn in his flesh – and he asked for it to be removed. God said no – so he asked again. God said no again – and he asked again. Jesus commanded us to ask and keep on asking, to seek and keep on seeking, to knock and keep on knocking. James 4:2 says our big problem is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer. “You have not…” not because it is not the will of God, but “because you ask not.” Thus, when it comes to difficult circumstances and our enemy the devil, we need to have a gear to get on our knees and fight. Jesus rebuked fevers as well as storms and demons. I’m with Jesus, and I’ll agree with anybody rebuking this cyst. I resist the devil.

This helps free me up to pray. Look at this.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Brilliant. Do you have a desire? Ask … with thanksgiving. Do you want to start a company? Ask … with thanksgiving. Do you want children? Ask … with thanksgiving. Do you want a thorn (or a cyst) removed? Ask! Our failure to bring our desires to God is beyond foolish. I’ve often thought that if Eve wanted more variety in the Garden, I bet God would have created something new – if she would have simply asked. But she didn’t. She was too distracted with what God had not done. Can you see why praying WITH thanksgiving is so incredibly wise? It causes you to meditate on the fullness of God instead of the lack of your circumstance.

Give thanks.

This is my “request”: May it be in my life on earth as it is in heaven. I ask God to remove the cyst, restore the voice, and amaze the doctors. I believe for healing, so we have 9 days to avoid a knife on my throat!  Yet I also ask for Him to do His work in my soul, not just my body, so that he will in every way be my first love. I bring him my fear, discouragement, and doubts, but I come with thanksgiving … mindful that Jesus is the healer, His blood is sufficient, and He carried away our infirmities on the greatest Tree we call the Cross.

I truly covet your prayer. “To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.” (Ephesians 6:18-19)

25 Comments »

  1. Well Well Well, Jesus has done it again! Whew!! I feel like praising god; The blood of the Lamb that was shed Calvary has cleansed and made whole! My my My!! What a mighty we serve!!! Pastor Mike, you have a test-ti-mony!! Tell it!!! Jesus breaks every chain. Why? You went to see the King, and He made all things well!!!!!!!!!!! Hallelujah!!!! Praise His Holy Name!!!!!”Let everything that has breath; praise the Lord!!!!

  2. My Brother, I want to write and encourage you because I have been in your place. On November 29, 2004 through December 2005, my vocal cords were paralyzed. Being in the ministry, as a Christian Therapist, I to made my living speaking. Some people will look to find the devil, in any situation, but for me those 14 month were directed by the “hand of God”. The “quiet” taught me an intimacy with God that I had never experienced, even after being in the ministry for well over a decade. Andrew Murray called it, “intercourse with God”. During that time, I learned to set boundaries in my life and ministry. I learned how to relax. How to breathe and speak properly. But more importantly, I could hear the “heart of God”. When it was all over, God opened the door in areas of ministry that have been amazing. I have a daughter at UF and have visited your church, and listened to many of your sermons on line, If it would be a benefit to you or your family, I would be honored to meet with you and help in anyway that I can. You can go to pathwaycounselingministry.com and send me an email if there is anything I can do. I am praying for you. Brother, this can be the most amazing time of your life and ministry.

  3. Psalm 16:7-9 & vs.11 (amp. Bible)

    “I will bless the Lord, Who has given me counsel; yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory (my inner self) rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety.”

    vs. 11 “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures for ever more.”

    Pastor John Kilpatrick of Church of His Presence & Brownsville Revival is also building a new church. This is his 3rd church he has built. He shared whenever he has bought land (taken back territory from enemy) & possessed it for the Lord; there has always been spiritual warfare – a fray because demonic forces are threaten & stirred up. Pastor Mike the Lord is with you! No weapon formed against you will prosper!

    I declare Isaiah 59:19 over you.
    “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

    Pastor Lastinger taught us many years ago this is the correct punctuation in this scripture.
    God’s shalom to you and your family. You are loved mighty warrior!

  4. Philippians chapter 1 verse 6: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

  5. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” 2 Cor 4:17

    Even if this post is all that is born of this affliction, it was worth it. Your words touched my heart. This is a message that so many need to hear. We serve a great big God, may He heal you in His time, in His way. Amen.

  6. Pastor Mike – When I first heard your news I was distraught. But then the Lord reminded me of His promises toward you and this city. I believe we are on the brink of revival…maybe even this year! God has given you the good news before your “bad report” that FA (Greenhouse) would be in revival and help lead our city into revival! A revival that would touch the world! Many are fasting and praying for you. I am one. Intercession is as never before; people crying out, hungry for God’s presence, a touch for the living God in a deeper measure in our lives. We want to experience the full gospel of the new testament! We want more!!! To me the timing is remarkable! This intercession going forth on your behalf and revival is the springboard of this revival I believe. I asked Lord for a Rhema word for you. (amp. bible)

    Habakkuk 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth hush and keep silence before Him.” Waiting on God is a vital part of prayer. And waiting for Him vital to our relationship with Him. God will help you and Ruth through this. Stand, believe in His love and mighty promises to you personally and as a pastor. Whose report will you believe? Do not let fear come between you and God’s love for you! Fear is a spirit that tries to distract us from the beautiful & powerful promises of God. Oh how He loves you!
    Habakkuk is able to say: 3:18-19 “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will rejoice in the (victorious) God of my salvation! (Rom. 8:37)
    vs. 19: The Lord is my strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk (not stand in terror but to walk) and make (spiritual) progress upon high places (of suffering, or responsibility)!

    Rise up Oh mighty precious man of God! Fight the good fight of faith! Battle is the Lord’s. Humbling ourselves with prayer & fasting and waiting on the Lord…brings the Kingdom of God!!! Recently I visited Church of His Presence in Mobile Ala. with Pastor John Kilpatric who has been given mandate from Lord to help bring revival to America. Recently Lord has given him powerful & encouraging prophetic words for the church (body of Christ worldwide). If we will receive and believe. Please visit http://www.churchofhispresence.org. I personally have been experiencing a season of revival and restoration in my own life as a result of receiving/believing these life giving words. Including healing for Caroline and restoration of my life. I hope this encourages you! I love you & your family! 🙂

  7. Praying for physical healing, and that in the meantime- this time of quiet would be a blessing and somehow filled with peace and enjoyment for you and your precious family.

  8. Either way, be encouraged that if it is the power of satan trying to stop you that what he meant for a curse, The Lord will make a blessing. Your pastors get the opportunity to step up (although they have been phenomenal every other time) and take the lead to preach to your sheep. This time might make them better leaders and reach the people like they never have before.

    I trust that you will trust God to bring goodness in this situation 🙂 I’ll be praying for you and your family! His will be done.

  9. Wow. Great post. I struggle with that juxtaposition of God’s will vs. Satan’s schemes vs. my shortcomings. I never know how to pray for things I want because I wonder if my will is aligned with His. I’d hate to “pray myself out of” something better He has for me because of my shortsightedness.

    Anyway, enough about me, I’ll be praying for you. You’re a great man of God.

  10. I thank you so much for you humility and submission! God has never let down those he loves. My heart and my prayers are with you and I speak healing to your voice. I know God will prosper you and even in this trial He wants to build you and the leadership of Greenhouse Church for this next move with building the new campus. The enemy can never silence what God has spoke and since He has prospered Greenhouse he will prosper you! The Father knows where you have set your foundation and He is only allowing this because He knows it will not break you nor will it hinder anything he has set for you! He has to continue to refine you so He can seat you in the next HUGE step that you have been praying for day and night in secret! Although you may not be able to speak in your family God is going to speak through your children and Ruthy so continue to always be in tune to his voice because he is leading you and your family. May the Jesus Bless you Pastor Mike for his grace is sufficient!

  11. Pastor Mike, I had a problem similar to yours about 13 years ago. I was pregnant and found out that I had a vocal cord problem. I had to endure the pregnancy not being able to have any major kind of testing done and in the same time frame heard a story of a friend of a friend that had a problem like mine and he ended up having a brain tumor that was causing his vocal problems. I am sure you can imagine how I felt, wondering “what if” while I was pregnant – of course praying for the best because we couldn’t be sure it was (or wasn’t) anything serious. Turned out – I was fine. I had a CT scan and an MRI after my son was born and it turned out there was nothing there. They attributed it to a hormonal change during the pregnancy. I tell you this to let you know I’ve experienced the fear of not knowing but also, that it turned out to be nothing serious. Maybe it is a time for you to reflect – only God knows, but you are right to submit – to see what you can attain from this form of “solitude” for lack of a better word. I know that I trust in the power of God’s healing touch to heal your body but I also trust in you to continue to lead your church in a ways that go beyond the spoken word. My family and I will be praying that you are able to be healed; that all will be well. And I’ll continue to look forward to the ways you find to bring the word to us knowing that you have been chosen to lead those of us that can’t necessarily find our own way without a little help from you. It’s what you were put here to do and I will be supporting you through prayer until you come out on the other side of this – ready to take on the fight that has been placed in front of you. You are a wonderful man and I thank God for bringing you into my life! Peace be with you.

  12. Hi pastor Mike. You better believe I’ve been praying!! I’ve asked my mom in st pete to get you on their prayer chain at church too! I have faith you will be healed and I cannot wait to hear the testimony! I recently watched the following sermon. It is from the book of Exodus. It is about how sometimes God will lead us south in order to take us north! God could definitely be bringing something to your attention.. and now you are listening. He could be building your character.. the coolest part… YOU WILL COME OUT OF THIS STRONGER THAN BEFORE! And I think everyone in your life will benefit from and even stronger Mike Patz. Check out this sermon… you will enjoy! Now no more talking until you are healed! 🙂 http://breakawayministries.org/Resources/talks/Heading-South-to-Go-North

  13. Mike, this is rich, this is Godly wisdom you have spoken and that is why I covenant with you to come along beside you and support you in prayer and thanksgiving to God as He is exalted and lifted up in this situation. Blessings on you and your family, I can’t wait to see what He is doing.

  14. Mike, I have been thinking about you and your health for many days. I want to share… I have always felt that when sickness would come my way that it was God’s way of slowing me down to get my attention… My “big one” came Dec 1, 2003 (ten years ago) when I was told I had breast cancer. Took nine months till I felt like I was on the road to getting back to normal life, but it has not been the same. My brother Dan shared with me that being a warrior for God is an up hill (mountain) climb, and at times He provides a shelf to rest on along the way. He is always still character building…  What I’ve learned: God knows the things that are out ahead of you on your path. He wants us focused to get the work done and to glorify Him as we do it. You will come out of this stronger than before and your own heart will amaze you when things come up and you see how you respond… You are more of a warrior than you know. Trust Him with your life! Keep a special journal of just this time 🙂 call it… “More of a Warrior.” As Moses talked to the burning bush he fought with God about his new assignment. Moses showed me I could say anything to God, even if it makes Him angry. God showed Moses that his VOICE was God’s and so is yours! Rest on the shelf of the mountain. Relax! Curl up in His lap as a child would. Focus your eyes on His face and listen, mighty warrior! This is a unique time in your life. He is in love with you! Relax….. (you will heal faster!) kg

  15. Pastor Mike, I stand in agreement with you and give God all glory for supernatural healing, and a strong testimony that will give hope to others facing dire straits in which we must stand unmoved in God’s Word.
    Father, perform Your perfect work in Pastor Mike. Amen.

    Lavon

  16. Didn’t mean to be anonymous … in a rush and missed the place to add my name! Counting all things joy, and wishing you All the Lord’s best in this trying time …

  17. Pastor Mike,
    I am praying for you. I know first hand what you are going thru. Right after I got saved hmmm. I to lost my voice and had to get polyps removed ughhh. I couldn’t speak for 11 days after the operation.The devil is a liar and I am believing for a miracle of complete healing. In the mean while get an erase board and write a book. Why does everyone think your deaf when you can’t talk. Hopefully your children and wife are understanding your language. Quick..You are healed and I can’t wait for the testimony. I love you!!
    Your sister in HIM,
    Terry
    Jacqueline Bakos sister-in case you forgot haha

  18. What a great perspective. We expect nothing less from you. I could tell something was really wrong Saturday at church. Your countenance was not the Pastor Mike we know. Be reminded of the END RESULT of what I told you I saw in a vision. In the words of Wanda from In Living Color, Father God would say, “I gotchu!! You MINE! “

  19. Hi, my name is Brenda Sweat and I joined Greenhouse a couple of months ago. We have never met personally, although, we have said hello on a few occasions. When I heard about what was going on with you, my first thought was the enemy is trying to silence you, to hinder the move of GOD in our Church and to sow doubt and confusion among those who are being brought out of a world of delusion. It is so easy to allow fear and doubt to rob us of our ability to have our lives on earth thrive as they will in heaven. As I am typing this, which was originally intended to be a commitment to pray a prayer of thanksgiving knowing GOD is in control, I am reminded of Job….how his friends came with condemnation, doubt and judgement during his time of trouble. It is interesting, how as I have watched you pastor for the last 1 1/2 years, while I am SURE to serve and further the gospel is your heart, there are times when I look at you and feel… an empathy,,, a desire to just give you uh hug, understanding that you have SOOOOOO much on your plate.(more like a turkey platter actually) I sometimes see a sadness, or look of concern in your continence that is never verbalized but seems to lie underneath.
    You have thousands depending on you and your ability to make the right decisions….in addition to your 8 children and wife.
    While I have seen few as good at delegation and willingness to shared the ‘limelight’, ultimately, you are the go to person, you are the ‘VOICE’ of our church family. It is easy for us to say, hey, hang in there… God is on the throne, trust!!! While it is ‘ok’ for you to take a break because you as a good leader have several in place to carry on your vision, it is no less frightening I am sure. The potential surgery alone much less all the other variables and responsibilities added.
    Find your strength in JOY…. knowing that there in not a devil in hell that can silence you unless God allows it, find you PEACE in knowing that you have prayed and submitted the situation to GOD and that all things WILL work to your good… cause you love Him… find being humbled by this challenge something you can be PROUD of as you set an example of faith and trust… as you children … both physical and spiritual .. watch how you walk this out. May your ears be deaf to all who bring doubt and negativity and may they be open to hearing what the Lord is teaching you in this … and most of all… may LOVE be perfected in your mind and heart and drive out allllll fear!!!
    During this week of thanksgiving, I for one will be praying a prayer of thanksgiving for you and your family, our church and our LORD JESUS CHRIST … who IS the way, to get through this, who brings the truth … that you are His… and who SPEAKS life into us all… including your vocal cords!
    Blessings in HIS name,
    Brenda

  20. Continuing to pray for you, Pastor Mike, and although assaulting the throne for Heaven’s effect on this cyst before intervention is necessary, I am also asking that while you cannot speak, you continue to write. I have been tremendously blessed by your last two blogs, and I will look for more as the days unfold.

  21. Praying for you Pastor Mike. I love this post. “Submit to God. Resist the devil.” Recognizing that it could be either, the solution is always both. If it is God then He has a purpose for this, and it is your job to submit in the way that He teaches us to. If it is the devil and he is trying to harm your ministry, than it is your job to resist. But God also makes all things work towards the good. So even if it is the devil, then you still submit to God as He is sovereign even in this, and He will make this situation work towards the good of those who love Him. Either way, God wins, and either way our solution is always the same. Leaving the “why” to God as He is sovereign (unless He decides to give an answer), and focusing on the solution which He has given us. I have always found that there is always a little bit of both. If it is of God, Satan will resist it; and if it is from Satan, God will oppose it and work good through it. So there is always the need for both sides of this coin to submit and resist.

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