Letter to George Regarding David, May 2001
From Dan Notti and Mark Miller
Dear Brother George:
I wanted to set down in paper the events surrounding David’s stay with me after his return from seeing Chuck Solomon.
David arrived on Monday afternoon and we were able to get together for a couple of hours that evening. We had a wide-ranging discussion about his time with Chuck. I asked him what he had seen during his time there. His statements were limited to descriptions of certain definitions (old man, sin and flesh) and a somewhat intellectual assessment of Chuck’s teaching. He expressed that Chuck had expressed to him that he was a natural born leader, that he should return to preaching in two or three months and that he was one of the few that was preaching the cross in Chuck’s estimation. He also stated that the purpose of his time with me was for me to supplement Chuck’s discussions with him and to "see the change in him." He shared that he had taken a psychological profile test and that he had scored much better than when he was in college. He also recounted his interaction with the people in the churches he visited -- how much they liked him and how he had been such an example to them. He said that they suggested he move back there.
We had a discussion on the new place that the Lord had David – that of being a “contributor” in the gathering rather than a “leader.” We discussed how this would impact his interaction with the saints and the brothers there. We also talked about his success, or lack thereof, of working with the Leading Brothers to build unity and maturity. This arose from a comment Chuck made to him about being “controlling.” He had difficulty seeing how he could be considered controlling – I gave him some examples from situations that I had personal knowledge of. We also talked about how it was possible that David circumvented the “process” of the Lord leading the brothers there by drawing attention to the difference in the emphasis of his ministry to theirs when people came to complain about the brothers’ “preoccupation with attendance of the meetings in the ministry.” We discussed that his representation of their ministry as ‘preaching works’ and his as ‘preaching faith’ would constitute a division in the minds of those who were looking for a reason to criticize the brothers. He seemed to receive this in that he didn’t aggressively refute it.
Throughout our discussion I was looking for some evidence of a significant encounter with the Lord as a result of his time with Chuck. In fact, I was having a bit of a problem reconciling the repeated affirmations of his goodness with Chuck’s comment on the phone, "David has seen he is a perfect failure and is ready to business with God." I was told that David was coming to see me to “consummate the deal.” I wrote Chuck to find out how all this worked together and I received the following response:
I don't quite recognize the description of what was accomplished here. As I told you on the phone, he said he would be more assured that he was doing business with God if he did it with someone that knew him, warts and all. Therefore, I did not go over the Selfer's Prayer in detail but in principle so that he knew what he had to do. He left here knowing that the Holy Spirit had to consummate the work of the Cross in him so that the necessary changes would be made. That was his assignment with you such that you would know if he were serious in making the faith transaction.
I did tell him that once he knew the Cross in his life and everyone could see it so that he was no longer the same person, the name Geftakys would enable him to share it far and wide. However, I don't recall saying that he should be preaching in two or three months, since the change does not show up that quickly in some people. I didn't say this to him but it seems that his diabetes is his life; he did say that he spent 6 hours a day taking care of it. I don't know if this includes the lifting that he does or not. It is obvious that his body takes priority and he has limited time for other pursuits.
I appreciate the update and will pray that God will use you. I did find that he sometimes has diahrrea of the mouth and is hard to stop. Do you think he may use talking as a defense? He seemed to realize that his life must have a drastic change if he were to get his family back, but I was not sure how much it got beyond the intellectual level. Since he apparently didn't realize he was going home to die, from what you say, it seems that it have got no farther.
Thank you so much for letting me know where things stand. I would hope that he sees the futility of standing on self-justification rather than taking it all to the Cross and allowing the Holy Spirit to complete the work. I think you know him well enough not to allow him to get by with it, and that is one reason I wanted you to officiate at the funeral so that he is not buried alive!
On Tuesday morning David and I had breakfast with Mark. Mark asked David how it had gone in Tennessee and David gave him basically the same assessment of his time that he gave me. He added some comments about our discussion on being a contributor. David then opened a discussion about why he had been “put out of fellowship.” Mark responded that he had not been put out of fellowship, but that he had been put under discipline because of his outburst against the brothers – particularly Kirk – and the accusations of his involvement with drinking and pornography. He asked whether those things were dealt with and Mark affirmed that in our minds and the minds of the brethren those things were dealt with and in the past. The evidence was Mark’s meeting with David and the brethren and David’s subsequent apology to them in general and to Kirk specifically. David denied ever having apologized to Kirk. He maintained he was not going to apologize for things he hadn’t done. Mark reminded him that all the brothers agreed that the incident of David’s outburst with Kirk had taken place and that David had apologized. He continued to deny it and parsed his apology to indicate that it was meant to mean “if they thought” he had done anything he was sorry for that. He then switched the conversation to a discussion of our time with him and Judy. He wanted to know what the issue was that caused him to get upset with Judy in our presence. Mark indicated that it was when Judy accused him of hiding money. He argued that that wasn’t the reason. Mark and I assured him that it was the point at which he got angry and had to be cooled down. He again denied that was what happened. Soon after this we left the restaurant and I took him home. I have recounted the details because of what followed that night.
When I got home from work he was evidently upset about our time that morning. He said that he had been fighting it all day long and wanted my help. So we went over the material on identification in the notebook he brought back from Chuck’s institute. We went through the pages that identify the flesh and he although he had some difficulty believing that he exhibited some of the characteristics outlined in it -- particularly guilt, controlling, introspective and others -- he did acknowledge that even if it is only one thing it indicates that he is in the flesh. We then talked about the Selfer's Prayer and the process by which the Lord is renewing us. He indicated that he had not prayed the prayer and said that he felt that if he addressed something once than he should not have to revisit the issue again. I explained the ups and downs of overcoming and how the Lord gets the increased image of His Son formed in us as we become more sensitive to the manifestations of flesh and turn quickly from it.
I then attempted to put the situation of perceived rejection that he had experienced that morning into the model. We were doing fine with it until the reason why he felt rejected surfaced. He again stated that he had not done and said the things that Mark and the brothers said he had. I reminded him that similar things happened when Mark and I visited him and he got angry and asked us to leave his house. (He called later to apologize for his behavior and stated that he “did not remember saying those things.”) Then it was like a bubble burst and there was an intense period of justification and blame shifting on his part. At that time I expressed my opinion that every time we got to this point the only thing that really mattered was David not having done anything “wrong” – regardless of how many other people could testify to the contrary. At that point he withdrew from the conversation and I was not able to get back to the implementation of identification after that. We did pray together and left the time on an amicable note. I stressed with him, as I had done in all our previous discussions, that I really wanted to help him, but that this would be impossible if any time I said something that was not in line with his point of view he immediately discounted it. I told him that in order for me to help he needed to accept some of the things I said as accurate assessments of the situation and be willing to accept them.
The following evening, Wednesday, Mark and I had dinner with him. He announced that he was returning to SLO that evening even though he had initially agreed to Mark’s suggestion that he stay through the weekend. He said that he had to a lot of commitments that he needed to be faithful to, one of the primary was his commitment to his workout partners at the gym. Mark and I again entreated him to take personal responsibility for his situation and not blame others. We prayed together and then he left.
My assessment of the situation is that David came to a place of real clarity with Chuck, but by the time he got to my house the intensity of that revelation was pretty much lost. Instead of embracing the cross and finding his value in his union with Christ, David is still looking for something to “boast in ” apart from that. It is very important for him to be considered to have done and be doing the right thing. The primary place where he receives the reinforcement of his worth right now is in the gym. He likes the accolades and encouragement he gets from his workout partners. He appreciates their constant reinforcement and support. He actually drives into SLO to work out several days a week, spending several hours there each time. It was evident from several conversations that his obsession with working out exceeds the needs of his health and in some ways is a stumbling block to him. In addition he has not really changed his mind about his culpability in the failure of his marriage, the situation in SLO or the spiritual state of his children. If he truly saw that he was “the perfect failure” with Chuck, he has convinced himself otherwise since then. He did not exhibit the brokenness and humility that has generally attended real apprehension of the cross in the life. He continues to misrepresent statements by others to put himself in the best light and he still makes comments that are critical of the ministry (though more moderate than in the past). He also still interprets situations and conversations as rejection – regardless of how positive the input. At present he sees everything from a very self-preoccupied viewpoint. In short, I don’t believe there has been a real breakthrough in his life.
Having said that, I found David more balanced and temperate in his responses. He exercised more self-control than in the past. He is convinced that the Lord wants him to leave the area and be involved with a group of Christians that do not know him. I don’t think he will aggressively resist the brothers up there, but I do not think that he is able to just be a “contributor” in the gathering. He sees himself as a natural leader and a true preacher of the cross and wants to be exercised in that capacity somewhere.
I hope this is not distressing to you. I know we were all hoping for a significant breakthrough, but I believe that what David has been exposed to will have its effect in his life over time. Mark and I continue to pray for him and call on a regular basis. We continue to be available to help in any way we can.
Your brothers in Christ,