September 26, 2014

a convicting two-part question

In many of the sermons I have preached in the past year, I’ve asked a two-part question.

“How long could you have followed Jesus around (in His earthly ministry) until you saw a miracle”?

Apart from times when He retreated into the wilderness to pray and commune with His Father, most Christians agree it wouldn’t be very long.  A few hours?  A day or two?

THEN I ask the second part of the question:

“How long could someone follow YOU around until they saw one”?

This is a legitimate question for any believer who believes that God hasn’t changed and is working through His children and His Church today in the same way that He did in the beginning.

Something to think about today.  Tomorrow….(and for the rest of our lives!)



How do we know when someone has 'really' been healed?

Even since we began to see people healed regularly, this question comes up regularly - "How do you know when some has really been healed?"

It's a great question when it isn't coming from an "unbelieving believer".  I will say this - to all followers of Jesus, when another Christ follower is testifying to someone being healed in the Name of Jesus (especially when it is the testimony of a non-Christian!), then I think our initial response should be to 'believe the best'.  Re-read the Gospels.  Jesus healed the sick out of His incredible love and compassion.  He's never changed (His Word declares this to be true!).

When this question is coming from a genuine skeptical unbeliever, I basically encourage anybody who we've prayed for who has seen pain leave or some other type of healing, to wait one week and see how it is.  I am willing to concede that if someone's problem has disappeared and is still gone a week later (and doesn't return!) that we can assume that they've been healed.

I also encourage anyone and everyone who can get medical verification (an x-ray, a blood test, an MRI, etc.) to see what has literally changed to do so.  I LOVE IT when some type of test is available that can medically verify that a problem is gone because God has healed someone.

We've seen literally hundreds and hundreds of people, many of those from non-Christian religions, healed and still testifying to those healings.  The referrals continue (referring us to their friends and relatives who are in need of healing) as they continue to testify to them that they were healed when we (or someone in our community) prayed for them.




Healing #2 after NOT responding to a Word of Knowledge

Also while calling out Words of Knowledge in that university lecture this happened…(in the words of the student)

"I actually did experience healing on Friday.  I saw a few of my classmates receive it too but I am still trying to process what I encountered that day.  As stated before, when it comes to healing people on the spot, like what we saw on Friday, I am honestly a bit skeptical.  I cannot grasp it and I have a hard time believing it sometimes.  Throughout DJ’s message, this was in the back of my mind.  I believed but not fully…until the end of class.  He was wrapping up and wanted pray again before some of us, me being one of them, needed to leave to get to our next class.  He said he was feeling that someone had an injured wrist, specifically the left wrist.  That got my attention a little bit because I have had issues with my wrist for about ten years or so now.  BUT it was not my left wrist so I thought to myself, nope not me...wrong wrist!  Before I could even finish that sarcastic thought in my head, DJ says, “Actually it’s the right wrist, whose right wrist is bothering them?”  This, needless to say, grabbed my attention.  I got really hot all of the sudden (which is difficult to do in that freezing room) and I felt as though my heart was going to pop out of my chest.  Why?  Well, like I said before, I have experienced pain in my right wrist for a number of years.  The pain comes and goes.  If I re-aggravate it somehow through exercise or playing drums too much, it bothers me.  The pain is on and off but it can last for weeks if not months at a time.  What made it even more crazy is that particular morning, I could not do the exercises my trainer wanted me to do because my wrist was really bothering me.  I came to class and my wrist was hurting.  I chickened out when DJ “called me out” asking whose wrist was bothering them but even then God healed me.  I am not even kidding, as I was walking to my next class after DJ spoke, my wrist had no pain.  It gave me no pain the rest of that day, the next day and even on Sunday after playing the drums in 3 church services.  Nothing, no pain…no popping, nothing.  I cannot explain it.  All I know is that God worked through DJ that day to speak to me…."


Healing #1 after NOT responding to a Word of Knowledge

I was calling out some Words of Knowledge in a university lecture and there was a baseball player who said that I had called out "left knee." He knew it was him but didn't say anything. Then when he was walking out of class he realized all the pain was gone and it hasn't returned!  He has subsequently testified.

divine appointment in Montana

While in a town at the base of the mountains, I was with one of my favorite “Kingdom partners” and his wife and he got a word of knowledge for our server asking him if he had ever broken his back. Prayed for him and the young man wrote back that since the prayer his back had been pain free! He goes on to write, 

"what you didn't know however though is that when you came in me and my girlfriend had just broken up (We're still figuring out if that was the right decision). The reason for us breaking up was majorly religious differences. Although I do believe in God I do not have a strong relationship with Him; she does. Loving Jesus is one of her main priorities in life. It's not that I don't want to its just not something I was raised with I know virtually nothing about how to love Him or what it even means. Her ending words of the relationship were "I just wish you loved Jesus". Then you come in and I felt as though it was a sign. (this is a really long email i'm sorry i have a lot on my mind). Anyway I'm lost.

AND THEN HE ADDS

"I want to grow my relationship with Him but that’s all I know. I haven't exactly lived my life as He would like I know that but i think i'm willing to change…"

The follow up has continued now for several months and this young man is now attending a Church in Billings, Montana.

It’s amazing what one supernatural word of knowledge and a subsequent healing of a back can do to extend the Kingdom!

July 02, 2014

Tunisian muslim soccer player healed

Today while I was watching my son play in a match, I noticed one of the players limped off the field.  I heard him speak some Arabic so I went up and introduced myself.  I asked him what happened and he had injured his ankle.  I switched into Arabic and asked if I could “read over him” for healing (using an Islamic way of asking).  He was absolutely open and allowed me to pray.  I prayed the Lord’s prayer over his ankle and closed my prayer in Jesus’ Name.  I then asked him how it was feeling.  In total shock, he began expressing, “Praise be to God” in Arabic over and over and called one of his friends (another Arab muslim) who was in the match to testify about what God had just done.  I gave him my name/number and proceeded to go up into the stands to watch the rest of the match.

After the game, I came down again and he then asked me in Arabic, “Are you fasting Ramadan”?  I guess he wasn’t clear earlier as I explained, “I’m a Christian”.  He must have thought I was some kind of a muslim healer (even though I had prayed the Lord’s Prayer and closed in Jesus’ Name).  I’m glad it was crystal clear in the end that is was Jesus who had healed him in response to a Christian’s prayer – all during the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.  He has a lot to think about.  Can’t wait to hear back from him.


May 27, 2014

after God gives word of knowledge, Gulf Arab woman asks "How does she know?" AGAIN

We have said this many times, but often muslims are more shocked when God reveals a problem that they have through a word of knowledge than when they actually get healed.  In this case, my friend has asked more than once how I “knew” something.  It is again an opportunity to explain how God speaks and reveals, something Islam rejects for today.

First of all I was able to pray for my Gulf Arab muslim friend’s wrist who had told me all about a visit to the doctor for a very painful wrist; she couldn’t lift anything.  After prayer in Jesus’ Name, she felt something (her description) “swirling all around my arm and wrist”.  I told her that was God showing her that He was healing her arm.  She told me the pain left and it was good.  I will be following up in a couple of days to see how it is now some days later.

A while later as we were talking I got a strong word of knowledge for a problem on the right side of the jaw and asked my friend if she had a particular problem in that specific area and she replies in a shocked manner, “Yes” and then turns to her daughter and asks, “How does she know?”.  Shocked more about the revelation than anything else.  This is not the first time I’ve gotten words of knowledge for her and other female members of their family.  It is just so “outside the box” that God would speak today to someone that she acted as if it was the very first time I had done it.  Of course I then prayed for her jaw.  She told me it was also good after prayer but was still so stunned by the revelation that she didn’t seem too focused on the result.  I will be following up with her about the jaw as well.

All of this enables me to speak many things about the Kingdom with this muslim family.  They are experiencing God’s power in Jesus’ Name.  May they receive special revelation (dreams and visions) to confirm the word that they are both hearing verbally from me and experiencing (through words of knowledge, healings) as the Kingdom comes!

May 16, 2014

"The Look" - Bangladeshi muslim man's hand healed and asks for another healing and gets it!

While I was walking out of the hospital, I noticed that one of the security guards had his hand bandaged.  I went up and asked him what had happened and he explained he had fallen and most likely sprained it.  He was in pain and couldn't move it without discomfort.  I took his hand and prayed in Jesus' Name and what followed was "The Look"- that look of complete shock which asks, "What did you just do to me?".  He was so happy as he was moving it around with no more pain.  He looks to his colleague to confirm that in fact something has truly happened.  I told him it was Jesus who touched him.

I wasn't going to be able to leave because he next shows me his other hand where he obviously had some type of old injury - he'd broken one of his fingers.  He wanted prayer for that as well.  I prayed again and I don't know exactly what happened (or what the nature of the problem had been at that point) but he again looks to his colleague with "The Look" and I knew that the Lord had done something that was supernatural.

I was limited in my ability to communicate, but it was clear to him that I was a Christian and that it Jesus who had healed him.  Two muslims had A LOT to talk about as I walked away.

Some who are skeptical want to know, "How do you know if they are REALLY healed?"  I don't always have an answer to that question but when a muslim gives me "The Look" and his whole demeanor changes and he thanks me profusely, I think that there's a pretty good chance that God has intervened.  They have absolutely no expectation that they will be healed and add to that that I am a follower of a faith they consider false and you cannot conclude that there is any false hope.  I didn't even tell this guy what I was going to do - I just carefully took his hand and began to pray.

May 06, 2014

Gulf Arab muslim's broken toes healed - declares, "I am shocked!"

Last week I saw a college student limping by with his foot wrapped.  I asked him what happened and he told me it was a soccer injury.  I told him that if he had time to come by my office and I told him where it was.  Sure enough, he shows up at my office and had no idea why I had asked him to come by.  I asked him to take a seat and I told him that I was going to “read over” him (an Arabic language expression he would understand for prayer) and that God would heal him.  I had him put his own hand on his toes which I could see were badly bruised and swollen, undoubtedly broken.  He let me pray and thanked me as he got up to leave.  I told him to be sure to come back and let me know how it was – preferably in a week or so.

So today (about a week later) he shows up in my office.  He comes in and I recognize him and ask how his toes are doing.  He asks, “What did you do to me?”  He had been playing soccer again with no pain and said twice, “I am shocked”.  I shared a little bit with him about our mandate to heal the sick as Christians and gave him my number saying that if he or anyone he knows needs a miracle to not hesitate to call me.  He knows where my office is, he has my number and Jesus has radically healed his foot.  I know I’ll be hearing from him soon.

May 04, 2014

Gulf Arab muslim has his ankle over 90% healed and is close to the Kingdom after visitations (yes, visitation-s plural!)

Last night I met again with a man who has expressed a growing interest in following Jesus especially after two visions this week.

He has been studying the Bible and as we encouraged him to really "consider the cost" of following the Lord Jesus.  I hadn't heard from him in a while and had been texting him sporadically to see where he was at and if he was ready to meet.  I had heard nothing.

We had had an focused time of prayer for him two night before that God would really move on him to take more initiative.  Then he responded to one of my texts and wanted to meet.

I knew he was injured as he had mentioned it in a message - he had sprained his ankle badly playing soccer.  He had been on crutches and when I saw him his ankle was wrapped and he was limping with a cane.  Before we talk about anything, I told him that I wanted to pray for his ankle.  I laid my hand on it and prayed.  Immediately something happened and he got up to check it out - he was somewhat shocked.  He told me it was much better.  We prayed two more times and it continued to improve.  At the end I asked him how it was - 75% better.  He said, "No, it's better than that - like 95% better!"  I'll accept that willingly.

He had also had two visions in the past 3 days - the one that morning where Jesus Himself appeared to him, walking past him and turning to smile.  He had explained that before he was going to meet me again or do anything else in terms of moving towards Christ, that he had asked the Lord "to appear" to him.  He said that the vision he had had that very morning was a direct answer to that prayer.

I felt like the meaning of the vision was that Jesus was inviting him to come and follow Him.  He agreed that that was the meaning.

His final words to me were, "I am now ready".

We will be meeting again soon to talk about how he can start that relationship with Christ.

very, very exciting to see someone come out of the darkness and begin to follow The Light of the World!

Lebanese Druze man experiences a measure of healing

Last night Isaac of Ninevah and I met with with a Lebanese Druze man with a seriously injured shoulder - after falling and dislocating it, he has been in pain and with very limited movement for several months.  He has received prayer a couple of times from a couple of Christian friends but it still remained a problem.  We met with him to pray once again and we had a chance to pray for his shoulder maybe 5 or 6 times - breaking off the shock and trauma from the accident, releasing the Kingdom of God and also coming against any spiritual forces of darkness hindering him from being healed.  The Druze (another Middle Eastern religion) are very open to ministry and he allowed us to pray as much as we wanted.

We saw him regain a significant range of motion and movement - probably about 40% better than when we started but we couldn't get any further breakthrough.  We have scheduled another time to pray with him later this week.  We will ask the Lord for insight and a strategy for the that prayer time.  In the mean time, we prayed he would be visited by an angel.

Praying for the sick has a mysterious element.  Sometimes we see total healing and other times we see 50%, 75% or even 90%.  I know when we look at the ministry of Jesus, our "model" of course is 100% but we must also acknowledge that we are growing in grace and faith and have yet to arrive at full maturity.  Maturity IS A PROCESS as we grow in the grace of God regardless of the what the extreme grace teachers are mistakenly teaching (see my previous post - "The Grace Deformation" - http://joel2generation.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-grace-deformation.html).

We continue to grow into greater maturity in praying for the sick.  We continue to learn new things.  We trust in God's sovereignty as He anoints us with measures of His power even as He grows us into greater places of faith.  We press on.

April 28, 2014

The Grace "Deformation"

Is there a "Grace Reformation" taking place today in the Body of Christ? Some are claiming there is and that it is as important as the Protestant Reformation. Quite a claim! They speak of a "new understanding" of grace that has been lost since the days of the Apostles and that a "Revolution" is underway to recover that which was lost. Its advocates call it the "Grace Message" and they refer to themselves as "Grace Teachers". The implication of course is that those who disagree with them are somehow 'not' teaching grace, or are perverting and/or diluting it.

Clearly a debate is raging today in the Body of Christ about the doctrine of grace. In some ways, it is the continuation of a theological discussion that was sparked in the Protestant Reformation, although those who know Church History know that these very issues were debated from the 2nd century onwards. In short, it is now being claimed by this new "Grace Camp" that the Reformers got it right on the doctrine of justification by grace through faith, but got it wrong about sanctification. These Grace teachers argue that the Reformers didn't go far enough believing that Luther and Calvin were teaching a "works" doctrine when it came to our sanctification which the Reformers taught was a PROCESS in which we cooperate with God's grace as we are transformed into the likeness of Christ. These new teachers believe that there is no process; that our sanctification is complete at conversion even as our justification is.  Not only did the Reformers disagree with them, but so has every other Christian leader before them in Church History! (except ironically some gnostic heretics)

Even as they are calling it a "Grace Reformation," I believe that when we look at the ENTIRE* New Testament, we must conclude that it is in fact a "Grace Deformation" and a perversion of the Apostolic faith. These are strong words and yet when we consider what's at stake, I believe we must call out a false doctrine and identify it as such. (*When I say "entire", see my post about Hyper Grace citing the dozens of NT verses that these Grace teachers ignore or attempt to explain away. http://joel2generation.blogspot.com/2013/05/hyper-grace-vs-entire-new-testament.html)

The main problem and the primary reason the "Grace Deformers'" message is false isn't so much because they are introducing unBiblical concepts (although some of ideas clearly are like future sins being forgiven before they are ever committed), but rather their message is false because it only "selectively" uses the New Testament. They find all the verses and passages that support their viewpoint and interpretation, and then either try to explain away or simply ignore the passages that contradict their understanding. The way this becomes a false teaching is that it takes one truth to an extreme while denying other equally as important passages of Scripture. It is essentially the sin of omission - omitting huge sections of the New Testament that simply don't "fit" their understanding of Grace. Neglecting the clear teaching of multiple passages in God's Word constitutes "false teaching".

The true Grace message will always bring Kingdom Reformation.  This "false" one, which they have perverted and diluted, is leading and will lead to what I am now calling a "Grace Deformation".

April 27, 2014

muslim woman's deaf ear opens and she quickly departs

While shopping yesterday, I walked past a couple of Gulf Arab muslim women and I got a clear word of knowledge about a right ear problem.  I engaged them and asked about a right ear problem.  One of them said, “Yes, I can’t hear anything from my right ear”.  I explained that God had revealed her problem to me and didn’t even ask her if I could pray.  I instructed to put her own hand on her deaf ear.  She agreed.  I prayed a quick healing prayer in Arabic in Jesus’ Name and when she took her hand away I asked her how it was.  She tapped her ear and I asked, “Can you hear?” and she replied with a shocked look, “Yes!”.  So I confirmed, clarifying that she could not hear at all before and was now able to hear.  She confirmed that and then quickly shook my hand (which they don’t do) and left immediately.

She obviously didn’t have any grid for a non-muslim to bring God’s power and healing.  Pray for her that she will be considering the very Jesus who opened her deaf ear!

April 23, 2014

Iranian muslim women healed

On Tuesday night, we went to the Iranian Fire Celebration at the beach. As we arrived, everyone was sitting in large family groups on picnic blankets and I was a bit worried about language barriers.

We walked towards the beach but turned around, as boys were throwing fire crackers. A large group of about six to eight women were walking towards us and since one was uncovered (and I thought she might speak English), I decided to ask them about the Celebration.

They didn't speak English but they had very minimal grasp of some words so we were able to communicate a bit. There was one Indian lady with them who spoke more than the others and she translated a bit. They were very friendly.

Then, God showed me that one of the ladies had leg pain. I asked if I could pray and they said yes. I prayed once and they phoned their nephew to come and translate (which I was worried about, from previous experience, as he was a young, single man).

After he arrived, we prayed a few times and the pain left. Then, two others immediately wanted prayer to have babies. We kiss-kissed each other on the cheeks several times and they all wanted photos. My mom and I were blatantly praying in Jesus' name throughout.

Then, God gave me a Word of Knowledge for back pain and two of the ladies said that they had it. Before we could pray, they grabbed us and led us back to their blanket to have tea.

At the blanket, we ate tea and breadsticks. Then, we prayed for the first lady with back pain and God healed her. We also prayed for her to have a baby and then we prayed for the second woman's back, knees and for her to have a baby. For both ladies, we probably prayed three times for the back pain (in Jesus' name) before it left and the whole time, the nephew was translating.

I then asked if any of the ladies' had had any interesting dreams. One had one that was more from her heart, but God gave me the interpretation.

At this point, the Indian woman and a few others left to buy KFC. This was important, as she was the only other person that spoke a decent amount of English.

Then, the nephew said to me, "I have a secret to tell you, but you can't tell my aunts." I thought, "Oh great, the pick-up I had been dreading," a common occurrence in this part of the world, He again emphasized to me that I could not tell his aunts and I agreed,

At this point, he popped out with the last thing  expected him to say at this moment. I was stunned beyond belief when he said, "I want to be Christian. When I read the K, it is all violence. I read lots about Christianity on the internet and my aunts ask me why I have pictures of Mary and Jesus in my room. How do I become a Christian? I was going to leave and go somewhere far away because they will kill me."

In a nutshell, I quickly told him a 30 second gospel. Then, I got ahold of two men in our group, who were nearby. Afterwards, they told me that while they were praying for the night, they prayed that God would send us someone who would say, "What must I do to be saved."  Amazing!

April 22, 2014

one Hindu healed, one Muslim not healed

One criticism with many who speak about Christians healing the sick is that they often don’t share about the non-healings.  We don’t want to give the impression that everyone is healed, all the time when in fact they are not.

Today I walked into a shop and began speaking with one of the Indian Hindu employees.  I asked if he had neck/shoulder pain because I was sensing something.  He did not (which also shows that words of knowledge aren’t always right!) but he said he had lower and middle back problems.  I asked him to put his hand on the affected area and I prayed a quick prayer in Jesus’ Name releasing healing.  After the first prayer, he told me it was about 50% better.  He was intrigued.  I asked him to put his hand on his back again, prayed another healing prayer and with a big smile on his face told me that he was pain free and that all movement had returned.  He told me that his back problem had been constant for 2-3 years and he told me it was gone.  I was able to communicate to him that is was Jesus Christ who had healed him out of His great love for him.  It was at that time he told me he was Hindu (from his name I already suspected it).

5 minutes later I found myself in another shop and one of the Egyptian Muslim employees limped out of the store for a short break.  I asked one of his colleagues what happened to him, and he told me that he had broken his ankle two months ago falling off a ladder.  When he returned, I asked him if I could pray for him in Arabic (literally “read over him” which is a way of describing healing prayer that Muslims understand).  He agreed, sat down and I had him put his own hand on his ankle while I prayed for him in Arabic.  After prayer, I had him get up and walk around a bit and he told me there was no improvement.  I told him briefly about a gifted Coptic priest who also prayed for the sick that I had learned a lot from.  I told him to check him out on the internet.  He said he would.  But he wasn’t healed.

This is often the kind of thing that we’ll see when we offer to pray for the sick in public places.  One is healed, one isn’t.  The why/why not questions never get answered.  I always ask them anyway.  I have some ideas.  

One thing I do know is that one more person was healed today in Jesus’ Name than if I hadn’t prayed for the two men.

March 26, 2014

Hindu woman's pain leaves

I noticed a woman with her daughter yesterday and the mother had her hand bandaged.  I asked what happened.  She had slammed her hand in a car door and was in pain.  I asked her daughter (about 10 years old) to put her hand on her mother’s hand and I prayed in the Name of Jesus, breaking off the shock and trauma and releasing the Kingdom.  After praying, she looked at me and said, “It’s magic!” wondering what I had done.  I told her that it was God’s power and that Jesus had come to heal her.  She said, “Thank you for manifesting Jesus to me today”. 

March 15, 2014

Who was the "Real" St. Patrick?

On the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I would re-post this about the “real” Patrick.  Most of what I have written here comes from a couple of books about his life and ministry – one is a biography entitled Let Me Die in IrelandThe True Story of Patrick by David Bercot (Scroll Publishing, 1999) and the other, “The Celtic Way of Evangelism – How Christianity Can Reach the West Again” (George G. Hunter III, Abingdon Press, 2000).  Many Christians today “claim” Patrick as their own – most are surprised that he doesn’t really fit any modern labels that we might try to put on him or the movement he birthed.  

Patrick was NOT a Roman Catholic, but rather a British Roman citizen born in the late 4th century (AD386) on the West Coast of Britain.  He was a part of the independent British or Celtic Church which did not come under Roman control until the 6-8th centuries.  His father was an ordained Deacon and his grandfather had been an ordained Presbyter, but Patrick as a young man didn’t show a tremendous amount of interest in the things of the Lord. 

God had a radical way of getting this boy’s attention.  As a 16 year old, he was captured by Irish raiders who took him back to Ireland where he was a slave for six years.  It was during this “captivity” that Patrick really came into a relationship with the Lord.  His role was to shepherd flocks and he became a man of prayer.  In his own words,  

  • “After I had arrived in Ireland, I found myself pasturing flocks daily, and I prayed a number of times each day.  More and more the love and fear of God came to me, and faith grew and my spirit was exercised, until I was praying up to a hundred times every day and in the night nearly as often”.

He learned the Gaelic language (the language of the Irish people) fluently and developed a heart for the very people that enslaved him.  After 6 years, God miraculously enabled him to escape.

The Lord spoke to him in a dream saying, - “You are going home.  Look! Your ship is ready”.  The following morning the Lord led him to the coast where he found a ship and sailed away from Ireland.  Upon being reunited with his family in Britain, he never intended to set foot in Ireland again. 

God spoke to Patrick in a dream to return to Ireland to bring the Pagan Irish (who were in bondage to Druidism and other pagan beliefs) the Gospel.  In the dream an Angel gave him letters from his former captors asking him to return and he then heard the Irish calling out to him, “Please, holy servant boy, come and walk among us again”.  It was God who called Patrick to take the Gospel to the Irish, not the Pope of Rome as some have mistakenly taught.  He was ultimately sent out by the independent British/Celtic Church as a pioneer missionary to the Ireland.  Interestingly, the Bishop of Rome had sent a missionary to Ireland about the same time, who lasted about one year before returning. 

At the time Patrick was sent to Ireland, in 432AD, he was a Bishop (or Overseer) of over 40 years of age.  He took with him several younger ordained presbyters, who he had taught Gaelic in Britain.  In the face of great danger, and unbelievable hardship, this band of missionaries began to bring the Gospel to the pagan Druid Irish and God powerfully blessed their work.  In 28 years of ministry which history records was full of Biblical signs and wonders, 30 to 40 of Ireland’s 150 tribes were Christian, between 200 to 700 churches had been planted and over 1000 local Irish leaders had been ordained.  Truly their ministry was both the WORD (preaching) the SPIRIT (signs, wonders and miracles).

The Irish Church became a major missionary Church (arguably the greatest in Church History) in the following few centuries, taking the Gospel to other pagan peoples in Scotland and even Northern Europe.

Patrick was a man of prayer and fasting.  He was a man who lived like Christ – he never married, he forfeit his worldly inheritance (he was from a wealthy British family) and suffered great hardship for the sake of the Gospel.

Patrick’s vision to reach the Pagan Irish was resisted by his own British Church – it was considered too dangerous, an impossible task and it would be an understatement to say that the “civilized” (Romanized) British Christians weren’t racist towards the “barbaric” Pagan Irish.  When the Church today considers the task of evangelizing the Muslim World – (i.e. Arabs, Afghans, Iranians or even followers of ‘Al Qaeda’) or other places full of hostility and conflict, let us remember the fearless commitment of these 5th century Apostolic teams who literally won an entire nation who the Church in their day didn’t love and considered unreachable.  

Patrick and his spiritual descendants were really a mixture of different Christian traditions – in some ways you could say he/they embodied the “best of” many Christian backgrounds/traditions and yet would serve to challenge all of us to recover things that we may have lost, rejected or deemphasized depending upon our own spiritual heritages. 

On a day when people are caught up in all sorts of twisted St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, may we be reminded of the real man behind the ‘myth’.  May it open doors with others who most likely don’t know anything beyond leprechauns, 4-leafed clovers and pinching people who aren’t wearing green.

God Bless you on this St. Patrick’s Day.

DJ

His final words recorded in his Confessions are humbling:

  • "But I pray those who believe and fear God, whosoever has designed to scan or accept this document, composed in Ireland by Patrick the sinner, and unlearned man to be sure, that none should ever say that it was my ignorance that accomplished any small thing which I did or showed in accordance with God's will; but judge ye, and let it be most truly believed, that it was the gift of God.  And this is my confession before I die.

February 13, 2014

healings at breakfast

Yesterday while out to breakfast with Desert Princess, I told our server that my wife brought healing to people when she prayed.  The first who came was a Catholic woman with a back problem.  My wife put her hand on back, and prayed. She was healed – full mobility with no more pain.  What ensued was a discussion of her getting back into Christian fellowship and we offered to help her find a Bible study close to where she lived.

Next a hindu woman was brought up who had a headache.  It was bothering her and it was only the morning.  Desert Princess had her put her own hand on her head, prayed and her headache left.  She clearly had an encounter with the Lord and was shocked. After clearly telling her it was Jesus who healed her, she said,  "I know Jesus is with us always".  We pray that this hindu woman who has now encountered Christ, would be asking questions of the many Christian colleagues she works with.

February 03, 2014

when the healing comes OUR way!

so I've been limping around pretty badly with a knee injury for about 5 days. today wasn't great. BUT, tonight my son and a friend went to an Iranian restaurant in nearby. I knew our waitress was Pentecostal (Filipina) and I limped in there and asked her if she'd pray for my knee. she said she would. when she finally did, she laid hands on my knee and prayed like a 3-4 minute prayer, praying in tongues and calling on the Name of Jesus. During the prayer, I got a word of knowledge of her wrist and got to pray for her and she was healed! But what happened next? I got up to walk around and test out my knee and NO KIDDING, easily 50-60% improvement - walking without a limp. I got home and was actually jogging a bit around the house. Let's just say that our Filipina waitress brought the sauce tonight! Rejoicing!!!!!

January 17, 2014

Part 2 - Humble thoughts about "Forsaking All"

This week a group of us gathered to watch the new film about the life and ministry of Heidi Baker entitled Compelled by Love (available at: https://www.compelledbylovethefilm.com)

It was a powerful film to say the least.  To see the level of devotion of this woman, and those involved in her ministry to the poorest of the poor, the most broken of the broken, the most abused of the abused, challenged me the core.  

Now you will see why I did a "Part 1" (http://joel2generation.blogspot.com/2014/01/part-1-are-we-expected-to-obey-jesus.html) post referring to the commandments of Jesus and His teachings.  You see Heidi & Rolland Baker surrendered EVERYTHING to follow Jesus – they gave their lives, their resources, their health, their families – EVERYTHING to follow Christ into the poorest regions on the planet.  Why would they have done something like this?  Here is most likely one of the passages that they have based their entire lives upon – get ready, Jesus taught and commanded this.  It came BEFORE the Cross and yet, devoted Christians have always understood that this passage to be applicable to New Covenant believers.  

Luke 14:25-27, 33 - Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them,  If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. …So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. (NASB).  The older translations called this last verse - "forsaking all" to follow Christ.

Heidi and Rolland Baker have inspired thousands upon thousands to do exactly what they have done.  To give up their own lives, for the sake of Christ and the expansion of God's Kingdom.  The first disciples did the same thing, they "dropped their nets", and left their families to follow Christ.  What is interesting is that once Jesus died on the Cross, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, these disciples didn't stop obeying Christ's command as if it no longer applied as being "Old Covenant".  No, they continued to obey his teachings and the Great Commission until each and every one of them, except the Apostle John died a martyr's death.

I am reminded of what Deitrich Bonhoeffer,  the German Lutheran pastor who was martyred by Hitler, wrote in his famous book The Cost of Discipleship, "When Christ calls a manhe bids him come and die." 

It was also Bonhoeffer who likened much of the the Christianity of his day to "cheap grace".  Also from The Cost of Discipleship, he put it this way, "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” 

In a day when teachers who claim to be teaching the true message of grace are in fact teaching what Bonhoeffer called "cheap grace", we would be wise to reject any teaching that waters down or neglects the centrality of Christ's own words.  They weren't put in red letters for nothing!

Thank you Heidi and Rolland Baker for showing us all what it looks like to forsake everything to follow Christ.  We are challenged, we are humbled and we are called to examine our own lives once again before the Lord and recommit ourselves to His Lordship.


January 16, 2014

Part 1- Are we expected to obey Jesus?

Before I get to the blog post that was on my heart to post, I realized I needed to do a "Part 1" wherein I would address an issue that tragically is sweeping across much of the Church today under the name of "The Grace Message".  An important book has just been released entitled Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message by Dr. Michael Brown that addresses the errors being taught by a number of well-known Bible teachers today.

I will only address one of the errors which is the teaching as Christians we don't need to follow/obey the teachings of Jesus because they are a part of the Old Covenant having come before the Cross.  They consider this some kind of "new Reformation" that will bring freedom to Christians in bondage to commands (which they call "the Law") that they believe we were never intended to obey.  This is foolishness.  The entire Early Church believed that as followers of Jesus, they were to obey His teaching.  The Great Commission (given AFTER the Cross by the Resurrected Christ) was given to the Apostles to teach the world to "obey EVERYTHING I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:20).  

There are literally dozens of New Testament verses that I could cite here that contradict and disprove the false teaching that we don't have to obey Christ's commands.  In a previous blogpost, I surveyed the entire New Testament focusing on the commandments that the Apostle Paul gave to believers many of which directly reflect the teachings of Jesus.  Don’t forget it was the Apostle Paul who wrote, "Imitate me AS I imitate Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1)

In addition to the verses I have just shared, here are 4 more that should settle the question/issue for any believer who is committed to the authority of the Scriptures.

Jesus said this, "If you love me, you WILL OBEY my commandments" (John 14:15)

John 3:36 - "…but he who does NOT obey the Son will not see life…

The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:3 - "For this is what love for God is: to keep His commandments…" 

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 7:19 - "…but what matters is keeping the commandments of God"

Do we find the Church in the 2nd Century teaching that the Sermon of the Mount and Christ's other teachings were not to be obeyed because they were essentially "the law" coming under the Old Covenant?  Absolutely not.  Just the opposite.  They took His teachings quite literally and it wasn't until several centuries later, when a nominal Christianity became dominant, that Christ's teachings began to be ignored, but even then they were NEVER considered to be part of the Old Covenant!

To be clear, and let no one deceive you.  If you are a Christian, you follow the teachings of Christ.  If you are fulfilling the Great Commission, then you too are teaching your disciples to "obey everything" that Christ commanded.

Now for "Part 2 ("http://joel2generation.blogspot.com/2014/01/part-2-humble-thoughts-about-forsaking.html)


December 17, 2013

prophetic ministry - some thoughts

Back in the year 2000, God turned our world upside down in a small Church meeting when a prophetic woman from South Africa gave us a prophetic word that was so accurate, and so detailed that there was simply no way that we could deny it was truly from God.  As for the  future aspects/elements in the prophetic word, they have subsequently proven to just as true as what the Lord had shown the women about our past and present.  It changed our lives and ministry completely – and I would say that the best way to "weigh" (or judge) a prophetic word in addition to obviously its accuracy, would be the fruit that it produces.  Just this week a lifelong friend relayed a similar experience he had this past week with a guest minister at his church who gave him a prophetic word that was similar in its accuracy and detail.  

In hindsight, I believe as I reflect back on that initial prophetic word that served to be a major turning point in our lives, I would have to say that it was more than simply a prophetic minister using her "gift" (1 Cor. 14:1), but it was actually a time when my wife and I received an impartation of a gift/gifts by means of the prophetic word.  In other words, one of the ways that God gives gifts of the Holy Spirit is through what has been called "prophetic impartation".  A prophetic person prophesies over someone and through it, the person receives a spiritual gift.  The Scriptural basis for this is 1 Timothy 4:14 - "Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you."(NIV)

This is clearly one of the reasons, in addition to the many other reasons for the New Testament gift of prophecy, that Paul commands us, "Don't despise prophesies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good." (1 Thes. 5:20-21).

In a day when many well-meaning Bible teachers continue to misunderstand the Old Testament teaching of what characterizes a "false prophet", believing that if a prophet ever made a mistake or if their words didn't come to pass that they were therefore "false prophets" and should be killed.  Not only was this application and penalty NEVER carried out in the history of God's people, but when prophets spoke words that didn't come to pass, they were NOT called false prophets.  For example, the Prophet Jonah said, "40 more days and Ninevah will be destroyed" (Jonah 3:4). We all know the story.  Ninevah was not destroyed.  What is interesting is that Jonah's book was included in the Canon of Scripture and he was not called a "false prophet".  

The New Testament also speaks about "false prophets" but in spite of what anti-Charismatic Bible teachers want to contend, a "false prophet" in the New Testament is NOT a Christian who in his/her attempt to prophesy makes a mistake.  Not only was that NOT the case in the Old Testament, but it is even clearer that this isn't the case in the New Testament.  In the New Testament, we are commanded to "test" or "judge" prophetic words.  If New Testament believers, seeking to obey Paul's commandment to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1), were somehow under the impression that the "one mistake and you are OUT" then you would never find a Church that would give place to the exercise of this gifting of the Holy Spirit.  

The fact is, a "false prophet" in the New Testament, as was interestingly also the case in the Old Testament, always refers to an unbeliever or to a apostate who has abandoned the faith.  It wasn't a believer attempting to grow in his/her gifting who made a mistake.  It is EXACTLY the same thing with "false teachers".  What is a false teacher in the New Testament?  Similarly, it is not a Christian Bible teacher who makes a "mistake".  I can't tell you how many Bible teacher I know today who would say, I use to teach something that today they believe to be wrong or false.  I can think of many things that I believe and teach today that are different than what I taught 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago.  That doesn't make me a "false teacher".  And nobody I know would consider me one.  Similarly, a "false teacher" in the New Testament refers to an unbeliever or to someone who has abandoned the faith and teaches things that are leading people away from Christ.

We train and equip a lot of believers who want to grow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Some are new believers, and others are those who have been in Churches that do not emphasize the gifts or who even teach against them.  Can you imagine me having this kind of discussion?  "I'm excited that you want to grow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  To learn about healing, to see if God wants to give you the gift of tongues or the interpretation of tongues.  Wow! There are so many tools that God has given His Church to expand the Kingdom and to build up His Bride.  BUT you need to realize something about two of these gifts.  The gift of prophecy and the gift of teaching.  There is a "zero tolerance" policy in the Church.  Basically this is how it works.  I know that God has commanded us to pursue these two gifts – to prophesy and to teach.  There are many verses exhorting us to receive, to grow in and to use these gifts.  The impact can be remarkable – people getting saved, unbelievers crying out that God is real, and of course the all-so-important edification and instruction of Christians.  But this is the deal.  If you make one mistake, you will be branded a "false prophet" or a "false teacher" and so….."

I know it sounds silly when you play out the conversation in this way.  But when you see the people out there who are declaring people to be "false prophets" who are godly brothers and sisters, some of whom I know personally, it is tragic.  The number of other clear New Testament commandments that these people are violating by treating their brothers and sisters in Christ in this way should horrify them.  The fact that they are doing exactly what Paul commands us not to do, "Don't despise prophecies", is particularly ironic because they are the ones crying, "We are just being Biblical".  

I am thrilled that in spite of a lot if immaturity that has been demonstrated in the Body of Christ in regards to prophetic ministry, that the Lord in His mercy allowed us in that meeting so many years ago to see the proper use of it by a gifted prophetic person.  There is also immaturity demonstrated in the Body of Christ from Bible teachers, but somehow we all know that this is no reason to reject or to neglect the proper use of this other gift of the Holy Spirit.  We are actually instructed to discern, to consider, to be good Bereans and examine the Scriptures to see if things are true.  That is exactly how we should weigh/judge any and all prophetic words that are given.  We weigh them against the Word of God, we pray about them, we discuss them with mature brothers and sisters and then we obey Paul's final exhortation; "Hold onto what is good" (1 Thes. 5:21).

At the end of the day, prophetic ministry is all over the New Testament.  It is commanded, expected, regulated and neglecting and/or disallowing it is considered a sin.  Just because something has been misused and even abused, in no way justifies its disuse.  It is because it is Biblical that we as Christians should embrace prophetic ministry.  I'll end this with Paul's most direct command regarding prophetic ministry that we would all do well to pray about and to obey - "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy." (1 Cor. 14:1)


gulf arab muslim woman healed

The day after seeing several muslims healed in a Middle Eastern mall, I noticed a muslim woman with her husband in a supermarket had her hand bandaged – it looked exactly like the Egyptian muslim man's hand from the night before who was healed.  I found them a few minutes later and quickly shared the testimony of the night before and asked if the husband would mind putting his hand on his wife's hand and that I would ask God to heal her.  They were willing.  I prayed a quick prayer in Arabic, including a part of the Lord's prayer, closed the my prayer in Jesus' Name and then asked the husband to take his hand away.  She was completely healed.  No more pain.  I shared a bit more with them .  They were so thankful.  

It is not always easy to offer prayer for muslim women when I am not with my wife, but the Lord provided a way for me to pray, utilizing her husband as my "ministry partner" and God touched her with healing pointing them to the authority and power in the Name of Jesus.

December 16, 2013

first timer sees many healings in muslim country

Last night I took out an Arabic-speaking Christian who had expressed an interest in learning about a supernatural lifestyle.  I had no idea that we would have so much "fun" in only a 1 hour visit to a Middle Eastern mall.  We saw 7 or 8 people healed – including 4 muslims.  It was such a "grace-filled" hour as we simply offered the Kingdom to people who might have needed healing.  All the words of knowledge I got were wrong except for one – but that didn't seem to matter.  In the first shop, I asked about a muslim man's shoulder and he didn't have a problem but pointed to his middle back.  I had him lay his hand on the affected area, prayed in Arabic and all the pain left.  After some further discussion, we moved on to another shop.  

Next, I walked into a store where I wanted to do some Christmas shopping.  I felt like I got a word of knowledge for a problem in the right lower leg – it ended up being wrong (unless one of the employees wasn't being totally honest).  I offered to help someone with this problem one of the employees, an Egyptian muslim man told me that while he didn’t have that issue, he did have a shoulder problem.  I had him lay his hands on the affected area and prayed for him – first in English (so the other employees could understand) and then in Arabic, his mother tongue.  It wasn't hurting/bothering him at that moment but when I asked him what he was feeling, he said, "I feel heat all over my body"!  Btw – this is a GOOD THING!  I told him that it was God's presence and that his problem wouldn't be returning.  He took my number and I look forward to hearing from him soon.

As we walked through the mall, I felt "drawn" to go into a department store.  As I walked in and began to engage one of the Filipino employees, I found the person to whom I was being "drawn".  An Egyptian muslim employee had his hand wrapped.  I asked about it and it was an injury from a car accident 2-3 days earlier.  He was in pain.  It was sprained but not broken.  It hurt in two places – the thumb and the wrist.  That was all about to change.  I prayed and all the pain left!  His reaction told the story – he was looking over at another woman who worked there and telling her, "Seriously it is all gone".  Who was it?  His wife, a Tunisian muslim woman.  I went over to her next and she had also been in the accident and had bruises around her right eye and the area was swollen.  I asked one of the Filipino Christian employees to hold her hand and I prayed for all the pain to leave and sure enough, she was pain free after praying!  The great thing here is that there was a Christian working with them who could now answer all of their questions!  She was so grateful.  

Our final stop was for donuts and coffee – all of the employees were Filipinos and I knew they wouldn't be given Christmas off (working in a muslim country), so I asked them if I could give them their "Christmas presents".  They were intrigued and interested.  I asked about any physical pain.  One woman had back pain – I had another one put her hand on her back and prayed.  She was healed!  Next the only male employee wanted to be next – he had a bad headache.  I grabbed his hand (the only person all evening that I personally touched) and prayed a quick prayer, counting down "4, 3, 2, 1….Jesus" - and he was healed!  Next the manager was about to speak up about her need and before she spoke, I asked, "It is your neck/shoulder isn't it?"  It was.  That was the ONLY word of knowledge I got right all night, but that didn't seem to matter.  I had the woman whose back was healed lay hands on her and I prayed a quick prayer.  She too was healed.  The final employee had fatigue in her legs and we waited until some new customers were finished being served and the Lord released strength and refreshment into her legs – she said she was all good after prayer.  They were one happy group as we left.

In each of the cases with the muslims, I was able to share more about our faith, why we pray for the sick and also point them to Christians they knew for further follow-up.  I also gave several my own number to contact me in a few days to see how they were doing.

It was equally as encouraging to take out a young Christian man with me who has "heard about" the miraculous all of his Christian life.  He'd attended a Charismatic Arabic-speaking Church but had never personally be trained to pray for the sick, and additionally, even if training was available, it was only for "inside" the Church or Church meetings.  Nobody had ever taken it "outside" the Church.  This was a powerful evening, a paradigm-shifting evening, for this man.  I am excited to see the ongoing impact of him seeing how easy it can be to release the Kingdom in public places in an Arab muslim country.

What I had wanted to do, was to model for this young man the same way Jesus would have modeled to His disciples.  I told him that this night was a "freeby" - he could simply be an observer.  I told him that the next time, he would be "in the game" as a player because EVERYBODY PLAYS!

December 06, 2013

Healings at Cheesecake Factory in the Middle East - Part 2

After DJ finished praying for the man whose knee was healed, I noticed one of the hostesses limping badly and asked her what happened.  She had just fallen and had injured her hip.  She was actually just going to tell the manager she couldn't work.  I had her put her hand on her hip.  Prayed.  And she was healed instantly - all the pain left.  Her reaction was exactly what we want to see -  "Oh my goodness, it's gone!  it's gone! How did you do that?  Who are you?"   She then started telling all her colleagues.  

She was a Christian and wanted to know where I lived, where I went to Church.  She asked for my number and kept testifying!  It was awesome.

Then I went back to our table and find out that our server needs serious prayer for some deep heart stuff and even starts to cry.  We exchanged numbers because it wasn't the venue to minister to her in that way, but she knew it was a divine appointment.

The woman whose hip was healed keeps telling the other employees and a Sri Lankan staff member needs prayer for his neck and shoulder. I have the healed woman put her hand on the man's shoulder and his neck and shoulder are healed after praying two times.

Finally another woman who works there has pain in her stomach.  I prayed and all the pain left.

Not a bad visit to the Cheesecake Factory!






Healings at Cheesecake Factory in the Middle East - Part 1

As we were finishing up our meal at the Cheesecake Factory, I got a strong word of knowledge for a knee problem and I called over the first server that I noticed after getting the word.  I asked him about a knee problem and at first he said no.  I asked again and sure enough he had a major knee problem and was actually considering a surgery to address the issue.  He was a buddhist and I asked him to put his hand on his knee and I prayed for him in Jesus' Name.  After praying once it was considerably better and after a second prayer he was completely healed.  I gave him my number to follow up with him and also asked one of the Christian staff  there to talk with him further about Jesus who had healed him.

However we weren't done at the Cheesecake Factory.

November 27, 2013

Gulf Arab woman's ankle healed after 2 words of knowledge

I was out to dinner with my son and two Gulf Arab muslim women were sitting at a table close to ours.  I got a strong word of knowledge in my "right ankle" and yet wanted some confirmation.  I texted my wife and asked her if she was getting any words – she said "dizziness".  I asked her for something else and she said, "right ankle".  I texted back that this was what I got and proceeded to approach the women.  I explained that my wife got a "revelation" that one of them had an ankle problem and that she would pray for the problem and it would be healed.  One of the women had a left ankle problem and so I called Desert Princess and gave the woman the phone.  She instructed the muslim woman to put her own hand on her ankle and she prayed for the woman in the Name of Jesus.  The woman told my wife that the pain was almost gone after the prayer.  She was visibly impacted by the invasion of God's Kingdom touching her life.

muslim student's neck healed over the phone

One of my students had on a neck brace two days in a row.  When she came up the second day, I gave her my wife's phone number and told her that she could help her.  She called Desert Princess and after a short prayer in Jesus' Name, she was healed and told her all the pain was gone.  The real test however was if she would come to class the following day without the neck brace.  Sure enough, she showed up today without any neck brace and showed me with a big smile on her face.  She came up and said, "It was like magic!"  I corrected her and told her it was "faith" and she said, "I know" with another big smile.  Something has started with this young woman.

November 20, 2013

muslims are "recognizing" the Kingdom within us

I feel like something is shifting in our outreach to Arab muslims.  Because we "temples of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 6:19), I have always believed that our very presence amongst muslims should be apparent.  We carry something that Islam doesn't have.  This has been something we have prayed and I think that this is something we are beginning to see happen.  For example, I've gotten to the women in a muslim Bedouin family.  I have prayed for them on several occasions and both the mother and her adult daughter were healed in Jesus' Name.  The last time time I went to visit, a relative was there and all of sudden the two women who had been healed, tell their visitor that I will pray for her and she will get healed.  They urge the other muslim woman to come sit next to me without even giving her a choice.  It was like they forced her!  She had a lot of pain in her arm and I prayed for her and released God's Kingdom in the Name of the Jesus the Messiah.  She looked really shocked as she could feel something going on in her arm (excessive heat).  I told her that it was sign that God was healing her.  

Once the woman left, they told me, "every time you come to visit, something good happens to us" and proceeded to give example after example.  They were asking for my advice and counsel.  I prayed with them for guidance about a specific matter.  However, what is the most shocking is that they are looking to a Christian as the one who prays and people healed, who seeks God and receives answers and/or wisdom – it is truly that they are recognizing the presence of God in my life.  On a couple of occasions these muslim women have gotten up in the middle of a visit come over to me and hugged me announcing how much they love me.  I've been in ministry to muslim women for over 20 years now and I have never seen this kind of response.  We are praying for the Kingdom to come and God is answering this prayer.