August 15, 2008

(UPDATED) some sobering thoughts for critics of Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Outpouring

UPDATED - It was with considerable sadness that we heard the news that Todd Bentley and his wife have just separated this week. Since the Lakeland Outpouring began back in April, Todd Bentley has endured probably some of the most severe criticism of any Christian leader in recent memory. Now in light of the sad news of his separation from his wife, the critics guns are firing at him, his ministry and ultimately the move of God in Lakeland like never before. Todd has got some serious problems to work on and will hopefully (in submission to those he is accountable to) step out of public ministry for a season and work to save his marriage. If he does, his best days lie ahead. If he doesn't, then the story of a guy like Lonnie Frisbee (who rejected the counsel of those he was accountable to, didn't work on his sin issues and tried to keep on ministering) could tragically be repeated.

Todd Bentley is an ordinary guy, who God saved out of a rough background and put His Spirit upon him. Unlike many of the critics who are basing their assessment of the man solely based on video clips from YouTube, we know Todd Bentley from attending many of his meetings (before Lakeland) and traveling with him (and a Fresh Fire team) on a missions trip. I've seen deaf ears open and numerous other healings flow through his hands and those who are part of his ministry. I've seen his amazing prophetic gift in action. Having listened to perhaps a few hundred hours of his teachings (from CD's and his podcasts), I know that Todd Bentley is thoroughly Orthodox in his theology. (Note: see my "comment" concerning his orthodoxy)

What I don't understand at all at this time is why people feel they can completely discount his ministry, the Lakeland Outpouring and everything else because the Bentley's are having serious martial problems. I have been in ministry and around people in ministry for a couple of decades now. I have seen many men (and women) who have struggled to keep a healthy balance between their ministry and their families. After reading a scathing editorial in Charisma magazine, I just found myself wondering how many of that man's friends in ministry have struggled with marital and family problems due to their inability to balance their ministries with their family responsibilities. The fact is, I have seen many who have had successful ministries neglect their wives and their children for the ministry (and like Todd develop inappropriate emotional ties to people in their ministry). Very few seem to say a thing until something like a separation or a divorce takes place. Shame on US who call them OUR friends, especially since we saw things deteriorating and didn't have the guts to speak up.

The Lord did some incredible things (and continues to do so) through the Lakeland Outpouring. I know many who personally went to Lakeland and encountered God in amazing ways - some who were healed, others refreshed and renewed and still others who received an impartation. Two of those people happen to be my wife and mother-in-law. I also attended one of Todd's meetings when he traveled to another city. The Lord healed my leg sovereignly in that meeting. The fact that God was using a broken vessel with some challenging martial struggles doesn't take away from anything God has done.

I guess there are still some who really struggle with the fact that God uses real people, with real problems (and sin issues) to establish His Kingdom. I may not like it when God uses people with theologies I disagree with (and believe to be "in error"). I might want God to use people who "do ministry" in a way I find more acceptable. I may want God to select people with
weaknesses that I find less offensive. But the last time I checked, God isn't asking me who He should or shouldn't use. (Note: I can't tell you how many Christian pastors and leaders I've met who were so arrogant that I was stumbled by their attitudes of elitism and superiority - which Biblically is as serious of sin as anything Todd has or is entangled in right now. People just seem to tolerate more "acceptable" sins though - like Christian leaders who are arrogant and proud. Nobody is rejecting wholesale their ministries in spite of the fact that Scripture teaches that "God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble")

What most likely lies behind most of the criticism of Todd Bentley is the fact that God chose to put His Spirit upon a man with an 8th grade education and give him a worldwide ministry. He has experiences that we read about in the Bible (i.e. angelic visitations) and people cry "heresy". People genuinely get healed, and the critics try to track down the ones who didn't. They focus on one or two of the more "sensational" ways he has ministered through the years, and completely overlook the 1000's who he has touched in a loving and sensitive way.

What also seems to be fueling so much of the controversy is their envy and jealously. They couldn't rejoice with Todd during Lakeland's success and now they are seeming to rejoice with his failure. Sounds demonic to me!

kingdom breakthroughs the other night

We had a meeting two nights ago where we saw God's Kingdom touch a number of people. The meeting started with some words of knowledge, including one for a guy who was walking in when I got a clear word for a back problem as I was looking at him. We began the meeting by calling him out and he had a back problem.

We had a word for a left wrist problem - one of our friends had that problem, she received prayer and was healed. Today she called us to tell me that she could do push-ups without pain (which she couldn't do before).

We prayed for headaches - two of the women we prayed for had long-term migraine problems. One for 10 years. We didn't see either of those women healed that night, but we got to pray for them a long time and are fully expecting God's Kingdom to deliver them - there are no headaches, especially migraines in God's Kingdom. However, another woman who had a severe sinus headache was healed in the meeting during prayer.

I had given a word for left ear hearing problems. Several responded. We prayed for 3 people I believe. One of them testified to being healed during the meeting.

Desert Princess saw a couple other healings - a woman with non-stop ringing in her ears was healed. No more ringing. Another woman who had hearing loss in both ears and she testified that it was fully restored.

I don't know what else happened but it was a great night watching God love on people. Even those who didn't get their breakthrough, really sensed God's love and presence.

August 13, 2008

when we lose to cancer

Yesterday was a tough day for me personally. This has been an incredible year wherein we have seen cancer healed twice - once for a terminally ill muslim man and the other for a good family friend.

A few weeks ago I blogged about a word of knowledge I had received about a "throat condition" in an airport. The woman I asked said she had no problem but that her father was diagnosed with throat cancer. I was able to call her mother and minister to her father over the phone. I shared the testimonies of cancer healed. I shared how the Lord "revealed" to me (a complete stranger) that there was a throat condition in their family.

I called the family back just yesterday morning to see how the father was and was told that he passed away a little over a week earlier.

We don't see everyone healed. At this point, we aren't even close. But we are clear about this - It is God's will to heal. He HATES cancer, it comes from the kingdom of darkness. The Lord LOVES to destroy cancer. (Let's just get as logical about this as possible - what physician isn't thrilled when they successfully treat someone's cancer? God, whose goodness and compassion FAR exceeds the most benevolent of doctors, sends the Heavenly Host into PARTY MODE when His Kingdom invades our planet and souls get saved and sickness is destroyed!

Yesterday, I had to pick myself up (so to speak) and get back in the saddle. Tonight we are going after cancer yet again! God hasn't changed. His power is no less available.

Let us not stop fighting and contending UNTIL we've attained to the same ministry Jesus had - and then we've even got the "greater works" to look forward to.

word of knowledge reveals woman's "TMJ"

Last night as the Holy Spirit was moving powerfully in a home meeting, I was more postured in a receiving mode as others were leading out in the ministry time. The Spirit was ministering deeply to one woman and as I was just worshipping next to her, the Lord gave me a word of knowledge about a problem in her jaw and indicated that it was "TMJ".

I asked her what was wrong with her jaw. She looked a bit puzzled by the question and said, "nothing". I knew it was a clear word from the Lord. I asked her, "do you have TMJ"? She said, "oh my gosh, I forgot, I do have TMJ".

I got to lay hands on her and pray.

TMJ got flushed!!