December 31, 2012

Dubai malls - Tunisian muslims - Day 4

Not only had we tried to minister to the Emirati men, but I had also spoken with the Egyptian muslim manager of the coffee shop to send us any of his employees (there were probably about 10 or so) to us if they needed healing.  He said he would, but then like some of the managers we make the same offer to, he didn't keep his word.  Later he told me that he was simply busy, but after the Emiratis left, I decided that I would approach his staff independently.  I spoke with one Filipino server and she didn't have a problem but grabbed her co-worker standing next to her and said she had a back problem.  I asked the first woman to lay her hands on the area where the pain was and I prayed a quick healing prayer.  Quick because they were working and the place was busy.  She was healed and they were both thanking the Lord. 

It was like that changed the atmosphere for us in the place.  Sitting next to us was a Tunisian family, who like us had made this coffee shop a bit like their "base" - in other words we had all been there for quite a long time.  I had earlier begun to engage them over their son's interest in professional soccer and after some more small talk, I basically explained that the woman with us (our other female team member was snowboarding) was a healer and asked if they had any need of a miracle.  They were very open and allowed her to pray for the man's neck after we got a word of knowledge.

One of the most in-depth times of ministry we have had in our entire time in Dubai ensued.  We were able to prophesy over them.  The man was extremely touched at one point when one of our team laid hands on him and began to speak in tongues (we wanted to know if he could interpret them).  He used the Arabic word that is equivalent of  the Hebrew word for "shekina" to describe how he was feeling.  He had a profound encounter with the peace and presence of God right in the middle of the coffee place! 

At this point, Isaac of Ninevah who had also been prophesying over him (he described some of his gifts, a situation that he had left in Tunisia, some problems with co-workers and how the Lord was going to give him strategies to solve them through dreams), and got some words of knowledge for his mother back in Tunisia; one was specifically for her right knee which was accurate.   So what could we do???  How about calling her on the phone right then and there and see what God would do.  That was the plan.  So he calls her, and gives me the phone.  I instructed her to put her hand on the affected knee and proceeded to pray in Arabic - a very basic prayer that any educated Arabic speaker could understand as the Tunisian dialect is quite different than the one I speak.  I give the phone back to him and it turns out she didn't understand a single word of what I was saying/praying.  She spoke French and a particular dialect of Arabic but was not educated in Arabic.  So what next?  I come up with another idea.  His father was educated in Arabic and so we call them back in Tunisia and his muslim father becomes my ministry team member!  I have the father lay hands on his wife's knee as I prayed again and released the Kingdom of God in Arabic praying clearly in the Name of Jesus.  I give the phone back to the son and he inquires as to what is happening.  She was feeling heat in the knee and from what the son indicated she was healed.  Obviously I had no way of testing it out or seeing what was happening, but the reason I believe she was healed is because a little while later, we were on the phone to Tunisia yet again to pray for his wife's mother who couldn't walk properly.  We did the exact same thing, because her mother also hadn't been educated in Arabic and this time had the wife's sister lay hands on their mother and I was able to minister again from Dubai, to Tunisia via a Qatar-based mobile phone.  We won't know the extent to which the mother was/is healed until she checks it out on a long walk.  Who says we are limited? 

Beyond that, I told him I would "construct" some French prayers of healing (through some of our community who speak French) so that he could pray over some of his other sick/hurting relatives.  I also told him I would send some of our friends in Tunisia to visit their relatives.

What was crazy is that this muslim family spend the next couple of hours with our team.  Their two young daughters could not stop hanging on the women on our team.  When we were setting up the second phone prayer session, I had left to go get my son and they waited and then brought their whole family across the mall where I was and then because we didn't have good cell phone reception we walked all over the place and ultimately put their phone chip in another phone to make sure we could pray at that time.  I am reminded of the guys who were so desperate that they lowered their friend through the roof to get him to Jesus.  This was truly hunger and desperation in action from this muslim family.

We exchanged contact information and will have people follow up with their relatives in Tunisia and with them in Qatar.  My experience with many North Africans is very similar to this Tunisia family, extremely open to the Gospel and no reservations whatsoever to receive ministry through the hands of Christians.

Our time in that particular mall really ended up becoming about ministering to this one family.  What a blessing it was to befriend them and to share with them the supernatural love of God and to demonstrate the revelation and power of His eternal Kingdom.

December 30, 2012

Dubai malls again - freedom to say "no" - Day 4

i don't particularly like spending hours and hours in malls, but that is where the nations congregate in Dubai and our intention is to love as many people as we can - so we found ourselves at yet another Dubai mall. While a few of the team went snowboarding, the rest of us headed for another coffee place and that became our little "ministry base" for the next few hours.

At first it was a bit of a slow start. I tried to connect with a group of four Emirati muslim men who were sitting next to us. I had a word of knowledge about a neck problem and yet none of them said it applied to them. As I explained further and spoke about the way we pray for the sick and see all types of conditions healed, they were extremely polite but clearly not interested. They even surprised us by buying a pastry we had ordered after they had recommended it and I offered the Kingdom yet again. Again, no interest in having us minister to them. One of them said a very interesting thing, albeit completely false, when I told them yet again that according to our Christian faith we are commanded to pray for and actually heal the sick wherever we find them (see Luke 10:9). He said, "In Islam we are commanded to do exactly the same thing". I can't tell you how many times I have heard a muslim completely contradict or in this case "invent" an supposed teaching/tenet/belief in Islam after hearing what we Christians believe (famously when I tell them that we are commanded to love our enemies they will often say that Islam commands that as well when in fact the command in the Qur'an is to slay them). After so many muslims have been healed and willing to receive prayer for healing in the past week or more, it was a bit frustrating that these lost men, who undoubtedly had a number of health issues just judging by their ages, were so totally uninterested in receiving from us.

To be fair, muslims consider Christianity to be a corrupted religion and that we are corporately deceived which when I think about it that way I should be more amazed when they do allow us to pray with them and for them. I would never allow a follower of a false religion pray for me or my family. I think also that the encounter with these men illustrates something else. God freely allows His creatures to reject His offer of love because love never coerces or manipulates and His essential nature is that of love. God's love persuades and draws but unlike what some Christian theologians have mistakenly taught His grace is not irresistable. These men were being drawn. God was persuading. In addition to the word of knowledge for the neck (which I believe was actually for one of them but they simply wouldn't acknowledge it) there were other words of knowledge pointing out some of their other pains and conditions. I was probably a bit over zealous to "make something happen" due to their fact that they belong to some of the most unreached and unresponsive people groups (the tribes/families of Emirati Arab muslims) in the world. I guess I was trying to hold the door open and the Lord although grieved was simply allowing them to do what so many of His creation has been doing for thousands of years, resisting Him.

December 29, 2012

Into the Arabian Desert interior - Day 3

We had been invited to travel into the interior of the United Arab Emirates to minister in a house church in the evening, so we made our way to the oasis city of Al Ain in the morning to see what the Lord would do in the mean time.

Our day began again in a mall. it was quite windy and since it felt like a sandstorm was brewing we decided to take things inside. The first person we ministered to was an Emirati muslim woman. I got a word of knowledge for her and one of our women approached her to pray for her. They needed some help with Arabic and so I came back and we saw the Lord heal her as we prayed for her in Jesus' Name and speak to her about the Kingdom. It was funny when an over-protective, and zealous Egyptian muslim who worked in the shop close to where this woman worked came over to check things out. I knew what he was up to and so I just offered him any healing he needed. He wasn't open at all and actually was a bit sarcastic so we moved on knowing that she would tell him what God had done for her.

Next I asked an Egyptian muslim woman for some directions (she also worked in the mall) and God interrupted with a word of knowledge about back pain in a particular part of her back. she had had a back problem there since her childhood. I began to speak to her about our mandate to heal the sick and how God speaks. she kept saying, "but I'm a muslim". I told her that God loved muslims too :) and wanted to heal them! I shared that we see people from all religious backgrounds healed. one of our women came over and was able to pray for her when she finally agreed to let us pray.

After this we were all enjoying another Starbucks and the team began to minister to the employees. one of them received prayer who also wanted to attend our meeting that night. I saw a group of three Filipinos sitting near to us and decided to inquire about their Christmas and find out if they'd be willing to let me give them a present! (or presents). they had just come from Church and I offered to pray for anything that was hurting or injured. They didn't have any issues but they said they had a friend with a "slipped disc" in the back. I asked if we could get her on the phone. they agreed and soon were calling her at the hospital where she was on-duty. As they were calling, I got a word of knowledge for an additional condition, something in her stomach. They confirmed she also had a chronic stomach issue as well. I took the phone and had the woman lay hands first on her stomach and prayed. Next I had her do the same for her back. I didn't inquire about the stomach after prayer but ALL PAIN left her back and as I handed the phone back she was crying. these friends of hers came over afterwards to our table and thanked us again for bringing healing to their good friend. When I think about their response - I asked THEM if they had any needs and they instead asked for something for their friend instead, it was very Christ-like and in the true Spirit of Christmas to not think about themselves but of someone else in need.

Next a Filipino guy was coming by who had some tattoos on his arms. I asked him to come over and told him that my friend could interpret his tattoos and tell him things about his life. I love having the mind of Christ that sometimes gets crazy thoughts - but I'd heard of Christians doing this before and even though we'd never talked about it, I figured the team could prophesy over him using the tattoos as the launching pad. Sure enough an accurate prophetic word about the kind of guy/friend he was and the role he played amongst his friends. We gave him some further prophetic words to encourage him in his walk with the Lord.

Our next stop was a restaurant in another part of the city for lunch. As we arrived, I noticed two Emirati muslim guys walking to their car and I inquired if the Lord had anything for them. I got a word of knowledge that one of them had a left knee problem and went to inquire. Just as they were getting in their car, I asked them and sure enough the driver had a problem with his left knee in the back. It had been hurting him for a couple of days. I had him lay his own hand on the area and told him that God was going to heal him. I prayed a quick prayer in Arabic and clearly asked in the Name of Jesus. I asked him to take his hand away and it was completely healed! No more pain. I don't know what was more surprising - the healing or the revelation that the Lord revealed to a Christian that he actually had pain in a specific part of his body. He took my number and I told him that I would like him to meet some of my friends who live in his city. Praying for this healing to lead to more interest in the Healer Himself!

In the restaurant, staffed almost exclusively by Arab muslims (Syrians and Egyptians), we offered to minister to anybody who had pain. I had a word of knowledge about back pain and so our waiter went to find one of their employees with that condition. Two of us were able to pray for this man's back and share with him the source of all sickness/pain (the kingdom of darkness) and God's intention to heal the sick out of His great love for people. We didn't really get to pray for any others, but I asked several times. I made it clear that we loved to minister to sick people/hurting people and since our friends visit this restaurant on occasion, there will be opportunity to follow up with these men.

At that point, we broke into three different groups with one continuing on in another mall, where that had the chance to meet with and encourage a local Emirati Christian who I also got to meet later that evening. My son and I headed off to a father/son activity - surfing in the desert at the world's best wave pool and our third group drove up to the top of a 4,000 ft. mountain and although I don't know the details, got to pray for people there and saw at least two people healed.

Our day ended with a house church meeting that included the operation of many of the gifts of the Holy Spirit - there was prophecy, there were tongues and the interpretation of tongues, there was healing, we did some deliverance from demonic torment. It was just an incredible time to be with other believers and to encourage them with some of our testimonies. The Emirati Christian was also there and that was just a huge highlight of our trip to be with one of the few known national believers. He had been tortured for his faith and yet with great boldness he was following Jesus and having an impact reaching others with the Gospel. It is one of the great honors to meet with those who have literally given up everything to follow Christ and who have also been persecuted (in his case institutionalized in a mental hospital and given electric shocks to the head and seriously drugged) for their faith in Jesus. He came to learn from us, but as it ALWAYS the case, I learned by for by being with him and hearing his story. Pray for his continued protection and for God to use him to reach his own people who are deceived and imprisoned in the false religion of Islam.

Malls, muslims and Miracles in Dubai - Day 2

yesterday we spent many, many hours in the largest mall in the world watching God touch people from many different nationalities. I think that was something that really shocked us all - in addition to ministering to people from the United Arab Emirates, we interacted with and/or prayed with people from South Africa, Pakistan, the Philippines, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbajan, India and Ethiopia. I'm sure there a couple of more because we were a team of 7.

Here were some of the encounters:

At lunch there were a large group of South Africans eating next to us and I told them about the team I had with me that could heal and prophesy and before we even had a chance to continue, I got a word of knowledge for a back condition in a particular part of the back. Two of the women had it and I had them each grab each other's hand and I prayed and both of them were healed! One of them went on and on about all the medication she had been taking and how bad it had been. She came over first and several of the team prophesied over her. Isaac of Ninevah had a vision for one girl and described in detail her bedroom and a Christmas gift she had received the day before and she was powerfully impacted. What ensued was one after one there were words of knowledge and then the person would come and was healed. This happened with a neck, ear pain a left arm and also a left knee condition. The Lord revealed and healed them all. Their Ethiopian maid had stomach pain and she was healed too! One left arm was also healed. Several of these South Africans were Christians and we were able to encourage them and even with one teenage girl (whose knee was healed), I was able to train her how to do the same thing we were doing. It was a good start to our mall visit to say the least.

After lunch it was time to get caffeinated and on our way to the coffee shop there was a shop that was called "La Cure" - I thought, we've got to see a miracle in a place with that name! We walked in and inquired if there was any employee in pain - one woman had lost her voice and we prayed a couple of times for it and nothing happened. That was a bit discouraging and surprising after all the healings at lunch (and yes we do share things that don't happen on this blog), but I was sure God wanted to do more. One employee from Azerbajan (who was a muslim) had been watching what was happening (or not happening to be more precise) was willing to talk with us a bit more and Isaac began to give her a prophetic word. I also got a word of knowledge about emotional numbness and now we had her attention as this was something that was true. The Lord also gave us some more prophetic insights into her temperament and personality. We had her put her hand on her heart and released the Kingdom. She said she felt God touching her. Then I got a word of knowledge for a specific knee which I felt was for one of her parents. Isaac saw a man walking with a cane. It was accurate and for her father. I asked when she would be talking to her father. She said she Skyped them every day. So we prayed that he would be healed at that very moment where he was. We hope to be able to follow up. I told her that I felt it would be a sign for her that God had genuinely healed her heart!

At one point, on our way to coffee, we met 3 muslim men from Mali. One of them was a Tuarag, which historically had been a Christian tribe before being forcibly converted to Islam like 700 years ago. It was difficult to communicate, but one of them had a little English and could serve as a translator. One of them had a back injury and we prayed for him and he was healed. Through our limited ability to communicate verbally, we explained what God was communicating to them through His loving, healing hand. They were very happy to meet us and wanted to become our Facebook friends after taking many pictures with us.

When we got to the coffee shop, one of the team ministered to a Russian woman who was healed. Isaac and I left them there for a while and went to a sporting goods store. As I was buying a belated birthday present for myself, he had prayed for a Sri Lankan buddhist employee who was healed and very surprised that Jesus had healed him. Isaac also asked if any of them had problems with demons and one of them said he didn't but that he had a couple of friends that did. we are in the process of connecting them to some local believers who can minister exorcism to his friends.

When we returned to the coffee shop there were a couple of Emirati muslim women there. I had a word of knowledge and asked one of the girls with us to approach them. She was able to pray for their healing and God.

At dinner there were some other Emirati muslim women and a couple of us had gotten words of knowledge (back problem and something else) and one of the guys also had some pretty detailed information about the circumstances that led to the pain/injuries (i.e. sleeping on a bad mattress). all the words were accurate and one of our women prayed for them to be healed. They were very open to receiving ministry which is something many who live and work in the UAE don't often believe.

I am forgetting some of the others stories and people we ministered to, but we talked about it and felt it was no exaggeration to say that we probably prayed for up to 30 different people and that between 1/3 and 1/2 of them attested to being healed. Of course there were some who couldn't tell at the moment. This was all in a muslim country under the constant surveillance of cc cameras and we were never told to stop, no one got angry (I even offered at one point to pray for a Saudi Arabian family, who although they declined my offer, were nevertheless very thankful that I offered.

malls, muslims and miracles - it has a nice ring to it.

Dubai miracles - Day 1

As Isaac of Ninevah and some of the team arrived in Dubai, they got a word of knowledge and saw a man healed (I don't have the details), but just a good start to what's going to be a great time of healing and miracles.

we headed out last night to a mall and got to minister to quite a few people - employees in the restaurant we ate in - we prayed for two or three of them. one for headaches, another for a throat condition that the Lord revealed through a word of knowledge.

at a coffee shop a bit later, we got to pray for a couple more employees - one of them had an problem in her arm which we prayed for several times and saw get about 80% better. I also approached some Emirati Arab muslims with what I thought was a word of knowledge for them. None of them had the problem (a word for a neck condition) but were very interested to discuss healing and learn from a Christian how we hear from God and pray for the sick. I was able to share with them in Arabic the Lord's prayer and how we believe that "on earth as it is in heaven" is our mandate to bring healing to anybody and everybody. they took my phone number. somehow I think I'll be hearing from them again.

we were able to minister to another man in another shop who had back pain. we only saw him get about 80% healed.

other than that we offered to pray for and minister to handful of others, but nothing else opened up. one table of people actually refused when one of the team approached them with some prophetic words.

this nation is known to be a difficult nation for Kingdom breakthrough - whereas many Christians live and work here with tremendous freedom, there are only a handful of known local believers and we are trusting that in the few days we are here that we will be able to demonstrate the power of the Kingdom to many Emiratis and other muslims who know nothing yet of the power of Christ, His Divine Nature, His atoning sacrifice, etc. etc.
pray for us.

Dubai miracles begin

a group of us has arrived in Dubai to see what God will do as we love people intentionally with the power of the Kingdom.

i arrived a bit earlier than the group and it started off with a word of knowledge for a knee condition for the employees of the car rental company. one was a muslim and the other man a Christian. the Christian man from India had the problem and let me pray. The Lord healed his knee and he told me that he was "born again". He also was eager to know when and if I was doing any Church services in Dubai?

as I was about to get into the car, the other man approached me. he wanted to know one thing; he asked me, "How did you know that my friend had a knee problem"? I told him clearly that Jesus told me because He wanted to heal him. As is often the case, since muslims don't believe God speaks anymore, he was most shocked in how in the world I knew about someone else's problem who I obviously didn't know.

the great thing about this is that who is working with this Indian muslim man? a born-again believer who will undoubtedly be telling him a lot more about the Jesus who healed him and who speaks today!

December 25, 2012

Christmas Presents for Muslims - Part 3

Yesterday we went to another Middle Eastern mall – we were actually just stopping by to say hello to some of our community that was celebrating a birthday and H. from Texas finds a Bedouin muslim woman, offers healing and proceeds to pray for her right in the shoe store.  H. is just being who she is – a Holy Spirit filled believer releasing the Kingdom whenever and wherever she goes.  When we found the birthday party (in a restaurant),  I offered "Christmas presents" to any of the staff.  I had my Santa's hat on and told them (mostly muslims) that we would help anybody with pain.  One Lebanese muslim came over and shared some personal details/problems.  I explained that my friends could "see" things and told him they would share some things with him.  Two of the team from Texas proceeded to NAIL the situation – it was about his engagement and upcoming marriage.  They also prophesied over a S. African believer who was at the party – she told me they were very encouraging/accurate prophetic words.

After this I got a word of knowledge for a neck problem on the left side sensing it was for someone at the party.  We were all at one table and sure enough down at the end one of two muslims at the party had a neck problem in that exact location.  I explained why the Lord had revealed it and of His intention to heal it.  I had another guest grab her hand and I prayed for her – her neck was healed.  I had also gotten a word for a problem in the upper left arm but hadn't asked anybody about it.  That comes next.

I went back to the restaurant manager, a Lebanese muslim, to inquire about others who needed healing.  I had seen one guy that I sensed needed prayer and that ended up being the cashier.  I was wrong about him needing prayer for healing (I thought it he might have some knee problems from the way he walked by) but then "broadened" things a bit and said, that basically God will heal any and every pain.  He had none, but the man next to him had pain in his upper left arm – I had found my word of knowledge.  I asked this muslim man to put his hand on his arm and I prayed.  It was about 50% better after praying once and then I asked if I could put my hand on his arm.  After praying again, he arm was completely healed.

It's just a lot of fun what can happen on Christmas Eve Day in a restaurant full of muslims when someone's wearing a Santa's hat offering "Christmas Presents" in Jesus' Name!

After this, we had arranged to go and pray for a muslim young man who had never walked.  We had met his father on our first outreach who asked if we would come.  He gave us the impression that the boy was fine but simply couldn’t walk.  When we entered the house we realized that was only a part of the problem.  Radical oxygen deprivation at birth had left this boy in a radically deformed state.  It was one of the saddest conditions I've ever seen.  This Shi'ite muslim family welcomed us in to pray for the boy.  While there, the Lord opened the door through a word of knowledge to pray for one of their other sons who had a back condition.  God's power came onto the teenager in a powerful way.  He was really touched.  The mother of the boy we came to pray for also had foot problems and one of our ladies prayed for her feet.  She couldn't tell at that point what had happened as she had to test it on a walk.  Another muslim woman there had her wrist healed.  I was able to share a number of things about the Gospel with this family; about the reality of Jesus carrying our pains and infirmities - "by His stripes, we are healed".  They have some parallel beliefs as Shi'ites and were very receptive.  I spoke about the ministry of angels.  We were able to lay hands on the boy and release the Kingdom.  Although we saw now noticeable difference in his condition, we believe we deposited something in that muslim home.  No Christians had ever been there to pray for their son.  No Christians had ever come into their home and sang, and done spiritual warfare and brought the Kingdom.  I was told that I must come back.  Love can break though any barrier.  We also believe that there will be measurable changes in the condition of this young man.

All in all it wasn't too bad of a Christmas Eve Day here in the Middle East.  Don’t forget to deliver presents when you are out and about this Christmas and New Years!

December 24, 2012

completely deaf ear opens

At the end an already great day, we had a renewal meeting in an Arab Church in the evening where there was a lot of powerful prophetic ministry and training/equipping in the prophetic as our guests from the United States ministered and just went for it.  During one of the words that their team was given, a very strong word of knowledge came in my right ear.  I went up to tell the team member who was prophesying to tell him that the word was for one of the two he was ministering to prophetically and it turned out that one of the men was 100% deaf in his right ear.  he was completely healed and the man who leads the Church is a surgeon and tested it out thoroughly and declared the man, whose condition he knew of, healed of deafness!  I love medically verified miracles – who doesn't?

Christmas Presents for Muslims - Part 2

Yesterday we all decided to go to a large mall to finish our Christmas shopping and see how many "presents" we could give to people by way of healings, prophetic words, etc.  You have no idea how much fun it is to play "Kingdom Santa" in a muslim country!  We broke into a few groups and no sooner had we started out that one of the other groups had already been praying for a Gulf Arab muslim man who had a cane.  He was with his grown daughter.  I was brought in for further translation and he explained to me that he had been in a horrible motorcycle accident many years before.  He was thanking me that my friends had stopped him and kept saying, "God has sent you to us today" even though he hadn't been healed yet!  He was so touched.  I got a word of knowledge about an ear problem.  His daughter explained that it was for her daughter who had hearing issues but was at home.  The man's leg was in need of more than healing; he needed a creative miracle as parts of his muscle had been removed during a surgery.  After showing us, I asked if I could pray again.  I grabbed his hand and prayed in Arabic.  At the end, the Holy Spirit was so upon him that he began to cry.  In years of praying for muslim men, I have never seen this happen.  His daughter was shocked!  As far as we know he still needs a creative miracle in his knee, but as he told me yet again that God had sent us to them, I knew that this was a special divine appointment.  I gave him my number and we will arrange to have Desert Princess go and pray for his granddaughter.  We are excited to see what happens as I have never seen a muslim man as impacted by prayer!  He was right – God had sent us to him and touched him in a way that only the Holy Spirit could.

In the next couple of hours we were able to pray for many different people – muslims, Christians, Buddhists and even one Jehovah's witness.  The Lord revealed a number of conditions by word of knowledge – one Filipino woman after the Lord revealed her back condition began to cry after she was healed.  One of our community works with this woman and will be able to follow up.  As we left, she was so impacted she couldn't speak.

In another shop, the Lord healed one Filipino woman's knee after the Lord revealed it through a word of knowledge.  She was shocked that God revealed it and even more so when He healed it!  She brought her colleagues – another one's foot was healed after praying several times.  Another one came for prayer for a cough and chest pain.  We will be going to pray for this woman's baby who has a brain condition.  She had seen the healings in her workplace and so she is expectant for what God will do when a team of us go today to pray for the baby.

In a final shop the Lord opened up a door for ministry that felt like a healing service – a muslim woman from Egypt was healed of 3 conditions (her foot, and two places in her back).  The foot and the back conditions were revealed by word of knowledge.  Several Filipino's were healed.  We got to prophesy over them too.  One of the employees was a Tibetan buddhist from N. India.  She became part of our ministry team and was willing to lay hands on the others while we would pray in Jesus' Name.  She felt God's power in her hand when we prayed.  Another woman was a Jehovah's Witness and she was feeling God's power in her arm as electricity that wouldn't stop.  I was able to tell her that Jesus wanted her to know that He was in fact God and that the Jesus of her Jehovah's Witness background couldn’t do what the Divine Jesus was doing.  She was so thankful.  One of the employees was an Egyptian Coptic Christian.  He was also healed and we told the muslims that he could answer all their questions.  He was a committed believer.  It was clearly the best time I've ever had in a clothing store.  Jesus' power was demonstrated through a number of healings, His revelation through prophetic words and His message of love clearly communicated.  There were some other issues that the Lord revealed that we arranged for some of the women on our team to go back and minister to, especially some of the deeper inner healing issues.  God healed their bodies physically and will heal their souls when they our women meet with these women.  

These are only the the testimonies of one of our teams today – I can't wait to hear tonight all the testimonies of the other teams.

December 23, 2012

Christmas Presents for Muslims - Part 1

Yesterday we had Kingdom-minded, prophetic group arrive from the U.S. to see what God might do as we seek to demonstrate the God's love in supernatural ways to whoever we meet, wherever we go, whenever we are out.  Even as they were jet-lagged, we headed out yesterday to see what kind of "Christmas presents" we might deliver to the different muslims we would meet.  The men went in one direction, the women in another (I'll have Desert Princess share their stories) and over the course of the next few days, I'll be blogging about our adventures together in two different muslim countries.

Isaac of Ninevah, myself and three others headed out. One place we stopped to have some tea was where we were able to pray for our first person.  We had offered to our servers to help anybody who had pain.  An Iranian muslim employee was the first one we saw God touch.  He had pain in his left foot, particularly in his big toe.  I laid hands on his foot and prayed quickly commanding the pain to go in Jesus' Name. He told me that all the pain left.  This was later confirmed as I put him on the phone to one of our community who speaks Farsi (I had spoken to him and prayed for him in Arabic, but that was his second language) who told me that he recounted what had happened to him and his healing over the phone.  I gave my friend's phone number to this man.  After seeing him healed, as we were leaving the some of the Egyptian muslim employees called me over to pray for another man and I had him lay hands on himself (he had chronic headaches) and prayed the Lord's prayer in Arabic, personalizing it with his particular name and condition.  I'm not sure what happened with regards to his headaches because he didn't have one at the time I prayed; however, I know that the reason they stopped me and asked me to pray for him was because they had seen and heard the testimony of the Iranian man's healing.  We absolutely love referrals!

As we were heading back to our cars, I saw a Gulf Arab muslim man walking with a cane.  Two of us approached him and two other men, who happened to be from Bahrain.  He asked why I had stopped him and was inquiring about his condition.  He had a knee injury from playing soccer many years earlier.  I explained that, "In our faith, whenever we see someone who is sick or hurting, it is incumbent upon us to pray for them that God would heal them".  One of the men from Bahrain, who seemed the most interested asked me, "So you can heal the sick"?  I explained that of course by ourselves we can heal no one but God heals people when we pray.  I asked the injured man to give me his hand and I prayed in the Name of Jesus that he would be healed.  I then asked him to test it out and he walked a bit and said there wasn't any difference.  I spoke with him a little bit about the importance of faith and then sensed that the encounter was over.  I would have liked to pray again, but I didn't sense I could go any further.  I had given these men my phone number and I trust that they will call me back especially if something more happens to the man's knee in the wake of our prayer (sometimes we have seen muslims healed like that).  While praying for him, Isaac and the others had been ministering to another muslim man who was healed (I don’t know the details) and another Gulf Arab muslim who had been watching had a need he wanted prayer for.  His son has been unable to walk his entire life (the son is now 15 years-old) and we will go to his house and pray for him in the next couple of days.  Again, the effect of him seeing another man touched by God's power, got this father thinking what might be possible if these Christians visit his son.  

The next place we went where we would be delivering presents was to a restaurant where we reconnected with our wives and the women who had come from the U.S.  As soon as the waiters (almost all were Arab muslims) began to take our order, we began to minister to them.  I introduced the guys from the U.S. as "healers" and our first "customer" was an Egyptian muslim with a headache.  He was healed.  Then another muslim man came with hearing loss – we prayed twice and his hearing was restored.  Another man came who said his right ear was "blocked" and we prayed for him.  He left saying felt strange; it was "tingling".  I told him to come back when the tingling stopped but I guess he got busy because I didn't see him again.  We also prayed for an Egyptian Coptic Christian employee who suffered from allergies and the resulting congestion and breathing problems.  After prayer, he told us that everything cleared up – of course, that will take time to know what has happened with the allergies.  Having a Christian working there with these muslim men who were healed is going to be the best way for them to be followed up.  They will be directing their questions now towards one of their co-workers.  Christmas came early last night as the Kingdom visited all of these men.  May they now hear one of their friends tell them more about the King Himself.  

December 20, 2012

Burmese woman healed

Tonight in a restaurant where we've ministered to people before, the Lord opened a door to minister to a woman from Burma.  She had had trouble breathing for a month.  Desert Princess prayed for her healing while she asked her to put her own hand on her neck.  There was no change.  We felt it was probably demonic and asked if we could pray again.  This time I asked a Christian employee who was a friend of hers to lay hands on her neck and we shifted into a spiritual warfare mode – praying the power of the Blood and the Cross, I broke off the demonic assignment.  She was set free!  Very encouraging dinner.

November 30, 2012

escape from Augustinianism - an exhortation

St. Augustine's influence upon Western Christianity is second to none.  However, his theology, primarily due to the neoplatonic philosophy which influenced it, moved Christianity away from the primitive Church, and thus the Apostolic faith, in a number of ways.

The Eastern Church wasn't as "infected" by Augustine's theology and never adopted some of his 'novel' theological ideas (double predestination, extreme notions of total depravity, unBiblical notions of God's love, a warped view of human sexuality and and overall concept of God that is shaped more by Neoplatonism than the Bible).

Thankfully there are a growing number of theologians and philosophers who are unraveling (and abandoning) these pagan influences upon Western Christianity and I believe we are seeing a resurrection of the most primitive, Apostolic understanding of God's nature, man's condition and the very core of God's essence - His love.  Largely due to Augustine's inordinate influence upon Western theologians (both Catholic and Protestant), God's love has rarely, if ever, been given primacy.

As philosopher/theologian Thomas Jay Oord has stated it, "Love has not been the orienting concern, organizing principle, or primary lens through which theologians have written theology" (The Nature of Love: a Theology).

Only when love is primary will His other attributes, such as His sovereignty, holiness, glory, justice, power, knowledge, etc. be brought into Biblical balance and set Christianity apart from every other religion on the planet.

Contrary to what many think, God's love and in particular the expression "steadfast love" is in fact used to describe God's Nature more than any other concept - and that was before the revelation of God in Christ.  The New Testament only serves to strengthen this Old Testament truth.

To whatever extend Augustine's theology reflects the faith and practice of the New Testament Church, we do well to embrace it, but when he doesn't (and he OFTEN didn't), may we endeavor to escape from Augustinianism and recover "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints".

November 20, 2012

شَهَادَةُ اللهِ

إِذَنْ مَنْ يُؤْمِنُ بِابْنِ اللهِ تَكُونُ هَذِهِ الشَّهَادَةُ مَوْجُودَةً فِي قَلْبِهِ. أَمَّا مَنْ لا يُصَدِّقُ اللهَ، فَهُوَ يَتَّهِمُ اللهَ بِأَنَّهُ يَكْذِبُ، لأَنَّهُ لا يَقْبَلُ شَهَادَةَ اللهِ عَنِ ابْنِهِ وَشَهَادَةُ اللهِ هِيَ أَنَّهُ أَعْطَانَا حَيَاةَ الْخُلُودِ، وَأَنَّ هَذِهِ الْحَيَاةَ هِيَ بِوَاسِطَةِ ابْنِهِ. مَنْ لَهُ الابْنُ، لَهُ الْحَيَاةُ. وَمَنْ لَيْسَ لَهُ ابْنُ اللهِ، لَيْسَتْ لَهُ حَيَاةُ الْخُلُودِ

November 18, 2012

millions who NEVER got the memo

This week Shi'ite muslims are commemorating the martyrdom of Hussein (the grandson of Muhammad, Islam's prophet).  Even tonight as I was out for a run, hundreds of Shi'ites are attending special services as what are known as Husseiniyas (which are different than their mosques).  This will culminate in a few nights with bloody rituals with chains and even swords as they seek to identify with the death of their martyr.

Although more Orthodox Shi'ites will take issue with what I am about to say, essentially many Shi'ites believe that Hussein died as an atonement for their sins.  I've had Shi'ites friends tell me this directly and when I have sat down and read Isaiah 53 with them, one thought that it was referencing Hussein.  The recognition of a need for a savior is indeed universal – even if it is hidden deep in the hearts of men and women. 

How tragic that more than 600 years after the God/Man, Jesus Christ came to earth to die as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, a false savior appeared to deceive millions named Hussein and that today millions of Shi'ite muslims are looking to him, a mere man, a sinful man, to somehow help atone for their sins?  To think that they NEVER got the memo!  Even tonight I am wondering about the thousands gathering literally within a mile of my house in a series of Husseiniyas who have no genuine understanding of who Christ is and what He did on their behalf.  

Blood will be spilt again in a few nights all over the Shi'ite muslim world because they never heard that "It is finished" from the One who died "once for all" - the Son of God, Jesus Christ, Savior of mankind – including the Shi'ites.

November 16, 2012

muslim healed and tells me his sister became a Christian when she was healed

For someone who is regularly praying for muslims to be healed, I had an encounter that was one of the most encouraging encounters ever!

I walked up to a muslim man when I noticed one had an elbow brace on.  His Gulf Arab muslim friend joined us.  He had injured his arm lifting weights and he was in pain.  

I told him I wanted to ask God to heal him and asked him to put his other arm on his elbow.  He did and I prayed the Lord's prayer in Arabic and asking the Lord to stretch forth His hand to heal.  I asked him to take his hand away and all he could do was stare at his friend in shock exclaiming "I swear to God" over and over as he declared that he was healed.  

Then one of the most shocking things I've ever heard as he tells his friend, "My sister became a Christian when this (healing) happened to her"!!  Talk about having someone to follow up with this man.  His muslim friend was also visibly shocked by both his healing and the revelation that his sister had left Islam after being healed in Jesus' Name.

He asked me for my phone number as I left.

Note: What I didn't know was at the very same time I was ministering to this man, my wife who was close by got a distinct word of knowledge in her right arm and elbow which was exactly what the Lord was healing!  She didn't know who the word was for until I returned to tell her what had happened.

November 13, 2012

Arabia trip - follow up!

One of the Omani muslims who was healed when we were there has contacted me a couple of times since we left.  Last night I was able to talk with him and after the small talk asks if I can help him with a curse and demonic problem.  He wanted to know when I would be back in Oman to help him, but instead I told him I had a friend in Oman who could help him immediately.  He was thrilled and very thankful. I was able to make arrangements for a couple of friends to visit him which will happen in the next few days.

We saw many healed in Oman – many were given accurate prophetic words and/or other words of knowledge – several had encounters with God and saw visions.  We sowed widely and it appears with one of these men, we are beginning to see the fruit of that sowing.  I'll be sure to blog the results of that meeting and the others who are being followed up as well.

November 09, 2012

another Arab muslim healed

Tonight Isaac of Ninevah and I were out with our wives.  We had the chance to offer to pray for a number of different muslims and some Christians too.  One man's wrist was better (not sure if it was 100% healed).  At the end of the night, I saw a group of Gulf Arab muslim teenagers and one had a wrist brace on.  It was a soccer injury that had happened a couple of days before.  After he told me what happened, I asked him to put his other hand on his wrist.  I prayed the Lord's prayer over him in Arabic and the Lord completely healed his wrist!  He was totally shocked.  I explained that as Christians it was our mandate to heal the sick and that God loved him.  I told him how he could find me and left the encounter at that.  When I was reunited with Isaac and our wives, they knew he was healed as they watched because of the shock and reaction on the muslim teen's face.  

November 07, 2012

to the ends of Arabia - Part 5

The fishing village morning was followed by a visit to the horse races in the afternoon.  We didn't know what God would do in such a "formal" environment, but as I was sitting with a couple of Omani muslims, one of them decided to try and tell me about islam – I knew where that was going, so I changed the subject and started talking about healing and some of the testimonies from even the morning.  He asked me to pray for him for high blood pressure which I did as we sat there surrounded by hundreds of other Omani muslims – I'm telling you, we can do this stuff ANYWHERE.  I just asked him to put his hand on his chest and I quickly released God's Kingdom.  Of course he will need to get that checked to see what happened, but afterwards he asked if I could pray for a headache that he had had for 2 days.  God healed that!  Then I began to prophesy over him and spoke to him about an angel that would visit him (this is so common with muslims and the Lord showed me a bit about the visitation).  The crazy thing I told him was that after the angel visits him he would be "a new creation" (khaleeqa jadeeda in Arabic).  He was so excited.  If he only knew what the angel was going to tell him and point him to!!!  I can't wait to hear about what happens.
Also at the horse races one of our hosts went back and prayed for another Omani muslim who was healed.  When the muslim guy I was with asked what my friend was doing, I told him, "oh, he's a healer to and is going to help that man"!  I love just being who we are.

That night we had a chance to minister freedom to a couple who have had many demonic attacks (to put it lightly).  They wanted more deliverance prayer, although they'd been through quite a bit.  The enemy was still harassing them and had them deceived about their true state and authority.  It was all about truth.  I have heard back from them and they are TOTALLY FREE now – no attacks in the night, no sleepless nights, no panic and fear.  The enemy's lie was exposed and truth replaced the lie and they are free!!  

Our last ministry time was at a new mall in the capital.  I can't even begin to share about all the different people we ministered to who were healed.  It was pretty crazy – I knew it would be good when the Lord dropped a name for me as we entered a coffee shop – it was the name of the shop employee who was friends with the group I was with.  His colleague, a Filipino was healed when I prayed.  As we launched out of that coffee shop on little "ministry trips" around the mall, we saw God touch many lives.  A Filipino woman had several conditions revealed by word of knowledge and then the Lord healed her when the girls I was with prayed for her.  Later we were able to connect her with the leadership of a Filipino Church that we met later in the mall by divine appointment.  Another Filipino woman who worked in another shop was healed of an abdominal condition.  As I was walking by her shop (an Adidas store) I got the word of knowledge and somehow knew it was for an Asian woman.  I dismissed the Adidas shop thinking no woman would work in there and so we went out looking for someone else.  Later we found ourselves back in the Adidas shop (o.k. so I like Adidas gear!).  The main reason we were in that shop was because of an Omani woman who worked there.  God revealed many things through words of knowledge for both her and her family.  She was captivated by God's revelatory power revealing these things.  She first saw her Filipino colleague healed after the Lord revealed her condition.  The missionary young woman who was with Isaac and I took her number and is going to visit her.  Of all the people we met and ministered to in our time in Oman, she was undoubtedly the closest one to entering the Kingdom.  I cannot wait to hear what happens when they go and visit her.  

Our time in the mall ended with a crazy ministry time in a soon-to-be-opening donut shop – there entire staff was there for final training and preparation and we got to minister to many of them – Christians, nominal Christians, hindus and muslims.  Prayers for healing – for both physical and emotional pain.  Isaac got to minister prophetically to the muslim supervisor.  We got to share much of the Gospel with one hindu man.  It was such a great way to end our ministry trip – and how many people know that if you heal people in donut shops, you're likely to get free donuts – all of us were given the donut of our choice.  Of course we do this for the love of God and lost people, but the worker is also "worthy of his wage" (like donuts!)

back from Oman - the healings are increasing!

We've only been back a couple of days from the trip to Oman and the healings seem to be increasing.

The day I got back we went to the mall as a family – 3 people were healed.  My wife, Desert Princess and my daughter got a word of knowledge for a woman's lower abdomen and she had pain in her ovaries and was healed.  While walking out, I got a word of knowledge for a muslim woman's knee.  I walked on as my wife and daughter stopped to pray and she is radically healed.  She was in shock.  While they are praying, I found another muslim guy and got a word of knowledge for his lower back.  I prayed for him and the pain left.

Then I tell my students some of the stories from Oman and one of them was fascinated by my "offer" to pray for the witch's healing.  She asked, "Do you think you would have healed him?" (he was paralyzed).  I told her yes and that we had seen many things healed – like blindness, and deafness.  She kept asking me so I said, "I've got a better idea.  Is anyone in your family sick or in pain?"  She said her sister was – her sister walks with a cane and is afflicted with arthritis.  I told her that I would have my wife come and "show" her how we heal instead of telling her.  She was so excited and took her number.  The meeting hasn't taken place yet, but I'll blog about the encounter when it does.

Then today an Egyptian muslim man comes to renew our internet subscription.  I got a word of knowledge for his neck and prayed for him and he was completely healed.  Knowing he had Coptic Christian friends (most Egyptian Christians are part of the Coptic Church), I spoke about how I had learned many things from the Copts about healing and casting out devils.  I told him to tell his Coptic friends about his healing.

Then tonight when I took my son to soccer practice, one of the Arab muslim players (in his 20's) came off the field with an injured ankle.  I went up to him and told him I would pray for him and God would heal him.  He let me pray.  I prayed twice and to his amazement the pain left.  He began to ask me about my faith and couldn't believe a Christian could do something like this.  It had been very painful and the next thing I know he is up and walking around.  When I left he was walking normally, and called out to me thanking me so much.  Since he attends the University I work at, I am sure I will be able to follow up with him in the next few days.  

I want to say that there seems to be a massive momentum at this time.  The Kingdom is being released on and around muslims and they are asking questions.  They are discovering that there is power in the Name of Jesus – as in each case I prayed the Lord's Prayer and clearly prayed in His Name.  More Lord.

Pakistani muslims healed

the healings are just going nuts here in the Middle East - I haven't even finished my Omani posts (1 more to go) and I've got another post about all the healings we've seen just talking to other muslims about the Oman trip - and then I took my 15 year-old daughter on a date tonight and introduce her to some employees in a bakery as "a healer". she got to pray for one of them and then a Pakistani muslim woman (a customer) is standing next to us and I tell her, "my daughter is healing that woman" - she's asks excitedly, "Can she heal me? I have a left shoulder problem!" She told us she was a Gynecologist. My daughter laid hands on her and I prayed and the Lord took away most of her chronic pain. We finished it off with another short prayer and a final "topping off" prayer (when it had gotten to 80% because Jesus doesn't get "Bs"). So then she asks for prayer to have another child - they have a daughter who is exactly the same age as my daughter but haven't been able to conceive since then. My daughter laid her hand on top of her hand and I told her that I believed she would feel something to confirm that the Lord had in fact touched her. I also shared a few testimonies of infertility that we had seen healed. During prayer, my daughter got a word of knowledge for her and so we are confident she was touched. Then we head outside to meet her husband (also a doctor) and their daughter. I got a word of knowledge for his achilles tendon - he had a chronic problem there and the Lord healed them. I invited them to our healing meeting on Friday to testify. Not a bad trip to the bakery! BTW - I LOVED that these two physicians absolutely had faith in Divine healing - so refreshing!!!

when will the Church take responsibility?

A progressively unchurched, secular America devoid of Christian values. When is the Church going to have courage to say that it's their fault? I've been thinking about this for a while now.  Having come to Christ in the mid-80's, there was such a "triumphalism" that I picked up in the Evangelical circles/culture to which I belonged. There was such an "elitism" albeit always couched in acceptable 'Christian-ese' speaking about humility and giving the Glory to God.  The idea was that the Church was no longer "irrelevant" like the denominations of before. The past and its "traditions" were always considered a bad thing and were hurting the effective communication of the Gospel. Youth ministry was booming with all sorts of new "methodologies" and approaches being embraced and implemented. Christian rock music had taken off and all other musical genres had become legitimate. Mega churches were on the rise; I attended one. "Seeker sensitivity" was the new buzzword. This trend continued (along with our self-concept of superiority) and seems to have continued strongly right up to this day - the advent of new forms of media, especially the internet only fueled this certainty that the Gospel message is penetrating this generation like never before. No place is this more apparent than in the post-modern "Emergent Church" movement, which people either love or hate, but everyone seems to imitate. 

It dawned on me just recently – what has been the "fruit" in America of all of these revolutionary ideas/concepts and/or approaches? You would think that we would have seen the percentag
e of church attendance skyrocket, seekers and the unchurched flocking to such "relevant" expressions of the faith.  Surely we would have been doing a much better job than the old, stuffy, traditional, religious, legalistic denominations of a generation ago – clearly that is what we all thought, but…

But that hasn't been the case. 

Church attendance percentages have plummeted, this generation knows less about the Christian faith than ever before, the numbers of self-identifying atheists is at an all-time high AND ALL OF THIS HAPPENED WHILE WE WERE ON DUTY! It's all happened on our shift and we therefore must take responsibility.  And yet, I've never heard a single one of those leaders from the 80's (and subsequently the 90's and beyond) admit that maybe we weren't as "hip", that our "keys" weren't as successful, that our message wasn't as relevant and understood, that our insights into the culture weren't as keen and that our effectiveness wasn't as assured as we had so confidently (arrogantly?) asserted it would be!

Sadly, the EXACT same triumphant, elite-spirited language (just read any of the current Christian magazines, or read the promotional materials of any growing ministry) is being used today by this generation of Evangelicals as the drum is being beaten with the news buzzwords of  "authentic community", "transformation", "networking", "vision", "conversation", "telling your story", "narratives" (or the super-sized "meta-narratives")  and yet with apparently (if the statistics are true) far less impact than any would admit.  The irony of ironies is that this generation of Evangelical Christian leaders are using these same dismal statistics (that developed "on our shift") to legitimize their current vision and ministry efforts!  Of course overly negative eschatologies ("it's all going to burn") and/or extreme concepts about God's sovereignty, are an easy way for us to blame shift and ultimately not take responsibility for this generation.

Instead of ending on such a negative note, what would I suggest?  Of course, first of all, I'd love to hear Christian leaders take responsibility – the mud-slinging at others (who ironically Evangelicals consider to be dead in their sins and spiritual unregenerate) should end yesterday.  The nation has been sliding into this moral mess for the last 50 years.  People have a free will, but clearly it is the Church's responsibility to communicate the Gospel to every man, woman and child.  We haven't done that very well in spite of all of our advances in media and technology.  But that isn't where the problem lies – these medium of communication are incredible.  What the real issue? In my experience, most Christians aren't communicating the Gospel with their unchurched friends and neighbors and even though I am wired as an evangelist, I too must admit that have failed massively in this area.  I have relatives that don't even know the basics of the Gospel and would be part of this unchurched, secular generation.  My family members!  I need to repent!  We need to repent for not having evangelized this generation!

Since this is a blog dedicated to miraculous demonstrations of Kingdom power, I have to say that a huge part of the Bible-believing Church that says they are committed to evangelism has little to no demonstrable supernatural power.  I lived as an Evangelical for years like that.  I am not picking on another theological camp.  It was my camp.  We simply didn't REALLY believe that God would heal people.  We didn't "see" in the Gospels how central miracles were to the message of God's Kingdom.  After more than a decade of pursuing the Kingdom with the expectation of miracles as normal, I have seen God move in ways (and I live and work in the muslim world) that I would only have dreamed about before.  Hundreds of miracles – mostly healings, but also exorcisms, dreams and visions and other supernatural experiences.  

A major problem is that a large part of Evangelical Church (especially those that look/sound/appear to be Emergent as well as those who are truly post-modern Emergents and are in some ways post-Evangelical ), thinks it is
actually "cool" to be skeptical of the claims of the miraculous.  That was pounded into me back in the 80's – we doubted everything while claiming to be "open".  Question and doubt everything seems to be the rule of the day. I distinctly remember sharing some testimonies a few years ago with the staff of a large Church and hearing openly cynical comments where in a joking way one of the pastors said, "if you need a miracle, I guess you can go see him".  I was there for years!  

I realize now that what this is; it is 
institutionalized UNBELIEF.  Something Jesus considered to be sin.  Even as I have been keeping this blog since 2006, I have many, many friends who simply DO NOT BELIEVE the stories of the miraculous that are being recounted here.  Whenever and wherever we find unbelief in our lives (and I do all the time), we simply must repent and ask God to take us into greater maturity.

As someone who lives in the muslim world, it just has become so simple for us - we love people with miracles and people change. That is the only way forward that we are finding - and I assure you that the same approach and obsession I've just described is alive and well as an export from North American Evangelicalism as organizations export and translate their new methods and approaches, which for the most part continue to devalue/deemphasize the miraculous.  When it is mentioned, it is usually categorized as rare and allocated to the realm of God's sovereign will.  The expectation however is clear – it will be these new approaches and methods with all the insights of cultural anthropology (which was my major!), that will bring the breakthrough.  The search for the "Golden Key" continues but the power to heal, perform miracles and cast out demons doesn't seem to get too much attention.  I guess 2000 year-old methods are a bit dated! (sarcasm intended).  

I must confess, I love it all – I have a blog, I have a podcast.  I prefer attending Churches with all the atmospheric changes which makes them feel like I'm in a Starbucks, with wi-fi and lattes, listening to "conversations about people's stories" in a comfortable environment while experiencing a state-of-the-art multimedia experience, cutting edge worship with dynamic, motivational teaching by a guy who looks like he's in a grunge band, 

And we can keep it all, 

let's become Christ to a lost world by manifesting His love and communicating the Gospel message with supernatural power.  Let us make sure that THE BLIND SEE, THE DEAF HEAR and the LAME WALK, etc. Jesus promised they would; do we believe that?.  If that had been the case in the past 50 years, then I bet…, I just bet that we would NOT have seen an America that is more secular, less churched, and devoid of a Christian worldview and values than any previous generation.  It isn't that it (a miraculous strategy) was tried and found wanting.  It has never really been tried.

As the great Smith Wigglesworth would declare as he considered someone sick, dying with cancer, "Not on my shift"!

November 06, 2012

to the ends of Arabia - Part 4

The morning after our amazing time of ministry in the coffee shop ended up being the most significant ministry we had during our entire trip to Oman.  We headed out in the morning to old Muscat and I had a sense that we should continue driving on to a small fishing village.  The "feel" of old Muscat is surreal.  Set on the coast between cliffs and coves as the mountains reach down to the sea is something you have to experience.  By far the most beautiful city in my opinion on the Arabian Peninsula!  We were a group of 3 guys and 3 girls and I was the only Arabic speaker.  As we walk into this small village, I remembered that several years earlier I had walked down the beach from a nearby hotel and prayed for one of the fisherman (maybe two) - I don't remember exactly.  However, I used that experience as a way to introduce ourselves.  First of all we met a group of 3 older Omani women.  I sent the guys on to the beach and shared my "story" with these women.  I told them that my 3 friends (the girls) were "healers" and that if any of them had pain or sickness, they would "read over them" (to use an understandable phrase for muslims) and that God would heal them.  They began to share their problems and were willing to have the girls pray.  I explained that the girls spoke no Arabic and so that they needed to point to where the pain was and God would heal them.  Next thing I know the girls disappear into an Omani house with the 3 women and the healings began!  In the end (and I will get the girls to share in more detail hopefully for a follow-up blog post), 7 different Omani muslim women were healed in three different houses that the girls visited.  All of this with no Arabic but just the mandate to "heal the sick".  The follow-up visits to this village are going to be REMARKABLE.  I really sensed that the next step will be the casting out of demons – which is huge in Oman.  Even as I write this, there are other Christian women with Arabic that are going to return on the next visit.

As for us guys, I caught up with Isaac and the other missionary on the beach who were already in discussion with 3 Omani muslim fishermen.  As I walked up, a word of knowledge for a right shoulder pain slammed into my body.  I knew it was going to be a good time for us as well at that point.  I explained my "story" briefly and also some of the experiences we had had already in Oman (the power of the testimony never ceases to amaze me!)  One of the three men had the shoulder problem.  I had his other friend lay hands on him (so we get a "two for one" Kingdom encounter) and sure enough the Omani's shoulder is healed AND the other man felt the presence of God in his hand as "cold" and a little electricity too (you never know what God's going to do).

The Omani man who had become my "ministry partner" had major physical issues.  He shared the most horrific story that left him almost dead a couple of years before, in chronic pain and with no explanation.  There was also several other tragedies in his family that all amounted in our assessment to a demonic assignment – why the kingdom of darkness wastes its energy afflicting those already in bondage firmly within satan's domain (Islam) is a mystery, but I guess demons are purely selfish in every possible way and there is no unity in that dark kingdom whatsoever.  We prayed for him and he received considerable relief in his legs and feet.  I also prayed for him for freedom from demonic attacks taking authority over things (both then and at his home later).  Isaac also began to prophesy over these men and we ended up getting invited to their home.

At the home, we just kept "exploring the space".  We asked if these guys wanted to be released into visions and and encounters with God – which of course opened us up for even more prophetic ministry.  So we would lay hands on one guy and ask the Holy Spirit to come.  The first one (whose shoulder was healed) didn't go into visions, but had an encounter with God that he couldn't explain.  This stuff is so much fun!!!  There was quite a bit of prophetic ministry over this man – gifts God wanted to give him and things about his destiny.

That man's younger brother was next – as we laid our hands on him, he went into a massive, long, closed-vision (saw it all with his eyes closed).  Not only did he share it, but we got to interpret what it meant for him.  Isaac also had a vision for the man that he shared afterward.

As I said, I got to pray more for the man who was afflicted by the demonic – I wanted to see more breakthrough and deliverance.  There was a distinct sadness on him and as we ministered to him that began to lift.

In the end, we had NO OPPOSITION whatsoever in this village in a 100% muslim Omani village in Arabia!  Driven by love, we simply went to demonstrate the Kingdom of God through healings, deliverance and prophetic ministry.  All of this clearly pointing to the supremacy of Christ and His Kingdom.  We were there for probably close to 2 hours and the invitations for us to return came at every junction.  Pray for this to be a wide open door for the salvation of many in this village.

to the ends of Arabia - Part 3

We left the Interior encouraged but had wanted to see so much more.  Little did we know that the fun was only about to begin.  When we arrived back in the capital, we met with a young missionary at a mall who we would be staying with.  The first healing we saw was a western woman in a coffee shop who had a cast on her foot.  She had broken her foot and it was still in pain.  I told her I was a pastor and that I believed all the pain would go if she let me pray – I told her 10 seconds was all I needed.  She agreed and all the pain left – she was very grateful.  

As we were sitting in the coffee shop, the Lord highlighted a muslim man to me.  I approached him and the man and his two friends invited me to sit down with them.  They were all Omani muslims which I didn't realize initially as two of them were in western clothes.  They insisted I sit down and I began telling them about what had happened in the Interior (I'll told you the Lord would redeem us getting shut down for His Glory).  These guys were on the edge of their seats.  Isaac of Ninevah and our missionary friend joined us at the table.  What followed was one of the most significant times of Kingdom ministry we had in Oman.  First of all I got a word of knowledge one of the Omani's backs (the one I was initially drawn to).  He was healed.  Another word of knowledge came for the same man – this time about deep emotional pain.  That was accurate.  We prayed again.We also prayed for one guy's knee but didn't really see any difference as he said he would have to wait and see.  We also got to pray for the swelling in one of the guy's ankles and we all agreed that it looked like the swelling decreased during prayer.

We began to talk about the Kingdom of God.  I explained why we weren't afraid as Christians to go to place with witchcraft because God Himself lives within us.  They were so interested.  Islam doesn't teach this and so it was something they had never heard – the concept that God comes to indwell and manifesting His Kingdom. We spoke about the kingdom of darkness and its inferiority to the Kingdom of God, how we have authority to cast out demons and another man wanted prayer for deliverance from the influence of Jinn (demons).  I told him that the coffee shop wasn't the place so we exchanged numbers for further ministry.  Isaac also ministered prophetically to these men and much of it was clearly revelatory for them.   He got that one of them was in the music industry (which he was – a DJ) and the other liked to build small things with his hands. Turns out, he was a chemist who also fixed and upgraded his own computers. 

This whole encounter was just one big redemption from the disappointments we had seen earlier in the day.  And that is the way it has gone ever since.  I tell muslims we went to the house of a witch to see him healed from being crippled and the Kingdom discussions begin!  The questions flow.  The offers of Kingdom ministry are made and accepted.  

Note: this whole encounter in the coffee shop was done in public in a mall in a muslim country under the surveillance of cc cameras.  We didn't lay hands on anybody but rather had them lay their hands on themselves. In other words, we have no excuses.

November 04, 2012

to the ends of Arabia - Part 2

From the coast, we headed inland crossing the mountains and coming to what is known as "the Interior" of Oman.  It is more conservative and people mostly live in villages or small towns.  Ironically, it is not only known for being more conservative religiously, but it is also known as the place where there is the most witchcraft.  This is something that is not only believed in Oman, but I've asked Arabs in many countries who also believe this to be true.  We decided to go to the city considered to be the center of magic and witchcraft and see what the Lord would do.  

In a restaurant we met a man from that city and asked him to tell us what he knew about the city's reputation for witchcraft.  He began to tell us some stories and the history of it acknowledging that it was far less today than in the past; however, he did tell us that one of the witches from the heyday (the 50's and 60's) was still alive, but crippled and living very close by.  We got excited.  We asked if we could go to meet him and told the man that God would heal him to show him and others the superiority of God's power over the forces of darkness.  So off we go to meet the "last living witch"!  We got to his house (it was very close) and knocked on the door.  Eventually his son-in-law came out and spoke with us.  Sadly in the end, he did not let us come in to pray for his father-in-law.  He said he was sleeping which was probably so since it was the afternoon, but we could tell that he really didn't want to let us in.  God gives people a choice even when He sets up divine appointments.  I will tell you though that this experience as we re-told it many times to others ended up opening more doors than even the testimonies of the healings. When people discovered that we Christians went to the house of a known witch to offer healing to his crippled body in a city that many won't even drive through, they were interested to say the least!  Why would we do that?  What made us think we could do that and not be 'cursed'? (I even had a student of mine ask me that today). Even though we saw NO healing there and didn't even have the actual opportunity to pray for the crippled witch, God redeemed the son-in-laws refusal into an opportunity to pray for many others.  

Our next stop was the "religious capital" of the country which ironically is the next city down the road.  Again we thought we had another divine appointment.  While walking through a neighborhood under the date palms, a man approaches pushing his son in a wheel chair.  I introduce ourselves and explain that we are healers and as Christians we are required to pray for the sick and God heals them.  I didn't get very far with this man.  He was more or less a fundamentalist muslim and simply refused our offer.  Again we were discouraged, but yet again this story of his refusal opened up doors for us later as I explained to other Omanis that he wouldn't let us heal his crippled son.  What intrigues them is that we are speaking so readily about miracles.

We didn't leave "the Interior" empty-handed.  As we had some tea before leaving the city, a couple of Omani men sat down next to us.  They were the first ones we told the "witch story" to.  I had gotten a word of knowledge that one of them (I knew which one) had a left knee problem, that it was a soccer injury (and later the Lord also indicated that it had happened 2 years earlier).  Right in the middle of the whole story of visiting the witch's house to heal him, I stop and ask about the knee problem.  They were SHOCKED!  It was like they had just seen a ghost.  I would think their first thought was "this is witchcraft", but we were clear that God reveals to us people's problems in order to heal them.  So much of recounting our story in the former city was to emphasize God's power over and above the powers of the Kingdom of darkness.  I laid hands on the man and prayed telling him that God was going to heal his knee.  I gave him my number and told him to contact me back in the capital city and to tell me how his knee was.  They were very thankful.  As of the time of writing, I have not yet heard back from him.  I am confident that I will very soon.

What in some ways felt like a disappointment (the 2 refusals and there was even one other guy we prayed for who didn't seem to get any better) ended up in the end affording us many other open doors and opportunities.  That is definitely God working all things together for good.  I know He led us to those people and was intent on healing them.  He doesn't override people's free will.  He did redeem it all by not only opening more doors to destroy the devil's work, but then doing what He always does – healing them!  Those stories will come in Part 3.