October 13, 2014

miracles amongst muslim Syrian Refugees

Four of us took a 5 day trip to Jordan this past week with the intention of spending time with and ministering to Syrian refugees. As they have fled their war-torn nation, many of them have ended up in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. We had the privilege of connecting with a number of Syrian families in northern Jordan while we were there. We also got to minister to other Jordanian, Palestinian and Egyptian muslims during this trip.

This trip had a major impact on me personally largely due to the time we spent with refugees, hearing their painful stories; ones of loss, shattered dreams, destroyed families and other violent traumas. To see the way the Church has arisen in Jordan to provide for the basic needs of thousands of refugees, was amazing and humbling. To see the way radical Islamic clerics from the Arabian Peninsula are also there to peddle their radical ideas (ironically, the very ideas that have fueled the war they have fled from) and to literally attempt to “buy off” these vulnerable Syrian muslims, made me incredibly angry. The radical “Wahabi” Islam that the Saudis have exported all over the world, and which fuels global Jihad, is pumped into any place and every place that the petrodollars can access. Today one of their targets is wherever there are Syrian refugees. One Syrian after declaring in front of us and his entire family that “all the Saudi Religious Sheikhs are liars”, pulled me aside and pleaded with me for help as he explained that they were ‘confusing’ their women with their poisonous ideas, and ‘buying’ their loyalty (paying them to attend their lectures) which he said was destroying the relationships between husbands and wives. Diabolical. A revelation of the true face and nature of religion of Islam.

All this to say, that this is truly a kairos moment for Syrian muslim refugees and we must pray that the Gospel reaches them at a time when many of them want little to do with the Islam that has destroyed their lives. We saw absolutely no opposition to our message and ministry while we were with them. Not a single objection from one Syrian we spent time with! Unprecedented. Remarkable.

I will try to describe some of the encounters we had and how the Lord led us to minister to them. We had been invited by a friend to visit a number of the Syrian families she knew. We had the honor of sitting with them, and praying for them. God gave us many prophetic pictures and words for them and their futures. Many of them were healed physically often after the Lord would reveal the sickness or injury supernaturally through words of knowledge. One miracle really stuck in my mind. As we were sitting with one family, I got a word of knowledge and asked who in the family had a left shoulder problem. The husband said that it was for his brother who was living outside of the city in the largest refugee camp. I asked if he could get his brother on the phone as I wanted to pray for him. He did and I found out that the shoulder was injured while he was being tortured when the brother was in captivity in Syria. Two years of chronic pain. I prayed for him in Arabic over the phone. I broke off the trauma of the experience. I asked for God’s Kingdom to come and this man was completely healed! I handed the phone to the husband so that his brother could tell him what happened. After hearing his brother testify, he shared with the whole room what the Lord had done. The great end to this story is that one of the Jordanian Christians, who was formerly a muslim, will be able to follow up with him inside the camp.

Perhaps more impactful than the physical healings were the emotions and trauma that God healed, or at least began to heal. We would lay hands on these men and women and ask the Holy Spirit to come and to ask for the Peace of Christ to rest on them. The things that happened were stunning. Those who haven’t laughed or even smiled in as long as they could remember, had joy return. Those who were tortured with flashbacks and night terrors would try to describe what they were experiencing during and after prayer and would say, “I can’t describe what is happening”. Talk about “the peace that TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING” (Phil 4:7). We saw that happen to every person we prayed for. A couple of people we prayed for really stood out as they had been fighters in the war. They were bearded radicals (as are most of the opposition regardless of what the liberal media wants us to believe), and I wasn’t sure how open they would be to having Westerners pray for them. The Western-led air strikes are hurting their cause, even if they aren’t/weren’t connected with ISIS (which we don’t actually know) because it strengthens the Syrian Regime that they were fighting against.

The great thing is that LOVE NEVER FAILS (1 Cor 13:8) and we weren't there to talk politics or take sides; we were there to love these men and women in the power of the Holy Spirit in the Name of Jesus. We had the unthinkable opportunity to pray for two different fighters who had life changing encounters with the love of God. Their countenances changed. We saw the anger and desire for vengeance begin to dissipate. I was able to share why Jesus taught us to love our enemies which is a totally foreign concept in Islam.

Beyond these encounters, there was such a hunger for them to hear through prophetic words what the Lord was showing us about their lives. He revealed so many things, some in great detail, which got their attention. Islam teaches that God no longer speaks today. These Syrian muslims heard God speak to them – to call out their destinies, to show them that their futures were full of hope, and to reveal to them the beauty of Christ and His work to make a way for them into His Kingdom. In one house, the muslim women were so impacted that they called their neighbors on the phone and another group of women arrived hungry to hear what God would show us about their lives and solutions to their problems.

Please pray for the Syrian people. More of them are hearing the Gospel today than arguably at any point in the past 1000 years. They are also “seeing” the Gospel as so often it is Christians who are meeting the needs especially in Jordan and Lebanon. One testimony we heard from Lebanon was stunning – a husband who was fighting in Syria heard about people who were helping his family and protecting the honor of his wife and daughters. He came off the battlefield to meet these Christians and to thank them for doing for them what he was supposed to do. The entire family came to Christ. More Lord.

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.


"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 03, 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 28, 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".

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 16, 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.


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 14, 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.

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)