Tag Archives: Signs and Wonders

Not With Eloquence…But With Power

Over the past few months God has been teaching us (i.e. the PRV family) to watch Him and to do what He is doing. It seemed fitting, therefore, that as I was prepared last Sunday’s sermon I felt that God wanted me to pray that folks’ spiritual eyes and ears would be open. God was on the move and He wanted us to be able to see His works, to hear His voice, and to join with Him as He transforms our valley and our lives.

I was ok with that.

What I wasn’t ok with was the dream I had Saturday night…

In this dream I was standing before the congregation, having just finished the sermon. As I watched, I saw myself inviting anyone who wanted their spiritual eyes and ears open to come – anyone who wanted a new touch for God – they were to come up front where I was to anoint their eyes and ears with oil.

Lying in bed that night, drifting between sleep and awareness, I remember wrestling with this dream: Why was I the only one prayer? Surely there were others in the congregation who was supposed to pray as well?

Shoot, I even recall trying to change the dream to show this modification as it ‘fit’ better within my parameters of ‘church.’

Yet, the same image rolled across my mind a second time – I was to invite the people forward and anointed them with oil. Only this time, it felt like there was someone or some people who were to join me… only they were not the congregation per say…I don’t know…it was odd and I couldn’t put my finger on it… I just knew that I was supposed to pray for some eyes and ears.

Continue reading Not With Eloquence…But With Power

When God Shows Up…

Last night we gathered together for a special evening of prayer as we marked the end of our church’s twenty-one day prayer and fasting journey. As the folks drifted in, the excitement built as we waited to hear what God had shown His people over the last few weeks and as we expected Him to heal those with spiritual, emotional or/and physical wounds.

Not quite sure how the evening was going to play out, I sat down next to the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee in my hand. Thinking back, I remember reflecting on the nature of this group….fifteen souls forged together over five long years of love, pain, hardships and joy.

Some of us were there when the church was started…others drifted in at different times along the journey. Yet, there we all sat in a cozy living room overlooking the Sweet valley ready to enter into battle for each other.

And what a battle it was!

Two hours turned into three which turned into four that slid into four and a half. God poured out His Spirit, wisdom and knowledge upon us that night…with some folks receiving the anointing and empowerment of the Holy Spirit; others received words of encouragement that dealt with areas previously unknown to the speaker; still others received visions and prophecy of what might come.

Hearts were mended; fires stroked and passions fueled; relationships strengthened; callings confirmed.

In other words, God showed up.

Eternal Spirit, source of light,
Enlivening, consecrating fire,
Descend, and with celestial heat
Our dull, our frozen hearts inspire.
Our souls refine, our dross consume!
Come vivifying Spirit, come,
And make our hearts thy constant home!

-Samuel Davies (1759-1761)

A Practical Guide to Angelic Visitations

OPEN-MY-EYES-LORDThere is a lot of noise in the world today about angels – especially within the Pentecostal stream of Christianity. Some of the noise is borderline heretical while other bits are simply a matter of word choice and semantics.

And then there is Gary Oates‘ book “Open My Eyes, Lord.”

Billed as a “practical guide to angelic visitations and heavenly experiences”, Oates’ book is a true jewel. For years Oates and his wife served God as a pastor and church planter, only to come to the end of their wits due to stress and a ton of trials hitting at once (about half their church left within two months for different reasons).

Around this same time, Randy Clark invited them to go to Brazil with him for a Global Awakening conference. At first the Oates decided not to go as they had enough problems at home…but God convinced them to go.

Once in Brazil, Gary started hearing first hand stories from folks who had angelic experiences. Wanting more of God, Gary started praying for God to open his eyes – just like Elisha did in 2 Kings 6:17.

God answered his prayer and opened his eyes to see into the spiritual realm.

The cool thing – at least to me – is that Gary stressed the supremacy of God throughout the book. The angels that Gary saw were always going about God’s work – they never brought attention to themselves.

It is this stress on the sovereignty of God while talking about the very real spiritual battle around us that made my heart excited as I read the book. It is truly a wonderful book full of great testimonies and practical advice on seeing what God is doing.

Power Evangelism by John Wimber and Kevin Springer

wimberThe book title says it all: “Power Evangelism”

In a landmark book, John Wimber and Kevin Springer craft a wondering argument in the purpose of the gifts of the Spirit. Namely, signs and wonders are to seen in marketplaces (i.e. outside the church building) so that people will come to know Jesus.

To do this, the authors (the principles and theology are mainly from John Wimber; Kevin Springer was the writer who put everything down on paper) spilt the book into seven parts::

  1. The Kingdom Has Come (ch 1-5) – An outline of Kingdom Theology stating that the dymantic rule and reign of God has entered the present time through the person of Jesus.
  2. The Power Encounter (ch 6-9) – Humanity is in the middle of a war between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. There is no ‘safe zone’; we are all in the battle.
  3. Power Evangelism (ch 10-13) – Wimber’s personal story on how God taught him how to evangelize using the gifts of the Spirit.
  4. The Divine Appointment (ch 14-17) – God is already working in people’s lives before we arrive on the scene. We need to be aware of this and join with what God is doing.
  5. Signs and Wonders and Worldviews (ch 18-22) – A challenge to the western modernity worldview that denies the supernatural.
  6. The Works of Jesus (ch 23-27) – A look at Jesus’ life and ministry with special focus to Jesus’ power of demons, disease, nature and death.
  7. Signs and Wonders in the Church (ch 28-31) – Miracles did not stop with the death and resurrection of Jesus, the book of Acts and history itself testify to the fact that God continues to use miracles to bring people to Himself.

This is the second time that I have read this book – and it was still just as good. I love how Wimber takes what is usually reserved for the church gathering and uses it in the streets.

Yet, it is tough…Personally, I find that it is easier to pray for the sick in a church meeting then at work – mostly because I’m nervous about what people will say (that and lawsuits). Sigh. 😕

God please grant me the boldness and the wisdom to obey You in every area and place.

Power With A Purpose

saintI just finished preaching this morning about the Holy Spirit being upon us to be witness of Jesus to the world. I was a little nervous today considering the topic and some other items…but God showed up and granted me peace during worship. Peace that carried through the sermon. 🙂

The main text of the sermon was Acts 1:1-11 – today was the first day of a series going through the book of Acts. It is kinda of strange as we have tried to go through the book of Acts two or three times over the last 4 years, but we keep getting distracted fairly early on. I pray that this time will be different. Besides, God must have something for us if we keep getting directed back to Acts.

Anyway, today I focused on the three adjectives of the Holy Spirit: Continue reading Power With A Purpose

Bill Johnson and Mathematical Proofs

billjohnsonI just finished reading Bill Johnson’s book “When Heaven Invades Earth” and, well, quite frankly, I have mixed feelings about the book. But before we go there, let us take a quick look at Johnson’s background.

Bill Johnson grew up in the Assemblies of God church as the son of a 4th generation pastor (making him a 5th gen pastor). In 1996, Bill became the senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California (a church started by his father in 1968). This church has about 3,000 members and is home to the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, which has about 1,500 students. In 2006, the members of Bethel voted to withdraw their membership in the AG – allowing them greater freedom to network with churches outside the AG.

Knowing Johnson’s background, you can really see a lot of AG theology within the book. You can also see elements of the Word of Faith movement that arose out of Kenneth Hagin’s ministry in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Swirling around in between those two streams of theology are various concepts from John Wimber and the Toronto Blessing.

Got that? Ok. Now we can move into the book. Continue reading Bill Johnson and Mathematical Proofs

Catch The Fire: The Toronto Blessing by Guy Chevreau

catch the fireIt was 1994 and amidst the trees and rocks of northeast Oklahoma a rumor was spreading: “The Spirit of God has touched down in Toronto!”

Yet, as fast as that rumor was going, another one was going faster: “The devil has deceived the church in Toronto and they are all doomed!”

As a young teenager, I remember being very confused about the revival and what was really happening. So much so, that in the end, I decided that the Toronto Blessing was a fluke happening of a bunch of crazy Canadians.  This was I was able to focus on the important things in life – like getting that Jose Canseco or Nolan Ryan baseball card!

Little did I know that years later I would join the movement that sparked the Toronto revival! God is something else… that much is true.  😕

Enter the book “Catch The Fire: The Toronto Blessing” by Guy Chevreau.

I picked up this book a few years back out of a desire to learn more about what happened in Toronto in 1994. Even though I had studied the history of the Vineyard Movement and knew a little bit about the Toronto Blessing and the resulting fall out (the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship left the Vineyard in 1995), I still didn’t know what “happened.” Continue reading Catch The Fire: The Toronto Blessing by Guy Chevreau

Kingdom Ministries: Come Holy Spirit

The first thing that came to my mind as I wrote this post was “old school.” My second thought was to laugh out loud at the thought of calling a 1987 conference “old school.”

Yet that is precisely what it is.

The conference I am referring to is John Wimber and John White’s “Come Holy Spirit” conference given on May 7-9, 1987. See, old school. =)

Actually, it’s not the date that makes this conference “old school” – it was the material taught.

The fist half of the conference (i.e. the first 4 cassette tapes) was hosted by Dr. John White. He walked the participants through a Biblical understanding of the Holy Spirit using a ton of scriptures. While the information was good, Dr. White’s teaching style was a tad…hmm….slow and drawn out…

Wimber’s half, however, was the antithesis of Dr. White’s part. This half (also 4 cassette tapes) dealt with the practical nature of the gifts of the Spirit. Wimber told the story of what happened when the Holy Spirit broken into his life and church followed by examples from church history.

It was awesome information; well worth the listening.[@more@]

The reason I called it “old school” was that as I was listening to the conference I was struck at how far the Church has come. Back in 1987 when White and Wimber were teaching these conferences, all of this was “new”.

Granted, classic Pentecostalism had been around for about 80 or so years at that point. But as far as the main body of believers having an understanding of the Holy Spirit and His outpouring – that was unheard of!

One of the benefits of the “Third Wave” of the Spirit was a blend of classic Pentecostalism with Evangelicalism. It was this “blend” that gave rise to several new movements, including the Vineyard, as well as revitalizing some old traditions.

Now days a lot of the information taught at this “Come Holy Spirit” conference is “old news”. i.e. It is taken for granted.

I guess that is what struck me the most in listening to these tapes: Don’t forget what you have been taught; hang on to them and teach them to the next generation.

Come Holy Spirit Come

Some of you wanted more details on what happened last week when God showed up. Well, lots of stuff happened. Undecided

How’s that for a cryptic answer?  Tongue out

Sigh… where to start?

Worship – the worship was amazing! Over a thousand church leaders crammed into a room praising God with all their might. Yes, there were some talented musicians – yet that wasn’t what made the “worship”. The worship was great because you had a room full of people with the heart of worship.

Everyone – or at least most of the folks – in the room was there for one reason – to praise God and to build relationships with the community of believers. That heart focus came out in the way they worship. [@more@]

Personally, the worship was a shot in the arm. I wasn’t responsible for anything – no soundboards, no powerpoint slides or bass notes to play. I could just hang out and praise God.

Of course in doing so, I was broken before His throne.

This is where God first showed up.

He told me it was ok to grieve and let the disappointments of life come out. In fact, disappointments were the prayer topic the first night. Stepping out of my seat, I walked forward and started bawling – the snot dripping, tear staining kind.

The purging of one’s heart. Perhaps the greatest miracle of all.

God Showed Up!!

We serve an Awesome Lord!! This weekend I had the pleasure to co-teach a prayer / ministry seminary designed to help folks live the Holy Spirit filled life Jesus promised us that we could live.

Co-teaching this class was quite a stretch for me – I mean, I know the information, but to teach it… that’s a different level… But it was good. No one threw any tomatoes, the pastor who was mentoring me on the class didn’t banish me as a heretic, and folks where still talking to me afterwards… By all counts – it was a good class. =)

grin * With that said, it did start a little rocky… The class was to start at 7 pm Friday evening – at 6:45, I received a call from the pastor informing me that he was suck at a middle school track meet (he’s a coach during the “day”) and would not be able to attend that night. Luckily, we had already planned for me to teach the first part of the seminary… however, I must admit that I was a pretty nervous starting everything off by myself… =/

That first evening, I gave my testimony as it pertained to walking in the Kingdom. Then I dived into an overview of the Kingdom of God: What is it? How does it apply to us?  The elements of Jesus’ ministry. The ministry style of Jesus. Being naturally supernatural.

The Set-Up:

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus only commanded us to do seven (7) things. Sounds simple enough…

  • Love God with all our being
  • Love one another
  • Heal the sick
  • Cleanse the lepers
  • Cast out demons
  • Raise the dead
  • Preach the good news

[@more@]At the end of the evening we practiced “doing the stuff” as Wimber used to say. Walking timidly, we asked the Spirit to come – and boy did He! God showed us some hurts and pains that people needed healed…

The next morning, we all gathered again (about 12 of us – including the pastor) for the next part of the class. To keep this post from getting too long, I will simply state that over the course of the next nine hours we covered the following topics:

  • The mind of Christ – an altered worldview
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Common errors
  • Interpretive keys
  • Defining the gifts
  • The Gifts in action (Biblically and practically)
  • Emotional Healing
  • Divine Appointments
  • Power Encounters

The best part(s) of the whole weekend was Friday and Saturday evenings when we put into practice what we learned. We invited the Spirit to come and show us what He wanted to do. He gave us some direction – so pastor started praying for an attendee while I described what was happening as the pastor went through the Five Step Prayer Model.

Afterwards, we turned all the attendees lose to pray for one another.

This was the best part – equipping and teaching normal, everyday people that they can go out and do the same things Jesus did. The ministry is not reserved for those ‘spiritual’ people on TV or in big ministries. The work of the Kingdom is for everyone – no matter where you live or how old you are!

Five Step Prayer Model
  1. The Interview
    • The hear form the person being prayed for
    • Listen with love and compassion
  2. The Diagnostic Decision
    • What is God doing?
    • How does He want you to pray?
  3. The Prayer Selection
    • Physical
    • Emotional
    • Spiritual
  4. The Ministry Time
    • Do what the Father is doing at that time
    • Keep one ear tuned to 77.7 K-GOD
  5. The Post-Prayer Directions
    • Not counseling, just general counsel – Scripture reading, come back for more prayer if needed, ect

As I end this post, I want to say that God showed up in amazing ways this weekend. Tears and snot where flowing as the Lord worked on emotions, hearts and spirits. I will not mention specifics as they belong to the people whom God worked with and are not for me to tell, but I will say that there are some restored folks walking around – physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? -Jesus