Archive for August 2009

The marriage of mercy and miracle ministry

August 24, 2009

Acts 10 verse 38 “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with The Holy Spirit and with power who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

It is certainly true that the body of Christ have not walked in their full inheritance in the last two thousand years ago in proclaiming and demonstrating the full gospel of Jesus Christ in Kingdom power, and yet God has used many to reach people with the love of Christ through doing good, through compassionate and merciful acts of kindness. Recently I heard a friend refer to an unnamed church in America that operates in prophetic and healing evangelism but feels led to leave other churches to feed the hungry, and provide material help for those suffering in poverty in the local community. In other words those other churches will be the “do gooders” but that church will distinguish themselves as being the ones that operate in the supernatural.
I had to ask myself, is that kind of separation biblical?

God has been speaking to me about convergence and fulness coming to the body of Christ where there isn’t an apparent excessive emphasis on one area of who The Lord is as in previous outpourings of The Spirit, and how He desires to minister through His body The Church. One example of healthy fulness is when prominence is given to The Word and The Spirit together. There can then be a move away from meetings becoming too information or experience driven, and the very “zoe” life of God can thereby infuse hearts and minds. Our experiences must never contravene The Word so we should be rooted and grounded so as to avoid opening ourselves up to deception, yet we mustn’t shy away from the new thing that The Lord wants to do in The Spirit because of sterile religious tradition, and a fear of the manifestation of His glory if it is “out of the box.”

When we are ministering to someone, The Word tells us about sacrificial giving and serving to meet a person’s needs, but The Spirit gives us specific strategies in how best to implement that. People need to know about the kindness and goodness of The Lord through our love for them (Romans 2 verse 4) , yet through a tangible encounter with His manifest presence they can get divine revelation to the reality of Jesus that can change them forever.

The Word and The Spirit together release mercy and miracle ministry to work harmoniously in tandem. About two years ago in the early days of going out on the streets wanting to share the gospel through prophetic and healing evangelism, The Lord spoke to me of the importance of compassion. Matthew 14 verse 14 says that “Jesus went out and He saw a great multitude, and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” We need to find out what people need. James 2 verse 19 tells us to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” We need to listen to God as we listen to people with compassion rather than preach at them. Some people might be hungry and need a meal, or a cup of coffee and someone to talk to, or a physical healing. We can get information by asking people what they need, but also The Holy Spirit can give us words of knowledge to reveal Jesus to them. I truly believe that mercy ministry can be the breeding ground for the miraculous. You only have to look at people like Roland and Heidi Baker in Mozambique adopting many orphans, yet seeing The Lord work through them in great acts of Kingdom power such as the blind getting their sight and even the dead raised. Moreover, testimonies of miraculous multiplication of food confirm how The Lord desires to do today what He did in His life on Earth, and even greater (John 14 verse 12) through His church.

There is a danger of compartmentalizing mercy and miracle ministry as being wholly separate. In Jesus’ parable of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10 we read that the Samaritan expressed his compassion for the man who had been attacked, left for dead on the side of the road, practically. In verse 34 it states that “He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine, and he set him on his animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” It goes on to say that he gave the man money. Clearly this parable talks about mercy ministry, and yet I believe the reference to the oil and wine ministered to the man goes deeper than natural medicine but can be seen as referring to the healing anointing that Jesus operated in that is available to all born again believers. Mark 6:13 says that the disciples “anointed many sick people with oil and healed them”. The Greek word for anoint is aleipho which literally means to rub, to cover over. He is covering over and filling His body the church with all His attributes, His very DNA for this hour in history so He will be glorified as His Kingdom comes on Earth as it is in Heaven. (see Ephesians 1 22-23 and Ephesians 3 17-19) I believe the day is coming where it will be just as natural for The Church to pray for the sick and see signs wonders and miracles as it is to do good to people through providing for their material needs and befriending them. We need to press in to function in the fullest expression of God’s love that we can. I believe we will see The Lord ignite churches with a fresh passion for souls and compassion for the poor birthed through intimacy with The bridegroom Jesus Christ where mercy ministry and prophetic and healing evangelism will flow together to see a mighty end time harvest of souls. Let’s not miss what The Father is doing, but embrace the exceptional privilege that has been granted to each one of us to be fruitful carriers of His love, His mercy, and His glory.

God breaks in again touching family with His healing and saving power

August 13, 2009

Had a great time on Tuesday with the rarity of warm sunshine so far this summer bringing out many people into town. I went out this time with my friend Dave from our church. I saw a young man walking with crutches and felt led to approach him. He told me he didn’t really believe in God. He had sustained a broken bone and was in pain. Then his mother, who told us she was a Christian who attends a good local church, joined him and his brother. He accepted prayer as we told him he had nothing to lose but the physical pain he was in. He started out being very sceptical, but as we prayed, the power of God touched him, and he testified that the pain went! We shared the gospel with him. We prayed for his brother too and left. As we walked away, his sister came up to us and told us that she wanted us to pray for her grandmother who wanted prayer. At this point the faith level in us was high having seen what God had done, but also because we were being approached to pray for someone. This always encourages me because when they are doing this on the back of a healing and miracle that they have just seen or heard about it means that they must have some faith to be healed to begin with. Testimonies beget fresh testimonies!

The grandmother told us she was due to have an appointment with a specialist that day because of a painful right knee, suspected to have arthritis. As we prayed, God touched her and the pain left! She tested her knee out and could do something she hadn’t been able to do before without pain. As we shared the gospel she wanted to give her life to Jesus. When she got saved with her daughter there, her daughter was able to tell her mother that now Holy Spirit lives in her. I told her about our church, but felt it was more likely she would go to her daughter’s church with her daughter that Sunday and encouraged her to do so. God set this whole thing up touching the different generations of a family! It’s days like this that make it so worthwhile doing this. Remember that as much as we want to see people come to our church to get discipled if they are newly saved, they might already be in relationship with someone who attends another good church and we need to use wisdom here and allow God to use the networks already in place. The point is that Jesus is building His Kingdom, and we must be open to how He does that through each one of us. Glory to His name!

As of next week I along with one or two others in our church will be teaching newly saved Christians and maybe some non-Christians a foundational nurture course, excellently written by a member of our church. I believe that this may well go some of the way to bridging the gap between the streets and church, and yet as I’ve said before let’s prioritize those we are already in relationship with within our sphere of influence, ie friends, family, colleagues in the workplace and such like because they are more likely to want to attend our church than complete strangers on the streets, though there have been some significant exceptions to that. When God breaks into someone’s world whoever they are it will make a difference to them. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 3 verse 6 that there are people sent to plant and others to water, but it’s ultimately God that brings the increase, and He is doing so. Let’s not miss the kairos moment, but step into God’s timeline. He desires to use us all. Harvest time isn’t just for later, it’s now, and I believe that harvesting angels have already been commissioned by The Lord strategically to gather in many people in this new season.