Archive for the ‘teaching’ category

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.

Evangelism teaching with video

March 27, 2009

It’s been a busy week. I’ve had the privilege to teach at The School Of Supernatural Living here at Revival Fires. I taught on street evangelism during the week, drawing on The Word and some of my own experiences, and then we went out onto the streets and did some! We saw healings and miracles and one lady accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour! There is a CD available with 75 minutes of teaching in two parts available which I made while teaching students in my church. If you would one, please contact me. I talk about soul winning, maintaining contact with those you meet, and moving in presence evangelism, prophetic evangelism, and signs wonders and miracles. I’d like to put just a sample of that teaching into this blog for the benefit of anyone who wants to touch their world around them with Jesus Christ, and His love and saving power.

Why are we called to preach the gospel? Jesus commanded all believers to do so. Mark 16 verse 15 tells us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (KJV) If we love God we will obey His commandments (John 14:15)

How do we approach people: I believe that honesty is better than putting on some kind of churchy mask that people can see through. Of course you can ask people how they are, talk about the weather or something else but at some point you need to ask people if they want prayer or what they think about God, even ask them where they think they are going if they were to die today! I usually tell people that I’m a Christian out praying for people, and ministering to their needs. No one likes someone pushy, a gentle approach is the best. You might prefer to be sat on a bench, or be in a line at the supermarket rather than go up to people on the streets like myself but find what works best for you. It may seem scary at first, but The Lord rewards boldness when it is rooted in faith and love.

Sharing the gospel: Romans 2 verse 4 says that the goodness and kindness of God leads people to repentance. In Matthew 14 verse 14 we see that miracles came out of the compassion of Jesus. Jude 22 tells us to save some with compassion. However verse 23 tells us “save some with fear”. Asking people what their need is is an important way to build trust. Religion turns people off. What people will pick up on is whether we have love. Love never fails. We mustn’t water down the message though. I believe we have shifted in our generation to a gospel more centered around God’s unconditional love than the threat of an eternity in Hell such as was preached in previous centuries. What we need is the unconditional love of God, but we mustn’t be ashamed of the undiluted gospel message. (Romans 1: 16) If people have an encounter with God that leaves them without conviction that they need to truly repent, go to church and get discipled then perhaps we didn’t convey the need we all have as sinners for a Saviour. Sometimes I have asked people where they think they will go when they die. I get a mixture of responses. One of the most common, especially from older people who had a religious experience of church is that they hope that they are good enough to be accepted into Heaven. I then ask people why they think Jesus came to Earth. Many people don’t know! Then I explain, and ask them if they would like to accept the gift of salvation by turning from their sins and giving their lives to Jesus. A number of people have got born again like that.

However we live in a sceptical world that is looking for evidence. Perhaps it’s always been like that because Paul saw the need for people to see “the demonstration of The Spirit’s power” (1 Corinthians 2 4-5) rather than “enticing words of man’s wisdom.” So where people need physical or any kind of healing, ask them if they want prayer. Remember nothing is impossible for God and it is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (See Colossians 1 25-29) who is working through you. As a Child of God you are seated in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2 verse 6) and you can do all things “through Christ which strengthens you”. So don’t disqualify yourself, it’s not about self-confidence, it’s about putting your confidence in God! If you pray for someone and nothing happens, don’t be discouraged. Some healings are gradual. If you notice improvement, then pray a second time. Ask the person if they are feeling something. Often before I pray for someone for healing I will ask The Holy Spirit to touch the person with the love of Jesus, with the love of The Father. If they feel something this increases faith for both of us (see 2 Corinthians 3 verse 17).

The importance of follow-up for converts to become disciples: It’s important to remember that relational evangelism is very powerful, and it’s one thing to make converts, quite another to see newly saved people come into our churches and get nurtured and discipled. What we can do is stay in contact with the people we meet in the marketplace by getting their contact details, and if they don’t feel ready to come to a church service, they might be interested in just meeting for coffee or going to something specially set up for new Christians such as an Alpha course or similar. All we can do is our best, but we must remember that it’s God who brings the increase, and we shouldn’t get discouraged if we don’t see fruit, we are just called to be obedient to God. Let’s never lose the joy of intimate relationship with The Lord by getting too focused on external results that people might judge. In any event, The Lord Jesus is building His Kingdom, we are just the vessels. That means that people may not come into our church, at least not immediately, and we may have to be patient before they turn from converts into mature disciples.

What I would say is spend time with the Lord, seek His face, pray, as you feel lead fast and pray which I believe is a major key to move powerfully in the gifts of The Spirit, worship Him, read His Word so that you have an answer to give people on the street beyond your own personal testimony. Personal testimony though is very important because it’s difficult for people to argue against it. Also Tithe and give, this is one of the keys to ministering under an open Heaven. We need His presence, so seek His presence, seek His glory, and remember that only as we abide in the vine of Jesus Christ can we do anything (John 15 verse 5). Spend time soaking, resting and being still so you can hear His voice and allow Him to fill You with His Spirit, and with His oil. When we hear His voice, He can give us clues as to the people we will meet. This is known as treasure hunting (see Luke 15 :8). For example, he might tell you what they are wearing, where you need to go, and a word of knowledge about them. When you share something that you didn’t know in the natural it opens their heart to the reality of Jesus.

Ministry is the overflow of Your relationship with Him, so get close, cultivate intimacy with The Lord. Remember too that God releases angels to minister with you. Jesus is building His church in these exciting days, and wants to use you to bring in the end time harvest. Be encouraged as you see this testimony of a lady healed of arthritis and accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour. God wants to use you too:

Prayer: Father, touch that person reading now with Your Spirit. Draw them into a deeper relationship with You. Let them receive impartation to move in the fullness of the gifts of The Spirit as they go out and minister to people. I pray for divine appointments, and lasting fruit as souls are won to Your Kingdom becoming disciples and not just converts. Let it be all for Your glory alone in Jesus name Amen

2009: After global shaking, God maturing the body of Christ.

January 3, 2009

After the outpouring in Dudley and elsewhere  in 2008, what does 2009 hold? I truly believe that God wants to do even more, but that He plans to mature the church this year so that we can be carriers of revival, and enjoy the habitation of God rather than just visitation.

The Lord led me to John 21 where there is a threefold commissioning of Peter. Three times Jesus asks him whether he loves him but the Greek translation “agape” is used. In telling Jesus that he loves him, The text uses the word “philio” for love. What’s the difference? Agape is a mature love, a sacrificial love, whereas philio is associated with affection. Its interesting to note that when The Holy Spirit brought a fuller understanding to Peter of agape, we see that word used no less than nine times in his writings. The threefold commissioning occurs after each time that Jesus asks Peter about the depth of his relationship with Him. Peter is called to “feed my lambs” “tend my sheep” and “feed my sheep”. A significant part of Peter’s ministry was to be pastorial and as a teacher.  How would this be most effective? Through intimacy. How will any ministry be effective?  Through intimacy, the intimacy of intense passionate “agape” love for The Lord where we will do anything for Him whatever the cost.

At the start of 2009 I believe He is asking the same question to you and me. How much do we love Him? What price are we prepared to pay in following Him? Romans 8: 19 says “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” The Greek word for revealing is “apokalypsis” which is defined as what was hidden now being manifest. The church has been hidden, but it is now time for her to be revealed to the world. People might say this is ahead of schedule,  but this is what we must press in for because the world is getting darker and more people are getting deceived by the enemy to pursue a path that leads to a lost eternity. With global economic meltdown and voices already calling for one world government there is clearly a shaking of the nations, yet as we read in Haggai God says “and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of all Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory.”  It’s interesting too that in verse 9 God doesn’t just promise the greater glory, but peace as well. We can’t put our trust in the economy, the politicians, our jobs, and people. Peace only comes through our relationship with Christ. He IS our peace. In Exodus 14 verse 14 Moses exhorts the Israelites by saying: “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” I believe that as 2008 has seen many battles and tests, for those who have been faithful there will be great favour to overcome.

What a glorious opportunity for the body of Christ! We must not waste it. As it becomes more clear that the answers are not found in world systems, for those who put their trust in God I believe there will be the rich reward of revelation direct from Heaven, the kind of wisdom that can only be spiritually discerned. We can expect to get new divine strategies as Jesus uses us to build His Kingdom. I want to see greater power on the streets too this year, I believe this will happen, and also more of the body of Christ taking a risk to reach the unsaved outside of the church walls within their divine sphere of influence.

I am not in any hurry to rush out into the streets this week with the weather so cold, but will still look for divine appointments. There is a time to pursue intimacy with God in the secret place so He can be more glorified through our lives, and for me that time is now.  Paul says in Philippians 3 verse 10 “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to his death.”  It’s not even about knowing Him with an agenda, just because we love Him with an everlasting “agape” love as He loves us.  It might seem paradoxical though, but as we crave more of Him, more of being with Him and in His wonderful presence, when we sit at His feet He won’t let us stay there for too long even if that is all we want to do. Like Peter, He has commissioned us. Let’s draw as close as we ever have to The lover of our souls, The King of Kings, and be obedient to all He asks us to do in 2009 for the sake of love,  for the sake of His Kingdom,  for the sake of the lost, and most of all for His glory.

Update on street outreach in Dudley and the new wine

November 20, 2008

1) Report on recent street evangelism

2) The challenge for the church: new wineskins and the release of the new wine

20/11/2008

1) I prayed for a young man who had been suffering in mind body and spirit. God gave me some words of knowledge and touched him with His presence, His manifest love. Significantly, pain in various areas of his body left him. He told me that he was a backslidden Christian who had got involved in darkness and the physical pain was the result. He rededicated his life to Christ. A lady with arthritis testified to tingling in her legs as I prayed for her and improvement. Some days ago during our prophetic seers conference with Bill Johnson I had to go to my daughter’s school to drop something off. I had the opportunity to pray for one of the students with the full permission of the school. His neck got instantly healed by the Lord. I’m encouraged that God is creating divine appointments within the local community.

2) I’m excited that God is preparing His church to go for more of the harvest through bringing holiness and refining so we can carry more of Him. Nevertheless, while He wants us to carry more of His glory, we should always be aware that people are dying and going to Hell for eternity everyday! You won’t read a greater tragedy in the newspapers today. We must never neglect the lost. The Lord is saving people and building His Kingdom so we don’t need to feel desperate and defeated! The harvest is now! In John 4 verse 35 Jesus says “Do not say there are still four months and then comes harvest. Behold I say to you lift up your eyes and look at the fields for they are already white for harvest!” People make too many excuses for not sharing their faith with others. Let’s not fall into the same trap. God wants the wineskins of our character to be strong so we can hold the new wine. (Luke 5 37-39). However, as we’ve seen this year, God has poured out His new wine into the body of Christ. New wine that is unused goes stale. While we must press in for the greater glory and more new wine, The Lord is interested to see how we use what we have already been given as well. Could that determine what He pours out next? Let’s not forget about the parable of the talents. (Matthew 25 14-30) We must be faithful stewards of what He gives us so He can entrust us with more.

What does this mean in practical terms? It means being prepared to share our faith with those who don’t know Jesus, and taking the risk of asking people if they want prayer trusting that God will reveal His love for them through His miraculous intervention in their lives.