Thursday, April 15, 2010

Concluding thoughts on Brazil

It's been a few weeks since returning home from Brazil and I've had a few weeks to process. More than any other trip I have taken, this one has challenged me. Our team saw well over 500 people healed. I personally saw God heal at least 10 people in front of me. Many were “sovereignly” healed as our team called out words of knowledge and people responded when they felt 80-100% better. Coming from a country where I simply don't see results like this, has given me pause.

As one wise pastor said, “In the absence of experience, bad theology is formed.” Meaning, if my experience, or lack thereof, isn't matching up to what it says in the Word, don't try to come up with a theology to explain why. So what I experienced in Brazil was more like what the Word described than what I see going on in the U.S. What Brazil did was give me an experience that put a final nail in the coffin of a bad theology that I had used to excuse a gospel that had a "form of godliness" but had no power.  So rather than invent a theology that explains why, I want to draw closer to God, bring heaven to earth, and then my experience will match it.

What was neat about the trip was that God seemed to be teaching me different lessons each day. We first got there and were given testimony of what God had done in Thailand. The next night it was all about the Father's love. The following two nights many of the people that came to Lisa and I for physical healing also needed emotional and spiritual healing as well, and God was just as concerned about this. It is no accident that in the middle of talking about spiritual gifts, Paul includes his famous love chapter. I also learned that the best way to receive more from God is to give away what he has given you.

On Friday night, I got to see God at work powerfully, and almost everybody that came up to me experienced His healing.  My faith increased. On Saturday God had me in a time and place where I prayed for two women in wheelchairs most of the evening session. It was as if he was asking me to push into new territories of healing. Sunday night, God brought forward mostly people who had conditions that nobody would be able to know if they were healed until a later date. This emphasized the importance of the local church body walking in love and power to unravel the complexities of life and healing. It was also there that God impressed upon me through the Brazilians, how incredibly joyous it is in heaven when God's lost children come home and are set free!

I remember one of the messages... After God had moved powerfully and many people had been healed, it was simply said "change the way you think, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." That is the definition of repent: changing the way we think. I felt God speak to me when I was installing Windows 7 on my computer at work. My machine has a ton of power, but it was running Windows XP. XP was written when computers had 32 bit processors and had much less memory. Because it doesn't know the power is there or how to manage it, it can't use it. I felt God showing me that an operating system is similar to the way we think and the Holy Spirit is like the hardware but is infinitely more powerful. The church is only limited by how it thinks. God is much bigger than the box we put him in. In fact he doesn't live in boxes at all.

We are free from our sins and our debts have been payed off. But Jesus wants even more than that for us. He wants the knowledge of God to fill the earth. He wants us His body to grow in love and power as Paul says "from one degree of glory to another." As we continue to do this, I believe what is impossible today could be possible tomorrow and that should give us hope.

Thank you to everybody who supported and prayed for us. We were so blessed! If you have any questions, I would love to talk to you. If you would like prayer for healing, please let us know that too. We would enjoy the opportunity!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Verbo Vivo

I've been busy so I'm going to try and sum up the last three nights. These last three days have been at another church in São Paulo, Verbo Vivo. It is a much bigger church of around 2000 people. What we've seen here has been amazing and inspiring as well. It was also for this church that Randy Clark came to conduct the meetings. On Saturday night we held meetings in a large auditorium where the church expected around 3000 people to come.
Every night on average 80 – 150 people were healed either through a word of knowledge (as explained in a previous post) or simply by hearing the testimony of other people being healed. Randy shared how since last year, they have begun to see “break through” for people with metal in their bodies. People with metal in their bodies have been able to do things that they never could have done before. When they've looked into it. Sometimes the metal has disappeared. Other times it seems the metal has either become flexible or the body has changed to accommodate it without any pain to the person. I think there were around five people who had metal in their bodies who God sovereignly touched and were able to do things that they weren't able to do anymore. There should be some testimonies and stats coming by the end of the trip and I will try to post them as I get them.
After the words of knowledge, they then had anyone else who hadn't been healed to come forward and receive healing. My typical mode was to ask the Holy Spirit to come and ask the Father to reveal his love to the person. I would then command the pain or whatever to be healed. If it was possible, I would then have them try to do something that they could not do before to see if the pain had gone away.

On the Friday night, I saw:
A young man came up to me who from what I could understand a torn bicept muscle. He had pain whenever he tried to lift anything. I commanded the pain to leave, and then had him try it out by pulling up on my hand as I pushed down. He did and we pushed harder and harder, but he felt no pain. Another young man had pain in his spine and was healed. Another young man with pain in his wrist that had a difficult time playing guitar. He was healed also.
A woman came up who had headaches and pain in many different parts of her body. I sensed God wanting to heal her from head to toe, so beginning with the top of her head, I began to cast out the pain, and sure enough, God began to heal her head and as I proceeded downward, God began to heal the pain in every part of her body. She was absolutely ecstatic, and was weeping with joy as God touched her body and brought healing. She felt a tremendous amount of heat as God worked. She said she felt God removing her bad knees and replacing them with good knees. Apparently the heat was incredibly strong.
A woman came up who wanted prayer for her husband. I prayed that she would be able to go home and pray for her husband and that he would be healed. She felt a burning sensation in her wedding ring finger and felt that God would heal her husband. Unfortunately, I never did hear back from her.
A man came up that had buzzing in his ears and had pain in his legs. I felt led to contend for his ears first. It took about 3 times of contending and then asking about the level of buzzing and it continued to drop until his ears were healed. We then went after his legs and they were healed too.
A young man came up that had problems with his eye. From what I could understand, it seemed to go in and out and would work sometimes and then not work. I was trying to understand the condition better but it was hard to understand. So we began to contend. When he first tried it, he was excited because he could focus on an object and had a small portion of clarity. We prayed again and his vision was 100% restored in that eye.
It was a very exciting night and God did a lot!

On Saturday morning, they had a smaller service of about 100-200 people. The topic that morning was about the Father's love. Rex talked again about the importance of knowing the love of the Father. That morning we were instructed to only pray for impartation of the Father's blessing. If people wanted to be healed, they could come to service that night. I went and prayed more for impartation and people were getting blessed.
Towards the end a woman approached me and told me about her sister who had some kind of pain in her legs. She said her sister couldn't come that night and asked if I would pray for her. Not thinking, I told her that she should pray for her sister because I assumed that her sister wasn't there. She pointed her sister out to me and her sister approached. I still felt that God wanted to prove a point that it wasn't about me. I told her to pray for her sister. She did and had told her sister that she was going to go home healed. She then had her sister try it out. Her sister squated to the floor and to her amazement, she had no pain and said that she had not been able to do that before. They left happy. I smirked to my interpreter and said, “See, I did what I was told. She healed her, not me!”

Saturday night, it was as if God called me to push into the impossible. They called a group of us to come over and pray for a woman who was in a wheelchair. She had a botched surgery which had caused a lot of pain and made it difficult to move at all. She was slowly deteriorating. We began to pray and contend. We did so for about an hour or so. After praying for a bit, we would ask her to try doing something she couldn't do. Every time, there would be some measure of improvement. The pain left her body first and she began to get mobility in her arms. She go to a point where she could put both of her arms over her head! She tried to walk but we were unable to get her legs to straighten. Nonetheless, this woman had great faith and gratitude for what God had done and believed that God would heal her eventually.
I went back and an began praying mostly prayers of impartation to people. People were going down as I prayed and continued to the back of the church. Then it was as if people spread apart and there in front of me was an older woman in a wheelchair with people pointing at her asking me to pray. Everything in me wanted to avoid this, but I realized that fear was welling up inside me and I stopped it. “It's just me this time, God.”, I said “But I have you”. I went and began to talk to her.
She had many things going on. Metal in her body, a weak heart, aches and pains all over. As she continued, I realized that I needed to start contending or my faith would drop. I had seen tremendous progress in the last woman in a wheelchair and was hoping for the same. I prayed for the Father's love and began to speak to the pain in her shoulders and arms. After a while, I asked how things were going...Nothing. I was not used to this. I began to ask God for more faith.
There was about 5-10 people staring at me. I asked some of them to pray with me. This time the pain had dropped about 30% in her arms. That was enough of a boys lunch for me, I then proclaimed to everyone that God had done something absolutely amazing and that we needed to praise him for it. We began to praise God for what he had done. We then contended again. I began to feel an incredible amount of faith. I felt like a paramedic as I coached those around me about how we were to contend, test, and thank. I also had to let her know that she needed to stop focusing on what was left and needed only to thank God for what he had accomplished. Soon there was an even bigger group and some of the others from my team came and prayed too. We began to see very tiny improvements after every time and would always thank God. I asked any of the Brazilians standing around if they felt the power of God to put their hands on her shoulders and pray also.
Soon it was feeling the time to go. The woman was getting tired and my leaders told me I needed to get on the bus or take a taxi back to the hotel. That was all the confirmation I needed. I told those standing around that this was something to keep contending for and that God would eventually bring healing. The woman by this time had a lot of faith that God was going to do the impossible. I found out while we were praying that she had just received Jesus that night before we had prayed for her.
Despite all the faith I had while I was praying, when I got back to the hotel I began to feel a lot of condemnation. Had I been to cocky? Had I overstepped my bounds? Did really have faith or was it pride or did I have faith in my faith and not in God? Did I just torture this woman by having a ton of people standing around praying for her? All these questions hit me and it really bothered me. Thankfully, the next day somebody from my team encouraged me and slowly I began to get out from under it.

Sunday morning, there was a small team that went to another church and ministered. They saw God move in a powerful way there. Lisa and I were at the hotel however getting some much needed rest. Sunday night our team split up and went to three different churches. We all saw amazing things happen and each church. I was on the team that went with Randy to Verbo Vivo again.
What was really cool was that mornng during worship, the crowd began to get really like they were cheering. They had out signs and balloons. Soon there was a parade of around 200 people coming down the isle. I found out that these were people who had come into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ the previous month. I found out later that they had all gone to some kind of retreat. During that time, they were born again, and if needed delivered from demonic oppression and received inner healing as they were counseled with truth and forgave people in their lives who had caused them pain. Randy preached a really good message about obedience. He said that it was his conviction that obedience was key to being able to hear the voice of God, because both were tied to our intimacy with him.
After words of knowledge, people came up to receive prayer. I was still a little shell shocked from Saturday night. Saturday night was about facing the impossible. This night seemed to be about facing the mysterious. The first woman who came up had a tumor in her wrist. She also had a tumor in her breast. I began with the one in her wrist. It was causing her pain. The pain did leave but we were unable to get out the tumor. I did pray for her breast but I don't know that anything happened.
After she left, I was able to persevere and there was I think at least one person who was healed after that. Many simply for impartation. A woman came up wanting prayer for healing from Bi-Polar or perhaps manic-depression. I also understood that her body was not making any serotonin. I was only able to get symptoms through interpretation. I prayed. She was a very sweet woman. I was glad to find that there were women of the church that had been praying with her as well. She had been able to reduce the number of meds, but still wanted to be free. I encouraged her to continue seeking her healing. I wished I had told her about my friend from my church who had been healed.
Later on, Victor, from my team, invited me to come over and pray with a young man. He had a fused elbow. Victor comes from a strong inner healing back ground and was delivering the young man from rebellion and anger among other things. As a result, much pain had left and there had been some healing in his elbow. I began to pray and ask God for what he was seeing. I got a picture of a smoldering cigarette. I asked him if he smoked. He said no. I kept seeing the cigarette whenever I closed my eyes. I asked if my mentioning of a cigarette brought anything to mind. He said no. I wasn't used to my prophetic gift being off like this. Either he was hiding something or I was wrong. I had no choice but to assume the latter. It did provoke Victor to ask some other questions and address some other areas. In the end, we did not see the complete healing we were looking for. That night we had more delicious food and said our goodbyes.

The next day we had a meeting with Randy where he shared about the different ministries that Global Awakening was involved with and gave us some history. He also talked about the ministry school they were starting in Brazil and how he had been led by God to raise up a new missionary movement. He struck me as a transparent and sincere person.
Later we went to an amazing Brazilian buffet. The best part about the buffet is the men that come in with fire roasted meat on giant skewers. They had many different kinds, all very delicious, very good. We then went to the airport where we waited and slowly said our good-byes to the team as each caught different flights and headed home. We all had a lot of processing to do. I will try to have another post with some of my reflections soon to come.