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2017 is the Reformation 500 year. In 1517 Luther nailed his 95 protests to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

In the midst of my research this week I came across a vivid description of the tumult of that entire century. It was “an era of great social ferments, natural catastrophes, famines, plaques and unusual men.” There was a Pope who was the father of four illegitimate children and another Pope calling down curses on a second Pope who set up shop in Avignon, who responded in kind. Then I read the following and thought about our century, particularly how the climate change prophets and people who tell us a warm summer means we are all about to die.

“The fourteenth century was a strange century indeed. In this period the ice drift cut off communication with Greenland, and the advancing glaciers almost literally pushed the settlements into the sea. European chroniclers of the century recorded two excessively cold winters. Crops failed in Norway and then in England and in France. There were excessive rains. The Sequoia tree rings in California ran to abnormal width, the Caspian Sea expanded, and the Rhine, the Danube, the Thames, and the Elbe froze. Fifty-five summers of this century saw violent floods, and the Cathedral of Mayence was submerged to the famous frieze over the door. In the Netherlands seventy-two cities were destroyed by the sea in one night and 200,000 people were drowned in one year….”

Hit pause.

Imagine if the Prophet Al Gore were alive then?

No wonder above the 1500 “Nativity” painting (still hung prominently at the National London Gallery) the painter inscribed: “This picture was painted by me Alexander amid the confusions of Italy at the time prophesied in the Second Woe of the Apocalypse, when Satan shall be loosed on the earth.”

Resume…

“…The Black Death, the Asiatic Cholera, The Athenian Plague, and famine killed thirteen million people in China and reduced the populations in France an England by one-third. The common people were impoverished, ill-fed and ill-housed. Yet, at the same time the secular and ecclesiastic princes lived in a byzantine luxury that only accentuated their aloofness from the common hoi polloi (the many). While the peasants complained that they “haue the payne and traveyle, rayne and wynd in the feldes,” the doorways of the castle of Vincennes had to be raised in order to accommodate the three-foot tall head-dress of Isabelle of Bavaria. A rigid caste system, perpetuating itself by a ruthless exploitation of the common people, was entrenched on the whole continent of Europe, upheld by secular powers and sanctioned “urbi et orbi” (To Rome and to the World!) by the Church. The popes and the princes knew the difference between a good statue and a bad one, but they knew not the difference between good and evil; they fought each other in palace and the field, with daggers and with crosses…” (Enrico C.S. Molnar, doctoral dissertation, 1947)

There is more but you get the idea. Maybe we could say when the Lord’s patience runs thin with a Church that has entirely lost its way, no longer looking or acting even remotely like Jesus, he shakes the earth, even the natural order, and sends in Reformers.

I only wish that a hundred years before Luther the Bohemian reformer Petr Chelčický had prevailed. His was a Reformation back to precepts of the Sermon on the Mount calling the Church to more resemble Jesus. Misreading Romans 13, Luther gave God’s sanction for the State to crush with great cruelty the masses in the Peasants Revolt of 1520. Oy.

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Maybe I should wait to write this until I’ve actually completed my PhD. But, since I’m nearing the half-way point, and not new to theological studies, but mostly since I’ll be one hundred years old in fifty years and my health is already waning, I thought I’d better put this on paper while it was fresh in my head.

The last thing the world needs is another spiritually dead academic to lead another generation away from the wonders of God.

  • Having a connection to a local church is vital – and not just filling up a pew. Involved, serving, teaching. This is as important as any course or seminar available to you. Christian community is the incubator for discipleship and theological studies should be discipleship on steroids. Submit to spiritual disciplines and become a disciple of Christ.
  • Seek out professors and people who are praying people. Yoking to a dead man will soon kill you. One of the things we loved about sending our boys to the House of Prayer in Kansas City for their bachelor degrees was the dean of the school said they require their instructors to be in the prayer room every day— they want the students to see the back of the head of the professor in the prayer room two hours for every hour they see the front of the professor’s head in the classroom. If you can’t find a spiritually vibrant supervisor, make sure your area of study puts you at the feet of the vibrant. Be suspicious of theology that comes from people both living and dead, who weren’t often on their knees and tender before God.
  • Ask God to speak to you and to lead you, to guide your search, highlight what you need to see/find/understand. Ask for discernment – eyes to see, ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to you– , ask his help understanding and articulating such that you can tear down speculations that set themselves up against the knowledge of God. Ask God to make you a voice, not an echo – to give you a new word and a now word. I used to pray before pastoral counselling sessions and preaching and because I now have a long history with God giving me the right things to see/say, I now pray before reading and writing. And, I ask God to activate the testimony and revelation that has been resting and dormant in the Cloud of Witnesses. The greatest source of underutilises encouragement in the Body of Christ comes from the Cloud of Witnesses. You do understand, don’t you, that theological studies puts you in the midst of testimony and encouragement of the Cloud of Witnesses?
  • At some point long past I wrote on the blank page in the back of my Bible; “if you don’t shout it when you are preparing it, they won’t shout when you are preaching it… preparation must be worship.” I feel the same about theological studies. In my office at the university I have on the bulletin board this clipping from J.I. Packer… “Any theology that does not lead to song is, at a fundamental level, a flawed theology.” My supervisor is a Christian Ethicist who is writing books on things like: Singing the Ethos of God.

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I have a friend who recently got a PhD and when I asked what the focus was he rattled off something that he obviously wasn’t passionate about and then said; My dissertation was read by two people and maybe they really didn’t even read it all that close and it will never be read again.

It made me sad. Basically, he made no contribution to the Kingdom with the stewardship of time he was given to dive deep into the things of God. He used the time to get a degree so he could get a job in a university. And to think parents like myself have paid top dollar to send our sons and daughters to the universities to sit at the feet of these dry wells.

My wife had one concern with me taking this hiatus from ministry and pursuing the PhD… that I’d spend a few years working on something that will make no Kingdom difference. I can report that God has me on the trail of defining and laying the foundation for an obedience movement which is something the Body of Christ has yet to see. We’ve seen movements of all sorts–– holiness movements; monastic movements; ecumenical and social gospel movements; Zionist and restoration movements; faith, charismatic, health/wealth and signs and wonders movements; missions movements; and the Church globally is enjoying a prayer movement presently taking shape in a variety of ways including a New Monasticism movement.

However, in two thousand years, has the Church ever seen an obedience movement where a generation of Christians takes the Sermon on the Mount seriously? No. If God has me on the trail of this theme, maybe it is because those days are soon to come.  When I study these things, there is some shabba (special sauce :-), anointing) on them and to handle these sacred things with prayer has become vital to me.

vatican_black_smoke_161486868_900x675There is black smoke coming out the chimney of Pastor John MacArthur’s church again. It’s not the pure white plume that tells us they’ve heard the heart of God on a matter. The black smoke is rising from the believers MacArthur continues to burn at the stake because they don’t fit his version of doctrinal correctness. MacArthur’s Bible does not contain Romans 14:1 which we all can easily find in our Bibles. This missing verse in his Bible says don’t pass judgment on disputable matters.

Rather than reach the lost world with the Good News, he’s spending the widow’s mite on a Strange Fire Conference to call out those in the charismatic movement who are having experiences with the Holy Spirit that are different from his own. As the self-appointed arbiter of all that is true, MacArthur continues to base his theology on his experience or the lack there of.

MacArthur says he’ll call out distorted worship and false worship in the charismatic movement. I’m not God, but if I was I’d be more inclined to accept the worship of people who break a sweat and cry out in desperation more than I would the icy cold intellectual stoicism MacArthur thinks God wants. But who am I to judge?

MacArthur should dub his conference “Friendly Fire” instead of “Strange Fire” because that name is more fitting. On the list of things Christians should be doing today, near the very murky bottom is this: beating up the Bride of Christ and exposing her inadequacies and blemishes. Here’s what I know about grooms and brides: if you want to release the wrath of the groom, take after his Bride, rip off her garments and expose her inadequacies to the world. If you want to release the favor of the Groom, I’d suggest to you bless his Bride and serve her and keep no record of wrongs.

A few years ago the church of a pastor friend of mine was picketed on Easter Sunday morning by another pastor in town who dubbed my friend a heretic. We talked about it and my friends comment was: Easter is such a huge opportunity for the Kingdom of God, I can’t imagine punting my Easter service to point fingers at anyone but Jesus.

My sentiments exactly. That MacArthur’s church is called Grace Community Church is humorous to me – – he has zero grace for others in the Christian community. God bless him.

If a building has not collapsed on you, it is a merciful call to repent. Luke 13:4-5”. – John Piper Twitter feed, 9/11/12

The theology behind that statement is: when disasters happen, it’s not why did some die? It’s more the question… we all deserve death, why do the rest of us or, why do so many survive? It’s a mercy that life goes on considering our national rejection of God.

Lots of “Remember 911” and “Never Forget” posts today on Facebook and Twitter. Of course we never will and we are praying today for those who lost loved ones that day.

As I was praying for America today I thought I heard a still small “repent or repeat” type word. The Sunday after September 11th, I said “if in six months the only change in our nation is we have tighter airport security then all those people died in vain.” America didn’t turn to God. We responded with a Isaiah 9:9,10-type defiance. Read The Harbinger. So additional shakings have come, economic shakings for example, and more will come. It’s simply Amos 4:6-12. God may not cause every calamity, but he certainly uses them for our good.

At the 9/11 Memorial ceremonies today don’t hold your breath today waiting for our President to say “radical Islam built this” though it certainly did. Obama’s pastor once said “America’s chickens came home to roost.” The Bible has repeated accounts of God lifting the hedge of protection off Covenant nations and letting invading merciless pagan nations be instruments of his judgment. We can’t say for sure can we? Certainly even in judgment there is mercy and I love the stories of angels at Ground Zero and fully believe God’s grace was felt by victims and sufficient in those horrible moments.

I’ve been saying for five years now, America needs an Amos – there is no more relevant book of the Bible to our nation right now than Amos. Amos was prophet to the prosperous northern kingdom, Israel.  Like America, Israel thought they had reached an untouchable status. They were deluded in a false security that all this wealth and nice living can’t be taken away. Wow, were they wrong.

Despite the fact that eighteen months have gone by, two weeks ago I absorbed yet another blow for refusing to join those who were critical of the Lakeland Outpouring. It’s not that I didn’t see anything about it I didn’t like – I frequently said if it was my “outpouring” I’d change about six things. But I sensed the Lord didn’t want me in the seat of scoffers. And because I stood where I stood, Todd Bentley’s sin became a black eye for me too.

With that in mind you’d think I’d hesitate to be one of the first to lend my enthusiasm to what has been transpiring at IHOP in KC since last Wednesday. And, in case you are wondering, I won’t hide my connections there. Kristen and I are from Kansas City – we enjoyed and were later hurt by things that unfolded during our time at Kansas City Fellowship in the 80’s. We left it all and came back.  We’ve paid a high price even in the last couple years for our refusal to distance ourselves from there. My son Caleb is in his second year of a four year program in the Bible school there. I’m delighted he is part of what they are now calling the IHOPU Student Awakening. He’s been deeply touched. Yesterday, at work, he led a witch to Jesus. I’m thankful, and confident he’s on the right track.

Last week, yet another letter was written criticizing Church at the Gate and my connection to IHOP. Nothing new. Nothing I haven’t heard before or that I wasn’t personally involved with in the 80’s. It was the typical stuff… I heard from a friend who has a relative who lives in Kansas City who has a friend who went to an IHOP event… And, then people who probably struggle to pray one hour a week start in criticizing a man who prays ten hours a day.

Before you jump to conclusions about IHOP-KC, think about this… just like IHOP-KC (10 yrs of 24/7 prayer), and the Moravians in Herrnhut, Germany (120 yrs of 24/7 prayer, starting in AD 1727), and the 3000 Celtic monks in Bangor, Ireland (300 years of 24/7 prayer, starting in AD 555), etc., let’s imagine that your little circle of Christians started praying twenty-four hours a day, seven-days-a-week and this went on for ten years seamlessly. Now, reflect on these questions:

  1. Do you think your group would look different than it does right now?  If so, how so?
  2. Do you think your group would stand out and be criticized by Christians who have no grid for what they see happening in your group?
  3. Would parents of students involved have concern that their son or daughter spending four hours a day in the prayer room is cult-like?
  4. Do you think your group would develop it’s own vocabulary that is foreign to those not a part of it?
  5. During these extended times in God’s presence, do you think God would underscore stuff in Scripture that is outside what your circle of Christianity presently views as orthodoxy?
  6. Has “evangelicalism” produced what God wants in the last fifty years? We are known by our fruits.
  7. What will it look like when spiritual awakening hits our college campuses?

Remember, a fanatic is one who loves Jesus more than you.

What is happening at IHOP-KC is God. We are agreed that the level of zeal for the Lord on display there far surpasses what what is normal in evangelicalism.

My favorite critique is to hear that someone says I’ve gone off the deep end. What a compliment.  I hunger for the deep things of God. They can stay in the shallow end with their floaties.  Let me make my point visually. I first thought to do this cartoon a couple years ago when someone commented to me — “I hear Church at the Gate is pretty radical.” I chucked and said, “Compared to what? Compared to the Bible? Hardly. Despite my wholehearted labor these past fifteen years, the Bible calls for a far more radical devotion yet.” I titled the cartoon – Is Church at the Gate radical?

Is Church at the Gate radical?

I’m going to start posting some on the IHOPU Student Awakening.  I snuck down there (Nov. 2-4) during the Global Bridegroom Fast to see my son Caleb who is a second year student at IHOPU. My drive home was one of the strongest times I’ve been with the Lord in a long time. It was hard to come home. ((I also went to KC to see my brother who has been in a battle for his eyesight. He was prayed for twice at IHOP while I was there and was delivered of a spirit of self-hatred at an IHOP Joseph Company meeting there on Saturday.))

This first post I’ll just paste the statement on the Awakening found on their website. My commentary on all of this will start in a subsequent post.  I’ll also embed a video clip of Wes Hall who gives context to what has been happening there.

On November 11, during a 9:00am class of first-year students, led by Allen Hood and Wes Hall at International House of Prayer University (IHOPU), the Spirit moved in their midst with physical healings, deliverance, and a spirit of joy. That class, on November 11, continued for more than 15 hours. The word spread quickly, and over 2,000 people spontaneously gathered in the auditorium from all over the Kansas City area, as deliverance and physical healings increased. The meeting continued well past midnight. Recognizing that the Spirit was moving, the leadership of IHOPU canceled all classes for the next few days so that we could gather to receive all that the Spirit wanted to do.

We recognize that the Holy Spirit is awakening our students and many others. In each of these meetings, many people are being set free from addictions, shame, depression, demonic activity, and every sort of emotional pain. We are also witnessing an increase of physical healings, as God is touching and restoring bodies inside the building, as well as healing people watching via the webstream. Moreover, we greatly rejoice as we are seeing lost souls being added to the kingdom of God during these meetings. We are receiving many testimonies and reports that this move of the Spirit is spreading to other churches and prayer rooms that are joining with us each night via the webstream.

It all began on November 4, on the last day of the monthly Global Bridegroom Fast at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (IHOP–KC). A move of the Holy Spirit began to stir during the student chapel at IHOPU, as students testified about receiving deliverance from self-hatred, shame, and depression. Students began to experience supernatural joy at the revelation of God’s love for them. A powerful spirit of joy rested on many the next day at the IHOPU student-led 6:00am prayer meeting, and the Spirit continued to move throughout the week in our classes and during the faculty meetings.

What started during our IHOPU student chapel on November 4 is continuing today. Visitors are pouring in from many places, with some driving over 1,000 miles overnight to participate in these meetings. Consequently, on November 12, we moved the Prayer Room to our Forerunner School of Ministry sanctuary from 6:00pm to midnight each night, to accommodate more people. We will continue these nightly meetings as the Holy Spirit leads us. We earnestly pray that this awakening will continue, as our nation is in desperate need of another great awakening in this hour.

Throughout history, college and university campuses in our nation have been an epicenter and a catalyst for spiritual awakening. Since the 1700s, our nation has witnessed multiple moves of the Holy Spirit that have touched and awakened students on college campuses, including Princeton University, Yale University, Asbury College, Wheaton College, and more than a dozen other college campuses. These spiritual awakenings often progressed beyond the campuses and resulted in a great number of souls being added to the kingdom of God. History also attests to a strong correlation between spiritual awakening and missionary movements. We pray that this spiritual awakening that is touching IHOPU and the rest of our IHOP–KC Missions Base will break out all over our nation in different cities.

Here’s the video.

 

For those who are not used to seeing a grown man heave and twitch under the power of God, I’ll point you to my friend Randy Bohlender’s blog this morning where he notes this is God because that isn’t typical for Wes. In the Book of Acts, the only grid people had to process when they saw people affected by the weighty presence of God was to conclude they must be drunk.

The KC Times article yesterday on the 24/7 prayer at IHOP-KC has caused me to reflect again on a massive 24/7/365 prayer movement that emerged from here (Germany) a couple centuries ago. I’ll have to rely on pictures from our time in Herrnhut a couple years ago because we haven’t been able to get there during our time here this summer.  Here we are at the edge of town. The tree-lined one lane road behind us went a mile from Zinzendorf’s home (Berthelsdorf) to the prayer community in Herrnhut. As you can see on this map, Herrnhut is as far east in Germany as one can get, it’s right on the border of the Czeck Republic.

Herrnhut 1

Herrnhut, Germany is the home of the renowned Hundred-Year-Long Prayer Meeting. In 1722, persecuted Christians from Moravia fled to Saxony and found protection in the domain of the regional Count Nicolas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. (I’ve always loved to say his name!) Here’s what he looked like:

Me and zinzendorf

Zinzendorf was influenced by his godfather’s (P.J. Spener) pietism and the pietistic renewal movement in the Lutheran church – that faith (prayer and Bible study) should be personal and that we can relate directly to God – that religion should be from the heart, not the head. I’ve been quoting Karl Barth on this trip so I thought his comment on Zinzendorf would be fitting here; “Zinzendorf is perhaps the only genuine Christocentric of the modern age.”

The Lord’s Watch
Zinzendorf established a Christian community for oppressed religious minorities on his land. When a fleeing Moravian named Christian David showed up at his door, Zinzendorf welcomed him and invited him to invite others. A Moravian settlement was established on Count Zinzendorf’s land. When the community started to experience discord and division in 1727, Zinzendorf called them to prayer. They later named their praying community Herrnhut (Herren hut), which means “the Lord’s Watch.”

Initially, twenty-four people took one hour shifts during which they committed to pray – the Lord’s Watch. More joined the watch and this prayer watch went on unbroken until 1847. Throughout the decades hundreds attended these prayer meetings and worship services – many of the people were overwhelmed by the strong presence of God and would sing and lay prostrate on the floor for six to eight hours. The anointing touched the children and led to a revival among children.

Prayer births a mission movement
As Moravians at Herrnhut started to sense God’s missionary call to take the good news to the lost, they would hold funerals for the missionaries before they sent them off to places like Jamaica. (We found Moravian missionary graves when we were in Jamaica a couple years ago!) Imagine holding a funeral for someone who is about to leave because it was understood that the call of Jesus was to go give your life reaching lost people and that you’d not return in this life. To reach the slaves in Jamaica, the Moravian missionaries would sell themselves into slavery as it was the only way to gain access to Caribbean slaves. Stories of supernatural visitations and provision accompany each missionary account of the Moravians.

John Wesley wrote that he was led to Christ by a Moravian missionary from Herrnhut while sailing on a ship to America. When the ship was nearly overtaken by a storm, and he and the other passengers panicked, however the Moravian fellow on the ship was calm, had peace and prayed. In his revivals Welsey often talked about the “warming heart” moment of his born-again experience with the Moravian missionary.

Here is Caleb in the Moravian graveyard at Zinzendorf’s grave. About fifty yards away we found the grave of Christian David. This stuff comes alive when you read this book released a couple years ago from 24/7 Titles – Regal.

Zinzendorf's grave

The goal for Zinzendorf and his friend Christian David was to form ecclesiolae in ecclesia—”little churches within the church”—to act as a leaven, revitalizing and unifying churches into one communion. Caleb, I, and our good friend Andy spent several days out in Zinzendorf’s forest – it was a powerful time – a strong prophetic flow and presence of God – we even commanded storms with our prayers!  Here’s a pic of wet heads Andy and Caleb after that experience…

Commanding storms

We stumbled on places in the forest called “bandengrubens” – these were earthen dugouts with rock benches in a circle where Herrnhutters came each day to study the Bible together and pray. Caleb has plans to build a bandengruben dugout in our shelter belt along the creek at home. Here’s a bandengruben we found in Zinzendorf’s forest…

Bandengruben

In the forest we also found a well which is curiously named Isaac’s Well (all this is in Saxony – sacs sons – Isaac’s sons – some of you reading this know why I’m underscoring all of that). Here’s a pic of that memorable spot…

Isaacs Well Herrnhut

A new sound released in Christian worship – JOY
In the first 65 years of this Herrnhut prayer meeting 300 missionaries were sent and the modern missions movement was born. Also, equally significant, joy came back into Christian worship as the uplifting Moravian hymns were embraced by the church worldwide.  (Their music was led by trombone choirs – I bought a CD when I was there – wild stuff!) Isn’t this amazing… this a 100+ year long 24/7/367 prayer meeting produced the global missions movement and changed the worship expression of Christianity for generations. Here’s the prayer tower that now stands above the Moravian graveyard at Herrnhut.

Herrnhut prayer tower

Heads up – – the following is not rated PG. But I share what I’m about to share to show how good and Godly people are not perfect people and that even the greatest move of God has it’s fleshly moments. (I’ve also recently written here on what I see as one of Luther’s two faults). Some today throw the baby out with the bathwater in terms of those God is using today – they see the great work, but are unable to get over some doctrinal quirk the minister has, or whatever. (Relating this back Mike Bickle and to the difficult but incredible days of the KC Prophets, those who’ve never read his book “Growing in the Prophetic” will never see how Bickle was able to change the dirty bathwater without throwing out the baby.)

An unfortunate controversy
Zinzendorf was involved in an unfortunate controversy about the wound of Christ. During a later period of his life he started to reflect on the wound of Christ (In Latin, “wound” is a form of the word vulva–opening, vagina– no kidding). In all the crucifixion pictures of Jesus’ wound Zinzendorf noticed the wound of Christ indeed did bear a remarkable vulva-like resemblance. He postulated that the “wound” that gives life to all of humanity is the vulva of Jesus. He encouraged followers to visualise Christ’s vulva in great detail – critics hammered him for this intense psycho-erotic meditation on the wounds of Christ. Feminist theology today embraces this reasoning. Zinzendorf later backed off this sexually-charged theology and agreed it was aberrant.

Herrnhut today
Also, I want to report that the Jesus Haus in Herrnhut is emerging in the house of prayer and missionary flow that historically came from Herrnhut. It was a blessing to be with those folks in that community and we also so appreciated the hospitality of those at the YWAM base in Herrnhut. YWAM has an intercessory prayer training focus today at Herrnhut.

Though some are probably smiling, I found it quite sad yesterday to hear about Todd Bentley getting separated from his wife. Thousands every day speaking word curses over him (that was the main point of all my blog posts on him) – a demonic full frontal assault all on a guy with a lot flaws and a lot of growth and maturity yet ahead of him. Ministry is extremely hard and even harder when you step out and get radical for God and the Kingdom. The devil plays hardball when it comes to ministry families. And, who knows what was going on with Todd, but so many ministry guys serve Jesus and let their wives serve them. We miss warning signals and convince ourselves that things are better than they really are.

I hope you are moved to pray for Todd Bentley and his family. The God who can heal bodies can certainly touch a marriage. The devil likes to claim victory but God may have something even greater up his sleave in terms of redemptive purposes here. It’s still about Jesus.

I really like Lee Grady and know him from when I had my book published with Strang. His commentary on this matter is good even though I take a different view at a number of key points. I resonated with his statement, “it wasn’t supposed to end like this.” But then again, God is big and can bring good out of bad and whether you do or not, God loves Todd Bentley.

I agree with Grady’s assessment that what we saw in Lakeland was “raw zeal for God” but disagree there was a wholesale casting aside of discernment. I’m sad because it’s a step back perhaps for a lot of people and those I was trying to temper in my posts will surely shift now from being scoffers to gloaters. Those who are already connecting dots between Bentley’s controversial teachings and practices and his marriage troubles will have trouble explaining to me why the wives of the more “orthodox” guys (like Pastor Charles Stanley) sometimes leave too. All eyes on Jesus and we’ll grow from this too.

The answer to the question – can God heal Fibromyalgia? – is YES! The Bible says, he forgives all our sins and heals ALL our diseases! (Psalm 103:3) There isn’t one disease or diagnosis that is beyond his ability or desire to heal today. I hope that is a hopeful truth for somebody who is hurting right now.

I’m led to post on this topic today because people very close to me, whom I love dearly, are getting pummeled by Fibromyalgia. We have seen God physically heal people here at Church at the Gate in numbers into the three digits. However, we have only seen what I’d call temporary relief as we pray for healing from Fibromyalgia so far. Also, I’m hearing Fibromyalgia being regularly called out through the Word of Knowledge in healing and revival meetings throughout America – I do believe the Great Physician is giving great and full victory to many people from this devasting infirmity. I have more many more questions than answers – so pardon my ignorance – is this only an American malady? I’ve seen/heard nothing of it in the healing meetings I’ve attended overseas. I want to hear from those of you who have been freed of Fibromyalgia where ever you are.

If you, or anyone you know has been healed by God from Fibromyalgia, please share your story here in the comment section of this post. The Bible says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the WORD OF OUR TESTIMONY. If you have been healed of Fibromyalgia, please share your testimony for the benefit of others here. If you have experienced any victory from Fibromyalgia through Christian healing prayer, please share that here. If you know of someone who has been supernaturally healed of Fibromyalgia, encourage them to share their testimony here.

Our local newspaper today did a brief story on “Mysterious Fibromyalgia.” (The link is to the original article in the Jackson Clarion Ledger.) The subheading is “Chronic pain brings on insomnia, depression, loss of brain activity and IS INCURABLE.” The last two words paint a hopeless picture. Here’s the opening paragraph of the artcle…

Imagine hurting all over, every day, with a physical exhaustion that never completely subsides, not even with adequate sleep and rest. Add insomnia, brain fog, and depression. The worst part – there’s no cure. Sufferers of fibromyalgia don’t have to imagine that nightmare. They live it. Daily.

The article gives these facts… according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, 3-6% of the population suffers from it. Women are most affected by it. And, there are physicians that don’t believe the disease even exists.

I’ve spoken recently with some of our doctors and it’s a mixed bag – some think it’s a “catch all” diagnosis for something that no one can really explain. One said she never saw these symtoms twenty years ago and now she sees them every day in her office. Others say “its real” and relief can be found in various treatments – acupuncture, chiropractic care, osteopathy, pain meds, etc. but that there is no cure or any real understanding of root causes. I’ve spoken to some of our counselors and mental health people about it – some say they have found it relates to previous trauma or (sexual) abuse. Some of my friends in healing and deliverance ministry also say this is the case, and this is how a demonic spirit of infirmity first gains access – through some trauma or abuse. I was given a Gulf War Vet newsletter minutes ago that says the United States military now lists Fibromyalgia at the top of the list of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder manifestations.

I am no expert, nor am I a doctor. Those of you reading this who suffer from Fibromyagia know light years more about this than I. If you are struggling with Fibromyalgia, I hope you’ll join the conversation here and dialog with others who comment here about their victory. I do welcome you to comment about your journey into supernatural healing and even mentioning how people have prayed for you in not-very-helpful-ways (as long as you stay positive about it). I think there is something to learn from unsuccessful well-intentioned attempts at divine healing.

I seek no controversial debate or attack here, nor do I want to lay a lack-of-faith guilt-trip on those who honestly and desperately desire a touch from God. I have a pastoral heart and desire to see God touch peoples lives. I’ve seen him do amazing things and I know he loves people. I’m throwing this post out there to solicit comments from people who’ve seen God heal Fibromyalgia. The most valuable thing about this post is not in what I have to say, it will be in what these folks share. In fact, I probably won’t offer much in the comments section because again, I’m not an expert and have little more to say. I would welcome comments from people in healing and deliverance ministries who have insights into how to pray for healing for people suffering from Fibromyalgia and more importantly, what are the spiritual dynamics behind this infirmity. The article I quoted above said there is some thought that this is genetic. But even there, I don’t want this to be a medical discussion. I’m asking for testimonies of how God healed people of Fibromyalgia and graceful dialog about the spiritual realities here. I’m hoping hope comes forth.

Here are just a couple “rules” for this post and commenting. I don’t want to hear anything about turning to Buddhism for relief or anything like TM, yoga, Oprah, or anything other than Jesus and Biblical Christianity. If you suggest anything else is our hope, I’ll delete that comment immediately. Jesus is our only hope. If you are among those who’ve given up hope concluding Fibromyalgia is your “lot in life” I’d rather you not share that here either. If you think it’s God’s Will that you are sick, I’d rather that get discussed elsewhere also. Not here. Really, if we are unsure it’s God’s Will we have relief from Fibromyagia we better sort that out before we even go to a doctor seeking relief. With that thinking, taking meds would go against what God wants for you. I don’t like to debate if healing is God’s will and don’t want to open that can of worms here. I just want to pray for the sick and let God be God. I want to hear testimonies of the grace of God. I do know God uses suffering and that there are redemptive purposes for pain but I also know one of the reasons God allows sickness is to reveal himself as Healer.

My sole purpose and hope in bringing this up is to provide a place where one beggar can share with another beggar where they found bread. I’m not the baker. But I know the answer is in the one who multiplies the loaves.

ABC Nightline’s feature last night on Todd Bentley and the Florida Healing Outpouring was hardly favorable. Is anyone surprised? Gnat-straining camel swallowers in the Body of Christ were given much to delight and gloat over. The lost watching world was shown what the devil would want them to see. Todd Bentley was surely disappointed. Obadiah 1:12 came to me early this morning… “Do not gloat over your brother’s day of misfortune.” I’m sure few, if any, among those in the seat of scoffers will be restrained by this verse, or any other, for that matter.

I’ve been to the meetings in Lakeland. It was apparent to me the ABC Nightline folks went there to get the angle they were after and they got it. They missed much as well. They found a precious wheelchair-bound girl on the streets of Lakeland who has had multiple unfortunate encounters with the revival’s street evangelism teams who, no doubt with good intentions, invited (and probably pressured) her to the attend the healing meetings. She shared the pain of people being insensitive to her. I could fully relate as my father-in-law has been wheelchair-bound for nearly 60 years since he contracted polio at age 14. My wife has numerous stories growing up of being in places like the parking lot at Billy Graham Crusades being accosted by people on the way out that told him he’d “get up out of the chair if he only had faith.” This isn’t what the street evangelism teams told the girl in Lakeland, but the effect was the same. I attended the street evangelism training in Lakeland last month and yes, they do need to give people a briefing on sensitivity to the feelings of the infirmed before they send them out.

But, the faithful hitting the streets in Lakeland have something the rest of the church doesn’t, that being… boldness. They are not sent forth with a spirit of timidity, but rather full bold faith in the power of God. Can a person walking in apostolic boldness simultaneously walk in great sensitivity? Yes. But this is a grace that doesn’t typically come initially. Boldness must be tempered by wisdom and discernment. Rather than criticize the street evangelism teams, we need to pray that they walk in wisdom and power, love and compassion.

ABC Nightline could have worked harder to find positive encounters out there on the street – like the lady I heard about when I was there who was planning to commit suicide the day she met a loving couple from the revival in a grocery store parking lot. That lady was baptized in love and hope in that parking lot and gave her life to Jesus Christ.

ABC Nightline found a local shop keeper who viewed the revival negatively. Maybe they should have interviewed the mayor and city council members and got a comment or two on the fact that Todd Bentley, who for 100 days has brought 5000-10,000 people daily to the city, is responsible for bringing millions and millions and millions of dollars into the city’s economy. I’d guess there are mayors all over America who would love to have something like this grace their city. Instead they predictably dug up Bentley’s dark past but neglected to report on his dramatic conversion to Jesus Christ and subsequent dozen years of ministry to the poor, the orphans and hurting worldwide.

ABC Nightline is incapable of any sort of favorable story on anything remotely Christian. I’m not even convinced they are telling the truth when they reported “not one single miracle could be independently verified.” Wow- that went across the airwaves turning the hearts of many against what is happening in Lakeland. But, I can point them to a verifiable miracle. I’ve even seen doctors on the platform in Lakeland standing alongside the healed to testify. Those stewarding the revival apparently need to spoon-feed stories to the media in their media packet but even then, Jesus spoke of a deep-seated societal unbelief, so deep that people won’t even be convinced when the dead are raised right before their eyes. ABC Nightline has a deep-seated disbelief for sure. The light is veiled from their eyes.

But hello, again, getting ABC Nightline to do a favorable story on anything Christian is about as likely as getting the Code Pink gals to do a favorable piece on the Iraq War. ABC and every other main stream media outlet has a distinct and secular (which means godless or without God) agenda. They are the spokespeople for the godless left and are keenly aware that the only thing standing in the way of gay marriage, abortions and decency in broadcasting is THE CHURCH.

I deal with the media here far more than I like because my role in the abortion battle in our state. More times than I can count I’ve found it maddening that the pro-life position is maligned and misrepresented by the media. We hand them facts and stories and testimonies on a silver platter and they don’t even do a story. We got 100 pro-life doctors together for a press conference in ’06 and we had to beg the media to even show up. Yet, Planned Parenthood propaganda gets released and the media parades it across the headlines. Do we not see that these are the same types “reporting” on what is unfolding in Lakeland. They operate in the same denomic spirit. These are the very people who feed the global warming fears with story after story and fully ignore the vast amount of scientific expertise that says its all hoax and false alarm. Are we surprised they found nothing to verify in Lakeland? I’m not.

Many in my world believe an end-time revival is coming that will spread, in part, due to God touching the main stream media. I first grabbed onto these prophecies in the late 80’s when I lived in Kansas City. I still believe them to be true. However, I also know as we more fully enter the end of the age, the world will rage against the people of God. The people of God will be singled out for ridicule and reproach. Jesus said woe to you when men speak well of you. In other words, if they like us, we apparently aren’t much like Him (Jesus). The same hungry and hurting people who liked and flocked to Jesus are the same people who like and flock to Todd Bentley. The same people who feverishly tried to nail Jesus to the tree are the same types trying to nail Bentley today. That’s interesting to note isn’t it?

If you haven’t been to Lakeland to take this all in first hand, here’s one additional important thing ABC Nightline missed. They missed that there is more going on here than one sees on the stage. Most Christians can only imagine what it would be like to stand in such an atmosphere of faith. In this economy, people who buy airline tickets to get closer to where they hear God is moving are desperately hungry people. God always honors that hunger. Being in a tent with 5000-10000 people with that level of hunger places a heavy draw on heaven to visit earth. I’d rather be in that atmosphere any day than among the “Bible Deists” whose only hope for well-being is that their doctor will continue to dish out their antidepressants week after week. I’d rather be in the room with people who bought airline tickets to get a touch from God than sit in all these scoffing churches with people who aren’t hungry enough to drive a couple miles to church more than 2-3 Sunday mornings a month. This ABC Nightline story could have covered the OBVIOUS spiritual hunger in our land. They could have interviewed people who have given up hope on the pharmaceutical and health care industries, people who have no hope but God.


I hope you’ll also read my other posts on Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring. My main focus in all of these is that we ought to be really careful that we are not calling unclean what God has called clean. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2
Revival in Florida – Todd Bentley and the Seat of Scoffers part one
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Seat of Scoffers part two
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Seat of Scoffers part three
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Angel Emma
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley, Violence and the Kingdom of God
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley, the manifestations of the Spirit or Kundalini?
Todd Bentley, C. Peter Wagner and apostolic alignment at the Florida Healing Outpouring
Florida Revival – Todd Bentley answers his critics, Dr. Gary S. Greig gets healed and provides an independent theological witness
A parody; the doctrine police take a break from straining gnats at the Lakeland Healing Outpouring to take aim at Psalm 23
Florida Healing Outpouring – Is Todd Bentley a New Age Mystic?

So far I’ve cranked out eight posts on this subject – perhaps I should have waited as Todd Bentley just produced his own seven page response to his critics and those concerned. Perhaps far more valuable is this (which some will miss because its at the end of the paper – so I’ll paste it here)…

Dr. Gary S. Greig, PhD., a former Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Regent University School of Divinity, and Senior Editor, Theology and Acquisitions for the Regal Publishing Group. In his letter, this biblical scholar and theologian shared that the Lord had healed him of sleep apnea while entering into worship while watching a telecast of the Lakeland Outpouring. He wrote that the Lord prompted him to write and send us an independent theological witness to help as many leaders and believers as possible understand that the Lakeland Outpouring is from God. That by writing this theological response to questions and criticisms in: Biblical Reasons to Receive God’s Glory and Give it Away in Power Evangelism, that as many as possible would receive “biblical permission” to get on board and fully commit to receiving the Lord’s glory and anointing, and to give it away in power evangelism. This paper is written at a high level of scholarship for pastors, church leaders, and theologians yet is understandable to the layperson. The Lord told Dr. Greig to “sow into the revival,” not by publishing this 55 page booklet in a conventional way, but by donating it to Fresh Fire Ministries to use as we will, even if it’s just as an encouragement to the ministry.

Big thanks to Dr. Greig and praise God for touching this man. This is huge and an answer to my prayers! I encourage everyone to read it, especially those who are honestly searching all this out right now. More of this and we’ll see evangelicals start to open up to the move of God. You can download Dr. Greig’s booklet here.

Now, here’s Todd’s paper:

Lifting Jesus High!
Bringing Biblical Light to Your Questions about
the Lakeland Outpouring & Todd Bentley

June 8, 2008

Dear Friends,

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for hearing my heart on some of the issues that seems to be causing division and some confusion in the Body of Christ. Read the rest of this entry »

I offer this parody to compliment what I’ve already written on the Florida Healing Outpouring, Todd Bentley and all the anonymous heresy hunters online who stay in the shadows slinging arrows (Ps 64) at others in the Bride of Christ. (Shadows remember, are a form of darkness).

In any case, someone sent me what it might look like if the same types presently picking on Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring were to turn their guns toward Psalm 23. Enjoy. Who knows who wrote this but I thank them. In case you are wondering, the reference to “straining gnats” comes from Matthew 23:24 – “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”


HERESY HUNTERS INSTITUTE, INC.
Address unlisted

Dear brother,

Thank you for sending us the questionable document. We are always glad to examine any teaching materials that may adversely affect the Church. We do think that this material is dangerous and certainly want to warn the Body of Christ concerning its subtle false doctrines. Read the rest of this entry »

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