Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Healing testimony!

Tonight at Bethel we had an Advanced Healing Rooms training for prayer servants and for people who serve in the healing ministry/Healing Rooms at Bethel. We had a time of worship, thanking God for all the amazing testimonies and prayers we have heard and seen answered. After that people shared a few testimonies!-My favorite part about gatherings like this.

Worship before testimony time!

One woman shared her personal testimony of cancer being healed. I had heard this story because it happened 3 weeks ago on a Saturday during the Healing Rooms. But I hadn't met the woman who the testimony was about and here she was-on stage, mic in hand, sharing about God's goodness and faithfulness! She had had caner for several years up to this point. She came for healing prayer for her back pain, not even for the cancer. She had gotten so used to battling the cancer, she wanted the prayer ministry team to focus on her back pain. Well someone in the team of 3 got a word of knowledge about the woman's foot. She looked down at her shoe and gasped-she had a small tumor on her foot but didn't mention anything to the ministry team. They had her take her shoe off and the tumor was gone-only a small circular imprint where the tumor used to be raised up. I'm sure her face then and her face tonight were very similar-full of joy, wonder, peace and gratitude for a King who loves to heal his children.

Another testimony that was shared tonight-Bethel sent a team down to Southern California this past week to minister with a few churches. After one of the speakers shared a message, they asked for anyone who needed healing prayer to come forward. Except, this particular church didn't believe the spiritual gifts of healing, prophesy, etc were for today. Well....this church believes it now! Because God showed up and started healing people! A woman who had severe scoliosis stood up after someone called out a world of knowledge that God was healing back problems. Well she claimed that word as for her and she stood up. As she stood up, her visibly crooked shoulders and back came into alignment and she stood up normally! Except everyone in the church knew that wasn't normal for her! Now it is! Thank you Jesus!

A pastor from a different church was visiting this church where the woman was healed, among many others. He saw the spirit of God move in such a powerful way-through healing, ministry time, counsel and encouragement. He left that night, went to the front of his own church the next morning and publicly apologized and repented in front of the congregation. He apologized for not believing that God's heart is to always heal. He had never seen a healing until the night before and then committed to the church body to pursue everything that Jesus died for-salvation of the spirit, soul and body!

I love this place! I feel very equipped and confident moving on from this season into the next. Jesus has been so good during this time to speak truth and life and love over me and my heart. He's such a good dad!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Set in India....Again!

One year ago this week I was in India.

I remember experiencing a feeling of deep relief to leave that place:
"Life has taken a turn since my last posts in India. We said goodbye to the people of Mumbai and the Lutheran Center, goodbye to the former orphanage in the slums that we called home. We left the tastes, smells and constant horn-honking traffic for an air conditioned airport and airplane to Indonesia."
I told myself I would probably never go back to India. The sights, sounds, smells, curry and too-thick chai were enough to last me a lifetime. But, God does indeed have a way of changing hearts and minds.

I am now joining a team that will travel to India for 4-6 weeks this summer. We love Jesus and want to display His radical love for people.

More details about this next ministry trip will come. But as I look back on my life over this past year, it is radical. I have been transformed from the day I stepped into that over-crowded city of Mumbai. I am not the same. Even the past few months at Bethel have transformed the way I see myself, the way I relate to others, and the way I commune and fellowship with God and the Holy Spirit.

I am returning to a place I guessed I would never see again. And my heart is excited. What can God do now with a heart that is ever-more surrendered to Him and His work? What miracles will he display? How will His love invade lives? How can I partner with my team and with God to present the Good News that is still such great news!?

The next six months will be a time of preparation-prayer for those we will meet, ministry and worship of the most High King, intercession for the country of India, and an intentional preparation of my heart to see that land I never thought I would see again.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mission trip donations

Hi friends and family!
If you would like to donate to my Spring mission trip with Bethel, you can do so below. The decision process for where each student will be going is still being decided. My training this year at school is equipping me specifically for this trip and for a lifestyle of living in dependence on God to show Himself in love and power.

I'll be posting more about what God has been doing in and through me so far in Redding. I would love to share this journey with you and am excited to see what else God has planned!

Traveling, service projects and ministry have been the largest, most impactful times in my life. I have learned so much about people, the world, culture and Jesus during my times abroad and I know this next trip will be full of great experiences. 

Thank you!


Friday, October 14, 2011

A Small Attempt to Explain the Supernatural

I have recently been in a place of intense expectancy for how God wants to show up in my life in a radical way. I wrote this 3 days ago:

It felt like a deposit had been made. Or like when you water a seed, day after day, tediously and seemingly fruitlessly. But suddenly a sprout breaks through the ground. Today-beneath confusion, doubt, anxiety and fear, water seeped through to my heart. I couldn’t explain how it managed to get through all that darkness and pain and reach the deepest parts of my soul. But there it was, nourishing and strengthening me for a time that is still to come. I sense it is coming soon. Yes, indeed it will come soon. Quickly and surely that green sprout will burst forth into a living tree that will never perish or fade. It will be a tree that has no fears.

Yesterday was that day of breakthrough between God's Spirit and mine. After a job interview for Shasta School District, I left for Starbucks feeling hopeful. As I sat with my iced coffee in a cushioned brown chair, I breathed in deeply and felt God speak words of encouragement directly to my heart. I was able to honestly think-whether or not I get this job, I trust Jesus for what he's doing in me. I was obedient to move to Redding and attend BSSM and God does indeed reward the obedient heart that is actively following him.

I left with the deepest, most unusual sense of peace I had ever experienced up to that point. Bethel is hosting an Open Heavens Conference and yesterday and today I served on the ushering team.
God has a way of blessing us when we're in service to him. I didn't expect him to show up in such mighty, powerful ways.

The afternoon and evening progressed with themes of passionate worship, biblical, Spirit-filled teaching and a wonderful corporate anointing with so many nations represented and Carol and John Arnott from Toronto as the guest speakers.

Carol led those in attendance in a prayer of forgiveness towards our parents, ourselves and towards God. As she declared soul ties to be broken in Jesus' name I was so moved spiritually, emotionally and physically that I fell backwards into the wall. I didn't realize I needed freedom from past relationships but wow, Jesus totally changed something inside of my heart at that moment. It was like, any stronghold the devil had was removed and replaced by God's beautiful power.

The night continued and after I drove away from the church I continued to feel this incomprehensible sense of peace and absolute JOY. I now understand what is meant by being "drunk" in the Spirit.

It's not an uncontrollable, reckless feeling, nor did I feel guilty or shameful or embarrassed like always happened when I used to drink (a long time ago, for a brief season. Thanks Jesus for bringing me out of that time. I'm meant for much more than that!). I don't really like the term drunk because that makes me think I was doing something wrong. It makes that experience seem impure or adulterated.

But last night was not those things. It was like liquid joy was flowing through my body. Like light was filling me up. I suppose it was a physical manifestation of what God does. He fills us with light and love and joy.

But this time was so intensely unique, personal, powerful, overwhelmingly wonderful. I was sitting in my car journaling and listening to the new David Crowder album. I finally understood what John Mark McMillan meant when he says-Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.

I just wanted to share that intense love. I wanted to shout it out, pray for people, pour into others this love that has been so strongly poured into me. It really filled me up to continue serving at the conference today, and has just affirmed what I have known to be true about God. He's good, all the time. He's powerful and he moves among those who are hungry to seek Him.

In love and joy,

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jesus is the prototype for the ministry of the Believer

Since I found out in January that I'd be coming to Bethel for their school of supernatural ministry, I've been praying a lot for discernment. For months my mentor and I pressed in for God to give me a supernatural power to discern the teachings and leadership I'd find at Bethel.

September came and I felt secure in coming and God has totally answered that prayer. In the 5 weeks I've been here-I've realized something else: I've begun to truly, wholeheartedly trust the leadership at Bethel Church. Their core values reflect Jesus and the Kingdom. Their hearts are to pursue the Kingdom of God here on earth-not at the expense of love but rather from an outpouring of the Father's heart and love for His children. We display God's power and glory as a sign to point to Jesus and his ministry.

Our classes in school have course overviews and objectives, a few summaries of which I'll post here:

  • "The Bible is the primary, authoritative guide to the faith and practice of Christianity. All supernatural and natural experience must be measured by the Truth as revealed in God's Word. God is still speaking but everything we hear now must be consistent with what He has spoken. We cannot lead properly, or in a healthy, holy manner in the Christian community if we don't know how to understand the Word."
  • "The goal is to train students in areas of service, ministry and evangelism to and for our community...to develop competency and confidence in bringing the love and life changing power of God into respectful, loving encounters with individuals so as to bring them to a saving connection with Christ and contribute to city-wide transformation."
  • "We will demonstrate God's ability and willingness to move in power with and for his people. Jesus's minstry, dependence and expectation are the blueprint for the Christian life. Keeping in step with the Holy Spirit as the apostle Paul commands will result in a naturally supernatural lifestyle."
  • "We demonstrate God's grace, His unconditional love and transforming power to everyone. We impact every socioeconomic group and cultural realm, that mercy and justice would reign because we pastor a city, not just a church."
  • The goal of BSSM and our time here is to form "Believers who are focused and passionate, willing to pay any price to live in community, purity and power because they are loved by God and love Him. Whose manifest presence transforms lives and cultures."

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Vision and Dreams

The past three days have been kind of strange for me. Monday and Tuesday the worship before class started was amazing. It was just a big celebration of who God is and declarations of his goodness and faithfulness. But all the while I stood in the back thinking, Nope. I don't believe God is always like that. Sometimes he's good, sometimes he's setting me up for failure. More and more lies ran through my mind and I eventually had to step outside of the sanctuary on both of those days.

The goodness of God is something I have had difficulty accepting. I hadn't pinpointed the issue until a few months ago, before summer started. My mentor and I were able to find this underlying issue that has caused a lot of fear and doubt in my life. It has kept me from fully trusting God in all situations. Having realized this, I've had to declare the truth of scripture over myself on how good God really is-truth of what he thinks about his children.

But the lies came flooding back on both Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night I had a great conversation about how God does indeed reward obedience. Sometimes it means we have to push through towards a new level with God and seek breakthrough. But God truly does reward those who desire to follow him wholeheartedly. He's good and his thoughts and actions over me are good.

This renewed confidence and joy in God spilled over yesterday and allowed me freedom to worship in joy, peace and abundant love. It was such a contrast to the previous two days.

Last night before I fell asleep I prayed that God would seal up my mind during worship. It's such a vulnerable time where we declare the worthiness of God and it truly ushers in His presence and we are able to encounter him. I prayed that God would consecrate that time-set it apart. Cast out lies and fears that had hindered me from worshiping in the fullness of what God deserves and express how much my heart is towards him.

And God answered my prayer! I haven't had many visions or dreams where God has spoken to me but last night he did. I had a vision of a small, shaded, leafy fox hole that had just enough space for a little creature to peek out.
The breath of God came and the hole was suddenly gone.

In it's place, God took big, solid beams of wood and he placed them up really high-higher than I thought was possible or safe. He built a giant, rectangular frame in my heart. It was like a tall, sturdy, reinforced doorway.

The new space that was formed has a high carrying capacity/relationship capacity-a term used for the depth of relationship with someone that gives the authority to speak into their lives. It's a symbol of loving influence. The doorway is also protected and fortified against the enemy's attacks-my original prayer.

Then the whole night in dreams God was just filling the doorway with all sorts of wonderful things. There was so much more space than in that small fox hole. The most vivid image was the frame filled with little kids who had all different skin colors-with the faces of the kids I met on my trip abroad last year-Chinese, Russian, Kenyan, Indian.

Now I'm wondering, how much can fit in this new, fortified space and what does God want to put there?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

BSSM-Week 1

This past week has been...full of revelation, insight, information, reading, sermons, information, incredible worship, friends, information and devotions. And more information! I can't contain it all in my head-let alone in my heart, various journals and on this blog. Here's some of the great revelation and teaching we have received at Bethel and BSSM so far in the past week:
Sunday September 11: Bill Johnson taught from Matthew 16
The Demand for a Sign
 1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away. 
  • They had an inborn capacity to discern the times, but they shut down the spiritual aspect. The wicked look for a sign (something to entertain them, rather than to reveal God to His people). Jesus's identity is one of redeemer and reconciler, and he did miracles before and after this verse. 
  • We are to seek what God wants to reveal to us-not as entertainment, but as a way to see God's heart. 
  • Jesus isn't rebuking the need for miracles, but rather their simple addition of Jesus to their life-rather than re-orienting their life towards Jesus. They fit him in where it was convenient for them. We don't seek signs, we seek the sign-giver. 
  • Jesus is the exact representation of His Father's nature --> every miracle is a revelation of the Father's heart and nature. It is never a miracle for a miracle's sake-it's an invitation to a deeper relationship with God. 
  • A miracle is the manifestation of His heart. Our Christ-like character is shaped through obedience to Him. Power in God doesn't exist only to help us overcome sin-Jesus has already done that. 

BSSM Day 1, Tuesday September 13:
  •  Tying into Bill's message on Sunday-The miracle is to be the lens with which you view your next problem. A miracle reveals God's character and says what He's like. It's a dependable source that says God's desire is for healing, restoration and freedom-in the next problem/circumstance as well as the last. 

BSSM Day 2, Wednesday September 14:
Kris Vallotton
  • Word of Knowledge-currently true and measurable
  • Prophecy-a foretelling and forth telling 
The importance of identity in Christ-
  • A man raised in internal slavery cannot free people from external slavery.
  • When you don't love who God has made you you tend to push others away that place a value on you.
  • You become what you think the most important person in your life thinks you are...You'll become what God thinks of you.
  • Oftentimes we try to get by performance what we already received by grace and faith.
Condemnation: you lied, you're a liar. Your bad behavior determines your identity
Conviction: from the Holy Spirit, you're acting below your nature and below what God has called you to be, so stop.

BSSM Day 3, Thursday September 15:
Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson

The importance of our royal identity as sons and daughter of the King-as heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
It's an insult to the artist if we trash the painting-God was the artist, Jesus the model and you are the painting.
  • When you pray to God and not with God, you can miss what he is doing and miss his heart.
  • God wants us to experience the joy of giving away his presence.
  • God lights the fire on the altar of sacrifice but the priests keep adding to the fire. 
  • A lot of stuff gets blamed on the sovereignty of God...
  • Most of what you need in life will be brought to you. Most of what you want you'll have to reach for. What are you willing to sacrifice for/reach for to know and see his will be done?
  • Mark 6:52-51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
  • Why do you reason that you have no bread-after he's already provided for in that way?
  • Hardness-we lose focus of the resources of Heaven and abandon what we have access to.
  • When we honor someone, it allows us to function under their authority
  • Power and authority-two complimentary realms that allow us to be used
  • Power-a wave, to catch and cooperate and be used with the Spirit
  • Authority-based on our faith in who God is and what He says about us.
  • The Father cannot be fully revealed/shown without the power to destroy the works of the devil. God is capable AND has the heart to show it.
BSSM Day 4, Friday September 16:
Bill Johnson

  • God knows when to delay an answer-it gains interest. When it finally comes, it'll be greater than when you first asked because God has done an invaluable work in you so that you may receive a greater answer. 
  • If you hunger for a realm of breakthrough (i.e. every broken bone you prayed for God would heal), God wanted it first. God is still more moved for others than we are.
  • The person who can't ever rejoice over a healed headache can't be trusted with an empty wheelchair.
  • Are we trustworthy stewards of the acorn, though we pray for an oak tree. The Kingdom sees the potential. What we see in the natural is just a seed compared to the spiritual. 
  • Enduring prayer makes us more ready to receive the answer.
  • Many people tolerate loss and call it discipline from God. God doesn't give the thief permission to steal. The devil's not God's employee. 

Wow...Week one of BSSM has been...full. These are just the most main points of each day. Every bullet I compiled also came with a story, testimony, scripture, illustration etc to make the point hit to our hearts.

Sunday morning: Bethel Church

I felt like God said to me, You will glean from the mothers and fathers here who have seen God move throughout the nations. There are valuable, golden lessons to be learned through the testimonies of those who have gone before you. Write them down as a pillar of hope and as a radical display of God's goodness.

Bill Johnson:

  • Israel focused on the acts of God, Moses sought his ways and his nature. When we rejoice only over what God's done, then when he doesn't do what we want him to do, we'll question his goodness.
  • God will is never judged by mans response to His will, or our ability to carry it out.
  • Gifts are free, maturity is expensive. Maturity creates a platform for the weightiness of his glory.