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“We have been deluded into believing that there are two kinds of war, physical and spiritual, but there is only war . . . . Lucifer has bewitched Christians into accepting a subtle lie that has huge consequences. We say the Christian life is “like” a war. It sounds innocent, but it casts a disastrous symbolism to something that is desperately real. If we are in something like a war, then the bible becomes something like the word of God, and we face something like an attack, and we put on something like the armor of God. . . . Our methods and traditions have helped the devil create an entire generation that is informed but not transformed.” Mario Murrillo
I just stumbled upon this article on Jesus Culture’s website. It kicks butt.
Many leaders long to see the people they serve walk in power, healing and the prophetic, especially outside the church. No longer satisfied to build a traditional ministry; they are stirred to impact their city. A passion is growing to see their regions and their campuses saturated in the glory of God, people surrendering their lives to Jesus, and the culture reflecting the Kingdom of God. But this shift in thinking requires a different set of tools, and we are compelled to seek revelation on how to make this become a reality. One of the most frequent questions I am asked by leaders is, “How can I release the supernatural in my ministry.”
In Matthew 5:16, Jesus makes it clear that one of the main keys to seeing the glory of God invade a city is a people shining their light—so those around them encounter their works. That word “works” is not referring to “random acts of kindness”, but rather, what Jesus demonstrated throughout His ministry as the sick were healed, the dead raised, the lame walked, and the blind received sight. In other words, as we manifest God’s power by laying hands on the diseased, prophesy over the broken, and radically love the lonely; our light will blaze through the darkness.
If we are going to empower people to transform their cities and campuses for Jesus, our methods must move beyond holding events to equipping lifestyles. As grateful as I am for the testimonies of the supernatural at our Jesus Culture conferences, I am only truly satisfied when I see these encounters multiply in and through the lives of the attendees when they return home. We are still learning everyday but here are a few keys.
1) Demonstrate God’s extravagant love
Healing, prophetic ministry, and signs and wonders are all extremely exhilarating. When one lays hands on someone who had scoliosis and physically feels their back straightening out, it is an amazing experience. Most importantly though, as healings and prophecy begin to flow, it is crucial we contend for love to remain the core reason and motivation for ministering in power. Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith works through love. Faith to demonstrate the power of God flows through love. The Kingdom we represent is founded in love and we are called to display it not only in word—but also in power (1 Corinthians 4:20). Signs and wonders are to point people toward a greater reality—the extravagant love of God. If we don’t equip our people to ground their walk in love, healing becomes just another fad that’s fun temporarily, but with no lasting affect.
2) Teach That The Anointing Is For Everyone
The level of anointing that many of the fathers and mothers of the faith operated in like John G. Lake, Oral Roberts, and Kathryn Kuhlman is available to all who are hungry for it. My senior pastor, Bill Johnson describes it this way: “God gives certain individuals a ‘spike’ in human experience, not so they can merely gather people around themselves to minister to them, but that they would be positioned with favor to equip the saints, so that their ‘high point’ becomes the new norm.” The anointing is available for everyone… young and old, extrovert and introvert, new and mature Christian. Our people must be given the opportunity to step out in the anointing. Whether it is having them pray for each other during a meeting, on their campuses, in their homes, or in their workplaces people need frequent opportunities to experience this reality.
3) Make room
At our church we make room for the supernatural. Every service we pray for the sick. Whether it is trained ministry team or the congregation praying for one another. It might be in the middle or at the end during the ministry time, but there will always be an occasion for those in need of a supernatural encounter to receive prayer. We have this same focus with the youth ministry and my leaders and I model it and do it with the youth. We regularly give part of every meeting for words of knowledge, healing prayer, prophetic opportunities and the like.
I would encourage you to reassess your agenda and rearrange your schedule to give them as many occasions as possible to lay hands on those in need of a physical healing. The more you make room for it in their lives, the more it will happen naturally elsewhere and become a lifestyle.
4) Develop a culture of risk
Among university students, I noticed a pattern inhibiting them from experiencing the breakthroughs in healing they desired. These students passionately believed in healing but were not seeing it regularly. “Pressing in” to see healing, they were not actually “stepping out” to pray for people. They were crying out for God to move—but they themselves were not moving! There was a sense that if they persevered long enough in prayer, an anointing would fall from Heaven and they would obtain results. While I absolutely believe we need to reach for a greater anointing, we all have an anointing to minister supernaturally that is available right now. But it requires us to position ourselves to take risks. When you are faithful with what you currently have, the Lord entrusts you with more.
As leaders we are responsible to nurture an environment within our ministry that both encourages and necessitates risk. In the midst of their insecurities our people thrive when leaders come alongside and call out the greatness in them as they take risks in the supernatural.
If we as leaders are going to expect the people we serve to take risks outside the walls of the church we must give them opportunities inside the church and inside community to develop. As they learn to take risks in a safe environment their confidence grows in public. For example, train your people in healing and the prophetic and then push them to give words of knowledge or prophesy over their peers. When someone needs healing, ask people to pray for him or her. They might be scared and nervous but stand with them, and champion their courage.
You will likely find that many are afraid to fail. This is one of the main reasons why many people never see the power of God demonstrated in their life. They are frozen by the thought, “What if I step out and nothing happens?” This fear must be overcome. Strengthen them to conquer this fear. Many times the results we are seeking are on the other side of persistence. I heard one time that John Wimber prayed for a 1,000 people before he saw his first breakthrough in healing. The more we take risks and God shows up in answer to our prayers, the more we will mature into expressing a supernatural lifestyle.
5) Use Testimonies of Power To Unlock Their Potential
This is a simple but profound principle. If your people are not living in the realm of the supernatural, continually bring before them stories of the miraculous being outworked. This communicates what is possible, and if God will use one person in that way He will use them as well. Christians instinctively know they are designed to demonstrate the Kingdom; therefore testimonies reach deep inside to awaken those areas in their life. If you don’t have any testimonies within your community, then borrow someone else’s. God is no respecter of persons!
So let me try to deconstruct this idea that God doesn’t delight in you, doesn’t delight in you and just wants you to do what He says and stay out of His way. Let’s just start out with the obvious one. He saved you.
Now, it’s really important that you understand how salvation occurs. Because if salvation occurs because you did it, then that has no implications on God’s affection or love for you. It puts all the weight of the exchange on you. “Yeah, Jesus died, but I’m the one who put my faith in Jesus.” That’s a great idea that just lacks a lot of biblical credibility. In other words, that would be a great idea if it wasn’t for what the Bible actually teaches. So if you are a believer in Christ, if you’ve been given a new heart, if you are regenerate, born again, God did that. You didn’t do that. God did that. Now you can say, “No, I clearly got out of my pew, I walked down, I shook the pastor’s hand and repeated after him.” But I will contend until the return of Christ or my death that it was God who gave
you faith in your chair which lead you to get out of your chair. You walking the aisle and praying that prayer didn’t save you. The act of salvation occurred and got you out of your chair. That was what moved you. Because death doesn’t choose life. It’s dead. So God saved you.
What makes it even more astonishing is when all of that took place. I’ll give you some of my favorites. Ephesians 1:4-5 talk about how God chose us before the foundation of the earth was laid. So before the earth was, God chose us in Him (Jesus) to be holy and blameless in His sight. So let’s do a little bit of work here. God, all-knowing, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, before He created the foundation of the earth, knows you. Not just us, but you. And before the foundation of the earth was laid, He decided that in Jesus Christ you were going to be holy and blameless in His sight. To question the affection of God for you is to question the cross of Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:29 is another great text that talks about just how thick God’s love is for you. It says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” So before anything was, God had decided that in His fore-loving, predetermining plan, He was going to rescue you, save you and conform you to the image of Jesus Christ. Now that is profound, because all of that is taking place in light of a knowledge of every act of rebellion, every wayward thought and every God-belittling moment of your life. And still He says, “No, I love him/her. I’m going to rescue them. I’m going to make a way for them.” And God Himself puts on flesh and blood, empties Himself and comes like a servant to save and seek out those who are His children. Throughout the Scriptures, the Scriptures want to communicate for us God’s deep and unshakable love for those of us who have been called according to His purposes.
This weekend our church are holding a Prayer Burn. People have booked a room and will spend it alone for an hour, with God. The event runs for 24 hours and the 48 spaces were booked within a few hours! That’s a good sign!
Our HKC Youth are joining in in a slightly different way. We’re meeting as usual with with a prayer/worship focus. I’ve got some amazing speakers who are real genuine “praying” people and some great testimonies and practical interactive stations for people to give it a go. One station even has M&Ms. Seriously.
Prayer is so powerful because it joins the hearts of people on earth with the heart of God in heaven. When we pray, we connect with God, and He affects our daily lives beyond our comprehension.
I believe prayer is one of the greatest powers available in the entire universe. That may seem like a radical statement, but it’s so true!
Prayer opens the door for God to work. It is the activity that we can engage in on earth when we need the power of heaven to come into our lives and bring wisdom, healing, hope, direction, encouragement or a miraculous breakthrough. Prayer connects us to God, and that is why it is a greater “force” than anything else we can ever imagine.
Only God’s power can bring peace, instill joy, grant wisdom, impart a sense of value and purpose to a person who doesn’t know what to do in life. Prayer changes us and it changes circumstances.
Do you want to see that power work in your life? Then make prayer a priority.
Prayer is very powerful. It changes us from the inside out and does change things in our world. When I was first saved I joined a girls prayer group. It was scary. I didn’t know the right words or anything. I spent ages just listening before I dared to pray out loud. A funny thing though – it was a really messy time for me, that transition from being not a Christian to being a Christian, changing the way I lived. And when I missed a prayer group meeting they would pray for me and there would be dramatic changes. I broke up with a guy who was not a Christian. And then I dated another guy and guess what, missed the prayer meeting and broke up. Even just last week I had twisted my ankle at the zoo and got prayed for on Sunday and woke up on Monday with it fine. Yay Jesus!
Prayer can change your family, change peoples hearts, give you ideas and strategies. But most importantly, prayer connects us with the heart of God who loves us, who loves you.
Prayer isn’t just an empty box to tick off on your to-do checklist. Every day you get to speak to the One who created and is sustaining a universe. That’s amazing!
But now think about this:
The same God who knows the names of every star knows your name.
The same God who is holding the universe in the expanse of His hands is holding you in His hands.
Prayer is so much more than the puny, ordinary thing we make it out to be. And that’s because the One we’re praying to is not only so much bigger than we’ll ever be able to comprehend. But also so much more willing to respond to us than we’ll ever be able to comprehend as well.
You might be as small as a grain of sand, but you have a privilege no star or galaxy will ever have. Take advantage of it today. Lay your requests before God. And wait in expectation.
My heart longs for more of God.
To hear Him more.
To know Him more.
To make Him known more.
It is the beat of my heart.
And thus I must make room for this in my life. Room to worship. Room to spend time with God. Room to be in His presence. Room to read His word. Room to hear His voice.
Other things try to crowd out that space I could carve out for Him. They fight for my attention and affection.
But my heart belongs to God.
So I choose.
I choose Him.
With my time. With my action. With my thoughts. With my worship.
In the midst of your struggles – pray… whispers of love, hope, courage, and need… back and forth from your heart to Jesus.
“I need help.”
And Jesus whispers, “I am your strength and your ever present help.” (Psalm 46:1)
“This situation makes me afraid. Comfort me.”
And Jesus whispers, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. I am with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“I love you. Help me see your love today.”
And Jesus whispers, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
“Give me the courage to do this in your name.”
And Jesus whispers, “Nothing shall separate us.” (Romans 8:38-39)
“It is not so true that “prayer changes things” as that prayer changes me and then I change things.” (Oswald Chambers)
When I was flatting in Dunedin we had this amazing flat on Clyde St. It was a bright red block terrace house, with a yellow door. No room was matching. My room had wall paper that had massive green vines. And orange curtains. The room upstairs looked like the 60s had thrown up in there. The living room was tiny and literally fit only 6 people seated. We could hear the neighbours pee when we sat at our dining room table. The toilet had windows that didn’t shut and seriously in winter there was a layer of frost! Ahh we so loved it.
It was there we learned to live and to cook. I learned that there is more than one type of pastry and that short pastry is for desserts, not mince pies. And that mince and peas is from the devil.
Anyway the great thing about this flat was that it was a block away from uni. So our flat had an open door policy. You could come hang out at ours any time. Especially if you brought chocolate.
During study time it wasn’t unusual to have 10 of us squished in the living room for mammoth study sessions.
We would get knocks on the doors and windows often late at night as people would drop round.
However one night we took the open door policy to the next level. I got up one morning to find the front door wide open. Someone, anyone had forgotten to close it! Talk about a freak out moment. Not that we had much to steal, our tv was so rubbish that it didn’t show the colour red. Everyone had green lips and superman looked like he was captian planet.
Revelation 3:20 – Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Jesus is standing at the door of your life, knocking.
His knock is the invitation to a changed life. His knock is an invitation to adventure. His knock is an invitation to love. His knock is an invitation to peace and security like you could never imagine. His knock is an invitation for us to know Him, the creator of the universe, who breathed out the stars, who created the giraffe, who imagined the oceans and the stars and the forests and the mountains.
When you encounter God you are never the same!
When I was 16 I went to a youth camp, just like this one. Over the course of the weekend I felt that knocking on my heart. I couldn’t explain it, I couldn’t shake it. It was this sense that God was there and that He was real and that I could know Him, but that the choice was mine to take it or leave it.
I had always thought that God was far away, on a cloud somewhere, indifferent to the world and especially indifferent to me.
But all of a sudden there was this intense awareness that God knew me inside out, all the good bad and the ugly and that He wanted to change my life. Read the rest of this entry »
I love the story of Elijah on Mt Carmel.
By the way – i hate that word, story. Its not a fairy tale or a make believe “story” but a real life account of something that really happened in history.
But doesn’t it just blow your mind. It’s the greatest showdown. God vs Baal. Elijah, the lone ranger, vs the Baal prophets.
Fire from heaven.
Drama and humour.
But how is this relevant for us here today?
- Nothing is impossible for God. No amount of water could stop God from boom showing up. Though all the circumstances said NO WAY, God came by fire. He proved Himself regardless. In our life, no matter what the circumstance says God can and will and does move.
- It’s for His glory. There was no way that that altar could catch on fire by itself. The odds were stacked against it. In our lives we got to live for His glory. We don’t create the fire, we don’t make the fire, we don’t own the fire. Anything great that God does – GOD does. Not us. Live for His glory and the fire will come.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ve probably heard the new hillsong united song TOUCH THE SKY.
it even made the Today Show in the States!
the song has some incredibly lyrical lyrics and a beautiful melody that captures your heart…. it is intimate and reflects the sound of a generation hungry for God and spiritual truth.
My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground
What treasure waits within Your scars
This gift of freedom gold can’t buy
I bought the world and sold my heart
You traded heaven to have me again
Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out, I surrender
Come sweep me up in Your love again
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever