Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A Letter from Jim...

*For the last year, we have been going every week into a prison here in Georgia to minister to the men there. We've seen lost of miracles and quite a few lives changed. It's a good, long drive and regularly our services are canceled or cut short. It's a little bit inconvenient, but well worth the time and energy. The men there are SO hungry for the things of God! This is a letter we received last week, thanking us for our efforts.



Brother Ryan,

I felt led by the Holy Spirit to write you and your staff a letter of exhortation. I want to thank you personally as well as David and David, Tamra, Elijah, Rachel Janice and all of the rest of the faithful members of your Prison Ministry team and to encourage you to continue your fight for Christ’s men here at Hays.

As you know, we are all called to continue Jesus’ mission of reconciling the lost to the Father (Matt 28:19 ; II Cor 5:12-21). He has entrusted us, as believers, to carry on in His physical absence. Of course we also know that Christ is not gone, He lives and resides within each and every one of us. The realization of the fact that Christ lives in me has been life changing for me! You and your team have faithfully demonstrated for us here at Hays just what it means to live life in Kingdom power. To utilize God’s power for others and to truly understand that God is not just some distant entity, but rather a very present help here within us; all that we have to do is look within ourselves in order to find Him! How personal and refreshing!

Thank you so much for making me feel like part of your family. I understand that it can be difficult to drive up here week after week only to be turned away, but I would like to reassure you that your love and your efforts are not in vain. You are having a positive impact in many lives here. That is why the enemy works so hard to keep you out! You are your staff are successfully equipping us to live and fight for Jesus. That, my brother, is irreplaceable! Thanks to you we are chewing on the meat of God’s word and not merely nursing a bottle.

Please continue your work in the Lord. We love you and we appreciate you! God bless.

Love in Christ,

James C. Batsel

I Cor 9:16


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Haiti Trip Report - Part V

Towards the end of the night, one of our interpreters pulled me aside and brought me a young man for prayer. The guy standing in front of me was covered in tattoos, had about thirty piercings, with little bits of bone and other stuff stuck in them and he had several amulets hanging around his neck. He looked up at me with some seriously crazy eyes! I could tell by the nature of his trinkets that he was a Voodoo priest. I agreed to pray for him and laid my hands on his head. I called down the fire of God on him and he just stared me straight in the face and smiled. After a moment or two, I grabbed a handful of the amulets hanging around his neck and said, “You are going to have to get rid of these!” When I said that, he let out a nutty laugh and then turned and RAN AWAY! Not walked, not trotted, RAN! My interpreter just shrugged as if to say “What can you do?”

The first night of the crusade was awesome. We came back to the rented house where we were staying totally exhausted, but exhilarated by what Jesus had accomplished. We were eagerly anticipating the second night.


When Pastor Paul picked us up for day two of the crusade, the weather was nasty. The closer we got to the crusade grounds, the worse the weather was with thunder, lightning and heavy rain. I placed a call back home to get our folks praying for the event. Our team stayed in the van praying for the weather to break while it poured on the crusade grounds. The weather didn’t’ let up at all, in fact, it got worse. In spite of the terrible weather, there were still a few hundred people out milling around the field. The crusade grounds backed up to a makeshift tent city and most of these people only had simple stick and sheet shelters to protect them from the sun. They would get just as wet inside the tent as they would in the field and had no real protection from the harsh weather. The band was under a tarp on stage and started to play. So instead of sit inside their tent and get wet, they began to worship as the band played and the singers sang.

Some of the kids we worshiped with

The children came out in force and began worshiping with all their heart. Humbled by their commitment, we got out of the van and began to worship the Lord with them. We worshiped the Lord with all our hearts, singing and dancing with the people for 2-3 hours out in a lightning storm! Maybe 1,000 people were out there before all was said and done. Darkness settled in and the stage lights would not work due to the rain, so we worshiped in the dark, illuminated only by the lightning strikes. It was surreal. Thinking back about it though, this was one of the most memorable moments of our trip and the most powerful. Here were these folks who had absolutely nothing materially, yet they possessed everything of value, the Presence of God! We were ruined by their worship.

After praying for all the sick in a very wet fire tunnel, we went home completely soaked and worn out.


The third night was our last night at the crusade and our last night in Haiti. We prayed fervently that day for good weather and an explosion of God’s power. The meeting began like the others, with fervent worship and praise. We were down in the crowd worshiping with the people when a chill ran down the back of my neck and a tingling ran down my spine. Without even turning around I knew that a Voodoo priest was cursing us. I turned around and there he was, about 50 feet away and staring right at me! It was the same guy from the first night of the crusade. He had all the trinkets, earrings, but now he had a little PVC staff with fetishes hanging from it. He looked me right in the eyes and smiled with a wicked grin.

He was there to make things interesting!

I turned and faced him and smiled right back as if to say, “Let’s do this!” I watched him and he began pacing around the crusade grounds. He pulled things out of a little bag on his neck and spread them on the ground. He spit, he urinated, and he made little circles with his feet and was doing all sorts of weird stuff. I scanned the crusade grounds and could spot a couple other Voodoo priests as well. They were pretty easy to spot. While everyone was worshiping, they would stand there motionless and every once in a while do weird stuff with the hands and face. I walked over to where our team was worshiping and said, “There are witches in the meeting, PRAY!” I walked up and stood on the stage with Pastor Paul to scan the crowd.

Healed of Rheumatoid Arthritis!


Worship took off! The presence of God rolled in like a cloud and people praised and worshiped with all of their heart. Pastor Paul broke the moment to introduce the team from our church and they all told testimonies of God’s power to heal, save and deliver. He then brought up a gentleman we had prayed for several days before. He testified that he had severe rheumatoid arthritis in his legs and knees and for the last 3 years had received cortisone shots EVERY DAY! He had been in severe pain for years and was totally healed when we prayed for him!

Come on Jesus!

After telling testimonies, Pastor Paul took us through the huge crowd, praying for many people in his church that needed healing and deliverance. A group of about 15 women that were being terrorized in their sleep by demons received deliverance instantly. Wherever we went, people would reach out to touch our clothes and would grab our hands and put them on their bodies for prayer. I was getting totally messed up in the Holy Ghost and for a while totally forgot about the witches in the meeting. We were all done praying for the select folks from his church and made our way back to the stage. There was a guy standing next to the stage in a striped shirt and a big afro. When I walked by, he made all these weird hand gestures at me like he was doing kung-fu. In my Holy Ghost inebriated state I thought, “I need to whack him in the face with my hanky!” He just looked like he needed a good hanky whacking! So I stood there for a minute and hit him in the face with my hanky again and again. I walked away and thought nothing more of it.

The Presence of God in Worship!


The meeting was amazing. The presence of God rolled in during worship and you could feel the glory of God settle across the people. We encouraged folks to reach out and receive their healing and the life of God. We preached a very simple message of the Kingdom, brought many more people to the Lord and then prayed for the sick.

It was glorious.

But the best part was when we were back at the house for the night, sharing with one another all that Jesus did during the crusade. Pastor Paul very simply stated that the best part for him was the prominent witch doctor that came to the Lord that night. We stopped him and said, “Excuse me? What witch doctor?” He then told us of this evil witch doctor that was known throughout the region for killing and maiming many people through his voodoo. He was very powerful, feared and well known throughout the region. I asked him, “Well, who was he?” Thinking it was maybe my buddy with the PVC staff. He said, “Oh, you don’t know? I thought for sure you knew who it was!” I said, “I have no idea, who was it?!”

Pastor Paul told me that when we had gone through the crowd and headed back up to the stage he looked down and saw me standing in front of this witch doctor. I was standing in front of him, hitting him in the face with my hanky! It was the guy I was popping with my hanky on the side of the stage! When Pastor Paul saw me hitting him in the face, he looked down and his hands were shaking. Knowing who this guy was, he feared for my life! But I had no clue! I just thought he was a weirdo that needed a smack in the face with a hanky! Ignorance is sometimes bliss you know… Whatever happened in that moment, I don’t know, but what I do know is that this evil, powerful witch doctor came forward at the altar all and gave his life to Jesus that night!

Jesus is King over Voodoo!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Haiti Trip Report - Part IV

The Crusade was to begin at 5pm that day. Pastor Paul left before dawn to make preparations for the crusade that night. The problem was that each day in Haiti began at about 4:30am with the bleating of the goats and clucking of the chickens outside our window. Our original plan was to spend the days before the crusade in the tent villages, preaching the Gospel and praying for the sick. Pastor Paul didn’t feel that this was a wise plan and had some real concerns about our security in the tent cities, so we abandoned the plan. Now we would simply wait inside the compound for them to come and pick us up before the crusade.

George beating the heat!

11 hours, in 100+ degree heat, with nothing to do. So we worshiped, we prayed, we ate, we napped, we talked and we STILL had 8 hours.


Needless to say, we were super excited when we got word that we would be picked up in 30 minutes. In the van on the way there, Pastor Paul gave me some instructions about the crusade, making sure that I would give an altar call and giving me a heads up as to the order of service. The band would worship for some time and the people would gather. When they had arrived and we had worshiped, we would preach the Gospel and lead people to Jesus. Afterward we would pray for the sick.

All of them.


On the 30 minute drive to the crusade grounds we saw the clouds and weather gathering for a wicked thunderstorm. Dark storm clouds were overhead and you could see lightning in the distance. We had come a long way and paid a lot of money to get rained out! I called our folks back in Atlanta and asked them to really pray for a weather breakthrough. We arrived at the grounds and there were a few hundred people milling around. It was obvious that they were having some serious problems with the sound system and they would periodically break out tarps to cover the sound equipment as a little rain would come and go. Honestly, it didn’t look good. The sky was pregnant and we were about to get dumped on.

They began to worship with only a couple of the instruments working through the sound system, but the vocalists more than made up for the lack of instruments as they sang with all their heart. People began streaming in from all over the place, quickly filling the soccer field. But the longer they went on playing and worshiping, the more ominous the weather became. As we were worshiping I noticed that I was stressing about the weather and getting worried. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on the Lord, not on the situation. As soon as I did, the Lord spoke to me and reminded me of a word Surprise Sithole had given us 6 months before. As a ministry, we were stepping into a place that the Lord had prepared in advance. It was all pre-arranged. An overwhelming sense of peace flooded over me as the Holy Spirit comforted me.

Double Rainbow!

When I opened my eyes and looked up, I saw a diamond shaped opening in the clouds and rain, RIGHT OVER the soccer field! Rain, clouds and weather surrounded us, but in the center, where we stood, the weather was clear! Right behind the stage was a huge double rainbow! The promise of God; it was all pre-arranged!


With the weather crisis averted, it was now time to get back to our task at hand; winning the lost and healing the sick! The worship went on and on. They probably worshiped for two hours. Our team jumped off the platform to worship with the people. We danced, we sang and we enjoyed Jesus. The presence of God in their worship was amazing. In total poverty, these folks completely lost themselves in worshiping the Lord. And while they worshiped, people from all over the neighboring villages and towns kept streaming in. When worship wrapped up about two hours into it, the soccer field was full. I looked and 180 degrees around us was filled with people!

Haitians Know how to Worship!

I introduced the team and then began preaching the very simple Gospel of the Kingdom. Through an interpreter, everything takes twice as long and it can take a minute to get into a rhythm, but already Pastor Paul and I had been preaching as a team for many hours, between the Pastor’s Conference and the church services we had done, so it flowed very easily. Many people asked me when I came back what it’s like to preach to a crowd of many thousands and my response is simple, “It’s the same as preaching to a handful of people in a home group.” When you serve God, he’s looking for obedience, not numbers. So the pay is the same, whether you’re helping one person over lunch or preaching to multitudes. This sets you free! You NEVER have to be intimidated with numbers!

Many kids came to the Lord.

We told a few stories of what it looks like when the Kingdom comes to someone’s body, soul and spirit. As far as I could tell, the people were engaged in the testimonies and the message. We encouraged them to lay down their lives and pick up His! We called them to repent, to change the way they think, the Kingdom was at hand! We gave an altar call and many gave their lives to Jesus, including a large group of street kids hanging down at the foot of the stage. Many of these kids were as young as 4-5 years old, but they could understand their need of Jesus and the Kingdom. Many came to the Lord!


Now, that many had made Jesus their King and Lord, it was time to pray for the sick! Pastor Paul looked at me and said, “We are going to make a channel. Your team will stand on each side and the people will pass through.” I said, “Oh, a Fire Tunnel!” He just looked at me. I told him, “Never mind, got it!” So we jumped off the stage and with the help of many of his people we formed a “channel” as he would call it (we call them fire tunnels). Before we opened the line, people started reaching out and touching our clothing and putting our hands on them for healing. They were so hungry! Pastor Paul called all the sick and they lined up!

I can’t tell you how many people we prayed for, but it was definitely in the thousands. They started filing through the “channel” and we began to pray. It was total chaos! You read about the “press” in the Bible, when the people would “press” into Jesus and He would touch them or they would touch Him. That’s what it was like. MANY people were reaching out and touching me, manhandling me, mobbing me. No interpreters were needed, if they wanted us to know where it hurt, they simply put our hand on that area or pointed. Some folks would just stand there and look at you like “is that all?” I began to declare their freedom over them in their language, “U Liberte!” We would pray our guts out and then tell them, “You are Free”. This kept the line moving.

After some time, I realized that praying for everyone would be impossible… in the natural. So I told them team over the din of the crowd to simply “get lost” in the Holy Ghost and out of our natural mind. Otherwise we would burn out and not be able to complete the mission. So we pressed into the Holy Ghost and received Grace for the mission! Katie was standing next to me and was gently hugging and kissing all the people on the head as they came through. She probably gave thousands of hugs and kisses!

The Mute Speak!

Many asked me what miracles we saw and truthfully, in a situation like that, we don’t know! The one that stood out was a deaf/mute that came through the prayer line. He looked to be a young man in hid mid-late twenties. All he did was point to his tongue. It was shriveled and I found out later that he had never spoken. I didn’t know he was deaf. I motioned to him to stick out his tongue, which he did. I simply put my thumb on his tongue and said, “Be Loosed!” I then looked him dead in the eye and told him, “Say, Jeze Saywa! (Jesus is King)” He looked right at me and over the din of the crowd LOUDLY said “JEZE SAYWA! JEZE SAYWA! JEZE SAYWA!”

God loosed his tongue!

To be concluded…

Friday, June 18, 2010

Haiti Trip Report - Part III

Just to give you a scope of the impact we were able to have with the pastor’s seminar, one of the 200+ pastors represented at the seminar pastors a church of 5,000, another 8,000. I met one pastor who has 5 large churches, 2 orphanages and a hospital in a remote area of Haiti. I’m not sure how many churches and people were represented on that Pastors seminar, but if they grasp the message of the Kingdom and their responsibility to equip their people in power, then Haiti will be rocked with the Gospel!

Teaching at the Pastor's Seminar

The following day (Monday) we would finish our Pastors seminar and minister at an 8,000 member church later that afternoon, at least, that was the “plan”. In Haiti, everything planned was a suggestion, everything suggested was quickly forgotten.

We spoke again to the pastors out of Ephesians 4 and encouraged them that they were given to the Body of Christ to equip the SAINTS for the work of Ministry. The Saints were to do the work of ministry and the work of ministry was supernatural! This was revolutionary to them. I honestly don’t think they grasped the meat of the message until we compared their job as leaders to being a coach of a soccer team and the members of their congregation to players on the team! The coach has experience, the coach understands the fundamentals, but the team scores the goals! They had only heard of the one man show, God’s man of faith and power for the hour type thing, another unfortunate export from the church in the West.

We then showed them how Jesus equipped His disciples to do what He did in Luke 9-11 (Thanks Steve!). The disciples were sent out to do the stuff, did it and came back revealing their humanity and sinfulness. The Lord’s response? He sends out 70 others to do the stuff, make Satan fall like lightning and shake the nation. It wasn’t until the next Chapter in Luke 11 that they asked Jesus how to pray. The point? You have 82 people out there doing the works of ministry with little character and no prayer life. Their shortcomings in character weren’t truly revealed until they were used in ministry! The Lord’s emphasis was on setting others free, not perfecting the saints before they can be used of God. This isn’t to devalue personal holiness (by which no man will see the Lord!) or character, but rather to emphasize how the Lord trained His disciples.

This totally blew them away. Bringing it back to the example of a soccer team and their coach I told them that the way to make a player improve was to put him in the game! After playing a bit, then bring him to the sidelines and correct the errors in his game, sending him back out, pruned and corrected to bear more fruit! You could tell. They got it. No longer were they the one man show. They were now commissioned and equipped to equip their churches to get out there in there communities and bring the Kingdom.

Look out devil!

A Lone Man Sitting in the Wreckage

More Devastation

We were then whisked off to do a church service at an 8,000 member church. This church’s building was severely damaged during the quake and had been renting a large tent in the yard of a nearby church. Apparently the last couple of days before we had come, the power of God was falling in their meetings. The church they were renting the tent from did not like this and canceled the arrangement. They notified the pastor just before we arrived that they were no longer able to hold services in the tent. They even sent the police to make sure we didn’t meet there. So we had a service time, willing people, but no where to meet!

The pastor was apologetic, but it was out of his hands. He asked us if we would come and pray for a young lady that was living in his church. She was totally demon possessed and literally shaking with the power of the devil. Again, her possession and torment was the result of a witch doctor’s curse. I believe it was her father who was the Voodoo priest. He had cursed her and for several days she had been totally possessed and unable to sleep. She believed in the Lord but Pastor Paul said she wasn’t really walking with the Lord. We can pretend and put up pretenses with our neighbors and friends/family, but the demons know who walks with God and who doesn’t.

The Pastor’s request was simple “Come and cast out the demon.”

You bet.

We had her call on the name of the Lord and ask Jesus to deliver her. We bound the devil and began to pray. We rebuked the demon and commanded it to come out of her. After several minutes of absolutely nothing happening, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this passage:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn…” Isaiah 61:1-2

Ministering Freedom to the Bound

The Word says that we are to proclaim freedom for those who are bound. As far as I was concerned, our job was done. We had prayed, we had bound and we had cast out… it was done! So I asked the translator standing there “How do you say, you are free?” he replied, “U Liberte”. I grabbed her chin, made her look me in the eyes and simply said, “U Liberte!” A huge grin broke across her face and she began to weep. She looked to Heaven and began to thank the Lord. She started jumping up and down. We prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill her and she now began to tremble violently under the presence of God! She could no longer stand under the weight of God’s presence, so we set her gently on a sofa behind her. She was happy, she was joyful and she was free!

Pastor Paul looked at me and said, “This is why we came tonight. Who knows what impact this young lady will have now that she is delivered?”

The next day was the start of the crusade. Thousands were expected. This was going to be awesome!

To be continued…

Monday, June 14, 2010

Haiti Trip Report - Part II

We arrived in Haiti safely with no drama. We quickly got settled in the house that Pastor Paul had rented for our stay. Basically it was like camping indoors. No running water, spotty generator power and HOT, but by Haiti standards, very nice. We had quite a few folks from Pastor Paul’s church working night and day to cook our food, cleanup after us and make sure we were cared for. Their hospitality was wonderful.

Elijah Preaching @ The Pastor's Seminar

Our first day was to be spent doing a pastor’s seminar to over 200 pastors that had come from all over the island. Some traveled 2-3 days to come 300 miles and many had been traveling all day to arrive in time for the seminar to begin. We all crowded into a very nice, but VERY hot and humid home we had to rent for the seminar. The hunger for God was palpable. We were able to share some testimonies of miracles we have seen recently but more importantly how they as pastors and leaders could walk in the power of the Gospel and equip their people to do the same!

We shared the basic message of the Gospel of the Kingdom. That God’s Kingdom was available, it was at hand and it was on the earth! We also shared the commission from the Lord to pray that “His Kingdom come, His will be done, on EARTH as it is in Heaven!” What is sad is that many of these men and women pastor large congregations, they have served the Lord faithfully for many years, but they had never heard the Gospel of the Kingdom! It’s amazing to me that the church has missed the most central message in the Gospel, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”

We called them to change the way they think. We told story after story of the Kingdom coming with power, through everyday believers, through businessmen, mommies and children. You could tell that this was a foreign concept. They were eager to hear more and were hanging on every word, but based on the expressions on their face, you could also tell it was a challenging word to hear. The time came to demonstrate the word and to release the Kingdom. We released the pastors to pray for one another and they froze. You could tell they were thinking, “but this stuff can only be done by the missionaries” type stuff. It took a minute, but eventually we had them praying for each other, releasing the Kingdom on one another. Miracles began popping in the room and several folks came up testifying of what God had done in their bodies.

One Pastor there caught my eye and the Lord gave me a prophetic word for him. It was about him being like David in the Bible and having the heart of a worshipper and a warrior. I told him that his church carried the same heart, that in the presence of God in worship they were changed in giant slayers! Turns out this unassuming man pastured a church of 5,000 people in the heart of Port-Au-Prince!

Preaching on the Streets of Port-au-Prince

After the seminar that afternoon we were able to spend a couple of hours walking the street praying for the sick and prophesying over many people. Pastor Paul introduced us to several people that had been cursed by Voodoo priests and as a result had severe, crippling illnesses and diseases affecting them. It’s hard for a rational western mind to wrap their minds around what the locals deal with on a near daily basis. When the Voodoo priest asks you to do something, you either do it or they may curse you. When the Voodoo priests curse you, if you are not a Christian, they can kill you with their magic or cause great physical suffering with unexplainable diseases, skin rashes and paralysis.

Washing the feet of a man lame for 12 years

One of the guys we met was lame for the last 12 years as the result of a Voodoo curse. One young lady had a Voodoo priest ask her to sleep with him. When she refused he cursed her. The next day she developed an unexplainable, burning rash on her skin. When she went to the doctor they tested her blood and ran cultures, etc. The verdict? They found nothing wrong with her! Yet she can barely walk due to the illness. We prayed that the work of the enemy in their life would be destroyed and moved on.

After the street ministry, we then headed right out to a local church, where we preached, prayed and released the Kingdom once again.

A good start, but just the beginning.

Ministering @ Pastor Paul's Sunday Service

The next day was Sunday and we would be ministering at one of Pastor Paul’s 5 church services. Since the quake, the church has exploded. They lost their main meeting facility in the quake and have had to divide the church into 5 different cell groups to accommodate the crowds. They are eager to meet together all in one place. Pray for them that funding would come in supernaturally to allow the construction to be completed on their main sanctuary and classrooms. We would participate in their first service.

What grabbed us all that day was the worship! Pastor Paul’s church knew how to bring Heaven down in the worship! The presence and power of God was awesome. I can honestly say that their worship was some of the best I’ve ever experienced. Here, many of these folks have lost everything, family, friends, houses, but worshipped God out of their total lack. Here we were meeting in a rented home, without a grand cathedral to worship in, but the Presence of the Holy Spirit more than made up for the lack of beautiful facilities. This church is far richer than many in the States because their currency is the presence of God and not paper money.

We preached a simple message and shared a couple of testimonies of the Kingdom coming with power that day. The people responded hungrily to the message. We released the power of God and had everyone praying for each other. Miracles were happening all over the room. Injuries were healed, pains were relieved and many testified to their healing. It was HOT!

9 Story Building Reduced to Rubble

Later that afternoon Pastor Paul loaded us up in the van and took us straight into the city of Port-au-Prince to preach at Pastor Daniel’s afternoon service. This was the Pastor who I had prophesied over the day before. It must have made an impression, he asked us to take the meeting! The devastation in Port-au-Prince was overwhelming. It looked like a warzone. I told several folks that it looked like an apocalyptic movie set. Rubble and destroyed buildings were everywhere. Almost 6 months after the earthquake and most of the city still was in ruins. The international aid that the US and many other countries sent was hijacked by corrupt politicians. We personally witnessed many lots full of heavy equipment, new, clean and totally unused. They should have been busy digging the city out of ruins, but they sit in lots, waiting to be sod on the black market. The UN has a heavy presence in the country but what do they spend their time doing? Were they rebuilding the country? No, they go to the beach! It’s a big joke among the locals.

The church is in the very center of Port-au-Prince. What’s amazing is that this was the epicenter of destruction in the town and yet out of a church of 5,000 people, Pastor Daniel only lost 3 members of his church! What a miracle. There was a 9 story building that bordered the church’s property that completely collapsed, leaving nothing but a huge pile of rubble and perhaps hundreds of dead people inside. The smell was horrific. I had a message for them on David and Goliath, how David was an unqualified shepherd boy that had more courage than the “professional” soldiers. I told them it was time for an army of unqualified David’s rise to the occasion and face the giants of their land, Voodoo, sickness, disease and poverty. We began to release the power of the Gospel in the meeting and told the people to start praying for each other. When we said this, they all looked to Pastor Daniel for permission. He jumped in there and told his folks to jump in and do it which was a huge step of faith on his part, this was all new to them.

Wild Worship!

The power of God hit the house! Miracles and healings started happening all over the place. David Hacker came up to me and asked if we could start worshiping. I asked Pastor Daniel (AKA – Heart of David guy) and he readily agreed! We had one of the most fun worship times we’ve ever had, rejoicing in all that God was doing, praying for people and dancing until we sweat through all our clothes. The next day the phone rang off the hook telling of all the miracles that God did that night, but most encouraging was the body of Christ COMING ALIVE!


To be continued…

Friday, June 11, 2010

Haiti Trip Report - Part I

We just returned from an 8 day mission trip to Haiti. On this trip we stepped into a level of authority and inheritance that we as a church and ministry have never quite encountered. Every aspect of the trip was “pre-arranged” by the Holy Spirit and we were just along for the ride. While there we were able to minister to several different churches, a group of about 200 pastors and leaders as well as conduct a 3 day crusade in a rented soccer field with several thousand people. Healings and miracles occurred, pastors representing hundreds of churches were equipped and encouraged and the power of Voodoo was broken in a public display! It was awesome!


Last year in 2009, two of our young people, Elijah and Jada Drysdale participated in a mission trip with another church. The primary aim of that trip was social in nature, teaching sewing and computer classes to the kids in Pastor Jean Paul’s orphanage. While there, Elijah and Jada were able to share some testimonies about what God is doing in our church with Pastor Paul’s church, encourage Pastor Paul that we can all move in the power of God, as well as pray for several sick people. The impact of their testimonies and the healing of many people they prayed for created a hunger in Pastor Paul for “more” of what they shared. Elijah continued communication with Pastor Paul over several months and Pastor Paul invited a group from our church to come and teach the 200+ Pastors in his Bible school, as well as minister in a large outdoor crusade.

Pastor Paul

When it became obvious that this trip was going to happen and the scope of the trip began to come together, I met with Elijah and we together determined that either Pastor Marc or I should go and help train pastors and conduct the crusade. Dates were set, (May 28th - June 4th) inquiries were made and things were coming together. On Tuesday, January 12th we had a staff meeting at the church and discussed the trip almost exclusively. We reserved plane tickets with our travel agent, priced the trip and spent the better part of the day in the office making fliers, overheads and web pages to advertise the trip. At our Pastor’s lunch, we discussed the trip the entire time and prayed, asking the Lord to give us a heart and burden for Haiti, making it clear that this was something we were to do. We had never received anything from the Lord regarding Haiti before and we wanted to be sure. So after a long day of working on nothing BUT our trip to Haiti and with the map of Port-au-Prince still up on my computer monitor, I clicked on Drudgereport.com to check the news before I stepped out of the office for pre-outreach prayer at 5:30pm.

Of course, this was the day the massive earthquake struck Haiti, killing an estimated 300,000 people and causing an untold amount of damage to Port-au-Prince and the outlying areas. The earthquake had JUST occurred and we had spent ALL DAY working on the trip, BEFORE the quake! I began to shake all over with a terrific sense of God’s Sovereignty and Providence. There is NO WAY that Haiti could have been more front and center in our prayers and thinking before the quake. It’s just not possible. I called Pastor Marc and we both agreed that the Lord was behind this trip and had a wonderful plan for Haiti and we were to be a part. In spite of the devastation of the quake, God had a plan for that country and wanted HIS Kingdom to come and HIS will to be done in Haiti.

We were going and it was pre-arranged.

It took two days after the quake to reach Pastor Paul. 238 of his church members were killed in the quake, yet the 56 orphans in his home were completely spared due to them serving a late meal. They spent several weeks looking for survivors in the rubble, burying church members and mourning their loss. After several weeks I spoke with Pastor Paul for the first time. I told him that we had received an offering for the work and asked first of all if we could come earlier than we had planned and secondly what we could bring. His response amazed me. He simply said, “Bring the Word of the Kingdom, we need the Word”. I said, “Yeah, but we have some money and can bring supplies, food, water, whatever you need.” He said again, “Bring the Word! That’s what we need, the Word of God!” Three times during that conversation he turned down physical aid and simply asked us to bring the Word of God’s present Kingdom and the power of God. This impressed me. Here are people as desperate as any on the planet and they were hungry for the Word of God.

Pastor Paul understands that all the finances and international aid in the world will not fill the void caused by generations of Voodoo worship and political corruption. The ONLY hope for Haiti is Jesus and His Kingdom destroying the work of the enemy.

Tent city where 2 million now live

Haiti isn’t a place you go on a whim, especially after a natural disaster of biblical proportions. With the humanitarian crises alone, you are also dealing with one of the epicenters of demonic power on the earth! It is commonplace in Haiti for Voodoo priests to walk in extreme power, killing, maiming and destroying lives at will with their black magic curses. I heard David Hogan speak on a recording recounting some of the experiences they have had with the demonic. These stories are extreme for us in the west and stretch our ability to even believe them with stories of shape shifters, death curses and the like. He said in this recording that the witchcraft they are dealing with in Mexico is second only to the witchcraft in Haiti!

So we took the trip very seriously. We made a conscious decision to not be flippant about the devil and his schemes. We would not fear him, but we would not walk in presumption either. On a trip like this presumption can get you killed. So we prayed. We fasted. We sought God and we entered into that Psalm 91 secret place of the Most High God. To think that the enemy would let us equip several hundred pastors in the power of the Gospel and conduct a large open air crusade with miracles, healings and the Gospel of the Kingdom without a fight would be ludicrous. The enemy would do everything he could to stop the message from going forth and the power of God to be released. I prophesied to the team, warning them that we would have at least 1 encounter with Voodoo priests. On the last night of the crusade, several of them showed up to mess things up.

It didn’t work.

To be continued…

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Exuding Jesus – Part II

After hitting up the health department, Josh and I headed over to the McDonald’s next door to Grady hospital to have a bite to eat and wait on a buddy of mine. Josh and I sat down at a booth and were just sitting there eating delicious McDonald’s nuggets when a lady came up to the table next to us on a walker, walking terribly slow, obviously in pain.


As we were finishing up lunch I got up and asked her why she was on a walker. She went on to tell me that her back was injured 7 years before and has been in constant, chronic pain since. Her doctor told her that she should be using a wheelchair and she declined it, knowing that “once she got in one, she would never get out.” I agreed and congratulated her for refusing the chair and opting for the walker. She told me that she was in constant pain and came into the hospital for weekly pain treatments where she would get an injection. She was at McDonald’s getting a quick bite before heading into her appointment.

I told her that the reason I asked how she was feeling was because her walker got my attention. I told her that the walker got my attention because we have a wall at the church covered in crutches, canes, casts and braces. I told her how we’ve seen God do many miracles and deliver folks from every kind of sickness and disease and asked her if I could pray for her. I had her rate her pain, which was only around a 4, but steady for the last 7 years. I also had her move around and show me her range of motion, which was almost mummy like. This poor lady could hardly move!

I prayed and released the Kingdom of God on her body while my new friend Josh stood at a distance and watched. I told him to watch her face because I knew what was going to happen. When I rebuked and commanded a spirit of infirmity to leave her body and told pain to go, it happened! The presence of God hit us both and we reeled back. She took a deep breath and I asked her, “Where did your pain go?”

Her eyes got huge and tears welled up in them as she said, “It’s… going!” She was literally feeling the pain leave her body. She said it was probably at a 2 at that moment. I prayed again, commanding the spirit of infirmity to loose its grip on her and life to enter her body and we were hot with another tangible wave of God’s presence and power. It felt good! She was beaming and I just knew the pain was gone. I asked Josh, “Are you watching this??” and he nodded, looking a little bewildered. She checked and all the pain was gone for the first time in seven years! I had her moving, bending and doing things she couldn’t do moments before. Her mobility was normal! She was still a little fearful about the pain and took it slowly, but her countenance and body language was totally different from 5 minutes before! She walked halfway out of the restaurant without her walker and told me that she still wanted to hold on to it.

I asked her why she was in such a rush and told me that she was late for her pain management appointment. I asked her what she was going to tell her doctor and she told me she was going to show him that there was no longer any pain and she could do things she hadn’t done in 7 years!


So now my buddy shows up and the three of us start pacing the sidewalks looking for folks to pray for. We ended up in a nearby park and I see a group of homeless guys standing around, listening to music. One of the guys was sitting by a wheel chair loaded down with stuff, he was a big dude with nappy dreads and obviously homeless. I walked up to him and asked him whose wheelchair it was and why weren’t they in it? He was nice enough at first, telling me that they just used it like a cart and weren’t actually disabled. I was just chatting politely with him when he asked what I was doing there. I looked him dead in the eye and made the statement I always make saying, “Jesus is King and His Kingdom is on the earth!”

The guy went absolutely insane!

All sense of civility immediately went out the door and the guy transformed in front of me. He started cursing me, calling me names and threatening to hurt me. He stood up, got a few inches from my face and was totally berating me. He said again and again how he was going to cut me and kick my *&% all over the street, etc. etc. etc. He was absolutely FOUL. I was a little surprised, the only thing I had said was that Jesus is King and then he went off. I understood that he was totally demon possessed and I really wasn’t talking with a guy any more, this was a spirit talking to me.

He was intent on my leaving and getting out of “his” area. I told the guys with me afterwards that I have this problem. When demons address me and threaten me with violence and start ordering me around, I have a VERY difficult time doing what they tell me to do. I feel that if I do what a demon is telling me to do, it wins. So I just stood there, taking the threats, taking the abuse, but not budging an inch. Actually, my heart was beating fast, but all I could do was smile. I assured him that I would leave, but not yet. This drove him crazy! He was adamant that I leave, RIGHT THEN, but I refused flatly. I don’t know how long he kept up the tirade and how long I just stood there smiling, but I was determined to not let the demon tell me what to do. After a while, he sat down and calmed down a bit, getting out of my face. I waited a minute or two and then slowly backed away.


We ended up talking to another homeless guy for awhile, praying for several physical problems and hearing an amazing testimony how God had delivered our new buddy from drugs several years before. The ENTIRE time we were talking to our new friend, the angry dude was cussing, cursing and literally spewing out threats from about 20 feet away.

“To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.” II Corinthians 2:16

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Exuding Jesus – Part I

I had a couple of wild experiences the other day that illustrated to me a familiar passage of scripture:

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.” II Corinthians 2:14-17

I saw very clearly that to those hungry for God or searching for good, I am a fragrance, odor or aroma of life. To those under the influence and committed to the devil, I am the fragrance of death.

Let me explain:


Earlier in the week I had committed to a young man to take him down to one of my favorite places, Grady Hospital in downtown Atlanta. He needed to get a certified copy of his birth certificate from the hospital to enroll in a GED course. We went into the Department of Health office across the street from Grady, filled out the necessary paperwork and sat down, patiently awaiting our turn in the crowded waiting room. A lady in the waiting room started staring at me and the young man I was with, doing so several times and making me just a bit uncomfortable. I looked at her, wondering what was up and she asked me, “Are you a recruiter?” I said, “Recruiter?” She said, “Yeah, like an Army Recruiter or something?” I told her, “No, not really an army recruiter, but I do a bit of recruiting.” She looked at me and the young man standing next to me totally bewildered. I explained that I’m just a believer that’s trying to help some folks out.

She began quizzing me about working with young people and then began to tell me about her grandson, who apparently has been doing a bit of hell-raising. Not 2 minutes into the conversation she asked me for my phone number declaring, “My grandson needs to spend time with you, it would be good for him.” I told her she was absolutely right, it WOULD be good for him to spend time with me. She got mom on the phone and everything, setting up a time for me and the apparent hellion to have a little Jesus chat.

The young lady with her (still don’t know the connection) had two kids with her. Watching Grandma’s interaction she held out her one year old and said, “Take him, he needs it!” I was like, “You want me to take your son?!” She said, “Not permanently, but I need help, you can help!” I assured her that I could help, but that she needed to raise her own kids. She went on telling me about her 6 year old daughter, who was sitting there making evil faces at me. This little girl she assured me was “full of the devil”. Mom went on to tell me about how her little precious angel of 6 years would cuss adults out, gets kicked out of school and basically is ruining her life. I was encouraging Mom with Proverbs 22:6 and Ephesians 6:4, telling her that she needed to TRAIN them, not suggest, to DISCIPLINE, not reject them. The little girl over there was shooting me some serious stink eye and basically just manifesting the devil.

Without even asking, I put my hand on her head and spoke the word, “Peace”. She settled down instantly and I continued to pray, rebuking anger and rebellion and commanding peace and joy. She then grabbed on to my arm, TIGHTLY. I sat down next to her as she hugged on my arm and kept talking with Mom. I am not kidding, within about 1 minute, she was fast asleep! She had a death grip on my arm, but her body went completely limp and she just passed out, rhythmic breathing and all! Mom was seriously weirded out and started telling the uncle, “Look at her, she won’t let this man go and now she’s gone to sleep on him!” She started pulling her little away and I told her, “It’s ok, this is good for her!’ Mom looked at me like I had 3 heads and I continued, “Your daughter has been tormented by devils, we prayed and God set her free. Now, she’s feeling the presence of God flowing out of me and it’s bringing her peace, so let’s just let her hang out here.” Mom agreed and we kept talking.

About 15-20 minutes later, she stirred and it was time for mom to go. She gave me a big hug and walked out without a word.

To be continued…

Friday, March 12, 2010

Revival at the Prison

I’ve wanted to get into the prisons for years. It’s just so thoroughly biblical:

“Then the King shall say to those on His right hand, Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” Matthew 25-34-36

Looking into it, the only way I could see to get into them was to go with an established group. I got several packets of information and spoke to several different prison ministry leaders, many of which required us to sign a waiver committing to NOT praying in tongues and focusing on other “questionable” practices like praying for the sick, etc.

Needless to say, going in with them would not be an option.

Several months ago, Linda Ruby, a wonderful gospel preaching Grandma and part of our team came to me expressing a strong desire to get into the jails. We prayed and agreed that must get in there on our own and not through some restrictive program that we couldn’t agree with. We asked God for favor and to open the door. As we would learn, the chaplain in a prison is like a pastor and the prisoners in the jail are his parishioners. To come in and minister at his prison, you had to get permission from the chaplain (pastor) to share his pulpit. So after exhaustively testing every possible venue, God opened one door, with one prison chaplain.

That’s all we would need.


We scheduled the certification, got our nametags and put our first service on the schedule. Now, I’ve visited prisoners in county lockups, but had never been inside a legit prison facility. Barbed wire, guard towers and automatic weapons greeted us as we went in to check out another ministry doing services inside the prison. We wanted to see exactly what the prisoners and chaplain considered a “successful” service. We met some of the prisoners, listened to our new friend preach a fairly lackluster message and eagerly awaited our chance to preach to the men.

A couple weeks later, we went in. We were supposed to have an hour and a half, but things were running late that night, so we really only had about 45 minutes. 45 minutes to introduce ourselves, make an impression, preach the Gospel, lead people to Jesus and heal the sick. More than enough time.

I preached a very simple message of the Kingdom and its King, Jesus. The prisoners sat in rapt attention as I made a distinction between the “gospel” of salvation and the Gospel of the Kingdom and the difference between Jesus as Savior and Jesus as Lord and King of their lives. I told several stories of miracles that we had seen. I promised them that the Kingdom was here, it was now and it would work inside of their prison. I told them that geography is irrelevant to the Kingdom of God and that God was no respecter of persons, what he had done for others, he would do to them.

It was time for an altar call. I thought back to when we visited the other ministry’s service in the jail. At the end of the message, the preacher gave the standard, “Every head bowed, every eye closed.” It didn’t work too well, I’m not sure anyone came up and got saved. So I did something I like to do. I challenged the men saying, “Tonight, with every head held high and every eye wide open, I want to come down here and stand before God and tell everyone that you are making Jesus the King and Lord of your life. That you are repenting of doing life ‘your way’ and you are repenting of your sin and backslidden heart. Why? Because if you can’t come and do that, then you won’t make it anyway!”

They all but ran towards the altar. A rush of men ready to do some business with God crowded the altar. The sick came as well. We prayed a simple prayer together and committed ourselves to God lock, stock and barrel. The presence of God was overwhelming. Many swooned under the power of God and we our team began to pray for them to be filled with the Holy Ghost and healed. One of the men, a guy with permanent impairment to his vision was completely healed, as God dissolved the cloud in his eye as we prayed.

The testimony from one of the men that night was, "I have been in prison for 18 years and in this prison for 8 years and I have NEVER seen a response like the one we saw tonight. Never!"


The next morning, I wanted to call the chaplain and see if he was ok with what went on. Would the momentum started by our first service be carried on or quenched? I have seen many a move of the Holy Spirit crushed by insecure leaders, unsure of God’s power.

Here’s the message that greeted my inbox first thing that morning:


Pastor Lawson,

I thank God for your coming to the prison. We have been praying for a real Revival to take place within our prison population. I am convinced that your ministry along with some others are helping us reach our goal. I heard about the 25 men that gave their life to Christ last night. My prayers have been answered so continue to pray for our strength in the Lord and the great work here at the prison. This is the first time that we have had such a response during our time working here. I believe that Jesus is doing something special at this prison.

Thank you for being a willing vessel for the master.

God Bless You and Your Ministry.

Chaplain *Name Withheld*


That’ll do. Come on Jesus!