Monday, October 03, 2005

Geography Is Irrelevant! - Part I

In May 2004, we invited David Hogan with Freedom Ministries to our church. David Hogan is a hero of ours as he has been on the mission field healing the sick, casting out demons and raising the dead in Mexico for over 25 years. They have over 600 churches, a whole mess of powerful believers and their ministry has seen over 300 people raised from the dead! That's some good fruit and we would do well to listen to a man like that! When he was with us, I made sure to ask him what they would do if they were in Woodstock, Georgia, instead of a third world country like Mexico. I guess I was thinking that the strategy for reaching suburban Georgia would differ for reaching the Indians in the mountains of Mexico. When I asked Hogan the question, he pointed his long finger right in my chest and said something that I won’t forget. He said, “Son, geography is irrelevant!” He was telling us that no matter where you are, what people you are working with, the gospel is the same.

Here in Woodstock, this has proved true as we have seen the same power that works in Mexico and other third world countries move here in a middle class, Laodicean-American society. The sick are healed, the lost are saved, demons are cast out and even the dead are raised! But all that is to tell you this…

Several weeks ago, our team was invited to Murphy, North Carolina to work with a group of young people that hangs out in the town square on Saturday nights. It’s a very similar setup to what we see over at Barrett Parkway and sounded interesting. So we made our plans, set a date and went there over this Saturday night. Sure enough, David Hogan was right. It doesn’t matter what the strongman’s name is, it doesn’t matter where you are or what the lost call themselves, the Gospel is the same!

After meeting our hosts and eating a great Barbeque dinner (thanks for the dinner suggestion, Rick!) we headed out to see what God would do on the streets of Murphy, North Carolina. I instructed the team to maybe take it a little easier than we do in Georgia; after all, we were just visiting, right? We broke up into two groups with half our team going one way and the other half going the other way. We were going in there to bless, encourage and uncover with the prophetic gifts but the night quickly jumped into full scale spiritual war! The first group of kids that we approached were hostile to the Gospel and a fight nearly broke up as we proclaimed to them the Kingdom of God.

Do you know what the main point of contention was? We told them that Jesus comes to give abundant life and that it was the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). We told them that in every story, there is a villain and a hero, the Devil was the villain out to destroy and the Lord was the hero, who comes to heal and rescue from darkness. They were ready to start throwing punches when we announced to them that it wasn’t God who kills people with cancer and premature death, but the devil! I mean, how messed up is the church (these were good old Baptist boys) when you almost get beat up for saying that God is good and doesn’t destroy people with cancer? I have nothing against Baptists, but if anyone is preaching and teaching their people that Jesus is the author of sickness, disease and death, I don’t care what denomination you associate with, YOU ARE A DEVIL.

So, we called them devils, rebuked them for being lukewarm and called them to walk with God and be on fire for him. We told them that they would be better off ice cold (Revelation 3:15) and headed to hell than going to church and proclaiming God with their mouths but denying Him with their lives. They didn’t like that much and got pretty hot around the collar. Lots of yelling, cursing, threatening and red, angry faces. One of the guys looks at my shirt which says, “I Raise Dead People”, brandishes a buck knife, points it at me and says, “If you raise dead people, what if I gut you right here and you die? Will you raise yourself from the dead?” I looked at him dead in the eyes and told him, “I certainly hope my team would be able to get me up”. I then took a step towards him and said, “But you know what? I’m a big boy and it might take you awhile, so you better get started and do what you have to do because I am going to preach to you!”

Predictably, he put the knife away, got in his car and took off. That’s one of the characteristics of wicked people; they run away, even when we aren’t chasing them (Proverbs 28:1). Chickens, every one of them. But we kept preaching and the Lord even showed us a couple of things prophetically that got right to the heart of a couple of them.

One of the girls on our team got a word for one of the main talkers in the group that brought him to tears. This kid was quite the “redneck” with a thick southern drawl and he looked like he could hide his own Easter eggs, if you know what I mean. Anyway, one of our girls tells him that he is in fact very intelligent and that he has a brilliant mind that God has given him. She even told him that he hides his intelligence from his friends to fit in. When she was saying this, the kid was denying it profusely and I was thinking to myself, “Well, she might have missed this one”. But she kept persisting and after a minute or two of denying it, his demeanor changes, he speaks without a drawl, sounds very intelligent and tells us in a completely serious tone that he has a 4.3 GPA. Tears welled up in his eyes after his whole fa├žade was revealed with a word of knowledge.

Even after that, he and his friends would not bow to Jesus, so we excused ourselves and went on to another group. This group of girls WOULD respond to the goodness and kindness of God that draws them to repentance.

To Be Continued…

1 comment:

David Mullikin said...

Hey Ryan,

Brian forwarded your update about your trip to NC. What a story! I can't wait to hear Part 2. I just preached Jesus to a room full of Mennonites, Methodists, and even a few Amish in the second largest Amish county in North America. We had two people with guts enough to admit they needed prayer, and the one that the others prayed for, said he felt better, felt the presence of God and even came up and testified to it. I then spent 20 minutes talking to a Mennonite girl about the unconditional reality of healing and she has a brother whose experienced healing. It's amazing how deep a deception can run, but praise the Lord the truth is out in Holmes County, Ohio. And the fire has been lit. Jesus will have the reward of His suffering.

David Mullikin