Saturday, March 25, 2006

An Open Letter to My Enemies

First of all, a disclaimer:

“Enemies?!” you say? Oh yes, enemies. Believe it or not, there are quite a few people out there who really don’t like me and to the point where they would align themselves in direct opposition to me, my ministry and even my family. But are these folks just sinful, wayward unbelievers without a clue? Nope. They are self professing, Holy Ghost filled believers in the Lord Jesus. They go to church and they pay their taxes. By all accounts they are good people. But they have a dark side. When they don’t like what you do, what you stand for or what you believe they actually “pray”, to God, for your destruction. They secretly hope for the downfall of your life, marriage, ministry and family. They “believe” for you to commit a grievous sin against God. Why? They want what you live and stand for to be discredited. They want to be right more than anything, even at the expense of your wife, your kids and innocent unbelievers that your ministry may affect.

I know these things because, when pressed, they will let you know what they really think of you. You see, I’m very confrontational. If there is something under the surface, I go after it. And when I go after it, I find all kinds of disgusting stuff. If you can get them past the point of being polite and really invade their private world, they will let you know what’s really on their mind. They have actually said things to me like, “I pray to God that you commit adultery!” or, “I pray that you get sick and die of cancer!” I even had one very sick individual gloat when my one week old daughter was hospitalized for a kidney problem. Why? Because it showed this person that we weren’t perfect concerning healings and miracles. They were actually happy that our daughter was sick because it “proved” their point that we were wrong concerning healing. Once again, these were all professing Christians who go to church and “serve God”.

So what have I done to rally a mob of angry “Christians” against me?

I’ve taken a stand against impotent, powerless Christianity. I’ve dispensed with the pleasantries of “Churchianity” to pursue Kingdom Christianity. I’ve let go of all the excuses for why they don’t get healed, repented before God and asked for grace and mercy so they can get healed. I’ve stopped “trying” to serve God with an outward show and now serve God out of my heart with the grace given to me. I’ve stopped pretending to be nice and started getting real. I won’t pretend to be your friend when we’re not. I’ve cut all of the unproductive relationships out of my life. If you aren’t pursuing God, I’ll drop you like a hot potato.

So what’s the fruit of my lifestyle? Almost daily I get the privilege of seeing the power of God in action, Sinners are saved, the sick are healed and the Kingdom of God is advancing with POWER! Miracles are the norm. Churches are being planted, new believers are being discipled and demons are being cast out. It’s exciting! But that’s not what this is about…

Here’s the letter:


To My Enemies,

I love you.

No really, I mean that. I’m not just saying that because Jesus told me to. It’s authentic. I really do love you; and for a variety of reasons. Yes, your scowls are unsavory. Your gossip and slander sometimes really hurt. Your "white witchcraft" and “prayer” curses, while not very powerful, sometimes get through and sting a bit. They are especially unwelcome when directed at my family. But I forgive you. You don’t know what you’re doing. For I’m sure that if you did, you wouldn’t keep on with what you do. Yet, in spite of all of what you do to me, my family and my ministry, I love you.

I love you because you are an ever present reminder of what I have come out of. Every once in a while, I’ll attend a religious church meeting just to be reminded of the games, the gossip and the religious politics that I have escaped from. You remind me on an almost daily basis what it’s like to hope for and not have. Your lifestyle is a landmark to me of what not to do and where not to go. I remember playing make believe Christianity and it’s because of you that I haven’t forgotten. You keep me sharp and on my toes. Whenever I start to “coast” I get a friendly little reminder from you in the form of gossip that snaps me right back into reality.

I love you because your ministry provides the contrast to make mine look really good. You see, when I meet unbelievers or burnt out Christians, it’s always because of religious people like you that I have something to offer. When they have been fed barrels of religion, just a teaspoon of the life of God brightens their eyes. When they have been given excuses as to why God won’t heal them, all I have to do is give them a demonstration to get their attention. Your social, feel-good Gospel makes mine seem all the more radical, and I appreciate you for that.

I thank God for you. You make me feel alive! You remind me that I am standing for something, in stead of falling for anything as I once did. I am energized by your gossip and slander. I am motivated by your curses and backbiting. I am moved to action by your accusations. The name-calling especially gets me going, my resolve is strengthened and I am determined to serve God with all of my heart and prove you wrong. Every miracle, every healing and every salvation is a testimony against you and your “ministry”. I like you because you make me laugh! In spite of your colossal personal failures, you somehow manage to find something wrong with the “way” I do things. I have to say that I sincerely appreciate your creativity in fault finding, it is truly awe inspiring.

I’m sorry, but in spite of your best efforts, my marriage, my family and my ministry will continue to blossom and produce good fruit. We are immune to your disdain and we are insulated against your witchcraft. We pray heaps of blessings upon you and thank God for you daily.

Because of you, we are truly blessed.
Ryan & Family

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

As You Go…

We have a few friends in South Atlanta that are hungry for a move of God in their city. No longer simply content to attend meetings, folks in several churches down there have started to hit the streets and “do the stuff”. A few weeks ago they invited us to come down to the Southside and go out on the streets with them. We were more than happy to oblige. It is our desire to equip the saints into powerful Kingdom ministry and we’re convinced that if folks are teachable and willing to take a just a few risks, God will use them dramatically.

And you know what?

We’re right!


Friday night, we ministered at a city gathering and the fire of God was there in full force. There weren’t that many people there, but the folks that were there were HUNGRY. The truth is, I would rather have a dozen hungry folks than 1000 disaffected, burnt-out “professional” Christians. A “professional” Christian is one that has been in the game of “Churchianity” for too long. They are pew warmers whose only skill is criticizing and critiquing anyone actually doing anything. They are unstable, uncommitted, unfruitful and much more interested in hearing a nice message on Sunday morning than they are living for Jesus on Monday morning.

Well, that was free...

Anyway, the folks in Newnan were NOT those people. They were hungry and teachable; a dangerous combination for the kingdom of darkness! So Saturday morning we preached the basics of the Lord’s ministry, Matthew 10:7-8. The Lord simply told His disciples to:

  1. GO, not stay…
  2. PREACH, not suggest, argue or reason…
  3. THE KINGDOM, not a watered down, “Jesus loves you”…
  4. HEAL THE SICK, not pray for them or ask God for their healing…
  5. CLEANSE THE LEPER, once again, not asking, doing…
  6. RAISE THE DEAD, command form, not a suggestion of what’s possible…
  7. CAST OUT DEVILS, not counsel them or conversing with them…

And it was awesome. About 30 people went to three different locations and in each location the Kingdom of God broke out. Many folks were going out for their first time, but everyone returned with great joy as the sick were healed, the lost were saved and demons were cast out. South Atlanta is so ripe for the Gospel that I was struggling with jealousy! The area is full of the poor, the projects, the hungry, the hurting and dying masses of people. In the neighborhoods that we went, we were so well received that I didn’t want to leave! Five seconds out of the car we ran into a couple of guys and preached the Gospel to them, encouraging them to make Jesus their King and Lord. The Lord gave us some prophetic stuff, but it really didn’t go anywhere. So we moved on.

An older gentleman came hobbling up with what was obviously a hurt leg. His eyes were bad and looked like he had cataracts and what might have been a liver problem or something. We spoke to him of the Kingdom of God and he told us that he had cataracts and also ulcers. As we prayed for him he said that he felt heat run all through his body. We responded with, “Heat is good!” When we asked him, he wasn’t convinced at all that he would be making Heaven. We told him that he can be sure, spoke to him out of Romans 10:9-10 and right then and there he made a confession of the Lordship of Jesus, asking the Lord to change his heart and his life. He immediately invited us over to see where his house was so we could come back and visit with him and his entire family next week!

Each time we go out, their is a "banner" expereience. Something so awesome that all you can do is just worship Jesus for it. But this one took the cake for me... My absolutely favorite miracle came to a young lady that obviously had been through the wringer physically. She had experienced meningitis, strokes, kidney failure and blindness. She was looking down most of the time while she was talking so I asked her how her eyesight was. I was standing barely a foot in front of her and told her to look at me. I said, “what do you see when you look at me?” She replied, “I can barely see you, you’re all blurry”. Playing around, I told her, “well, since you can’t see me, I’ve got to tell you that I’m really good looking and handsome!” The guys with me thought this was a riot. We spoke to her of the Kingdom of God and how there is no blindness in Heaven. We then told her of the Lord’s Prayer and how Jesus told us to pray that the Kingdom would come to earth, “as it is in heaven”. She eagerly allowed us to pray.

She was having severe neck pain at the time due to a recent surgery to put a shunt into her neck. She wouldn’t even let us touch her neck it hurt so badly. So we extended our hands and the brothers and I prayed our guts out for the Kingdom of God to invade her body. After praying we asked her how she felt and she told us that she was light headed. We had her check the neck pain and it was all gone!

But that wasn’t the best part.

I told her to look up at me and tell me what she could see. As soon as she looked up, you could see the difference in her eyes. Before they looked all cloudy, but now they were bright and clear! She looked right at me and exclaimed, “HEY! YOU ARE GOOD LOOKING!” We exploded in laughter and praised God that He had healed her vision right then and there! She was so blown away that she invited us back to her house for a follow up visit to check on her kidneys and to teach her the Word of God. On the way back, the guys with me commented on the miracle and said that indeed God had healed her eyes, but we needed to pray that God would give her better discernment!


All in all 9 people met the Lord and about a dozen miracles took that place that afternoon. I made sure to tell the newly invigorated group that there was a party in Heaven. Why? Because the lost had come to the Lord! And why had they come to the Lord? Because a few people decided to preach the Gospel instead of sleep in! Good choice.

Go God!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Kingdom Belongs To the Poor

This weekend we got to witness the contrast in how the rich and the poor receive the Gospel of the Kingdom. Mind you, it’s the same Gospel, preached the same way; the only real difference was who we were preaching to and the results we witnessed.

Before this week, we had received a prophetic word from the Lord that this Saturday, March 4th was a prophetic declaration for the church to “march forth” into the Promised Land and destiny that God has promised to us. Our response to the Prophetic word was to make a concentrated effort to go on the offensive and take the Gospel to our community and city. One team would go downtown and preach the Gospel to the homeless, drug addicts and prostitutes and the other team would preach the Gospel to the middle class suburbanites of the city of Woodstock. One team would see an outbreak of the Kingdom and the other would not. Can you guess which team would see what?

Let me interrupt the telling of this story with a simple revelation that we received a couple of years ago:

The Kingdom BELONGS to the Children…

“Jesus, however, said, let the little children come to me, and stop keeping them away. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these.” Matthew 19:14

The Poor POSSESS the Kingdom…
“And lifting up His eyes to His disciples, He said, blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:20

The Righteous INHERIT the Kingdom…
“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.” Matthew 25:34

The Rich Man can HARDLY ENTER into the Kingdom.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, truly I say to you that a rich man will with great difficulty enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 19:23

Bottom Line, ministry to children and to the poor is where the fruit and Kingdom demonstration will be found. The Lord said that He didn’t come to call the righteous:

“But go and learn what this is, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:13

Since the Kingdom belongs to the children, ministry to them will bring a quick and powerful demonstration of the Kingdom. Since the poor possess the Kingdom and it belongs to them, likewise, there will be a powerful demonstration of Kingdom power and authority. Since the Lord has not come to call the righteous or blameless ones, we should go to the offenders. Prisoners, gangs, people who break the law, use drugs, etc.

Preaching the Gospel to the rich or those with many material possessions will result in little fruit. Why? Because it is with great difficulty that the rich enter the Kingdom. Basically, that means that there will be little fruit. When the Bible defines “rich”, the Greek word literally means “full”. What the Lord is saying here is that those who already have a “full” life will have no room in their lives for the Kingdom.

Therefore, in response to this revelation and if we want to see Kingdom Power break out on the streets, we spend the majority of our evangelistic efforts pursuing the poor and children/youth.

The team heading into Woodstock soaked, prayed and believed God for a demonstration of His power. When they arrived to the town square, there were plenty of people about. They reported that the Lord gave them several prophetic words and they prayed for a bunch of sick folks but really didn’t see any instant healings. Also, no one met the Lord and several times the team was turned down for prayer. In one case, they were argued with as a gentleman wanted to debate Biblical knowledge! All in all, the trip was frustrating with little spiritual fruit.

The team heading into downtown Atlanta also soaked, prayed and believed God for a demonstration of His power. Things were a little slow at first as ones or twos came by the trailer where there was barbeque chicken and Cajun rice and beans cooking. But as the ones and two’s came, they got a plate of food, but they also got prophetic words and the message of the Kingdom. One couple came by and was immediately accosted with the Gospel. They responded instantly and gave their lives to the Lord as the Lord spoke to their hearts and revealed His love to them. One of the ladies on the team simply spoke that there was a spirit of suicide trying to kill her. As she said that, the lady she was praying with starting manifesting a demon and weeping openly. They cast out the demon and she was set free on the spot!

Several groups came walking by the trailer, drawn in by the awesome smell of barbeque chicken and got more than they bargained for as their prophetic destinies were revealed to them. One group in particular was captained by a very big, very intimidating young man. As he walked by, the Lord simply spoke to me “Stop him!” I walked right up to him and stood in his way. He looked like he was ready to fight me, but I started talking to him saying that the Kingdom of God is on the earth and Jesus is King. His response was total bewilderment and he just stared. By this time the Lord had given me and another person on the team some prophetic stuff for him. We released some destiny words about leadership being on his life and being covered in prayer by his family, etc. His eyes got real wide, but the two guys with him looked agitated. So we turned on them and the Lord started giving us more prophetic words for the whole team. They were so shocked that we pounced on the opportunity for them to give their lives to Jesus. They explained to us how they believed in God but we told them that this was not good enough! The Bible says that even the demons believe in God and that to enter the Kingdom they must not only believe in Jesus, but they must make Him King and Lord. Right there on the street all three of the young men made Jesus their King and Lord and were born again! They even walked away without food!

A few minutes later, a gentleman on one of those motorized scooters went zipping by. We ran him down and asked him why he was in the scooter. Through some very pained words, he told us that he had just come from the hospital where they had done a spinal tap to check the fluid in his spine for meningitis. He was in severe pain and could hardly talk about it. We gave him the good news of the Kingdom of God and told him that he did not have to be in pain and that in Heaven there is no pain. He agreed for us to pray for him and we asked him to rate his pain on a scale from 1 to 10 with 1 being no pain and 10 being horrible pain. He said that he was about an 8 or 9. You could see it on his face; he looked pinched and was breathing erratically. So we rebuked the pain and commanded the life of God to come into his body. Instantly, I felt a jolt of electricity run down my arm into his back.

We asked him how he was and he said that as soon as we prayed, all of the pain left! He checked himself, verified that there was no pain and was so excited! You could see it on his face. His entire countenance changed dramatically and he brightened up considerably! He was flabbergasted and we took the opportunity to lead him to the Lord. He also believed in God, so we explained to Him that he must make Jesus King and Lord and that simply believing in Jesus wasn’t enough. Convinced by the miracle in his body, he gave his life to Jesus that instant and went away a new creation!

The rest of our time there was a blur of prophecies, healings, miracles and salvations. At least ten people met the Lord; there were more than a half dozen instant healings and dozens heard and witnessed the Gospel of the Kingdom in action.

Lesson learned.