Saturday, July 29, 2006

On We Go In Jesus!

The work continues as the lost are saved, the sick are healed, those with demons are set free, the poor have the Gospel preached to them and new believers are being discipled and grown up into the things of God. Just a couple weeks ago, a young man with a couple of broken ribs was instantly healed. All the pain left his body and he was able to breathe and bend normally! He was very grateful of the goodness of God on his behalf. A couple of neighbors in one of the worst places we are in are both schizophrenic and suffer greatly with anxiety and fear. We looked them both in the eye and told them that they have demons. They begged us to pray for them and when we did, both of them went from a nervous wreck to completely at peace. One of the ladies couldn’t even look me in the eye; the demonic presence was so strong in her. After prayer for deliverance she sat there and talked to me almost normally, looking me right in the eye.

It’s not always pretty and it’s definitely not polished or slick. There aren’t any programs and there isn’t a training school that can prepare you for the worst the devil can do with people. Every day in the trailer parks and low rent apartments is like an episode of Jerry Springer. Fighting, cursing, drugs, sex, sin and sickness plague the poor. It’s our job to bring in the light of God and transform once dark places into lighthouses for the gospel. It’s our job to invade the kingdom of darkness at work in the hearts, bodies, lives and homes of these poor souls. Sometimes it’s instant and a sunburst of God breaks through the darkness and depression. Other times it takes a minute. And by a minute, I mean a week, a month or a year.

We’re undoing generational garbage that has destroyed these folks for years. We’re shining light on habits and patterns of sinful behavior that has destroyed family after family. We don’t win every fight. Some people go back to their darkness. Some have the mercy and grace of God revealed to them only to turn away from the Lord. Some gain their healing, go back to their sinful lifestyle and come out the other side worse than before we met them. It’s our hope and our prayer that every one would serve Jesus with all of their heart, but that’s just not the way it is. It’s our job to love the unlovable, preach hope to the hopeless and faith to the unbelieving. Everyone loves the testimonies of when God breaks through, but few are able to hang in there when things don’t go our way. It takes perseverance and patience. It takes longsuffering and unquenchable faith. It takes a full measure of the Holy Spirit and Jesus!

We’re going through another growth spurt right now as several more believers in our church are getting stable. That is, stable enough to make a weekly commitment to the lost, hurting and dying. That commitment means that a neighborhood will be touched with the Gospel. Imagine that, one believer’s commitment to one night a week means that they can impact two neighborhoods a month! But many, many believers can’t even do that. Their lives are in turmoil and their priorities are way out of whack. They want to be a help, but they can’t. The truth is, stable, mature believers = growth and a spreading of the Gospel. Until you are stable, the lost can’t count on you. Until you are stable, you’ll just be an irregular blip on the radar of the unsaved. But when you get stable and when you get a little commitment working on your life, all of a sudden, they can count on you. When you simply do what you say you are going to do, you stand out form the crowd as one who has integrity.

So now we are in about 25 different neighborhoods now and just keep trucking along, doing what we’re doing. Our core team is being strengthened and expanding, which is good news for the kingdom of God and bad news for the kingdom of darkness. During our weekday outreaches, it’s now common to be sending out 4 or 5 teams to different neighborhoods. Each of them comes back with stories of miracles, healings, prophetic evangelism and salvation experiences. It’s so hard to catalog and keep up with all the testimonies! I have to get them to send me emails detailing what happened each night just to keep a pulse on what’s going on. I am never disappointed.

One of the things I particularly love is hearing the reports of our folks getting words of knowledge and discernment of spirits for people, revealing their hearts and leading them to Jesus. The Lord is so extravagant with prophetic revelation; even more so when we make a determination to use the gift for evangelism. Just about everyone walking out the door now is walking in some measure of the prophetic, which is awesome. Just a few years ago, we would have deified these folks and have them traveling as an itinerant minister when they demonstrated such gifts. It’s not uncommon for the Lord to reveal very specific details about a person, their physical condition, their family situation, etc. What is predictable is their response! When the secrets of a person’s heart are revealed, all they can do is bow down and surrender their lives to Jesus!

The lists of new believers continues to grow. Many of them have been baptized in bathtubs. We had a coworker of one of the new believers take issue with that. He was offended that he wasn’t baptized into a church or inside a church baptismal, as if the water is holier there or something. Believe it or not, this was a Baptist! You would think that a good old southern Baptist boy would just be happy that the lost are converted and being baptized, but religious spirits rarely see the good.

One other interesting thing is the Lord has been sending us people literally from all over the world. We have had several folks in from the UK and this week a gentleman from Australia came all the way out to spend a week with us on the streets, seeing God move. We just know that each of them will get impacted and ignited in the things of God, taking the fire back to their cities, towns and nations. Even here in the states, there have been several folks from across the country coming to visit, to partake and to witness what the Lord is doing here. We are encouraged as others, even in our own city are making quality decisions to take up their sword and engage in this fight!

What are we going for? For starters, we want to see one American city truly and honestly fall to the Gospel of the Kingdom.

We’re going to see it.

PS – It’s my birthday! For a fleeting moment, it’s all about me! Happy Birthday to me!


MaryAnn M said...

happy birthday Ryan

i STILL havent made the trek to Atlanta area to see y'all.

contending for things here

gotta step out of the boat.

Heather said...

Hey Ryan,
Happy Birthday. God bless you brother from another mother! Thanks for keeping it is building my faith...what you believe you speak...thanks for speaking and doing!

Anonymous said...

Congradulations Ryan! What are you now 75? LOL!

Anyways man sounds good whats goin on down there! I'm excited to come! With each passing day the excitement is being stirred more and more! See ya Wed.

Much Love,

Anonymous said...

happy birthday ryan! you've been a true inspiration to watch and have lit a fire under my butt to "do the stuff." many more blessings to you.see you at church tomorrow.

slowly but steadily getting stable,
nbrad and fam.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Ryan! God bless you and your whole family for all that you do for the Kingdom and to Stoke the Fire of God in the hearts of Man. And thanks for the investment in time & training from you, your Dad, your brother and your team to ignite the evangelical fires down here in the Newnan area.
Lee, Copie, Barry and the rest of the folks down here.!

Anonymous said...

What ya'll are doing is such an inspiration. I would like to hear more details about your follow up in the neighborhoods. If someone shows interest in receiving prayer or talking about spiritual things, but doesn't commit to the home group, how do you follow up with those households?

P.S. Happy Birthday!