Friday, September 29, 2006

Are You Ready For Some FOOTBALL?

Sorry that the updates have been infrequent this month… Crazy busy. It’s primarily due to a team from our church and a mission trip to visit Heidi and Rolland Baker in Pemba, Mozambique, but that is the subject of another update.

Anyway, it’s Friday night and I’m home with the kids. I just got them to bed and sat down at the computer to write out what’s been going on lately. Our outreach schedule says that I should be out taking a team on an outreach tonight, but alas, I am home. Why? Well, mainly because my wife INSISTED on going to a football game tonight. It’s not because she likes football either. In fact, she couldn’t give a rat’s hind end about the game of football. The reason that she wants to go is because in the last three weeks, we have seen several dozen kids give their lives to the Lord, over 50 instant healing miracles and a couple hundred kids get their mail read prophetically; and all at high school football games!

Last year, my buddy Joel in California gave us a great tip: Go to high school football games. They are fantastic opportunities to see the kingdom of God break out in power. Evangelistically, it’s like fishing in a barrel! There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of kids hanging out and this generation is ravenous for the power of God! If you bring the power, more often than not you will see the Kingdom of God break out and the fire of God spread all over the school.

My wife was inspired to jealousy because one of the young mommies in our church was powerfully used by God. Imagine the picture of what happened, a young mommy with her tiny 2 month old baby in a Baby Bjorn kid carrier sleeping soundly while she boldly preaches the Gospel to a rowdy group of high school kids in the concession area of a football game! Kids are being healed, kids are getting saved and there is mommy and baby right in the middle of the melee, prophesying, healing and leading people to Jesus! The prophetic revelation that she was getting was startling! She received several names of kids best friends, she told them what their parents did for a living and told them all sorts of intimate details about their lives. Now, I would pay serious money for a picture of that scene, wouldn’t you?

Well, that’s what happened last Friday and that’s not even all of it! Also last week another couple of young ladies from the church “got into it”, as we say. They had over 20 instant healing miracles in a little over an hour! Backs, necks, ankles, knees and arms all healed! Pain disappearing, mobility returning, swelling leaving and people doing things that they couldn’t do barely two minutes before prayer. After a power demonstration and the preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, they gave an invitation for kids to give their lives to Jesus. In one fell swoop, eight kids got born again! And that was just one football game out of three that our teams were at.

My favorite part of these two girls’ testimony that they gave last Sunday was that they were slogging away, praying for the sick and prophesying over people for over an hour before things started to break loose. They were being mocked and ridiculed by 11 and 12 year old kids as they prayed and nothing happened. At one point they thought to themselves, “What are we doing?” So what did they do? Did they turn tail and run away? Nope. They just kept going. They kept praying and they kept prophesying. When healing broke out, it broke out BIG.

Was just as good! One of the teams that went out had some healings start to happen right after they got there. They found a couple of kids with injuries; broken arm and sprained ankles. As they prayed for them, all the pain left and their mobility returned and kids were able to do things that they couldn’t do. The result? They run away only to come back with their friends and friends’ friends. In no time at all there is a hungry group of young people desperate for a touch of God! Necks, backs, arms, legs, ankles and necks are being healed now; each healing produces more excitement and the expectation builds. Someone with a herniated disk in their back experiencing severe pain and limited mobility is healed on the spot. Another kid with a busted ankle who can’t fully extend his foot is running up and down the sidewalk demonstrating his newfound mobility and lack of pain saying, “I’m healed! I’m healed!”

One of the kids comes up to my brother Jordan, who is 18 years old and asks him sincerely, “Are you Jesus or something?” Totally flabbergasted that the sick are healed and that these strangers (us) know all sorts of supernatural revelation about them, their only thought is, “is this guy the Lord?” They explain, “No, we’re not Jesus, but we know Him and His power is at work inside of us!” They explain the Gospel of the Kingdom and exhort many to follow King Jesus with all of their hearts and lives. They are all professing Christians, but are confronted with the reality of Heaven that speaks loudly against their dead religion.

What I would call a Biblical miracle takes place. One of the girls in our church takes her kid brother, who is ten years old with her to a game. In no time at all they “get into it”, prophesying over kids left and right. The young guy (who is ten years old, mind you) stands side by side with his sister healing the sick and prophesying over kids 5-20 years his senior. Imagine a line of high school kids, lining up in front of a ten year old kid, waiting expectantly for the word of the Lord coming from his lips or the healing touch from his hands! Did you just hear what I said? These are high school kids! You know, kids totally obsessed with being cool that they will do anything to maintain their “cool” status… Well, what’s cool about waiting in line to hear from a ten year old?

You know, who really cares when he is dispensing the power of God!

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Real Deal

We just got through having a meeting with Surprise Sithole with Iris Ministries ( in Mozambique, Africa. We had met him earlier in the year and were given the opportunity to host him again. For those of you who don’t know who he is, let me sum up. This guy is currently overseeing over 8,000 churches in 28 nations! He is a true apostle who has seen the Lord and has raised the dead many times. In addition, he and many with him have been beaten, stoned and suffered greatly for the Gospel. There is just something about spending time with someone like that, that can greatly change, shift or clarify your perspective. We were able to take him to dinner and over dinner I was able to ask him questions and pick his brain about what they are doing out there n Africa.

I was just telling my wife how much I can glean out of little impromptu meetings like that. When David Hogan was here in 2004 I had a couple of questions to ask him. When he answered them I was able to move forward in faith with what I knew the Lord was telling us to do. The result? We now are preaching the gospel on an almost daily basis and into 28 places every month! Pretty good fruit from a little conversation I would say.

Soon after I got baptized in the Holy Spirit, the Lord spoke something so important to me about who I should learn from and what I should learn from them. He gave me this scripture:

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7

If you pay attention to this scripture, it was save you a bunch of time and energy and greatly increase the produce of your life! This scripture says that we are to remember our leaders and consider the OUTCOME of their way of life! That’s where we get so tripped up! We don’t heed this scripture and follow after what leaders SAY, not the FRUIT or OUTCOME of their way of life! So basically, we are to look at our leaders FRUIT, not their great messages, not their revelations or even their personalities. FRUIT talks, everything else walks!

So what I do is simple. I scour the earth for people who have a significant ministry along the lines of what I want to see in my own life. The result is that I have found a few who actually LIVE what they preach about! Many talk revival, but who is walking in it? Many have theories on city taking, but who has conquered a city? Many have prophecies about revival, but who is living in one? Whose lifestyle is PRODUCING what they preach? Who actually has the FRUIT of the Gospel, not just pretty words about the Gospel?

My list is short, I don’t know about yours. But David Hogan in Mexico and the guys who are working with Freedom Ministries and Heidi and Rolland Baker and whoever is working with Iris Ministries are on my list. SO when these people speak about their lifestyle, you can take it to the bank! When I started doing in our neighborhoods what David Hogan does in the villages of Mexico I started seeing what he sees! It’s not rocket science! When I imitate their faith, I get what they have! I have seen this work with Hogan and now I am looking forward to seeing it work with Surprise Sithole.

Well, when Surprise was here I had a few more questions to ask him. Most of them centered on equipping and releasing leaders, something that they are doing a spectacular job of! I mean, do the math, 8,000 churches in about 7 years. 7 years x 365 days a year = 2,555 days. And they have panted 8,000 churches in 2,555 days! That’s over 3 churches planted EVERY SINGLE DAY! That’s crazy folks! And these are BIG churches! Many of them involve entire villages that come to Jesus as a result of the power of God being displayed. Many of these churches have 500, 1,000 and more!

One of the keys to their spectacular growth is because they can get in a place, preach the gospel, impart to leaders and leave leaders that produce other leaders! They aren’t churches in and of themselves, they are church planting churches! So when they plant one church in a village, many from that village will go out and plant churches. They plant one church and that church plants ten churches that plant 10 churches each! Talk about multiplication! It’s like MLM for Jesus!

So the questions I had for him were about raising up leaders. Our folks that lead people to Jesus and are discipling new believers can get worn out pretty quickly, especially when people don’t change or act crazy. And a lot is depending on them. Many times if we don’t show up in a neighborhood and lead everything, then nothing happens! What they have managed to do is QUICKLY release new leaders to lead people. With my American (business) mindset, this seems so hard to do. But that’s what I got from Surprise! Here’s a guy that oversees over 8,000 churches in over 28 nations and he is one of the most childlike, simple and joyful people I have ever met! Most church leaders that I know lead one church and are covered up in worry, doubt and fear about finances and people. Far from childlike, they are about as fun as a heart attack and have the personality of a head of lettuce. They more resemble CEO’s than childlike simplicity.

So as I peppered Surprise about raising up leaders, two qualifications emerged for their leadership. Now these two qualifications are so simple and so biblical that they have absolutely no place in the Western church. I guess that’s why we don’t raise up church planting movements that plant 8,000 church in 7 years and lead and disciple over a million people to the Lord in that same time frame? So, putting all your ridiculous notions of what leaders should be like, are you ready to hear how they qualify leaders in Africa?

Surprise told us that when they are raising up leaders, they never select the person who pushes themselves forward and desires leadership over others. He told me that they are the ones that produce all the problems. I can say that in our own ministry, that has absolutely been the problem. It’s like the more they want authority over others, the worse of a leader they turn out to be! So they look for the person sitting in the back, who doesn’t push themselves forward. They are looking for humility and childlikeness. Children aren’t looking for positions of leadership, yet unless we become like a child we can’t enter the Kingdom! So they award humility, not persistence. We have given people charge before basically because they wore us out with asking, asking, asking! But in every case it has turned out badly.

Lesson learned.

I kept asking and he kept telling. He said that the ones that drink of the Holy Spirit the most are the ones they are looking for! He said that the ones who get absolutely plastered in the Holy Ghost make the best leaders. The ones that stay full, get filled and keep drinking are the ones that will best take the move of God to higher and higher levels! I thought about this and besides being a command (Be filled with the Spirit!) being filled with the Spirit is EXACTLY what leaders need. They don’t need to be full of knowledge because knowledge puffs up. They don’t need to be full of good ideas or human gifts because the church isn’t built by human wisdom or ingenuity. They need the Holy Ghost! The church is built up and strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit! So what we need is more of the Holy Spirit and the power of God!

How simple and how profound. What this did for me is make it so simple. We are looking for people who are full of the Spirit and who are humble. They can take the move of God to the next level. Their humility allows them to be led by the Spirit. Their being filled with the Spirit enables them to accomplish much more than the one full of themselves!

Look out world! Here we come, armed with the simplicity of the Gospel!