Monday, January 21, 2008

Geography Is Irrelevant – Part II

We were leaving one location and heading to another. We had been invited to minister to a group of young men, ages 13-18 at a boy’s home in the mountains of North Georgia. These are kids that have seen some terrible things. Many of them have been abused and/or neglected and their parents have lost custody or given up custody for one reason or another. I knew walking in there that we would need to come “packing” the power of God, as these kids would not be impressed with just a good message. No, the message would have to come with Power!

I’ve said for many years that ministry to kids is a proving ground of sorts. The question is, “do you have the anointing with you?” If you don’t, then the only way to capture the attention of young people is programs, games and “fun”. Nothing wrong with pizza parties, but it’s hardly training to walk in the power of God and make a difference on the earth. See, adults will be polite. If you are unanointed, they will still smile and encourage you. Kids… not so much, Kids will mercilessly let you know that they are bored. I remember several years ago when my wife and I were preaching to a group of kids ages 7-12. I was giving them everything I had and thought I was doing ok. Not great, just ok. One of the younger kids around 8 years old raised his hand and asked me very politely when I acknowledged him, “Mr. Ryan, are you done yet?” Very humbling.

So I knew that these kids would be a challenge. That age range (ages 13-18) coupled with the life experiences that these kids have had would make a very tense ministry situation; one that would REQUIRE the power of God. No power = no effect. But the flipside is that if God showed up, it would be something memorable.

And if you are a regular reader of this blog you know that God showed up!


HOSTILITY
When we arrived, it was obvious that the young men at the home weren’t expecting us. I don’t think that they were told that we were coming until we arrived and once we arrived they didn’t know what the heck we were doing there. They eyed us suspiciously and greeted us icily. They were told to gather in the living room and did so begrudgingly. We weren’t exactly a small group, there were 7 or 8 of us and we didn’t exactly fit in. We were asked beforehand if we could come by and hang out before the meeting to get to know the boys. I declined the opportunity and here’s why. My thought was that I knew it would take some serious prophetic revelation to open the group up spiritually. If we had spent some time hanging with the boys then the stuff that the Lord gave us could be tainted with natural knowledge. So we walked in the home, shook a few hands and started the meeting with absolutely no knowledge of the kids we were getting ready to minister to.

Like I said, the kids were far from interested in being there. We were pulling them away from their fun on a Saturday. But we had something to give them! They were slouched over in their chairs and on the couches. Some of them were fighting falling asleep. A couple others mocked us, whispering not so quietly to their friends and laughing right in our face. Nice, what a great way to start. The director of the home simply told the boys that we were there to speak to them and they should listen to us. After a very brief introduction it was my turn to talk. I started politely at first, telling the kids why we were there (to preach and demonstrate the Gospel of the Kingdom of God) and started telling them a few testimonies of what God had done in the last 24 hours. It was awesome stuff, deaf ears opening, 13 year injuries healed, etc.

It went over like a lead balloon.

These kids couldn’t care any less. They went from disinterested and quietly mocking to irritated and openly mocking. They were making faces, falling asleep and intentionally disrupting things with their questions and comments. But I have dealt with kids this age before. I know that one thing and one thing alone will get their attention. Power. Forget what I said, it’s what we would do that would capture their attention. Now was the time. We were about to lose the meeting and have a small scale riot. This is the moment and the time that most would have given up, wrapped the meeting, shook and few hands and gone home with their tail tucked between their legs, bound and determined to NEVER expose themselves to such a hostile ministry situation again. And it was hostile. Every fiber of your flesh is screaming for relief from the awkward silence. Your face gets flushed from embarrassment and it’s all you can do to keep talking. Every eye is on you and you get NO assurance from your team. They are feeling as bad as you!

So what do you do? You lean on the arm of God and swing for the fences!


THE TURN
I looked dead in the eye of one of the young men. He was very obviously a ring leader of bad things. He was the most open in his mockery and was openly challenging our spiritual authority. I saw very quickly that if we could capture him, then the rest of the room would fall. I addressed him personally and began speaking not to the room, but just to him. I told him flatly that he was a disrespectful and mocking little twerp. But that was easy to see. What I was pressing in for was some gold, hidden deeply in the mines of his heart; I was looking for something of value. And I saw it! The Lord showed me that he was like Peter in the Bible. Great things would happen as the result of his boldness, IF he could conquer his cowardice.

I looked him in the eye and told him, “There was a man in the Bible that was much like you; a chicken. He had convictions, but lacked the courage to stand by them, like you. When faced with public scrutiny, he denied those he loved the most… like you.” All the air was sucked right out of the room. You could have heard a pin drop. I was dressing down the ringleader and very publicly. I could hear the air being sucked in between the teeth of the directors of the home. No one had EVER talked to their kids like that! If it wasn’t for the shock, I think that they may have sent me packing right then and there… But I continued…

“Yeah, so this guy was a chicken and a wimp, like you. He had convictions, but lacked the courage to stand by them, like you; and then he betrayed his best friends when faced with peer pressure, like you… but that’s not the end of the story.” I had their attention, now for the prophetic revelation. “But this man, Simon, would not remain Simon, but his name and his nature would be changed and he would be called Peter. Peter means a rock, an immovable object. He would later be called a Pillar of the church and through his bravery and conviction would lead and guide the church for decades.” Everyone in the room went from slouching in their seats to literally sitting on the edge of their seats, from disruptive to attentive. They knew this young man’s history and bore witness to what was being said. “How did this guy know these things about him???

The prophecy was simple, “God is about to change your nature from cowardly to bold, from fearful of men to the fear of God and he will give you the courage to stand for what you believe in, even in the face of intense persecution.” Bulls-eye. The word hit the kid right between the eyes. It also unlocked the prophetic and my team jumped in, giving word after word to the once mocking young man. We went around the room, giving words to every single one of the kids, calling out destiny and purpose in their lives. Several of the words were alarmingly accurate and extremely detailed. One of the kids loved computer and received half a dozen words about computers. Another loved to work on cars and was given a word that he would run a car shop. Another one of the kids was the “scrapper” in the group, always getting into fights and he received several words about wrestling and fighting with God. It was awesome.

The kids sat in rapt attention for 2 hours as they were prophesied over again and again. They hung on every word. Some teared up as the secrets of their hearts were laid bare. They were absolutely rocked! THEN I was able to preach this Gospel of the Kingdom of God and call then to repentance and lives of laid down love before God. They responded. One of the kids after hearing about the healing power of God stood up and got right in my face saying, “If what you’re saying is true, prove it!” I told him quietly, “that’s what we’re here to do”. He stretched out his hand which was swollen and inflamed. He had hurt it playing basketball earlier that day and demanded that we take away the pain. Our team gathered around, praying for the hand. After about ten seconds we stopped and I asked him to check it out. He stretched out his hand and his eyes got as big as saucers… “OH. MY. GOD. IT WORKED! IT WORKED!!!” He started bouncing around, telling everyone in the room that it worked! All the pain went away and within a few minutes so did all the swelling. The rest of the kids jumped out of their seats and started asking for healing.

We went around the room, praying for all the kids individually. Many were healed, several were delivered and most every kid in the room dedicated themselves to serving the Lord. We’ve been invited back to work with them some more and I will write up the details as they come in.

Nothing is impossible with God… even teenagers!


11 comments:

andrew said...

How on earth do you get the faith to do this stuff??? Or maybe I should be asking where in heaven do you get such faith?

Caitlyn said...

Hi, someone posted a link to this on www.TedDekker.com...maybe you've heard of him...mind-blowingly amazing author, rocked my world down to the core. Anyway, I love stories like this!!! I'm just eating up everything on this site. I've witnessed some stuff like this myself and I never get tired of it. God bless you and keep it coming, because it is SO encouraging to me and fuels my desire to really LIVE here moment by moment.

I do have a question, though. What do you make of it when you pray and nothing happens? When you have all the faith in the world and God chooses not to show up? Some would say that you just need to have more faith, but God isn't a dog that you can just expect him to respond at the tug of a leash. He's got his own reasons for allowing things sometimes. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't know perfetly well, but I'd love to hear your thoughts all the same. Does it ever happen that you pray and nothing happens?

Ryan Lawson said...

Caitlyn,

That's a bit of a loaded question... Here's my short answer.

We believe that the scripture teaches emphatically that God has given authority, power and ability to man through the Holy Spirit. On top of that, He has given us the right to pray, "On earth as it is in Heaven" according to Matthew 6.

If something does not happen, we don't so much pin anything on God, because He has given us the authority! Instead, we go to Him and ask for mercy and grace to do what we are currently unable to do!

Scripture is clear, it is ALWAYS God's will and nature to heal, because Jesus healed them ALL. So we know that God is pro healing, etc. We also know that the Lord NEVER rebuked an individual coming to Him for healing for having a lack of faith. Their faith could get them healed, but their lack was never addressed. So we know it's not the person receiving prayer that needs to change.

We also know that Jesus regularly rebuked His disciples, (who were doing the praying) for their lack of faith and unbelief... Bottom line, if there is a problem, it lies with us.

Blessings,
Ryan

PS - The proof of having "all the faith in the world" is the result! No results, no real faith! (Matthew 17:20)

Malinda said...

What an awesome display of God's love, grace and power!! Your boldness is refreshing in a world full of lukewarm cowards. Praise Jesus!

Jody said...

Ryan,
I knew when I met you years ago you would be changing lives of all you touch! Boldly going where most won't go... good to see how your still rockin! Been thinking of you and the ministry lately.
I'm sure well cross paths again,
Jody

wingzdomains said...

Caitlyn, I realize this post is old, but perhaps you'll check back. If not, some will who will also want to know. I have to make it several comments, I'm long winded! :O)

Knock and keep on knocking. Don't give up. Faith is the substance of things hoped for.

wingzdomains said...

Read God's word so you understand what his will is, like Ryan said. It IS always his will for us to be healed, but also to be in proper relationship to him. Sometimes in our haste we want His blessings, but we may fail to cultivate a loving relationship to Him.

The bible says that some of the villages that Jesus taught and healed in were going to be judged by the men of Sodom and Gomorrah (which God declared were pretty heinous sinners). Those villages he preached and healed in accepted the good things that God offered, but did not respond in their hearts and minds to His love.

Jesus also told those same people that their generation was like children playing in the market place calling to their companions saying "we played the flute - you did not dance, we sang a dirge - you did not mourn" They were willing for God himself to lay hands on them and be healed, but absolutely did not change.

God's Holy Spirit is speaking to this generation right now - and above all - He wants a response that you love Him. Not much to ask in my opinion. I'm really old and I've observed some folk who have heard the message of the kingdom-OH! they wanted the blessings - but everything under the sun was more important to their lives than a response of changing their hearts and minds? Not so much.

God loves you immensely. Seeing a manifestation of His power puts you into the camp of those who have seen, and in the last day (and importantly - every day you will live from now until then) How will your respond to His touch in your life? What does the bible - God's word ask of you? (cheat sheet: he does not ask much in return, but He DOES have some expectations.)

wingzdomains said...

We (me and the other geezers from the 20th century church) took the sayings of Christ - like forgive those that offend us as - HEY!! a suggestion, but impractical in this world. There was huge focus on others sins: smoking drinking and cursing, but little on actually DOING what Christ said. (like healing the sick, raising the dead, and dealing with demons) NOT judging... as way too much to really obey. Easy to sing trust and obey - like SOMEDAY you'd get to heaven - not so easy to obey and turn the other cheek when you are slapped!

I wrote all that simply to encourage you to allow God's word to take root in your heart and produce fruit.

He put humans in charge of this world. Humans gave authority to Satan, and Christ took it back - God isn't "allowing" things to happen, Caitlyn, He made you a King and priest in His Kingdom to serve him and rule and reign with Him. (there is another thing no one wants to do - to rule in God's kingdom - you become a servant)!! I'll assure you that is a neat place, absolute total job security even in times like these!! :o)

Your faith in God's work will change your circumstance-always. Oh, if space only permitted going into what He has promised!!! Sometimes he wants to change you first, I think is my point. He doesn't just want to bless you, He desires to walk with you, know you and that you understand the authority and power needed to keep the blessing.

wingzdomains said...

Think about it like this - if your friends only came to you because they wanted your stuff, how responsive would you be? People like this hurt our hearts. On the other hand, think about how much joy you get when you bless your genuine friends. How do you treat God's heart?

Just don't be a stranger to Him! I don't mean to suggest that you are! - I never met anyone who didn't -themselves- say they wished they'd improve their relationship to God.

One benefit of getting older: I've been able now to see prayers I'd prayed years ago come to pass. God remembered things I'd prayed for that I'd forgotten.

Many saints in scripture went through a time before they saw with their natural eyes what God promised them. It is a fact that sometimes our faith is tried. Our character must change in response to His love. Not that we earn heaven or the kingdom, but we are in what the bible terms as a marital relationship. One partner doesn't do everything and the other one nothing. Not and have the relationship last. We have the example of the Israelites trying to take the promised land. For them it was an adventure, and I've know it also to be one. Its an adventure that turns out good when you choose to believe what Gods says and not your circumstances. (like Superman - we have powerful faith vision) Getting your daily manna from that fellowship with Him leads you every day closer to - not just the thing you think you want - but into a love relationship that you'd find more important to you than your next breath. His leading to His presence in your life - I don't have natural words to describe that. Better than life?

Quite simply NOTHING is impossible to the one who believes. Jesus said that, not me. Let faith have its perfect work in you and you will go from asking this question to answering it for others who want to know how do YOU get so many prayers answered.

"Knock and keep on knocking, ask and you WILL receive"

Cozy up to the Holy One.

wingzdomains said...

Hey Ryan - there's my long answer! :oP


you can keep or delete as you see fit, its your blog!

I just happened by!

Love your podcast on the kingdom! Cant' wait for new opportunities to minister the gospel!!

wingzdomains said...

Caitlyn, that above part was for you personally, but once you get ready to obey what Christ asked you to do - (that's what they teach all the time-obedience is for all of us)

The baptism of the Holy Spirit was what give you the power to be a witness. (like he told the kid) Just ask God for that, I'll pretty much promise you one thing - you won't have to wait long for that. The Lord desires to reach people ask for him for what he gives: Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses..

He leads and He does the thing - He'll set you up to meet people who need the things you know. You can truly testify what you've seen to this point, and you'll keep growing. Ryan's obeying God, so he is seeing miracles, and they are available to you too. It's not hard once you made Jesus and His word your choice.

Ryan, I'm sorry, I don't mean to monopolize your board :o(

I just totally got hooked on His Holy Spirit leading me into becoming a witness and what an awesome life I had when I got closer to Him and gave Him my time and learned to let the Holy Spirit do it!!!