Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good In The Hood!

This song by Tye Tribbett has now been named my unofficial theme song for our Urban Outreaches into the tougher parts of Metro Atlanta. It just seems like the Kingdom breaks out in an awesome way in the poorer “hood” areas. It seems like every time we go out there, people respond to the message of the Kingdom. There are healings, lives are changed through prophetic words and people are impacted greatly.


One of my favorite things that I personally love about being in the hood is being white. Yeah, I said it. People don’t know what to think when some crazy white dude goes rolling around the hood talking to people. To make it better, I normally am not alone and regularly have several folks with me. This makes quite the scene in most neighborhoods we go to and actually helps us get our foot in the door.

Case in point:

A couple of weeks ago we head into a new neighborhood in a real rough area of town. Folks are out, it’s getting warmer and everyone is out having a good time. Lots of folks are getting drunk and there’s quite a “ruckus” going on. Enter stage left. I and several other VERY white people come marching into this situation and there is a group of ladies standing to our left. Their tongues nearly fall out of their mouth and their eyes are huge looking at us and wondering what in the heck we were doing there! I look at one of the main ladies and am standing probably only 15-20 feet away from her. I look at her, see her staring at me and say to her, “I can see you, you know”. She quickly checks herself and realizes that she has been staring, covers her mouth and is obviously embarrassed. I tell her, “It’s ok; I would wonder why this crazy group of white folks is here in my neighborhood too!” The whole group of ladies starts saying that they didn’t say that and I tell them, “You don’t have to say it with your mouth; you’re saying it with your expression!”

So now they are all ears wondering, “Why are these people in the neighborhood?” I tell them that we know Jesus and His Kingdom is on the earth. I tell them that we pray for sick people and God heals them! I ask them if any of them are sick and they say that they are doing fine. We chat a little and one of the ladies in our group gets some prophetic stuff for one of the young ladies. It’s right on! We have their attention and they tell us that we need to pray for a lady several doors down. At the moment they send us to her door, a lady looking very haggard comes to the door, in obvious pain. We start talking to this lady and find out that he has several conditions, but the one giving her the most trouble is congestive heart failure. One of the symptoms is difficulty breathing. We prayed for her and we ALL felt the power of God. She immediately began to breathe totally normally and felt filled with strength! She could hardly believe it and walked up the stairs to her apartment without any difficulty breathing! Come on Jesus!


There was a large, angry group of people on the other side of the street fighting with each other, cursing, yelling and just getting rowdy. I looked at the group and asked the Lord to give me something for one of them. My attention was immediately drawn to a young man sitting in the center. This guy looked like bad news! He looked angry and was definitely giving off the vibe, “STAY AWAY!” As I looked at him, he looked to me like a wolf. Knowing that the lord sometimes uses simple impressions like that, I asked the Lord if He was trying to tell me something. I simply heard in my spirit a reversal of the scripture about wolves and sheep, “This man is a sheep in wolves clothing”. I knew that the Lord was giving me something for him, so I crossed the street towards the group and the young man. As I did, several people scattered, but this guy stayed put. I just walked up to him and told him, “Sometimes God shows me things for people and I believe that He is showing me something for you… Do you mind if I tell you what I see?” he shrugged and said, “sure”.

I started by telling him that the Kingdom of Heaven is right in front of him and that he simply needed to change the way he thinks to see it! Then I began to explain the word I saw for him. I told him that he was a sheep in wolves clothing and that he gives the impression off to many people that he is rough and ruthless, like a wolf. But God knows that he is tender and soft, like a sheep underneath all of that exterior stuff he puts up. He looked up at me like I had just punched him in the stomach! Two young ladies sitting next to him went, “Oh my God!” and started walking away. I was like, “What’s going on? Am I not telling the truth??” They told me that only they would know that and how did I know that? I went on to tell him that God was calling him to live a life without compromise and that he could live for the Lord and never have to pretend anymore. As I spoke to him about his hypocrisy, he broke out in this huge sweat, out of nowhere. It was barely 70 degrees with a breeze out, so there was no natural reason for him to sweat. He swallowed hard, looked up at me and said simply, “You nailed me with that one. Look at me sweating like this, what’s up with that?!”

I told him that he was feeling the power of God and that God was ringing his bell and had his number. I strongly preached the Gospel to him, calling him to repentance and he heard every word. He got up and said he needed to be alone, walking inside the house. I’ll call him a “Pre-Christian”.


The Lord began to show me a simple prophetic picture for her one of the young ladies that was standing by the thug whose mail we just read. When I looked at her, I was simply reminded of a lioness, or female lion. As a lady on our team began to speak to her I was quietly asking the Lord what that meant. The Lord reminded me of how the picture we always see of a lion is of the male and that they are the ones people take pictures of and celebrate. But that in nature, it is the female lioness that did the bulk of the work, taking care of the pride and even doing the hunting for the male lions. The Lord gave me a very simple word for her that her “man” got all the attention and credit when in fact she was the one doing all the work, holding the family together.

I started by telling her that when I looked at her she reminded me of a lioness. When I said that her jaw dropped open, her eyes filled with tears and she started shivering and quivering all over. I knew I was on track so I finished giving her the Word. She was VERY obviously shaken and impacted by what I said, but I still didn’t understand why. I asked her what was up and she told me that lions are very significant to her and she had even named her son “Leo”. In short, God was talking her language! The rest of the word for her described her home life EXACTLY. She was absolutely undone and scared out of her mind. We call these “face plant conversions” like we see in I Corinthians 14:25.

She and her sister both gave their lives to the Lord standing on that curb, directly as a result of the Lord revealing the secrets of their hearts! We have kept up with her and she has invited us into her home to have a Bible Study and to grow in the things of God.

Look out, more good from the hood to come!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Presence" Evangelism

We’ve been experiencing a new phenomenon of sorts. There has been a marked increase in the number of people that have recently approached us for all manner of healing, deliverance and ministry. Over and over again we’ve been hearing, “There’s just something about you” or “There’s something in your eyes!” The list goes on and on. This is a novelty to us because for years we have been the ones approaching people for ministry, not the other way around!


I have a friend that I workout with several times each week. We get to the gym around the same time, workout and regularly meet up for coffee at the local Starbucks afterwards. The other day ago I had jumped on the treadmill, plugged in my iPod and was walking furiously away to a series on healing and the miraculous that I had downloaded on the internet. I had only been on there 10 minutes or so when a lady we had seen at the gym before got on the treadmill next to me. She said hi and started making small talk. I had to stop the recording I was listening to her to politely respond. No sooner had, “Hi, how are you” come out of my mouth than she started to unload her life story on me! She got very detailed and started weeping and shaking, explaining to me how she has been getting ill as a result of panic attacks. She described how a chill would run up her leg and then she would start to hyperventilate, going into a full blown anxiety attack. Her sleep had been disturbed and her life had been turned inside out lately as financial fear and life stuff had caught up with her in the form of these panic attacks.

She began to tell me about how she had been praying and asking God to help, but God really hadn’t come through for her yet. She then realized that she was unloading on me and apologized saying, “I’m sorry I don’t even know if you are religious… Are you religious? I replied, telling her, “I really try not to be!” She seemed surprised by my answer and I told her, “I know what you mean though. Yes, I know the Lord.” As she went on describing her situation and the symptoms she had been experiencing I quietly told her, “These panic attacks are not merely physical and psychological, they are an attack from the devil and a demon. You don’t need counseling, you need deliverance!” She looked at me and said in a whimper, “Can you help me?” I said, “Sure! We’ll get you delivered, right after the workout!” The entire time we were talking we were walking briskly. I decided that the thing to do would be to wait for my workout buddy from church and then we would pray for her and get her delivered out in front of the gym.

I went back into the locker room and got my buddy, telling him “There’s a lady out here that has a devil, we need to get it off her. Can you help me come and pray?” He said sure and we walked out of the locker room together. We took our new needy friend out in front of the gym and explained to her the Kingdom of God, telling her that this thing was a demon and we’re going to get rid of it! Before we prayed, we prophesied to her that this was the last panic attack she would have and would be a different person after we prayed. So right there in front of Gold’s Gym we prayed for her, casting out this demonic attack of anxiety and fear. As we broke its power and commanded it to come out, she became limp and literally fell into our arms. We had to hold her up to keep her from going down! The presence of God very obviously came on her and she smiled with a big grin!

We invited her to a church service the next day and while there she received more ministry., Since that time she has caught up with me at the gym, letting me know that since we initially prayed she has been delivered, been sleeping well and hasn’t had a panic attack since!


Some friends and I were at a local hospital where we regularly pray for the sick. While there we just walked by a group of ladies and they reached out and grabbed me by the arm. They said, “There’s something in your eyes!” I said, “You’re right, there is something in my eyes. Do you want to know what it is?” They said, “Please, tell us, I feel like you have something for me!” After getting over the initial shock that they were approaching me I told them that what they were seeing was God’s Spirit inside of me! I explained that I am filled with God’s Spirit and if they wanted it, they could have Him in them too! I told them that when He comes to them, He comes to rule and reign and when He comes, He comes to destroy sickness and disease. I asked them if they had any diseases and sure enough they did. One lady had an issue of blood for the last 30 days and the other lady had diabetes and high blood pressure. We just reached out, touched them and God’s presence just came all over us all! One lady began to cry and was like, “What is that?!” I told her that it was God’s Spirit coming on her physical body. We couldn’t check their symptoms immediately but they promised that when they found themselves healed they would glorify God.

There was one girl sitting on the bench with them that wouldn’t let us pray the first time. But after she saw the other ladies have an encounter with God she became curious and let us pray for her. No sooner had I touched her than she began to swoon in her seat, start to cry and exclaim, “I can feel it, I can feel it!” God’s presence just washed over all of us right there and we had us a little worship service, praising God for touching all of us with His manifest presence!


My buddy and I swung by a local Starbucks after our workout, and ran into an eclectic group of kids. One of the guys was wearing big bell bottomed pants with an open shirt and was sporting quite the Mohawk. The young lady that was hanging all over him was wearing a string bikini top, torn jeans, was barefoot and half naked. The other young man looked like he was just along for the ride. In the line waiting for coffee the two crazy looking kids started making out passionately. Ick. I stood right behind them and started making kissy face noises, voicing my displeasure. Ha-ha. Real mature, I know.

Out in front of the store, they were getting in there car and looked over our way. I waved at them saying, “Bye, little hippies!” They started walking over to us and the young lady with them was kind of lurching, acting real weird and was saying, “Something tells me that we need to meet you!” I quickly responded, “You do!” She then began to tell us that they could see something in our eyes and I quote, “You have this big, beautiful aura!” I said, “I know!” They sat down with us outside the Starbucks and began to just talk to us, asking questions I know were designed to illicit a judgmental response. They asked questions about politics, the legalization of marijuana, etc. When we didn’t react, they were intrigued. I just sat there, asking the Lord for something for them prophetically. After a few minutes, the Lord gave me a word for the young man who looked out of place. When I started to share it, all three of them freaked out, two of them jumped up and were saying, “This is too wild, I know we were supposed to meet you!” The word the Lord gave me was right on and they started asking, “How did you know that?” I was able to explain to them about how the God of the Bible knows everything about everyone and from time to time will show us something to prove that He is real and He is interested in and loves them.

The word of knowledge opened the door and we walked though it, spending a while explaining the Kingdom to them. They didn’t give their lives to the Lord but happily heard it, we exchanged numbers and have now made some new friends.

Let’s call them “Pre-Christians”!

Monday, May 04, 2009

UMT Weekend Report

A few weeks ago, we hosted another UMT or Urban Missionary Training Weekend here at the church. It’s a weekend training module that we have developed to get folks from being totally “green” at doing the stuff and bringing the Kingdom to walking in the power of the Kingdom, quick! We have some teaching and foundational theology that we preach and teach, followed immediately by the actual “doing” of the work. Folks from all over the country flew and drove in to be a part of the training and outreach and as usual, God showed up.


Our team had the privilege of having a cameraman with us to document the miracles and ultimately to produce a video documentary of the power of the Kingdom being demonstrated on the street. I’m excited about the project and there will be more to come on that in future updates. But the good thing is that every testimony I’m telling here that happened with our team can be documented, on video. I have a saying around here that says, “The truth can hold up under intense scrutiny!”

One of the first folks we talked to was a gentleman who was grilling outside of his apartment. When I first looked at him, the Lord gave me a word that I have had before. When I looked at him I had a gentle vision of a spider web. It’s a picture that the Lord has given me before to describe someone that’s trapped in a situation/circumstance where they feel that they can’t get out of. So I walked up to the guy and told him, “Hey, sometimes the Lord shows me things for people and I believe that He was showing me something for you.” He indicated that he wouldn’t mind hearing what I had to say so I started to explain to him what I had seen.

As I spoke with the little understanding that I had, the Lord gave me more. I saw specifically that he was actually involved in the drug culture and that he had a desire to do right, but circumstances left him feeling trapped in a lifestyle of sin and compromise. The Lord also showed me that he had a “Nathaniel” type personality like Jesus recognized, “Here is a true Israelite in whom there is nothing false”. The Holy Spirit was showing me that he had a love for truth and despised hypocrisy in all its forms. The Lord also gave me some direction about his current girlfriend and that he needed to marry her and “do the right thing”. It was pretty confrontational and direct. His mouth dropped open and he started nodding in the affirmative. He then told us that he had come outside to clear his head and was just praying, “What do I do?” Immediately after that, we walked up and explained his situation in detail. The “What to do” was turn to Jesus, renounce his lifestyle of compromise and ask the Lord to deliver him.

Right there in front of his now smoldering grill he gave his life to the Lord, asking God to rescue him from the foolishness of his actions. It was real, it was authentic and a true conversion. He was repentant and honest, asking the Lord to please rescue him. It was awesome!

Our little band walked through the apartment complex looking for an opportunity to demonstrate the Kingdom. We had to step out of the street as a car full of people passed, but what got my attention was the handicapped parking sticker hanging from the rear view mirror. I told our little team, “Target Acquired!” From experience, I know that a handicapped sticker most certainly means an opportunity for God to destroy the work of the devil! We waited for the car to park and walked over to the folks as they were getting out of the car. I asked them, “Who is handicapped and needs the sticker?” They pointed to a lady sitting in the front passenger side of the vehicle. She looked sickly and emaciated and asked us why we were asking. We walked around to her side of the car as she tried in vain to get out of the vehicle. She was obviously too weak to even stand up on her own. I knelt down and explained to her that we look for folks that are sick and needing healing so that we can pray for them and demonstrate the power of the Gospel. I looked her in the eye and told her that it was a great day for her and her family! She looked at me like I was crazy!

I explained to her that God’s will is that His Kingdom would come and His will would be done ON EARTH as it IS in Heaven! We came to find out that she needed everything! She had asthma, bronchitis, a high fever, was recovering from cancer treatment and the cancer was in remission. She also had several other symptoms, was in extreme pain in her abdomen and very weak. We asked her if we could pray, “On earth as it is in Heaven” and she agreed. I had her check on camera her physical limitations. She was very short of breath and wheezing and she was completely exhausted, running a high fever. We started to pray for her and the presence of God overshadowed us. It was obvious to me that the Lord was touching her physical body and I asked her what she felt.

On the first check her wheeze and shortness of breath were both gone. On the second check the pain in her abdomen was gone. In just a few minutes strength had come back to her and I asked her if we could take a walk. Without a problem she stood up from the car and began to walk with me as I held her arm. Her apartment was up a flight of stairs and normally she would have to stop 3-4 times on her way up. She walked up with me without taking one rest and sat down in her apartment without pain! Oh yeah and the fever broke as well! By this time her family was gathered around and I was able to explain to them that the Kingdom of God had come near to them! Grandma was initially planning on going straight to bed but with her newfound strength she got up and began to cook for the entire family!

Another team in a community just a couple of miles from where we were at encountered a young lady that was walking like a mummy, in obvious pain. They asked her what was wrong and discovered that she had Multiple Sclerosis, just having returned from the hospital in severe pain and experiencing an extreme lack of mobility. They prayed for her, commanding the MS to leave her body and the Kingdom to invade! Right away, the pain left her body and she began to move and do things that seconds before were impossible! The team watched as the lady excitedly began to run up and down the stairs with perfect mobility and NO PAIN!

One week later the young lady attended a service that we were conducting in the Jonesboro area and testified personally to the mighty healing and deliverance that she had just experienced, still PAIN FREE and in perfect health!

Come on Jesus!