Category Archives: Word for the Church

-SBC President Calls on Churches to Pray for Another Great Awakening

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is pleading, encouraging, and calling the 46,000 churches in his denomination and beyond to “extraordinary prayer” for revival and another Great Awakening. Here’s the message from his blog:

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<Read the whole message>

He has also made available his complete message in an 16 page e-book which can be downloaded for free:

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Response: Charismatic and Pentecostal pastors and denominational leaders should jump on this immediately and stand as one and add their support to Dr. Floyd and the SBC in prayer and intercession for our nation.

Most of us have been praying for this for quite some time. We should stand together right now, ignore sectarian boundaries, and lift our voices in unity. We have long held that revival and a new Awakening is needed now in America as never before.

The nation is currently going through radical cultural changes that could make it very difficult for conservative Bible believing Christians in the future. Political power and pressure will never bring the nation back to its Biblical foundations. Our only real hope is that the Holy Spirit will sweep once more across our great nation and bring revival and another Great awakening. Now is the time.           *Top

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-Leaving Nazareth

And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.  -Mark 6:5  ESV

Several weeks ago following the Jewish (Biblical) New Year we began to see some changes at VCC Church in Laguna Niguel, California. Almost immediately healings began to increase exponentially with 32 coming during our services the first weekend following the new year. The words that clearly came to me when I tried to discern what this might mean for the future were these:

Paradigm shift and Time to leave Nazareth.

What I believe that it means is that it is now a new ball game for our church and I believe it could also be for every church in America that the Lord has been preparing for revival.

The enemy intends to marginalize the American church, and contain it within four walls while bringing actual cultural condemnation upon it but God means for us to become the light shining in the darkness with a contrast that can no longer be ignored or denied.

The American church has lingered in Nazareth far too long and we have become satisfied with decreasing expectations and have even marveled at a few healings in our midst. We have become comfortable with the picture of Jesus reading and teaching the scriptures in the Synagogue and have accepted that as a major vision for the ministry of the church. Even the few wonderful healings we have had are considered exceptions and we call them ‘supernatural’ when they are supposed to be a natural part of our DNA. But Jesus did so much more on the road and in the marketplaces on the way to Jerusalem- major healings, miracles, and the raising of the dead- all life changing events for those involved and demonstrations of the reality of the Kingdom.

Meanwhile there is an unprecedented world-wide harvest going on all around the 3rd world with millions coming to Christ with miracles and signs following. Tragically most American Christians are not even aware of the major breakthrough of the kingdom in far away places while America and the West are increasingly becoming secular in the dominant culture and world view and rejecting the very Biblical foundations on which this nation and civilization were built.

It is time to leave Nazareth and head toward our destiny in the New Jerusalem with the Kingdom breaking out in our midst all along the way. What this means is that the old preconceptions about the church and what is possible are about to change. It can no longer be contained within the four walls of the church but the Lord is calling on us to take it to the streets, neighborhoods and marketplaces.

It isn’t going to be about  few gifted leaders that people come from afar to see but like Jesus sending out the 70 (or 72):

"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. -Luke 10:2-3  ESV

It will not be about professional ministers except God has raised up pastors all around America with a vision for preparing his people- regular Christians to be involved in the coming revival and as they participate their testimonies will be just like those 70 (or 72) that Jesus sent out:

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!"  -Luke 10:17  ESV

Put it to the test and see if it is not a brand new ball game where you are. Just start praying for the sick around you and see what happens. Pray for the guy that doesn’t have a job and see if he doesn’t finally get the position of his dreams. It is a new day on the road to New Jerusalem. Not everyone will come but those who do will be blessed and they will receive a new vision for the American church and Kingdom ministry.            *Top

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-Grady: “9 Bad Charismatic Habits We Need to Break”

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J. Lee Grady has an article which lists 9 bad habits that we really should reconsider. I have experienced every one of these one time or another and it is a matter of degree in each case.

Anything that is a natural response to the Holy Spirit is one thing but when some of our actions become ‘expected’ and part of an act or when we attempt to re-create something that was a blessing at some conference or another is when we enter the territory that Grady is talking about here. It is the traditional ‘formulas’ that actual sap the strength of the Holy Spirit and drive it right out of the room.

9 Bad Charismatic Habits We Need to Break”:

1. The body slam.

2. The courtesy drop.

3. The song that never ends.

4. The amateur flag corp.

5. The wannabe telethon offering.

6. The sermon with seven endings.

7. The praise-a-go-go dancers.

8. The ear-shattering amp.

9. The "jump-start" glossalalia.

Read the whole article and what J. Lee Grady has to say about each of the nine. I will say this about “the sermon with seven endings”- I have experienced this many times in churches which don’t even believe in the ‘gifts’ so it may be an American pastoral problem in general.

Also I have been at a service where there was a ‘song that never ends’ and no one really wanted it to since the Spirit was really in it. I have also endured what Grady is talking about which is was a ‘formula’ trying to make something happen that the Holy Spirit really isn’t in.

The one listed here that has always bothered me the most is the ‘jump-start’ on tongues. Personally that was tried on me and I didn’t get it then but latter one morning when I tried to order breakfast at a restaurant. So much for my highly educated respectability. I laugh every time I think about how I struggled that morning to order my eggs and sausage.            *Top

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-Gracelines: Examples of The Kingdom Breaking Through

Anointed with Oil and Prayed for in Jesus' Nam...

                     (Photo credit: Old Shoe Woman)

Last year was an extraordinary year at VCC Laguna Niguel and 2013 seems to be even more so. ‘More’ is the key word. The church is experiencing the Kingdom breaking through in a number of different ways especially in healings and miracles.

One thing that we have decided to do in the last several years is to continue to pray for healing until proven otherwise –death proving the otherwise. Some of our congregation have finally received remarkable healings after years of prayer with no results. This has encouraged us to keep on keeping on.

Along the way we are also learning to rejoice and celebrate even minor victories when God brings any kind of relief or partial healing. Some Christians seem to find partial healings to be somewhat controversial nevertheless we are dedicated to always celebrate what ever God gives us. Yet we also continue to pray for even greater blessings.

The most important change for us came when we began to notice that healings or miracles in one area seemed to open to door and dial up the faith for others to receive similar blessings. We started calling these ‘Gracelines’ since a whole line of similar healings, miracles, and testimonies have followed.

For 5 years or more our church had become a ‘migraine free’ zone where a large number of people in our congregation who used to suffer from severe reoccurring migraine headaches had received substantial healing. Doesn’t sound like much unless you are plagued and occasionally disabled by that malady.

Then this last year one of our key leaders in our healing rooms received a remarkable healing of his eyesight in one eye which had severely degenerated. Then later he and others had prayed for a lady who was legally blind and her sight impossibly began to increase over a week or so until she could actually read again. More remarkable healings in eyesight have followed and continues to this day. In my own case, I had one eye with distorted vision. When I looked upon a straight line or board with my one eye it would look crooked to me with a jagged line in the center but after prayer one day in church that went away. Still need glasses but at my age I am truly thankful for the blessing of better eyesight.

Then another brother who had continual pain in his shoulder for 5 years was healed and it has opened to door to many others with shoulder trouble and severe pain to be healed. The testimonies are still coming in on that one. Then there was another with knee problems with similar results and breakthroughs.

Another Graceline opened when a pastor’s wife testified that she had lost a necklace that was really dear to her and prayed for its return for several days. Then one morning it just appeared around her neck. I know that is a strange one for many and I have no theological explanation for it but it has opened a door for others to pray for lost things with amazing results. Many have received dreams or visions of the location of what they had lost after prayer.

On one occasion I could not find my keys after looking everywhere I could think of for 30 minutes or so. Finally time was up and I really needed to get going to work. Usually at that point in the equation I would have been fuming and yelling at my dear wife and blaming her for moving them but then I remembered a couple of the Graceline testimonies and turned to prayer instead and immediately had a picture of myself working in the garage the evening before and found my keys right where I left them on the work table. All this may sound trivial to some but believe me my wife is even more thankful for this blessing than I am.

Then there was a couple early last year who are worship leaders/musicians who testified that they had prayed for money to pay their rent and while driving down I5 Freeway money rained down on their windshield and when they pulled over and picked it up they found that it was just enough to pay the rent with $10 left over which they gave to a homeless person the next day. Then after that another lady testified that when she went to buy a car, the vehicle she really needed was several thousand more than she knew she really had but the Lord told her to buy it anyway and when she handed over the cash she had in an envelope it somehow had multiplied and was exactly enough to complete the sale. This not only opened a door but a deluge has followed with new testimonies nearly every week.

We have started to call these- ‘mail box miracles’ since so many of the testimonies that followed have revolved around folks receiving needed prayed for unexpected money in the mail. In these dire economic times, many in our church are living from week to week trusting in God like never before to bring what is needed to support their families. One week I was a couple hundred dollars short of the expense money I needed for an out of town business trip. I had prayed for help in that area but still was completely surprised when I received a $200 check in the mail from a Christian contractor I had used for referring him to a neighbor across the street for a job. Amazing.

We have a lot of business owners in our congregation and these have been particularly tough times for small businesses but God has been faithful through it all. I will save that for another post. But another door which has been particularly significant is the ‘job’ Graceline. So many of our folks have lost jobs in this economy and have been out of work that we started actually taking time on Sunday morning to pray for those who needed new jobs or business with remarkable results. While the jobless rate in our county is still above 10% nearly everyone in our congregation is now working and paying their bills.

Bottom line- this is not revival but it is better than we have ever seen before and I have already posted about the even more remarkable things happening in our outreach ministries. But there is nothing happening here that isn’t happening or can’t happen elsewhere. It is just now happening more often. It is a matter of our faith and expectations being dialed up and increased exponentially in certain areas in response to the testimonies and experiences of other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our understanding of ‘Gracelines’ is that when you take the time to acknowledge and rejoice in what God is doing he seems to open up the door to The Kingdom breaking through even more in the same areas. We have also found that including testimonies in our regular Sunday services has encouraged our people to live by faith and include God in their everyday living. Blessings have followed, miracles and healings have increased, Gracelines have continued, and our faith, expectations, and thankfulness have gone to another level.              *Top

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-It began with a Prayer and a Miracle

imageHere’s the story of how a major radio ministry and business began with one prayer and a miracle:

Vic Eliason still remembers the exact spot on the floor where he stood with three students in 1961, praying for a miracle…

"We prayed on that spot on a Friday, believing that if God wanted us to have air time, He would have to provide it," Eliason recalled. "On Monday, the door slammed open and a man I had never seen before asked, ‘Could anybody here use some free air time?’"

That was just the beginning of a life of miracles. On another occasion Eliason was involved with trying to purchase their first radio station -a 100,000-watt station evaluated at $465,000 even though the ministry "didn’t have a dime":

"The bank said they’d look it over, to see if it would be wise for us to take on that size of an expansion. And not only did the bank suggest it was a good idea, but they also said, ‘The people you reach are your greatest resource. We urge you to do it. How much do you have to put down?’

"I went like this," Eliason said, holding his forefinger to his thumb in the shape of a zero. "’Well,’ the bank said, ‘I guess we’ll have to write your whole check.’"

Eliason could only shake his head, saying, "To God be the glory."

From there the ministry –VCY America, has grown to operate nearly 30 Christian radio stations across the mid-west and provide on-air content for dozens more.

Response: Just a good story to remind all of us in the middle of a major recession that God is still in the miracle business. Whether you are starting a ministry or a business in his name.

Thousands of ministries and churches across America got started with miracles of their own and in today’s recession keep on keeping on depending on God’s alternative kingdom economy.

This well could be the finest hour of the American church where everyone must turn to God in a new way just to pay the bills. But not only that, we are called to expand and take the Gospel to every nation. That is going to take a bunch of miracles, but Praise the Lord he is still in that business.            *Top

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