We are just back from spending 10 days in Redding, California at the Bethel Church. Wow! what a fantastic experience that was. There is such an atmosphere of Faith there. They are currently consistently seeing 400-500 supernatural healings a week, including verified healings of cancer. Naturally people are coming from all over the globe to experience healing and witness this.
I must admit that I found some of the stories a bit hard to believe at first. But I vividly remember a guy coming to our Bible college in 1993 while Helen & I were studying at BCV. He said that he had had the honor of being present at three different places when revival came on different Pacific Islands. Although he hadn’t bought it personally, he was there. He said there was just one thing that was consistent and the same at all three places. This sadly was that the established churches missing the moves of God. They said that what they saw was outside of their preconceptions of God. Right then I remember vowing to myself that I would never NOT allow God to be more than I was comfortable with or could understand & even conceive. He had to stay much much bigger than me and my ideas of Him. This vow opened a crack for faith. As I got to know these people in Redding, I can now say without a doubt that I totally believe the reports.
Here are a couple of my personal mind stretching experiences that stood out.
Prayer on a sheet: At one of the Leaders Advance meetings little pieces of material were handed out that had been prayed over at the Lakeland Florida Revival, where 8 people got out of wheelchairs in one night! Well I was just thinking about the theology of little pieces of cloth as I was watching grown men climb over each other to get one. When again I was told a story of how Bethel had been grown and stretched by God in this very area. They had been praying over pieces of cloth, prayer cloths and then people were being healed as they touched these cloths. This progressed to hearing stories of people needing healing in Africa, where these needs were specifically prayed for and imparted onto a cloth and then posted to the people, who then were healed when they received and touched this cloth. Then one day they heard of a guy who was about to die, again in Africa but this time there was no time to post anything. Someone had the idea to fax an image of the cloth to him, and Yes he also was healed after touching the fax of the cloth. Very mind stretching, but also very Cool yay God!
You cannot exactly proof text this stuff in the Bible but I so love it when God takes us through personal experiences way out there and they stretch our faith and most importantly they make Him bigger and us smaller. Go for it God and continue to stretch my little brain I pray. Give me more Faith.
Heaven: I was at an Israel prayer small group and a guy had come to share. He wasn’t the main speaker but he certainly was the main highlight for me. At the end of the meeting he was praying for people and prophesying over them. Now what he spoke over me was very encouraging with no prior knowledge he started to speak of special intimacy with God, like laying out on a carpet, or even on a rug in front of a fire, very warm and cosy with God. I knew he was talking about Tabernacle and everything else he said was also very encouraging and spot on exactly matching previous words. But as I was in the line to be prayed for by this guy I was talking to a friend asking who this guy was. I was told that he had actually died a few times, and that he had been in heaven. OK!? Then I was told that one of his favourite things to do while in Heaven was to lie in the grass and listen to the grass sing worship to God and the grass would also talk to him. The person telling me this, shared how he initially thought “Yeah right! This guy has been on to many pain killers!” Yet as he thought through this the Lord bought to his mind Jesus own words, “If they stop worshipping Me creation itself will call out to Me.” Luke 19:40
Wow! I have pondered on this & it sits well with my spirit. Standing around the throne singing praises to God does sound great but eternity is a long time, so some time lying in the grass having it talk and sing sounds pretty good to me too… Heavenly even 🙂
Crazy faith: I was sitting in the lounge of our hosts in Redding talking to Jim. I was telling him of our journey to even get there & how God had clearly indicated to us that He wanted us to do this trip to America. How we had come not knowing exactly why we were going but knowing very clearly who had asked us. I shared how we ‘in FAITH’ put the $8000 airfares onto our Credit Card as we knew ‘God who is good’ had asked us to proceed, & that this was still a debt, but God was currently growing us in Faith to still believe His call and Goodness even when we had not yet seen His provision. Jim shifted in his seat and said, “Oh you are ‘crazy Faith’ people. We love hanging around people like you.” I was honoured. It reminded me of a friend in Australia who once said that as she wondered at our faith, she also wondered if we weren’t fruit loops. But how she hankered for God to be that Big and reliable to her. We love you God and while today that provision is still coming for the airfares, we simply say, “Thank you and you are Good!”