Hey! We have been praying for the deceased regularly lately. In the last few weeks we have had the opportunity to pray for three people, and one was brought back to life. Chalk up another one for God. He still raises the dead as He commanded us to do in Matthew 10:8.
At the same time, it seems that success is many times coupled with setback, and we found ourselves saying goodbye to a good friend of ours, Cathy Campbell. We will miss her, and pray that her death will serve to light a fire of deeper passion and anger in our hearts to seek Him for an answer to defeating not only cancer, but death itself. Premature death is a work of the enemy, not a mysterious act of God.
We just got back from a trip to the Mother Lode region of California, specifically, the town of Sonora. This region happens to be one of the main areas during the Gold Rush that was overrun by optimistic seekers that were believing for something great to happen. The same expectation that was carried in the hearts of these early-day pioneers still resides in this area today by those that love Jesus. We were blown away by the gold that we found in this place, both in miracles that God worked during our time there, and in the people we had the honor of coming into relationship with. They are now family.
They call themselves the S.H.O.P.; a group of young adults that worship Jesus. Because of the honor they have sown throughout their region, they have managed to have influence with adults and churches on a wide spectrum. Fifteen churches were represented on Sunday night when Christine and I spoke about revival and fire. The S.H.O.P. loves God and others with everything they have, worship with the violence and passion of unharnessed wild horses, and pray until mountains voluntarily head for the sea. Their hearts have created a spiritual atmosphere of great faith that made it easy for us to come and sow a spirit of revival in their midst. What follows is an account of the miracles that we have heard about....
One of my favorites was a granny that got her hearing back. God opened her ear and she kept yelling, “Everything is so loud now.” We would just laugh.
A homeless man’s neck was made well. He had a herniated disk in his neck, so problematic that it actually bulged out so far that you could feel it when you touched his neck. I prayed for him, and with my hand still on his neck, actuallyfelt the disk shrink down and return to normal size. Before this day I have never felt something physically shift and change as I prayed, but that is different now. Wow God.
A man’s back that had degenerative disks coupled with arthritic pain for 30 years got instantly healed towards the end of the preaching while he was just sitting in his seat.
Three different people experienced the pain of arthritis vanish as my good friend Adam Short prayed for them.
Teeth that were cracked became whole, legs and arms that had damaged ligaments were restored, throat pain ended, ankle pain and popping quit, lesions caused by MRSA shrank, and tumors depleted.
A few people gave their lives to the Lord for the first time. I asked them if they wanted to get baptized that night (why wait, right?), and after explaining to them why we should get baptized and what it is, they said they wanted to. We jumped in a nearby pool, and two brothers of mine named Steven and Andrew took up the honor of baptizing them.
What happened next was beautiful. Though totally unplanned, people started lining up to get baptized. It was one of those moments where nobody is working anything up or persuading people to do anything, yet people are flocking to God. God was moving on people’s hearts, and one by one a person would get in the pool, tell the crowd why they wanted to be baptized and how they loved Jesus, then under they went. Steven and Andrew, two 21 year old men, were baptizing without church building, without ordination, without cemetery training (oops, I mean seminary), and without salary. Maybe those are a few reasons why they were without crippling pride and showmanship, without inauthenticity, and without control.
Soon people started jumping in the pool when a relative was about to be baptized, knowing that it was right for them to baptize their own family rather than Steven or Andrew. The two gladly stood back and gave the honor of baptizing to others, as any empowering leader would. It was nobody’s show but God’s. A boyfriend that had only been saved one month, lead to Jesus by the girlfriend, prayed for and baptized the girlfriend. Some church leaders would cringe at this, but Jesus doesn’t do things the way man contrives. The feeling of family, genuineness, and freedom floated in the air. Wasn’t this, in the cool of night, crowded around the shallow end of a person’s backyard pool, church as it should be?
We could go on about the translations, or the newly formed Sonora Dead Raising Team, but simply said....Jesus is beautiful, as are His people.