Nov 29, 2009

Lakewood Shooting

I'm on duty this morning in Lakewood, Washington. It's been a difficult day and I'm only a few hours into the shift. Sundays are usually calm. We wash the rigs, have breakfast, and find a place that has a TV to catch some of the football action. We might run a few calls, but it's usually a laid back pace on Sunday. But not this Sunday.

A few minutes after I arrived, the acting supervisor greeted me with his prediction - "Dave, it's gonna be a crazy day." While doing rig check, I noticed there was a lot of traffic on the fire radios. We took a call with engine 2 for seizures, but got cancelled my a medic unit already on scene. A few minutes later, we were on our way for an emergency cath lab transfer. Our patient was on a couple of drips with a 90% occlusion of the right coronary atrery. We loaded him and headed for the rig. As we went by the ER waiting room, I glanced at the TV and saw the headline..."Four police officers shot and killed in Lakewood". A sick feeling came over me. Then I thought - "What the hell is going on around here?" It was only days ago when a Seattle police officer was shot in his police cruiser. Now this.

Before I could process the shooting, we had to take care of our patient. As we approached our destination, I asked if I could pray with him. It was hard to get the words out but I awkwardly blurted out something and he said 'sure', so I prayed with him. We gowned up and headed for the cath lab and transferred him to the procedure table. After we got the gear put away, we headed for the ER break room, we joined the folks gathered around the TV. As we watched the scene unfold we talked about what would make someone want to target a group of cops at a coffee shop. It's hard to understand the workings of a criminal mind.

I wondered if there might be a group of men with the same agenda; men who believe they can somehow eliminate the police in our area. The man arrested in the Seattle shooting seems to have had this plan in mind. That's a frightening thought. How are police (and public servants in general) supposed to guard against such plans?

I moved to the Puget Sound area in 1995. I worked in several big cities prior, including Nashville and Milwaukee. I've had a lot of contact with law enforcement during my career. Police and fire departments are all a little different. The differences flow out of what kind of attitudes and behaviors the Chief officers tolerate and encourage. I have to say this about the police in Pierce county and the cities of Lakewood and Tacoma; I've never witnessed a single case of excessive use of force by any of the cops I've met. They have great attitudes and are a pleasure to work with. I'm amazed at the crap they have to put up with and their level of professionalism and self-control.

If you've been around for a while, you've probably seen a few episodes of "Cops". Many of them were filmed in Lakewood, Parkland and Spanaway. I don't know if any of the officers who died were on the show. No names have been released yet. But the show gives examples of the kind of lawlessness these officers were trying to protect us from. Today, four of them paid the ultimate price to keep us safe. I've often think about the things that put me in danger me at work. There aren't many. I shiver at the thought of what it must be like working as a cop. Never knowing if the next traffic stop will be someone with gun who knows how to use it. I could never do it, but I'm grateful for men and women who do.

I hope the shooter is found. I'd ask you'll join me in prayer for the friends and families of the fallen officers and pray for the safety of  their co-workers. I found an encouraging message this morning. My Google homepage has a daily bible verse below the news and weather forecast. Here's the verse for today: "Be sure of this, the wicked will not go unpunished, but the righteous will go free." (Prov. 11:21)

One final's ironic that such wickedness comes on the eve of another great move of God. As we gather in mourning for our fallen brothers, God is about to bring an outpouring to this very same place. It's almost here. Truly we can say, "where sin abounds, grace abounds much more".

Nov 28, 2009


When someone asks me if they should fast, I usually say, "It depends". Whether or not you should fast depends on what you want to accomplish. Since most who ask are merely interested in healing, my answer is often, 'no'. It isn't necessary to fast before you can heal the sick.

Jesus gave his disciples authority over all the power of the enemy and this authority encompasses healing and was not dependent on fasting. Having said this, the next question is whether or not fasting has any benefit to the believer. I believe it does, and there may be a benefit to those who operate in healing, but first let’s examine some misconceptions about fasting.

Fasting has developed a bad reputation in some circles. Many people who operate successfully in healing are strongly opposed to it. Others believe it’s essential to spend time fasting before the sick can be healed. Beliefs about fasting have been taken to extremes in both directions. Personally, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The biblical narrative on fasting isn’t crystal clear, which accounts for some of the disagreement. You could support almost any view using the right verses.

Some teach that fasting was part of the old covenant and as such, it has no application today, because we live under a new covenant. Their objection is that fasting, because it is done as a ritual in order to keep the law, can become a form of legalism. In this assertion, they are correct. If we believe that fasting or any of our acts will impress God we are mistaken. (See Rom. 3:28) Keeping rules and performing rituals will never make us righteousness. Fasting that is done to maintain or earn a righteous standing with God is useless. But this isn’t the only reason for fasting and God is always interested in the motives behind our actions.

Fasting could be seen not as an attempt to keep the law, but as a spiritual principle used to accomplish certain things. There are principles taught in the scriptures that are eternal, spiritual principles, which bear fruit to those who desire their benefits; and I believe fasting is one of them. Moses, Elijah and Jesus all spent long times of fasting. They heard God’s voice more clearly than anyone of their day and collectively, they worked countless miracles. Jesus performed no miracles until after he spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness. (Matt. 4:2)

Fasting can be done for health benefits but for the believer interested in healing, one advantage of fasting is that it helps put to death the flesh. The ‘flesh’ is a biblical term for our bodily desires. Our spirit and our flesh are constantly at war with each other. (Gal. 5:17) When we’re hungry, we eat, which feeds the body and keeps our flesh happy and in control of things. When we fast, the goal is to decrease the dominion and power of our bodily desires (the flesh) over the life and power of our spirit man. When we do this – our spirit man becomes stronger and more dominant. A stronger spirit is more aware of God’s presence and that creates greater faith and confidence in what He wants to accomplish through us.

The western world seems to be wedded to a lifestyle of eating. How do we deal with the problem of meals at work? Some of us eat at the nearest cafĂ©, some carry containers of food to work and many of us forage on whatever we can find in break rooms. I’m as guilty as anyone. The hospitals where I work put out free chips, sandwiches and cookies in their EMS rooms. Some provide free meals for us in their cafeterias. Our skylines are littered with fast food joints screaming for attention. For some of us, eating is no longer a means to provide fuel for our body. It’s become an obsession, a ritual, and an expensive lifestyle.

We need an awareness of our lifestyle if we ever hope to make changes to it. The apostle Paul said we shouldn’t be conformed to the world’s ways, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Rom. 12:2) If we are to grow and develop a lifestyle of healing, we must consider our present way of living and admit two things; few of us actually hear God as often or as clearly as we’d like to. And few of us consistently see the kind of victory over the enemy that we’d like to.

In the Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. Immediately following this, he taught them how to fast:

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Mat. 6:16-18)

Jesus taught his disciples how to fast in this passage, but according to the disciples of John the Baptist, they didn’t make a habit of fasting. (See Matt. 9:14) The disciples were able to heal the sick and cast out demons without fasting; that is, until they failed to heal the boy with seizures. When they asked why they failed, Jesus said it was because of unbelief. He then said their unbelief (or lack of confidence) resulted from their failure to spend time in prayer and fasting. (Matt. 17:21) The implication of His comment is that if the disciples had obeyed his teaching and spent time in prayer and fasting, they would have had the faith needed to cast the demon out.

From this, I would conclude that fasting is neither essential, nor useless. Fasting should be seen as optional for the believer interested in healing. It wasn’t required for the disciples to heal the sick and cast out most of the demons they encountered. Likewise, most of the healing and deliverance we’ll do can be done without fasting. But there are certain adversaries that require greater faith to conquer. That level of faith comes only through prayer and fasting. If healing a few people once in a while is your goal, it probably isn’t necessary to fast. But if you plan to do warfare against demons on a regular basis, it may afford you an advantage.

Jesus didn’t create a long list of rules about fasting. He kept it simple; when you fast, don’t make a public show of it and don’t be a hypocrite. Fasting isn’t about looking spiritual or impressing anyone. It’s between you and the Father. He left the specifics up to them.

Looking at scripture, it’s apparent that fasting was done a couple of different ways. Some people seemed to fast once or twice for a long period - typically forty days. Moses, Elijah and Jesus fasted this way. (See Ex. 34:28, 1 Kings 19:8 and Luke 4:1-2) Daniel fasted for 21 days before receiving a vision of future events from the angel Michael. (Dan. 10:3) But not everyone followed this example. Some made a habit to fast on a regular basis, and seemed to fast for shorter periods of time. The apostle Paul, the disciples of John the Baptist, Cornelius and Anna, the woman who served at the temple all fasted routinely and for shorter periods of time. (See Matt 9:14, 2 Cor. 11:27, Acts 10:30 and Luke 2:37)

Many instances of fasting are recorded in the Old Testament. They generally had to do with the death of a beloved person, times of prayer and intercession for approaching military conflicts and for divine guidance in personal and public affairs. Fewer are recorded in the New Testament, but fasting was done when decisions were made concerning the appointing of elders (Acts 14:23) and when the disciples were instructed by the Holy Spirit to send out Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey (Acts 13:2).

Now I’d like to share my personal experiences. I’ve had about as many failures as I’ve had victories in this area. But with every fall, I learned something about myself and about God, and I haven’t regretted any of it. Fasting is a very personal thing. Your experiences will be different from mine. The value in this discussion is to share the positive things I’ve experienced to give you hope that you’ll see some of them, too. My assignments, gifts and calling are different from yours. What you get out of fasting will depend on what God has called you to do.

I first tried fasting years ago during a difficult time of my life. I felt like I needed to hear God’s voice during a time of testing and trials. My first fast was for 1 day. It didn’t seem that difficult. Since then, I’ve talked with others who felt they were going to die just trying to go 1 day without eating. Everyone is different. I may have had an advantage; I’d been working 24 hour shifts as a paramedic for about 20 years. I’ve often been so busy running calls while on duty that I didn’t have time to eat. My mind may have received some prior training that helped me with the discipline of fasting.

My second fast was for 3 days. That was a lot more difficult, but I made it, drinking only water. The hardest part was ignoring my stomach, which grumbled continually. At the end of the third day, I did feel slightly less earth-bound, and I began to sense God’s voice a little more clearly. A week or so after this, I fasted for 6 days, eating no food; only water and some juice. As I progressed further into the time of fasting, God’s voice became easier to discern and the tug and pull of the cares of the world grew faint. After 3 days, the sensation of hunger left. Resisting the urge to eat on days 4, 5 and 6 was easy. I spent some time alone on day 6, asking things of God and listening for answers. When I was satisfied I had all the information I needed, I began eating again. Most people agree that hunger seems to dissipate after 3 days.

I didn’t fast again for a couple of years. I hadn’t felt a need for it, but God did. He tried in different ways to alert me to the need for fasting, but I was unaware of it. He finally got my attention and I began once again, gradually working my way up to longer periods of fasting. That’s one of the points I’d like to suggest. Begin with a reachable goal and after you succeed – go a little longer the next time. I found that doubling the length of time was a reasonable goal for me. I began at 3 days, then 6 then 12. The longest I’ve fasted so far is 19 days.

I prefer to fast without eating any type of solid food and I generally just drink water. That's just my personal preference. I have a friend who did a 21- day vegetable fast, similar to the one the prophet Daniel did. He had great results and began having visions and powerful dreams during and after the time of fasting. My wife prefers to make a vegetable broth when she fasts. Some people skip one meal a day on a certain day of the week and others fast the entire day. If you work long hours, you might want to fast at work and eat at home. If you feel weak or dizzy while fasting, check your blood sugar. If you have diabetes, liver problems or other health issues consult your doctor before fasting.

I'd like to suggest a few things about listening to God. Be very aware of what He is saying during this time, and be obedient to whatever He asks of you. Drawing closer to God should always be the focus of fasting. Several times while I was fasting, God gave me instructions and I tried to dismiss it as the enemy talking to me.

After feeling like I should take a few mineral supplements to prevent leg cramps, God told me to stop taking them. I didn’t listen. So he gave me a dream about buying mango, pineapple and orange juice at a store. The worship leader, Paul Baloche was working behind the counter. This told me the dream was a dream from God. I stopped taking the supplements and bought juice the next day and never had leg cramps. I’ve also had God tell me to stop fasting before the time I had chosen to stop. Naturally, I rebuked the evil spirit, and continued on my holy quest. Eventually God spoke loudly enough to convince me I was just being disobedient.

Matt Sorger has some good advice on fasting; “Don’t forget to pray – otherwise it’s just a diet.” I was guilty of ignoring God completely while fasting for 5 days. I was busy doing other things. During that fast I never spent more than a few minutes at a time thinking about God or seeking His instruction. It was a waste of time, except that I learned to pursue God more diligently the next time.

God can tell you when it’s time to fast, so ask Him. In March of 2009, He gave me a dream about fasting, which I’ll share. In the dream, I was preparing for a trip. I created a special pillow I made with memory foam. I added another pillow inside the pillowcase. I was telling some friends about it. I also had a water bottle with a removable panel that had two parts to it. Another guy had the same bottle. In the dream, we were washing them. I was explaining to him how to clean the bottle thoroughly. Finally, I was in front of a mirror and I noticed I had really flat abs – no spare tire at all, and I was very tan.”

There were four things in this dream that spoke of fasting. One was the water bottle, because I carry one with me when I’m fasting. The pillow also does because God increases revelation through dreams when I fast. Flat abs speaks of fasting because I lose 1 to 2 pounds a day while fasting and going on a trip symbolizes the spiritual journey we take. The memory foam pillow was the way God prompted me to remember the things I would experience, including journaling my dreams.

Weight loss is inevitable when you fast. How much you’ll lose depends on your metabolism, activity and method of fasting. I’ll warn you – the weight you lose during fasting is even easier to put back on afterward, unless you make it a routine or alter your lifestyle following the time of fasting.

If you’re single, fasting can be done independently as often as you choose, with little regard for the needs of others. But I’m a family man and fasting creates issues for families that should be discussed beforehand. If your family has a routine of eating meals together – having one person who doesn’t eat can be a problem. Discuss it with your family and come to an understanding before you start. Having your spouse join you in fasting may be a good option.

I’ll close with this final story. The time that I fasted for 19 days was an incredible experience. After 12 days, I began to hear God’s voice very clearly. After 18 days I heard Him constantly. All day long, wherever I went God was speaking to me as clearly as anyone else. I didn’t hear an audible voice, but it was a clearly discernable inner voice. I had the most amazing dreams and I began to have visions every time I closed my eyes. He gave me a private bible study from a couple of different chapters. The first one was in Genesis. He spoke to me about how before the fall, He and Adam had a relationship like I was experiencing during the time I fasted. He told me that this was how our relationship was intended to be from the beginning. He went on to explain that it was my choice to enter into this experience, and I could go as deep in it as I wanted to. There were many other things He told me that morning as well. I’d like to encourage you to consider spending some time fasting. You’ll grow in the spirit of wisdom and power, and the secret things of God will become yours

Nov 25, 2009

Sometimes It’s Obvious

We were on our way to an interfacility call when traffic slowed to a stop. I just love people who pass you on the shoulder of the freeway just to get one car-length ahead of you. A couple of state troopers passed us with their lights on. The fire radio told us an engine and ladder were headed our way. We hailed dispatch and told them we would be delayed on the call as we approached the MVA. Being the closest unit, they sent us priority. The cat in the Camry, forcing his way through traffic wasn’t happy when we came up behind him. My partner resisted the urge to take him into the wall.

The black sedan was crushed, kissing the concrete wall on the bridge. Walking through the debris field I stepped around the tire lying on the road, which had been ripped off. I approached the car and asked the driver how she was. “I f***ing hurt all over!” Nice opening line…very classy. I introduced myself and asked her name. We extricated her and got her moving toward the hospital. On the way she continued cursing and making excuses for hitting the wall.

Our second patient was a middle-aged man who’d been having near-syncopal episodes for a couple weeks. He became dizzy and sweaty. When he got up he almost passed out. His heart rate was 36; his systolic pressure was around 100. No mystery here, he needed a trip to the cath lab. He told us one of the episodes happened while he was in church.

If you had to guess which patient I prayed for – who would you pick?

Patients can reveal things that are like an invitation to prayer. I look at bookshelves in people’s homes for bibles and spiritual reading materials. Many times you can tell the spiritual climate of a home by what is displayed on their walls. If a patient mentions going to church – there’s a good chance they’ll be receptive to prayer. During our transport of the man with bradycardia, I asked if I could pray with him. He was glad I asked and thanked me afterward. I was encouraged by the clue he gave about attending church.

What other clues are there that a patient may be open to prayer? Clothing and jewelry sometimes contain clues. During inter-facility transports you might look at the face sheet from the hospital. The Catholic hospitals in our area usually indicate a religious preference somewhere. It may help you make the decision. But don’t rely on it too much. I’ve had many patients allow me to pray with them – but they had NRP (no religious preference) on their face sheet.

Looking for clues can be helpful  – especially when you’re new to praying with patients. Don’t forget that God can give you all the information you need. It’s a good use of time and resources to spend a few minutes asking God what He has planned. He’ll never steer you wrong.

Nov 24, 2009

Praying & Partners

One problem we face when we decide to pray for our patients is the comfort level of our co-workers with prayer. In this post I'd like to address pre-hospital EMS partners, but the concept applies to other partnerships as well. What we do and how we are perceived can affect how people see our partner. The person we spend 24 hours with has a right to expect certain things from us. I cringe when I have to work with a partner who is immature. They inevitably say or do something that makes us both look stupid. There’s a lot of ‘guilt by association’ in EMS. We need to be respectful of work partnerships.

There are a couple of things you can do to make the road a little smoother. One is to have an open discussion with your partner about your desire to pray for patients. But do your homework first. Anticipate the objections they might bring up and have good answers to their questions. Be considerate of your partner’s feelings and give them time to think about it. Don’t be pushy.

Know why you want to pray for patients. Is your motive more about evangelism than healing? This won't go over well with some people. Prayer leads people to think about religion. Mixing religion and work makes people uncomfortable. I try to keep the focus on healing and not religion. I keep my speech as secular as possible. That takes some deliberate thinking and avoiding words common to our religious language of 'Christianese'.

Give some thought to how you might approach patients to ask them about prayer. Consider the fact that some will say no, and how you’ll handle this. Consider the flow of patient care – some calls are too fast-paced to allow a lot of time for prayer. You don't want to delay treatment for prayer - that's negligence. Think about when might be the best time to ask patients about it.

If you work for an employer that has a lot of turnover, you might have the opportunity to change partners. Recruiting someone you know who is open to prayer can be helpful, but it didn’t work for me. I had a couple of partners who were cool with me praying for patients. Then we had a couple of system re-bids and I lost them. I tried to recruit a ‘prayer-friendly’ partner both times, to no avail. In the end, God’s plan prevailed and he hooked me up with the perfect partner. But it didn’t happen until I had already decided to pray for my patients. That’s worth thinking about.

Once you make the decision to pray for your patients, expect things to change. You’ll get a lot of positive feedback – your partner might like it, even if they aren’t sold on prayer at first. People will eventually be healed. Your partner might be thrilled at this. It might happen the first time you pray, it might take a week or a few months. In many cases, you won’t know what the result is. If people find out you’re praying for patients, and it goes well, other believers may follow your lead. It might even become a normal thing where you work.

I’d encourage you to step out in faith. God wants to heal your patients. Work out a reasonable agreement with your partner and watch what God does.

Nov 23, 2009

Throat Cancer Healed

This is the testimony of a woman who was healed of throat cancer after several hours of prayer at Bethel Church in Redding, California.

Nov 21, 2009

Northwest Healing Explosion

Need healing? Need to be activated in the gift of healing? This is a great way to get started. There is a city-wide event being held through the end of the month in the Seattle area. Registration is recommended but not required for these events, which take place at different locations. A link to the schedule is posted below.

Nov 20, 2009

Alcohol & Demons

It's been a slow stretch on the MIPU. My shift starts at 7am. My first call yesterday came at 3:30. I've been doing a lot of praying in my spare time- mostly asking for the Holy Spirit to bring revival and that my friends and patients would be healed. I'm going to discuss demons (briefly) in this post. It's something most of us deal with almost daily whether we know it or not. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about demons and spirits. I'm studying them now and learning all I can. I'll post more on the subject in the near future.

My first patient yesterday was a man with a life-long alcohol problem. We transferred him from one facility to another. As we arrived at the destination, I asked if I could pray for him. He smiled and said, "sure you can pray for me." I took his hand and closed my eyes and prayed. It was primarily for strength and victory against the enemy. It was short and to the point. I didn't see anything in the spirit.

Our second (and last) patient was having suicidal thoughts. She was just released from a treatment center the previous day for the same thing. Sounded like she's been dealing with it for a long time. Our patient was taking her meds, a long list of them, and she was still suffering continual feelings of worthlessness. This is all too common in emergency medicine; the revolving door of mental health care where patients are bounced from one place to the next and never get better. I won't rant too much, except to say that it ticks me off how much money is spent on mental health treatment and how little impact is made.

I drove. My partner was in back. The transport was exactly one mile. After we arrived, I went in the back of the rig and asked the patient a few questions about her plan. I asked if the thought it would really all be over when she died. She knew it wouldn't. We talked briefly about the spirit being an eternal being that continues on after the body dies. I told her if she thought it was bad now - it could be a lot worse in eternity. She nodded in agreement; she knew what I meant. As we walked to the ER waiting room I asked if she heard voices. I used to be afraid to discuss this with patients. Trust me- they don't mind talking about it. It's a daily reality for many people. The voices they hear are just as real as your relatives.

She said, "yeah, I hear them all the time". Next question... Do you know who the voices are? "Yeah, they're demons". I asked if she wanted them gone. "Yeah, that would be great." I told her I had a little experience in helping people get rid of demons and asked if I could pray for her. She said yes. In the entry to the waiting room, I took her hand and commanded the demons to leave her in the name of Jesus. I spoke to them and told them she was off limits and cancelled their assignment. When I was done, she thanked me and we walked to the registration desk. I told her God loved her and that he had a great plan for her life. I didn't lead her in the sinner's prayer, I just encouraged her with some good news about God and his kingdom. That is what Jesus told his disciples to do.

There are a multitude of questions we could ask: How do you know the voices were really demons? If they were, how do you know they left? If they left, won't they just come back? On and on the questions go. I'm in a position of limited knowledge, and I kinda like it. I feel it's my part to do what Jesus said - cast out demons, heal the sick, (one day) raise the dead and tell people about the kingdom of God. (Mat. 10:8) What happens after I do this isn't my problem, except that I'll pray for her continued deliverance.

The question is not why we should trust God to deliver people from demons, but why we should continue believing Haldol, Seroquel and Resperdal are going to do it, when they haven't in the past. It's a world- view battle. And if you work in healthcare, you're involved, like it or not. We can't expect psychiatrists to accept the idea that demons exist. If they do - they might have to admit they aren't the experts in human behavior they claim to be. If demons and spirits are behind all this bizarre behavior, and the bible is right, instead of prescribing pills, they should be casting out demons too. Not a likely scenario. Our patients know that demons are real. Jesus said they are real. If He was wrong, we have bigger problems than anyone. If we're honest, we'll admit they are too. It's time for us to say, 'the emperor has no clothes.' (see post here for an explanation of this reference)

The Emperor's New Clothes

This is a story by Hans Christian Anderson. I'm posting a modern version of it because I make reference to it from time to time and some may never have read it. Enjoy!

Once upon a time there lived a vain Emperor whose only worry in life was to dress in elegant clothes. He changed clothes almost every hour and loved to show them off to his people.
Word of the Emperor's refined habits spread over his kingdom and beyond. Two scoundrels who had heard of the Emperor's vanity decided to take advantage of it. They introduced themselves at the gates of the palace with a scheme in mind.

"We are two very good tailors and after many years of research we have invented an extraordinary method to weave a cloth so light and fine that it looks invisible. As a matter of fact it is invisible to anyone who is too stupid and incompetent to appreciate its quality."

The chief of the guards heard the scoundrel's strange story and sent for the court chamberlain. The chamberlain notified the prime minister, who ran to the Emperor and disclosed the incredible news. The Emperor's curiosity got the better of him and he decided to see the two scoundrels.

"Besides being invisible, your Highness, this cloth will be woven in colors and patterns created especially for you." The emperor gave the two men a bag of gold coins in exchange for their promise to begin working on the fabric immediately.

"Just tell us what you need to get started and we'll give it to you." The two scoundrels asked for a loom, silk, gold thread and then pretended to begin working. The Emperor thought he had spent his money quite well: in addition to getting a new extraordinary suit, he would discover which of his subjects were ignorant and incompetent. A few days later, he called the old and wise prime minister, who was considered by everyone as a man with common sense.

"Go and see how the work is proceeding," the Emperor told him, "and come back to let me know."

The prime minister was welcomed by the two scoundrels.

"We're almost finished, but we need a lot more gold thread. Here, Excellency! Admire the colors, feel the softness!" The old man bent over the loom and tried to see the fabric that was not there. He felt cold sweat on his forehead.

"I can't see anything," he thought. "If I see nothing, that means I'm stupid! Or, worse, incompetent!" If the prime minister admitted that he didn't see anything, he would be discharged from his office.

"What a marvelous fabric, he said then. "I'll certainly tell the Emperor." The two scoundrels rubbed their hands gleefully. They had almost made it. More thread was requested to finish the work.

Finally, the Emperor received the announcement that the two tailors had come to take all the measurements needed to sew his new suit.

"Come in," the Emperor ordered. Even as they bowed, the two scoundrels pretended to be holding large roll of fabric.

"Here it is your Highness, the result of our labour," the scoundrels said. "We have worked night and day but, at last, the most beautiful fabric in the world is ready for you. Look at the colors and feel how fine it is." Of course the Emperor did not see any colors and could not feel any cloth between his fingers. He panicked and felt like fainting. But luckily the throne was right behind him and he sat down. But when he realized that no one could know that he did not see the fabric, he felt better. Nobody could find out he was stupid and incompetent. And the Emperor didn't know that everybody else around him thought and did the very same thing.

The farce continued as the two scoundrels had foreseen it. Once they had taken the measurements, the two began cutting the air with scissors while sewing with their needles an invisible cloth.

"Your Highness, you'll have to take off your clothes to try on your new ones." The two scoundrels draped the new clothes on him and then held up a mirror. The Emperor was embarrassed but since none of his bystanders were, he felt relieved.

"Yes, this is a beautiful suit and it looks very good on me," the Emperor said trying to look comfortable. "You've done a fine job."

"Your Majesty," the prime minister said, "we have a request for you. The people have found out about this extraordinary fabric and they are anxious to see you in your new suit." The Emperor was doubtful showing himself naked to the people, but then he abandoned his fears. After all, no one would know about it except the ignorant and the incompetent.

"All right," he said. "I will grant the people this privilege." He summoned his carriage and the ceremonial parade was formed. A group of dignitaries walked at the very front of the procession and anxiously scrutinized the faces of the people in the street. All the people had gathered in the main square, pushing and shoving to get a better look. An applause welcomed the regal procession. Everyone wanted to know how stupid or incompetent his or her neighbor was but, as the Emperor passed, a strange murmur rose from the crowd.

Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: "Look at the Emperor's new clothes. They're beautiful!"

"What a marvellous train!"

"And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life!" They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted.

A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage.

"The Emperor is naked," he said.

"Fool!" his father reprimanded, running after him. "Don't talk nonsense!" He grabbed his child and took him away. But the boy's remark, which had been heard by the bystanders, was repeated over and over again until everyone cried:

"The boy is right! The Emperor is naked! It's true!"

The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He though it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn't see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary mantle.

Nov 18, 2009

Healing - Our Responsiblity or God's?

In the short time I've been interested in the subject of healing, a thorny problem has repeatedly confronted me. I did some thinking on it. Here's what I found out: the Christian world is divided into two camps; or three, if you count those who take the middle ground. At issue is a centuries-old debate about man's responsibility and God's sovereignty; Calvinism and Arminianism. These mind-sets and arguments have infected the waters of healing.

I won't bore you with a long discussion on the theological points of this argument. If you're interested in learning more, you can google it. I had an old friend who insisted on arguing his Calvinistic world-view with me every time we met. He drove me crazy. God mercifully removed this 'thorn in the flesh' from my life. I've never had a desire to return to this debate.

I'll summarize for you the basic points of these two views; Calvinism was named after the reformer John Calvin. It's main emphasis is on the sovereignty of God. There are varying degrees to which adherents follow this teaching. Some are moderate, some are quite extreme; to the point of stating that man is without free will. Arminianism, takes it's name from Jacobus Arminius. Followers of Arminianism stress the reality of man's free will and tend to minimize the sovereignty of God. Both sides will cite piles of scripture verses to support their view.

If the bible gives support to both sides; perhaps both arguments are valid. In searching the bible, that's just what I found. In several passages, the bible reveals the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man in the same passage. I'll give an example.The first part of this verse (in teal) stresses man's responsiblity, the second (in red) discusses God's sovereignty. "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)

Here's another verse, again I'll show man's responsibility in teal and God's sovereignty in red: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” ( Acts 2:36 )
I particularly like this verse because the free will of man is bracketed inside the sovereign will of God. There are other similar verses, but I think you get the point.

I'd like to offer my conclusion on the matter - both views are right in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny. Calvinists are right when they say that God is sovereign over all He does. They are mistaken if they believe man has nothing to do with making it come to pass. Likewise, an Arminian is right in saying we must apprehend for ourselves all that is available in God, but he is dead wrong if he teaches that God is not in charge of things. Much of this foolishness has found it's way into modern teaching about healing.

Calvinism in Healing
Over-emphasis on God's sovereignty is perhaps the biggest problem in healing today. Most people who dare to ask God for healing eventually utter the words,"thy will be done..." It's essentially equal to, "I don't know if I'm worthy of healing, or if God even hears my prayers." Particularly in more conservative streams of the church, there's a pervasive teaching that we can never really know if it's God's will to heal anyone. It stands as a kind of wall between us and God, preventing us from coming boldly before the throne of grace and asking for His healing grace to make us whole.

I'll suggest to you my personal feelings on the root cause of the problem and let you decide for yourself. For centuries the church has been led by 3 of the 5 types of leaders Jesus appointed to the church - the pastor, teacher and the occasional evangelist. (See Eph. 4:11) The apostle and prophet have been absent. I see the apostles as spiritual mothers and fathers who help the church grow into maturity. The prophet is essentially the 'eyes' of the church, taking revelatory information from God and passing it on to the body. The absence has created two problems; one is a perpetually immature body, the other is a body that is blind to the will of God.

In the last century the prophetic gift has slowly been restored to the body, though not yet to fullness. The last 30 years or so has brought a gradual restoration of the apostolic. As we see these gifts restored, there has also been an interesting change in healing. In a recent interview, Bill Johnson and Randy Clark both noted a dramatic upward shift almost every year in the number of people and the kinds of diseases they have seen healed. They both report sudden healing of diseases no one ever saw healed in modern times, and in great numbers.

One of the key tools to healing is prophetic revelation. Healers who are given detailed information from God about medical conditions, demonic oppression, childhood problems and such are in a much better position to see breakthrough than those who pray without them. There is much we can know about God's will in healing specific problems. It's our responsibility to ask and receive then act on it. In the words of Todd White, "God reveals it, to heal it."

We must stop thinking that God's will is a secret we can never know, or that God's plan is completely outside our understanding. Words of knowledge, dreams and other sources of revelation are at our disposal if we pursue them. Even more so, we must believe that God wants to heal a great many people, whether we know it or not.

Arminianism In Healing
My wife suffers from chronic neck pain. She's had more people pray for her in the last year than I can count. Like many people, she's grown weary of it for several reasons. One reason is the comments she receives from some of the people who've prayed for her:

"You need to learn how to receive your healing."
"Jesus paid the price already, you simply need to believe you're healed and you will be."
"The bible says by his stripes you were healed- that means in God's eyes it's already done."
"You have to take your healing by force and refuse to let the enemy steal it away from you".
"Maybe there's something blocking your healing like bitterness or unforgivenness that you need to repent of."

Need I say more?

These are some of the 'helpful' observations we tend give to our bewildered friends when they aren't healed. Like Job's uninformed friends hurling accusation at him, needing an explanation for failure, we blame our brother or sister. It's all on's responsibility. I've found that most people who operate in the gift of healing are extremely Arminian in their thinking, almost to the point of excluding God's sovereignty from the equation. This seems very destructive to me for a couple of reasons.

I've noticed how my wife tends to avoid certain people when they come around. They'll always ask about her neck pain, always offer to pray for her and always offer some observation about a lack of faith or some other problem what's preventing her from being healed. It doesn't take much of this to completely discourage people from seeking prayer. The afflicted person feels condemned and worthless, feeling that the pain of their affliction is better than the disappointment and hurtful, accusing explanations they always hear after they aren't healed.

A man suffers paralysis from a stroke. Over the years he frequently receives prayer for healing, to no avail. One day he's approached by a well-meaning would-be-healer.

Healer: Mind if I pray for you to be healed?
Paralytic: I've had a lot of people pray for me in the past, but nothing ever happened.
Healer: Well, I believe God wants you healed. The bible says, "By his stripes you were healed, that's past tense, it already happened so we need to bring that reality into your body today.
Paralytic: I think God has a purpose for me to be like this. I think he's trying to build character into my life through trial and difficulty.
Healer: Sickness and suffering are of the devil! God wants all his children to be healthy, and the enemy wants to keep you in bondage, we can set you free today.
Paralytic: If God wanted me healed, why didn't he heal me already?
Healer: Healing takes faith. Jesus said if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can say to the mountain move, and it will be done. Maybe there wasn't enough faith to heal you before.
Paralytic: Maybe God doesn't want everyone healed all the time. Don't you think there might be reasons for some people not being healed?
Healer: Jesus is my model - he healed everyone who came to him. I believe it's possible for us to do the same.
Paralytic: OK, you can pray for me.
(a moment of silence for prayer)
Nothing happens
(More prayer)
Nothing happens
Paralytic: Thanks for trying, God bless you.

Which of these men did you feel was more correct in his thinking, or which did you identify more strongly with? Both men have a biblical basis for their beliefs, but each saw the problem from a different perspective. The healer was convinced he could do something to make the paralysis leave. The paralyzed man felt God was in control and had a divine purpose for his condition. Both were right in their thinking. But each of them could only see one side of the coin.

Healers can be blind to the idea that there may be a divine purpose for pain, sickness and suffering. But the the bible teaches that pain, suffering and affliction can be redemptive. The story of Job is a good example. He was a righteous man who loved God. Satan accused Job of serving God out of selfish motives. The only way that God could prove that Job's heart was in the right place was by allowing him to go through a season of loss and sickness. God permitted Job's sickness for a defined period of time and for a specific end.

We often tell people after they're healed, they have a responsibility to keep their healing. I'm not saying there isn't some truth to this idea, but the person is right to ask - if God is powerful enough to heal me, why isn't he powerful enough to keep me healed? Once again, it reveals a theology that leans too much in the direction of man's responsibility, and ignores God's part.

Another danger exists in putting too much emphasis on our part of the healing process....pride. I won't go into great detail, but I'll simply say that when we place an emphasis on man, we take the emphasis (and the glory) away from God. That's a danger we must continually be mindful of.

My wife and I have been discussing her chronic pain. She came to a sober realization about it. Prior to suffering from her condition, she had no way of identifying with others who suffer long-term painful conditions. She confesses that its given her a deep empathy for people who suffer like this. She also knows there's no way she would have been able to enthusiastically support my calling to minister to the sick, had she not been through this ordeal. Most of the motivation I have to see people healed comes from seeing my family suffer from various diseases. John G. Lake had a similar motivation; many of his family members died at a young age, including his wife. I'll go as far as to say that many people who work in healing would never have thought about it, until suffering and sickness became a familiar part of their life. God is able to work His redemptive purposes through sickness, suffering and affliction, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory". 2 Cor. 4:17 (See also Philippians 3:10, James 5:9-11, 1 Peter 1:5-7 )

I love the way Todd White ministers healing to people. He's my personal role model here on earth, Jesus is my heavenly one. But Todd (in my opinion) is extremely Arminian in his approach to healing. When an amputee wasn't healed after Todd prayed for him, Todd blamed himself. I guess it's better than blaming God or the amputee. But I see a problem, either way. Todd was taught that it's God's will that everyone can and should be healed - always. Jesus is our example and Jesus never failed to heal anyone. This belief naturally means that if we pray and the person isn't healed, it's either a problem with us, or the person we prayed for. We already discussed blame directed at the sick person. I think it's equally wrong to blame ourselves. Todd feels that the failure lies with his thinking and belief system. He says that when he gets his heart and mind perfectly aligned with God's will, everyone he prays for will be healed. I hope he's right. But, I'm not betting on it. I have to give my man a lot of grace, he's a fairly new believer and this issue may never have crossed his mind.

The heart of the matter is a shallow understanding of God's purpose in allowing sickness to exist at all. We, as healers must wake up and accept the fact that not everyone will always be healed and there may be a divine plan unfolding that we are ignorant of. I'm not suggesting that God is some perverted deity who enjoys watching us suffer. He isn't. But we can't ignore the fact that God has a time, a season and a reason for all that he does. I think the best approach is to acknowledge both God's sovereign plan and our responsibility in bringing it to pass. We need not blame ourselves, the sick person or God when healing doesn't happen. Recognizing both God's sovereignty and man's responsibility provides a safe and healthy theology for those who endeavor to heal the sick.

Nov 14, 2009

Why I Am a Former Darwinist

I prefer to keep our discussions focused on divine healing, but that pre-supposes a divine healer. The question of God’s existence must eventually be addressed. In this message I'd like to approach the question scientifically.

I was taught Darwin’s theory of evolution by my professors and didn’t question it for years. They were the experts and it made sense. Many years later I read some concerning things about those beliefs. The more I read, the more doubts I had. It turned out my trusted world-view was on shaky ground and the questions weren’t coming from theologians, but evolutionary scientists.

Little is heard about this discussion, because it doesn’t take place in the mainstream media, but in seminars, books and journal articles. I’ve gathered a sampling of quotations from books and scientific journals for your review. These remarks are candid statements in which scientists admit to some of the problems they've encountered in reconciling Darwinian theory with the evidence found in fossils. None of these men are known to be creationists. All have held prestigious positions in the scientific community.

The individuals quoted were not rejecting the entire theory of evolution itself, but only aspects of it. Nearly all remain evolutionists today. The reason for the discussion was the admission that the fossil record doesn't support Darwin's prediction of many gradual adaptive changes over a long period of time. Virtually every type of creature found in the fossil record appears and disappears suddenly. In fact, all the major classes of animals appear immediately during the 'Cambrian explosion'. They appear fully formed, and exhibit no significant change over time. All extinctions, likewise occur suddenly.

A sticky problem arose some years ago. Evolutionary scientists were forced into an uncomfortable position - hold onto classical Darwinian thinking, which wasn't supported by evidence, or develop a new theory that explains the lack of gradual changes.

Stephen J. Gould and Niles Eldredge proposed a different evolutionary theory called “punctuated equilibrium.” At the time, it was rejected by the scientific community because it smacked too much of creationism. It's essentially an admission that changes in species happened so quickly, they weren't captured in the fossil record. Although initially unpopular, in recent days it’s garnered more support.

This is not a comprehensive review. Biochemistry, physics, astronomy, genetics and other fields have much to say on the matter. There is a similar discussion taking place there as well. I’ll confine the discussion primarily to paleontology in this post. We’ll start with one observation by Darwin, and look at what experts have said about the fossil record. These are general remarks.

I’ve included a second discussion pertaining specifically to the series of fossils involved in the transition from ape to man. Finally, I’ll share some interesting observations from different scientists on the purpose of the evolutionary theory.

Darwin had concerns about his theory at the start, but hoped that a more complete fossil record would prove him right. He expressed his concern this way:

“The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, must be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.” (1)

Stephen J. Gould has authored over 30 books on paleontology and evolutionary theory. He held the position of chairman of the department of geology at Harvard University and was one of the foremost supporters of evolution until his death in 2006.

"The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism;
1) stasis - most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;
2) sudden appearance - in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and 'fully formed'."(2)

"Modern multicellular animals make their first uncontested appearance in the fossil record some 570 million years ago - and with a bang, not a protracted crescendo. This 'Cambrian explosion' marks the advent (at least into direct evidence) of virtually all major groups of modern animals - and all within the minuscule span, geologically speaking, of a few million years." (3)

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediate stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.” (4)

Gould admits that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is not supported by the fossil evidence and "is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy." (5)

Niles Eldredge has been a paleontologist on the curatorial staff of the American Museum of Natural History since 1969 and has authored more than a dozen books.

“It is the gaps in the fossil record which, perhaps more than any other facet of the natural world, are dearly beloved by creationists. As we shall see when we take up the creationist position, there are all sorts of gaps: absence of gradationally intermediate 'transitional' forms between species, but also between larger groups -- between, say, families of carnivores, or the orders of mammals. In fact, the higher up the Linnaean hierarchy you look, the fewer transitional forms there seem to be.” (6)

“No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seemed to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change--over millions of years, at a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossils did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on somewhere else. Yet that's how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.” (7)

“We are faced more with a great leap of faith -- that gradual, progressive adaptive change underlies the general pattern of evolutionary change we see in the rocks -- than any hard evidence.” (8)

“The fossil record flatly fails to substantiate this expectation of finely graded change.”(9)

“We have proffered a collective tacit acceptance of the story of gradual adaptive change, a story that strengthened and became even more entrenched as the synthesis took hold. We paleontologists have said that the history of life supports that interpretation, all the while really knowing that it does not." (10)

"He (Darwin) prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search. has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin's predictions. Nor is the problem a miserably poor record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction was wrong."(11)

Steven M. Stanley - professor of Paleobiology and Program Chair for the Advanced Academic Program in Environmental Sciences and Policy at Johns Hopkins University:

“For more than a century biologists have portrayed the evolution of life as a gradual unfolding ... Today the fossil record is forcing us to revise this conventional view.” (12)

“The fossil record itself provided no documentation of continuity -- of gradual transitions from one kind of animal or plant to another of quite different form.” (13)

“Since the time of Darwin, paleontologists have found themselves confronted with evidence that conflicts with gradualism, yet the message of the fossil record has been ignored. This strange circumstance constitutes a remarkable chapter in the history of science, and one that gives students of the fossil record cause for concern.” (14)

Ape To Man Series (Missing Links)

For years, is seems paleontologists have discovered one skeleton after another, discovering the 'missing links' in the chain connecting apes to man. More recent analysis reveals something else.

Neanderthal man. "These were in fact the remains of an old individual with arthritis." (17). "He is indistinguishable from modern man." (18)

Cro-Magnon man is "indistinguishable in body and brain from modern man". (19) "The fossilized remains are identical with those of people living today". (18)

Homo Errectus was regarded as subhuman because its brain size was once thought to be too small to be human. "It’s now known that its size is nearly the average size of modern man."(20)

Peking man, one Homo Errectus, was built from a single tooth. Davidson Black became convinced that it was a human tooth. He then confidently announced a new genus of man. (20)

Rhodesia man, another Homo Errectus: Paleontologists pointed out that "this creature had undoubtedly suffered from tooth decay. It was difficult to imagine how this disease of civilization could have attacked prehistoric man. And two very old holes in the side of the skull caused the experts even greater perplexity. In the view of Professor Mair of Berlin they looked like the entry and exit holes of a modern bullet". (21)

Nebraska man was constructed from a single tooth. Years later the entire skeleton was found. The tooth belonged to an extinct species of pig. (22)

Southwest Colorado man was also constructed from a single tooth. It is now known that the tooth actually belonged to a horse (22)

Java Ape-Man (1891) was built from a small piece of skull, a fragment of a left thighbone and three molar teeth collected over a range of 70 feet in an old riverbed mixed with bones of extinct animals. Professor Virchow of Berlin said "There is no evidence at all that these bones were part of the same creature". (22) The knee bone of another supposed ape-man (1926) turned out to be the knee bone of an extinct elephant. (22)

Piltdown man (1912) was declared to the public as being a human ancestor but was nothing more than a ape’s jaw placed with a human skull. The entire hoax was exposed 40 years later in Popular Science, October 1956. (20)

Pliopithecus and Proconsul were considered huminid because they looked like a cross between monkeys not because they looked part human (20)

Dryopithecus is based on a lower jaw fragment that later became known as that of an extinct ape’s. (20)

Oreopithecus was once thought to be ancestral to man because of its teeth and pelvis. It is now regarded as an aberrant ape or an aberrant relative of monkeys. (20)

Ramithecus, based on a set of teeth, went from putative first human in 1961 to extent relative of the orangutan in 1982. (16)

Australopithecus Africanus was found to be the skull of a baby ape whose apelike features had not yet fully developed (19)

Australopithicus Robustus and Australopithecus Boise: These skulls have crests on top. Crests appear in male apes but not in humans or any supposed hominid before it or after it (20)

Australopithecus Afarensis (Lucy) is based on fragments found 2 miles apart among layers in the strata 200 feet apart. These fragments were claimed to belong to the same person. (23) Roger Lewin notes that "Lucy seems to be an ape’s head on a human’s body." (24)

"The fossil record pertaining to man is still so sparsely known that those who insist on positive declarations can do nothing more than jump from one hazardous surmise to another and hope that the next dramatic discovery does not make them utter fools... Clearly, some people refuse to learn from this. As we have seen, there are numerous scientists and popularizers today who have the temerity to tell us that there is 'no doubt' how man originated. If only they had the evidence."(15)

Evolution - science or religion?

"we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists. ...the only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation." (25)

"Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today… it came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity." (26)

"In fact, evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to 'bend' their observations to fit in with it.... To my mind, the theory does not stand up at all... I know that is anathema to physicists, as indeed it is to me, but we must not reject a theory that we do not like if the experimental evidence supports it." (27)

"The hold of the evolutionary paradigm is so powerful that an idea which is more like a principle of medieval astrology than a serious 20th century scientific theory has become a reality for evolutionary biologists.... The overriding supremacy of the myth has created a widespread illusion that the theory of evolution was all but proved 100 years ago and that all subsequent biological research - paleontological, zoological and in the newer branches of genetics and molecular biology - has provided ever-increasing evidence of Darwinian ideas... There has always existed a significant minority of first-rate biologists who have never been able to bring themselves to accept the validity of Darwinian claims. In fact, the number of biologists who have expressed some degree of disillusionment is practically endless... Ultimately the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the 20th century. Like the Genesis-based cosmology which it replaced, and like the creation myths of ancient man, it satisfies the same deep psychological need for an all-embracing explanation for the origin of the world which has motivated all the cosmogenic myth makers of the past." (28)

"I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning, consequently assumed it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption… The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics; he is also concerned to prove there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do . . For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom." (29)


1. Darwin, C. (1859) The Origin of Species (Reprint of the first edition) Avenel Books, Crown Publishers, New York, 1979, p. 292

2. Gould, Stephen Jay 1980. "The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change" The Panda's Thumb. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., p. 181-182.

3. Gould, Stephen J. "Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History", 1989, p. 23-24)

4. Gould, S.J., 1982 "Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?"Evolution Now: A Century After Darwin" Maynard Smith, J. (editor) W. H. Freeman and Co. in association with Nature, p. 140

5. Gould, S. J. (1980) "Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?"Evolution Now: A Century After Darwin, Maynard Smith, J. (editor) W. H. Freeman and Co. in association with Nature p. 120

6. Eldredge, N., 1982 The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism, Washington Square Press, pp. 65-66

7. Eldredge, N., 1995 Reinventing Darwin, Wiley, New York, p. 95

8. Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982) The Myths of Human Evolution, Columbia University Press, p. 57

9. Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982), The Myths of Human Evolution, Columbia University Press, p. 163

10. Eldredge, N. "Time Frames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1985, p. 144)

11. Eldredge, N. The Myths of Human Evolution, Columbia University Press, p.45-46

12. Stanley, S. M., 1981 The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, N.Y., p.3

13. Stanley, S. M., 1981, The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, N.Y., p. 40

14. Stanley, S. M., 1981 The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, N.Y. p. 101

15. Fix, William R. (1984) The Bone Peddlers, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, p.150

16. Lewin, Roger. Bones of Contention, NY:Simon and Schuster, 1987.

17. Johanson, David and Shreeve, James. Lucy's Child, NY: Williams Morrow and Co., 1989.

18. Ranganathan, B.G. Origins? Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1988.

19. Falk, Dean. Braindance, NY: Henry Holt and Co., 1992.

20. Howell, F. Clark. Early Man, NY: Time Life Books, 1973.

21. Pfieffer, John. The Emergence of Man, NY: Harper and Row, 1969.

22. Criswell, W.A. Did Man Just Happen?, Zondervan Publishing House.

23. Johanson, Donald. "Ethiopia Yields First Family of Early Man", National Geographic, December 1976.

24. Lewin, Roger. In the Age of Mankind, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 1988.

25. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1986, p229-230.

26. Michael Ruse, "How evolution became a religion: are creationists correct?" National Post, May 13, 2000, pp. B1, B3, B7

27. H. Lipson, "A Physicist Looks at Evolution", Physics Bulletin, 1980, p.138

28. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis p.306, 327, 358.

29. Aldous Huxley, "Confessions of a Professed Atheist," Report: Perspective on the News, Vol. 3, June 1966, p. 19

Nov 9, 2009

Proving God's Existence Scientifically

Is it reasonable to ask- "If God exists, why don't you prove it?"

I think it is, and I think we owe the world some evidence.

I once believed you either chose to believe in God or not and the choice wasn't based on evidence; it was just your opinion. I recently learned you can demonstrate the existence of God to people, which makes me wonder why we don't do it more often.

After spending years in a church where the presence of God was absent, I went to a church where I began to feel and see unusual things. It didn't take long to realize I was feeling the tangible presence of God. I studied the teaching of Brian Fennimore, who said you can bring God's presence into virtually any setting. My wife and I began to ask The Holy Spirit to bring His presence into our living room and sure enough - we could feel His presence show up every time we asked. This was a radical thing to us.

I used to love debates about God's existence. I once talked to a woman I worked with for 12 hours about it. We covered everything I could think of. She was happy to talk and listen, but at the end of the day she was no more convinced than before. The apostle Paul said his message did not come in excellence of speech, but also in the demonstration of God's power. (1 Cor. 2:4)
It was the power of God that was missing from my argument.

Words are necessary to convey ideas; we need them. But the argument needs evidence. Christians talk about a personal God who interacts with them; it's the one thing that sets ours apart from other belief-systems. But when we tell our friends about God, we often forget the personal experience (the evidence). God needs to show up and do something. Perhaps we've been taught that when our friend makes a commitment to God - something will happen then. I'd like to suggest you don't need to wait. I love this story:

My wife and I went to her hair styling appointment together. She likes having me along - she know's I'll have a few God stories to tell her stylist, Angie, who is open to discussions about God and the supernatural. While she did my wife's hair, we talked about miracles and resurrections. She used to work for a funeral home, so she's familiar with dead bodies. The discussion was going well, so I told her we would show her evidence of God's existence before we left.

When it was time, I told Angie we would ask God to bring His presence into the room so she could know He was real, and experience Him personally. I wanted to prepare her for the experience, but I didn't want to coach her into feeling something that wasn't God. I explained that we did this before with my mother -in -law and explained what she felt. I described what God's presence feels like to me and my wife shared what it feels like to her. We told her it's a little different for everyone.

I knew she suffered from chronic neck pain; we'd talked about it before. I thought maybe God would heal her neck tonight. We all stood with our hands out and eyes closed as I asked God's presence to come. After about 30 seconds, I asked Him to bring His power to heal. We waited about 2 minutes then we opened our eyes and talked abut it.

"Wow- that was so weird" she said."As soon as you asked God's presence to come, I felt something like a force pushing me forward. I was thinking to myself , I'm gonna fall over, and I was telling the force hey, knock it off." I informed her a lot of people do fall over when God's presence is strong, like you see at Benny Hinn meetings. She laughed because she thought it was people just acting stupid (I didn't tell her I held the same opinion until recently).

Then she told us about her pinkie fingers. "I feel a burning sensation in both of my pinkie fingers. It's not uncomfortable, it's just really warm. It started in my fingers and traveled down the outside of my hands and into my wrists." She placed her fingers on her cheeks to see if the heat was real. I asked if she has carpal tunnel syndrome. Her eyes grew bigger, "Yeah, how did you know? I'm ambidextrous, so I have in both wrists." It seemed to me as though God was healing her carpal tunnel problem as we talked about it. (Not her neck pain, as I thought) I'll report back on this later if she is healed.

Time for discussion:

What is scientific evidence? In an experiment we look for observable phenomena that occur under a given set of circumstances with outcomes that remain consistent in subsequent trials. This "scientific method' is the basis for all research in the fields of science. Every time I ask God to bring His presence into my local area, anyone near me can feel (observe) a change taking place in their body. Furthermore, the sensations (observations) are nearly always the same. The experiment can be repeated over and over with nearly the same results each time, regardless of the geographic setting. I've even developed a hypothesis or a working theory about specific things that will happen, how long the process will take etc. I always explain to the individual what I'm going to do, and what things they might expect. I've never yet had a situation where the person reported that nothing happened.

Many people are under the impression that God's existence cannot be proven scientifically. Even in the church, we tend to believe that proof is not available and faith is all we have. I would disagree with this idea based on the results of my experiments and those of others. Although unconventional because of the subject being studied, the results of these experiments meet the criteria for scientific evidence. God's existence can be proven scientifically. And since God is not picky about who he hangs out with, it's something we can all do. (Acts 10:34 )

My only goal that night was to give Angie some personal evidence that God exists- mission accomplished. In fact, she learned a lot about God from her experience. She learned that God is invisible and yet, He can have experiences with us. She learned we can make a request for him to show up, and he does it. And we can ask for specific things like healing and he does them, too. If she thinks about it enough, she might ask why He healed her carpal tunnel syndrome - and she might run into God's love, mercy and compassion.

When we demonstrate to people that God exists by giving them an experience, we don't just prove His existence, we show them his nature. Many people imagine God (if he did exist) as a mean, twisted, and perverted deity, bent on making people suffer. I like watching God heal because of what it represents - a God of love, mercy and compassion. When they are healed, it forces them to reconsider their understanding of Him. No debates. No long - winded arguments. God settles the debate in person. I love it when He does the talking.

Nov 6, 2009

About This Blog

Welcome to the MIPU.

You've found a rather unique place and if you're on this page, you might be wondering, who this fellow is and what does he hope to accomplish?

I'm  a paramedic. Yes, a real one. I work for an EMS agency near Phoenix, Arizona. I've been in EMS for 30 years and finally realized I'd seen enough weird stuff that someone might want to read about it.

Forgive my mysteriousness. If you're looking for my name, my employer or where I hide my car keys, you won't find them here. This is an anonymous adventure - mostly for the privacy of my patients, but also because I think it's intriguing to write anonymously.

You may notice that I talk a lot about God and healing, so let me explain that.

In 2008, I began having dreams for the first time in years. In the dreams, God began teaching me about healing the sick. Since then, I've seen thousands of people healed; patients, friends, co-workers and strangers on the street. The stories I share are the stories about the people I meet and pray with.

This website is primarily about teaching. My calling is to train and equip people who are interested in learning  how to love the broken and hurting and to release the miraculous power of God. If that describes you, then pull up a chair and let's talk.

The website is divided into pages. Each tab contains posts on a certain topic. There are healing testimonies, essays on the kingdom of God, upcoming training events, even a page of inspiring quotations I've picked up along the way.

There  is an archived list of posts in the left hand column and a list of keywords just below it to help you find topics you might be interested in.

My contact information is on the "contact" tab. You're welcome to e-mail me with questions, prayer requests or for any other need. I'm also available on Facebook and Twitter.

Feedback on anything posted is always welcome. I'll do my best to answer questions and I appreciate any comments you have. I hope you find this blog helpful.

And because you were curious enough to come to this page, let me share something with you:

The picture below is from a collection of photos owned by Mickey Robinson.

Yes, those are real angels. The picture was taken at a worship service in South America. To the best of my knowledge the photo has not been altered in any way, except for the watermark, which is plain to see.
(Click on the image to see a larger view.)

If angels don't scare you, then you'll probably find yourself at home here.

Thanks for dropping by,

Praying Medic

Nov 4, 2009

Todd White Interview on Dramatic Healings

Todd White answers tough questions about dramatic healings. He makes a powerful statement about why some of us don't see more dramatic miracles. He suggests maybe it's because we haven't stepped out in faith enough, yet. The other day I had a chance to pray for a man whose eyes seemed to be missing. I was transporting a patient, and saw the man sitting in the ER waiting room. Yes, it would have been awkward, but I could have made an attempt.  I chickened out.  I saw 3 or 4 more blind people the same day. I didn't pray for any of them. I'm one of those people who needs to boldly step out more and believe God will heal. I think He wants me to move up to the next level.
In this video there's  an amazing testimony of a woman healed of cerebral palsy.

Todd White and Patricia King on The Streets

Todd White and Patricia King hit the streets and heal the sick. I love the way they love people. These two people are role models for us. Boldness, faith, grace, power & love. That's what it's all about.

Nov 3, 2009

Lou Gehrig's Disease Healed

I began to cry when I watched this video. Wouldn't you know it - she 's a paramedic and a dispatcher. God is amazing. Be encouraged!

Thoughts for November

This blog has a couple of purposes; one is to demonstrate to the world (and the medical community in particular) that God is able and willing to heal people of every kind of disease, today. There is skepticism that must be overcome and there is power in the testimony of healing that overcomes skepticism. That's the reason for the videos and written testimonies of those who've been healed.

Another purpose is to show you how and when we can heal people. It isn't just for church services or evangelistic crusades. So I'm posting a lot of videos that show normal people like us, out in everyday places healing people. I hope they're inspiring. We can and should be healing people every day in every setting - particularly in hospitals and in pre-hospital EMS. This is a major change in my thinking. But the more I pray for patients and co-workers, the more I'm amazed at how easy it is and how often God heals people. As hospital beds become less available -it's even more important for us to get our patients healed and send them home healthy.

As fear about bacterial and viral disease prevalence grows, we need to focus on this: The Holy Spirit is the greatest anti-septic in the universe. Yes, I know people will always remind us it's possible for us to catch a bug from a patient. But I continually remind myself of a few things to counter this argument. Jesus commanded his disciples to cleanse lepers. Knowing their fear about getting the disease themselves, he told them nothing would by any means harm them. (Luke 10:19 ) They operated in healing - and God promised to heal them or prevent disease transmission by killing every germ that came their way. He's still doing it today for those who heal the sick. We have to trust God in this. While in South Africa, John G. Lake went through piles of dead bodies killed by the plague. He was looking for bodies to raise from the dead. People said he was crazy and that he would die from the plague. But he was firmly convinced that the Holy Spirit would never allow any bacteria or virus to harm him, and he was right - he never got the diseases he healed. My own fears have been crushed by focusing on these things. I have no fear anymore about catching diseases from my patients. Since I started praying regularly for the sick, I haven't been sick once, not even a cold. I do have occasional muscle aches and my neck pain (from reading too many books) flares up from time to time. Some of the aches and pains are healed with prayer when I decide to take action against it. And my long history of chronic low-back pain seems to have vanished.

I had a surprise this weekend. I found out there are a lot more Christians working in my company than I realized. I had a conversation with my partner about prayer in front of some co-workers. Suddenly believers materialized out of nowhere. I found myself (unknowingly) in a room full of professing Christians at work. I wouldn't have suspected any of them as being believers. It made me wonder. How many believers do I actually work with? Why don't we ever get together? How many are praying for their patients? Would any of them be open to learning more about it? And why the heck are we so afraid to let our light shine in the workplace?

If you're one of the people I work with and you're interested in learning more about healing your patients, please let me know.

On a different note - My partner got healed again...for the third time. He told me he had pain and numbness in his right arm after a call. It ran down the outside of his arm to the wrist, along the ulnar nerve pathway. It may have been due to swelling of a sprain near the spine that caused pressure on the nerve. He was very uncomfortable. While he was driving, I put my hand on his back and commanded healing into his back and arm. I told the pain and numbness to leave. I prayed one time. About fifteen minutes later he said the pain and numbness was almost completely gone. He's was healed of a headache about a month ago, a pulled muscle last week and pain and numbness this weekend. I'm beginning to use him as my walking, talking book of testimonies.

Our company is making a big deal about reducing on the job injuries. They're giving away a mystery prize to the operation with the lowest number of injuries this quarter. How cool would it be if every time one of us got injured, instead of the usual routine of seeing a doctor, paying our co-pay, taking time off work, laying on cold packs and taking pills - we prayed for our co-workers and healed them instead? I dunno, I think it would be good for the company, good for us, and God would be honored. Call me crazy.

Monday was a great day. My partner was healed again, and I think I prayed with just about everyone we transported. We transported a sweet woman with multiple problems - severe COPD, diabetes, depression and the terrible effects from long-term steroid dependence. She had a new pericardial effusion, which was causing persistent hypotension. That bought her a vasopresin drip and a cardiology consult. I told the patient and family about some of the healing miracles I'd seen and they were all glad to let me pray for her. When I closed my eyes to pray I saw a vision of cigarettes. (This was before I read her chart or had any information about her medical history)

I took the vision as a sign from God that this was the cause of her problems. She confirmed she'd been a smoker her entire adult life until a few years ago. That caused her COPD and other conditions as well as her dependence on steroids. My prayer strategy was simply to reverse the effects of smoking and all it's damage to her. Did it work? All I can say is this - her primary problem was low blood pressure from the damaged heart.On vasopresin her systolic pressure was around 120 - 130. By the time we arrived at the other hospital it was 160/90. When I told her she was shocked. She couldn't remember ever having a blood pressure that high. This wasn't the first time I've seen this. Several months ago I transported someone on pressors to a large hospital. The report I got was profound, persistent low blood pressure no higher than 100 and no neurological activity. By the time we arrived his pressure was in the 140's and he was waking up, trying to pull out his IV's.

Some days are full of victory, some are discouraging. Others are a mixed bag. I can't predict what kind of day I'm going to have. Every day as I drive in to work I wonder, will I be able to pray for anyone? Will anyone be healed? I know this - victory is unavoidable when you pray, but it may take time. Defeat is assured when you don't pray - it's usually immediate.

November is going to be a pivotal month. Huge changes are in the works. I can feel the shift happening. Some of it is very hard to endure. Many of us feel like giving up. Please don't abandon your hope. God is about to bring something incredible to your life. Hang in there and wait for the promise. He is faithful in everything.

Till next time-