Nov 28, 2011

The Kirby Salesman

At 19 years old, Jonathon was living out his dream of being a professional goalie. That dream came to a screeching halt when a slap shot broke his collar bone. Thinking it was just bruised, he stayed in the game.

When the bone finally broke completely in two, it severed both muscle and tendon and left his shoulder a surgical mess.

In the operating room the surgeons retrieved and re-attach the severed sinew but Jonathon's career as a goalie was over.

He pursued a career as an electrician and did well for himself until the housing market crashed.

As a child, his mother told him, "Be whatever you want, just don't grow up to be a Kirby salesman."

One day she received a phone call. Jonathon gently broke the news to her, "Mom, I'm selling Kirbys."

Ten years after the career ending slap - shot, Jonathon came to our door. He's training new salesmen for Kirby. We did the introductions and Jonathon left. Our young salesman, Ryan was excited and full of energy.

He did his thing and asked if I had a hobby.

There was a long pause.

I had to think for a minute....

"What is my hobby?"

I decided to tell him about healing.

We shared some of our more interesting testimonies and our history with God. He seemed interested and asked a lot of questions. At one point he became so engrossed in the stories, he forgot where he was in his sales presentation and had to check with the outline to get back on track.

An hour later the doorbell rang. It was Jonathon. He came in and asked how Ryan was doing. We told him Ryan was doing great, but we couldn't buy the Kirby. He was very understanding.

We talked with Jonathon for a while. He shared his life story with us, including the broken collar bone story. Putting his arm up, he showed us the limited range of motion he still had ten years later.

I looked at Ryan....

He looked at me and yelled, "Do it....You gotta do it!!!"

Ryan had been listening to healing stories for the last hour and now he wanted to see one for himself. Fortunately, Jonathon is a believer. We explained what we'd been talking about and he agreed to let us pray. I asked my daughter, "You want to do it or should I?"

I didn't give her a choice. I walked to the other side of the living room to watch. She went to his left side and my wife went to his right and they began. After 30 seconds we asked if he felt anything.

"It feels warm inside and I don't know....there's like this feeling of weightlessness."

"Raise your arm up."

As he did, we heard popping noises. He had almost full range of motion. He was stunned and almost speechless. We talked about How much God loves to heal people and he shared his wonder at how easily the healing came.

Ryan was just as shocked, because he knew Jonathon couldn't move his arm like that just a few minutes ago.

Jonathon said he had degenerative joint disease in his neck and back so we prayed over that and the heat increased. He got a major overhaul.

We talked some more and he asked if we'd help with his wife who has health problems. We told him we'd be glad to and exchanged phone numbers. I gave him some cards to the website. One of the things we stressed a number of times is that healing isn't a gift for just a few special people. It's something anyone can do, if they only believe.

Jonathan - if you read this, please leave a comment below and let us know how your shoulder is doing and give me a call so we can get your wife healed.

Nov 26, 2011

2 For 1 Night at Chili's

My wife and I have a tradition that we enjoy. After four years of marriage, we still go on a dates. Last night we drove to Saguaro Lake. On the drive out to the lake we talked. Afterward, we went to Chili's restaurant for an appetizer.

The food was good, the conversation was light and the company was beautiful.

As we made our way to the exit, I noticed that the hostess was limping slightly. So guess what I did?

Good guess. I asked if she wanted to be healed. Guess what her reply was.

Right again.

Her name was Jill. I introduced myself and my wife and explained that we see people healed at stores and restaurants and asked if we could pray for her. She was delighted that we offered.

One waitress was fascinated with this and looked on eagerly. Her name was Stephanie. I asked Jill and Stephanie if they'd ever seen a miracle. They both said no. I told them they were about to.

If you've been following this blog, you know that I've been more bold in declaring what God will do, before He does it. My boldness comes from knowing Him. I know He wants people healed and seeing Him do it consistently allows me to approach them and declare what He will do. I can't recall a time that someone wasn't healed when I declared that they would be healed in advance. Perhaps that's worth looking into.

Jill said she had just pulled her hamstring muscle about 15 minutes earlier and that's why she was limping. I asked how bad the pain was. She rated it 7 out of 10. I placed my hand on her leg and asked the Holy Spirit to bring His presence and power.

I've never felt His presence show up so quickly. As soon as the words left my mouth we felt the atmosphere change. I began to sway back and forth. "Wow....can you feel that?"

I thought about this for a moment....."Why did He show up so quickly?" It's like He was just waiting, anxious and excited. Waiting eagerly for me to say the words so that He could bring His presence into the atmosphere.

I truly believe God is more exited about healing than we are.

Standing in the entrance to the restaurant, becoming slightly intoxicated in His glory, I commanded her hamstring to be healed in Jesus name. It took about 5 seconds for her mouth to drop open in complete shock.

"Oh my God....who are you? How did you do that?" She was healed immediately and began walking around checking it out. She couldn't believe it happened that fast. She demanded to know how I did it.

I explained:

"You know that Jesus went through the cities of Israel healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons and proclaiming the kingdom of God don't you? Well if you look in Matthew chapter 10, you'll see that he gave that same authority to his disciples. And I'm one of his disciples. Every one of his disciples has this same authority."

Some Christians wonder what the best way is to bring up Jesus to strangers so that they can 'witness' to them. If you heal the sick, it allows you to talk about Jesus the rest of the night. And that's exactly what we did.

Jill and Stephanie fired questions at us and we discussed how it all works. They'd seen faith healers on TV, but had never heard of anyone doing it in public. We told them it's become a lifestyle for us and we explained that anyone can do these things.

We asked Stephanie if she had anything she needed healed. She told us she had a bone spur on her heel that said maybe we could pray for her some other time.

I told her to sit down and we'd get her healed right now.

She protested slightly.

"Sit down."

She took a seat. I asked her to put her foot on my knee, asked how bad the pain was and commanded it to be healed, then asked if she felt anything.

"It feels weird, like there's a kind of buzzing going on."

Jill chimed in, "That's what I felt, too!" It's like this buzzing thing starts and then all the pain is gone!"

"That's the power of God healing you." I asked Stephanie if there was any pain and there was so I commended it to leave and had her stand and check it out.

She got up and stomped her foot repeatedly in amazement. She tried to make the pain come back, but she couldn't. It was gone.

We talked some more about Jesus and shared a few testimonies. I told them how to keep their healing and gave them information about this website.

As we left, we invited them to contact us if they had friends or relatives who needed healing. Three men walked in the front door and overheard what I said. I told them to ask Jill and Stephanie what just happened to them.

I would imagine they shared their testimonies about Jesus the rest of the night. That's the kingdom of God. It appears in their lives and they tell everyone they know about the great things He has done.

It's not about us. It's about Him.

Nov 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

On the way home from work yesterday, I stopped at the store to pick up marshmallows and chocolate bars to make s'mores. The warm weather has drawn us outside around the fire pit in the evenings.

On the day before Thanksgiving, the store was crowded. A few moments after I got there, I saw a woman in front of me reaching for a gallon of milk. She had an immobilizer on her right wrist

"Excuse me....are you in a hurry?"

"Yes, I am", came the reply.

"Do you have carpal tunnel syndrome?"

Looking at her wrist, she said, "I haven't had it diagnosed yet. My thumb hurts constantly and I have this weird buzzing sensation in my wrist when I move it."

I introduced myself, told her I was a paramedic and that I prayed with a lot of my patients who have been healed and asked if she wanted to be healed. She said she'd love to be.

I asked her to hold out her hand and as she did, I gently placed my fingertips on her hand and commanded the pain and inflammation to leave then asked if she felt anything.

Her first response was 'no,' but then she said, "It feels warm". I told her it was the power of God healing her. She asked, "Is this a Christian thing?"

I said, "You know that Jesus went around healing a lot of people....well he gave authority to his disciples to do the same thing and that's what I'm doing. Jesus is healing you."

She said, "Oh,thank you!"

Some people are offended when you tell them you're a Christian, but some are grateful.

I asked her to hold out her hand again and when she did, I commanded the spirit of pain to leave and for the muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and bones to be made whole then asked how she felt.

Looking at her hand with a smile she said. "It doesn't hurt anymore." I asked if there was any pain at all and she said there wasn't. Her hand and wrist were completely healed.

She looked at me and said, "You know...this is so weird. This is the third time in a year that a complete stranger has walked up to me in a store and told me about God.

I smiled. "I guess God has you on his radar. He's going to some amazing things with you."

I gave her a card to this website and explained what I do. She asked if I thought she could be healed of multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia. I told her a story about a woman I prayed with at Walmart who has MS and was ready to get out of her wheelchair when we were done.

Her hope began to soar.

I asked where she lived. It turns out she lives a few miles from us, so I wrote my phone number on the back of the card and told her to give us a call and my wife and I would be happy to have her come to our house and get her healed of everything.

A stranger might tell you they're in a hurry. But when a hungry soul sees that the meal you're serving is the power and love of God, they'll make room for it. And when they receive it, they'll have one more reason to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 21, 2011

Meatloaf and Healing Your Neighbor

I stopped at Costco on the way home from work to get some things for dinner. I ran into an engine company from the Gilbert Fire department. All four firefighters were wearing shorts. It's mid-November. And they're wearing shorts. One guy said he wears shorts year round. I guess I'm still getting used to the climate here.

As I entered the store, walking briskly and looking for people showing signs of disability, I heard a woman behind me say to her husband, "I wish I could walk like that".

I stopped and turned around to see her hunched over the shopping cart, walking slowly. I held out my hand, introduced myself and asked if she really wanted to walk like me. She said she did and I asked if she wanted to be healed. She said, "I'd love it."

We chatted for a few minutes. She told me she suffers from arthritis. Betty told me she didn't expect an 86 year old woman to walk like a young person. I shared a few stories of people older than her who had been healed and asked if I could pray with her and she agreed.

I asked the Holy Spirit to bring His presence and touch her and commanded arthritis and the spirit of pain to leave then asked what she felt. She reported feeling tingling in her hands. I placed my hands over hers and told the pain to leave. The only thing she ever felt was tingling in her hands. I told her I believed she was healed and that it might take anywhere from 10 minutes to a few days for her to feel the full effects.

I was hoping for more immediate confirmation, but I've learned that many people feel nothing at all and they're still healed, only realizing it days later.

I had a desire to make meatloaf tonight and for some reason I wanted to make a lot if it. I picked up a 5 pound package of ground beef and a three pound package of Jimmy Dean sausage. I got a few other things and headed home.

At home, I made quick work of the meatloaf. Here's the recipe: One finely chopped large yellow onion, 3 eggs, lots of minced garlic, salt, pepper and sage, five pounds of ground beef and three pounds of sausage. I shaped two massive loaves and put them in the oven at 350. My daughter and wife were curious to know why I on earth I decided to make enough meatloaf to feed an army. I really didn't know why. But it didn't matter, because it was time for a walk. We walked to a nearby park where a 5K run was in progress. We found a quiet spot at the edge of the lake and watched a glorious sunset. Then we walked home.

When we got home, the aroma of the meatloaf was amazing. It filled the house with a spicy, savory smell. But the oven was making the house a bit warm, so we open the front door to cool the house down.

Suddenly, we heard a voice at the door. It was the woman who lived a few houses down. We greeted her and asked what we could do. She told us she'd been having problems with a neighbor and wanted to talk about it. She was upset at how her neighbor had been treating her. She hadn't slept the last two nights. We chatted at the front door. As we talked she kept looking toward her house, expecting her husband to come over and commented on how wonderful the meatloaf smelled.

Her husband finally arrived and said he couldn't resist the smell coming from our house, so he came over to find out what it was. Once I told him what it was, he said he loved meatloaf. We told them they were welcome to stay for dinner since we had plenty.

We ate and chatted and Chona told us she had degenerative joint disease which affected her knees and ankles. I told her she wouldn't have it when she left.

So let me explain that.

When I began this journey in healing a few years ago, I never would have said something like that. I wouldn't even ask people what they felt after praying. I was afraid that nothing would happen and I didn't want to hear about it. I had no faith. Since then, I've seen God heal people over and over and over and while not everyone is healed yet, my confidence in God is so much greater that it once was. At times I think it's appropriate to say that out loud.

When I declare that a person will be healed, I'm really doing a couple of things: First, I'm putting the enemy on notice. I'm letting him know I plan to evict him and the sickness or pain he's causing. Second, I'm letting God know that I'm trusting Him to do what He said He would do. Third, I'm letting the person who needs healing know that I don't see their condition as something that's hard to heal. And lastly, I'm building my own faith in preparation for the battle.

After dinner we moved to the living room and put Chona between my daughter and I on the couch. She was gracious and allowed me time to teach her about the authority we have in healing. She's a believer. I taught from Luke chapter 10 then asked if she knew what God's presence felt like. She said she did. I shared some of the dreams I've had about God's presence and told her I would ask Him to touch her with His presence.

While I asked God to bring His presence to touch her, my daughter and wife prayed over her knees and ankles. As we prayed, my wife got the impression that God wanted to heal her emotions. After a few minutes, we asked how she felt.

"Wow....I came here so angry and now all the anger is gone. I feel nothing but peace. And there's no pain in my legs."

We had her stand up and walk around the living room. Her husband said that normally, someone would have to help her get up off the couch. But now she could do it by herself and all the pain was gone. She was overcome with joy.

The presence of God healed her emotions and the authority of believers healed her joints. That's the complete healing God wants to do - body, spirit and soul. After she was healed, we spent a few minutes teaching her about the battle with the enemy over her healing. We told her that the symptoms might return, but if they did, it doesn't mean she lost her healing. It would be spirits of pain trying to convince her she wasn't healed. We told her that if the symptoms returned, all she needed to do was command the spirits to leave in the name of Jesus.The bible says "Submit yourself to God - resist the devil and he will flee. Now that you're healed, you need to put up some resistance against the plans of the enemy." They went home praising God and we were blown away by God's goodness.

If you're willing to be used by God, He'll use you in the same way He uses us. If you open your door to your neighbors and desire that God would bless them, they will show up and so will God. As you host them, you'll host God's presence. Power encounters will happen and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. People will be healed and set free. Word will get out and they'll come to meet the people whose home will be called the house of God.

Open your doors and invite God's presence into your home. Then expect great things to happen.

It's been two days since Chona was healed. She stopped by today to give us a report. She was hiking a trail on the mountains near Phoenix this weekend. Every time the pain in her legs tried to return, she commanded it to leave. She's still doing great and ever since her visit, she's been telling strangers and friends about Jesus.

Nov 18, 2011

What About “Gold Dust”?

Editor's note: This message picks up on some of the things discussed in the previous post, though we'll start with a different (but related) subject. To view the previous message go here.

If you made a list of the most controversial topics in the present church scene, reports of “gold dust” showing up on people might be at the top of the list. In this article, I’ll do my best to de-bunk some misconceptions, explain what this phenomenon really is, and share my own experiences.

In order to address misconceptions about the appearances of “gold dust” let me first share a couple of illustrations.

Most prescription medications have side effects. Some of those side effects are allergic reactions, organ damage and in rare cases, death. Yet if these reactions are rare enough and the therapeutic effects are consistent enough in the general population, such medications are approved for use.

Approval is based on the fact that a large number of people will benefit from the drug's use. The positive effects experienced by the majority outweigh the negative effects experienced by a few.

Most nations in the world use some type of currency for trade. The use of currency has many benefits, but it has a few drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is counterfeiting. There will always be people looking to cheat the system for their own selfish reasons. Some people are obsessed with accumulating money. Their love of money leads them to live bizarre lifestyles.

In spite of these problems, we haven’t done away with the use of currency. The fact that a few people practice counterfeiting or that some develop unhealthy obsessions over it, doesn't negate the legitimate use of currency.

I used these illustrations to highlight some problems in the way many of us look at things like the appearance of gold dust, manna, gemstones falling, clouds of God’s glory and other unusual manifestations. Some of us have heard reports that people act strangely around these phenomena – even bizarrely. Some have accused people of coming under the influence of evil spirits. Others have heard that heavenly gemstones were fraudulently placed or that people tried to fake the appearance of gold dust.

In evaluating these things, a number of questions should be asked:
  1. If people have faked gold dust, does that mean that all appearances of gold dust are fake?
  2. If people have faked gemstones, are all such claims false?
  3. If some people act strangely in these ‘glory clouds’, does that mean everyone will and does it mean that the clouds aren't a real manifestation of God?
Going back to our first two illustrations, we can apply the same logic. The fact that some frauds exist, doesn’t mean the real thing doesn't. The fact that some react strangely to a phenomenon doesn’t mean everyone will, nor does it disqualify the possibility that people can receive great benefit from it. If we set our emotions and personal agendas aside, we could evaluate these things rationally and come to the bottom of things in quick order.

I’ve always approached the supernatural from the view of a skeptic. I was an atheist most of my life and even after becoming a believer, I was still skeptical about the supernatural. I didn’t believe in divine healing until a few years ago and my suspicion about these manifestations has only recently begun to change. That change came when I decided to investigate them for myself.

A year ago, my wife and I came to Phoenix. We were planning to move here and our visit gave us a chance to check out the area. It also gave us the opportunity to check out some of these manifestations.

Patricia King was hosting an event called “The Ladder” conference. The guest speakers included Joshua Mills, Georgian and Winnie Banov, Todd White and Bobby Connor. We decided to go, but weren’t sure what to expect. The night before we left I had a dream.

In the dream, I traveled to Arizona to attend a conference, where I learned a great deal about the supernatural lifestyle of the kingdom of God. I came home and wrote about what I’d experienced and learned. Those who read the things I wrote were transformed by it.

The following day, we flew to Phoenix and attended the first day of the conference. The night before Todd White spoke, I had another dream. In the dream, Todd and I were on a large wooden floor. There were railings and barriers that had been set up in a large circle, that we were inside of. We tore down, pushed over and dragged away all the barriers that had been put up until the floor was completely free of them

In the first dream, God was confirming that I would learn and experience a lot of valuable things at the conference and that He wanted me to share them with you. In the second dream, God was illustrating the idea that we need to remove the barriers and restrictions we’ve placed on what God can do in our lives. The barriers have been put up by well-meaning people who feel that we need to be protected. God didn't erect these barriers - men did. God wants them removed so he has freedom to take into the depths of His kingdom.

While at the conference we listened to Joshua Mills lead worship and encourage us to enter into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Not long after he began speaking, gold dust began to appear on him. It started as just a few specks, noticeable in the bright lights of the platform, but after a while, it was more than just a few specks; it was a heavy dusting of a glittery gold substance.

Some have suggested that these gold dust appearances are a fraud. They believe there are people nearby with containers of a gold dust like substance, introducing it into the air to make it appear like a sudden manifestation of gold dust. That thought occurred to me as well, so I checked out the room and the crews.

The room we were in was about 50 feet long and 30 feet wide; an average size conference room with a flat ceiling about 18 – 20 feet high. There were no rafters, trusses, curtains, beams, ductwork or any sort of structures above the floor that would allow someone to spread gold dust from overhead. There were no fans or blowers in the room or anywhere nearby. I couldn’t really see any ventilation ducts. The lights were pendants, hanging from the ceiling on heavy chains and these were the only things attached to the ceiling. I checked out every possible way that someone could have faked the gold dust and didn’t find any plausible way it could have been done.

But there’s more.

My wife is in charge of our checkbook. On this occasion, she heard God speaking to her about making a larger than usual donation. So when the offering bucket came around, she wrote out a check and dropped it in.

We were almost done with the session so we began to talk about where we would go for lunch. That’s when I noticed a few specks of gold dust on my wife’s face. Instinctively, we checked our hands and sure enough, tiny, almost invisible flecks of gold started to appear on her hands. We checked with those around us, but no one else had any.

We wanted to take pictures of it, so we walked outside to our car and got the camera. As we stood outside, it became obvious that the covering of gold dust was increasing. And now it was showing up on my hands, too. We took pictures and laughed at the fact that once again, God was demonstrating something….just…..wonderful.

So let me answer a few more questions some readers might have before we continue.

First, let me point out that if the gold dust phenomenon was a fake, the dust should have been more abundant inside, near the source of it and less abundant outside. But we experienced exactly the opposite. Very little dust appeared on her hands inside, but when she came outside, more of it gradually appeared over the next fifteen minutes. I had none on me until we were outside for a few minutes.

Second, is the way in which ‘gold dust’ dissipates. I don’t know of anyone who’s been able to collect any. The appearance of this substance is gradual, but once it’s reached it maximum, a few minutes later it begins to disappear gradually until it isn't visible any longer.

It’s almost ‘wave-like’ in how it comes and goes.

If the dust were some type of glitter or other man –made substance, it would be visible until it was removed and even then, you’d find it on the floor. But that isn’t the case with heavenly ‘gold dust’. In every case I’ve seen and read about, after just a few minutes it vanishes.

I have an explanation for why this happens and if you read the previous message, perhaps you're starting to see the connection and we'll get to it shortly.

Many people wonder what the purpose is for the appearance of gold dust. I don’t blame them for asking. I only hope they’ll seriously consider the answer.

In the previous message we read about the fascinating experience Tom Calkins had a few years ago. Tom went into a trance for about 5 hours one night. His body became as stiff as a board. Physically, he didn’t respond the entire time. During these 5 hours, he went into the spirit dimension and reveled in God’s presence. He flew, floated and danced in a fine, gold substance that appeared exactly like the gold dust we’re talking about.

The particles of gold came over him in ever- increasing and then decreasing waves. The amount of particles was never constant; it was always increasing or decreasing, much like waves of the ocean at the beach. There was always movement. As the particles became more abundant, with an increasing wave, his joy also increased. As the particles decreased, his joy decreased. But the most important thing Tom felt while in the waves of gold particles was the all-consuming, indescribable, passionate love that God has toward him. It was like nothing he’d ever experienced or imagined.

At one point, Tom saw a large being appear beside him. The being encouraged him to play and have fun in the waves of gold particles. The being himself seemed to become more brilliant when the particles did and dimmed somewhat as the number of particles decreased.

As the particles decreased, almost to the point that there were none, Tom became frightened. In a desperate reaction, he wrapped his arms around the being standing beside him and the two of them began to move. They moved to a place where the wave of particles was increasing again.

In a revelation that came about a year later, God explained the experience to Tom. While sleeping one night, God took him up into a heavenly perspective of the experience. He saw it the way God saw it and the Lord explained it to him.

The particles that he saw were the presence of God. His presence (or glory if you prefer) looks like particles of gold. The waves of particles are due to the fact that God’s presence is always moving. He told Tom that His presence is always moving and so is all of creation. All the particles of the universe are in constant motion. God’s glory moves in endless waves and always has since the beginning of time. It’s His nature. I'm not a physicist, but I would imagine this fact is consistent with what we know about particle theory and the properties of photons.

Tom’s joy was because of the increase of God’s presence upon him. That’s how His presence works on our spirit – it brings increasing joy. When His presence decreases, so does our joy.

The being that appeared beside Tom was the Holy Spirit. In the spirit realm every spirit has substance. They only lack substance in the natural realm. Tom’s reaction to fear was to hold on to the spirit of God, which is always the right move. When the wave of glory decreased, the Holy Spirit moved him to a place where it was on the increase and once again, his joy increased.

God’s presence, because it moves in waves, is always increasing somewhere and always decreasing somewhere. God told Tom, “If you really want to experience my presence, find out where my presence is increasing and meet me there.”

Some of my friends are fond of saying, “I’m not waiting for a move of God, because God isn’t stuck.” If they only knew how true that was. God isn’t stuck and he never has been.. He’s always moving somewhere.

So what is the purpose of “gold dust?”

Well first, it isn’t really gold dust so maybe we should stop calling it that. Its God’s manifested presence, which happens to resemble particles of gold.

What’s the purpose for it?

What purpose does God have in making His presence come near to us? To bring us joy, peace, love, healing and revelation. Perhaps a lot more, but that’s enough for me. With all the war, hatred, addiction, anger and pain in the world, imagine what it would be like if the glory of the Lord covered the earth and its inhabitants reveled in His love, if only for a day.

Its part of God’s nature to move, just as we move. “In Him, we live and move and have our being.” He goes places to meet people who want to meet with Him. One thing God told Tom was that it was his response to the heat on his arm that made the experience happen. Tom's response was, "Is that you, Lord?" Sensing God's presence coming near and desiring to meet with Him is what opened the door to the encounter. God is looking for us to respond to His prompting. He loves us deeply and allowing us to be in His presence is how He shows us love.

Normally I would have ended the story here, but there's more I'd like to share.

While Tom was observing himself from God's perspective, he saw himself floating and flying in the wind of God's glory. Then he saw something truly amazing. He noticed a pair of wings protruding from his back.

"Lord...are those wings?"

"Yes Tom, they are."

"Lord, I didn't know I had wings."

"In the spirit, everyone has wings. You are made in My image and I have wings."

"Lord, you have wings, too?"

"Of course I do. Look in the bible for all the verses that speak about the wings of God."

And now we'll bring our adventure to an end. I hope you've enjoyed the journey. I'm taking a break from Facebook for a while, but you can still find me here. The book project is going well.

Here's a video featuring Joshua Mills all covered with gold dus....I mean..... GLORY!!!

(It's high resolution so you can view it full screen if you'd like)

Nov 15, 2011

Whether In My Body or Out, I Did Not Know

Editor's notes:
This story is an excerpt from the book Adventures in The Glory, by Tom & Pat Calkins. It is being re-published with their permission. The book is a collection of stories about the supernatural experiences they've had with God.

I know Tom & Pat. They aren't what I'd call super spiritual people; just ordinary believers pursuing an extraordinary God. This is the retelling of a very unusual experience that happened in church a few years ago. It was first told publicly at a class held in Lacey, Washington during a session of their church's school of supernatural ministry. I was in the class as a guest when Pat and Tom shared the experience and showed a number of video clips that were recorded while it was happening.

I'm providing this information because this story will not be accepted by everyone. For some, it will be too bizarre to believe. Nevertheless, this story is not a fabrication. The events are told from two perspectives. First, we'll hear Pat's description of what she saw, then Tom will explain what he experienced.

The book Adventures In The Glory can be purchased here.

Revival Town generally holds three conferences a year. They are always a highlight because people from our whole region come, expecting to receive a great deal from God, to experience a concentrated degree of His Glory, and to be flooded by His Presence. God never disappoints!

At one of these conferences I had a very unusual experience. It was in the evening service of the first day of a three day conference. Since our new transformation, Pat and I enjoy helping in any capacity that we can. We cannot help musically. We know our limitations, and that is definitely one of them. However, we are pretty good with the busy work. Pat and I assist with set up before the meetings begin and then greet people at the doors as they arrive. Then as the meeting proceeds, we assist with ushering and ministry needs, and after the meeting we help with clean up and eventually lock up and secure the building after everyone has left.

To be honest, being so busy with duties during a meeting tends to distract from the spiritual side of the meeting. But we learned early in our Christian lives that you can not out-give God. He will always more than repay our giving. Which brings us back to the meeting ... The service was nearly finished and we were heading into a time of closing worship and personal ministry time. I noticed that Pat had already gone forward, as had dozens of others, and I could tell there was a heavy Presence of the Lord settling on the altar area of the church. I decided to leave my post at the back of the church and go forward. As I entered the area I joined with the crowd and stood next to Pat, lifting my hands in praise to the Lord.

I had barely begun to worship when I felt a strange sensation on my arms. I was wearing a short sleeved shirt and I could feel an intense heat on my forearms. It was as if someone had turned on a heater right in front of me. I turned and asked Pat, "Can you feel that?" Then I turned back to worshiping without waiting for her response. At that very moment, I began to experience the most unusual thing that has ever happened to me....

Pat's Side of the Story
There was a large group of us who had gone forward for a little post-service worship following the end of the regular service. Tom came up and stood right beside me. The music was playing softly and there was a very sweet Presence of the Lord there. I was standing on one side of Tom and our friend Diane Rieger was on the other, to his right. The worship leader was singing "come up here."

At first, I didn't realize that anything unusual was happening because Tom was just standing there with his hands raised in praise. Except, there was one thing that did catch my attention. At one point, Diane began to shake and she looked like she was going to fall over, and sure enough, she did! She grabbed onto Tom's arm and, swoosh, down she went. The part that was extremely unusual was that Tom made no attempt whatsoever to catch her. He just stood there, not moving and not reacting to the fact that she had just fallen, not even seeming to notice.

That struck me as odd because Tom is always right there with the other catchers, "catching" as people fall over when the power of God touches them. It is one of the things he enjoys most, because he is closest to the action, the Spiritual action, where the Spirit of God is moving strongly. But this time, someone fell right beside him, even grasping onto his arm, and he just stood there.

But Diane was fine, I checked. It seems that God Himself had caught her, or had an angel do it. Either way, she landed as softly as a feather. I quickly dismissed the incident, not giving it a second thought. It wasn't until much later that I began to notice that things were not "as usual" with Tom. Long after I had returned to my seat, I noticed that his position had not changed, not even slightly. He was still standing motionless, with his eyes closed and hands slightly raised. The music was winding down. The meeting was drawing to a close and people were beginning to leave. The clean up crew was starting to spiff up the place.

One hour had passed.

At this point, I had the presence of mind to grab my camera and start taking pictures.

By now, a curious few had started to gather around Tom who remained motionless. He looked like manikin in a store, frozen in place, just standing there with his hands positioned in praise. I had been careful not to do anything that would distract him, such as talk to him or touch him, because I did not want to interfere with anything that the Lord was doing. But it was
becoming more and more obvious that something very strange was taking place. As time passed, more and more people were gathering around.

They were all talking and wondering what the Lord was doing with him. Eventually, someone touched his hand. No response. They began talking to him. No response. Some even began posing for pictures with him, and still ... no response.

We were all having a great time laughing and speculating about what was happening. The whole while Tom just stood there motionless. Two hours passed. Then two and a half, then three. By then, just a few people remained in the building. The question was now changing from, "What is going on with Tom," to, "What do we do with him?"

There did not seem to be a sense of panic. No one was asking "What is wrong with him?" They were just wondering how to handle the situation. After all, we needed to lock up the building and that was usually Tom's job, but clearly, he was in no condition to do it. Fortunately, the key to the building was on a lanyard around his neck. Someone removed it so they could do the locking up. But still the question remained, "What do we do with him?" Do we all just go home and leave him standing there?

No, that was not an option. Everyone else could if they wanted to, but not me. And not Mary either. She was in this thing for the long haul, if that is what it took. We had been calling Jason (Phillips) every few minutes to keep him posted. He had left just before all this began in order to get the visiting guest speakers to his house so they could get a good night's rest for tomorrow.

Finally, the topic of transporting Tom came up. I don't remember whose idea it was, but I liked it better than leaving him standing. We would take him to Jason's house, since he and the other guys there could help carry him in. However, our car, a VW Bug, was completely inadequate for carrying a "six-foot board". So, the decision was made to put him in the back of Mary's roomy Honda Pilot. I would follow in our Bug.

Two of our friends, Eddie and Eric, tipped Tom over backward, grabbed onto either end of him and carried him to the waiting car. He was so stiff that he didn't even bend in the middle. As they approached the car, Eric tripped over a big rock and nearly dropped his end of Tom, but Tom didn't flinch. They positioned him into the back of the car and scooted him in the rest of the way by pushing on his feet. Now he was flat on his back, with his hands still up as they had been while he was standing.

Honestly, it didn't look good. He looked ... well, you can guess. And for the first time, I was beginning to worry. No one who was there had ever witnessed anything like this before. Even still, everyone seemed quite confident that he was A-OK. One friend even said, "I wish it was me." Nevertheless, I couldn't help but wonder if he was going to be like this forever? My fears, for the time, I kept to myself.

Before we took off for Jason's house, Mary informed me that she needed fuel so she would have to stop at a gas station. "No! Absolutely not!" I said. "You'll just have to take your chances. You are not stopping for gas with a frozen body in the back seat of your car! Someone will call the police!"

She agreed and decided to just hope she had enough gas to get to Jason's. Fortunately, she did and when we arrived Jason and the ministry team came out to the car. They couldn't believe what they were seeing. There lay Tom, flat on his back with his hands in the air, arms bent at the elbow. Jason climbed into the back of the car to survey the situation.

After checking it out, he turned and looked at Mary, the ministry team, and me, and declared, "I think it's the Lord." Which, to me, meant he was as clueless as the rest of us. I had hoped he would say something like, 'Oh, nothing to worry about. I see this all the time. No big deal."

Although his statement did little to alleviate my fears, the way he said it came across in such a humorous manner that we all laughed. Once the laughter subsided, it was time to try to get Tom into Jason's house. As Jason and a couple of the other guys pulled on his feet, out he slid, still as stiff as a board. Jason took his feet and Mary took his right shoulder and one of the guest speakers took his left shoulder. They lifted him up and started the long trek across the yard toward the house.

And where was I during all this? Following behind with my camera, snapping pictures, vacillating between laughing at the spectacle, and fighting the nagging fear that something was terribly wrong with Tom. We were all quite grateful that it was dark outside because the scene surely would or could have caught the attention of a neighbor or two. The only light on the event was the occasional sudden, brief, flash of my camera.

About half way across the lawn the man at Tom's left shoulder lost his grip and completely dropped his side of Tom. Fortunately, he was able to catch him by the elbow on his way down and since his arms were absolutely frozen in place the man simply carried him the rest of the way into the house by his elbow.

Once inside they decided to lay him on the couch. As they approached the couch Jason was positioned at Tom's feet, between Tom and the couch. As they began to lay him down, Jason became trapped against the couch and was forced to sit down, with Tom landing on his lap. The others, now laughing at the situation, had to lift Tom's feet so that Jason could free himself.

Poor Tom ... there he was, lifted high into the air, head and neck on the couch as they lifted his body and legs. He was as stiff as a board - just hanging there while Jason made his escape. Finally, Jason was out and they laid Tom back down, but now there was a new problem. Somehow in all the commotion, Tom had managed to bend slightly at the waist. So as he lay there on the couch, both his head and feet were slightly elevated in the air. When we pushed his head down his feet raised higher and if we pushed his feet down his head came up higher. We tried pushing both his head and feet down at the same time but it only made him sink deeper into the couch.

I cannot tell you the tears of laughter that were being shed as we playfully jostled him back and forth. Finally, we decided to forget it and just leave him bent. Someone commented, "He looks so uncomfortable." So someone else grabbed a pillow and pushed it under his head and neck and we left his feet be. We just didn't worry about his comfort.

Three and a half hours passed ... It was very late now. Since Tom was showing no sign of coming out of whatever he was in, everyone decided to go to bed. I encouraged Mary to go home and get some rest since she had to work early the next morning, actually, in just a few hours, since it was already the wee hours of the morning. She reluctantly agreed saying, "Promise you will call me when anything changes." I promised and she left.

Jason was the last one to leave the room, so before he could get away, I pulled him aside. Not knowing if Tom was able to hear everything that was going on, and having to assume that he possibly could, I whispered, "Jason, I'm starting to freak out here ... "

I didn't want Tom to know how worried I was. Jason was very kind and reassuring, saying, "Everything is going to be fine." But there was a hint of uneasiness to his voice. He took one last glance at Tom, and nodded his head as if trying to reassure himself before he left for his bedroom. He walked down the long hallway toward his bedroom, his slippers softly padding as he disappeared into the darkness.

Now it was just Tom and me. The house was calm and quiet but there was no way that I was going to be able to sleep. I made a make-shift bed from chair cushions on the floor next to him, but I never even laid down. I just sat on the cushions talking to him, gently stroking his head and saying, "Tom Caaaaalkins, where aaaare you?" There was no response. Not even the flutter of an eyelid.

Four hours had now passed. Jason reappeared with his laptop computer in hand. Apparently he hadn't gone to sleep after all He had been searching the internet for some explanation for what was going on.

"You don't need to worry, look here," he said as he showed me what he had pulled up on his computer. There were several accounts of people who had had similar experiences. It was called a "trance". It was actually very comforting to know. It gave me something to cling to, some shred of explanation, some reason for hope. I was grateful that he had made the effort. After our talk, Jason went to bed.

I continued talking to Tom. They say that people in a coma can hear what is going on around them. So, in case he could hear, I wanted him to hear my voice and to know that I was right there beside him.

Five hours passed ... Tom began to move. His feet were twitching, then his legs began to move abruptly from side to side in a jerking motion, his upper body responding in the exact opposite thrashing motion. I flew down the hallway and knocked on Jason's bedroom door. "Jason! Jason! He's moving!" We both ran back to the living room and just observed as Tom seemed to be wrestling with an unseen opponent. "What an encounter!" Jason whispered. Soon the movement stopped and he was back to being perfectly still, his arms still lifted. Nothing more was happening. I had hoped that the movement was signaling that he was waking up, but apparently not. Jason went back to bed. I knelt back down beside Tom and continued talking to him.

Five and a half hours passed ... I suddenly had a thought. I hadn't prayed over him in tongues. It hadn't even occurred to me. So I began to very softly pray in tongues over him. The reason I prayed softly was not because I didn't want to awaken the others in the house. They were far enough away that it would have been nearly impossible for them to hear me. No. It was because I was video taping it and I didn't want anyone, ever, to be able to hear me praying "in tongues."

So what's the big deal with that, you may wonder? Because, ever since I became a Spirit-Filled Christian, I had been very unsure of my own prayer language. I had heard so many people describe their experience of being filled with the Spirit as an overwhelming event, with a new language flowing out of their mouths like a mighty, rushing, gushing river, without effort or thought.

My experience, on the other hand, had been a very quiet, gentle one. When my prayer- language slipped over my lips, it was with great effort and thought. Was I making it all up? Or was it for real? I never really knew for sure. And this uncertainty had been going on for more than 30 years. So, the only One I ever really let hear me pray in tongues was....Jesus.

This night was no different. Since I was video taping, I was going to be ever so whisper-quiet. But...the instant, and I mean the instant, I began to pray in tongues, Tom responded.

I could barely contain my excitement. I prayed even faster. He responded more. His head began to move back and forth. His lips started to move, as if trying to speak while coming out of a deep coma. Then, for the first time since this whole experience started, he made a sound. It was unintelligible, but at least he was making an effort to talk.

You had better believe, I kept right on speaking in tongues. It was the only thing that he had responded to... at all. Now, his words were coming more easily, but they were still unintelligible. Then I realized what he was doing, he was responding to my tongues, in his own tongues!

So we had this little conversation back and forth-in tongues! Then, his eyes began to flutter, as if he were trying to open them. After a few seconds, sure enough, they opened, then quickly closed. I kept talking in tongues.

Then he made a second attempt to open his eyes. This time they opened and stayed open. But it was clearly not a happy moment for him. In fact, it was an all out, panic-stricken, what-on-earth-is-going-on moment.

For some reason, unknown to him, he now found himself in a quiet, dimly lit room, lying on a couch, with no one else around except me, when ... he had expected to be standing in the front of the brightly lit church, surrounded by music and dozens of other people, just as he had been when this whole experience began. His mind could not comprehend what was going on ... and it showed on his face! I had to drop my camera and race to reassure him. "Tom, Tom! It's OK" I said over and over.

Finally, he calmed down and fully came to his senses. "How did I get here?" were his first English words. I quickly related the whole story to him, then ended by saying, "All I know is that nothing anybody did to you or said to you made any difference. You didn't respond to anything whatsoever until I prayed over you in tongues." Now this is my favorite part of the whole story and the part that simply blows my mind...

He replied, "No, you didn't."

"Yes, I did!" I said.

"No, you didn't," he insisted. "I heard you praying. You said, 'God, is he OK? Lord, I love him. Is he going to be all right? Are we going to be all right?' Lord, where is he?' That's when I answered you. I said, 'I'm right here. Can't you see me? I'm OK. Why are you worried about me?'"

I just stood there with my mouth open wide as the realization began to sink in! Everything I had prayed in tongues, he had heard in English! And when he answered back in tongues, he thought he was answering in English! My prayer language, after doubting whether it was real or not all these years, was suddenly validated!

Since that time, I have loosed my tongue. If! am praying in my prayer language, I no longer hide it, feeling that mine is inferior to others. I pray with the best of them! Because, the Holy Spirit hears and understands. It doesn't make any difference what it sounds like, He knows the deep
things of our hearts! Even if we don't have a clue what we are praying, He does! Just as I didn't know what I was praying over Tom, but the Spirit knew, and related it to Tom's spirit.

Now I know, that I know, that I know, it is real! Here's how I know. I did not let Tom, in anyway, shape or form, "hear" me express any of my concerns, because I had mistakenly assumed that he was hearing what was going on around him. I kept any and all concerns hidden from him.
I quietly expressed them to others, but not to Tom. But what he heard in the Spirit, was nothing but my concerns. Wow!

To this day, and I'm sure, for the rest of my life, the thought of this experience will take my breath away. Thank you, Jesus!

Now, for Tom's amazing side of the story, read on....

Tom's Side Of The Story
Now that you know the natural side of the experience, I would like to share with you the experience from the spiritual side. It was near the end of the first day of our Revival Town conference. I had been busy most of the evening doing lots of the behind the scenes work which is necessary for a conference to run smoothly. But now the meeting was winding down and so I went forward to enter into praise and worship, at the front of the church. Pat was already up front so I worked into the crowd of people and stood right beside her, just to her right. As I stood there with people all around me I had my arms extended forward and slightly upward at the elbows when I felt a heat on my forearms. It was significant enough that I opened my eyes to see what could be causing it. I thought perhaps a furnace duct was blowing on me or a hot light had just come on or something.

I could see no logical reason for the heat on my arms, which was now increasing. I turned to Pat and asked, "Can you feel that?" I don't know if she responded to my question or not because the heat source was increasing enough that I turned back to face it. Still seeing no logical reason for the heat, I simply closed my eyes and whispered, "Lord, is this you?" At that moment everything went totally dark.

It was as if someone had instantly turned off all the lights, only darker. The only time I have ever experienced this kind of darkness was when we were on a family vacation and took a tour of an under ground cavern. At one point the tour guide explained that he was going to turn off the lights, and since we were now so far underground, there would be no light at all. That is the kind of darkness I was now seeing. There was no light anywhere. I turned from side to side and ... nothing. Total darkness.

This only lasted a moment or two and then I began to see, off in the distance, a very dim light. It was just a pin point at first, yet in the total darkness it caught my attention. As my eyes tried to focus on it, it began to broaden. Slowly it spread across my entire line of vision and it began to get brighter. As it intensified, I began to see very faint particles which were gold in color. The particles became brighter and as they intensified I could tell they were moving toward me. I watched in amazement as they approached until finally they were getting very close and very bright.

By now I could see thousands, maybe millions, of individual particles, each shining and shimmering in a brilliant gold color. In an instant, they were upon me and I felt my body tense in anticipation of the impact. Finally, I could see them hitting my body and swirling and curling around me as they passed. I could feel their pressure on my skin, much as it would feel to stand in the spray of a wave on an ocean beach.

Then they diminished and I watched with amazement as a new wave of particles began to form and approach, just like the first wave had done This time, I stretched my arms out to my sides and watched and waited. And just as before, the particles approached and impacted my body, then swirled and curled around me and then trailed off behind.

This harmonic wave motion continued over and over, with each new wave just a little stronger than the previous one. They became strong enough that when I stretched out my arms and leaned into them, I could feel them lift me into the air and I would actually float on the lift of the passing particles. As they would trail off behind me, I would put my feet down and wait for the next wave to approach. Each wave continued to increase in strength and brightness. Soon, I began to realize that there was more to the golden particles than what I was feeling on my skin.

As I played and floated, I realized there was an overwhelming feeling of love such as I had never experienced before in my life. It was the pure love of God. It was totally overwhelming and all consuming. Nothing can compare to it. All the cares and worries of the world were gone.

Nothing else mattered.

The love of God was all consuming and complete. I knew that I could stay right there in that perfect love for all of eternity and never lack or want for anything more. As I played and reveled in that euphoric state, I now became aware that there was something off to my right side, just past my arm's reach. As I looked more closely, I realized that it was a being. This being was much taller than me and I could only see the legs, waist and trunk of the body. The shoulders and head were not visible to me. As I watched I could tell that the being was playing in the particles just as I was. In fact, he was glowing, just as the particles were. When the gold colored particles became brighter and dimmer, so did he. He appeared to be with the wind, and yet, not the wind. I loved the feeling of having that being there with me.

I continued to be totally overwhelmed with the experience. I don't know how long this went on because a sense of time had no bearing on anything. But there did come a point when things began to change.

I started to notice that each new wave changed from increasing with each cycle to decreasing, both in intensity and brightness. I watched in disappointment for a while as it became clear that particles were actually getting weaker and weaker. I realized that the experience was reversing itself. And if it reversed all the way to where it had started, I would be left all alone in that total darkness. The euphoric feeling of God's love would be gone as well. At that realization I began to panic, and I have to admit, fear like I have never felt before began to grip my spirit. In desperation, I struggled for a solution to solve my dilemma. I decided that there was only one thing I could do, and that was to grab hold of the being next to me, So, I waited for the particles to die down and then just as they approached again, I planted my feet firmly and with all the strength within me I leapt toward the being and wrapped my arms around him.

From his shimmering appearance, I was not sure that I would find a solid form to hold on to. But I did, and as my arms encircled the being I locked my fingers and held tight with all my strength. Immediately, I felt motion. It was not like the being was struggling to get away from me, or even trying to free himself from my grasp, but still ... there was definite motion.

I just continued to hold on tightly, even though the effort was shaking my body wildly from side to side. After a few moments, the motion slowed, then stopped. I could see that the gold particles were still coming in waves and now, to my delight, they were once again increasing with each cycle. The fear was being replaced with God's love once again, and I began to relax a bit, but it
took several cycles of increase before I felt secure enough to release my grasp on the being.

Eventually, I did release my grip, and the wind drifted me back to just-out-of-reach of the being and, just as before, we played together in God's overwhelming love.

It was at this point that something happened. I clearly heard Pat's voice. When I turned my focus to listen to what she was saying, the entire wind, being, and experience just vanished. I didn't feel fright or disappointment or anything, it was just that now my attention turned to hear what Pat was saying. I could tell she was just off to my left side, exactly where I knew she was standing in the front of the church. But she was obviously praying - and she was praying about me, and for me. I could hear her very clearly asking God, "Where is Tom? Is he alright? Is he going to be Ok? How long is he going to be like this?"

As she prayed I could hear the concern in her voice and feel the distress in her spirit. I quickly answered, "I'm okay. I am right here. Can't you see me? I am right here beside you." Then I realized I could not see her either. I remember thinking, "Lord, why can't I see her?" and instantly the thought followed, "Well silly, your eyes are closed." So I opened my eyes and there was Pat right where she should be, but instantly I knew something was very wrong. Where there should have been people and music and lights and church, there was nothing at all. It was all gone! I quickly closed my eyes again knowing that surely when I reopened them everything would be back to normal. I opened my eyes the second time, and to my shock things were still wrong. I was no longer standing in the front of the church, but was now lying flat on my back with my feet slightly elevated. As I looked at Pat everything else was dark and quiet. My eyes focused first on Pat and then on the wall behind her. I could not comprehend what I was seeing, and as I began to sit up and turn my head there was no denying that everything was wrong! Panic began to grip me. I could hear Pat's voice beside me saying "Tom! Tom! It's OK. I'm right here with you."

It took a few seconds for me to finally hear and believe her, and my spirit settled long enough for her to begin to explain where I was and how I had gotten here. Once I had my bearings, I realized that I wanted to share what had happened to me. We both tried to talk at the same time, trying to bring each other up to speed on the experience. We bounced thoughts off each other. Often, when Pat told me about things like people posing for pictures with me or like them carrying me like a plank, I would exclaim, "You are kidding me! I have absolutely no memory of that!" But, if proof of waking up in an entirely different location wasn't enough, she had pictures and videos to back it up!

I sat on the couch, looking at the pictures and watching the video clips, in utter amazement. It was like watching someone else, except that it was me! Talk about a strange feeling, watching yourself as if it were someone else. When we reached the point where our two stories began to merge together, we noticed a huge discrepancy. The discrepancy was concerning the part where she prayed for me in tongues ... I said she hadn't, she said she had, and she even had proof of it on video. Although I had heard every word in plain English, and even responded in English, it was clearly recorded, on video, in tongues.

She says that part blew her mind! Well, the whole thing blew mine. What an experience!

Pat and I have had the opportunity to share the testimony of my experience many places to many people and most of the time I end my story with this...

Have you ever heard an unsaved person make a statement like, "Oh, I don't want to go to heaven because I just can't see myself standing on a cloud somewhere strumming a harp for eternity." I have heard that, and now I can't wait to hear it again. When I do I will tell them this story and then end it with, Heaven will be so much more than that, but even if it were not, even if you ended up upside down with your head in a bucket of sand, it would not matter. Because, when you experience God's love the way I experienced it in the trance, nothing else matters. God's love is so great, so complete, so overwhelming, so all-consuming, that everything else pales in comparison. Heaven is going to be such an awesome place that I can barely imagine it.

I do, however, have a couple of regrets about my experience. The first is: that I could not photographically document what I saw from the spiritual side, like Pat was able to do from the natural side. I wish that somehow God had allowed me to take a camera along to capture pictures and video clips to share with others. The second is: the expression on my face. The whole time I was frozen in place, I had this sad looking frown on my face and since we have shared the pictures and videos with so many people and places, I have wished desperately that I had been smiling instead. I don't know if the Lord will ever repeat anything like this for me again, but I do know that now, when I begin to feel the Lord's overwhelming presence, I try to smile ... just in case.

In the next article, we'll take a look at what God revealed to Tom about this experience at a later date.

Nov 12, 2011

God's Presence In The Hospital

About two years ago I had a dream that took place in a hospital. As I walked the hallways, I looked into one patient room after another and saw a black presence in every room. I knew the presence was a demon of sickness. In this dream God revealed a problem; sickness is perpetrated by the presence of demons.

A few weeks ago I had another hospital dream. In this one, I was praying with two people; one was a patient, the other was a doctor. The doctor had arthritis. As I prayed with them I asked the Holy Spirit to bring His presence near and touch them so they could feel His presence. The most important thing in the experience was introducing them to the presence of God. Getting them healed was secondary.

The first dream revealed a problem, the second revealed the solution. If we want sickness to leave and patients to recover in greater numbers, with fewer complications and costs, we should invite God's presence to come and make Him welcome when He arrives. God's presence drives out sickness.

The second dream reflects the approach to healing that I use in my daily life. It seems to be confirmation that I'm going in the right direction. Apparently, God wants to take me (and you) a bit further in that direction. Rarely do I pray with people and not ask the Holy Spirit to bring His presence and touch them. I thank Brian Fenimore for his excellent instruction on this approach to ministry. If you want to know more about that go here.

Although healing is a tremendous blessing to those who receive it, the greater need we all have is to draw (and be drawn) closer to God. Healing is, from God's perspective, one more way to bring people into a greater knowledge of Him. When we operate in healing the main goal is for us to connect people with God. Plain and simple.

If we ask the Holy Spirit to come and His presence touches someone, they now have a personal interaction with God they'll never forget. When they feel the warmth or the weight of His glory rest upon them, it's an unforgettable experience. Whether or not their healing manifests immediately, if they encounter the presence and love of God, the encounter was a success.

I haven't seen everyone that I've prayed with healed. But I can honestly say that when I've asked God to bring His presence and touch them, no one has ever said they didn't feel Him.

Now there's something to consider.

While you're pondering that, check out this testimony by Bill Johnson about how a hospital in North Dakota saw an unexpected drop in census after a prayer team from Bethel paid a visit and as Bill explains, God's presence may have remained when they left.

Nov 9, 2011

God's Healing Presence

For the next few weeks, we'll be focusing our attention on the manifest presence of God

We know that healing can be a by-product of faith and authority. Today we'll discuss how God's presence operates in the realm of healing. The presence of God gets some people a little 'excited'.

To be honest, some of us are downright in love with God's presence (or glory if you prefer) They would spend eternity doing nothing but worship in God's beautiful, intoxicating presence. If this thought hasn't yet crossed your mind, you might be surprised when you get to heaven.

I've had dreams where God's presence alone has healed people, without me praying for them. Not long ago I had another dream in which I was praying with a doctor who needed healing of arthritis and a patient who also needed healing. As I prayed with them, I was asking God to touch them with His presence. In fact, the most important element of that dream was allowing them to feel God's presence so they knew He was real.

I've shared stories where I've asked God to bring His presence into the room while ministering to people. On just about every one of those occasions, the person I'm ministering to reports 'feeling' God touch them in some way.

I have a few 'odd' stories that may be testimonies of God's presence at work. Let me share just one:

One day I responded with the fire department to a call for a woman who had a nosebleed. Her nose had been bleeding for two hours. She called 911 for a ride to the emergency room to have her nose cauterized. This would be the second time in a year she would need to have that done.

When the engine company arrived, she was still bleeding profusely. We arrived two or three minutes later. About three minutes after we arrived, as I was listening to the Lieutenant tell me the story, I asked her to check again to see if she was bleeding. She wasn't, and she was shocked.

After everyone inspected her nose and we had a few laughs, the engine company asked if we'd come with them the rest of the shift and heal their patients. I should mention - I never prayed for this woman to be healed. But I had been thinking at that time often about how Peter's shadow healed people and if it was actually that he carried God's presence in such a way that healing was released as people came near, making it appear as if this shadow did the healing.

I'll admit, this whole discussion puzzled me a few years ago, and I know it still puzzles people today. An acquaintance recently asked me, “If God lives in us, and we are one with Him, how can He also work outside of us?

I think it's a great question and I'd like to answer it, but I'll begin with the teaching that prompted my friend’s question in the first place.

Some leaders teach that the Holy Spirit no longer rests upon God’s people, as He did in the Old Testament days. They believe that as a result of the new covenant, and new birth, having the Holy Spirit inside us, we no longer have (or need) the Holy Spirit to rest upon us. This would seem to make sense, but what does the bible teach about it?

In John 14, Jesus taught the disciples about the relationship they would have with the Holy Spirit: “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

We see two different relationships that believers can have with the Holy Spirit – He can dwell with us and in us. But there is a third relationship Jesus told the disciples they would have. In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus commissioned them, saying they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came ‘upon’ (epi) them:
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

This third relationship is noteworthy for a couple of reasons:

Jesus tied the power for ministry to the new relationship they had not yet experienced. “You will receive power - when the Spirit comes upon you.”

When Jesus was baptized by John, the Holy Spirit came to rest ‘upon’ (epi ) him, and remained there. (John 1:32) The baptism of Jesus was the point at which His healing ministry began. He received the anointing and power for ministry through the same experience he later told the disciples they would have.

In Acts 2:3, the Holy Spirit manifested as divided tongues of fire resting ‘upon’ the believers. In Acts 8, Peter and John went to Samaria to assist the new converts in receiving the Holy Spirit, “For as yet he had fallen ‘upon’ (epi) none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 8:16)

Paul also assisted believers in receiving the Holy Spirit: “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came ‘on’ (epi ) them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:6)

Finally, Peter taught that the Spirit of God rested upon believers: “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, be happy; for the spirit of glory and of God rests ‘upon’ (epi ) you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” (1 Peter 4:14 )

Let us agree then that the Holy Spirit does rest upon believers today, just as He did with the saints of the Old Testament. If we agree that both Jesus and the disciples had the Holy Spirit come to rest upon them at the starting point of their ministry, the case could be made that the power for ministry is dependent upon this experience.

God’s Spirit Moves
Let us now look at the operation of the Holy Spirit independent of man. In the account of creation in Genesis 1, we see the Spirit of God moving over the face of the waters. What this reveals is that the Spirit of God moves. We also know that the voice of God spoke as the Spirit was moving and things were created that had not yet existed. Implied here is the fact that when the voice of God speaks, when and where His Spirit is moving, creative miracles occur. Matt Sorger has proposed that creative miracles in healing are more likely to occur when the voice of God (prophetically) declares them to happen where the Spirit of God is moving.

In the following 2 passages, we see that God’s Spirit appeared as a cloud, from which He spoke and that God gives and takes His spirit at different times: “And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spoke unto him, (Moses) and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it to the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.” (Numbers 11:25)

God’s Presence
In the days of the kings of Israel the presence (or glory) of God rested between the cherubim upon the mercy seat above the Ark of the Covenant. At one point, Ezekiel witnessed the glory of the Lord as it departed from the temple. (See Eze. 11-12)

In the days of Obed-Edom, the Ark rested on his property and the glory of God was also there. He was blessed for three months because God’s presence was with him during that time. David brought the Ark to his home and the glory of God, likewise remained in David’s house for a time, with the ark. (2 Sam 6) Unknown to most of God’s people, was the fact that His manifest presence had appeared in a localized area that was not where they expected it to be – being confined to the space of one man’s home.From these passages, we can see that God’s glory or presence is able to come and go at will and take up residence virtually anywhere.

God Was With Him
Jesus was fully God and fully man, but it wasn't his divine power that performed miracles. Peter made a fascinating comment about why Jesus was able to heal the sick: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. .” (Acts 10:38)

Peter’s explanation was that Jesus didn’t heal the sick because he was God, but rather, because he was anointed by God and that God was with him.

Jesus was God and yet, God was with him and rested upon Him. Somehow, the oneness shared by the Godhead allows for all these seemingly impossible relationships to exist. Since God’s nature doesn’t change and His nature has been to allow His Spirit to reside with, in and upon individuals and in certain places, His Spirit could rest upon you or I and His presence could manifest in a church building, your living room or my ambulance.

Healing can happen as we exercise authority over sickness and operate in faith. Both of these require action on our part. But God can and does heal on His own, tagging along with us wherever we go, releasing healing power to those He loves. His presence can fill a city park, a room or inhabit your personal space and touch people you're ministering to.

If you don't believe me, why don't you put my theory to the test and ask God to make His presence known to those around you?

For a longer discussion of this subject, see my Facebook note here.

Nov 6, 2011

Healed Back and a Warm Heart

Pete Cabrera demonstrates how to release healing, wholeness and love into a woman with chronic back pain. Take notes, this is worth having in your tool belt.

Nov 3, 2011

The Security Guard

She was a frequent flyer who landed at urgent care after a drinking binge. While waiting for the paperwork to be copied, I chatted with the security guard, who told me he was the first patient of the day.

“But, don’t you work here?”

“Yeah…but my bursitis was acting up and I figured they could take a look at it before I went on duty.”

They gave him a steroid injection and he put on his uniform. A few hours later, a paramedic on a routine call asked if he wanted to be healed. He said, “sure.”

Sometimes the need for healing is obvious. Sometimes it isn’t. Words of knowledge are great, but often we stumble upon a need for healing in every day conversations. Spend a few minutes getting to know a stranger and if they have health problems, they’ll probably tell you. Once they do, just ask if they want to be healed.

After he agreed to let me pray, I shared a couple of testimonies; partly to build his faith and partly to build mine. I asked him to describe the injury. He had a partial bicep tear and a piece of cartilage floating in the joint to go with the bursitis.

I took him around a corner for privacy and asked the Holy Spirit to bring his presence and power and touch him to let him know He was at work. I placed my hand on his shoulder and commanded the spirit of pain and inflammation to leave then ligaments, bones, nerves, tendons, muscles and cartilage to be healed and asked what he felt.

Grabbing his shoulder, he said, “It’s hard to describe. It’s like….the pain is gradually leaving.”

I asked the Holy Spirit to increase His healing power and repeated the first commands then asked what he felt again.

The look of amazement on his face turned to a smile. "It's almost completely gone." I asked him to rate it on a scale from 1 to 10. “Maybe a 0.5. I can hardly feel it at all”

I gave him a quick talk on how to keep his healing:

"Most people never experience the symptoms again after being healed, but some do. Healing is a battle. There’s an enemy who wants you sick and in pain and a God who loves you and wants you healthy. If the pain comes back, do what I did. Believe that God healed you and command the pain to leave.”

If you look at the stuff I was writing a few years ago, you’ll notice that no one ever got healed back then. Working up the courage to ask people was a huge step. When I prayed I was afraid to ask what they felt because I knew they’d say, “nothing”. Since then, by persistently asking and laying hands on strangers, my confidence to ask and my faith to heal is so much bigger than it used to be.

Step out and ask people if they want to be healed. Don’t worry about whether they'll be healed or if they’ll say no. Sooner or later they’ll say yes and they'll be healed.

Trust God.

If He did it for me, He'll do it for you.