Jul 9, 2011

Street Healing

For those who have been following my messages on healing, this is where all the concepts mentioned previously are applied in real life. Reading about healing is good, but if we never step out and touch a stranger with the power of God - all we have is vain knowledge that profits nothing.

Jesus was the original street healer. He traveled the streets of Israel on foot, staying wherever he found lodging. During his travels he told people the secrets of their hearts, shared the mysteries of the kingdom of God and healed all who were sick and demon - possessed. This was his style of ministry and it could become yours.

After modeling this lifestyle, he chose 12 disciples, commissioning them to follow his example. He gave them power, authority and some guidelines, which are detailed in Matt. 10, verses 5- 14. In those ten verses, he told them to visit the cities of Israel, inquire who in those cities was worthy, speak peace to the homes that received them, preach on the kingdom of God, deal with sickness and demonic oppression and not to worry about paying for their ministry trip. Things went well. So well, that a short time later he sent out seventy disciples to do the same thing, with a few changes to the plan. (See Luke 10: 1-10)

An important aspect of street healing is geographic; being in the right place is critical. The disciples were given specific instructions where to minister and where not to. While it's true that we could minister just about anywhere, there are good reasons to inquire of God where we ought to minister.

In Matthew 13, we're told that Jesus faced opposition when ministering in his home town. When the skeptics questioned him, he replied,
A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
Many of us have experienced the disappointment involved in ministering to our families and friends in our home town. Those who know our past are likely to doubt that God would use us.

Jesus set the stage for the disciples so their ministry would bear fruit. The work of God in the hearts of those we visit should precede our ministry to bring the desired outcomes. In Acts 16:7, it was recorded that God opposed the apostles' ministry trip to Bithynia. We don't know why, but it's likely that region wasn't prepared yet, while a different region was. I'm not suggesting that we need three dreams and a vision about a certain city, before we begin healing. But as our ministry grows, it would be a good idea to periodically ask God for detailed information on where we can be used most effectively. "If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask."

Another aspect of street healing is relational; Jesus instructed his disciples to inquire who in these cities was worthy. Have you every considered what he meant by this?

Not only did Jesus tell them there were certain places to go, he told them there were certain people who would receive them and others who wouldn't. How many of us have been frustrated by an experience where we poured all we had into a group of people and it seemed all our labor was for nothing? God has certain people in mind whose hearts have been prepared. They're ready for us to to reveal God's love and grace to them, but we must find out who and where they are.

Once we've found an opportunity to minister healing, I've found that it's a good investment of time to spend a few minutes (at least) getting to know the one God wants to touch. In previous messages we've discussed how ministry flows through relationships. Many people have been burned by religion at some point in their past. Many of those wounds came at the hands of believers who cared more about being right than being loving, or their goal at the start was merely to win another convert to increase their score.

Shallow Christianity hurts people more than it helps them. If we take a few minutes and listen to the one we want to see healed, we demonstrate compassion, which was the fuel that propelled Jesus in everything he did. As we get to know them, they begin to trust us. As they trust us, we have a better chance of being able to minister to them and perhaps disciple them. Remember, Jesus didn't ask us to make converts or merely heal. He asked us to make disciples and discipleship requires relationships.

Revelation and Observation
There are basically two ways we can find people who need healing. The first is the most obvious; as you travel during your day, look around and see if you notice anyone wearing a cast, a splint, an immobilizer, wearing dark sunglasses inside (possible blindness), wearing hearing aids, walking with a cane - particularly a white cane with red on it (indicating total blindness) or sitting in a wheelchair. Simple observation will reveal hundreds of people a week that you could provide healing to. Now consider all the people you'll meet in a week who talk openly about migraine headaches, back pain, fibromyalgia, cancer treatments and other medical conditions. If you added them to the list, the number of people you could minister to would be rather large.

A number of times in the last few years, I woke from a dream in which I was praying with someone for a certain condition. Later in the day, I would usually find them and pray with them. There have also been times when I suddenly felt the presence of God come over me out of nowhere. Sometimes it happens when I'm at the grocery store, other times I've been in line at a coffee shop. Usually, when I close my eyes, I see the word 'headache' or some other condition and I frequently see an image of the person. The goal here is to find them and ask if they want to be healed.

God will heal people that you find, regardless of how you find them. Private revelation through words of knowledge is a great way to locate people with conditions that aren't obvious by looking at them. If you're sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, you'll find it easy to hear, see or 'just know' what God wants to do. Receiving a word of knowledge for someone isn't a guarantee they'll be healed. I once had an accurate word for a woman at Starbuck's who had migraines, but when I approached her, she wouldn't let me pray for her. If you're wondering why God would give a word of knowledge, knowing it wouldn't be received, consider that it might have planted a seed in their heart. Maybe that woman went home and had a dream about a stranger approaching her with a word of knowledge and that stranger happen to look exactly like Jesus. (Don't underestimate the craftiness of Jehovah sneaky)

Two By Two
Jesus sent out the seventy in groups of two. Have you ever wondered why? I didn't, until I began this journey into healing and not long after, it became obvious.

Success and humility don't always walk hand in hand, though they do make a handsome couple. One of the problems we encounter in healing is the tendency for pride to sneak into our lives when miracles happen - and miracles will happen, you can be assured of it; if you don't give up when the first ten people you pray with aren't healed.

If there are two pairs of hands resting on someone when they're healed of cancer, who gets the credit? One reason for doing ministry in tandem is to prevent us from getting a swollen ego. The honor and glory belongs to the Lord. Having several people involved can act as a buffer between us and pride, preventing opportunities for it to take root.

Another reason is that we all struggle at times with obedience or consistency. Having a ministry partner can minimize the effect of those days when your faith is weak or you're in rebellion. Your partner should be praying for you and you should be praying for them. Healing is warfare, whether we know it or not. Once you begin to heal the sick, the enemy is likely to take notice and bring some trouble your way. Don't be afraid, it's mostly a fear campaign to get you frightened enough to quit.

I have a few trusted friends who are gifted with discernment. Our time together is always beneficial. They're attentive to the small details of my spiritual life. They usually detect the 'gunk' the enemy has tried to hang on me since the last time we met. They clean up my armor and I clean up theirs. When you're in battle, you're doing to take a few firey darts from the enemy. Don't go into battle alone. Having a partner can and should be a great benefit to all of us.

My primary partner for ministry is my wife. There are a lot of good reasons to consider involving your spouse in your ministry. The enemy would like to ruin as many of us as possible. How many ministries have crashed and burned after a scandalous affair? I don't want to give the enemy an opportunity to destroy me or my marriage, so whenever possible, my wife and I minister together. She has the password to my e-mail accounts and all my social networking profiles. When I'm on Facebook, she's usually a few feet away on her computer or she's looking over my shoulder. Not because she doesn't trust me, she's just interested in what I do and she wants to protect me from potential dangers.

If you'd like to try healing but don't like the idea of going alone, treasure hunts are a good option. They're a great way to help newbies get started. You spend a little time as a group praying and receiving information (words of knowledge) then go out and find the people who match the clues. Sometimes it's healing, sometimes an encouraging prophetic word. One benefit is that through these experiences, believers quickly realize after finding people who closely match the things on their list, they know they're hearing from God accurately. This is very similar in concept to the command Jesus gave to "inquire who is worthy".

Faith, Authority and Presence
In previous messages, we discussed the process of how we actually heal the sick. If you want a refresher, Healing 101 is a good overview.

Jesus healed in many different ways. Sometimes he commanded it, sometimes he healed with a touch and other times he declared a person was healed. I'd encourage you not to rely too much on one method of healing. Jesus didn't and his flexibility was used powerfully.

Healing can happen as we operate out of faith, which releases God's power to heal. Some of us operate primarily out of faith, and a lack of doubt or unbelief. But faith isn't the only factor to be considered. Some healers have great faith, but lack an understanding of their authority.

I have a lot of friends on Facebook who, largely due to the teaching of Andrew Wommack and Curry Blake, have come to a powerful understanding of the authority the believer has over sickness. These folks are a pretty amazing group. They have a confidence and tenacity you don't see elsewhere in healing. They know their authority and operate well in it, commanding sickness to leave. They tend to operate as a kind of spiritual police, arresting sickness and disease and enforcing the principles of God's kingdom here in the earth. But faith and authority aren't the only ways to heal.

There is a third way in which healing can happen. Some of us carry the presence of God with us in a way that releases healing on a regular basis, often without our awareness and without a single word being said. I became aware of this phenomenon a few years ago, when some of my patients 'mysteriously' began getting better during transports in the ambulance. Some of these transports were nothing short of miraculous. I remember one call, where a comatose patient with almost no blood pressure who was expected to die soon, had an unexpected increase in blood pressure and came out of his coma before we got to the destination. I was so busy providing medical care, I didn't have time to pray for him.

At first, I shrugged it off as wishful thinking, until I had a dream that revealed something I wasn't aware of. In the dream I transported a man who was severely injured in a car accident. I didn't provide any medical treatment or pray for him. When we arrived at the hospital, the doctor asked what I did during the transport. I told him I didn't do anything and said I thought the patient was healed. And in fact, he was healed. I knew that the presence of God in the ambulance had healed all his injuries, without my direct involvement. This dream was God's way of letting me know that He was in fact healing people, even though I wasn't aware of it.

I can't explain why God would heal people we haven't prayed for and not others, except perhaps that it may be an answer to their own prayers or the prayers of others and the meeting with us is just a point of contact with God's presence. But I'm open to other suggestions. The subject of God's presence which comes and goes is an issue of some confusion in healing circles. Perhaps I'll write on that subject in the future.

In practice, we can lay hands on people or stand a few feet away, and we'll likely see the same results. We can command healing silently, or out loud and we'll probably see the same results. I love Pete Cabrera's illustration of this principle, when he commanded a plastic spoon to heal and two people were healed, by holding onto the spoon. Lisa Fitzgerald-Adams released healing bubbles on someone who had an injury from skateboarding. I've heard testimonies of healing that came by speaking the word of God over the sick. I see no reason why we should limit healing to a certain method. Be creative and let God amaze you.

The streets and shops you visit are full of people who desperately need to know God cares about them. All around you, crippled people struggle to cope. Blind people are robbed of fully experiencing the abundant life Jesus died for. You are the one who can release the power of God that changes those circumstances. Street healing is easy, it just takes a little compassion, a little faith, a little boldness and a desire to see God's love in action. This is the model Jesus gave us. Anyone can do it.

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