Jan 31, 2012

Jan 27, 2012

An Open Letter To My Readers

I wanted to share some of the odd things that have gone through my mind lately, some things I've learned and some of the personal experiences I've had in the last few weeks....

A donut shop is a donut shop, regardless of what your partner tells you about how great the doughnut place is that he found. Donuts are sweet and some are a little better than others, but there’s only so much you can do with a doughnut. We’re not talking about gourmet cuisine. We’re talking about doughnuts.

I worked with a woman who hands the size of a six year old girl. She wears extra-small gloves when she can find them. I prayed with her for carpal tunnel syndrome, she felt some tingling when I did, but when I ran into her a few days later, she was still experiencing some symptoms. My plan? Wait for the next opportunity to pray with her and teach her how to keep it.

You can pray with faith for a condition that you’ve seen healed a hundred times and still not see any changes in them. But It doesn’t mean you don’t have faith and it doesn’t mean they weren’t healed. It just means they didn’t feel anything happening at the time.

God likes the fact that I'm content to work as a paramedic. He doesn't expect more of me at this time in my life. I find that comforting.

Staying out of deception comes by trusting others more than you trust yourself. This is easier said than done. First you have to care about whether or not you’re being deceived and that means entertaining the possibility that you might be wrong. Then you must believe it’s possible for someone to have more accurate discernment than you do. Such a person must have the guts to confront you and you must have the humility to allow God to reveal your own blindness. Since these things are not likely to occur with regularity – I believe most of us (myself included) are deceived rather often.

When my daughter is gone, I miss her a lot more than I realized.

I received a compliment from a man this week, who doesn't agree with everything I write, but he respects me because he says I'm "balanced". That was a helpful observation. I don't actually try to be balanced, I just write about what I see, experience and what I get from the Holy Spirit and the bible. It's a mix of different sources and it seems to be appreciated by some people.

I’ve always wanted to have a partner who was fluent in Spanish. Now I have one. He took a week off and things weren't the same. I missed him. And now it looks like he might be moving to a different unit. The only constant is change. The only exception is God.

I went to Walmart to get oil and and oil filter for my car. As I entered the store I was met by at least 4 people with obvious injuries and disabilities. I hesitated, but kept going to the automotive section and got the things I needed. I left without praying for anyone. Ins my heart, I wanted to lay hands on all of them. Heck, I could have been there all afternoon - there were so many people in the store that day who could have been healed. But it was one of those days when I just wanted to get back home and take care of things I wanted to get done.

The fact that a patient is small (say, 6 months old) is no reason to be afraid when you’re in the ambulance with them.

More people should take advantage of golfing early in the morning instead of waiting till later in the day when the course is crowded.

I prayed with a young man in sickle cell crisis. His main complaint was back pain. The more I prayed, the more his pain decreased. It was the first time I remember praying for sickle cell anemia.

Arizona has a lot of cool birds. They make enough noise that you can hear them inside the hospital. If you spend a few minutes outside listening to them instead of your fears and worries, you might not be so stressed out.

I prayed with a 68 year old man who was one of the healthiest men of his age that I've ever seen. No heart problems, no diabetes, no high blood pressure or cancer, no chronic health problems to speak of and he took no medications. The only problem was, he had two bad shoulders and bad knee. I told his about the dreams I've had about healing and asked if I could pray with him. He said "yes". As I prayed over his left shoulder it began to feel warm. So warm that I could feel the heat with my hand. I prayed over the other one and his knee. I'm pretty sure he was glad that I asked.

Using a propane torch is a quick way to rid your yard of weeds.

I've been feeling a bit 'left out' lately. While a lot of my pals are going around the country teaching people about healing. I'm sitting in my ambulance cat-napping between calls and being a dad and husband. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a tad jealous. I received some wonderful comfort from Corma Holmes, who heard God tell her about how I was feeling. She sent me a message and encouraged me and somehow she knew exactly what I was going through. My wife has also been a great encourager, reminding me that God has a special way of using me to reach people. I'm OK with that.

It's important to find the right person to come alongside of if you plan to impact their life for the kingdom of God. While there are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people you might potentially influence, there are very few you will actually reach in a significant way. I've had a number of partners recently - even a few believers, but not one of them has expressed any interest in learning more about healing or the kingdom of God from me. I'm still looking for "the person of peace." I'll write a separate message on "the person of peace" in a few days.

I like where I'm at. It's been over 20 years since I had a doctor ride in the ambulance with me. I've had two doctors ride with me this week. In both cases we transported a critically ill patient from a clinic to a hospital. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited.

I've been having dreams about doing things with people in Scottsdale, Arizona; a place I visit often on duty and it happens to be the city where those doctors have been riding with me to the hospital. God is up to something...not exactly sure what it is yet.

I've been losing my business cards at different places in the Phoenix area. Mostly at hospitals. If you happen to have found one, let me know. You can keep the card, but I'd love to talk with you. My e-mail address is at the top of the page. You can also find me on Facebook or Twitter.

I prayed with a sweet boy of four years old who has asthma and RSV. I talked with his mother about healing. Sowing seeds....

I love the warm, sunny winter weather in Phoenix. I've decided that the 4 months of hellishly hot temps in the summer are worth it, to have 60's and 70's from November through March.

I have no plans to stop blogging. I only wish I had more time to write, because I'd write a lot more if I could. If you're worried about me pulling the plug....don't worry. I'm planning to be around for a long time.

I've been thinking about writing an article for JEMS magazine about healing and EMS. They're always looking for new, fresh ideas. They like to inform their readers about current trends in medicine. I doubt that anyone else is going to write about healing in the ambulance. So I guess it's up to me.

I had a dream about people being removed from the earth, one at a time by God. It was like what he did with Enoch. He found people who loved Him so much and He just took them up into heaven, but not in large numbers. It happened one at a time. I'll write a note about it and post it on Facebook for discussion.

I've also had dreams where God has been talking about eating healthier and exercising. It's personal. But if might be a good word for you, too. I like the junk food at the hospitals, but I need to lose some weight and get in shape.

The last thing I need is to end up in the hospital or worse, in the back of someone's ambulance.

- 'till next time

p.s. - I've decided to purchase uniform shorts for the summer. But don't get your hopes up. I don't plan on taking pictures ;)

Jan 22, 2012

Revival At Starbucks

Jose Coelho does a wonderful job of demonstrating the word of knowledge, releasing healing and presenting the gospel to strangers in a way that they could understand it.

Jan 19, 2012

Go Back And Be Happy

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the number one killer of people under the age of 44. Every twenty one seconds, someone suffers a traumatic brain injury in the United States. As a result, 5.3 million Americans are living with a disability from TBI. This is the story of Julie Papievis, who was severely injured in a car accident. Her near death story is full of hope. Her neurosurgeon predicted a long reccovery with little chance for a normal life. A few years later she competed in a triathlon. Her doctor confessed her healing was a miracle. Julie wrote about her experience in her book, Go Back And Be Happy. Her website can be found here

Jan 16, 2012

Man Conscious During 23-Year Coma

This story illustrates an issue that healthcare providers need to consider. The man in this video was considered to be in a persistent vegetative state for 23 years. The entire time, it was assumed that he had no ability to understand what was going on around him or respond to his environment. His mother was convinced that he could understand what was happening around him. His doctors wrote her observations off as wishful thinking. But time vindicated her beliefs as further testing revealed that he was in fact able to understand perfectly what was happening around him.

As healthcare providers its easy to think we know better than the family or patient about what is going on with them. It is too easy to dismiss their observations and hopes as wishful thinking. And too often, they are the ones who are right. I would encourage you to always take the concerns and observations of patients and their loved ones into account when making medical decisions. This isn't to say that they must be in charge of clinical decision making, but rather that their input is considered in the process as one who spends more time with the patient than we do and it may provide valuable insights.

Jan 13, 2012

Mustard Seed Faith - A Growth Process

This morning's message is about a subject that seems to be poorly understood by most people. The subject is faith. We'll look at faith and how it applies to healing, which is somewhat different than faith for other things.

Healing the sick is something we do by faith. In contrast to traditional medicine, which is a matter of what you know and how skilled you are, divine healing is a result of who you know and what you believe. Simply put; if you know Jesus and you believe He is still healing people today, He will heal the sick through you. Once your relationship with Him is established through the operation of the Holy Spirit, growing your faith in God’s ability and desire to heal is the next step.

How do we develop the kind of faith that heals people consistently? It was in their failures that the disciples of Jesus were given some of the most important lessons from their teacher. When they were not able to heal a boy with epilepsy, they asked Jesus why:

"And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
(Matt 17:14-20)

Jesus said they could not heal the boy because they lacked the necessary faith. The disciples were not completely devoid of faith; they had already worked many miracles by this time. They had adequate faith for healing some diseases, but not the faith to accomplish this particular healing.

Jesus said if they had faith as a mustard seed, they could move mountains. Some teach that Jesus spoke of the size of faith when He compared faith to a mustard seed. They teach that faith which is small can move mountains – if it is pure or has some other quality. But Jesus didn’t use size in this comparison. He didn’t say they needed to have faith as small as a mustard seed, but rather they needed faith that acts as a mustard seed does. Small faith was never applauded by Jesus – instead he often rebuked people for having little or small faith.

In order to understand why He compared faith to a mustard seed, we need to look elsewhere in scripture. The first mention of mustard seed in the bible is in the kingdom parables of Matthew chapter 13, where Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed:

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matt. 13:31-32)

The mustard seed though small, grew to be massive in size. Here is the key to how mustard seed faith behaves – it grows. A seed bears no fruit until it germinates and grows into a plant; the larger the plant – the more fruit it bears. Faith must grow before it produces the fruit of healing.

When I began praying for the sick, almost no one was healed. I was discouraged and I wanted to quit. I had almost no faith. All I had was a promise from God; “You pray and I’ll heal”. I had a seed of promise and nothing else. But as we’ve seen, the kingdom of God is about growth.

So I planted the seed and watered it. I watched videos featuring Todd White as he prayed with people on the streets and I saw miracles happen. And the seed sprouted. I watered it with scripture, reading every account of healing in the bible. And it grew roots. God gave me dreams in which I saw myself praying for the sick and they were being healed. Leaves grew from a small stalk that emerged from the ground. I continued to lay hands on anyone who would let me and eventually, I saw some of them healed. Fruit began to appear.

In the beginning I failed to understand what it took to see people healed. I saw others operating consistently in healing and I wanted to know how they did it. Like many people, I misunderstood what faith for healing is and how it operates.

Most of you would call yourself Christians, disciples of Jesus or simply, ‘believers’. You believe certain things about Jesus; the most important is that He is your Savior. This ‘kind’ of faith is the kind that saves us from the consequences of sin, but it’s not the kind of faith that heals the sick. Every Christian believes that Jesus is their savior, and yet that faith does not heal the sick. There must be another kind of faith that heals.

The kind of faith that heals isn’t a belief that God wants to heal the sick. Many people believe that God wants to heal the sick and yet the sick are not healed by their faith. Faith that heals is different from this.

Faith that heals the sick consistently and predictably is the belief that when you are presented with an opportunity to heal someone who is willing to be healed, that God will in fact heal that person of the condition they desire to be healed of through you. Faith that heals is not general. It is specific to the individual in need, the problem at hand and the one praying, which is usually us. Allow me to illustrate:

When the woman was healed by taking hold of the hem of Jesus’ garment, Jairus was in the crowd. His daughter was sick so he came to Jesus for help. After the woman was healed, Jesus had her testify to the crowd. After she testified, a friend of Jairus informed him that his daughter had died. Jesus looked at Jairus and said, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” (See Luke 8:40-50)

The woman’s testimony was needed because Jesus wanted Jairus to hear it and have faith for a something specific. Although believing that He was the Messiah was important, it wasn’t the thing He was after. He didn’t want Jairus to believe that God heals some people or that He raises some people from the dead. He wanted Jairus to believe without a doubt that his daughter would be raised from the dead. Note; Jesus said the girl would be made well, if he believed. The faith Jairus needed to see his daughter resurrected was specific to his daughter and her condition.

This is the kind of faith we need for healing.

When I began praying with people for healing, I seldom expected any of them to be healed. I believed that God wanted to heal some people and some conditions but I didn’t believe He wanted to heal all of them and I thought the person I was praying with wouldn’t be healed. I had a lot of doubts and those doubts involved either the person I was praying with or the condition I was praying for.

I doubted that God wanted to heal everyone and in fact, I thought He would heal just about anyone except the person I was praying with. Because I didn’t know that God wanted to heal everyone, my faith was generalized to some people, but not specific to the one I was praying with. So when I prayed with specific people, my doubts surfaced and I imagined them not being healed. My specific doubts destroyed my generalized faith and no one was healed.

After six months of fruitless attempts at healing, I realized I had to change some things. I noticed that Todd White commanded healing instead of asking God to heal and this approach worked well. Here’s an issue we need to consider. Has it ever occurred to you that when we beg God for healing, we believe that we are more compassionate than God is?

I changed my approach and started to command healing and as soon as I did, I saw people healed – often they were healed instantly. I saw a lot of success with torn rotator cuffs and carpal tunnel syndrome, seeing one person after another healed miraculously.

I began to approach these two conditions with more confidence. After only a few more months I’d seen dozens of people healed with a success rate of around 90%. Because of that success, I began to believe ( I had confidence) that God would actually heal everyone I prayed with who had one of these two conditions. My faith, which was generalized until then, became very specific. There were certain people with certain conditions that I knew in my heart, without any doubt God was going to heal. It was at this point that I began to tell some people they would be healed before I prayed with them. Something had changed in my approach to healing and that translated to greater confidence and better results. I’d like to explain how those changes occurred.

I began with a generalized faith. My general belief was that God wanted to heal “some people” of “some conditions”. This faith was weakened by specific doubts. I doubted that God wanted to heal the specific person or a specific condition through my prayers. Note - doubt comes in one of three areas; doubt about the person who is sick being healed, doubt about healing a certain condition or doubt that God will heal them through you. Doubt in all of these areas must be eliminated if you want to see people healed consistently.

As I saw more people healed, my generalized faith became specific – I had confidence (faith) that many of the people I prayed with would be healed. The doubts about specific people were being removed. I had also more faith for some conditions than others; my doubts about specific conditions was being removed. And faith for just about every type of condition was greater than it had been; my general faith for healing was growing.

As I began praying for people with neurologic disorders like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s) I had little faith for those conditions. Over time, my confidence began to grow and I began to see changes in some of those people as well. The same is true for cancer. Like many of us, my confidence for seeing cancer healed was small. I saw cancer as a stronger adversary, for some reason. But as I prayed with more cancer patients and saw some of them healed; my confidence for healing of cancer began to grow quickly. I don’t yet have the same confidence for cancer or ALS that I do for joint injuries, but the more I lay hands on people with those conditions the more my faith grows.

My faith, like the faith of Jairus, was strengthened by watching the power of God at work. Faith can and must grow. Seeing people healed is one of the keys to growth. I don’t think there is a substitute for experiencing the power of God at work.

The strategy for growing your faith is to start with a generalized belief that God heals. From there, you simply lay hands on whomever you can and eventually, you’ll see some of them healed. As you do, your weak, generalized faith will become more specific and stronger. As you continue in healing, you’ll see more types of diseases and injuries healed. You’ll develop more faith (confidence) for specific conditions. If you continue laying hands on people, the strong faith you have for a few things will broaden into a strong faith for many things.

There is a belief among Charismatics that some people have an ‘anointing’ for healing certain conditions such as back pain or migraines. In reality, there is no special anointing. But rather, they’ve recognized the fact that they have greater confidence (or a lack of doubt) for some conditions than for others. If they continue to pray with faith for other conditions, they usually develop confidence for them as well.

It has often been noted (primarily by skeptics) that no one has produced a medically documented case of an amputee who has had a limb restored through prayer. They use this as an argument against healing. In light of all the other valid testimonies of healing it seems like a weak argument. But the question deserves to be answered, “Why aren’t amputees healed in any significant numbers?”

Here’s my answer: I believe the lack of healing of amputees is due to nothing more than a corporate lack of faith specific to healing amputees. The church looks at the amputee as an impossible assignment. Torn rotator cuff? No problem. Multiple sclerosis? Yes, we can do that. HIV? Sure, we’ve seen a lot of people healed of that. But when we face the man or woman with a missing limb, we don’t have the faith (confidence) for it. When YOU believe (when you have a confident expectation) that God will heal a certain amputee through YOU, it will happen.

Jesus commented about the faith of the Roman centurion, calling his faith ‘great’. I’ve never considered myself to be a person of great faith. I thought that if I had great faith, every person I laid hands on who had missing limbs, would have them grow out. I’d be able to walk on water and do many other signs and wonders with great faith. And since these things weren’t happening, I concluded that my faith wasn’t very great.

I had a dream one night about faith that changed my understanding what it is and how it works. The dream was about a man who had great faith. His faith was so great that it could heal the entire city that he worked in. I didn’t realize it at first, but the man God showed me in the dream was me. What struck me most was the idea that it wasn’t the man or even God that had the potential to heal all those people – it was the faith he had which held the capacity to heal an entire city.

In the dream, God revealed something I didn’t know. He explained that my choice to continue praying with people, in spite of dismal results, was really the process of watering and nurturing the seed of faith that He had given me, which grew into faith that today has almost unlimited potential.

I don’t expect to heal an entire city, although that would be a great testimony to God. Such a feat would require me to stay awake for weeks or months on end and everyone in the city would actually want to be healed. God wasn’t speaking about actual healing, but the potential to heal. He was saying that my faith had grown to the point where I had the potential to heal thousands, if I chose to operate in a way that tapped into the faith I now had.

We know that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1) Faith has substance. It’s tangible and it does things, like heal the sick. I see faith as something like the currency of heaven. When we begin our journey in the kingdom, most of us have small faith. Our bank account of faith upon which we can draw out the resources of heaven is small. But as we walk with God and get to know His ways, we begin to trust Him more. As our faith in Him grows, so does the balance in our account. The more we step out and exercise our faith, the more we get to watch God at work. The more He works the more reason we have to trust Him. And trusting Him brings more faith into our account.

Unlike the balance in our bank account, which decreases the more we use it, the balance in our faith account increases the more we use it. Those who have great faith are those who exercise it often. Many of us underestimate what’s possible with the faith we now possess. It’s good to know that whatever level of faith we have today it will increase if we exercise it.

Jan 10, 2012

A Life Of Miracles - Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson is back with some more observations about the life of Jesus and the miraculous. I hope you're inspired...and empowered.

Jan 4, 2012

Healing and The Mindset of Winning

I've noticed that some of my friends leave comments like, "Win" after a testimony of healing is shared. We all love the testimony to God's power and goodness. We hate the fact that the powers of darkness still hold people captive. It's our mandate to set them free. There's no question that we are in a war. As Lance Wallnau said, "The objective of war is victory. The goal of victory is occupation." I've walked away from many newly healed strangers pumping my fist, rejoicing in the victory when I was out of view.

The question we might ask is, "What motives do we have in our heart that compel us to wage this war?"

Our words reflect the intentions and motives of our hearts; "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."

When our words declare victory over the enemy, it reveals that at least one of our motives is victory itself. Let me say that a different way; for some of us, victory itself is the reason we're in the battle.

One problem with being motivated by victory is that we see the battle in terms of "winning and losing". If we see someone healed, we declare that we've 'won'. If they aren't healed, what do we declare? Defeat.

For some of us defeat is unthinkable. Jesus already won the victory at the cross and the enemy has been beaten and will never be victorious. If one takes this view, the entire 'winning and losing' mind-set shouldn't apply to healing. There is no 'losing' in our warfare. Every battle is a 'win'.

Another problem with the 'winning and losing' mind-set is that it requires us to make a judgment call about our success in healing. If we see evidence that healing has taken place, we declare victory. If not - we either conclude the person wasn't healed or we take a 'wait and see' position.

Having followed up with a number of people who showed no immediate signs of healing, I can testify to the fact that some of the people you've prayed with will show complete healing 10 minutes after you leave. Some will manifest healing an hour later; and some in 2 or 3 days. Knowing this, I've developed a strategy where I tell them I believe they are healed whether they feel anything or not and advise them to believe the same thing. The point is - if you approach healing from a 'win or lose' perspective, you'll be convinced you've lost a lot of battles that you actually won.

Another problem with seeing healing in terms of 'winning and losing' is that you'll inevitably go through times when no one seems to be healed . It happens to everyone. If your motivation is victory and you aren't seeing it - you'll be tempted to quit all together, because it's just not worth it any more.

As I thought about this issue, one last thing came to mind. Jesus was motivated by something other than winning. The bible says "He saw the multitudes and had compassion on them" not "He saw the multitudes and desired victory".

Compassion and love were the things that motivated Jesus. They should be the things that motivate us. Every time we pray with a stranger - the goal is to demonstrate the love and compassion of God toward them. If they are healed - great...let us rejoice. But if they aren't or if we aren't certain they were healed, we've still demonstrated love and compassion if not the power of God. I've prayed with hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people who showed no signs of healing. Every encounter was a blessing to the one I prayed with and none of them were a loss for our side.

Most of the motives we have for healing the sick are good ones. Some are better than others. Love is the best motive of all.

Jan 1, 2012

This Is My Story

For over a year, Ben Breedlove has developed a following on YouTube, offering tenagers advice on everything from dating to the SATs with the wit and wisdom of someone far beyond his 18 years.

On December 18th, Ben made a different kind of video, sharing his struggle with a life-threatening heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This condition causes thickening of the heart muscle, makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood - and causes chest pain, high blood pressure, and eventually, heart failure. In his video, Ben tells of how he "cheated death" three times

Ben spoke often of the peace he felt in his near-death experiences and told people he wanted to go back to it. Ben passed away on Christmas morning while playing in the backyard with his younger brother.

If someone who understood the power of God for healing had asked Ben if he wanted to be healed of his heart condition, He might still be alive today.