BRAVE ENOUGH TO STOP CLINGING TO THE FORMULA?

BRAVE ENOUGH TO STOP CLINGING TO THE FORMULA?

Do you ever read the New Testament and feel a little frustrated, wondering why exciting stuff like what unfolds in the pages of the book of Acts seems unattainable to us now? Do you wonder why more healing, mass salvations, radical conversions, miracles, signs, and wonders aren’t prevalent and common place today?

I remember feeling that way for years and years, until I happened upon stories from modern day pastors, teachers, and missionaries like Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, and Randy Clark. These men and women all shared amazing accounts of God dramatically touching and impacting people alive today in such ways I had only read of in the bible or from believers long ago.

That was then, this is now.

When I came across the accounts of the adventures these friends of God experienced, I was living relatively unaware of God’s supernatural activity on the earth. There use to be a bit of an unspoken sentiment among the circles I was in at the time that God could move in third world countries, but America was too hard and jaded to the gospel for Him to be able to perform drastic healing or accomplish anything out of the ordinary.

Yet I began hearing of healing, resurrections from the dead, and all kinds of incredible miracles happening right on American soil. The main thing I kept thinking was, “How could I have been missing this stuff?” I recall weeping deeply as I realized what my heart ached for all these years was actually happening here and now, right in my own back yard.

For years I cried out to God wanting to know more about how to do the things Jesus and the followers of Jesus so easily operated in. When I laid hands on the sick, usually nothing really happened. When I asked God for much needed miracles for people, I rarely saw break through.

What am I doing wrong? 

I could not understand what I was doing wrong. I thought I knew God was kind and good. Surely if I cared about seeing people healed and set free, God cared even more. Yet, why were my prayers not getting through? Why did it feel like my prayers were falling flat?

Something in me knew this wasn’t the way things were suppose to be. Yet the answers and the tools eluded me for years. Now through hearing there were people alive today who were seeing God’s kingdom come when they prayed to God, I knew my days of frustration were coming to an end. These men and women were finding real kingdom results, not just theories or good ideas,  So, I set out on a journey of deeper discovery with Holy Spirit to gain better understanding for myself.

I began reading everything I could get my hands on, listening to teachings on podcasts and Youtube, attending conferences, and doing anything I could to learn and learn fast. I felt like I wanted to make up for lost time. You see I had read books on healing, evangelism, and the like all through out my early adulthood, but some how what I was reading wasn’t helping. Something was missing. I kept thinking I needed a five step guideline of some sort, a graph, or an outline to follow that would release the keys I needed to start seeing the results Peter, Paul, saints before, and now these modern day saints were getting.

An important discovery. 

What I discovered as I read Bill Johnson’s books, listened to Heidi Baker talk about her relationship with Jesus, and attended conferences put on by Randy Clark was… there is no formula. Previously, the more I read about healing, for instance, the more I realize what one person says to do or not do, someone else says the direct opposite. Talk about confusing. For a long time, the subject brought such frustration, I gave up trying to understand. But now I was seeing a pattern.

The subject of kingdom living can be over whelming, and there really are a lot of theologies of thought. Yet, with all I’ve read and come to learn from Christians alive today and those who went before me, the people who truly walk in the middle of outrageous kingdom activity have one thing in common. They all possess a deep place of knowing who they belong to and how deeply loved they are by Him.

Look at the life of the apostle Peter. He lived passionate and bold, but even he did not live a lifestyle marked with miracles or healing until He was filled with the Spirit of God and gathered deep insight into God’s unrelenting love for him. When Peter found redemptive love that was not based on his efforts to prove his devotion to God in his own strength, he came alive to true freedom and kingdom living in Christ.

Love moved beyond denial.

Peter denied even knowing, let alone loving Jesus, but when Jesus raised from the dead, He went looking for Peter (Luke 22:59-62). Peter must have expected Jesus to deny him friendship in return. But no, Jesus had redemption on His heart for Peter. True to His Father in Heaven’s nature, Jesus pursued. Jesus went looking for Peter. He found Peter back at sea, fishing. Peter was back at what he had done before Jesus met him, before Jesus walked with him, and before Jesus turned his life upside down (John 21).

Jesus didn’t come to find Peter to cuss him out. No, He went to Peter to restore their friendship, to communicate to Peter that He still loved Peter despite what he had done. What grace! What unselfish love! Jesus’ love in that moment probably transformed Peter more than any other moment the two of them had shared before.

Peter walked away from his fishing nets that day and forever picked up the calling and identity Jesus saw in Peter all along. He left that beach and began preaching the resurrected Christ with unwavering confidence in who God is and who He made Peter to be. God performed wonders, healing, and miracles through Peter’s life from then on. Did Peter earn special favor through his actions? No, he just came into a greater place of clarity in who God intended for him to be all along.

Love speaks deep.

God’s unconditional, ever grace-filled love spoke deeply to Peter’s uncertain heart. Now Peter finally understood he did not need to work for God’s love. He was loved no matter if he did the worst thing imaginable and turned his back on Jesus. Jesus loved Peter even after Peter abandoned Jesus in His darkest time.

Peter’s revelation of God’s astonishing love transformed and renewed him. Now he experienced God as the rock unmovable, the rock dependable, the rock of deliverance as God claimed through out scripture. Now Peter did not just read the truth in scripture, now he knew the truth from experience too. Furthermore, now he could become the rock Jesus once told him he was, (Matthew 16:18) and reflect the character of His father God and Jesus himself, resembling the Rock everlasting (Isaiah 26:4).

Armed with the revelation of Christ the Rock on which he stands, Peter in turn could now reveal God’s character to others. God touched many as Peter walked through the remainder of his life in full assurance of God ability to heal, deliver, save, transform, and restore anything broken. Peter’s life pointed to the rock unmovable, the rock dependable, and the rock of deliverance. Multitudes were delivered and healed because of the encounter of love Peter experienced on the beach that day.

Without encounter, without experiential revelation, without the Word coming alive and active in his perceptions of himself and the world around him, Peter may never have seen the miracles and healing wonders God would accomplish through his hands. The revelation of who God is and who God made Peter to be, coupled with the Holy Spirit’s activating power, brought heaven to earth and made the supernatural quite natural in Peter’s life.

A welcomed shift.

In my own life, when I slowly started adopting the mindset in my heart, not just my head, that God not only loved me but liked me too, then I experienced a shift. I spent a lot of time in worship just soaking in the truth that God loved me and was pleased with me, even if I never did anything else to serve Him the rest of my days.

That’s a hard thing to accept, way deep in your gut because for some reason we really want to earn love. I would put worship music on and just tell God I loved Him, not seeking anything but just to love Him. There I began to hear and experience His love for me. I learned to lean into His love and believe with all that I am that His love is enough, His love is the goal, and His love is the treasured prize. He truly gave His love in full without me doing one blessed thing.

I slowly came to a place of accepting that God loved me even if I never told him I loved him. But honestly, when we grab a hold of that notion, even slightly, the result is to naturally want to give love back to the One who gave it so selflessly first. I meditated often on the notion that God loved me because He is love, not because I am lovely.

You see when I felt like I had prayed enough, worshipped enough, served God enough, then I felt loved and lovely. But what about the days when my short comings were glaringly obvious? What then? All the sudden I think I am distant from God and now need to work my way back into His good graces by praying more and studying the bible more. What a terrible rat race! God stripped those lies, layer by layer, and continues to remove the false notions that I do anything to make myself deserving of His love.

You name it, I think I tried it.

Sometime had passed since God began this particular work in me. Mean while, I had been learning more about the gift of healing in light of not earning God’s love. Before, my attempts looked more like I was playing a holy version of Russian Roulette. Instead of risking the chance for a bullet to fly out of the barrel at the pull of the trigger, in this version, the hope was that perhaps at the “trigger” someone might get healed when prayed for. Who knew what would work or when. The idea was to just keep trying and maybe you get lucky.

Maybe by praying the right prayer or positioning myself in such a way for the heavens to open up, God would not be not able to resist the perfect, holy, righteous stumbled upon act and therefore now must heal. I’m pretty sure I never professed such ideas verbally, but sometimes my actions looked as though that is exactly what I thought. I would beg God to heal people as if I cared more than Him. How ridiculous! I would try to deny myself food through fasting in hopes to twist His arm to action.

Unexpected results of love. 

It wasn’t until I began to really believe and confess out loud that God is a good God who wants to heal that I first saw Him do just that through me. I put aside doubts to whether or not God wanted to heal in any given situation. Instead I adopted the notion and belief that if God is a healer and is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then He is always ready and willing to heal. Looking at Jesus’ life I never read an account of Him denying anyone who asked for healing either.

Therefore, I moved forward believing God is good and His answer to healing is always yes. He doesn’t need my convincing to heal. I also moved forward believing that I was a dearly loved daughter of God, given the right and privilege by Jesus to act as the conduit for healing to come from the Father to the people needing healing. What a difference those two confessions made because soon I would see the lasting fruit.

One evening I found myself sitting across from a young man with a wrist splint. I had gathered together with other believers at a ministry I was a part of when we lived Colorado Springs called WorshipMob. We were preparing to record a time of worship, and the young man with the wrist injury was scheduled to play an instrument. He shared with the group about a recent mountain bike accident resulting in surgery and a lengthy recovery time for his wrist. He was unsure of his ability to play given the pain he was feeling.

Something overcame me as he talked, and I knew I needed to pray for his wrist to be healed. I had never lead a group of people to pray for someone ‘s healing, let alone even experiencing God heal someone when I prayed by myself. I knew God healed, I heard stories, and I personally had been miraculously healed of chronic migraine headaches. Despite the pounding in my chest and the physical response of my body prepping for what must of been a full on panic attack, I heard myself suggest out loud that we should pray for the gentleman suffering from the broken wrist.

Put up or shut up.

The leader of the gathering said, “Great! Jennette, will you lead us?” Oh God, what did I just do? I quickly remind myself of all I had been studying and preparing for. It was time to step up into all I had been professing to believe so safely from the confines of my prayer closet. It felt like it was a put up or shut up moment.

But wait a minute. Hadn’t I learned that I wasn’t responsible for putting anything up? God is the healer. (Exodus 15:26) Hadn’t I been studying that God is good and wanted to see this guy’s wrist healed even more than me? (Psalm 103:3) Wasn’t He already in agreement to heal this young man and was waiting for someone to come into agreement with what He was already giving a resounding yes to? (Luke 11:2) Now I knew it wasn’t me talking, but the Holy Spirit bringing to remembrance all that Jesus said and did.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ~ John 14:26

I stood up and placed my hands on the man’s shoulders. Many others in the room gathered around as well. I prayed a simple prayer starting with the request and agreement with God to bring what is in heaven to earth. I prayed for heaven to come, bringing anything needed to repair and restore his wrist. Everyone agreed, and then I asked him how he was feeling. He said the pain was gone. He took off his wrist brace to move his wrist around and check things out.

Wait a minute, what?

I have been dealing with an auto-immune disease since my early 20’s. Over the years I spent hours imagining what my reaction will look like when I am healed. Currently there is no medical treatment to heal my body of the sickness, only medication to suppress the effects. Damage from the symptom’s effects prior to finding medication still clings to my body. Although I thank God for the medicine, I long for healing. The medication is hard on organs exposed for years and years.

Doctors tell me I will have to be on this medicine the rest of my life, but I felt very strongly that God promised to miraculous heal me when the symptoms first set in. I have been waiting and believing for the miracle for 20 years. I have had a lot of time to think about what I would feel or do in response to seeing the healing manifest in my body.

I picture myself running around in ecstatic joy or falling down on the floor weeping uncontrollably. Honestly it will probably be a strange and messy combination of the two. Imagining what others would do once they too discovered instantaneous healing hit their body, I guess I figured people would at least be excited or smile, if not the same as my imaginings. This gentleman however did nothing.

Not always what we expect.

I left the meeting really believing he did not actually get healed. I thought he just said he was feeling better because he thought saying he felt better would make those of us praying for his healing feel good. He did play his instrument that night, but with his wrist brace on. Again, confirming in my mind that no real healing took place.

Six months later the two of us again were at a WorshipMob meeting where we were all reflecting on the good God had done in our lives over the past year. The young man piped up and shared how God healed his wrist when we prayed for him. He explained that the doctors were amazed. What was meant to take many months to fully recover, took weeks. He explained he never felt any more pain after the night we prayed for him.

I was thrilled and so encouraged. I experienced for the first time what I had been confessing in faith. God’s Spirit leads me to jump in with what God was doing. God’s compassion for the young man’s plight bubbled up in me that night and directed me even against my own insecurities to pray in agreement for what God was wanting to do. Healing came, even if the young guys response wasn’t what I expected.

God will lead, we must follow. 

God led, I followed, and healing came. I have prayed for people that same way since, same “formula” and healing hasn’t come. I have prayed for people other ways that God directed with a new “formula” and healing came. The key is not the formula, but the relationship. I lean into who God is and who He made to be, and from there I look to see how He is bringing His kingdom to people around me.

God is always doing something. We just need to learn how to see and hear Him, and that is learned first in our own private relationship with Him. Out of our intimacy with God in our day to day living, He will begin to take us on public adventures with Him. First we seek Him in the quiet places, then we will see His activity in and on the earth.

Today I do not read books expecting a formula guaranteeing success. I read knowing men and women operating in a Christ-filled supernatural lifestyle will share insights and tools they learned through trial and error while in relationship with God. I read knowing even their guidelines get changed up by Holy Spirit sometimes because walking with God is not a formula or check list to follow. Walking with God is an unknown journey of adventure built on trust and ongoing relationship.

Read for possibilities to come alive. 

I read today to gain pictures and hear possibilities of things I may have thought impossible. The stories of encounter with God and His work in the lives of people inspire me to dream and think big. The relationship others live in with God reminds me of what is available to me. God invites me to come up a little higher to His ways, His thinking, and His possibilities each time I hear of what He is doing with someone else on the earth.

We follow and pursue relationship with a God who is more committed to relationship than even we are. Everything He does in His kingdom, on earth and in heaven was first conceived in relationship. Even in the creation account, before anything we touch existed, God created from communion and relationship with Jesus and Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2 and John 1:10). Naturally then, as He continues on with us, it makes sense that He would structure our coming and going, our laying down and our waking, to flow from relationship, not formula.

I am growing in my understanding that the more I come to realize who God is and how He feels about me and the rest of the world, I will understand more about how to represent him to the people around me. The many books and accounts of the great exploits God’s kids have been living out since Revelation 22:21, serve to inspire and give us hope. We gain tools and ideas, but they are never hard fast rules. Holy Spirit always keeps us on our toes because as soon as we think we have things figured out in the ways of God and His kingdom, we will fall into the trap of thinking we no longer need God.

The perils of doing more than relating.

We wouldn’t come right and say that, but our actions would speak it loud and clear to Holy Spirit. Where we once relied on Holy Spirit so heavily to show up because we knew we desperately needed Him to, we will now stop asking Him for help and stop connecting because we are too busy “doing the stuff” to take time for relationship. Plus, we think we know what we are doing and don’t really need help anymore.

It’s a tricky trap many fall into. But when the goal is greater intimacy with God, then any kingdom activity naturally flows from a relationship of love and friendship with Him. Then, if Holy Spirit tells us to stop using a method or formula we have come accustomed to because it brought results in the past, we will listen and follow His guidance. If He starts operating in a totally new and different way through us or asks us to step out and trust Him in a new method, we will obey.

Where the wind blows. 

When we follow the Spirit out of relationship and communion with God then we will always adjust to the changing winds of the Spirit and not question the redirecting. Holy Spirit is likened to wind for a reason. Wind is always moving and changing directions. We must adapt with the wind and be ready to change directions if we are going to keep up.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. ~ John 3:8 niv

When Holy Spirit first arrived on the scene in Acts He came as a mighty rushing wind. I do not believe Holy Spirit’s startling entrance was haphazard. Manifesting as wind was deliberate and intentional.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. ~ Acts 2:2 niv

Holy Spirit’s coming as the wind at the first infilling and His first time to take permanent residence in the lives of believer’s was methodical on God’s part. It was if God was saying, get ready for adventure! We are like leaves blowing where the wind takes us, if we relax and live a life surrendered to God.

Only a yes required. 

He will direct us to the good works He set aside for us, but it requires our yes. Like Peter, a yes comes readily to the lips when we know how incredibly loved we are and how amazing the one who loves us is. Anytime I shrink back or find my heart resisting God’s wind, I find myself at the feet of the cross again asking Jesus for more revelation of the Father’s love and deeper understanding of how He sees me.

The people who know their God will be strong and carry out great exploits.” ~ Daniel 11:32 nkjv

Let’s know God. Let us make spending time with Him and becoming more aware of His presence with us a priority. When we do, we will understand Him, and that understanding will free us to understand how He sees us. When we know who we belong to, we will know who we are. When we know who we are, we will know what God gave us to give away to others.

Then we too like Peter, Paul and the many great saints who came after them, we will join in the beautiful unfolding drama of the great King and His mighty kingdom. We will throw up our sails and ride the winds of His Spirit to each moment and each divine encounter He planned on for us at the beginning of time.

Like the great men and women who forged in the Spirit on this earth, as Jesus did, a life of seeing God move in power through healing, signs, and wonders, we too will see God move. We too will experience in amazing ways God bring heaven to earth, move mountains of impossibilities, and we will experience God bringing deliverance to all the broken things around us.

Share your story. 

What has been your experience with God healing others? What lessons have you learned as you followed the wind of the Spirit? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories. If you have questions, share those too!

 

 

YOU MISS OUT WHEN YOU DISREGARD THE VALUE OF TESTIMONY
ARE YOU LIVING WITH LEGACY IN MIND LIKE JESUS?
WHAT DOES GOD REALLY THINK ABOUT REST?
PROMOTION IS HIDING IN A GOOD TESTIMONY
WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE THROWING IN THE TOWEL
YOU ALREADY HAVE WHAT YOU WANT FROM GOD

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