Healing Testimony! – Revival on the River

The following is an amazing testimony from Revival on the River that was sent to us a few weeks ago. I was just re-reading the testimony and thought it would be something great to share. God is still a God of miracles. With HIM nothing is impossible! We saw God do so many amazing things including the miracles you will read about below.

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“Last year at Revival on the River, a girl prayed with my mom for me and then the next day I had zero back pain.. that was amazing. This year’s Revival on the River, I got excited when Jessie Wilson started singing so my foot came out of my AFO. My mom went to find a worker or helper to ask if they had anymore of the wristbands they were throwing out. I really wanted one but I couldn’t walk down there in that large crowd. She then told the man about what happened to me with the brain aneurysm and stroke. The man said yes but before I get her one do you mind me praying for her. He came over to me with his girlfriend and his friend (they all 3 are apart of Teen Challenge). His friend and girlfriend were standing beside me praying and then he, Robert who my mom talked to was sitting below me, had his hands on my AFO and he was praying for healing in my left leg and in my arm. They all were so nice to me and I still talk to them on Facebook.

When he got through praying he went to get me the wristband and he threw in a Revival on the River T-Shirt also! After that we were getting ready to go home because my foot was hurting badly. When we started to leave this man reached his hand out and told me to come here. I didn’t know who it was but I knew he wouldn’t be a bad person so I went over to him and then recognized him. When I was in 5th grade I started going to church at Golden Acres. He was one of the people in charge of the youth. One day he had to be taken out in the ambulance and he never came back and I wondered why. He is in a wheelchair and there is always a constant pain for him from his waist up. He said that not a lot of people know whats wrong with him and he doesnt post it on Facebook because a few years ago a little 12 year old girl with blonde told him to never give up and she told him about her surviving a brain aneurysm and a stroke and even though its hard living with a disability, it proves that you are a fighter and you can do it. He just kept talkin about how I inspire him and that because of me and my words of encouragement made him not give up. That made me so happy to know that I helped him and inspire many. I was crying the whole time but Saturday morning, when I walked I no longer dragged my left foot, I was able to pick it up.

People say that prayer doesn’t work and that God isn’t real… Who saved me 7 years ago? How could on April 25, 2014 a lady pray with mom and then April 26 I had zero back pain. After I had back pain for a whole year I don’t think it would just stop, God stopped it. Just like April 24, 2015 A man prayed for me and and on April 25 I was able to pick my foot up instead of dragging it like I have had to do for 6 years no matter how many botox I have had. I have always dragged my leg because I couldn’t pick it up because it was paralyzed. Now I can use my leg because of God! “

The Key to Revival

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Our greatest enemy as Christ followers is our pride and our self-sufficiency. As we follow Christ we are to follow His example of humility. We are also to follow His example in laying our lives down in exchange for His. As we follow Christ we trade a life of pride for a lifestyle of lowliness and humility.

“For this is what the high and exalted One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15

The word contrite in the verse above comes from the hebrew word “daka” which means to be crushed. Through the prophet Isaiah God tells us in this verse about how He not only is in a high and exalted place (heaven) but that He is also drawn to those who are “daka” or crushed. In talking about Christ Isaiah also says in an earlier passage, “He was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). We see that Jesus chose to allow himself to be crushed for us. I believe that we are also called to lay down our own lives and allow our pride to be crushed before Him.

What I find so cool about this verse is that it comes with a really powerful promise about God’s nature. He tells us at the end of this verse that He will revive those who are humble and have allowed themselves to be crushed (those who are contrite). We have a promise in this verse of revival. The only condition of this promise is that we humble ourselves and crush our pride. As we do this in faith then God promises that our hearts and lives will be forever changed.

Revival comes in response to humble saints. Revival comes as God draws near to those who have crushed their pride and have come to Him in humility and brokenness. God longs to send revival and He is simply waiting for us to crush our pride and humble ourselves before Him!

The word revive in the verse above is used over 250 times in the old testament. It is the hebrew word “chayah” which means: to live, restored, revived, to be restored to life and to live prosperously. When God promised to revive us in response to our brokenness then He promised to bring us into a life where our soul is prosperous. This same hebrew word is used over and over again in the OT when talking about genealogies. For examples it is used a lot of times when talking about how someone “begot” another in a list of family lineages. It is a word that ultimately means to create life. When we pick up our cross and lay down our lives then God promises to birth something new inside of us. 

“Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves.” 2 Cor 5:14-15

God is looking for a generation who will humble themselves, seek His face, turn from their sin so that He can bring healing and restoration. He is looking for a generation who will become broken and humble sot hat He can birth something new inside of them. He longs for a humble church whom He can use to birth revival. If we want revival then we need to ask God for humility and brokenness. Revival is coming but only in response to our humility. Revival is coming as we crush our pride and choose to totally depend on our God. Humility is the KEY to revival in the Church. 

WWJD?

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I remember growing up in elementary and middle school when this really interesting fad hit the southeastern United States that involved these colorful bracelets with the letters “WWJD?” on them. In fact, when I first begin to see these bracelets on people I can distinctly remember pretending like I knew what the letters stood for before I really even had a clue. Maybe as I mention them you can also remember these bracelets. The interesting thing about these bracelets that I remember is how suddenly they became hugely popular in the community where I lived and how suddenly everyone not only had one but some people actually would wear 5 or more on a single arm. It was the cool thing to do and so of course I began to follow and got one or two of my own!

WWJD?The interesting thing about these bracelets that I distinctly remember is that over time people at my school that were not Christians and were not involved in church whatsoever suddenly began to wear the bracelets. It seemed as if everyone was asking this same question, “What Would Jesus Do?” I remember how the popularity of this bracelet seemed to be a huge success for the Christian community but now that I look back I wonder what impact it really even did make on our culture?

Last night I was reflecting about a friend of mine who was over at my house earlier this week and was doing some hilarious impressions of me and some of our other friends as we were all just hanging out. It was so funny when he began to do the impression of me because of how accurate he was in impersonating me. Everyone started bursting out laughing from the moment he started speaking because his voice and mannerisms suddenly resembled mine in such an astonishing way. My friend then told me something that really caught my attention. He said that he couldn’t do impressions of certain people because he had not really had time to watch them and study them.

I later realized that this is a really interesting fact that he demonstrated at my house. My friend taught me in this situation that we couldn’t represent or imitate something we are unfamiliar with! We must study and spend a lot of time with someone if we really plan to imitate them and act like them. In fact I have been around people that were so close in relationship that they could literally finish one another’s sentences! This is a demonstration of true intimacy and friendship.

peter pan peanut butterI want to offer one more example that I just thought of us well. Let’s pretend that someone you know really well has asked you to run to the grocery store for them and purchase something for them before you come to visit them. Imagine if that specific brand of whatever they wanted was out of stock. You would immediately know how this person would respond. For instance you may already know that if it is not “Peter Pan” peanut butter then you may as well not even purchase anything. You would then make a really well informed decision for them without even having to ask them. You wouldn’t even need to call them because you already know what decision they would have made. This is what true intimacy looks like! This is when you know that you really know someone well. You know them well when you can easily imitate and represent them!

Now I want to look back at the “WWJD?” bracelets that I originally brought up.  The whole point of these bracelets is to remind people to always ask the question wherever they are what Jesus might do in that situation. While I think that this question is of extreme importance in our everyday lives I want to suggest that there is a key ingredient that is necessary before this question can even be relevant. We must intimately know Jesus before we can ever assume or imitate what He might do in our everyday lives.

Do we really even know Jesus in such a way that we can easily do what He might do? Have we spent so much time with Him recently that we know how He talks and responds? Could we imitate his mannerisms to others without really even putting any thought to it? Have we spent so much time studying, reading and memorizing His word that we can quickly say what He might say in any situation that we find ourselves in? Do we even have a relationship with Him in such a way where we are qualified to answer this important question about what He might do in whatever situations we face on a daily basis? I think that these questions are some important ones for us all to look at and ask ourselves.

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Lastly, I want to say that I love the “WWJD?” bracelets and the question that they represent. I think that it is one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves on a moment-to-moment basis as we live our daily lives. The amazing thing is that when we combine this question with a lifestyle of studying His word and practicing His presence then anything becomes possible! When we memorize His word and devote ourselves in the secret place of prayer then we have the opportunity to become so familiar with Christ that it becomes more and more easy to imitate Him in our everyday lives. In fact, I want to suggest that when we devote ourselves to living in intimate communion with Him that the question of what He might do becomes totally irrelevant because we just naturally begin to act how he might act and say what He might say.

We create a recipe for the supernatural to become natural as we begin to combine a lifestyle of intimacy with Jesus and the question, “what He might do in our everyday situations?” When we combine these two things then suddenly people will begin to encounter Christ in us which is the only Hope that they truly have. People don’t need to encounter us or our weak impressions of who we think Jesus might be. They need to see Jesus in us in such a way that their lives are forever changed. These type of encounters only come through people who are truly abiding in an intimate relationship with Jesus.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV)

Learning Obedience through Fasting and Prayer

Rebellion was the first sin in the garden and it involved food. Adam and Eve were given commands from their inception and were given a single thing they were to abstain from. When they fell into sin by rebelling against God it caused a great chasm and separation between God and man. Since the fall of man God has been in the pursuit of bringing his created children back to himself while still respecting the free will that he gave them. This free will is what makes us so special in his sight.

Jesus came so that our rebellion from God which results in eternal separation could be forgiven. No matter how much good we do and how hard we try we can never do enough to cover up even the smallest sin we have ever committed. Rebellion is rebellion and the cost of rebellion is separation from God forever. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus paid that price that we could never pay back for our rebellion. He made a way for us to enter back into relationship with our Creator and Father!

When we choose to receive forgiveness through Jesus Christ we make a choice not only to just believe in Him but to also make Him Lord. We choose to believe in Him and also choose to change our old ways and learn to obey Him in every way. We gain salvation as a free gift that we do not earn. We gain the blessed and abundant life that comes along with salvation when we learn to live obedient to Christ as our King. We enter into His fullness as we set ourselves apart and learn to submit to Him.

Adam and Eve lived in perfect communion in the Garden of Eden because they were COMPLETELY submitted to God. They encountered complete peace, joy and abundance to the fullest in that place because they were completely obedient to Him in every way. In Christ, we also have the amazing opportunity to enter into this communion with God the more and more we subject ourselves to Him and all His ways. We do not subject ourselves to him because we are merely His slaves but rather because when we live a life of complete obedience we enter back into a place like the Garden of Eden with our Father God! Obedience makes our life a landing strip for God’s goodness and abundance while rebellion blocks these things from coming into our lives.

God can never bless rebellion so we must learn subjection and obedience to His son Jesus. Remember the two things that were involved in the fall: rebellion and food. When we fast we subject our flesh, which is full of rebellion and sin, to the Spirit of God. When we neglect our flesh we teach it obedience to the person of Christ Jesus. Just like rebellion was started in the eating of this fruit so is obedience injected into our lives through the abstaining of it. Just like a supernatural occurrence happened when they ate the fruit so is there a supernatural exchange when we choose to abstain from food and bring our souls into submission.

Fasting and prayer teaches our flesh to obey the Spirit of God and allows us to enter into the blessed abundance of intimacy with our Father in Heaven like there was once in the Garden. As we enter into the weakness of fasting it brings things to the surface that we would otherwise not see. It acts as a purifying agent that exposes our impurities and rebellion. As we begin to deal with these things we learn to subject ourselves to the will of our Father and are able to live more fully in the way He created us to live. Fasting is that which teaches our souls obedience and helps us to enter into the abundance that we were originally created to exist in!

Treasure Found

This past weekend we hosted an event called Take the City which happens monthly in the Columbus, GA area. Each month we take teams out all over this community to go and share the love of Christ with people in practical ways. This month we did a holiday outreach and got to bless some local quick-stop gas stations by cleaning there bathrooms, giving out candy canes and we sand them Christmas carols. It was amazing to see God move powerfully in these quick-stops as we loved people with no strings attached!

Before we left for our outreach we prayed and ask God to give us clues for people that we may encounter along the way. I had a list of things that lead me to believe that we were to go to this one particular gas station and that I would meet a woman that matched a description that God gave me.

After blessing the gas station we gathered our cleaning stuff and started to leave. As we left I noticed a red for truck right in front of the gas station. This caught my attention because I had written down “red ford truck” on my piece of paper. As we began to drive off I looked back towards the gas station and suddenly noticed a woman walking towards the gas station that matched my description. I jumped out of the car and went over to her filled with excitement.

I started to tell her that God had led me to this gas station and had shown me that I was going to meet a woman that matched her description. I told her that God thought she was so special that HE directed me straight to her to just tell her that He loves her SO much. She began to cry as I told her about how God had lead me to her and how much he cared. Her name was Ms Brenda Jones.

treasurehuntI showed her the “clues” I had written on paper and how she matched many of the things I had written down. One of the things I had written down was “neck” problems which she began to tell me that she had frequent issues with her neck. I then was able to pray for her and bless her.

Then before I left her friend walked up and said, “I need prayer!” So we both began to pray for her friend and she began to weep as God’s presence began to fill her with peace. In fact as we prayed the woman started to feel so overcome by God’s presence that she started to fall over and Ms Brenda had to hold her up. Then we all had a big group hug and we were all filled with joy at all that God had done in each of our lives in a matter of 10 minutes.

It was amazing to see how God lead me to these women and how much of a blessing it was for me to get to meet them. During this Holiday season as we celebrate Jesus begin to ask the Lord how you can be a blessing to those around you. Maybe God will give you clues of someone that needs a simple encouragement during the business of this season. Maybe He will direct you to bless someone by buying them their christmas gifts in the line at Walmart. It will be unforgettable to watch CHRISTmas joy released everywhere in the midst of a world that is in such great need of hope and joy.

Beliefs of Remarkably Productive People

This is an amazing guest post from a pastor from Columbus, GA that I have so much respect and honor for. I know that this post will be a huge blessing for you! 

2 Peter 1:5 – 8  (NIV) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

shutterstock_134044358Remarkable productive people, regardless of industry or profession, all share similar perspectives and beliefs.  Successful people act on beliefs that fuel success:  It is a fallacy for the Christian to take the equation of his diligence in the use of their time and energy out of the formula for victorious living.  Our desire for success should not interfere with a Christian’s faith.  Our faith should be married to our desire to be a blessing to the Kingdom of God.  God desires for us to be prosperous so that we can be a blessing to His Kingdom.  Far too many Christians live with a poverty mentality by their actions.  It is easy to call it faith and then settle for less than God intended for us.  Our faith should empower us to seek to be successful!  Know that success is a badge of honor to be offered to God.  It does little to speak of God’s grace in my life when I am broke, don’t tithe, can’t seem to pay bills or provide for the family or support those who serve on mission fields.  God’s grace should propel us to success that we can bless the Kingdom of God.  It is by the grace of God that we are able to succeed in life.  We give our best, but realize without God’s grace in our life it all is in vain and selfish gain.  Success for the Child of God is defined in grace.  Grace is the power to become all you can be and do all that you can do.  Grace is the fertile soil for success.  Grace should never be an excuse for failure or lack of provision for God’s purposes.

 

1. Time doesn’t fill me. I fill time.

Deadlines and time frames establish parameters, but typically not in a good way.  The average person who is given two weeks to complete a task will instinctively adjust his effort so it actually takes two weeks.  Forget deadlines, at least as a way to manage your activity.  Tasks should only take as long as they need to take.  Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can.  Then use your “free” time to get other things done just as quickly and effectively.

Average people allow time to impose its will on them; remarkable people impose their will on their time.  Control the events of your life or time will control your life.  When you bring your highest priorities into agreement with the events of your life you will find a great amount of peace in your life.

2. The people around me are the people I chose.

Some people will drive you nuts. Some of your own family can be obnoxious. Some of your friends are selfish, all-about-me jerks.  Be honest enough to recognize people for who they are.  We chose the people we spend our time with for the most part.  If there are people around you that make you unhappy it’s not their fault. It’s your fault.  You drew them to you–and you let them remain.  You do not have to offend people or cast them aside, just don’t give your time and attention to people who drain you and restrain you.

Think about the type of people you want to associate with. Think about the individuals who inspire you.  Think about people you desire to serve. Think about the friends you want to have.  Don’t let friends pick you, you pick your friends who share your time and activity.  Ask God for wisdom to change you so you can attract successful people. Hardworking people want to work with hardworking people. Kind people like to associate with kind people. Successful people are naturally drawn to successful people.

3. I have never paid my dues.

Dues aren’t paid, past tense. Dues get paid, each and every day. The only real measure of your value is the tangible contribution that God produces through you on a daily basis.  You have not prayed enough in the past, studied enough previously, or served enough before now.  No matter what God has done through you or what He accomplished with you in the past, you’re never too good to roll up your sleeves, get dirty and do the grunt work.  No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring.  Remarkably successful people never feel entitled–except to the fruits of their labor.  What we do is insignificant in comparison to what God does to make it acceptable and successful.  God just allows us to participate with Him in what He is doing.  When we give our time and effort to what God desires done, then our efforts have merit.  Never  boast of your time spent for activity if it does not bear God’s blessings of success upon it.

4. Experience is irrelevant. Accomplishments are everything.

You may have “20 years in the ministry.” Whoopee. It does not matter how long you’ve been doing what you do. Years of service indicate little to nothing; what does matter is our effectiveness in the ministry God has placed at our hands.  It matters little where you have been; how many struggles you’ve faced, how many heartaches you have suffered, … all that matters is if the grace of God has been able to use you for His glory.

Successful people don’t need to describe themselves using hyperbolic adjectives like passionate, innovative, driven, etc. They can just describe, hopefully in a humble way, what they’ve seen the hand of God do.  Success will be celebrated by those who appreciate you.

5. Failure is something I accomplish; it doesn’t just happen to me.

Ask people why they have been successful. Their answers will be filled with personal pronouns: I, me, and the sometimes too occasional we.

Ask them why they failed. Most will revert to childhood and instinctively distance themselves, like the kid who says, “My toy got broken…” instead of, “I broke my toy.”

They’ll say the economy tanked. They’ll say the market wasn’t ready. They’ll say their suppliers couldn’t keep up.  They’ll say it was the system, someone or something else.  And by distancing themselves, they don’t learn from their failures.  Occasionally something completely outside your control will cause you to fail.  Most of the time, it is we who have failed. And that’s okay. Every successful person has failed. Numerous times! Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. Often times God has to humble us through failure before we learn that it truly is His work and not ours.

Embrace every failure: Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time, things will turn out differently.  Pray more, plan more, strategize more, learn more from successful individuals.

6. Volunteers always win.

Whenever you raise your hand you wind up being asked to do more.

That’s great. Doing more is an opportunity: to learn, to impress, to gain skills, to build new relationships–to do something more than you would otherwise been able to do.

Success is based on action. The more you volunteer, the more you get to serve.  Successful people give of themselves.  They give to good causes, they give of their time and energy to good purposes.  Successful people step forward to create opportunities, they face challenges and discover solutions.  Remarkably successful people sprint forward with a spirit of faith.

7. If I am paid I will serve.

When you are driven by monetary motivation alone you are an island to yourself.  Do what God has called you to do and do it with excellence, knowing that the only true value is what God puts into the equation.   Going the extra mile is the norm for the Child of God.  Serving is our nature because Christ set the example.  Find what you enjoy doing most and give your best to make it successful.  Be willing to do more than is required and you will build a reputation that will be honorable.

8. Only the people who pay me have the right to tell me what to do.

Get over your cocky, pretentious, I-must-be-free-to-express-my-individuality self.   You may be that way on your own private time.  Servant-hood is a way of life, it is accepting your role of serving others with pleasure and gratitude.  People who pay you earn the right to dictate what you do and how you do it–sometimes down to the last detail.  When you give beyond what is expected it builds character.

9. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.

Most everyone will say they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually does. The extra mile is such a lonely place.  What you do when no one is looking will speak louder than everything else that you do.  The extra mile is a place filled with opportunities.  Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research.  Don’t wait to be asked; offer.  Show diligence.  Accept the fact that you different, because God has redeemed you and given you a heart to serve others.  Your serving is an expression of your devotion to God.  Jesus set the benchmark, therefore strive for excellence.

 

Larry Biggers, Sr. Pastor

Northside Worship Center

Community Transformation Testimony – Take the City

Here in Columbus, GA we began doing outreach efforts consistently in 2013 all over the Tri-city area through an initiative called Take the City. In the beginning we would go sporadically from place to place each month and see some great things happen but we quickly realized that we needed to begin to plant ourselves in communities on a consistent basis to see the impact that we knew was possible. God led us to a neighborhood called Wilson Homes one month that summer and began to open up doors of relationships there like we had never seen before. We knew that God was leading us to key People of Peace who would help partner with us as we pour into this neighborhood. We decided then to stay in that neighborhood consistently and watch God move.Take the City outreach

Over time we began doing things on a weekly basis and watched God move powerfully. We would host activities for the children and have bible study each week in the activity center of the neighborhood. We saw people getting saved, healed and delivered each week as God began to move powerfully! It was amazing to see the momentum in this neighborhood as we partnered with People of Peace to see lasting change in their neighborhood.

Today we have a consistent Kids Club that happens each week. We are pouring into the children there and believe God is raising up a new generation of kids in that neighborhood. The kids know our team all by our first names and have grown to love everyone who has committed to serve there. The kids often go around the neighborhood with us during our outreaches to pray for the sick and share the Gospel. It’s amazing to see how God is using the kids to impact their own neighborhood for the glory of Jesus!

Take the City outreachWe also have a Living Free group that happens there in the community and are currently raising up the leaders from within that community who will continue to lead Living Free in that community under our guidance. It’s exciting to think of the day that we have empowered these community members in a way that we can move to another neighborhood and start to see God do the same things there! We are believing God for a multiplication of our efforts in these areas.

“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities” Isaiah 61:4

As we see the church rise up and join together in unity to reach the lost I believe we are going to begin to see our cities rebuilt, restored and renewed. Our goal is to go and help raise up people in broken and devastated communities who will rise up out of the ashes and be used by God to bring renewal to their community. We are all called to be those who take part in the rebuilding, restoring and renewal of cities as the Kingdom of God advances. As we depend on God, abide in His love and go to the lost we will truly put HOPE within reach and see God transform our cities and nations. 

Let me know if you would be interested in somehow partnering with this effort over the next year! We are always in need of people who are willing to donate supplies or finances to help us with these efforts.

Step Out, Sacrifice, Simply Obey

Most everyone who is involved with or heard of Teen Challenge knows the story of David Wilkerson from the book, “The Cross and the Switchblade.” When David Wilkerson was just a 26 year old preacher he heard God calling him to sell his TV and spend the last two hours of each day in prayer. To his surprise, the next day he sold the TV for the exact price that he had in mind for it. Then he began to spend his nights in prayer and seeking the Lord. David Wilkerson had no idea that not only would this time in prayer change his life but it would also forever change history.

Michael Farmer Teen Challenge Life Magazine19 days into this new experiment he had a radical encounter with the Lord when he saw a Life magazine article about a young boy named Michael Farmer who was killed by a gang in New York City. As he looked at the article he heard the Lord speak to his heart that he was supposed to go help those boys. The thought would not go away. It filled his heart with such an unction that the very next night he stood in front of his small country church to try and raise enough money to drive to New York City and help the boys in the gang. He had such an encounter that suddenly he was filled with a boldness and a passion for pursuing the unknown. He now had an unnatural measure of courage because he had a word from God that had possessed him.

There are some really amazing observations that I want to make from this story and also I want to talk about how this story can really apply to our lives today. I see that first of all David Wilkerson was willing to step out and sell his TV. I also notice that he was willing to sacrifice and give up an extended period of time each night to be with The Lord. Lastly, I see that he was simply obedient with the word that the Lord gave him. These three things all brought David Wilkerson to a place where he was positioned to receive a word from Heaven that would not only change him but all of history. We are called to change history and impact the world around us.

What separates those who simply exist and those who change history are those who are willing to do the following:

  1. Step OutStep out

Many times God calls us to do things that are really unusual. When we listen to him this opens up the ability for Him to break into the everyday and ordinary places of our lives. We can become so complacent and comfortable and it is in these times that he challenges our faith and brings us to new places. We must be willing to step out if we want to step into the destiny that God has for us as world-changers.

This is demonstrated to us through the story of Peter when he steps out onto the water towards Jesus. That act of faith is what separated him from every other person that was in that boat. All of the men in the boat were disciples of Christ but Peter stood out because he was willing to step out. We see the fruit of this willingness in Acts Chapter two when he is the first to step out and boldly proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven to those in Jerusalem. The church was birthed because of Peter’s willingness to step out. God is calling each of us to do the same!

  1. Sacrifice

Everything great that we do in life requires that we sacrifice other “good” things for the greater. We make sacrifices and choices every single day on the way we spend our time. We may sacrifice time watching a football game to be with our kids or sacrifice our relationships with friends to pursue a deeper relationship with our fiancé. Sacrifice is natural and is something that we all do each and every day. Every decision we make in life bears fruit in our lives. When we are willing to sacrifice some “good” things in our life for the better things that God is calling us to is when we begin to step into our destiny as world changers.

We can see an example of this in the life of John the Baptist. He was set apart as a forerunner of the coming messiah even while he was still in his mothers womb. Even though he had angels tell his mother that he was to be especially set apart from birth he still had to make a choice whether or not to comply. He was set apart in a Nazarite type vow and chose not to partake of certain things because God had a special plan and a special purpose for his life. Because of his obedience in this and making such a huge sacrifice he got one of the coolest privileges in all of history… He got to baptize Jesus! God has huge plans for each of us and when we are willing to sacrifice the good for the best then we are able to step into them.

  1. Simply ObeySimply Obey

Once we have pressed in through sacrifice and stepped out God will eventually give us a word that will not only change us but will also possess us. This is what happened to David Wilkerson. He waited on the Lord until he had been given a word that absolutely possessed him and drove him along the path of his destiny in Christ. After we have received the word it is important that we practice simple obedience and do what God has shown us to do. When we begin to walk in this simple obedience to his word then we will begin to see greater miracles than we ever could have imagined!

When Jesus told the man to go wash in the river to receive healing the man practiced simple obedience by going and washing even though it made no sense at all. Because of his simple obedience to Jesus he was healed of blindness as recorded in John 9. This man’s simple obedience led to an astounding miracle! When we walk in simple obedience to the Holy Spirit we will see even greater things in our lives.

I believe that God is calling each of us to consider how He might be calling us to step out and where we can make sacrifices. He has even greater things for our life than we could ever even imagine but sometime we are too complacent to find out what these things might be. I feel like He is calling each of us to take some time to consider what He might be calling us to do. I can only wonder what might happen if the body of Christ began to set aside 2 hours each night like David Wilkerson did for those 19 days. The Lord is just waiting for people who are willing to step out, sacrifice and simply obey.

Alive in Christ

The following is a guest post from my friend Daniel Williams. I know that you will be blessed and encouraged by this thought provoking post that he wrote for my blog…

As a Trinitarian believer, I can easily “combine” God, Jesus and the Spirit and consider them as one entity without any need of distinction in my mind. However, without recognizing their unique distinctions, we cannot behold the awe and wonder of each one of their glorious roles. Giving distinction to their individual works lets us be amazed and in awe of each one of them. And lets face it, as dusty finite creatures (Ps. 103:14) trying to understand an infinitely glorious God, we need all the help we can get. I have to say that you shouldn’t go too far in this, because God is one is essence, just in three persons. We do not worship three separate Gods (Gen. 6:4). Also, don’t let discouragement creep in whenever you get confused by trying to grasp the Trinity. Our lack of understanding should nudge us towards awe, not frustration. No one ever has, and no one ever will be able to fully grasp the Trinity (except maybe one day in heaven). However, we can gain a useful understanding from the Bible. That being said, let’s get blown away from the person of Jesus! John 1:1 states,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In him was life.”

It is no secret that this passage is about Jesus. This verse from John tells us that Jesus is God’s “agent” of creation, if you will—the Word of God in action, and that He is the source of all life. It also presents the pre-existence of Jesus (He was not created, He was the key agent in God’s creative actions). Read Colossians 1 if you want to be even more blown away by Jesus’ role in this universe.

It was with this passage (John 1:1) echoing around in my head that another passage I have read many times came to new life in my spirit. It was Ephesians 2:4- “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sins, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”

alive

Jesus IS life.

To fully embrace this verse in all of it’s glory, we have to really grasp what it means to be dead in our sins. This passage begs the question: If I was spiritually dead, then when exactly did I die? To get the answer, we must go back to the beginning. Everything comes back to Genesis, the book that means origins. When we look at Genesis 2:7, we read that “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Then, later on God told them “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

As you well know, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, ate of the tree, and became spiritually dead, and separated from God. The everyday world around us is proof of this reality. Although they did not physically die instantly (because God is merciful), this spiritual death did “leak” into their physical bodies and cause them to physically die as well. But I want to focus on the much deeper death that occurred. This life and death that we are talking about is a spiritual life and death.

When God breathed this “breath of life” God breathed into Adam an ability to know Him fully, and to be in a relationship with Him in the garden. I believe God used (in a way that we cannot fully comprehend) the pre-incarnate Jesus (Jesus before he became a physical man on earth) to breathe this life into Adam. God breathed Jesus into Adam and it made him alive. However, ever since Adam and Eve sinned and spiritually died themselves, humanity has been starved of the sweet breath of Jesus. Thank God for the life-giving, soul-reviving, making-alive ministry of Jesus!

In the same way God breathed Jesus into Adam before he had life, we who were once dead in this present age God has breathed Jesus into us as well, making us alive in Christ Jesus. God planned it, and Jesus executes it. Jesus is God’s actions manifested in this world. Everyone who is in Christ has been given this same breath of life by God through Jesus Christ, awakened from their spiritually dead state. (This is why your old friends may not understand the changes happening in you). In the same way, I’m sure it was awkward for Lazarus to meet people who did not believe that Jesus was a miracle worker. Maybe if Lazarus had seen AMC’s “The Walking Dead” he could recreate his resurrection scene for some of them. How do you explain life transformation? How do you explain being raised from the dead to newness of life? I can guarantee a couple things:  Lazarus didn’t say that it was his own will power that he came back to life, nor that he chose to get out of the grave himself because he was only “slightly dead” (for you Princess Bride fans). That would be…inconceivable! You see, dead people can’t really make decisions. They are hopelessly…well…dead. It is only by the sovereignty, power, and authority of Jesus Christ that anyone has life. Could you imagine the look on Lazarus’ face if someone came up to him after his resurrection and said, ‘Hey man, good job in there, you were awesome!’ ? Well, in the same way, it would be just as ludicrous in saying that we brought ourselves back to life. God does everything for His glory. He has to direct attention to himself to save hopeless people. Jesus is the all-powerful, planet breathing, sunset painting, molder of all life. He is not Mr. Rodgers with a beard.

If you are in Christ, you are a living, breathing miracle, and you have been given the same life that God breathed into Adam by Jesus in the garden of Eden, and are free to enjoy the friendship of God. If you are not “in” Christ (a believer and follower of Him), you are being allowed by Jesus that very breath you just took so that you might come to know Him. Everyone who is “in Christ” has been miraculously given the greatest gift of all: Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

The Word of God is verb, not a noun. Jesus is God’s Word in action.

Also, consider another aspect of the passage of Gen. 2:7: “The Lord God…breathed.” 2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” And what is Scripture? Scripture is the Word of God—the Bible. The connections are really starting to make sense. Hopefully John 1 still hasn’t left you yet: “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It is also important to note that in theology 101 you learn that the inspiration of the Bible literally means that it is “God-breathed.” Simply amazing! So, God breathed into Adam the breath of life (Jesus) and the Word of God (Jesus as well). When God speaks, Jesus is what comes out of His mouth. Also, with that in mind, isn’t it interesting that Jesus is the light of the world? What is the first thing God spoke in creation? “And God said, ‘Let there be light.’” Jesus—just a good teacher? I think He is much more…

 Response? Mind. Blown.

So what do we do with all this? I believe that God through Jesus goes through all this to simply win our hearts to Him, and to let our lives bring glory to His name. I believe that our number one priority in response to this knowledge is awe-inspired love and worship for Jesus. It is absolutely impossible to overstate the wonder and glory of what we have from God in Christ Jesus. Knowing that God, through Jesus, is the one who has made us alive from death should trigger a “WOW!” somewhere in your heart. Jesus is the creative avenue that God used to create everything in the world. Jesus is the Lord of this universe and this world. Jesus is the resuscitator our souls. Jesus is a miracle-factory within Himself. Jesus is amazing, and our best, most intelligent attempt at describing Him (including this article) falls incomprehensibly short of the totality of His glory. Our view of Jesus should be ever-expanding and increasing in His glory and wonder. Jesus is huge. As the hymn writer Charles H. Gabriel pinned the words, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.” Or the word of Stuart K. Hine, “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!”
That’s “How great you are!” in modern language.

Jesus went through suffering and torment, bearing our sins upon His shoulders so that we would have life in Him. Paul said in Acts 17:28, “for in him we live and move and have our being.”

Walk in this knowledge as your enjoy creation, as you work unto the Lord at your job, as you commune with God as Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden, knowing and trusting that you also have the Spirit of God within you to lead you and guide you, and to give you power for His witness. Walk in wonder. Gaze at His beauty. Go deep into the awe of knowing Jesus, the lover of your soul. This life that Jesus has given us is a tree that bears fruit of everything good and worthwhile in this world.

-Daniel Williams

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Daniel Williams is an amazing friend of mind and a co-worker from the Teen Challenge Regional office in Columbus, GA. He has a passion for serving God, loving others and has a calling to teach the word of God all over the world. 

“Let me hold you…”

When my son was really small he constantly wanted to be held by me. As he has gotten older each year he has become more and more self-reliant and now at almost 7 it is nearly impossible to get him to sit still on my lap for more than a few seconds! I remember how much I loved being able to hold him and just be near him when he was a little baby. Now that he is bigger I don’t necessarily want to hold him quite as long (mainly because he ways over 50 pounds now) but I do still want to hold him every now and then. Lately if I get to hold him it is usually when I carry him inside after he has fallen asleep in the car. After I carry him inside I will usually just sit and cherish the few moments that I have to hold him. 

This past week I was reminded by the Lord that a lot of times I get really busy and hyperactive with everything going on in my life. He showed me how in so many ways I act just like my son and can’t seem to sit still when I am in His presence. I feel the constant urgency to get up, do something, write a reminder, check my Facebook or email. I have to constantly be doing something or else I feel almost anxious. He has been reminding me of how much He longs for the moments each day when I can just simply stop and be near him.

The love I have for my son is but a weak reflection of God’s unlimited love and passion for all His kids. He doesn’t want to hold us out of need to feel loved but rather because He is so FULL of love he can’t wait to express it to us…Image

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1

The word “Behold” in the greek is one that means to look at something, to know something or to experience something. We don’t just get to read about, hear about and talk a lot about the amazing love that the Father has for each of us but we can actually encounter this love. We have the ability to literally experience His love when we are willing to simply just take the time to “behold” this amazing love He has for us. One way that we can encounter His love is by taking time to get away from everything and everyone to just let him pour out His love on us. We behold the love of our Perfect Father when we give him the time to hold us. 

A loving father who cannot wait to express his love would not limit himself to a letter, a messenger or a reminder of what he has done in the past. He would long to express his love in a real and tangible way in that very moment. He would desire to say it himself and to use his hugs and kisses to remind his children how dear they are to him. Our Father longs for us to know His love each and every day in a very personal way. He longs to pour out His love but so many times we are too distracted, busy or pacified by false intimacy. 

Just as a good dad wants to affirm his kids by physical touch, gifts and personal time of fun, so does our Heavenly Father long to remind us of His love. Our Father longs to do even greater things than even the best dad on earth desires to do for his own children. We have an amazing Father in Heaven who is in a great mood. Because of the blood of Jesus we are no longer enemies but can truly be called Children of God. 

How can you stop and let the Father hold you today?