Quite a response to yesterday’s blog, and very encouraging to me it was, too. God must weep when he sees his church blowing itself apart over Gifts for which Jesus died and rose again (among many other wonderful reasons!), in order to leave them with us… another comforter…. the huge explosion going on in the USA right now with “respected”(? hmm) and “influential” (sadly) famous leader and pastor John McArthur condemning everyone who believes in the Gifts of the Spirit today, to hell…. if you don’t believe me, look it up on Google. His new book ‘Strange Fire’ sends me, and 500 million or more Charismatics, to hell….all because we believe that the Gifts are alive and well today, even if we don’t use them…. Even the Pope has jumped on that particular band-wagon….
To say it’s exploded a hornets nest would be a gross understatement! I have to say – personally – that I wonder where people like them will spend eternity…. A while back, I heard Bill Johnson (I think) say: ‘In heaven, there are going to be a lot of two noises: ooohhh (in an upper register) – I wasn’t expecting to see YOU here! – and ooohhh (in a lower register!) – I WAS expecting to see so-and-so here…’ If the Holy Spirit isn’t active today, then no one can get saved….as it is the Holy Spirit, surely, and ONLY the Holy Spirit (unless such preachers/writers believe that they have the power to persuade) who convicts men of sin.
John 16:8 (Jesus speaking, of course) – The Holy Spirit Promised …7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8” And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;… How do people like McArthur ‘cherry pick’ this action of the Holy Spirit for today, but deny all the others…? Guess that’s a rhetorical question! And, as I thought through more about yesterday’s blog, I thought about comments in that magazine article about ‘certain’ people not being allowed up for prayer – is it FEAR in some of these ‘big platform’ preachers NOT to pray for the extreme cripples or critically ill? – Just in case it doesn’t work…?
What I understand of the healing ministry is simply this: It’s my job – my obedience – to PRAY, and COMMAND: it’s God’s job to HEAL, or do a miracle. I can’t heal a piece of paper without sellotape, successfully, let alone heal a cold, cancer, a stroke, or whatever… BUT, I CAN have FAITH & CONVICTION that God WILL answer prayer, will fulfil all his promises. All I can do is MY job….
And I went on thinking about the ‘money’ thing, which, of course, was BIG in that magazine article in yesterday’s blog, and is often big when people tell me I should ‘charge’. Matthew 10:7 – ‘Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, raise the dead. FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE.’ THAT IS THE KINGDOM, according to a certain Jesus of Nazareth….charging, to me, means that if you’re poor, impoverished, live in a poverty-stricken place, you’re not worthy for God to heal you….
And while I’m on my ‘high horse'(!!), I can’t stand the ‘pushers’, ‘shouters’, and exhibitionists…. you know, I’d STOP someone falling over rather than have them fall because THAT’S WHAT THEY’VE BEEN CONDITIONED TO THINK is what should happen when you’re prayed for, and if you don’t fall, you’re not blessed…. pardon me for this, but – BOLLOCKS! Pushers and shouters – it’s so easy for a ‘minister ‘ to make that happen: hand on the forehead, hand in the small of the back, then a loud sudden shout in ear-vicinity, and they’re over…. what happened to engaging with people? What happened to gentleness? OK, sometimes Jesus spoke – what seems to be harshly – to people, like the bloke at the Pool of Bethesda (‘Do you WANT to be healed?’) – but Jesus knew – and often-times I know – when someone needs to be motivated out of apathy and self-pity. Mostly, though, I find that sitting with someone, often in speaking in broken Spanish, finding out a little about them, and then commanding their healing, is far, far better. And the hug you get when THEY know that YOU care is worth everything…
Again, I’d say that yes, of course, I have to live. Fares, food, rent, clothes, petrol – have to come from somewhere – and that’s where I’d encourage (rather than demand) churches to come into the REAL world of costs and expenses. Long time friend Nick Page has a very good page(!) on his website about expenses, and I’m going to ask him if I can nick(!) his page – ho ho ho – to incorporate it into my website. Of course, he’s famous, a prolific writer, amazing speaker: but his demands are so, so reasonable. I know people who charge thousands a day for international stuff, plus business class, and posh hotel…. oh God, please, please, please, keep me from going down that road. A few thousand here and there would be lovely, but like I said yesterday, a few thousand (pesos! – 3000+ to the £) is as much to me as a huge cheque from a rich church. No, it’s MORE, far more. And as I’ve said before, I’m not anorexic through not charging, by any means… 😉
Church, let’s just be obedient to the Kingdom call in Matthew: not worry about McArthur sending us to hell (who knows, maybe we’ll be waving to him, from a place close to Jesus, looking down….), let’s love people back into life, wholeness, and healing, with the authority and the Gifts that Jesus DID give us when he went back to be with his dad, and let’s begin – PLEASE! – to not just believe, but be CONVINCED that God will do everything he’s promised…. and that he’ll carry it through until the day that Jesus returns….
I LOVE what God’s called me to. Sure, it attracts criticism, anger, rejection, hostility occasionally – but so did Jesus. And yes, it gives people HOPE: but I know, that if I’m dying, I’d rather die hoping than die hopeless…..