The best trip ever? If it isn’t, it’s certainly not far from it! Hundreds and hundreds of healings, a good many saved, countless miracles. We are into our last three days, before heading back to the UK on Thursday, and for Caroline, to France on Sunday.
So, why Cali, always? I think there are a number of reasons. In this city there are many who Jesus would have been with: people on the fringe/outcasts of society; people with histories that haunt them into the present – and future – that they have no escape from; ex-convicts, sometimes (when I get into prisons) real-time convicts; prostitutes; drug addicts and so on…
But I believe there is a prime reason why God moves so sovereignly here. Expectation. I’ve said before that people here will normally GO to church if they are suffering – not just long-term suffering, but ‘instant’ things like migraines, asthma attacks, gastritis, even constipation…. WHY? Because they EXPECT – KNOW – they’ll be healed. Much of the western world church is populated with people who stay home with those sorts of issues. Here, there is an expectation that they will be prayed for, and they will be healed. In the ‘west’, there isn’t.
I long for the day when healings, miracles… come out of the shadow of fear in churches (‘What if it doesn’t work?’ ‘Well, so and so died when we prayed for their healing’ and so on). Our job – MY job, if you don’t want to ‘tar’ yourself with a ‘belief in healing all the time’ brush is to be obedient. It’s not my job to heal. Bill Johnson says this:
- ‘There will always be those who openly doubt your faith. They challenge: ‘What if it doesn’t come to pass?’ Listen. It’s not my job to fulfil God’s promises: my job is to believe them’
The church’s obsession with avoiding disappointment has given the seat of honour to unbelief. (That’s Bill Johnson, too!). And unbelief is not ‘nothing’. It’s a NEGATIVE. For everyone with faith, they are cancelled out by everyone with unbelief. So in a church of 50 with faith, and 50 with unbelief, you have a church of – ZERO. Argue with John Paul Jackson over that one if you must (except that he’s now with Jesus!). I agree. Mark 6:6 is proof. Jesus could do no MIRACLES because of unbelief. If Jesus couldn’t, how on earth are we? And if we see very few miracles, if any, in the western world, perhaps we should be questioning the foundation of the churches we represent or attend…. and healing/miracles is still a ‘no-no’ area in many, many churches. Mark put it down to the ‘prophet not being recognised in his own town’.
- A rhetorical question: ‘If we don’t do miracles, can we be qualified to be called a New Testament Church ????’
I KNOW that there are people who don’t believe the testimonies I report. I’m sad for them. No wonder they don’t see them themselves. Tell me, I take people with me on most trips (those that I don’t take a team on, I’m generally going to people who HAVE been on a team in the past). How could I fabricate the stories when those people read the blog, hear me preach? Are they all liars, too? AND, even more – hundreds, if not thousands – of people in places like Cali, read the stories – including the pastors whose churches they have happened in. Would I keep being welcomed back here, to use Cali as the illustration, if I’d LIED about churches for the past 18-19 years? Would they tell me ‘Our church is your home, come back soon’ if I’d misrepresented them?
The cynicism in the west is a HUGE factor in why God doesn’t do it there…. I’m grateful that on only a couple of occasions, maybe three, in the 28/29 years I’ve been travelling, I’ve brought with me on a team a person so jealous of what God does, they’ve tried to write me off (destroy my reputation – it ends up destroying theirs 🙁 ) with the ‘locals’…. to further their own ‘ministry’.
In China, Africa, here… miracles are a daily part of life. Oh, God, we so NEED that in our comfortable nations…. but the passion that causes us to achieve HAS to be strong enough to make us uncomfortable. I’m praying that God will afflict the comfortable, as much as he comforts the afflicted!
Yesterday was a national holiday here – Colombia’s Independence Day, so no meetings, and no church meeting today. We have, however, not wasted the time, spending the day yesterday with Dario, Erica, and their lovely children Michelle and Joshua. For me, it’s all part walking with them as they leave one(very!) different life behind them, and move into one with Jesus at the forefront. Just being with them is so good: Dario tells me often that ‘You’re in my heart, I love you’ – the only English he’s learned, but it blesses me! The family are very relaxed around me and those I bring with me (even though they change every trip), and I count Dario as a very good friend. We’re seeing them again today – he’s bringing people for us to pray for. What a turn around in his life…
I’m believing that as the last few meetings draw nearer and nearer, that God is going to show his glory in even greater ways in these last 3 days…