Woe baby this was a pretty amazing weekend. For those of you who are Facebook friends you can check my page and see that clearly a lot of people had a unique experience with God this weekend.
Honestly, I entered into the weekend with a little bit of trepidation. We are in a series in the book of Acts called VINTAGE US. Here’s a plain fact about the book of Acts: There are lots of miracles. The majority of which are healing miracles. You can’t really teach the book of Acts without talking about God working and doing the miraculous.
At Journey we are not of the theological view that Acts is like a tour through a museum, stories and relics of a bygone era. We think it is more like a launch pad, a demonstration, a case study. It’s not like we try to “go back” to that era or even see it as a manual for church. It is the Holy Spirit of God inspiring the writer to tell a story that is to shape our identity, remind of us of our true self and propagate the DNA of Vintage Us, the “church” that Jesus intended to build all along.
O.k. with that out of my system, we come to this weekend in which we come to the first healing miracle recorded in this story. It seemed absurd to just talk about it. So on Tuesday of last week our programming team gulped and decided to “do the stuff” (that’s a John Wimber phrase). We shortened the message, added the worship song “Healer” post message and created some space in the service for God to do just that.
Here’s how it went. Worship was cool. We had our usual wonderful Spirit infused worship time.
Then I taught on Acts 3. In that story Peter grabs a guy who can’t walk by the arm and says, “in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, WALK” (a present active imperative…i.e. a command). There are 2 types of faith in this little episode – grabber faith… the faith to reach out and grab. There is also grabbie faith – the faith to let yourself be grabbed, to get some help.
When that was over, we said if you would like God to heal you come forward and we’ll ask Him to. We don’t usually do “come forward invitations” at Journey. We don’t have anything against them. We just don’t usually do them. We invite people to come for prayer every service and our amazing prayer team prays with lots of people every week. But this was a little riskier. As we progressed I was listening for anything specific I felt like God wanted me to say. One service I felt like God wanted to lift depressions. Afterward, I got this text.
I had no idea what to expect, but it rocked. Someone said to me afterward, “It was like you held the door open and people ran through it.”
We saw some dramatic, miraculous things – deaf ears opened, bent over people straightened, knees with no cartilage working fine and pain free. One person brought their mom on Sunday (interesting week for a first time guest). Her mom said, “did you feel the earthquake during church? My chair was shaking and the room seemed to be moving.” Either the music was WAY to loud or… I dunno. As we progressed I was listening for anything specific I felt like God wanted me to say. One service I felt like God wanted to lift depressions. Afterward, I got this text. …”___ said that last night when u were praying for anxieties & depression he felt like a big wave,shiver,tingle went thru his body & that the Lord was pulling something out of his body”
Here are a few other comments that came my way:
“Thank you soooo much I was finally released from that which I was holding onto, Ed it is truly amazing how God uses you and so many other people I was truly moved. Thank you all for the healing I received I am truly grateful!!!”
“yeah that was some pretty powerful stuff!”
“There are no words to describe what it’s like when the Holy Spirit fills a room so completely!”
“Thank you so much for the service this morning Ed. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced at Journey and with God. Also you gave me the answer to a question that’d been morally degrading me for the past two months and for that I thank you too. This morning was truly one of those “Only God” moments.”
“Amazing time in His presence last nite…..One guy reports beings totally relieved of chronic arthritic pain in his joints and….are you ready….restoration of hearing ……took BOTH hearing aids out and could hear….HUGE smile on his and His face!!!”
“It was hard not to be braught to tears no matter where you were for that service. What a blessing to be part of HIS purpose. I stayed in the seats and prayed for one I knew wouldn’t walk to the front. What a wonderful Journey it is being a part of Journey.
It was of those church services when I wish everyone I loved went so I could show them what church could be like.
Hey since we are teaching Acts / Vintage Us, we might as well try living it.