As a species, humans truly fascinate me. For a variety of reasons of course:
Our divine capabilities.
Our creative expressions.
Our athletic prowess.
Our ambitious drive that gives birth to technological advancement and futurism.
But one mystery that has recently left me pondering is our ability to defiantly reject our unique gift of rationality.
(DISCLAIMER) Listen, if you happen to fall into any of the examples of irrationality that I provide in this post, please don’t take it personal. My goal is not to offend any one person – I fall into the same traps of irrationality myself. This particular post is just to vent about my personal observations as I attempt to eliminate harmful irrationality in my life and hopefully can motivate readers to always pursue the rational choice.
The information that highlighted this issue of irrationality to me was what I recently read about cigarette smoking. In a book titled, “Buy·ology”, the author, Martin Lindstrom describes a market research project in which they tested to see how the warning labels on cigarette packages effected the buyers’ behavior. What they discovered was that an awareness of the dangerous health effects did not dampen consumers’ desire to smoke at all. If anything, it seemed to enhance their desire to smoke. Lindstrom went on to state, “Despite what is known about smoking, it’s estimated that about one-third of adult males continue to light up.”
In regard to smoking, there is no true wholesome benefit to the addiction. I’m not picking on smoking alone, there are many irrational decisions being made that are consistently harming our well being – individually and corporately. I would say we can find more of this poor decision making in our use of drugs, junk food, alcohol, pornography, excessive entertainment, and an engagement with acts that add to the destruction of our planet’s atmosphere.
Once again, I am not picking on or judging anyone. As I’m writing this, I am currently suffering from the instant regret of indulging in an unsatisfying McDonald’s breakfast sausage egg Mcmuffin. However, I do long to continue to grow in rationality for the well-being of myself, my church, and my communities. To be human is to always pursue greatness and to never settle for harm.
I have been curious as to what is the route cause of our irrationality. I had an idea, which was seemingly confirmed by Martin Lindstrom. In his book he stated, “The more stress we’re under, the more frightened and insecure and uncertain we feel – and the more irrationally we tend to behave.” What he said here confirmed what I have believed to be a base cause for our poor decisions. Pay attention to those key words stated, frightened, insecure, and uncertain. From my Christian perspective, those are all symptoms of an orphan mentality that hasn’t found the love of the Father in Heaven.
If you’ve read any of my blog posts before, then you know that I believe that fear, insecurity, and uncertainty should be overcome by the Christian. Why? Because it’s the rational choice.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to renew our minds to think like Him. If we have found truth in Christ, and we are assured that God is a perfect Father who has called us up into higher things, then how could we ever settle for further worldly thinking?
God is good.
So then, if God is good, and he is sovereign, and he loves me. Should I continue to go along life filled with fear, insecurity, and uncertainty which leads to harmful and irrational decisions? As Paul might say, BY NO MEANS! We have been called to a higher way of life and a higher method of thinking (See John 10:10 and Romans 12:2). Let’s continue to press into God’s presence, listen for his voice, and pursue healthy, rational decisions. And for those who are not Christian, never remove your attention from things that matter. Pursue truth, no matter the cost. Put aside personal feelings or experience, and seek out the Truth of life and I think that eventually, you will find it.
And yes after much studying for the past 4 years, I do believe that Christianity is the most rational paradigm for life, but that’s for another post…
I’ve been reading a book by Dr. Caroline Leaf, a brilliant cognitive neuroscientists who happens to be a very strong Christian. Her work has helped transform the lives of patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), learning disabilities, and emotional traumas. She teaches the importance of training our minds and taking control of our thought patterns – some might call it positive thinking.
I am not necessarily a fan of what is often labeled as “positive thinking” but I am a huge fan of “kingdom thinking”. What I mean by kingdom thinking, is the paradigm of thought that allows the teachings of Jesus and the realities that he set to be the main lens through which we see life.
When I started following Christ, certain sins and bad habits seemed to drop instantly. The mystery though, is that some bad habits remained. It was clear that although I had become a new creation in Christ spiritually (2 Corinthians 5:17), I had not yet been made completely perfect in this physical reality. Christianese often calls this paradox a product of “kingdom now and not yet” theology. This implies that although Christ is risen and is alive and has redeemed us all, he still has not returned to manifest his Kingdom fully here on earth. This appears to be a reason why sometimes miracles happen, and sometimes they don’t.
I have read some great books regarding kingdom theology and I’ve had conversations with some very intelligent Christians. Due to my studies and my experiences, I have come to a personal conclusion regarding kingdom thinking. I believe that God’s Kingdom is both now, and not yet. It would be irrational for me to gaze at all the evil in the world today and believe that God’s kingdom is fully manifesting today. However, I would be equally as foolish to witness the life change and miracles that I have seen and believe that God’s kingdom is nowhere in existence. What I personally choose to believe though is that although this is the reality around me, my only option as a Christian who has a mission on this earth, is to live my life with the thought pattern and expectation of Kingdom now.
When I walk with the mindset of kingdom now, and not yet, I tend to expect the “not yet” part. Because of this, when I see someone walking on crutches, I do not pray for them. However if I walk with the mindset of kingdom now, it is suddenly easier for me to take risks. If nothing dramatic happens in the instantaneous moment of prayer, then I accept the not yet part of my theology, while at the same time praying continuously that God would touch that person’s life in some way.
This change in thought pattern is not merely good advise from a psychologist, or a blogger, it is actually a scriptural command. Paul wrote about this matter often, saying:
Often Christians have read these verses and applied it only to the issue of sin. I would propose that it is about far more than that. It is about us renewing our minds in a way that allows for our actions to contribute to making the culture here “on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). To simplify it, I would say, since we have the Holy Spirit influencing our thoughts, we should try to think and live the way Jesus did. And in theses efforts, if we appear to come off as optimistic and positive thinkers, well that is because God is good.
Concordia has been home to a worship night that was hosted by my good friends Simeon and Johanna Lohrmann. I wasn’t able to attend many last year, due to my schedule, but the few that I did attend were definitely impactful – as usual. One night in particular stood out to me. A healing took place.
During worship, I had a specific sense that God wanted to heal some individuals physically. If you are familiar with this blog you know that I am a firm believer that God speaks to all his children (John 10:27), but we often don’t listen or take action. Many times we hear God’s voice but we assume it’s ours so we don’t make moves on it. The only way for us to learn how to decipher God’s voice from ours is if we take risks on it. This was an example of that rule.
Of course I didn’t know for 100% certain if God was really about to heal someone, but there are some things that I do know for certain that helps me take these risks:
1. God’s will is always for healing. I do not believe that God inflicts sickness and disease – those are outcomes of sin, which Jesus has demolished at the cross. The variance is in God’s timing. I do not believe that it is always God’s will to use me or you to heal someone at the very moment of our prayer – that would be unhealthy theology. Nonetheless, God commissioned us to pray for healing just as much as he has called us to make disciples. So we must at least try… there is nothing to lose.
2. A miracle is not always guaranteed, but love is. At the very least, praying for someone individually and allowing the Holy Spirit to move creates an opportunity for someone to feel the love of the Father. This to me, is enough reason to take risks of prayer.
Back to the story. Once I shared what I felt God was saying, one girl named Kim shared that she had head pain. Honestly, I don’t remember all the details and specifics of her story, but if I’m not mistaken, she had received a concussion a few years back and the head pain continued to follow her daily ever since the event. We as a community laid our hands on her (Hebrews 6:2) and prayed that Jesus would heal her miraculously and take the pain away. She instantly burst into tears of joy. She was quick to explain that God took her head pain away in that instant! We of course were all stoked on life. God was real in that moment.
I saw her months after that night and asked her how she had been since her healing. She told me the good news that she was still without pain – it was clearly a permanent healing. The best news however, was what that night did for her faith. She told me how her faith wasn’t necessarily the strongest before that night and even admitted that she thought we were all kinda weird (which I never take offense to, she had a point). But once she was personally touched by Jesus, she was fully aware of God’s love for her. That moment was more than a miracle, it was a powerful act of love and an expression of the heart of our perfect Father.
I haven’t seen nearly the amount of healings that I would like to see, but I have seen enough. There’s a certain amount of times that a miracle takes place before your eyes that you suddenly consider the impossible to be logical.
I am a fan of logic and reason. I read books on philosophy and I enjoy deep thought and the pursuit of good, beauty, and truth. What some may find striking is that I find the Christian faith, in all of its impossibilities to be logical and the purest form of life. This post in particular isn’t meant for an apologetical rant on the accuracy of scripture and historical documents and what not. However, I will say, that since I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and have followed him, I find it easier to believe in the miraculous. Honestly, it confuses me when I run across fellow Christians who have no problem believing that Jesus entered the planet as fully God and fully man, lived a perfect life, healed sickness, drove out demons, died and rose again, redeemed all of mankind by the forgiveness of all sins, ascended into heaven and sent his Holy Spirit to all who call upon his name, YET do not believe that miracles happen today. I find that line of thinking inconsistent. There is beauty in the miraculous and I believe it is a necessary part of the Gospel (Matthew 10:8).
The Church is called the body of Christ, in other words we are here to represent Christ or rather, re-present Christ. The Holy Spirit is more than an elevated conscious, he his power. What would the world look like if the Church of God arose and began walking in the calling that he placed in our identity? The Church is called to be the “Light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) and Jesus himself said these amazing words, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
Much of people’s resentment toward God is due to the amount of evil seen in the world. I believe that if the Church would host God’s Presence well, and unleash the Kingdom of God to the world through faith and prayer, then darkness would shatter and the world would see the goodness of God. The power of healing is an essential part of Christ’s identity, and since it is seen in him, it needs to be seen in us.
“The Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.”
What an awful, gut-wrenching word. That “P-word” truly makes me anxious. Why on God’s green earth does patience have to be so necessary and important for success? Why couldn’t God make life one giant vending machine? Why couldn’t he make relationships like a fast food restaurant? Or careers like a quick iPhone update? The uncomfortable truth in life is that things that truly matter to you, often take time. There is a process involved for everything. Why? Because God is intentional and cares a great deal about details.
Think about coffee. In order for you to enjoy that pleasant ceramic mug of delicious, aromatic black coffee, your drug – I mean drink, needed to go through a process. First there had to be a seed planted, then the berries had to be harvested, then picked and dried, then someone had to mill and export the beans, then some dude has to roast the beans, then they grind the beans, then some body brews the coffee, and lastly your lucky soul gets to sip it preciously in the hope of having a dose of energy for a few minutes. Each tedious part of that process played an essential role in forming the perfect cup of coffee that so many would get to enjoy. I truly believe that God is roasting us like coffee. God is taking his time to create a masterpiece of caffeine and He just wants us to relax and enjoy the process.
What no one wants to admit is that we learn an incredible lot about ourselves during process. When we pray for things and God takes a while to answer them, he is building character within us. He gives you time to discover why you want what you want, what you intend to do with it, and how you will sustain it. Often times in the waiting, we actually realize that we don’t really want what we thought we wanted in the first place. It sounds cliché but often times, God is waiting to give you something better in store.
When it comes to my personal prayer life, I try to remember two Biblical realities: 1.) God is the Perfect Father, and 2.) “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). Once you can accept those truths and live in that perspective, it makes it much easier to trust the process. When you can trust that God is transforming you into a sweet latte, suddenly the grinding process becomes much more bearable. Of course the grinding still hurts, but maybe you can take the time to smell the coffee and feel the different textures and enjoy the beauty of your grinding. When God is with you, you can find beauty in anything.
“Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
- Isaiah 61:3 –
What is God teaching you in this season? What has he made you passionate about and why do you think those dreams are there? How is he calling you to love people better? These are all things to ponder while in the process. Then when God places you in positions of influence, you hopefully would have absorbed enough wisdom and knowledge to be able to represent Him well.
I love looking at the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. Their interactions give me hope as I realize how patient Jesus was with them. Jesus invested three years of daily life with his disciples and saw all of their many recorded faults. What amazes me though, is that not only did Jesus continue to trust them, but also he empowered them! James and John legit tried to call fire down on unrepentant towns and Jesus just offered gentle rebuke and then commissioned them for even more ministry (Read Luke 9:54-10:12)! The character of the disciples before Pentecost was nowhere near Christ-like. And I doubt any elders of today’s churches would have made them pastors of a local church, yet Jesus still looked at Peter in the eyes and said, “You are the rock and on this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18) Jesus was invested in their process and was aware of the destiny each disciple carried. If Jesus was patient with them, that means he is patient with us. We just need to learn to be patient with ourselves.
I got to preach at ROCKHARBOR High School last weekend about Jesus as King. The royal nature of Christ and His Church is one of my favorite topics of theology. In America, we don’t have a king. Our concept of kings has been plagued with stories of tyranny, greed, and power-hungry, ill-fated war cries. There seems to be a negative connotation now regarding the idea of a king. However, because we are so disconnected from the reality of kings and royal nature, we miss a huge chunk of our relationship with Christ. Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One. The High Priest, Prophet, and King. Scripture describes him as the desire of all the nations. I believe that everyone, whether they know it or not, wants a king like Jesus. How do I know this? Because he is perfect. A perfect, all-powerful King means a nation fueled by justice, peace, prosperity, joy, and love. Can you imagine a nation ruled by a perfect loving God, well that’s what Heaven will look like. But the Kingdom is both Now and Not Yet. Which means, as Christians, we must live in the reality that King Jesus is reigning right now. Paul wrote that we are “co-heirs with Christ” and that we have been “seated in heavenly places” – presently. Peter wrote that we are a “royal priesthood and a royal nation” – presently. Revelation says that Jesus has made us into a “nation of kings and priests” – presently.
Do you see what this means?!
You are a King. You are a Queen. And we all bow to our Great King Jesus.
Does this sound too arrogant to you? I’m sorry, but it’s scripture. Could it be that God actually thinks very highly of you? Maybe, just maybe, God is very proud of his Church. He is the Great Artist isn’t he? In the same way that Da Vinci should be proud of the Mona Lisa, God is proud of you. God creates beautiful artwork and you are his masterpiece. Thinking any lower of yourself would be a dishonor to your Creator.
It is in his will for you to influence the world. As Kings & Queens, we are called to represent the Kingdom wherever we go. As Royalty, we must walk with the intention of carrying the highway to the Kingdom. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is within you. We exist to bring Heaven to Earth. Through love, we can impact lives! We can make history according to His story. Obviously everyone’s specific calling in life is different. Whether you’re a CEO, a school teacher, an athlete, or a flipping janitor, who gives a rip? The Holy Spirit isn’t limited to your profession. Carry yourself with royal confidence and bring Heaven down through prayer and love. It’s simple, Jesus does ALL THE WORK, we just have to give him our hearts and intentions. If we humble ourselves and let him move in our lives, there will be an awesome adventure that awaits.
Another side-note. Who wrote the book of Proverbs? – King Solomon. The wisest and wealthiest king who ever lived and was basically the embodiment of royalty. He wrote Proverbs for us to read daily. And who exactly did he write the book for? – HIS SON! King Solomon wrote Proverbs for his son to read so that his son would know how to live life as an honorable king. We literally have an ancient manual that describes the ways of royalty!
I love this Biblical truth because it’s more than just a feel good message to read on a coffee mug. These words of life carry out a life-transforming practicality to them that hold the power and potential to shift the atmosphere around you.
If you are human, then you know her. She calls out to us every day and we check in with her before every decision we make.
She causes destruction, pain, regret and provides no long-term satisfaction. Yet, without her we have no motivation, no inspiration, no purpose. We can have her completely figured out one moment, but find her utterly confusing the next. Her name is Desire, and she is absolutely essential to human nature. Desire appears to play a part in every situation of life. Every decision we make is based on what it is that we presently desire. Sometimes we make choices based on what we will desire in the future, others are focused on what we desire in the present moment. Sometimes we make an altruistic decision and do something based on what someone else desires, where the desire to help someone else still exists. Either way you look at it, there is no running from desire.
The Buddhist approach to desire is to eliminate it. The Buddhist monk dedicates his life to consistent zen meditation with the hopes of eradicating desire. However, this desire to eliminate desire, is of course, a desire.
Rather than attempt to live a life free from desire, we must embrace her. She is a good thing. She is a natural part of the human psyche for a reason. To live the full human experience we must not ignore desire, but learn to tame her. Desire is only a problem if wisdom isn’t present to guide her. There is an intriguing promise in the Bible that speaks to desire. It’s found in Psalm 37:4,
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV)
The first time I read this verse, my initial response was “Wait, what?! God will give me whatever I want?!?” Obviously this would be an immature interpretation of the text. The key to understanding this verse is by recognizing the first command – Take delight in the Lord. I believe this means more than merely allowing Jesus to make you happy – although this of course is a good thing. Rather, I think it’s more telling us to surrender our hearts to Jesus. We are called to make him our delight. When we can get to the spiritual maturity where Jesus is our delight, where it delights us to please the King, where the decisions we make are based upon what honors him and is beneficial to His Kingdom, then He will give us the desires of our heart.
It’s all about the process of aligning our hearts with God’s heart. We are very aware of when our desires are in opposition to His desires. We can play dumb all we want, but when push comes to shove we know what he wants from us. It coincides very well with Romans 8… (Read it)
It’s all about perspective change. It’s much more powerful than positive thinking. It’s the beautiful paradigm shift followed by a biblical worldview. I’m not saying it’s always easy to live this Spirit-filled lifestyle, but it is attainable and it only takes a little extra discipline and effort. My prayer is that we all would find motivation and excitement in Jesus. I will never understand why Christianity can be perceived as “corny”. Logically, I don’t get it. I will never be ashamed of being a royal son of the Everlasting King who is the Fiery Author of Life with the Mind to Create everything that exists. I will never be ashamed to boldly offer my life to the One who gave up everything to make sure we could attain anything. Never should we be ashamed to live a passionate life full of purpose and love because we are so aware of the authentic Love that the Creator of the Universe has for us. I will never allow a place for shame in my life and I hope Christians never allow themselves to feel it because we are the strongest people on this planet. We have already won, so why be afraid of loss? Why be afraid of death when we are already dead to our old life and alive in the new?
I digress, but all this is to say…
Be in tune with your desires, and keep your delight fixed on Jesus. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
The cold air cut against his face. Every part of his body was frozen. But the fiery furnace in his heart kept his whole body warm. This passion, this aggression, this purpose, seemed to allow his body to move in swift mobility. Although his troops retreated, he stood firmly planted. With a battle cry he charged forward with explosive eyes and a sword frozen to his hand. He couldnt stop killing, even if he wanted to. He had become one with the sword. On this day, one man, Eleazar, defeated an entire Philistine army.
This story is found in 2 Samuel 23:9-10. I bet they didnt tell you that story in Sunday school, did they? In fact, I'm almost certain that none of you reading this has ever even heard about Eleazar. I know I never have. As I was reading the account of "David's Mighty Warriors" in 2 Samuel 23, this short passage jumped out at me. God actually taught me a valuable lesson through a verse that often goes overlooked. This is how the verse reads:
"Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty warriors, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim for battle. Then the Israelites retreated, but Eleazar stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead." (NIV)
So what does this story have to do with us? Everything. When I read this story, it reminds me of our duty as Christians. There is an ongoing warfare between Good and Evil, and as Christians, we were born-again right in the middle of it. As we fight for good, it can feel like everything is against us. There has definitely been moments that I felt completely outnumbered by the darkness. I'll never forget walking through Vegas one night and feeling overwhelmed by the darkness that I saw. On the streets of Vegas, I was face to face with sin, depression, sex-slavery, and oppression. But in the times where we feel outnumbered like Eleazar clearly was, we need to cling to our weapon of choice. We need to be so devoted to obliterating sin and darkness that our sword freezes to our hands.
So what is our sword? The Bible. Ephesians 6:17 calls us to take up the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God". Also in Hebrews 4:12 the author writes, "The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword" Yet again in Revelation 19:15, a sword is coming out of Jesus' mouth which can easily symbolize the Word of God. The Word of God is our spiritual firearm. We must embrace the sacred text of Truth and allow it to transform our lives.
It concerns me with how many Christians struggle to read the Bible. Once we understand that the Bible is historically accurate and reliable, there should be a passion that stirs in us and causes us to read it with the hope that its words are true. When we realize that its words are true, we then can read it with expectation that God will do what he promises in his chosen text. The promises he makes in this massive love letter are unbelievable. One of my favorite promises that helps me get through every day is Romans 8:28, "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Once it finally clicks in our minds that God is a loving Father, who only wishes to bless his children with abundant life (John 10:10) then it gives us the confidence to surrender our entire lives to our Creator. He knows best and the dreams he has for us far outweigh anything we can dream of.
We can't expect to live our daily lives filled with this purpose if we aren't reading our word. Not only is the word our spiritual weapon, but it is also our fuel. We need to consume Truth every day because there is an army that is trying to steal your joy and your hope, all with the intention of discouraging you so that you don't walk in the powerful destiny that God has planned for your life. Remain in the Word. Remain in God's Truth. Allow the sword to freeze to your hand.
A couple of weekends ago, I had the honor to take one of the RHHS students with me to go minister to people on the streets of Newport. His name is Peter and he has a ton of talent and a very obvious calling of the Lord upon his life. It is truly such a privilege to be in a position where I can influence these future world changers. I will forever boast about the potential of ROCKHARBOR's students!
We had no plan when we got there, so we let God lead. Jesus always knows where the adventure is, so we must remain sensitive to His Spirit. We walked across one particular man and I had a sense that maybe he wanted some prayer. We introduced ourselves and asked if we could pray for him, he said yes. I believe his name was Jeff, and he seemed to have a very kind heart and a peaceful attitude. Judging by his appearence, he may have been homeless.
I asked what he wanted prayer for, and he asked if we could pray for his family. We prayed for God to bless his life and his family and we declared the Love of God over him. It is always so sweet to affirm people in the love that God has for them. I don't have the power to control if someone gets healed every time I pray or not, but I can always make sure they feel loved. As a Christian, that's our only role in this world. We are all called to love people.
After we prayed for Jeff, I had a sense that maybe he needed physical healing. So I asked him if he had any pain anywhere. He said, "Yes." I then asked him if the pain was in his leg. He said, "Yeah.." Then I said, "Is it in your right leg?" He said, "Yeah!"He looked at me perplexed, wondering how I could have guessed all of that after just meeting him. I told him that the reason I knew that stuff about him was because Jesus was revealing it to me out of His love for him. This moment increased faith in both of our hearts as it became more apparent that God wanted to heal this man.
I laid my hand on his leg and Peter and I declared healing over the man. After we prayed, I asked Jeff if his leg felt better. He said the pain left! Praise God! Jesus, once again, moved in his sovereignty and performed the miraculous. I wish I could show you the smile on his face and the sparkle in his eye as he just encountered the heart of the Father. The Lord clearly touched more than this man's leg. He had just touched his heart. I told him to go share that love with others and then we parted ways. God is so good and it is such a blessing to witness the Creator move.
Since I've been making you all wait so long for a new blog post, I thought it would be fair to share one of the more dramatic healings I have witnessed. This is the story of Harley.
I started a "Prayer Booth" ministry at my school last year. My friends and I would go to a public area and set up a table with a sign that read "FREE PRAYER". This was an idea that God had put on my heart and He proved it to be a solid and safe way to do relational evangelism on the streets. Instead of making the uncomfortable and nerve-racking approach to strangers, the strangers come to you in this method. Obviously I see nothing wrong with approaching people and striking the conversation first, but when you are starting this street ministry lifestyle for the first time, I believe the prayer booth is one of the best ways to get comfortable.
One day, as we set up our booth at Newport Beach, we met a peculiar man who went by the name of Harley. He was a peculiar homeless man with a distinctive voice that reminded you of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang. The raspiness in his voice, his quick wit, and the stories he had to share made him quite the entertainer. He also seemed to own the territory as far as recognition and respect amongst the other homeless people and the locals. He shared that he was a preacher and that although he curses, he does it so he can speak his people's (the homeless) language and relate to them. This reminded me of Paul's saying, "I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings." (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).
When Harley came up to us, he asked for prayer for his family and some general blessings. We jumped on it and asked God to bless his life. When we finished praying, I noticed he had a wrist brace on, so I asked him how he hurt it. He told us he broke his wrist after punching someone who tried to steal his wallet. At first I had a judgemental thought that God wouldn't want to heal his wrist - Harley brought this on himself through violence. But Holy Spirit quickly reminded me of the Grace of God and that He heals out of Love, not because we deserve anything.
I asked Harley if he would be comfortable if we prayed for healing over his wrist, and he obliged. After we laid hands on his wrist, I asked him if he knew what an act of faith was. He said, "An act of who-da-what?!" I told him that I believed Jesus had just healed him in that moment and I wanted him to take his wrist brace off to prove it. He said, "Well take it off then!" and he reached his hand to me, so I undid the brace and slid it right off. I asked him to carefully test it out to see if it felt better. He started moving his wrist all around, then he looked at me, looked back at his wrist, then looked back at me in astonishment and said, "Yep. That feels better."
God had just healed his wrist!
We praised God and then I left him to minister to another man who came to the booth. Harley continued speaking to my friends though. When I came back, Harley was gone, but my friends informed me,
"Harley said he would come back for the rest of his healing because his shoulder still hurts."
About ten minutes later, Harley came back, tapped his shoulder and said, "Alright man, fix this now." His approach to things were really humerous, he was such a character. I wish I could somehow imitate his voice through this text. I looked to God and said quietly, "Please, Jesus." I really wanted to see Harley fully healed and I know God wanted it more than all of us.
We laid hands on him and prayed. After we prayed, I asked him if he felt better. He said he felt a little better. I said, "On a scale of 1-10, how much does it hurt." He said it was at an 8. So we prayed again. He said it felt a little better, but his shoulder was still cracking. I could feel it popping all over the place too. So we prayed one more time. This prayer was full of faith and I commanded the cracking to stop in the name of Jesus, and this is the craziest part - I felt it stop! He started moving his shoulder all around with no pain and no cracking, or popping or anything. Harley's full right arm was just healed!
He was amazed and so touched, I told him to go and tell all his friends about it. He did. I saw him go to a circle of people and he was moving his shoulder all around, with the wrist brace off and clearly telling them what God had just done. All of a sudden a little chain reaction of people who needed prayer came to us. It was awesome and such a pure expression of the Kingdom of God invading a dark place.
My favorite part is that a couple weeks later, Emily, who was there, ran into him and he gave her a quick update on his life. He told her that he met a woman who loved him and was allowing him live in her home! I can't help but wonder if our prayers had anything to do with the blessings that God began to unleash on his life. God is good.
For those who read my last post, I thought it would be cool to hear more from the perspective of Devin. Although I have seen healings, I have never personally received a supernatural healing. Because of this, I am fascinated with hearing from the mind of the healed. After Devin read my post he sent me this in a message:
"I love it man, I also love the blog. Thanks for including the part where I was freaked out, I think that'll stand out to a lot of people who are skeptical. I was definitely skeptical at first, and when my back felt better I think I freaked out as a result of the skepticism. This should stand out to a majority of the people who are skeptical, and hopefully cause them to see that Christ's healing power is as real as himself. Hopefully it even causes them to go out and experience it for themselves. Thanks again Nate, and keep it up. Cheers!"
Devin's response was so powerful and full of life! It gave me goosebumps because it reminded me that all it takes is one touch from the finger of God and a person's whole perspective on life can change. His message inspired me so much that I asked him a few interview questions to get an indepth view of his heart from this experience. Here's the brief conversation:
Me: Can you explain what was going through your mind when I asked if I could pray for you?
Devin: I wasn't sure what to expect, and to be honest it caught me off guard. There have been very few times where people have offered to pray for me. So when you asked, it was as if I was flattered haha
Me: Can you describe what you "felt"?
Devin:I felt a warmness and peace come through me. It was as if every uncertain thought I had about my health was flushed out.
Me:What was going through your mind when you realized you were healed?
Devin: There's no way that just happened. I've always heard of healing happening to others, but to experience it firsthand can't be placed into words.
Me:What did this encounter do to your faith?
Devin: It made me better realize the gravity of God's power and how He is still very involved with daily life. It's funny, I remember reading about all of healing accounts in the Gospel and that same Lord that healed hundreds also healed me. Crazy.
If you or anyone you know needs prayer please let me know. Text me, call me, email me, find a way to contact me, I would love to pray for you!