“He is a real Person with arm hair” – IHOPU Graduation Speech

It’s rare that I post things on my blog that I did not write, but this is a highly remarkable exception. IHOPU celebrated its 2018 graduation on May 19. On that day, Mike Bickle, the founder and senior leader of IHOPKC, was supposed to give a speech. Instead, he gave his time to graduating senior Halie Benson, whom he had heard give this speech at the Baccalaureate the night before.

To all of this I can only say YES AND AMEN. This is what I also discovered through my four years at IHOPU, and what I am continually discovering day after day in our prayer room in Dallas.

This vision isn’t just for IHOPU students or full-time missionaries. This invitation is for EVERYONE who is hungry to know Jesus and desires to make Him their “one thing” (Psalm 27:4).

The prayer room isn’t about me making myself feel good. It’s about me encountering the Person of Jesus and becoming His friend.

Halie Benson IHOPU Baccalaureate/Graduation Speech

Full Transcript | May 18-19, 2018

This is to IHOPU students and OTI [One Thing Internship] as well, and to anyone who has a hungry heart.

We do not sit in that Global Prayer Room to subtly fuel our agenda for impact, deliverance of the heart, or even the improvement of life, although those things do happen. I do not come to His cross with my worst faults and perverted sins to confess so I feel clean. I do not sing the Word to make my heart feel. I do not choose to give thanks because it produces in me a happy heart. I do not study the Word because it will prepare me for when the storm of the end of the age hits. I do not study the Lord’s return so that I won’t fall to deception. We do not give ourselves to intercession to make a prayer meeting meaningful. We do not engage in the Great Commission by counting the cost and forsaking a self-centered gospel.

I have found: He is not my mascot. He is not my “buddy”. He is not an idea. He is not the means to my end. He is far different than I painted Him to be in the beginning.

We, IHOPU and One Thing– we have found HIM in the place of prayer. We talk to Him in the place of prayer.

We sit in the Global Prayer Room to look at and listen to Jesus . . . a real Person with arm hair. He breathes, He laughs, He sings, and He cries. His voice has tone. His hands have real scars that bring back memories. He smells I’m sure, but what like—I can’t wait to find out. We hear His Story and find ourselves invited.

We come to the Global Prayer Room to agree with the only Good Guy in the Story. We come to the crucified Christ with our worst faults and perverted sins to see Him more clearly and our hands stained with blood. We sing His Word to make His holy heart happy when ours are satisfied in His. We choose to give thanks because we are victims of His grace. We study His Word to see Him rightly and to discover what God is like. We give ourselves to His end-time purposes because we can’t actually wait to meet Him. We engage in the Great Commission because He desires them in patience, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

That Man on that throne is listening. He is watching. His heart is burning and it makes me tremble. He is the ever-living Godhead. A Person who has been alive and well for two thousand years watching and searching for hearts to incline towards His. The fullness of deity dwells in His bodily form and this makes the Father so happy. In IHOPU I have caught a glimpse of His Story from Genesis to Revelation. And sometimes, in the place of prayer, when I get real close, I feel His heart ache.

Oh, that I would be found His dearest friend. His secret keeper. His witness. His sister. His servant. His volunteer. The One who was with the Father and declared light to come and creation to sing–I talk to Him.

Yes, it is You, oh Lord. I have found You to be my Lover, and not my Master. You are FASCINATING, and You are BEAUTIFUL.

And this is the verse that I want to claim in my life, and I know IHOPU students as well and OTI students as well.

[Psalm 27:4]
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.

Amen.

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Deliver Me

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A few weeks ago, I posted about my car’s breakdown and having to choose joy in the midst of stress. Here’s the sequel to that episode and what God was teaching me in it.

Idris broke down on Sunday, February 14, (happy Valentine’s Day to me) and was in the shop until Saturday, February 20. It took the mechanic a while to figure out what was wrong with it, so for almost a week, I had no answers — and no car.

The Tuesday of that week in my Desert Spirituality class (we’re studying the Egyptian Coptic monks of the 4th and 5th centuries) my teacher posed a challenge: Meditate on one verse for a week. The verse assigned was Psalm 70:1.

“Make haste, O God, to deliver me!

O Lord, make haste to help me!”

 

I admit, although I undertook the challenge enthusiastically, at first I couldn’t really connect with it. David was asking the Lord for deliverance from men who were trying to kill him. Being unable to relate to that situation and feeling pretty secure in most areas of my life, I wrestled with the question, “What do I need deliverance from?”

On Friday, while walking from my piano lesson back to the prayer room, I got a call from my mechanic. Long story short, my catalytic converter was blocked and needed to be replaced ($600) but this was only a symptom of a larger untracable problem and the blockage would only build back up over time (six months to two years) and possibly damage more things along the way, sooooo… his advice was that I start looking for a new car.

GREAT news to hear on a Friday morning!

I sat down in the prayer room, opened my journal to where I had started to write about Psalm 70:1, and thought wryly, “Welp, I know what I need deliverance from now.”

But in the next moment, I knew it wasn’t my car situation itself that I needed deliverance from. It was my attitude about my car situation.

I needed deliverance from fear. Worry. Distrust. The enemies I was fighting were all internal.

Crazy how I get the most revelation and encounter when I’m suddenly in some sort of desperate situation… when I suddenly realise how much I need Him.

At noon, right at the beginning of her set in the prayer room, Erica Jensen started singing a song by Audrey Assad that has recently become very dear to the entire IHOPKC community since Audrey sang it at Onething. (You can watch the set HERE, and you can even see me in the front row. It’s kind of weird to watch the exact moment God was impacting my heart!)

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

“I Shall Not Want” by Audrey Assad

It was exactly what I needed to hear.

That night, Misty Edwards sang the exact same song at Encounter God service. It was a powerful moment. Even Misty was choking up and had trouble finishing the verse. (You can watch that set HERE. The song starts around 33 minutes.)

Lord, deliver me from fear of not having what I need. Deliver me from trying to figure things out on my own. You are my shepherd, and I shall not want. I lack nothing with You. I rest in Your presence and provision.

Enjoy Audrey Assad singing I Shall Not Want at Onething 2015:

Epilogue: I paid for the repair and got Idris back on Saturday, February 20. I’ve been driving her gently ever since (except that one time I drove to Dallas last weekend…) and she’s been behaving very nicely for me.

Pasadena Ministry Trip part 7: Onething Regional

The finale to the saga of my IHOPU ministry trip to Pasadena, April 10-20.

The climax of our trip was putting on a Onething regional conference with PIHOP. What is a Onething regional conference? It’s basically a mini version of the big year-end conference that IHOPKC puts on in Kansas City every year. The purpose of these conferences is to call this generation to passionate love for Jesus. This year, some 300 IHOPU students, joined by key speakers and worship leaders from IHOPKC, headed out in teams to seven cities across the country to partner with local ministries to put on seven simultaneous regional conferences.

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Laura Hackett Park leading us in worship.

Dave Sliker leading a ministry time.

Dave Sliker leading a ministry time – yes, that’s Lou Engle standing front and centre of the crowd, on the floor in the corner of the stage.

The conference was held Friday and Saturday, April 17-18. As students, we were assigned to various service teams to help run the event. I served several shifts as an usher as well as a shift on a prophecy team. I loved ushering. To me, ushering is being the “doorkeeper in the house of my God” that Psalm 84:10 speaks of. I get to help keep the room organised and free of distractions so that guests can encounter God–and I also get to be roaming prayer support! Often while I’m ushering, God will put a specific person on my heart, and I will stare at the back of their head and pray that God would do the work in their heart that needs to be done. Sometimes as I’m praying I’ll watch teens go from squirrely to locked in to weeping under the touch of God.

While serving on a prophecy team, I prophesied over a few dozen people who came in turn to sit on chairs in front of me and my two teammates. We would greet them, explain that we prophesy in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 14:3 “edification and exhortation and comfort,” then spend a few moments in prayer asking God what He would have to say. When we’re ready, we speak into a recording device if the person has one, sharing the words or pictures or verses that God has given us to encourage them. It’s intense and scary the first few times, but the fact is that God loves to speak to and encourage His bride. He knows each of us so individually, and He loves to blow our minds with specific words made just for us. We all had many accurate and encouraging words that God used to build up the people in front of us. Some I saw again months later, and they told me they still had my voice on their phones and those words were still a source of encouragement!

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Serving on a prophecy team- yes, my “listening to God” face looks super intense!

Our speakers included Cheryl Allen, the director of PIHOP, and Dave Sliker, one of the senior leaders at IHOPKC and one of my favourite IHOPU teachers. They both spoke about God’s heart for California and the call to pursue Him wholeheartedly. Several of my teammates were invited to share personal testimonies of how God has transformed their lives, and God moved powerfully during every session.

One of the most profound occurrences of the conference came Saturday evening. Seb, our student leader, had been feeling a burden to pray for the pure and simple gospel to be preached from the platform, since most of the messages had been directed toward believers. I remember feeling the same thing. On Saturday evening, Dave Sliker spontaneously invited Seb up to pray for the message. Seb came up to pray, but in the middle of his prayer he stopped and began preaching the gospel, calling for the prodigals who had wandered away from God to return home to the Father. You could have heard a pin drop. No one had that moment planned, but God’s heart was yearning for His children, and His voice broke through as Seb spoke. After Seb said, “Amen,” Dave Sliker said, “I want us to respond to that call right now. If you feel like that was for you, go to the back right now and meet Seb — Seb, go to the back — and he’s going to pray for you.”

Several people came to the back of the room for salvation as Dave went forward with preaching his message. Seb later described it as “less of an altar call and more of an ‘awkward call,'” but he prayed with them and, as he had with the guy who got saved and baptised earlier that week, started figuring out a way to make a baptism happen. Mott Auditorium where we were meeting has no baptismal or pool of any kind, but with a bit of frantic creativity they got hose and some sort of trough set up and at the end of the night over THIRTY PEOPLE received baptism!

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Seb praying/preaching, while another teammate stands ready to share a dream God gave her.

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Spontaneous baptisms after the conference!

That was the climax of our trip. I feel like I saw the Gospel in action that week. We came back with so many testimonies of outrageous salvations– and let me tell you, that’s not necessarily normal, even for an IHOPU ministry trip. What was different? I don’t know, but we certainly had a large handful of fiery bold evangelists on our team who constantly provoked the rest of us to step out and share the gospel. Our team developed a habit of seizing every opportunity to invite Jesus to break in and set captives free.

Also, we had a very strong team of intercessors praying for us in the prayer room back home in Kansas City. All of the seven teams reported later that they felt unusually covered in prayer, and that prayer covering seemed to produce a unique grace for ministry. We were so grateful for those who chose to stay and pray for us as we went out. Missions does not happen without prayer. We need the goers and the senders– and the senders must do more than open their pocketbooks, but open their mouths in intercession that “the Lord of the harvest [would] send out laborers into His harvest” and that “the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” (Luke 10:2, 2 Thessalonians 3:1)

We left for our drive home to Kansas City late Saturday night after the conference ended. It was a hard drive through the night, but in the morning we arrived at the Grand Canyon and got to bask in the glory of creation while singing worship together. It was such a holy, beautiful, and intimate way to wrap up our week-long ministry adventure together as a family.

Family worship at the Grand Canyon.

Family worship at the Grand Canyon.

I could not love these people more.

I could not love these people more.

IHOPU Ministry Trip: Pasadena 2015

11056005_626765110801649_939595123_nHello, friends! I have a very exciting announcement for you– This April I’m going to be coming to Pasadena on a ministry trip with IHOPU! We do spring ministry trips to different cities every year. Last year we went to twelve cities and I was on the Chicago team. This year is different because we’re just going to seven cities (Pasadena, Kansas City, New York, Orlando, Dallas, Twin Cities, and St. Louis) with teams of about 50 students and at the end of every week, April 17-18, we’ll put on a Onething conference in each of those locations! This is the first time IHOPKC has ever tried to do simultaneous regional conferences like this. We’ll have key leaders from IHOPKC coming out to each city to help lead the conference. Laura Hackett Park and Anna Blanc will be leading worship for us in Pasadena and Dave Sliker will be speaking!

Before the conference, we’ll be doing some work with the Pasadena House of Prayer and the Azusa House of Prayer, as well as outreach at the campuses of USC and APU! I am so excited for this opportunity to come home (I grew up about 40 minutes away from there) with IHOPU to serve local believers and strengthen houses of prayer. APU is my alma mater, so when I heard we would be going home to MY school, I would have probably cried if I hadn’t been too busy jumping up and down. I remember when IHOPU came to Azusa in 2010 before I graduated. This really feels like a “full circle” season for me, and I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do!

Click below to check out the info page and promo video:

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Here’s a peek at our itinerary:

April 10-12 Driving – connect with PIHOP leadership
April 13 Outreach at USC
April 14 Outreach in Azusa and Hollywood
April 15 Prayer room at PIHOP
April 16 Fun day in Santa Monica
April 17-18 Onething conference at PIHOP!!
April 18-20 Drive home to KC

As a team, we’ve been praying for Southern California every Friday at 4pm in the prayer room. (You can stream our set via the 24/7 webstream, either live or archived.) There’s something so powerful about gathering as a team to ask for God’s heart and intercede for the region God has called us to. For me, it’s especially powerful to get to pray with my new spiritual family for the region where my roots are, and where nearly all of the people I have ever known still live. Last Friday as we were praying and singing for college campuses in SoCal, I ended up curled into a ball sobbing, unable to form any words but knowing I was touching God’s heart. This isn’t distant to me. This is my home. I am so hungry to see God move in California.

One more thing… The cost of this trip is $450. I’ve paid my $50 deposit, and am asking God to raise up partners who would help cover the remaining $400. I don’t generally want to use this blog to ask for money, but I do want to let you know of the need and give you the opportunity to respond. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with me and sowing into this ministry trip to Southern California? If so, please email me at lutzc@ihopu.org and I’ll explain how you can make a tax-deductible gift.

I am so excited for this opportunity to serve California with my IHOPU family! If you’re in the area, please come to the conference and be blessed! If you’re not, please do still “pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1)

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