Prophetic Testimonies from TPR

It’s been a fun month for prophetic testimonies!! I’ve personally had four or five separate occasions the past few weeks of people giving me prophetic words out of the blue when I was least expecting it, and that’s not normal for me. (Yes, they were very encouraging and several of them were about the same thing!)

We’ve reached the point in our School of Supernatural Ministry semester that our students are ministering not only to each other but to staff and visitors as well. Two weeks ago, four students served 15 visitors through prophetic ministry. Some of these visitors had never even been to The Prayer Room before. They were deeply blessed to encounter the heart of God through the words of our students.

A couple came in with their son, who had a developmental disability. One student felt led to ask him, “What’s your favourite fish?” and said he saw Jesus grilling up some fish for him. It turns out, he was on a special diet and could only eat fish! The family was touched to be so known by God.

Another couple came in with a specific question on their hearts regarding a property decision. A student gave them a word about a property that was exactly what they needed to hear and brought so much peace and clarity about the situation!

Two students who were partnered together for the ministry time experienced a great flow of team ministry. Over and over, God gave one girl a picture and the other girl the interpretation. So many people were blessed by God using them both together!

My favourite recent SSM testimony was the student who came up to me outside of class and told me that she had encountered a woman who needed help with her car. She was nervous, but she obeyed the nudge of the Holy Spirit and asked the woman if she could help her, and then if she could pray for her! This is what it’s all about. We want students to encounter God in a way that it breaks the hold of fear and affects the way they live as powerful witnesses of Christ everywhere they go!

Prophetic Equipping Workshop – 65 attended!

On March 31, we did a Prophetic Equipping Workshop in place of our normal Encounter service. We had around 20 visitors on top of our usual crowd, and some of them were completely new to TPR. Andy and Jeremy taught on how to hear the voice of God and share it with others, and then everyone in the room gathered into groups of three or four and practiced prophesying over each other. My favorite stories were the people who came in skeptical, and were blown away that God would actually speak clearly to and through them!

One of our staff members brought her parents. She had been telling them for months about things that God was doing and how she was hearing His voice, but they didn’t really know how to take it seriously. When they came to our training night and started seeing accurate prophetic ministry in action, they were amazed. An SSM student gave the mom a prophetic word about yellow roses, and come to find out, she had actually been planting yellow roses just that morning!

Another young man who was not a believer came with a friend, and he actually heard the voice of God for himself for the first time! I don’t know what his history with God is, but he now knows experientially that God is real and wants a relationship with him.

The teaching from that night is available to stream or download on TPR’s Recent Messages page.

Advertisements

What I’m Praying: Dancing Justice

Continuing my What I’m Praying series, here’s something that’s been on my heart for a few years now, and came to a head again last Friday. It’s something I talk about with increasing frequency on my social media, but rarely if ever on Fragrance Arise, mostly because my thoughts and feelings are still so raw, and it’s difficult to get them into a form that fits the mission of this blog. Also, I think, there’s fear of being perceived as “stirring the pot”, as I’ve been accused of trying to do–i.e. stir up trouble and division that hurts more than it helps.

I’m talking about justice issues. Specifically, right now, racial justice issues.

This past week, Stephon Clark was shot 20 times by police in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento. He was unarmed. He was scared. There is currently an ongoing investigation and several outstanding questions as to how the police handled the encounter. They were looking for someone breaking windows in the neighbourhood, and even assuming Stephon was that guy, he did not deserve to die. And yes, he was black.

I don’t have all the answers, but that should never have gone down the way it did. There was no reason for him to end up dead.

This post is mostly not about Stephon Clark. As grieved as I was over the injustice of his death, a more close-to-home grief arose when I witnessed the reactions of some of my white brothers and sisters in Christ. We were quick to defend the police and slow to mourn the loss of life. We were quick to deny racism had any role, systemic or specific, and we were slow to listen to the stories of the black people who had the courage to jump into those conversations and share their experiences and perspectives. We were all too okay with what had happened. And I’ve witnessed echoes of this same conversation so. many. times.

I can already hear the cries of “not all white people/Christians/police/etc!” so yes, I’ll say it here. NOT ALL.

But too many.

And too many turning a blind eye.

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20

My heart aches for us as white believers, who are part of the Body of Christ, the hands and feet of Jesus on the earth, to slow down, shut up and listen, and recognise that our world is broken, centuries of brokenness have built up to create the world as it is today, and some of our brothers and sisters walk through this world differently than we do.

We need to let go and listen.

Just.

Listen.

I’m still listening. I’m still very much in the early stages of this journey. A few years ago, I realised I had grown up in a bubble, and racism to me was mostly a thing in the history books. When I heard of black people being shot by police, and my black friends crying injustice and tragedy, I silently thought that they were overreacting, because the police are always the good guys who always deserve the benefit of the doubt.

If only.

On Friday, I found myself once again in a conversation where all of these emotions and reactions came to a head, hurtful things were said, there was way more ranting and accusing than listening, and humility and compassion seemed a million miles away.

It broke my heart.

That afternoon I was folding laundry in my room when I broke down crying. I had so much frustration and grief that I didn’t know what to do with it.

Grief for Stephon Clark and the far too many who came before him.

Grief for my friends and family, the church, who seemed to have forgotten how to listen in love.

Grief for the relationships that have been strained, brother against brother and sister against sister, because of these issues.

Grief for America and the world, where I know there will never be true shalom until Jesus comes back.

Grief for myself, my own turmoil, my poor angry heart that had lost sight of peace and joy.

“Jesus, help me,” I cried. “I don’t even know what to do with my heart right now.”

In a moment of clarity and wisdom that I wish I had more often, I knew I needed to worship. I knew I needed to declare again that God does see and hear every injustice, and His heart breaks for it, and He will not be silent forever. I needed to rise above the mess and declare the fierce love and justice of King Jesus. I put on a youtube playlist that I created specifically for processing these kinds of emotions (many of the songs were suggestions from friends trying to work through the same things).

And then I danced. I danced every emotion I was having. I danced frustration, anger, fear…and I danced faith, confidence, and hope. I danced through that playlist until I could hardly breathe. Alone in my bedroom, I declared the bleeding love of God, the fire in His eyes, and His fierce promise to establish swift, perfect justice forever. As I danced, my body became a prophecy and a prayer and a weapon.

Jesus sees. He hears. He will not forget. He will make all the wrong things right. He will restore, and He will repay.

And in the meanwhile… what if we could just listen for a while? What if we could actually listen to the stories of our brothers and sisters of colour who have LIVED this reality for generations? Sometimes those stories come out with anger, true, but what if we could put aside our defensiveness for a while and actually try to hear their hearts? And then just say “Thank you for sharing your story” without listing off our reactions and objections? And what if we did that a hundred times before we opened our mouths to share our opinions?

This is the cry of my heart. This is what I believe christlike love looks like.

And if you’re like me, caught in the storm of emotion, feeling tangled and pulled and watching the world implode into chaos around you… slow down, breathe deep, and remember what is true. Proclaim it. Pray it, sing it, shout it, dance it. He will not forget justice.

But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.

The LORD is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Psalm 10:14-18

~~~

Enjoy my Justice Worship playlist on Youtube.

SSM Testimonies – Healed Achilles Tendon!

L to R: Makayla, Jade, me, Rhoda, Nikki, Walter, John

We’ve completed the first half of our School of Supernatural Ministry! Our six students (yes, we lost another since my last update) have been really pressing in to hear the voice of God and to minister to each other. We’ve done several activations which involve asking God for His thoughts for each other. I’ve been so proud of their tenderness and boldness!

Earlier this month, John, one of my students who is also a fellow staff member, shared a testimony at Encounter service: “Every time I’ve walked away from the teachings I get convicted; there’s a new holy ache and burden that my voice matters, this is important… And after that, we have a ministry time, and it’s been very fruitful for me and worth it—getting to hear the Lord’s heart over me, strengthening my spirit, giving me confidence. I look forward to every class to get re-amped… it’s empowering me and I feel it throughout the week.”

The first six weeks, our Thursday night sessions were focussed on ministry training. From here on out, we will be doing “real” ministry on Thursday nights! Last week, we started slowly by prophesying over each other. Everyone received several accurate words which built on each other, and everyone was encouraged!

On Saturday, we prayed for a student’s ankle. Her Achilles tendon was in a lot of pain due to a recurring injury that had been going on for almost a year and she had been really struggling in believing that God would heal it. She hadn’t been able to walk that morning. The pain dropped as we prayed, and by the next day, her ankle had no more pain at all! Praise the Lord!

What I’m Reading: Filming God

Ever since Finger of God came out in 2007, I have loved Darren Wilson and Wanderlust Productions’ series of documentaries exploring the supernatural invading the natural. There are so many stories of crazy healings, words of knowledge, casting out demons… and the stuff that’s harder to explain, like gold dust randomly showing up. Every time I watch them, I’m filled with excitement and faith for what God can do, and how He uses ordinary people stepping out in faith to do it.

Discovering the book Filming God by Darren Wilson was a special delight for me. In it, Darren reflects on filming the first two films, Finger of God and Furious Love, including how he was called into this journey as a skeptic–an average Christian who loved Jesus but thought most of the supernatural experiences some Christians talk about was nonsense. After a dramatic encounter with an angel (yes, an actual angel), Darren tentatively began seeking out the supernatural and trying to capture God at work on film.

The timing of reading this book was perfect for me. As I step into leading the School of Supernatural Ministry at The Prayer Room, I’ve had to confront again all my old feelings of inadequacy and lack of faith regarding things like healing. As I read Darren’s story, this guy having these awesome experiences whom I’ve looked up to since I was 16, he was so transparent with his own struggles and I found I could relate to every word.

I find myself falling into the trap of sometimes wanting to protect God from Himself. I realize that I’m dealing with an invisible entity here, and no matter how much I have seen or experienced, it still stretches me to step out and pray for someone to be healed because deep down, I’m wondering if I’m just praying to my own imagination. I’ve prayed for people so often where nothing happened that when I’m faced with a situation of real need and desperation, I get nervous that once again I’m going to pray and nothing will happen, and this need and desperation in front of me is going to turn into bitterness and defeat. I don’t want to subject this person to that, so I will withdraw my own bold faith and fall back on the safer, “comfort this person” prayer.

I think this reasoning is birthed from my own stupid assertion that I really have anything to do with anything supernatural that is or is not happening. What I have begun to learn in my travels, though, is that in the end, it’s not really about me at all. Let me give you two stories to illustrate my point…

The above quote is from chapter 5, which was possibly the most relatable and encouraging chapter of the whole book for me. The entire chapter is offered as an excerpt on wpfilm.com, and I highly suggest you READ IT RIGHT NOW AT THIS LINK RIGHT HERE. Seriously.

The other part of this book I super appreciated was that Darren is NOT gullible or naive, recounting every bit of supernatural hearsay that comes his way. He is only including stories from sources he personally and thoroughly trusts. Many times, he witnessed the stories personally. Chapter 3 explores his decision to include the things like gold dust in the film, concluding that even though some is more than likely hype and overexcitement, at least some of it had to have been from God. The Author’s Note vouches for the humility and credibility of the people sharing these stories:

These are stories I have either witnessed firsthand or have heard from people I have grown to know and love and who are, in my opinion, credible witnesses. They have nothing to gain from telling me these stories; indeed, some have asked me to not include them in my films… Do people lie about the spiritual things that happen to them? Of course they do. Could some of these people be lying to me? I would be naive if I said no. But no one ever told me a story because they thought I might put it in a book. Many times the camera wasn’t even rolling. There is little motivation to lie… In the end, it is up to you to decide whether or not you believe them or me.

Reading this stirred me up to believe again that God is bigger than the box I’ve put Him in, He really does want to move through me, and it’s mostly not about me at all! It also stirred my hunger to ask God to do crazy things like this, to demonstrate His presence and His love by signs and wonders.

I encourage you to check out the book (Amazon has it on Kindle, or you can get it from Wanderlust directly) and the films. First, though, check out this scene from Finger of God!

 

School of Supernatural Ministry Coming Soon!!

Finally!!!

I serve as the admin of The Prayer Room’s Forerunner Equipping Center, which in theory includes all of our schools and training programs. So far, my admin role has been confined to our Immerse internship, because that has been the only program we’ve had the strength to offer. It’s been 5 years since The Prayer Room has been able to offer anything more (last year’s weekly School of the Prophetic notwithstanding).

Over the past few weeks, our director Brad has been bursting with ideas for a new School of Supernatural Ministry (SSM). It’s been a desire of ours for years to be able to offer a program that would give in-depth training on topics such as prophecy, healing, and deliverance. We finally feel the permission and anointing of the Lord to make plans for a January 20 of our SSM. At the same time, we plan to put launching another Immerse on hold until summer or fall while we take a close look at revamping that curriculum into a slightly different direction.

SSM will run January 20 through May 12 and emphasise five components:

  • Theology (biblical teaching)
  • Equipping (instructions on how)
  • Activation (practice what you learn)
  • Ministry (ministering to people)
  • Prayer (living a lifestyle of prayer)

The schedule will be similar to our current Immerse internship schedule, but will involve some unique components:

Saturday

  • 3pm-4pm — Classroom training
  • 4pm-5pm — Application exercise in the classroom
  • 7pm-9:30pm — Encounter service

Tuesday

  • 6pm-7pm — Ministry time (ministering to people outside the school)
  • 7pm-9pm — Prayer room time together (with prayer/study assignments)

Also, students will usher an additional prayer meeting and choose another additional prayer meeting in which they have no responsibility.

We’re all SO EXCITED and I’ve already had some potential students express interest. This is going to be an amazing way to equip our community in ministering with the Holy Spirit, and will hopefully bring many more into our community!

Check out our SSM on our website HERE!

Summer Fun and a Testimony!!

July has been a fun month for me. I spent Independence Day at a pool party/BBQ with several families with young kids. On Saturday, July 8, several of us went on our annual TPR Community Trip. We took a day trip down to the Austin area to go tubing on the San Marcos River, swim in a natural water hole called Blue Hole, and get pizza and coffee in the city. The river was GORGEOUS with perfect 90 degree weather!

The next day, July 9, I spent my 27th birthday section leading (managing/overseeing) the prayer room from 5am-11am, then finished the day with church and teacher equipping group. Three Sundays out of the month, all of the teaching staff at The Prayer Room get together at Brad’s house to study and discuss certain topics so that we can get more clarity and grounding for future teachings. So even though my birthday itself wasn’t extravagantly commemorated, I loved spending it with close friends at the prayer room and at church, and felt very much loved and celebrated.

TESTIMONY TIME!!

Last week, Joshua, one of our interns/worship leaders/staff members, shared this incredible testimony (he’s from Yorkshire, so enjoy the British-isms!).

During my worship set tonight God gave me prophecy about a lad who came in. God began to break things off of him… He had once said a prayer, then lived a life contrary to his words… He felt a need to come to a house of prayer…

Afterwards we spoke and… he said he could feel presence of God. I had several words of knowledge about his life and God gave me the number of his birthday.

He repented and renounced several things and right there he gave his life to Jesus! Confessed about having cigarettes, which Holy Spirit had already showed me he had…

Went to his vehicle to get them and threw them in skip outside TPR. Asked him about following his commitment with baptism to which he adamantly wanted to do. Went to Lincoln Square fountain that we have used before for baptisms. He went under, joined with Jesus’ death and raised to new life speaking in new tongues! Praise You and thank You, Jesus!

New Rapid Fire Prayer Topic

At the end of every set, everyone in the room lines up at the mic to pray short “rapid fire” prayers on a certain topic, usually related to something happening within the ministry. The past few weeks, as I shared before, our topic was for finances for a new A/C for our upstairs preschool room. That process has progressed, and WE GOT THE MONEY WE NEEDED, PRAISE GOD! Now, our topic is:

Praying for the workers we are hiring to fix the upstairs A/C units to be able to make the needed repairs for a reasonable amount and to get them up and running quickly.

We need inexpensive, clever solutions and discounts on units that won’t fall apart. Please pray with us for wisdom and favor as we get these units installed!

God, thank you for Your provision! Please finish what You started, have Your hand on the workers, and give us favor in the repair/installation process!

Testimony Thursday: Praying for Muslims at Disneyland

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney

Prayer buddies!

Prayer buddies!

(Posted a little bit belated on Friday because I had to get Taylor’s permission to publish this first.)

Last week, I made plans to meet up with a friend of mine at Disneyland. This was a very special meeting because Taylor and I had never met in person, but we had been good friends through Facebook for years, and he was going to be in town with his family as a last hoorah before he started college. I only live about 50 minutes away, so we planned to hang out at Downtown Disney for just a couple hours (since I don’t have an annual pass and I already had an evening commitment). We were both super excited.

That morning, he texted me to ask if I believe in praying for healing. Um, YES!! I assumed he was just doing some study or something on it, and texted back two long paragraphs of theology explaining why I believe this can and should be a normal practice for Christians.

Then he texted back– and nope, turns out he wanted to actually go DO it that day!

We agreed to both spend some time asking God who He had in store for us to meet that day, and we both wrote down several “clues” that we sensed that would hopefully lead us to certain people God was highlighting. One of Taylor’s was “white hat,” and one of mine was “little girl in a Minnie Mouse dress”. We also decided that anyone with evidence of injury was fair game too.

We knew our number one goal was simply to create an opportunity for God to touch people with His love. We weren’t there to pressure anyone; we just wanted to pray, bless, love, and invite God to move.

I was so proud of Taylor. He stepped out with so much boldness and gentleness, and we prayed for a lot of people with canes, etc. We didn’t see anyone get dramatically healed, but everyone we prayed for seemed genuinely grateful, and we believe that God is still moving in their lives and bodies!

Sure enough, Taylor found his white hat! It was worn by a woman coming out of a shop with her husband and kids. We asked if we could pray for her, and she was enthusiastically receptive and her husband even laid his hand on her along with us and agreed out loud with our prayer as I gave her a word I was feeling for her out of John 12:24.

We also met a man who was a deacon at his church and was about to have surgery. We both prayed for healing and he was really touched. Seeing his faith and joy really blessed us too!

I spent most of the afternoon looking for my Minnie Mouse dress. I even went in and out of several kids’ stores. I saw several teenage girls with Minnie ears or t-shirts, but I knew I was looking for a very small girl with short dark hair and a full Minnie Mouse dress.

Finally, I saw her, almost exactly as I had pictured her that morning. She was with a woman wearing a long dress and a hijab, walking toward the security checkpoint.

To be honest, the prospect of approaching a Muslim and asking if I could pray for her in the name of Jesus kind of freaked me out. I’ve only ever done something like that once before. I didn’t know if there would be a language barrier or if she would be receptive.

“She’s going in the gate. I don’t have a pass,” I told Taylor, with some mixture of disappointment and relief.

“She’s only going through security right now. You can go there without a pass,” Taylor pointed out.

Crap, he’s right.

I probably wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t with Taylor, but with his encouragement I followed her and the mini Minnie through the security line, pausing to chat with and pray for the cast member.

Dangit/good, they’re still in range.

By this time, the woman had joined a larger family, all very definitely Muslim.

I started marching after them, muttering something like “Frick, really, Jesus? Of all the…. Taylor, I have no plan, I HAVE NO PLAN okay come on Jesus…”

I knew I could claim their attention for only a brief minute before they entered the gates of the Happiest Place on Earth, so I got the attention of the woman I had first seen and tried to explain that I had been praying that morning and God had shown me her little girl and I’d been looking for her all day. I showed them the list of clues I had written on my phone earlier and asked to pray for them.

“Yes, of course, we pray all the time, you can pray anytime!” the woman responded.

“Yes! May I pray for you right now?” I asked.

“Uh, how will you pray?” she asked. By this time I had the entire family’s attention.

“I’m a Christian, and I will pray in the name of Jesus,” I responded with more strength in my voice than I felt.

They paused a moment, but agreed to let me pray. I asked if they had any specific needs, and they requested prayers for good health for the family.

So I prayed for health, and blessing, and revelation of Jesus, and for the love of God to touch their hearts. They walked away with smiles and gratitude. I walked away feeling glad I had obeyed and done what God had laid before me, but wondering if our prayers had made a difference at all to them.

My mom later told me a story of a Muslim who reported that after years of living in the US, she’d never experienced an American’s hospitality, and conflating America and Christianity, before being saved she had never imagined Jesus reaching out to her. I was encouraged that maybe my short, weak, awkward prayer stirred up a little bit of curiosity about the Jesus who would show an American girl a Minnie Mouse dress and send her to pray blessings over a Muslim family.

Overall, I call this day a success. Taylor and I didn’t see the miracles we imagined, but we did get to bless and pray for many people and plant seeds of grace in their lives. We got to encourage each other and stir up our faith. We got to practice a lifetyle that we both want to walk in more– not just the healing, but of seeing the people around us through God’s eyes, and saying “yes” when He asks us to move.

Pasadena Ministry Trip part 4: Hollywood Invasion

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

Life has been very busy since I last wrote. I finished finals for my junior year at IHOPU, left my job at Bed Bath and Beyond, and moved home to California for the summer. I will certainly continue to keep you posted about summer life in Cali, but for now, I want to continue telling the stories of the Pasadena trip.

In my last post I told the stories of Tuesday afternoon, when our team did ministry in the city of Azusa. On Tuesday evening, we invaded downtown Hollywood.

First we gathered at the metro station to take the train downtown. We didn’t want to waste even our train ride as an opportunity for evangelism! We partnered with a guy named Chris Evans (not the Captain America actor!) who is a pastor at a church called Expression 58. He works with a ministry called Love L.A. and regularly does an outreach called “Church on the Metro.”

This is how we bring church to the metro!

This is how we bring church to the metro!

We split into several teams, each including a worship leader on guitar and a speaker. When each group boarded their train, the worship leader started playing and singing loudly and the rest of us joyfully joined in. It was a bit like a church service flash mob! After a while, the speaker would come forward and say, “Welcome to Church on the Metro! You’re to busy to go to church, so we’re bringing church to you! We just want you to know that Jesus loves you and He died to make away for you to live with God…” Most people were either amused or ignored us, but we had some good conversations and got to pray with several people.

As a matter of fact, God orchestrated that train ride to give us as much ministry time as possible. First of all, the train was unusually and inexplicably crowded, and it wasn’t just because we were there. Then, the train stopped underground! We talked to a metro staff member who told us that’s only happened once or twice in his 15 years’ experience. We thank God for our captive audience and made use of the time talking to as many of the locals as we could.

Once we got off the metro into downtown Hollywood, we hit the streets with a bit of travelling intercessory worship. Our goal was simply to bring JOY to the streets. We walked about two miles, singing the most joyful worship songs we could think of as loudly as we could.

Worship walking downtown Hollywood.

Worship walking through downtown Hollywood

Our goal wasn’t specifically to evangelise, but God had divine appointments lined up for us all along our path that evening. We met two separate guys, individually, who had just gotten out of jail and had nowhere else to go, so we invited them to join us! We met a number of homeless people and other individuals who were in need of a touch from God. We got to pray for several of the costumed characters walking around downtown, including Tinker Bell, Spider-Man, and Batman (who insisted on being referred to as Bruce Wayne even as we were praying!). We got to talk with several members of a Scientology church, and at least one was deeply touched by some prophetic insight one of our guys was given into her life that showed her the love of the Father.

Most precious to my heart was an encounter several of my teammates had with a particular young woman.

Them: Do you believe in Jesus?
Her: Yes!
Them: Do you believe in the Bible?
Her: Yes!
Them: So you’re a Christian?
Her: No.
Them: …wait, what?

It turns out she was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – a Mormon – and as they talked to her God began revealing to them some of the secrets of her heart. To her, the church meant constantly striving to be “good enough” to earn His pleasure. This made sense to her because of the relationship she had with her dad, and in her mind, God was no different. The LDS church wasn’t teaching her the true grace available freely in Jesus Christ. She was amazed that our team could prophetically know things about her life, just like Jesus did to the woman at the well (John 4) and Paul talked about (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). She was so touched by the love of God that she surrendered her life to the true Jesus that night!!

The climax of the evening came when we arrived at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theater. As we were waiting for our vans to pick us up, a guy dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow asked one of our worship leaders to play a song on his guitar. Lance started playing and singing “To Worship You I Live”. We all huddled in a circle and sang, and Captain Jack got very quiet and respectful as he listened.

A moment later, a character dressed (as near as we could figure) as Osama bin Laden pushed his way into our circle and began mocking us, singing loudly, raising his hands, bowing on the ground… and he had an entire crew of professional cameramen with him. (We figured out later that he was part of a popular youtube prank show.)

Our other worship leader Olivia took control of the moment by starting to play and sing “Jesus Paid It All.” Our team quickly joined in. Defeated, Osama bin Laden wandered away to consult his producer and regroup– then came back a moment later and mooned us!! I was so proud of our team in that moment. We all either closed our eyes or looked away, and sang louder.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

10690348_371474729721425_2775958073470865362_n

You cannot shut us up, Satan.

No weapon formed against us will prosper. (Isaiah 54:17)

Osama bin Laden eventually left with his camera crew. We launched into singing the chorus that Olivia had begun that afternoon at one of the Buddhist temples in Azusa, with a fresh Los Angeles twist.

All authority belongs to You, Jesus
You reign in L.A.
You reign in L.A.

1908198_371474846388080_605578282524064620_n

As we sang and proclaimed the victory of Jesus over Hollywood, a lot was happening around us. Captain Jack and a number of passersby stopped to apologise for Osama bin Laden’s behaviour and encourage us that we were doing a positive thing that deserved respect. At one point I turned around and saw a man talking with two of my teammates, then hugging both of them tightly and sobbing. I found out later that he had run away from God and was at that moment surrendering his life to Jesus.

The end of that evening was so powerful and completely unplanned. God dropped a bomb on Hollywood that night through the victorious worship of His saints. What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good. (Genesis 50:20)

Jesus loves Hollywood so, so much. It’s a crazy place, and there’s a lot of darkness, but His eye is on that city, and He will not rest until He sets every captive free.

11078219_371474366388128_6466107450647954428_n

We love L.A.! The guy on the left is one of our new friends who joined us, and Chris Evans is behind him.

Weekend Ambush

Last weekend was absolutely splendidly NOT what I had planned. I was planning to go camping in Joshua Tree on Saturday with a few of my co-workers. From the start I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, because although I love these people and I could use a change of scenery, “roughing it” is rarely my cup of tea. I determined to go and enjoy it, though, so even when the plan fell through, I was proud of myself for at least refusing to be scared off.

Instead I spent my Saturday working the rock wall for the Christian camp. I’ve never properly worked ropes with the rec staff before, and I ended up loving it! By dinner time I was already thanking God that he had a better day planned for me than I had planned for myself, but he hadn’t even begun to surprise me. I let myself be talked into going to chapel in the evening when I heard that Tommy Green, the lead singer of Sleeping Giant who has a powerful ministry, would be speaking. I went with my roommate and sat through an hour of a student talent show. There was a definite amount of talent, and also a definite amount of… well. It was well worth it, though, because when Tommy came to the front, the first thing he did was pray for people in pain to be healed and the second thing he did was prophesy over some of the performers.

WHAT?!!! This might be pretty standard ministry in my usual circles, but at this camp? In the three years I’ve worked here, I have NEVER seen a single healing take place in that chapel, or a single prophecy be released (though granted I can’t claim to be there every time the doors are open). Not that God doesn’t move here or that the camp and its guests don’t believe in the gifts, we just don’t… tend to practice them very often.

I’ve spent so many hours over the past few years pacing the camp prayer chapel -and plenty of hours elsewhere too- praying for Holy Spirit to do crazy things in that chapel. I’ve tasted revival, and I am desperate for this camp, my home, to taste it too. Seeing what Tommy brought on Saturday was a beautiful down payment of the revival that I believe is coming.

But the night got better. Tommy’s message was about worship as warfare, and this generation releasing a new sound that literally shifts atmospheres, and the seven Hebrew words of praise, especially “tehila” spontaneous singing and “shabach” shouting, and how powerful dance is as an expression of worship… I could have closed my eyes and heard Jake Hamilton’s voice. (I actually just found out that Tommy has actually worked with Jake on the Voices conference Jake put on last year. So yeah.) I have never felt so completely in unity with what’s going on in that chapel as I did that night. Especially because after talking about free and powerful worship, the band came on stage and we DID IT for an hour and a half! My roommate and I ended up up pushing back the chairs in the back of the room and dancing and worshiping and crying until we were completely overwhelmed. I haven’t worshipped that freely since… well, since the week I left IHOP. The two of us helped clean up the chapel and watched as the campers settled into small groups, then went back home and prayed together until we fell asleep. My heart was full to bursting with the sheer excitement of loving God and watching him move.

Sunday was quite amazing as well. I went with a friend to her church for my second visit. The church is called Tithemi and is actually led by Eric Gregson, a close friend of Tommy who is (was?) also in Sleeping Giant! Bam. Small world. This little church is a beautiful, grungy, passionate band of young tattooed believers who worship with full hearts and pray with abandon. That Sunday night I kicked off my sandals and started dancing during the song Divine Romance, and by the time we’d sung the chorus about ten times the worship leader asked anyone who wanted to dance to come do it on stage. So I went. And we all danced for several more minutes before Eric invited us all to return to our seats.

As I was sitting down, he started talking about how powerful worship is, and how powerful dance is, and how that first person to dance serves the community by providing a “covering” for everyone else’s awkwardness… in other words, that person sets the tone for how free the group is allowed to be. It was a huge blessing and confirmation for me, because I knew that I was the first person to start dancing that night, and because I have so often been told about how my dancing creates an atmosphere of freedom and worship for others.

Even when I know something, I love it so much when God remembers and tells me again. He sees me, he knows me, he enjoys me. And he’s using me through my simply enjoying him. I’m just being who I was created to be, and he’s encountering me and using it to bless people.

Also, I’m so grateful for the community I’m surrounded by. From the people I worked rec with, to the people I was in chapel with, to the people at Tithemi, I am so deeply blessed to get to be around like-minded people who love me and are going after the same things. I love them all, and I love my Father for giving them to me.

Oh… one more thing. On Wednesday at camp, I went into the prayer chapel to spend my break. The first thing I did was unwrap a Dove dark chocolate square. And what did my wrapper say?

Be the first to hit the dance floor.

DSC00824

Prophetic Dove wrapper (torn and taped)

Corey Russell: Hunger for the Word

I finally got to hear Corey Russell teach on Saturday night at FCF, and as expected, it was amazing. He spoke on hunger for the Word, and I was keeping notes as best I could, so here’s what I got:

Introduction:

God calls, commissions, and crucifies forerunners, like John the Baptist.

Jesus said John was more than a prophet (John 11).

People who live as more than prophets, whose lives exude glory even if they never preach, are signposts for a transition in the Body of Christ.

When God is ushering in big transitions, he takes (often young) people, molds them with immersion in his Word, and uses them to prepare the way of the Lord.

Revelation of the Millennium delivers us from the American Dream and gives us the Eternal Dream.

Psalm 17:15 “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”

This is the hour to pray for Israel.

God uses eschatology to fuel present day labour.

Zechariah had eight visions in one night—we want that!

God is going to increase the spirit of prophecy.

We need vision because vision gives you fuel to embrace the hardship in order to get where you want to be.

Hunger for the Word comes in four stages:

1. Duty.

Get to work! Read it over and over.

2. Delight.

You will grow to delight in the Word, like Psalm 119.

3. Deliverance.

You will be delivered from faulty paradigms– ways of thinking about the things of God.

4. Demonstration.

You begin to manifest what’s gotten into you.

How to read the Word:

When you receive impartation/revelation from something that happened in a corporate setting, it will become just a memory if you don’t immediately get into the Word and pursue it.

1. Slow down and listen!

Don’t try to master the material, rather be mastered by the material.

Stop picking your favourite parts of Jesus, rather come underneath the authority of the Word and let the Spirit dictate the conversation.

2. Pray in the Spirit.

Praying in tongues is like a flashlight—it will reveal mysteries.

3. Repetition.

Read it over and over.

4. Visualise.

Use your imagination to enter the scene.

5. Ask questions.

Who, what, when, where, why, how? How does this connect to that?

The more questions you can ask, the more revelation you get because you are interacting with the material.

6. Sing it!

Singing the Bible is like praying twice. It’s getting into your spirit.

7. Share what God gives you.

Give and more will be given to you.

There is a difference between knowing truth and feeling truth. It gets into your spirit and suddenly it’s all new.

You’ve known it all your life, but suddenly it’s making you cry and moving your emotions, because now it knows you.

8. Fast.

Fasting breaks down your defences to truth. It’s about vulnerability.

Three seasons of Mary of Bethany in response to the Word:

1. Luke 10 – Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to his Word.

Do you stand (in pride) before the Bible and use it, or will you sit and let it move you?

Fall in love with the Word (Jesus) who speaks the Word!

2. John 11 – Mary’s brother Lazarus dies and is raised. Mary’s words move Jesus’ heart!

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died!”

Mary said the exact same words as Martha, but because she had a different quality of connection with Jesus, she got his tears instead of a theological treatise.

The Word got into her and she got on the same frequency with Jesus.

Mary actually got to partner with God in raising Lazarus.

Deep cries out to deep. Mary’s deep was crying out to Jesus’ deep.

3. Mark 14 – Mary breaks her alabaster flask over Jesus’ feet.

Jesus defends her for the second time. (The first in Luke 10.)

The disciples wanted to be seated at Jesus’ right and left side, but Mary wanted to be at his feet.

Mary understood that Jesus would die. She had a revelation that the disciples still didn’t get yet.

Instead of getting offended at the idea of a suffering Messiah, she decided to partner with him in bringing it about by anointing him for burial.

This is the forerunner spirit with sacrificial love.