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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.