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These Are His Stories [Insert Law and Order "Dun Dun"]

The power of God is real.

That is where it all begins.

I used to watch Law and Order religiously. The original one, not the 18 different spin-offs from that show. I could quote the intro verbatim I watched it so much. "In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories." Dun Dun!

In the gathering of believers at Faith Church Statesville we have experienced the incredible power of God. Not everyone has been a part of this because most of these encounters of power have been behind the scenes, done quietly after a church gathering, or in offices and fellowship halls. This pursuit of the power of God was not done for show. Yet, God showed up.

These are His stories. [Insert Law and Order “Dun Dun”]

Amy, our worship director had surgery scheduled on her eyes to fix a blurry vision problem. Our Office Administrator Pam saw a picture in her mind of herself praying for Amy. Pam believes that this picture was given to her by God. So, one Sunday after a gathering she quietly went to Amy, laid hands on her, and prayed in faith. A couple days later Amy cancelled her surgery.

I knew that there was another woman, Melanie, in our church that was having eye and headache problems also. Here are her words:

For almost a year I had "migraine auras" which interfered with my vision. These typically signal a migraine is coming on for most people. Sometimes I would have the sharp pains in my head as well, sometimes not. This would look like lighting and bright spots that moved across my field of vision. It would happen with no warning at any given time of the day. These episodes would last from 15 minutes up to an hour of having obscured vision. Doctors did an MRI and tested my eyes in many different ways, but could not find anything wrong, which is why they eventually said it must be migraines. They told me there was nothing to do about it except go on a daily migraine medication if things worsened. They did [worsen], but I did not go back because I did not want to be on medication.

I asked Pam, Amy (full of empowered faith from her healing) and Jeff jumped in as well, to go and pray for her. They went, laid hands on Melanie, and prayed. After that time of prayer there was one episode of migraine auras, but since that one last dying ember of sickness manifested,

there have been zero repeat migraine auras in five months.

Another woman in our church had a vivid dream that included clenching pain in her back, wrenching her backward. When she, in the fear of God, woke up and asked God, “Who is this dream for?”, she was immediately given the name of a man in our church, Danny (not his real name, this is the name of the Dad from Full House). The woman who had the dream, her husband, Danny and his wife all met on a Tuesday afternoon. They asked Danny if he ever experienced any back pain. He said that for months, almost daily, he had experienced clenching back pain that wrenched him back to the point where it had disabled him at times. There was so much pain that on one occasion he had to lay on the floor in the middle of a Walmart to ease the pain. He described it as a clenching pain, the same type of pain the woman felt in her dream. The woman who had the dream laid hands on Danny and spoke prayers of healing over him. Nothing outward seemingly happened, but later that day Danny kept asking his wife, “Did she put Icy Hot on my back? It feels hot.” The next day the clenching pain Danny had experienced every day for months had stopped and left entirely for weeks.

There is a couple in our church Ross and Rachel (those are not their real names, those are characters from Friends) who had a deep experience with the Holy Spirit recently. Lauren and I met with this couple and they were telling us all the powerful things God was doing in their marriage and in their lives. Our conversation wandered to the expectation of healing. Since Rachel was experiencing God in a new way I thought she might be a willing vessel that God wanted to use. As we were talking about this, I told Rachel that she should be aware of sympathy pains. People who move in healing gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7-9) many times get these sympathy pains as words of knowledge (communication from God to an individual) and they direct who God wants us to pray for. Two days later we had our typical gathering of people at our Wednesday evening Bible study and we were talking about the power of God. Before I closed Rachel timidly asked if she could say something. She then asked if anyone had any wrist pain because out of nowhere her wrist had been hurting since earlier in the afternoon. Another woman, Elaine (not her name, this is a character from Seinfeld), quickly put her hand up and down. It was so quick only a couple of us saw the movement out of the corner of our eyes. Rachel declared that God wanted to heal Elaine and we prayed. God revealed some heart issues to Elaine, there was prayer and weeping by all, and at the end of the prayer time the pain in Elaine’s wrist was gone. The pain immediately left Rachel’s wrist too.

The power of God is real.

In the last six months there have been insightful words of knowledge spoken to me by strangers that revealed the condition of my heart and led me to sobbing repentance. Fasting has led to spiritual breakthrough in my family. My wife on different occasions has given accurate words of knowledge to people. These are things that there is no way she could have known about. There have been several more instances of the power of God at work among the people of Faith Church.

There are some of you who may be reading this, and you think I might be crazy. Maybe you’re a Christian but you do not believe that this type of thing still happens. Maybe you believe it happens and you even want more of it, but you are scared. Maybe you do not even know what you believe. Even right now there is fear in me with putting this out there that people who have respected my teaching and my ministry across the years will now have cause to dismiss me. But ultimately the pursuit of the power of God through His Spirit is biblical and it is worth it. Others like to say, “Pursue the giver, not the gifts.” I am not sure that is biblical. Because what I see in scripture is that we are to act and walk in love towards God and others (1 Corinthians 13) and the very next line says, pursue all the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1). Remember there are no chapter breaks in Paul’s original letter. It was one complete thought: Walk in love and pursue the gifts.

We are specifically told to pursue the gifts of the Spirit.

The power of God is real.

The problem we have in our lives is that we have minimized Jesus and the power of the Spirit that He walked and lived in. We must stop downplaying the power of God to make Jesus and the Bible more relatable to our lives, because when we do that we get it wrong!

We, walking in step with the Spirit, should walk in power so our lives resemble the Bible rather than trying to make the Bible resemble our lives.

Our lack of experience in the tangible, manifest power of God should not guide our reading of the Bible. Look at the text. What does it say? Does it say we have power in Christ? Does it say we can do the same works Jesus did (and even greater!)? Does it say to pursue all the spiritual gifts? Our reading of the Bible should elevate our expectation of the tangible, manifest power of God in our lives.

We live in a world where people want real change. They are tired of the church paying lip service to their lives. They want to know it is real. They want to know there is more. A great church program is not going to do that. Having a church where you feel good when you leave will not do that. Excellent preaching alone cannot do that. We, those who believe and those who do not believe, need the tangible power of God in our lives.

The power of God is real.

That is where it all begins.


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