Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Explosion of Miracles ~ Craig Keener

Craig Keener, Professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, was recently interviewed by Tim Stafford for Christianity Today, particularly in regard to the subject of  his new book, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts.
Two days after my conversion, I wasn't sure if I had done it right, so I asked a pastor to pray with me. I was overwhelmed again by the same awesome sense of God. There was no way I could praise him enough unless he gave me the words. It started coming out in another language. I had never heard of speaking in tongues, I didn't know what it was. It just happened to me.

My ordination is in the National Baptist Convention USA, so technically I'm a black Baptist. My wife does not pray in tongues. But her mainstream evangelical church in the Congo testifies to people being raised from the dead. In that sense, the Congolese church is far more charismatic than almost any charismatic experience I know of here.
Keener's wife is from Congo-Brazzaville and her church denomination there is Eglise Evangelique du Congo. When Keener met the people there, some shared their testimonies with him:
It was remarkable. I got seven eyewitness accounts of people being raised from the dead. One was my sister-in-law, Therese. I asked my mother-in-law to tell me about it, with my wife translating from one of the local languages. My mother-in-law described how Therese was bitten by a snake. By the time my mother-in-law got to her, she wasn't breathing. No medical help was available. She strapped the child to her back and ran to a nearby village, where a friend who was an evangelist prayed for Therese. She started breathing again.

I asked my mother-in-law how long Therese had stopped breathing. She thought about how long it takes to get up this hill and down this hill from one village to another. She said about three hours.
He shared some of this at a meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. "Maybe we should listen to some of the majority-world readings of these passages." A scholar from Nigeria stood and gave a couple of similar accounts, one concerning a stillborn child who began breathing after believers prayed over him for about a half-hour. "I've heard a large number of such accounts," Keener said.

Keener concludes, "We have an explosion of miracles taking place, especially in conjunction with the spread of the gospel. Some things are outside the norm for most Westerners, whatever kind of church we are associated with. It's probably good for us, to shake us up. Extraordinary things are taking place around the world."

God is still doing today what He has always done in the Church.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cloud of Glory at Bethel Church

Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, talks about the unusual manifestations of God's presence they have been experiencing for the past 15 years or so. This is in addition to the many healings they have seen. Most recently, they have been seeing a "glory cloud" that comes during their times of worship. Pastor Johnson calls these "signs that make you wonder."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Atheist's Near Death Experience Changes His Life

This is the testimony of Dr. Donald Whitaker, an atheist who came to King Jesus after a terrifying near death experience. He also received a miraculous healing that continues to be a miracle day by day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Essential Guide to Healing

The Essential Guide to Healing: Equipping All Christians to Pray for the Sick

by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark
(Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”)

From the product description
The Bible is full of accounts of miraculous healing. And God is moving as amazingly today as he was back then. Thousands are being healed all over the world — and his children are part of it. For the first time, pastors and bestselling authors Bill Johnson and Randy Clark team up to equip all Christians to minister healing. Sharing inspiring and exciting stories — and grounded from start to finish in Scripture — Johnson and Clark lay out practical, proven, step-by-step guidance to ministering healing, including how to: 
  • understand your authority in the ministry of healing 
  • walk out the ministry of healing with anyone you meet and in your personal life 
  • receive and relay words of knowledge 
  • implement and apply the five-step model of healing prayer 
The ministry of healing is not reserved for a select few. God’s miraculous healing is part of the Good News, and you, too, can become a powerful conduit for the healing power He loves to manifest.

“It is our hope that each of you will begin to pray for others to be healed after reading this book...and that some of you will discover that God has given you a gift of healing.” ~ Randy Clark and Bill Johnson

About the authors
Bill Johnson is the senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California. A fifth-generation pastor with a rich heritage in the power of the Spirit, he is the bestselling author of When Heaven Invades Earth. Bill and his wife, Beni, serve a growing number of churches through an apostolic network that has crossed denominational lines, partnering for revival. Bill and Beni live near Redding, California.

Randy Clark is the founder of Global Awakening, a teaching, healing, and impartation ministry that crosses denominational lines. An in-demand international speaker, he is part of the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening and travels extensively for conferences, international missions, leadership training, and humanitarian aid. Randy and his wife, DeAnne, live near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spiritual Gifts and Cessationism

Here is an interesting and cordial discussion/interview between Doug Wilson and Mark Driscoll. Both are Reformed pastors. Driscoll believes the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit continue to this day; Wilson does not.

Doug Wilson Interviews Mark Driscoll | Part II - Spiritual Gifts & Cessationism

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mark Driscoll Sees Things

Pastor Mark Driscoll,  founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA, describes visions he has had in counseling sessions concerning his counselees. Though he refers to it as a "gift of discernment," in terms of the spiritual manifestations listed in 1 Corinthians 12, it seems most like a "word of knowledge" experience except that he receives it not as a word but as a picture.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

God's Generals ~ Healing Evangelists

Gods Generals: The Healing Evangelists
by Roberts Liardon

From the product description:

"In his fourth God's Generals volume, Roberts Liardon chronicles God's great healing evangelists of the twentieth century. Journey with such paragons of faith as:
  • Oral Roberts ~ one of the most influential Christian leaders in the twentieth century, Roberts had a healing ministry that spread from rural tent meetings to a world–class university, hospital, and medical school.
  • Lester Sumrall ~ after being miraculously healed of tuberculosis as a boy, Sumrall dedicated the rest of his life to sharing the gospel and God's healing power with audiences around the world, both in person and through television broadcasts.
  • Charles and Frances Hunter ~ often called the "Happy Hunters," Charles and Frances were known around the world as two of the most anointed and enthusiastic evangelists on earth.
  • George Jeffreys ~ this Welsh Pentecostal minister, along with his brother Stephen, ministered at camps, conventions, and church meetings across England and Ireland, with reports of miraculous healings and other acts of God accompanying them.
  • F. F. Bosworth ~ a Depression era Pentecostal faith healer and one of the founders of the Assemblies of God, Bosworth was known during the 1920s for his interdenominational "big tent" revivals and large auditorium healing meetings.
As you read about the lives of these ministry pioneers, your faith for signs and miracles will grow as you anticipate seeing God's mighty hand move in the church today."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Meeting Jesus in a Vision

Here is the testimony of Sundar Singh (1889-1929), a Hindu of Rampur, in the Indian Punjab who, as a young man, despaired so of life that he cried out to God to show himself. In that encounter he became a Christian:
I prayed and prayed, waiting for the time to take my last walk. At about 4:30 I saw something strange. There was a glow in the room. At first I thought there was afire in the house, hut looking through the door and windows, I could see no cause for the light.

Then the thought came to me: perhaps this was an answer from God. So I returned to my accustomed place and prayed, looking into the strange light. Then I saw a figure in the light, strange but somehow familiar at once. It was neither Siva nor Krishna nor any of the other Hindu incarnations I had expected.

Then I heard a voice speaking to me in Urdu: “Sundar, how long will you mock me? I have come to save you because you have prayed to find the way of truth. Why then don’t you accept it?”

It was then I saw the marks of blood on his hands and feet and knew that it was Jesus, the one proclaimed by the Christians. In amazement I fell at his feet. I was filled with deep sorrow and remorse for my insults and my irreverence, but also with a wonderful peace.

This was the joy I had been seeking. This was heaven ... Then the vision was gone, though my peace and joy remained.
~ from Clouds of Witnesses: Christian Voices from Africa and Asia by Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Trip to Heaven and Back

A young boy named Colton had a near-death incident, experienced heaven and saw relatives he had never known before.

Colton's father, a Wesleyan pastor named Todd Burpo, has a written a book about this amazing experience: Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back.
Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how "reaaally big" God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit "shoots down power" from heaven to help us.

Told by the father, but often in Colton's own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.

There is another young boy, Alex, who had a similar experience. His story is told in The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven: A Remarkable Account of Miracles, Angels, and Life beyond This World.
In 2004, Kevin Malarkey and his six-year-old son, Alex, suffered an horrific car accident. The impact from the crash paralyzed Alex—and medically speaking, it was unlikely that he could survive. “I think Alex has gone to be with Jesus,” a friend told the stricken dad. But two months later, Alex awoke from a coma with an incredible story to share. Of events at the accident scene and in the hospital while he was unconscious. Of the angels that took him through the gates of heaven itself. Of the unearthly music that sounded just terrible to a six-year-old. And, most amazing of all ... Of meeting and talking to Jesus. The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven is the true story of an ordinary boy’s most extraordinary journey. As you see heaven and earth through Alex’s eyes, you’ll come away with new insights on miracles, life beyond this world, and the power of a father’s love.

"God is amazing. I’m just a kid.” ~ Alex Malarkey

We were made for so much more than the things of this world. Sometimes we can sense it ... we have a restless, dissatisfied feeling that we don’t quite belong here, that this is not our final home.

Yet who do you know who has been to the next world? Sure, you may have heard stories of white light and tunnels and near-death experiences. But what if there was a person who had been to Heaven ~ who had actually walked through the gates ~ and stayed long enough to learn about the things of God? Would you be interested in what he had to say?

Meet Alex Malarkey. Alex and his dad, Kevin, were in a car accident so horrific that emergency workers recommended calling the coroner to the scene for Alex. For the next two months, Alex lingered in a coma. When he finally awoke, he revealed something amazing: He had spent time in Heaven with Jesus while unconscious and had come back with astonishing revelations about what he had seen, heard, and experienced.

You may be intrigued. You may be skeptical. You may be hungry to know more about what lies beyond life on earth. Join Alex on his journey . . . and your life may be changed forever.

“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” (Mark 10:14)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Outline of a Charismatic Epistemology

This is Charismatic and Reformed scholar (and a professor at Calvin College) J. K. A. Smith addressing the Society of Vineyard Scholars on "The Spirit of Knowledge: Outline of a Charismatic Epistemology." One of his points is that it should not just be Evangelical theology with "tongues" tacked on.

In this lecture, he deals with some of the themes from his recent book Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy (Pentecostal Manifestos).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To Be Continued

Marvin Cotten and Scott Lencke have created a very helpful blog called To Be Continued, about the continuing gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
The purpose of To Be Continued is to put forth a solid biblical, theological and historical case for continuationism.

What is continuationism, you may ask?

There are varying beliefs within continuationism, but mainly it is the belief that all spiritual gifts are still available today, even things like prophecy, tongues, miracles and healings. When hearing this word, many might think of Pentecostal, charismatic or Third Wave church groups. Such is fine. We have simply decided to use the more theologically accurate word of today – continuationism.

This belief is the opposite of what is known as cessationism. As with continuationism, there are varying beliefs within the cessationist framework. But, as a whole, most cessationists believe that certain gifts of the Spirit ceased with the death of John, the apostle, and with the completion of what became the New Testament Scriptures. Some more ‘soft’ cessationists hold that all spiritual gifts are available today, but the ‘sign gifts’ (i.e. tongues, miracles, healings and even prophecy) are not to be normatively expected.

Therefore, To Be Continued is here to put forth a solid biblical and theological case for continuationism – the continuance of all gifts of the Spirit, including prophecy, tongues, healings and miracles. The articles we post will be along the lines of these various areas:
  1. Expositional-exegetical commentary on particular and relevant Bible passages.
  2. Theological considerations on varying topics related to the issues of continuationism and cessationism.
  3. Interacting with cessationist arguments.
  4. Drawing in various articles from other continuationists.
  5. Sharing solid theological resources for continuationism.
  6. Book reviews from both the continuationist and cessationist view.
  7. Sharing our own personal stories and reflections on the work of the Spirit, as well as other people’s stories.
They post some wonderful testimonies about the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit today, such as this clip about a ministry to the homeless in Glastonbury, UK, which has experienced healing signs and wonders.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why Muslims Follow Jesus

Christianity Today reviews a recent 750 page survey on why Muslim have been coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah. The first most prominent reason given was the lifestyle of Christians ~ especially their love. Then there is this:
The next most important influence was the power of God in answered prayers and healing. Like most of the factors that former Muslims list, experiences of God's supernatural intervention often increase after Muslims decide to follow Christ.

In North Africa, Muslim neighbors asked Christians to pray for a very sick daughter who then was healed. In Senegal, a Muslim marabout (spiritual leader) referred a patient to Christians when he was not able to bring healing. In Pakistan, after a pilgrimage to Mecca did not cure a disabled Shiite girl, she was healed following Christian prayer.
Another reason is the power of Jesus to deliver them from the demonic:
Closely related was the finding that some noted deliverance from demonic power as another reason they were attracted to Jesus. After all, he is the healing prophet in the Qur'an and has power over demons in the Gospels. In northern Nigeria, a malam (what some might call a witchdoctor) used sorcery against a man who was considering following Jesus. The seeker became insane, and his extended family left him. But then he prayed that Christ would free him, and he was healed.
Dissatisfaction with their experience with Islam is another reason Muslims have been turning to Jesus. Islamic law does not have the power to transform lives and society.

Dreams and visions have also played an important part in many conversions:
Many Muslims view dreams as links between the seen and unseen worlds, and pre-conversion visions and dreams often lead Muslims to consult a Christian or the Bible. Frequently a person in the vision, understood to be Jesus, radiates light or wears white (one respondent, though, said Jesus appeared in green, a color sometimes associated with Islamic holy persons). An Algerian woman had a vision that her Muslim grandmother came into her room and said, "Jesus is not dead; he is here." In Israel, an Arab dreamed that his deceased father said, "Follow the pastor. He will show you the right way." Other dreams and visions occurred later and provided encouragement during persecution. A Turkish woman in jail because of her conversion had a vision that she would be released, and she was. A vision of thousands of believers in the streets proclaiming their faith encouraged a young man in North Africa to persevere.

Miracles Bring Muslims to Jesus

Tom Gilson, at Thinking Christian, considers a survey cited by Christianity Today of 750 Muslims who have come to know Jesus the Messiah. He finds that there are four main reasons:
  • First, they are drawn to the lifestyle of Christians.
  • Second, they are experiencing the power of God in answered prayers and healing.
  • Third, they are dissatisfied with their experience with Islam.
  • The fourth reason Muslims are converting to faith in Jesus is because of dreams and visions. 

Gilson elaborates:
Just last Tuesday I asked a missionary if he knew of experiences of signs and wonders. He spoke of a team of three missionaries, colleagues of his, who were paddling up a river on a boat, in a place where they had not been before. A woman called out to them from the shore, "Are you bringing the word of God?" They landed there and she told them she was the local religious leader. She had had a dream the night before that three men would come in a boat, bringing the word of God. This was not a Muslim community, but illustrates the same point: God is working through dreams and visions. Note that this cannot be ascribed to mere psychology; the information was too specific. The same is true of stories Moreland tells, for example of a Muslim man who walked up to a Christian missionary in a marketplace and said, "I had a dream last night that if I came to this marketplace at this time today, I would see a man wearing a blue jacket just like yours and he would tell me about God."

Christian Revival in the Muslim World

Dreams and visions of Jesus are causing many Muslims to come to Jesus the Messiah. This report is from CBN.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Miracles Among Muslims ~ The Jesus Visions

Miracles Among Muslims:
The Jesus Visions

by Christine Darg

From the back cover:
Christine Darg, a dreamer in the tradition of biblical Daniel and Peter, heard the voice of God tell her in a dream to go to to an Arabian city where the Holy Spirit was moving in Revival. What could she do but head there? Miracles Among Muslims chronicles her amazing encounters with dreams and visions in this current move of God, and also some of the startling visions she herself has experienced in the Middle East and throughout the world.

In remarkable ways, and on a seemingly unprecedented scale in fulfillment of Bible prophecy, the Lord is showing Himself alive (Acts 1:3). Miracles Among Muslims is an extraordinary account of signs and wonders in the Muslim world.

For many centuries of desert like dryness in the Middle East, the word of the LORD was precious. There was no open vision. But suddenly, in the fullness of time, the spiritual scenario in the Middle East has changed. He is also fulfilling His promise to Abraham that Ishmael might live! Dreams and visions are some of the primary ways the Lord is communicating His gospel to the children of Abraham: "And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions" (Joel 2:28 NIV).
Chapters include:
  1. "Not by Might, nor by Power, but by My Spirit!"
  2. Miracles in the Holy Land
  3. Let Ishmael Live!
  4. Multitudes Reaching for Jesus
  5. Jesus Heals and Delivers in Dreams and Visions
  6. Glory in Egypt
  7. Signs and Wonders in Iraq and Jordan
  8. Adventures Through Dreams
  9. Jesus Appears in Arabia
  10. Lessons from Jesus' Visitation in Arabia
  11. More Signs, Wonders and Miracles
  12. Biblical Dreams and Visions
  13. How to Discern if a Vision or Dream is from God
  14. Revival Epilogue
"This book shows what happens when you follow the voice of our Lord." ~ The Reverend Canon Andrew White, President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East

A Muslim Cries Out to Jesus

This is the testimony of Kamal Saleem, a Muslim and also a terrorist. Befriended by Christians, he was confused by their love for him. He cried to out to his deity, Allah, but Allah said nothing. In his despair, he decided to end his life. But as he held a gun to his head, he heard a voice call his name. It told him to call out to God, the Father of Abraham, Isaace and Jacob. So he called out as the voice told him. Then he had a vision of Yahweh in His glory, a vision of Jesus with holes in His hands ~ and Kamal gave his life to Jesus.