Friday, February 21, 2020

30 LETTERS TO MY CHURCH on DISCIPLESHIP - LETTER 26



LETTER 26 - DISCIPLES OF JESUS EXPERIENCE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Dear Redeemer Family,

In 1972 I read, in the Bible, about the manifestation of "tongues." 1 Corinthians 14 says a lot about this spiritual gift. Verses 39-40 told me, Be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

I had never heard about this spiritual gift, or any other, for that matter. I had also never been exposed to the idea that the spiritual gifts have stopped manifesting. That idea would have confused me, since the Bible presents these wonderful manifestations as needed to strengthen, comfort, and encourage the church.

At that time I was the youth leader at Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Rockford, Illinois. This was my home church. One night I could not get away from the idea of this strange Spirit-manifestation called glossalalia ("tongues"). The thought came to me, "I want this."

After a youth group meeting, I went into Tabor's large, empty sanctuary. I lay on my face, on the carpeted floor, and said this to God: "God, if you want me to have this gift, I am willing to receive it."

Nothing happened. But I did not feel discouraged. I sensed that God was pleased that I was asking.  

Almost twenty years later, it happened. In 1991. Linda and I lived in East Lansing, but had driven a hundred miles to a gathering at Redeemer Church in Monroe. This is where we still are. After the meeting, some of Redeemer's people surrounded us and prayed for us. One of them prayed for me, saying, "God, give John all that he needs."

As we were driving back later that night, Linda fell asleep in the car. While she was sleeping, I began to pray in tongues. It did not feel pressured or forced. It felt natural, and beautiful.

This is not how it happens to every disciple of Jesus. It is the story of one disciple, me. I also do not think someone is not Spirit-filled if they do not manifest all the spiritual gifts. Remember: the gifts are essentially manifestations of the Spirit, for the edifying of the people of God, distributed by the Spirit as He wills.

Here is one way I see this. 

Some people, when it comes to spiritual things, are divers. I'm not. I am a wader. I have seen some enthusiastic divers fade away when the initial thrill is gone. Meanwhile, I am still wading, sometimes slowly, even methodically. I have seen all the spiritual manifestations, working around me in the Jesus community, and many of them through me. God has healed through me, delivered people from darkness through me, and prophesied through me, all to my amazement.

I just keep going deeper. Today, I lift my head and observe that I am swimming in the deep ocean waters of the Holy Spirit, expecting more to come.

I want this for you. I want you to pray, 

"Come Holy Spirit. Have Your way in me."

Love,

PJ


DECLARATIONS

Come, Holy Spirit, have your way in me.

Manifest spiritual gifts through me.

I see You working through me to strengthen, comfort, and encourage my brothers and sisters.

The Holy Spirit is having His way in me.

Breakthrough is always happening around me.

I love being God's Church, the body of Christ.

In my church spiritual gifts are manifesting all the time.




Thursday, February 20, 2020

Healing of PTSD & Trauma - Feb. 21-22-23 @ Redeemer

Dr. Mike Hutchings ministering at Voice of the Prophets

Everyone, at some point in their life, experiences trauma. Many walk for years with unaddressed, unhealed trauma. We are addressing this at Redeemer Feb. 21-22-23. 


Mike Hutchings of Randy Clark's Global Awakening Network will be our speaker. Mike spoke and taught at last summer's HSRM conference. Mike's teaching on healing of trauma and PTSD is the best I have ever heard!

On this weekend...  

YOU WILL BE EQUIPPED TO MINISTER TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE UNRESOLVED TRAUMA IN THEIR LIVES.

YOU WILL EXPERIENCE HEALING FROM TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES.


The Schedule:

Fri. 6:30-8:30 - Intro to Healing of Trauma and PTSD

Sat.10am-12:30 pm - PTSD Seminar Part 1


Sat. 6:30-8:30 pm - PTSD Seminar Part 2


Sunday 10:30-12:15 - Worship and Word w/ Dr. Michael Hutchings


6:30-8:30 pm - Activation Event.


Sunday evening will be an EMPOWERMENT SERVICE.

This is going to be very good!

Come, and bring friends who need healing!

Free admission. Love offerings will be taken.

Redeemer Fellowship Church
5305 Evergreen
Monroe, MI


BIOGRAPHY

Mike Hutchings has 35 years of pastoral, church planting and pastoring pastors experience in a variety of church cultures including Baptist, Vineyard, Willow Creek, and Mennonite. In Peoria, Illinois, Mike partnered with the leadership team of a Transforming Revival Pastors’ Group where the city experienced significant transformation through the power of prayer and unity.
Mike conducts “Healing PTSD” training seminars throughout the country, training prayer ministers, clergy, chaplains, and counselors to utilize a healing prayer model to bring restoration to those suffering with PTSD

Abortion - What Are We Killing?

(Cemetery, Monroe, Michigan)

The primary question in the abortion discussion is: what is the nature of the inborn entity?

Everything that follows rises and falls on the answer to this.

What is the unborn?

Philosopher Greg Koukl writes, “Whether or not it’s right to take the life of any living thing depends entirely on the question what it is.

If the unborn are members of the human family, then killing them is morally wrong because it treats distinct human beings, possessing intrinsic moral worth, as nothing more than disposable objects.

Scott Klusendorf and John Ensor say, “[I]f the unborn are not human, killing them for any reason requires no more justification than having a tooth pulled.”

(Quotes from Stephen Jordan, "Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs, and Simplifying the Abortion Debate with One Question.")

30 LETTERS TO MY CHURCH on DISCIPLESHIP - LETTER 25


LETTER 25 - DISCIPLES OF JESUS LOVE AS HE LOVES

Dear Redeemer Family,

My Teacher has instructed me that love is the greatest thing of all.

The love of God is a power. It is a weapon against darkness, hatred, and violence.

The love of God is a force.

My life with Jesus began when God told me that He loves me. As much as my parents loved me (which was a lot!), I needed to be touched by the One who is love, whose love is without limits. That moment was transcendent and transforming. 

The School of Jesus is a School of Love. All the power, and all the spiritual gifts and natural talents, are nothing if the love of God does not flourish in my heart.

God's love grows in me. More of it captures me today than ever before. The love of God is a bottomless well of supernatural treasures, to be discovered, by me, one of His disciples.

I'm now thinking of a Promise Keepers event I attended. The main speaker was talking about "success." I have never forgotten what he said: "Success is being on your death bed surrounded by your family that loves you."

I think this way. If love is the greatest, then the end-game of not only my life but of all reality is love. Therefore: people get ready.

I am ready.

Love has a Name.

Love,

PJ


DECLARATIONS

I love You, Lord.

I walk through the day filled to overflowing with God's love.

I never ceased to be amazed at how much Jesus loves me.

I never take God's love for me for granted.

The love of God, in me, changes atmospheres.

The love of God, flowing through me, brings healing to the people I meet.

I experience the love of Jesus as a force that defeats my enemies!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

How to Communicate in Conflict

(Linda and I studied with David Augsburger in seminary. Here is one of the most important things God taught us through David.)

COMMUNICATION AS SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE (CARING + CONFRONTING; from David Augsburger, Caring Enough to Confront)

Ephesians 4:15 says: “therefore speak the truth in love; so shall we fully grow up into Christ.” Here we are told, in communication, to be both loving and truthful, caring and confronting.

Work at communicating both caring and confronting in the middle of marital or relational conflict.


Here are the attitudes to have and hold to.


Conflict Reveals True Character

(Downtown Monroe)

I've always thought that who a person really is, is who they are in their home. This is because a home is made of people living under the same roof who are not normal like you. The people in your home, whether old or young, are different. We see who you really are by the way you handle "different."

Differences can attract - that's good. Maybe that's why you married the person you did. She had something you did not have, and maybe you thought she would complete you. 

Differences can also collide. Differences can repel, like positive and negative magnetic poles. Differences conflict. A husband and wife are, in a few ways at least, polar opposites. Husbands and wives conflict, at times. There are no exceptions to this. Many are in denial, or fearful, about this.


From God's perspective, this is very good. Differences can complement. In Genesis we read, "And God created polar opposites, and saw that it was good." And, BTW, God is different from you. God's ways are not your ways. That fact is a transcendent good which we minimally grasp.

Conflict, therefore, is inevitable. Conflict is normal. If there's no conflict in your home, you have a problem. Probably, that problem is you. Or, at least, you are part of the problem. Always consider this possibility, for it reorients you on the road to being a peacemaker.

James van Yperen, in Making Peace, writes:

"Conflict reveals the true character of a leader. Jesus told His disciples, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46). Who we are is revealed by how we react to persecution." (p. 26)

If differences irritate you, that is your problem. If different approaches and styles "push your buttons," those buttons are yours. Own up to this and you are on your way to character formation.

***
My two books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God (May 2016)

Leading the Presence-Driven Church (January 2018)


I am now writing:

How God Changes the Human Heart

Technology and Spiritual Formation


Then, God willing, Linda and I will write our book on Relationships.

30 LETTERS TO MY CHURCH on DISCIPLESHIP - LETTER 24



LETTER 24 - DISCIPLES OF CHRIST ARE HUMBLE

Dear Redeemer Family,

A humble heart is the key to experiencing the grace of God.

One of the first books I read as a new Jesus-follower was C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. One of the chapters is called "The Great Sin." What, I wondered, could that be?

Lewis said it was pride, or self-conceit. Pride is the complete anti-God state of mind. Francis Frangipane calls pride "the armor of darkness." As I read Lewis, I am sure I agreed with him. I am also sure I did not realize how much pride I had in me.

In 1993 Jesus gave me a lesson about pride. It began with a dream.

One night I dreamed I was driving a tour bus in the Smoky Mountains. The roads were curved and twisted. I could barely get the bus around the corners. Then, after an exceptionally sharp curve, the bus came to a cliff, with a deep drop-off. That's when I woke up.

The dream shook me up inside. Nevertheless, I eventually lost sight of it and went through my day. When I came home in the afternoon Linda had bought a card for me. She sensed I was struggling with things in the church. When I opened the card and saw the cover, I was stunned. It was a drawing of a road, twisting through mountains, that came to a cliff that dropped off into nothing. How could she know? I had not told her, or anyone, about my dream.

God was trying to tell me something! I decided to take some praying time. I opened to a devotional book I was reading. It was on James 4:6: God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. It was like God took a bright highlighter and lit this verse up for me to see. 

When I drove to pick up my boys at school, I was early, and went into the gym. I walked around the gym several times, repeating James 4:6. While doing this I felt led to fast from food until God revealed the meaning of the dream to me.

Two days later, the revelation came. 

I was driving to a leaders meeting at the church building. I was still praying about James 4:6, still stunned by the dream and the card Linda gave me. Another Bible verse came into my head - Proverbs 16:18 - Pride goes before destruction; a haughty spirit before a fall.

That's it! God was telling me if I don't get rid of pride in my heart, I will take this church for a fall.

I felt relieved, and joyful. Every warning God gives contains a rescue. I shared the entire story with our leaders. None of them disagreed.

This was another important lesson in the School of Jesus. It is humble disciples who experience the outpouring of God's grace.

A humble heart is one that is good soil for God's Spirit to plant seeds of renewal in. A humble heart is teachable. 

Humility is the foundational attitude for spiritual transformation. 

May this attitude be formed in you.

Love,

PJ


DECLARATIONS

Lord, if there is any conceit in me, remove it.

I have a teachable, trainable spirit.

I am growing in humility.

My constant prayer is, more of Jesus, less of me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Church: It's About Influence, Not Size

(Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio)

You could be one person, or twelve, and influence the world. You could be 10,000 people and mimic the world. When it comes to influence, size does not matter.

As I watched the beautiful twenty-one-minute film with Bono (U2) and Eugene Peterson (The Message, et. al.), and heard Bono speak of how Eugene's writings have influenced him (especially The Message and Run With the Horses), I thought of the power of influence.

Here we have the power of small. Peterson was a small man with a capacious heart for God who pastored a relatively small church. I want to be like him.

I want to be used by God to influence people. I want to be part of a community of influence. Peterson has helped me with this. 

I have slow-cooked through his The Contemplative Pastor at least three times. I see #4 on the horizon. Maybe after I finish reading Run With the Horses. I can't even get past the Preface, because Peterson writes:

"The American church seems to have lost its nerve. Leaders are stepping up to provide strategies of renewal and reform. If the sociologists are right, more and more people are becoming disappointed and disaffected with the church as it is and are increasingly marginalized. The most conspicuous response of the church at this loss of “market share” is to develop more sophisticated consumer approaches, more efficient management techniques. If people are not satisfied, we’ll find a way to woo them back with better publicity and glossier advertising. We’ll repackage church under fresh brand names. Since Americans are the world’s champion consumers, let’s offer the gospel on consumer terms, reinterpreting it as a way to satisfy their addiction to More and Better and Sexier.
The huge irony is that the more the gospel is offered in consumer terms, the more the consumers are disappointed. The gospel is not a consumer product; it doesn’t satisfy what we think of as our “needs.” The life of Jeremiah is not an American “pursuit of happiness.” It is more like God’s pursuit of Jeremiah." (Peterson, Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best, Kindle Locations 58-62)

Everything in me resonates with this. Peterson was a crazy, prophetic, bearded man typing on a computer overlooking a Montana lake. From his isolation came words for the world. Is anyone listening?

In America, masses of people say they believe in God and are "Christians." But in proportion to their size their relative influence seems miniscule. My college teaching experience and research tell me that "church" is not on the radar screen of most of today's young adults. Yet the hype goes on...

You might be small as a person, or small as a church ("church"= a community of persons following after Jesus in his Kingdom-mission). There might only be twelve of you. Yet God could use you to influence the world. Remember the Twelve. 

When I was traveling and teaching in central India I addressed a group of thirty medical students who were Jesus-followers. One of them asked me, "How can you start a revival?" My answer was, and still is: "When revival happens within you, then the revolution has begun." Historically, this is how it always happens. Moves of God begin small. They don't happen in mega-situations. (For the most part, right?) God could do something in you, right now, that he could use to influence multitudes. Remember the mustard seed.

Could a mega-church have influence in proportion to its mega-ness? It's possible, but it would have to be muscular and lean. If a mega-church was the spiritual equivalent of one of the Biggest Weight Losers, then we would have a huge but flabby non-influential church. It is a mega-task to maintain such a church with its massive size and massive couch-potato-ness. Remember the cost of discipleship.

Influence happens underground. God's Kingdom is an underground movement. It is subtle, subversive, revolutionary, and very powerful. This rarely (if ever) happens on TV or the Internet. We spectate and watch "revivals" happen on TV, but televised moves of God are not themselves moves of God (or rarely so). Remember the seed growing secretly.

Leadership is influence. Therefore everyone is a leader. Leaders for Christ are led by Christ. They hang tight with Christ, and the stuff that made for Christ's influence gets into them. Remember that we participate in the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)

Linda and I were sitting in a Subway eating lunch together. She had just begun to read Run with the Horses. She said, "John, you have got to see this quote from Peterson, who is quoting William McNamara."

My grievance with contemporary society 
is with its decrepitude. 
There are few towering pleasures to allure me, almost no beauty to bewitch me, 
nothing erotic to arouse me, 
no intellectual circles or positions 
to challenge or provoke me, 
no burgeoning philosophies or theologies 
and no new art to catch my attention 
or engage my mind, 
no arousing political, 
social, 
or religious movements 
to stimulate or excite me. 
There are no free men to lead me. 
No saints to inspire me. 
No sinners sinful enough 
to either impress me 
or share my plight. 
No one human enough 
to validate the “going” lifestyle. 
It is hard to linger in that dull world 
without being dulled. 

I stake the future on the few humble 
and hearty lovers 
who seek God passionately 
in the marvelous, messy world 
of redeemed and related realities 
that lie in front of our noses.

"The few." I want to be counted among them, don't you?

30 LETTERS TO MY CHURCH on DISCIPLESHIP - LETTER 23


LETTER #23 - A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST CONFESSES THEIR SINS

Dear Redeemer Family,

I want you to experience the freedom of confessing and forgiving.

Prior to my conversion at age twenty-one I remember admitting I was wrong only once in my life. I was in the ninth grade. It happened in band class. 

My teacher was Mr. Rudy Saarinen. Mr. Saarinen was a man I admired. Plus, he was Finnish, like myself. Plus plus, my mother's Finnish maiden name was Saari. 

I felt connected to Mr. Saarinen. He was an excellent teacher, kind, and grace-filled.

I played clarinet. I was second-chair clarinet, sometimes third chair. But never first chair. A student names Bill was first chair. And deservedly so. He was a far better clarinet player than I was.

If a player wanted to occupy first chair, they could offer a challenge. It went like this. The two players went into the instrument room and closed the door, so students in the band room could not see them. Then, both players individually played a piece the challenger had picked out. The students would vote for who they thought did the best job.

On the day I challenged Bill I remember that, when it was his turn to play, I thought of something funny and started to giggle. I fought to suppress it, but failed. Bill tried to suppress laughing, but couldn't. The result was he laughed into the clarinet mouthpiece, and it squawked! The students heard the horrible noise. They voted that I won the challenge.

I took first chair. Bill  occupied second chair. 

I knew this was not right, and felt weird sitting there. So, after class, I went to Mr. Saarinen and told him what had happened. He thanked me for telling him, and told me I would be moved back into second chair. The way Mr. Saarinen handled this left an impression on me. I felt relieved after confessing to him!

Eight years passed. I was twenty-one. 
I had become a disciple of Jesus. And, I was also falling in love with Linda.

One night we were in an argument over something. It was our first fight. She did not agree with me about something. How was that possible? I had been personally invited to join the university debate team!

As I was trying to convince Linda I was right, this thought came to me: "You are wrong. She is right. Admit it." 

But I did not, and proceeded to keep arguing. I have the ability to argue a point even when I know I am wrong. I can even make the person who is right begin to question themselves, and feel they are the one who is wrong. I was doing that to Linda. But I could not escape the truth that I was in the wrong. What should I do? 

Beyond my eighth grade band incident, I had little experience in confessing. I assumed if I admitted I was wrong, this would be seen as weakness.

Finally, I stopped the argument, and said these transforming words: "Linda, you are right, and I am wrong. Would you forgive me for arguing with you even when I knew I was wrong?" 

I braced myself for the worst. Why would Linda want to date someone who admitted they were wrong? Why would she want to be with someone who knew they were wrong about something, but kept arguing anyway? Yuck!

Linda said, "I forgive you."

And I began laughing, at myself. God released me from something. Linda forgave me. How good this felt!

People who are free can admit failure and wrongness and confess and forgive one another. Confession and forgiveness become twin engines of renewal and bitterness-removal that constantly hum in the background, day after day, giving life to all who practice them. 

In the School of Jesus I have learned that the foundation of all authentic relationship and spiritual renewal is confession and forgiveness. 

Be accountable for your actions, before God, and before others. 

Confess as needed. 

Forgive those who trespass against you. 

Love,

PJ


DECLARATIONS

Confession and forgiveness have become habitual for me.

I am free to be accountable for my behaviors.

When someone hurts me, I am able to forgive them.

When I hurt someone, I always ask for their forgiveness.

Confession and forgiveness are twin engines lifting me to life and freedom.

Monday, February 17, 2020

The $20 Wedding

(Yes, I wore a tux...)
( I'm re-posting this, to keep it in play. Also, see THIS.)

In 45 years as a Jesus-follower and pastor I have officially performed one bazillion weddings. That is a lot of rehearsal dinners and wedding reception dinners.

1. I have done one bazillion weddings.

2. Therefore, I am overweight.

When I think of these weddings what I remember is not the food, but the people. The most beautiful weddings I have seen have to do with the marital couple, who they are, and what they can one day be. 


All the money in the world cannot cover over two clueless people. But a groom and bride who submit their lives to God and to the serving of the other shine like stars in this materialistic darkness of "happiness." I am thinking of some of them now. They loved, and still do. Their love influenced others, without trying to.


It's really about preparing for marriage and life together, not the wedding day. The more the former happens, the greater is that special day.


I present to you a wedding plan. Here are the costs, in my Monroe community.



  • Wedding planner - $0. (I charge nothing for this advice.)
  • Officiant - $0. (I charge nothing to officiate your wedding.)
  • Building rental - $0. (We can have your wedding outdoors. We've had weddings in our backyard, on the river.)
  • Groom's tuxedo - $0. (The groom wears nice clothing that can be worn again.)
  • Bridal gown - $0. (The bride wears nice clothing that can be worn again.)
  • Flowers - $0. (From your mother's garden.)
  • Photographer - $0. (Because all your friends have phones.)
  • Food - cost per plate - $0. (Your friends bring finger foods. That's what Linda and I did, and we had 350 people at our wedding.)
  • Miscellaneous costs - $0.
  • Marriage license in Monroe County - $20.
  • Pen to sign marriage license - $0. (I will lend you mine.)

Total costs - $20

Stress - less.


Relationship - more.


I have done weddings like this. I remember them for the inner beauty of the couple and the presence of God.


See also:


"Is Simplicity the Newest Wedding Trend?"


"Does a Big Wedding Equal an Unhappy Marriage?" (Wall Street Journal)


LETTER TO MY CHURCH FAMILY - 2/17/20


GOOD MORNING REDEEMER FAMILY!
 
This is a big week for our Redeemer family. Please pray for these things - thank you!
 
First, I take Tuesday afternoons to pray (I usually pray between 2-4 hours). If you have a private prayer request for me please respond to this email. What a privilege it is to pray for you!
 
ALL-CHURCH SOCCER GAME: Kids and youth vs. adults. 6:30 PM. 
 
MIKE HUTCHINGS WEEKEND! This weekend will serve two purposes: 1) to equip you with ways to minister to people who suffer from trauma; and 2) to bring healing to all who suffer from trauma.
 
The Schedule:

Fri. 6:30-8:30 - Intro to Healing of Trauma and PTSD

Sat.10am-12:30 pm - PTSD Seminar Part 1

Sat. 6:30-8:30 pm - PTSD Seminar Part 2

Sunday 10:30-12:15 - Worship and Word w/ Dr. Michael Hutchings

6:30-8:30 pm - Activation Event.

Sunday evening will be an EMPOWERMENT SERVICE.

This is going to be very good!

Come, and bring friends who need healing!
 
REMEMBER: You can give online to Redeemer's General Fund by going HERE  - thank you!
 
Finally, I hope you are reading and gleaning from my 30 LETTERS ON DISCIPLESHIP. A letter a day! I usually write them the day before I send them. They are all available on my blog - johnpiippo.com
 
Redeemer is a praying, disciple-making church!
 
Love,
 

PJ

30 LETTERS TO MY CHURCH on DISCIPLESHIP - LETTER 22


LETTER 22 - A DISCIPLE IS A VESSEL FOR THE POWER OF GOD


Dear Redeemer Family:

I want you to know that a disciple of Jesus has access to His power to heal.

When I was a boy in Rockford, Illinois, we had a black and white TV. My father put an antenna on the roof of our house. It picked up three stations. Sometimes, when we wanted to watch a show and it was not coming in, dad would get the ladder, climb on the roof, and turn the antenna to get better reception. From inside the house we would yell things like, "No, that's worse!" Or, "There - that's good!"

One show mom and dad liked watching was Oral Roberts. Roberts was a Pentecostal preacher who claimed to have a gift of healing. Sometimes I watched with them. I can still hear the voice of Roberts as he commanded people to "Be healed!" It seemed like power shot through Roberts's fingers, and people said they felt it. And people cried as they were healed.

We were Lutherans. I don't remember us ever hearing about things like healing and power. We did sing some hymns, like "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name," and my favorite, which was "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." I remember thinking that Martin Luther must have believed in a powerful God to write a song like that.

And then it happened. 

My grandmother was healed of cancer. 

She lived with us six months out of every year when we were growing up. When she was in her mid-80s, Grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. She decided not to have it medically treated. 


The cancerous tumors in her breasts grew. My mother used to bathe her, and visually saw and physically felt the hard tumors growing.

Grandma knew she was going to die. She had lived a long life, and was ready to leave this world for a better one. She even bought the dress she wanted to be buried in.


When Grandma had spent what we assumed would be her last six months in our home, she went to live with my aunt and uncle in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. One day my aunt called. She told my mother that, while bathing Grandma, she noticed that the tumors did not appear to be there. My mother could not believe this, yet wanted to believe it. Mom traveled 400 miles to visually inspect Grandma and confirm it.


Grandma lived twelve more years. She bought three more dresses to be buried in. She died at age ninety-seven. 


What happened? How can we explain this? I, and my mother, concluded two things:


- Grandma once was cancer-filled, and then one day the cancer was gone.

- God healed Grandma.


In the book of Acts the disciples are told, by their Teacher, that when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, they will be "clothed with power." And they were, as one can see from reading the book of Acts.

In Acts we have the original church. It's made of disciples of Christ. They have access to the power of God, just as Jesus promised. This is the prototypical church, the way church is meant to be. It is an assembly of empowered followers of Jesus who do the things he did.

The apostle Paul confessed he wanted to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. Me too. I want to know this. I want you to know it, as well.

I have access to the power of Almighty God. I have this because I am a disciple. I have journals filled with examples. One of them is recorded in Lee Strobel's book The Case for Miracles, and in Craig Keener's monumental Miracles: The New Testament Evidence.

This morning, in our Sunday gathering, I saw the power of God in operation, as I prayed for some people to be emotionally healed.

Today is another power-filled day! I have access to supernatural power to heal, to deliver, to set captives free, to tear down dividing walls, and to save.

Love,

PJ


DECLARATIONS

I am a disciple of Christ, and have access to God's power.

I have experienced God's power many times.

I have seen God's power heal people.

My desire is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.

Because I have access to God's power, I can do all things through Christ who empowers me.

Jesus tells me I will do the things He has done.