Friday, December 14, 2012

Treasure Hunting (prologue)

I’ve been pretty into this trilogy of documentaries over the last number of years, the final one has only just recently been released, “Father of Lights” and the first and second were, “Finger of God” and “Furious Love.” They’re an important part of my ever-growing personal resource library and I show them to our Summer Students every year. They are real eye-openers and faith-stirrers. To others, they are controversial. 

One year, the faith in the room was so stirred by the powerful testimony presented in the movies that shortly thereafter, under a beautiful moon on the back lawn of the student residency here in Ontario, at 10:30pm at night just before another full day of asparagus madness…one of our students was instantaneously healed of a very severe case of carpal tunnel. Right on our lawn, right in the middle of nowhere, right with a bunch of 20-somethings, right here in Ca-na-da. Three years later…she is still healed.  

Now the reason we were so stirred to even consider praying such bold, faith-believing prayers that we did that night, was largely due to a section of the movie where we watched people our own age, young adults, off doing street evangelism and praying bold prayers for total strangers and incredible things happening. And that happened right in Redding, California.  It wasn’t in Sri Lanka or anything and they weren’t some crazy latinos, It was the United States of America and a bunch of awkward looking white people. Just like us! Nobodies! Those documentaries were the first I ever caught a glimpse of the ministry “Bethel” that operates there in Redding under the leadership of Bill Johnson. “Incredible” and “of the Lord” would be two ways to describe what is going on over there on the west coast.  [If you are up on your worship music at all, you have probably been listening to/singing much of the music arising from there and possibly didn’t even know it.] 

In that section of the documentary showing these students going around the city “treasure hunting,” following clues to find specific people and then praying for them…I was totally intrigued to say the least. You see, just prior to that time, God started doing something a little bit radical in my life, it was a gradual lead up to a pivotal turning point and then all of a sudden, it was not gradual anymore. It was kind of a…supernatural earthquake in my faith journey that brought not devastating, but glorious results. A one-time pivotal turning point, but not a one-time event if that makes any sense. Since that time (4 years later) I’ve been playing catch-up to what the Christian walk is all about. 

Somewhere along the way in those four years, evangelism began growing in my heart.  It really is not rocket-science to figure out why, but that would make a great topic for another blog some other time. Needless to say, I kind of knew that I was going to become one of those people. Who was really bold in my faith. And went and talked to strangers. Here in my own culture! And it would be in the same spirit of those students from Bethel: going out willingly, with joy, to share the love of Christ.  An overflow, really.

Anyways, back to four years ago. So this building of evangelism started there. And I really wanted to incorporate evangelism into our Summer Program somehow with our university students that we work with for four months, two months of which are a missions trip to Guatemala.  But I didn’t seem quite ready, or maybe I was stalling because of the fear of man, who knows. Anyways, we finally took the plunge this summer. And we had “Evangelism Wednesdays” where we headed into Antigua to…evangelise. With no tools, equipping sessions or really anything. But we had to start somewhere, and the group this summer had the disposition to be our guinea pigs. We prayed a freaked-out kinda prayer every week, something like, “Lord…we’re freaked out! And this is….scary. but….we love you! And loving you means obeying you! And there’s just no way around the fact that you commanded us to GO! GO GOG OGGGOG GOOO! And share about You! So receive our love! And we believe you have divine encounters for us this day. Amen.”

And….BREAK!

And then…God did some really cool things. And you can read all about that on our ministry website, there were five stories penned out and posted. They are titled “Evangelism Story #1” …”Evangelism Story #2”… and onwards to #5. Click here and catch up: http://www.globalshore.org/category/blog/ 

[WOW. This background is taking more time then I thought it would.]

Now, because of our extremely positive results in our experiences this summer, we as a ministry want to incorporate evangelism all the time. On every trip! And see Christians participate and grow in this and become a vocal piece for Jesus.  And love on people in the process. And pray for people! And share Jesus with people! HELLO PEOPLE: mission of Jesus! SOULS. Right. Onwards! 

So we are developing resources to prep teams to do this. But I’m just a baby evangelizer myself, but the truth is folks (here’s the truth) you don’t learn how to walk out your faith by sitting in a classroom. You learn to walk out your faith by walking! Getting off of your butt, out of your house, into the world, dependent (not on yourself) but on the Holy Spirit. And that’s where you learn. It takes. A little. Bit. Of. RISK! (I am all for teaching and equipping and discipleship; don’t get me wrong. But at some point…there’s a practicum.)

And so I am learning. But I need to learn more. And fast. And our teams will be involved with this. And I host those teams. And one strategy of evangelism that is good for newbies/babies is “Treasure Hunting.” 

And…this blog is way too long already. Consider this a prologue.

(a great song: "I See Heaven" by Bryan & Katie Torwalt.)