It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… thus has been the last seven days of my life. Last weekend we had a youth retreat, which was no retreat at all, but more of a charge forward with no looking back. We flew in my South African friend Janico to be the spiritual leader for the weekend and Evan came up from Alabama, so my house was a mini Mozambican House 15 reunion. Other friends came to help as well. And our guest of honor was Holy Spirit.
Treasure hunt with the youth
On Saturday afternoon, we surprised the kids by telling them they were going on a treasure hunt in Hopkinsville. The Jesus kind of treasure hunt. None of the youth or adults had ever been on a treasure hunt of that kind before except me and Janico. So you can just imagine the thoughts that were running through everyone’s heads when she was explaining the process. We gave them sheets of paper and time to pray and ask God for physical descriptions of the people and an encouragement or word of knowledge about the person to pray about. We prayed over them and commissioned them and put them in the church vehicles and off we went. The drive over was a faith builder because we found as we talked that God had given some of us the same descriptions and words. Our youth pastor took a one small group to Wal-Mart and I took the other two small groups to the mall. The mall was not as I remembered it – you could see from one end to the other, there were a lot fewer stores, and for a Saturday afternoon it was dead! My oldest little brother found one of the people on his list out in the parking lot before we ever got inside, so he took off running. And over the course of the next hour, we found almost everyone on everybody’s lists and got to pray with them. Total success!
Worship in Spirit and in Truth
We got back to the church and had dinner and went to the sanctuary for worship. It was awesome to look out as I was leading worship. People were actually worshiping! Hands were in the air, people were on the floor. And then the glory fell… People started shaking, laughing, crying. After worship, Janico opened it up for a time of prayer for healing. Several people came up to the stage for us to pray for them. (The next morning we found out that at least three people had been healed of physical problems.) God continued to come even more powerfully. It was really awesome because these kids have never seen people manifesting under the power of the Holy Spirit before, so they had no idea how to fake it if you know what I mean. One of my boys got completely sloshed and laughed pretty much non-stop for a few hours. That was an answer to many hours of prayer over the last few months.
It was also great to see my brothers being touched by God. This was the first time I have ever really been able to interact with them on a spiritual level. It was awesome to hear their testimonies and how specific the words they received from God for the treasure hunt were. For example, my youngest brother got a word from God about a brown haired man with a red shirt, blue jeans, and boots on that had lost a loved one recently. Believe it or not, when he got to Wal-Mart, several people fit that description but he passed them by because he knew it wasn’t the right man, and when he knew he had found the right one, he went up and spoke to him and got to pray with him, and the man told him that his daughter had died five years ago and he and his family were still struggling with the loss. That is amazing for a Baptist kid who has never been exposed to teaching or training on hearing from God and operating in spiritual gifts like that. All three of my brothers had vivid descriptions like that. It is awesome to see evidence of generational blessings and gifts like that.
I’d like a #11 with a Diet Coke, hold the persecution please
I am reserving only one paragraph of this entry to simply point out that when you charge the gates of hell to take ground for the Kingdom, Satan doesn’t take it sitting down. The enemy has found some way of ripping me apart nearly every day this week, starting at 10:00am on Monday morning. (He sure didn’t waste any time, huh?) I have been battling persecution, lies, miscommunications, and plain old ugliness all week long. I’m sure glad that Jesus has won the victory. It’s something I’ve had to remind myself of every few hours lately.
On the up side, God has still been using me in ministry this week. I had the opportunity to pray with some people this week at the Prayer Center and a good friend & family member of mine came over last night and we had an awesome time praying and worshiping together. I have even spent the last several hours at home getting quite toasted while worshiping and praying and reading the Word. Evan called me during the middle of it and started getting it too. We laughed for the first few minutes of the phone call.
Y’all gots somewhere I can shout?!
I also have to share this funny story. My grandmother came over today and we were talking about the weekend and different things that have been happening recently. She shared a story about my great-great-grandmother that it is too funny not to pass along. She said that Mama Tom (her last name was Thomason) got to shoutin’ one morning before church and ended up outside the church and then fell down the front steps, and the only thing that saved her from a concussion (or worse) was that she landed on her hair bun! Reminds me of last summer in Mozambique, getting blasted by the Holy Spirit and rolling all the way down the hill from the Prayer Hut. Oh the memories..