Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our brush with greatness

Today Will and I went bowling with some people from our church. I should say, Will went bowling, and I went along for fun. We got there about 1/2 hour early, and with time to kill we sat down to watch the other bowlers while we waited. There was a nice family there; mom, dad, two little boys, and an uncle or something. As we idly watched, we began to notice that these two men were bowling strike after strike. It was effortless, and the norm. I was sitting there in my bowling cluelessness saying, "Man, these guys are good!" The balls were seemingly floating down the lane, almost making no noise as they touched the ground. I was very impressed.

Our friend came in the door, and as he walked up to us he said quietly, "Hey, that's Chris Barnes." Who?? It turns out he's a world class bowler who won about $700,000 bowling last year.  And not only that, his wife (sitting there watching them) is the top woman bowler in the world right now. Oh. That explains the 30 balls they had with them. It seemed like overkill. But I guess if bowling is your life, it's really not. 

So, we had our brush with greatness today. Thank heavens someone told us. We might have missed it!

Monday, July 21, 2008


I thought I'd give an update on things going on here.
This weekend was quite busy...we had Abby's last soccer games for the summer league she's been in. Her team won the championship, and Abby was delighted. There will be photos on one of our blogs soon. The first game of the day was against the most well matched team in the league, so it was very exciting. We've had fun going to the games, although we aren't a very good soccer family because we kept forgetting the practices on Tuesday nights. Oh well. She made it to most of them.

Madeline went to the play rehearsal that she and Abby are in at church. Both Abigail and Madeline have bigger parts in this one, which is fun. Abigail is going to sing a song with a couple of other girls. The play will be a big experience for Madeline because she is going to sing a solo, which she's never done before. She has a beautiful voice, and we're excited that she is going to make her first debut in front of an audience. She'd nervous, but it will be really good. John Dickson, our GOZ worship leader, is writing the song. He's going to work with Madeline this week to learn it. 

This Sunday was also really busy for me. We had a record breaking number of children in the classes that I oversee, so I was running around getting extra chairs, and making copies and finding other helpers and so on. It was actually a very peaceful day in the classes. The kids were happy for the most part, but there were a lot of them. After church we had a "Parents with Children" group lunch and meeting. We have been happy that a fellowship type group has been formed for the many new families who have arrived in the last couple of years.

That's a little of what's going on these days. We still have about a month of summer to enjoy, and we're doing that.

Tomorrow we have Dan and Jacquie coming to visit for a week; we're all looking forward to their arrival. I will have to work, but there will be lots of time for me in the afternoons and weekend to hang out with them.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Todd Bentley Thursday Night

I thought I'd give an update on the Todd Bentley meeting we went to on Thursday night. It wasn't as crowded as the South Carolina meeting I heard about, although the 10,000 person stadium was full all the way up to the nosebleeds, and even some directly behind the stage. All available parking was taken, and when we got there two hours early it was hard to find a space in the closer parking lot. A tour bus was dropping off people in front of the was definitely a big event.

It was good for me to sit through an entire meeting, especially for the sake of context. I really wanted to hear Todd and see a meeting from beginning to end, to get perspective. I came away very comfortable with the Biblical and evangelistic integrity of his message. He didn't do the "Faith Healing" thing that drives me nuts, but rather focused on how the point is to bring people to Jesus, and healings, signs and miracles is a way that he brings people to himself.

I also was impressed by Todd's authenticity and clear communication abilities as he shared what the Lord has done in his life, and what is happening in Florida.

When he moved into the healing ministry time I had to decide whether or not to be suspicious, or just watch with suspended judgement. In a situation where I don't know the people getting ministered to, I am not able to know what happens later. However, I do know that the Lord has worked through Todd Bentley for the last 10 years in healing ministry, so I believe that He was active on Thursday as well. Todd shared that he has a team of people who follow up with those who are claiming healing two weeks after the fact, and the ministry gets copies of x-rays, blood work, and other medical proofs of the healings. He is working to document medically what is happening, and wants this healing revival to be the most well documented one in present history.

He also was clear to acknowledge the fact that God does the healing, not him. Even in the way he dealt with the people who came up on stage, he wasn't doing the ministry right then and there; rather, he was asking them what they felt the Lord do while they were in the stands. The expectation was that the Lord sends his healing angels and anointing to anyone in the meeting. It wasn't necessary to come to the stage to be healed. After a time of ministry, Todd gave a very clear gospel presentation of salvation. He shared his testimony, and gave an invitation to accept Christ. I saw people sprinkled all over raise their hands. He led them in a very traditional sinners prayer, including repentance for sins. It was very good, and definitely an orthodox presentation.

The point of anything the Lord does in our lives is that He get the glory for it. Our part is to have faith and believe that what He has said in the Bible is true. He does the rest. I have found that in my own journey of receiving healing for Rheumatoid Arthritis, I began to pray for healing because it says to in James, but as I did, I began to see that I really didn't believe that God heals today. I also didn't think that God cares about what happens to my body, because it is going to "burn anyway." I had to continuously confront faulty beliefs in my own foundation, and the Lord has reworked my belief structure from the ground up.

I have had to let go of all kinds of things, including false guilt, taking responsibility for what is God's responsibility, vows about not being offensive, fear of being authentic, fear of not looking good to others, unforgiveness, and on and on. In return, I've received the ability to trust the Lord with my life, freedom from the need to control or "do it right", joy, peace, and rest in Jesus. I still have RA, and I still go weekly to the healing team for prayer for full and complete healing, because that's what I'm expecting. But, I can honestly say that the quality of my life has improved beyond dramatically since I began to pray for healing five years ago. On a physical level, I have some pain in my joints each day, but I am able to live my life and do all the things I want to with my kids and friends. I feel like the Lord has lessened the pain and joint damage dramatically, and has me in a holding pattern while I wait for my full healing.

The Lord has communicated a number of things to me during this season in my life. One, that I needed to get prayed for whenever the possibility arose. Two, that I need to be like the widow who went to the judge demanding justice against her adversary. He finally gave in because of her irritating persistence. The Lord told me that I need to be like that widow, and keep asking. The persistence itself was a hard lesson for me to learn, because I believed that whatever happens is God's will (true), therefore prayer is kind of pointless because He wants things to be the way they are, and I should just lay back and accept it (false). Three, He has been showing me how much He loves me. I have a place of rest in the shadow of His wings where I can get refueled and refreshed. It is the best feeling imaginable, and I'd rather have gone through this trial of RA and found that place of love and emotional healing than go back to where I was physically pain free and still believing that God doesn't really know me or love me like I know He does now.

Back to Todd Bentley...I felt like the meeting was for a more mainstream audience than even our church. (Some of you might smile.) Almost no one goes to a church like ours, where seeing the Lord move is a weekly event. So I Ieft feeling like I'd experienced something a little tamer than my weekly Sunday worship experience. However, I was really glad to get a personal context for Todd Bentley, and I feel good about his very clear evangelical message.