I have made a few new cyber friends the past few days (Hannah, Kala, Lacey, and Diana), and I'm pretty excited to know you guys now. YAY! I'm following your blogs and being so encouraged by your stories. It's so amazing to think there's this whole body of believers all over this country (and world), who are having their own incredible journeys with God - and to have a window into that...it's such an honor. Just think, I'll meet you guys in Heaven someday, and our spirits will recognize each other immediately. :-) Makes me smile.
Okay, so as some of you may know, I've decided that I can't settle for anything other than a supernatural, kingdom-driven lifestyle. I'm really trying to get myself out of my comfort zone, which is to talk and read about supernatural things God does, and out DOING something about it. I mentioned in an earlier post that I joined an outreach team. I got an email back from the lady in charge, with this awesome extreme evangelism manual attached that she wanted me to go over before I join them for my first time going out (since I told her I didn't really have any training and that I mostly operate under the fear of man when it comes to crazy-awesome stuff like getting prophetic words for people). It's 31 pages long and is super intense (lots of Scripture to go look up, and things to reflect on, so it's slow-going), but I've read most of it already. I will hopefully be joining them sometime this week or next week for my first time going out on the streets to do a treasure hunt or prophetic evangelism of some sort. If you don't know what a treasure hunt is, it's basically where you pray together beforehand and God gives everyone a little piece of information - and you put it together, and figure out where you're supposed to go, who you're supposed to talk to, and what you're supposed to tell them, and then you go and do it! The person you find and talk to is the treasure.... God's treasure!
Prophetic evangelism can also be where you just GO, with no specific word on who/where/how and then you start talking to people - anyone that might be walking along the street, or sitting at a table in a restaurant, and as you are talking to them (about whatever topic, really), you start getting a download from the Holy Spirit, and he tells you what to say to them - really personal, specific words of encouragement, that you could never really know about them, only God could have shown you. This makes their eyes get big really fast, as they don't know how you could know that - and then you have a chance to give all the glory to God and tell them that it was the Holy Spirit who showed you this about them, and that he loves them and has a plan for their life - sometimes you just end up encouraging a believer, other times planting a seed into someone's heart, or sometimes you actually get to lead people to the Lord right then and there (and then you get their email and get them plugged into a great local church that will take care of them as far as discipling and loving on them goes).
Now, I've had a few experiences where I kind of got something in my spirit for someone else - and I shared it, and it really touched them, but it's only been a few times. I mostly don't trust that I'm really hearing the voice of God in situations like that. I get nervous about whether I've actually received something from God or whether I'm just making it up. I've realized I need to just get out there and do it and practice! I need to practice hearing the voice of God so that I learn more about how he speaks to me and learn to recognize his voice when he's talking. He's probably talking all the time and I don't even realize it!
So, although I haven't gone out yet, I have a cool story to share about my little brother.
Last night, at our church's college and career group (which he and my sister and I are all a part of), we were talking about this very idea that God wants to speak to us through the Holy Spirit and give us words of knowledge for strangers and for friends, all the while loving on them, having a tremendously good work ethic, and being an example of Christ to them. If we would go up to people and say - Hey, I feel like God might be saying that (fill in the blank) - and it's not something we could have known apart from God revealing it to us - that would really impact them with the amazing and wild love that God has for them. This can be done anywhere - at a park, the grocery store, in class, at work, wherever! It can be a stranger, an acquaintance, or a friend. If they would see the power of God (words of knowledge, healing, miracles, answered prayers) coupled with us LOVING on them - WOW what an impact that would have on the people within our spheres of influence.
My little brother was really inspired by our discussion, and later on that night, he decided to try it out. Let me give you a little background on the situation. He just graduated from high school and will be going to Yale University in the fall. This summer he's been taking a calculus 3 course at the local community college, just because he wants to be extra prepared for when he takes calc 3 at Yale. In this math course, he got to know a group of young men about a year older than him that were seated at the same table (they sit at round tables and work on projects together in class). During this time, they really noticed his solid work ethic and his integrity. Whenever they had questions on anything, he would never give them the answer, but would teach them how to figure out the problem, so that they would learn the material. Anyway, there was also a Korean lady seated at his table who was in her 40s and doesn't speak very good English, but was going back to school to get a math education degree so she can teach someday. My little brother saw she needed help wading past the English in order to learn the math behind it all, and so he actually began to tutor her personally. The guys in the group noticed this about him, too. Then, another thing happened. These young men invited him to watch a movie (there are four guys at this table, including my brother), and he said he was fine with it, but that if they were going to choose a rated R movie, the only request he had was that it not be rated R for sexuality (he figured they'd probably pick a guy movie with lots of shooting and violence, but he was okay with that - he wanted an opportunity to eat with sinners, but not get drunk with them, Jesus-style, you know what I mean?). Well, he ended up going over to one of the guys' houses and they popped in the movie they'd chosen - and my little brother didn't know what to do. Although they'd respected and acquiesced to his request that it not have sexuality in it - it was SO FULL of other things, that my brother couldn't take it any longer - his spirit was really troubled by the complete ungodliness and glorification of so many wrong things - but he felt trapped. He didn't want to leave and have them think he was judging or condemning them, because he wasn't. But, as a result of his relationship with God and commitment to righteousness, his spirit could not handle seeing any more of this movie, it was such a mockery of all that is pure and holy! So he finally excused himself, part-way through the movie, saying he had to get home. He still didn't know if he had handled it right, but he couldn't take it anymore, and at the same time, didn't want them to feel condemned, as that was not his heart AT ALL. Back at school the next day, they acted normal and like they hadn't really been offended at all by his leaving early. He was relieved.
Fast forward to this past week - the teacher gave the class an assignment with groups no larger than the size of 4. Everyone could of course choose their own group, and the three guys wanted my brother to be in their group, since he's such a hard worker and they had really taken a liking to him. He felt torn, however, because no one was choosing the Korean lady, and he was really concerned for her feelings and well being. One of the guys, Stephen, could see my brother was troubled, and recognized why. He said "Look, I know you're a Christian, so I know you don't want that lady to be left out. I would be willing to form a second group with you and we could invite her to be a part of THAT group, since we're limited to 4." Turns out, the teacher, recognizing that the Korean lady had been struggling in class, made an exception and let the four guys have her in the project group after all, even though it would make them a group of 5. My brother was touched by Stephen's kindness. He also was surprised how easily Stephen picked up the fact that he didn't want the lady to be left out because he was a Christian and wanted everyone to feel accepted and taken care of. He realized that these guys were starting to recognize there was something different about him, and came home excited to share it with the rest of the family. He has been praying for these guys since he met them, that God would help him have an impact on the short time he had with them before he left for college in August.
Now, last night, they all got together to work on this project, which they have been working on throughout the week, and although the Korean lady couldn't actually make it to last night's event, she worked on it with them earlier in the week. The three guys though, Stephen, Devin, and John, where all there. As my brother was driving to the house they were meeting at - inspired by our college and career group discussion about prophetic evangelism - he began to pray. At first it was just a general prayer for the night - that God would be there, that the Holy Spirit would work on the hearts of these young men, and all that good stuff - just a general blessing over the night. Then he started praying over each one of the guys, as he was driving along, and started getting very specific pictures over their lives - things he did not know himself prior to starting to pray for them - and he felt God was telling him that he wanted my brother to tell the guys what the Holy Spirit had shown him.
As the night wore on, and they were working on the project, all of a sudden the HS said "Do it now" to my brother - and he knew he HAD to share with Devin what he had heard while praying for him. "Right now God!?" asked my brother, as he was sitting there in the midst of a math problem. "Yes" he felt God say. A bunch of concerns ran through his mind - What if I'm wrong? What if I look like a fool? What if they think I'm crazy? But he knew it was now or never. He had to obey. And so he took a deep breath, turned to Devin next to him and said "Hey, I know this might be weird, so take it with a grain of salt, but on the way over here I was praying, and God told me that you have been depressed and sad and discouraged, and that you don't feel that there's any hope for your future. But, God wants you to know that he has a plan for your life, that you don't have to be sad anymore, that he doesn't want you to be depressed either, and that he has given you a future and a hope!" Devin's eyes got HUGE, and you could see all over his face that he was blown away - that my little brother had basically just "read his mail" through the Holy Spirit's revelation. The other guys were in awe, too. They got back to working on math. A little while later, Devin, who comes from a Mormon family but is not practicing (interesting fact: ex-Mormons are called "Jack Mormons") ventured this question: "So, how did you know all that? Were you just praying in general and God showed you that, or were you specifically praying for us?" This gave my brother a chance to explain what had happened on the way over. The other guys just listened, fascinated. At the end of the night, Devin pulled my brother over to the side and told him that what he had said really hit home because he had been having a really rough past couple of weeks.
My brother was SO EXCITED when he got home, and told me all about it, which was really encouraging to me. Well guess what!? Today he got a text message from one of the other guys there, Stephen, who was really impacted by what happened - and in it he said "I know this might be weird, but I was wondering if I could meet with you and family. I want to know more about your religion." Stephen has a Catholic background and probably doesn't understand that it's all about a RELATIONSHIP! But YEAH GOD for giving us this chance to reach out to these guys. Now that this has happened, we have 2 or maybe even 3 guys (we still don't know what John is thinking at this point) who are interested in knowing more about a God who LOVES THEM and knows them PERSONALLY and THINKS ABOUT THEM ALL THE TIME and knows what's going on in their lives!
I am so inspired to pray like that before I meet or hang out with people (coworkers, friends, acquaintances, strangers, anyone and everyone) based on what just happened the past couple days.
And I'm excited to go do some power evangelism outreach here in my own city! YAY FOR JESUS!
Do any of you guys have stories like that? I'd love to hear 'em!