Category: Miracles (page 2 of 2)

The Lady who Kept Praying

“Then Jesus told them a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1

I believe God can immediately heal people. He did in the stories of Scripture and I have witnessed and experienced immediate healing many times. However, many prayers are answered after months or years of persevering and not giving up.

Such is the story of Jefferie, a sweet lady who attends New Life with her husband Kent. I first met them after a Sunday morning gathering when she asked me to pray for her. She was smiling and had obvious joy, but she also had advanced cancer in multiple places in her body.

We prayed that day and I told her to keep asking for prayer. Sure enough the next Sunday, I spotted her waiting for me again with the same smile and the same joy. This scene repeated itself for almost a year every Sunday after the 9am service. In fact, I begin to look forward to that special prayer time each week.

This past week, she got a late phone call from her doctor who told her she was 99% cancer free. He could not believe the cancer had disappeared so quickly. Her voice is still weak, but she whispered the story and the good news to me on Sunday. It was the highlight of my day for sure.

What are you praying for today? Have you prayed a long time and become discouraged that the answer has not arrived? Keep praying for healing, for the prodigals to come home or for your marriage to be restored. Don’t give up and keep praying. Jefferie did and so can we.

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The future of the local church

In the past ten years, I have witnessed remarkable changes in the local church and the coming decade will usher in even more transformations. While the ancient Sacraments will remain, everything else is up for debate. How we worship, when we gather, what is said, who is leading and where the gatherings happen will all undergo scrutiny and debate.

I have four predictions for the next decade of local church.

1. The places where we gather will become smaller

Every social and cultural trend is leaning toward the smaller, more intimate gatherings and away from the stadium worship experience. Mega churches that purposely create numerous worship settings that promote intimacy and community will see the most significant growth. There will always be a group of church people who will come to the big building, but if we want to see significant growth among skeptics and seekers, we must create less threatening venues for them to explore the issues of faith.

2. The church will be launched into real mission.

The local church is hungry to embrace the mission of the New Testament and this will only increase in the next decade. This next generation is tired of the hype of events and is eager to give their lives to something that requires sacrifice and results in biblical justice. They want to get their hands in the dirt of humanity and see real change in the communities where they live. They will come to the church building for some of the attractional events, but will get disillusioned quickly if these events do not result in real opportunities to serve their world.

3. The church will return to its ancient roots

If it’s new, it’s probably not truth. If its truth, it’s probably not new. I believe the ancient, yet simple recipe of local church will return. We will gather often, read the Scriptures, worship intently, pray fervently, be led by servants, live authentically, and honor the Sacraments. For sure, we will continue to be creative and inventive, but not at the expense of the ancient structure which has transcended all generations for over 2000 years.

4. The church will return to wonder and awe

The churches that embrace the supernatural nature of God will see the most growth and have the most influence in the coming decade. Good preaching, trendy stage sets, and clever videos will not be enough in the next ten years because people want to see God intervene more and more in the affairs of the earth with miracles and healings. Sound theology must prevail and we must not return to our sloppy Charismatic tendencies, but we must also embrace the mysterious and risky nature of God and not be afraid of wonder and awe. While the Holy Spirit may be unpredictable, the results are always predictable – people will find God, people will be healed and people will discover real freedom.

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