MEET JOHN WIMBER Part 6

BLOG 81 April 16, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

GodSpeaking

Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

Susan Conway told us about learning to hear the Holy Spirit speak through the Bible and her thought processes. Agnes Sanford added that determining the will of the Father was essential in knowing how to pray for someone. She taught that we can hear the divine message through our thinking. John Wimber added to these insights an assurance that anyone can develop an ability to receive what the heavenly Father intends. Anyone!

But two problems exist with these insights.

First, people sometimes make up messages by talking aloud in Biblical language while free associating. You don’t have to be in a Spirit-related prayer group long to hear someone launch into a “message” that is straight from their imagination, not God. In one such meeting a lady stood up and began shouting, “Yeah saith the Lord! If you do not repent, I will write across the door of this church Michelob!” We certainly don’t want to walk down that alley.

Second, people often resist what runs through their minds as being only a run-away thought. They don’t take it seriously and miss divine leading. Only later do they realize a special insight or direction had been given them and they overlooked an important opportunity. Many times they feel “God wouldn’t speak to someone like me.” Wrong.

Both extremes are pitfalls. Avoid them. John would want you to believe that you can participate in a ministry of divine interventions as surely as anyone. Remember. You can.

What have we learned so far? We have examined the ministries of a number of people with whom I have personally journeyed. I have known them to be people of integrity and honesty. I can vouch for their veracity. What have they taught us?

Turn Hard Times Into Productive Times! God is ready to respond.

HEY! HERE’S A NEW ONE FOR YOU!

We have just began a new website

EARLY FAITH FOR TODAY

Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the

simplicity,  mystery and awe of the ancient Christian faith

The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. I think you will be interested. TUNE IN

 

 

 

MEET JOHN WIMBER Part 5

BLOG 80 April 9, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

HEALING-picture

Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

As we attempt to understand miracles, John Wimber continues to have some important insights for us to consider and follow. John believed that healing is a gift from God, an act of mercy. Our part is to listen and carry out His word. He taught his students steps for learning to pray for healing. This practice can also help us in our overall pursuit of divine interventions. Here are some examples.

We should begin by praying for the sick even if and when we don’t understand how. The divine nature is to heal. The heavenly Father heals us even when we are not aware that He is at work. Most of the time, we naturally get well without reflecting on the fact that our Creator stood behind our bed imparting wholeness. Even the Jewish people of the Exodus knew this fact. Exodus 15: 26

Just start practicing intercession!

An important component in healing prayer is the corporate community. Having the entire church or at least a small group praying with us is significant. Everyone can get in on praying for a need. The more – the merrier! Getting a group of believers in on the intercession can be important.

We say that we trust God but often that’s only a cliché. Genuine trust is demonstrated by our actions. We must act on what we believe – or what we want to believe is true. Doing “the stuff” or at least trying is what counts.

Because we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, all Christians can pray for divine interventions. There’s no special group or class of Christians that have the edge on interceding. Everyone can play in this game.

Loving relationships are key. We need to keep a clean slate with everyone in our acquaintance. The more loving we are, the better equipped we are to intercede.

As we look at specific needs, we should remember that God wants to heal the whole person, not just a specific condition. The presenting need is the starting point but we should stay aware of the entire spectrum of need. While physical pain can be all absorbing, emotional wholeness can turn out to be even more important.

John would insist that we must work in accord with the will of God. During times of ministry, we may feel the pressure of a particular need, but we shouldn’t let that cloud our pursuit of what the Lord intends.    In both public and private times of ministry, John believed it was important to wait for the Holy Spirit to clearly make his presence known in any given situation. We should wait until the Spirit falls upon us and the situation being confronted.

Don’t Stop with one session

John noticed that Jesus prayed twice for a blind man. He began noticing the value of multiple sessions in praying for someone. From this practice came an interesting analysis. In the first session about 30 percent of those being interceded for experienced some degree of healing. During the second session there was an additional 10 percent of improvement. Seventy percent of those prayed for over ten times experienced healing.

John’s experience suggests the significance of repeated intercession. The more often we pray with someone, the more improvement they can experience. John would tell us “keep after it.”

MEET JOHN WIMBER Part 4

BLOG 79 April 2, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

worship god wordie 02

     Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

John Wimber’s key theological ideas were an important part of what he taught about the miraculous and why his ministry was so powerful. They still give us insights into how our own faith can be developed. Wimber suggested:

  1.     Worship remains the first exercise God requires of his people to do. Praising and experiencing intimacy with the Lord is critical to our being able to work in the realm of miraculous intervention.
  2.     The key to working in the supernatural stream is to become a servant. The apostles found this role difficult so we can expect the same struggle, but we can’t bypass the role of being there for others.
  3.     Don’t try to be a success. Just be obedient.
  4.     The key to understanding what Jesus did is found in his relationship with the Father. In turn, miraculous interventions arise out of our relationship with The Holy Spirit. The work that Jesus did might be called “humble caring.”  Philippians 2:8 spells out how we are to empty ourselves and in humility count others better than ourselves. The example of Jesus humbling himself even to death on a cross is the example we must follow.
  5.      Our goal must be to love God for who He is. We begin with love for God and his commandments, but must move to loving being in love with God in a personal and intimate way.
  6.      We must learn to minister God’s way, not ours.

As students began to minister with these ideas guiding them, the recognition of important results spread far beyond Fuller Seminary campus. A new expression of faith was being born and seminary students were truly excited.

After a lifetime of ministry that touched multitudes, John’s work came to an end. John Wimber was recovering from by-pass surgery when he died from a massive hemorrhage on November 17, 1997. John was 63 years-old.

A number of books describe John’s approach to ministry, miracles, healing, signs and wonders. Perhaps, one of the most helpful is Power Healing. Everyone can be helped by not only reading but applying these teachings.

As we attempt to understand miracles, John continues to have some important insights for us to consider and follow. John believed that healing is a gift from God, an act of mercy. Our task is to listen and carry out His word.

MEET JOHN WIMBER Part 3

BLOG 78 March 26, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

40People-John-Wimber

Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

John had worked as an advisor in many churches across America and understood opposition to divine intervention that was out there in a number of groups. He also knew the influence of secularism in the theological world. In a study of a prestigious evangelical seminary, he and an associate analyzed the books used by first year seminarians. The total percent of pages devoted to healings, miracles, signs and wonders were .08 on healing, .15 on miracles, .10 on signs and wonders. Obviously secular doubt had influenced seminary studies and the students passed on their lack of insight to churches. Virtually no one had been taught about any possibilities of divine interventions. John observed the identical problem in a multitude of local congregations.

He knew Lutherans and Calvinists believed the cessation of gifts occurred at the first century with the death of the Apostles. Dispensationalists were ardent defenders of the cessation theory. John also heard Christians who opposed healing and teach that miracles had a limited usefulness. They believed divine interventions were subordinate and inferior to faith in Christ. Obviously, these groups  had developed a defense against the fact that results never happened in these churches.

In response, John started reading the Gospel of Luke. He discovered that after the third chapter, almost every third verse was about healing or some supernatural occurrence. John began to recognize that receiving and working with spiritual gifts had been the biblical norm. Consequently, he set out to discover how divine interventions occurred. Virtually nothing happened for ten weeks and then he got a phone call from a Vineyard member whose wife was running a high fever. John came over, laid on hands, prayed, and started to explain his idea of why people might not be healed. The husband wasn’t listening because his wife had abruptly gotten out of bed. She was healed! John was astonished.

A new ministry was born.

Fuller Seminary invited John to teach as an adjunct professor, but they had no idea what was coming. John not only taught a class entitled Signs and Wonders, he began performing “clinics” in the class. Clinics were demonstrations of divine interventions and healing power. The students were astonished as “signs and wonders” followed on a daily basis. A wave of excitement rocked the campus. John wasn’t talking about “it,” he was doing “it.” Some of the professors rebelled and protested but the students loved it. The  seminary Dean Robert Meyer observed that only two seminary courses ever became famous. They were Karl Barth’s Dogmatics in Basel, Switzerland, and Wimber’s Signs and Wonders at Fuller.

John Wimber’s key theological ideas were an important part of what he taught about the miraculous. They still give us insights into how our own faith can be developed.

MEET JOHN WIMBER Part 2

BLOG 77 March 19, 2018

wimber-filter

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

Last week, I introduced you to John. Here’s the rest of that story.
“Sir,” John said. “I’m going to put my hands on your back. Let’s pray together.”
John made it sound as simple as opening a refrigerator door.

The man closed his eyes, quivered for a few moments, and started sinking to the floor. John kept praying and knelt beside him. The man’s legs straightened and with his eyes closed, he appeared completely relaxed. John stood up.

“We’ll leave him there for a while. When he’s ready he’ll stand up. He’s healed. Now let’s go on to the next person.”

The crowd stared, not sure of how to respond. I raised up to see what was happening. John moved on to another need. I watched in fascination. For approximately twenty minutes, the fellow on the floor didn’t move before he got up and returned to his seat. After the meeting I talked with him. He was healed.

After that evening, I began studying Wimber’s approach to ministry. I knew that he had worked with Dr. Donald McGavran and Dr. Peter Wagner at Fuller Seminary and been a church growth consultant. George Eldon Ladd’s writing on the Kingdom of God had steered John toward an expectancy that the power and authority of God was meant for the contemporary world. Francis McNutt’s Healing had heightened his expectation that recovery through prayer was possible. Each of these experiences were building blocks for what was to become a power ministry.

John had begun to attend a mainline denominational congregation. After the service, he would ask the minister when they did “the stuff.” The pastor would blink and ask what he meant. “You know,” John would reply. “Like in the Bible –water into wine –healing – miracles. “Oh, we don’t do that. We just talk about it.” John wanted more than talk, much more.

One evening John flew into Detroit and was stranded because of bad weather. He got a room for the night and stumbled in feeling ill, exhausted and spiritually bankrupt. After getting ready for bed, he knelt down and read Psalm 61. “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer,” the scripture said. “Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I am.” At that moment, he felt the Holy Spirit speaking to his heart.

“John, I’ve seen your ministry. Now, I want to show you mine.”
John began to weep. Later, he reflected that this was a turning point in his relationship with God. Once he began to use the authority that the Holy Spirit had imparted to him, miracles followed. The ministry of the Father had begun.

John would have told you that your brokenness can be the key to spiritual breakthrough. When you’ve reached the end of your rope, you’ve reached the place where God can pull you up – not let you down!

 

THE MAN WHO PLANTED MORE CHURCHES THAN ANYONE IN HISTORY

BLOG 76 March 12, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE Followers of this blog know that Robert L. Wise has traveled across many states collecting stories of miracles and divine interventions that confront the contemporary secular mind. Read and see what you think.

John Wimber was truly a secular man. He grew up in a home with no religious influence and considered himself a fourth generation pagan. His father had abandoned the family when John was a child. John once said of the Bible, “I didn’t even know God had a book out.” The first time he was in a church, John thought the ushers were bouncers with flowers in their lapels. He viewed the liturgy of the day as a menu.

John could play 20 instruments and was a first class musician who at one time had been part of the Righteous Brothers band. With a good tenor voice, he had been involved in a number of jazz groups. If there ever was a guy who grew up outside of any kind of theistic group, it was John. Involved with miracles? No way!

When I met John, the Vineyard movement was in the infancy stage. I didn’t know much about him except that he had an exceptional ability to bring divine interventions. Peter Wagner, another personal friend, had a hand in suggesting that John should start planting churches with his new type of worship experience. Jettisoning the usual format of traditional Sunday School and standard Sunday Morning Worship, John touched a nerve with people who didn’t go to church. Across the country they began flocking to his Vineyards. Today in the United States over 1,500 congregations are Vineyard Fellowships.

The evening as I listened to John teach that the miracles in the Bible weren’t for the past, he explained they were intended to happen today. John taught how Christians could receive the gifts the Apostle Paul described in I Corinthians 12:4-11 (knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues). As he described that these miraculous gifts could be imparted to any Christian, he insisted everyone in the room should receive an expression of the Holy Spirit’s gifting. Strange talk for a 4th generation pagan.

Abruptly, John stopped. “Let’s have a clinic,” he said. “I will show you what I mean.”

John bowed his head in silent prayer as the crowd waited in anticipation. He looked up. “Anyone here with a back problem?” A hand went up in the back of the room.

“Ah!” John said. “Please come forward.”

The man walked to the front.

“Now,” John began. “I always begin by listening to what the Lord tells me he wants done. That’s how I start.”

I immediately thought of Agnes Sanford’s instructions to seek the will of God before preceding in prayer. John certainly did.

Hang on! More to come next week.

MEET RUTH EATON

BLOG 75 March 5, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!

Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world?Read and you’ll find new insights.

With her bright red-hair and rambunctious style, Ruth Eaton was one of the most delightful persons I’ve ever known. Ruth had been a member in two churches that I pastored and was always on the go. Visiting a friend in a nursing home, 86 year-old Ruth discovered that many of these “old” people had no one left who knew anything about them or cared for them. She simply couldn’t let this be! The work she began on their behalf never stopped until Ruth died at age 93.

Ruth Eaton made it her job to find a gift for every lonely person in a nursing home in Oklahoma City. She watched for specials in the newspaper and came up with everything from women’s socks to men’s underwear. Her living room was piled high with boxes and wrapping paper for her “best buys” being prepared for delivery on Christmas Eve.

Ruth’s only daughter had died at age 44. I had the service for her and knew that the death had nearly killed Ruth. At that time, I couldn’t fully comprehend how the affect lingered for years. Only after the death of one of my sons did I realize how difficult it had been to deal with the death of a child. Ruth didn’t speak of her experience often, but it was always there.

On this particular Friday, I told my secretary not to let anyone in or any phone calls get through until I had my sermon completed. Thirty minutes later, I could hear Ruth raising a ruckus. “I don’t care what he said!” she yelled at the secretary. “I demand to speak with him NOW!” And in came Ruth.

She had been sitting on her couch wrapping presents when she began to think about her beloved daughter and wondered where she was today. At the same time, Ruth thought about her mother who had died many decades earlier. The remembrance of these two important and significant persons had been highly important to her.

Ruth abruptly had the strangest feeling. She looked down at the end of the couch and there stood her mother and daughter. Though they had been many years apart in age, they now both looked exactly the same age at about 25. Ruth stared in amazement. Mother and daughter smiled back at her, reflecting their joy at what she was doing. The three of them seemed to communicate telepathically, sharing their love and devotion.

Ruth swallowed hard and looked away. When she looked again, they were gone. For a long time, Ruth sat there in astonishment, trying to grasp what she had experienced. Whatever else Ruth might have been uncertain about, there was no question in her mind, but that she had been visited by her deceased mother and her daughter.

That’s when Ruth came to my office.

What did it all mean? Ruth was certain that her view of eternity had been assured.

Mary Eaton was truly and earth angel!

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MEET AGNES SANFORD—AGAIN!

BLOG 74 February 26, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE! 

Robert Wise explores the world of Divine intervention from an objective point of view. Can 21st Century people believe that the hand of God touches people in today’s world? Read and you’ll find new insights.

I’m sharing again some of my experiences with one of the most gifted people I’ve ever known. You can find the original blogs on Agnes Sanford back in September, 2017. However, I’m repeating some encounters that I think have important value for today.

Many people came to Agnes through the years, but not everyone was restored in some dramatic way. Some people went home the way they came. I wondered how she knew what to pray for all of these people. Agnes had an answer.

Before she prayed, Agnes listened to hear the mind of God. What intentions did he have for the specific person in need? If she felt healing was not possible at that moment, Agnes blessed the person. When she got a green light, she interceded for the specific need.

If you didn’t know Agnes, you’d think that her praying about the wind, earth, and sky was off the scale. However, she prayed about hurricanes, against wild fires, and for the rain to start and stop because she believed it was the will of God for humanity to do so

Once during a conference in Southern California with people seated outside, the rain started to hit. She looked up and said, “I’ve got five more minutes then you can start. Please wait.” The rain stopped. When she finished, Agnes looked up again and said “Okay, you can start now.” It did. The crowd stared. The issue was the will of God.

The same was true for dying. I knew that Ted Sanford had a powerful, pleasant dream about dying that occurred five days before his death. Agnes had suggested it might be prophetic of what was to come. When the end came, it was just as Ted had dreamed. Neither Agnes nor Ted were afraid of death as they lived in the light of the resurrection. When her friend and house companion Edith Drury called to tell me that Agnes had died, the same amazing dimension had been there.

Agnes came out of her bedroom one morning and told Edith that she believed the Lord was calling her to fly. Could Edith see if a glider might be found to take them for a ride? As she always did, Edith accepted the unusual request in stride and started calling local airports. A week later, Agnes came out as she always did with an adjusted request.

“I think I got it wrong,” she said.

“Really?” Edith answered.

“Yes. I don’t believe I’m suppose to fly in an airplane. I think it’s time for me to go. I believe I should die.”

“Are you certain? I mean – well, after all –”

“I think so. Please call the women in our prayer group to come over and pray for me. I think I’m supposed to leave on Sunday.”

Edith shrugged. “I’ll do what you tell me. Yes, I’ll call them right now.”

On Sunday, the small group of people gathered around Agnes’s bed and began to pray for her release. In a short time, she was gone. Agnes died on February 21, 1982, the day celebrated in many churches as the Feast of the Transformation. It certainly was hers.