WORTH REMEMBERING ON INDEPENDENCE DAY

Blog 90 July 2, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

4th-of-July_2013_web

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.

On the base of the Statue of Liberty are engraved these words:

Give me your tired, your poor,

your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

We do well to remember that we are all immigrants. Some recent, some long ago, but we all came from some other land to this country. Some of our ancestors came through Ellis Island, as well as other ports of entry, but they were the homeless and the tired. Struggling to escape poverty and the pogroms of Europe, our fathers and mothers landed on this shore seeking to walk through the golden door.

In this time of struggle and debate over immigration , let us remember this country was built and sustained by “the least of these” as well as the best. Let us never  forget the world still looks to America to find for the golden door.

Remember the words of scripture: “He (God) executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

They all want in. No one wants out.

 

Recovering the Miraculous

Blog 89 June 23, 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.

ORFamily

    Quinton Moore grew up in Pentecostal land. His grandmother had been the baby sitter for Oral Roberts while the cotton pickers worked in the field. Today Jessie Moore would be thought of as an old time Pentecostal. She lived in a world that assumed miracles came with the Christian faith. Quinton grew up in rural Oklahoma where Pentecostalism was a major religious force.

Grandmother Jessie Hargrove, a full blood Cherokee-Osage Indian remains as one of his early memories. Quinton watched her pace back and forth praying in the Indian language and in tongues. Suddenly, she stopped. “Yes!” Jessie cried out. “I sees him!”

Eight-year old Quinton wasn’t sure what was going on, but watched his grandmother grab a shawl and run to the door.

“Come on, Quinton,” she demanded. “We got to get to your uncle quick. I now knows where he is now.”

Quinton piled into the pickup and they went flying down the road. He had no idea where they were going or where they were. Grandma Jessie seemed to have a map in her head and only she knew what was ahead. After a number of 90o turns on dirt roads he had never been on before, Quinton looked up and saw what was ahead.

“Hey!” he shouted. “That’s the cab to my uncle’s truck turned over!”

“Yes, son,” Grandma Jessie said. “That’s what the Holy Spirit showed me.”

They pulled up alongside the semi-trailer cab laying on its side. Jessie leaped out and climbed up the underside of the cab. “Just as the Spirit said! Your uncle’s down there out cold. He’s hurt. I’ll try to shake him loose. You run to that house over yonder and have them call an ambulance. Git with it!”

Quinton went running down the road to the nearest farm house. They were able to get his uncle to the hospital and saved his life. But Quinton couldn’t ever forget that experience. Without any knowledge of even an accident, through her prayers his grandmother Jessie had been able to discover the disaster and locate her son. She considered divine interventions to be simply part of her journey.

In the next several blogs, we will attempt to understand what was going on with people like Grandmother Jessie Moore. They will add another dimension to our insights in how divine interventions occur.

Remember we have a new website. You’ll find this helpful.
EARLY FAITH FOR TODAY
Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith.
The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN

 

 

Memorial Day

Memorial-Day

Sorry, Friends. I’m out of pocket. My daughter is graduating with her doctorate degree from the University of California and I have to be there. The following week, Margueritte and I will be traveling, but I’ll be back with you on June 4.

Memorial Day weekend is a sobering time as we remember and honor those who have fallen in defending this country. In our families, we make our own private journeys to the graves of those we loved and lost. Bless you in such moments of remembrance.

WHEN FORGIVENESS COMES

Blog 84 May 7, 2018 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

Jesusabide-with-me-greg-olsen

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.

Recently an old colleague dropped in for a visit. Years ago when we worked together, I had used an Ash Wednesday service to help people resolved spiritual needs they had never fully faced. We used the first day of Lent as an opportunity to enter a season of renewal.

My friend had gone to another church position miles away, taking that same idea with him. He set up a bowl filled with flames for people to use when making a commitment. They would burn whatever they had written on a piece of paper. During the next 30 days they could know they had received a resolution of an important issue. A week later after that service, a lady in the congregation came into my friend’s office. Her eyes were filled with tears and she was holding a letter. (We will call her Mary for anonymity shake).

Mary explained she came to the service knowing there was one issue that she had never faced. Mary had been sexually and physically abused by her father. Through the years, she found it impossible to forgive him. In fact, Mary had not seen the man for over two decades. Sitting in the worship service, she knew the time had come to face her resentment and anger. But could she?

Staring at the flames curling up, Mary knew this was an important moment of decision. The pressure to forgive mounted up within her. With a trembling hand, she wrote, “I forgive.” Walking to the front, she prayed for resolution, forgiveness for her father, and dropped the paper in the fire.

A week later, the letter came.

Although he had not communicated with Mary for decades and was miles away, her father wrote that he was in the hospital dying. Many times he had sought forgiveness for what he had done to her and was profoundly sorry, but he could never feel forgiven. Knowing that he didn’t have much time left, on this Ash Wednesday night, he prayed once more for forgiveness.

From far off a small light appeared in the window. The glow kept gettinPg brighter and brighter and larger until it filled the entire window frame. The brilliant golden glow increased in size and kept coming closer and closer to the bed. Finally, he recognized a face in the midst of the splendor. As light poured across his bed, the man could barely look.

A voice spoke and a hand reached out.

“Here is your forgiveness”  He was handed a piece of burnt paper.

Please check out our new website…

EARLY FAITH FOR TODAY
Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith.
The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN
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MEET JOHN WIMBER Part 7

Blog 82 April 23 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE

holy-spirit-dwell-in-me

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 we learned: Turn Hard Times Into Productive Times!

That’s almost John Wimber’s story. A survey of ministries with divine interventions is fascinating but we can’t escape difficult circumstances. We’ve noted traumatic experiences have played a role in the development of the ministries of these persons. Susan Conway shared her discoveries of hearing the Holy Spirit through reading the scripture, but her spiritual breakthroughs came during trying times. Her encounter with the Virgin Mary after the birth of her child was totally unexpected but played a part during difficult years later. During her emotionally childhood struggles, Leslie Draper discovered angelic assurances.

Soul-wrenching times and emotionally painful upheavals opened these persons to a new level of spiritual insight. The times of desperation when the world seems to be collapsing are always filled with more opportunity that we thought. Here’s another clue.

Exhausting our Sense of Inordinate Worth

Remember that times of collapse are the moments when our self-sufficiency is most severely challenged and that’s worthwhile. John Wimber’s account of desperation was the key to unlocking a ministry of divine interventions and the discovery of how the Lord’s work was so vastly beyond his own. Becoming open probably means setting aside our sense of self-importance.

Gifted people?

Are these ongoing ministries the work of exceptionally gifted people? Certainly each person had important capacities and John Wimber was a talented musician. Some were certainly exceptionally bright. Mike and Beth Owen are highly intelligent and competent people. However, I found that each of these persons did not consider their native-born abilities had much to do with their spiritual gifting. I.Q. was not a factor. In fact, the gifts of the Holy Spirit often seemed to come in the areas that were contrary to their talents. Mike Owen was an outstanding athlete and his children had the same abilities, but his spiritual gifts didn’t reflect this heritage. Susan Conway is highly logical and not emotional and yet her experiences moved her deeply. Leslie Draper’s ability to convey angelic message is generally without any personal insight into what the messages mean. The point is that the initiative in divine interventions begins and ends with the Holy Spirit. The important starting point is to seek whatever God wants to give.

While much of the foregoing involves healing ministry, healing is only one demonstration of empowerment in the work of all of these people. An abrupt reversal of a deteriorating physical condition is certainly miraculous, but the dynamic is the same whether it is hearing the voice of God, seeing a vision, or reordering old memories. Miraculous and divine interventions come in all shapes and sizes. Pay Attention!

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. TUNE IN

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 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!