THE HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK

Blog 100 November 12, 2018

quintin

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?

Last week we explored Quintin Moore’s early experience when he grew up in Oklahoma’s beginnings of Pentecostalism. Let’s take another look,
Pentecostalism appeared around the turn of the century in the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles, California beginning on April 19, 1906 when a black preacher named William Seymour began calling the Holy Spirit down on the congregation. Many people repented and fell under the power of the Holy Spirit. The revival lasted until 1915 and is considered to be the beginning of Pentecostalism. From humble beginnings, the movement rapidly spread across America and into Oklahoma.

In Quintin’s world extraordinary events were considered the norm. When Quintin went to college, he encountered attitudes at the other end of the spectrum. The skepticism bug began to bite. Modern academia looked askance at the divine intervention stories coming out of Pentecostal churches. They were considered emotionalism, psychological manipulation, as well as nonsense. As Quintin studied logic, philosophy, and science, he began sliding to the edge. He certainly believed in the basic tenets of the biblical faith, but the supernatural dimension became less and less attractive. After Quintin completed an excellent education, he felt called into the ministry and started exploring various aspects of ministry. A church in Liberal, Kansas called him to come up and speak. Taking his new wife Annie with him, he drove to a small congregation, to try his hand at preaching. Around 35 people showed up to hear this young man.

The typical plain church building had a communion table underneath the pulpit with a thanksgiving basket sitting in the middle of the table. Bananas, apples, oranges had been piled together to represent the harvest season. People sauntered in and sat down to listen to this young fellow.

One man was particularly noticeable. Slouched down in the middle of the pew, the man stared at Quintin with a defiant look on his face. While no words were spoken, he seemed to be daring the preacher to say something. Quintin could feel the challenge written across the man’s face.

Quintin launched into his sermon, but a strange thought blipped through his mind. “Take a banana and put it on that obstinate man’s head.” While Quintin knew what it was to have the Holy Spirit speak in his thoughts, this idea sounded beyond the preposterous. He kept preaching but the idea wouldn’t go away. Finally, he jumped down from the pulpit grabbed a banana out of the basket, and started up the aisle pointing the fruit at the man’s head.

The defiant look vanished and the fellow virtually fell out of the pew. He began crawling up the aisle crying. The man grabbed the kneeling rail and sobbed bitterly. Most of the people in the congregation were family or knew him. They gathered around, praying for his wholeness.

After the service was over, Quintin approached the man to inquire what had happened. “Look,” the man said. “I cynically told the Lord if this preacher hears from you, let him put a banana on my head.” Still sobbing, the man said “you did!”

We have just begun a new website ~ THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY ~ Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith. The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN. Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

THE HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK

Blog 99 November 5, 2018

miraclesquote

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?

You met Quinton Moore in an earlier blog. Today he is the Presiding Bishop of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches.  I shared one incident in his ministry, but I didn’t go into details. I think you will find more insight into his life and ministry instructive. Let me tell you about his story.

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, Lottie 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 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 90 degree 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 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.

We have just began a new website THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the  ancient Christian faith. The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

THE SECRET Part V

Blog 98 October 29, 2018

laying-on-hands

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?

In the preceding four blogs, we have surveyed situations where the intervention of prayer, faith, and healing prayer made a profound difference. A number of insights stand out and are worthy of review.

From these healing and renewal situations, we have repeatedly seen in scripture that Jesus identified himself as “Life.” Our explorations have been an attempt to understand what this statement means.

My experience has led me to the conclusion that when we intercede for illness and brokenness, we are literally calling for a new surge of life to enter the person. When the name of Jesus is invoked, the name focuses on the reality that releases empowerment, bringing change in the body and mind of needy people. The addition of new life brings the healing. Even when the body remains the same, new vitality touches the mind, the emotions, and the soul. The recovery of new life happened with Lenore Ridell (blog 96- Oct. 15, ‘18).

At the same time, we have seen how it was necessary for humanity to take dominion.

Insight into the meaning of dominion can be found in the Book of Genesis. We are part of a divine partnership which means we have a responsibility for what happens in this world. The creation story makes it clear that humanity is to have dominion over the earth. For example, we can pray for a nice lawn but we don’t get Bermuda grass until we plant the seed. When we are struggling with illness and pain, it is important to make a connection with the heavenly Father for Him to release life in and through us. A process, a connection, exists between human need and the life God wants to pour into us when we are praying.

I conclude from these interviews that when people do not exercise dominion through prayer and seek healing, they probably don’t receive the blessing that was intended for them. Openness is required if we are to seek the miraculous. That’s a form of taking dominion.

Touch can provide a vital connection. What the Bible describes as “laying on of hands” is more than a ritual. Touching provides a connection that conveys life to the person in need. Everyone has times where they need more warmth and affirmation than they can find in themselves. When people pray for us and lovingly touch us, life is conveyed.

Could the power of God intervene and produce a miracle without any of the human factor? Of course. What the heavenly Father chooses to do entirely out of His grace is unfathomable and miracles have continued since the beginning of time. However, this book is about our part in helping to bring divine interventions to pass. That’s our target.

The events in these blogs describe what happened when a connection was made. Divine healing grace came through and recovery followed. Don’t hesitate to take it seriously. Your well being could be in the balance.

We have a new website ~ THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY ~ Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith.  The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN. Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

THE SECRET Part III

Blog 96 October 15, 2018

neverleaveyou

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?

Could the power of God intervene and produce a miracle without any human factor? Of course. What the heavenly Father chooses to do rises entirely out of His grace. However, in these blogs we are exploring our part in bringing divine interventions to pass. Hopefully, we are learning how to be better connectors that convey life.

The urge to pray with people grew from these healings I have described. I became aware that when a person had experienced some form of healing they were often endowed with the ability to pray for others with the same problem. This happened when I felt moved to pray with Lenore Riddell.

Scott and Lenore Riddell lived in the top section of land above our house in Colorado. I saw the family occasionally and we were friends. During the summer I was working behind our house when an unexpected thought ran through my mind.

“Go up and ask Lenore if you can pray for her,” the message drifted into my thinking.

I kept working and thought it was only a weird random blip. The thought kept coming. With reluctance, I decided to walk up to the house and see if there was a problem.

Somewhat to my surprise, Lenore Riddell gave an enthusiastic yes. Without telling me exactly what the problem was, she asked me to come in and intercede. Eventually, she told me about painful attacks hitting her in the midsection and doubling her over in pain. For the next several months, I trekked up to their house and prayed by putting my hands on her head while I interceded. She reported warmth traveling up and down her spine. In three to five minutes, the pain was gone. Unfortunately, in a day or two the pain would return and we would start over again. Every time we prayed, the pain quickly disappeared.

I had no insight into her medical problem. I only knew when we prayed Lenore quickly had relief. Finally, she was diagnosed with an issue needing surgery. After the surgery, the pain returned. The doctors concluded she would have the problem the rest of her life.

When I continued to pray with Lenore, the pain stopped. Finally, the throbbing never returned and the medical predictions proved wrong. Lenore was healed. But something extra had been passed on in the process.

During a regular mammogram x-ray, the nurse took a look at the results and began taking more pictures. In an unusual procedure, she took over 20 x-rays and then went for the doctor. He looked at the x-rays and concluded there was a lump that could well be cancerous. The doctor returned and told her that a biopsy was necessary. They would do one more set of x-rays and then begin. Lenore cringed. She knew such a procedure could be highly painful and wasn’t sure she could stand it. Sitting alone in the room, she began to pray earnestly. “Not my will but yours, Lord. If this is necessary, please, oh please, help me get through it.”

Lenore closed her eyes and a vision began to unfold. She was sitting by a rippling stream. Surrounded by the lush green of a beautiful meadow and towering pines, the scene conveyed tranquility. A voice drifted across the stream. “I will not leave you or forsake you.” Peace descended over her and she opened her eyes. She was ready for the procedure.

The doctor walked in. “Rather amazing,” he said. “In that second set of x-rays, the lump is completely gone. Certainly didn’t expect that result.”

“Gone?” Lenore’s voice raised a notch. The doctor smiled. “I guess you can go home. You’re okay.” She smiled. “It was the Lord’s deal.” And it was.

We have just began a new website THE EARLY CHURCH FOR TODAY Surveying the first 3 centuries, we are examining the ancient Christian faith. The focus is practical, relevant, and inspirational. TUNE IN Join us at earlyfaithfortoday.com

THE SECRET Part II

Blog 95 October 8, 2018

HandGlobe

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?

In the last blog we explored what occurs when we pray. Following the guidelines in scripture, we found some clues in the word ζωη or life. The New Testament called Jesus the bearer of life, leaving the implication that life is imparted to our need. Let’s look further.

For the first three hundred years of the Christian era, believers struggled to completely define Jesus’ identity. Interestingly enough, this lack of precision and definition did not stop the experience of the miraculous. I believe we can gather from that period that we don’t have to be dogmatic or 100% certain about how we define our beliefs to be able to reach for the hand of God to bring divine interventions. The people I interviewed  reported in previous blogs would tell you the issue is not in theological precision, but in humbling ourselves.

The scripture suggests life begins in eternity and finally ends there. Its essence is transcendent. This life came in the historical presence of Jesus, but ζωη is in fact supra-historical. We experience life in time, but the nature of life is eternal. No test tube can measure this dimension. Unfortunately, society most often fails to grasp this fact. Like the concept of love, life comes from another dimension that is not calculable with a computer.

My experience has led me to the conclusion that when we intercede for illness and brokenness, we are literally calling for a new surge of life to enter the person. The addition of new life brings the healing. Even when the body remains the same, new vitality touches the mind, the emotions, and the soul. I began to see that this transfer of vitality occurred in many of the people I interviewed.

Another dimension for healings can be found in the Book of Genesis. The creation story makes it clear that humanity is to have dominion over the earth. We are part of a divine partnership which means we have a responsibility for what happens in this world. For example, we can pray for a nice lawn, but we don’t get Bermuda grass until we plant the seed. When we are struggling with illness and pain, it is important to make a connection with the heavenly Father for Him to release life in and through us. A process, a connection exists between human need and the life God wants to pour into us when we are praying.

The Bible calls this bridge, this point of contact, “the laying on of hands.” As we have already noted in an earlier blog, the palm of everyone’s hands naturally alludes a release of energy. You can feel this reality by bringing your palms together slowly until you sense the flow of warmth and energy. My conclusion from numerous interviews is that the hands are a natural connection place for healing to be released. When we pray, life is transmitted to and through the person in some form.

Let’s go back to an analogy I used earlier. A large power line brings electricity to a transformer that brings electricity to our houses. The hook up is small compared to the power line but without the smaller wire, no lights would turn on in my home. Why does the system of life seem to work in this manner? Because we are born with free will and our Creator waits for us to use that capacity to invite his intervention.  I conclude that intercession and the laying on of hands is part of the divine plan to establish connection for empowerment.

HERE’S A TRULY FASCINATING GUY!

Blog 92 September 17, 2018

padre-pio

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?

The first time I heard of Padre Pio was during a conversation with a Roman Catholic Priest  in Oklahoma City. I asked Father John W. Scheller what influenced him to become a priest. He told that during World War II, he was in the infantry that invaded Italy. Somewhere along the way, he heard about this amazing priest in San Giovanni Rotondo and found the church. That afternoon Padre Pio was officiating at the Mass. My friend had worked his way around to the side of the altar where he could observe everything that was happening. Padre Pio was wearing gloves with the fingers cut out. Because he had the stigmata (the wounds of Christ), his hands bled when exposed.

My friend watched Pio pick up the chalice and lift it up to the heavens for the concentration of the host. At that moment, Padre Pio began to rise up from the floor and hovered suspended in the air. As he put the chalice down, the priest came back down to the floor.

Father Scheller watched in total amazement.

As I listened, I found his story difficult to digest. I had to tell him that this sounded like something from science fiction. The priest smiled, but said what he saw in those moments with this Italian priest changed his life. Those few moments caused Father Scheller to spend the rest of his life as a celibate priest.

What a challenging story! The early portion of Padre Pio’s life was prior to Vatican II. Anyone from that era immediately finds the many stories of miraculous happenings easy to accept. After Vatican II in 1963, everything changed. The hallowed sense of stillness and quiet in a service gave way to shaking hands, talking, and priests telling funny stories in their homilies. Believers from this era look at the stories of divine interventions with more of an askance questioning point of view. On the other hand, Protestants have been raised with grave doubts about Roman Catholic saints and miracle stories. The tendency is to distrust the whole works. The point of view you bring to these accounts is probably more important than what you are actually reading. I know readers will be subjective in what they read.

However, I had no reason to doubt my friend. He had spent six decades as a humble man of the cloth. Consequently, I had to know more about this Padre Pio. As the years that I spent traveling in Italy went by, I heard many, many more stores about this extraordinary man’s ministry. Subjective? Yes, but when a man spends the rest of his life in a profession because of what happened in such limited contact, I had to take a long second look at what might be more objective than it was at first glance.

Let me tell you more about what I discovered about Padre Pio. Next week I will tell you more about what I learned over three decades. You’ll be fascinated!

HEY, SUMMER’S OVER!

Blog 91 September 10, 2018

colorado-fall-aspen

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?

Can you believe it? Fall is here.

I’m still out here in Colorado, but the Aspens have already begun to turn. The locals are saying we are going to have an early Fall with a cold winter. That’ll make you shiver a tad.

During the summer I’ve been turning out a couple of books and been hard at work with our new website The Early Faith for Today. You’ll find this site exploring the first three centuries and getting us in touch with the faith of the first Christians. I believe you’ll find it to be helpful and inspirational.

I discovered a number of miracle stories over the summer, but the one I’m sharing now just came in. You’d like Ryan Mackie who is one of our bishops in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches. Bishop Mackie is a scholar as well. So, you can understand why problems with his eyes would be particularly troubling. The issue was serious.

Following a retreat, Bishops Mike and Beth Owen were called on to pray for Bishop Mackie. You’ve met Mike and Beth in previous blogs. For years, the couple has had an inspired ministry in several cities. Praying for the sick has been one of their strengths.

On August 24, Mike and Beth gathered around Ryan and laid on hands just as the book of James prescribes. (James 5:13-15)  As they always do, both prayed fervently for the problem. When they finished, Ryan felt a change. He knew something was going on. During the next six days, he was sure a restoration was occurring.

The doctor had noted that Ryan lost 63% of his ability to see out of his right eye… but Ryan began to realize that he could see out of his right eye. He returned to the physician to get an evaluation. The tests surprised the doctor. Where his right eye was seeing only 37%, it was now seeing 96%. When they measured his overall seeing, Ryan had improved from 20/400 to 20/40.The last x-ray photo of his eye sight had shown a nearly entire black area inside his eye. Now, when the photo was made there was only a small black dot.

Before the Owens prayed for him, Ryan couldn’t see a student sitting in front of him in his classroom. Now, he can see the lights in the center of the test screen. While Ryan came expecting a medical treatment, any such procedure was cancelled. No treatment! No steroids. Nothing.

The hand of God had released life-altering empowerment. James was right when he wrote, “And the prayer of faith will save the sick man.” (James 5:15) What a great way to start the Fall!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

HEY! IT’S VACATION TIME

BLOG 91 July 9, 2018

Events-Thumbnail-Image_SUP18

With the heat of summer comes the relief of sitting by a nice swimming pool and soaking your feet in the cool water. Maybe. Most of us are so hard at work we don’t have time.

    During the next two months I’ll be traveling, finishing up book projects, and out of sight in the mountains. Consequently, I won’t be writing blogs again until after September 1. In the mean time, the new Early Faith for Today website will continue. If you haven’t tuned us in yet, summer offers an opportunity. The Christian faith is presented as it was in the first three centuries with application for today. Check it out.

Have a wonderful summer and I’ll see you in the fall.