Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Fire Fell in Japan!

The J+Passion Conference is now over and what a wonderful and powerful conference it was. In each service there was an overwhelming response to the message...nearly unanimous. The second service which was in a morning session was so powerful. So many people were weeping during the message. The people came forward at the alter call wanting to lay down their lives to be used for God’s kingdom. I was told that the Japanese were very shy people. I was told that they would probably not respond outwardly, but I did not see that side of them. The passion that they demonstrated was as intense as anything I have seen. In the final service the Fire of God fell in a powerful way. I must admit that I did not know what to expect, but when the alter time came nearly every person that came forward (except one or two) was blasted by the Holy Ghost! Many of the people testified that it was the first time they had ever experienced a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Several people were filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time. One young woman had been seeking the Baptism for over 10 years and during this conference had a breakthrough and received. Young children were shaking under the power of God. Old men and women were layed out on the ground. Young people everywhere were speaking in tongues and being touched by the Holy Spirit for the first time. I was told that this had never happened before and that it was a new experience for these believers and for the whole region. The next day many people stood before the crowd and with tears testified to a transformation in their lives.
I think that this was an exceptionally powerful week for Miyaziki, Japan. There was certainly a spiritual breakthrough that came about as a result of this conference. Over and over I heard the expression, “we have never seen this before”. There is something so precious about seeing people touched by the Holy Spirit when it is a new experience. They react differently than the veterans. The expressions on their faces are unforgettable. They’re newfound passion is contagious and refreshing. It is such a privilege to be able to be a part of it. Once again, thank you to everyone who helped us to be able to bless the precious people of Japan.

I have two more services in churches tomorrow and then from here I leave for London.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Miyazaki, Japan - First Meeting

Last night was a wonderful beginning to the services that will be taking place all throughout the week. I could sense the tide of the anointing rising all throughout the evening. The people are hungry, but in the middle of a national spiritual drought. It is the polar opposite of what I experienced in Brazil, where the nation seemed to be ablaze with the Fire of God. There is really no revival to speak of anywhere in Japan. It is not because the people are not hungry however. As I began to preach I felt like the people were drinking in every word. The Japanese are a quiet, and sometimes shy people, but I saw tears streaming down many faces as I preached and It seemed as if certain people were about to burst open. I could feel the hunger of the people reaching out. At the end of the week I am going to preach about the Fire of God and pray for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit...I am anticipating a powerful move of God...they are ready! This morning I preach and again tonight and then again tomorrow night. More to come...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Seoul, South Korea - Yoido Full Gospel Church

I am in transit now to Miyazaki, Japan for the J+Passion Conference where I will be ministering for several days. I had a layover in South Korea today so I visited Yoido Full Gospel Church in downtown Seoul. It is Tuesday here so there were no services going on, but it was still very interesting to walk around the campus and get a feel for what God is doing here. Yoido is the largest church in the world with over 800,000 members. The sanctuary only seats 12,000 at one time so there are nine consecutive services each Sunday morning translated into 16 languages. I was hoping to make it to the prayer mountain, but I will not have enough time today.

I am always fascinated at how Christianity easily flourishes in every culture. Most religions are dominant among one ethnic group, one geographical area or one culture. Christianity, on the other hand, flourishes everywhere. In Africa, in Asia, in North America, in South America, in Latin America, in China...everywhere, God is on the move. Who would have guessed a hundred years ago that the world's largest church would be in Korea?

Had I not been coming to Japan, I would be In Indonesia with Reinhard Bonnke, where he just finished a crusade there after the World Pentecostal Conference. I saw an email that he sent out reporting on the thousands that had packed Bethany Church in Surabaya/Indonesia...the largest Muslim country on earth. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the picture.Reinhard Bonnke Preaching at Bethany Church in Surabaya Indonesia

The Church of Jesus Christ is unstoppable! It cannot be quenched by communism or false religion or materialism or violence. It isn't hampered by any culture or hindered by any economy. Romans 1 talks about how creation points to God. In the same way, the Church points to Jesus. I know that the Bride of Christ has it's issues, but I think that all in all, she is so beautiful and the ultimate evidence of a genious, generous Jesus. Be encouraged today...we are on the winning side. We serve the true and living God and HE is building HIS Church all over the world and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it...Hallelujah!

Please keep me in your prayers this week as I minister in Japan...a nation that desperately needs a touch of God and a move of the Holy Spirit. Pray that the youth will be set ablaze with the Fire of God and that this conference will be a catylist to spark a spiritual revolution in Japan.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Georgia Mountian Retreat

I am writing now from the beautiful mountains of North Georgia where I have been on vacation over the past week. It has been such a blessing to stop running for a few days and just enjoy my family. We have gone tubing, whitewater rafting, shopping (of course) and a whole lot of sitting and talking. I am getting ready to leave on Sunday for North Korea, then on to Japan, London, Philadelphia and Ghana before I return home again for a couple of days. Please continue to pray for my family and myself and for the whole CTE team as our schedules intensify and the demands on the ministry grow.

I am also reading a great book by Reinhard Bonnke called “Faith, the Link with God’s Power”. I have posted the following excerpts below for your enjoyment.

“A preacher is a man having an experience with God in public.”

“God not only IS something. We only know what He is by what He DOES. He is a God of activity. He does not sit aloft like Allah, or the millions of gods of India, or like Buddha, doing nothing. Allah just allows things, and they say “Kismet” – it is his will, or fate. A Christian does not believe in fate. To have faith in god means to have faith in a God who acts, who answers prayer, and who performs wonders.”

“The elementary fact is that faith is in-built. We are born believers. If you think that you have no faith – try it! Try not believing in anything or anybody – your wife, husband, doctor, bank, boss, banker or chef. There are no guarantees, but we put our lives into the hands of surgeons and trust drivers of trains, cars and planes without thinking of faith. But that is what it is. Faith is a kind of immune system filtering out fears that otherwise would paralyze all activity. When it fails we develop all kinds of phobias and compulsions. It is a nervous breakdown…Faith does not come by murdering common sense. It is not a peculiar psychology developed with great effort by saints in caves and living on bread and water. It is not peculiar at all. It is natural. Doubt is peculiar – irrational in fact. It is the only thing that ever surprised Jesus.”

Friday, July 13, 2007

Madurai, India Crusade

I am now back in the US and reflecting on our trip to Madurai, India. My Spirit is refreshed and eager, but my body is recovering and taking its time. It was an exciting and extremely grueling trip with our team ministering more than 24 times in only five days at schools, orphanages, the Leaders Conference and a Women’s Conference in addition to the nightly mass Evangelistic Gospel Crusades. My blogging slacked off once we were in the heat of the fray for lack of time and creative energy…all of it being poured out in ministry. I will do my best to recount the days now touching on the highlights for me personally.

My day started out early in the morning. By 9:00 am, I had preached in two packed church services. In the middle of my second service, I started getting sharp pains in my stomach. It was all I could do to make it through the message and get back to the hotel. For the rest of the day I was in bed and very ill. I finally got myself up at around 5:00 pm and started preparing for the service. I wasn’t sure If I would make it, but several of the team members came and prayed for me and felt a renewed strength. When we arrived on the crusade grounds the crowd was eager to hear the Word of God. Again, before I preached, I took testimonies of many of the people that had been healed the night before. The young lady who had been deaf in both ears testified. Another young lady who had been deaf in one ear because of a physical hole in her eardrum was completely healed as well…a creative miracle. Many wonderful testimonies of healing made the way for me to preach about the goodness of God. Again, the number people who responded to the invitation to receive Christ was overwhelming. At this point I was still feeling very sick so I told the team that I wouldn’t be staying to pray for the sick as I had the night before, but when I tried to leave, again the sick pressed in. Again, I sat down on the steps and prayed until the last one had received prayer. Interestingly, I prayed for several people who had severe stomach pain. Every one of them was instantly healed, yet my stomach was still in severe pain. The power of God was not hindered by my sickness. Most of the sick people were healed instantly. One lady with 5 tumerous growths in her neck was instantly healed. I wished that we had four more days to keep this momentum going and to keep experiencing Gods saving and healing power.

The conclusion of the Crusade I felt was a great success. The people who attended were mostly Hindu people who heard the Gospel preached very clearly with a demonstration of the power of God. The pastors invited me to come back again next year and we are planning another trip to this region. If anyone is interested in being a part of the team, please visit the website and sign up today.

I have prayed corporately for healing after the last two services, but because of time constrains and logistical issues, I had postponed the testimonies until this night. Instead of having the testimonies at the end of the service like usual, I took the testimonies from the last two nights before I even preached tonight. The testimonies were powerful, but things really started happening after the service. I was on the platform, the service was still going on, and a young woman came right up onto the platform with her young friend who was deaf in both ears and requested prayer. I actually turned them away for the simple reason that I didn’t want to set a precedent of people walking up onto the platform uninvited. When I sent her away, there was a look of terrible disappointment on her face. I actually felt bad and wished I could have prayed for her. I hoped she would come back at the end because I could see in her eyes that she had faith to be healed. After I preached the Gospel, I called everyone up close to the platform to receive prayer corporately. As I was praying I noticed this same girl again. She was holding both hands over her ears, tears were streaming down her face and she was praying in a slurred, muted tone, typical of the deaf. After I prayed I was walking down from the platform to go the vehicle to take me back to my hotel, but the people would not have it. The pressed in close to the stairs and were desperate for prayer. I was tired and wanted to go home and I had yet to make a television appearance before my activities for the evening were over, but I would have had to physically push these people out of the way to get to my vehicle. “These people are the reason that I came across the world”, I thought, “ and they are the reason that Jesus came from Heaven to earth”. I sat down on the steps and prayed for them one by one…taking time to test each one. After praying for a couple of minutes, I noticed this same deaf girl several feet back and I reached out, took her hand, and pulled her forward. As soon as she got close enough, she dove onto the dusty ground, grabbed by ankles with all of her might and began to weep uncontrollably. I was so moved. I stood her on her feet and prayed for her ears. Then I shouted into one ear…but there was no response…she was as deaf as a rock. I prayed again. This time she said, I can hear something. It was a small improvement, but it was evident that something was happening. I sent her onto the platform where I had one of my team members waiting to interview people who were healed. As this young woman was explaining what had happened, her ears popped open completely…she was totally healed. Both of this girls Hindu parents had come to the meeting that night. Both received Chist…Hallelujah! There were many, many more healings. More than I have space to write about. I stayed and prayed for every last sick person that would wait for prayer. MOST of them were instantly healed. God is moving in Madurai.

After this wonderful service I went to a local television station along with John Kolenda (my uncle and a pastor in Bloomsburg, PA) and John Arul (Our crusade organizer) and James Kolenda who had come to capture the event on film. I preached another Gospel message on the airwaves and then took live calls on the air and prayed for the people. The standard for Indian television is not what I am used to. In the middle of the hour long, live broadcast, John Arul’s cell phone began to ring loudly…it think it was playing the mission impossible theme. John played it cool…pretending as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening. Just at that moment one of the Indian technicians comes crawling across the floor like a little tiger...he is coming to save the day. Off to my left there is a monitor that shows what is being viewed live on television. I watched as a hand immerged from below the visible portion of the screen and slowly…stealthily removed the phone from the table. It was all I could do to keep from busting a gut laughing. John refused to look at me because of the big, goofy smile on my face that was being fueled by James sitting on the floor straight ahead of me laughing. It was a television appearance I will not soon forget.

Today was the final day of the Leaders Conference and I preached on the Fire of God and then prayed for the Fire to fall on the pastors and leaders gathered there. The alter time was powerful. I don’t think that they are used to people being slain in the spirit and manifesting. It was comical to see two pastors practicing the catching process. One pastor was standing with his back to the other pastor, crossing his arms over his chest and then falling backward into the other pastor’s arms. I asked several people to help me catch, but none of them seemed to understand what was going on. Several girls were trying to hold up there friend who was unconscious, others would get up off the floor quickly with startled looks when they awoke and realized they were on the floor. There was something so innocent and real about it. People were genuinely being touched by the power of God…many for the very first time and it was a powerful conclusion to the Conference. Several pastors told me that they had been filled with the Fire of God and a new passion for ministry…Praise the Lord!

When we arrived at the Crusade grounds, the sight was very encouraging. The crowd had more than doubled from the night before and there was a noticeable rise in the level of anticipation in the air. I felt as if the Gospel message really landed. The majority of the people in attendance were not church people, but Hindu. The people responded to the invitation to receive Christ almost unanimously. Most of the people that I prayed for after the service still had markings painted on their head…a sign that they have been worshipping some Hindu diety, but now they were newly saved. Praying for them was something like holding a new-born baby in your arms…so precious. Some people might say, “tell them to take those markings off”, but my job is to be a catcher of men…Jesus is the cleaner. I saw one woman rubbing the paint off her forehead as she stood there. I didn’t ask her to do this. The Holy Spirit was convicting her…It is such a privilege to lead people to the Lord. There is no thrill that I can properly compare it to in this world.

Our day began early with team devotions and breakfast and then everyone went there separate ways to minister in various places. I went first to an Assembly of God Bible School. I preached in their chapel service and proceeded directly to the Leaders Conference where I preached the second of two sessions. That evening was the first night of the Crusade. If I am honest, I was very disappointed. We had prepared for crowds averaging 30,000, but several weeks before we arrived, a high-ranking government official died unexpectedly and an emergency election took place. During this time it was illegal to advertise anything else…including our crusade. As a result, instead of a month of advertising we only had a few days…less than a week! I arrived on the crusade grounds that first night anticipating close to 30,000 and instead was greeted by about 1,000 people. I was more than a little frustrated, but we all pressed on knowing that God is in control and He will advertise Himself with His own mighty hand.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Crusade Countdown

We are now just hours away from the official start of the Crusade here in Madurai, India. Everything is in place and after many months of preparation we are finally ready.

Today we visited the largest Hindu temple in Madurai, "The City of Temples" and one of the largest in the world. This city is known as a Hindu stronghold, but in the darkness, the light of the Gospel will be all the brighter.

We then visited an orphange and loved on the children. Every one of our hearts were melted by there smiling faces and the power that the love of Christ has had on these precious little ones. Bro John, who is our Crusade organizer here, runs this orphanage along with three others...nearly a thousand children are cared for. I must admit that I choked back the tears for most of the visit. We saw the living quarters where over 110 little girls slept in one room...all of there belongings fitting into a small chest the size of a charry-on suitcase. Yet they were so full of joy and so grateful for what little they had. It was a powerful experiance. Our team will return to the orphanage Saturday and distribute Bibles to the kids.

I just returned from the crusade grounds where I met with many of the pastors that have helped to facilitate the crusade. I gave a short word of encouragement and then we prayed over the grounds and dedicated it to the Lord. I am looking forward to wonderful things over the next 4 days and a mighty demonstration of the power if the Spirit and a great harvest of souls for Jesus sake. Please continue to pray...they battle is just getting started.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Monday, July 2, 2007

In The Jungle

I am sitting now in a small tribal village half way up a mountain in south India. We drove through the night on winding, narrow roads to reach the top of the mountain and then began hiking down to the village at about 6:00 am. As the sun began to rise we found ourselves in a little paradise. Neatly groomed acres of tea plantations covered the mountainside as far as the eye could see and clouds covered the peaks of misty mountains in the background.
We stopped for tea in a small hut and it was the best I ever had. I keep having this overwhelming revelation of how much God loves the world and how much we need Him...I can't wait to preach the Gospel to these precious people.

Our three hour hike was not made alone. Several elephants were spotted ahead of us and the fresh droppings on our path let us know that we were not far behind. Dozens of jungle monkeys ran playfully through the trees and watched us with curiosity...the girls were quite amused.
Tonight we will have a service here in this little village and I will preach Gospel to these beautiful people and we will see a mighty demonstration of the power of God. Until then we are resting and enjoying the scenery and the fresh mountian air.

It is amazing to think that I am posting this message with my blackberry from deep in the jungles of India. It is certainly not the same mission field that our ancestors encountered, but they still need Jesus and we are still preaching Him. More to come...

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Sunday, July 1, 2007

New: In Transit to Madurai, India

I am sitting in the airport in the Indian city of Chennai at 4:06 am (local time) on Sunday morning (July 1st) waiting for a flight that leaves in a couple of hours. We have been traveling for about 2 straight days now! We have'nt even arrived in Madarai yet and already the trip has been quite eventful. Our plane out of Tampa was a couple hours late and then we sat on the runway for about an hour and a half. Our flight from London to Mumbai was caught in a terrible storm and the intense turbulance lasted for over two hours...people were vomiting as we flew in a holding pattern waiting for the storm to subside so that we could be cleared to land. Finally, running low on fuel, we flew to another city about an hour out of the way to land and re-fuel. The airport that we landed at had no indoor facilities so we sat on the crowded plane in sweltering heat for about two hours before receiving the clearance to fly back to Mumbai. Once we landed, our connecting flight had already left and 3 of our pieces of luggage were lost. We were supposed to have to wait to catch a flight late the next day, but the Lord was good to us and we mananged to catch a flight out last night. Once we arrived at this airport (in Chennai) at midnight we tried to sleep but the pest control people began fumigating the airport and soon the entire facility was a cloud of choking teargas incecticide...we spent the night outside. Now we are checked in and waiting for our connecting flight to Madurai where the adventure REALLY begins. We will only have a few hours to rest before begining our long journey up into the tribal, jungle villages to minister. Maybe you are wondering why we are doing all this...because Jesus said "go".