Thursday, July 1, 2010

Blessed are the Flexible

We just returned from a ministry trip that was filled with unexpected divine appointments and powerful unplanned meetings where God did many awesome things (you can read even more below on the previous story too.) This trip up north actually started out of a divine appointment where we prayed for a brother named Dave in Hawaii who got filled with the Spirit at STN and experienced God’s love and power for the first time in his life when we ministered there, who then invited us to come up to the Central Coast to minister with some groups he is involved in.

Check out this video and how God by His Spirit orchestrated things on both sides in Hawaii which then led to these present moves of God. Make sure to read this story as well as the one below it about the unexpected moves of God up and down the Cali Coast.

I was in Sweden when God had first led us there where a divine appointment would happen that would open up our ministry there. I was trying to adjust our schedule for a meeting that a friend was setting up with an American pastor/missionary, feeling a bit frustrated in getting things worked out, when our friend said something that has stayed with me ever since: “Blessed are the flexible.” Many Scriptures reflect this idea though our cultural biases towards rigidity and overscheduling everything, especially in church, blind our eyes to this truth. However this is a truth that Jesus calls all his followers to walk in, cultural and ecclesiastical resistance not withstanding.

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8

Regardless of the resistance in our culture and especially in church life to walking out this truth, it is something God seeks to work into our lives. When we are willing to listen and yield to and heed to the leading of the spontaneous guidance of the Spirit awesome blessings await us that are completely unexpected.

We just had a radical divine appointment in Santa Barbara on the way down the coast as we were coming back home from a ministry trip further north. To see it come to pass, however, we had to be willing to be very flexible.

A friend who happened to be staying in Santa Barbara called us late at night right near 11:00pm while we were driving home through that area and asked us to come visit her and some friends in Isla Vista at the last moment. We felt God’s hand was upon this even though it was late and we were tired and culturally it was very akward to show up at someone's home so late and unplanned like this. We went over and ended up actually spending the night and miraculously wound up in an all-day outpouring of the Spirit the next day.

This group of mostly college students near UCSB were all interested in hearing about Lonnie Frisbee and how God worked through him back in the Jesus People Revival and Vineyard Outpouring. Having had the blessing to travel and experience firsthand God’s work through Lonnie, we were stoked to share some stories. We also had a short video to play. Right in the middle of watching this video, God sovereignly started moving on people in power which sparked a Holy Ghost outpouring where we began praying for people and powerful manifestations began to take place. Other students and friends kept showing up and coming in to this spontaneous prayer meeting as God kept pouring out His Spirit all day long; this unplanned meeting which started in the morning continued on until around three in the afternoon with lots of powerful moves, fillings, and empowerings of many lives.

I finally realized we hadn’t eaten, drank, or consumed anything or taken a break the whole day—this is the kind of fasting that is worthwhile though—when God is in the midst of it versus that other forced dead kind which Jesus criticized the Pharisees for doing out of dead ritual.

It was an awesome time and just when I thought I’d keel over from all the focus and intensity of praying for others all day long without any sustenance, I was offered some sardines to remind us of our Euro mission trips and a few laughs.

I was just thinking it would be good to take a break and get a surf in before it was too late when one of the many surfers there offered to take us out for a surf break too.

We scored some fun, sunny, 2 to 3’ clean and peaky, zipper-like waves right straight out at Campus Point. I queried how often it broke this time of year like this since I can’t ever remember seeing these kinds of waves like this in this area of Santa Barbara in the summer since the Channel Islands block most summer swells. The answer was never, "it never breaks this time of year."

Another blessing, and a quite refreshing one on that day, of the willingness to be flexible and let the winds of the Spirit lead the way. We would have missed that outpouring God wanted to bring and the fun out of season unique surf session if we had just done the culturally acceptable and easier thing on our weary bodies and had just headed home rather than showing up at someone's house we didn't know near midnight to end up sleeping on the floor after sleeping in others' homes for the past few weeks already. There was unplanned blessing awaiting we knew not of but we had to pay attention to the leading of the Spirit to tap into it.

Jesus words about letting the winds of the Spirit lead the way are not just some far off idea for another Bible study but something to be applied to our lives as we learn to do what Jesus told the early disciples to do: "Follow Me."

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8

Getting some surf up the California Coast


We had some radical meetings as we traveled on a preaching tour through some different areas of Central California. We spoke at some different places in Monterey, Salinas, and Santa Maria, from a Presbyterian youth group to some different Calvary Chapels to a Foursquare church as well as Freedom Christian Fellowship to home meetings. The cool thing is that wherever people are open God pours out His Spirit, all it takes is an open heart and faith.

We have seen many young people really filled and empowered as we've been sharing how God wants to empower us to use us to reach out to others. It is radical how the Lord put that immediately to demonstration on the way home right after ministering to the Foursquare Church in Salinas where we saw a radical outpouring on the youth and teaching on being used to reach others and divine appointments and being used to touch lives:

After the service we were driving back to where we were staying but I kept having a sense that God wanted us to do something other than just head back home and I was praying in the Spirit seeking God's direction and our friend Dave who was hosting us and who was filled with the Spirit when we prayed for him at a another ministry occasion, felt that maybe we should stop, I agreed and led by the Holy Spirit we went into this parking lot where some people were coming out of this college. We just felt led to get out of the car and began to pray and seek God if there was someone he wanted us to talk to. I started talking to this lady and as I talked to her I was trying to be tactful but the Spirit of God just caused me to blurt out and ask if she knew the Lord. She said yes and we asked her some other questions and stuff. Then we were asking if she had any prayer requests and our friend Dave had a word of knowledge and began to ask her how her walk with God really was and she began to confess that it wasn't very good at this time and then he said the Lord showed him that she was backslidden, at that she began to tear up and weep and we began to pray with her to turn her life back over to the Lord.

Right there in the parking lot of a local community college we were praying for her as people walked by looking on and she was gloriously re-connected with Christ and filled with his love. We had another divine appointment shortly thereafter where we prayed for another woman in a pizza restaurant who was a Christian but needed a fresh touch of God's power and boy did he bring it.

We kept on witnessing to others throughout the night and later as we sought to record some of what God did on video the Spirit of God fell on our son Patrick who experienced the love of Christ in a marvelous and intimate way and who said he feels led to share now with others and preach too! Glory!!!

God put to demonstration what I had just been preaching and teaching on that very night about reaching out through his power even as we drove home from church. The Spirit of God indeed makes us witnesses as we are filled with his power as our friend Dave got to experience and now share with others. Praise the Lord!!

We got some fun surf too while in these areas.

Bryan getting a cold water snap in Carmel.