Here is an excerpt from my upcoming book about miracles in Ethiopia. Hopefully you can learn as much from this as I did! Thanks Thor Colberg! @VineyardNC
Thorsen Colberg is an American pastor of a church called Vineyard North Charlotte and he came along as a teaching pastor on the trip. I mentioned that my church, Trinity Anglican Mission, in Atlanta used to be part of the Vineyard movement. It turns out Thor knows my pastor, Kris McDaniel.
While I am asking myself the question, why aren’t these miracles happening back in America, and how can we make them happen, I find out Thor has some experience in the matter. So I ask him to tell me about it.
Thor, what can you teach me about miracles?
Well, John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement, would challenge us to pray for healing for 100 people. The implication was that we would see God heal. The reason we don’t see God heal often is simply because we are not asking.
The reason we don’t see God heal often is simply because we are not asking.
Remember that Jesus only did what the father was doing and said what the Father was saying. Our challenge is to learn how to hear the voice of God. That means, whether one-on-one or in home group or speaking to thousands, my challenge is to ask, “Father, what are you doing?” I can only do what the father is doing.
Like one time I was sitting in a restaurant in Colorado. I looked and saw the spirit resting on a random elderly couple in a booth across from me. I asked, “Father, what are you doing with them?” Then I asked, “What do you want me to do?” I went over to them and said, “I feel like God gave me something to tell you.”
They said, “Yeah, okay?”
“All your life you’ve been good with your finances. God wants you to know he’s pleased with you because you’ve been good with your finances.”
They got excited and said sit down and tell us more!” I said, “I don’t have time now, but I’m a follower of Jesus.”
“We haven’t gone to church in years.”
And I said, “Well, I think the Lord sent me for some reason to tell you that.”
On another occasion, I was at a conference and am asked to minister to people. I prayed, “Show me who I need to go to.”
I felt like God said, “There’s a guy who’s leaning against a column with a red shirt. He has three kids and his wife just left him.” So I turned around, and sure enough there was a man in a red shirt leaning against a pillar. I went to him and asked the first pretty harmless question, do you have three kids? He replied, “Yes.”
“I might be totally wrong about this, but did your wife just leave you?”
He collapsed in a ball of tears. I prayed for him and ministered to him.
What about healings? Have you seen any healings?
There was a guy who got out of a wheel chair. He had been in an accident. A small group in his neighborhood had been praying for him for a year. He was angry and wasn’t a Christian.
When they invited him to their group he said, “I can’t come. You don’t have a ramp to your house.”
So the small group built him a ramp and he started to come to the small group. And through that he comes to Christ. Then he starts to think, “God is going to heal me.” His doctor told him, “Don’t get your hopes up, it’s impossible.” But one time, during a Friday night of worship his home group gathers around him and starts praying for him. I am watching him from the stage and I see his legs shaking. I thought to myself, “He’s gonna walk.”
His group members helped him up and he took three steps to the stage and sat down. His wife and daughter came running from across the room so excited. They wheeled him out that night, but the next morning he thought, I walked last night. I’m going to take a standing shower. So he did.
When he went to his doctor he waited until she turned her back and he stood up. She wrote on the chart “Miracle.”
This guy was working at circuit city and one time after he was healed he ran after a customer to give him the bag he forgot. I was there and said to the guy next to me, “That guy used to be in a wheel chair.” The guy said, “I know, I come here all the time.” I replied, “He goes to my church.”
Have you ever seen any food being multiplied?
I had been thinking about the miracles and realized I hadn’t heard one like that yet.
Yeah well, we were feeding the homeless one time and word had gotten out so we had a huge crowd. We should have run out of food like 2/3 of the way before we did. But we didn’t.
How do you teach people to let go of their reputation and just do this stuff?
Wimber says, “I am a fool for Christ. Who’s fool are you?”
That will free you. Let your reputation fall away.
The kingdom is already and not yet.
It’s a paradigm shift.
I have heard people say things like, ‘train people first and then send them.’ NO! Send them out and then train them. When you send them first it develops a felt need for training! There will be a hunger on how to do it better. Then they’ll want more training.
Show and then tell. Show how to do it, like Jesus did. He asked them to do it with him. Next, he sent them to do it two by two. And then later when they report back in he tells them more, teaching them about the kingdom, not just how to do it.
When they reported back in from going out two by two they said, “Even the demons were subject to your name.” They are excited. Jesus’ response is, “Don’t get excited about that; that happens. Don’t be surprised about healing and people being set free, that’s normal kingdom stuff. Rejoice that your names are in the book of the Lamb.”
How do you make sure you’re plugged in to hear God?
Ask, “Father, what are you doing? And how can I take part in what you’re doing?”
Don’t ask, “Bless what I’m doing.” Instead ask, “Where are you moving and how can I be a part.”
Do a lot of worship. Develop your secret history with God. Go to starbucks and have a cup of coffee with Jesus. Put your headphones with worship music on and have your bible there in case he tells you turn to something. And listen to him. Don’t ask for God’s power. Don’t you just want Jesus?
Some people ask, “Thor how’s your ministry doing?” and I say, “I don’t have a ministry, I get to take part in the ministry of Jesus. It’s His ministry.”
Not one of you has a ministry. We get invited to be a part of His ministry. The secret of the kingdom is THE KING.
He pauses while I am writing, until another thought comes to him.
There is a difference between your calling and His ministry. He’s our leader. We each have a calling, but we don’t have a ministry. We get to take part in His ministry. And His is exciting. I want to be a part of His ministry. I want to be saying what the Father is saying and doing what the Father is doing.
As N.T. Wright says, “I’m a kingdom bringer.”