Sunday, January 30, 2011

God is Like a Big Bowl of Vanilla Ice Cream

I think every husband should buy their wife an ice cream maker for her birthday. Homemade ice cream just makes for a good marriage.
I am currently churning my first batch of creamy vanilla goodness and Jesse and I sit like kids on the drive to Disneyland. And it made me think, "Man God, you're just like vanilla ice cream (obviously better, but let's not be religious)."

My time here at Bethel has been filled with many sweet times in God's presence. Lately I've been rocked by the revelation that there are no "shoulds" or "shouldn'ts" in God's Kingdom. "Well I guess I should raise my hands in worship," "I suppose I should read the Word," "I should be feeling more connected to Him right now," "I should go on that treasure hunt. I'm a leader and I should act like one." While taking risks in God is good thing, feeling like I should only creates bondage. Often I've found myself thinking that I should stir my spirit up and "press into" God. But I've realized that "pressing in" is often just Christianese for striving. As our friend Luke put it, "The only pressing in I want to do looks like kids crowding around Jesus and pressing into His robes for a hug."

This revelation has hit me so hard that I don't think I will ever worship or dream the same again. I don't want to strive in my marriage to God. I just want to enjoy Him. And I don't need my relationship to look like anyone else's. If it does, maybe I'm faking it. I've totally questioned all the things I do in my relationship with God and wondered why I do them. Usually it's because other people have told me to do them so I think I should. But I want my relationship with God to be as free as a little kid enjoying ice cream. Some eat fast and furious and get it all over their faces, some lick slowly, liking their hands to stay clean, some like cones, others cups, some devour the whole thing in a single setting while others save some for later. Kids don't need to be taught how to eat ice cream. Maybe we don't need to be taught how to enjoy God?

Getting rid of the "I should" voice has made my relationship with God taste so much better. I've found myself in the sweet spot, that place in God like vanilla ice cream that makes me so happy and so satisfied not matter what I'm doing. I could be standing still in worship, jumping, singing, not singing, looking around the room, but yet I feel my entire being worshiping, just enjoying His creamy goodness. Ahhh, perfectly satisfied; so full and at rest and excited at the same time.
Every bite of ice cream, as it gushes around my tastes buds, melting into heavenly bliss, makes me feel satisfied, yet I can't keep my spoon from dipping back in the bowl for more, until I find myself licking the bowl just to get every bit I can!

I would eat God if I could.

So while many of are craving ice cream right now, imagine God being that satisfying, that tongue tickling this very moment. You don't have to press in or position yourself a different way or read 20 psalms until you encounter Him. He is right next to you, loving you, waiting to smoosh into with a big gooey hug.

So that's my revelation for the day. God is like ice cream. I don't have to jump up and down three times or pray in tongues for 30 minutes to get my ice cream to taste good. It's just good.

So encounter God like you do a big bowl of ice cream today. It really makes for a good marriage.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

16 Brazilians Raised from the Dead after 3 days!

We have a core value: God is good!

Jessica and I heard this testimony (report) first hand from the woman that sent the encouraging email to the American Medical Team in Brazil.  This really happened.  We send this report out because we want people to know that God is powerful and real today!  We hope to see people raised from the dead on our Guatemala trip...

These are the 5 bodies that were raised from the dead.

A nurse is leading a mission team of doctors and nurses to Brazil. They left on Jan 13, 2011. They are still there until the 28th. On the 12th there had been massive flooding in Brazil and over 600 people died. They were not going for this reason but the timing of their trip just happened to coincide.
Only one on the team had ever experienced the power of the Holy Spirit or miracles for that matter!! She had asked her friends to pray, and they did.
Her friend (the woman we know) had sent her a small e-mail on the 13th with a small word, and she had mentioned how blessed the team was by it. So the next night, the friend sent her another e-mail, and she told her that when she read the e-mail to her team in chapel on Saturday the 15th in the morning, one by one the team members fell under the power of God. They lay there, unable to move for over an hour while someone reread the e-mail over them, over and over and over.
She said the e-mail had released so much faith to them that just at the end of the chapel time, when the Holy Spirit told them to "Go to the morgue, NOW!" they immediately obeyed. What happened in the morgue and on the street near the morgue is almost incomprehensible and hard to imagine but she talked to her friend on Sunday morning and got the incredible, play-by-play details.
After chapel on Saturday morning when they fell under the power, the team went out into the streets and the morgue and raised 16 people who had died in the floods 3 days earlier from the dead.
Attached is the local newspaper article (translated below) from the area in Brazil where this happened. The article was published Sunday, 1/16/11.
The testimony is below from the pictures attached and the newspaper article printed on Sunday morning! Read on.

Below is the English translation of the local newspaper article with the documented interviews of two of the people that had been risen from the dead:

Caleme, Teresopolis
16 Dead Bodies Confirmed Resurrected from the Dead

Sunday, January 16, 2011
CALEME, TERESOPOLIS, Brazil - People of the barrio of Caleme have witnessed Saturday 5 dead bodies raised from the dead in the street. Another 10 bodies from the morgue have been raised to life. One woman who drowned and was dead was also raised back to life. The people in Caleme reported that 5 American men went near the 5 bodies and yelled, "Rise and live in the name of Jesus." The dead bodies started to shake and stood up and walked and are alive. At the nearby morgue, there were 10 dead bodies in the hallway. People said that 5 foreign women went near the bodies and said, "Rise and live in the name of Jesus." The dead bodies shook and stood up shaking and walking and were alive. People were screaming, yelling. Riot at the barrio of Caleme. These 5 dead bodies in the street of Caleme have been dead since Wednesday January 12. The 10 dead bodies in the morgue have been left in the hallway since Wednesday. People have talked to the dead risen. They were still weak but were able to talk and they said, "I was in a dark place many people crying, shouting. Was I asleep? Now I am alive!" "I know I was dead. I was in a dark, ugly place. I do not know what happened, but I am back to life. God is alive.” The families of these dead are celebrating and happy. There has been hope in Caleme since Saturday.

Here are the details that my friend gave me over the phone about the pictures attached to the article.
The link below is to a picture (in color) of the five bodies that died in the floods on Jan. 12, 2011. It was taken on the day that they died. This picture was taken 3 days before they were raised back to life on January 15, 2011. My friend told me those bodies were lined up along the side of the road and left there for three days until when on Jan. 15, 5 men from their medical mission team, came upon them and not knowing exactly how to raise the dead, the team decided to just stand there and worship the Lord over the bodies (this is what my friend told me but the news article says differently). As they worshiped, the bodies began to shake and tremble and began to sit up and stand. Instantly, the people all around began to shouted and screamed, and within in a few seconds there was chaos and a mob of people. This picture matches exactly to the top picture you see in the newspaper article attached.
This link below will take you to that picture but you have to scroll down a bit to see it. It's in the right hand column.  It is the same picture used in the newspaper article that was written about that day. The pictures are both date stamped. Incredible.
(This is the link to the photo at the beginning of the post)

The second (or bottom) picture in the newspaper article appears to be the leftover pile of dirty blankets that were used to cover the 10 dead people in the morgue who were waiting to be buried but then raised from the dead instead. These bodies all had been dead for three days as well, due to drowning in the floods. The other five members of the medical missions team had entered the morgue under the Holy Spirit’s leading. He had given them the number 16 but they were not sure what that meant.
They stood to the back of the room, amongst the family members who were grieving and mourning their losses and the 5 ladies from the mission team linked hands. As they did, they began to shake under the power of God. They felt the Holy Spirit give them the words to say and all together they shouted it: "RISE UP AND LIVE IN THE NAME OF JESUS." The leader told me that their voices were not their own and that "somewhere in our bellies" came a thundering voice in one accord, as if they had shouted through a megaphone.

They waited and within five seconds, one body began to shake as if "someone had been stomping on them" and then one by one all the bodies were shaking. Each body then began to slowly sit up, and then stand. The grieving family members began to shout and scream wildly and in an instant there was chaos in the room. The interpreter quickly ushered the team out of the building for their safety. They met up with the other team members that had been walking the street and had just raised the other 5 to life. That team had also come across a dead body that had been more of a recent death and decided to try CPR. Just as they were going to do CPR, the Holy Spirit told the team leader, "Do not do CPR! Command the body to rise and live." So they did and that body began to shake and sit up. That person was also raised from the dead.
The team had raised up a total of 16 people from the dead on January 15, 2011. The same number that the Holy Spirit had given to them earlier that day. 10 + 5 +1 = 16

To read more testimonies of God's powerful love, here's the link for this miracle and many more:
Bethel Testimonies

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Extravagant Giving
Hey all you amazing people out there! 
So what to write about?  So much good stuff going on in Jessica's and my life.  For starters, we received at total of $2000 from friends and family who wanted to sow into our trip to Guatemala in March.  This meant so much to us!  Jessica and I really wanted to feel "sent" by our friends and family as we went to Guatemala in March.  We would have been excited and blessed if a few people gave us $20, showing us they believe in what we are doing, but instead we got $2000 in as little as 7 days of sending out a brief letter explaining our trip and needs.  We were overwhelmed to say the least!  A few of you sent in money anonymously and so we need to thank you for that too!  Our trip is completely paid off, what a relief and blessing. 

For some of you that don't know the details of our trip here is a little more information:  We are going to Guatemala in March for about 9 days.  Times and places are still being worked out but we are doing a lot of "work" while there.  We will be going to two different hospitals to heal the sick and clear out whole floors.  I have seen dozens of people get healed while at a hospital in Brazil two years ago and we are expecting many more miracles than that!  We will be speaking and teaching at a bunch of different churches.  On one Sunday morning the team will break into groups of three and visit different churches so we are promised to have lot's of opportunities to lead services and meetings.  We will also be doing plenty of market and street evangelism and healing.  One of the main things the churches there have told us they wanted is to be equipped to do miracles and encounter God themselves.  Every opportunity we get we will have the locals doing all the praying and prophesying.  I just heard a testimony FIRST HAND of some people in Brazil recently that prayed for some people to be raised from being dead (they were dead for three days) and 16 people got up and lived!!!!  I will share more in my next update (complete with the local news article).   Needless to say our faith level to see MORE amazing things has increased!

Jessica and I are doing great.  I will harass Jess to send out a personal blog so you can hear from her directly.  I (Jesse) have  been doing great!  For Christmas I received a voucher for a guided fishing trip down the Sacramento River with a friend.  We went a couple weeks ago and had such a wild time!  You can see one of the fish I caught, we hooked up on at least 20 fish between the two of us I caught at least 6 or 7.  We weren't able to keep any because of the Fly Shop's rules for guided trips.  I have been fishing a lot lately, at least once a week.  It is such a great way to have a little adventure out here.  I am not great at catching fish on my own yet but I will be! 

Thanks for all your love and encouragement!