Healing at Sather Gate

A couple months ago, in March of this year, I went for a walk on the university campus after worship practice one Saturday morning.  I had some free time and wanted to take a step of faith and pray for someone in need of healing.  I had been watching videos on YouTube of people getting healed and wanted to try it for myself.  After walking around for 15 minutes or so and not feeling confident to approach anyone, I started to turn back toward Sproul Plaza, the main gathering area on campus.  It was a cold day and it was threatening rain so I decided to head back toward the church, disappointed that it seemed like I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to pray for someone.

As I came through Sather Gate, I saw three people who looked like graduate students walking together towards me.  One of them was walking with a limp and his leg in a brace from the knee down.  I asked if I could pray for his leg.  He shrugged and said, “sure”.  So I knelt down to pray a short prayer as I had seen in the videos.  I commanded full healing, and all pain to go, in Jesus’ name.  He thanked me and began to walk away but looked a little confused.  I asked him how it was feeling.  He looked at me, puzzled, and said it was feeling better!  His friend got excited and asked what the pain level had been before and what it was now?  The man said with surprise that it had been a 5, but now was a level 4!  We all got excited and I was about to cry!  I told them that this was my first time praying for someone but I had seen videos of healing where if the pain goes down it will go to zero and so I asked if I could pray again.  He said yes, so I knelt down to pray again a short prayer, commanding the rest of the pain to go.  I got up, and he said there was no more pain!!  We were all so amazed at what Jesus had done! We all started hugging and crying with joy right there under Sather Gate.  The man’s friend said “that was so beautiful” and he was crying with joy!  It had started to rain and their friend had put her umbrella over us as we hugged and prayed and thanked Jesus together.  It was a feeling of indescribable joy.  All I wanted to do was praise Jesus over and over with everything in me!  And I don’t normally feel like that, but I could have stayed in that moment forever.  

I invited them to come to church, and asked the man where he was from.  He was from Venezuela. In all the excitement I forgot to ask him his name.  I didn’t even get to find out the details of his injury.  Hopefully he will get in touch!!

After that experience I felt so bold and asked lots of people if they would like prayer for anything.   I prayed for a maintenance man I met at the seminary campus as I was on my way home who’s knee had been injured, he was wearing a brace.  He told me the pain totally left!  I saw him again a week later and he confirmed that it had been totally fine since I prayed.  His name is Fred.  I have prayed for others over the months since then as well.  Yesterday at the bus stop I prayed for a girl who had injured her toe, and she said her pain went from 7 to zero!

As I have asked the Lord what he wants me to do with this, I have felt that it’s important for me to tell others my experience.  Firstly, because if God has done something I feel responsible to tell what happened.  Not to toot my own horn but because others may be unaware, as I was, that Jesus is still healing today.  Although I had prayed for people in the past and certainly thought God can do anything, I had never seen or expected anyone to be instantly healed before so this was a major revelation to me. 

While it’s true that our ultimate need is salvation, and that healing only fills a temporary physical need, it does much more than that.  Healing says something much louder than we can put into words.  The Venezuelan man was not crying for joy because he wouldn’t have to wear a brace anymore.  When God heals it shows us in a tangible way that he loves us, that he is our friend.  It shows God’s power and it validates the message that Jesus is who he says he is.  Jesus told his disciples that if they couldn’t believe based on his words, they should at least “believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves” (John 14:11).  So miracles do serve a purpose.  Healing also goes hand in hand with the gospel message because it demonstrates how simple it is to be saved - just as we receive healing as a gift through prayer, salvation is simply receiving God’s gift of forgiveness. 

Finally, I want to share my experience to encourage other believers to go out and give it a try! Peter and John said, after healing the lame man, it is not “by our own power or godliness... but by faith in the name of Jesus” that he was healed (Acts 3:12).  You don’t have to have it all together as a Christian before you can be qualified.  You have everything you need inside of you by the Holy Spirit.  You don’t even have to have a whole lot of faith, a mustard seed sized faith will do!  The only reason the man’s leg was healed that day is because I went out and prayed.  

Jesus still heals today, and people are longing to see that he is real.  Let’s go out and show them! 

 Me and Fred

Me and Fred

Thoughts on Church Budgets

Note: I used to keep track of the advice that I would get from time to time from older pastors concerning church budgets.  I’ve listed them in no particular order. I haven’t looked at it in years and now that I do it looks a bit depressing, but it's advice given through the school of hard knocks.

  • Church budget usually don’t change much, other than simply pumping more or less cash into old things. 
  • When a church starts dying, no one notices until the giving starts going down. The typical response is to start making cuts, which usually ends up being across-the-board cuts.
  • Budgets are predictable, but what churches often fail to grapple with are items that have diminishing returns and are riding off its former reputation. They are usually backed by a handful of supporters that are no longer relevant or connected to people in the church. Supporters will often try to argue that it is a communication problem or that people just don’t know about it or if people don’t connect then they are seen as deficient. It is always hard to admit that what used to be a thriving part of the church is simply no longer relevant.
  • Budget problems are never really about cash. The cash flow or budget is simply one indicator of the health of a church, usually an indicator of something that should have already changed. 
  • A healthy church is one that is growing and changing. Growing doesn’t always mean in size.  There are lots of ways to think of growth, but whatever the growth is the budget need to reflect it. Some other possible factors are the Gospel going out, people saved, lives changed, leaders coming in and going out, and churches being planted. When something starts to produce fruit or growth, always invest, invest, and invest as much of the reserved capital as possible. This is your window of opportunity
  • A budget is only one reflection of the church and it should never be the only factor in a decision.
  • How to evaluate a budget is seen in Matthew 11:4-6. The key is that the focus should be on lives that are being changed and the best indicator of that is people outside the established religious society that are receiving help.
  • When a budget is growing because a high percentage of people in the church are giving, it usually means that the church is in decline and heading for problems.
  • When the budget is growing but attendance remains the same all it means is that people are getting older and incomes and increasing. The church is more than likely becoming less and less relevant.  When this happens churches will often start to stockpile cash and the money it does spend is on broken ideas and ministries.
  • When a church has a low percentage of givers with new people coming in, this is a sign of a healthy church. It’s good news, be patient, and invest in the new people. Isolate old stuff and don’t let more money be put into them, instead steadily transition cash and resources to the things that the new people are connecting to. As they connect, get training, become leaders, as they grow, they will start giving.
  • When a church starts to grow people that have been giving often think of it as a time for them to cash in on all their years of giving. They will want new people to conform to their stuff and try and hold people hostage to their pet programs.
  • People often see missions, church planting, and community service as giving without seeing a return. The return is a spiritual one that changes the way a church looks to people.
  • Jesus explains how to move things forward in Luke 13:6-9. Give ideas a chance, then let go of them if they don’t produce. Isolate things that need to be cut off, don’t make announcements about it, don’t say anything about it, don’t waste time on it, just let it die (Matthew 13:24-30).
  • Make sure to include new people in the budget as they start leading. Make sure that the budget enables them to grow.
  • Don’t allow a budget to just maintain. Create space for research and development. Put tight financial restraints on old stuff, and relax a bit on R&D because this is your investment in the future.
  • You may need to have years where you use up capital, some years more than others. R&D is risky, some things work some fall flat.
  • People that don’t want change tend to focus on the failures to make a case for clampdown on the finances.  As you find stuff that works transition from old to new.

 

How to BBQ for 80 People

Menu

Baby Back Ribs
Chicken
Corn on the Cob
Potato Salad
BBQ Beans

Sliced Bread
BBQ Sauce
Butter Chips
Dessert
Lemonade

Ingredients and Tools

Purchase:
16 racks of Baby Back Ribs
12 Whole Chickens
40 Links of Sausage
80 quarter pieces of Corn on the Cob
80 servings of Potato Salad
80 servings BBQ Beans
12 Loaves of Bread
80 Butter Chips
4 sticks of Butter
60 servings of Dessert
8 gallons of Lemonade
3 gallons of BBQ Sauce
1 gallon of apple vinegar
Cajon Spice
Paprika
Salt
Brown Sugar
Pure Maple Syrup
Bacon bits or slices
Large and Medium Tins
Large and small tin foil
Plates
Napkin wipes
2 large bags of Wood Coals
Fire starters
Fire sticks
3 thermometers

20.jpg

Bring:
Crockpot
Serving spoons
Cutting boards
Knives and cleavers
Sharpener
2 Large pots
Apron
Large and Medium Ice Chests

Preparation

Night before:

  • Set up tables and chairs
  • Set up serving table with plates and utensils
  • Set up Chaffing dishes
  • Vinegar and Cajon spice Ribs
  • Cut chickens in half and spice with Cajon and Paprika
  • Mix up beans and put in tins with tin foil on top
  • Slice bread in half diagonally
  • Butter and salt corn and wrap in tin foil

Day of:

07:00am – Set up BBQs with canopies, Light coals
07:30am – Beans Ribs on bottom, ribs on second, chicken on top
08:30am – Mix up BBQ sauce on stove, heat to a boil then turn off and cover
09:30am – New coals, rotated food, add sausage to top
10:10am – Pre heat oven
10:30am – Corn in Oven
10:45am – Boil water for chaffing dishes
10:50am – Put BBQ sauce in Crockpot leaving the rest simmering on stove
11:00am – Take out chicken and ribs and put in ice chest
11:10am – Mix up lemonade w/o Ice
11:15am – Put boiling water in chaffing dishes and light sterno
11:25am – Put beans and corn in chaffing dishes
11:30am – Put ice in Lemonade
11:35am – Put out butter chips and potato salad in ice
11:40am – Put out sliced bread
11:45am – Start cutting up ribs and chicken and putting in chaffing dishes
12:00pm – Serve food
12:30pm – Condense serving tables to one and put out desserts on the fresh one
01:00pm – Start clean up