March 4, 2018
Abby Branch is an amazing writer and has done a fantastic job of describing what we did in class for the month of February. ENJOY!
The last month has been full of wonderment, joy, challenge, and growth. So full in fact, that I don’t even know how to put it into words. The picture shows how many pages of my notebook I’ve filled up with notes from class and journal entries from February 1st to March 1st.
This month we had five different guest speakers come to teach at the Crossroads school, and as a result, my mind has been stretched to irrecoverable proportions! Here’s a glimpse through the last month in the Crossroads tent:
Dan Bauman shared his story of friendship with Jesus and passion for Him in the midst of being imprisoned in Iran for six weeks, and in his miraculous recovery from falling off a cliff to his near-death on the Na Pali Coast of Hawaii. His mother, Gunilla, then shared her testimony of living a lifestyle of thankfulness and rejoicing in all things, including praying that God would not release her son (Dan) from prison in Iran until the Lord’s purposes for him there were finished.
The following week, Peter Tsukahira, an Asian-American and now Israeli citizen who pastors a church of Messianic Jews in Israel, turned my worldview on its head as he explained how the wave of the gospel continues to spread Westward across the globe since Paul first took the gospel to Macedonia. He also spoke about the lawfulness of God, about works and grace, and about how God’s promises to Israel have stood throughout time and are in the process of being fulfilled today as a glorious example of God’s character. One of my favorite parts of Peter’s teaching was about how to discover God’s calling on your life. He said that God designs each person with an idea and dream in mind for their life, and that when we approach God to talk to him about our calling, we should come with a gift in our hands. That gift is our “yes” to whatever God speaks to us – our choice of obedience to do whatever he calls us to do, even if it starts off as seemingly small as, “Go talk to and be friends with the old lady who lives alone.” All of this was framed within the context of where we currently are in the fulfillment of the conditions for Christ’s return: the gospel being preached in all nations, and Israel as a nation welcoming Christ back as Messiah.
After Peter, a man named Gord Whyte came with a powerful mantel of Holy Spirit anointing and healing to teach us about the gifts of the spirit, and to help us experience this aspect of God for ourselves. One day, Gord taught about healing and gave students an opportunity to pray for healing for each other in Jesus’ name. We saw some amazing healings happen! Jesus healed my friend Laura by growing out one of her arms to match the length of her other arm, taking away all the tension and pain in her neck, and restoring feeling to one of her knees. This is the first creative miracle I’ve ever witnessed first-hand, and it was incredible to see God’s power at work in this way.
Finally, the absolute most mind-stretching and powerful set of teachings I’ve heard since coming to Kona was by Dave Bryan and his team of leaders from the Glad Tidings church in Yuba City, California. Dave taught one week on spiritual warfare and deliverance, painting a vivid picture of the reality that satan, who is called “diabolos” in the New Testament (a word which means to “throw-through” and gives the implication that his main device against us is “thought-throwing” to entangle us in lies) can hold considerable influence in the lives of Christians, based on how much of a place we give him in or lives through both ignorance and sin. Thankfully, he also taught us that the power of Christ in us is much much MUCH greater, and showed us how we can defeat the enemy through repenting, renouncing, and rebuking the devil, and standing in our authority in Christ and applying continuous force until he flees from us. He shared some mind-blowing stories about his experience with confronting the extreme darkness of witchcraft and satanism in his area of California, and setting people free from demonic oppression in Jesus’ name.
Dave also brought a team of leaders from his church to provide one-to-one ministry for the Crossroads students, and I was blessed to have a couple of appointments in which the work of the enemy in my own life was exposed, and I experienced freedom in a significant and tangible way. Message me if you’re interested in hearing more of this part of my testimony and I would be happy to share.
Last week, Dave further stretched our minds with an epic teaching about the mystery of what God has planned for mankind since before the foundations of the earth. This mystery is explained in Paul’s New Testament letter to the Ephesians, and the main point is that God’s plan for mankind is to share his glory with mature sons and daughters who will rule over ALL created things, in heaven and on earth, for all eternity. The purpose then for our lives on earth is for us to grow up into mature (huios, in Greek) sons and daughters who will be fit to reign with Christ for eternity and share in his inheritance.
Phew! That just touches briefly on everything that has been going on in the Crossroads tent over the past month, and truly just scratches the surface of what God is doing in my life here. But I hope it gives you at least a taste of the beauty and glory of God and his great love and plans for each of us and for the world we live in. I’ve included links to the ministry or personal website of each of the speakers above, in case you’re interested in checking out more of their material for yourself.