Today during worship ( at Antioch Fellowship, Sedalia Mo) the Spirit was moving and the Kingdom was breaking through in a remarkable way with many participating both in Word and deed.
One brother, who called out a word of knowledge for healing backs and prayed for those who came forth, admitted that he had been discouraged with healing since he had not been healed and somewhat jealous when others were but had a clear word from the Lord that he should pray for others with the same problem and did in power. Praise God.
The Spirit reminded me of what we had experienced at my former long time church in California. We learned the hard way that preconceived notions and ‘theologies’ about healing usually got in the way and produced less healing since they in fact limited the ways and conditions under which God could move in our midst. The result was discouragement and less faith in healing among believers. After all, if you go through all of the prescribed actions and declarations and yet do not get healed you begin to wonder ‘what is wrong with me’ and you ask ‘why Lord were those others healed instead.’
I believe that one of the keys to having more healing in our churches is to foster a genuine atmosphere of thankfulness for every blessing the Lord does give us no matter how small and keep on keeping on. When others are blessed and healed, believers need to celebrate and see this as a sign and a demonstration that the door may now be open for them to receive their own healing and blessings. Testimonies play a vital part in this process by raising faith and expectation. First of all, healing is not a ‘zero-sum game.’ Our God is infinite in power and love for all the children in his family.
It reminds me of something we put into practice concerning healing at Vineyard Laguna Niguel in California several years ago after which healing among our people increased exponentially. First of all, a regular time was set apart for words of knowledge and healing during every service. Then testimonies of healing and miraculous blessings were also featured. Soon we discovered that certain illnesses were being healed time and again in our church. It was like a ‘beach head’ had been established against certain maladies. We started calling these- ‘Gracelines’ since a whole line of folks had been healed of the same thing. The following is an article that I wrote 2 years ago about what we experienced at the time and came to call ‘Gracelines’:
Last year was an extraordinary year at Vineyard Community Church Laguna Niguel and 2013 seems to be even more so. ‘More’ is the key word. The church is experiencing the Kingdom breaking through in a number of different ways especially in healings and miracles.
One thing that we have decided to do in the last several years is to continue to pray for healing until proven otherwise –death proving the otherwise. Some of our congregation have finally received remarkable healings after years of prayer with no results. This has encouraged us to keep on keeping on.
Along the way we are also learning to rejoice and celebrate even minor victories when God brings any kind of relief or partial healing. Some Christians seem to find partial healings to be somewhat controversial nevertheless we are dedicated to always celebrate what ever God gives us. Yet we also continue to pray for even greater blessings.
The most important change for us came when we began to notice that healings or miracles in one area seemed to open to door and dial up the faith for others to receive similar blessings. We started calling these ‘Gracelines’ since a whole line of similar healings, miracles, and testimonies have followed.
For 5 years or more our church had become a ‘migraine free’ zone where a large number of people in our congregation who used to suffer from severe reoccurring migraine headaches had received substantial healing. Doesn’t sound like much unless you are plagued and occasionally disabled by that malady.
Then this last year one of the key leaders in our healing rooms ministry received a remarkable healing of his eyesight in one eye which had severely degenerated. Then later he and others had prayed for a lady who was legally blind and her sight impossibly began to increase over a week or so until she could actually read again. More remarkable healings in eyesight have followed and continues to this day. In my own case, I had one eye with distorted vision. When I looked upon a straight line or board with my one eye it would look crooked to me with a jagged line in the center but after prayer one day in church that went away. Still need glasses but at my age I am truly thankful for the blessing of better eyesight.
Then another brother who had continual pain in his shoulder for 5 years was healed and it has opened to door to many others with shoulder trouble and severe pain to be healed. The testimonies are still coming in on that one. Then there was another with knee problems with similar results and breakthroughs.
Another Graceline opened when a pastor’s wife testified that she had lost a necklace that was really dear to her and prayed for its return for several days. Then one morning it just appeared around her neck. I know that is a strange one for many and I have no theological explanation for it (nor do I want too) but it has opened a door for others to pray for lost things with amazing results. Many have received dreams or visions of the location of what they had lost after prayer.
On one occasion I could not find my keys after looking everywhere I could think of for 30 minutes or so. Finally time was up and I really needed to get going to work. Usually at that point in the equation I would have been fuming and yelling at my dear wife and blaming her for moving them but then I remembered a couple of the Graceline testimonies and turned to prayer instead and immediately had a picture of myself working in the garage the evening before and found my keys right where I left them on the work table. All this may sound trivial to some but believe me my wife is even more thankful for this blessing than I am.
Then there was a couple early last year who are worship leaders/musicians who testified that they had prayed for money to pay their rent and while driving down I5 Freeway money rained down on their windshield and when they pulled over and picked it up they found that it was just enough to pay the rent with $10 left over which they gave to a homeless person the next day. Then after that another lady testified that when she went to buy a car, the vehicle she really needed was several thousand more than she knew she really had but the Lord told her to buy it anyway and when she handed over the cash she had in an envelope it somehow had multiplied and was exactly enough to complete the sale. This not only opened a door but a deluge has followed with new testimonies nearly every week.
We have started to call these- ‘mail box miracles’ since so many of the testimonies that followed have revolved around folks receiving needed prayed for unexpected money in the mail. In these dire economic times, many in our church are living from week to week trusting in God like never before to bring what is needed to support their families. One week I was a couple hundred dollars short of the expense money I needed for an out of town business trip. I had prayed for help in that area but still was completely surprised when I received a $200 check in the mail from a Christian contractor I had used for referring him to a neighbor across the street for a job. Amazing.
We have a lot of business owners in our congregation and these have been particularly tough times for small businesses but God has been faithful through it all. I will save that for another post. But another door which has been particularly significant is the ‘job’ Graceline. So many of our folks had lost jobs in this economy or lost business that we started to actually take time on Sunday morning to pray for those who needed new jobs or business with remarkable results. While the jobless rate in our county is still above 10% nearly everyone in our congregation is now working and paying their bills.
Bottom line- this is not revival but it is better than we have ever seen before and I have already posted about the even more remarkable things happening in our outreach ministries. But there is nothing happening here that isn’t happening or can’t happen elsewhere. It is just now happening more often. It is a matter of our faith and expectations being dialed up and increased exponentially in certain areas in response to the testimonies and experiences of other brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our understanding of ‘Gracelines’ is that when you take the time to acknowledge and rejoice in what God is doing he seems to open up the door to The Kingdom breaking through even more in the same areas. We have also found that including testimonies in our regular Sunday services has encouraged our people to live by faith and include God in their everyday living. Blessings have followed, miracles and healings have increased, Gracelines have continued, and our faith, expectations, and thankfulness have gone to another level.