Zion and I have been in Florida for two days. We leave Sunday morning. We've had a ton of fun. He is a riotous (and righteous) child.
We've stayed with Steve and Janie Sjogren. I've already caught a couple of zingers from Steve that I'll need to unpack in the prayer room and apply directly to my head and heart. Of course, they were delivered while the tv was on, he was listening to internet radio and surfing the web at the same time, so my guess is he has no clue how profound they were, but he has surprised me before, so who knows.
Of course, we didn't come down just to see Sjogrens, although that would have been well worth it. We came to visit the Lakeland healing meetings with Todd Bentley. To be clear, any of my comments and views are my own and not necessarily reflective of the International House of Prayer, TheCall, any of the three or four organizations that I serve on the board of, the NAACP, AARP or Society for Wallpaper Hangers Local 24231. These are my own observations, based on two services, viewed through a discerning yet sometimes clouded eye.
There are a ton of hungry people.
Crowds on Thurs and Fri nights were in the 5,000 to 5,500 ranged. There were people from all over the world, including Finland, Uganda, and Texas. Not many Asians, but a lot of Europeans. Not bad for the 50-somethingeth night.
There are a ton of strange people.
As I twittered earlier, the convention center was hosting both the revival and a square dancing competition. It was not always possible to differentiate between the clientèle of the two events. I think the most eye catching was a woman in battle fatigues and boots, and a woman who had glued sequins all over her sweatpants, sweatshirt, and flip flops. Zion announced "Look - she bedazzled her clothes!" It is only fair to point on that you cannot control who comes to your meetings, nor would you want to, and there is very little in the way of flashing clothing on the platform. Jeans, black jackets and tattoos are the dress code it seems.
This is mostly God.
In addition to seeing two people tonight who I knew get healed in an undeniable way, I saw a parade of strangers with the same report. Were they all healed? I don't know, but I believe a lot of them were. If I had to put a number on it, I'd call this 70 percent God, 30 percent man, which beats my personal record by 20 percent. Yes, there is goofiness and humanity (perhaps that's redundant) but there is also a touch of the divine on it that I don't want to miss. Also, yesterday was Bentley's anniversary so he left the service to another guy who did a really good job, and his absence did not seem to make much of a difference.
Not all people are getting healed.
I watched a husband and wife wheel their daughter into the auditorium tonight. I'd guess the girl to be in her late 20's. I specifically noticed her because she looked like a former assistant of mine. This was a very professional looking family. The daughter wanted to be wheeled up right in front of the stage. I was gripped by this girl's plea and actually sat in tears praying for her. I hate to report that they wheeled her out when it was over.
There's more going on than you see.
In addition to a 10am teaching meeting every day, there are groups doing evangelism projects as well. There's way more going on than what you see on the God.tv stream.
Tonight's service closed with them praying for leaders. They sent us out to the hallways and lined us up, where Todd Bentley and his associates walked down the line praying for us. It was not a demonstrative prayer, not the FIRE! that many of us grew accustom to hearing in other revival days. Nevertheless, on either side of us, it looked like a bomb went off with people flying every which direction. When the dust and intercession cleared, Zi and I were the only ones standing. That said, we weren't pushed either, so I presume none of the others were.
God's at work here. Do I put my seal of Good Housekeeping on everything I see? Well, no one has asked me for that...so I see no point in passing judgement. I do know that I have more faith than before to believe in the miracle working power of God. I'd call that a good thing no matter the package it came delivered in.