For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland — Isaiah 43.19 (New Living Translation)
My faith rose when I saw that Brian Blount (USA) and Rheinhard Rehberg (Germany) both from the Vineyard Ministries were coming to South Africa. I knew that God was on a mission – a mission to bring a simple message of the love of Jesus and to release the supernatural. It was timely, as our identity in South Africa had taken a shift. A nation so ready to receive the love of Jesus, so desperate for the love of the Father and so needy for the comfort of Holy Spirit.
Brian and Rheinhard’s message is: proclaim the love and truth of Jesus, and demonstrate the word of God in your everyday life, in public, and as you go about your business. Notice people, strike up a conversation and listen to people — and release the love of Jesus. Do it in coffee shops, supermarkets, your places of work, your schools and universities — just everywhere.
Blount said one should be observant. If a person has an obvious aliment like a limp, then stop them, introduce yourself with a smile, tell them you love Jesus and ask them how bad the pain is. Perhaps use a gauge measurement like 1 to 10, then ask them if you can pray for them. Keeping the prayer very short, tell the pain or sickness to go in Jesus name. Remember that Jesus came to heal. Jesus really wants to love and heal people. It’s really so simple.
Then ask the person how their pain level is after the prayer. You will be astonished how many people will be healed. It does mean taking a risk says Brian, and being prepared to be present and take time. But it’s so worth it. You will encounter the Lord doing the most wonderful things. He went on to say that encouraging prophetic words would just be a part of what you would be doing, just being supernaturally natural.
Just do it!
When it comes to the question of feeling you have to be in top gear for “out of church ministry’”, Ephesians 2:10 has the answer — For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
God has already prepared the works He has for us, and He did it with the purpose that we walk in them. Therefore it is not us that prepare the good works but God that has already prepared them for us. We however need to walk in them — that is, to do them. Something else very important: when we believed in our heart in the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection we were born again and became new creatures.
As 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us — if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Though we were not saved by good works, being new creatures, we were created (made) for the good works that God prepared for us.
The same principle applies, for example, to a car that was made (created) for travelling, or a cell phone that was made (created) for communication. In other words, God, by telling us that we “were created for (made for) good works that He has already prepared for us”, is saying that He made us fully able to do those good works He created us for. It is in the DNA of our new nature to do the good works He has prepared for us.
Doing these good works is natural to us, to our new nature, because we were created for them. In contrast, not walking in these works would be like not doing what we were created for. It would be like having a cell phone that makes no phone calls. Our life’s purpose is found in sharing the very life of Christ with everyone we meet.
A new season
Rehberg felt that we were entering into a season like Jacob finally did. From being a deceiver to one who runs after the Father for His blessings.
My heart skipped a beat — we have and are fighting against the spirit of deception. The name Jacob stirs so much emotion in the hearts of so many for different reasons.
For South Africa to break the spirit of deception and to walk in truth and honesty is a victory beyond any reward. Suspicion and deception have reigned in our politics, in education, in finance, business and sport. We have cast suspicion on each other’s characters by words spoken and words unspoken. By contracts signed and contracts broken.
Jacob of the Bible was a deceiver who was also wary of others who might be trying to deceive him. Here we see that the mind of those who plot to deceive is always suspicious of the motives of others, and can never fully be at rest. Perhaps it even invades our church situations, where we cast suspicion on each other’s motives and fail to see each other as Christ sees us — sons and daughters of the King. We desperate need to know our Father and walk in the full blessings He has for us.
I thought it was very important for us to briefly look at the life of Jacob and how his life changed from being a deceiver to one of being a blessing and living a life of grace.
Jacob is a troubling character in the Old Testament. He is conniving and yet he is spiritual too. He has moments of strong faith as well as of fear. His family is sometimes in disarray, and yet at the end, he is the one who sets it straight. I guess you can say we in South Africa have had times when we have been really strong in faith and then we have fallen into times of fear.
Jacob, whose very name suggests “deceiver” is renamed by God as “Israel” — “one who has struggled with God, or one who is triumphant with God”. And an entire nation is named after this patriarch — the nation of Israel.
When we give our lives to Christ we get a new identity and a new dignity. We are no longer slaves to sin. And it’s a key to this marvellous sharing that Blount spoke about, that we can so freely impart and share from our new nature wherever we go. Our identity is completely changed. We become sons of the one and only highest King – thus making us royalty, and belonging to a family with a Father who will never disappoint us.
Jacob is a bit too much like us — with very human strengths and weaknesses, but a man with a striving for spiritual things. From this imperfect man we learn important lessons of faith. Especially, we learn about God’s grace. In 2 Corinthians 12.9-10 Paul tells us — My grace [meaning Christ’s grace] is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses… for when I am weak, then I am strong. We often have to wrestle so deeply to discover our spiritual strength.
The events described in Jacob’s story make up most of Genesis chapters 25-49. If you haven’t read the Old Testament much, you’ll be pleased to find that God can speak to you here — loud and clear. The culture is vastly different from ours, but you’ll quickly learn that the people and their problems haven’t changed much. The story of Jacob is a great opportunity to learn important lessons about ourselves and our God.
The Church today has a wonderful role to play in restoring dignity and identity to fellow South Africans. It’s in our desperate wrestle to be blessed by Our Father that we will meet one another.
Listen to Kate Fitz-Gibbon’s interview with Reinhard Rehberg and Brian Blount