I’ve been wanting to write something about this matter on my heart, for the past three weeks.
Most people wouldn’t know this. Not because I haven’t been vulnerable nor shared my heart with anybody. It is far from that. In fact, I am a firm believer in being vulnerable and being quick to share the matters of what’s going on in our hearts, first with the Lord and with others.
However, most people who aren’t close with me, nor walking with me in an intimate way, wouldn’t know that in the past two and a half weeks, there’s been six people around our church family and ministry that have suddenly passed away. It seems that sudden-lies are surrounding us big time; and even sudden deaths. But how will we respond?
Paul says that death has been swallowed up in victory, by the death and resurrection of Jesus. There is no death for those who are in Christ Jesus. We are only passing into surpassing glory.
In midst of all that’s been going on in my own personal life and ministry, here I get sudden calls, reports, and requests for prayer and help, because family members are spontaneously passing away. But who is this shocking to? Is God shaken by this? Is God taken aback by this news that seems to abruptly interfere with life? Is there even a God? If God is real and if He’s the One who raises the dead to life, then why not in these six cases and instances? Why do innocent people, men, women, and children starve to death, die of disease, and get raped and killed, when they supposedly did no wrong? Why?
I myself have witnessed two children in Tijuana, Mexico, who were pronounced dead and breathless, come back to life, with breathe in their lungs! Two children who were pronounced dead and breathless by the hospital, after minutes of prayer, were proclaimed to have beating hearts once again! This is real! Jesus is alive; not just in Mexico a third-world country, but in America, and every Euro, Western, modernized, first-world nation! Jesus is alive!
So then, why not in these cases? Why not in these six people who just passed away in the past two plus weeks?
Jan Crouch, Founder of TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Networks) also passed away this week.
Why is this happening? Are there sovereign signs in the midst of these happenings?
Death is a real thing, but life is even more absolute. Death is obsolete and is fading, while life is everlasting. Death doesn’t even exist in our Christian faith, while life in abundance is the realm we’re living in.
But really though, why? Why did this happen? Twice already, in two weeks, I am woken up by a call at around 4:00 A.M. in the morning. Two different people; two different scenarios.
Is this fair? Is this even happening? Why am I pastor? Why do I preach and believe in the things that I do? These are all hard questions to ask, but they are real. I have found that it is absolutely necessary to feel the freedom in asking the tough, the raw, and even the questions that seem to sound stupid. There’s healing in the asking; there is a release that comes when we feel released to be able to freely ask.
It was around 4:00 A.M., when I get woken up by my friend Manny. He was crying desperately on the phone, saying that Daisy, his church’s worship leader and her mother, was ran into by a speeding truck. Daisy had just returned from an amazing time in her routine mission trip to Baja Mexico. Her mother picked her up and was en route to driving back to their home. As they had a flat tire, they pulled over on the shoulder, waiting in their car.
Suddenly, a white truck rams in the back of them, and the collision was so strong, that they were both pronounced dead.
How can this be? Right after a missions trip to Tijuana, that she is taken from this earth, just like that? Is this a bad thing happening to a good person? Is this a bad thing happening to a God-fearing family who serves the Lord with all that they had? What’s going on? This can’t be!
Here I am, having a great time with friends and new friends, at the Bethel Music’s conference in LA, Heaven Come. It was a miracle and a great grace that I was able to go. I know that this three day conference had made a significant mark on my life. I’ve been struggling financially and the Lord provided me with the great opportunity to attend, be blessed, and to bless others.
We ministered to a man who was paralyzed in a wheel chair, for around 15 years. He wasn’t fully healed, but he said he felt blood flowing down his legs and feet! Come on! He also was able to move his toes and feet a little; which he said was a miracle for him. The girl that was with him also received Jesus.
Right after that, I met a friend from YWAM Los Angeles, and the Lord gave me a word of knowledge about her friend’s hip. She stood up and automatically in the Presence, she was healed. She jumped and danced and was in shock! Especially because it was her birthday! One of our new woman friends who were with us, also got healed instantly in her hips as well. These are just a few testimonies that sprang up during the days of Heaven Come! There’s too much to say!
I love it! Fun things like that where Jesus is so evidently working and moving through people! During this Heaven Come conference, here we have the opportunity to experience and live through what this revelation really means.
And here I am; six people around our church family, passing away, suddenly. I didn’t have the opportunity to lay my hands on any of them and pray. But does that really matter? Does true faith even need to lay physical hands to impart a healing touch from God?
Even as the Centurion spoke of Jesus, “All you have to do is speak the Word and she will be healed.”
Isn’t the Word of God enough? Heaven Come! “Come Lord, Jesus, come! (Revelation 22:20)”
“Let Your Kingdom come, let Your will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven.” (Jesus‘ prayer, Matthew 6:10)
I was reminded of this verse out of Isaiah, “The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.” (Isaiah 57:1-2)
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants.” (Psalm 116:15)
Death is a real thing, but the resurrection power of Jesus is even more real. If we think that this finite lifetime on earth, is final, then you have it all wrong. We know what the end is; which is actually just the beginning for those who are in Christ Jesus.
What does Heaven coming to earth look like? Does it look like an amazing, successful conference where thousands of hungry believers are gathered in an amazing auditorium? Does it look like grieving, yet celebrating the lives of loved ones at a candle light service? Does it look like waking up at 4:00 A.M. in the morning, to hear on the phone, the desperate cries for help and prayer because a loved one has suddenly died? Does it look like a man asking the Lord in his heart, for truth, answers, reassurance and peace in the midst of the trials of life? What does Heaven coming to earth look like?
It looks like all of this my friend. It looks like all of this. Heaven coming to earth is a beautiful mess and it is a beautiful process. It is real and it isn’t always pretty; but He is making all things beautiful, in His time. (Ecclesiates)
I am not content with what I know, what I’ve known or what I’ve seen. I will not stop because there is more. I will not and cannot stop, because life is at stake here. I will not stop, because people matter.
Heaven on earth, is people fully living in Jesus. That’s what Heaven on earth looks like: perfect love; perfect peace; perfect trust; perfection in His Presence, forever, now and forevermore.
Heaven on earth is a broken and contrite heart, that is pressing into the Yes and the Amen in Christ Jesus. Heaven on earth, is the heart that is believing in the more of the Lord and that God is good. God is good.
“Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive our trespasses.
And deliver us from evil and lead us not into temptation.
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.” (Disciple’s Prayer)