It feels like Christmas Break happened many years ago… when in reality it was only two months ago. I just can’t believe how busy we’ve been since classes started again on Tuesday, 3 rd of January 2017. It feels like I have to go far back into my memory and retrace the steps of what has happened the last couple of weeks. But as always, I’ll try my best.
NEW YEAR’S DAY
2017 started off with a bang. A musical bang! My wonderful friend Kathi – also a fellow BSSM 1st Year Student from Australia – invited me to join her on a trip to Sacramento on New Year’s Day. Sacramento is about 4 hours’ drive, and it is the home of Jesus Culture, the powerful band that birthed songs like Fierce and Rooftops.
Not only did we visit this town, we also attended Jesus Culture’s very own church. Shawn Bolz was the guest speaker for that service, and he said something that really stuck with me:
‘When we decide to live from a place of love, we will no longer be at war with the world.’
Of course, the one and only Jesus Culture band did the worship. What a way to start off 2017! I still have my moments where I have to pinch myself to believe that I really am in the United State s of America. Am I really in Redding, California? Am I really at Bethel Church, where Bethel Music is established? Am I really a BSSM student? Have I really watched live performances by Steffany Gretzinger, Kristene DiMarco and Kim Walker-Smith? Listened to sermons by Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker and Kris Vallotton? I regularly have my moments where everything feels so surreal, like I’m in a dream which I will soon wake up from. But that’s America for you – a place where dreams come true (no pun intended).
SCHOOL OF HEALING CONFERENCE
By the third week of January, the anticipation and excitement were high in the air. Benny Hinn, Randy Clark and Bill Johnson were the guest speakers for that week. And what a week it turned out to be!
Three things that stood out for me the most during that week was the following:
1. How powerful testimonies are and the atmosphere it creates.
‘The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ How true is this Scripture verse from Revelation 19:10. The entire week was filled with testimonies and stories of miraculous healings and restoration. The more testimonies and stories were shared, the higher the electricity was in the atmosphere. And the higher the electricity became in the atmosphere, the higher the faith rose up in the hearts of the people. I had never seen anything like this before and I was truly astounded. It made me so excited for what God still wants to do on this earth.
2. The difference between healing and creative miracles.
Right at the start, on the first day of school, Bill Johnson prayed for people with hearing problems. There were students with partial hearing loss that had their hearing restored instantly. Their ears just ‘popped open.’ This was only the start of ears being healed. But nothing would happen to me. And then Randy Clark came and spoke about the difference between a healing and a creative miracle. Healing is something that was damaged, being restored to health. A creative miracle, however, is different. It is something that has been completely lost or completely destroyed, that needs to be recreated. It is like an arm being cut off. You cannot pray for healing for the arm, because the arm is no longer there. What you need is a creative miracle, of something that needs to be made from scratch. And it takes a true miracle for that to happen. When I first heard this term ‘creative miracle’ – that’s when a light went on in my head. We had been praying for my healing all these years, when in fact we should’ve been praying for a creative miracle! My ears cannot simply ‘pop open’ – there is nothing that can be popped open. New ears have to be given to me, and that will take a creative miracle. It doesn’t happen as often as a healing, but it does happen. On the last night of the conference, one of the leaders had a word of knowledge for me and she prayed for my ears for over 60 minutes. Nobody has ever done that for me before. She was persistent, and she kept going. Yet she stayed respectful towards me and my feelings. I took off my hearing aids while she was praying. There was another guy praying with her as well, and he started clapping his hands. And I heard it – without my hearing aids! It was very faint, but I could definitely hear it. After a while he also started snapping his fingers and I heard that as well! And then after a while I could hear faint music. Turns out, there was music playing very softly in the background! All this happened within that hour that she was praying for me. I went home with renewed faith in my own healing and restoration. Even though my hearing has not yet been restored completely, I hold on to the fact that I still had a major breakthrough. Something had happened to my ears that had never before happened to me. It was the most amazing week ever and I learnt so much about God’s heart regarding healing and restoration.
3. Disappointment is part of our walk with God.
I feel like disappointment has been a huge part of my life. I have had so many unanswered questions and issues There has been times in my life where I just felt like my relationship with God wasn’t worth pursuing any further. What I took away the most from this week was how the leaders spoke about how they handle disappointment in life. Something shifted inside of me, and my concept about the whole thing was transformed completely. I am truly grateful that these leaders were so honest and vulnerable about their process with God and disappointment. I feel as if a cloud of doubt has been removed, and I can finally see clearly again. Here are some of my notes on what Randy & Bill shared:
Randy Clark: ‘More people will get healed when more people pray for healing. A lot of people who believe in healing but don’t pray for the sick, they are the people who are not willing to pay the price. The price is emotional suffering. The question is: Are you willing to carry the cross? The cross of when you don’t understand why the healing didn’t happen? When it doesn’t happen, there is the disappointed heart. You want to quit because you feel the pain. This is the price tag. The same applies to churches. When a church is willing to carry the disappointments that comes with people not being healed, that is when they will start praying for people and people will get healed. Jesus didn’t say: When you understand, follow Me.’ He simply said: ‘Follow Me.’
Bill Johnson: ‘Unresolved disappointment cripples the faith of a believer more than anything else. Disappointment is rooted in unbelief. ‘I trust Him more than I understand Him’ is the attitude we should have. When you get offended, release it to a God you trust. You don’t have to understand it. Real faith doesn’t come from striving; it comes from surrendering. Don’t hold God hostage to the questions. Feed yourself on what He is doing and what He has done. Save the questions for the secret place. In that secret place you surrender the questions. Keep your prophecies and promises in your heart. Remind yourself of it constantly.’
GOD’S WILL VS MY DESTINY
Before I came to BSSM last year, I felt a significant shift in my relationship with the Lord. For a long time I had had the mentality of being in a ‘slave and master’ relationship, which is not entirely a bad thing. Obedience to God was my main focus. Whatever He wanted me to do, I would do it with all my heart.
But when I was making the decision to come to BSSM, I felt that God was asking ME what I wanted to do. It was no longer a ‘slave and master’ relationship; it was now a ‘friend-to-friend’ relationship, a partnership.
Eric Johnson (Bill Johnson’s son) did a talk on this the 1st of February. It was truly amazing to get some clarity and answers on questions that I’ve had for the longest time. He spoke about the difference between God’s will for our lives and our destiny, also on how our relationship with God can shift from a slave-to-master relationship to being a servant-master, and ultimately to a beautiful friendship. Here are some of the notes I took that day:
‘You cannot be a good friend if you don’t know how to be a slave. Being a slave prepares you to be a good friend. You don’t want to get to the end of your life and say: God, I did everything you told me to. You want to say: God, you gave me this and this is what I did with it. Trust the process and be thankful.’
God has also been having a continuous conversation with me about what I want to do with my life, where I want to go and what are the exact desires of my heart. This is all very surprising to me and quite new and refreshing. It feels like I have moved to a new height in my relationship with Him. It no longer feels like I’m ‘trapped’ or in a cage where I have to do what is told to me. I now have a choice. And whatever it is that I want to do, God is excited with me and He wants to do it with me. Just like a real friendship.
ONLY NINE WEEKS LEFT!
In-between all these dramatic events I have also managed to do the following: I got a nose stud (something I’ve wanted to do for over 7 years), I dyed my hair back to my natural color (light ash brown), spring finally is here (after months of pouring rain), and I moved out of Simpson University into a gorgeous apartment at River Knolls with Kathi.
There are only 9 weeks left of school.
One of those weeks will be spent in Santa Barbara, where I’ll do my Missions Trip.
I am truly excited to finish BSSM 1st Year with a bang and I can’t wait for my parents to come for my Graduation in May! Till next time, when I write to you guys again. Thank you so much for contributing in your own ways! Be blessed!