Archive for August, 2010

August 20, 2010

No more pain in the neck! (Karen)

This is from Karen a few weeks ago…Thanks Karen!

Hello Everyone,

Some of you know I went to a leadership conference (recently) in Atlanta with a group from my church.  It was a great time & God did some awesome things while we were there.

I just wanted to let you know that on Wed night a few of my friends prayed for my neck & it was healed!  Six years ago my brothers and I were in a car accident and I got whiplash.  I’ve had pain on and off in my neck ever since.  I’ve gone to the chiropractor and gotten massages, but the pain comes back.  It’s amazing that I have had NO pain in my neck since Wed & I can move it around without any stiffness.  Praise Jesus!! 🙂

Also,  on our way back to Chicago some of us prayed for this guy Scott to have his neck healed (he’s had some major nerve pinching, etc).  Afterwords  said it was weird because his neck didn’t hurt as much, and we saw him taking off his neck brace as he walked away down the street.  We’re praying that his neck is healed completely.

Praise God!  He is good and heals!! 🙂

Karen

August 19, 2010

Freedom and Authority (Rob)

Here is a testimony from Rob, a pastor at Missio Dei, after some friends prayed with him over sickness he was experiencing.  It’s a pretty amazing story of things happening supernaturally as they prayed. If you have questions about any of this or are unfamiliar with God working in this way and would like to discuss it, feel free to email me. Thanks for passing this on to us, Rob!

Meanwhile, check out some sweet testimonies from semi-famous to famous people over at www.iamsecond.com. Amazing to hear how God reveals himself to people no matter their status. I especially loved Stephen Baldwin’s story about his housekeeper prophesying to his wife.  Augusta, I want to be just like you!

Rob’s testimony:

“Steve and two of the guys prayed over my illness.  It was pretty amazing.  The one saw a snake constricting me about the neck and chest and abdomen – representing spiritual oppression.  Another saw strings dangling from my back, pointing toward generational sin.  Together, they saw a curse upon me, and my blood – which we think was put on me in a then-crazy incident in Africa. They saw that my heart was physically tired from the cursed blood, that my spleen was enlarged and that my liver wasn’t functioning properly.  So they prayed to break the oppression.  One man shook violently as they laid hands on me.  I felt tingly/warm all over – almost as if I was being held up by something/someone else.  At one point, the one man felt led to pray the presence of God upon me, wrapping his arms around me completely. This went on for about 25 minutes or so… finally I got chills up/down my spine and heard a dark voice say, “I am leaving you…” and “I will be back,” and “you are right to fear me.”  Creepy!  I shared this with the guys, though, and they spoke truth: “that’s a lie” (the fear part).  In any case, I felt lighter, clearer, at peace.  Although I did leave wondering a little “what happened?!”

Within the next 12 hours, I started to believe that I’ve been healed.  Not because of outward stuff, but more of an inner peace.  Steve had prayed “authority” over me, not only in ministry, but over my home. That morning, I actually boldly stepped into that to pray over Aidan, who was not acting like himself. As I prayed, I saw a little gremlin-like dude teasing his ears, head, etc.  so I prayed in Jesus’ name against that spirit of stirring up.  Within a minute, a drastic shift occurred in him and in our home.  A little while later, I prayed in the shower, and was drawn to worship God – praising Him for healing, but also taking time to renounce things I had agreed to.  In the process, I also begin praying prayers of agreement with who GOD is, what is true of Him and His ways and His goodness, love, grace and mercy in Jesus.  I was literally in tears – you know, happy tears.  From there, I sensed a certain lightness all day, and a clarity I haven’t felt in a while.  I also had energy I hadn’t had in years.  And without caffeine!  There was also a renewed/restored confidence in many ways… Janel even saw the difference.

Interestingly enough, our kids had trouble on the way home from an afternoon/early evening spent with suburban friends.  Isabel projectile vomited out of nowhere and Aidan began having horrible coughing fits.  We got home and Janel and I prayed peace and protection over them and all seemed to calm… until I was awoken wide awake at 12.19p by a dream. I dreamt a white dog in our house was minding its own business (in the dream it was our dog) when suddenly it began to snarl and charged our front door, banging against it quite hard – as if there was some danger/evil on the other side.  Having been at the dream thing earlier, I recognized that this was a dream of warning from the Lord. As I lay in bed, it occurred to me to get up and lock the door.  It was unlocked.  But I was also led to pray over my home/family too, as I believe it was a spiritual dream.  I stood in the name of Jesus over Janel and the kids.  Finally, sleep came.  Ironically, Janel woke up at 1.19a and couldn’t sleep, so she prayed for quite a while. After falling back to sleep, she woke up at 3.19a.  Same thing.  Funny enough, Holly reported being awake from 3a-5a with a call to pray for us.

Some of this carried over to church Sunday, where I was committed to taking part in/leading the prayer time.  I felt drawn to pray with a new confidence and boldness – praying over this people and against oppression – from a spirit of control and self-aggrandizement to a spirit of pleasure and indulgence.  As Holly said later, I prayed with authority.  Hmm…  that’s a word God was speaking not only in the last 72 hours, but for about 9 months now.  I believe He’s working it in me and bringing me into that more and more.  Duh.

I will also add…I’ve found myself singing and whistling and even being silly ever since Friday night – as if a HUGE weight had lifted off me.  Which is pretty stinkin’ cool. I will say that it did seem as if the weight tried to come back today, while at the office, but even now I’m sensing it’s abated.

So…as you can see…it’s been quite an adventurous few days.  I’m excited to see what God is going to do from here…

All I can say is “praise God.”

Blessings,

Rob

August 14, 2010

Drawn by Grace (Elisabeth)

Below is just a piece of an incredible lifetime of testimony (that has been and is yet to come!) from Elisabeth.  Read how God has worked to bring both emotional and physical healing as she tenderly responded to Him.

Also check out this awesome testimony I “overheard” from Tommy’s facebook.

Elisabeth 2009/2010

“God loves to take a mess and make a message so His glory and grace shines through. God has been so gracious to show me His mercy and magnificence and take my mess and make His message. I was broken and bitter when God pointed me to CITC. I came because that was what I was supposed to do, and I had to check off the boxes to continue to prove I was good enough to keep His forgiveness.

Due to things that happened during my upbringing, I was fully aware of my sinful nature. When I found Jesus, I got into this pattern where I would just keep doing things in order to show God that I was really trying to learn to love and be good enough, hoping maybe He wouldn’t take back His forgiveness of my past if I was good enough. Jamie and Nate were only a stone’s throw away from me, so I figured that was as good a place as any to start. I didn’t realize that God was going to show me the true meaning of grace and healing at the little Church in the City.

My intention was to fill a seat at the church. But God had other ideas. I went to the women’s retreat with Jamie because I didn’t have anything better to do at the time, but God met me there. Steve had previously told me to stop thinking so much and try to experience God’s presence after I came to him with a list of 27 questions my second week at church. During the women’s retreat was the first time I ever felt truly accepted and loved by Him. I felt wrapped in His loving arms, and rocked like the daughter that I am for the first time in my life. Total acceptance by God. It was amazing. As I enjoyed the presence of my Papa like I never had before, there was an extra gift. My Papa had healed my hip, and I began to physically jump for the first time in my life. It was an extra touch that I never expected, but rather had been afraid of until that moment. I couldn’t stop jumping and yelling about how I was jumping. God had done more for me than I had ever thought I deserved in that moment.

Steve talked about this first healing the next Sunday and told everyone how it was the first time I’d ever jumped. And as I began to thank God and to think about this, my Papa helped me realize that I was going to jump more, and that He was wanting so many others to “jump” as well- He gave me this acronym: Jesus Unleashes Miraculous Purpose, and told me that He wanted to do that for others as well. He wants all His children to “JUMP”!

Jamie gave me a book called “Living in the Grace of God” by Rob Rufus, because I had begun to struggle with the memories of my past. And what I thought was, “Oh, isn’t that sweet? But nobody can understand what I’m going through right now.” I began to read the book to distract my mind. I began to see that grace wasn’t just a nice Christian platitude. It’s the backbone of who we really can be, and who we really are in God’s eyes. That book needs a warning label, because if you want to be the person that I started out to be in God’s kingdom, a seat warmer, I warn you: Don’t read the book.  I began to see that I was driven by guilt, not drawn by grace.  One of the many ways understanding His grace has changed my life is that my attitude toward people and myself has become more relaxed.

Well if that wasn’t enough, God poured out His presence again in my life in a very visible way. I was walking down the church aisle to answer my phone and my weak ankle snapped, as it has several times before, and I fell to the ground.  As I was laying there in excruciating pain thinking, “Okay, God, now what?”, Mat and Christian came over to see what had happened. My ankle began to swell and I couldn’t get up. I knew Mat was a doctor so I knew I’d be okay. But then I thought, “Let’s pray first, before going to the hospital”.  I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew that it was okay to ask and I knew that God loved me enough just because I was His baby girl. So we began to pray, and I felt led to let go of some of my bitterness and fear, like I had done the first time. The swelling ankle reduced and God repaired it even better than it was. I’ve learned that enough is never enough with God. He wants to open up and pour His love into our lives every second of the day. All we have to do is jump into His arms.

Elisabeth Grace

August 11, 2010

Love and Acceptance (Jon)

Here is an AMAZING testimony from Jon on how God has been working in his life over the past year. Incredible! Thank you, Jon. It’s so exciting to see God’s hand on your life. I live for this stuff! Keep Jon in your prayers as he has just graduated and is moving out to LA to pursue opportunities in film.

Hey all,

So I realized lately that I haven’t really shared my testimony with anyone at church in the city, excluding Tyler and Tommy, and in the past I have been reluctant to share it because I’ve been ashamed of it; however after the past few weeks I’ve gotten incredible breakthrough.

When I was about 3 years old my parents divorced and about two years after that, my father got remarried to a very conservative Christian woman who introduced me to Jesus, but it was never anything I took completely seriously. When I was about 6 my Mom converted to Judaism, and I converted with her, not completely understanding what all of that entailed. When my dad and stepmom found out they grew incredibly angry with me, and thus began a constant battle between my parents about how I would be raised. My stepmom would manipulate me by telling me that my Mom would be going to hell, and would try constant techniques to try and get me to convert my mother to Christianity as well as myself. I learned nothing of grace or mercy. My step family said all I had to do is believe in Jesus and his resurrection to get into heaven, but they made it seem more complicated than that. They made Jesus seem like someone I had to please, to beg forgiveness from, and that if I sinned and didn’t repent, there was no hope.

As I grew up I spent my week going back and forth between church and Hebrew school, until I had my bar mitzvah. After that Hebrew school ended and so did my attendance at church.

My Mom got remarried when I was 14, and for the most part my new step dad wanted very little to do with me since I wasn’t really into sports he just sort of gave up on me, while my Dad was there, he wasn’t really open for deep discussion. I had two fathers and yet still had no father figure.

When I was 15, I became incredibly confused about my sexuality. I had dated a few girls before then, but still had this odd confusion going on. My Mom and stepdad really didn’t care and I refused to tell my Dad and stepmom. Even after this supposedly liberating event, I still didn’t feel like this was the kind of life I wanted for myself, and also having heard constant homophobic remarks from my stepmom and her family, I thought I was doomed. I thought to myself, ” great if I had a hard enough time pleasing Christ before, now I’m doomed”. Since I felt barred from Christ, and my self esteem had been shattered, I began to look for love in other places. I started to surf hookup websites on the web, meeting strange guys and watching a constant stream of pornography. It was one of those “looking for love in all the wrong places” cases. I continued this through most of high school, little did I know I was destroying myself. I had friends who all were in relationships and I was the constant third wheel. It took a huge toll on my self esteem, ” why can’t I be one of these people in an awesome relationship?” I would think to myself. So I would continue going to hookup, hoping that I might find someone that way. The unfortunate thing is that many of my friends encouraged me to keep going throughout it. Friends whom I found out only later would constantly put me down of envy and jealousy.

Throughout this I would continue to pray and ask God for forgiveness, but I found no reason to stop, I was still doomed any way ( at least I thought so), even though I still loathed that aspect of my life.

When I entered college, I decided to try the Christian thing again. I met a great group of people who seemed to genuinely want to befriend me, but in the end I got scarred and gave up on them. I isolated myself, hanging out with only a few people that I met, and now that I was on my own, the hookups became even more rampant.

However, these Christian friends I had met continued to seek me out. I refused to reciprocate because I thought they could never accept this dark part of me, and they would give up on me or shun me as others had.

It was the end of my sophomore year when all this finally came to a breaking point. After a year of rampant hook ups with strangers, I got a call from one of them telling me they had just tested positive for stage 2 syphilis. I freaked, I found the nearest testing facility and went. I didn’t do my research very well and went to this pretty run down place called the core center near rush hospital. It was the scariest experience of my life, I was poked and prodded in every which way. After my blood test the doctor leaned over the table looked me in the eye and said, ” what will you do if it’s positive?” of course after the testing comes the week long waiting for results. Thank God in the end everything turned out negative.

It was after this I decided to give Christ another go. I took a shot at group of guys I had met freshman year. I went to bible study and sent all of them a message telling them what I had been struggling with, and God rewarded my trust. They all just loved on me and drew me nearer.

But it was Tyler who stepped out, and took me under his wing. I learned about grace and Gods love for me. It was the first time in a long time I felt that someone wasn’t giving up on me. Of course this is about the point when all of you come into the story, and finally on July 25th of last year, with Tyler at my side, I gave my life to Christ.

So I know this was kind of long, but I thought it important that I share it with all of you. Especially since it will be a year this month that I began my relationship with Jesus.

Yours Truly,

Jon

August 4, 2010

Are you the gospel girl? (Heidi/Brittney)

pretty flowers

I am racking up the testimonies here and already have 7 lined up and ready for posting! I’m going to have to hold myself back from sharing them all with you at once.  But please, don’t hold back from sending more! Too many testimonies would be a great problem to have, and the ones you have are important. We are going to announce this blog at church on Sunday, so I thought I would add a testimony now to whet your appetite for more when you come to check it out.

Here’s an awesome story of how God has been adding boldness and giving opportunities in our neighborhoods lately…

7.04.10

The other night it was on Brittney W.’s heart to have a worship night. We had it at our (B, Karen & Heidi’s) house and windows were open. Our neighbors heard and stopped B later and asked if she was “the gospel girl- the one singing so loud to the Lord?” They brought up questions about God and suffering and Britt was able to talk with them and pray for each one. Two of the men were in a gang. The oldest was 30 and said he was afraid God would strike him dead if she prayed for him because of things he had done. She told him God loved him and he began to cry as she prayed. She also got to encourage one of the younger men to go back to school and pursue his dream of being an architect. All this was because they heard us worshiping! It made us think of Kathy S.’s word- of the ears of the city turning to listen as we worship. Praise God!

-Heidi S.