Saturday, August 2, 2008

Revival 101 – Church 101 Am I Missing Something Here ?

I have been in the ministry for many years as a pastor and also a layman before that. I have witnessed a lot of wonderful and sometimes strange things. Being involved with people of all kinds and in all kinds of places can give you a very different opinion and experience.

There is a controversy brewing now with a “Revival” that is going on at this time in FloridaLakeland to be exact. It is apparently spreading to other areas as well. The “revival” has touched down in Sarnia, Ontario in recent years before this… now it is USA side of our Canada/USA border.

Web Sites are filled with information about what is happening in the many meetings that are going on now. And through the brand new use of something entitled “GodTV” you can be as up to date as the live audience is – and sometimes with a better seat.

“GodTV” is the newest Internet marketing tool for the “Spectacular in Church”. It likely won’t be broadcasting the local, boring, old pastor’s sermon too soon. It seems to need a stimulating “revival” setting. The local communion service won’t cut it I am afraid.

On one Web Site there is photo that catches the excitement of the moment… Todd Bentley(new young evangelist) is pointing to the young lady facing him and the caption beside this photo states… “A woman from Austin, Texas, who says she was not able to walk before watching the ministry on the Internet makes her way across the Lakeland Center stage to Todd Bentley.”

Healed on the Internet? Hmmm?

In a May 1, 2008 posting on one site I read…

LAKELAND - Dale Borgelt brought no X-rays to the Lakeland Center stage on Tuesday night - just pain, faith and a sheet of paper listing his date with a surgeon.

He stood before Todd Bentley, 32, a tattooed, body-pierced, T-shirt-wearing evangelist from British Columbia who is drawing crowds and international attention to Polk County.

"Lord, remove the tumor," Bentley shouted as he delivered a quick, open-handed blow to Borgelt's midsection. Borgelt fell backward, eased down by the evangelist's young staff members. A few moments later, after other healings unfolded above him, Borgelt stood.

"It still hurts," he told Bentley. Not as much, he added.

Whether healing in a medical sense is delivered here may be hard to measure, but more people each night are finding reason to believe and pouring into the 7,000-seat arena. The Lakeland movement, still in its first month, is drawing comparisons to the "Toronto Blessing" in 1994 and the Pensacola Brownsville Revival that fired up the next year.

Okay? What next?

This week I received a regular newsletter from a friend of mine, Gordon Williams, who has been involved in some radical meetings over the years on his own “revival” trail. Gordon is a former United Church minister that after a radical encounter with God and the work of the Holy Spirit – was radically changed into a power house of Pentecostalism. It is odd in a way that a former United Church guy is more “Pentecostal” than most Pentecostal Pastors.

Gordon Williams comes out on the other side of the new “revival” in Lakeland Florida. He claims that it is coming from anywhere but from God. In his newsletter he reports encounters with people that have come back from their pilgrimage to the Lakeland Florida Revival – with a new problems.

Gordon states, “I received phone calls from two women in Sudbury, Ontario, whose pastor came back from Lakeland where he received this “demonic anointing” which he then did a “transference of spirits” on them as he laid hands on them. They went home with demons which caused depression & headaches and evil invading their residences. We were able to set them free…. I cautioned them not to go back to that church or something worse would happen to them.”

Okay? What next?

Gordon is someone I know and I have seen his earnestness and the way that he cares. If Gordon felt this strongly about what he witnessed in his contact with these ladies that were so bothered… I have to believe him – I think.

BTW he told the ladies to not go back to the church or the pastor. The pastor of course contacted Gordon for interfering with members of his flock. (When they leave his church they tend to take their money with them… oh yes… I referred to that one factor yesterday. A drop in membership with death is one thing – but because you prayer over some one is another…)

Okay? What next?

Well it seems if you brag on, travel to, experience a “revival” first hand you can get excited. But that happens to me too… at my grandson’s baseball game as he leaves first – runs toward second – they almost get him out – then he runs back toward first – hesitates – then back to second and is final “Safe!”

Then if you go to the revival they will criticize you for whatever. And when you pray for two ladies with a possible history of problems – you will be reported in a newsletter by another Evangelist.

Okay? What next?

It seems that back in April or May 2008, Todd Bentley and the leadership of this present “revival” invited a “Prophet Paul Cain” to their meeting to speak on what God has shown him. Cain has been a powerful “revivalist” across the land for many years – up to 3 years ago when he fell morally. But getting his “blessing” at the meeting would assure his own crowd would pitch in to follow Bentley’s boys too.

It seems that “Prophet Paul Cain” had problems with Alcohol and Sex with Men. In the real world that is called “Alcoholism and Homosexuality” – and they don’t like it when Holy men aren’t – neither does the church. It seems that “Prophet Paul Cain” lost his credibility at the point he was caught in his sin.

It seems that either Todd Bentley or his handlers didn’t know about this small problem or feel that it doesn’t matter…

Okay? What next?

I am little tired of the back and forth, back and forth or debate of what God is doing or whoever is doing whatever. I haven’t been to Lakeland and will not likely go… (E.I. requires that you report being out of the country…).

I haven’t seen or listened to what Gordon has.

I think I see what God sees though – as an outsider to it all. He sees a “Granola Ministry”. You take the “Fruits and Nuts” out and all you have is a few “Flakes” left.

Put that in another way so you won’t miss it… take the “crazies and basket cases” out and there are only a few silly old Christians that wonder what is happening to everything out there.

I think I am a “Flake”.

Okay? What next?

I think that I will stick to my weekly vitamin dose in the one hour of church Sunday AM – boring sermon or not. Then with all that I can muster – I will give away what God has given me.

This week was amazing I helped two former Offenders that are fresh out of prison this past year. Then I helped someone that has lots of money. Another couple needed some simple friendship. Then there were the moments with my grandson and granddaughter.

All this simple stuff is God’s wonderful way to bless us this past week.

Okay? How about you? You doing okay? God cares so very much.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

PS – some are reading this weird report as “non-church goers”. If you come back to church I guarantee that it is entertaining. God laughs a lot at what he sees too… too funny.

Interesting sources:

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