Not long after the River hit our church, my husband prayed, “Lord, will this build my church?” He was surprised at God’s reply.
“No, it’s going to build My Church.” Bill believes that one of God’s reasons for sending this outpouring of the Spirit is to release a “cadre of happy missionaries,” joyful because they are finally happy with the “product.” It’s not that we haven’t made mission trips in the past; we have. But now rather than feeling as though we ought to go, the difference is that now we happily want to go.
Bill leaves passport applications on the literature table at our church. In practically every service, he reminds everyone, “Get your passport.” If you don’t have one, you automatically close the door and limit where God is able to use you, but having a passport opens wider doors of opportunity to the world.
Nearly twelve years ago, by faith, Bill and I got our passports. For several more years they contained the stamp of only one nation. Since the River swept us away in ’94, the pages of our passports have been covered with stamps, mementos of powerful meetings in places like Japan, Costa Rica, Spain, Norway, Canada, India, Uganda, Mozambique and England. We have been across America many times and have seen the River flow in prisons in other states.
I grew up in a small town where the highest point was the railroad crossing or maybe the overpass on the highway. I prayed often to be able to go places. 2 Whenever my Pop would go to the grocery store, I would run to the door and beg to go with him. Let’s say that I have always felt led to be gone! One day while I was listening to my husband preach, I saw myself running to the door behind my father begging him to take me with him. Suddenly, my Heavenly Father spoke to me, “I heard you.”
Two weeks ago, I woke up in Mozambique to the sound of hundreds of orphans happily singing songs to the Lord as the sun broke over the landscape. I marveled at the goodness of my heavenly Father, how He could take me from a small town, baptize me in the River of His presence and bring me with Him to the ends of the earth to be blessed and to be a blessing.
The River John saw issued from the throne of God. The River Ezekiel saw issued from the door of the temple, coming from its inner sanctuary. It flowed and deepened until it reached the Dead Sea. Everything in its current lived, but the marshes remained salty; they never became fresh.
This River of God’s presence refreshes all who keep immersing themselves in its life-giving flow. If you continue to surrender to it and keep soaking in His love, you will be eventually carried to the Dead Sea, the lost and dying who are aching for Jesus Christ.
This issue of Spread the Fire is about the Lord taking dominion from “sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 72:8) Norman Benz, a pastor from Florida tells how the River revolutionized their church’s outreach to the nations. Georgian Banov and his wife, Winnie, describe their mandate to take “feasts” to the poor in other nations. Ed Bragg, an inmate, testifies about what it meant to him for refreshed believers to carry the River to him in prison.
Why not get your passport, get in the River and flow to the ends of the earth?
Originally Published September/October 2002 Editor Melinda Fish