Reflection on the Goodness of God
Just the other day, Carol and I were reflecting on both the multitude and depth of friendships that have grown out of this outpouring. Today there is a worldwide network of “River people” who have experienced the Father’s blessing. While the movement grows numerically, the greatest blessing to me is seeing the multitude of transformed lives.
Hundreds of people have written books and articles about how God has renewed and transformed their lives through this outpouring. The stories come from everywhere, Japan and Australia, India and Russia, Europe, Africa, North and South America.
In Sapiranga, Brazil, the River touched the lives of pastors in one of the churches there, Ministerio Internacional da Colheita, when their pastors attended a conference in Toronto. They received a new dimension of the presence of God and returned with new fire. Revival broke out in their congregation, spread to their city, and today the city has a Christian mayor and a Christian Secretary of Tourism and Business Development.
The pastors in the city are forming a network and are beginning to work together in greater unity. The church has founded a large youth conference, 'History Makers', which hosts meetings of over 2,000 young people from all across Brazil. The church also ministers to the poor in the countryside and sponsors pastors to attend Leadership Schools sponsored by TACF in Sapiranga. Hundreds have been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit and added to the church as a direct result of the touch of God on their lives which they received in Toronto. The pastor, Vania Rorato, is now hosting a television program as an evangelistic outreach. The church also reaches out into neighboring Uruguay with the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached in the context of the Father’s love.
God is renewing His Church around the world to worship Him at a new level of intimacy that we never experienced before 1994. How many hundreds of songs have been written to God expressing the gratitude of thousands for the ability to actually feel His love? Many of those thousands have learned to be filled again and again with the Holy Spirit.
For over eleven years, Bob and Cindy Parton of Hurst, Texas, located in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, have held a soaking prayer center in their home known as The River Center which draws people regularly from all across north Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The people come not to hear a speaker, but they come to experience the presence of God each week.
They are the first of what has become an expanding network of hundreds of soaking prayer centers composed of people who are soaking regularly in God’s presence not only in homes but in prisons and even on a US naval aircraft carrier. For over one year now, inmates in Brunswick Correctional Facility in North Carolina have been holding regular weekly “soaking” meetings in Room 113 of their prison. These prisoners powerfully testify that in a place “where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.”
Men who never had a relationship with a father are finding God, their Heavenly Father.
During the Charismatic renewal of the 70’s, Kathryn Kuhlman prophesied that an anointing that would come on ordinary believers to perform signs and wonders. We are living in days of the fulfillment of her word of prophecy as God is equipping young and old and releasing them into ministry.
At the time of writing this article, Carol and I are jointly teaching a conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia with a young couple named Alyn and AJ Jones. AJ, the young wife, has been a part of our church for nearly fourteen years, about half her life. Alyn, her husband, is a young teacher from Scotland, who only 3 years ago left his career to attend our School of Ministry. It would be fair to say that only four years ago, others would not have seen them as gifted and anointed ministers. But now Carol and I watch them in amazement as they minister life, healing and freedom to God’s people. As Carol accompanied AJ and Alyn to the hairdresser, she watched them as they prophesied words of life over all six members of the working staff who lined up to ask for prayer. One of them was so moved by the ministry that he received Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
And there are hundreds of others like them, ordinary people released into powerful ministry. Duncan and Kate Smith along with Marguerite Evans just completed a leadership school in Capetown, South Africa with over 100 pastors and leaders attending. That school left its mark on the nation.
As our Conference at Sea in February 2006 sailed on a cruise ship through the Caribbean, we docked to hold an event in the park in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where we fed a hot meal to over 4,000 people and held a worship and evangelistic outreach. Hundreds of people received healing in the healing tent and many of them received Christ as their Savior as a direct result of being healed by the love of Jesus Christ. The Lord performed signs and wonders through the hands of ordinary people who have discovered that God can and will use “little ole them,” as Randy Clark says.
In a previous issue, we described our new outreach to small towns in Ontario. This is another place where God is using ordinary people in the work of the ministry. TACF is taking this challenge to Mactier, a small Ontario town of 1,200 people. During the first weekend of the revival meetings, a young man named Derek surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. God not only saved him, but He also saved Derek’s marriage and delivered him from an alcohol addiction. I saw him recently taking a course at TACF on “How to hear the Voice of God,” by Mark Virkler. Derek is hungry for more, and he is well on his way to being equipped to help others, as he continues to drink deeply from the refreshing new wine of the Holy Spirit.
And so it goes. The River of God is still flowing. I am awed by the quantity of fruit of this revival. I have only described a tiny fraction of the effect of this Heavenly Kingdom invasion. It makes me wonder about the fruit we cannot see. It long ago surpassed my greatest dreams in scope and even in minute detail.
God is fulfilling the vision He gave us by allowing us to walk in His love and then give it away to Toronto and the world.
He is calling, training and releasing an army of lovers of Jesus who are serving the God who has healed their wounds. During this outpouring, these men and women of God have been newly filled with the Spirit again and again and now in faith are giving it away and making a difference in their world.