Monday, June 16, 2008

Lakeland 2.0 - Testimonials and Comments from Salem Outpouring


The Salem Outpouring is a small version of Lakeland. I guess that would be Lakeland 2.0 in mini version at the moment.

People responded to my last post about the Salem Outpouring, and I thought it might be nice to post their experiences here. So here it goes, unedited, but perhaps with a comment or two from the peanut gallery (me).

"I was there from 7 to about 9:45, when the message was underway, so I didn't see any of what you describe. However, I do think I ought to say that the previous 2+ hours of worship, in particular a very tender and powerful sharing of the Eucharist early on, were amazing. I more or less see the narrative motivating events like these, and the "This Is It" hype, as a discardable part of that religious culture.... but I'm sure that would be harder to do for people who've been inside it." (the commenter is an episcopal priest and comfortable all types of religious settings)

This next person visited on the same night as well.

"Thank you, Pastor Phil, for your thoughtful story -- and, wow, what an incredible photo of the surfer and the wave.

Most of the people at revivals and outpourings are not there to receive physical healings or to witness them. They are there because they are radically in love with Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior, the God who became a human being and walked among us, took the hit for us by dying on the Crsss. Why? He is radically in love with us. We want more of Him. We love because He loved us first.

Pastor Phil, you are an observant and articulate person. You must have noticed, for example, how much the ushers extend themselves to help with the needs of any visitors. I attended on Friday night, too, the same as you. I asked my companion, "Are you thirsty? I'll go get us some water."

An usher overheard us and came back with two bottles of water. No charge.

Jesus bless you."


This next post came from someone from our church who visited two nights after my own visit.

"I went to this event tonight because a friend of mine called me, someone I used to sit side by side in church and haven't now for a year and a half, I've missed her and others that I love. It was wonderful to be there again and see a few familiar faces enjoying the vibrant crowd praising God. For me, worshiping God among those I have relationship with is powerful. Praying for healing for those I know, or recieiving prayer from those that know me personally make it real.

There are things that make it hard for me to worship in the setting tonight...but I just kept praying that God would increase his truth, his word, and his glory, and decrease anything else in the way. I don't want to cut into the worship or what God might do with my critical judgmental thoughts.

Seeing people seeking out healing from God so passionately is great. My prayer is that the Lord will not only bring healing tonight (as a lot of the emphasis was on the event and the timing of receiving blessing right then and there) but also that people will walk away and carry with them the knowledge that the living spirit of God restored them and will continue to do so if only they look to him.

We sometimes need to appeal to our emotions to get carried to a place where our hearts are freer, but it's important that we know the limitations and the distractions of our emotions as well.

God also brought to my heart, when I was feeling awkward or uncomfortable given the different style of expression of faith and when my heart was full of doubt or skeptism, that I need to pray for other churches communities in addition to my own. May Jesus continue to be the focus. May Jesus bring healing to broken hearts, bodies and relationships in all of God's churches, and between them as well.

It's also nice to go to this kind of event and be able to see the good, and have grace for the weird instead of only seeing the weird so I can't even see what God might show me.

It was a BEAUTIFUL thing to see diversity represented as well. How awesome was that!"


Here is another post from someone who was there on the night I visited, and recalled the exact story I told:

"Pastor Phil: I was there too. I feel that you misread the healing time that you mentioned. The woman they were praying for was hispanic and even though they had an interpreter, there was some miscommunication because of the language barrier. The important thing is that she was healed.
I was there Saturday night and they mentioned that GOD was healing many different things. I was healed for a shoulder ailment that I have had for several years. I know that I was healed.

God is the same today as he was 2000 years ago. He still heals. He still seeks unity amoung his churches. What is happening is Salem, aside from the healings, is a great deal of unity among the churches. This is a great testament to GOD. It is a great testament to the memory of Rev. Arthur Robinson and Rev. Rocco Rezza (who recently passed away). Unity among the churches and nationalities is paramount for the advancement of the Kingdom.

Come back this week, give us a chance. Let go of your hurts and let GOD heal you!"


This particular post warranted a response so here is what I said:


"I did not misread that situation. You will notice that I mention that she is Spanish speaking, and that there was an interpreter.

The fact is that she was asked to touch her toes before she was asked what was wrong with her. Herniated discs and touching toes are not a great combination. Now if she is still healed today, and a week from now that is good. If she still has pain, I am concerned that someone was asked to do something potentially harmful in the context of faith healing.

As far as your healing. May the Lord continue to keep you in health, and may the Lord be blessed for what He has done.

It seems that you are making an assumption that I must be harboring hurts and therefore have disagreement with the revival. I do not disagree with these meetings, but I do think that "the little foxes spoil the vine" as they used to say in Pentecostal circles years ago, and it is still true that small things can create big problems. These concerns have been consistent for 25 years - long prior experiencing deceit and false judgments at the hands of Pentecostal leaders. So "healing" doesn't change my concerns.

If the outpouring meetings continue I will visit as I am able.

Rev. Robinson I met years ago, before we moved here. He laid hands upon me when we came to visit him at home in his last few years, and he laid hands upon me and prophesied that I would wear his mantle. What that means I am not sure. That is just what happened in his kitchen on Franklin Street back in the early 90's." (my response)

That's all or now

7 comments:

Jack S. said...

Thoughts on Revival…..

Well, I was there a few of the nights. All I can ask is "Who are we to judge what God may or may not be doing through these prophetic-healing ministers"? We'll let God be in charge of that/them and let him be the judge. It's not up to us!! If they are for real..."Man, what a gift"! If they are not, then they will answer to him someday....Same goes to all leaders, ministers, etc… within a particular denomination or hierarchy…

Here's my other response to these "healings" as I have held my doubts and skepticism in the past as well. However, we are to trust in the word, no? The Bible tells us that God gave the gift of healing to his disciples in Matthew 10:1 though not all of them actually healed. If we are to be disciples, like the original Disciples, why wouldn't he give that gift to some of us as well? What's different now than back then? I also believe that if you converse with the father regularly, he would let you know who’s real and who’s not through feeling…

Now, some may say that this Outpouring-Revival is intimidating and only for those who are the super “religious” in their Christianity and faith. I strongly dislike that “religion” word. But anyway, I believe it is for everyone, regardless of where they are in their lives, and their stature. Jesus is for everyone not just the saints….Just like blessings are for everyone, not just the faithful. As for making outsiders feel welcome. Monday night, Luc Gingras of the band said an open prayer of confession for the church right before playing John Lennon’s “Come Together” which then led into SMB’s “fly like an eagle”. His confession was to forgive us and those who have rejected or put down others in the past which have prevented them from seeking. That, to me, shows a lot of humility and humbleness.
He says “The only ones, who can destroy revival, are us. So Lord we ask forgiveness and release your compassion in this city right now. Now we’re going to do that song “Come Together” and some you may be thinking, why we are going to do a John Lennon song in church. It’s about time church let John Lennon in the church. It’s about time we have Ozzy Osborne in church. We’re claiming back all the ones that the church didn’t want for so many years. We’re claiming all the one’s we rejected in the past years and we’re calling you into the house of papa…Into a place where you can be restored”

In closing, I would come to this event and form your own opinions of what is happening. But…you have to see it for yourself firsthand before forming an opinion. I know that in my own life is that I felt something that first night that can’t be explained, only experienced. I know that as I draw closer to him and witness the many wonders and miracles of God, it makes it easier for me to believe in healings from those whom he has appointed. As this Outpouring winds down at the Salem church, nightly, it’s becoming more and more about worship & music than actual “healing”. That’s not to say that the “healing” is done. You may just be there and be healed without one word being spoken. I also would like to note that you may not feel it, you may not be healed or your sickness or ailment, but it could be the start of something even bigger in your life. Give it or God another try if necessary…..

M.joshua said...

Its cool to see all the overflow that God is stirring through Lakeland.

jack s. said...

The last night of Outpouring…

Wednesday night, that last night, was a very powerful evening for me. All the local pastor's involved asked openly for forgiveness from anyone they may have hurt or offended…. anything they may have said or anyone they may have pushed away….which would have kept earnest seekers from a relationship with the father.
They admitted their imperfections and I felt the sincerity. I felt the mood and my heart just sank…”Holy Spirit, you’re definitely here”! I’m thinking to myself, “After all, are they not humans just like you and me”? I’ve always known it all along but every once in a while it needs to be reiterated, especially to a mixed crowd of that magnitude.
They also prayed and confessed on behalf of the entire "church", the entire “faith”. As Christians, we all represent the faith, whether we like it or not. We are to be the one “true” church, no? Though sometimes we wish we weren’t associated when we see what other Christians are doing or not doing in his name…
Again, it was powerful evening with a solid ending (to the meetings themselves). I saw two women who I believed to be life partners, one of which was crying at the altar while the pastors were asking forgiveness. I could sense this was needed….She needed to let go of something and be healed, but in her own way. I had a sense that this one woman had been hurt somehow or put down in the past by someone in authority over the church. She needed to feel included and loved…My only prayer, at that moment, was for this woman and her partner to forgive….And…I believe this was accomplished by seeing the emotions on their faces and the embrace of the other pastors. This was another moment where my heart just sank in a brief second of sadness, but then quickly turned to gladness. This is the way it ought to be. My heart said “Let the healing process begin”! Up unto this point, we had accomplished and seen physical and spiritual healings, God’s mighty wonders at work there, but what about emotional healings? Her soul had a pivotal moment with God and what’s better than those moments??
Closing thoughts….
I am grateful that this “Outpouring” took place. It was good to have fellowship and worship with others who share the faith. It was good to witness some healings of all sorts: physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental. I hope each person comes out of it changed or at least can take one thing they learned and apply it to their lives. We crossed denominational barriers and gaps and came together as “One” body. It’s time to start making up for a history, (about two thousand years) of mistakes and winning people’s hearts for God. But this has to be done in a subtle and gentle way…This is where we need the most help of all…

Pastor Phil said...

Jack,

Thanks for your updates. The pastoral repentance was the most interesting note. May God cause unity to be truly developed. Such expressions of generic repentance are a good starting place for leaders who have behaved harmfully toward other leaders.

Crossing those denominational barriers will be a more difficult step than can be imagined. I have had numbers of pastors seeking me out from radically different backgrounds than my own pastoral lineage, (Catholic, Episcopal, Unitarians, Baptists, Neo-Mystic Pentecostals,and Orthodox) and have discovered that unity among true believers is more than a revival meeting - it is a way of life. May this be the beginning of that way of life for those involved at this outpouring meeting.

Anonymous said...

I was at 5 of the 6 nights at the Salem Outpouring, and each night the Lord God gave me a new perspective and brought fresh healing into my own mind, body, spirit and soul. But the most profound was the last night, Wednesday, when the "confessions of the pastors" to the Lord was the most healing to me. The LORD wants all of us healed. The LORD does not want any to perish. I personally was harmed by old pastors who used harshness to bring the word and that kept me away from the church for years, this was completely a work of God!
Thank you Father and may we come to UNITY in the BODY of CHRIST! Let the LOVE OF JESUS guide us all!
Blessings to you all in Christ Jesus! -JoAnne

Pastor Phil said...

Joanne,

Thanks for your update. May God's grace attend your every action.

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