Archive for September, 2009

July 2007 – continued….She nodded and a large smile came onto her face.  The next thing I know……she’s doing jumping-jacks, bending over touching her toes and jogging around Audrey like he’s a track.  This woman had to be in her 70’s or 80’s!  She looked like Richard Simmons sweating to the oldies. 

Now….I’m watching this, trying to process what I’d just witnessed.  The mental conversation I was having with myself went something like this:

Was that old lady just healed?  Did I just witness an actual healing?  Audrey has the Gift of Healing?  Really?  Nahhhh?  I think I’m just confused about what just happened.  Wait…does he know her?  Do you think that he arranged this “healing” with the lady before the service?  Is Benny Hinn in Ubauna?  That couldn’t have been a real healing could it?  Really?  Seriously?  I mean, I believe Jesus still heals today but…..

While I’m having this conversation, my mind is replaying one of those ridiculously sensationalized Benny Hinn “healing services”, where he runs around smacking people on the head, and they fall out, suddenly healed from whatever had ailed them moments before.  Watching this on TV, you just sense something isn’t right with the whole thing.  Granted, Hinn may have the Gift of Healing, and some may actually receive healings but the combination of it being so sensationalized and the persistent rumors that he plans these before-hand, often paying the perfectly healthy individuals to imitate life-long cripples creates doubt and unbelief.

Still not knowing what to think, I refocused my attention back to the front where Audrey was still standing.  The old lady was still with him.  She danced around a little more, showing off her newly rediscovered agility before strolling back to her seat to witness the happenings with the old man waiting patiently waiting in line.  He steps up to Audrey and the same drill began.  Audrey would talk to him, questioning him.  The man would nod, say something and then point to various parts of his body.  Then, up went his arms straight above his head.  Audrey grabbed his wrists, began telling somebody something in a determined tone, and then asked the old man a question.  He too began to smile broadly.  Same thing….next thing I know, he’s doing calisthenics, running around and dancing a jig. 

Did he also know Audrey?  The old man’s not in on it too is he?   Wait….wait!  Wait!  Do I really believe Jesus is who He says He is?  Do I geniunely believe what the Bible tells me about the power and authority of Christ.  Do I believe in the supernatural, absolute Truth of God.  Do I believe that those two individuals who stepped out in faith were truly healed?

Suddenly, I realized that I was at a spiritual crossroads.  The road I chose to travel down would dictate where my faith went from this moment forward.  Do I choose the road named, “Unbelief”?   Do I choose the road named, “Cessation”, believing that those Gifts of the Spirit that Christ and the Bible talked about had died along with the last apostles.  Do I choose the road named, “Spiritual Ignorance”?  Or do I choose the road named, “Truth”? 

Honestly, it wasn’t a difficult choice.  I chose the road named “Truth”!  My spirit knew what my mind was fighting – that what I had witnessed was the real deal!  The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ had reached down from heaven and healed them through the supernatural Gift of Healing that God had anointed Audrey with.  It may have been hard for my worldly mind to comprehend what I had taken place but I knew that Jesus himself had told his followers that we would do “even greater things than I have done.”   I also knew that God makes clear in His Word that his followers would be blessed with supernatural gifts of healing, tongues, prophecy, faith, wisdom and others if you had faith.

I thanked God for allowing me to witness His awesome mercy, grace, love and power in action.  Not only were the old woman and old man healed, I was also healed of my allergies along with many, many more during that trip.  From that moment forth, Gospel for Brazil, Ubauna and we haven’t been the same.  GFB went from a worldly mission organization full of love but no power, to a mission ministry that was driven by the supernatural Glory, Authority and Power of Jesus Christ.  Since that night, many souls have been brought to Salvation through Jesus Christ, many have been healed of long-standing illnesses and sicknesses, families have been brought back from death’s doorstep, the children have been given a real hope to grow up on, and satan has been reminded on a daily basis that he is a defeated foe.

What began in 2004 with nothing, now supports three churches, several full-time missionaries, a full-time children’s ministry and Seed of Hope Child Sponsorship Initiative that feeds extremely impoverished children, as well as helping them meet their basic educational and medical needs.  Not only has the love of Christ been poured out onto the village of Ubauna and this desert region but the POWER of Christ as well.  A village that had 13 Spiritist temples in 2004 now has only one.  The annual Spiritist festival now attracts less than 20 people.  People are still being healed and delivered from the spiritual strongholds that had oppressed this village and this area for generations. 

With the Love of Christ, you can impact a lost and hurting world but with the Power and Love of Christ, you can free a world from spiritual bondage and make a real difference.  That’s what Gospel for Brazil brings to the northeast desert region of Brazil, and that’s why this area is being brought into the glorious freedom and heavenly realm where Christ dwells.

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July 2007:  From the moment of our first encounter with Audrey and his wife, Andreia Feitoza, Christy and I were drawn to them. They were different….their faith was different.  Without understanding why or how, we sensed that they would forever hold a special place in our hearts, and play a vital role in this infant mission ministry called Gospel for Brazil.

They had traveled north from Acre, Brazil to meet with the Gospel for Brazil caravan to trek with us into the northeastern desert village of Ubauna.  They didn’t know us and we didn’t know them but God had given them a divine appointment in Ubauna to conduct a spiritual reconnaissance mission to scout the enemy and determine if God was assigning them to this remote outpost.

Now, standing at the back of the hot, cramped school building filled with lost and hurting souls, I curiously watched Audrey ministering for the first time to the crowd anxiously assembled. I sensed that they didn’t quite know what to expect or even what to think about this gathering orchestrated by a group of Americans that had traveled several thousands miles south just to be with them.  Honestly, I didn’t quite know what to expect either.  But God was in complete control, and He was getting ready to take this “Come to Jesus” gathering in Ubauna, Brazil to a place few of us had spiritually gone before.

Audrey had been calmly but passionately preaching his heart out to the “crowd” when he stopped and asked a question.  Not understanding a lick of Portuguese, I was in the dark as to what was going on.  After a few moments, an old man and an old woman raised their hands.  Audrey said something to them and up they went from their seats, hobbling slowly and gingerly up front to where he was standing.  

The old woman beat the old man by a fraction, so whatever was going on was going to happen to her first.  Audrey approached and began speaking to her.  She was nodding and pointing all over body, each time telling him something.   He would nod, smile, say something and then stop talking.  She would then continue talking and pointing.  Finally, he mouthed something to her and she raised both arms straight up in the air.  I didn’t see any guns pointed at her so I knew she wasn’t being robbed at gunpoint by some con-man imitating a traveling preacher but because this was all happening in a  language I didn’t speak nor understand, I was still in the dark.

While her arms were still held up, Audrey then grabbed her wrists with each hand and began to tell somebody something rather authoritatively in a surprisingly calm manner.  He stopped, then asked her another question.  She nodded and then pointed some more.  Again, up in the air her arms went and again he began telling somebody something.  Stopping, he then asked her another question.  This time though, she didn’t nod and point.  She nodded and a large smile came onto her face.  The next thing I know……to be continued

(2) “He called a little child and had him stand among them.  (3) And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  (4) Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”   Matthew 18:2-4 (New International Version)

Where do we, as Christians, find a faith that is deep, immovable and rooted in the absolute Truth of God’s Word?  Where do we find a faith that walks in the heavenly realm of supernatural anointing, pouring out the power and authority of the Holy Spirit onto a lost and hurting world with such a force that hell quakes and demons tremble?

Where?  Is it found in the denominations we cling to?  Is it found in the doctrines we fervently cling to and defend passionately, even if misguided?  Or is it found in our intellectual pursuits of God’s Word, analyzing every word through the sieve of skepticism and worldly questioning?  Maybe it’s found in the legalistic traditions and rituals that we pass off as geniune worship and obedience? 

For some, I’m sure they play a vital role in helping them find their faith.  It doesn’t make their faith weak….but it doesn’t make it strong either.  Anyone that professes Christ as Lord and Savior has faith.  That’s not debatable.  I also believe that it’s not debatable that we all can grow stronger in our faith regardless of how many miles we’ve walked as Christians. 

However, I do believe that there are two different versions of faith on parade in the American Church.  One is the type of faith that is shallow, movable and easily uprooted by the storms of this life and the forces of evil.  This faith is still based in the mercy, grace and love of God and His Son, Jesus but it’s a passive faith that lacks any real power or authority.  It can bring people to the cross but that’s where the journey ends with this faith.

On the other hand though, there is the other faith that takes people by the hand, pulls them up and then leads them from the foot of the Cross into a heavenly realm where the power and authority of Christ is found in all His Glory.  It lives.  It breathes.   It saves.  It loves.   It consumes.  It breaks the strongholds of satan that keep us in spiritual bondage.  It heals.  It raises people from the dead.  It walks on water.  It does even greater things than Christ Himself did. 

For too long I walked in the first kind of faith.  It didn’t get me, nor anyone else I touched, too far.  But no longer.  Now I walk (maybe I’m crawling at this point) in a faith that transcends this world and brings the full Glory, Power and Authority of Christ to the battle.  It excites me.  It causes satan and his dominions to tremble. 

Before, they didn’t respect or fear me because they didn’t know me.  Now they know me, and from where my power and authority emanates….Jesus Christ himself.  You see, they still don’t respect or fear Patrick Loyd by himself but I don’t come to the battle by myself anymore.  I bring Christ, or more specifically, the Holy Spirit of Christ with me.  It’s not the stripped down Holy Spirit that comes to the battle with the Gift of Administration but the Spirit that comes to the battle with the Gifts of the Spirit such as Tongues, Healing, Prophecy and Discernment. 

So how did I get from the first kind of faith to the faith that I have now.  Simple…I asked the Holy Spirit to give me the key to walking in a faith that saves souls and breaks the hurting free from spiritual bondage.  He said okay…but with a requirement.  So the dialogue went:

God:  I’ll give you the key but first you have to come back to the Cross as a little child would. 

Me:   What?  Explain Lord. 

God:  What did you have as a child that you don’t have now?

Me [God]:  Ummm… Ummm!  Toys?  [No! ]  Merry-Go-Round rides?   [No!]  Two months off during the summer.  [No!] 

God: Quiet your spirit and seek the answer.  {Moment of silence}  

Me:  OHHHHHHH!!!!!  Duh!  Innocence. 

God: Exactly!!!

Innocence is the key!  For it’s in our innocence that we find a belief in the impossible, the unseen, the miraculous.  If you ever read the Bible as a child, you remember reading it with an innocent belief that what you were reading was true because God said so and that was all your innocence needed to hold onto.  The stories amazed you and you imagined that you were doing those same things that God talked about in the Bible.  It wasn’t Noah building the boat…it was me!  It wasn’t Peter walking on the water…it was me!

The fullness of the Holy Spirit in all of His Power and Authority is right in front of you  to take if you are willing to come back to the Cross as a little child would, full of innocence.  It can only be taken if you believe in the realness of the power and authority and that you can have it, you can walk in it.  You have to believe that the Holy Spirit can indwell you and heal through you, raise the dead through you and deliver people from spiritual bondage through you. 

If you filter the power and authority through a worldly mind that is diseased with skepticism and cynicism, then you may still get to heaven but you won’t be taking anyone with you.  You won’t ever experience the real Power and Authority of Christ at work in your life and through your life.  Your life would have been one wasted opportunity after another to have brought the real Jesus to the lost and hurting so that He could have been the difference.

Since my personal breakthrough into the heavenly realm in Fortaleza,  Brazil this past go’round,  I have been enrolled in the spiritual “Revelation and Training 101” course through Holy Spirit University.    My dreams have provided the classroom, and the professor has been the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  He’s proven himself to be an interactive, exciting and authoritative expert.  Although I’ve never truly enjoyed being in the role of “Student”,  I find that I am anxiously anticipating the night’s coming lesson, and even willing to accept homework assignments.   

The lessons have been interspersed with revelations of God’s plans for my life, revelations pertaining to others in my life, and vivid, hands-on deliverance training.  The hands-on training sessions are better than any Marine Biology lab I ever took in college.  After each “class”, I find myself hoping and asking for divine appointments to be assigned so that I can “practice” what I have learned from the night before.  And being a God who delights in such requests, He is more than eager to oblige and arrange them, which usually finds me in the midst of that divine appointment thinking, “uhhhh, maybe I was a little over-zealous in that request!”

Truthfully, it’s all a bit overwhelming, leaving me a  little unsure on how to move forward, or even if I want to move forward, with all that God has  revealed to me while sleeping.  But I know that all the information I need to move forward will be revealed and taught in upcoming classes, and I don’t have to have it all figured out at this early stage of the course.  After all, I know that the the professor is the Holy Spirit himself, and He has been teaching this class since the creation to His saints, prophets, kings, disciples and humble servants.  Therefore, he can handle teaching  a simple, spirit-filled infant seeking to be used by God to bring the lost and hurting to a place of salvation and deliverance through the Power and Authority granted by the Savior Himself.

Don’t allow YOUR desperation to be confused with the Voice of God.

 

Our lives as Christians should not be walked in desperation but walked in expectant Hope in anticipation of God’s unfolding plan for our lives.  Without salvation and faith in Jesus Christ, our Hope is of this world and therefore, by nature, frail and easily broken.  Frail Hope is the footstep to despair, hopelessness and rashness.  Without Hope, we are bound to wander through the maze of darkness called Life with a distrustful compass, never being confidant in the direction it is pointing.

Our Heavenly Father is the same God that created the universe, breathed life into Adam, parted the Red Sea, led an entire nation through the wilderness to the Promised Land, sent His Son, Jesus to earth as man to be sacrificed for our sins, and then raised Him from the dead in complete victory over satan.  When we understand who we have as our spiritual Guide, then we free ourselves of the burdens and stresses of ever making decisions in desperation.   

The responsibility in deciding the direction and leading of our lives now becomes the responsibility of God.  We then become responsible only for placing our spirits in a state of waiting on God’s Voice, hearing God’s Voice and then acting on or following God’s Voice.   God’s Voice is omnipotent and all-knowing.  His Voice is authoritative.  It gives perfect instruction, and this is where our Hope comes from.

So if you’re seeking God’s direction for your life and you don’t hear His Voice, then wait.  But wait expectantly because when He speaks, He will give you the direction and guidance that is sure.  Once this happens, then we can act in the assurance that we are walking in God’s will for our lives. 

Growing up in a small, rural Baptist church in North Carolina, I got a healthy dose of the Sunday School version of Jesus.  You know, the Jesus that was born to the Virgin Mary in a cow and donkey stall, made kitchen cabinets and furniture as a carpenter, taught us about God’s Ways, traveled around loving on little children, healing the sick and meeting the needs of the those with needs.  We even heard about his miracles such as feeding a lot of people with a couple fish and few loaves of bread, and him turning water into wine.

We were told about his death on the cross and his resurrection from the grips of death so we could be forgiven and go to heaven one day.  It was good stuff and key to our salvation.  I was saved in that ol’ church, and I thank them for preaching the true way to Christ.  However, the story ended there.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Being good, middle of the road christians, they decided to put this information on CD and hit “Repeat”.  Regardless of age or class, it was the same story, over and over. 

But that all changed for me in 2007, in the middle of the desert in the country of Brazil.   In an area called the Heart of Darkness, I found the real, living Jesus that brings with him all the power and authority of the Almighty to the spiritual party.  The Jesus that heals, that casts out demons, that raises the dead, that walks on water and that anoints his followers with Gifts of the Spirit while saving mightily and loving greatly.   He was the Jesus that I had read and heard about growing up in church but on spiritual steroids. 

During that trip, I witnessed people being healed, people being freed from spiritual oppression and the Gifts of the Spirit in action, just as they were in the first days of Christianity in the Book of Acts.  Jesus and the Bible became real to me in a way I’d never expected.  It changed me.  It was spiritually liberating and reinvigorated my faith.  Meeting the real Jesus that actually got off of the cross and defeated satan and his dominions ignited a new fire in me that sent me running after God.  No longer was I satisfied with the Jesus I had been carefully fed since my youth.  I wanted…needed more of the Jesus that gives us his unconditional mercy, grace and love while anointing us with the same power that raised Him from the dead, healed the sick, performed miracles, walked on water, and sent demons running scared.  And I’ve gotten it!  

And so has the Heart of Darkness through Gospel for Brazil.  People are still being saved.  People are still being healed.  People are still being delivered from spiritual oppression and people….children are being anointed with the Gifts of the Spirit and being raised up as a powerful army of Christ that satan fears.  Haven’t seen anyone walk on water yet or anyone raised from the dead but I know that’s only a matter of time.

So, as I was reading the following excerpt from a local church website giving its congregation the watered down version of Christ, I couldn’t help but think about my journey as a Christian and be grateful that God had sent me to the Heart of Darkness in Brazil so I could experience the real Jesus and be introduced to the true power and authority of Christ.  Without it, me nor Gospel for Brazil would have been able to move past the Sunday School version of Jesus that America tries to give this country and this world.  There would be no expectation that the miraculous would or could occur and that people would know the one true Savior in all His Glory, Power and Authority.

Excerpt:

14. We believe that a spiritual gift is a special ability, given by the Holy Spirit to every believer, to be used to minister to others and thereby build up the Body of Christ. 1 Peter 4:10; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

My commentary – [The Gift of Administration as opposed to Tongues]
 

a. We believe that in New Testament churches which were led by Apostles or by those specially empowered by the laying on of the Apostles’ hands, miraculous gifts were manifested.
Acts 2:43; Acts 8:18; 2 Timothy 1:6

b. We believe that in New Testament churches which lacked direct apostolic leadership, non-miraculous gifts prevailed: The miraculous gifts were not present.
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17

c. While we believe that God continues to answer prayer and work miracles, today, we do not expect to see the miraculous spiritual gift manifested in the church (my emphasis) because of the lack of apostolic leadership.

d. We ask that those who seek the miraculous gifts (e.g. speaking in tongues) not practice those gifts within our worship services or promote the exercise of those gifts among our members (my emphasis).

My commentary – One, when you don’t expect the miraculous…it doesn’t happen.  Gospel for Brazil expects to witness and experience all of Christ’s power…and we do.  Secondly, nowhere in scripture does it state Christ’s power is only available to the apostles of old or that any of the Gifts present in the first days are dead or not in use today.  No matter how you twist it and look at it, it just doesn’t say those things.  In reality, it reinforces that the Gifts of the Spirit are still in existence.  The power and authority through the Holy Spirit is still there in its fullness.  Our leaders, nor us, may be an apostle in the way that Christ anointed Peter and John and the rest but Jesus’ authority and power has been passed down to us in order to continue building God’s Kingdom in its entirety.  It wasn’t Peter that was healing and casting out demons, it was the Holy Spirit and He hasn’t changed one iota.  He was and IS and IS to come. 

And lastly, but most importantly, this false teaching is an insult to the working and manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  Basically, telling the Holy Spirit to check Himself at the door if He wants to manifest Himself in a way uncomfortable or not understood by those in leadership.  Until we get back to living out the realness and trueness of the scriptures, the American Church will continue to build up a weak, timid and ineffective army of followers playing war instead of building up powerful, dangerous warriors for Christ that can storm the gates of hell and start radically changing lives and setting this world free from the schemes of the devil.  Satan is a defeated foe because of the power and authority of Christ but we continue to treat him as someone that has power – he doesn’t!  We continue to throw down the power and authority that Jesus has equipped us with, instead choosing to engage satan and his posse with weapons born from our minds and intellectual pursuits of God’s Word.  And we wonder why our country is heading down the fast lane toward hell, and people are still lost, hurting and spiritually oppressed in need of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing.