[anzac] "GOD SHOOK Our Church"

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2004 15:17:10 -0500
"When GOD INVADES His Church" - Sep 28, 2004. 
by Mike Riches (-pastor).  

Before I share what occurred, let me first point out that there is a 
biblical precedent of God invading His people. The Jewish leaders 
of the early Church were sure everything was on target, until God 
initiated a series of dramatic and supernatural events in Acts 
chapters ten and eleven. God quickly shattered Peter's religious 
pride.

Our Church SHAKEN  

The Lord did something similar to our church family and me. You 
could have described us as a typical, non-denominational, evangelical 
church. We were characterized by contemporary worship music, 
verse-by-verse expositional preaching, a sensitivity to the non-
Christian, and concern with equipping the saints. We had a noted 
children's ministry, and a vibrant young adult church, which was 
growing and gaining the attention of the community. Our church 
would have been described as a safe place, as we grew from 170 to 
1500-1700 in attendance in seven years. We were even in the 
middle of a building program to relieve our cramped conditions. But 
God had plans of His own.  

As mentioned earlier, like Peter on the rooftop, God invaded us in 
January of 2000. Within 120 days we experienced several people 
who had dramatic demonic manifestations, physical healings taking 
place, and prophetic words and dreams being released. And to truly 
take us over the edge, my wife experienced two angelic visitations 
to explain what was transpiring and what was going to transpire.  

I can't imagine Peter being more traumatized than I was, and over 
time many in our church became offended as to what was taking 
place (including myself at times).  

Things did not subside after those first 120 days, in fact, they 
continue even today in a very notable fashion. Hundreds have 
received physical healing, hundreds have received freedom from 
captivity by powers of darkness, and hundreds have received eternal 
life through Jesus Christ. Many of the healings have included terminal 
diseases, and even recovery from a death-coma. 

The Lord taught us many memorable truths through some very painful 
lessons. Due to uncertainty, discomfort, and fear, eighty percent of 
the people that were with us in January 2000 are no longer a part of 
our church. Our building project came to a screeching halt while 
excavation had already started. We had been respected in the 
community of churches surrounding us as a solid and progressive 
evangelical church; now all manner of stories were circulating and 
our reputation had become tarnished because of the unconventional 
ministry that was taking place. Very hurtful things were stated and 
expressed toward our leadership and church body.  

About REFORMATION  

One of the lessons we learned in all of this was that the Lord is still
reforming His Church. Much has been restored in the Church since 
the scriptures began to be recovered in the late 1300's to the mid 
1500's. Of course Martin Luther was used to recover the essence 
of salvation by grace, through faith alone in Jesus Christ, in the 16th 
century. The reformation continued in different dimensions of the 
Church for the next several centuries. But there is still reformation 
work to be done in the Church at large.  

In the midst of this dramatic upheaval, when I was in a particular 
state of offense at what God was doing in our church, He asked me 
a series of questions:  
 * "What is My design for the Church?"   
* "Are you faithful to the commission I gave My Church, or had 
you succumbed to conventional expectations of man?"   
* "What is different about what I am doing in your church than 
what happened while I ministered on earth?"   
* "Were there not physical healings?"   
* "Did I not hear directly from My Father as to what He was 
going to do and what He wanted Me to do and say?"   
* "Were there not demonic manifestations no matter where I 
ministered, whether in the Synagogue or out in the streets and fields?"   
* "And did I not demonstrate authority over all powers of 
darkness and powerfully release those who had been captives?"   
* "Was not all of this part of people coming into My kingdom?"   
* "Was not all of this part of Me training and teaching My 
disciples how to do My ministry?"   
* "Were not My disciples commissioned to carry out the very 
ministry My Father sent Me into the world to perform?" 
       *  "Did I not say that My disciples would do the very works I 
have done and even greater?"   
* "Did I not pray for My disciples regarding this work and not 
only them but for all who would ever believe in Me because of their testimony?" 
 
   
Waking up to JESUS' MINISTRY  

We soon realized there was nothing happening in our church that 
was not spoken to and demonstrated directly in the Scriptures. God 
simply woke us up. We needed a good shaking, though! We began 
to read the Scriptures in a fresh way, all while having our paradigm 
and practice of "church" change dramatically.  

During this season we learned a central message. The Lord 
emphasized what characterized the ministry or what we like to call 
"Jesus-ministry." Luke 4:18-19 summarizes it as proclaiming the 
gospel, releasing captives, giving sight to the blind, freeing the 
oppressed, and proclaiming this is the age of God's grace.  

Jesus' design for His Church - all of us who possess God's Spirit 
and are followers of Jesus Christ - is that we continue the very 
ministry He initiated on earth. My ministry and our church were 
falling short in the assignment the Lord had given us, and we were 
anemic in the demonstration of His power in our midst. The Church 
of Jesus Christ, like our church, needs to recover the foundation of 
God's Word with the demonstration of His power, so that people's 
lives are radically transformed. This is the mission of the Church. 
This is what Jesus commissioned us to do! We need a full return 
to ancient truths and power in present-day wineskins. We need 
more than mere programs or routine, for the Church desperately 
needs a revolution unto reformation.  
----------------------------------------------------  
[MIKE RICHES is pastor of Clover Creek Bible Fellowship in 
Spanaway, Washington. -Article excerpted from an issue of 
Radiate Magazine-  http://www.radiatemagazine.org ]