The clip above from The Green Mile captures the feeling I had after the following interview. It’s a unique feeling, the place where fear and wonder intersect, that magical place where the awful and the awesome shake hands over a table set by awe. Real healings, assuming of course that there are such things, should happen in the most unlikely places and in the most unlikely ways imaginable. As the interviewee said over and over again: “There is no algorithm. There are no formulas or optimal conditions.”
Due to the baggage connected with the following subject, our interviewee and I agreed that this SATFO interview needed two restrictions:
- His and any other name of any close friend would be changed to create some anonymity.
- My opinion on the matter would be void from the piece, my voice present only in summary of the content of our talk (the original version was 16,000 words long – a small novelette).
Why these terms?
Those who have publically handled this subject in the past have, in all actuality, mishandled the people involved – including themselves. There are charismatics who have turned supposed healing ministries into multi-million dollar cons (there’s a Nigerian preacher out there who sells “blessed” handkerchiefs for a hundred dollars a pop). Others have tried to make their name famous from alleged supernatural events. The interviewee has kindly asked to be associated with none of that nonsense.
And honestly, I don’t want to be either. I’m just some nameless dude learning from anyone I can, which is the point of all of these Sitting At The Feet Of : interviews. I’m here to learn from painters and mechanics and, in this particular case, healers – not to tell them my opinion. I want to know their beliefs and stories and expertise. I have attempted to walk that line here and change none of his personal opinions. That includes his use of profanity, though I’ll summarize whenever possible and star out the vowels as a courtesy to the kids out there that might stumble upon this post. At some point, however, censorship becomes an alteration of the interview’s transcript.
I was also unable to obtain visuals or audio from this interviewee simply because of scheduling conflicts. Apologies, but as you will soon see, his stories don’t need any visuals to hold interest. And he does have a lot of stories–plan on coming back a few times to get through them all. For our purposes, we’ll call him Timothy Mannsohn – Timmy for short. Timmy will be free to respond in the comments as he pleases.
We talked first about these alleged miraculous healings during the International Conference on Missions – a missionary convention for the Restoration Church and nondenominational churches. I followed up with a comprehensive interview over the phone while the orange autumn light streamed into our Stormsong Blue bedroom, right through brown curtains. The colors reminded me of the colors of our natural world, and the interviewee – through his emphatic and energetic tone – insisted that these events were supernatural only in the sense that they return the world to the way it was naturally meant to be. These are the supremely natural things that happen in our world. Kind of like the Fae, in fact (see also On Fairie Stories).
Our interview went like this:
“This started because of how I’m wired. I look for ways to push into and challenge normal Christian thoughts,” Timmy said, “And I know you’re that way too.”
“If someone tells you something about Christianity and it appears boring,” he said, “you’re sort of looking at it going, ‘Why the hell is this boring? Because the God that we are after is not boring.”
“Yeah,” I said. I can do that sometimes.
He thinks his alma mater, a Restoration Church Bible College, is fairly cessationistic. “The Restoration Movement says, ‘Here’s how you tell people about Jesus: live a life that’s quiet, humble, sacrificial, and loving. And then people look at the way that you live and want to live that life.’”
In his mind, the problem with this is his own royally screwed up life. “If somebody is looking at my life and waiting for my testimony to look a certain way, then I bust my own theory. Also: the more I get to know Jesus, the less put-together I am.” He mentioned personal sins that have surfaced of late: “intense anger, the roots of my sexual addiction. Why do I do the things that I do? Why am I still rebelling? Still running?”
In tandem with this search, curiosity washed over him concerning the manifestation of the Gospel. “When I’m in a place where there’s a lot of darkness, a lot of apathy, a lot of false religion – do I just walk around and people just see good moral behavior and say, ‘Wow, you’re very loving. You were very patient at that stoplight.’ You know?”
I smiled. My dog was barking at the other dogs lapping the Joplin Humane Society. She would continue barking for the rest of the interview – about an hour and a half straight. She never does it for that long. Odd…
We pressed on.
He said, “I’ve always worried that what I read in the Bible really stopped after the Apostles. And I just thought, ‘Well… I don’t think there’s an algorithm for the signs and wonders, for the power of the Holy Spirit. If He still does this stuff and it’s not dependent on me, then I, in or out of sin, in or out of feeling ‘good’ with Him, can learn how He does this stuff.’”
He admits: his motives were flawed. “A year and a half ago, I was in Costa Rica and I was just guessing because I had nothing to lose. I wasn’t in America where people knew me or in [the major U.S. city where I live] or whatever. Clean slate.”
His friends had just made a movie and were making another that he had no hand in, even though he had packed a camera. “And I was watching these [films about miracles] and thought, ‘Those people are pretty crazy. Why do you need gold dust to show up in the air? Why do you need a gem in your pocket?”
He admitted that you could sell the ruby and make money. “George Barna was really skeptical of this stuff. My friend who runs the outfit that’s making these movies was at George Barna’s house and his wife was like, ‘I really think this gold stuff is real.’
“And he’s like, ‘No it’s not real.’
“And she’s like, ‘I think it’s real. I heard they got gold teeth. I’m gonna pray.’ Anyways, she prayed for a gold tooth.
“And he didn’t believe her and said, ‘I’ll only believe it if I get a gold tooth.’ And the dude woke up and had a freaking gold tooth.
“So I was thinking, ‘That’s kinda weird. I don’t know that I want to care about that because that’s why Charismatics get made fun of. They walk around talking about manna appearing in your Bible and golden gems showing up in your pocket and the air getting filled with gold.”
However, healing made sense to Timmy and his friends, so they simply walked around Costa Rica praying for sick people. “I didn’t have massive faith, I just said, ‘Do you mind if I ask Jesus to heal your injury?’”
Bethel in Redding, California has a pastor named Bill Johnson. “The way Bill talks about healing is very specific. ‘When you pray for healing, you’re not asking God to do it. You’re speaking directly to the condition and working out of Colossians 3, out of your position in Heaven.’ So you are not actually on Earth trying to convince someone of what you believe so that they can go to Heaven. You are in Heaven, releasing Heaven onto the Earth—“
“Huh,” I said.
“—inviting someone to that wedding table.” The paradigm shift blew his mind because it went beyond relational peace. “I’m not bringing people to Heaven, I’m bringing Heaven down. I’m not going around binding demons, binding darkness. When I find a power of darkness, I have to release something. I have to release Kingdom.”
“Okay,” I said.
“It’s not asking, ‘God, will you heal this cancer? God, will you heal this tumor? God, will you shift his pelvis bone back into place? God, will you grow this broken woman’s cartilage back out?’ It is: ‘I command you, cartilage, in the name of Jesus – you be restored right now.’ It’s talking to the body in the authority of Christ that I am seated in, that is now being accessed through me regardless of my mental condition concerning my legal state in Christ. Regardless of how I emotionally feel, the authority of Jesus works.”
He witnessed this first in ‘the demonic realm.’
“We’d be praying for people and would see actual demonic manifestations happen. I would see the power of Christ manifesting and getting rid of this. So I was deducing using normal logic: if it works in the demonic, why is everyone arguing that God’s done with healing? Why at [this Megachurch I attend] do we give away $750,000 a year to heal the medically sick, and we don’t even pray for them?! Like we’re not even saving money. We’re not even being shrewd. We’re just assuming that healing doesn’t happen anymore and… so… anyway…”
After witnessing some healings like what he read about in his New Testament, he craved more. “I like seeing people in public, saying, ‘Now I have access to them. Because you’re in public, I have access to you.’ What is my entry point? If my entry point is, ‘Hey let me tell you about Jesus,’ they’re gonna be kind turned off.”
“But if my entry point is, ‘Hey! What happened to your leg? What happened to your collarbone?’ Or, this is even crazier, the Lord has started telling me that people have injuries before I talk to them. So I was in Wal-Mart the other night and… that thing happened—”
He cut himself off and mentioned a separate event he and his buddy Jake stumbled upon. “’Pagan Pride.’ And all the witches, all the Satanists, all the occultists, all the Native-American obsessed, all the psychics – they have these booths set up. It’s like a fair for the demonic, it’s hilarious. I really wanted to go. I said, ‘Jake. Let’s go.’
“And he said, ‘How are we gonna get in?’”
“And I look over and I see a pair of crutches leaning up against this demon catcher’s stand, you know, where they’re selling these little artifacts. My entry point’s to pray for the sick. So what we did was… we just walked around the perimeter. We prayed. Then I walked in and I just walked up to this lady and I said, ‘Hey, I saw your knee is really like… it’s in a brace, what happened?’”
“She’s like telling us.”
“And I’m like, ‘Hey, listen. I follow Jesus everywhere He goes and He led me here today. Can I pray for Him to completely heal your leg?’”
“And she said, ‘No.’”
I laugh at him. Hard.
“Aaaahhh!” he yelled. “So I thought, ‘Sh*t. This is not the Spirit that led me here.’”
“The lady next to her said, ‘I have kidney disease and my mind… I have not slept in multiple days. There’s some pressure on my head – I don’t know what it is. Can you pray for me?’”
“And the lady with the knee injury gets all pissed.”
I chuckle again.
“So we sit down with this other lady who has a wolf on her shirt, which is just badass. People in the Native American world – they love wolves. I don’t know why, but there are wolves.”
I said, “Yeah.”
“Airbrushed,” he said. “Everywhere. And I love it. You know they’re Native American because they have huge wolves crying to the moon on the back of their truck.”
I’m rolling at this point. I had one of those stickers in grade school. I also still have this giant blue blanket with a wolf pack on it doing just that: howling at a full moon. Love that blanket…
“I love wolves,” Timmy said. “We sit down and Jake – I bring Jake with me because Jake, everywhere we go the Lord tells him things about people, secrets. The Bible would call this prophecy.” Timmy assured me that Jake never brags about this or mentions it in public. “I go with him because I don’t hear from God that way. But I like praying for healing. I get excited about that. Blake gets real excited because when we lay hands on people, it’s like a download of their freaking email. Or their journal.”
They started praying and before he tried to heal someone, “The Spirit said, ‘You just need to listen to these people today. You’re not here to destroy Hell today. You’re here to learn about the Hell that’s in these people right now.’
“We listen for a little bit and start praying for her.
“And Jake said, ‘Hey, God wanted me to let you know: He knows you’re not sleeping at all. He knows you have—’ this is like real specific stuff ‘—He knows you have this pressure and it hits around this time at night. And He knows that your daughter’s not talking to you right now and He thinks that’s important because He loves you and He wants you to experience restoration.’
“This woman starts weeping. Now all of the sudden she’s open to this person—Jesus—who’s touching her. When we start praying for healing, she said, ‘Oh my word, it’s like a cold waterfall is pouring over my entire body right now.’ She said, ‘My head is loosed up right now. I feel more peace than I’ve ever felt in my entire life.’ And she said, ‘The place where my kidneys are damaged is—it feels like it’s on fire. Someone’s touching my kidneys right now. What is that?’
“And we said, ‘It’s Jesus. It’s Jesus and He’s doing it because he loves you. Not because of what you’ve done.’ And I said, ‘I just want to tell you He’s not holding your sin against you. But He’s reconciled. He’s brought the world to Himself, in Jesus—the person who’s touching your kidneys right now. And He’s doing this and He sent us here today because He likes you a lot and He just wants to know you. He wants to know you right now.’
“And she starts flipping out and says, ‘You need to go pray for this girl. She’s over there painting demons on little kids’ faces.’”
After Timmy said that, I was laughing so hard. It reminded me of Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes – the man with the moving tattoos?
“We go over there and pray for her and Jake starts prophesying and we listen to a guy who’s talking about a demon he follows called Dioneces. And how he met Dinoeces. And how his wife follows a different spirit, but how he follows this spirit.
“We pray for him and look into his eyes and say, ‘Dude, thanks for sharing about Dioneces today. You’re awesome. We see leadership in you, amazing leadership qualities, and actually when you were talking, I know the spirit that you met was dark, but we saw light emanating out of you. And Jesus said He’s coming to get you.’
“The guy’s eyes light up and he goes, ‘Oh my gosh that’s amazing news! You’ll never guess: when I was twelve, I saw into the supernatural and I was at a Baptist church and they told me I was crazy. They said, “You need to go get your head checked, that’s not real.” ’ And he said, ‘So I found some friends that saw into the supernatural realm. We did this séance. There were these dark shadows, but there was one bright white light shadow.’ And he said, ‘I really wanted that one, but the ones that got in before Him were dark. I’ve been chasing after that light trying to figure out what it was. And I know it’s not Dioneces, but I know it’s something else.’
“And we said, ‘That light that you’re after is after you with more veracity and more intensity. Your path is not finished.’
“And the guy was not ready to repent that day.
“We’re not walking in there saying, ‘Will you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Look! Here’s some water! Why should you not be baptized right now in Lexington’s courthouse fountains?’ The Spirit instructed us in that specific moment, ‘Use the spiritual gifts that I’m giving you. Use the insight. Use the power that I’m giving you and this goes right now to these very specific things to accomplish these very specific tasks.’ ”
There were nonphysical manifestations after the demonic, but Timmy also saw physical manifestations.
“The Muslim girl in Chipotle had two knee braces on and her cartilage grows back out. Now Jesus, who is formerly just a prophet in her mind, touched her.” In his opinion, his home megachurch is so terrible at discipleship, he can’t invite her. “We don’t even know what to do with Muslim women at [my home megachurch]. If we tried, it would like explode our stage and all of our strobe lights. We would implode. Our HD screens would fall off the wall.”
“When cartilage pops back and grows up through the knees, she no longer needs the knee braces and walks out of Chipotle with new kneecaps, Jesus is no longer just a prophet.
“And I went through the right strategy: ‘Hey. My name’s Timmy, what’s your name? Uh, I saw you have knee braces. Can I ask what happened? Can I pray for you? Can I use the name of Jesus? Can I touch your knee?’
“She said, ‘Okay.’
“There’s that. There were tumors disappearing,” he said. “There was—“
“Now what do you mean by that?” I asked. “Tumors disappearing?”
“Oh okay. Yeah yeah. There was a—how do I ignore this call? iOS7, come on. Um… can you still hear me?”
“Mm-hmm,” I said.
“Okay,” he said, “so, I didn’t finish the Costa Rica story. When I was down there August, twenty-twelve, and I had my camera with me and I was going around checking things out, I asked a pastor one night. I said, ‘Hey. Do you know any sick people we can pray for?’”
“He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll be right back.’ And he made a call, came back, and said, ‘We’re gonna have a healing service tonight in the village and you’re gonna pray for healing.’
“I said, ‘What?! I did not ask you to do that.’ There are people who can back this up.”
Timmy wanted to go to a few houses and pray for a few people to be healed. “’I did not want a ton of people.’ I said, ‘I’m not a healer.’
“The pastor said, ‘Well it doesn’t matter. There will be someone else praying with you.’
“Well that was total bullsh*t. I showed up at 7pm in this tin shack church and there are like seventy people there limping and dying and um… depressed. And… you know… they have steel drums and a clavinova and the speakers are too close together so the microphone has feedback everywhere and the man leading it—his name’s Jami and he has a mullet—and he is sick, talking into the microphone he’s sharing with me and I’m like, ‘I’m gonna get sick and die before I even get outta here.’
“So Jami introduces me as a healer from the United States.
“My friend Andy is back there with me—I was just staying at their house, they’re Americans who live down there. I had met them a week prior. And Andy’s laughing at me, holding a camera on a monopod in the back, laughing, I’ll show you some of this footage, and so anyway, they introduce me as a healer.
“And I’m like, ‘I’m not a healer. I’m Timmy. I’m a normal guy and if Jesus shows up tonight He’ll heal people. But if He doesn’t show up, nothing will happen.’”
I shook my head.
He laughed as he talked. “I said this. I said this verbatim. So I said, ‘Anyone with infirmity come up here.’ And of course, you know, there’s clavinova music with steel drums in the background, which is the least emotional music…” He laughs again.
Timmy said, “It’s the most sh*tty music. And the people singing were singing so out of tune—I don’t know what the hell they’re singing—they’re singing in Spanish. You know? So it’s something like, ‘Yo huuuu sinquemos.’”
“Anyway, a brave soul comes up. She has severe neck and back pain.
“I pray. I talk to the body and I told it what to do and nothing happened. And I prayed like four times. Cause I tell people, ‘Don’t lie to me. Do you have any change or not?’” He checks later because often a bit of pain will go away, they’ll thank God, and at that moment of gratitude, God increases His work. “It’s insane. My complaining is like a demonic playground. It’s weird. Cynicism, unforgiveness, bitterness is an invitation to the demonic. Thanksgiving and praise and honor is an invitation to the Spirit. It’s really weird. It’s like He set principles in place in this world to mirror what’s being permitted in Heaven.”
Reminds me of the neo-platonism SATFO…
In Costa Rica with the pressure on, Timmy tried everything: giving thanks, making stuff up, singing Chris Tomlin songs. Nothing worked, so he walked out. “It’s night. I look up at the sky and I said, ‘God I don’t know what’s happening, but You have to show up. Why did You let me get into this situation?’ I was like repenting. ‘I’m sorry for putting You on the spot. You didn’t ask me to do this. I shouldn’t have done this.’
“I heard something in my head. It said, ‘Get out of the way and watch and stop thinking about your sin.’
“Then I went back inside and this woman’s looking at me along with everyone else and before I could even lay my hands on her, she started speaking and she fell down onto the ground and she said, ‘A blanket was just put on me. Someone just touched me.’ And she said, ‘My muscles are looser than they’ve ever been in my entire life.’
The place went nuts. “A woman got healed and I didn’t have anything to do with it. People form this line and before they even get up to us, God starts healing them.” They left the line. People on stage wanted in line, but got healed, so they left. “The few people we did get to lay hands on, one lady had a tumor on her, on her left breast, and I’m like, ‘Well I’m not touching that and going to jail.’”
That one caught me inattentive and I laughed for some time.
When I regain my composure, Timmy began again:
“Yeah. Seriously. It’s like: breast cancer. I can’t pray for that, I’ll go to jail. But I just have my hand on her shoulder and she showed us where the lump was and it started deflating in front of us. It disappeared. It took maybe… maybe a minute? And she’s just weeping the whole time. It was just such a normal thing… I don’t know how to explain it. Wasn’t like a hand came out of the air – although that did happen in April, and I’ll tell you that later.
“Dude, when He is in the room, when my agenda is not there, when my personality is not there—and you know enough things about me to know that I struggle with pride, ego, and personality— when those things are absent, He’s in the mood to heal.”
People in the village had no access to healthcare. “They’re naïve enough, childlike enough to believe He could actually do this. In their minds, they’re not doing sh*t that day. They’re just being poor. And they hear, ‘Okay, it’s 7pm. If you show up at this place, Jesus is going to heal you.’ They’re not even thinking about me.
“I’m thinking about me. I was thinking, ‘Oh crap. I used porn X-amount of days ago, that’s why He’s not doing this.’
“So these people start having this stuff happen and… dude, it got crazy. I mean it got like… peoples’ bodies that had been in car accidents where their pelvis—pelvic—uh, bone, is out of place, their whole torso was shifted?! Slid back into place. There was one guy that was mentally retarded that walked out not mentally retarded. He was in his forties.
“When the demons came, they crumpled people up in balls and said, ‘Please let us leave. We don’t want to be here. Get us out of here as soon as possible.’ It wasn’t a fight. They were in these kids. This kid came up and he’s shut down, locked down in a ball. These powers of darkness, they just, they fled.
“This girl that had this virus, when we prayed and the virus exited her—and this is just God being God, made the body for specific reasons—but when it exited her, she just vomited it out.” She excused herself to the restroom to get the rest out. “Others that had this virus, it would leave immediately in very natural ways, if that makes sense.
“Yeah,” I said.
“—without being too gross.”
“They would stop talking in the middle of a cough. It was the most sick demonstration of power I had ever seen. It was like, ‘Is this real?’ Because a hundred percent of the people got healed. And now I know why people think everybody gets healed. It’s because they’ve been in places where people get healed, and they try to turn that into an algorithm. And you can’t, you can’t do that to the government in Heaven, because although we are seated in Heaven, I don’t run the government in Heaven.
“You say, ‘Well Jesus healed everyone that came to him.’ Well no sh*t, He’s God. He had access to what the Father was doing all the time. He was in tune with the Fa—He was abiding with the Father, so He knew ‘If I go to these people, You probably want to touch them in this sort of way.’”
Everyone got healed that night and he came back to the States thinking God would do this constantly and everywhere. “My motives were flawed because I would go around telling people, ‘Stick your leg out, it’s gonna grow back the four inches that it’s short.’ Or, ‘[Name of megachurch pastor], why did we give money to this person for cancer? You just let me go pray and God will heal them.’ Really destructive stuff, dude.” He burned bridges, lost respect and “a lot of Twitter followers” from thinking he could create a pattern.
“I really got humiliated last November. Some people at ICOM spoke to me very prophetically and didn’t know it. I got into some real discipline with the Spirit. It’s not like He said, ‘Don’t go pray for the sick,’ but He was like, ‘Dude, I need to teach you some identity stuff. Like the fact that I’m okay with you if you never do miracles ever again and this is not the whole deal.’ Like I got called into a really quiet place from probably November of twenty-twelve to April of this year. I’ll be honest: I was kind of like, ‘Is this stuff real? Was I manufacturing this?’ But I would look at the footage. I would look at my journal entries, and I felt like two different people. But I wasn’t seeing any power made manifest at all. So I thought, ‘Okay, that’s just a season and it went away.’
“When I was teaching at a human trafficking event in April, I was supposed to be teaching on Ending Demand in Human Trafficking. And I don’t like doing that because you can’t talk about Jesus. So I’ve cancelled all speaking engagements permanently because a lot of our emphasis is no longer on human trafficking, the film we’re making is saying, ‘How is Jesus engaging sexual brokenness in the human heart? How is he restoring people back to wholeness?’ Because we know if you get that – if you get men, and you give them better-tasting water, they’ll just naturally not want to drink from the toilet.” He agreed to speak at Ohio State and Notre Dame if he could talk about Jesus.
“They said, ‘That’s fine, whatever.’ It’s a public event.
“The Lord told me on the way up there, ‘I want you to confess personal sin on stage. Then I want you to read Psalm 51. And I want you to show them repentance. You’re not talking at them. You’re taking the low seat.’
“And I was like, ‘Sh*t.’
“’But if you do this,’ like I heard him clearly, it was really weird, dude. ‘If you do this, I will heal the sick. You will cast out demons. And people will come home.’ I heard that, verbatim.
“And I was like, ‘Oh…. So there’s a huge break from this stuff and now You’re expecting me to confess… like… probably sexual sin on stage in front of people. So I did it. I did it, dude. I didn’t go right for the jugular right when I walked on stage, I just said, ‘Look. Who’s depressed about human trafficking?’
“Everyone raised their hand.
“I said, ‘No sh*t, so am I. Here’s the deal: men? we do drive this stuff. The way out is not awareness. It’s not building safe houses. It’s not getting pissed. It’s this thing called repentance. It means using the same sword that you use to fight for Satan and you fight for Jesus. Turning. Coming home.’ Whatever. I read them Luke 15. I said, ‘Let me illustrate this for you.’”
He was laughing out loud, hard. “Dude, I went into it! I’m not kidding. I did this. I told them, ‘Look, here’s my deepest struggles.’ I said, ‘And guess what? When I tell you to turn from your wicked ways, I feel tons of shame and guilt because I’m doing the same sh*t I’m telling you not to do. But guess what? This is my weakness. This is my addiction. This is my thorn in the flesh. And guess what? Here’s how frequently it happens. And here’s how I feel. You know what? I need liberty. I need Jesus. And this is why I’m thankful I have Him. And this is what He does. And this is who He is.’
“And I read Psalm 51. And I said, ‘Before we tell them to turn, we need new hearts. That’s easy.’ And then I read Luke 4 and I said, ‘When you read this passage about liberating captives, you’re thinking about girls in Asia. But you and me, we’re the captives. We are. We are. And you can still be a Christian and submit yourself to captivity.’ I said, ‘I’m just being honest.’ So I said, ‘Okay, here’s the deal: you need to accept Jesus. And it’s really simple. And it’s free—it doesn’t cost any money and I’m not gonna sit in a gold throne. So if you want to do that, then come down and do it.’
His voice raised quickly, “Like dude I gave an ALTAR CALL at a human trafficking event at Ohio State! And it worked and it was crazy what happened. We saw demonic manifestations happen. One was a demon called America… no, no, no. The girl’s name was America, there was a demon called… uh… uh… what was it? It began with a ‘B.’ Maybe Bathsheba. Really weird stuff happened that night. But we saw the sick healed again.
“Dude, this is my thought for you: whenever this stuff happens, it is revelation given in the moment to draw people into an encounter and into a relationship with a historical person. John 17. What’s eternal life? It’s not just a location, it’s that they may know Him. It’s that they would know a person. So the healing and the prophecy and the signs and the wonders and the power to me are not things that the church needs to be arguing about.
“Different people are outfitted in the body to walk in different facets of the Holy Spirit’s power because the evangelism aspect of discipleship—I think evangelism is always the starting point for discipleship, obviously, you have to have an entry point, and the power cuts through all the bullsh*t. It cuts through all the ways they were wounded, it cuts through all the presuppositions about who Jesus is. It gets right to the heart.
“We saw broken bones healed that night. I had heard from some friends that people with steel rods in their bodies – these steel rods were burning up and being turned back into new bone. Like people were feeling the metal and they’d go, ‘What is that?’ They’d get the surgeon to check it out. ‘Well I put this metal rod in you, I see the scars from the incision I made, but there’s real bone in there, how did you do that?’”
In Timmy’s mind, this weird stuff happened to show people that the person drawing them into relationship liked them, wanted something to do with them.
“For the demonic, people got scared. ‘Why is this thing happening?’ They would slip in and out of personalities. ‘Why is this thing happening?’ Then they would get delivered from it and they would go on. The end result is: people are getting delivered and are meeting the Lord Jesus. And what’s happening, and what I’m seeing in the U.S. is that Gen Y, the Millenials, are saying, ‘We don’t want cool sh*t, we want Jesus, and if you want Him, He comes with power.’ I’m not saying it happens the same time, all the time. There’s so much wisdom in the timing thing. I’ve walked up to strangers on the street—you know, in New York? I have to be different about it than I am in Lexington. Everyone will talk to you in Lexington. In New York, if you talk to them, they think you want something from them and they don’t talk to you. Seattle, it’s different there. Chicago? Different. Cities are different, but I’ve been following guys like Jon Tyson up at Trinity Grace in New York.”
“He’s a good dude,” I said.
“Jon Tyson is saying exactly what I am, way better than I’m saying it. He’s saying essentially: the things that are happening in other cultures that are very normal, that are very Biblical, that are designed to bring people into a relationship with Jesus are not just that I argue with you and I’m trying to be overt and relevant and edgy and catchy to be, like, cool with you and use your vernacular. I don’t know when He’s coming back and so what is sometimes the shortest, most powerful way for that person to experience the real Jesus? Sometimes, an injury is the gateway.
“Sometimes I’ll walk around and like—that Wal-Mart thing started the other night because I looked at this guy and God told me, ‘This guy’s not been sleeping well and he’s been hurt by his father.’
“I was like, ‘Well I don’t want to—‘ I said in my head as I was buying my bananas, ‘Well I don’t want to bring up the conversation with him that way.’
“And He said, ‘Okay.’
“So I tried to scan the next thing I was buying. They were hangars and they didn’t ring up as an item.
“And He said, ‘Watch.’
“And I was like, ‘Oh sh*t, here He goes again.’ Like, dude, I’m not kidding, I will hear Him this clearly at times. I wish I could hear him this clearly all the time, but I can’t. But someone had to go check for these hangars to see what price they were.
“And a woman had a boot on her foot, she had plantar fasciitis.
“So we pray, healing came, and then that same cashier that had sleeping problems and the dad issues, said, ‘How did you do that? Are you a pastor?’
“I said, ‘No, I’m a normal guy. I follow Jesus. I’m filled with the Holy Spirit and God told me these things about you and I need to pray for you right now.’ And God gave me more thoughts about him. Like it was really weird, it was really specific like, ‘You sit in dorm room alone and you work really intensely on these projects and no one sees you. Everyone undervalues you. You feel invisible to people.’
“He just starts weeping in the middle of Wal-Mart. And, you know, Wal-Mart is the most unholy place in North America and there’s this miniature touch point from God happening.
“And the end result of that is, ‘Dude, you just need friends, don’t you? Why don’t you come to breakfast with me and my friends on Saturday.’ So every Saturday, we have breakfast club and right now there’s a Buddhist that has brain damage.
“He’s fifty-four and he forgets the Gospel ever f*cking day and it drives me insane because we preach the Gospel to him and then his brain resets because of an aneurism and then he forgets it and goes back to worshipping his statues. Dude—some days he’ll give me some of his statues to burn and destroy and anoint them with oil and we get rid of them, but then the next day he’s like, ‘Where are those statues?’
“I’m like, ‘You just f*cking gave them to me to burn! They’re gone.’ You know? ‘When are you going to repent?’
“He’s like, ‘Well I like Buddhism.’
“I’m like, ‘Sh*t.’ You know? So anyways, he’s there. All these people that we’ve tipped thousands of dollars at once because the Holy Spirit told us to, that have been healed of diseases, that have been prophesied to, that we’ve seen on the side of the road limping—that’s how I met Mark, who’s the Buddhist, a year and a half ago.
“I want to pray for healing. Guess what?
“He didn’t get healed, but he prayed that morning at 3am that God would send him a friend and that’s how God pulled me into it!
“I thought he was gonna get healed and now I’m like friends with this guy and he’s become like the main source of sanctification in my life, a guy who wasn’t healed and who God has actually used to shape me into the likeness and image of Jesus, who has repented but keeps forgetting the Gospel.
“So breakfast club and meals around the table – and that’s why I love that you’re going to New York – that is the community we’re drawing people into. It’s not [he names his home megachurch]. I don’t bring them to services. They have a touch point with Jesus and the number keeps growing and people all over [my home city] are walking in this normal communion with the Holy Spirit and we just see crazy signs of power.”
I spoke up at this point. “I’ve heard stories in the past of people being healed of multiple personality disorder. That’s hard for a lot of people just because of the influence of psychology. You mentioned the mental disabilities. Were there other mental issues that you saw people restored from, that they had to get rid of medication or those sorts of things?”
“Yeesssss. And it’s actually interesting: spiritual community—dude, you really need to talk about this at some point when you move to New York—the spiritual community tries to be anti-doctor, and anti-medicine. And the medicine community returns the favor. They say, ‘You spiritual people are idiots.’
“The deal is: I’ve seen people get completely healed of neurological and personality disorders and they try to get off their medication immediately. Christians tell them, ‘Stop using your medication immediately.’ And they’re complete idiots. Because… it’s like addiction, okay?
“I’ve seen people get completely healed of addiction. Most people, it’s progressive because you have dopamine receptors that are overactive, serotonin, norepinephrine, testosterone. And these are all calibrated at certain levels based on the medication they’re taking. So if you stop taking the medication immediately, you could die. Some people died from… and guess what? They didn’t get resurrected by Bill Johnson at Bethel, so… fail.”
I laughed. In retrospect, it seems heartless, but then again I realize that I wasn’t laughing at an anonymous someone’s pain but rather at the charismatic community’s ignorance.
“You’re healed! Now you die. So people have to be very careful with medication and some people a year ago today—there was a guy named Russ—a year ago Sunday. This guy Russ got healed of a personality and neurological disorder. It immediately left his body, it was an actual spirit of infirmity. He didn’t know that. We knew that. When it moves around in the body and changes positions, you’re typically dealing with a spirit of infirmity. Left his body.
“He was completely healed and him and his wife were actually pissed. ‘I don’t want to have to go back to work. I didn’t think this would really work. And I don’t want this.’ And it stuck around for seventy-two hours. And he—dude—this guy had been confined to his basement for five years. He was now out building a tree house with his kids. Like God even restored some of his muscular structure. He’s like fixing his lawn mower and he didn’t have to take his meds. And like three days later—72 hours later—when he kept emailing me and calling me, he said, ‘I don’t want this anymore.’ The stuff came back in fullness. So to this day, he’s content to be sick. He sits in his basement. He watches TV. His marriage sucks. He doesn’t interact with his kids.
“People with personality disorders? I’m gonna be honest man, I think a lot of it is demonic. I think a lot of it is demonic. And… like when you pray for those people and you use the name of Jesus, there’s a reaction. Try it. There’s a reaction. And I’m not saying try it to get a reaction, but their bodies react negatively when you use the name of Jesus, typically. These are typically people that don’t stop talking. They’re very lonely. They’ve never had anybody listen to them. Whenever you try to talk about anything of depth or supernatural Kingdom of God, they will flip out. They don’t want it.
“So I’ve seen it, but they have to be in a place where they’re actually ready to cleanse the house and have a new master. And you and I both know this: most people don’t want to do that, dude. When it comes down to it, they want to keep having sex with the person they’re living with, they want to keep abusing alcohol, drugs, whatever numbs the pain, and until they’re in a point where they’re ready to come to repentance, those spirits will stay there.
“And John Weece and Gary Black dealt with it—a Thai woman who had these multiple personalities. She didn’t know Thai, but multiple Thai voices were coming out of her. Kids’ voices were coming out of her down in Lexington. You know, they walk in, she turned around in a male voice said, ‘Hello, John Weece, I’ve been waiting for you.’ Weird stuff, right?
“In the demonic realm, there are rules, man. They can’t just go off the grid. So this thing couldn’t get close to them. It had to submit to basic commands. But it was telling them, ‘You can’t have this woman. Legally, she’s made a contract with us and until she breaks the contract with The Blood, you can’t have her.’
“John Weece calls Gary Black, the executive pastor of Southland’s new campus. Gary brings his wife, Linda. Gary’s a badass, real quiet, humble dude, kind of like François… Man of Law, Man of Flesh / Andrew Murray, mix in a little C.S. Lewis. But the demon didn’t care about Gary.
“When Linda walked in? It shrieked. It said, ‘You didn’t tell me she was coming. Why is she here?’ Guess what? Linda is probably a lot like your wife: gentle and quiet spirit and she knows Jesus and she prays. And those things, those pre-Edenic beings that are destined for Hell, they know, they can read it on a person—their depth. I don’t know if there’s like a meter, like an HP meter for Pokemon that tells them—“
I couldn’t stop laughing.
“—how much intimacy points you have.”
“Your mana bar,” I suggest. “Your XP points.”
“It freaks them out. But here’s the deal: same thing stood. No matter what they prayed, this woman didn’t want to stop praying to her ancestors and burning money and incense to these statues in their house. Cause a lot of these spirits will attach themselves to these things these people own, so even if you’re with them in public and you shake the spirits off, if they don’t take a new owner, they just go home and the spirits that are attached to their idols and whatever else they do, however it entered them, they’ll stick around and reenter. I don’t want to go on a tangent, but yes I’ve seen it happen, but it’s typically demonic.”
“And when it’s not, there has to be actual medical… you have to pay attention to the medical either way. They have to work together. They have to work together.”
I mentioned John Polkinghorne, the Oxford chair of Physics. “John talks about how the scientific community thinks he’s ridiculous for being a Christian and the Christian community thinks he’s ridiculous for being a scientist, but to him both disciplines enrich one another.”
“Right,” Timmy said.
“We’ve got to understand,” I continued, “that if something is good, all good things come from the Father. The medical community? It’s not a bad thing, so therefore those things should be used for good in tandem with other goodness. I have a good friend from high school that’s both a Christian and an OBGYN. When she’s at her best, both shine through brilliantly. When she’s at her worst, she’d probably admit to having suppressed one or the other just like the rest of us.”
“Just so you know,” Timmy said, “I don’t think God gives the illnesses at all. [That Restoration Movement Bible College] teaches this to some extent. The Reformed movement teaches it to a larger extent—that God gives illnesses and sicknesses to people as thorns in the flesh to make them better Christians. I don’t think that. I think everything good comes down from the Father of Heavenly lights and the bad things, the resistances, the sicknesses, can be shaped and modified and used for whatever He wants, but I don’t think He’s vindictively pulling strings up there wanting people to live with this stuff.
“So Christians can take that to the extreme where they say, ‘Okay, well if you have any problem, like if you’re ever depressed, and you’re ever anxious, if you’re ever lusting…’ Like Todd White? The guy that walks around and is like one of the most miraculous dudes ever, he and I were in Chipotle in April and I said, ‘Well look. Here’s the deal man, like…’ And this is a guy who freaking… they were just hanging out with the Pope last week and prayed with him. They were down in the catacombs and had a freaking angelic manifestation. They’re filming a new movie Holy Ghost and Todd was with them. Todd—everyone could go with Todd. Do you know who he is? Have you heard of his name?”
“Huh-uh,” I said.
“Okay, everywhere you go with this guy, it’s just insane. This guy—every person, God will tell them what’s going on in their life, and God will tell him—like we were at a restaurant here in town and the waitress, one of her legs was shorter than the other leg, so before she took our order, he told her to sit down. And he talked to her and commanded the leg to grow out and it grew out like three inches. And she freaked out and started weeping and she had to go home.”
“So they had to give us another waiter. When he came up to take our order, Todd looked right in his eyes and started telling him all of these secrets about his life and that God was after him and that God loved him. And so the waiter flipped out.”
“And we had to get a third waiter. Todd is the most loving person and he just walks with Jesus. A lot of times people will tell him ‘no.’ He’ll be like, ‘Do you have headaches?’ And they’re like, ‘no.’ He says, ‘Okay. I’d rather be wrong than not ask.’ Anyway, Todd told me, ‘The reason you still struggle with porn is cause you don’t understand the blood of Jesus. Because if you did, you would not be into porn.’
“And I was like, ‘Well f*ck you. You can’t tell me that.’ Because I love Jesus and porn and it doesn’t mean that I don’t love Jesus, it means that I’m actually learning to trust him in this area of my life and that’s progressive. Can you not be okay with that? Do I get excluded from the miracle club, the power club just because I have a weakness? Hell no. If anything, when I boast about the weakness, it exemplifies the power of Christ.”
“Just know: I think God being a relational person means he does not approach people and their problems as algorithms just to figure out how to get them baptized and get them discipled. It is so relational, so the stuff happens together. Todd White has his way of walking it out. Other believers that are totally cessationists have their way of walking it out. But to me, man, I do not leave the Holy Spirit alone on this stuff. I repent hardcore and I run after the power of the Spirit hardcore, because I see it as being, honestly dude, I see this as being the new wave of evangelism in the U.S. It’s the only thing that sets me a apart from that Muslim girl. It’s the only entry point. You know what I’m saying? Like, for me at least.
“Now, I’m not saying that’s the only thing that’s going to be happening, but I really believe the Spirit is shaking us up in the U.S. This stuff is going to become so normal that you don’t have to do investigation. Because I get a lot of Facebook messages from people that are like, ‘Does this really happen? Can you teach me how to do this stuff?’ And I’m just like, ‘Dude. I am so screwed up. Don’t ask me for twenty years. Just go try. Just go pray for people. Lay your hands on the sick and they’ll recover—there’s no algorithm.’
“Most Christians, and I kind of got this from Todd when he told me that, they don’t know how to suffer long term with weakness. So your depression and my propensity for porn, whatever it is, if it’s still around, I don’t like that it’s around, but guess what? It didn’t go away when I prayed the prayers, so… you know, a porn demon didn’t come out of me. I don’t know that a ‘depression demon’ left you. It’s interesting how both happen at once. You walk in the Kingdom, amazing things happen around you, and you don’t necessarily morally improve overnight all the time.”
“We talk about that a lot with my wife’s diabetes,” I said. “About knowing that Jesus suffered is so encouraging. That a healer suffered is really interesting because it is a human thing, this side of the New Heavens and New Earth, it is a human thing to die. That is the quintessence of humanity—for God to come down and die. To know that He suffered, to know that He was tortured, that the greatest injustice ever served was not a Jew in holocaust but a Jew on the cross, was not an African refugee, but an African refugee on the cross, was not a bastard child, but a bastard child on the cross—you go through the list of the ways He resonates with us and it helps us suffer better. People like Joni Erikson Tada, the way God has woven her suffering into an incredible amount of joy is just really neat.”
“I’m with you. My only pushback on that stuff is Christians will make arguments and write books to just stay in physical suffering.”
I said, “Like—“
“Like here’s what I mean,” Timmy said. “When I talk to people about this thing that’s going on—diabetes is a big one. They’re so used to it, that it’s just like God’s way of teaching them how to suffer. And dude, I do not push people on this stuff, I’m not saying, ‘Hey, your thinking is wrong.’ If anything, I go in thinking my thinking is probably wrong. But for example, I’ve seen Him heal diabetes. I’ve seen it. It’s weird, but I’ve seen it. I’ve seen him heal celiac. I was kind of like, ‘Okay, now I know He does that,’ but I can’t guarantee He’s gonna do it like here, here, and here. So these people have these conditions and it can actually get wiped away and it’s this really odd thing. I’m with you, I’m just saying that the more popular message of the two we’re talking about here, the more popular message that we’ll preach is, ‘Yeah, Jesus suffered as a High Priest.’ And dude, not to mention, every other freaking believer in every other country has a pretty freaking difficult life compared to mine. Like their idea of a good day is like not being in prison, having enough food to eat, and not getting your business shut down by rebels. It’s a first-world way to look at a lot of this stuff.
“I’m with you, it’s just funny to me that the one that we’ll preach more often is ‘suffer well’ as opposed to ‘hey God may want to touch you, there’s an off-chance that He may want to heal you.’ It’s the same reason that when we go into—my friend Michael Cusick, this guy that’s connected with Dan Allender up at the Seattle school, we’re gonna go meet with Dan in this next week—he’s an amazing counselor—and he said, ‘All the time, if you give men the option of what they want to hear about lust and sexual struggle and you lead them to 1 Corinthians 6, you’re not gonna inherit the kingdom, so get your sh*t together or you’re loved, Psalm 129, I dare you to try to screw this thing up because if you make your bed in hell, God will stay the night with you.’ He said, ‘If you give men this option, they want to hear the 1 Corinthians 6 thing, they want to be beat over the head.’ People want, in some ways, to believe they deserve this suffering, so they just live into that.
“Given the opportunity, most of the time I will choose to hear punishment and hardness from the Father. My initial inclination with Him, most of the time, is if something bad is happening to me, that I deserve it or that I should just count my blessings. Whereas you talk to some charismatic and Pentecostal movement, and it’s like, ‘Oh, there’s something bad happening to you? Well you just need to renounce it. You just need to break it off.’ But then you go to the Reformed end of it and it’s like, ‘Something bad’s happening to you? That’s what it means to be a Christian. If anything good happens to you, wow you better just thank God for grace and buckle up, because this is the normal way to live, it’s just suffering, all the time.’”
“I know your heart. In our generation and our communities, we don’t want to swing to either end of it. We want to live in the moment with the Spirit and learn how to interpret these things as He’s bringing them to the surface. To me—I’m always thinking about His facial expressions and I’m always thinking about what He thinks about me, because those two things have a lot to do with whether or not I’m going to talk to a complete stranger at a car wash. Today, the guy that took me home from the car wash. He detailed my car because I drove on fresh asphalt and coated my car with fresh asphalt—it’s pretty amazing—the Lord was giving me stuff for Him and whether or not I talk to that guy and tell him this stuff that God gave me for him has everything to do with my understanding of God, and if God is someone who is giving out sicknesses and diseases and illnesses and sufferings just to make people better, and that’s what I’m inviting people into, I just don’t know that I’m gonna be super stoked all the time. Now at the same—you could also argue Bonhoeffer’s stuff—come and die. That’s essentially His call.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“And that’s why in a lot of ways, if you’re really advertising Christianity, it looks a lot different than the way I do it most days and I know that. It’s not like, ‘Hey come to the party, all of your diseases are healed all the time.’ It’s like, ‘Hey come get screwed up because you’re being nailed to a cross.’ And the thing that I want to tell people more than anything is like, holy crap dude, I met Jesus and then went to the cross. It did not happen in the inverse order. It’s like, ‘Hey, welcome to the party. I’m legally taking care of your debt instantly, permanently, and eternally. Now come and die with me.’ Because if you go to the cross, you can operate out of death so that you’re not living for self anymore, but so that you can give your life away. Interestingly, you can do miracles and signs and wonders on the way to the cross before you get there. I am a living example of that now. The reason I tell you that is that some Christians, and I can be guilty of this, will talk about the signs and the wonders as if that’s the full Gospel. No. They are part of the Gospel and they show up to confirm that what Jesus said is actually true. Romans 15 is how I’m citing that. Paul said I came among you to preach the full Gospel that is accompanied by these normal things—signs and wonders. But they’re not the ultimate thing.
“To me, they just make evangelism a lot more fun and I call them hinge places. It’s where his government collides with the government of Earth.”
“So what,” I said, “if I haven’t done it as a Christian, am I just doing it wrong?”
“Dude, no, see, I hate that because everyone says that. ‘Am I doing it wrong?’ Which is funny because that means it still has something to do with me and if it still has something to do with me, I don’t want it. It permits the ability for you to affect the outcome. If you have any share in it, He can’t take the credit for it. Your own righteousness or your own strategy—that’s why I push back on these Bethel guys. They say there’s a specific way to do it. They want you to pray specific prayers for specific conditions and I’m like, ‘What?!’”
I said, “Not a strategy.”
“Jesus didn’t do that, you know what I’m saying? If you want, I will send you some of these Bethel teachings, but all they will do for you is give you illustrations of people God has healed. Testimonies. And it’s fun and it’s really life-giving. Honestly, it’s like this man: with our movement that we’re in, in the Restoration Movement, we have more chips in the ‘God doesn’t heal people miraculously’ account than in the ‘He does’ account. So sometimes I just want to hear stories about what God is doing in nations that are not America just to remind me and reengage me. If you want to move into healing, I don’t think that’s a human thought at all and I don’t think it’s selfish and I think it’s like a lot of spiritual gifts that people are want to see manifested. I just don’t know how to speed up the whole process all of the time.
“Let me ask you this: do you think healing is a spiritual gift or do you think that the Spirit is the gift and sometimes He shows up to heal people? What do you think about that?”
“Well,” I said, “I guess if you’re gonna phrase it like that, I would think that the Spirit just shows up, but I add a caveat: anything good that is, any life that exists, has the Spirit of God in it and if God were to remove His attention, to remove His presence from something, it would cease to be. Like smiting? Like God calling down fire from Heaven, from where I’m standing, is less about God pouring some brimstone out of a bucket and more of Him removing his presence from said being. He is no longer present. He is no longer paying attention to that thing or person, so it ceases to be and returns to the void. It reverts to non-being, to non-entity. So I think in that realm that a spiritual gift is a way that the Spirit has manifested Him or Herself in these ways that are unique to different people, but that are present in all that is Him.”
“That’s brilliant,” Timmy said. “I love that. The reason I ask is because I think it changes by whether a Christian is asking for an impartation or if they’re just saying, ‘I want more of You, and if You’re around, the chances increase that these kind of things happen.’ I have a lot of friends in Lexington that will pray overnight, will pray through the night and pray pray pray, get everyone together and they’ll pray and then God does the things we’re praying for and we’re all surprised. Or God actually touches a person above and beyond what we ask. It’s so elementary, but it’s the same condition they ran into when Peter got free. ‘There’s no way it’s you.’ This is a phrase I run into a lot with people: that God will always offend the mind to reveal the heart.
“Because we went to Bible College, we are actually at a disadvantage compared to the Satanists, compared to the Buddhist, compared to the Atheist because we have knowledge and were given tools and told to study this person Jesus. And you can study Him and not know Him, what He’s doing, what He wants to do, where He wants to go. The funny thing is, and I don’t know why He does this, He’s so freaking patient, He won’t tell you, ‘Hey, you’re walking down a path that’s highly logical or highly intellectual or highly self-analytical and that may be different than what I’m thinking about in this particular moment with this person.’
“Now I’m not saying we don’t need that. Because I’m not reading and studying a lot these days like commentaries and theology, I don’t know how to dialog about that stuff anymore and there are people I need to have those conversations with, I’m just being straight with you. My mind is not a muscle I’m blowing people away with. He offends the mind to reveal the heart and he does it always to adults because he wants us to be like kids. And there are no experts in the kingdom, there are only children.
“When these people go around saying they have healing ministries. I go, ‘What the f*ck?! You don’t heal anybody. What do you mean you have a healing ministry? You have a prophetic ministry? You mean the same person who’s been around for millennia just happens to take residence in your carnal flesh for a little while and He’s doing some cool things. The point of the cross in metaphorical, post-resurrection form, is to continually bring us to a place where we’re not thinking about ourselves. And I think the whole thing with healing, I’m not thinking about, ‘What does Timmy Mannsohn want to do right now? What USDA prime steak and wine do I want to eat tonight?’ It’s like look: this person is hobbling and I want to see the Kingdom increase and I want to see the Kingdom of Darkness decrease. This is one way it can happen. In that sense, it really is kind of a normal thing that happens. I’m just asking for more—more of You, more of You.
“Between you and I, and you can share this if you want, I can’t go into warfare when I haven’t gone in intimacy. So if I’m out there and I’m seeing this sh*t happen, and I don’t mean sh*t but you know what I mean, and I’m not connected to the Head, I get credit for it. The issue is, the best times that I’ve had with the Lord this year have been in repentance where I’ve been on my face and I’m saying nothing, and as you know me, you know that’s a miracle of the Lord Jesus that I would say nothing for longer than five minutes. I’m telling you, He is Heaven. I just heard of a Muslim woman who died and went to Heaven and came back because Jesus said if you want to, you can go back, I have some things you can do… she’s like, ‘Okay.’ So she did it. Everyone who describes Heaven has different theories, but she said, ‘No, Heaven is really like Jesus. It’s Him. He’s the center, above it all. I don’t know how to describe it, He’s so compelling, I don’t know how to put it to you.’
“Before I’m any good to anybody where they’re faking it and falling in love with a fake discipled person of Timmy, I have to be broken. It’s Laodicea. Everyone talks about Laodicea—I’m so pissed—they talk about how they’re about to get spit out of His mouth. But look at what He says: ‘Look. You think you’re wealthy. You think you’re clothed well. You think you can see well.’ And that’s because they sold salve for people’s eyes, that’s why they were freaking wealthy. He says, ‘But I’m telling you you’re pitiful, you’re poor, you’re blind, and you’re naked, so I counsel you in your poverty, in your lack, to buy from me gold that will never perish. Buy from me clothing so that you can actually not be naked. And buy from me salve to put in your eyes so that you can actually see. And if you do that, great. I want you to repent because I love you.’ Holy crap! Spiritual poverty is the currency of Heaven, I’m telling you, dude, it’s the currency of Heaven. People that were at that pagan pride festival with the f*cking wolf shirts and worshipping Dioneses? Guess what, they were a lot more open to God that day than the thirty-thousand Lexingtonians wearing Rolexes at Commonwealth Stadium worshipping a f*cking leather ball. You know what I’m saying?
“I’m telling you He’s releasing the Bible through the poor economically and the poor in spirit, and the poor in spirit is where I’m at because I’m not poor economically. Because of how He’s increased my business, I am not poor economically. But it means I have to repent consistently to say, ‘Please rip the old wineskins out of my hand and give me the new stuff and make me like a child. Help me to admit my need. Because if I can do that, I can have currency to buy what I need in Heaven, which is just an ongoing communication with Him.’ And I know that sounds like law, I don’t mean it that way, but this is not hard. Anyone can do this. You and Tara want to move to New York? That’s amazing. That’s cause you want to do it. It’s gonna be freaking amazing and guess what? You don’t have to show fruit for your ministry. You don’t even have to do newsletters. I wouldn’t give a sh*t if you didn’t do a newsletter and I was supporting you monthly.
“Here’s a story I’ll tell you. This second event we did for this human trafficking event at Notre Dame was run by a reformed church. I tried doing what I did the night prior in Ohio State where I confessed my sin, and it didn’t work. It was old wine. I tried to recapitulate a moment and it didn’t work. It was really awkward. Like really dude. Like really awkward. Nobody was responding. I didn’t know what to do. So I’m on stage talking and there’s this really long awkward pause and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna pray for you guys in front of you really quick, if that’s alright.’ No one said anything. They’re like who the hell is this guy? So I said, ‘Spirit? What do you want to do?’ And he brought up the word ‘unforgiveness.’ I don’t know if that’s a word, but it came to my mind.”
“Sure, it’s a word,” I said. “You just used it.”
“I think it is. See? Florida public schools. Hashtag. In the Northeastern part of the U.S., there’s a massive spirit of bitterness and unforgiveness. It’s religion, but it’s this idea of we have our sh*t together, and it’s like a self-righteous thing. It manifests itself differently in different places. Like in Minneapolis, they’re high on doctrine, but they’re not okay with not being okay. So if you’re like morally wrong, they look down on you. It’s crazy. The Christians in the North, Indianapolis and up, it’s just really weird. It’s this really dry, lifeless version of Christianity. It’s really weird. So I said, ‘Okay, I feel a wall in this place tonight. God wants to do some stuff in your lives tonight, but he’s telling me that we’re harboring unforgiveness and bitterness towards people and he wants us to release that tonight.’
“I told them a story about a guy—someone stole four-million dollars from him. He’s an elder of a church. He was telling me about this and his name’s Don and we were on the way to the law office to sign papers because he was suing the guy who stole money from him. He brought me with him because the woman that worked in his house—the house cleaner—God had healed her shoulder that morning. He said, ‘Tell me about this because I’m the elder of a church and I’ve had back pain for years. That lady that works in my house, that servant, she doesn’t even go to church. Why did God heal her shoulder and why won’t he heal my back?’
“The Lord told me in that moment, ‘Tell this guy he needs to forgive the guy that stole four-million dollars from him.’ So I’m in this f*cking truck with an elder who’s had money stolen from him. He deals in commercial real estate. Anyone that works in real estate makes lots of money if they do it right. I said, ‘I think God wants you to forgive this guy.’
“He said, ‘Forgiveness will come at judgement.’
“That’s not a good answer, by the way. I said, ‘Look, dude. I’m not an elder. But I read the Bible and I’m telling you that you do not have to be ready to forgive someone. When you forgive someone, you’re legally declaring in the natural realm that what is already true of them in the heavenly realms is true of them in the natural. And if you hold this against him, God is going to hold it against them. Like binding and loosing? Let’s update the language: if you hold this against this guy, God told you, Jesus said if you don’t forgive this guy’s sins, He won’t forgive you. Do you want that to happen? I’m not trying to scare the sh*t out of you, dude, but do you know?’
“He’s like, ‘Well… this guy really hurt me deeply.’
“I’m like, ‘I’m not negating that. I’m just telling you for your soul, you’re going so inward that you got pissed your house cleaning lady’s shoulder got healed. What reaction to healing is that? Look, her life is better, why didn’t I get mine? You’re turning into Scrooge.’ We’re sitting outside of this law office and he decides to forgive this guy and right when he does it, his back is completely loosed up and gets completely healed. This guy did not deserve to have his back healed. He was really obese and I didn’t think God would heal him because he’s really obese.
“I told that story to these people at the church and the leadership got up and walked out because I told a healing story. They actually found me right after the event was over and said, because there were tons of people that came forward and we were about to pray for them, ‘You’re not allowed to pray for any supernatural stuff. We’re not that kind of church. No healing. Don’t try to prophesy. We’re not those kind of people. You need to move this to a different place because you’re not allowed to do it here. We complied on some level—we still prayed with people, but… 100% of the people there had massive bitterness. They didn’t come forward because I told them a cool story. They had massive bitterness against people. Insane. The last girl—this went until 2:30 in the morning—we’re sitting in someone’s kitchen eating cereal, all the Calvinist pastors are there overseeing this thing, and this girl comes up to me—and you can ask this girl, this is a real story, I’ll give you her name and her Facebook info—twenty-one years old, scoliosis, heard the stories I’m telling you or the ones that were happening around that time, cause I forget a lot of them, I just remember the recent ones, or the ones that stand out. She said, ‘I have scoliosis, can God heal that?’
“I was like, ‘Oh sh*t.’ Cause everyone has scoliosis, know what I’m saying? I’m thinking… kind of what you talked about with Tara and diabetes, the whole… what do you do? Do you just live with that? Does God heal that? Know what I’m saying? I’m still asking these questions… she said, ‘I don’t want you to pray for me because I don’t trust you.’
“I said, ‘Well good. You just met me. You probably shouldn’t trust me. Also, your friends have the same authority in Christ that I do, so tell them to do it. I want to go to sleep, I don’t want to pray for you.’
“She said, ‘Well now I want you to pray for me.’
“Part of it, I’m gonna be honest, part of it—I didn’t want these Calvinist pastors to like see that God didn’t heal her and have another freaking thing in the bank. Know what I’m saying? ‘Oh, here’s another stupid-ass charismatic and look now we can just praise God for her suffering because that’s how He’s making her a better Christian.’
“Anyway, I lay my hand on this girl’s back. Everybody’s watching. The first thing that happened was a picture of a woman’s face showed up in my mind and formed in smoke, like dark smoke, it was weird because normally when I think dark smoke, I think bad. I said to Rebecca, ‘Hey are things cool with your mom?’
“She said, ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’
“Well that’s what the Lord brought up I think, so we need to talk about it.
“Her mom was evil to her over fifteen years. Verbally abusive. Mentally abusive. Relationally abusive. Horrible stuff. I walked her through the same thing. ‘Look, this is what He brought up. He’s bringing up your heart condition before He brings up your physical condition. Don’t get mad at me, He cares about your heart and your heart needs to heal. It can only start healing when you release some of this bitterness. I don’t think that’s Biblically illiterate, I think that’s common sense. The unforgiveness bit is a big deal. That’s why I’m always searching my heart.
“So she forgives her mom and she’s weeping. This takes awhile. It was not quick, it was not Neal Anderson-steps-to-freedom-in-Christ-articulate. She did it and dude, I said, ‘Amen,’ and thought Praise God, I don’t have to pray for her back. Now the Calvinists can be impressed with borderline prophecy. Know what I’m saying? I was like Good, now they can leave.
“She goes, ‘Aren’t you gonna pray for my back?’
“I in my mind said, ‘Sh*t.’ So I said, ‘Okay,” and this is how I prayed which just goes to show you that the Bethel people and the people who say there’s an algorithm to how you pray are not smart. I don’t want to demean them as people, I just don’t think there’s an algorithm. I said the most weak, faithless prayer I could think. I said, ‘Jesus, make her back go the way you want it to look.’ Think about how smart and faithless that is: if He wants it to look screwed up, He just leaves it that way. If He wants to heal it, He has to do it. I didn’t even think about how brilliantly faithless that was, but now I’m really proud of it.
“Sh*t you not, a hand or a series of hands come through the ceiling and moves this girl’s face and neck and back around and cracks her bones back into place, moving her shoulders, moving her head, cracking things left and right. It lasted for ten seconds, everybody saw it, loud cracking noises and the bone structure is completely reshaped. She screams out this cry of joy. ‘Oh my goodness!’ She says, ‘My back is on fire!’ She had her eyes closed the entire time.
“I said, ‘Did you see?’
“She said, ‘I saw like a light and a hand moving me.’ Unbelievable and God has lit her life up. Guess what? It got worse, because then she had to start dealing with real deep heart stuff. But she’s in love with Jesus, man, He touched her and woke her up out of whatever spiritual sleep she was in. He wakes me up from my spiritual sleep every other week.
“You know me.”
I do, he didn’t lie. I’ve known him for years and he wasn’t always like this and he’s never once lied to me. Why would he start now?
“You know I’m a normal, struggling with weakness person. I’m following the same Jesus you are, I’ve just been in some situations where the demand or need has been modified. That’s where I’m at—I’m twenty-seven, that’s where I’m at. I don’t have anything figured out, but I do know he does certain things in situations, so I’ll always ask Him to.”
Join this guild of renegade imaginations.
:: sign up for email encouragement ::