DOORWAY TO DESTRUCTION

We couldn’t believe what we were hearing, especially after the devastating loss of everything we possessed. Listening to various Christian leaders support the very practice that opened the doorway to our destruction was more than puzzling to us.

It is popularly said that Jesus is “always having a good day”. He is always happy and fun to be around. Tell that to the merchants.

He did it twice.

The first time He was angry enough to fashion a makeshift whip and drive all of them out. “Stop turning my Father’s house into a store!” He shouted.

It was a warning. When Jesus says to stop something, He means business. If His words are left unheeded, there will be a natural progression to an even lower state of His house.

They didn’t listen.

Here He was again, this time at the very end of His earthly ministry, seeing the same activity going on in His house. With a broken and angry heart, He declared the outcome of His unheeded warning. “You have turned My house into a cave of thieves!”

There you have it. The natural downward spiral from allowing business to be conducted in the house of God ends with His house becoming possessed by a spirit of theft.

“We have to allow freedom for business to be conducted in the house” is what we have been told when we shared our story with Christian leaders as a warning. Like Jesus, we were unheeded too. As it was with the temple, waves of theft and fraud have rocked the churches that have tenaciously hung on to allowing the marketplace in the house of God.

Business deals being conducted over tables in the church coffee shop. Multilevel marketing meetings being conducted in Sunday school classes after hours. Tables full of oils, books, CD’s and other paraphernalia on display during Christian conferences or hawked from the pulpit by guest speakers. The emporium spirit has thoroughly invaded the 21st century church.

Jesus would have a hey day today, flipping tables. He would probably have the cops called on Him by church leaders and be charged with a felony as well.

It’s only a matter of time.

If a church allows this behavior, it will be on a collision course with outright fraud. It is a principle. Jesus predicted it. We, among countless others, have paid a very dear price to have learned this lesson.

We urge you to hear “what the Spirit is saying to the churches”.

Dan and Debbie Murrill
July 2015

 

HARVEST OF SOULS IN AMISH COUNTRY

We were enjoying a day trip in Lancaster county when suddenly we saw it. In the sky was an atmospheric phenomenon interesting enough to cause us to pull our car over to the side of the road.  As we snapped pictures, we watched it morph into the shape of an angel.

Taking a break from our ongoing court saga, we were showing our visiting friend from Austria the beauty of Amish country in harvest season when the “angel-like” cloud formation appeared.

Looking closely, there were rainbow colors inside the angel-like figure.  It was strikingly beautiful.  Yes, it was certainly a cloud high up in the stratosphere containing ice crystals that were reflecting the July sun. However, for it to take this shape, transform before our eyes into an angelic form, and then vaporize into irregular wisps minutes later was intriguing to us.

Coincidentally, a few weeks later, we were invited to share at the Lancaster County Full Gospel Business Mens meeting.  We were privileged to present the gospel to the twenty-five kids who were attending along with their families.  About half of the kids were Amish.   Twenty children and teenagers responded to the invitation to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We are not comfortable bringing young people to a decision for Christ and then dismissing them. The new birth is not merely a decision, but is an encounter with the Life-Giving Spirit of Jesus!  When He enters into a person, He brings to life their spiritual senses of sight, hearing, touch, etc.  As is our custom, we laid hands on the kids and asked the Holy Spirit to invade their lives in a powerful way.

He did!

Many of the kids went “out in the Spirit”.   Some, notably three young Amish girls, were in His manifest presence for over an hour.  When the children and teens “came to”,  we listened as they gave accounts of experiences such as:

 

“I saw this very bright light coming toward me.  As it got closer, it was Jesus sitting on His throne.  He was very bright and there were angels all around Him”    (7 year old Amish girl who was on the floor for an hour)

 

“I saw myself falling into hell, but Jesus caught me and brought me up to heaven”  (9 year old)

 

“I saw Jesus and He was brighter than the sun”    (10 year old boy of Kenyan descent)

 

“I saw people in cages, crying out for God”  (15 year old boy)

 

“I literally saw Jesus coming into my heart.  I thought I had Him in my heart before, but now He has come into me in a life-changing way!”     (Teenage Amish girl)

 

“Jesus was so bright that I could only see His hands”  (8 year old Amish girl)

 

“I saw people touching sick people and they were getting well”  (6 year old Amish girl)

 

The presence of the Lord was very heavy and sweet around these children as they were encountering God. One of the women helping us during ministry time wept softly as she prayed over the kids, touched by the nearness of Jesus.

Here we were in the cornfields of America, not in the bush of Africa with Iris ministries as we had originally envisioned. It didn’t matter to the Holy Spirit whether these were African village children, American inner city kids, or Amish young people, He wants to touch them all. Sometimes things don’t work out as we plan, but it helps to remember what Wesley said – “The world is my parish”. It’s important, whatever our circumstances, that we bloom where we are planted at the time.

We introduced our session at this meeting by stating that we are always only one generation away from the extinction of revival. The torch must be passed to successive generations. Youth must be presented not with a decision card but with a life-changing encounter with the Living God.

Already, statistics scream that we are losing the battle.  It is being said that only 4% of those born after 1984 are Bible-believing Christians. This current younger generation represents a huge mission field and it is right outside our church doors here in America.  We cannot be content to speak longingly of revivals of the past, we must have Jesus move on this generation TODAY!

Angel-like cloud phenomenons aside, our hope is that  the Holy Spirit’s visitation at this meeting was a token of a coming move of God in the area.   That is our prayer.

Lord Jesus, we ask You to come, powerfully sending Your Spirit not just to Lancaster county or the bush of Africa but across this entire planet.  Sweep millions into Your kingdom and awaken and purify Your bride, in Jesus’ name!

Dan and Debbie Murrill

 

“In the last days”,  God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. I will show wonders in the heavens above…”

Acts 2:17, 19

 

TOTAL ECLIPSE OF OUR SUN

We felt like David going out to face Goliath. In our heart of hearts, we knew that the God of Armies would come through for us. He had to. Losing this battle would be unthinkable. Defeat was not an option.

Knowing what we knew would make us shudder to think what the rest of our lives would look like if we did not win our case (see previous blog).

…but we were full of faith.

We surrounded ourselves with scripture. Homemade bible verse cards proclaiming the Lord’s victory on our behalf adorned the walls, mirrors, and cupboards of our home. Everywhere we looked, our faith was inspired by God’s Word. We constantly prayed, pleading the promises in His book.

We received many prophetic utterances promising success in our endeavor. Some of the said prophets even saw portents in the sky that they interpreted as a sign of victory.

Engaging in spiritual warfare, we commanded demonic powers to be bound. We had everyone we knew interceding for us.

We had “done all to stand”. Every spiritual base was covered. All the stops were pulled out. Even in the jury selection, we learned that we had been provided with an almost unanimously Christian jury made up of Christian school teachers, pastors’ wives, and even a priest. As a result, we knew that God must be shining down on us with sunny favor.

Then came the “total eclipse” of our sun.

The mistrial came at us out of no where, obliterating our faith.

Following the dismissal of the court, we headed back to our hotel room. To say we were devastated would almost be an understatement. “God, where were you today?” was the question on our hearts. Hopelessness and despair seemed to swallow us up. We fell into bed exhausted almost hoping that we wouldn’t wake up in the morning. It was the lowest point we had ever been at.

As we lay in bed, it was after midnight in the natural and the spiritual realms. Our life was over as far as we were concerned. Hope was vanquished.

It is in your darkest place that you sometimes find the greatest light.

In the wee hours of the morning, Jesus showed me a vision. I awakened Debbie and shared what I saw.

A giant pyramidical structure loomed large in the vision. As huge as a continent, it was comprised, row by row, of demonic entities. At the top, sat the chief of the entire evil operation.

“You are dealing with a principality” Jesus said.

He went on to explain that this principality was responsible for theft and financial devastation around the world. What happened to Debbie and I was just a small part of this principality’s work in the Church. In turn, the misdeeds of this giant spiritual organization toward the Church were only a part of the whole of its planet-wide schemes. Whether it was a con man deceiving an individual or a government stealing from the masses, this principality was responsible.

I asked Him the logical question “How do you fight a principality?”

The Holy Spirit answered by first showing me how not to fight it.

I saw believers engaged in their very best attempts at spiritual warfare against the principality. They spoke against it, quoted scripture at it, derided and cursed it. Boldly, they bound it and commanded it inoperative. Marching around their churches, they made proclamations that they believed arrested its activities. The modern Church’s most powerful lunges against it were depicted in the vision as little children stabbing at a giant mountain with wooden swords.

The mountain crushed them flat.

Again, I asked “How do you fight a principality?”

Jesus showed me the “end run”. Just like in football, a runner can attempt to go up the middle and carry the ball through the formidable front line of the opposing team and get crushed in the process. A better option might be to do an “end run” play, running wide and to the side then around the front line, circumventing them and reaching the goal.

I saw a view of engaging the principality by not directly engaging it. Instead of frontally attacking it and being destroyed, one could do an “end run” around its second heaven and go directly to the third heaven above it.

At this point, the Holy Spirit directed me to Matthew 18:19. “If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father Who is in heaven”.

He showed me that the way to thwart a principality was to create a legal agreement, a virtual document in the spirit. This legal agreement was like a blank piece of paper. Two or more believers could decide together what stipulations should be in the body of the agreement. Once those details were agreed upon, the parties would then verbally “sign” the agreement. By virtue of the fact that we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, the parties “go up” by faith into the very throne room of God the Father. There, in the spirit, He showed me a round table, a heavenly version of a conference table. Across the table were seated Jesus and the Father, Himself. The signed agreement was slid across the table to Jesus, Who gladly also co-signed it and passed it over to the Father. As the Executor of the agreement, the Father dispatched the giant, sumo-warrior Angels present in the room to carry out or enforce the parameters of the agreement. These mighty Angels would themselves engage the second heaven (i.e. principality) directly and war until the terms of the agreement were accomplished. The believer did not have to lift a finger or say a word to the principality. The Angels, upon the Father’s orders, did it for them.

It was a fantastic proposition. This was a blank check. ANYTHING was in the realm of possibility that this could apply to. All the Father required was a minimum of two believers to be checks and balances on each other as to what was requested in this agreement. The Father has such a trust in His children.

Furthermore, the greatest check and balance was that this agreement originated in heaven first. He directed me to the preceding verse. “Whatever you shall bind (enter into a legal agreement about) on earth shall have been bound in heaven”. This was all about intimacy…intimacy with the Holy Spirit. We couldn’t just ask for any whim our heart might desire. The Holy Spirit would breathe His desire for what was to be written on the body of the agreement. Our role as the two or more believers was to hear what He was saying, agree upon it, and verbally “write” it into an agreement.

We called these agreements “decrees”. “Decreeing” is very popular in charismatic circles nowadays. Unfortunately, the decreeing done in these circles is based on a misinterpreted scripture and can bode disaster for the decreers. Like proud little kings and queens, decrees are being made that were not first breathed by the Holy Spirit. It is our experience that these false decrees instead originate in the soul, especially in the realm of the heart. They sound very nice and spiritual but because they did not originate with the Spirit, they are strange fire. More often than not, they invite further demonic resistance and frustrate the true will of God.

From the early days of the Renewal in 1995, Debbie and I have experienced beautiful intimacy with the Holy Spirit. He became our very Best Friend. We would lay for hours under His heavy intoxicating presence, often saying nothing, just listening. Sometimes the Holy Spirit would go on and on speaking. He might talk for hours. If pen and paper were available, we might have difficultly keeping up with the flow of His communication. Other times, He was silent. It was as if we were the best of buddies, simply enjoying each others company in a relationship where nothing had to be said. At any rate, we learned by experience when He was speaking and, possibly more important, when He was not.

This intimacy with the Holy Spirit is crucial to these agreements or decrees being something of value vs something detrimental in our lives. Intimacy is borne of time spent with another person. There is no short cut to it.

In summary, here is the overview of what the Holy Spirit showed me about “making decrees” or “agreements”.

First, hear the Holy Spirit about a matter. Then, agree with one other person about what the Spirit is breathing and verbally place the details of it in the body of the decree. Next, each party indicates their agreement with what is listed in the body of the decree. Debbie and I used the word “done” to signify our agreement. “Agreed” might be another good word to use. After this, by faith, we envisioned ourselves in the council room of the Father at that table. We slid our signed paper across to Jesus and watched Him sign it and hand it over to the Father. At this point, we knew things were done. Invisibly, in the spirit realm, hoards of heavenly Angels were dispatched to carry out the details of the decree.

The first matter that the Holy Spirit directed us to make an agreement about was to decree ourselves out from under the principality. We saw our loss as part and parcel of our being in the realm of its influence. We had suffered great loss financially and in many other ways. To avert further losses, we needed to come off of its grid. In vision, I saw us crushed under the weight of this giant pyramidical monstrosity. After decreeing ourselves out from it through the process described above, I now saw us encased in a spiritual bubble, separate from the principality. It was as if the principality was still trying to crush us but couldn’t because this impregnable bubble was all around us. This little bubble surrounding us was strong enough to shield us from this giant lowering massive weight.

The next issue that the Holy Spirit instructed us to decree about was an agreement that anything that the two of us discussed about the principality would be hidden from it and its entire organization. It seems funny now, but the view that I received simultaneous to this was that of Get Smart’s famous “cone of silence”. What was hilarious in the 60’s sitcom became a vital tool of spiritual communications jamming software to us in our battle. They now could not hear us. As a corollary to this, the Spirit had us decree that anyone we spoke to about the principality or the decrees would be included in this spiritual cone of silence as well. Therefore, you as the reader, are at this moment included in that decree as you read this story!

All of this was so childlike. It was so serious of a matter, but in the presence of God, it was like playing a game. Didn’t Jesus say that the things of heaven were hidden from the wise and revealed to babes? He also said that if we didn’t receive the kingdom of God like a child, we would not be able to enter into it. We were truly children having a grand time with what Dad was showing us. Hope was beginning to rise in our hearts.

Now, the Spirit of God led us to decree about all the various matters of our case. In the darkness of our pre-dawn hotel room, Debbie and I were led around our legal case by our Advocate, Himself, as He showed us where the vulnerabilities were. We had just experienced the devastation of being in a courtroom totally caught up in the swirl of a principality. The room had spun with classic principality confusion affecting judge, jury, counsellors, and we, ourselves. Therefore, one of the first matters that we decreed regarding our case was that participants would be out of the principality’s influence. For hours, the Holy Spirit breathed decree after decree to us and we carried each to heaven, one by one, and delivered them to the Father.

Of great concern to us was something that the perpetrator in our case seemed to be continually doing because he could since he was a lawyer. It seemed as if he was constantly going down to the courthouse submitting motions. “Motions” are requests for legal injunctions affecting a case. They may result in delays, modifications, challenges, etc. to the case. Each had to be individually addressed by our lawyer and fought before a judge. This involved expense to us each time, but more importantly, great stress. The Holy Spirit led us to decree “no more motions”.

Just at that moment, Debbie’s phone beeped a notification.

It was 7:30 in the morning. She had just received a text message from our lawyer that read “no more motions”. We were floored. Here was a literal proof from God that what we were doing was not child’s play but was real!

A mistrial does not mean that a case is over. However, it can mean that simply because it can be very difficult to muster up the courage and resources to go on with the process after one has experienced a mistrial. Through the decrees, Jesus not only re-encouraged and strengthened us but also set the parameters for how the next trial would go. In the coming months pre-trial, we literally saw the tangible effects of the decrees that we were led to make. In the trial, itself, despite the extreme complexity of our case, we saw the entire atmosphere of the courtroom transformed into a place where justice could be clearly heard without interference from the principality.

We would love to tell the amazing stories from the courtroom drama of those four days but cannot at this time. Suffice it to say, it would make a very entertaining movie script! God was supernaturally all over that courtroom!

We won.

The jury decided unanimously in our favor in civil court. However, the battle was just beginning. We heavily leaned on the decrees through what we have called our “six years of hell”. Because of appeals, including to the state Supreme Court, our case dragged on and on. Finally, it was over. We had won each appeal. The FBI now stepped in and the perpetrator found himself in custody and eventually pled guilty in federal court. He is currently serving time.

It has been our experience that the ones who truly “get” these concepts about the decrees are those who are in desperate straights themselves. We have heard of much good fruit in the lives of others who have implemented the making of these agreements. There have been outright miracles resulting.

Our desire and prayer is that our experience recounted in this blog would be helpful to our readers and bring hope in the most hopeless of situations.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost”. Rom 15:13

Dan and Debbie Murrill
July 15, 2015

 

 

A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

Considering the intensity of the spiritual firestorm that was suddenly swirling around us, we would surely have died…but God.

After being Christians for over two decades, we actually met the Holy Spirit in 1995 during the renewal movement. This sounds like heresy. How could we have been Christians without this encounter with the Spirit of God? We ask ourselves that question sometimes.

We had both prayed “the prayer”. It happened for my wife Debbie in her home as a youngster.  I did it in an outreach during the Jesus movement.

The prayer of salvation became our ticket into all things evangelical. Metaphorically, we could display this ticket like a membership card whenever asked to. It was proof that we belonged. Having prayed the sinners prayer was the evidence that we were not nominal Christians. We could serve in the Church. We could attend Bible school and did, being trained for ministry because the prayer provided us with a testimony that gave us acceptance and credibility.

Most important of all, we knew that we were going to heaven (or at least we boasted that we did) because we had uttered this prayer.

“The prayer” gave us a mission. Our goal in life was now to get as many people as possible to pray it as well so that they could also join us in heaven one day.

As Christians who had prayed the prayer, we looked pretty good on the outside. We strived to maintain appearances. God forbid, we should stain our reputation or that of the prayer’s by misbehaving. “The prayer” meant that our lives would be lived differently now, for the better. We had a testimony to uphold. People had to see that the prayer had made a difference. We, ourselves, had to believe that there had been a life transformation as a result of the prayer.

There was a tremendous pressure to perform for God, the church, and ourselves. We would not have been willing to admit it, but living the Christian life for us then meant essentially trying to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.

We had no idea at the time that we were entrapped in a pseudo world of our own making. We had encased ourselves in a religious construct that not only hid our true selves from outside inspection, but also provided no substantive benefit when the bottom dropped out of our lives. The theology of the prayer had given us a box.

We later referred to it as the “cardboard box”.

This cardboard box was that pretty, painted box around us that people see. What lies underneath and behind the box no one gets to know about. Your closet sins and family problems remain known to only you.

Ones doubts remained hidden behind that cardboard box. Secret fears regarding whether or not God really loved you, was actually mad at you, or if you were really going to end up in heaven after all, lie concealed behind the pretty box.

When our world fell apart, if all that we had was the environment created by “the prayer”, we would surely have died.

Good thing we met God.

We had an encounter with the Living God. He came bursting into our lives. The Holy Spirit took our pretty, painted cardboard boxes and ripped them up. He picked up the dead man’s bones and cleaned out the trash that was hidden behind the box.

It was sovereign thing.  He, Himself, pursued and found us. From the very first meeting with Him, He poured in dynamic strength. His presence became a tangible, ongoing power-source that we could tap into for daily living or even for the cataclysmic.

Most important of all, He became an intimate Friend Who would talk to us, visually communicate with us on our new-found internal projection screen, and keep reassuring our doubtful hearts that we were His and He was ours.

As He was shredding the exterior cardboard box, the Holy Spirit simultaneously took our “prayed the prayer membership card” and ripped it in half as well. This relationship was not to be about a religious formula or milestone decision from the past, but about an ongoing life-sustaining intimacy with a real Person.

“Pray the prayer theology” conferred no intimacy. The package of doctrine delivered by the prayer did not include that. We didn’t even believe in it. To hear God was heresy. He only spoke through His book. To see a vision or have a view was dangerous extremism.

Again, without the intimacy of hearing the Holy Spirit speak to our heart, our life would have gone off the rails when disaster struck. It became life and death for us to hear His very specific instructions for how we were to navigate the stormy, deep waters that we had suddenly found ourselves in.

Moment by moment, we had to stay plugged into His tangible power supply. Not having the luxury to be unconnected for a moment from His anointing, despair would have taken the initiative and led us into deep terminal depression and death.

Furthermore, it was imperative for us to remain hidden behind our new protective covering which was God, Himself. That is why the cardboard box had to go. He had to replace it with the invisible armor plating provided by virtue of His surrounding manifest presence. Behind this spiritual force field, we were hidden from the howling winds of demonic discouragement and deadly confusion.

The concept of abiding from John 15 went from theory to vital reality in our lives. We could sense decay creeping in the moment that we ceased receiving His powerful flow or came out from behind His shield of protection.

In the early days of the renewal, our pastor used to call us “kids in a candy store”. We were wide-eyed with wonder at each new discovery made in this new realm of the Holy Spirit. Little did we know that what was being adopted in our childlikeness at that time would literally rescue us in our semi-adulthood later on.

All of this is being written to set the stage for the coming installments of our ongoing testimony. It is vital that the lessons that we learned during this dark night of our souls be communicated and applied in this context of intimacy.

Thank you for preserving with us through this “selah” in the telling of our story. Next week, the action will pick up again with what became for us a spiritual total eclipse of the sun. Everything that we thought that we knew about spiritual warfare was turned on its head. He had to shred that too.

In its stead, He replaced the defective and hopelessly outdated with what became for us the unbelievable.

Next – “Total Eclipse”

THE MISSING INGREDIENT FOR NATIONAL REVIVAL

As Independence Day winds down, intercession has been on my heart for our land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 promises:

If My people who are called by my name
Will humble themselves and pray
And seek My face…

Stop right there.

The passage goes on to mention repentance as well as God’s response of forgiving and healing.

However, don’t miss the “seek My face” part. God is saying that intimacy with Him is vital to us experiencing personal or national forgiveness and healing.

To many, “seeking His face” is clocking in on a quiet time regimen of Bible reading and reciting prayer lists. Maybe a worship song or two is included in the repertoire.

Many more, do not believe that this prescription to revival is literal. “How can we see the face of God?”, they object. “This is forbidden”.

David saw the face of God. He cried out “Do not hide Your face from me”.

Moses saw the face of God and it was said of him “he spoke with God face to face as a man speaks with his friend”. He would return to the camp of Israel with his face glowing.

The new covenant continues where the old left off. We can see the face of God. The gospel of the glory of God says that we can.

Deep in the glory presence of the Holy Spirit, the scales are taken off and we can see the face of Jesus. In seeing the brightness and splendor of His face, we are transformed and morphed into His image. 2 Cor 3:18, 4:6

No amount of Bible reading, prayer lists, or singing will alone transform us. It is intimacy that will.

On the streets of the inner city and in the bush of Africa with Iris ministries, one of the first encounters many of the children who we saw come to Christ would have was that of seeing Him. After responding to the altar call, during ministry time, the presence of the Holy Spirit would overwhelm them. Suddenly their eyes were opened. This changed their world. He wasn’t a picture in a book or a flannel graph figure any longer. He was real. They saw Him. He spoke to them.

Jesus said we need to become as little children.

This is the hope for our lives and our nation. Religion won’t cut it. Church and fellowship fall short. Rote quiet times won’t suffice. It is intimacy, face to face with Jesus, that is the answer individually and as well as corporately.

Intimacy must become part of our lives. Once it is a reality in us, we can export it to a dying nation that is desperate for reality but wary of the trite, institutional version of Christianity that has been offered to them until now.

In gazing on the face of Jesus, there is healing and transformation. The view of Him is the medicine for our spiritual disease.

Yes, we can see God. We must see God. National revival depends on it.

Let’s press deeper into the manifest presence of God together until we are pleasantly surprised with the view that will rock our world and change our nation…the face of Jesus!

 

 

JUSTICE

It was time for a “church break”.  Things were getting intense in our lives (see last week’s blog), we felt the call of the open road.  We needed to get a breath of fresh air.

We had been invited to attend a home fellowship with some former Amish friends up north.  Halfway there, we suddenly knew in our spirits that we needed to turn the van around and head back into town to “St Somebody’s Missionary Baptist Church”.

There wasn’t an audible voice or a vision involved and we knew nothing about the church except that our friend, Gary, led worship there.  Yet somehow we knew that this small inner city church was where we were supposed to be, at least for that morning.

Arriving at the church, we went down to the basement simply to look around.  We ended up outside a Children’s Church class of elementary aged kids.  Having worked in the inner city for many years, we felt a draw to what was going on.  Poking our heads through the door, we said hi to the children’s worker inside.  Exchanging names but little else, we headed upstairs to the main sanctuary for church.

Once inside the main auditorium, the friendly ushers were so kind not to have us sit in the back of the room (where we actually wanted to be incognito) but marched us up to the second row like we were some kind of royalty.

We throughly enjoyed Gary’s worship leading as usual, were refreshed by the heavy presence of the Lord, and got to meet a few people afterward.

We were on our way out of church, headed through the foyer to exit to our car.  Suddenly, much to our surprise, out of nowhere appeared the Children’s Church teacher.

“God has told me that you are supposed to help me work with our children!” she informed us.  As might be imagined, this took us aback.  We had never been approached in such a way before, especially by a near stranger, to engage in any kind of ministry.

We offered the time-tested response “We’ll pray about it” on the way out the door.

After, thinking and praying about it through the week, we decided that we would go and observe the following Sunday.  If God so led, we knew that we could attend the early service back at our home church and afterwards slip out in time to help with the kids at this other church.  The question still remained whether or not this was God or just our hearts leading.

Next Sunday, more out of curiosity than anything else, we wound up back at that church.  The Children’s Church teacher was delighted to see us and led us upstairs to the new location for her class.

We entered the “board room”.

It was exactly that. The kids filed in and took their places in large adult board room chairs lined up along side of a long adult board room conference table.  Immediately the kids began to pick on each other and discover that the chairs could swivel from side to side, making them useful weapons of assault.

The teacher valiantly attempted to teach her lesson.  Just about every other  line of precept was alternated with a line of discipline to someone being unruly.  Finally, half-way through class, she had enough.

She called for Deacon Lawson.

In the door strolled a tall, kindly faced man.  He glanced around the room, assessing the situation.  He pointed at the trouble makers and gestured for them to follow him out of the room.  There were whines of protest, but none dared resist.  We didn’t know where they went or what the manner of discipline was, but the offending parties came back suddenly transformed and repentant.

Deacon Lawson was a man who practiced his faith in practical ways.  His father’s heart had led him to take several foster children into his home, adding them to his own grandchildren already living with him and his wife.  He was the perfect constable for the class, knowing many of the children from his own household.

This scene repeated itself a couple of times during the course of the class.  It became apparent that the multiple appearances of the deacon were a weekly feature of the class.  When the ordeal was finally over, we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into.

Unfazed by the events that morning, the Children’s Church teacher asked us if we would like to teach the following week.  We found ourselves blurting out in the affirmative. Only God knew why.

Next week, we showed up to teach.  Interestingly, our new friend, the Sunday School teacher, was no where to be found.  It was solo time for Debbie and I.  We would be thrown into the deep end immediately.

Similarly to what we would do in the streets of the inner city, we brought some general ideas of what we felt the Holy Spirit might want to do.  However, we knew that if He didn’t show up it was going to be mass chaos.

Normally starting a new venue, we like to start out presenting the gospel.  It’s a logical place to start.  After some games and activities, we pulled our “dirty heart story” and a few posters out of the bag.  We were seriously praying that God would take over the meeting.

The kids were their raucous selves as they plopped into their big adult board room chairs at their big adult board room table, ready to be bored.  Instantly, the rambunctious behavior began.

We knew that the first thing that we needed was to do something about those chairs and that table!  Right away, we gathered the children on the floor in a corner of the room and asked the Holy Spirit to come…Please!!

At that point, things went surprisingly well.  Maybe the kids were happy to be out of their chairs or maybe God wanted to be there as much as we needed Him to be there.

However, at one point, a little boy named Justice (gotta love that name) and his foster brother went ballistic on each other.

Deacon Lawson made his first appearance on our behalf.

After a time of attitude adjustment, the deacon brought the boys back just in time for Dan’s telling of the “dirty heart story”.

Justice sat quietly and listened.  Along with most of the other kids in the class, he also invited Jesus into his heart that morning.

As we prayed over the children and asked for the Holy Spirit to come upon them, we watched an amazing transformation come over Justice.  This truly was his day.

After our impromptu ministry time, we provided the kids with construction paper and crayons and asked them to draw a picture of what Jesus had done for them while in His presence. Some had actually had visions and had seen pictures with the eyes of their heart while in the Spirit. These drew what they had seen and wrote out what they had heard.

Justice grabbed his paper. On one side he drew his heart all dirty and on the other side he drew it as it now appeared after Jesus washed it with His blood.

From that day forward, Justice was a different boy.  Week after week, he would listen attentively and cooperate.  One of our visionaries, he would see things in the Spirit that were profound.  He was never the same again.

Weeks and months passed by.  We were in love with our class and our kids. The Holy Spirit became so big in them, that He actually began to use them to lead where He wanted the class to go.  We would all get in the Spirit early and Jesus would via word or vision given by the kids indicate what He wanted addressed in our little group.

We were excited that in the middle of what was shaping up to be some very dark days for us, that God was giving us an oasis.  Each Sunday morning, we could come and watch with amazement what He would creatively do in the lives of these children, far beyond anything we could imagine.

Eventually, the rigors and stresses of the legal process with our case became all consuming.  It was time to hand the class back over to the members of the church.  After all, these were their children. They would pick up where we had left off.

We sadly said goodbye to the kids, and headed out to face our goliath.