Friday, February 12, 2010

Question of Power and the Power of Question

So I got to watching some youtube. It was interesting because I started running across some "False Prophets" videos and one of them was Benny Hinn. You know it was kind of sad yet interesting. It's really is sad, I have always had a hunger and connection to that sort of thing... well let me explain.

When I had just gotten out of Masters my second year (i went home to hang with my fam during my folks divorce) I took a few courses at RCC (Riverside Community College) Midi and Music Theory. I would get out of school and go home to the everyday ritual. Frozen Hamburger patties on the grill and some Mr. Rogers :) after my fix of 70's and 80's childrens programs I would watch Benny Hinn. Strange I know but it was on purpose. I would literally sit and weep at what God was doing in these people. Look, I was in my early 20's and Benny was something my Grandma would watch. I dont know why but i was locked.

Well... then it happened. Dateline did a special, people began to call it a Circus, he would start the whole waving his jacket, blowing on people... they accused him of money garbage and it turned so many people off. But folks... I would literally sit and FEEL God watching this show. Hated his hair, hated his accent, and really didnt care for Steve Brock that much either... but I would just sit and bathe in what I felt was God.

This is my question... what have we done? I was raised in the fact that the Spirit of God was real.I even have a story where I not only felt it... but was used in it... but it's long so I put it below this post for those interested. How long has it been since we have even heard of the big stuff? You know signs, miracles... I mean beyond the baby thing at the Bradys church (video of miracle) and even that is in speculation (video of speculation) It seems every miracle now a day is under speculation. God is real... but so is the criticism. It is sad.

I want my son... this generation to experience and believe. My response used to be "It may be a circus, but look at the lives changed" or "Lives are changing and if he is off? He has to answer for it". When you watch Dateline and the videos on youtube... it sucks. It just deepens the wound on Gods Power... See? Even those 2 words together now a day is even skeptical. I feel like everyone else ... but I am tired of Religious Attitude. I have to be careful here because of what I walked through religion scraped me off... anyways!!! (still healing folks, give a brother a break)... I want to love people and let God use me... so here is my question.

1)Where do you fall regarding "Gods Power" or where miracles went?

2)Have you ever experienced it before or witnessed it before and when you tell it, how is it received?

I am not into starting a battle of semantics and theology ... but I am curious to see what is thought by others... Can we see it again or like we have never seen it before? Yes He will pour out his spirit... but i have seen and experienced it poured... but where are we now? As the church and his mirrors... where did it go?

A lesson in Healing and the Gift of Humility

When I was a kid an elderly couple by the name of Charles and Francis Hunter came through our church. I was sitting in the back row that service (my dad was the pastor... it was mandatory for a pk to do so in our rebellious fashion) I had a football injury in Junior High playing Tight End. It knocked my hip out of joint and I had to have surgery... 4 pins. I had them removed a year later. It caused one of my legs to grow shorter than the other. That morning Francis Hunter said "there is a young man here whose leg is shorter than the other". Well in a church of 250 people not many options... but i knew it was me. I got up limped down and sat in a chair. She said "are you ready to see Gods Power?" I said "sure?" She lifted my leg and just held it in her hands and said "ok Father... heal this boy" I literally felt my entire leg go warm... as I watched it grow an inch right in front of me... well thats not the story.

They then gave me a book called "the gift of healing". I read that book as if it was a choose your own adventure book. I couldnt stop. I was done and begged God every day. I want this. I want to heal sick and broken people. I mean I BEGGED God. Every night for months. Hehe um... this is where it gets interesting.

One night a friend of my dads came by to preach that night. At the end he said this... and I quote "some of you have been asking God for different things... but there is one of you who has been BEGGING God... tonight, you got his attention"... I FREAKED!!! I sat patiently... one person after another... crying, getting theirs. Then... he got up and said "Lets pray to thank God for tonight" Where was mine? What the heck? I was ticked. In my mind I simply said "God you have let me down" Get this... he stops praying... looks at me and says "Dont give up on Him yet... come up here"... then it happened.

He asked me to pray for his back... he had surgery on it and needed a miracle. As I began to pray... it hit me. Like I was standing in lightning. From my fingertips to the tip of my nose to my toes. I know this sounds absolutely stupid... but you know when Frodo takes his ring off? and everything is in another dimension? That was it. (that is literally the best illustration I can give) I would begin to feel hurt in different parts of my body and a light would shine over every person that was there that would match the pain I was feeling. It went from my sister in law and her knee to some strange lady and a heart condition. One after another... and slowly that tingle was leaving my body. Finally... it was gone... and I was exhausted.

The next week... I couldnt wait to hear everybodys testimony. Well it happened. My dad asked if anybody had anything happen to them. One after another they got up... thanking God ... BUT NEVER SAID ONE THING ABOUT ME!!! Hey come on... I was 17. I was so angry. I wanted the credit. I wanted at least a thank you... and that is why I had to learn the hard way. I have yet to experience that again. Not that I think God is punishing me by any means... but in my young heart... that very thing taught me humility... and the Power of God. It was a very real moment for me. But... when you beg God? He listens... but he will teach through it wether your ready for it... or not.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tomorrow has my attention.

Ok so here is a question? How much time is lost in a blink? I mean we say it all the time. "Man it's like I blinked and a year has gone bye." I know that is exactly how we feel. I mean we were just saying today that we cant believe we have been in Georgia a year already. Looking at pictures of when we first got here, my son even looks like a totally different kid. Now? We are on the cusp of a teenage I am the Executive Pastor of one of the most amazing churches I believe anywhere. Masters has almost tripled since we started and my life seems clearer everyday. If I was to do one of those 80's fog like squiggly flashback moments, right now is when it would began.

You know, we have gone through a rough set of months the past few. I have had so many people wonder what we went through, so many people with their own version with scattered fragments of truth and imagination. One thing I do know, is I am not the same man I was. This blog has been with me through it all. You can scroll through months and days where I have had alot of trails in my head that are documented in this blog. I guess my purpose of this post... is I am ready to close the books. The yesterdays. I used to think... "You know what I have walked through will be my testimony"... not so much. I mean yeah... it is, but it will have to be released in Gods timing. There are a lot of folks who at this point could not handle looking at our journal just yet. Even as I type this I keep hitting the backspace and deleting what I type, because some of it... is just for us. Regardless of all the questions of what or where. All of the fact less references of OUR history... I want to focus on one thing... and that is this answer... why?

To the best of my ability, all I can muster, all I can gather in a proper response is what I am about to say. The reason I can say it is through time and prayer I am beginning to see why as God pulls back layer after layer of me. So...why? I was tired. I was done. I ran out of G.A.S. meaning... I ran out of giving a crap (but with the vernacular of shipping high in transit). Yes I know. i hear my mother telling me there is no reason for that kind of talk... but its the Gods honest response. I grew empty and tired with no connection, recollection or even desire to refill. Why refill when all your gonna do is pour out and have nothing let for you at the end again anyway? No narcissism involved. No selfishness implied. I was tired of sacrificing with no return. I was tired of living unhappy. I know now... all of that... was MY fault... no one else's.

About 6 months prior to my disappearance from the persona of "Phipps" I had taken so long to build... I felt it. I felt it day after day before I actually shut down. The warning. The inner voice saying "buddy your gonna fizzle". The conviction of what I had left to salvage in me, trying so hard. I could literally feel the Holy Spirit hold it's hands against my chest keeping me at bay. The bottom line? I had already singed my sense of concern. I had already silently grown bitter at ministry and it became the step dad that tried to convince me it loved me... but I held that inner feeling a disconnection of losing the connection of a real Father. You know the original sense of passion I had for ministry to begin with. Why couldnt I just pray for strength again? Why couldnt I just hold on for one more day? Why couldnt I deny myself and... Why? I just didnt care anymore. So I shut down. I grew bitter. I learned the hard way bitterness is the key that gives access to hatred. I didn't get caught in something, I didn't have a nervous breakdown. And besides the fact that even some reading this feel me avoid the obvious, but thats the very thing. It wasnt obvious. I heard how so many said "Thats just not him". I didn't know who "him" was anymore. Bitterness attracts company and bitterness x2= a momentum for madness which causes vow amnesia. I just simply powered down and left.

So many Masters kids with wide eyed wonder asked "how could he do this to us"... that made me angry. Why? My insides screamed "This has nothing to do with you...for once!!" I used to carry a fear in me that if those who had built me at a level, seeing me in my superman suit... if they really knew what Clark Kent had allowed himself to become... I was scared that my fears of no one really caring about ME... not what I do or how I performed or preached. Not what kind of car I drove, who I worked for or what brand my watch was... but me... they would write me off. A lot of those fears came true when it all came down. No one really knew the real Greg Phipps was screaming on the inside, no one really knew how numb I had become. Again... this isn't all true... this is what was being branded into my soul from my non stop thoughts mind. I know now my wife knew the whole time. I know now she talked to me several times, begging me to talk... but I was already gone.

Some details will be in my book but not too many. I have hurt too many people in my process of grace and I wont hurt them anymore but I need to let go of yesterday. even the real yesterday. This last year has been far from perfect. I have been far from perfect.. but who I am compared to who I was before... is limitless. Where my family is now? We could take on the best of yall. My relationship with my wife? ... that will be in her book :) It is unreal. She is and has been simply amazing. Our love for eachother grows more and more everyday.

I guess the hard part for me is forgiving me. I know that sounds ironic coming from a "pastor", but when u are loved unconditionally yet you know the conditions that could be justified... it can tend to haunt you. The other is the relationships that still have bruises in my life. The distance or the gap between myself and those who loved me and I love them. I posted this statement on my Facebook and I'll say it again. I fell, and for those who were using that as an excuse to fall yourself? I got back up. Where are you? I have determined to let those go. I love them, but I am no longer going to beat myself up. I have learned the value of letting people you trust and love really know you. Letting them see the blueprints of you...why? Because if you ever forget who you are, they can remind you. IF you ever get broken? They can help put you back together.

You never understand the depth of Grace until it is needed. I cant wait to write my book because I havent even explained the facts of if I hated ministry so much, why am I back. My journey home was amazing and is still being written. I know there are so many out there who feel that to be in Ministry your not allowed to be happy. Also the facts of the easiest place to get lost is at home. Or have shut down or are about to and need to know there not alone. I eliminated the performance based acceptance I was stuck in... and just live life every day... happy.

Bye Yesterday... Tomorrow has my attention now.