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There is a "healing revival" going on in Lakeland Florida. It started early April as a healing crusade and it grew into a "movement" whose meetings are being broadcast LIVE on the internet and television, and the revival appears to be spreading throughout the world. People are flocking to Lakeland from all over the world, some to receive physical healing and others to receive an impartation of healing anointing to take home with them. The revival seems to be growing and spreading to many other places. For instance, ongoing Lakeland-like revival meetings have sprung up in Texas, Oregon and California. One of the signatures of this "healing revival" is the impartation of a healing anointing to many who come to the meetings.
Many credit the internet and GodTV broadcasts for the revival's rapid growth and momentum. Quite frankly, I am not a big fan of Christian Television, and I rarely watch it. I did not have GodTV tuned into my television set until I was put into a situation in on May 9 where I felt obligated to watch at least one broadcast.
I have to confess that they way they started the broadcast really turned me off. A man (not Mr Bentley) was surrounded by a mob of "worshippers," and he welcomed us to the revival broadcast in the same manner that a game show host welcomes the contestants to the stage. This man did not say the words "Come on down!", but he used the same tone of voice. It felt more like I was watching a game show than a revival meeting or church service. It seemed fake, artificial and hyped. If I had not felt obligated to watch the broadcast, I would have turned the television off at that point and that would have been the end of my personal exposure to the Lakeland revival.
Please don't misunderstand my statement. It was the TV hype I reacted to, not the Lakeland Revival itself. I was predisposed to assume that what was happening in Lakeland was of God, because I'd attended one of Todd Bentley's Healing Schools in July of 2003. At that school, I became convinced that Todd Bentley, as unconventional as he was, was truly "of God."
But the way they started the TV broadcast did not work for me, and the only thing that kept me from turning the broadcast off was the fact that I felt obligated to watch at least one broadcast in it's entirety.
As the show progressed, my initial offense wore off. They showed the faces of various people attending the meeting during the worship and teaching. I could see the Lord's presence strongly on many of them just by looking at their faces/reactions/worship. I could tell that God was meeting and touching His people. It made me remember the many renewal meetings I'd attended in Toronto with a sense of longing. Personally, I could not feel God's presence through the TV broadcast, but I was convinced He was there in the Lakeland meeting. I knew what His manifest presence looked and felt like, because I've experienced it many times.
I am someone who is known for being very hungry for God and I dearly love His presence. It is easy for me to sense the Lord's nearness, and I love to linger in it with Him. But the television broadcast did not to carry His presence through the airwaves and into my living room. Some people say it does that for them, but it did not do that for me. E.g., Watching the revival on television did not do much for me in terms of feeling touched by God--and my ankle (which was in a cast that day) was not healed at all as I watched the show.
But when I saw all the healings and testimonies, I felt this passion rise up in me--I wanted a greater anointing to heal the sick. It is true that I have seen some miracle healings when I have prayed for people. I have seen deaf ears open, blind eyes open, people get out of wheel chairs and people be healed of cancer. But I have also prayed for a lot of people where I did not see any evidence that a healing took place. Sometimes there were miracles and other times I did not see any. I began to long for an increase in my own healing ministry and anointing, so that the majority of people I prayed for would be instantly healed.
My perception from the broadcast was that everyone who came to Lakeland for a healing got one. That was actually a misperception, and I will discuss it later, but that is what I thought was happening. I thought that God was releasing an anointing where every sick person was healed. I wanted that same anointing for myself and for my ministry. I knew I wasn't going to get it by watching the meetings on television, I would have to go there in person.
But there was a problem about going to Lakeland in person--it is very expensive to go there from California, and I did not have the money. I wanted the imparkation, so I asked God to please send me there, and He did! He sent unexpected money cover travel expenses like hotel and rental car, and God had someone gave me a coupon for one free roundtrip airfare to Florida. God ended up paying for 100% of the trip to send me to Lakeland.
God turned that trip into a person retreat and He met me in amazing ways. I attended the evening revival meetings, but the daytime was my personal retreat time with God. I loved the revival meetings, but God met me even more powerfully in my hotel room during our "private" time together. I could write pages and pages about the amazing things God did with me in our private time together, but that would be off topic for this teaching series. [If you are interested in reading more, I will be posting write-ups of some of my personal experiences with God to the testimonies page of the GodSpeak website (www.godspeak.net).]
The focus of this teaching series is about God healing the sick. His teaching shows how the enemy tries to build strongholds of unbelief, to make it harder for God's healing to flow. It also talks about how to break down those enemy strongholds and rebuild them as strongholds of faith. Todd does an excellent teaching on this. Please note that he wrote this teaching series about 6.5 years before the Lakeland revival broke out. But the teaching contains several key concepts that helped to make this revival successful. God has been at work in His people to change their mindset and release faith, so that He can work through them with power and anointing.
I feel that what Todd taught 6.5 years ago and what he is doing now are closely related, and that is why I am doing this three part introduction about the Lakeland Healing Revival as part of this teaching series.
I will share more about what the Lakeland Revival in the future lessons, but I do need to tell you this part right away--the revival is not some formula to follow. It is about the presence of God and the Person of the Holy Spirit showing up in response to worship and preaching of the gospel--and when God shows up, miracles happen.
Todd's meetings are unpredictable because each day he seeks the Lord for His direction for each meeting, then Todd does whatever God tells him to do. Todd did not appear to take anything for granted or fall into some sort of status quo--he makes the meetings about Jesus and about doing what the Father is doing. Some days the presence of God is so thick that you could "cut it with a knife," but other times it is faint. Some days many are healed, and other days, only a few are healed. Some days healing impartation is released to everyone in the tent, and other days it is not. There was one thing that remains constant--they always start the meetings with intercession and then worship, to invite the Lord's presence. But other than that, you never knew precisely what to expect or what order things will happen in.
There is no formula to follow here, because it is all about the presence and power of God. Of course, we know that worship ushers in God's presence; Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of His people. In addition, we know that God has given all believers the ability to move in His power to cast out demons, heal the sick, and do the same works that Jesus did.
Jesus said in John 14:12 that these miracles were never intended to be limited to just a select few, but to EVERYONE who believes in Him. The healing miracles don't come because you find the right sequence of events to do, nor do they come because you have said the right words. They do not come because you have a certain angel assigned to you, nor do they come because you have received a special impartation from a certain person. John 14:12 tells us why they come--because of faith-- because of believing in Jesus.
That makes faith a very dangerous thing to the devil, and that is why he does all he can to tear down faith and build strongholds of unbelief. It is time for us, as believers, to tear down those ungodly strongholds of unbelief; it is time to defeat the demonic forces that empower them. (And Todd's teaching series on the Deaf and Dumb Spirit will help us to do that.) Then we will find it so much easier to start doing the same works that Jesus did, and we will see John 14:12 come true in our lives.