We taught The Elijah Challenge at the First Independent Presbyterian Church of Londrina in the state of Parana. It is a large, fruitful congregation of disciples of Jesus Christ.
The young lady came forward wearing high heeled sandals. We asked her if she believed the Jesus would heal her, and she nodded. We then asked her to remove her heels, because we were going to have her run around the spacious sanctuary. Three ladies came up to lay hands on her and minister healing to her. After the second time of ministry, she felt her heart rate fall to normal. Then I told her to run around the sanctuary—something that she definitely could not do with her heart condition. She took off running.
The gentleman, wearing sneakers, testifying
The Holy Spirit
Later at their four Sunday services, we shared about the Holy Spirit at the request of our host Senior Pastor Rodolfo Montosa. It was, perhaps, the first occasion in the history of The Elijah Challenge that we could teach about the work of the Holy Spirit. In the past we deliberately chose not to teach it on account of controversies and divisive disagreements within the body of Christ on the subject.
Power to witness for Jesus Christ unto the ends of the earth
Previously we could only acknowledge privately to ourselves that it was in fact the work of the Holy Spirit—in particular, the infilling of the Spirit—which has enabled us to do what we have done since we began serving the kingdom of God in 1978. It was the Lord working through His Spirit in us who enabled us to leave behind the American Dream—even giving up all our possessions—to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth as missionaries to unreached regions of Indonesian Borneo. It was the Holy Spirit in us who led us to forgo all the traditional channels for missionaries, and to trust the Lord instead. We did not attempt to raise monthly support for ourselves by going from church to church, a (unpleasant) process we understand is called “deputation.” We chose not to join a mission agency which would provide training, direction, and ministry for us in the target country. We had no idea what we would do or where we would go after arriving in Indonesia. We simply trusted God to open doors for us. Such radical trust and faith we believe is only from the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who testifies to us about Jesus so that we can understand and intimately experience His overwhelming love for us. Experiencing such love we can trust Him and obey His commands radically.
It was the Lord through His Spirit who enabled us to bear much fruit for the kingdom of God during our nearly nine years in Indonesia, healing the sick, casting out demons, preaching the gospel, and making disciples.
But first I was a street preacher in Southern California
Before we left for Indonesia, it was the Holy Spirit who gave me such great boldness to witness for Christ, leading me to preach the gospel with my bullhorn to people on the streets, on busy intersections, standing in front of apartment buildings, to fellow motorists on the street, and even once into a “massage parlor” in a strip center directly from the parking lot. (In those days, my portable bullhorn and I were inseparable.)
The Holy Spirit enabled us to know the truth
It was the Holy Spirit who taught us from the Scriptures, giving us understanding about the power and authority to heal the sick and cast out demons in Jesus’ name. Through His Spirit, the Lord has given us the wisdom to become effective teachers of what He has so graciously entrusted to us. Tens of thousands have been trained in the past twelve years, and several servants of God have launched out with their own powerful ministries after training with The Elijah Challenge. We have taught The Elijah Challenge fruitfully in nearly forty countries, and we feel we have just begun.
On that Sunday at four different services we were free to share these things. We told the people that because of the work of the Spirit in us, we were able to obey God in a radical way as did Abraham when he was willing to move to a distant country and then to sacrifice his Isaac to God. And as God blessed Abraham immeasurably because of his obedience, the Lord has also blessed us with great spiritual riches. He has enabled us to store our treasure in heaven. Moreover, He has blessed us with extraordinarily good health, and even renewed our youth.
Hundreds come forward
After our sharing in that evening service, an altar call was given. Hundreds of believers responded and came streaming to the front to flood the front area of the spacious sanctuary, thirstily crying out to the Lord for more of the rivers of living water.
John 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
During the altar call the former senior pastor of the church, Pastor Messias, came up to us and gave us a vigorous hug. Visibly touched, he told us, “I have ministered at this church for forty years. Now I believe that the time for revival is at hand.”
The Holy Spirit moved in a similar way in Lucille’s two services at the other location.