Thursday, September 6, 2012

Empowered by Love


Hi my name is Joel. I have been involved with YWAM Chico off and on since 2004, and on staff for a total of around five years. I have also done the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, Ca.  Both of these things have radically changed my life. 

While I was on staff at YWAM before I went to Bethel, I had a burning in my heart to reach the lost with God’s love and power, but I was scared out of my mind to do so and scared to take the risk to reach out and talk to them. When I went to Bethel, I made it a purpose to surround my self with evangelists and situations where I could grow in this area. I hung out with radical evangelists like Chris Overstreet, and even went to South Africa with him. 

During that school, God broke off fear of man in my life. I realized that if my motivation in evangelism was love and not just to get someone saved, see them healed or even have a testimony to share, but to truly love them then I could not fail. Love never fails and it casts out all fear! 

After the Bethel school, God put it on my heart to take this to YWAM Chico. So now, every Friday, and sometimes Thursdays, I take students and some staff out to the streets and equip them with confidence that they can reach the lost and not just talk about God’s love and power but also demonstrate it.  The Bible says the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power! Wahoo! I'm a firm believer that the kingdom of God should not just be talked about but it should be powerful and fueled by love. 

So what does a typical night of evangelism look like? We always start out with prayer and intercession for our night, our city, and the people we will come in contact with. We may have a time of worship and of experiencing Gods love and passion for us, and getting filled up and extremely happy in the glory.  The fact is, we can't give something away we have not learned to receive. Then we go downtown and prayer walk, minister in words of knowledge, and the prophetic. I believe strongly that these gifts are to be in operation during evangelism. We want people to experience God’s goodness, not just hear things about Him. We have also have had worship downtown, and handed out food and drinks to the homeless. Sometimes we simply make friends and build relationship with people we would not normally talk to. Some people just need someone to talk to. 

God has done so much during these nights of going out and showing Jesus. There hasn't been one night I regretted going out in the last two years or so of doing this. It isn't always easy to go and minister. Sometimes I'm tired and just want to stay home and watch a movie. But love requires a price to pay. There is no greater love to lay down your life. Some of the times that it was most inconvenient to me have been the times when I’ve seen the greatest breakthroughs. We have seen bodies healed, lives changed and touched, and souls saved! 

One night, we led someone to the Lord after “pulling the gold out of him” with some detailed words of knowledge and prophetic words about him - then finished by baptizing him in the fountains at the plaza downtown! Hahaha! There was so much joy on His face! He encountered a living God! 

One night, God gave me a word of knowledge about this girl’s name. I felt like God showed me her name was Ashley and it was! She was shocked and asked me how I knew her name and I said, “God told me, and He wants you to know that regardless if you believe in Him. He believes in you and knows you by name…”  Then I began to speak the father heart of God over her. She was completely blessed that night. 

Another night, we were talking to some teenagers and I felt the sensation of fire on my right knee. I asked one of the kids if he had pain in his right knee and if I could pray for him. He said yes and without laying hands on him, I commanded healing to his knee. He was instantly healed and pain free. He began swearing and asking me what I did to him. I told him, “That’s Jesus. He just healed you. His power is a manifestation of His love for you.” The guy’s eyes started tearing up when I told him that. Yay Jesus! 

My heart is for complete transformation and revival in Chico. I want to see more of the church not being so worried about going to church, but actually being the church - the church without walls. Andy Byrd said "a message of revival without evangelism is a little hypocritical. Let’s not stop at church renewal. We need to burn for every soul." 

Evangelism is not just something we do on Fridays or a selected time of ministry, it's a lifestyle. Some of my most powerful times of ministry were when I wasn't doing ministry I was just trying to get my groceries and get home. We need to be sensitive and make a place for God’s Spirit to move wherever we are. Bill Johnson said "God is in me for my benefit, He is upon me for yours." I encourage each of you to keep your love on, and with every movement keep Him and His kingdom in mind!

- Joel Weaver

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