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I spent this last week at Global Awakening’s Voice of the Apostles conference in Lancaster PA. By our best reckoning, this was the 8th or 9th time Corinne (my wife) and I have attended the VOA conference. The level of teaching and ministry, and the sheer revelation, always blow us away during these 4 days.

The opening evening was with Bishop Joseph Garlington. If you’ve never heard him preach, you really must experience it. He speaks with the accompaniment of his keyboard player and dear friend Clarance. You never know when he might break into song, with his beautiful tenor voice.

I can remember back to when I was courting my wife in the 70’s her mom, my dear mother-in-law Barbara, used to tell stories of his preaching over forty years ago. Back then, my Father-in-law, Don Hayhurst ran a tape ministry which recorded the preaching from the Full Gospel Business Men’s ministry in Bergen County, New Jersey. Bishop Garlington was a regular preacher in that venue.

This week, his opening message was from the book of John. He spoke about the signs of John. I’ve studied these signs before and heard many sermon series teaching on them. But Bishop Garlington brought new light to them. I’ve decided I will take the next few weeks and press through them and share some of what he brought, and press into the life in these beautiful accounts of encounters with Jesus.

So keep your eyes open for new posts. If you’re not subscribed here, drop your email address in the box to the right (near the top of the page) and you’ll receive emails as these installments are published. As I post to this series I'll add links to below so you can grab it all here eventually.

Thanks for stopping by, and get ready for a great ride.

Love you!

Ben

 

Here's the rest of the series so far:

Mary's Imperative - #Signs - Episode 1

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Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. - Acts 14:3 NASB

Hmmm. What do you know about that? They Paul and Barnabas were hanging out in Iconium for an extended stay. This is one of those fun ‘therefores’ of the Word.

Why do folks do extended meetings today?

Well, sometimes it’s because the people demand more. They stay late into the night and are willing to listen to long nights of preaching, and will worship late into the night. So the organization ramps it up. Extend the meetings for another week, another month, maybe a year if the Lord continues to bless.

But if we chase this therefore back a couple verses, we’ll find the reason holding Paul and Barnabas in Iconium.

Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. - Acts 14:1-2 ESV

There was fruit, and then there was opposition.

What does our enemy do when the harvest starts coming in?

He turns up the heat. He plants suspicion—lies—fear.

And was do Paul and Barnabas do?

Preach the Word and let God Himself testify!

I love  the way this verse reads:

“Therefore

they spent a long time there

speaking boldly

with reliance upon the Lord,

who was testifying

to the word of

granting that signs and wonders

be done by their hands.”

What did God do? He allowed them to do signs and wonders.

Funny. Today when I hear about God allowing something, it usually something bad.

You know. God allowed me to crash into that telephone pole so I would learn this or that.

God allowed my mother to die of cancer so…

God allowed the attack on the World Trade Center because…

God allowed…

But look what God allowed—granted—(yes - I know it’s not exactly the same word, but you see what I’m getting at here?) them signs and wonders.

Why?

It was to confirm the word they were preaching in the face of harsh opposition.

God loves to show up and take our part when the heat is on.

Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

When the heat was on, God (Jesus) showed up in that furnace and granted them their freedom. The only thing that burned was their bondage—oh and their captors.

One more observation.

The signs and wonders were done by their hands. In other words. God didn’t blast a lightning bolt from the sky and do some magic. They laid their hands on the sick, or cast out demons, or multiplied the food, of shook off the snakes. They preached, then ministered the Kingdom of God in the midst of the opposition and God showed up.

And He’ll do it again today. You stand and preach and He’ll testify to your words by allowing you to do signs and wonders.

Awesome.

I’m stirring up my courage and looking for opportunities today. How ‘bout you?

Thanks for stopping by,

See you again soon.

Ben

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