I’m writing this post, because I dreamt that I had written a post like this. Hey, there’s no reason not to write this post, so best case scenario: God actually spoke to me through a dream to write this, and worst case: God doesn’t care what I write about, but I wrote another blogpost anyhow 🙂
I saw this documentary called Finger of God, and there you will find the headlining prophets of today. Do I believe that these people have the ability to hear the voice of God? Well, I was never told it was possible, but the more people I meet, the harder it is to deny the possibility.
The gamer that I am decided to turn this into a game based on the idea of “Prophet Points.” Say that these people are in direct communication with God, well, then these are the people most intimately close to Him. In the next life, I want to be able to say to these people, “Hey, remember me?… We met back on Earth.” I’m now, somehow part of the stories of these amazing people. “Every time you shake hands with a prophetic person, your points go up.” I’m up to 27 now, and I hear if you score 100, you get a 1-up.
I’ll write about prophecy in another post, because I do have a lot to say about it at this point; however, if you’re dying to score some prophet points for yourself, I’ll give you some good starting points. Note: these points are mere approximations as I do not actually know who are prophets (or prophetic) and who aren’t. These points are determined by personal experience and popular opinion.
First, I’d watch both documentaries by Darren Wilson. Research those who appear in those videos. Then I’d look at those known as the “Kansas City Prophets.” You’ll also want to check out both IHOP and Bethel. Finally, what I find to be the most 1337 (or awesome sounding) collection of people are those in the “Revival Alliance.” We’ll leave the New Ecstatics off for now. There are other’s who’ve written books on prophecy, but just because someone writes a book, doesn’t mean they’re worth the time to investigate. The ones listed above are from movements worth noting and extrememly relevant right now.
Let me tell you about the headliners I’ve scored, in the order that I’d met them…
I met Lou before I even believed that God spoke directly to people today. He was holding a JHOP event around 2005 at Harvard University. A few friends made the trip up there to catch the buzz. What I saw was an older man who had a lot of passion for college aged students. I could see how this could be the start of some cult. I mean, if you walked into the meeting, you’d hear power chords being strum to a steady and loud rock beat with intercessors praying hysterically into a microphone in an old New England chapel. I must say that I was slightly intrigued by their zeal, and had a chance to say hello to Lou (although, I don’t remember what I’d asked him).
I saw him again at The Call in Sacramento this past September. He had a softer presence at that event. I heard he’d fasted for 21 days or so, but he was still as intense, with his raspy voice, shouting, and body rocking to the music. Now, I wouldn’t recommend trying to score Lou Engle as anyone’s first prophet point; although, according to Bob Jones, Lou Engle is one of the most important people alive today.
All these prophetic people are a bit weird, but Lou is someone that I don’t think I’ll understand until much later in this journey.
Joaquin Evans was the first I’d met, since I became unable to ignore what these Christians call the supernatural. He came with a team from the Bethel Church. I’ll have to write another post about this, because it was the first time I was exposed to faith healings of such magnitude. I’d seen them attempted before, and I was exposed to them when I was Buddhist, but nothing ever like this. Let me say that his stories are far more amazing than the healings I saw that night. It’s easier for me to believe that Joaquin had no reason to lie to me, was of sound mind, and not trying to manipulate me in any way, than it was to believe that people all around me were getting healed through prayer. Seeing isn’t believing.
One woman’s leg grew out, people were professing that the pain in their bodies have lifted. I was there while this was happening, but more remarkable were the stories of past healings and testimonies from those who’d been healed. I’ve met with these people, I’ve spent evenings talking with them about their experiences, and they aren’t lying. It is far more irrational for me to believe that these people are lying and slightly more irrational for me to say that these are all coincidences, than to say that the supernatural is more natural than we’d known.
Before the night was over, I spoke with Joaquin and got myself some prayer. Prior to meeting him, I was reading a book by Mike Bickle that God chooses some odd people to do his work, perhaps, people who might even offend the mind. I was reading this book in the lobby prior to the event. When they said that Joaquin was like the bubbles from a fresh glass of champagne, they weren’t joking. He came on stage as if he’d had a couple glasses of champagne and laughed his way through stories of uncanny healings and of specific knowledge of strangers that were confirmed by random confrontation. This guy has been all over the world declaring healing upon countless people. He said he pressed in for miracles for 6 years of his life before seeing some serious breakthrough.
I was looking for resources on what it meant to hear God, and the internet has a terrible collection of websites that look like middle school fanpages from the 90’s. After my first IHOP conference, I was able to get a book and (at another conference) some MP3’s about prophecy. Let me say that Mike Bickle speaks very highly of this Bob Jones fellow. Bob Jones apparently knew about IHOP before Mike Bickle desired it or even dreamed it possible. I’m not going to tell all the stories, but if I made Joaquin sound outrageous, Mike Bickle makes Bob Jones sound 100 times more outrageous. Bob apparently died and came back from the dead, has frequent encounters with God and angels, and has predicted many natural phenomena like weather and earthquakes.
Ok, so after doing some digging, there was some scandals in his life, and of course, many people have much against these Kansas City Prophets. Whatever the case, either he hears God or not, and to this day, he’s the most remarkable of any I’d heard about. In fact, he was so epic, that I didn’t even think he was alive anymore. Once I found out that he was, I had to score my Bob Jones point before it was too late. (Note: This isn’t the same guy who is affiliated with that conservative university).
He was at a conference where Bill Johnson and Heidi Baker would also be at, so I registered to visit Knoxville, Tenesse, and that is an adventure for another post. Here’s what I gathered: at first glance, he’s an adorable and very old man. Did he make any grand predictions of the future? No, he talked abstractly about eagles and lions, but even though I didn’t experience anything grand, I don’t discount his experiences. It’s encouraging to hear the words from a man who may have had great encounters with God.
I worked my way to the front, shook his hand, and passed his wife a note asking for the impartation of such foresight. Score!
I first saw Bill Johnson in that documentary. Prior to really wanting to know more about Bill, I’d heard a bunch about this Bethel Church, described as a fire-hose for the Holy Spirit. This church is located in Redding, California, where miracles are normal. The stories from the people who’ve been there are quite unbelievable. The culture, more than anything, speaks for itself. Maybe they’re all nuts, but they seem to effortlessly love people and God. I’m glad there are people who make it look easy– too many people in the world make it look miserable.
I started gaining interest in what this man was doing from youtube videos about healings, where he said that God does not cause sickness. Then I started watching ibethel.tv, and was totally inspired by his sermons. As I said in another post, he is uniquely right about a number of things. I believe it was from something he’d said where I’d decided, “enough is enough.” It just isn’t biblical to feel so defeated in trying to live like Christ.
Now, he’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, which is both refreshing and amusing. As a 4th or 5th generation Pentecostal, his story is a bit different from that of Mike Bickel, who’d spent most of his early life as a skeptic. So, not everything Bill Johnson says is well captured in his illustrations. I do find myself thinking, well, that reasoning isn’t 100% sound, but I attribute much of that is in overcoming the widespread misconceptions that he’s teaching against. Misconceptions might be a bit leading, but assuming he’s right, then he’s appropriately trying to swing the pendulum the other way.
I similarly wrote Bill Johnson a note, after seeing him in Knoxville, and shook his hand as he left the stage. I’m sure I’ll be seeing him again someday.
Similar to Bill Johnson, I first saw Heidi in that documentary and, later, met her in Knoxville. Upon researching Bill, I learned of this Revival Alliance, which sounds a lot like the Justice League of America. Heidi was one of those “revivalists” in the team. Of all people I’d mentioned, Heidi is the most important one to know about. She’s the one that I admire, and look forward to getting to know better most. If there ever existed some contemporary that I’d want to be like someday, it’d be Heidi Baker. I bought 100 copies of her book, before I even finished reading it.
In the documentary, she was a woman, like Mother Teresa, in Mozambique, trying to help a desolate nation. Seeing her speak in person, I realized, this woman is nuts. Up until that point, Joaquin Evans was still the most unusual, but that was before meeting Heidi Baker. Her stories seemed even more amazing, but perhaps just as amazing as the others. What I mean is, she, the complete package, was remarkably amazing. She came from a privileged Californian background, was preaching by the time she was 16, and builds her live around the specific things God tells her.
Right before seeing her speak, I’d heard a pastor say that this woman once, on her way to the airport, heard God say that she was to go to some tribe off route to pray for the chief. She missed her flight to pray for some person she didn’t know, who was indeed sick, healed, and ended up turning a whole tribe to God. What?! People actually believe they hear God enough to change their lives around in an instant? If that’s possible, then I want to do that. For what missionaries tried to do for 30 years, she managed to do in 30 minutes, because she knew God’s heart so well.
She has a PhD in theology, and speaks quite intelligently about her mission (if you aren’t distracted by her quirks). She says that where she’s from, people believe her when she says God has spoken, because it so often comes to pass. If she’s truly insane, then I don’t know how she manages to feed thousands upon thousands of Mozambicans. If she just wants my money, then I don’t know what she’d do with it in such a poor area of the world. You explain this one, because I can’t.
What intrigued me most was her work with the universities. I can’t write about it now, but let’s just say that she gave me a big hug and said she’d come to Stanford. I cried, I almost never cry like that. In a recent email from her, she asked how my event went, and looks forward to seeing me in God’s perfect timing. I cannot wait to see what becomes of this. It’s gonna be good (you heard it here first).
Mike Bickle is the last of the bunch that I’d met, but he was one of the first I’d heard speak and was exposed to. He’s the head of IHOP in Kansas City, and is the most logical of all the others I’d mentioned. I attribute that to how practical this guy is and how much of a skeptic he’s described himself to be. I first heard about him after signing up for this IHOP conference in Fremont, CA. At that conference, I bought a book called, “Growing In The Prophetic.” You have no idea the extent I mean, when I say, “FINALLY, some information about the matter.”
More than any other movement, it’s clear that IHOP is not out to make money. They tell people to go ahead and copy whatever they’d like. Commonly, they’d say, “our copyright is your right to copy.” Mike Bickle, before his sermons, tells people to carefully test and question whatever it is they hear. He carries the most controversy, but mainly, it seems, because he has such influence over young people. No wonder Mike is extra careful about how he operates.
If anyone would have issue with this man, it’d be about his beliefs on the end times. Other than that, he operates with a great deal of wisdom. Of all the others, Mike Bickle would be most associated with being a cult leader, but I find him to be the most logical of them all. (Ok so, the end-times eschatology is still unusual for me). The sermons, talks, and books I’ve read were all so rational, but he’s got the worst Google cred of any Christian leader I’d ever searched.
I have one friend who’s doing a internship with him now, so I’ll need to update you all on how brainwashed he comes out. From what I’ve seen from going to visit Kansas City in October was a well function group of people on a mission. I shook Mike’s hand and told him about my heart for the intellectuals and technology.
So hopefully, this helps someone who’d be similarly trying to find answers. I know there was little help for me on the web, a year ago, when I was searching for more information. As any good researcher works, having many sources helps give an objective outlook. I mean, it’d be hard to be brainwashed by multiple cults at once, right?