Let me tell you about an experience I had today….’California Capers Part 2′
Bethel Church in Redding, Northern California, host what it calls, “healing rooms,” within its facility.
Located off ‘Churn Creek Road’, Bethel’s large main campus situated on a hill plays host (every Saturday morning from 9am until midday), to scores of afflicted, sick or ailment-ridden people of varying degrees seeking a personal touch from the living God like the many stories recorded in the Bible of ordinary people reaching out to the hope of a touch from Jesus to bring them healing they so-longed for.
Consisting of an, “Encountering God the Healer room,” “Encounter room,” Another room in which a few ministry team members actually pray for individuals personally & finally a “Stewarding Your healing, ” class room (in which classes are held 10.30am, 11 am & 11.30am), the healing rooms at Bethel Church in Redding, California are unlike anything else I have come across in any of my other travels across the parts of the world I have so far been to (which, I might add, are still very limited).
This morning I had the chance to visit Bethel’s healing rooms again, where I have previously had the privilege of attending and experiencing back in 2011, (whilst suffering under a severe thick bronchial lung infection resulting in two US doctor’s office visits that trip, to little avail, might I add).
Interesting differences have occurred in Bethel’s healing room ministry since then, not least the latter addition of the, ” how to steward your healing,” class.
Powerful worship music also goes on constantly amidst the Encounter room, where kind & sincere volunteer ministry team members go around praying for people if it is individually desired.
Amazing to simply watch and be part of. One could certainly argue that the atmosphere is worth the trip alone. ‘Churchy’ language might also confer that,”the presence” is very strong & tangible here. It has to be experienced to be believed and understood for oneself. No matter what your spiritual views or religiosity,your soul wil be impacted in some small or large manner here.
This morning I attended, ( as some reading this will know ) because I’ve had quite a battle with health issues in recent years, to perhaps put it mildly. Thankful that Ive not been worse, I have, however, been deeply held back from pursuing my previous ideals & fulfilling desired potential. An (honestly unwelcome) lesson in freshly learning & leaning into the fact God is Sovereign and in control no matter what. In the profound words of one of my good friends from back home of no faith persuasion, “Shit happens, It’s what you do with it that matters…”
Upon recently questioning my GP (General Practitioner Dr back home in Northern Ireland) and having her even agree with my jocular attempts to play down the seriousness of the situation, as I said, rather mischievously, ” I think I need God to fix me,” to my shock and horror rather than merely laughing, she agreed and nodded rather discouragingly.
However, sparing all the private details here, in all of this, Papa God has been ridiculously faithful & now I’m starting to see more of the elements of this journey starting to merge.
This time in California is nothing short of an intense life-impacting gift for me, in so many more ways than I could or would write here.
This one experience (of this morning’s trip to the Bethel Church healing rooms) resulted in my being prayed for for healing for various issues I’ve been contending with. I was prayed for by no less than seven people at different points of the morning, all volunteers kindly giving up their time to serve in this practical way, having been trained up with a tailor made ‘healing room volunteers training program.’ Three of these were an assigned team, ministering to me very encouragingly in the 3rd room, as live worship went on in the background. Bethel Healing Rooms ministry is quite an operation! (I am told over 350 people serve on a regular basis week by week on these Saturday mornings).
It is with great joy and gratitude I am able to write that one issue – a chronic sinus issue – has in fact genuinely improved significantly today. Call it coincidence if you want to choose skepticism over faith, but I know where my faith is going, & I want to praise & give him all the glory. Jesus never once turned anyone away or avoided healing them when they asked or reached out in faith to touch his cloak in faith, in all the miracles recorded in the bible.
Maybe it’s time for believers from where I come from to really start believing, and no longer give those of no faith persuasion such an excuse for perceived solid unbelief. Often it is more convenient to push aside the blatant commissioning from Jesus to us as his disciples to, “heal the sick,” by continually focusing on other parts and angles of the bible.
Faith without deeds is dead. Contrary to popular belief, miracles do happen everyday. Another which happened today in the very same room I was present in yielded sight in a blind man’s eye.
Welcome to California.
Welcome to our God, the God of the bible, who’s a good good Father. When we ask & pray stuff does happen. Simple. Not easy, but simple. In the words of a famous American sports company, “Just Do It.” Not through a formula, but through a relationship.
Not with obnoxious arrogance though, but with the refreshing humility and kindness displayed by all whom I met & mingled with today.
What a privilege to be here.
Looking forward to what tomorrow brings.