Monday, April 13, 2009

A special Resurrection Sunday indeed

Readers, I trust that you have had a blessed Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Indeed this 2009's Resurrection Sunday had been a special one for me.

I serve as an altar minister in my church, a good spirit-filled church. For some months now, I have been moving in the gift of words of knowledge and prophesy. I also regularly prayed for the sick in altar ministry. I believe that last Sunday, at a 10.30am service, the Lord had broken new ground with me in using me in these areas of ministry.

I believe this was the first time the Lord gave a word of knowledge to me upon "contact" with people. Previously, only under “instructed scenario” in group setting, did I ever receive words of knowledge in close contact with one another. I had been receiving regularly words of knowledge for people without "close contact". For example, I would receive words for members of church congregation before services, during services and between services, always with me referencing the congregation as a whole. Of course, the words would apply to particular people in the congregation. What happened in this particular instance was that when I re-entered the sanctuary after an earlier service which I had also attended, I stopped to talk with a lady - the mother of a little girl whom, on a previous occasion I have had the chance to minister to. There was still follow-up ministry to be done in relation to the little girl. During the short conversation about the status of appointment fixing through the church, I suddenly felt an unmistakable pain sensation on my back. It came for a brief moment, and when I acknowledged in my heart that it was a word of knowledge from the Lord, it left. The praise and worship had started during the conversation, so we stopped and I walked to my usual seat in the front of the sanctuary. I started to sing and then a thought just came into me that the word was for the lady I talked to, in addition to it being applicable for other people in the congregation. I walked back over to the lady, who was at an aisle seat, and asked her if she had a backache. She answered immediately that she had the backache for several years now. I then told her that she should go out to the altar area for prayer later, in the service's usual time allotted for ministry time after the release of words of knowledge by those used by God in this area.

For this particular service, I also received other words of knowledge for healing conditions. I had words on hip pain, knee pain as well as "pain" in the thigh (on the "inside"). Just that you might know, for my case, often the words of knowledge come in the form of sensations on my body, sometimes in the form of pain, sometimes in other forms of sensations. For example, I received the distinct hip pain sensation after the earlier service (8.30am service), just after I left the sanctuary to get a hot drink at the church's hospitality corner. I received it while walking to the hospitality corner, and when I acknowledged it, it was gone by the time I reached the coffee table. I thought in my heart I must release these words and expected God to move. I was excited. Whenever, the Lord did a new thing I would be excited. Perhaps, in another entry, I would talk a little about the attitude of a servant in moving in the Spirit.

In this spirit-filled church where the Senior Pastor endeavours not to quench the moves of the Holy Spirit, we typically would have praise and worship followed by a time for release of words of knowledge and prophesy under the discernment of the church leadership, and then as the members of the congregation respond to the words and come down to the altar area, pastors and altar ministers would minister to those who come forward. However, for this particular service, to my great disappointment, no time was given for the release of words of knowledge (The reason was our invited speaker had asked for more time and that in this particular service, a team was going out for a short-term mission trip and the church would like the congregation to pray for the team). I felt "stranded". Of course, such situations where I received words of knowledge but without the chance to release them, happened before, and at times, I would let the words went unreleased after talking with the Lord (Maybe, in another entry I will talk about this a bit more). But this time I just felt I could not let it be.

But I could not disrupt the service, you should know I was not a pastor or a staff of the church. I was just a member, used by the Lord regularly in these particular works. I was and is still very thankful for the church leadership, especially the Senior Pastor of the church, for believing in me and "risked it" with me, especially in the initial weeks that the Lord had used me in these areas. I had 2 choices, one was to just let it go, the other was to stay until the end of the service and wait for an altar ministry time, hopefully, at the end of service, which was reasonable to expect since it happened in the other two services that I attended for this particular invited speaker.

What do you know! This particular Resurrection Sunday was also my birthday; yes, this year my birthday coincided with Resurrection Sunday. My elder sister had earlier confirmed with me that she had arranged to celebrate my birthday with a lunch at a restaurant. This lunch would have my mother and my siblings and their families attending, also my children too. I told her I would be done by 11.30 am in the morning as I expected words of knowledge and ministry time after praise and worship which typically would end by that time. My children were already waiting outside since 11.00am (they finished serving in Sunday School of the church). So, if I wanted to stay behind and wait for the end of service altar ministry, I would have to firstly get my children to wait for another 1 1/2 hours, secondly tell my sister that I could not meet her at 11.30am to go to the restaurant (without meeting her, I would not know where the restaurant was. I only knew it was at Joo Chiat, on the east, far away from the church), and thirdly I would have to sit through the same Resurrection "testimony sermon" for a third time (Mind you, sometimes, even pastors did not want to do that). On top of that my cell-phone had gone flat on me, which meant I would have problem communicating with my siblings after service. The other alternative was to choose the first option, i.e. to let it be and leave for my birthday lunch. But that would mean I would not get to see to the conclusion, the new thing I believed that the Lord was doing. In addition, I had already suggested to the lady I talked to, earlier, to go out for prayer.

By now I have already learnt that, at times, when the Lord wants to use us for some tasks, it would not necessarily be the most convenient time for us, or that we would be in the best of mood to serve (Maybe, more of this, in another entry, in future). I chose to stay. I went out of the sanctuary for a brief moment, just to tell my children who were waiting outside the sanctuary and made a final phone call before the phone battery went flat on me, to my sister to tell her that I could only leave after the service, probably after 12.30pm. She was protesting, but I told her I could not talk, and went back into the sanctuary.

At about 12.00 noon, when I felt the speaker was about to end her message with an altar call, I approached my Senior Pastor and told him that I have had words of knowledge that I had to release.

I did get the chance to release the words to the congregation. As soon as I finished releasing the words, people started queueing in front of me for prayers. At the corner of my eyes, I could see many people have come forward on my left side for prayer, and there were ministers praying for them. I prayed for the people in front of me, one after another. After praying for 2 or 3 people, I realised there were more still waiting for me to pray for them. I was thinking then that I must pray for the lady I talked to, earlier but she was too far on the left and when I looked to the left, I could see so many people (people who came forward for prayer) blocking my view; I could not see her; and there were still people in front of me waiting for me to pray for them. I reached into my pocket for my bottle of anointing oil.

A week earlier, while waiting upon the Lord in my quiet time with the Lord, I believed the Lord wanted me to minister sometimes with anointing oil. I went into action and search for a suitable bottle for putting the oil in. Subsequently during the week leading to Good Friday, I bought a bottle of olive oil and prepared the anointing oil which I carried in my pocket. I remembered praying to the Lord to anoint the oil for use.

This was the first time I used anointing oil to pray for people. With the anointing oil I prayed on, for more and more people. For some of the people I prayed for, I could feel heat when I laid my hands on their foreheads. For some, I could see them swayed a little back and fro under the power of the Spirit, although none of them were slained. It might as well, because there were no "catchers" for the people I was praying for (Sometimes, this happened, but often we would have catchers). Some of them had tears running down their eyes when the Spirit ministered to them. I prayed for the lady I talked to, earlier, last. She told me that while she was waiting for me, she could feel a weight had left her. And when I was finally with her and talked with her before praying, she said she could feel "an air" between us. I believed that, that was the Spirit's presence. This was after about an hour of ministering/praying for people. I could not believe it, time flew, and later when I tried to recall the number of people that I had prayed for, I could remember at least 7 people. I knew I could not remember a few I prayed for, especially the first few. So all in all, I could have prayed for maybe 10 or so people in that period of time. All the people I prayed for, as far as I could remember, had one or more of the conditions I released words for; and all the conditions released were accounted for. I marvelled at the conviction of the Holy Spirit that came with the release of the words of knowledge. 10 or so people, were only those whom I prayed for, there were many more who were being prayed for on my left and on my right by other ministers. The faith of the people who came forward were strong, imagine, some of them waited for more than half an hour if not more before they got their turns to be prayed by me. 2 ladies I prayed for, actually waited, not for themselves but for someone else, i.e. they stood as proxies for others - one was for her mother, another for a friend - a church member who was not at the service. One person I prayed for, was a lady I prayed for, a couple of months ago at a "Matthew and Friends" party (an outreach party). She was the interpreter for the outreach. She told me before I started praying for her hip pain, that her tearing eye condition which I prayed for her at the outreach party, never came back since that night I prayed for her. There was another lady, she had bad knees. By being able to walk as soon as she got up from a sitting position, which was something she could not do previously, I believe she had been healed. I told her that she must thereafter believe and behave like what she had just done twice, got up and confidently just walked. I look forward to hearing testimonies from the people who have been ministered.

I finished at about 1.00 pm, and right about that time a sister of mine came into the sanctuary and said that she had come to guide me to the restaurant. And so, I drove to the restaurant, following behind her car, and got to the restaurant quickly. Perhaps, a few at the lunch were a little upset but I told them I had no choice, God came first. We had a good meal.

If you are a pastor reading this, please pardon me if you feel what had happened/written here are too minor to talk about; I am no pastor and value the privilege and honour of being used by God in this manner, and believe that if I am faithful to my duty, greater things will He enable me to do for His glory. Perhaps, this write-up would either encourage some brothers and sisters or give some understanding to them regarding how God might choose to minister and that God could use them too. To God be the glory.

In His Service,
Anthony Chia, high.expressions

To hear the actual words of knowledge:
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Then click on the play button (twice).

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