Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Report from St. Louis Trip

We just returned from St. Louis where we spent the weekend with our family. We went there in response to the recent heart attack of our brother and overseer, Bishop Raphael Green.

We were thrown into the fire from the very second the plane touched the ground. We had a couple of voicemail messages waiting on the cell phone informing us that our brother had been taken back to the hospital. So, instead of taking a casual ride to his home, we had to make a sudden trip to the hospital for an emergency room visit.

When we arrived in the area where he was was being examined, we found him accompanied by his oldest daughter and our parents.  As soon as we stepped in, I just grabbed his hand and said, “We’re here.”  Tears came into his eyes. We immediately began to pray for him. The Lord gave us words of exhortation and encouragement and he just broke down in sobs as the Holy Spirit moved upon him.

We watched his countenance change as he relaxed with the peace of God settling upon him. The Holy Spirit kept giving us more to speak over his life until he began to worship the Lord. With hands upraised, he openly cried and worshipped. From that point, we knew he would be alright.

His daughter said it was the first time he had responded this way since the entire ordeal began last Sunday. We have learned that when something of this magnitude happens, that many motivations, agendas, personal issues and prejudices come to the surface. Our brother was suddenly surrounded by all kinds of people, but what was needed was to be surrounded by the people he knew and the people who knew him. That's FAMILY.

When crisis hits a high-profile person, many people began pushing one another to position themselves for some certain status in connection with them or their family. Selfishly and insensitively they invade the private world of the family. We stepped in and commanded some order to the situation.

After he was able to gather himself together, our brother said he had been praying all week and asking God to send him a Word; to send him a prophet. (Not trying to boast about ourselves... when we are weak, then we are strong only by the Grace of God)

Once he was moved into a regular hospital room, our younger brother, Jonathan joined us there. We began to reminisce and talk about old times. Jonny, as we call him, has the most wonderful sense of humor. When we get together, we can get on a roll and we did. He had our brother, Raphael, laughing over and over again. Ray, as we call him, finally got to the place where he could actually fall asleep, real sleep, for the first time that week.

The weekend also offered us the opportunity to connect with the widow of our spiritual son who passed away a few weeks ago. His death was attributed to heart failure. We met with her during the time our brother was being transitioned from the emergency room to the hospital room. It was a very special time to connect with her and talk through the many things that have happened prior to and after her husband’s death. It was a very precious time of connection.

The entire weekend was a continuous series of conversations and connections, sovereignly choreographed by the Holy Spirit. We received prophetic confirmations as well. Every night, we fell asleep trying to process the awesome set of events that had taken place throughout that day.

Sunday morning, we ministered to our home congregation in exhortations and prophetic declarations. We ministered for two solid hours with songs and preaching. We usually minister 45 minutes to an hour at Urban Life, but this was a critical moment that required more time and precision, like the procedure our brother had gone through in repairing his heart. The Sunday service was concluded with an additional hour of prayer for the Green family.
We are thankful for the prayerrs and the financial support that allowed us to be with our brother and family at such a critical time.

We watched the video from Sunday’s Lifetree conversation and we are very proud of our son Christopher. He did a great job in leading the conversation. Truly, God is doing something special in our church family.

We know that we are not a very traditional church. Whoever heard of a church that gathers for worship and conversation? But this is what God has given us to do this summer. Even though it is out of the comfort zone of many, it fits perfectly with the vision God has given us to rebuild, restore and renew hearts and homes.

This fall, when we return to teaching and preaching on Sundays, and shift the Lifetree conversations to Wednesdays, we will know God and know each other a lot better, and be able to walk together in unity.

We will fulfill our theme for 2012. We will know God, know His presence, know His power, and know His will. We will express our theme scripture: ...the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits!  Daniel 11:32b

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We win, again!

Last week we sent you a word to encourage our church family to keep pressing forward in their pursuit of God.  Little did we know that just a few days later, we would receive one of the most gut wrenching phone calls of our lives. It went something like this, “Chris pray! Ray is having trouble breathing! He’s sweating heavily and his heart is racing!
They’re rushing him to the hospital now…please pray!”

I sat back in my office chair for a second and paused before sharing the news with my wife and sons. Instantly my mind flashed back to my younger brother who suffered a heart attack three years ago. This couldn’t be happening again.

Just a few minutes earlier we had just experienced a wonderful and healing moment as various members of the Urban Life family shared how God is helping them to move past the pain that is often associated with Father’s Day. We were about to enjoy a family dinner with Carol’s mom. This was not what we expected.

However, I also recalled how that very morning, Carol had suddenly burst into tears and cried in my arms. We thought it was because she was having a response to the fact that this was the first Father’s Day since her dad passed away. We thought it was because she was still grieving about the recent death of one of our spiritual sons. Then we realized, it was the Holy Spirit sending travailing intercession on behalf of our brother and Bishop.

I was so tempted to give in to my emotions, but, "I just know when life goes wrong, I give a sacrifice of praise."

An hour later we received a call that it had indeed been a heart attack, a serious one. My brother had actually died in the ambulance, but the paramedics were able to bring him back with the shock procedure to his heart. We later learned that when people got the news on their cellphones, some pulled over in their cars. They stopped to pray. We learned that church services stopped in various cities across the country and whole congregations began to pray. We learned that a cry of intercession went up from all over America and in various parts of the world in a continuous cry of intercession for one Raphael Green. The result: His life was restored! The procedure to move the blockage in his heart went extremely well.

We saw the natural and the supernatural meet, and the miracle of life was released in my brother. What was intended to be the final deathblow, to stop a multi-generational purpose, has now become a rally cry and a bellowing roar to announce the defeat of the plans of the enemy. I hear a mighty roar of praise coming forth from all over the nation. A stronghold has broken off the Church.

This morning, Carol said she dreamed that we went into a building, rescued a child and ran out. She said the structure of the building became like ashes. It was crumbling and falling apart as we ran out. I take that to mean that we can now go in and take back what was birthed and brought forth into the earth for Bishop Green and all of us associated with that purpose. God has given us authority and ability to go and take back what was stolen. Even the strongholds of fear, doubt, disease, debt and death cannot stop this move of God. It's all merely ashes, now.

This victory, was not only for Bishop Raphael Green, our family and our home church, but it was also a victory for ALL of us here at Urban Life Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This is the anointing and power that is your spiritual heritage and legacy. Now you see why it is so important to know who you are connected to and what kind of ministry to which you are joined. You are a part of something great. We're not famous. We're not rich. But we are called. We are chosen. This isn't arrogance to talk like this. This is CONFIDENCE in the Lord our God! YOU ARE going to do something great for God!

From this day forward, no more walking and living in fear. Since God has conquered death itself, what will HE do in your life and family? This is YOUR promise today: Psalm 27: 1-6

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.

Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.