Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Robby Dawkins – A Father who longs to show His love – and heal (part 1)
Continuing this series drawn from teaching delivered at New Wine Central South and West 2013
From John 11:41 – “Father, I thank You that you always hear me…”
NOTORIOUS is a word that was often applied to Aurora, Michigan, where Robby Dawkins planted the church that became Vineyard Aurora. It was a city where violent crime was part of the culture, gangs ruled the streets and the most needy of society were all too evident, and this is where Robby Dawkins and his church members like to get to work, with a message of a God who is pursuing those who don’t know Him with His love. Transformation has been measurable. History relates that there was not a single murder in Aurora during 2011.
GOD AT WORK IN DARK AREAS
Robby told a story of taking some visiting interns from a middle-class church in another city into a back-street hangout, a dark area of the city reached by picking their way through the trash bins in the alleys. “Look out, guys, here comes the preacher…” shrieked Violet, an American African prostitute that hung out with the group of drug users and no-hopers they found. No one moved. Everyone stared.
Robby broke off his story to explain how God speaks to us. As we read the Bible, familiarity with God’s words help us to recognise His voice. The pinnacle of that experience, a rare one, is to hear an audible voice. More commonly it is the first thing that comes into your mind. Or a sensation – God seems to use the human body (ours) as a communication tool. On this occasion it was a stabbing knee pain.
He asked the group whether there was someone with knee pain. No one admitted it. Someone pointed to Pete, saying that he had a bad knee. “No I don’t,” exclaimed the man, hobbling off to get the attention away from himself. Robby confronted him, told him that God loved him and had sent Jesus to die for him. “I don’t believe any of that stuff,” was Pete’s response. “In that case, ” Robby emphasised, ” I can tell you for sure that God is going to heal your knee. He wants to show you that He is real and that He loves you.”
Reluctantly Pete agreed that Robby could pray for him. He asked what caused the pain. The man’s grimace said enough. Robby’s approach is to identify the pain and the level of pain and call that a ’10’ on a scale where zero would be complete freedom from pain – and healing – and then monitor progress by that scale.
SPEAK TO THE BODY, AS TO A MOUNTAIN
He explained that Jesus used authoritative statements – “Go, heal the sick” or “Stretch out your hand…” John Wimber’s teaching on this was to do what Jesus did, and tell the body what to do. So, he said, don’t ask God to do what He is wanting to do. Rather, agree with God about what he is already doing, and assert it.
This is how Robby modelled healing prayer while the interns, feeling very out of place in a hostile environment, were compelled to stay put and observe.
“Father, I thank you that You always hear me. Knee, I command you to be healed… so that Pete will know that Jesus Christ is in pursuit of him because He loves him and wants a relationship with him. Knee, be healed, to the honour and glory of Jesus Christ.”
Then he asked Pete what pain he was feeling on the scale where 10 was how it was before and zero was no pain. The pain had lessened – but as Jesus prayed again for people, so Robby explained that we pray again. Sometimes the Lord will reveal a stronghold or other barrier and we have to change the prayer to take authority over it and remove it. Sometimes there’s something the person needs to acknowledge. Repeating the prayer brings healing, and God’s intention is always to finish the job – which he did for Pete. Having proved less than capable of getting away before, Pete now vaulted over a rail into a nearby park area and sprinted around the perimeter. Several people in the small crowd, having encountered Jesus in this incident, were ready to be told about Jesus in a simple way, and give their lives to Him.
(To be continued tomorrow)