For Christians Who Are a Little Freaked Out by This
When I was nine years old, a musician named Dino Kartsonakis came to my staid, buttoned-down, ultra-conservative church in Lincoln Nebraska.
Dino was a master of the piano and performed a concert that had everyone rocking and swaying and even, occasionally, dancing in the aisles – something you never saw at our church.
I left Dino’s concert exuberant from the energy and good vibes. As we drove out of the parking lot in the family car, though, my dad said, “The board of elders told that guy he is not invited back.”
“Because of those healing stories. That stuff doesn’t happen anymore.” Dad made this pronouncement with an indignant, somewhat disgusted tone in his voice.
Dino had told a story about his mother and his grandmother. As I recall, his grandmother had healed his mother from some kind of sickness. It all sounded rather dramatic.
The board of elders was having none of that.
I clearly remember sitting in the back seat directly behind dad, thinking “Umm… all the Bible stories do sort of run in that direction, so I don’t really understand how you can be so sure those healings didn’t really happen.”
Being nine years old, I was in no position to argue with dad, so I kept my mouth shut.
We were taught that miracles ceased after the disciples, and that people who did “that sort of stuff” were either charlatans, or worse, channeling demonic spirits. There is no question from the Bible accounts that “the dark side” is quite capable of channeling its own ‘memos’ and performing impressive miracles. Pharaoh’s holy men facing off with Moses; Simon the Sorcerer in the book of Acts.
Mostly I didn’t think much about this stuff because it pushed me out of my comfort zone. But when I was a teenager, my friends John and Cathy Leverett were in their thirties. They were into “the higher gifts” as they called them, and we had many late night conversations.
Once, at 1am we were hanging in their living room solving all the world’s problems and the specific question came up of whether people today get what in this book I call “memos.”
I said, “I really don’t think God ‘speaks’ to people today, because He already finished writing the Bible. He doesn’t need to deliver revelation to people anymore.”
Cathy asked, “Perry, do you pray?”
“Yes, of course.”
“When you ask for wisdom, do you believe God answers you?”
“Yes absolutely. I ask for wisdom all the time.”
“How does He communicate that message to you?”
“Well, I feel a… leaning, or an impression, or a nudge. Somehow I just know which path I’m supposed to take.”
Cathy says, “Do you believe God gives you nudges and impressions, but not words?”
“Well then Perry… what’s the difference?”
Ding! Cat Leverett scores a talking point.
At that moment I realized I was drawing a dotted line that is never drawn in scripture. In fact, my dotted line was completely made up. What I said I believed was that God would give me nudges, but never actually say anything intelligible. How does that make sense? Where is that in the Bible?
I challenge anyone to name a scripture that suggests you shouldn’t ask God questions and expect answers. Clearly some people didn’t get the reply they wanted (Balaam for example, who repeatedly sought permission to curse Israel), but nobody is criticized for inquiring.
In fact I can’t think of one single major person in the Bible who didn’t get memos – even people who never wrote any books of the Bible. There are all kinds of stories that refer to memos where the writer never gives you the slightest idea what those memos were about! In first Samuel 10, king Saul and a whole bunch of other guys are hanging around prophesying together. We don’t know what happened, but sounds like it was a lot of fun.
My late-nite convo with Cathy was not enough to persuade me to change anything. But she did convince me to suspend judgment until I had more information.
Then 20 years later I got into an argument with my brother Bryan. Bryan had gotten a Master’s Degree in Theology at Master’s Seminary in Southern California. Master’s is very conservative and holds a doctrinal position that miracles ceased after the disciples. He’d spent time in the ministry including a stint as a missionary. Because of mounting doubts, he was bailing on the whole thing.
He says to me:
“Perry, I’ve studied the New Testament inside and out. I’ve studied Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. And you know what? There is NOTHING in the Bible whatsoever to suggest that miracles should stop.
“So Perry… WHERE’S THE MIRACLES???”
I rifle through my mental file folders. I’ve heard lots of stories third hand. No personal experiences of my own to report.
He continues: “Every single supposed ‘miracle’ can be explained by sleight of hand, placebo effect, or wishful thinking. There’s no such thing as a medically documented miracle.”
He was definitely right about the New Testament part. Nowhere is there so much as a hint that the miracles were going to go away. I’ve had hundreds of conversations about this and I’ve never met anyone who could show me a verse that indicates miracles are going to go away. I find the “no miracles after the apostles” arguments to be rather flimsy.
Miracles are held out as proof of the authenticity of Jesus as the Son of God. From healing the paralytic to forgiving sins to feeding the 5,000 to rising from the dead, all are offered as things only God can do.
This is all very interesting, because even though I was taught that miracles ceased after the disciples, almost all the Christian people I knew – including our indignant board of elders – believed that miracles did occasionally happen even now.
They just didn’t believe anyone had gifts to make those miracles happen at will. They believed God simply does whatever God chooses to do and it has nothing to do with what we do. A sort of theological fatalism.
And I had quite a few books, mostly from missionaries, telling all kinds of crazy miracle stories. Bruchko by Bruce Olson, for example, a missionary to the Amazon. His journey seemed to be one miracle after another.
Suddenly Bryan is confidently asserting that all of this was fake. I was quite concerned that Bryan was right about the placebo effect and the wishful thinking. It made me queasy.
Felt like a sucker. A mark. Gullible.
I realized I didn’t have enough personal experience to judge for myself.
Plus, when you turn on the TV and see the faith healers plying their trade, most of us run out of the room screaming. Educated people are way too smart for that, right?
What if all this stuff about miracles is hocus-pocus and Santa Claus? What an icky, shameful feeling.
My eyes were suddenly wide open for information that would either confirm or deny this.
For a year or so I was almost persuaded that he might be right. But I persisted. Little by little things started happening. The evidence began to point the other way. Since then, I have accumulated many years of experiences, stories and case studies. I have compiled a series of very detailed accounts which you can study to your heart’s content at
There you will find stories and videos of two deaf people I’ve personally met who got their hearing back after thirty years; a friend healed of Lupus; a woman who’s mangled shoulder was healed right in front of me; a woman whose months of paralysis from surgery dissipated within minutes; a woman who prayed for ice cream in the middle of Mozambique on a very hot day and suddenly an ice cream truck showed up.
A woman ripped to shreds by grief over her 12 year old son who died of leukemia experienced waves of overwhelming joy and laughter; a somewhat-famous woman, paralyzed for 25+ years and confined to a wheelchair, who got her mobility back – on video.
These stories have places, names, dates, cities and states. Just like the stories in this book.
Can I tell you something really strange? When I tell people miracles are real and that you can ask God for answers about your business and life and get them… I get far more stubborn unbelief from Christians than from anyone else.
By the way… one of my peeves is anonymous miracle stories that offer zero ability to verify anything. Sometimes pastors tell these stories, then mumble excuses about “protecting peoples’ privacy.” This makes no sense to me whatsoever. If you had a remarkable transformative experience, why would you want to hide it and be anonymous?
Anonymity only reinforces skeptics’ accusations that all this is fake. It dents the street cred of the world’s most powerful message. Which is why I have gone out of my way in this book to give names, places, cities, states, dates, corroborating details, websites, company names and news clippings.
Having now had a great deal of experience – and having also been schooled in the Bible my entire life – it astounds me that anyone can suggest miracles are not for today. Personally I think to teach cessation of miracles is to willfully disobey scripture. After all, does it not say:
James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.Mark 16:17-18 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.
Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
Luke 10:17-19 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
1 Corinthians 14:39-40 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.
The church where I grew up turned a blind eye to these verses. If you did any of these things, you were thrown out. Dino found that out the hard way. I know a few seminary professors who would lose their jobs if their administrators found out they believe in miracles.
This is what is scriptural:
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.Luke 24:45-49 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Christ had already given his disciples authority in Luke 10 above, and here he promises even more power, which is granted when the Holy Spirit is poured out in Acts 1.
Is there anywhere in scripture where this power is taken away? I have never been able to locate any scripture that says so. I keep asking and nobody else seems to be able to find one either.
God has obviously given mankind the freedom, power and authority to practice medicine, invent airplanes and automobiles; as well as wage war, destroy the environment and build nuclear weapons.
God has also given us the power to listen to his voice, to heal the sick and command evil influences to leave. Scripture also says it’s not always easy and it doesn’t always work:
There is also another thing that hinders the power of the miraculous:
Even Jesus couldn’t perform miracles for doubters and skeptics. Where I grew up, we didn’t believe people had authority to do miracles. Maybe that’s why we didn’t have any.
One of the most vital functions of scripture is helping us calibrate to what the Holy Spirit sounds like when he speaks. All throughout scripture, whether you’re in the backstretch of Jeremiah or the 23rd psalm or the first chapter of John… or Joshua or Revelation… the voice of the Spirit flows through all those various authors with a clarity and consistency that Christ followers come to recognize. This is what Jesus meant when he said “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.”
When I began discovering prophetic streams, I immediately recognized the voice of the Comforter. Let me tell a quick story about that.
The first prophetic conference I ever attended was in Stratford Ontario in June 2006, with Ivan and Isabel Allum. Isabel is one of the most powerful women I’ve ever met in my life. I’ve mentioned her a few times in this book.
It was lunchtime. I was hanging around in the conference room. Most people had left the building, and a woman who looked to be about 50 came up to Isabel and asked for a prophecy.
Isabel looked her in the eye and said, “All your life you have believed you were worthless. The enemy has assaulted you with all kinds of lies telling you that you are nobody. This is because your parents didn’t plan you and they said you were an ‘accident.’
The instant Isabel said your parents didn’t plan you and they said you were an ‘accident,’ the woman burst into uncontrolled heaving and sobs.
Isabel had nailed the conversation inside that woman’s head. In an instant. Her years of brokenness and gravel roads. And Isabel kept right on going. She went on to describe the garbage that was inside this woman’s head in detail.
But then, after a few minutes, Isabel looked into her eyes and gave her the most beautiful transparent smile. She said, “But this is what the Lord is saying about you….”
Then Isabel spent the next fifteen minutes pouring love into that woman, telling her the gifts that she carries and the callings she has in her life. She told that woman what the truth was – what the Holy Spirit had to say about her, and who He insisted she was. When Isabel finished, the woman dropped to the floor in a heap and wept for a half hour.
She laid there for a long time. Finally people started returning from lunch and she pulled herself together and went on with her afternoon.
Isabel’s prophecy to that poor hurting lady was one of the most extraordinary things I have ever witnessed in my life. It was like watching a building get detonated in reverse.
I met that lady again a couple of years later and we both recalled that lunch break in Stratford. Indeed, that one conversation deeply impacted her life.
Almost 15 years later, I still cannot tell this story without getting emotional. I have tears rolling down my cheeks as I type. It was miraculous to watch Isabel love that woman through her gift of prophecy.
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