• by Russ Parker
    Winter 2016

    It is not often that you get to meet a real pioneer in the ministry of Christian Healing, but I was privileged to meet Dr. Kenneth McAll, author of Healing the Family Tree. Like many pioneers, he made mistakes but he also opened doors of insight and opportunity for others to build upon his foundation. Dr. McAll lived in China and worked as a missionary alongside Eric Liddell, the Olympic gold medalist and fellow missionary to China. During this time, Dr. McAll came to the firm conclusion that some of the personal problems and diseases that people suffer with are in fact inherited legacies from their family line. He strongly advocates taking seriously the effects of sin and brokenness from those who have gone before, so that their living relatives can get on with their lives. The other strong pillar in Dr. McAll’s teaching is that the best context for praying for the healing of such wounds is in the taking of Holy Communion, which he called the Eucharist of the Resurrection. I can understand why he said that. Holy Communion proclaims the good news that the death and resurrection of Jesus is powerful and means healing, deliverance and release for all.

    In my years of involvement in healing ministry, I have noticed some key principles that empower the process of healing family stories and legacies.

    Jesus Has Total Access

    At the heart of all healing is the need to surrender—to bring all our issues and concerns to Jesus. In generational healing we realize that Jesus has access to the stories of the departed in a way that we do not and should not. I have always been struck by the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew’s Gospel where he tells his critics, “Have you not read what was said to you by God, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ He is not God of the dead but of the living.” (22:32) At first glance this statement might seem flawed, as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are long dead. How can God be the God of the living in their context? It means that for God and therefore for Jesus, not even those who have died are beyond his jurisdiction. It is astounding that when Jesus raised people from the dead, he preceded that by addressing the person, and they heard his voice. In other words, Jesus has unlimited access to our departed to whom he can address the issues and concerns we bring to him.

    I have long utilized this truth whenever I have performed funeral services. As we come to the prayers in the service, I remind people that when a person dies, we often find ourselves saying, “If only I had known when they were going to die, I would have said this or done that.” However, because Jesus has access to the departed, we can surrender to Jesus the words and deeds we feel are incomplete. In the service I often give people a minute’s silence to perform this simple act of release through Jesus.

    The most remarkable outcome of this exercise I have ever seen was when a man, upon leaving the funeral service, said to me, ”Now I see!” I wasn’t sure what he meant so I asked him to explain. He was blind, and he held up his white walking stick to me and said slowly, “Read my lips, now I see!” He was the son of the elderly man for whom the funeral was held.

    The son had not seen or spoken to him for sixty years. He hated his father and found my invitation to speak to Jesus about an unfinished agenda laughable.

    Then suddenly, during the service, a memory popped into his mind and it was a question he had asked his father when he was very young. “Why don’t you love me? Is there something wrong with me?” His father never answered the question. So, in the moment of silence, he asked Jesus to ask his father why he had not loved him. He got no new insights, but when he opened his eyes following the time of prayer he found he was no longer blind!

    Often, through Jesus, people apologize to their miscarried or aborted children for dismissing them as being of no real importance. Sometimes parents are able to give names to such children as an act of faith and a recognition of their equal right to life. Others would forgive parents for emotional damage done by them, and still others celebrate their loved ones for the good gifts they bequeathed down the family line.

    There are those, who through acts of “representational confession,” confess the sins and the damage done to others by ancestors or people groups. A graphic example of this was Ken McAll’s description of the prayers of apology and repentance offered within the infamous Bermuda Triangle for the sins of the white slave traders upon the black slaves. Many of the latter were dumped into the ocean as excess baggage to save the slave ship from capsizing in a storm.

    After these prayers were offered, there was a period of 40 years where no one disappeared (although some recent disappearances have begun again).

    The Listening Heart

    I find one of the most insightful and challenging scriptures are the words of Yahweh to Cain, the first perpetrator of murder. “Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:10 TNIV)

    There are a number of insights we can learn from this passage. Cain had buried the body of Abel somewhere out of sight, but God knew where the body was buried. God is aware of all stories and their location, and this challenges us to do the same as we are able. It is this simple exhortation that has fueled many to “Prayer Walk” to a wounded site in our nation to pray for those who have suffered injustice there, and the effects to be lifted off the living.

    Another insight is that some people's stories still speak although the person is no longer with us. Ken McAll says that God has called us into partnership with himself to listen to the lost voices of the “wounded dead,” in order that their stories and their worth may be recognized. Through the risen Christ, we are called to be the new “acoustic” community that hears and locates the wounds of the departed in order that they may be recognized, owned, confessed and healed.

    Confession and Ownership

    Generational healing focuses on the stories and their repeating patterns within our family trees. Over the many years I have engaged in this work, repetitive patterns have emerged, such as children lost through abortion, miscarriage or unplanned death. Early deaths in the family can sometimes lead to struggles with depression and dysfunctional behavior in the present day.

    Because the issues are in the family line, the living can become the priests or intermediaries representing the family issues and bring them to God. At the heart of this kind of confession lie the twin actions of taking ownership of what is ours, and then offering to God those things that they might be heard and healed. When people have done this, I have often seen breakthroughs, not only in the lives of those who prayed, but also in family members not present. It is as if some corporate shackle has been broken off a family, or some shared legacy has been overcome.

    Conclusion

    Generational Healing is about healing the wounds that afflict families through the unsought legacies of those now dead. It is a demonstration of the power of Jesus to transcend time and the great gulf that lies between the living and the departed. For us that gulf is an undiscovered country, but for Jesus it is a part of the kingdom of God of which he is Lord. You may be interested to learn more by reading Ken McAll’s book Healing the Family Tree which has recently been reprinted.


    Russ Parker Russ Parker is the former Director of Acorn Christian Healing in England and a member of CHM's National Advisory Board.
     Winter 2016 Issue

     

  • by Rev. Tommy Tyson
    Winter 2016

    Tommy Tyson, a Methodist evangelist, was one of Francis MacNutt’s dear friends. Tommy and Francis travelled extensively together giving conferences and introducing people to the Holy Spirit. Below is a teaching excerpt printed in Francis’ book Healing.

    The ministry of healing means that we take the Incarnation seriously. The Incarnation means that God is here. Not only is God with us, but God has become a human being. Jesus is God, as it were, coming down; it is not a humanitarian reach for heaven. A humanitarian understanding leaves you with a psychological approach to healing. Your ministry will be a diagnostician’s approach; you will be problem and symptom centered. The Incarnation is not about our reaching up, but it’s about God reaching down and becoming a human being.

    This is what I understand about healing! We are not ministering salve to sores; we are ministering love to suffering people. It is Jesus Christ living within us, who has perfected our humanity, who is ministering to suffering people. He is not simply a spiritual being, but he has become flesh. He is now both spirit and body: this is the Incarnation. Jesus does not reveal a compartmentalized life. Rather, he reveals the marriage of opposites, with spirit and matter becoming one. God becoming one with us—heaven and earth becoming one. Heaven coming to earth, and earth being caught up into heaven. In this way we have the supernatural made manifest through the natural, and the natural lifted up to the level of the supernatural. That’s what we are talking about when we talk about healing.

    This means that all methods are ours. For instance, we use natural methods: we build hospitals, we train doctors, and we train nurses—all in God’s image. Yet we believe in the supernatural. So we pray and utilize the sacraments. It is not either/or; it is both/and. All things are ours, for God has married all these elements in Jesus. As one of the early church fathers put it, “Jesus became what we were so that we might become what he is.”

    Our Father now shares with us what he has achieved in Jesus Christ, and this achievement includes the redeeming of humanity—a new kind of humanity. Jesus comes into the all of us, becomes mind of our mind, becomes spirit of our spirit, becomes bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. God’s purpose is to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ; God intends for us to be like Jesus—not in the abstract, but in the concrete here and now. He accomplishes this by the power of his Spirit working within us. This is what we are talking about when we are talking about healing: we are talking about being conformed to the image of Jesus. That’s wonderful, isn’t it? Jesus ministers to us from the realm of the resurrection, and shares with us his own achievements. There are limitless ways in which he accomplishes this.

    Nevertheless, there are some specific issues involved. For example, Jesus Christ reveals himself, sharing our humanity, for our instruction, in several basic ways. Most important of all, he accepts himself in terms of his union with the Father. He never tries to minister what he has not worked out within himself. He does not heal in order to prove that he is the Christ; he heals because he is the Christ. His healing power comes from his very being. That reverses the usual order; in the natural order we are judged by what we do: this man is a priest, this one an attorney, and this one a banker. But in the kingdom of the Father our doing comes out of our being. Jesus Christ manifests himself from within.

    For instance, here comes the man with the withered arm. Jesus Christ does not begin by diagnosing the cause of the man’s problem, but he goes within himself to his Father. Through his union with the Father he sees the creative power of God; he sees this man as whole before God. And from that inner level of union with the Father he speaks, “Stretch forth thy hand.”

    The same thing with St. Peter. His name is Simon, which means “a reed”—a reed blown about by every wind. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”

    “Some say you are Elijah, some say you are John the Baptist, some say you are another great prophet.” Then Jesus looks at his disciples and says, “Who do you say that I am?” And Simon says, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.”

    Jesus says (I’m going to paraphrase at this point), “You did not discover this by natural means, but you have been before my Father, and my Father revealed to you who I am. Now, Simon Peter, I’ve been before the Father about you. So while those around you call you a reed, I see you before the Father’s throne, and I see a rock. You’re not a reed, you’re a rock.”

    Who told Jesus that? How did he know it? It was a revelation that came from his union with his Father; in that union he saw Peter as the rock on which the church was to be built. That is the way the healing ministry of Jesus works—yesterday, today, and forever; he sees people before the Father. He manifests outwardly what he sees by the Spirit. That is glorious! You really glimpse the glory of God when you see the heart of Jesus. He looks at people and he sees them not as trees, not as goats, but he sees them as sheep without a shepherd. That is glorious, isn’t it? Before the Father, people are sheep; that is healing.

    How do you see people? How do you see people in your heart? That is the very key to your healing ministry. How do you see yourself before the Father? Do you let Jesus Christ establish in your heart who you are in the light of his love? This is what the Holy Spirit does. He shows us who we are separated from God, and then he shows us who we are in relationship to God. Then we simply make that exchange; that is what confession is all about. We come to confession because of a conviction of our sin. When a priest hears our confession, we are saying, “Apart from God, this is what I am. I neglect my husband; I get mad at my children; I ignore my church. Apart from God I am all these things and more.” When a priest hears our confession he says, “You are right: and the truth is you are a lot worse. But where sin did abound, grace does much more abound. And so, here is who you are before God. And here is how you go about appropriating that grace.” These ways of appropriating grace are simply a bridge to where people ought to be in Jesus. That is healing.

    One basic element of healing is helping persons to accept themselves in relationship to God even while they still have the sickness. Now, this is basic, and yet so often we don’t do it. We give people the impression that they are sick because of their meanness: “If you do not get right you are going to get sicker. There is not much hope for you anyway; God makes you sick in order to make your spirit sweet.” That is the impression we give. But that isn’t the gospel; that isn’t our ministry. That doesn’t bring anyone into union with Jesus. The gospel says that God loves us as we are—that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. When Christ was crucified there wasn’t a single Christian—not a single Christian in the world.

    By the grace that is in Jesus, we belong to God. By his healing power we belong to God. Don’t you know that most sickness is rooted in the people’s sense of not belonging? They are sheep without a shepherd. They don’t know the shepherd; they don’t know they belong. So we come in Jesus’ stead and tell the precious people, “You belong to Jesus, and I’ve come to tell you this.” That is the real power of our healing ministry. If we don’t know this much about people, our ministry of healing will be greatly limited. Our healing ministry should come out of a conviction that we have been sent by God to lay his claims on people, and God’s claim is, “You are mine!” Haven’t you seen miracles happen through that kind of commitment, through people who know that they belong to Jesus?

    In that story about Peter and John at the Gate Beautiful, Peter reached out and touched the man. He had perhaps been lying there nearly forty years—no salve, no bandaid, no penicillin. He was a stinking mess and, yet, Peter reached out and touched him. Are you afraid of touching people? Stay away from the healing ministry if you think you are too good to get involved with people’s mess. Stay out of the healing ministry because you will have to minister with the compassion of God—you belong to God and you have come to tell people, “I’ve come to love you! I’ve come to transmit to you what I’ve experienced of the love of God.”

    So, we get people to accept themselves in relationship to God in the midst of the sickness, but we don’t stop there. I think often the church has stopped there—that we have let people know they belong to God even if they are sick and we tell them that God can give them the grace to bear the sickness. So often we have left the impression that grace is the power to bear, the power to endure suffering. Now, grace is the power to endure, but, more than that, grace is the power to overcome. As we help people to accept themselves in relation to God, we also have a teaching ministry to let them know what their inheritance is in God. You see, very few people have difficulty believing God can heal, but, so often, people do not know he wants to heal them. This is where we are in the healing ministry: really helping people to know that their inheritance is health and healing. Jesus called it the “children’s bread” (Matthew 15:26). That’s a wonderful descriptive phrase for healing—the children’s bread. Every child deserves bread from his father. No father makes a child pay for its own meals. “Thank you, Father. Thank you, Mother.” “You’re welcome,” is their response.

    This is true of our ministry to people—we are ministering to them their inheritance: “God loves you—God wants to heal you.” This is not only true of healing for the body but also for the mind and spirit.

    Excerpt from Appendix C, Healing, by Francis MacNutt, Ave Maria Press, 1974


    Tommy Tyson Powerful evangelist, minister of healing and the founder of Aqueduct Conference Center in North Carolina.  Winter 2016 Issue

     

  • by Russ Parker
    Spring/Summer 2016

    “In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be.” —Amos 9:11

    For the last few years I have been leading a new resource for the healing of damaged churches—that they might recover their calling and mission. The conclusion of this process is a Christian Day of Atonement for the renewal and re-commissioning of the church to flourish in the way God intends it to. Here is something of this journey.

    I love the book of Leviticus because it takes seriously the healing of places as well as people. In particular, I have been challenged by the purpose of the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16:1 begins with a reference to the death by fire of Nadab and Abihu, two sons of Aaron and priests in their own right. For a variety of wrong reasons, they attempted to offer ‘false fire’ as part of their ministry in the Tabernacle. As a consequence of God’s judgment on them, the Day of Atonement was instituted in order to bring healing and forgiveness to the people of God. The major purpose of this Day is to heal the place of ministry to again become the place of ministry.

    If you look closely at Leviticus Chapter 16 you will see that the Tabernacle now needed cleansing and healing from the damaged legacy of the activities of Nadab and Abihu. Atonement had to be made for the most holy place, the Tent of Meeting itself, for Aaron and his household, and for all the people and the altar of sacrifice. Not only people, but also the places of ministry needed to be healed so they could function properly again. It suddenly occurred to me that part of restoring churches to flourish again would be a Christian Day of Atonement Service and so this adventure began!

    I encourage each church to identify the specific ministries of their church and where each usually happens within the church building or plant. It could be the pulpit for the preaching, the Holy Communion table, the place where the wardens or elders or equivalent sit, the door of welcome into the church, the choir or worship group space, the children’s teaching rooms and the church offices.

    Next I give a little teaching on the use of holy water, that is normal water from the tap, but which is blessed and used for the holy purpose of cleansing and renewal. I set up a few bowls around the church filled with water about three inches deep. Then I invite the entire congregation, when they are ready, to come and dip a finger or two in the water and then go to one or more locations of ministry and make the sign of the cross and bless the ministry that happens there. By the way, I make sure to tell them to bear in mind the electrics in the building and not to try and carry water in the palms of their hands.

    I invite them to use the standard proclamation of blessing: God bless the (whatever the ministry in particular) that happens here and call it to flourish in the way You want it to! I tell the people that if they have more than one ministry in mind to go for it and bless them all. I also say that if everyone else has the same ministry in mind as others to still go ahead and do it. I am always humbled and awed when I watch everyone get up out of their seat to go and bless their church to live again. The outcomes have been astonishing.

    A treasurer of a large church came up to me to say that after doing this he received $150,000 in donations. Apparently a number of people had withheld their giving over the years as a protest against the abuse suffered at the hands of a former corrosive and aggressive pastor. They returned the whole amount of money with interest as their form of repentance and apology to the Lord.

    I worked in another church that had struggled with sexual abuse from one of its leaders, who had been subsequently disciplined and removed. However, people continued to leave the church as they had lost confidence in its present leaders. Consequently I was called in to host this process (which I have called 2Restore). At the end of the blessing service one of the national leaders of this Pentecostal denomination stepped up on the platform to share his heart. He told the congregation how he was initially skeptical of my approach and nearly did a double take when I introduced the use of holy water. He felt confirmed in his convictions when he noticed the children talking amongst themselves and that they all went down into the basement of the building once I had given the invitation for the blessing ministry to commence. He thought they were up to no good and followed them into a room below, waiting a few seconds before he suddenly entered to catch them at whatever they were doing. He said he was stunned as he entered the room; unbeknownst to the children, this was the very room where the sexual abuse had happened. All the children were lying on the floor in the shape of a cross and praying words such as don’t leave us God, come back Lord, we need your blessing Lord. He told us that some of those children were only six years old! He was deeply humbled and apologized to the church for his attitude.

    We are living in days when the church of Christ needs restoration to the purposes and power of God. One of the resources for this is to take the principles of the Day of Atonement and through Jesus Christ, bring healing and fresh release and renewal to the mission and ministry of the church. No church is perfect, but I heartily recommend that you give time and commitment to restoring your church to be the place of blessing to which God has called it.


    Russ Parker Russ Parker is the former Director of Acorn Christian Healing in England and a member of CHM's National Advisory Board.
     Spring/Summer 2016 Issue