Jesus and Marc’s Trip to Bethel

*A trip like this requires a longer post!

Back in late January, the idea of going out to Bethel began to surface on an unconscious level.

Then in April, when going through a workshop of “The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind” by Bill Johnson the desire to go began to surface. There were two things that really stood out.

Before the workshop started, I was walking down the streets near where the workshop was being held.  Tucked away in the curb was a fresh $20 bill. It just so happened the books also cost $20 as well!

Also, one week during the workshop, my stomach began to churn in a very unusual way, but didn’t make a connection of what was going on.

I finished the workshop and was very sad when the class ended. I felt fear of backsliding at the time and that seemed to be happening.

Then a few weeks ago, I was meeting with some friends and Bethel got brought up and again things began to churn on the inside. The next day I decided to act somehow, so I began filling out the application for the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Almost immediately, there was such a deep spiritual hunger pain that came up.

And that was the tipping point, I knew I wanted to check out Bethel and see what was up. I made a decision if I was going to go I would be all in. Forget the plans I had and dive in.

The trip itself was full of highs and lows, but overall left very encouraged that God was up to something fantastic in my life.

I purchased a one way train ticket with no intention of coming back until I got the answers I was seeking.

So early Wednesday morning, I left via Megabus from Cincinnati to Chicago for the train ride. Armed with my small red backpack with the Bible, a few books, few sets of clothes and toiletries I was off!

While in Chicago, I began second guessing myself, because I did have a nice weekend getaway planned with friends and missed the first train.

As a sat in the train station, I did not like the idea of coming out and going home. I was hearing “miracles” from God if I went. I sure liked that!

So I got on the next train that left soon after the first train.  This was my first train ride outside of the Kings Island amusement park train ride and this was going across the country! I was so excited!

The trip itself went through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and got into Los Angeles. Later, I took a bus and another train ride up to Redding, CA where Bethel Church is.

And on the train ride the miracles began to flow. I was fascinated by the many different types of people on the trip. The conversations were super encouraging.

Now I really didn’t have a lot of funds when I left so I was curious as to how God would provide. In one day God sent three people to provide food for me without me describing the situation. One a sandwich, another an afternoon snack, but the cream of the crop was a steak dinner!

The train has a dining room cart and I wanted to eat there at least once. I felt God saying go in and order what I wanted so naturally I ordered a steak dinner. There was a mother and son sitting across the booth from me, but then another man that came and sat down. He said he was blessed by God and wanted to pay for everyone’s dinner at our booth! I was amazed at the goodness of God through His people!

I was also amazed at the beauty of the trip. It was amazing to be in New Mexico and the train itself would be in a desert, but to look out and see snow capped mountains! How is that possible?! The beauty of God is amazing.

We got to Los Angeles and had some time to walk around. I was saddened by the amount of homelessness in the area. There was a row where there were tents set up and inside were many homeless people.

On the bus and train ride to Redding, CA, I had an opportunity to sit next to a sweet lady. We struck up a conversation and the rest of the time it felt like a mini-date! But alas, when it came to eating, she offered to pay for the food!

Finally, Saturday morning, the train rolled into Redding, CA.

After arriving to Redding, I began asking people how to get to Bethel. It ended up being  about a 5 mile walk. I went up there and there was an event going on. The presence of God was very thick around me during the trip and this was no exception. I struck up conversations with people and had a nice afternoon. Later I went to stay with a friend of a friend for the night.

When I woke up on Sunday, I decided to go to all four services on Sunday! What a treat! Bethel has an amazing worship team.  The worship by everyone is so contagious.

During the worship, my mind began to race, and I felt God say, “Do not worry”, “Seek Me” “Seek my face”. It helped to center myself and I began to experience “the peace that surpasses all comprehension (Philippians 4:7).

All my worries about how I was getting home, my future and all the cares of the world faded away (Matthew 6:25-34). A truly magnificent time in the Presence of God.

There were many times throughout the trip where the Holy Spirit was comforting me, but this was the time that stood out the most.

The next day, I woke up disappointed not thinking I received the answers I was looking for. But as I write this, I feel like God did answer questions that I was seeking whether it was a relationship question, work or finances.

On Tuesday, I left for Cincinnati and God was teaching me so much during the trip. It was overwhelming at times. There were many delays, almost stranded in Los Angeles, but whenever the temptation to get angry, my mind changed and said, “No, I am going to praise God in the midst of this 3 hour delay, this 4 hour delay and this 5 hour delay!

By the end of the trip, I felt that there were 8 people that offered food to me without saying anything! One couple was in California and God brought us together again later in Dallas on separate busses! Again, Praise God for those people who were obedient to His voice and thank you to all of you! 

After about three in a half days, I made it home and was ready for bed.

As I laid in bed, I felt like I had truly fallen in love with God for the first time in a long time. I was like God, I do not even want that financial blessing, that work breakthrough or that relationship. Have it all.

But deep down inside, I was feeling God saying, “Perfect, I want you to have all these things. I just wanted you first.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

And to add to the humor of God I came back with $3 and change in the bank account. Now this is personal to me because it was this time 2 years ago where my bank account had $3 and change and a large check came in the mail to help out.

God I have seen you move in my life in fascinating ways in my life in relationships, work and financial blessing and I know you will do it again and again and again because it who you are.

You are a Good, Good Father. It’s just who you are!

Glory to God for this amazing roller coaster trip!

My encouragement and prayer to anyone who wants to do something that feels reckless is this. Do not worry about what others think about you. Do not make excuses of why you cannot do it. Focus on the nature of God. Find a few trusted friends that will give you wise counsel.

Be who God created you to be! He wants you free. And there is an incredible of amount His Grace when pursuing God with your whole heart.

After all, He is a rewarder of those who seek after Him (Hebrews 11:6).

God Bless you all!

 

The Marathon Race with God

Any person whoever has ever ran a marathon race (26.2 miles), knows it is not wise to start off training 20 miles.  Why? Because you will probably burn out quickly and not have consistency with your training. You start training off slowly and build endurance (Colossians 1:11)

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

Our walk with God is no different.

Speaking from personal experience, I have tried many different spiritual disciplines, but without consistency! It leads to a life that is not rooted.

Recently, God has led me to reading 3 chapters of the Word a day and praying 3 times a day in tongues about 3 minutes each.

And it’s been wonderful! It’s like eating three meals a day (And maybe a late afternoon snack as well!). There is a natural hunger for more! (Psalms 119:103)

“How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

Nom! Nom! Nom!

I continue to see the benefits. I am hearing the voice of God better. I am also discerning what is not the voice of God. It is helping me continue in making wise decisions. Often there are decisions in life where there is not a right or wrong choice, but there is a “best” choice.

It is also helping me let go of encumbrances that lead to sin (Hebrews 12:1).

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

For example, I felt like I could was not able to exercise self-control on the smart phone, so I felt God say to switch to a flip phone for now. Do I believe this is permanent? No, but it is helping me realize that even a smart phone can get in the way with our race with God and relationships with others.

I look forward to partnering with the Holy Spirit in adding back the spiritual disciplines I have already practiced in a balanced way.

Prayer: Father, I pray for discipline in all of our lives. And Holy Spirit, I pray you teach us how to use discpline in our everyday lives. Help us to recognize this is a long race we are in and that we are in it for the long haul. No matter the cost. I ask all this in Jesus name. Amen.