My supernaturally amazing team was made up of nine radical revivalists in their second year at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, though two would be driving down later to meet up with us in Santa Barbara. I had the pleasure of driving South on Tuesday with David Coy, Christian Tapper, Kevin Franklin, Ingrid Andreassen, Debora Bettler, and the engaged Marissa DiMarco and Jeremy Howard. Jesse and Jessica Skinner joined us in Santa Barbara after a four day trip with Chuck Parry out East.
Just South of San Jose, in a little town called Morgan Hill, we stopped at an In 'n Out for lunch. As we were leaving, I started talking with the drive through worker since there were no cars coming through. I had only told him where we were going, and a few other friendly but trite details, when I asked if he had any pain in his body we could pray for. He had pain in his back, and I prayed a short prayer commanding the pain to leave his body, and releasing peace. I did not even lay hands on him (he was concerned about his boss thinking he was not working). As soon as I finished praying, he looked up and said, “have you ever heard of Jesus Burgers?” I was shocked to hear this from him, since we were still four hours from Santa Barbara!
“Yeah, those are the people we are going to connect with!” I told him.
“I've been there a few times,”he commented, “they have good burgers.”
We then asked him about his pain, and it had gone. It was as if as soon as he had been healed, he instantly thought, “I've met people like this before – who pray and God listens – at Jesus Burgers.” What a crazy divine appointment!
So much of our whole week in Santa Barbara was just living life with the Isla Vista (IV) family. We had many great meals with them, and prophesied over various groups of them almost every day. We probably prophesied a couple hours a day on average. We also had the opportunity to pray and prophesy over some key locations around the city, drawing down the purposes of Heaven for Santa Barbara. God has immense plans for this region. Lou Engle has prophesied that as California goes, so goes America, and more recently he prophesied that as Santa Barbara goes, so goes California. There is a destiny like King David being drawn out of this city, and it has been anointed for great things. Soon it will come out of hiding and slay giants, and lead the Kingdom of God to a place of strength and influence in America. And my team and I had the great honor to speak out of the heart of God for these things. More than that; every healing, every salvation, and every love encounter that happened spoke a word about the purposes of Heaven, and the character and nature of the heart of the Living God. Santa Barbara; Jesus loves you.
On Thursday afternoon we led Treasure Hunts in IV. We were joined by about a dozen people from the IV family, and many of them had never done a Treasure Hunt before. Many of the teams found a great openness with the people on the streets for miracles and healing, it seemed like a perfect place to do this type of ministry. I spoke with a released mental patient as he was drinking beer on a bar patio. He had pain through most of his body, and so I asked if I could pray for him. I started by praying for his shoulder, and I asked him to check it out. He started moving it around, and through the expletives he said, “wow that's totally better – there's no more pain!” I prayed for his thumb next, and as he checked it out he said, “you're really freakin' me out man!” He was feeling totally healed up! By the time we left him, I asked if he had any more pain in his body, and he said, “no man, I feel great!” We found out that he had recently been hit by a car while he was riding his bike, and one of the words of knowledge that a guy on my treasure hunt team had was “guy on a bike hit by a car.”
Some guys wearing wigs and fake mustaches were approached by some of our team, and Ingrid had a word of knowledge for knee pain. After they prayed for his knee it was healed, and then his back and ankle were healed as well. They were very excited about God being among them.
Jesse was wandering around with Sunshine and Bridgette, two girls from IV who had never been on a Treasure Hunt, or seen anyone healed before. They found a girl who had pain in her elbow because she had fractured it. In fact, this was the first day she did not wear a sling around it. Jesse had Sunshine pray a short prayer, and her elbow was dramatically improved! Then Bridgette prayed a quick prayer again, and her arm was totally better. She was exclaiming that she could do things with it that she could not do before! She was talking about being a “patient,” and Jesse noticed that she was holding a Tupperware container with medicinal marijuana. She started saying, “this stuff [the marijuana] doesn't even help,” as she celebrated what God had done.
Two more backs were healed, and a man with pain in his head. He said, “this stuff really works!” Also a lady with shoulder and neck pain saw some improvement. Some people received prophetic words and really encountered the love of God.
In the evening we held a meeting at a local church, and people from churches all over the city were invited to come. The whole team prophesied for a while, and then Kevin shared about sonship and Christian led a healing activation. None of my team prayed for anyone that night, and there were about ten to fifteen who were healed. Five or six people saw Jesus work their first miracle through their own hands – that will change them forever! Legs grew out, several people had their sinus' healed, and several backs were healed. A gentleman had the lower three discs in his back compressed, and he was completely healed! One lady had neck and lower back problems for five years, and it got totally better right then. Two dancers were healed – one in her back, and one in her legs. One young man had a stomach condition that would keep him up at night, and it gave him great trouble while sleeping. He received prayer that night, and found me the next day, saying that he had the best sleep ever! He was actually looking forward to sleeping again the following night for a change. Gus Hamborg, who joined our team as an “auxiliary member,” gave a word of knowledge for “mild itchiness.” One of the guys in the crowd had recently had a tattoo, and it was scabbing over, feeling irritated and itchy. As soon as he stood to respond to the word, he felt as if someone has wrapped a bandage around his arm, and all the itchiness left! Jesus is so good!
Isla Vista is the student ghetto to the University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB), and it hosts about 20,000 students in about half a square mile. On Friday and Saturday night, we joined up with the Jesus Burgers crew. They live on the busiest party street in IV, and hand out free burgers to all the drunk party-goers. They have an atmosphere of love, with no agenda, and a sign across the street that reads, “free prayer, healing, and spiritual insight.” Halloween is the busiest party weekend of the year, when about 20,000 additional students join the existing 20,000 in a region of about half a square mile to essentially mob the streets in one giant party. The road turns into a river of students, drunk and on drugs, looking for a good house party to come to. In past Halloweens, there have been so many people in such a small area, that cell phone signals are impossible to get because all the bandwidth is being consumed. It is impossible to accurately and fully communicate the scope of what happens there without actually being there, and even then it is hard to comprehend. But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (Romans 5:20).
We started the evening with two hours of worship and prayer ministry (called the Upper Room), and then we went to the street. By eleven o'clock the street was so full of people, and they were all continually moving, that it was hard to connect with anyone to pray. But there is always a strategy in the Kingdom of Heaven. A friend and I were standing in the middle of the street, like trees being overtaken by floodwater, and the people were streaming around us. We decided to just start a fire tunnel around the flow of drunken students. Within twenty seconds our tunnel had grown from four people to about thirty, and scores of people were going through, getting blessed by the Spirit of God as they went. It was such an atmosphere of chaos, we did not see any immediate fruit since we were not connecting with the people much at all, but they were getting blasted by the love of God nonetheless. A few of our team heard various comments from the people leaving the tunnel about how amazing it felt. There was a huge shift in he atmosphere through that though, and there was a noticeable bubble of the presence of God and peace around and in front of the Jesus Burgers house.
At one point in the evening I was sitting on a wall at the side of the road, and a guy dressed as a ghost buster walked up to me and Christian. I had a word of knowledge that he played sports, and then Christian had a word of knowledge that he had trouble with his right knee. He had pain that was a level five on a ten point scale, and after prayer it went away totally! He was super excited.
One of our team had a word of knowledge for back pain, and it ended up being one of the fellow Christians we were ministering with (there were several campus ministries joining us on this night). They ended up getting completely healed as well! Several of these Christians from other ministries became activated in getting words of knowledge, and the prophetic, and they were immediately trying it out on the street – it was amazing to see their boldness!
Marissa and Jeremy were talking with a girl who was rolling on Ecstasy, and after their conversation she had come down significantly! Come on Jesus – the presence of God brings peace and deliverance!
One of the Jesus Burgers guys, Justin, was talking with a girl who wanted to drink (alcohol), and he said, “you don't need to do that, that's not who you are.” She asked for prayer, and after Justin prayed she decided that she was not going to drink!
At the sign across the street for prayer, a pre-believer had her back and neck totally healed, and then she instantly began to testify about it to other people on the street, “Jesus just healed my back!”
A drunk man approached David and stared into his eyes, “I see the Spirit of the living God in you,” he said. He was amazed by what he saw in the spirit over David, and he wanted David to pray for him. He said that he had never seen the Spirit of God resting so much on a man before. Ha ha – talk about the fulfillment of Zech. 8:23.
Jesse was able to bless so many people by just saying, “You're amazing!... and you're valuable!” They would stop and be hit by the fact that someone actually cares for them.
One of the Jesus Burgers girls wanted to experience more of the joy and drunkenness of the Presence of God, so Jesse prayed for her and they both fell on the ground in the middle of the street, laughing. Some paramedic rescue workers who were patrolling came by and asked if they were OK, or if they needed any help.
Kevin prayed for a drunk guy who wanted to experience more of the presence of God. So Kevin had him hold out his hands and say, “come Holy Spirit.” He said he felt a fireball go from his fingertips to his chest, and then up to his head. He immediately became sober, and as he wept he started confessing everything he had ever done wrong. After this went on for about half an hour, Kevin asked him if he wanted to receive Jesus, and he said yes. Kevin had him close his eyes and picture Jesus, and then say to Him what he wanted to say. He completely gave his heart to the Lord. Yes Jesus! Ha ha, there were at least another two people who gave their lives to Jesus that night.
Ingrid was sitting on a wall, and yelled out to a guy who was walking past in a funny costume, “Hey you, nice costume! And do you know that you're valued and loved?” Then she prophesied over him a word that was dead on accurate. He was blown away by how much she could know about him without having met him before. She told him that God knows him, and that He is a living God who speaks to His children, and then she asked if he wanted to feel the power of God. Ingrid had him hold out his hands and say, “Holy Spirit come.” And as he did that, he was instantly hit by God's power, and started laughing hysterically. Then she had a word of knowledge that this guy had knee pain, and at first he said no, but then he admitted that he had been hit by a car, and did have problems in his knee. So she prayed and his knee was healed!
Saturday afternoon we had a lunch with all the leaders of the IV family, and it was amazing. There was great connection time as well as some sharing, impartation, and of course, a lot of prophecy. We finished with a never-ending fire tunnel that started on one side of the back yard, and ended on the other. As soon as someone would get out the end they would join in praying for people, and as soon as the last person went through, the prayer servants in the tunnel would follow. It was fantastic.
In the evening we had the Upper Room worship, and then Jesus Burgers. We wanted to have a fire tunnel again because of how it had affected the atmosphere the night before, but we waited until around 11:00pm when the streets were more condensed. It was just as awesome as the night before, with hundreds of people going through, we laid hands on each of them imparting the presence of God and blessing them. There was such an atmosphere of peace that pervaded the entire area, even though the rowdy crowds were carrying the opposite spirit.
One guy on crutches with a right ankle brace had all the pain leave after prayer.
After Christian prayed for a guy's right wrist, and saw it healed, they talked for over an hour. This guy poured out his heart, and probably hugged Christian five times throughout their conversation. He was moving up to Chico (near Redding), and so Christian got his phone number so they could stay connected. Such a divine setup.
One of the party-goers on the street was asked if he had pain in his body, and he said that his muscles hurt from working out. Someone prayed for him, and all his pain left! That is amazing – God is so good.
Kevin prayed for one of the IV guys who was helping with Jesus Burgers. He was baptized in the Holy Spirit and started speaking in tongues, and then Kevin activated him in the prophetic. He started giving people on the street prophetic words, and came back later to Kevin saying, “it's so easy!”
Mac, the worship leader for the IV crew, was just standing in the middle of the road, with people walking past; he was not dressed up in a costume at all. A drunk guy walked up to him and asked, “what are you supposed to be?” And he replied, “I'm a physical manifestation of God.” Which actually kind of rocked the guy, and Mac prophesied over him, and got a word of knowledge that he grew up in the church. Then the guy said to Mac, “will you pray for me?” And his friend asked for prayer too. They were both pretty impacted.
At one point in the evening, Marissa and Jeremy were inside the Jesus Burgers house. A big, drunk German guy came in to the house because he had fallen flat on his face and his nose was broken. It was completely swollen, bloodied, there was bruising under both eyes, and it was bent sideways. He was not so drunk that he was numb to the pain either. Marissa and Jeremy brought him into the kitchen, and prayed for him. All the pain left, and they watched the swelling go down and the bruising disappear! He could not believe it was happening, and furthermore, his nose straitened out completely! The only sign it had ever been broke was a slight spot of bruising on the sides of the nose. He was so shocked that God was healing him, but he said, “can God heal my back too?” And so they prayed for his back, and his ACL, and both were healed! “How are you doing these things?!” He asked. “Jesus lives in us,” Marissa said, “would you like Jesus to live in you as well?” And so he received Christ right there in the kitchen, and Jeremy prayed for him to receive the Holy Spirit. Then he came out into the living room and started telling the people in there that God is real, and that he was just healed. But he did not know that he was witnessing to a room full of Christians. When Ingrid told him that they were all Christians, he was very excited. Ingrid also led him to encounter the Holy Spirit more, and then explained to him that he can talk to God, and God will talk back. So he asked, “can God tell me where the best party is?” Ingrid replied, “Yes, that's easy – it's here, because Holy Spirit is here, and wherever he is is the best party.” And he said with excitement, “that's right!” Then he wanted someone to sing the American national anthem, but people either did not know how, or did not want to. So Ingrid started singing “Amazing Grace.” He kept saying, “sing it again,” and Ingrid must have sung it ten times. He confessed that a friend of his had recently committed suicide, and that he was still hurting from that, but every time the song was sung, he felt inner healing happening. Eventually Ingrid told him, “if I am going to sing it again, you need to hold out your hands and close your eyes – this song is about God and when I sing it, you are going to encounter Him.” And he did.
There are many on campus Christian ministries, and several of them come to help at Jesus Burgers, but not all of them carry the same revelation of God's love and goodness as the IV crew. In past years, they have had people out front of their house holding signs that say things like “repent or perish,” which in case you were wondering, is not a good way to let people know that they are loved and valued. That was not happening at this location this year, but I did come out of the front of the house during the evening to see some guys holding up a large, wooden cross. I went to talk to them to get their heart, and potentially ask them to leave. After talking with them for a while, I challenged one of them to leave the cross holding, and come across the street to meet Scott, the guy who was activating people in healing and prophetic. He agreed, and within 30 seconds of meeting him, he had his neck prayed for and healed! He talked with those guys for another 30 minutes and learned more about the Kingdom, potentially to get connected in the future. It felt like a bridge had been made between several campus ministries that have different approaches.
There was also a girl with knee pain that saw almost complete healing.
Jesse had a word of knowledge for shoulder pain while he was near the line for Jesus Burgers, and after asking around, he found a guy who had recently broken his collar bone. His arm was still in a sling. Then after Jesse prayed, he was able to lift up his arm without pain! Then shortly after that, Jesse was able to pray for another guy's shoulder that was healed.
Jesse was also able to connect with a lot of people by just telling them that they were amazing. He looked one guy in the eyes and said, “you're amazing!” And the guy took a step back, a little unsure, as Jesse added, “and you're valuable!” Then this guy says, “you're freaking me out man.” Then Jesse was able to lead him in an encounter where he felt the love of God and said, “oh, I get it.” As he finally understood what he was created for.
Caleb was approached by a guy who was pulling around a girl by her arm, and he asked Caleb, “do you have a girlfriend?” Caleb said that he did, and this guy continued, “I need a guy for this girl to hook up with or go home with, and I have a girlfriend.” And in that moment, just as he was leading her away, Caleb looked her in the eyes and said, “you're worth so much more than that.” He continued to lead her away, but her eyes filled out wide as it seemed as if someone had spoken words of value over her for the first time. Her face melted, and for a moment, she knew she was loved.
In the evening, or late afternoon, as it was only 4:00pm, we had a church service in Isla Vista. We shared testimonies of the weekend, we prophesied over the congregation, and then Les Coombs spoke about our identity as kings and priests. After, we called out words of knowledge for healing, and watched as Jesus did what He does best!
I prayed for a man named Michael who received healing for tendinitis in his leg, and saw the pain in his arm nearly completely vanish. I had a word of knowledge for his heart to be healed as well, and I really feel like God went ahead and did that one.
There was a girl who had pain in her feet, migraine troubles, neck pain and back pain, and she was totally healed after she laid hands on herself.
Two girls were healed from “scattered thoughts” and “wavy vision,” and they felt an amazing peace in their minds.
Our host mom, Wendy, had her hearing improve.
One young man, Daniel, had his back healed.
A young woman, Heather, had her shoulder healed right when she stood for the word of knowledge – nobody had even prayed for her yet!
One young man had neck, back, and hip problems. For one year it had kept him from running – which he used to love to do to spend time with God. After praying twice, all the pain and pressure left.
Ingrid prayed for a row of people. The first person had lower back pain, and they saw it mostly healed right away. The second person had pain in her whole body, and after prayer she felt mostly better, and she felt peace. The third person had pain between her shoulder blades, and from the hip down the right leg, when Ingrid prayed she felt like her body was on fire. She was healed the moment that Ingrid touched her. The fourth person had her ankle completely healed when Ingrid prayed for the previous person, and so she did not even need prayer anymore – God is so good!
Some of these testimonies have a lot of details, and it is easy to be impacted by them. But try to remember, when I write “their back was healed,” it is just a story without details. They had their lives forever transformed because they came in contact with the Living God. Who knows how deep these stories go. God is bigger than we think, and He is better than we can imagine.
Jason, the pastor of the church family in IV, announced that it was the best, most God filled Halloween that he has seen in IV since he started with this ministry ten years ago. On Friday night there was a realm of peace that surrounded the Jesus Burger's house like a big Holy Spirit hug, and on Saturday night there was a peace that extended over the whole region, impacting hearts for Jesus. The impact that our teams had was phenomenal, and Isla Vista will never be the same. God has not given the fathers of this community a mandate to impact a subculture, He has given them a city to transform, and people to take from glory to greater glory. The road that the IV family walks will look different as the realms they are influencing start to transform with greater and greater momentum. There will never be an end to Jesus Burgers, because it is all about love, but I feel as though we saw the beginning of the end of radical party ministry in this region. Why? Because soon people's minds will be renewed to the point that they no longer feel the draw to fill the void in their life with that lifestyle. Soon the culture of darkness will be replaced in full by a culture of light, and the kings and priests of Jesus in Santa Barbara will be pressing into the greater glories that He has for us. Of the increase of His government and of peace there is no end. But it is exciting for me to look forward to me continual involvement, bridging the relationship between the house of Bethel and the family in IV. It is exciting for me to instigate the celebrations of God on the streets of Isla Vista, until all counterfeit celebration's have been swallowed up by the overwhelming light that is Jesus Christ. As the Lord said, and as the motto of UCSB reads, “Let there be light.”