I recently purchased some of Steve Thompson’s messages online. Really good stuff! Thanks to Brandon Lee who put a lot of Steve’s videos up on YouTube which got me interested in Steve. Good grace-based, supernatural stuff!
One thing that really struck me was his description of MorningStar University’s “faith courses”. In the first part of his first message in his “Developing a Sustainable Supernatural Life” series, Steve said regarding these faith courses:
We don’t push people, we gently encourage them and we provide an opportunity for them. But we provide increasingly significant and risky opportunities. We would send our students out on what we call our “faith courses”. Faith course 1 required them to go really around the city and to attempt some different kinds of ministry or some different types of exploits. They would have to go out and to prophesy to someone at the bus station. Or they would have to go and pray for somebody. We weren’t looking for them to have success to begin with, just that they could step out and attempt something. Because for a lot of people who have been caught in fear, the attempt itself is the success they need to have at that point.
Faith course 2 – they would go out maybe 1 hour / 1.5 hours away.
Faith course 3 – we would send them out in teams of two or three into cities within about a 6 or 8 hour drive of the city. They would have a list of items they would have to complete over about a four or five day period. They had to prophesy to a government official. They had to heal a homeless person and record the healing either on audio or video and bring it back. Now, not pray for their healing – they had to heal them. Other things they had to do. They had to get a hundred dollars worth of groceries for a needy family and then get the name or the address of the needy family by prophetic revelation and go and deliver it to them and then tell them that was from the Lord and encourage them, bless them. They would also have to get two or three room nights at a three star hotel or better for free – in other words, without using their own money to pay for it – while they were on the trip. Breaking and entering was not allowed!
It was a very cool sort of environment. How many of you would say, “That would make me nervous a little bit”? Ya, sure it would… We consciously set an environment that was helping people confront and get past their fears, and to develop an understanding that God would show up on their behalf. That God would meet them if they’re willing to take some risks. (2:43 onwards)
Wow! This is the first time I’ve heard of these “faith courses”. Friends from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) tell me there’s a culture of encouraging the supernatural and risk-taking like people going up to you to give you a word of prophecy, etc. It’s a culture of risk, yet also a culture of grace because people fail and you’re still accepted. And that’s really cool because I do think it’s important to have an encouraging, challenging and grace-filled culture in order for people to grow in their faith in these areas. Such a culture will enable people to overcome their fears and take the risk to do crazy stuff like prophesying over strangers – because you know that if you fail badly, there’s always grace available!
MorningStar’s “faith courses” and the assignments the students have to do really challenges me to believe God in a greater way! I mean, getting a two or three nights stay at a three star hotel for free!!?? That’s outrageous! But that’s totally possible – everything is possible for him who believes!
Since listening to Curry Blake on healing and being with people in the United States doing the stuff on the streets last July, I’ve grown in my faith to pray for people for healing on the streets. I’m no longer afraid of approaching people on the streets and praying for their healing. I’m starting to slowly move out to prophesying to people and I hope to improve in this area over the next year. It’s still something that’s a challenge for me especially since I’m not that much into “general” prophecies (vague ones which you don’t know whether are inspired by the Holy Spirit or just something anyone could probably come up with that would apply to most people because it’s so general and hard to miss) and so I do have high standards for myself in this area. And now I hear of these “faith courses” and some of the ridiculous stuff that people are asked to believe God for!
Being in the charismatic church for a long time, you hear a lot about people sharing about how God told them to do this or that. Which is really cool! But all this also kind of makes you feel that unless you have some specific direction from God, you shouldn’t do things that require faith like trying to heal everyone you see or believing God for something big. Last year when I encountered Curry’s teaching on healing, it made me realize that you don’t have to have a so-called “rhema” word from God to pray for someone’s healing and expect them to be healed. You can just lay hands on the sick and believe God wants to heal this person and that the person should get healed based on His eternal and unchanging Word (i.e. the Bible). Since then, my paradigm of what we can do in Christ has shifted and is continuing to shift. I’m learning we don’t have to have some clear word or direction from God to do crazy and ridiculous things. God sometimes does give us a clear direction but I’m starting to think that he gives clear direction not because that without it (i.e. the clear direction) He wouldn’t show up if we had mere faith alone (and no clear prophetic revelation) because somehow our faith wasn’t based on His “rhema” word… No, I believe He totally would show up! After all, the Word of God says everything is possible for him who believes. It’s about faith.
Of course, sometimes God does give us clear directions, but that’s probably just to encourage us in our faith and prod us on. Without them, we could achieve the same things if we could believe for it. That’s what the Bible says, after all! The people whom Jesus praised for their faith didn’t get their healing because they had some “rhema” word that said, “Go, my child, to Jesus and He will heal you.” On the contrary, they went by faith based on their knowledge of how good Jesus was and in response to what they have been hearing about how Jesus healed everyone who came to Him. God didn’t give them a word to go to Jesus! There was no supernatural leading for them. Just as in their day they heard reports about Jesus, in our day we go by the eternal Word of God.
These faith course assignments confirm the fact that it’s about faith. We move by faith. God will honor our faith. The fact that the MorningStar leaders decided that they’re going to challenge their students to believe God for some crazy stuff speaks volumes. In the first place, the leaders seem to believe that everyone can achieve the assignments. Of course, no condemnation if some groups don’t. But the assignments are there to be achieved. I’m sure God didn’t tell the leaders, “OK, for this upcoming faith course, I want you guys to get the students to do these assignments…” (If God did tell them, it was probably to tell the leaders about what kind of assignments would be at the students’ level of faith so more would be successful, rather than anything else) These assignments probably weren’t based on specific revelations from God, but the general principle in the Bible that everything is possible for him who believes. They could have come up with different crazy assignments. It wouldn’t have mattered because I’m sure the assignments weren’t based on supposed specific revelations from God of what God will do for these students.
Seeing what we can do for God from this paradigm and perspective is very liberating indeed! We don’t need specific revelation from God to step out in faith. We don’t need specific revelation to pray for this person on the street and expect them to be healed. We don’t need specific revelation from God to rebuke hurricanes and storms and expect our words to carry authority and power. No, the Word of God already tells us we ought to be healing the sick, using our authority and power (it’s God’s but He’s in us!) for good and it also says everything is possible for him who believes. Everything includes believing God for a two/three night stay in a hotel for free! If we believe for that and it doesn’t happen, does that mean we were wrong to believe for it because God didn’t give us a specific word to do so? I don’t think so. I think it just means we need to grow in our faith. As simple as that. No condemnation and let’s slowly grow in our faith.
But what about Jesus saying the He “can do only what he sees his Father doing” (John 5:19)? Doesn’t this seem to mean Jesus (and therefore us) need to wait for specific divine directions everytime before we heal people or do something that required faith? Steve Thompson addresses this issue in his message “The Bottom Line” in his “Developing a Sustainable Supernatural Life” series:
I’m going to go out on a limp a little bit here. But this idea that Jesus only did what He saw His Father do. The Scripture says in John that if all the miracles were written that the world itself could not contain the books of the things that Jesus did… My translation is that Jesus did a boatload of miracles… He only did this stuff three years or three and a half. And so in a 24 hour time frame He couldn’t have been having this instantaneous vision all the time to do what He saw His Father do. Here’s what I believe. I believe Jesus would see somebody sick and He would go, “Oh, I could see my Father healing him.” And he just walked up there and healed him. Not that He saw it in a vision. But He could see His Father doing that because He could see His Father’s heart. (23:55 onwards)
I know many charismatics do have an interpretation of the above passage (and others similar) that makes them wait for God on some specific direction or revelation or vision or word before they act. I think that’s the wrong interpretation of the Bible and it contradicts what faith is all about and the power and validity of the written Word of God. It also doesn’t take into account the fact that Christ is in us and that we’re one spirit with Him. We’re united to God. God will back us up whatever we do because we and God are one! Of course this can be abused, but the abuse of this relationship with God doesn’t mean this relationship doesn’t exist. God is more gracious than we can think. Sometimes people use their faith for stupid and wrong things and God still blesses them. Why? I won’t get into all this but I do think God is more gracious than we could ever think. That doesn’t mean we abuse our relationship with God. It ought to make us want to please Him more.
Anyway, for those who have been through MorningStar University’s faith courses, I would love to hear from you guys. I love to hear testimonies of God responding to faith as it encourages me. So do share your stories in the comments section. Thanks!
P.S.: I was told by Tim Jorgsensen (who wrote a very good book entitled Spirit Life Training) that MorningStar got the faith course idea from Trevor Yaxley’s “First Wave Army” training from Lifeway College in New Zealand, where Rick Joyner and Steve Thompson also teach.
The First Wave Army training is described in their website as a “one year catalyst for the call of God on your life designed to challenge you physically, spiritually and mentally, preparing for influence in all spheres in society.” I think the training activities they do are very interesting – and not your typical stuff included in a Bible College. It includes “physical outdoor training and activities designed to promote greater discipline and character”. And it seems that students have to wake up at 5:30am every morning! :)
Listening to Curry Blake and then reading Tim Jorgensen’s book (forwarded by Curry) has made me think about the relationship between the physical and spiritual, and the importance of physical discipline in the pursuit of the spiritual.
“…develop an understanding that God would show up on their behalf. That God would meet them if they’re willing to take some risks.”
That doesn’t sound quite right to me, Jonathan. Just taking risks in the name of faith and expecting God to show up, is that faith. I appreciate the desire to be bold but is this the proper way to do it?
I do think God is pleased when we seek to grow in our faith. Believing for a hotel room for free when one doesn’t actually need it (i.e. it’s not like it’s a life-threatening situation) may not have a whole lot of meaning (as say, believing for a healing or accommodation when one is in a desperate situation), but I do believe our heavenly Daddy isn’t a strict father!
I understand how some may be a bit cautious and wary of people using their faith for things that may seem trivial. But I do think God is more gracious than we think and our heavenly father takes delight in us being bold just as an earthly father may delight in granting a child’s bold request for something that may seem trivial.
For me, I don’t have any problems with what they do. Growing in faith is a progress and some of the activities I’m sure would help stretch our faith. But of course, we don’t stay there doing these things for life – we progress to use our faith for things that really matter. But using our faith once in a while for things that are trivial – I don’t see anything that wrong with it.
“I think the training activities they do are very interesting – and not your typical stuff included in a Bible College. It includes “physical outdoor training and activities designed to promote greater discipline and character”. And it seems that students have to wake up at 5:30am every morning! :)”
These things are not part of the standard program, but of MSU SFM (Specials Forces Missions). This is a program they designed to train students physically, mentally and spiritually in being able do respond in a way any situation may ask. Rick Joyner. Enybody can join the program, but the way they designed it not everybody will make it to the end. Rick Joyner wrote about his vision for these “Special Forces” in an article well worth reading: http://www.morningstarministries.org/Publisher/File.aspx?id=1000002701
Thanks for sharing the info Jonathan. :) I don’t have much comments but just want to let you know that we’re encouraged by your pursuits in the things of God. Go brother…