“For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of the son of his love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14).
Gracie and I are experiencing the challenges and the joys of assisting people to experience Jesus’ deliverance from darkness into the Kingdom. We are part of a church in the center of Paris where prayer ministers have been trained and organized to pray for those who ask for help. People call or come in for prayer from many different nations with countless conditions often tied to their unique cultures. This has been a rich experience and we are learning a lot through each prayer appointment.
People often come to Eglise Réformée du Marais after they have exhausted other know alternatives: medical treatment, psychoanalysis, different religions, witchcraft, occultism and different Christian denominations. Some are desperate for solutions.
As people recount their problems it is sometimes easy to feel intimidated, like we’re in way over our heads. One of the main lessons we are learning is that while experience and knowledge are important and helpful, we need clear direction from the Holy Spirit to assist each individual to move from darkness into Jesus’ Kingdom.
A woman came for prayer last month who said she felt far from God, though she had begun to attend church again after a period of spiritual lethargy. She was anxious about being able to get pregnant as she’d just suffered from a miscarriage, and was concerned as her partner is not a Christian.
As we prayed all I could think of was a verse I had read earlier that day: “The secret things belong to the Lord” (Deut 29:29). After a brief prayer asking the Holy Spirit to show her if this verse was relevant to her situation, she told my French ministry team partner and I that something came to mind.
She then recounted how seven years before she’d been involved in a relationship with a married man, and had gotten pregnant, and then had an abortion. She had really wanted to have the baby, and this had brought her great anguish. She hadn’t told anyone, and had been living with this secret all these years, with lots of resulting shame and guilt. She was able to receive this text as a word that her secretly aborted baby “belonged to the Lord,” and she cried and cried as she confessed and repented.
We shared with her about Jesus’ forgiveness, and his offer to take away her guilt and shame. She found it much easier to accept that Jesus had forgiven her then to actually forgive herself. As we asked her questions it became clear to her that she had been sinned against by the married man, who was in a position of power since she was younger, an immigrant and was being strongly pressured to end the pregnancy.
The presence of God was strong as we listened to her, and she felt led to forgive the man, then herself, and to receive the Spirit into the places left vacant as she laid her guilt and shame down at Jesus’ feet. We prayed for her non-Christian partner and their relationship and she expressed her longing to have a child. As she said goodbye she seemed to radiate light and joy, and we were amazed to have witnessed God at work so powerfully in a first one-hour appointment.
Pastor Gilles Boucomont and his team here in Paris have a lot to share based on years of one-on-one ministry appointments and theological reflection. We have organized a course in English for pastors and leaders in churches or ministries who feel a need to learn more about holistic liberation. There is limited space available. Read the description below and respond if you’d like to attend.
Towards A New Theology and Practice of Liberation: A course for ministry workers in Paris, March 22-25, 2012
Pastors and ministry workers encounter obstacles to personal and social transformation that push us deeper into Scripture, God’s Presence and the larger body of Christ in search of approaches that bring breakthrough. The objective of this conference is to train ministry practitioners in hands on approaches to personal deliverance and spiritual warfare. How do we advance the Kingdom of God amidst the micro and macro powers of this world that oppose Jesus’ reign? Topics to be covered include:
A Biblical theology of personal and territorial liberation
- Liberation as life vs. death rather than good vs. evil (morality)
- Growing in the discernment of spirits and prophetic ministry.
- Knowing and appropriating our authority in Christ
- Distinguishing and confronting maladies of body, soul and spirit
- The place of repentance and forgiveness in deliverance.
- The place of counseling, spiritual direction and discipleship for promoting and maintaining freedom.
When: March 22-25, 2012
Where: Foyer le Pont 86, rue de Gergovie – 75014 Paris, (and Eglise Reformée du Marais)
Cost: Participants are responsible for accommodation & meals. Freewill offering
Who can come? Ministry workers able to follow a training in English. Space limited to 40 participants. Write for more info or to sign up.
Limited rooms available. Reserve your room here:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dERCRF9LQ3lDOXZKVVByR21WV0wzdVE6MQ
March 21, 2011 Optional pre-seminar workshop on confronting spiritual obstacles to renewal in denominational structures & how this has happened at Eglise Reformée du Marais.
Gilles Boucomont, Pastor of Eglise Reformée du Marais. Gilles is seeing rapid growth in a historic Protestant church in the heart of Paris, in a ministry that integrates worship, biblical teaching, hospitality, and deliverance. He has written two books in French on deliverance, Au Nom de Jésus: Liberer le Corps, l’Ame, l’Esprit, Lyon: Editions Première Partie, 2010 and Au Nom de Jésus: Mener le Bon Combat, Lyon: Editions Première Partie, 2011.
Bob Ekblad, Pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and lecturer in Biblical studies and Mission at Westminster Thelogical Centre in the UK, is on special assignment with Tierra Nueva in France. He is author of Reading the Bible with the Damned, Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005 and A New Christian Manifesto: Pledging Allegiance to the Kingdom of God, 2008.