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April 17, 2014
Column #1,703
Where Are the Resurrected Lives?
By Mike McManus

The Pew Research Center recently reported that the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion “continues to grow at a rapid pace.” One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today.

In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from about 15% to 20% of all U.S. adults. Among them are 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics as well as 33 million with no particular religious affiliation.

However, two-thirds of the 46 million believe in God. And surprisingly, one in five pray daily.

Why are they religiously unaffiliated? Overwhelmingly, they think that churches are “too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics.”

However, Sunday is Easter when many Easter-only people attend. How might churches inspire them about the Resurrection?

I have a suggestion. Ask people whose lives have been resurrected or healed to share their story.

I asked a leader of The Falls Church Anglican’s healing ministry for stories. He suggested that I go to www.tfcanglican/healing to read testimonies.

“Leg Lengthening” was one headline. After a class on the Holy Spirit, a woman said, “I asked one of the prayer team members if she would pray for me as she prayed for another woman…to have one of her legs extend to the same length as the other one. It seemed that God granted the prayer because she seemed to be excited about the result and left happy.

“I have also suffered from one of my legs being significantly shorter than the other one. So when I asked the prayer minister to pray for me, she offered to do so immediately...It must have been about 30 seconds. I felt a slight tug on my left leg and then to my amazement, the prayer minister said that she saw my leg extend and that both of my legs were now the same length! I stood and checked to see if I felt differently. I was amazed…God answered my prayer!”

“No More Cancer” was another headline. “I have much to be thankful for. God has healed me from cancer that was diagnosed less than a year ago. My wife and I can clearly see God’s hand in the timing of the diagnosis that caught the cancer right before it became much more serious, and in the doctor’s skill and decisions in surgery and treatment. It is now nine months after surgery and two checkpoints have come out `clean, perfectly normal.’”

However, he had two sisters who were each diagnosed with cancer at about the same age as he. They too prayed for healing, but “God chose not to heal.” Yet each “demonstrated a graciousness and vibrant faith that was amazing to see even through the bitter pain of losing them.” Why was he healed but they weren’t?

“Maybe the bigger miracle was God giving my sisters their unwavering faith and confidence in Him through their trial by fire, enabling them to trust God and be courageous in passing victoriously through the valley of the shadow of death.”

Rev. Robert Watkin told me of Touraj, an Iranian immigrant who was wounded in the Iran-Iraq War and began using drugs to ease his pain. To pay for them he became a dealer, was caught and sent to prison here where he had a dramatic conversion. In a dream, he had an 11 minute conversation with Jesus, who was robed in white and spoke in beautiful classic Farsi, the language of Iran. That impressed Touraj, a Muslim.

The chaplain of the prison got him a Bible, written in both Farsi and English. He read straight through the Old Testament “only 12 times,” but devoured the New Testament 23 times. He told his sister he had many questions.

A member of Falls Church Anglican, she asked Pastor Watkin to visit him, who did so regularly. One day as Touraj was reading about Paul and Silas in a Philippian jail. They were singing hymns to God when a violent earthquake shook the prison, opening its doors, “and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew a sword to kill himself…Paul shouted, `Don’t harm yourself. We are all here.’”

At that moment, the jailer of Touraj told him, “You are being released early. You are free.”

Wouldn’t such testimonies move skeptical Easter attendees to realize the Resurrection of Jesus was real – and could change their lives?

Show this column to your pastor and urge him to let people tell their stories!

 

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