2016 Los Angeles – Lindsey Harrison

More than a Conqueror

Shortly after the beginning of the New Year, January 12-22, New Philly sent me to Los Angeles, California alongside Pastor Christian and Pastor Erin and a ministry team. We partnered with HolyWave, the English ministry of Sarang Church in Irvine, California. We ministered at their Converge Conference, and the theme was “Dunamis,” or the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit. God not only moved powerfully to transform the members of HolyWave, but He also did a powerful transformative work in me.

On the first night of the conference, ministry was powerful but tough. It was the Friday night after a full week for many people, so quite a few walked in very tired and a bit apathetic. At first the service started on a very strong note, with Pastor Jeff testifying of how God miraculously healed him of a fever and chills just before service. People’s faith was stirred and worship started out strong, but soon started to dwindle. There was a palpable hunger, but something was standing in the way. Pastor Christian started out powerfully in his message, and brought a good word, but the energy dropped towards the end. Despite the spiritual hindrances, God still moved powerfully and 85 people responded to the altar call.

However with each service, seminar, small group, and activity that followed, God was chipping away at any apathy, shame, and unbelief that may have been affecting His people. The Lord was doing a work of establishing His people in their true identities as His children. The most powerful evidence of this was during the second night of the conference. Pastor Christian preached on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and 209 people responded to receive prayer- the largest response we had at any altar call. Holy Spirit was tangibly present and many people encountered Him in a tangible way. The altar call started slowly with the unmarried young adults. But as the married couples stepped forward to receive prayer, couples started falling down together under the weight of the Holy Spirit. It was like the fire was catching flame in people. When the college students stepped forward to receive prayer for fresh fire, the Spirit broke out and there were so many manifestations of the Spirit- more than could be counted. Holy Spirit was doing a powerful work in many people’s hearts. After this altar service, many people’s countenances changed. But this was only the beginning.

The final night of the conference, in my opinion, was the most powerful ministry we participated in on this whole trip. Pastor Erin spoke on living free from shame, for the old has passed away and the new has come. During this altar call, many people courageously stepped forward to confess secret sins no one new about, to repent and turn fully from their sins and toward God. They renounced old identities and the shame from their sins. Through this they were able to become established in their identity in Christ as a new creation. To see many people set free, and healed, and to be a part of that process really impacted me. Watching people walking away with renewed hope and passion for God- seeing countenances change, lies broken off, and truth take root in their hearts- it was powerful.

Yet, despite how powerfully God moved, this was a difficult trip for me. This was my first trip with New Philly, but it was also a ministry trip. In the past I have been involved in various ministries in an active leadership capacity and have also ministered at the altar. However former leaders were not very gracious when I made mistakes, and often left me full of shame and condemnation. This trip, for me, was very much about overcoming the lies of the past and stepping into the authority with which God has anointed me.

From the very beginning of the missions training season, I felt, irrationally, like there had been a mistake. I felt like I could be of no use to this team or our ministry schedule, despite knowing that it was God who had selected me for this trip, and not man. In fact, it took a powerful encounter with the Lord on a Sunday worship service to break off this lie of inadequacy and set me free from these insecurities. However the greatest work of healing did not take place until the final session of the conference. It was the fruit of a process that built on each act of faith and obedience in response to the opportunities that God put before me.

With each altar call I had to overcome my insecurities and fears in order to pray. There was one altar call in particular led by Pastor Christian for those who wanted to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It was here that I really struggled with overcoming feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and doubt. As sons and daughters of the Most High God, and ones who have been sent to release the anointing we carry under the leadership of Pastor Christian and Erin, there was no reason to doubt that God was going to move powerfully through us. We have full access to Him. However, as I was being faithful to govern the altar and count those coming up to receive prayer, I started to get attacked by feelings of confusion and anxiety. I became overwhelmed by everything going on, my heart disconnected from the truth, and I began to doubt that I could be used by God in any way. Still, wanting to support my team and the pastors as best I could, I tried to push through. I reminded myself of who I am and the anointing I carry, but the insecurities snuck back in so easily. Recognizing this, I took a step back to pray on the sidelines, ready to jump in and catch someone if needed, or cover someone with an altar blanket. But in the end I felt so defeated, and so disappointed in my lack: my lack of faith, lack of ability, but mostly my lack of confidence in the One who had sent us.

As the night came to a close, the negative thoughts began pouring. As we met together as a team to debrief, I was warring within myself- whether to give into the thoughts and emotions I was having, or to take every thought captive and realign my heart and mind with Christ. The temptation to wallow was strong, but I knew that this was not my identity. I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. Immediately, I chose to take a moment alone and take captive every thought and make them obedient to Christ. For I am not failure, nor did I fail in my job that night. I got the numbers, as difficult and chaotic as it was. I was able to pray for some people, and I was able to greatly support my team by covering those who had fallen under God’s glory, and I was praying on the sidelines for God to move. I had not failed in any way. I may not have lived up to my expectations, but I had not failed. Sharing with my teammates and later asking for prayer, I had chosen in that moment to claim my identity and to overcome.

Psalm 138:3 reads, “In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” God had heard my cry in that moment, and He made me bold. For the next day, the third day of the conference, I hit divine appointment after divine appointment. Even in the most seemingly insignificant conversations, God steered me into moments where I would begin speaking life into the other person, and declaring their identity in Christ. Less than 24 hours before, I had been so shaken in my identity, and now God was using me to boldly speak into people’s lives, even leading a person through inner healing during a chance encounter in the bathroom. It was like I was on fire, and I couldn’t miss. As much as I want to take credit for it, I know that it was Holy Spirit working through me.

That night Pastor Erin preached a message on being set free from shame, and walking in the identity of who God and His Word say we are. As a team, our role was merely to break of that shame as people confessed, repented, and renounced. We then prayed to re-establish God’s people in their right identities. It was awe-inspiring watching how God used us to help bring freedom to so many, and to see these people so vulnerable before the Lord when so many had walked in doubting His reality. Once-hardened hearts were now softened and turned towards God with a burning hunger and passion.

It is hard to put into words how I felt that day or the morning that followed. Before leaving for LA, in the midst of trip preparations, I strongly felt that I would be sharing my testimony of how God had healed and delivered me of so much during my time at New Philly. I felt like He was especially highlighting a portion of my testimony that is very hard for me share. I knew God was going to use my testimony. I knew this the night we led people through healing and deliverance at the altar, and I knew this the morning after as well. And no less than 10 minutes before the final session started, I was asked to share my testimony instead of Pastor Anna. I immediately said of course, despite having lost my voice the day prior. That’s what microphones are for. Then the reality hit- that I would have to be very vulnerable and share something I had only shared with a few, but this time in front of more than a hundred. I was both confident and terrified at the same time. My flesh cried, “NOOOOO!” but my spirit boldly said, “Yes.”

My team briefly prayed for me in the hallway outside the session room. Pastor Erin, the preacher for the final session and the one who wanted me to share my testimony, affirmed that I already had the boldness I needed, and that God has already finished this work in me. Encouraged, I followed Pastor Erin to our seats in the front. Fighting my nerves, I took out my testimony to review, but instead I was floored by how much God had done in me and from how much He had set me free. It was in this state of awe that I took the stage and began to share my testimony about being set free from the lie of rejection. I was able to share with a power and authority that I have never experienced before. It was like God was bringing everything in my testimony, everything from this conference, to full completion and sealing something new inside me.

I know that people there were touched through my testimony. I could see it in their eyes and the way they were engaged that many were able to let go of fear and begin to hope. They were able to hold onto a hope that this transformation was not just a retreat high, but a permanent and lasting work of God. If He could do it for me, then He could do it for them.

As amazing and powerful and awe-inspiring this moment was for me, it was not my defining moment. It was all the moments that led up to it, each opportunity of obedience, each step I took in faith, each time I took a moment and asked, “What are you doing in this moment, God?” It was in these moments that I confessed my weakness to God, and that God made Himself strong. It was the moment I decided that I would no longer live according my old way of thinking, but rather step into the anointing and the calling I have received and live a life worthy of it. The theme for this missions season was “More Than Conquerors.” “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:35-37). No theme greater embodies the process through which God established me in His authority and anointing.