There is an on-line course available. I am doing my course work live and in person at the International headquarters in Spokane Washington. If you are interested in training please follow the link above. I highly recommend the School. It is stretching and growing me and have loved every minute of it.
Its not my usual devotional but I thought I might as well post them here. The questions are the same for each report. Hope you enjoy my report.
This was the first book that we read this year. We also were able to view in class the video series of Shawn Bolz teaching. Sadly, I missed getting to see Shawn Bolz when he came to the International Healing Rooms as a guest speaker last year. This has been one of my favorite books this year and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to grow in hearing God's voice.
Translating God Book ReportBy Margot Cioccio
- Briefly write what the whole book is about and why the author has written it. (Imagine the author will read this and would say, “Yes, this is the main point(s) of my book.) The main message of Translating God is that prophecy is for every believer not just the specially gifted. Shawn shares his journey and the many lessons he has learned from many years of practice and development of his prophetic gift. He has also gained understanding from being around others who were using their prophetic gifts. He shares many wonderful stories of lives touched by the love of God through words of knowledge and prophecy. He is a regular guy who is partnering with Jesus to do incredible things to make a kingdom difference in the world.
- Briefly outline 4 major points of the book as the author presents them including page numbers. The main points that stood out to me are in bold print followed by my thoughts and verses that impacted me for each point. • Love is more important than information. (Page 18). “See what God sees, hear what God hears, and speak what God speaks so we can all love the way God loves. Revelation is given so we can carry a piece of God’s heart from eternity into the world.” (Page 20) Another quote that expressed this point and the heart of Jesus, said “ He saw them through a developed sense of love - the Father’s point of view. He saw them as though they were restored to their original design, God’s original intention, as though they had already fully said yes to his invitation of walking with him, even though they were not yet capable. He didn’t treat them as he hoped they would one day be, he treated them as if they were already restored. (Page 20) “There is no power from God that is separated from love.” (Page 51) • Defining the difference between discernment of spiritual information and the communication that comes from relationship building with God. In this Shawn answers why God speaks, and how he speaks. “His eternal plan is for us to see what he sees, which enables us to love like he loves” (page 23) He spends a full chapter telling us about John’s relationship with Jesus. In the book of Revelation John try to describe the magnitude of what he saw. He had up to that point only experienced Jesus as a human and Jesus resurrected. He now experiences the fully glorified Jesus. He was overwhelmed and collapsed and needed help from Jesus to be able to stand. He is called to “Come Up Higher” in which he sees not only Jesus glorified but the culmination of believers from every generation as the fully prepared bride of Christ. This experience forever changed how John would see the church. “ He was seeing eternity now - the bride made ready to not just serve, but to partner as creator, to partner as a counterpart, to partner as a daughter/son as a friend.” (Page 31) It is out of our relationship with Jesus that we begin to experience the Fathers’ heart for people. While we may initially see their fault and brokenness it is through the lens of the Father’s love for them that we are able to share things from his heart to help them be restored to His plans and purposes for their lives. I liked the quote by Phil Elston that was included in the book. “It takes no anointing to see what is wrong in people’s lives. Tell them something they don’t know! See the gold and tell them that.” (Page 32) We learn from John’s example to see everyone who is running the race with their first place victors trophy. • Eagerly Desiring the Prophetic and Understanding the Prophetic as a Relational Tool Shawn shares how he is a normal guy. He had no great signs at his birth or fantastic supernatural visitations. Nothing that would set him apart as more special than you or I. He writes on page 43 “May times when I didn’t feel qualified, or like I didn’t have the relational or emotional capacity, let alone the skill set, to speak to different people (it felt way out my comfort zone), God’s personality and his passion possessed me in a way that made it easy. I am not limited to my resources: I am limited to his, even when reaching outside my comfortable space.” We are encouraged in 1 Corinthians 14 to eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. “The reason why is because prophecy can be on of the clearest validations of the Father’s great love …When people hear the thoughts and emotions of God toward them, they believe in his love for them. (Page 45) • Accountability, A New Way To Grow God wants each of to grow in our use of the Prophetic. We need to move from the doom and gloom, God is going to judge you for your sins to a type of Prophecy that is born out of a culture of love. We want to encourage people to begin to see themself through that love that Jesus has for them. One way we can grow is to be accountable to other prophetic people who have had more experience than we have. It is also important to be responsible for our words that don’t happen. One way we can improve and grow is by tracking our words. Get the persons contact information and check back with them. There used to be an attitude that if something didn’t come to pass that it was the persons fault due to their lack of faith, or disobedience. It is important that we be the responsible party. We meant well but sometimes we don’t get things right. Mike Bickel challenged Shawn one day saying” One of the mistakes we have made as a ministry culture, that I don’t want you to repeat, is that we never looked for the words we gave that weren’t right. I bet that 90 percent of the time, if your prophecy doesn’t come true over someone’s life, he will think God is mad at him or the devil is warring against him, or worse yet, that he blocked something good from coming into his life because of sin.” It is also ok for us a people receiving words to say thank you but I don’t think that is what God is saying to me. Prophecy should confirm things that God has already been speaking and stirring in our life.
- Thoughtfully explain one main strength (or point of agreement) with the author. Looking back over my years as a believer and having spent much of those years in full or part time ministry. I have seen Prophecy to be a wonderful thing at times but I have seen it also delivered in very damaging ways. I have also been troubled in the past by self proclaimed prophets who seemed to think they were somehow exempt from the fruit of the Spirit in their life because they were somehow God's specially chosen. I agree with Shawn that prophecy must come from a culture of love and one that is formed in relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as well as with the people we touch through prophecy. I loved how Shawn was willing to take responsibility for his words that didn’t happen. This book gives me hope that many of the imbalances in the use of the prophetic have been and are being corrected.
- Write down some of your favorite sentences in the book. I have already included many of them in my answers to the previous question. One of my favorites is on page 113 “you start to feel as though the gaps between Gods heavenly heart and his peoples is closing. Your very life becomes a bridge over that gap. Your faith and love stretch from God’s own desire to your sphere of influence.” I also really like this one from page 17 “The prophetic is one of the greatest tools of love we have.”
- In what way did this book impact your life as one who transforms cities? How will you be different? It has encouraged me to be bolder about sharing the things God shows me. I told a client this week that I believed that God wanted her to have more joy. She responded that she would like that but wanted to know how to have more joy. I told her to ask God for it. I shared some of the things I find helpful such as soaking in the Word with music and how the gift of tongues has been one of the most helpful things for me personally. She didn’t realize that one could have more than one gift and didn’t realize that all of the resources of heaven are hers simply by asking. We prayed together and she spoke in tongues. I see my self being less reserved and more open to share words with people not just at the Healing Rooms or at my church but with my clients and as I go about my day.
- What challenges(s) have you been given by the Lord to implement some of the strategies in this book? I mostly just know how to pray and what to share when I lay hands on people, it is as if I connect to Gods heart and become his voice in that moment. I just know things. Most of the time people weep and are deeply touched. This book challenged me to try using word of knowledge as a way to connect on a deeper level with people and help them to be more receptive to what God wants to say to them. So the other day at the dentist office while the hygienist was working on me, I spent the time praying for her. I kept hearing the name Edmond and felt like I should ask her if there was someone important to her with that name. Turned out that she didn’t but I was able to share that I had been praying for her. We laughed and I told her I don’t always get things right but when I hear something I ask just in case it is important. I drove home feeling a little disappointed that it didn’t mean anything to her but I celebrated that I had had the courage to share it with her. Who knows maybe Edmond is someone who will be important to her and she will remember our conversation. I leave it in the Lords far more capable hands. I will keep listening and loving and sharing as the Holy Spirit Leads me.
- My Concluding Thoughts I found this book to be a refreshing look at the prophetic gift. I am encouraged to see growth and accountability among those who have not only the gift of prophecy but the office as well. I have to say I have steered clear of a lot of the folks that ride into town claiming to be prophetic voice of our day. I guess I have always felt that God knows my address and I know his voice and I am confident that he will speak to me about the things I need to know. He was willing to use a donkey, and Jesus said the rocks will cry out if we don’t praise him. Just because one has this gift doesn’t make them hyper special. There have been many times where I have been encouraged by the words, and pictures and verses that the teams at the healing rooms have shared. I just have always believed I shouldn’t have to run from meeting to meeting to get a word or a confirmation it should be a part of my normal life. I read my bible to say that signs and wonders should follow me. I don’t need to be chasing after them. I think some people have substituted running after words from Prophets rather than establishing a relationship with God who wants to speak directly to them. Jesus came so we no longer need an intermediary. I do see how I could be more open to operating in this gift and to others who are also practicing hearing from God. At the time of the Toronto Blessing revival, I saw a lot of things happening in the church that was alarming to me. I was Spirit filled and spoke in tongues and was traveling with my husband teaching people about praise and worship. We did concerts at both Randy Clark’s church in St. Louis and at Bethel Church in California before they became a big deal. I saw a meeting led by Rodney Howard Brown where the Pastors stood frozen for the entire meeting. Having come out of a New Age background it didn’t feel right to me at the time. Yes, people were getting touched but ministries all over the place came to a screeching halt to accommodate the revivals that erupted. I couldn't find with in the pages of my bible scriptures to confirm people to be barking like dogs, or hysterically laughing. I didn’t have much of an understanding of the messiness of revivals at the time. I suppose it is the fruit that I see now many years later in people who were profoundly touched by God at that time to make me look back and wonder if I missed it or did God simply have another path for us. I think of David’s wife who laughed at him wildly worshiping in his ephod and I find myself repenting for my critical spirit at that time and my inability to bend with a new move of God. This book has stirred up some of those memories and choices that were made. I am grateful that God loves and uses us where we are at a various times in our lives even if we were not ready to swim at the deep end of the pool.