Our staff recently watched what will be the final episode for the 2018 The Choices We Face programs. I’m so glad we did! On the program, Ralph interviewed Dr. Tom Graves from St. Paul on the Lake Parish in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Dr. Tom spoke about his story of coming to meet Jesus and the difference it made in his marriage, family, and work.
Our whole staff was moved—I was moved to tears a couple of times—at the beautiful and amazing ways Jesus has worked through Tom, in the ordinary circumstances of life and work as a physician, to help people come to experience the transforming love of Jesus. Tom’s simple, humble, and honest way of speaking reminded us that Jesus wants all of His children to be His hands and feet, to be conduits of His mercy and power.
You can view the program by clicking the link here. I know it will be a blessing to you. You also can also watch it this week on EWTN or in the weeks ahead at www.RenewalMinistries.net/tcwf. (Click on “View show archives.”)
In two weeks, the 2019 episodes of The Choices We Face‘s will begin! We’re very happy and grateful to the Lord for what we believe is another power-packed season. You’ll hear from some of our favorite guests, including Patti Mansfield, Fr. John Riccardo, and Sr. Ann Shields, as well as Sr. Miriam James Heidland, Dr. Bob Schuchts, Fr. Burke Masters, and others.
Please pray that this new season of programs will reach those who most need to know the transforming love of Jesus.
In Christ Jesus,
P.S. Please consider joining us for this year’s Renewal Ministries Gathering from April 5-7. You can find details by clicking here.
You are invited to celebrate the anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal like never before!
Sign up online to join us for the first-ever Ark and Dove Week, from Feb. 11-15. This is a free, international online conference that will feature preaching, interviews, and testimonies of several key people in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Speakers include Ralph Martin, Dr. Mary Healy, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Jim Murphy, Patti Mansfield, and Dave Mangan.
“This is a rare opportunity to listen to short inspirational talks by some of the key leaders in the history of renewal in the Catholic Church,” said Ralph Martin.
To register, go to www.arkanddoveweek.com. Registrants will receive an email with specific guidelines for the no-cost event. The website also has details regarding the full line-up of confirmed speakers, a schedule, and frequently asked questions.
The event will be broadcast in Spanish, English, and Portuguese.
Ark and Dove Week is an initiative of the “The Ark and The Dove,” which is headquartered at the retreat house where the Duquesne Weekend occurred on Feb. 17-18, 1967. The Duquesne Weekend is commonly referred to as the beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the United States.
The following article is the fourth in a series called “Casting Nets.” The posts are written by “John,” a student in one of Ralph Martin’s New Evangelization classes, and document several evangelization opportunities he has performed in his various ministries. He writes, “Each ministry is unique with various situations, circumstances, and needs; but the one constant is broken and injured people. It is my experience that there is no greater potential for miracles to occur than when desperate people meet Jesus. I have been blessed to have seen many people come to Jesus—often in surprising or unexpected ways—and quite often, it is I who is the most surprised.”
The following occurrence happened when I was holding a prayer service for about thirteen women prisoners. Since it was an unusually large crowd, I curtailed the service a bit so we would have time to pray and evangelize afterwards, since there were many new women present that week. Two of the women were Catholic and most were of other Christian denominations, but the remainder were unchurched and showed up primarily because there was nothing else for them to do. I spoke of God’s goodness and explained that I was part of a healing prayer ministry. I asked if anyone had any aches and pains.
Immediately, Lorraine, one of the Catholics, raised her hand and said her hip hurt. The other prison minister and I prayed for her. I prayed slowly and deliberately and explained what I was doing at each step of the process in careful detail. (I was planning that the next healing would be done through one of the inmates, so my intent was to teach, and then to let them heal and evangelize each other.) Lorraine reported tingling in her hip. I told the group, “Now she needs to step out in faith and try it out.” She got up, walked around, and said she was pain free. She said, “My sciatica doesn’t even hurt any more.” “Sciatica?” I said. Hmmm. I asked Lorraine, “This may be an odd question, but do you happen to have one leg that is shorter than the other?” “Yes, I do,” she said. I told the group to gather around and watch carefully. We prayed, and to make a long story short, we all watched as Jesus grew her leg out before all that were present.
I challenged them to explain what just happened. I asked, “How could bone just grow on its own?” I then explained this was what I meant during the service when I said God was generous. I wanted them to pause and really soak in that the Lord was present among us and that He had just caused this woman’s leg to grow. They were speechless (especially the unchurched inmates), but the Holy Spirit was not done yet. I asked for more aches and pains.
Another woman, Shelly, said she had back pain as well. I asked her to sit down. I then asked Lorraine to bring herself (and her newly stretched leg) over to pray for her. I told Lorraine she was going to pray for the healing, not me. I walked her through a basic prayer method, but I did not directly participate. Shelly said she felt heat in her back, and she started to well up with tears. After a short while, she reported healing. The Holy Spirit was still not done, so I asked for more aches and pains.
Next up was a woman with shoulder pain. She sat down, and this time I told Shelly to dry her tears and come over because now it was her turn to pray for the healing (she looked surprised). But before we could even start, one of the other ladies sitting at the table interrupted and said, “When I came in here, my foot was hurting, and now it doesn’t.”
“Praise You, Holy Spirit, for spontaneous healings!” I exclaimed.
I said, “This is how generous God is! He is healing things we didn’t even know were broken and haven’t even prayed for yet!” I asked if anyone else had similar healings, and I asked them all to try out their various aches and pains. Two more reported that they were healed. Praise Jesus! We then turned our attention to the woman with the shoulder pain. This time, I walked Shelly through the prayer process, starting with putting her hand where the pain was. She prayed (again, I did not participate) and the woman said she felt heat and tingling and reported that she was healed. She kept saying to the others, “No . . . really guys . . . it’s completely healed! This is real!”
Indeed, it is real. We all sat and talked about how God—the creator of everything in the universe—took time out of His schedule, just to come into a small, rural jail and pour His love and affections out upon a little group of people that society had labeled as worthless. “Never forget,” I said, “no one is worthless in the eyes of God.”
Our first mission to Botswana was a blessed trip in which the Lord went before us and many great things happened! We were invited both by the national treasurer of the Renewal, and also by a bishop who met Ralph Martin at the Renewal’s fiftieth anniversary celebration in Rome. The national coordinator for the Charismatic Renewal for Botswana wrote us on his behalf. After seeing the effectiveness of our teachings, as well as several dramatic healings, she wants us to help the Renewal grow in the countries around Botswana and is putting together programs that we will hopefully be able to serve at next year!
We read that Botswana is one of the poorest and least-developed countries in the world. But when we arrived in the city of Gaborone, it was very well laid out, with sidewalks, streetlights, and high rises. It wasn’t until we got out of the city that I saw small booths of people trying to make a living, or supplement one, through selling fruit, vegetables, and more.
Our teaching focused on Unbound and the Five Keys, a method of finding freedom in Christ by renouncing sin and claiming the Lord’s authority over one’s life. It was very well received! At our first location, the session on forgiveness that was followed-up with ministry was very powerful! There were three priests in the group, and they were all very enthusiastic about the knowledge they received. They said it will help them greatly—both personally and in their priesthood. About fifty Charismatic Renewal leaders attended. I think the first wave of revival may already have started!
Here are two stories of healing:
I prayed with a woman who could barely walk. She had severe arthritis in her legs, and they were bent. When we prayed, she forgave those who had taken her to the witch doctor and allowed spirits to come. She forgave herself for some other problems in her life. When we were finished, I asked her if she wanted to try to stand up. She stood up and began walking with my help. She leaned on my hand, and then she dropped my hand and was walking without my help. Her eyes were shining and the praise of God was on her lips. From then on, this woman walked everywhere without her cane or any pain!
A missionary priests from Nigeria wrote: “I have been the spiritual director of the Charismatic Renewal. We have had conferences, beautiful retreats, and workshops in which I’ve helped people reconnect with God. From my own experience, Unbound is ‘a course like no other.’ Other conferences are wonderful, but we leave the fundamentals unattended. We forget that if we don’t get freed, we can’t free other people. It begins with us. That is the core thrust of this course: each individual must do an introspection and try to build a better relationship with God before going out and evangelizing other people, especially regarding deliverance. The material is powerful, deeply Catholic, very sound, and yet is also very engaging. It keeps us in line with the Church, and the people delivered can take responsibility for it and continue it in their lifetime. I believe the whole Catholic world must hear this. It really affected my life and my ministry. It is a blessing, a miracle. Thank you.”
At our next session, everyone in the area was invited, including leaders in the Charismatic Renewal. The news of the many healings had gone before us, and there was already a fairly long list of people wanting prayer. God didn’t disappoint them, and there were powerful healings!
When we arrived, three women were waiting for prayer. A Nigerian religious sister who had attended our first conference was the herald of what God had been doing. This woman of God was a real dynamo and kept us busy praying! Two of the people waiting were religious sisters from Nigeria who wanted encouragement and a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit. He did not disappoint! The final lady had suffered for years with chronic back problems, had been bedridden, and was not able to work. When we prayed, she renounced going to the witch doctor, forgave numerous people, and invited Jesus into her life and body as Healer and Savior. God healed her! There was a look of amazement on her face that was precious, and when we came back into the room where the others were waiting, she kept sitting down and getting up again to show everyone her back was healed. Thank You, Jesus!
That evening, Lloyd spoke on the universal call to holiness and mission. He shared that the Five Keys were the best tool we had found to work toward that holiness and help others encounter Jesus and the reality of His love and power. Maybe because of the testimonies that were going around among the participants, there was a real sense of excitement. These people were hungry for a move of God! Here is one example:
(After receiving an injection for an illness), I could not see or hear for more than three years. Then, someone prayed for me, and I received my sight again, but I still could not hear. I had no balance, and I could not walk. I could not do anything. Now, through your prayers, I can hear people singing, and I can hear my own voice. I’m grateful to God, because Jesus promised that He will do it for us if we have faith and if we have people around us who can lead us, like you. We are grateful to God because you are disciple, a true disciple who can tell the person that I will hold your hand and I will walk with you no matter what. And that is what we need—encouragement. We need to show people the light we have that is the light of God. I really, really love Jesus for what He has done! May He continue touching other people like me. We thank You, Jesus, for your love.
Later, we brought people around the Blessed Sacrament and asked the Lord for a release of the many gifts He had given us at baptism and confirmation. I invited the Holy Spirit to come, and we all asked for the gift of tongues. It seemed that most of the participants received the gift. Thank You, Jesus! Lloyd then led them in asking for the gift of faith, healing, words of knowledge, and many others. We were truly blessed to see God working powerfully in people’s lives.
We then traveled to a parish retreat with several hundred people. They had been told about the wonderful things God was doing, and the climate of faith was high. Lloyd told them that healing and freedom are good things, but what is truly important is establishing a deeper relationship with Jesus. It was a wonderful night, and many gave testimony of a personal touch by God.
This trip had a more than usual number of healings. There was never enough time for all to share their testimonies! We are wondering if something new is happening in the kingdom as a preparation for God knows what. It has raised our level of faith, and we are praying and asking God for more of His love and power! May we all stay hungry and thirsty for a new movement of God!
Lloyd and Nancy Greenhaw minister in the United States, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, and several other countries in Africa. They conduct missions, conferences, and retreats for adults and youth. They also are involved in prison ministry and work with the homeless. Nancy and Lloyd live in Texas and have two daughters, fourteen grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.
By Tom Edwards, Renewal Ministries’ Country Coordinator
I’ve been doing a fresh study on the Wise Men who brought gifts to the child Jesus. Much of what we are led to believe about them has little basis in fact. Rather, they are usually portrayed according to what artists, Christmas card writers, and the makers of Crèche sets fancied them to be. All that we know with certainty about their origin is recorded in Matthew 2:1-2: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
Some Old Testament passages, as well as studies of other ancient writings, may give us insight into who these men were and why they came to seek out the newborn King. It is a fact that the very word “Magi” is an untranslatable word that can be traced back to being the name of an ancient priestly tribe dating to the time of Abraham. The word Magi eventually became corrupted, so that in English, it became more associated with “magic” and “magicians.” Indeed, the priestly tribe of the Magi was occult in nature. They excelled in astronomy, a science, but with an admixture of astrology, forbidden religion. They were very wise and far beyond others in mathematics, agriculture, and architecture. Their wisdom was renowned, and they became the counselors of kings in the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and even the Roman Empires. They were also able to practice the dark spirit arts, read dreams, foretell events, etc.
These Magi, magicians, were very powerful in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon. One could not be a king without their approval. At that point in history, the Hebrew people were taken captive to Babylon and enslaved for seventy years. Some of the Hebrew lads were recognized as very clever, as well as uncompromisingly devout to their God. The most notable was Daniel, called a man with a “more excellent spirit.”
King Nebuchadnezzar had a terrifying dream and the “wise men” were called with the following results: “When the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners had come in, I related the dream before them; but none of them could tell me its meaning. Finally there came before me Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is a spirit of the holy gods. I repeated the dream to him: ‘Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that a spirit of the holy gods is in you and no mystery is too difficult for you; this is the dream that I saw, tell me its meaning’” (Dan 4:4-6). Daniel was the one gifted to interpret this and other terrifying dreams. Ultimately, this would lead to the conversion of the king, who would bow the knee before the God of Israel. Note that Daniel was elevated to be the master over all the magicians and wise men. It only stands to reason that Daniel would school them in the Sacred Scriptures of his God. Some would be converted and their intense spirituality, knowledge, and ancient wisdom would be passed down. The Magi tribe, this priestly people, passed on the priesthood through heredity, much like the Levitical tribe of the Jews. Thus, they would be schooled as sensitive prophets awaiting the promised Messiah of Daniel and his people. When a sign in the sky was given, their spirits recognized the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and some launched out fully prepared to welcome the King of all Kings.
Matthew 2 goes on to tell us that King Herod was troubled when he learned that the Magi were inquiring about a new king. Remember, the Magi were known as “king makers.” Herod asked them about the precise time of the sighting of the star. He hypocritically feigns an intention to go and pay homage to this new king. Their answer results in his declaration to kill all the males born in the last two years in the Bethlehem region. The Magi once again see the star and are led to a home, not a stable. The Scripture tells us that Mary and the Child were there. If we dare to read between the lines, it seems that perhaps a couple of years have passed since the birth of Jesus. The Magi bow in humble adoration and present treasure of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Much has been speculated about the symbolism of these gifts. Suffice it to say, the treasure certainly would have enabled the Holy Family to escape to Egypt and live until Herod’s death.
Matthew 2:11 tells us the Wise Men “offered” their gifts. The Greek word translated “offered” is the word “prospherō.” The New Testament speaks seven times of a religious offering—an offering of worship. These men were wise and powerful. They were among the most learned men on earth, sacrificing much to travel to this little house and bow down in adoration. There is much to learn from them about giving gifts. Their giving of things flowed out of their giving of self. That’s a necessary ingredient of true worship. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him worship in Spirit and truth.
As St. John Chrysostom tells us, “The rich man is not the one who has much, but the one who gives much. For what one gives away, he keeps for eternity.”
Jesus said it this way: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt 6:19-21).