Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke issued a call to believers to share the gospel of Jesus Christ unreservedly.
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan
“News is only news when it is spoken. And an unspoken gospel is no gospel at all!” declared renowned evangelist Reinhard Bonnke.
At his second session on the fourth day of the CGI-AC 2010, the 70-year old German did not mince his words as he urged every delegate to be bold in going into the world to preach the gospel as commissioned and emphasized by Jesus in Mark 16:15.
“If you want to catch a fish, don’t throw your net in the bath tub,” said Bonnke, “You will not catch any fish, maybe only a bar of soap. Throw your net into the ocean.”
This was just one of the many witty statements that Bonnke made as he challenged delegates to go into the world and preach the gospel.
A defining moment In Africa
Bonnke recounted how he began his ministry in Africa at age 27 and joked how he had arrived from Germany to a land that was not waiting for him; indicating the scores of obstacles that greeted him in Africa.
One of the early incidents that led to the start of his ministry as an inexperienced missionary was when he had engaged an established African pastor, whom he called a “big man,” for a miracle service to pray for the poor and sick. On the day of that service, the “big man” ended the meeting after preaching 10 minutes without praying for the people who came to be ministered. He was bewildered but abided as the “big man” promised to pray for those people the next day.
When the following day came and Bonnke went to fetch the “big man,” he was shocked when the “big man” told him that he was going home instead. Bonnke objected but the “big man” was adamant and left.
Going back into his car, Bonnke cried out to God and prayed, “God, I’m not a big-time pastor. I’m just a small-fry missionary. But I know I’m Your servant; so I’ll preach and pray, while You perform the miracles.”
This was to be a defining moment for Bonnke and his ministry as he stepped out in faith to anchor the miracle service that day. And remarkably four persons who were totally blind, recovered their sight fully at the end of that service after he prayed for them!
Besides learning first-hand that the power was in the Word and that the Word of God in his mouth was just as equally powerful as when it is in His mouth, Bonnke also learned that the Holy Spirit was a healing Spirit who performs miracles.
One of the delegates, 28-year old Singaporean Wilson Koh was deeply encouraged by Bonnke’s testimony. Being a newly appointed youth pastor overseeing 110 youths for his local church, Church of the Ascension, Koh could relate to Bonnke’s early struggles as a young missionary in Africa.
“What he (Bonnke) shared really encouraged me because like him when he was younger, I have a tendency to depend on a ‘big man’ in ministry,” said Koh. “But today I’m more confident in overcoming my personal inadequacies in my ministry because I know that even if the ‘big man’ in my life goes away, my Jesus stays with me.”
Power of the spoken word
Bonnke also explained the correlation between the Word of God and the Spirit of God in the light of the Great Commission or the “Supreme Commission,” a term he personally prefers to use.
Using Genesis 1:1-3 as the basis of his revelation, he shared how the Spirit of God is hovering all the time and awaiting instructions to spring into action. Hence, without the spoken Word, the Spirit of God cannot act.
“The Holy Spirit can only act at the spoken Word of God. Likewise today, He (the Holy Spirit) is hovering and waiting for us to preach His word as commissioned so that He can perform signs and wonders. So dare to preach and dare to obey,” Bonnke exhorted.
He went on to declare that since the day of Pentecost, God has been waiting for believers to act in faith and obedience. But believers have mostly assumed that they need to wait for Him and His timing before getting involved in the Great Commission.
To further illustrate this point, he shared how the gospel is like medicine that needed to be taken in order for it to be of any help. If a bottled medicine lay beside the bed of a dying man and was not used, it would be useless as it helped nobody. Similarly, the gospel needs to be preached in order to release the power of the Holy Spirit and to bring salvation.
Another blessed delegate, 30-year old school counselor and CHC member, Sharmaine Tan shared how her faith was stirred up by Bonnke’s evangelistic fervor. “His passion and stories of faith in the Holy Spirit greatly inspire me to do likewise. If God can use Bonnke, God can use me too,” said Tan.
Dripping with Liquid fire
Toward the end, Bonnke delved into the subject of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and its significance upon the lives of Christ-followers. He used this analogy: the dipping of fabric in colored dye, demonstrating how the baptism in the Holy Spirit affects the life of a believer.
He explained that when dye gets into the cloth, the fabric takes on the nature of the dye and is transformed. The dyed fabric now feels like the dye, looks like the dye and smells like the dye. Similarly, Jesus dips the believer in “fire” when he or she is baptized in the Holy Spirit; soaked in the fire of God.
Bonnke exclaimed, “Wherever you go, you will drip fire. Every devil will recognize the footsteps and anointing of Jesus upon your life and flee. Be baptized! Your life and ministry will change!”
Bonnke gave an altar call for delegates who were between 15 to 25 years old, to run to the altar to get baptized, to which hundreds of youth responded and ran toward the stage area.
With CGI-AC 2010 being represented by 70 countries and more than 2,000 churches, the session impacted thousands of young people to rise up and reach out to their societies for God.