Bible school students experience inner healing through the ministry of Mike Connell.
| CN PHOTO: Kenneth Lee|
The second week of July marked Mike Connell’s highly anticipated visit to speak at the School of Theology and City Harvest Church’s weekend services. Since CHC’s early days, the senior pastor of Bay City Outreach Centre in Hastings, New Zealand, has been a friend of the church and never fails to share the love of God to the congregation.
Among the students in SOT, anticipation grew a week before his scheduled visit. SOT’s dean of students, Bobby Chaw, explained, “Every year when Pastor Mike comes, students learn how to move in the Spirit, pray, minister and experience miracles and the power of God.”
One of Connell’s most distinctive ministries is his sensitivity to God’s people and the way he “moves in the Spirit” to bring healing in their lives. More than just being blessed by his prayers, SOT students were also given many opportunities to learn from Connell in some practical sessions they had with him during the week. His teachings also included releasing the anointing into others, the Father’s love and healing the broken heart.
On the first morning of the school week, Connell demonstrated to the students the process of releasing the “anointing of God” into others. For that to happen, the Christian has to release the life from within and believe that the word he speaks will produce a miracle. “You are designed to be a gate through which the life of God can flow to other people. Out of your innermost being (spirit man), from the life that is within, will flow rivers of living water through your soul,” described Connell. He then instructed the students to break into groups of three to take turns praying for one another in specific areas of their lives. Connell also took some time to lay hands on various ones during the session and spoke words of encouragement over their lives.
Vocal coach Daniel Singh, 30, recounted his experience. “When Pastor Mike prayed for me, I felt a gush of energy hit my stomach; I just felt happy, and it kept on increasing and increasing till I felt very light-hearted.”
Dhanaraj Jeremiah, 27, a pastor from Tamilnadu, India, was deeply touched after Connell prayed for him. He shared how after that session, the strength and joy he felt lingered in him long after school was over that day; even when he was home. “This experience has strengthened me in many ways,” Jeremiah said.
The next day, Connell spoke about the Father’s love—of God as a loving Father who loves His creation. Connell preached from the gospels about the story of the prodigal son and the love of the father who welcomed his wayward son home. At this point, Connell explained how some individuals may have never felt a father’s love growing up in their own families, either due to personality or traditional differences, but God, the heavenly Father, is always longing to embrace His children on earth and accept them as they are.
On the last day of his teaching sessions in SOT, Connell spoke of how a person’s spirit or soul can be wounded. He elucidated that while forgiveness releases bitterness and resentment, it does not necessarily heal the wounds of a broken soul because some people may have buried their anger and resentment to the extent that they are unaware of it. If the pain remains unchecked, these individuals may find themselves trapped in a cycle of negative behavior. As he concluded the teaching, Connell led the student body in a simple and heartfelt prayer, leaving many with tears in their eyes.
By the end of the school week, students were visibly moved by what they experienced the entire week. Undergraduate Hector Neo, 23, said, “Through Pastor Mike and his love for people, we can feel the love of God.”
Winning In The Wilderness
Mike Connell was present at CHC’s weekend English services where he shared a message entitled “Winning In The Wilderness,” bringing positive affirmation to the congregation in a timely fashion.
Connell talked about how the wilderness, as described in the Bible, is a place of barren desert beneath the scorching sun; a place of thirst and lack which tests the endurance of any person. Spiritually, it speaks of when Christians undergo pressure.
Citing examples of great men in the Bible who had a call of God on their life but had to go through a series of “wilderness” experiences in order to fulfil that call. Connell explained that when God desires to bring enlargement in a believer’s life, there is often a season of pressure that forces the Christian to break out of his existing zone into a new level of change. The wilderness is therefore a place of preparation and not a destination.
Often, pressure also reveals the inner condition of the heart. If a person has suppressed bitterness, pride and critical attitudes, these will surface during the “wilderness” period.
The nation of Israel experienced tremendous victory when they crossed the Red Sea in Exodus 14. However, they forgot the hardship and oppression they experienced in Egypt. As such, when God brought them into the wilderness, their unresolved bitterness surfaced the moment they were faced with a challenge in the desert—the water was too bitter to drink.
But God showed His provision by instructing Moses to throw a tree (symbolic of the cross of Jesus) into the waters, to “heal” the waters and make it drinkable. Likewise, God has the power to bring healing to a person and cancel their bitter experiences only if he or she brings it to the cross of Christ.
Connell then shared about his own experience of how he found healing in Christ. “When I was growing up, I never experienced my father’s love or affection in any kind of way, so I harbored a deep bitter rejection in my heart. But when I encountered the Lord, and allowed Him to take away all the grief, pain and sorrow, and repented of the bitterness, God began to reveal His love for me as a Father.”
He concluded his message by exhorting the congregation to breakthrough to the next level so that future generations would be blessed.