‘Night One’ in Los Angeles was everything we’d hoped it would be. God showed up and the lives of thousands were changed. The Tent was full and there was an anticipation in the air. While the worship team was doing their sound check, many in the Tent were worshiping along with them. Some were on their faces, praying.
Then the night began, and the Victory Outreach worship team brought it! The presence of God was among us from the first note. The atmosphere was such that even workers manning the various stations outside the tent were dancing and praising the Lord as well.
This was not your typical keyboard and guitar worship. Yes, they had keyboard and guitar, but there was also brass and string instruments, and an organ. And if that wasn’t enough, after the first few songs a choir came out and took everything to another level. It was incredible – truly, we were in church!
After the last worship song, Mario took the stage and immediately started a soul winning message. He shared that our goal is not to simply shake people’s hands and give them a few words, but that our goal is to get the Devil off their backs.
Mario told a story about a young couple who were engaged to be married, but before the wedding they were in a horrible accident. The woman was killed, and the man suffered serious amnesia.
He compared this to the fall, when sin entered the world. Because of his amnesia, the young man had forgotten the love of his life. In this same say, we have forgotten our relationship with Christ.
But, he went on, there is an important difference between that young man and us. Even if he were to get all of his memories back, still, he would never have the love of his life back.
But we can come to Christ and have our amnesia lifted, and be reminded who we are and why we are here. And know that we are a brand new person, washed in the Blood, and alive!
Mario told about a time, when being a Christian in London led to much ridicule, especially in the universities. Then J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis became Christians. When the London Times asked Lewis, “How can you believe in Jesus when you can’t see Him.” Lewis responded, “I do not believe in Christ because I can see Him, but because by Him I can see everything else.”
Mario then talked about loneliness and shared how scientists have discovered that lonely people typically have a different brain structure than people who are not lonely, and found that the reason people could feel lonely even in the presence of other people, or even friends, is that they believe ‘no one understands them’.
He talked about how we suffer from loneliness and brokenness because we have taken God out of our lives, out of our schools, and our relationships, and homes, and cities, and even our churches.
“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:22-24 NKJV).
He asked, ‘How can we not see that all the corrosion and destruction of our freedom is connected to when we told God to leave. When God left, our safety left, and our sanity left.’
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18).
Mario then spoke directly to the lost and hurting, and made a call for those who wanted Christ to raise their hands and then had them stand. People rose to their feet all over the Tent.
He called them to come forward and they came without hesitation. I’ve been amazed in the past at the size of the response, but none have matched this one!
People were stretched across the full width of the stage, and beyond, reaching to the sides of the Tent. We have had that happen before, but remember, this Tent is twice the size of our previous Tent. So the width of the crowd here in the L.A. Fairplex points to the largest response ever.
As I made my way around the Tent, I saw that not only were they stretched across the entire width of the Tent, but they were also spilling down the aisles. I don’t know how many there were, but it must have been around 1,000.
It was a beautiful sight to see so many finding their way to God, and to eternal salvation. But I also reflected, it is equally painful to know there are so many more hurting and lost people and these are just a fraction of them.
It’s a stark reminder that we are to “go into all the world and make disciples”. This is not a Mario thing, this is a God thing. Mario told us all to get out and bring the lost home, because we have a lot of work to do.
Mario prayed with the people who had come forward, then they were sent out to be ministered to by our many workers.
He then spoke about the moment we are in. He referenced a term from the Bible known as a ‘kairos’ moment – which is a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action.
He talked about how this gathering in L.A. happened, at the behest of God, in an incredibly short amount of time. It was an impossible amount of time, in the natural, but that it was a kairos, or incredibly important moment.
He talked about the first night of the early Azusa Street meetings, and the first night of Billy Graham’s crusade, or the first night of Aimee McPherson’s work. And how we would have felt, had we been there. He asked if we would have realized the significance of those moments, and what was about to be accomplished – how great a beginning it was. And how we are in such a moment now – not because of Mario, but because God is wanting to do something. And that what will allow it to happen is, if every person does their part, and responds to God.
He said, this is not Azusa Street, or the farmer’s market, or Angelus Temple, nor Costa Mesa. But what it is, is a kairos moment of the Holy Spirit, where God is saying, “I want to do something new in Los Angeles.” And the people cheered.
Mario spoke a bit more and then highlighted a section of the Tent where he said God has selected them to demonstrate His power.
He indicated a man who had heart disease. He had him stand and then Mario identified the five things in his body that were being healed: heart condition, liver, kidneys, feet, and spine. After identifying all these, the man confirmed it to be true and then began to move his body.
Mario called him to step out, and the man made his way out and began to jump and run his way across the front of the Tent!
He then went down into the crowd and called out five people, all of whom were being healed. The first man he prayed for had many things in his body being healed: ear, eyes, balance, heart, blood, feet, knees. As Mario prayed in tongues over him, the man fell back under the power of God.
He prayed one by one for each of the remaining people. The power of God was strong. One with an eye condition, another with hearing loss. Blood issues, diabetes, spinal pain.
The final man he prayed for from that group had a blood condition, dizziness, breathing problems, pain throughout his body, and diabetes. It was powerful to watch people being touched and healed right before our eyes. God is so good!
Mario returned to the stage and instructed the people further. He asked everyone who needed a miracle to raise their hand. And then had those around them lay hands on them and had them all pray for each other.
I love watching as an entire tent is turned into a collective minister of healing, reaching out and extending their hands to allow God to flow through them. It showed that it’s not Mario who does anything, but God Who chooses to use any of us who are willing.
As they prayed, he called out many of the healings that were taking place: emphysema, leukemia, cataracts, and epilepsy. One young girl had scoliosis. Heart disease, cancer, tumors, depression, suicide, insomnia, chronic pain, and many, many more were healed.
Mario reminded the people it was totally right and good to go to their doctor and have their healing confirmed.
There was so much healing power flowing through the Tent. It was awesome and amazing.
What a beautiful start to what will most certainly be an incredible week that we will talk about for years to come.
If you were here, you know how amazing God’s presence was. If you were not, and can in any way make your way to the Tent, there are still three nights left.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, September 11 – 13 at 7 PM. The Fairplex in Pomona, Gate 17. You will find free parking, plenty of seats, an air conditioned tent, and most importantly, the incredible presence of Almighty God!
Hope to see you there!