A couple of months ago I posted on Healing Miracles in Mozambique, noting the healings of blindness and deafness that were documented in a medical journal. These reports raise the question: why are such things happening with Heidi and Rolland’s ministry in Mozambique, but not generally elsewhere? In their most recent newsletter ( here ), “Core Values at Iris: Simple, Controversial and Not Optional!,” Rolland and Heidi explicitly address this question. I recommend going to the newsletter link above for the full story, but will post some excerpts from Rolland below the astericks here. My main take-away is that they keep as first priority an experiential personal relationship with God, a relationship that is so positive and passionate that they describe it as “romantic:” Jesus is a spiritual lover, our perfect and ultimate companion. Our first value is to know Him in a passionate relationship with a love that is stronger than death. In a nine-minute video here, Heidi shares some miracles and her view of what lies behind them (“fruitfulness flows from intimacy”).
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But we have discovered that some key elements of our lives and ministry in Jesus are controversial, although absolutely necessary. We think they should all be normal in the Christian life and in Christian ministries everywhere, not special and unusual. Heidi and I began naively in these areas, but now realize we must prize, protect and nurture these values in our hearts, and impart them to others. …
1) We understand that we can find God, and can experience intimacy, communication and companionship with Him in His Presence, if we share His love for righteousness.
Missions has often been taught as unromantic; it is disciplined obedience to the Great Commission. Prayer is hard work, feelings are irrelevant, getting the job done is what counts. We don’t need spiritual experience to proclaim the Gospel…
We feel the opposite. We’ve gone through enough fire and hardship to know that without actually finding God, in fulfillment of Jer. 29:13, we cannot do what we do. We cannot love with supernatural, unstoppable love unless we actually experience the love of the Father for us first. As the radiance and exact image of the invisible God, Jesus is a spiritual lover, our perfect and ultimate companion. Our first value is to know Him in a passionate relationship with a love that is stronger than death (Song 8:6). We major first of all not on mission strategy, methods, projects and fund-raising, but having the life that the world needs and craves.
But neither are we attracted to mindless, impersonal mysticism, experience without content and relationship. We pursue passion and truth, not just eastern balance and serenity with no actual basis for happiness. We relate to God with our minds and hearts both; we engage with Him, and find life and joy in our interaction. …
2) We are totally dependent on Him for everything, and we need and expect miracles of all kinds to sustain us and confirm the Gospel in our ministry….We don’t apologize for seeking and valuing power, because without it love is incomplete and ineffectual.
Heidi and I began our life of missions with the dream of living out the Sermon on the Mount, taking Jesus at His word that we did not have to worry about tomorrow. We imagined addressing extreme human need by example, living without anxiety, free to bless always with pure motives, looking to God alone for what our hearts and bodies need. We turn neither to the left nor to the right to gain support.
3) We look for revival among the broken, humble and lowly, and start at the bottom with ministry to the poor. God chooses the weak and despised things of the world to shame the proud, demonstrating His own strength and wisdom. … We waste our time on the uninfluential and the few, stopping for the one.
4) We understand the value of suffering in the Christian life. Learning to love requires willingness to suffer for the sake of righteousness. Discipline and testing make saints out of us, and produce in us the holiness without which we will not see His face and share His glory. … Under great pressure we learn to rely on God, who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9)…..There is no shortcut to our heavenly inheritance. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Rom. 8:17).
5) The joy of the Lord is not optional, and it far outweighs our suffering! In Jesus it becomes our motivation, reward and spiritual weapon. In His Presence is fullness of joy, and with Paul we testify that in all our troubles our joy knows no bounds (2 Cor. 7:4). It is our strength and energy, without which we die.
The supernatural joy of the Lord may be the most controversial of our core values! But our aim is to impart so much of the Holy Spirit that people cannot stop bubbling over with love and joy! … We are not cynical and downcast about the world and the church, but are thrilled with our perfect Savior, who is able to finish what He began in us. … Joy, laughter and a light heart are not disrespectful of God and incongruous in this world, but are evidence of the life of heaven.