Sunday, 8 December 2019

Tribute to Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1 v 1 - 6: "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2  We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
3  Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
4  Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
5  For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
6  And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:"

Yesterday, 7 December 2019, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke fell asleep in the Lord and was received into the presence of God in Heaven.  Truly, he would hear the words, Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into your rest.

I first encountered Evangelist Bonnke at the end of 1980, when he was one of the main speakers at a year end Christian Conference in Johannesburg.  He was very excited about having just placed the order for the largest tent ever made, the size of three football fields, with which to go out into all the world and win souls for the Kingdom of God.

I vividly remember him saying to this vast crowd, in a very conspirational whisper, that he thought he had been very cheeky, because he was short a large sum of money to make this deposit on the tent.  He prayed and asked the Lord to find the person or people who could donate this sum to him.

The next morning he received a phone call from an unsaved, cigarette-smoking Catholic man demanding to know how much he needed!  Reinhard said he felt too shy to name the sum.  The man insisted, said he had been up all night because someone called Bonnke needs urgent financial help.  So he was told that the sum of R70,000 was needed.  (Back in 1980 that felt like 70,000,000!)  The man went to his bank and Reinhard had his blessing.

Reinhard related how his ministry began in Lesotho, a land-locked country within South Africa.  He was a German missionary stationed there.  He felt an urge to invite a man of God who had a powerful healing ministry to preach at a gathering in this place.  Thousands came, walking for days over the mountains bringing sick people for prayer.  The man of God spent an uncomfortable night because the Lord was insisting he leave without a single prayer.

Reinhard found him stowing his suitcase in his car and saying goodbye.  He was upset because the people were expecting God to do miracles.  Reinhard took to the stage and implored God to use him, with his Afro-German voice, to meet the needs of the people.

Right in front of him were a row of twelve blind people.  He stretched out his hands and prayed for their sight to be restored.  From one to another the cry was heard, I can see! I can see!  The amazing ministry of evangelism, healing and miracles had begun.

He has travelled throughout Africa with His rallying cry, Africa Must Be Saved, and preached to multiple millions.  He wrote books and sent out millions of recordings to reach the lost for Jesus.  He faced much opposition in some places.

Like Harare, Zimbabwe, back in the 80's.  Big tent, many people.  A group of 5 Satanists decided to infiltrate the congregation and cause havoc and distress.  They called up many demons to invade and cause problems.  Nothing happened so they called in more.  One of the 5 went to the opening of the tent and was astonished to see a ring of fire around the outside and hundreds of demons racing about on the other side of it.  The power of God prevented them crossing over into the tent.  He realised God had a greater power than Satan and got saved!

In that same place on a different day, the shamans, witchdoctors, wizards were unhappy to be losing so many townspeople to Jesus through this white man's preaching and they assembled in front of the stage armed with large venomous snakes which they threw at the feet of this preacher.  

Reinhard carried on speaking taking no notice of the snakes.  The snakes tried to strike him but were unable to get near him.  All these witchdoctors and shamans got saved that day as Jesus showed them the true power of God.  They brought their fetishes, muti and all their paraphernalia and burned it in barrels of hot coals at the front of the tent.  God is saving Africa.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for raising up a mighty man in Reinhard Bonnke who was faithful in his calling of plundering Hell to populate Heaven.  He worked tirelessly for sixty years to make a difference.  We pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to be with Annie Bonnke and all his family and followers.
Lord we need more like him.  Please raise them up for these last days, who will go forth without fear or favour and bring in the sheaves. In Jesus' name. Amen.