BEAUTY FOR ASHES

November 2018: The fire is consuming the equivalent of 10 Costco warehouses per minute.  14,000 homes are destroyed along with over 6,000 other structures. 88 people die.
Paradise, California is reduced to ashes.
Months later, thousands of the people of Paradise are still waiting in temporary housing in surrounding cities.  Experts say this town cannot be rebuilt.
Then God began to speak to us. He told us to get ready to go to Paradise. Honestly, I did not want to go. To begin with, I had no idea if anyone was still in Paradise. What about water and electricity? And how could we ever get a fire permit for a tent in Paradise?
Then I felt a strange relief. We could never go to Paradise unless we were invited. I was off the hook.  That is until a few days later when Miriam—a prominent resident of Paradise—called us to ask us to bring the tent. Now we had to proceed, not knowing how it could work out.
I must skip ahead to the point of this blog.  Beauty for Ashes was the theme that overshadowed us as we labored to make this miracle happen in Paradise. Through Miriam’s prayers and efforts, we got the tent site and the permit.
Then I had lunch with 40 Christian leaders from the Paradise area. They erased any doubt I had about Paradise being rebuilt. There was a holy resolve in the room. The date was set for Living Proof Paradise.  Then the next miracle happened.

God has gathered an army of love to bring hope and comfort.
Right now, many people feel a great expectation for these upcoming nights in Paradise.
What is the gift that we bring to this city of ashes?  I was at a loss to answer that question. Then it struck me: EZRA WENT IN FIRST.  Before the city of Jerusalem could be physically rebuilt by Nehemiah, God sent in a team to rebuild the people. That’s it! We are partnering with God and with many believers to lay a spiritual foundation before the physical one is laid.
Then I realized what the Word of God meant by Beauty for Ashes. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the  captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable     year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes…
After Jesus quoted these verses, He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” –Luke 4:21 Beauty for Ashes is an integral part of the Gospel. I believe that it speaks of a literal trade. “Give me your ashes in exchange for my beauty.”
This means the world to me because of the single greatest fear I had about this tent meeting. I didn’t want to be trite, offensive or rude. I could never say to these people, “I know how you feel.” You and I may never know how they feel.  To lose everything. To have nights of unimaginable horror. To lose loved ones.
But God is not sending us in there to give intellectual or philosophical remedies. Jesus just wants them to feel His presence in the tent. It is not for us to carry the burden of what these people need. They need peace that passes understanding. They need healing from the Great Physician.
There were people in the audience facing untold misery when Jesus said those famous words. He knew that His Gospel could set them free.
We go to Paradise to set up a tent. We are praying and working hard. But the gift we bring is not just water, food, and clothing. It is something money can never buy. It is something that comes to stay—for eternity. We provide the tent. God will provide His presence…and that my friend is a healing agent far beyond our intellect.

 

P.S. I need your prayers now more than ever. Help me by inviting those you know from anywhere in the Paradise area including Chico, Oroville or any other location nearby.  Call us at 775 238 3473. Do not be surprised if the Lord speaks to you to come all the way to Paradise to see this amazing miracle of love and receive the miracle you need. MM

DID THE LEFT SOW THE SEEDS?

Has the angry left inadvertently sown the seeds of revival in California among an unlikely group?  Here’s is what is happening in our tent.

I cannot give you their names or show you a picture. For their safety. Some of them wept their way to Jesus sporting shaved heads and “Hitler” tattooed on the side of their head. But skin heads are not the only ones being saved. They are out of every race and background.

In our tent an average of 100 souls surrender to Jesus per night. But why is this one demographic coming to Christ in unusual numbers? Who are they? Are you ready?

They are young men. The trend began in our first tent crusade and grew more obvious in city after city. The left has targeted them, alienated them and in the process made them susceptible to Christ.

If you want to invoke the rage of the left just say something positive about young men—especially white young men. But their wrath is not just for them. Black young men are vilified.  If they think for themselves and do not mouth the mantra of the grievance movement.

Toxic masculinity is a favored excuse to exile young men. They are deliberately targeted for the sake of “progress” in our culture. Many of them wander aimlessly being shunned and stepped over in the leftist agenda.  Radical feminists ridicule them. Colleges persecute them. Cultural mores are stacked against them. Every mom who is raising a son today knows exactly what I am talking about.

Washington Post writer Christine Emba said it was sad that young men were finding hope in the lectures of Jordan Peterson. She even called the article The profound sadness of the Jordan Peterson phenomenon.

She said, “Peterson himself will tell you that serving as a father figure is his heaviest burden. Much of his work is dedicated to pushing a generation of confused youths to build character, put their lives in order, become adults. “I want to talk to you about how people exist in the world,” he told those in attendance last week. And that’s what this tour is all about. It is also what makes it profoundly depressing.

Peterson’s bestseller is a wordy self-help epistle for young men (it’s mostly men who follow him) in need of direction. Inside a cover invoking an old-school, gold- ­embossed Bible are lessons such as “Stand up straight with your shoulders back,” “Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient),” and “Tell the truth — or, at least, don’t lie.”

How can she find it “profoundly depressing” that young men are finding hope and direction?

The left’s message is undeniable: young men are an oppressive force. It doesn’t get any sicker than that.

Look at the pictures. The altars are filled with young men. Night after night it is the same. This attack on young men has inadvertently planted the seeds of revival in California. Will young men charge into the Kingdom and discover what it means to be a son of God and a man of God.  I know so!

At this hour, our tent is headed to Paradise California—a city destroyed by fire.  Some are saying it can’t be rebuilt. But I know better. I just had lunch with 50 Pastors and leaders from that community and they are amazing! Their determination is astounding!

It would be just like Jesus to give them beauty for ashes. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a community restored in heart and spirit before it is physically rebuilt.

They invited me here. I come as a servant not a celebrity. I am honored and humbled to work alongside them.

Please pray for these tent meetings. And please, if you know someone living near Paradise tell them about to come and witness the mighty power of God that will be under the tent every night.

Young men are indeed being systematically discarded in California. But that is a catalyst to revival. I know that as the tent travels south on Highway 99 we will see a snowball effect—an army of young men is being born. Psalm 118: 23 says, “This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Wait till you hear

How could one phone call bring so many amazing changes?  How could we have foreseen that way our lives would change after this phone call.

The call is from Miriam, a woman of God from Paradise California. She and her husband, an anesthesiologist, had something to ask me.

It had to do with the Camp Fire—the wildfire that wiped out Paradise, California.  19,000 buildings were destroyed including nearly 12,000 homes. But this couple prayed as the fire roared toward their home. The flames stopped right at their property line.

This is a map of the perimeter of the Camp Fire with the city limits of Paradise outlined. As you can see, Paradise was in the dead center of the blaze.

They were overcome by both gratitude and grief. They grieved for so many who had lost loved ones and who were now homeless. Because Miriam and her family were spared, they made a deep vow to God to use their house for His glory. Then she asked the question:

Will you pray about bringing the tent to Paradise?” How could she have known that my wife and I had been interceding for that very door to open. After we hung up, I began to pray and study the situation. Immediately, I was struck by the impossibility.

There were so many things blocking our way. For starters, the city was extremely wary of putting up a tent after such a devastating fire. Next, there was a matter of restoring the power grid in the city. Lastly, our schedule had no way to fit this outreach in.

While we were laying the ground work for Marysville, Mechelle and I took a trip to Paradise. 50 people met in Miriam’s home to pray and I shared the vision to bring the tent. I brushed aside the impossibility because with God all things are possible.

Afterwards we walked through the city and prayed. It is beyond my vocabulary to describe the devastation. It reminded me of pictures of the fire bombing of Dresden, Germany. There is simply no way to describe it.

Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Well, miracle upon miracle has opened the Red Sea once again. Hallelujah! We are going to Paradise and we are bringing an army of love with us. As I prayed, the Holy Spirit kept burning these words, “Beauty for Ashes.”

The news of our confirmation came on the morning of the final day in Marysville.  But my heart sank when I saw the weather. The temperature dropped ten degrees a strong wind and heavy rain would surely damage our attendance.

Instead, the biggest crowd of all packed the tent and were worshiping with total abandon.  The power and presence of God was so intense! This is what attendance looked like before starting time.

After a host of souls were saved and miracles rang out it was time to make the first public announcement about Paradise.  Get this…when I told them we were going to Paradise CA, they exploded with a jubilant, deafening cheer.

You see, many of the refugees from Paradise were in Marysville. The believers had been loving on them and caring for them. Now the same glory they had seen in Marysville was moving 45 minutes north to Paradise. What an amazing moment!

The Living Proof Paradise begins Thursday May 2 and goes until Sunday May 5. The tent site is the Terry Ashe Recreation Center 6626 Skyway Road, Paradise CA, 95969.

We are not out of the woods yet. We still have critical needs and we don’t have much time to meet those needs. We need prayer warriors to bombard the heavenlies starting right now—right after you finish reading this.

We need workers. The raw human need is overwhelming. About 30% of the victims of the fire had no insurance. Many are in trailers. Only God knows the heaviness in their hearts. I am putting out an appeal for workers to come from wherever God sends this blog. I have never felt such an urgency for help.  Do what Jesus says and let nothing hold you back.

Call us at 775 238 3473 or go to mariomurillo.org

THE CALIFORNIA CATASTROPHE

I am at a total loss for words to describe the California catastrophe.  I was to preach Sunday in Marysville CA at the Bridge with our dear friends Jim and Kristine Carpenter.  Marysville is 48 miles south of Paradise CA where the Camp Fire, as it is now called, began.

By the time we reached Roseville it was clear there would be no meeting.  An air quality condition purple means you can’t be outside.  For the few minutes we were outside, it became frightening.

The New York Times 3,000 miles away said this: PARADISE, Calif. — The inferno that ravaged the wooded town of Paradise in northern California became the deadliest wildfire in the state’s modern history on Monday when officials said they had discovered the remains of 13 more people, bringing the death toll to 42.

The Butte County sheriff, Kory L. Honea, has said more than 200 people remain missing in and around the town, which sits in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and was popular with retirees.

“My sincere hope is that I don’t have to come here each night and report a higher and higher number,” Sheriff Honea said at a news conference Monday night.

The fire, which continues to rage in the hills and ravines east of the city of Chico, is also the most destructive fire in California history, with more than 7,100 structures destroyed, most of them homes.”

My wife and I know Paradise CA.  I have preached there.  It is gone.  Totally destroyed.

Then there’s the Woolsey fire burning in Los Angeles.170,000 people have evacuated.

There’s this chilling shot from space that shows the smoke from LA is about to meet the smoke from Northern California out at sea.

Many in this state are losing hope. They have lost houses they worked for all their lives, they have lost beloved pets, and they have lost loved ones—a loss that never goes away.

Everywhere you look there is a dazed stare.  People wondering after drought and massive floods, and now apocalyptic fires, each one bigger and deadlier than the last.  When Santa Rosa burned, when the Lake fire came, then Redding, then Santa Barbara, then Paradise, then Los Angeles.  What on earth is going on? What can this all mean?

One thing it does not mean is politics. Please don’t talk about environmentalists or global warming.  If you do it simply means there is nothing that can take your mind off of politics—I mean if this can’t, nothing can.

The body of Christ stands at a door of opportunity.  I am reminded of another time in California history.

It’s 1906 in Los Angeles. William Seymore agrees to rent a dingy horse stable at 312 Azusa Street for $7 a month and begins revival meetings. A movement springs out those meetings. Today, it claims 650 million followers.

Wikipedia says “It began with a meeting on April 9, 1906 and continued until roughly 1915. The revival was characterized by spiritual experiences accompanied with testimonies of physical healing miracles, worship services and speaking in tongues. The participants were criticized by some secular media and Christian theologians for behaviors considered to be outrageous and unorthodox, especially at the time. Today, the revival is considered by historians to be the primary catalyst for the spread of Pentecostalism in the 20th century.”

9 days after the Azusa Street revival began, an earthquake destroys San Francisco.  It topples 24,000 buildings. 200,000 residents are instantly homeless.  More than 3,000 people are killed.

People believe it’s the end of the world.  400 miles to the south in the Azusa Street mission people believe Jesus is about to return.  It gripped them with soul-winning fervor.  They papered Los Angeles with pamphlets because the whole city felt conviction. They took trains to San Francisco to minister to the victims of the quake.

That is exactly what we are seeing come out of Bethel Church in Redding.  Their Global response team has raced into action.  Many other ministries are also focused on expressing healing at this time.

They have it right. An awesome opportunity to express Christ has come!  Let’s do it my fellow West Coast believers!

Mechelle and I are grieving for everyone who has been devastated by these fires.  We are also praying that minds will turn toward the eternal.  God please bless and comfort California today.