Discover more from Frank Viola UNFILTERED
Two or Three Witnesses
Welcome to another Thursday UNFILTERED substack article, the only substack newsletter that believes a lollipop is a cross between hard candy and garbage.
Thanks for your continued prayers to finish the completely rewritten, revised, and expanded version of The Untold Story of the New Testament Church. It’s up to 1,800+ footnotes, and I’m on the 281st draft. I can’t wait to finish it. But it continues to be an uphill battle.
One area of personal discouragement is that people are still buying the old flawed version. Please don’t make that mistake, but wait until the new version releases. You’ll be happy you did. Still hoping for a 2024 or 2025 release. I’ll keep you posted.
Now for the subject at hand.
While the Lord speaks to us inwardly by impressions, impulses, and instincts, He also uses our environment to communicate His mind.
Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
~ 2 Corinthians 13:1
For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it.
~ Job 33:14
During the recent Insurgence Experience (IXP) Mastermind, I spent four days with a group of Christian leaders.
The gathering was a mixture of a high-octane spiritual retreat, problem-solving exercises, fellowship, communion with the Lord, ministry one to another, and lots of laughter.
It was a remarkable time, and heaven broke through the veil on more than one occasion.
During the course of the four days, three “coincidences” took place. Or heavenly “witnesses,” I should say.
First, in one of the sessions, I spoke on the topic of failure in ministry and gave a riff on quality over quantity.
Two of the brothers chimed in and said, “Frank, we were just talking about this very thing at lunch today. In fact, we used the same language, i.e., quality vs. quantity.”
That was confirming witness #1.
In another session, I did something I didn’t do with last year’s group.
I asked the leaders to do a walking exercise where they were conscious of their breathing.
The exercise was preceded by a talk on the connection between the Lord’s name and our breath, and I gave them specifics on how their walk could be a meaningful time of communion with the Lord.
Part of the instruction was to notice the cinema of beauty in nature, and recognize it’s all a picture of Christ.
When we all came back to report, one of the leaders said, “As I was walking, I saw a bronze plaque near the lake that said, ‘Breathe deeply, experience nature, and reset yourself.’”
The others in the room saw it also on their walk.
I never saw the plaque, this time (on my own walk) or any other time.
That was confirming witness #2.
On another evening, I put the leaders in pairs to seek the Lord the next morning.
I had written down the pairs by name the week before. When I read the pairs out loud, each person was sitting next to the person who I paired them off with the week before without their knowledge.
The way they were seated made it appear that they intentionally paired off on their own.
One of the men was the odd man out, but I wrote his name down next to one of the other pairs I selected.
I then asked him, “Which pair do you want to meet with?”
He picked the exact pair I wrote his name down with the week before.
(Keep in mind that with the exception of one brother, I never met these people before in person.)
I showed one of the brothers my list so he could verify that I wasn’t making it up.
It was uncanny.
That was confirming witness #3.
I realize that the divine principle of two or three witnesses, which appears at least seven times in the Bible, refers to human witnesses. However, the principle applies to environmental circumstances as well.
Even if none of these confirmations took place, we had all met the Lord in a fresh and powerful way that week.
But these little “witnesses” were like chocolates dropped from heaven confirming that the Lord was in our midst.
I share this with you for one reason.
If you’re not looking for the fingerprints of your Lord in your daily situations through “coincidence,” you won’t notice them.
Here are some of the testimonials from the leaders who were present at this year’s IXP Mastermind Gathering.
“As someone who has attended, participated, and led in many leadership conferences, workshops, and strategy meetings, I can confidently say that The Insurgence Experience (IXP) stands out from the rest. The IXP has been a breath of fresh air to my spirit and calling, like fresh wine poured into new wineskins. I was able to catch a glimpse of Jesus Christ in a way that was so deep, I know I will never fully recover. It was as if all of my senses were overwhelmed with the beauty of Christ. I pray that many others who are also longing for a deep wellspring of Christ will also have the opportunity to experience the IXP. This Mastermind equips and empowers individuals to serve the King and His Kingdom with excellence. Through the lessons and Scriptures applied, Christ is exalted and the Gospel is truly incarnate in each participant. My experience with IXP has been nothing short of a blessing beyond measure, and I wholeheartedly endorse it to all fellow pastors and leaders.”
~ Davie Hernandez, lead pastor
“In a world bombarded with conferences, workshops, cohorts and coaching experiences that focus primarily on methodology, trends, and skills, the Insurgence Experience Mastermind (IXP) is something completely different. The church world lives in the assumption that our content is just fine and that we don’t need to revisit the very substance we are offering to the world. We can have the most innovative strategies but if we do not have the living, active, breathing experience of Jesus Christ we’ve done a great job at the external appearance, and have starved ourselves and the world of the true substance of who we are, who we believe, and who we are sharing in all the spaces where we live, work, and play. The Insurgence Experience gets to the heart of all this. The week I spent in a group of brothers with Frank Viola was an amazing experience that was irreplaceable and irreplicable. It is a one-of-a-kind group encounter with Jesus Christ, being in awe of God’s grace and love in a way that is hard to find in American churches today. I think Insurgence ‘experience’ is the right name. It wasn’t about learning new information and getting a new set of tools. It was an experience of Jesus, being immersed into his life, his work, and his mission. It was an experience of brotherhood in which we encountered Jesus in the flesh through each other. I recommend the Insurgence Experience Mastermind for anyone who wants to get straight to the heart of Jesus and experience first-hand what Christian community and fellowship could be like. Don’t miss your opportunity for a life-changing experience!”
~ Daniel Park, lead pastor
“One of the things I realized as I thought about the IXP in-person meeting was that I did not fully understand what it would be. My reason for being a part of the IXP was I felt led by the Spirit to be a part of this group. I knew that it would be something that would assist me in preventing burnout in my life and ministry. The IXP meeting was not a conference, it was not a spiritual retreat, it was not a soul-care meeting, it was not a ‘spiritual practices’ practicum, nor was it a spiritual direction experience. It was more than all those things. My experience was that the IXP not only refreshed me personally, spiritually, and vocationally, but it also gave me tools to take back to my regular life and ministry to keep what God started during the IXP gathering going. The liminal space offered by this meeting created the change and growth I desperately needed. There were also deep connections between us that allowed God to move in our relationships in ways that are very different and needed in our lives. These relationships are unique because we all come from different traditions, experiences, and places in life and in our journey following Jesus. This added to the experience significantly. We were able to share an openness and vulnerability that I know was the working of God in our midst.”
~ Jared Fields, senior pastor
“The Insurgence Experience has been a jolt of electricity to my faith. The weekly exercises and monthly zoom calls have given me practical handles to go deeper in my walk with Christ, but nothing compares to the 4 days I got to spend with my brothers feasting on our Lord. Frank told us that if we would commit ourselves fully to this experience (especially the in-person gathering) we would never recover. I don’t think that was an exaggeration. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” What a glorious taste this past week of true koinonia with my dear brothers and our Lord. I’ll never be the same.”
~ Chris Magee, teacher
“The Insurgence Experience will not only give you an epic, earth-shaking, life-altering view of our Lord but you’ll get to learn “how” that vision of Him can become real in your life. Better yet, how to experience that with other brothers. Without the experience I’ve described, frankly, we’ve got no business to minister to others. You simply must jump into the IXP! For me and the others who participated, the experience was priceless!”
~ Jared Clark, teacher
“I walked away from the Insurgence Experience grateful for new friendships, refreshed in my spirit, and, most importantly, more in love with Jesus. In our week together, brothers from various backgrounds, church traditions, ministry streams, and cities around the world all beheld not only the goodness and beauty of deep, Christ-centric fellowship as brothers, yes. Even more so, though, we entered into fellowship with the Lord Himself, knitting us all together in ways that will have a powerful impact in our future. The Scriptural insight that was shared, worship that we participated in, exercises that we employed, and time to simply connect with one another in Christ took us all deeper and deeper, until the wondrous culmination of the week at its end. I walked away from this time changed in my innermost man, with a greater revelation of the Love, Nourishment, and Purpose of God, having tasted, seen, and adored His Goodness firsthand. I highly recommend this experience to every minister of Jesus Christ who wishes to encounter and know Him more and more.”
~ Jonathan Cottrell, teacher
If you’re a pastor, preacher, teacher, missionary, etc. registration for the 2024 IXP opens in May.
But invitations are only sent to those who apply.
(I say that because some pastors have assumed that they can just go to the website and register. But it doesn’t work that way. No application, no invite to register.)
Go to MinistryMind.org for details and apply. Then look for an email sometime in May.
And feel free to share this article with any leaders you think would benefit from the IXP Mastermind.
FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO PARTNER WITH THE MINISTRY
Frank doesn’t profit personally from his ministry. He generously sends out a fresh new article every Thursday (there are over 1,000 on the blog). Also, a new podcast episode drops every other Tuesday on his two podcasts (combined there are almost 300 episodes). While all of these resources are without cost to you, they require time and money to produce. Therefore, if you would like to donate to help defray the costs and/or express appreciation, there are three ways to donate, all of them simple. Go to the Donations Page for information.