Sid Roth - Breakthrough Faith
Sid Roth: Hello. Sid Roth here. Welcome, welcome to my world, where it's naturally supernatural. I love it! I wouldn't want to change one iota of living in the supernatural. My guest went to a spirit-filled church, young man, and he saw such excess, so he left and he said, "I'm going to an evangelical church where everything is biblical". And he went to it and he saw such dryness. He saw no miracles, but even in the spirit-filled church he only saw a few miracles. So he got... have you ever heard of someone getting burned out? He got burned out. But then he prayed to God and he said, "God, there's gotta be an answer! I need a breakthrough in my life"! And God spoke to him and he had a breakthrough. How many of you want to find the revelation for breakthrough? Someone was just healed of a neck problem. Test it; you'll see. Larry Sparks, at age 16, became a believer in the Messiah, but something transformed his life. He went to a dynamic congregation that worshiped God, but he got something he really didn't expect. What happened?
Larry Sparks: I was 16 and I drove to this church, and I remember at the time, God was really inciting a hunger inside of me for Him, and I went, and at the time, you know, they were doing praise and worship music. They had drums and guitars, all this stuff going, and the music was a little bizarre. People were clapping their hands and raising their hands, and for me it was so strange, but the teaching so resonated with me. I wanted to know about God, who God was, and I would actually skip the music sometimes. I just didn't want to have anything to do with it. And then one Saturday night, July of 1999, I went to the church. The music was going on, and I was standing there and just without any warning God showed up. He touched me. I literally felt in my chest, like, a heat, like a burning, and then in my hands an electricity, like, a sud... I didn't need faith to feel it. It was real; it was a real experience, and I thought to myself, this God who I learned about going to school... I went to a Christian school, I had a Christian upbringing, and I learned information about God, but that day God made Himself real to me, and it was a subtle encounter but it was so supernatural and I've actually been living out of that encounter ever since then. He showed He was real.
Sid Roth: Okay, Larry, so, you go to a nice... now, you get kind of used to the raising of the hands... and the worship, and you go to this nice spirit-filled church and you loved it, but after a while there were things that began to bother you, because you're kind of a theologian-type and things have to be in the Word. What was bothering you?
Larry Sparks: Well, God was turned into a formula. God, the God who I experienced as a person, the God who touched me and I felt the heat, felt the electricity, this church culture kind of turned Him into a formula where they went to the Bible and it was all about finding things in the Bible, where you could pray something and pray a promise just to get whatever you want, need or desire from God. It was amazing how much emphasis was placed, not just on getting money, but how God almost became like a vending machine, like Santa Claus, like, you gave him your list in prayer and you basically said, 'God, give me this stuff.'
Sid Roth: I heard one person say, "Well, God is like Aladdin's Lamp. You just rub it and you get anything you want". I mean, what is this?
Larry Sparks: Yeah. Well, what happened is, I left, kind of, this hyper-faith type of church and I ran in the opposite direction. I said to my... I remember me and my wife saying we don't want to have anything to do with that kind of stuff. In fact, when we'd go to other kind of charismatic, spirit-filled churches and hear that same language, we'd run away screaming just because it's like, we don't want that. So we went to other churches where there was a strong theology of the cross, of forgiveness of sin, of knowing that we're right with God, of righteousness, and those things are necessary and I celebrate them, but what was not there was faith to see God do anything for us today. So they believed that you'd get healed, maybe. They believed you'd get a breakthrough, maybe, but ultimately if you don't get it now it's okay because you'll get it when you get to heaven. So they prayed prayers like, 'If it be Thy will. God's will is mysterious. You never know what God's gonna do. All you need to do is just trust Him and whatever happens will happen.' And I just knew in my heart that just didn't settle it for me. I knew there were certain things that the Bible said God will do, and if we stand on what He said, if we believe what He says, we can actually see those things happen, with confidence!
Sid Roth: So, he says this one extreme; no intimacy with God, just rules and regulations. He goes to the other extreme; just the rules, and he doesn't know what to do. So what do you do when you don't know what to do? You pray to God. That's what you did! What happened?
Larry Sparks: Yes. I said, "God, what does faith look like"? And the Lord had me on a journey of actually going through the Bible, going through the Gospels and looking at healing. I think the Lord really wanted to reignite a fire in my heart that I encountered when I was 16; know that He is real, and that what He said, He will do. So I went to the Bible. That's what I did. I said, "God, what do You define faith as"? And then He took me to a story in the Gospels that changed everything for me. There was supernatural revelation and He gave me actually a definition, a picture, an actual picture of what true Bible faith looked like.
Sid Roth: When we come back, we are going to explain what God showed him about true Bible faith that will cause you to have a breakthrough of epic proportions.
Sid Roth: Hello, I'm here with Larry Sparks and I'm going to tell you something. There's so many people that have been hurt. They've been in a congregation that goes too far in the faith arena. They've been in other congregations that go too far away from the faith arena. They been in congregations that have gone into error, and what they've done is, they've thrown the baby out with the dirty bathwater. Well, Larry Sparks was like that and he went through that season. He finally said, "God, there has to be more. God, show me the truth about breakthrough faith". What did God show you? What is breakthrough faith?
Larry Sparks: Let's start with that. God gave me a very clear definition and actually gave me a picture of what it looked like, and I like to operate in pictures and illustrations because it clearly shows us, what does this look like? He took me to Mark, chapter 2. There's a story in the Gospels where there are these four men who have a paralyzed friend and they come to Jesus. It says they heard that Jesus was in town. They heard that He was around, so that tells me, well, we need to be talking about what God is doing, because the testimony is actually what drew them to hear Jesus. They heard Jesus was a miracle-worker, so they bring him...
Sid Roth: You know, we don't need this high-powered PR. All we need is the goods! The world is crying out, 'I wanna see the goods! I wanna see the real thing!' I'm not gonna be happy 'til the 7 p.m. and 6 p.m. news, rather than having the junk we see, I want them to say, 'Someone's leg just grew out! I mean, it was amputated! It just grew out! We got it documented!' Now, that is news! That's good news!'
Larry Sparks: Yes, yes, and the testimony drew them to this house and they saw Jesus there. These four guys had their paralyzed friend, carrying him, but they couldn't get to Jesus because it was too crowded. So what did they do? This is where I had my breakthrough moment, watching what these four men did with their paralyzed friend. They climbed to the top of the house, they broke through the ceiling, and they lowered their friend down to Jesus. That situation, I mean, could you imagine if that happened in the modern church today? If people brought people, sick people, into the church, broke open the ceiling, lowered them down? If anybody had something to say worth hearing, it was Jesus. If anyone shouldn't have been interrupted from preaching, it was Jesus. But they interrupted Him; they lowered down their friend, and we know the rest of the story. Jesus said, "Well, your faith has made you whole". And that really gave me a picture and a definition of faith.
Sid Roth: So, when someone says, when the Bible talks about one prayer, only one, that says, "If it be Thy will", what would you say to them?
Larry Sparks: I would say look at Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ; the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus has never changed, and also we see that the Bible says Jesus is the expressed image of the invisible God. What does that mean? It sounds very theological. All it means is that Jesus did everything God showed Him to do. Jesus revealed the perfect will of God. What did Jesus do? He healed all who were sick. He forgave those who had sin. He delivered all who were tormented. Jesus reveals what God's will is, and so you know, Sid, so many people came to Jesus, even in the Gospels, and said, "Master, if it be Your will, heal me". I think of a leper, a man who was stricken with leprosy, who came to Jesus and said, "If it be Thy will", and Jesus said a statement to me that just gives me the answer on this. "If it be Thy will", Jesus said, "I am willing. Be clean". And I believe the same Jesus today, for those of you who are afflicted and sick and just dealing with things that you know it's like, 'This is not God's will for me!' Jesus is speaking to you right now. He says, "I am willing. I am willing to heal. I am willing to deliver. I am willing to remove you from that... take you out of that place of bondage, fear and anxiety". He is willing, Sid. I believe it.
Sid Roth: I have a question. I'm reminded of a young man... you're young already. You're 31, but I mean, before that, a very young man that got burned out on religion, and that's what happened. How in the world do you have passion today? How in the world do you keep pressing in today?
Larry Sparks: There are actually very practical things that I do in my everyday life that help me to sustain passion for God, because I don't feel like this all the time. There are days I'm sure we all feel it; words like, 'I feel like my faith is dry, I don't want to spend time with God, I don't want to spend time in the Word.' I'm just being honest, but what I found, and I teach about this all over the place and I see amazing breakthrough, is that there are keys, that when we do these certain things, that fire for God and that hunger for God is immediately, immediately ignited. For one, connecting with testimony. When we actually connect ourselves, when we read or watch videos or expose ourselves to what God is doing...
Larry Sparks: Oh, it's true! It's true! We need to actually feed on the testimony of God because like you were saying, Sid, we're inundated. We're inundated. This culture is inundated with hopelessness and bad news, but we are supposed to be constantly feeding ourselves, nourishing ourselves on testimonies of God's power, of His healing, of deliverance, because they remind us He's real, and the same God who did in one situation will do again. He'll do it again. Do you know what I find? When someone shares a testimony, what God did for them, other people get it! Yes. It's sort of, like, it's contagious. Tell me some other things we can do. Another thing, very simple, and I'm very grateful God did this for me, is, we need to align ourselves with people of like faith, you know, for those close intimate relationships; our spouse, our best friends, those people that we allow to speak deeply into our lives. They need to be people who are pushing us toward God, not pulling us away from God, because there are days and there have been situations in my life. I know I'm talking about faith here; I've had seasons where I've experienced obstacles and resistance, where I didn't have faith, but my wife had faith and she is the one who just reminded me of God's goodness, of who He is, of what He said. She was a person of strong faith. What...I was dealing with weak faith, and having...
Sid Roth: So we need one another. We need...we're desperate for one another! You teach on declaring and decreeing. What is that? We need to say what God is saying. You know, one definition I give to faith because faith is simply imitating God. What does that look like? There's a very quick process. It starts with intimacy. It doesn't start with a principle. It doesn't start with some formula. It starts with knowing the Father, knowing God, knowing what He's like, being, just, captivated by His beauty and His person. When we know who He is, we spend time in His presence in intimacy, then we become able to imitate Him. We're able to say what He's saying. Our minds become renewed. What does it mean to renew our mind? To think about the things that God thinks about. What does He think about? We just read the Bible. It's filling our mind with the truth of the Word of God. We say what He says, we think what He thinks, and when we speak what He says, Jesus said, "My Words are Spirit, and they are Life". I believe that when we actually speak the Word of God, we're not just stringing together sentences and grammar and verbs and nouns. When we actually speak the Word of God, what He's saying, power is released. "My Words are Spirit, and they are Life".
Sid Roth: I want power released when we come back. Larry is a student of past revivals, and I tell you, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He did then, He wants to do today, and some of these principles have been buried and lost, but we're going to bring them to the surface when we come back. Don't go away.
Sid Roth: I am fascinated by an experience Larry had a couple of years ago, where he had a vision that was life-changing. Tell me about it; where were you?
Larry Sparks: I was at a revival service and the power of God just fell in that place. People were running toward the altar. The Holy Spirit had me run up there as well. I knew He wanted to deposit something into my heart that would change my life. I didn't know what it was at the time, so I was up there and I felt His presence so strongly, Sid, and what happened was, the singer, Lydia Stanley Marrow, was up there. She was singing a prophetic song and over and over again she sang the words 'open up the gates; open up the doors', and as she sang that, the Lord gave me a vision of the mind. I saw this picture in my mind of, like, an old ancient, rusty castle gate and, you know, it was a gate that had bars and there were areas through these bars that stuff could go through, obviously, but it was very limited, but the gate was, like, shut. The gate was down, and as she sang this and as people cried out for God, that's what was happening in this moment. People were crying out for God in hunger and desperation for Him to move, and I saw that that gate would actually rise up based on the intensity of the people's cries for hunger and just desperation for God. So as she sang 'open up the gates' the gate would rise up and I'm like, God, what does this mean? What does this picture of the gate mean? And I felt like the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, "Throughout history, Larry, I have been moving". Throughout history there have been people, men and women, who have actually pressed into the supernatural. Some people think, you know, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit happened in the book of Acts and then maybe it happened years later on the day of, you know, the Azusa Street revival, but there's actually a long history of people, men and women, throughout time who have pressed into God. One person I think of immediately is St. Francis of Assisi. He was a man who modeled Jesus. He knew Jesus' life and ministry was accessible and he just modeled Jesus and saw amazing miracles, signs and wonders. So throughout history this has happened and there have been people who have pressed in for it, but I felt like the gate in our generation was just rising up with an increased speed. Why? Because I feel like, where we are now, there's a company of people, not just one or two or three or four or a monastic community like back in the Middle Ages; there's a whole community and company of people in this generation who are pressing in to experience the supernatural power of God and I just see that gate rising up, so I guess the principle the Holy Spirit showed me was, God's sovereignty has nothing to do with the level of supernatural power that's released into the earth, because so many people think, you know, God's sovereign. If He wants to do this kind of stuff, if He wants to heal the sick, do supernatural miracles, He'll do it. He's always wanted to do it, Sid, since the day of Pentecost.
Sid Roth: As my wife's grandmother used to always say, "God works in mysterious ways". Well, not for His children! Yes. It's mysterious for those that don't know God, so that's why these principles and this understanding, the intimacy and pressing in are so important. Tell me about Kathryn Kuhlman. I know you've studied everyone. She's one of my favorite people.
Larry Sparks: She's one of my favorites as well, here's why. Kathryn Kuhlman, this woman who saw amazing miracles, unprecedented miracles, entire stadiums filled with people where the power of God would break out, she wouldn't even need to touch them! Healing power would just fall on those people. And this woman, I remember hearing her speak to a student body at ORU and she opened up with this prayer and she said, "Lord, there's no one hungrier for more than me, the one who's speaking". And I thought to myself, 'Kathryn! You've seen all these amazing things! Things that so many people in my generation want to see God do, and yet, you're saying you're hungry for more!' And I remember watching that and thinking to myself, she's really a leader who's setting the example because she sees so much of God's activity because she remains in this place where she thinks to herself, there's always more. There's always more. I'm not arriving; I'm not gonna camp out at this one place in God; I'm not gonna just stay here and be content. There's always more of His power and presence to see in my life. Okay.
Sid Roth: You told me before we sat down at the set that God spoke to you last night and told you to pray for people. Do that now.
Larry Sparks: Yeah. Father, I pray right now that whoever is watching, that You would touch them like You touched me when I was 16 years old. God, touch them with Your reality, whether they know You, whether they've prayed for Jesus to be their Lord and Messiah, or whether they don't know You, whether they're saying, 'God, if You're real...' In fact, I believe there are some people who are watching right now and you are literally thinking or saying to yourself, 'God, if You're real, I need You to touch me!' And I believe right now in this moment as we pray, the Holy Spirit is gonna come invade your room and your life, and He's gonna touch you in the same way He touched me and that experience and that encounter is gonna be a place for you to draw life from and faith from and strength from for the rest of your life, and it's gonna keep you going from glory to glory, experiencing more of God than you could ever imagine possible, so Father, I pray right now that the Spirit of God would touch those people who are hungry and saying, 'God, I know You. I know Jesus, but I want more. I want to see Your power and Your presence released in my life in a greater way than I've ever seen.' Touch them, Lord. Release a fresh baptism of fire, Father, and for those who don't know You, God, for those you are curious like I was at 16, curious about You but have never known Your reality, never felt You, never experienced You, they're saying, 'God, if You're there', Holy Spirit, I pray that You'd reveal Jesus the Messiah to them like never before. Touch them even now, God. Touch them, Father, in a spectacular way, in a subtle way, it doesn't matter. It's supernatural, no matter how He touches you, and that encounter will change everything. I believe He's doing that even now in this moment in Jesus' name.
Sid Roth: And I'll tell you something else. Hunger, supernatural hunger is coming through the television and computer, your cell phone, right now, and that hunger will not stop until you have experiential knowledge with the Living God. I tell you, I've had experiential knowledge, and whatever He's done for me, whatever He's done for Larry He's about ready to do for you. Breakthrough Faith now!