AN OLD BUT WONDERFUL MEMORY–"JEPHUNNEH! WAKE UP!"
The older I get--I am now 91--the more cherished my Kingdom Memories become. A special one is in seeing a young Turkish pastor, a former Muslim, racing across an auditorium toward me in Almaty, Kazakhstan, shouting, "Papa! Papa! Papa!" A moment later he grabbed me, lifted me from the floor, and kissed me on both cheeks. It was a "father-son" moment when I was as thrilled as he. We originally met in Moscow when I was traveling with Derek Prince and serving on his Ministry Team. A heart-bond was established between me and this young Turk and our surprise-encounter in Kazakhstan
was an indescribable thrill. He had traveled nearly two-thousand miles, hitch- hiking and riding in hot, over-crowded buses across middle-Asia to attend
Derek’s Conference. Our meeting was a happy surprise for both of us. This kind of father-son bonding began about 1982 soon after my renewal-encounter with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). That happened in 1978 in the Visitor’s Room of the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary when an imprisoned "Ananias" laid-hands on me and I was powerfully filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:10). What followed was awesome, incredible, life-changing! In a short time my ministry exploded with new life, new authority, new purpose.
The following year my wife Laurie and I moved to a new pastorate in Delray Beach, Florida, and it was here early one morning, the Holy Spirit awoke me, shouting the name "Jephunneh" in my ear. I stumbled out of bed, got my Bible, and found a reference to this stranger in Numbers 13:1-20. He was unknown to me. But it was a frightening moment. When I saw the passage I recognized the event and began to weep. Jephunneh was included in the list of 12 spies Moses sent to explore the Promised Land. But! I knew only Caleb and Joshua had been faithful. Every other name was not one of the faithful. "Lord!," I wept, "Are you telling me that I did not pass the test? I am one of the 'rejects'?!" My sense of failure was overwhelming. Finally, I composed myself, read the passage, and was shocked. Jephunneh was not a failed-spy. He was the father of Caleb–one of Israel’s greatest heroes! The Holy Spirit then spoke again: "Jephunneh," He called me, "You are to father My Calebs!" I dropped back on the bed in shock. God wanted me to be a "father" to His Calebs? Incredible!
I already knew that Calebs, ancient or modern, share a common trait: They are men of authority and power. Such men have gone beyond the realm of religious persuasion and are walking in loyalty and commitment. Almost immediately, God began sending young ministers to me. Everywhere I went, in and out of the U.S, pastors like the one in Moscow began bonding to me. I was once boarding a plane in South America at four o’clock in the morning when a young man rushed onto a balcony above me, began waving his arms and shouting, "Papa! Papa! Papa!" I recognized him. Two nights before, he had been powerfully delivered from violent drug addiction at a church where I preached. That night when I laid-hands on him the Holy Spirit fell sovereignly, dramatically, and he left the meeting as a Kingdom-Caleb. It was not I, but Jephunneh who unexpectedly entered his life.
Many of you know and love David Rhea–my Personal Assistant who has traveled with me for the past twenty years. We met in Murphreesboro, Tennessee, in 1999, when local churches asked me to speak at their Citywide
Crusade. David came, experienced the power of God, and we were permanently bonded. A true Caleb, he later wrote me:
"Dear Charles, I am writing a long over-due letter of thanks to you. My words fall short in saying how grateful I am to you and your Ministry. When you took me under-wing in 1999, it started an amazing journey in God and my life has never been the same. From South America, Central America, Ecuador, Peru, to Alaska, Canada, England, and all over the USA, I have watched God touch lives. I saw deliverance, healing, impartation, words of knowledge, take place. The Holy Spirit filled thousands of lives and the Kingdom of God was released to the earth. I have been able to sit under hours of messages of power, wisdom, revelation, the Kingdom, intimacy and fellowship with God. Watching you with your ear nailed to God, listening from heaven; You were careful to release only what you heard from God. This will forever impact my life!
"God knew exactly whom I needed when He brought you–and you have spoken into my life spiritually, educationally, and fatherly. You stood by me in hard times, patiently listening, then giving me words of encouragement and wisdom. You ministered to me in deliverance, impartation of power, words of knowledge, fatherly love, friendship–and the list goes on. You have shown the fruit of Jesus in your life toward me and all those whom you touched. Thank you Charles for supporting me and allowing me to experience this life changing journey with you! As most of your readers know, it was through your prayers and the prayers of others, God brought a beautiful wife into my life: Marelise, from Cape Town, South Africa. We met on a cruise ship with you Charles, Laurie, and your children, and now I have a fourteen year old son, ‘David Migael Rhea.’ Praise be to the Lord!!! I would like to end by saying THANK YOU SO MUCH!, to you, Charles and your Board Members for everything you have been and have done in my life! --- Love to all of you! David, Marelise, and David M. Rhea"
Here is how it happened: David went with me and my family on a Caribbean Cruise, met the Ship’s Gym Instructor, Marelise Petzer, a beautiful Christian girl from South Africa, they married, and are now the parents of a fourteen year old handsome young son, David. This youth is a very brilliant student and talented pianist; the family lives in Boca Raton, Florida, not far from me. Another "Caleb" is Shane O’Conner, an Elder in the Church of Christ, in Memphis, Tennessee. His letter explains: "Charles. I loved being on the phone with you this morning catching up on Kingdom happenings (and hugs)! It was wonderful remembering our first meeting back in March of 1994 at the Holiday Inn Medical Center in Midtown Memphis. You came in town to lead a three-day conference on the Holy Spirit. I had never been to a meeting like that in my life. I listened to your message Wednesday night, running it through my Church of Christ/Seminary Degree/book, chapter-and-verse mental filters.
I found nothing "suspect" in your message, on the contrary, it was quite faith- building. When you were through, you pointed to my wife and me and said:
"That couple right there." I surmised you wanted to pray for us, which was fine with me, so we went to the front.
"In front of about two hundred people, you first gently prayed for my wife, then moved to me. I don’t remember your touching me, but I do remember that the next thing I was lying flat on my back on the floor of the Holiday Inn ballroom looking up at the fluorescent lights in the ceiling, thinking: "What in the world just happened?! What am I doing on the floor?!" and ‘I don’t believe in this stuff!’ Meaning: I didn’t believe in tangible demonstrations of the power of God (Since they ceased with the death of the last original apostle according to my cessationist theology). Well, I got up in a few minutes and determined that I would return the next night intending to pepper you with questions about the incident.
"When I arrived the next night, you saw me down a hallway and said: ‘Brother, would you help with the ministry tonight?,’ and then you disappeared into a side room. I asked the fellow hosting the Conference what you meant and he told me that you would like for me to help break people’s falls if the Spirit so moved on them. Needless to say, I felt quite out of place as I assisted breaking the falls of dozens of people who responded to your message that night!
"I wasn’t able to catch up with you that night, so, I returned the third night, with a robust list of questions, determined to corner you and to get some answers. Well, around 10 pm as I thought things were winding down, I saw you across the ballroom and headed your way. You saw me coming towards you and with a great big smile on your face you lifted your hands in my direction from about 20 feet away and the next thing I knew I was down on my face, on the carpet, in the ballroom at the Holiday Inn. No sooner had I hit the floor than a flood of belly-laughter began pouring out of me from the depths of my being. I lay there for about 45 minutes in non-stop laughter. I lay there in a pool of slobber (from all the laughter), carpet fuzz between my teeth, experiencing being "Filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" (1 Peter 1:8.) I experienced first hand Psalm 126:2 "Our mouths were filled with laughter..."
"That evening opened a glorious new dimension for me in my walk with our Lord. The blinders were taken off and I came to learn about the Kingdom of ‘power’ that Jesus brought, experiencing new life and power in my personal life and in my ministry to others. I cherish the personal friendship you and I have developed through the years, your influence in my life, and the example you set for me in your unquenchable desire for MORE of Him. Love you!" — Shane
That weekend Shane and I united in the Juphenneh-bond. In illustrating this bond and how it has sometimes worked, I share the following note from John Arnott, founding pastor at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship in Canada. The congregation is now known as "Catch The Fire." John is referring to the Word, Spirit, Power, Conference, Jack Taylor, R.T. Kendall, and I, conducted there years ago–this was in conjunction with their annual Pastors Conference. Hear this: Nearly 3,000 Church Leaders from 63 nations worldwide were present. Afterward, John wrote: "Charles, share this with your readers: ‘Wow! What a week we had at our Annual Pastor’s Conference in Toronto with R.T. Kendall, Jack Taylor, and Charles Carrin. We truly had the Word, Spirit, and Power. R.T. was outstanding with his preaching, Jack Taylor was amazing with his silver-tongued oratory, and Charles blew the meeting away with the power of the Holy Spirit–putting most of the place on the floor and under the power of God. Many were saying that it was the best Pastor’s Conference ever. All glory and praise to God!" --- John Arnott
What happened in my part of the ministry at Toronto was the "Jephunneh- Presence." This came with "signs and wonders." ( New "Calebs" left the
Conference with greater anointing, zeal, and power. Best of all, they returned home capable of ministering to others in the same power of the Spirit that had come upon them. In a far-lessor way and which I mention guardedly, we experienced the example of Elijah and Elisha (II Kings 2:11). When the old prophet was taken to Heaven the young one claimed his fallen-mantle. Hear this testimony–another from that wonderful event in Toronto:
"Dear Charles, I want to tell you how much you blessed me in Toronto. You came to the row where I was sitting with folks from my church and when you touched my forehead the power of the Holy Spirit hit me like lightning striking a tree. A little while later you came back through our whole row. Once again, the power of the Holy Spirit hit me, I fell, and found my hand clinched and extending like I was holding a sword. You prayed over me for a very long time. When you finished I felt if you had not stopped I would have died! ... We met again the next day when you were coming down the aisle before the
morning session. You greeted me again--and the power of the Holy Spirit came once more. I and the floor became ‘one’ for a period of time ... I can’t thank you enough for your ministry in Toronto! It greatly blessed me! I needed a power-encounter with the Living God ..."
At age 91, I am no longer traveling internationally, my mantle has fallen, and many have claimed it. God is now using them in miraculous signs and wonders. Calebs are still found from Kazakhstan to Argentina, Africa to Alaska, and other remote parts of the world. Many are scattered across the U.S. and God is using them in miraculous "signs and wonders." I am a father to numerous pastors, have become a great-grand-father in my own family and now say with the Apostle Paul, "I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand ..." (2 Timothy 4:6). From a more modern source I relate to the hymn writer who shouted joyously:
"I know I’m near the holy ranks /Of friends and kindred dea I brush the dew on Jordan’s banks/The crossing must be near! O, come angel band/Come and around me stand, O bear me away on your snowy wings/To my immortal home!
Best of all, I believe I can say with the Apostle Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me that day and not to me only but to all who love His appearing" (II Timothy 4:7). AMEN!