Pulling up to the church, the parking lot didn’t give hints to the amount of rockin’ that would be happening later. Finding a spot was easy and signing in – if you hadn’t already pre-registered – was a snap. It was a very casual atmosphere, no rushing or panicking. Just an air of anticipation and excitement whipping in and out of the foyer and sanctuary. Georgian Banov was going to be speaking soon and people were getting antsy – in a good way.
Who’s Georgian Banov? Well, from last night one could assume he’s part comedian, part storyteller, part humanitarian and part evangelist. The guy’s super funny and super Christian. He and his wife, Winnie, help support and run the Casa Betesda orphanage in Nicaragua where kids are literally being saved from the streets and trash dumps. And if this didn’t make you like the guy already, read this little tidbit “borrowed” from the Global Celebration ministry website:
Georgian Banov was born in communist Bulgaria. As a teenager, he was a founding member of the first official rock’n roll band in the country. He escaped the iron curtain and was mightily saved after coming to the United States. It was during the tale end of the Jesus Movement in 1974 that he had a powerful encounter with Christ in Southern California.
Soon after getting saved, he became a leader of a Contemporary Christian band called Silver wind in the1980’s. He was also the co-writer and co-producer of famous children classics such as “Music Machine” and “Bullfrogs and Butterflies, which sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide and earned Dove Awards and Grammy nominations.
Um, how rad is that? First rock band? Well, to be honest, the guy does look like a rocker. He certainly doesn’t appear to be 60+ years of age. His hip outfit and “get up and go” hair is complimented by his skyrocket energy level and zeal to preach the word of God. The man is pretty cool.
Before Mr. Banov was officially introduced and while the worship team was doing their thing on stage, a violin broke into the mix. Now, there is something special – nay, divine – about the tunes that fly off a violin’s strings. Walking up on the stage like his name was on the deed – and if Jesus didn’t already own it, Banov certainly could’ve – he brought out a sweet antique violin and began what turned into an hour-long jam session with the others. Again, there is magic – not the Harry Potter kind – that pours out of a violin. Words that come to mind are: yells, cries, weeps, exclaims, floods, hearkens, pleads, yearns, shouts and proclaims. Yep, the violin’s melody proclaimed that Jesus was there this night. That the Holy Spirit was about to drop in like a nuke and saturate the place. Our very own Santa Claus (Bill Gerrick) put it like this, “I’m anticipating the Holy Spirit to drop big bombs!” Which allows for a nice segue/tangent to…
At the top of the night, a few people were asked to give one word (or two or ten) describing how they felt going into this weekend. Here are the results:
Pastor Randy Speed: “Very supernatural.”
Pastor Carol Speed: “Going to Heaven.”
Pastor Tommy Flood: “Jacked up!”
Pastor Jeremy Rivers: “Woo-Hoo!”
Ashley Philips: “Exhortation.”
Bill Garrick (Santa): “A Brownsville experience.”
Jason Ellis: “God’s moving in a big way and I just want to be in the middle of it.”
Robert Garcia – you may know him as the guy always in a good mood on the front row of every worship service – was asked this question also (but it was already assumed that his one word answer would be “JOY!”) However, that wasn’t the case. Sure he was joy-filled. At a few points during the night, the sermon was stopped just so the microphone could be placed by his mouth to echo his laughter around the sanctuary. The man is a joy fountain. Try not laughing, or at least cracking a smile, around him. For his answer he said (in a nutshell), “There is a climate shift happening.” That worked. And now back to…
While the singers were doing a Jesus Culture cover of “I Want to Know You,” the lead worshiper had a Holy Spirit overload. Or maybe it was a download? Either way she became completely overwhelmed with joy, love, peace, add you our own word (here) and Georgian Banov took this opportunity to red cape it in there and save the day. He started playing that violin and hands shot up like a mix between a Billy Graham altar call and the 7th-inning stretch wave at a Rangers game. People were praising and lifting up their voices to God in an awesome fashion. It was a sight. And the music? Would saying “Heaven sent” be blasphemous? No? Good. Because that’s probably how at least some angels sound.
And after Banov’s violin solo/movement/revival, the crowd was treated to a lead guitar solo. And after that, there was a bass guitar solo. And the whole time, the bass was pumping and the drums had people literally forming a Holy mosh pit/line dance in front of the stage. Banov was down in the crowd slicing the strings with his bow and Pastor Randy was dancing alongside him. The Holy Spirit started a dance party in there and people were getting tipsy on the fumes.
After the music slowed to a simmer, Pastor Tommy was able to get up on stage to do the welcome announcement. Perhaps a little buzzed from the manifestations of the Spirit, he told everyone to, “Take a big drink of the river.” He also talked a bit about how he and Pastor Randy met Georgian Banov years ago how Mr. Banov prayed over him before a missions trip. He said his arms were specifically prayed over so when he gave the unsaved or demon-possessed a hug, the demons would flee like a scared rabbit. And, apparently, they did. Pastor Tommy said several people were delivered from the enemy’s bondage as he hugged them on his trip after being prayed over by the powerfully anointed Mr. Banov. Pastor Tommy concluded that, “Demons don’t like hugs.” Guess not.
Oh, yea…as a gift to the night’s guest speaker, Mr. Banov was presented with a massage gift certificate. It seemed he has suffered back problems of late, what with his globe-hopping and sitting in uncomfortable airplane seats most of the time. The look on Mr. Banov’s face made it seem as if the certificate would be cashed in much sooner than later. He then grabbed the microphone and took over…
…and the quotables started flying. The man should write a book – oh, wait, he has. A pen could run out of ink and a hand out of steam trying to capture all of the good words this man has to say. Luckily, he gave permission to tweet many of them, so that was nice.
The thing became a whirlwind. Like a tornado of the Spirit. We were no longer in Kansas anymore. The best way to report Mr. Banov’s sermon is to list out as many of the one-liner gold nuggets as possible. So here goes, in no particular order due to the swirling effect that went on in the room as they were spoken:
About River of Glory: “I step in a Heavenly realm when I come here. Here I get ministered to!”
About last night’s anointed service: “This is just an appetizer of how protected we are.”
“How can a minister of life be sick?”
“No retirement in the ministry of God’s. It’s called re-fire-ment.”
“We don’t die daily. We LIVE daily.”
“We’re just the donkey that the Lord uses.”
This was funny: “I’ve not met Mr. Dow Jones, but he’s a schizophrenic. Up and down. Up and down. My economy is stable. My economy is in Heaven.”
“We are the spiritual Israel.”
“Joy is essential. Joy is SERIOUS. Joy is the atmosphere of Heaven. The DNA of who you are.”
“We need to raise a generation of absent of the orphan spirit. Not afraid of giants. Every generation will face giants.”
That’s just a taste of what went on when Georgian Banov spoke last night. There were probably double this many essential quotes, but again, the whirlwind…
It was really cool to see the connection between he and our own Pastor Randy Speed. And not just on a friendship/colleague/Men of God level either. Mr. Banov spoke of everyone creating a 40-year plan of how they will impact the world today and the world tomorrow. This mirrors what Pastor Randy has been telling us. Make a plan. Set a goal. The funny – Divine? – thing is, neither one of them mentioned this idea to the other. God was making spiritual connections happen.
As he finished, Mr. Banov starting calling out healing all over the place. Miracles were starting to happen. A pinched nerve in a back disappeared. A left arm was healed. Two thumbs were healed which Mr. Banov remarked to Pastor Randy, “This means two thumbs up for River of Glory!” The Spirit was moving on people and it was cool.
After that, the night came to a close with what Mr. Banov called a “joy tunnel” (fire tunnel + unlimited joy juice = joy tunnel) and the ministry leaders began to anoint people with “joy oil” as they walked through. People literally fell out and others looked like they were stumbling out of a bar at 2AM and they’d been there since open. Eyes were glassy and knees were wobbly. One woman was knocked out cold on the ground with a smile on her face. People were just stepping over her and trying to make it back to their seats to get their stuff. It was a sight for sure.
Best to end this recap of day one of the Presence Conference 2012 at River of Glory with another quote from Georgian Banov:
“He [Jesus] came to take away insufficiency and lack and bury it in the grave.”
He told everyone to put that on Twitter.