Sozo and Shabar

Quite frequently in my blog posts, you’ll hear me talking about Sozo ministry. Occasionally, I’ll talk about Shabar as well. Sozo is a Greek word meaning “Healed, Saved, and Delivered.” Shabar is Hebrew for “Brokenhearted.”

______________________________________________________

Started in Bethel Church, Sozo is a deliverance ministry based on a lot of forgiveness. The leader of the Sozo session will use learned tools and direction from Holy Spirit to facilitate a conversation between whomever is receiving the Sozo, and God Himself.

One of our teams in Olympia developed a tool we refer to as Sozo Plus, an exercise that isn’t included in a normal sozo. Before, we would jump right into trying to get the sozo-ee to talk to Father God, something that most people find intimidating and even impossible!

Now, we start out the Sozo by telling the Sozo-ee to close his or her eyes and picture an apple; once they see the apple, they are to picture taking a big bite out of it. Then you have them open their eyes and describe the experience. How big was the apple? What color? Was it crisp or mushy, mealy or watery, or juicy? Sweet, sour, bitter or bland?

What they don’t realize is that they’re hearing from Holy Spirit, even then! The apple represents the quality of their life. If the apple is big, shiny, red and crisp and sweet, then they are at a really good season in their life right now where they can enjoy the fruit of their own sweetness and characteristics. Sometimes, the apple will be mealy or watery, which simply means that God wants to either add some doctrine (water) or experiential substance (more ‘meat’ in the apple).

Next, you have your sozo-ee picture a dog. The dog represents Jesus. You have them pay close attention to what the dog’s attitude is, how they feel about the dog, whether he’s excited or calm, and how close they are in relation to him. Typically at the beginning of a Sozo, the dog will be really excited, jumping up and down and wagging his tail. This is Jesus saying, “I want to be close to you! I just want to be your friend! Let me in!” The marvelous thing that typically happens by the end of a Sozo is that when you take them back to the scene with the dog, he is right up close against them, happy and calm—which signifies that the person and Jesus had an encounter, and now Jesus is content with their friendship.

The third thing you have the sozo-ee picture, is a bird—which, of course, represents Holy Spirit. It’s so exciting, what different people see! Some people see robins that turn into eagles, eagles that turn into bluebirds, seagulls, or doves. The most common thing they see is that the bird is far off, flying, not making a sound. This usually means that they don’t really have much of a relationship with Holy Spirit, that He’s just some distant, intangible spirit that we can’t grab ahold of.

______________________________________________________

By the time you introduce the sozo-ee to the apple, dog, and bird, they have been fully plugged into Holy Spirit by their imagination. Before this exercise was revealed to a Sozo team by Holy Spirit, Sozo ministers had a difficult time getting past the lie so many people believe of, “I can’t hear God,” or “I can’t see Him,” or even, “I can’t feel Him.” Holy Spirit starts speaking to the person in your session the moment it begins, just because of your intent and the anointing on you.

You begin the Sozo session by having Holy Spirit take the person to a safe place. This is done simply by having them repeat after you, “Holy Spirit, will you take me to a safe place?” This can be a bedroom, a favorite vacation spot, or even someplace imaginary that they have never seen before. From there, you have them invite Father God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit into their safe place one by one.

______________________________________________________

Here’s the funny thing about relationships: Our relationships with the Godhead will always be reflected by our relationships with people in our lives. For example, how we see Father God will either be enhanced or distorted by our relationship with our birth father. How we see Jesus is influenced by our relationships with our siblings, cousins, friends, or spouse. How we see Holy Spirit is a reflection of our relationship with our birth mother.

So when a sozo-ee asks Father God to join them, and Father God makes Himself evident as the sun in the sky in their safe place, it’s usually indicative that their birth father was very distant, lofty-thinking, much smarter than they were, et cetera. So from there, you lead the person into asking, “Father God, is there anything I need to forgive my father for?” Holy Spirit will tell them Yes or No, and if the answer is Yes, you have them ask, “What is it?” He will tell them, show them a memory they need to forgive, and they forgive it, renounce a lie about God that resulted from that incident, and then they get to receive their healing and a special gift from Father God.

______________________________________________________

You repeat this process with Jesus and Holy Spirit for as long as there is time (Sozo sessions generally go about 2 hours).

There are several other tools to Sozo that I will likely talk about in a later post, but this is enough background for now. It’s amazing how much healing people get with just that!

______________________________________________________

Shabar Ministry is a form of Advanced Sozo. If a person can’t see Father God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit—if you are coming up against what feels like a brick wall, and can’t get any ground—chances are, you need to move into Shabar.

The concept of Shabar is that oftentimes, when we are children, if we experience a trauma that we aren’t meant to handle or understand, a coping mechanism like a spare tire comes out and allows that child to function and keep going. But if the issue of the trauma isn’t addressed and the child doesn’t receive healing, that spare tire will stay out even as the child grows older. How many of you know that a car doesn’t run well on a spare tire for extended periods of time? So often, the people around us are running on a spare tire from a childhood trauma that they don’t know how to get rid of.

______________________________________________________

An extreme form of this that is easiest to understand is the concept of schizophrenia, or multiple personality disorder, or various forms of bipolar/mania. I dealt with this with my husband back when we were dating (and this was before I knew any kind of Sozo or Shabar Ministry, so I had no idea how to handle it).

What happened with Levi was that, as a result of the traumas that had occurred in his life (being forcefully separated from his mom at birth, and his parents divorcing two years later), a part of his spirit was literally fractured. Part of him was able to grow and mature and develop at the normal rate a child should, but there was a part of him that stayed at that level of a very small, very frightened child. There would be times that seemed random, where the smallest and most insignificant things (to me) would trigger these enormous breakdowns. The Levi I knew vanished and I had no idea how to get him back. In his place was a terrified little boy who didn’t know how to handle the grown-up world around him in his grown-up body.

______________________________________________________

When someone in Sozo is unable to progress in seeing God, or if they start manifesting (like the trigger I mentioned above) during a session, you guide them back to a safe place and you start speaking to the child that’s broken inside them. You have them ask, “Father God, is there a little girl/boy you want to heal?” Holy Spirit will tell them Yes or No, and if it’s Yes, then they ask, “Father God, show me the little girl/boy.” You have the sozo-ee pay special attention to what the little girl or boy is wearing, what they are doing, how they feel, et cetera.

Typically, the first question you have them ask beyond that is, “Father God, what does the little girl/boy need?” Or you could go a roundabout way and say, “Father God, how does the little girl/boy feel about you?” But eventually you get to the point where you have them ask Father God what the child needs, and if the child would be okay with Father God coming near to give them what they need. Tremendous healing happens as a result of this—the testimonies are endless, but no words can describe what happens in these sessions.

So, there you have it. A little (and I do mean little) background on the Sozo and Shabar ministry that I am privileged to be a part of. Hopefully this will give you some good context for what I reference in my posts, and I’m always open to answering questions about it.

Advertisements

This is What Religion Does

My husband is now without his laptop charger.

It’s tragic, but we’re making do. In the autopsy of the deceased charger cord, we discovered that he cause of death was that it had been wrapped tightly around itself (for convenient, space-saving storage) one time too many. The wiring within the rugger cord, once flexible and malleable, had conformed to its forced reshaping following repeated strain to the same spot—primarily around the base of where the cord emerged from the power supply.

After some gentle tsking, and with redoubled efforts to keep my eye open for anything similar that my electronics were falling prey to (wrapping my earbuds around my iTouch, winding the vacuum cord tightly around its neat spindle), I got to thinking deep about the entire situation.
______________________________________________________

All of a sudden, the thought, “This is what religion does” popped into my head. Seizing the opportunity for potentially hours of internal dialogue, I took the bait and followed this thought down the rabbit hole of relevant allegorical anecdotes. All right, I’ll bite, I thought. How is this anything like what religion does?

I will explain—but first, some context.

______________________________________________________

According to Dictionary.com, the simplest definition of the word  religion is “adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices.”

In the revival culture we see happening in circles like Bethel and the Promise Church, religion is a bad word that leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It’s not a pleasant note to the rest of society, either. Many scoff at the idea of religion in general, though many of those same people would attest to the value of embracing faith.

In this revival culture, religion is less of a synonym for Christianity or Islam or the denomination you prescribe to. It’s rather a label we like to stick on “The Box.”
______________________________________________________

“The Box” is our paradigm. It’s our perspective. It’s the lens through which we see our world. We all have a Box—or are in the process of obliterating it through the renewing of our minds.

Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

“The Box” is something that is formed by our experiences, our “normals” of childhood, our personalities, our friends, our churches, our favorite foods—you name it. It’s how we define ourselves. It’s how we protect ourselves from the world around us—and how we justify doing so.

Contrary to popular belief, we all have a “religion,” for religion is simply the prescription of everyday activities. It may have nothing to do with spirituality, and it may have everything to do with it. Most of us are religious about brushing our teeth at least twice a day, sleeping at least four hours a night, wearing clothes and shoes when we go outside, having our thermostats above a certain temperature…you could go on forever. But this is religion.
______________________________________________________

Religion is comfortable.
It’s routine.
It’s trustworthy.
It’s safe.

And it’s harmless…or is it?

Because according to Holy Spirit, religion has the potential to destroy us from the inside out.

When my husband wound his laptop cord around the power supply time after time, he was simply following a routine he had established early on. Wrapping the cord in this fashion made it compact and lovely to look at, rather than a tangled mess. It made it easy to store and didn’t take up much space.

But over the two and a half years he’s had his laptop, this practice has slowly worn away at the inner workings of his charger cord—until at last, as of this past weekend, the connection between the power supply and the inner workings of the cord were severed completely.

All from the inside out.

All unseen.

______________________________________________________

This is what religion does. It insulates us from thinking outside our box. It keeps us from thinking up creative solutions, encouraging us to instead follow the comfort of our routine.

On the outside, it’s very neat and tidy-looking, and there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong.

But internally, bit by bit, religion turns what once was flexible into hard-edged corners, wearing down the connection to our primary power source until eventually it is choked out completely.

______________________________________________________

I’m not intending this for condemnation. I’m not targeting this at anyone. In fact, I would not be spending so much time entertaining this thought if it was not relevant to me personally.
Which should tell you that I struggle with this.
A lot.

And here’s what saves me from becoming discouraged about knowing that I have so much room to grow: knowing that, because of how God has designed us for community, if I am struggling with an issue, I likely am not the only one in my sphere of influence who needs encouragement in this area.

In short, you, precious reader, are my inspiration and my encouragement. To know that I have such a network of support, that I’m not just journaling to nobody but that I have readers who are fed and take away things of value from what I learn—is priceless, and such an honor.

But I digress.

______________________________________________________

Jesus described spiritually religious people as tombs washed white.

Matthew 23:27 – For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.

Note, He wasn’t talking to people who were living immoral lifestyles. He was talking to the people who claimed to know and represent God. The people who appeared to be upright and holy, but who were internally dead.

______________________________________________________

The challenge I leave you with today is to think outside your box. Do you wrap your charger cord the same way every time you’re done using your laptop? What do you do when confronted with an uncomfortable situation—do you recluse, or do you embrace the opportunity for growth?

I’m not going to make up any scenario questions to get you thinking, “Is this me?” because I think this applies to all of us. We could all use a self-checkup on how we’re doing, to see if we’re holding ourselves back in any area by our comfort zones and our routines—our religion.

Part II: Are you Hungry?

Click here for part 1.

______________________________________________

The enemy will try his hardest to make us believe that obedience will never be worth the sacrifice of favorable public opinion. He will try to cripple us into thinking that disciplining ourselves to God’s ways will make us weak.

This is exactly right. Welcome back to the inside-out, upside-down Kingdom principles.

______________________________________________

I’ll reiterate: The only way God can be made mighty in you is if you are made weak.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I blog about this passage a lot. Every topic I write on, it comes up and becomes more and more relevant to my life personally. It is truly alive for this season of spiritual growth, and is central to the gospel itself.

In our weakness, God is made stronger.

______________________________________________

In the world, when you train for an athletic event, you discipline yourself rigorously. You starve your body of excess things you don’t need–only what’s needed for nutrition and rebuilding is allowed in.

Exercising your body beyond yesterday’s limits creates microscopic tears in the muscle tissue; it is the repairing of these tears that allows for the muscle’s growth.

In the Kingdom, when we rigorously discipline our minds, we emphasize more time spent in our prayer closets. Our daily bread is the Word of God, and our water is prayer. Worship is our oxygen. We fast, depriving our flesh of indulgence, literally starving to death the part of us that is “me.”

Anything to make room for more of Him.

______________________________________________

You make time for what's important.

As we devote more and more time to feeding our spirit, we become aware of how much of our time before was spent on indulging our impulses and making excuses about how we “didn’t have time” to pray and read our Bibles.

In these times, we realize that all our excuses are silenced in the face of a stern but simple truth: You make time for what’s most important to you.

Proverbs 27:17 – One who is full will refuse honey from the comb, but to one who is hungry, every bitter thing is sweet.


This is one of the most crucial verses for revival. Pastor Bill mentions it often to the church as a whole, but I would like to grab hold of this on a deeply personal level. We  can’t have corporate, large-scale revivals unless we have individuals who are hungry.

______________________________________________

Hunger motivates.

When you’re hungry, living from simplicity and not out of gluttony and clutter, every little thing that comes your way is a special gift, something that feeds your spirit. Many times in theological discussions and kung-fu movies, the phrase “You can’t fill a glass that is already full” gets tossed around, and it’s very true.

How can we come to God and ask for Him to fill us up if we don’t take the time to empty ourselves and just get hungry?

Pastor Mark Venti from Generation Church illustrates prayer as the process of emptying ourselves of the world in God’s presence. It’s a spiritual cleanse that purges us of the junk food we eat in our everyday lives, the stuff that’s impossible to escape from, and allows us to be hungry for the good stuff: Him.

A year ago, when I was first really digging deep into the Christian walk, my spiritual father sat me and a few friends down to start watching a series by John Bevere. In the introduction, John contrasts physical hunger to spiritual hunger. He says that when your physical body becomes hungry, your stomach growls. Your blood sugar is low. Survival kicks in, and all you can think about is getting food into that belly to satisfy the hunger pains.

But when your spirit is hungry, it gets quiet. It withdraws.

Only when you begin to feed your spirit will it start marking noise. It’s a peculiar and unexpected aspect that capitalizes on the importance of paying attention to how we’re feeling. In a sense, it’s like we need to constantly monitor our spiritual heart rate, to come and do checkups on our spiritual health.

I believe that’s partly what church is for, though we ideally would be in a place where it’s a daily self-examination as well.

______________________________________________

Reader, I challenge you: Take some time to examine yourself. Are you hungry? What would you do for a word from Papa God, right now? What’s He saying?

One of the biggest symptoms that lets me know if I need to fill up my tank is if I don’t feel like getting close to Him. If I feel like I’m not poor in Spirit.

If I feel like I’m satisfied, I know there’s something wrong.
______________________________________________

God is big enough that it’s possible to never have all of Him. If I think I’ve spent too much time in worship or in the Word, or if I feel like there’s a more important priority, then I’m letting God be second. I realize that I’ve been eating the rich foods of the Babylonian king’s table without coming in hungry simplicity to eat from the Most High King’s table.

Without hunger to drive us, we risk the danger of slowing our pace to a trudge. Without hunger, we risk forgetting that our mission is to those who are starving.

Without hunger to motivate us, we forget why we are even running in the first place.

Philippians 3:14 – I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.