As guardians of local churches, shepherds have been entrusted with such a great responsibility. They can either be a lock or a key to opening the door to the move of the Spirit of God in their midst. The Word of God is our foundation, but the Holy Spirit supplies the life. The more we follow the leading of the Spirit the greater will be the life flow in our meetings.
The only way to see a turnaround in many local churches today is to focus first on personal and leadership renewal, and then congregational renewal. Let everything else be subservient to that order, including our mission and structure. What happens, though, is we usually work this in reverse. We establish our mission and structure and then attempt to breathe life into it, instead of following the life of the Spirit and then facilitating that life with the necessary structure. There is a world of difference between these two approaches. Unless renewal happens first, all is in vain.
These two approaches are like the difference between a powerboat and a sailboat mentality. A powerboat runs on the human fuel of education, leadership books, programs, going to seminars and conferences, and fine-tuning systems of the church, but a sailboat is dead in the water if the wind doesn’t blow. Being a sailboat is difficult for the program-oriented, “bigger is better” – American culture activist, but it is the only way to glory.
Let us endeavor to be sailboats for the glory of God. Be encouraged, He will not disappoint those who put their trust in Him.
In 2009 I was ministering in Gambia West Africa. In one of the meetings as the saints broke out in dancing and joy a demon possessed young man was struck by the power of God on the streets next to the facility. He froze and couldn’t move. Finally the men brought him into the meeting and we cast the evil spirit out of him and ministered salvation and the Holy Ghost to him.
As I interviewed this young man named Thomas afterwards, I became fascinated with his testimony. For 12 years he’d been under the spell of Satan. From a very young age demons unveiled the spirit world to him as degree by degree they possessed him.
I asked Thomas many questions and I will not elaborate on the entire interview I had with him, but I want to enforce one main point that was very compelling to me. I asked him if he’d ever sought to be delivered from these demons. He told me that he’d visited many churches, but none could help him. As a matter of fact, instead of being helped the demons in Thomas often hurt the amateur exorcists.
For example, in the largest Chrismatic church in the country the demon in Thomas slapped the pastor and ransacked his office, repeatedly telling him that this church had no power to set him free. “All this church does is talk about money and they don’t live holy.” the demon said. Can you believe a demon said that? Demons know churches. Demons know men. “Jesus I know, Paul I know, but who are you?” (Acts 19)
This incident made me wonder: How many of our churches are really a threat to Satan’s kingdom? Many do not even believe in the supernatural. Others profess to believe in it, but have no works to show for it. And still there are others who are just talking to themselves.
Jimmy Horton was a frontline soldier in the Vietnam War. While engaged in combat he often thought of how he longed to hear a tongue and interpretation. You see, Jimmy was from a Spirit filled church back home in America where they had constant manifestations of these things. The other gifts of the Holy Spirit were in operation there, too. When is the last time you witnessed a tongue and interpretation in a meeting?
Pastors will often tell you that these things happen as the Spirit wills. If your church hasn’t had these manifestations in 10 or 20 years, it’s not because the Spirit hasn’t been willing. The problem is on the receiving end.
Some say, “you can’t turn these things on and off!” But I have found from experience that the Holy Spirit is always on. The question should be: “Are YOU on or off?
How much value do you place on these things? In a day when church leaders are moving into a seeker-friendly type of philosophy, true Pentecost is no longer held in high esteem. I asked an old time Pentecostal minister what he thought of seeker-friendly churches, and he frankly told me that he thought it was a slap in God’s face. It’s telling God that we don’t need His precious gifts to get the job done. It’s telling God that we can do it by ourselves and we don’t need His help.
Jesus told the late Kenneth Hagin that if the move of the Spirit is not passed on to this next generation it will be lost. Let’s wake up to this light and walk therein! Get turned on because the Holy Ghost is always on!!!