WHERE HAVE THE POWERFUL MOVES OF THE SPIRIT GONE?

A wind blew through the building and in an instant every sinner and backslider came to God, every sick person was healed, and everyone was filled with the Spirit.

A light bulb flash went off in the church. Everyone saw it. Suddenly several people were down at the altar. No one knew how they got there. It was evident that they were trans-located.

A cloud rolled into the meeting place. As soon as it did everyone fell on their faces and began to pray.

A lady praised the Lord and danced right off the platform into mid-air and stayed there for a few seconds and continued dancing.

History records that within 50 miles of Maria-Woodworth Etter’s meetings people fell under the power and became stiff as boards. They would then have to be carried to the meeting to be touched and loosed.

In one meeting in 1936 at Shepherds hill outside Louisville, Ky hundreds of people were genuinely slain in the spirit laying all over the area outside. The breadman drove up and saw hundreds weeping, others speaking in tongues, others still and prostrate, while others were rolling crying out to God. The breadman turned around and drove down as fast as he could.

Just one glance or look from historic revival giants like Smith Wigglesworth and Charles Finney would convict sinners of their sin.

Not only did men of old manifest Christ through their eyes, but they also kept their tongues under the power of God as they spoke forth the revelation of the Spirit through divinely inspired utterances.

Other times they were stuck dumb by the Spirit and couldn’t speak at all.

George Whitfield preached in the open air in Boston where thousands would gather. Youth would climb trees to better see and hear the preacher. He would tell them to come down so they would not fall and get injured when the power of God would start moving. Without Whitfield or anyone laying hands on people they fell under the power of God all over the grounds.

There have been historic accounts of people falling into a trance with their physical senses suspended as they stood frozen like a statue for hours or even days. Multitudes would come from miles around to see it. It was a sign and a wonder of God’s power in manifestation.

In the Bible men like Peter and Paul experienced trances.

Saul, one of the greatest persecutors of the Church saw a glorious blinding light, was knocked off his high horse, blinded for 3 days, and became one of the greatest apostles to ever live, writing a large portion of the New Testament.

Throughout Church history and past revivals not only did men often shake under the power of God, but in the beginnings of the Church age buildings shook.

Earthquakes opened prison doors and loosed prisoners from their chains.

A couple was struck dead in a church meeting for lying to the Holy Ghost.

Men were struck blind for trying to hinder the gospel.

The dead were raised.

Angels appeared.

Miracles of healing and deliverance were common.

Here is a recent testimony from a post I commented on in Facebook that speaks of not only the powerful moves of the Spirit in days of old but of the Word they preached.

“These men and women of old knew nothing of the extensiveness of error in the cotton candy gospel of today. They nipped it in the bud. They stated without apology that without holiness we won’t see the Lord. They knew scripture far better than today’s Bible professors. Sister Pauline Parham, the daughter in law of Charles Parham, told me in Dallas in the early 80s that the old preachers knew the Word far better than the new generation, and powerful moves of the Spirit not seen today were common.”

Why aren’t we seeing this kind of power and unusual signs and wonders in and through the Church today? For one, we are not preaching the real gospel and the vital themes of the New Testament. Isn’t it interesting that the top three television preachers in America no longer mention the cross, the blood, and hell in their preaching? That is the first time this has happened in American history.

I believe the second reason we are not seeing the power of God in manifestation in a great measure is due to a lack of consecration and Holy Spirit filled prayer.

At this critical point and juncture in our nation the power of God is the only thing that will change it and alter its course.

ONE BIG REASON SPIRITUAL PEOPLE ARE LEAVING CHURCHES

“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4-5).

A solid and stable friend of mine has left three churches in the last decade. She attended all of them for a period of time and then left.

In the first church, the pastor stopped having guest ministers in and the church began to dry up.

In the second church, there was a small stirring of the Spirit for awhile, but then the church turned to the seeker friendly philosophy and tongues were confined to the back room.

In the third church, again it was alright for some time, but then the leadership began to move in a different direction and incorporate modern church growth principles and Madison Avenue tactics that grieved the Holy Spirit, and everything changed. Soon greasy doctrines slid into the church. She had no choice but to leave again.

To those really seeking to encounter God, soon the fancy stage, the bright lights, the cool bands, and the video screens, just become white noise to them. They want Spirit and fire.

There was a season in Catherine Booth’s life, the wife of Salvation Army founder William Booth, where she visited different churches in her area “looking for burning words”.

Smith Wigglesworth had a similar experience where the Spirit kept telling him to come out of dead works and dead churches. He continued to move with God throughout his entire life.

One day a youth leader made an appointment with his pastor to discuss the implementation of a new program for the young people. The pastor, a deeply spiritual man, listened patiently. After the young man finished talking, the pastor responded with these words: “Mom (his wife) and I have found over the years that prayer, the Word, and moving in the gifts of the Holy Spirit have always got the job done.”

Think about these examples. The same thing is happening today. When pastors and church leaders fail to follow the plan of God some people leave because they are not being spiritually fed and fulfilled. Sometimes they cannot even articulate the reason they are leaving. They may tell you it’s because of the music, or the preaching, or the youth and children’s programs, but the underground reason may be because they are not encountering God any more.

I’ve read articles and exit polls about the many reasons people leave their churches, but most of them are surface reasons. They make it so complex and complicated causing more pastors and church leaders to continue re-hashing over the many ideas they could implement to increase their numbers. But is that what it’s really about? The numbers? The Catholics have numbers; the Muslims have numbers; the Mormons have numbers. I would rather have 300 hungry-for-God people than 3,000 who want to be entertained.

Think about the many revivals throughout church history. Think about the ministers God has used to pioneer some of those revivals. It was the presence and power of God in these meetings and on these ministers that drew the people. Throughout history people have always craved the supernatural. I know that the local church also caters to people’s natural lives and natural needs, and cannot be run like a revival. But the people also need continual renewals and re-fillings of the Holy Spirit.

If the presence and power of God are in manifestation and people still leave, what of it? Do you really want those kind of people in your church? Conversely, I know many spiritual people who are exiting their churches for lack of rain. They are not leaving due to offense or pride. They are not backsliding and leaving God, but they are leaving deadness, lightness, and superficiality. There is a cry in God’s people for the waters of the Spirit and fresh new wine.

My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.” (Ps. 63:2-3)

It is amazing what leaders can build and do without God, especially right here in America. But that doesn’t mean that God’s stamp of approval is on what you are building or doing. Divine power can only manifest when there is an end to self-sufficiency. If you become lukewarm and stop hungering and thirsting for the Spirit you will become a disappointment to God. I don’t care how big of a building or how many people attend your church.

I love the local church. I love pastors who truly lay down their lives for the people they serve. I believe the local church to be the hope of the world. But God wants to move. He has a plan. He has a purpose. And if we don’t line up with it He has no choice but to move where He finds His people and His leaders hungering for His presence and power.

I have a pastor friend who is leading a thriving church. The adults, the youth, and the children are on fire there. He has several guest speakers and at least two revivals every year. There is an expression in his church of a diversity of the Holy Spirit’s ministries and manifestations that is rare today. He is a man of love and prayer and he listens to the Lord. By today’s standards he is unconventional in that he refuses to compromise prayer, the Word, and the moving of the Holy Spirit and implement the newest church growth programs or the latest fads.

In the Spirit not too long ago my wife and I saw this church on the tipping point of even far greater things than they have seen. We stopped by recently during an extended road trip and they had a guest speaker who was still ministering to people at 2:00 in the afternoon on Sunday (they start at 10:30 am). They have constant revival because there is liberty in the Spirit for the Lord to do what He wants to do. This church is producing spiritual people and not clock watchers and time servers.

Pentecostal meetings use to be called the gate of heaven because of all the manifestations of the Spirit and power of God they had.  Testimonies of changed lives were frequent. These churches were known for tongues and power. One of the big reasons we are not seeing the power and the glory of God in many of our churches today is because we don’t pray in tongues long enough until the Holy Spirit can take hold with us and give birth to these things.

Oh, people of God! Oh, ministers of the Lord! May we come to the end of our own wisdom, strength, and sufficiency!

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).

The apostle Paul was careful to place the focus of the people he ministered to on the power of God and not on the wisdom of men. He did not want to bring attention to his own persuasive words or enticing speech. He did not want people to place their confidence on man’s  ability, or charisma and personality. There was nothing in his ministry that was natural. With fear and trembling he sought to make Christ manifest everywhere he went.

Too many of you live too much in the natural, and you’ve lost the glory. Get back in the Spirit. May we fall on our face and pray, and let the Spirit of God have His way.

 

WILL THE REAL HOLY GHOST PLEASE STAND UP?

“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.(1 Cor. 2:4-5)

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim. 2:2)

There are real demonstrations of the Spirit and then there are also demonstrations of the flesh. The body of Christ has got to learn the difference. There will be a move of the Spirit that will be lost to this present generation if it is not passed on through precept and example by those who know something about it.

One time a young believer prophesied: “Don’t be scared my children, but if you are scared, that’s okay, because I get scared sometimes myself.”

Now that prophecy is easy to judge, isn’t it? It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

Here is an excerpt of another prophecy that someone once gave: “I have no other church like this church. And I’ve put you on a pedestal for the world to see how great you are.”

That one is also easy to judge. A true prophecy will never exalt a church or a man like that to where they think so highly of themselves. And not all prophecy is from heaven to earth, or “thus saith the Lord” utterances. Much of prophecy is from earth to heaven.

For example, speaking or singing in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost is prophecy. This is something every believer should be doing in their prayer life. Also, preaching by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost has an element of prophecy in it. I’ve preached nearly entire messages that were by the spirit of prophecy.

There is more error in the utterance gifts because we initiate those gifts. They are supposed to be initiated by the unction of the Holy Ghost, but many do not know the difference between the anointing and their own emotions or mind.

Many of today’s prophecies draw attention to the greatness of a man. We don’t see that in the New Testament. Go through the book of Acts and tell me where you find that. True prophecy will edify, exhort, and comfort us and glorify God, not glorify man. There is no reverence for God in a word that magnifies and draws attention to man.

Lack of true reverence for God is one of the problems in the Church today. There is a lightness and a casualness in many of our gatherings. People come in late. They move around or leave casually during the meeting. There have been times over the years when I’ve been preaching or prophesying under the anointing of the Spirit and people get distracted or restless and start moving around. Even as a former Catholic I had more reverence for God than that.

A hip-hip hooray, clap happy attitude is dissipating the presence and power of God from our midst.

It’s difficult sometimes to impart that understanding to people. The old-time Pentecostals knew something about the deeper move of the Spirit. This new generation of Pentecostals and modern Charismatics know almost nothing about the real depth of the move of God’s Spirit. Instead of cooperating with the Spirit of God people often hinder Him. We need to be sensitive.

Years ago one Sunday I was visiting my parents church and while sitting in the congregation the Spirit of God came on me to dance. I don’t usually dance unless I’m really prompted to by the Spirit. The seats were close together so I stepped out in the aisle and began to dance. A person sitting behind me got up and tapped me on my shoulder and told me he couldn’t see the words of the song on the screen because I was blocking his view. As soon as he did that the Spirit of God just flew away like a bird and I lost the unction to dance. If that person was sensitive he would’ve been dancing himself.

Dancing in the Spirit brings God’s presence and a refreshing to a congregation. It is not only the person dancing that gets blessed but those in the meeting who are in the Spirit also get blessed. There’s a heavenly fragrance that goes out over the whole crowd sometimes. When there’s liberty like that in a meeting great things can happen.

I remember several years ago when I was preaching in another nation there was an outbreak of joy and liberty in the Holy Ghost and people were healed without anyone touching them or praying for them. There was a young demon possessed man outside the meeting venue that was arrested by the power of God and couldn’t move. He was stuck to the ground. Eventually he came loose and some ushers brought him into the meeting and he was set free, born again, and Spirit filled.

When there is too much formality and ritualism in a meeting it kills the liberty of the Spirit and brings a heaviness.

In some of our meetings my wife will often take the microphone and begin praying, or singing in the Spirit. As she does, the atmosphere becomes impregnated with the presence of God. Often I can’t start the meeting the way I intended to. Preliminaries are scratched out as we move together in another direction. A greater liberty comes and it changes the entire meeting. Every praise and worship leader ought to move in that operation to prepare the way for the Spirit of God and His gifts.

Praise and worship in the Spirit will give birth to manifestations and the opposite is also true. Manifestations of the Spirit like a tongue and interpretation, a prophecy, a revelation, or a healing will also give birth to high praise and worship in the Spirit. Often dancing and rejoicing in the Spirit breaks out. The after effects of meetings like that bring a believer closer to the Lord and can carry them for weeks or until they learn to get filled up themselves.

I’ve been in gatherings when people have just danced to put on something, or danced to the music. That’s just fleshly dancing. Now music helps, but you don’t even need music to dance in the Spirit. There are now churches that conduct dance classes to teach people how to dance. You can’t teach people to dance in the Spirit. Dancing is a result of being filled with the Spirit.

There is also laughter in the Spirit. Many refer to it as holy laughter. Others don’t understand it because they’ve never been in the Spirit. At times I laugh in my own personal prayer time. I’ve had belly laughs and begged the Lord to stop because my stomach was hurting. People are often healed and set free from bondage or oppression from laughing. You see, because people are negative by nature, they tend to criticize what they don’t understand or have never experienced. That is how it is with the things of the Spirit.

Even reputable men in the body of Christ have criticized the move of the Spirit because of all the excesses and extremes they’ve seen. Some have even denied the entire thing and call the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement a fraud. And some of these are leading men who lead entire denominations and congregations of people. How sad and how grievous it is to deceive and divide the body of Christ like that!

One of the drawbacks I see an increase in today is people doing things without the anointing. Recently I went to a minister’s prayer meeting and one young minister prophesied over me for about 5 minutes. None of it was right. I did not bear witness to any of his words. He went on about how he saw this and he saw that, and it was just all his imagination. He substituted imagination for true revelation. A person can close his eyes or keep them open and see anything he wants. Many claim to have visions but many times they are mind visions, not spiritual visions. A person can visualize anything they imagine. And yet I absolutely believe in visions and revelation and seeing and knowing things by the Spirit of God.

The plan of God in the New Testament is for every believer to be filled with the Spirit and to maintain that infilling. The older and more experienced ministers have got to teach, demonstrate, and lead people into these things. When they don’t then people will try and substitute other things for it. There will be fakery, hype, and superficiality as people try and fill that void and barren-ness , or they will continue on in their traditions and unbelief and have deadness and dryness.

Oh, but when the real move of the Spirit of God is in manifestation in our midst and we flow with him, that river will get deeper and wider, and we will enjoy his presence and the needs of the people will be met.

Praise God!

OPERATION OF THE FLESH OR THE SPIRIT?

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3)

The Lord has given me a holy zeal for the manifestation of the full spectrum of all things pertaining to the Holy Ghost. I see everything a failure without the workings of God’s Spirit. The programs, the projects, the props and all the ministry professionalism is futile without the demonstration of God’s Spirit and power.

There are two ditches. One is hype, sensationalism, and entertainment. The other is formality, deadness, and ritualism. We must find that delicate balance between unwholesome fanaticism and wild fire, and no fire at all.

I see two primary groups that have evolved and emerged in the body of Christ today. I see an older group who came out of dead formalism decades ago. They exited traditional and mainline denominational churches because their needs were not being met, and they were hungry for the deeper things of God. As a result, para-church organizations were raised up and played a key role in the training and discipleship of new converts. Bible schools were established to equip pastors and leaders. Many of those pastors and churches that were raised up during that time, however, have now become as structured, rigid, and set in their own agendas as the former churches they came out of. That’s one group.

I have never seen so many so called full gospel churches and denominations who have left the way of the Spirit and resorted to the methods, machinery, and traditions of men to try and get the job done.

The second group is a new generation of churches and pastors who do not know the real move of the Spirit but utilize substitutes such as contemporary forms of worship and use of the arts, visualization, and imagination in an attempt to demonstrate the Spirit. These substitutes result in a barren church void of the real Spirit and vulnerable to demonstrations of the flesh and even doctrines of devils.

These two large groups do not even include the segment of churches today who are totally ignorant of the operation, administration, and manifestation of the Holy Spirit in His gifts and ministries (1 Cor. 12:4-11, 28) (Eph. 4:11). I thank God for the remnant of those Word and Spirit churches who are still carrying the torch and moving strong in the Word and in the authentic ministry of the Holy Spirit. They are a treasure in this hour.

There are quiet churches who resemble a graveyard, and there are noisy churches who are just as dead. It is not being quiet or being loud  that confirms the presence and power of God. It is that indescribable something called the anointing.

Who can describe, much less produce, the freshness of a morning when orient pearls abound on every blade of grass? Such is the essence of the precious anointing of the Holy Spirit. We may know it and discern it, yet are unable to tell others what it is. It’s counterfeit is worse than worthless for no one can ever manufacture it, though they continue to try. But the true anointing of the Spirit is priceless and such a necessity for edification, impartation, and a true equipping of God’s people.

Honestly, most Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians today cannot tell the difference between the operation of the flesh and the operation of the Spirit. Most can’t tell the difference between prophesying in the flesh and prophesying in the Spirit, giving a message in tongues without the anointing and with the anointing, dancing in the flesh or dancing in the Spirit, running and shouting in the flesh versus doing it in the Spirit, singing with the anointing and singing without it etc.

You see, when things are done in the Spirit there is something like a sweet smelling fragrance that pervades the atmosphere. Pastors and ministers have got to learn the difference so they can teach their people. We’ve either got too much dead formality or too much fleshly showboating in the church today. And even in some who claim to know the difference they cannot discern between brass and gold. It takes a trained eye and ear to know it. What do I mean by that?

In the Old Testament, Solomon built the temple/house of the Lord and overlaid the oracle, the altar, and the entire house with gold. He also made all the vessels, treasures, and utensils of the temple out of pure gold (1 Kings 6 and 7). Then the king of Egypt came against Jerusalem and removed the treasures from the house of the Lord and  King Rehoboam later replaced them with brass (2 Chron. 12:9-10). This is what Christians have done in the church. They have brought the brass of the world into the church and used it as a substitute for pure gold. They’ve brought the music, the clapping, and the singing and dancing of the world into the church.

God is wanting to help us minister the Spirit. If we will truly sanctify ourselves and just learn to praise and worship the Lord in the Spirit we would experience deeper levels of the presence and power of God in our midst.

To be continued…

 

AMAZING 1927 SMITH WIGGLESWORTH MESSAGE SO PERTINENT FOR TODAY

On August 11, 1927, Smith Wigglesworth stood in Angelus Temple to preach on preparing for the Second Coming of Christ. He told the audience that liquid fire was consuming him. Then Wigglesworth made this opening statement:

But there will be things that will happen prior to His coming that we shall know. You can tell. I am like one this morning that is moving with a liquid, holy, indispensable, real fire in my bosom, and I know it is burning and the body is not consumed. It is real fire from heaven that is making my utterances come to you to know that He is coming. He is on the way. God is going to help me tell you why you will know. You that have the breath of the Spirit, there is something now moving as I speak. As I speak, this breath of mighty, quickening, moving, changing, desirable power is making you know and it is this alone that is making you know that you will be ready.

1. There must be special preparation for the return of Christ and at least half of all believers will be totally unprepared. We have to see that these days have to come before the Lord can come. There has to be a falling away. I want to speak to you very exactly. All the people which are pressing into and getting ready for this glorious attained place where they shall not be found naked, where they shall be blameless, where they shall be immovable, where they shall be purified by the power of the Word of God, have within them a consciousness of the very presence of God within, changing their very nature and preparing them for a greater thing, and causing them to be ready for translation.

This is the day of purifying. This is the day of holiness. This is the day of separation. This is the day of waking. O God, let us wake today! Let the inner spirit wake into consciousness that God is calling us. There are in the world two classes of believers. There are believers which are disobedient, or I ought to say there are children which are saved by the power of God which are disobedient children. And there are children which are just the same saved by the power of God who all the time are longing to be more obedient.

And we heard the word come rushing, through all over, “new theology” that damnable, devilish, evil power that lived in some of these disobedient children, which in these last days opened the door to the next thing.

2. There will be many Christians who believe that they can do whatever they want and God will look the other way. People are tremendously afraid of this position because they have heard so much on this line: “Oh, you know you are the elect of God. You are sure to be all right.” There have been in England great churches which were laid out upon these things. I thank God that they’re all withered. You will find if you go to England those strong people that used to hold all these things are almost withered out. Why? Because they went on to say whatever you did, if you were elect, you were right. That is wrong. The elect of God are those that are pressing forward.

3. It will be common for preachers to deny the existence of hell. Denying hell prepares the way for antichrist. What? No hell. The devil has always said that “what does Christian Science say?” [Ray says, “We could insert other names here for the times we’re in right now.] No hell, no devil. They are ready for him. The devil has always said no hell, no evil. And these people are preparing, and they do not know it, for the Man of Sin.

4. It is offensive to talk about the blood of Christ. When I spoke about the blood and when I spoke about this infernal thing, the whole place was upset. You be careful when anybody comes to you with a sugar-coated pill or with a slimy tongue. They are always of the devil. The Spirit of the Lord will always deal with truth. These people never deal with truth. They always cover up the truth.

Do you believe it? Who can do it? THE BLOOD CAN DO IT! The blood, the blood, Oh the blood! The blood of the Lamb. The blood of Jesus can do it. Spotless, clean, preserved for God. Give the devil the biggest chase of his life and say these words: “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all unrighteousness.”

5. The world will look to worship a man and will overlook his faults to get him into power. These people are determined to have a man. They know someone has to come. We know Who He is that is coming. They begin to make a man. So they find a man in India, they polish him up as much as they can, and they make him as—well, in appearance, but you know we are told by the Lord that there is soft clothing that goes onto wolves’ backs.

6. That people believe that certain preachers are of God simply because of their crowds and their buildings. A person said to me, “You see, the Christian Scientists must be right—look at the beautiful buildings. Look at all the people following them.” Yes, everybody can belong to it. You can go to any brother you like, you can go to any theater you like, you can go to any race course you like, you can be mixed up with the rest of the people in your life and still be a Christian Scientist. You can have the devil right and left and anywhere, and still belong to Christian Science.

7. As Churches turn away from the Holy Spirit many believers go to false teachers. The secret of many people going into Christian Science is a barren church that had not the Holy Ghost. Christian Science exists because the churches have a barren place because they haven’t the Holy Ghost. There would be no room for Christian Science if the churches were filled with the Holy Ghost.

8. The last days are a time for the true people of God to engage in extravagant asking. Up to this present time, the Lord’s word is for us, “Hitherto ye have asked nothing.” Surely you people that have been asking great things from God for a long time would be amazed if you entered into it with clear knowledge that it is the Master, it is Jesus, who has such knowledge of the mightiness of the power of the Father, of the joint union with Him, that nothing is impossible for you to ask. Surely it is He only Who could say, “Hitherto you have asked nothing.” So God means me to press you another step forward. Begin to believe on extravagant asking, believing that God is pleased when you ask large things.

Oh, how my heart burns when I read these things! May we sanctify the Lord in our hearts and preparing for His soon return.

AN EARNEST APPEAL FOR A FULLER EXPRESSION OF THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting … ” (Eph. 4:11).

For the body of Christ to mature properly and fully and to receive maximum edification they need to be exposed to the five ministries God has set in the body of Christ – the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, the pastor, and teacher. The body of Christ also needs exposure to different types of meetings – teaching and training meetings, evangelistic meetings, prayer meetings, believers meetings (where all participate according to the leading of the Spirit – 1 Cor. 14:26), healing meetings, etc.

The Sunday morning worship and teaching experience is simply not enough.

Many years ago it was common for a ministry to conduct week long meetings in a church. Longer ago early pioneers would go to a church and minister for several weeks at a time. Due to the busy-ness and pressures of our modern day culture this is not so common any more.

Today people can access ministries and meetings online and be fed and stirred in their faith that way. But do most Christians really do this? And for those who do, doesn’t it still fall short of the scriptural admonition of not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together? And are we not missing something from the great decrease in face to face meetings that were more common in days of old?

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established — that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” (Rom 1:11-12)

“For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?” (1 Thes. 3:10-11)

Paul desired to minister face to face to these precious saints so he could impart some spiritual gift to them and establish them and perfect what was lacking in their faith. As traveling ministers we are always looking for ways to make adjustments in our fast changing culture in ministering to people without compromising our integrity, and the Word and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Part of the answer is in ministering to people online through blog posts, social networks, YouTube videos, podcasts, and webcasts, etc. We are doing some of that already through blog posts such as these, and may be increasing our efforts along this line, but there is no substitute for face to face meetings.

I will say it again, for a full equipping and a maximum edification to take place in the saints there has to be a full exposure to the five ministries that the Lord has set in the Church (Eph. 4:11), and the manifestations of the Spirit that accompany such (1 Cor. 12:7-11). A majority of the Church has gradually departed from this standard. The pastor-teacher is prominent in local church ministry, but the apostle, prophet, and evangelist not nearly as much any more. And the mighty manifestations of the Holy Spirit have faded from many of our modern churches.

Do we really understand that certain impartations of the Spirit of God can linger and effectually work in a person for months and cause a permanent transformation in them? Do we esteem the gathering of the saints to this measure and degree?

Of course, we esteem the pastoral ministry and without it we are all out of order, but on the other hand, sometimes they are the most likely candidates to block or hinder what the Lord may want to do in a particular city or region, and even in their own church due to a personal agenda that may not be of the Lord at all.

In interfacing with local churches and pastors for many years there can be restrictions put on by systems of men and cultures that exist in the church today. It has been so for many years. That statement alone is the reason many ministers will choose to host neutral meetings in a city, rather than be confined to the restrictions put on by one local church.

On the other hand, pastors have a reason to be cautious when working with outside ministries because they’ve been taken advantage of by some. For example, one evangelist came into a medium size local church I minister at regularly, hyped up the people, and took up his own offering and walked away with tens of thousands of dollars. This pastor friend of mine told me he will never have that minister back again.

Other men have an eccentric ministry with doctrinal tangents and questionable ethics that make pastors very uncomfortable in cooperating and promoting such ministries that come into their area.

The bottom line is for each church and ministry to follow God’s plan for them individually and to operate in the highest form of ministry ethics, honor, and integrity.

HOLY GHOST FORUMS

This brings me to another purpose in writing this piece. Because the flow and focus of our ministry is changing the Lord is directing us to be more open in conducting neutral meetings where not only the Word is preached but the ministry of the Holy Spirit can be carried out in full measure.

One of the formats that meets the need for face to face ministry from the fivefold ministry gifts in a short span of time while combining both diversity and liberty is our Holy Ghost Forums. These forums are schools of the Spirit where instruction, teaching, and demonstration is given according to 1 Cor. 14:26 through a team of seasoned ministers.

Imagine a forum like this in your city where the body of Christ is invited and local pastors and ministers are our special guests. Imagine a place where the Holy Spirit has free reign and there is training by precept and example of how to move with the Holy Spirit in demonstration and power.

What other setting is there where in a two or three day period the body of Christ in a local area could be ministered to at a higher level by a small team of ministers all at once? This is true team ministry done decently and in order where one has a psalm, another has a teaching, another has a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. I’ve always had a conviction that team ministry would be a restored dynamic of these last days just before Jesus returns.

In the New Testament we see team ministry. After all, Jesus ministered with His disciples and sent them out by two’s to minister as well. Paul ministered with Barnabas and then Silas. Barnabas ministered with Judas. Paul seemed to always travel with a team of others. After Philip preached a mighty revival in Samaria, Peter and John came down to help the multitudes receive the Holy Spirit.

Mark my words. This ministry team dynamic of fivefold ministers will cause the level of power and anointing to increase, and it will diffuse the attention from being on one man or ministry all the time. We have not yet seen the measure of effectiveness and anointing that team ministry can produce.

During a recent time of prayer the Spirit of God spoke to my wife and I about the unwrapping of Christ’s ministry gifts for greater glory. Then we read this in Billye Brim’s new book on prayer. “You have never yet seen the operation of Christ’s ministry gifts (Eph. 4:11), or what you call the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1-11), as they were designed to operate. But before Jesus comes, you shall see the fullness of the operation of these gifts as they were designed to function. They will adorn the Church to walk in glory.” I not only see this happening individually but in team dynamics as well.

The great apostle to Africa, John G. Lake, speaks of the great blessing, diversity, and power of ministering with others in a tag team sort of way.    

If you are a pastor and would like to host one of these forums in your church, or you are a businessman or layman who has a burden to bring a greater expression of the Holy Spirit into your city, and you have the ability to secure a venue for these forums and bring the body of Christ together, please contact us for details. I believe we’ve really found something in this forum format that will aid in expressing the ministry of the Holy Ghost in a fuller way.

May the great Holy Ghost have His way in the full expression of His gifts and ministries in this hour.

THREE SMALL SECRETS TO HELP YOU REST IN THE LORD

“And He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (Ex 33:14)

“For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Heb. 4:10)

There are three very basic things the Lord showed me which will aid every believer in getting into the flow of the Spirit, and into that precious place of rest. Here they are in the manner and in the order the Lord gave them to me:

1) Shut up (be quiet)
2) Be not hasty (slow down)
3) Fellowship with Me (wait on the Lord)

1) Shut up! Time and space will not permit me to list all the scriptures which refer to the mouth, the tongue, and the importance of our words. Reading Proverbs alone will help you find many. Deep rivers are like deep people; they flow with majestic silence. Shallow rivers, like shallow people, are noisy. If Jesus is Lord of your life, He is Lord of your words. Knowing that we’ll be judged for every idle word spoken (Mat 12:36) ought to be enough to keep Jesus on the throne of our hearts, and thus on the end of our tongues. Brevity and levity don’t mix. One nullifies the other. If you’re going to grow in wisdom, you’re going to have to grow in silence.

One time in the middle of a fast the Spirit of God quickened me and made an unusual statement. He said, “Instead of fasting food, why don’t you try fasting your thoughts and your words?” I had never heard anyone say that before in all my life. Immediately I began to think about all the scriptures that instruct us concerning our thoughts and our words. It was amazing how many the Lord brought to my attention. What a difference it made when I obeyed this type of fast! It pulled me into a much deeper place of rest. Praying in tongues will help you immensely in getting your mind quiet.

2) Be not hasty! Ants in your pants aborts your advance. When you’re still, you hear His will. A calm spirit waits for the way of the Lord. How many times have you missed God because of hastiness? Think about it.

One day I was returning from a preaching engagement and got caught in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic on the interstate. In my haste to get home I attempted to see how many car lengths I could advance. As I gazed behind me to try to create an opening to shift lanes, I momentarily lost sight of the car directly in front of me. Well, you can finish the rest of the story. Much to my chagrin, I rammed into the car and had to spend time exchanging information with the driver for insurance purposes. Hastiness did not save me any time, but lost me time, money, and peace of mind. My attempt to advance only a few car lengths in major rush hour traffic wasn’t worth it. Instead, I should‘ve used the time wisely and turned my own vehicle into a prayer sanctuary. That would’ve benefited me much more.

This is just one of many examples where hastiness cost me. On a weekly and maybe even on a daily basis you could probably come up with many instances where haste actually made waste. Slow down! God can do more in one minute than you can in a lifetime.

This next word the Lord gave me is appropriate for every pure hearted believer, “You have the tendencies of Peter, but the heart of John.” Peter was quick to speak and quick to act in wrath, but slow to hear. Slowing down in the natural realm will often speed you up in the spiritual realm. God is not in a hurry and He’s never late. Sometimes Jesus had to move quickly and urgently, but He was always patient. Walk in the Spirit and time will  be your friend.

3) Fellowship with Jesus: You must maintain a living fellowship and communication with the Lord. Like in a good marriage, intimacy must be worked at and sought after.

Here is a typical setting of God’s response to a seeking believer. I came to recognize this one time while praying and worshiping the Lord. Have you ever noticed the Lord’s nearness when you forget about yourself and your own concerns and concentrate on Him alone? You block out everything from your mind and begin pouring out your heart to Him. When you focus on the Lord, His presence draws near. Conversely, when you focus on other things, His presence seems to dissipate.

Have you ever been in a room listening to someone talk and they were making eye contact with everyone in the room except you? Maybe they were telling a great story, or some kind of experience they had, or they were just explaining something. How did you feel when you realized that you were the only one they were not making eye contact with? It’s somewhat rude and disrespectful, isn’t it? I’ve been in that type of situation, and sometimes I opted to excuse myself and bow out of the conversation.

The presence of the Lord seems to fade from me when my mind wanders and begins to dwell on the concerns and pressures of life and ministry. It ushers in a hastiness. However, on the other hand, when my entire being is attending to Him alone, oh what love, joy, and peace settles on me. His presence always produces rest.

Follow these three simple steps, and the flow of the Spirit will be yours to enjoy. You will avoid human delays and accelerate in your Christian race and calling. But most of all, you will enjoy the presence of the Lord!

BEYOND THE VEIL

“When My children operate in the Spirit, the enemy does not have a chance. So learn to move in the Spirit and with the Spirit beyond the veil where understanding is easy. It’s so easy to understand when you’re in, and not so easy when you’re out. It’s so easy to understand and receive when you’re on the inside looking out. But oh how difficult and rigid and hard to understand and perceive and receive when you’re on the outside looking in…so learn and be trained for this is how I increase callings and ministries. Know that this is a new season for you to move upward in the way and understanding of the Spirit. Increase is here for you, but only as you move beyond the veil for therein lies the secret of kingdom increase.” (Prophetic utterance)

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). When we sow to the flesh we reap death and corruption, but when we sow to the Spirit we reap life (Gal 6:8). Because many are untrained in the ways of the Spirit there are huge dividends being reaped from seeds of the flesh, the soul, and the intellect. When we are more intimate with that which is of the flesh or the soul, we conceive, carry, and give birth to the same. As a result, we become knowledgeable but powerless; heady but heartless; and factual but fruitless.

Ishmael was a work produced in the soul of Abraham birthed by reason and impatience. Like much of the church, Ishmael’s descendants are many, but they have not the true life of God. It was necessary for Abraham’s self-dependency to be broken by God until there was nothing left. God waited until his physical body was as good as dead (Heb 11:12). Sarah herself was far past the age of conception. Now the Spirit could work, and the son of promise could be conceived. The flesh and the soul’s influence had been removed.

Ishmael is symbolic of “dead works”, that which is not ordained by God, but done in the mere strength and ability of man. Oh how we have been hypnotized by temples made with human hands! We have not been properly trained to recognize the difference between that which is merely human and that which is divine. It took years for many of the Bible’s characters to have their senses trained and exercised to know and recognize the difference. God’s ways are not man’s ways. Only that which is born of the Spirit has overcoming power (1 John 5:4).

“Dead” works of the flesh stink and only those who have spiritual discernment can smell them.  True spiritual men are “turned off” by dead works. It is a stench in their spiritual nostrils that causes nausea. There are many things that do not belong in the body of Christ which bring the Head of this body nausea until He threatens to vomit it out (Rev 3:16).

“Dead” works require much religious activity and drains us of our spiritual and physical energy because they are products of man-made yokes. They oppress us and rob us of our joy and thus our strength.  It is similar to slavery in the flesh. Slaves to the flesh do not know what the Master does (John 15:15) but they can only guess.  Guessing is equivalent to brainstorming which makes the whole Head sick.  Only friends do what God commands because they hear from God and receive direction from Him (John 15:14-15).  Friends of God are full of joy because they’ve been in His presence (Ps 16:11) and heard His voice.  Friends are co-laborers with God.  The best that slaves can do is work for God.

In order for the church to walk in the anointing of the Holy Spirit there must be a separation of soul and spirit.  The soul is a schemer and very subtle.  It will reason, bargain, and even plead until its emotions and feelings are appeased.  Its nature is impatient, and unless it is harnessed and subjected to God, will continue to breed death and corrupt the true work of God.  That’s why we are admonished in scripture to possess our souls by our patience (Lk 21:19).  In this way we shall gain the true life.

Selah.

THE SUPERNATURAL: GOD IS WAITING ON YOU

“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4-5).

“I used to go down there to that church when they had the power.” said one businessman. Some elders in the church thought they’d be able to draw the businessmen in by toning down on the speaking in tongues and the power of God. But this one businessman responded: “I’ll just go back to my dead church because this one is just as dead.”

That would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. Churches are pulling back on the very element of the supernatural that is universally craved by man. From as far back as the book of Genesis the supernatural was active and operative and translated Enoch, called out Abraham, lifted up Joseph, delivered Israel from the bondage of Egypt through a series of signs and wonders and the supernatural leadership of leadership of Moses.

God’s purpose in leading Israel out of bondage was to separate them from the dead gods of Egypt and compel them to worship the living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When the supernatural ceased to operate Israel retorted back to heathenism. And they only were brought back into fellowship with Jehovah after a series of stunning supernatural manifestations. There is no parallel in human history to the operation of the miraculous power of God working through the lives and characters of the Old Testament.

As we move into the New Testament we see the Lord Jesus Christ stepping into public ministry by way of the supernatural. The apostles he chose and disciples he trained and even those outside his circle ministered in the supernatural. The early Church was commanded to wait in Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit until they were endued with power from on high.

Every revival since the day of Pentecost that has honored the Lord has been a revival of the supernatural. Throughout church history when the church came alive and into fellowship with God they experienced the supernatural power of God in various ways. But today we have substituted Madison Avenue tactics and the methods of men to draw men to God. How pathetic! How is it brethren that we have come to this? Who has bewitched you? Having begun in the Spirit do you now resort to fleshly means to build the church of Jesus Christ?

Now ignorance of the power of God is one thing but there are entire full gospel denominations who have departed from the supernatural. I’ve preached in some of them, and they are as dry as last year’s bird’s nest. Either that, or they just make a lot of noise with little substance. Get ahold of yourselves Reverends, and return to your Pentecostal heritage.

Some may say, “well, we believe in the power of God and we’ve been praying for it”, but that is only half of the equation. You think you are waiting on God but He is actually waiting on you.

You don’t have to wait for the supernatural. Go out and put the supernatural to work. Step out and loose your faith!

“Oh yes, many have asked and asked and asked with tears, with fastings, with loud cries. Why don’t you come Lord? Why don’t you move among us? And they ask and ask and ask again. Come oh Lord! Come oh Lord! And yet thus saith the Lord, ‘I’ve given you My word. Why don’t you act on My word? I’ve given you My Spirit. He’s within you. Why don’t you listen to him? Why don’t you rise up in the power of the Spirit and go forth to do what I’ve called you to do?

And if you’ll obey me then surely I will manifest myself through thee and I will cause signs to be wrought by thy hands, and you’ll see and man will see the hand of the Lord at work among his own. And great, great, great things shall be wrought and many shall be turned toward the Lord. And many who sit in darkness shall come and walk in the light, and the glory of the Lord shall shine around upon thee and the manifestation of his power shall come upon thee and among thee. And even the eyes of many shall be opened and they will say, ‘why, I saw Jesus standing by that man as he ministered.’ And the eyes of others in the congregation and even sinners will say, ‘I saw an angel walk down the isle’. Yea and great shall be the manifestation of his power and great shall be the rejoicing of his saints.”

Step out in faith and cooperate with God. Step into the supernatural.

Glory to God!