Friday, March 9, 2018
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Don’t quench or despise, Friend.
Many years ago, my wife and I were at a prayer meeting in a Charismatic church. As we watched in wonder, a woman flopped face-down on the floor at the altar, only a few feet away. A group of “prayer warriors” huddled around her and began moaning and groaning and saying, “Name yourself!” The woman then began to name various ailments and conditions. At the announcement of each malady, the assembled crew would cry “Come out! Our demeanor must have communicated our shock, because a fella sitting nearby informed us that she was “standing in proxy” for folks around the world who needed deliverance from these demonic influences. At that moment, the proxy lady let out a great groan and proclaimed, “Hemorrhoids!” As the onlookers began to cry, “Come out!”, I whispered to Judy, “if this one comes out, I am out of here!” It made me want to avoid all prayer meetings in the future.
There have been so many weird and goofy things done in the name of the Holy Spirit it would take volumes to describe them all. This abundance of strange behavior has resulted in many Christians simply deciding that all of us are nuts. It is safer to go to a “regular” church where you can arrive at the last minute, hide in the dark recesses of the audience, and get out in time to beat the lunch rush. I am convinced that this was what Paul was warning us about when he said, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 NKJV)” There have always been weirdos and charlatans. That does not change the fact that the Spirit of God is trying to help people. We can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Somebody Said: The world will never believe in a religion in which there is no power. Samuel Chadwick
Scripture Reading: So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. But be sure that everything is done properly and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:39-40 NLT)
Unfortunately, many pastors have decided to avoid the problems caused by “the move of the Spirit.” They carefully orchestrate the service, making sure the production is precisely timed and rehearsed with no dangerous moments of silence. Ushers are there to patrol and control. The hall is dark, and the spotlight is on the stage where the real action takes place, well beyond the great gulf fixed between audience and performers. Whew! Safe from craziness and embarrassment, but also safe from the manifestation of the supernatural that is such an integral part of Christianity. The problem lies not with the goofies, but with the ministers who are ill-prepared or not inclined to deal with the false and the flaky. 1 Thessalonians 5: 21 gives the instructions very clearly: “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” I believe there’s a hunger for the real thing. Whatever it takes, it’s more than worth it to see God touch lives in power and demonstration of the Spirit. Let’s do this!
Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.