Saturday, September 11, 2010

"My preacher is so annointed he pure foams at the mouth!"

How do we expect people to act when they are being used by the Holy Spirit? A fellow once said to me, “My preacher is so anointed he pure foams at the mouth.” That is a strange one, and I am thankful that the Lord does not expect us to do that. So what style do we use in our presentation?

The Spirit-filled Harvard professor very calmly walks up to someone and in a very dignified and stolid voice and says, “This is what the Lord is saying to you, Your canines will develop acariasis and become acaudal.”
A backwoods farmer then walks up to the same person and in a very emotional and enegertic manner says, “Thus saith the Lord. Thy dogs-uh will become infested with ticks and lose their tails-uh.”

The fact is, these men said the exact same thing, but each one spoke out of his own personality and style. The Lord’s word was in the content while the style represented the individual vessel.

I want to share three examples below that show us that we can be ourselves and not have to act a certain, expected way when we are being used by the Holy Spirit.

A Casual word that was supernatural
I was visiting a church in Lexington, Kentucky a few years ago. The morning worship service had ended and people were standing around the auditorium talking and enjoying the fellowship of friends and family. I happened to notice two girls standing on the other side of the auditorium. I was acquainted with one of these girls from a singles conference at which I had recently spoken. I knew that this young lady would one day make some man a good wife, and so I decided to walk over and, in a light-hearted and humorous way, encourage her.

I crossed the auditorium and went up to these two young ladies. As they turned to me I said, “There is a crazy man out there!” They both reacted with surprise and said, “What?” I responded by addressing the unmarried girl with these words, “You are going to make some man a fine wife, and there is a crazy man out there for not having already snatched you up and married you!”

I was expecting her to respond with a laugh, but instead, her eyes filled with tears. I said, “What’s wrong? What did I say to make her cry?”
Her friend then explained to me the conversation they were having just before I walked up. The single girl was sad because her fiancé had recently broken off their engagement. She was depressed and questioning herself wondering why he had ‘dumped’ her. As they stood there she had asked her friend, “Is something wrong with me that he would not want to marry me?” The friend had responded, “No. There is nothing wrong with you. He’s crazy!.”
Then, “out of the blue” and totally unaware of the situation and their conversation I walked up and said, “There is a crazy man out there.”

I believe I was sent to encourage her. However, I was completely unaware of the significance of what I was saying until the friend explained to me how my words confirmed what she had just said moments before.
I was just simply trying to encourage someone based on what I had seen with my natural eyes. I was not trying to be spiritual or do anything special. The timing, however, made the word supernatural.

A Short word that was supernatural
During our first year of marriage Laurel and I were part of a church in southern California. It was composed mostly of young people and had sprung up during the Jesus Movement and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that was taking place at that time. Multitudes of kids were coming to know the living reality of Jesus Christ and His presence in the working of the Holy Spirit. One thing that stands out in my memory of those days is the hunger for God that was demonstrated in the lives of those kids. They took their Bibles with them almost everywhere, they always had pen and paper to take notes during Bible study, and they all wanted to be used by God in some way.

I remember on one occasion I was about to teach a Bible study to a group of about twenty or thirty of these kids, and was silently asking the Lord to confirm my direction for the teaching that night.
Then one of the boys stood up. I knew he was about to share what he thought would be a prophetic word from the Lord. He said, “The Lord wants us to watch and pray.” He then paused and stood there silent for a minute hoping to add something more significant. But that was it. He had nothing else to say and so he sat down dejected, and a little embarrassed thinking he had failed.

I then stood up. “Our friend has just given a short, simple word telling us to watch and pray. He does not realize how the Lord has just used him. He has not only shared a word to which we should all take heed, but also, without knowing it, he has given a word of confirmation to me. I was just now asking the Lord to confirm the teaching I am about to give. My text for tonight is Matthew 26: 41, ‘Watch and pray…’ My Bible was opened to that verse and my eyes were on those very words as our friend was saying ‘The Lord wants us to watch and pray.’”

A miracle of healing in response to hardly a prayer
As I was leaving a friend’s house one day, He and I passed his five-year old son playing with some toys on the ground. As we discussed other things the father showed me some sort of bone growth that was on the back of the child’s head. It was just a little smaller than half a ping-pong ball and had been there for years. The doctors had told him it was nothing to worry about. It would not harm the boy, but was simply unattractive and inconvenient. My friend and I did not focus on the child but continued our conversation.

However, as I talked with my friend, I very casually laid my hand on the back of the child’s head a couple times saying, “Lord, bless him.” Again I said, “I know it’s nothing to worry about, but Lord bless him anyway,” as my friend and I went on with the conversation about other things. Then I drove away feeling guilty that I had not taken time to pray an official and “real” prayer over that child. Instead I had only said a “Lord, bless him” in passing as I talked about other things.

I was surprised a couple days later when my friend called to tell me that the child’s growth had completely disappeared. The Lord had healed it in response to a simple “Bless him” prayer.

So what is the lessons here?
While there are often unusual and strange occurrences during great visitations of God’s presence, it is important for us to know that generally speaking we can move in the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit in the normal conversational tone of everyday life. How else can we approach the average person in the world with the reality of Jesus Christ? We can be ourselves, we don’t have to act strange or change our voice. This is one of the keys to moving in the Holy Spirit on the job, in school, on the street, and out in the market-place. You don’t have to walk up to people and shout. You don’t have to say ‘’God-uh” or “yea, yea, thus saith the Lord.” You can be emotional or non-emotional. You can be enthusiastically zealous or you can be quiet and reserved. The key is to be genuine and real. The supernatural is not what you do, but rather what God Himself does. Sometimes God’s work is seen as obviously and patently supernatural. Other times it can be hidden and unnoticed because it is defined by the context and timing and may be significant only to those to whom it is directed.

When we care about people and reach out to them in a real and genuine manner, we will see God at work. And, as in the examples given above, we may find out later that He was at work when we were not aware of it. We may be able to say as Jacob did, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.”


Anonymous said...

I love that. What a liberating truth to comprehend that all it takes is simple devotion to Jesus Christ and authenticity -- not some high falutin' eloquence or profundity, but ALSO not avoiding eloquence and profundity in order to dumb the gospel down for the "common man" if being eloquent or profound is the real you.

Anonymous said...

Good reading Billy and good encouragement. You and I because of our "religious" backgrounds have certainly seen all kinds of manifestations of someone who was or claimed to be led of the Spirit.

Michael said...

Thanks Billy. This has been encouraging and helpful.

Anonymous said...

Just got your blog this morning and as usual, I really enjoyed it. You have such a way of making things so simple and doing it in such a non-pretentious way. I love the way you eschew obsfucation and say things in such a way that even I can understand.
Do you think if you laid hands on my head and said bless him Lord, that my hair might grow back? That was an amazing story about the little boys healing. Thanks for keeping me on your blog list. Love you guys.

Anonymous said...

Hi Billy,
I just caught up with your posts through August. GREAT stuff. I loved the encounter with the professor! With regard to your latest, a similar analogy could be used with regard to prayer . . . the silent meditative type vs. the exuberant, animated type (which I tend to be!). Does God hear one more than the other? I think not!

Break the Mold said...

This is such a poignant reminder. Thank you for the fresh perspective and for sharing these real life examples with us. They build my faith and encourage me to see God in all circumstances.

I have also found that sometimes He is blatantly obvious and sometimes he chooses to move among us more discreetly.

Dawn George
Miami, FL
I think of all the wasted chances I had to be a part of what He was doing or an opportunity to bless someone because I was more focused on having the right words or approach.

Lowell said...

Do you remember the lady who rose suddenly to proclaim, "Yea verily, I say unto thee - be not askeert! I get askeert myself now and them but ye be not askeert!". Did you ever read any of J. Wesley's journals of his service at Aldersgate? Claims people were running full speed to the altar screaming like bulls, others were shaking and carrying on - I didn't know Wesley was a Pentecostal!". I also remember once when God spoke very quietly and calmly to a young college student, "You're going to give Billy and Skipper a 12-string guitar as a wedding present."

Lowell said...

Another excellent, very meaningful comment - one that could be heeded here in Church-Twon USA. Honestly, Jane and I are so tired of searching for a home church. Tulsa has such a competitive environment, every church feels it necessary that they have more miracles, more anointing and of the spectacular than the church down the block. Seems contrary to the whole notion that the point of effective, anionted ministry is to draw attention to Jesus, not self. Do you remember the lady who rose suddenly in the service to declare, "Yea verily, I say unto thee be not askeert! I get askeert Myself from time to time, but be not askeert!" In one of John Wesley's journals he records a rather wild meeting at Aldersgate one night. While other people were squalking and shaking and rolling around, one man charged the altar "like a raging bull," roaring and shouting and screaming. That could be a little distracting, but we know God used J.W.'s ministry very powerfully and, although he did nothing consciously to excite such an outcry, he also didn't think it necessary to suppress it. In a quieter vein, do you remember a young guy who once literally heard God tell him, "You are going to give Billy and Skipper a 12-string guitar as a wedding gift."? Not, I'm sending you into missions, I have a prophecy I want you to deliver to the church, but a guitar. Go figger.

Lowell said...

I don't know why part of my comments showed up twice. I wrote the first one, then went back and added to it. I guess I posted the first one without realizing it. :-)