Transformed! 0

When I was a young man we attended a Church of God Cleveland Tennessee church in Pasadena Texas. There was a lady who attended church there and every Sunday she brought her two teenage sons to church with her. They were about my age and there was no doubt they hated church and resented her for making them come.

Her husband was a terrible man who was very abusive. He loved to run the bars and chase after other women. His two sons loved him and they desired to be just like him.

One Sunday we were very surprised to see this woman come to church and her husband was with her. He sat and listened to every word that came out of the preacher’s mouth and before the preacher was even through with the sermon, this man ran down to the altar and gave his life to Jesus Christ and then within just a few minutes began to speak in tongues as he was baptized in the Holy Spirit.

The next Sunday this man was standing at the front door of the church passing out bulletins, radically transformed by the hand of God.  He become a strong man of God and an example of what God can do for his sons.  Look what the Lord has done. Look what the Lord has done. He healed my body, He touched my mind, He saved me just in time!

We still need this in our churches today. Come Holy Spirit we need Thee!

A Co-Worker 0

The following was written by a friend of mine who is a great encouragement and inspiration to me.

“I have committed my life to my wife and children, and from this I receive unspeakable joy, love, happiness, purpose and fulfillment. And no one judges me about this. But my commitment to the Lord God, which also brings me unspeakable joy, love, happiness, purpose and fulfillment…for this I am constantly judged by others. I’m not telling you that the things you may do will lead to death and destruction to be judgmental, but out of compassion to warn you, as Jesus did for me.

 A coworker told me recently, with other coworkers present, that he was tired of God being shoved down his throat, that Christians are hypocritical and insensitive to his way of life. I asked him if there was someone in particular he was speaking of. His look towards me immediately sentenced me as guilty. Inside, as fear tried to grip my heart, knowing my coworkers would bully me, I began to praise God.

I asked him to elaborate. He said quickly that it was how I would weave God into my conversations and how my actions and attitudes are so “Christian-like”. He said that who I am is no different than a politician shoving their agenda and affiliation down people’s throats. He waged on for several minutes. During his rant I am in earnest prayer as I know I lack the words to debate with him and the others.

The pause that followed seemed to stop the world around me as they looked at me for my reply.

I then asked him, “When did I threaten you to listen to me?” “When did I make you examine and wonder why I act the way I do?” “How can I force food down the mouth of an angry lion who isn’t even hungry?”

I apologized to them if I ever acted hypocritical or insensitive in any way. You see, they want me to be the scapegoat for them. The world wants the attention on someone else. The world wants you to think that others actions and words don’t affect one another. Yet this story proves that wrong. Every day, in every person that has ever lived, others continuously affect the people around them with their words and actions.

Another coworker then started speaking of a Pastor he heard one time…
I thanked His Spirit for leading and guiding me.

And I smiled, knowing that God Almighty, the Creator of the universe, had my back.”

Michael Wind

Weird Pentecostals 2

I was in a meeting this last week and the subject came up about Pentecostal perspective. The person who was the special speaker in that meeting talked about how he was thoroughly Pentecostal, but he thought the gifts of the Holy Spirit needed to get out of the box (church) and into the market place. This person went on to say that when the gifts stay exclusively in the box (church) that is where weird stuff happens.

I will have to disagree with this person. I have been in the Pentecostal church most of my life. I remember as a small child falling asleep in my grandparents Pentecostal church as people were dancing in the Holy Spirit, doing Jericho marches around the building, falling out under the power of the Holy Spirit, crying, and laughing; which are human expressions of what the spirit is doing in a person, not the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I have seen people wait at the altar for hours for the spirit of God to accomplish what He desired to accomplish in their lives. I have witnessed healings and deliverances by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have watched in awe while God spoke to His people through tongues and interpretation, and through prophecy to strengthen and edify His people. I have not witnessed the wholesale abuse that everyone is talking about as an excuse to remove the gifts from the box (church). How can a man declare to a sovereign God when and where He may speak or communicate to His people? Foolishness!

If this is the weird stuff that he is talking about, then please call me weird.

“A Pentecostal church that does not have what we call altar services, does not lay hands on the sick, or does not listen to the voice of the Lord in messages in prophecy or tongues and interpretation really isn’t committed to being Pentecostal. We may fear that such things will drive people away, but experience has shown us over and over again that live Pentecostal churches grow, and dull churches fade away.”[1]

I really understand what is going on here. The postmodern church has no place for Pentecostal practices. Healing lines, altar calls, singing and speaking in tongues, prophecies, and interpretation of tongues; these are now considered WEIRD STUFF by the postmodern church.

What a shame that we have forsaken our Pentecostal heritage for a nice clean little gathering where leaders know exactly what is going to happen, when it is going to happen and everyone will leave with little or no change in their lives.

“When everything is controlled, from first impressions in the parking lot to the wardrobe colors and stage movements of the platform party, who controls the church and who controls the controllers? Something of the mysterious and loveable but unwashed reality of the real-life bride of Christ is lost. Something of the impossible-to-predict, category-shattering sovereignty and grace of God is walled off.”[2]

At this same meeting and by the same special speaker, we were told that young Pentecostals will not be told how to worship God. A few years ago I was lectured to by an Assemblies of God minister who told me, “Young people are not going buy into Pentecostal practices of old. We have moved into a new age where these things are no longer acceptable.” There is this idea that Pentecostal expression is going to be different in the Twenty-First Century. My response to that is, really?

Did God not have the ability to look forward in the Twenty-First Century and know enough to give us what we needed to see a world impacted and changed for Him?

1 Cor 14:22-27

22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. 26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

NKJV

God’s plan for strengthening and equipping His church is the same as it was in the First Century. It is the hope of the Pentecostal that people will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, that the sick and lonely hearted will find the healing that they need, that those who are bound by life controlling issues will be set free by the power of the Holy Spirit, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit will be present as God equips and empowers His people to set the world on fire for Him and that the fruit of the Holy Spirit will help each and every believer to grow to full maturity in Him. If that is WEIRD STUFF, then Lord come and mess us up in Your glory and mercy!

1 Cor 1:18-31

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

NKJV

[1] Thomas Trask and David Womack, Back to the Altar: A Call to Spiritual Awakening (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1994), 108-109.

[2] Os Guinness, Dining with the Devil: The Megachurch Movement Flirts with Modernity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1993), 20.