|Posted by Thomas Dover on June 26, 2014 at 12:45 AM||comments (1)|
Let everything be done decently and in order!
(1Corinthins 12:1, 4-12;
1Corinthians 14:1, 5, 12-15, 24-27, 29-33, 39-40)
I really strongly believe in freedom of expression in our meetings, and therefore we follow an open mic policy. This has led to a strong flow of the Holy Spirit in our meetings with many miracles and manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit through every day ordinary saints. It has also led to our meetings going sometimes longer than usual because of the strong flow of the Spirit. Needless to say that this free flowing family atmosphere and open mic policy presents its own challenges.
Like for instance funky prophetic words that are given from time to time. Just recently such a flaky prophetic word was given by someone who is new to our group to another newcomer to our group. Both Carmen and I knew that that prophetic word was not really from God, well only partially. They are, however, new to our group, and we are still building relationship and trust with them, so I didn't want to publicly stand up and rebuke and humiliate them.
That still doesn't change or make right what happened though. But, because the person at least went out of their way to try and submit the word to the rest of us to judge, and proceeded to say that if it is not from God the other person is more than welcome to reject it and throw it out as nonsense, and because there were still some elements of correct discernment in it, Carmen and I both decided to wait for a more opportune time to say something to the one who prophesied, and only after talking about it first to the person who was prophesied over. As I said before, we felt like the person partially missed God and that it wasn't really from the Holy Spirit, but we wanted to make sure. We were banking on the fact that the person who was prophesied over was mature enough as a believer to judge that word for themselves and not to get offended at the other person, or us for that matter.
We actually had several others from our group come to us afterwards and confirm that they too felt like the person who prophesied missed God on the matter and that that word may not apply at all or perhaps only partially to the person it was spoken over.
We really try to be gentle with folks that are new to our group, and I really do believe that freedom of expression as well as proper instruction in these things as a group and more importantly, one on one, is the best way to handle these kinds of situations, otherwise our attempts at controlling these things becomes too stifling and shuts down the flow of the Spirit, instead of promoting it.
Unfortunately most of the body of Christ is way too immature in such things and people are not even allowed to learn and grow in these things, because of immature and insecure leadership, who are controlled by their fears. It has become much easier for leadership, because of the controversy involved, to keep these things of the Spirit on a shallow level, or to shut it down all together, rather than to instruct folks and allow for growth and some mistakes.
Maturing together is a process and it only works in a family type setting where we get to know each other well enough to speak our minds, and to bring reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, as well as in all other aspects of our Christian lives, without trying to control people.
When it comes to the time issue, let me just say that we are not used to such long meetings ourselves either, it is just really a result of our resent Spirit outbreak from our last worship conference. (In fact we are already planning another 3 day similar worship event for this coming August, which is open to anyone to attend) In our regular meetings and during these worship events we make it clear to everyone in our group that they are free to come and go as they please, and the ones who invited them to the meeting should explain our meetings and warn their friends before they come.
Let me just add that I fully understand the needs of the modern family, and we always promote family above all else. We have several folks who are our friends and consider themselves a part of our group who cannot always make it to the meetings, or remain for the duration of it.
Revivals and times of refreshing come and go, and the things of the Spirit tend to ebb and flow, so I suspect things will simmer down more again among us into a pattern we are all more familiar with before the next wave of refreshing comes and things heat up again. In fact it has already settled down some, enough for me to actually get to preach and teach and bring some instruction again... ha... ha... ha...
I am a stickler for freedom of expression and tend to allow the natural flow of things more freely than most, which does get me in trouble with visitors and outsiders, and folks that are used to the more controlled settings of the current church culture in this country ...although it is the very visitors themselves who are quite often the very reason for the different flow in our meetings. Their very presence affects things and influences the ministry of the Spirit and the atmosphere in the meetings.
Many of them, experiencing that kind of freedom for the first time actually are the very ones who explode with joy and expression, which is sometimes almost like a cute little baby throwing up all over a person, but we forebear it because we love people and we celebrate with them their new found joy. Gentle instruction does eventually follow, once love and trust is established.
I am not trying to justify myself, or the order of our church meetings, or the lack of it as some may see it, I am just trying to explain maybe a little more how Holy Spirit order works. In our fellowship, we are way more relationally oriented than meeting oriented, because I have found that it makes for more spiritual growth, and that is what God is after more than anything else. Could that be accomplished even in a more controlled environment, sure, the process is just much slower though, and after planting a few churches, and being a part of many small and large churches, I have learned that things can become very controlling and stifling and it usually ends up working against God and not with Him. I would much rather allow freedom and flow, and see more growth in people's personal lives because they feel a part of a real family, and know that this pleases the Lord, than to try and build the next or biggest mega-church in the Greenville area.
Let me emphasize that I believe it to be more important for us to build faith and understanding and to encourage real relationship with God through the knowledge of redemption, than to try and promote spiritual experiences and encounters with God of a supernatural kind. I do not minimize those experiences and encounters, in fact I celebrate it and promote it when I can, but our faith and personal love-affair with Jesus is more important than having some supernatural encounter.
Many people do have emotional blocks however, and want their experiences with God to be so real and authentic that they do not know how to yield to the Holy Spirit for fear of something fake. They would rather experience nothing than to fake it themselves. I really do respect that sincerity, but it often leaves people frustrated. Now I am not saying; fake it till it becomes real, but there does need to be a yielding before there can be an experience. I have found that for people that have become sensitive and skid-dish in this area, it is best to not try and push them, but to simply keep focusing on Jesus' love for them, and the importance of building a relationship with Daddy God, and to let the encounters happen organically and let the Lord work on them emotionally.
I truly do pray for you the reader, and for your family, that you may all grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and be caught up in intimate fellowship with Him to such a degree that more than ever before you will be manifestly epistles of Christ, being known and read by all men everywhere, His love being clearly seen and understood through your lives.