Here I am, back in the secular work force again, no longer in my cushy job working for the prayer movement. Though I do work with a fellow Firestarter, Brett, I have much more access to unbelievers (sort of). I work in the tiny town (though not as tiny as Ottertail) of New York Mills. The downtown area in which I work consists of a home center, chiropracter, bar, cafe, bakery, credit union, real estate office, cultural center, library and a couple of beauty shops… and that is all. Seriously.
But you know what? Working and living in a small town gives you an awesome oppurtunity to build relationships and impact the small community you are in. It will take some getting use to in adjusting my mindset from city to small town. No longer do I just walk into a coffee shop and walk out without paying attention to anyone (because no one in a big city pays attention to you either). Instead, everyone knows everyone else and because of the slower pace of life, people actually make time for eachother.
But to impact a community, building relationships is not the only key. We must learn to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, asking for words of knowledge and prophesying destiny and the love of Jesus over them. 1 Corinthians 14 says that we are to “eagerly desire to prophesy” so that the church may be built up. It is used for strengthening, encouragement and comfort. Verse 24-25 says this:
24But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand[h]comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Prophecy impacts the hearts of men and women who are confronted with the truth of the Living God. But prophecy is also a way for us to learn the true meaning of friendship with God. Even though He doesn’t need us, He chooses to use us in this way because He desires to spend time with us and tell us His secrets.
So in this season I want to learn how to be sensitive to Holy Spirit even while I’m in the midst of people that are living in darkness. The Word of God brings life and we are carriers of that Word which lives inside of us. Jesus is the Word (John 1:1) and because He lives in us, we can speak forth His Word with boldness and know that it is Him speaking.
Enough of this for now…
I was just up reading and praying when I started to think about something hard… and well I thought I would share it. Friday night before I left I had a few friends over and as we were talking, I found myself back in a mindset that I haven’t been in in awhile. Though what my friends were talking about was provoking me in some good ways, I became a little confused as to what I really believed anymore about certain issues.
Depending on the person the word “holiness” could have a good or a bad conotation. To some of my friends that have grown up in legalism, uber-piety, and un-sincere fundamentalism churchiness, the word “holiness” can bring up feelings of resentment, condemnation, and well… bitterness. Having been the daughter of an Assemblies of God pastor, I have felt the brunt of the misuse of this word for years and years. It wasn’t that movies were just not the most edifying things to see when I was a kid… they were BAD and evil (this was not coming from my parents by the way but members of my church) and if you were caught going into a movie theater than you must not be very “holy”. As a result of the massive amounts of legalism and self-righteousness and ELITISM in my church, later on in my adult years I decided that “holiness” was not worth it if I was going to be constanty baraged by condemnation from other imperfect people.
But as I’ve come to IHOP and spent hours in the prayer room and listenened to the teaching I felt a struggle stirring inside of me. At first I didn’t agree with most of what was taught. I have spent years in an emerging church movement where holiness was rarely a topic that was discussed. Though I loved Jesus and so did my church, I found myself at times drinking a little more than I liked (and then waking up one morning after having one of those nights with a demon in my bed!!!!), having conversations that were clearly not good things to be talking about, not practicing the sermon on the mount or even THINKING about that sermon. All that mattered was that maybe I was learning to love Jesus and spending time with Him but compromise was not something I ever thought of.
The point that I am trying to make is that holiness is not a bad word. The hard thing to understand about holiness though, is that it’s not about rules and if it becomes about rules than it’s totally not from the Lord. I know that I cannot earn God’s love by trying to follow the law. God already loves me more than I could understand. However, my life and how I live it and if I’m keeping a clear conscience should be a natural reflection of my love for the Lord. My striving to be holy shouldn’t stem from trying to out-do someone else (elitism) but it should be fruit of my relationship with the Holy Spirit. It should be a constant listening and speaking relationship with God. It should be from a firm foundation in the Word of God. It’s knowing to obey even when it’s hard (and when I don’t obey… which I admit happens way more than I would like)… because I love Him and I want to stand before Him one day knowing that I didn’t live this life so that I could feel comfortable but I lived this life to build the kingdom.
And just so you know… I don’t think like this every day. I don’t wake up and say “alright Jesus, I’m gonna do my best to build the kingdom today”. Most of the time I want to just be comfortable and sit on my butt all day doing nothing. Most of the time I want to whine and complain about how I have no time for anything or that I can’t see my old friends and do fun things anymore. Sometimes I even reminisce about how much “fun” I had hanging out in bars, playing pool, and drinking beer.
And that brings me to another topic. Drinking beer in a bar with people that are un-saved does NOT bring them to Jesus. Now don’t get me wrong. I actually strongly feel that I am called to hang out in bars with the un-saved… someday. But you do not seem less uptight when you are drinking a beer. It’s not a relating to them through beer-drinking that shows them Jesus, it’s your love for Jesus being clearly evident in how you treat them and love the person you are ministering to. I have other opinions about alcohol consumption that I would prefer to not say on here but just trust that I am not as legalistic as this may appear to you.
In England ESPECIALLY it is a hugely terrible example to be drinking in bars with the un-saved. Why? Because alcoholism is a major major problem even among believers here in this country. We all know that even if we are drinking, we shouldn’t get drunk but what kind of statement would it make if we DID NOT drink at all around others? Yeah, yeah, we may try to justify ourselves and ask why it is such a big deal when we only like the taste of alcohol but I believe that though we think we are having a postive effect we are really having a massively negative effect. I have never in my LIFE after all the years of drinking as a Christian…. EVER had a postive situation happen while drinking. Drinking impairs judgement and in my case, the girl who always puts her foot in her mouth…. it becomes much more of a problem after I’ve had a few.
The bottom line is, we have to understand that the age we’re in is not “fun time”. Though fun is good and Jesus loves us to have fun, if our version of fun is even POTENTIALLY compromising than why do we even bother????? Yes, we all have issues and none of us love Jesus perfectly and none of us are really righteous but we must must must pursue the heart of God and maturity or we will not make it when it all comes down.
This is like most of the things I’ve been writing for the past year: An explosion of stream of consciousness that is seriosly hard to decifer and I wish that I could explain it better then I have but I just had to unload what was on my heart tonight.
My roommate and I were having a “discussion” tonight. She was saying that an Anna calling and a prophetic messenger calling are completely seperate from themselves. I told her that you cannot seperate the two. I adopted my beliefs from something Stuart said about this one time. He said that in order to be a prophetic messenger or what we call “Forerunner” that we also have to be an Anna. Why? Because we have to learn how to hear the voice of God in order to prophesy. How do we learn to hear the voice of God? By spending time with Him hours upon hours a day. Sure, we can all prophesy little things at times to eachother but people who really have a relationship with the Holy Spirit will eventually do things like Elijah did with the prophets of Baal (I can’t help it, I love that story). Without spending lots of time with God we can’t operate in power and we can’t operate under a prophetic anointing… pure and simple. So….
We’d like to know you’re opinion… What do you think?
And also… is a prophetic messenger and evangelist the same? I say it CAN be but in essence, no.
Teens look on in horror as Seth presents boiled crawdads for them to eat in a little game called Faith Factor.
I was a little apprehensive about starting STI. I have never worked with teenagers in this capacity (well, since I myself was a teen, anyway). I was a little afraid I would be annoyed by them and one day I would just go “off” because of some obnoxious behavior. But I have been pleasantly, pleasantly surprised. The group of girls I oversea are AMAZING. In fact the last couple of days have been some of the most fun in my life. The Holy Spirit has shown up every day and I am so thankful that I am able to be a part of this.
The coolest thing that has happened so far is that a 16 year old girl in my group got saved yesterday. Oftentimes a lot of the teens are forced to come here by their parents and haven’t yet committed their lives to the Lord. Denise went forward and as I went up to lay hands on her and pray for her the Spirit of God descended on us. I started prophesying over her and her eyes filled with tears (mine did too!). Jesus ministered His love to her in a very real way and to me, that is the coolest thing that could have happened.
Later on in the afternoon, I was meeting with my 12 girls and we were going around, sharing some things that we we learning. The very last girl began sharing about how she knows she’s been lukewarm and I could sense a real struggle in her heart to give up some things in her life. I could tell she wanted to follow Jesus but she also doubted how real He was and if she could choose Him over other things. So I told her to get up, took her chair and placed it in the middle of the group and had the other girls prophesy over her. Some of the girls prophesied for the first time. The last girl to prophesy over her saw a vision that was very personal to the girl being ministered to. She burst into tears and talked to me afterward about some things she knew she had to say good-bye to in order to follow Jesus. She couldn’t believe that Jesus really knew what was going on in her life.