I Heard From God Today
Let me start by saying that I am a Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian by experience. I believe in the present day work of the Holy Spirit….I don’t believe that the supernatural power of God or the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit ended when the Apostles died. I was saved and experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit when I was 6 years old (44 years ago!). I am praying in the Spirit (speaking in tongues!) as I write this. I have my Bachelor’s degree from Lee University (Classical Pentecostal) and my Master’s degree from Oral Roberts University (Charismatic).
I’m a fourteen carat, gold plated Charismatic!
I believe that God has blessed His whole Church Universal with the outpouring of His Spirit that comprised the “Waves of the Holy Spirit” that occurred in the 20th Century. The body of Christ is much bigger than these movements, but the whole body has benefited from the emphasis on the Person and Present Day Work of the Spirit of God. From Azusa Street to the Toronto Blessing, God has been showing His people that He still works in power, signs, and wonders in our day. In fact, it will take the power of the Holy Spirit Himself to complete the work of God on this earth. The Great Commission will not be fulfilled apart from God’s own power.
This experience and emphasis is the great strength of the Charismatic part of the Body of Christ.
But as I look around, and listen to the words of some of my Spirit Filled brethren, I also see that sometimes, our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness.
Recently I heard that one of our leading TV ministers from the Charismatic wing of the Church made a statement that he had only heard clearly from God on 5 occasions in his life. What he was talking about was an experience where the Spirit of God had spoken strongly to him in his mind. He felt that 5 of these experiences were so strong that he was certain that it was God speaking to him and giving him direction. I don’t doubt the accuracy of what he was saying……the Holy Spirit can really speak to us and give guidance, and sometimes there is an unusual sense of the reality of the experience….other times we are not so sure.
The point with which I am taking issue is that this respected leader said it like that. He had only heard from God “clearly” 5 times. My question is this……do you read your Bible? Because if you do…..if you read it every day…..you have heard from God clearly every day, 365 times each year!
This is the problem. Many of us have not realized that every time we open the Word of God, we are hearing directly and clearly from God. Every single time. Not just when we get a “Rhema” word….a special feeling that God is speaking to us from a certain scripture. That does happen, but whether we feel anything special or not….every verse is a clear ‘”Word From God”.
And we are to treat every scripture reading as a clear word from God on this very day, that God specifically expects us to obey….right now, today!
I believe that the failure to see Scripture in this light, and the failure to have a spiritual discipline of Obedience to the Scriptures in this way (because most of us were not discipled with “Obedience Based Discipleship”, but rather with “Knowledge Based Discipleship” or as Charismatics with “Experienced Based Discipleship”) is the reason that Charismatics are some of last ones to hear of and participate in the enormous “Church Planting Movements” of the last 20 years. These CPM movements are filled with examples of miracles and the supernatural (see Jerry Trousdale”s book “Miraculous Movements”) but most of the ministries that are supporting and facilitating them come from the Non Charismatic Evangelical wing of the Church. Why? Because this is the part of the Church that emphasizes the Scripture and looks primarily to the Bible as the present day voice of God.
Yes, God speaks today by His Spirit. Yes, I believe in personal guidance as well as prophetic gifts in our day. But if we are going to see the Kingdom of God multiply exponentially we must begin to see the Bible as the present voice of God to us. We must open the Word of God each day and recieve it as a present Word that is to be obeyed. When we begin to relate to the Bible this way, and begin to Obey it with a greater passion than we would the experience of some supernatural visitation, then we will see the greater power of the Spirit work through us and will begin to see exponential disciple making and church planting happen through our ministries.
I heard from God today. It was at about 9 a.m. this morning as I was reading my Bible.