We Didn't Start the Fire
We Didn't Start the Fire! Unlike Billy Joel's song, this fire is one the Holy Spirit sent at the birthday of the church, the Day of Pentecost.
Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV) When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
There it is, the release of the supernatural power and presence of the Holy Spirit on everyone. That day, as some people were confused, some mocked and others were curious, Peter stood and announced that this outpouring was an end of days (eschatological) occurrence. This was the in breaking of the kingdom of God on a mass level and the day of salvation and all of it's ramifications was here!
As a result...3000 people were saved!
As s result of that occurrence and Peter's witness of Jesus, 3000 people were saved! From there, Christianity began to rival the major superpowers of the day, eventually causing even the mighty Rome to bend to God and His kingdom.
Where Did It All Begin?
That goes back in time. Back when Jesus was physically present, and preparing for this universal outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Mark 3:13-15 (NKJV) And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:
This is part of the way through Jesus' earthly relationship with the disciples, which, in and of itself, was a three training ground of learning to believe, think, inquire and act in the Holy Spirit.
A Faulty Mindset
Through the years I have been challenged by well meaning individuals as to why we have classes and conferences designed to train people in the move and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The average comment is, "If this is God, then people will know just what to do naturally without instruction."
Let me counter that through the historical witness of the word.
Besides the fact that Jesus trained the twelve, read what He charged them with before He ascended to the Father.
Matthew 28:16-20 (TPT) Meanwhile, the eleven disciples heard the wonderful news from the women and left for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. The moment they saw him, they worshipped him, but some still had lingering doubts.
Then Jesus came close to them and said, “All the authority of the universe has been given to me. Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I AM with you every day, even to the completion of this age.”
The disciples were commissioned to teach (instruct, talk about, demonstrate) them to do everything He had commanded them, not just talk about it.
What had He commanded?
Most evangelicals know and celebrate that He commanded us to love one another, as if that wasn't a supernatural command, but we also forget that He also commanded them this as well:
Matthew 10:5a,7-8 (NKJV) These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: ...."And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."
In all of our Sunday School classes, discipleship classes, women's and men's meetings over the years and much more, have you ever seen people being instructed in healing, leperous cleansing, dead raising, and demon expulsion 101?
Isn't it interesting that Jesus included this in His commands to the twelve which were to be taught to us to follow?
Western Versus Eastern Mindsets
In the West, because we are steeped in naturalism, materialism and Aristotelian logic, we are much more comfortable with words and concepts than deeds and immersive lifestyles.
The Greek way of learning was to learn a concept through debate and teaching, seeking the logic of something to fit your worldview, and then to have said that you have mastered it.
Our way of learning is not wrong, just grossly incomplete.
For instance, in most of the business schools in the country, we send people off to hear lectures and read books, taught mostly by people who have never owned a business, and when they write enough papers and have tested out, we confer on them a Master's of Business administration.
Now, please hear me, I am not saying it's all wrong, it's just incomplete.
Let's say we all enrolled in what was billed as, "Let's Learn to Skydive Class". At the beginning of class they would give us a manual on how to skydive. In it, we would read of great skydivers of the past, and of skydiving principles (gravity would be a major factor). We would underline and highlight the manual, learn to pack a chute. Then we would return to class where they would line us up, hand out certificates and declare we were now skydivers!
Now, all it would take to destroy this moment is for some joker in the class to say, "At some point in time, shouldn't we jump out of a plane and pull the chute?"
The instructor would say, "We don't actually have to skydive, it's enough to learn about people who once did it. We don't do that anymore."
In the West we have been satisfied with classes, but never in the doing of the thing! We have notebooks, diplomas, can fill the internet with opinions, but we can't do the thing!
Jesus' Way of Instruction
Jesus had a decidedly different method of instructing, "Come follow me." It was learning by immersion into doing the thing. The disciples watched Jesus and then were sent to do the same. (Mark 1:16-39; 3:13-15; 6:7-13 to list a few...)
Eventually, He left them to carry on the same method. You see, being a disciple or follower of Jesus isn't just about an agreement, it's about a lifestyle. I become a disciple when I believe, thing and do the things He did!
This way of learning is lost to most in the West, but it was Jesus' way and should be ours as well!
My Big Ask
The reason we allow any believer in Jesus to pray in our services is because it is Biblical. I want you to read from my former pastor, John Wimber what he said from Carol's (his wife) book, The Way It Was, pages 180-81:
"During the period of the prophetic era and on into the new renewal (1987-94), our people quit starting small groups, they quit prophesying, they quit healing the sick, they quit casting out demons, because they were waiting for the Big Bang, the Big Revival, the Big Thing. They were waiting for the apostles to come into office and for things to get into the right place. I thought, “My God! We’ve made an audience out of them. And they were an army!” We in effect told them, “You can’t do anything. You aren’t talented enough. You’re not gifted enough. You’re not holy enough. You’re not prepared enough. Stand back and let somebody who is, do it!”
We did it by, not so much by precept, but by example. In effect, I said, “Time out” and it went against everything I believe in, in terms of freeing the Church to minister. You see, at one time in the Vineyard we kind of had an “everybody can play” attitude. I would say things like, “Well, if you know the Lord at all, get up. Let’s minister. If you don’t know the Lord, you soon will because when you realize that you can’t do anything until the Lord moves, you’ll want to know him.” So that sounded a little reckless but really all I was saying was, “everybody can play.” Let’s do it together.
Everybody can worship. Everybody can pray. Everybody can prophesy. Everybody can heal. Everybody can win the lost. Everybody can feed the poor, and on and on. If anything, people felt included. It wasn’t so bad. I’m not defensive at all about what I’ve done except I sometimes think I need to explain why I’ve undone certain things and I’ve had to pull back on certain things because they were altering us, changing us from who we were and what I felt that we were called to be."
Janice and I were in the Vineyard before the prophetic era and we were influenced by the sheer wave of people ministering everywhere! At one point in time, you couldn't go into a restaurant or coffee shop without seeing someone pray for some else to be healed, delivered or ministered to in someway. Small group were incubators in ministry that affected whole neighborhoods! We had just finished Bible College and had never seen anybody out side of clergy ever pray for the sick with effect. The book of Acts was alive before our very eyes!
You see, we were taught how to do the works of Jesus and not just told to do the works of Jesus!
I want to extend the same invitation to you. Firestarters Class starts Thursday and I want you to be there. I want to help equip you to take your discipleship into new places of trust and obedience. I want to see the book of Acts come alive again!
You see, we were taught how to do the works of Jesus and not just told to do the works of Jesus!
If you haven't signed up yet, please do so here. The money can be paid over the life of the class and goes for your manual and nothing else. In twelve weeks, you will go from fearing to move in trust in places to become a lit, on fire disciple. How do I know that? Because I have seen it over and over again. Where do you think the stories and testimonies I tell over and over again came from? People who decide to become a follower and not just an intellectual learner and went through the class.
Again, join me for Firestarters and a new way of being a disciples. Your life will never be the same!