Paul gave a clear glimpse of what is possible, and expected, in the first century. But this is so strange that few even try any more. My wife started a church based on this in the early 1990s. It was only a month or so before the sheep were begging her to preach every service “like everyone else does”. She finally gave in. But it was a sad day for both of us.
Paul laid out what a spirit-filled meeting was like
How is it then, brothers? When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him remain silent in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. If anything is revealed to another that sits by, let the first keep silent. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.—I Corinthians 14: 26-33 MEV
As Spirit-filled meeting scarcity grows to extinction, I thought I’d give a sample of how it works
I’m speaking from experience. Over the past forty years, Pat and I have led or participated in many meetings like this. This is what gatherings of the brothers and sisters are intended to be. What I am going to do is share one of these meetings from my book, The Righteous Perish. It should give you an idea of how things work. Pray the Holy Spirit will show you the Truth about these things.
To set up the scene from the book, here’s what is going on: the end is close, America is being racked by severe economic and political crises brought about by natural disasters and lack of leadership. This little church in Santa Fe is going to be used by the Lord to bring in the final harvest there before the End.
Just before the meeting, while getting set up to begin, they have discovered a bloody aborted fetus in a jar in their refrigerator. The woman who discovered the jar pulled it out of the fridge, freaked out and dropped the jar, which smashed and splashed blood all over.
Here’s the excerpt:
There was blood everywhere. All of the cabinet fronts were spattered. The entire interior of the refrigerator had to be cleaned. Soon, however, the smell of pine cleaner replaced the stench of putrefying blood. Anna lit some scented candles and Piñon incense.
By seven thirty, the Holy spirit had restored order to the room. Thankfully, almost everyone had been in their seats waiting for the meeting to start, facing away from the corner. The obvious maturity and competence of the leadership had kept everyone calm.
Sarah took over, “A little excitement tonight—Maranatha!”
The regulars all shouted “Maranatha!” in return.
“What does that mean?” Sarah asked.
“Come quickly, Lord!” Isaac spoke loudly from his position next to the empty chairs of Frank, Gina, and Naomi. George had made it clear that he was supposed to join in the worship and help keep everyone calm, but Jacob was more than a little upset. “Right now would be good!”
There were several fervent amens heard around the room.
Sarah continued, “Tonight we were planning to do some different things. The mess in the corner is not totally unexpected. We have stirred up a hornet’s nest in the spiritual realm in recent weeks. Obviously, the attacks are becoming more physical, but be not dismayed! He who is in us is greater than He who is in the world!”
Again amens rang out.
“It seems clear to us that events in the world are becoming overwhelming. The Lord has shown us some things that we need to cover, but before we start let’s spend some time before the Lord. We need to find out what His agenda is. For those of you that are new, we do this often.
“The general idea is to say nothing unless you are certain that the Spirit wants you to speak. Do not be surprised if we wait several minutes in complete silence. For many of you (especially those that are new to the Gifts of the Spirit), it takes silence to hear the Lord. Our belief is that the Spirit will use those He chooses, and they might be anyone. If you are not sure it is the Lord prompting you to speak, ask him to confirm it in you before you say anything.
“After two or three messages, we will stop and discuss what the Lord is saying. Usually, he only gives us two or three words per meeting. Tonight, I would not be surprised if He spoke to us off and on all evening. These are momentous times and we need to hear His voice. Are there any questions?”
While she was explaining the procedure, the men finished and took their seats. About the same time, the women came out of the restroom. Barbara looked as clean and precise as normal, though the jeans were certainly out of character. Naomi’s eyes were rimmed with red. She’d obviously been crying. At Jacob’s obvious concern, she gave his hand a quick squeeze as she sat down next to him. Normally, Frank and Gina sat between them, but tonight she needed the comfort of his strength next to her. Gina gave Frank a quick smile as she sat down next to him. He put his arm around his wife and she snuggled into the side of his chest.
“How can you tell it is the Lord prompting you to speak,” asked one of the men in the back row near the door?
“Good question,” answered Sarah. “The two keys are experience and anointing. There are at least a dozen people here tonight who have been doing this for many years. I have been filled with the Spirit since the early 1960s and my husband since the late sixties. George and Martha have both known the Lord for over twenty-five years. Gina and Frank are close to that. Anna’s main gift has been prophecy for many years.
“Isaac and I have attended thousands of meetings where prophecies, tongues, and various words have been given. This is a normal part of our life. In addition, we have found that the Spirit anoints the elders with discernment.” She pointed out me, George, and Martha. “Do you have any comments?”
It was back to business as usual. The leadership routine was especially comforting tonight. The rest of the group quickly relaxed as they were assured that everything was taken care of.
Isaac gave a little advice first, “A couple of things. First, it is rare for the enemy to try to deceive us. As you can see from the little incident in the corner, he is left with rather crude attempts to horrify and scare us. I find the shock tactics rather childish. The Holy Spirit usually keeps spiritual deceptions under control unless He has a good reason (for our edification or education). The normal problem is someone who starts in the Lord and then does not know when to stop. If you run out of words, just quit. Often someone else will pick up where you leave off.
“Second, as soon as a word begins, start to pray. Pray for discernment for you and for us. Pray that you will hear any part that is for you specifically. Pray that the Lord will protect us from ourselves and the enemy.”
George continued, “Remember that the goal is to have the Holy Spirit in control. He has His ways, and He can communicate with us. Our job is to be open—and watchful. This is not a brain-dead exercise. You need to focus on the Lord and what He is saying. This is very important—at this time in history (as the history of the church begins to come to an end), we need the hear the Lord. This is not an option. He has been telling us for years to learn to hear His voice. Now is the time when this becomes crucial—life and death.”
Isaac jumped back in, “I think that was the Lord there. Did you notice how George started with a general teaching and ended with specific instruction for tonight?”
Sarah took it back. “Martha, anything to add?”
Martha nodded, “I think it is important to add some general procedure here. If you think you have something to share, ask the Lord to remove it from your mind unless it is from Him. Do not be afraid to question. Ask the Lord to make His word clear, and to cause you to forget anything that is not of Him. Remember, words can come from three sources: the enemy, the Lord, or yourself. We only want to hear from the Lord. Your opinions can mislead us at this point almost as bad as the enemy. But do not be afraid. Simply ask the Holy Spirit to protect us from ourselves and the enemy—and focus on Jesus. If you make a mistake we will know it during the discussion. A larger mistake is not to speak out when the Lord asks you to do so.”
Sarah concluded, “Okay, let’s pray. If you are not sure what is going on, feel free to ask questions during the times of discernment and discussion.” She slid directly into a talk with the Lord.
“Father, we need to hear your voice. The times are fearsome and we haven’t completed our mission here in Santa Fe. You told me this afternoon that there were still many to be harvested here. Speak to us, Lord. We are asking for specific instruction. Give us the grace to hear you clearly.”
Raising her head, she spoke to the air in the room, “Any enemy spirits that rode in here on someone tonight, we bind you, in the name of Jesus. We forbid you to cause trouble or deception. We loose your hold on the spirits, souls, and flesh of those you rode in on. You can not confuse their thoughts or control their flesh this night. We forbid any manifestations. We do not have time for your games and we forbid them in the name of Jesus.”
Bowing her head again, she continued, “We open our hearts to you, Lord. Control this time, Holy Spirit. Whatever you want…”
She trailed off into silence. But it was a silence of Presence. The presence of the Lord slowly became like a strong perfume that could not be smelled—an embrace of spirit, a fellowship of love. After several minutes, He used Anna first, as usual.
“My children, this is the time you have been waiting for. Beyond that, all you need to know is that I will guide you much more directly in the coming months. Be listening constantly. Never do anything without seeking My direction first. There are many seemingly strange twists to the straight path I have laid before each of you. None of your paths is parallel with another person’s path, they will merely cross at times for your mutual encouragement. I have many in this city who will come to me in the next few weeks. They are hidden in nooks and crannies around the area. Remember the story of Philip when I told him to take the road to Gaza. Those times are here again. Do not worry about how you will get where I send you, what you will eat, or even where you will sleep. The time of harvest is here and many of the gardens with ripe grain are tucked out of the way in safe places.”
A chubby, but well put together woman in a tailored beige dress and beautifully styled gray hair in the second row to the right of the door spoke next, “Many of the ripe kernels will look like strange fruit. Do not fear. If I tell you to harvest, it will be good fruit. But do not act on your thoughts. Listen for My voice, then move. If you are not certain, it is not me. I will guide you very directly at this time.”
A new man, dressed in a gray, pin-striped suit, in the second row to the left of Sarah continued, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, then I will hear their voice and answer them and heal their land. This time is the golden harvest that has been prophesied for many years. Search my word and I will show you the truth…” The man spoke for another few seconds, but the presence was gone. Isaac looked up at Sarah and shrugged his shoulders. George and Martha smiled and began praying softly. Naomi touched Gina with a quizzical look. Gina gently shook her head no.
When he finished, Sarah spoke, “As is our custom, it is time to discern whether these words were from the Lord or not. Elders?”
I answered first, “The first two seemed that they were clearly from the Lord. The last one did not seem to fit. It seemed to be old news. Words like that were very common several years ago, but it seemed out of place tonight.”
Martha added, “I agree with Isaac.” She addressed the new man, “Are you sure that was the Lord?”
The man blushed, and stammered, “The presence of the Lord was so strong that I just couldn’t control myself. I had to say something. That man was right,” he pointed at Isaac, “I heard those words several years ago, and I have been waiting for their fulfillment. So, I spoke them out. To answer your question, no, I’m not sure at all.”
“Don’t be ashamed,” Sarah comforted, “the Lord’s presence was as strong as I have ever felt. Let me give all of you a word of instruction. If you are reacting to emotion, it is probably not the Lord. I know that it is hard to control yourself, but remember what Paul wrote, ‘…the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.’ I urge all of us to be careful what we speak.”
Frank spoke up, “Those first two words confirm what the Spirit has been telling me for several days now. Jacob and I were talking about it this morning. The obvious harvest was driven out of Santa Fe many years ago. The enemy thinks that he has this town under his control. That is why he tried to send Naomi and Jacob to end our presence. I assume that the jar of blood in the fridge is simply another attempt at terror.”
Several of the newcomers started a little at the mention of blood.
Jacob continued the discussion, “Please forgive me. I’m still new to all of this, but our former masters are very powerful. I am amazed that Naomi and I have been protected the way we have. As you could see with the little present in the refrigerator, our masters are not easily thwarted. It is like God has made us invisible to the enemy.” He smiled at Naomi. “She and I have been feeling that we should make our presence known in town, but we do not know how to go about that. We want to make sure that we are moving in obedience. I am certain that moving out under my own ideas will result in my death. Do you have any suggestions?”
“Yes, we do,” Sarah replied, with a smile. “But we still haven’t finished with the first two words. Are there any other comments?” She looked at the woman by the door who had given the second word. “Who are you, by the way, if you don’t mind my asking? Your word seemed to flow with Anna’s.” The elders nodded in agreement. “I don’t mean to put you on the spot, but we are curious.”
“Of course,” she answered, “my name is Samantha Reinhold. I have known Jesus for many years. I just moved here from Denver last week. Your friend, Ginger Holcomb, told me where your church was and told me to look you up. I am still unpacking, but the Lord said I needed to be here tonight. After the news today, I knew that it was important.”
“Well, praise God, how’s Ginger?”
“She’s doing fine—getting awfully tired of the Episcopal church, though.”
“I keep telling her that it’s time to leave. The apostasy is upon us.”
“Enough chit-chat,” Sarah concluded. “It seems clear that the Lord is telling us that the time we have all been waiting for is upon us. We need to remember the scripture, ‘Look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.’ This is where the rubber meets the road. Are we ready?”
Anna jumped in excitedly, “As I gave that word, I could see in my mind a scattering. All of us were scattered over the area like water sprinkling from a hose with a rain nozzle. It was a real gentle thing, but wide-reaching. It seemed as if the drops of water were being directed to specific seeds. These seeds appeared to be swelling, ready to burst. As the water touched them, they opened into strong green shoots reaching for the sun. I was so excited that I could hardly speak the words the Spirit was giving me. The clarity tonight is wonderful. His presence is the strongest I have felt.”
A heavy-set, balding man three chairs to the right of Sarah spoke up, “I felt the excitement. I wanted to jump up and cheer. My wife will tell you, I’m not like that. My name is James, by the way, and this is my wife, Georgiana.” He quickly ducked his head in embarrassment.
Georgiana smiled and continued, with her hand on her husband’s arm, “James has never spoken up like that. In fact, the only reason we are sitting up front is that all the other chairs were filled. We’re not even sure why we are here tonight. I found one of your business cards in my old purse while I was changing purses, as we were getting dressed to go out to supper. I mentioned it to James. We remembered talking to you in Villa Linda Mall several weeks ago. Remember, James and I used to go to St. Matthias with you in Albuquerque many years ago. Anyway, suddenly we both knew that we had to come tonight. This is all very new to us.”
“Be not afraid, you have merely fallen in with ‘those crazy charismatics,’” Isaac intoned oratorically.
Almost everyone broke into laughter. With the ease of tension, a couple of people got up to get refills on their coffee or tea. Sarah spoke loudly, “Okay, let’s take a little break. Remember where we are. When we come back we’ll try to answer questions—especially yours, Jacob.” She looked directly at him and smiled. “The Lord gave us a specific word for the two of you this morning.” Lifting her head again, she raised her voice, “You’ve all got ten minutes.”
She motioned to Isaac and they talked seriously about how to proceed for several seconds. Then Isaac stood up and stretched. Sarah got up and walked over to talk to Samantha. The room buzzed with excited chatter. Laughter broke out by the coffee pot. People walked over to the refrigerator to check it out, but the trouble was gone. God’s peace saturated the room.
Frank stood up and walked over to talk with the man who had spoken out third. He was looking very nervous. But Frank quickly got him smiling, and they chatted quietly until Sarah stood back up. “Calling all sheep,” she joked and walked back to her chair. Everyone quickly finished up, grabbed their drinks, and sat back down.
Sarah waited until everyone was quiet again. “I’ve asked Isaac to explain what we were discussing this morning. I think it will help several of you. After he is done we will answer any additional questions.”
I began in lecture mode, “All of this came out of our discussion as we were watching the horror in Florida. I thought that this was a new thing—a new spiritual level, as it were. It seems to me that the Lord has begun his judgment on America. I have expected this for many years now. It seemed clear that the anti-Christ would rise out of the old Roman Empire. America is not even hinted in scripture.
“If you all remember the chaos in South Florida when Andrew hit several years ago, try to comprehend what is happening this time…