April 04, 2009

muslim man with a cane

Sometimes we DO NOT see the results we are praying for. I am sharing this story to illustrate the fact that things don't always go the way we would like.

I approached a Gulf Arab muslim man today with a cane. I asked him about what the problem was and it he explained he had a rare infection in his heal that caused tremendous pain.

I shared the testimony of another Gulf Arab man who had a similar situation - extreme pain in his foot (related to a tumor, not an infection). I told him how I had prayed and that God had taken away all the pain.

He asked if I did "black magic"? I assured him that I was asking God to bring healing. I had already explained that I was a Christian but they often ask.

I put my hand on his foot and while praying I felt there was something happening. I asked him how it was - if the pain was any less, or if he had felt anything. Nothing he said and went on his way.

With all the healings we are seeing and sharing about, sometimes it is important to also write about the situations where nothing seems to happen.

March 30, 2009

thoughts about Baptism in the Spirit

this past week Acts 19:1-7 caught my attention again. It is considered to be a controversial passage because of an argument between an Evangelical and Charismatic interpretation about what kind of "disciples" these guys were - were they not-yet-saved as the Evangelicals contend, or followers of Christ as the Charismatics would argue? Since Luke ONLY uses the term "disciple" to describe Christians (every other time he uses that term), I believe the Charismatic interpretation to be the stronger one. (this whole debate continues because Paul and Luke use the term Baptism in the Holy Spirit in different ways and the problem comes because certain scholars have sought to read Luke through the lens of Paul's writings). In short, Paul uses the term Baptism in the Spirit to refer to the Holy Spirit's work in salvation, whereas Luke uses the term to refer to the Holy Spirit's work in empowering us for service.

With that background, the Acts 19 passage caught my attention for a different reason altogether. These "disciples" have an encounter with the Holy Spirit when Paul lays hands upon them - they spoke in tongues and they prophesied. Charismatics and Pentecostals have emphasized this "secondary" encounter with the Holy Spirit - but in many ways, I think they have been emphasizing the wrong thing. For far too long, the speaking in tongues aspect has been the focus. I don't know about you, but I have had my share of encounters (both personally, and that I have witnessed) where someone tried to get me to speak in tongues (that was before I actually did speak in tongues, as I do now).

I find it interesting that NO ONE in all those experiences ever laid their hands upon me with the expectation that I would prophesy - i.e. see a vision or have dreams (which is what Joel's prophecy in Acts 2 refers to). No one seemed to have that as their expectation and yet, that aspect of Spirit Baptism, namely the release of the prophetic gifts, is in fact the Biblically prophesied and expected fruit. Joel's prophecy said nothing about speaking in tongues - have you ever noticed that? Not that the speaking in tongues on the day of Pentecost (and/or in Acts 19) wasn't what God wanted to release/impart to them - don't hear what I'm not saying. Tongues is important and I want to honor all the gifts. However, we need to put the emphasis on the "greater gifts" - which Paul clearly teaches prophecy to be the gift we pursue the most (1 Cor. 14) - it is the gift we are to "especially pursue".

That all being said, I have personally lowered my expectations when it comes to the prophetic gifts - especially the "seer" prophetic gifts. I too have fallen into a bit of a trap where I think 'the seer prophetic people get "to see", and the rest of us probably won't "see" very often". That isn't what happened to the those "disciples" in Acts 19 - they got to step right into the prophetic "seer" realm - and the important part of this blog posting is that "WE DO TOO".

So what happened after I "saw" this in the text? - two prophetic dreams back-to-back. So much for not "seeing". More Lord - we pray for more!!!!