THE SECRET PLACE
“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
WHOM SHALL I SEND,
WHO WILL GO FOR US?
Sometimes in life, we need to stand back and try to see the “big picture”. It is amazing how our experiences and what we have learned, can influence the way we think. I have an unusual spiritual background but also have been hindered in my life because of the way I perceive the church and what God expects from His people. I just wanted to sit down, put my views on paper, and ask the Lord to help me sort out my expectations from God’s reality. For those of you that know me and have read my writings over the years, you know that I have a vision to see the glory of God being manifest in our midst. I expect to see miracles and manifestations of divine power just like when Jesus walked the earth. Am I a dreamer? Please do not misunderstand me, I still believe this can happen and that God desires to demonstrate His power, but as it has always been – there are problems on the human end. These “problems” within the congregations have been very frustrating for me and has caused me to become twisted up in knots. I have blamed myself and others for not being spiritual enough, desperate enough, holy enough or just not having a strong determination. I have criticized pastors for not allowing the freedom of the Holy Spirit to flood the services. I have warned the people for being satisfied with their “amount” of God, and how it seemed they did not want to jump in at the deep end. I have rebuked the traditional church because of their seemingly lukewarm attitude and their religious game playing. I have said for years, that no wonder Jesus does not go in many churches, because the masses do not want Him or His piercing truth that demands for them to change their lives. I have asked the Lord to forgive me for my attitude. Granted, some of these things may be true, but it has caused much grief within my heart. I just want to know what is true and how to operate in God’s will. Let’s go on.
I want to share a little bit about my background. I was raised in a traditional independent Baptist church. The services were normal and very much like most all other Christian meetings. In 1972 when I was 14, I accepted Christ and was baptized. I went to Sunday school, and as I grew, I joined the youth group and participated in the Bible quizzes. After learning to play the guitar, I led our teenage group in worship songs and every now and then a special. I had serious questions even at this early age and was always told that the age of miracles had passed and now we live by faith. It seemed to me, that faith was what God was looking for in order to perform His miracles, but who was I to argue? A few years passed and I married my wife who was a Southern Baptist. We attended her church and I became involved with a quartet and sang specials with my guitar. I had the same questions there and was told the same thing. One day I asked the pastor how he received his messages, and he opened up a filing cabinet and showed me his sermons that were dated and prepared. He said he cycles them and no one ever remembers or notices they are the same every year. I thought the man of God was to listen to the Lord and receive a fresh word each week. I realize it is still God’s Word, but I just had higher “spiritual” expectations from such a holy office. I believe it is a humbling responsibility in the realm of acts and deeds to sincerely relay what God is saying to the people.
We left and started to visit some Pentecostal churches and independent full-gospel assemblies. As we joined the leaders of these churches, we were taught about the great coming revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit and how God was ready to move in supernatural power among His people. At last, I had finally found some disciples who were saying things I felt good about. I was still singing specials with my guitar and during a revival, an evangelist called me out and gave me a prophetic word. He said that soon I would begin to write the “new song” of the Spirit. As he left that night, I followed him out to his car for “more information” about this, but he said that was all the Lord gave him to say. I walked away not knowing what to expect, as I had not written a song before. A week later, I started scribbling down words at work, and when I would come home, I would pick up the guitar and sing the song. It was truly a miracle that I could do this and the prophetic songs just kept coming. Soon, I was writing special musical messages before the church services and after I sang them, the pastor would say, that is exactly what the Lord told me to preach. Therefore, as I have had a “personal” experience of being a Psalmist and a worship leader, I was very serious about this spiritual phenomenon and was very intense about this gift. Throughout my experiences, it has been somewhat discouraging because only a handful has ever understood them or appreciated them. However, actually, this is normal. The degree that we accept “anything” with a spiritual content is a direct reflection of just how serious we are to know God. It has been surveyed the average church member only retains about five percent of the message because they do not take notes.
We continued to hear messages about how through the covenant of Christ, we will see the restoration of the tabernacle of David, and the anointing will be poured out on God’s son’s and daughters. This is where I believe I became a little side tracked. I believe this is happening and will increase, but too much emphasis has been put on this manifesting only in the corporate “church” meetings – and not enough is being mentioned about having a Holy Ghost filled LIFESTYLE. These leaders have made their “living” in the arena of organized church and that is where they put all of their attention. They did not want the “church” to think that God’s people can act independently under the anointing and leadership of the Holy Spirit, without the covering and direction of a church leader. If this were true, (and it is), these pastors would not be needed to baby-sit the spectators. It reminds me of the Catholic legalities that teach how the church leaders have all the attention and authority, while the members are devoted more to the religious organization than to God Himself. The idea of having people confess to a priest for the forgiveness of sins is just another way to control the thoughts and finances of the weak and deceived. While on the subject of church leadership, allow me say that many leaders that have become pastors, are not really called pastors at all. Those that are talented and have gifts to teach, eventually learn that it is difficult to make money in the ministry. Lay teaching, music, visiting, and helps within the church are usually volunteer, but those who believe they have a spiritual calling to lead and want to make a living at it, realize the only way to have ministry as a profession, is to be a pastor. This is another reason why many congregations suffer.
As I later received another powerful word of prophecy in Freemont Ohio, that I would be a “chenaniah” (leader of songs). Again, I was becoming more convinced that my position and God’s Holy manifestation was being contained within the four walls. I believe that subconsciously, I was putting pressure on myself to be super-spiritual, while at the same time, judging the hearts of everyone connected with each service. In other words, I believed that God was going to manifest His “literal” glory every time we had church and I did not want anything to prevent Him from coming. It seemed many were just yawning and looking out the window, while I was doing everything but standing on my head trying to make sure everything was right, because I really thought the King of Kings was going to descend from the ceiling, as it describes in Isaiah chapter six. I began to blame the apathy and coldness of the people and criticized their sluggish desire to feel the presence of God. I was so intense I felt like I was going crazy, and I’m sure many thought I was. Allow me to say this – there is a lesson in this for all of us. The way we think, controls our attitude and actions.
I still believe that if God’s people cry out for His train to fill His temple with His power and glory – He will come in the demonstration of His miracles! I believe if the remnant is serious about experiencing God’s presence, they will stagger around, drunk on the wine of His Holy Spirit. However, if the people do NOT want God’s presence – He will not come, and there is nothing you and I can do about it! We can preach heaven down and worship until we have no voice left, but if the people are not interested, they will forget about it before they get home. The church will become filled with God’s glory when His people become hungry and thirsty for Him! Nevertheless, there is a slight twist to this statement. When Isaiah said that he saw the Lord and His glory filled the temple, I believe this is a type and shadow of God filling the “hearts” of the New Testament remnant. Since we are the church because Jesus lives in us and not a brick building – the GLORY of God’s presence will be seen in the stores, at work or wherever we go! Instead of viewing the church building as the place where God is going to demonstrate His glory, we have been called take this temple to those who may never go to church and allow them to see the glory of Jesus IN US! God is filling His house and His house is our heart! God can heal people from cancer under a palm tree the same as He can at a church alter. Anyone can be delivered and saved when they fall under the conviction of God’s Word – ANYWHERE! Sickness and disease can be crushed through prayer and laying on of hands – ANYWHERE! Instead of the church house being the demonstration center, maybe it is to be used as a supply house where we encourage one another in the battle and testify about what God has done THROUGH US, while we’ve been fighting on the front lines. Of course, I’ve known all of this for years, but I have needed to examine myself to understand why I have had such a difficult time with church. I have needed to see why I have struggled and I believe I know more clearly the way things are and God’s plans for the future.
There have been times when I have been leading worship, and I have thought how wonderful it would be if God would come like He did on the day of Pentecost. Acts chapter two, verse two said, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty rushing wind, and it filled ALL THE HOUSE where they were sitting.” This was an awesome manifestation and I believe it could happen in the corporate setting, but the previous verse, explains the criteria that makes the difference between witnessing His presence and going through the motions of a religious program. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” It is the UNITY of the faith and the intensity of being in ONE ACCORD! The reason why these events do not happen often, is that most people do not believe it, do not desire it, are not praying for it or expecting it! They want a nice comfortable service that does not threaten their level of commitment. Most people have all of God they want and are not interested in going any deeper. They are satisfied they have mastered the perfect balance of flesh and Spirit, and have become set in their ways. This may look normal on the outside, but in God’s view, it is lukewarmness and rebellion. Living according to our own carnal desires, with just enough religion to get us to heaven, is not God’s idea of taking up our cross and following Him. Selah.
Am I changing my views about what God is going to do in these last days? Absolutely not! I am simply being honest and realistic about how and where it’s all going to happen. I am still a dreamer that believes in the super-natural power of God, anywhere – any place – anytime! However, these divine demonstrations are not limited to the church sanctuary. I believe every letter of God’s Word and His plans will be fulfilled exactly as He has prophesied. The overcomers will walk in the anointing of God’s power and as the bride of Christ; they will walk in the love, faith, purity and holiness of His glory! Amen!
Am I depressed or sad that it is not going to manifest like I thought it would? Well, I am not saying that it CANNOT happen within the corporate setting, I am just saying that I believe it will be difficult because of the lack of unity and “sold-out” desperation. If we are waiting for it to happen in the midst of a group of people that are not allowing the nature of Christ to manifest in them as a way of life – we may not see it. I am saying that if we are born again, everything we need is already inside of us. The possibility of being “filled” with the Holy Spirit is in us, however the amount or level of His “person” depends on our devotion to obeying God’s voice. Do NOT be discouraged in these last hours. We must face the truth; the world is growing more aggressive and I promise we will all have the opportunity to either agree with sin or be opposed. Prepare your mind to abandon this world and get ready to stand for God’s absolute truth – no matter the cost. Knowing that God is with you – you can boldly say, “Then said I, here am I; send me.”