Feb 5, 2017
The one fundamental fact they all left out, is without a personal, deep relationship with God, we all feel unfulfilled, unsettled and a void inside. When the programs and activities have run their course, the void is still there. As a teenager, reading the bible was a chore and most sciptures did not make sense to me. Attending Church was boring, and a waste of time in my youthful mind.
At age 17, I had a powerful life changing encounter with the Holy Spirit. At the Church I was attending, there was great worship and powerful preaching, and a lot of legalism. But, they were passionate about the Holy Spirit and the anointing. They allowed the Holy Spirit to move in each meeting. It made me hungry for more of the Spirit.
The night I had the encounter with God, it was not speaking in tongues, that came several weeks later. It was an infilling of the power, fire and electricity of the Holy Spirit. That's the only way I can describe it, and the experience lasted for hours. My desires changed and suddenly the bible began to make sense and I could not read enough. I wanted to be in every meeting. I wanted to serve any way I could and I did. I drove the church bus, greeted people at the door. Taught children's Sunday school class. Became youth leader, played guitar in the band, and even played the church organ for a few years. We held open air meetings and did street ministry till early hours of the morning..
It was not the building, programs or good preaching, but the life in the Spirit that changed it for me. It was the Pastor and leadership of the Church that encouraged and allowed the things of the Spirit that made me hunger and thirst for the presence and power of God.
I am now 67 and still loving my relationship with God. The bible says " walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" Gal 5:16. The root meaning of lust is "a strong desire of any kind whether good or bad" It is the good or bad desires of the flesh that take us away from God's plan and purpose for our lives. It is the desires of the Holy Spirit, when we yield to them, that make whatever Church God has us in, profitable to us and a blessing to others through us.
It was that experience in my youth, and the subsequent implantation of the Word of God in my heart, that was the foundation for all that God has accomplished in our ministry over the past 45 years.
So my word to Pastors and leaders is, if you want growth in your Church, "you" must be full of and led by the Holy Spirit. You must have a heart full of His word and you must allow the Holy Spirit access to your congregation. You must foster a strong desire in the hearts of the believers for the things of the Spirit. Will they all embrace it, most likely not. But you will profoundly touch the lives of those that do and they will go on to do the same. You may not have quantity, but you will have quality.
There is no such thing as the perfect Pastor. We all face the challenges that life presents and some people are stronger than others. However, nothing can replace a personal life changing relationship with God. He is our helper, comforter and guide and His anointing will destroy yokes of bondage that try to overcome us.
If you are feeling dry and burnt out, stop what you are doing, go to a quiet place, and wait on the Lord. Don't spend that time telling God what is wrong and telling Him how to fix it up. Give Him opportunity to fill you, refresh you and pour into your spirit fresh vision, purpose and direction. Every one of us need that time alone with God.
God bless you all richly.
Posted by Gil Howard-Browne at 12:54 PM