There is nothing like being in the company of a lot of people who are abandoned to God’s purposes, or who at least are trying to be. We need the whole body of Christ! Even in our local churches, we don’t always see the complete body and all the gifts of the Spirit are not shared. God promises that those who are hungry will be filled and instructs us to seek in order to find.
I was reminded of Paul and Timothy. Paul imparted gifts and then mentored his followers in the use of those gifts. Those new in their walk had leaders passing on the practices of the faith, not just through laying on of hands, but also in instruction. Every ask questions like, “How exactly do you pray for the sick to get them healed?” or “What does the voice of God sound like if we are, indeed, all sheep and are supposed to be hearing his voice.” I had all those questions and more!
Paul wanted the apostolic teaching and imparting of gifts to continue generationally, just as Jesus did. That is why we have all of these Epistles. They don’t make much sense if you haven’t received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit yet. We don’t all have it from the moment of conversion, as some churches teach. It doesn’t come at confirmation, although it could. It doesn’t come at Baptism, although it could, and it doesn’t come from being the best at Bible studies. I spent most of my life reading the Epistles as history, but when I was imparted by the laying on of hands with a Baptism of Fire, those letters were my life! It was scary. It was wild. I was freaked out! It was like the advice included me. Jesus was actually teaching ME how to heal the sick, like I was sitting with them. I felt fellowship with the early disciples and understood that we shared a common mission with the same directions. It was a big calling and God had imparted the power to do it, but I was still freaked out.
Ephesians 4:13 “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
As parents, we teach our children how to use tools, like a spoon, a pencil and a computer, but Paul taught his spiritual son, Timothy, how to use the greatest tool of all, Holy Spirit. He sent him to difficult places knowing that he had trained him to be mature. Our goal as parents and as members of the Body of Christ, is to help people reach “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”. Can you picture what that looks like? I know how Jesus walked; He did what He SAW the Father doing, so he saw into God’s heart, then He did miracles that reflected God’s will. He was the visible image of the invisible God and he said we are to grow up into that fullness!
I homeschool my kids and one year when planning time came, I was frustrated about the regular stuff that the world said we should fill our kids with. I wanted to do my best as a parent, so I asked God what I was to focus on over all. He said clearly, “Teach them to connect with My Spirit.” It was the most important parenting advice I’d ever received. Kids are born with spiritual availability until we talk them out of it out of ignorance. The church can actually kill childlike faith by bringing kids into the “real world” of logic and reason. They are naturally supernatural and have the greatest thing, child-like faith. They don’t doubt that they hear God. They just do. They see angels and point at things in the sky as babies. Who knew? I didn’t, until recently. I also lay hands on my children as they are ready to receive and when they are sick. Holy Spirit Band-Aids are free, since Jesus paid for them at the cross.
There is power given through the laying on of hands. Paul received an impartation from God himself and shared it with others. He said he longed to meet with people in person so he could share the gifts he received via laying on of hands. He was the picture of “freely you have received, freely give”. This didn’t just mean share our blessings. The church is called to some really mountain moving action. Here’s the text from Matthew from the mouth of Jesus himself.
Matthew 10:7-8 “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
This is a command of Jesus and it is most certainly included when Jesus also told his disciples to go and make more disciples, teaching them to observe ALL that He commanded them. He also promised to be with them and the future disciples always, unto the end of the age. (Matthew 28:16-20) Sometimes we identify with the pre-Pentecost identity of the disciples, but we should be identifying with the POST-Pentecost life they led. This is the inheritance we have as the body of Christ himself.
I have learned so much from the gifted disciples God has brought me to this year. A Todd White video jumped out at me one day and showed me that God is still doing just what I suspected He should be doing, miracles! My son, moved by the Holy Spirit, said, “Mom, we have to see that guy!” Holy Spirit’s amazing timing placed a conference in my region 3 weeks later where I got to spend 3 days learning what it meant to be a daughter of God in a Kingdom that had power to manifest itself. God would use me because I was in His family. It took courage. It was humbling but I started to step out in faith, ready to fail and ready to see a miracle. Why? Because someone taught me that I could.
This is what Jesus commanded us. Go and teach them to do what I commanded you. Jesus is saying that the disciples received the power to do as Jesus did for them and they were to share it. In the church today, we sometimes feel boastful if we speak of our gifts, but others need to know what we have so we can impart them to the hungry. The laying on of hands isn’t just for ordaining leaders, it is also in the context of passing on spiritual gifts. Then, those who pass them on, show us how to use them.
There are some really good resources to teach you how to use the gifts of the Spirit. I started reading some things by Bethel Church in Redding. When you search in Google on Bill Johnson, you find all kinds of negative, slanderous warnings by “discerning” Christians. Some fear that the gifts manifesting today are counterfeit gifts. I had to learn more and I needed a mentor, so I looked at both sides and prayed. One day, I had two screens up. One was from a well known site that is decidedly non-charismatic in nature. It talked about the known heretics of the faith today. The other was about Bill Johnson and his five generations in family ministry, now six. I saw the fruit of the work and the amazing transformation of the people who had a capacity to love the unlovely and to actually bring help to them through the Holy Spirit’s power. That’s what Jesus did, wasn’t it? That is what that command was all about. Go and do likewise to the end of the age – until I come back. God grabbed my attention with this question. He asked me, “What fruit to you see on each of these two screens?” On one, I saw fear, condemnation and lack of power. On the other, flourishing ministry by a humble man who soaked and meditated on the Word daily and who was willing to look nutty for God if it drew Him closer to the heart of the Father.
Bethel Church in Redding has a site called http://www.ibethel.tv. It’s awesome. I finally found a place where people shared how to hear God’s voice with specifics. I learned that God speaks words of knowledge, sometimes by giving us a sympathy pain in our body! It’s not written in the Bible, but sure enough, I’ve gotten a pain in my body when I’ve passed someone in a store. Because I’d been taught that that could be God speaking to me, I have stopped to ask people if they have that same pain (assuming I don’t regularly have pain in that area of my body, of course.) Right there, God has healed them of all pain as I’ve prayed. The more amazing witness is that I asked them something I could never otherwise know without revelation from God.
If you’d like to read more about what a life that looks more like the Acts church. There is much to read and watch.
Global Awakening has books, schools, and conferences by incredible teachers. http://globalawakeningstore.com/Books/ There are also full ministry manuals that will teach you how to use the gifts we already have via the Holy Spirit.
Here are a couple of my favorites:
1) “Essential Guide to Healing” by Randy Clark and Bill Johnson. This catapulted my understanding of HOW to heal the sick, not just ask God to help.
2) “There is More” by Randy Clark. This is all about passing down impartation of gifts and power of that practice. It also talks about the fallacies of cessationist teaching, meaning the belief that the gifts ceased or happen at God’s sovereign will. Many of us grow up with misinformation. http://globalawakeningstore.com/There-Is-More.html