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"You are correct that very likely the great great majority of Christians have never experienced this."
Better watch Todd, looks like you just got judged for that statement :) Of course you are correct and this was a mainstay of preaching and writing for men like Simpson and Tozer and Ravenhill.
"It makes me wonder, however, how often even men like Simpson or Tozer or Ravenhill truly experienced it. I do not believe it is a regular occurrence."
I believe that you are right about it not being a regualr experience or perhaps to use the modern nay saying word "normative." I think you may agree with me that the problem does not lie with God but with men. Let me use an example that Spurgeon wrote about. He said that a young minister came to him one day after the service looking for his opinion. He said to Spurgeon that he was wondering why he was not seeing people saved at his services on a regular basis. Spurgeon said to him " surely sir, you dont expect to see someone saved ever single week," to which the young minister replied " of course not." Spurgeon says to him " aha, that sir, is your problem."
You see Todd, the young minister did not have expectancy, Spurgeon obviously did and obviously that expectancy was rewarded by God. If we believe that the manifest presence of God is not normative, then we should not expect God to show up in a powerful way every week. Yet, the Lord says that He is a rewarder of those who "diligently," seek Him. Perhaps our modern generations problem lies with a lack of expectation and a lack of diligence? ...........bro Frank
| 2018/3/26 11:30|
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/Perhaps our modern generations problem lies with a lack of expectation and a lack of diligence? /
And I would add perhaps a lack of instruction (or example).
| 2018/3/26 12:16||Profile|
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I would agree with that Todd. I think 1 Cor 14 is the most accurate and specific instructions in the NT on how we should gather and how we should keep order. If we followed the example and instructions from the Word, and not from tradition, then we would be in much better shape.......bro Frank
| 2018/3/26 12:38|
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Which is why I had the experience I did. My wife and I were at a youth worker conference - about 80 people were there- and when we walked in the leader had audio clips playing from the old Fire on the Altar site. Mostly Ravenhill. I had never heard such preaching before- this was around 2004. People just got wrapped up in listening to these sermon compilations and then a season of spontaneous prayer broke out and after the third person or so prayed the Spirit fell. It felt like heavy drapes over my shoulders so heavy I could not straighten. My wife felt the same thing- then tears. I still have a vivid memory of tears splashing off my Bible that was on the floor in front of my chair. It was truly wonderful and it changed me.
The very sad thing is that the youth pastor in our church who brought us to this conference was out in the hallway or somewhere else chatting with another youth pastor buddy of his while all this was going on and he missed it. We tried to explain to him later at dinner what happened and he looked at us like we had lobsters coming out of our ears.
| 2018/3/26 14:24||Profile|
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"and then a season of spontaneous prayer broke out and after the third person or so prayed the Spirit fell. It felt like heavy drapes over my shoulders so heavy I could not straighten. My wife felt the same thing- then tears. I still have a vivid memory of tears splashing off my Bible that was on the floor in front of my chair. It was truly wonderful and it changed me."
Amen brother, what a wonderful testimony and very much in line with 1 Cor 14 and the freedom of the Holy Spirit to be able to have Jesus as preeminent in the gathering. This is the key, but it is also the stumbling block. Will we open the door or will we stumble over this truth? What we see in 1 Cor 14 is simply the freedom to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through who He will, or preach through who He will, or teach through who He will. This terrifies men and it also terrifies power structures of any kind other than the power structure of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
There is no room nor place in almost all of our modern gatherings for spontaneous prayer. And yet if we look to the Welsh revival, there it was, or the Hebridean revial, there it was, or Azusa St, there it was. Time and time again in history, it is when men fall back upon the Word of God as opposed to the traditions of men, that the power of God falls as it fell upon you that day brother, and it changed you and your wife, because that is what a genuine encounter of God does, it changes you starting at your very core and radiates outward................bro Frank
| 2018/3/26 14:33|
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"You see Todd, the young minister did not have expectancy, Spurgeon obviously did and obviously that expectancy was rewarded by God. If we believe that the manifest presence of God is not normative, then we should not expect God to show up in a powerful way every week. Yet, the Lord says that He is a rewarder of those who "diligently," seek Him. Perhaps our modern generations problem lies with a lack of expectation and a lack of diligence? ...........bro Frank"
In response to this, you have struck upon a great truth, this expectancy for God to be among them prompted them to true worship. Over the years as I have taught various adults and teens. We have had meetings where the prayer meeting beforehand was gloriously blessed with the manifest presence of God. In the meetings there was a powerful presence of God, where silence, whispered prayers, worship was effected by God's glorious presence.
But as I taught then so I teach now, God's presence is what we desire, but the mode in which God 'defines his presence' is up to him. We do not look for misty rooms, thought we have had that, nor for silence and whispered prayers though we have had that, nor did we look for spontaneous worship, tongues or other manifestations. We were seeking for God himself to reveal himself to each person, it was Him and his grace/love being received by each worshipper. If God manifested and 'extra' kind of presence, that was remarkable and lovely but it was only a physical demonstration, we all wanted the reality of Him transforming us, empowering us, healing us, strengthening us. Our heart were for loving him.
It was not enough for us to have been given such blessed manifestation of the Spirit, we came for Him and if we left without Him, any other thing was a dry cup.
Over the years I look back and recognize why God so powerfully revealed himself and it is exactly as you've stated, we expected God to show his love toward us, we knew God expected us to love him and worship him in spirit and truth. He gave us just such a Spirit that will lead us into such worship.
But, it wasn't a 1/2 message, 10 minutes of worship and 10 minutes of talking it up from the pulpit. I preached for about an hour, and we worshipped for about 1.5 hrs as a norm. We prayed for most of an hour to 1.5 hours ahead of time.
And this was with 18-24 year old adults. Some will say time is not the qualifier and I say nonsense. It was the diligent seeking, the diligent prayer, the expectancy from such seeking and worshipping that God honored us with his own presence in powerful ways.
When healing was the norm, outpouring of gifts was the norm, salvations and consecration of lives to Christ was the norm, evangelism, desiring to attend bible colleges, and life altering transformations in their hearts to seek godly mates, godly churches, godly lives and raise godly children. This is the fruit those hours in the lives of those who sought God...and God graced them by giving them Himself.
You cant program this, you can preach this you cant work it up or declare it so, God instructed us to use the means he has given us, we did so and God rewarded the diligent seeker. He gave us more than powerful manifestations he gave us hearts that were dedicated to a life in service to Him.
| 2018/3/26 16:09||Profile|
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Amen bro Marvin, really appreciate your post. I think we may sum it up with one word "freedom." We cannot, as you say, program the Holy Spirit. This idea, is, and always has been violently opposed. The enemy knows well what would happen if the Lord had free reign among His people and was not quenched by programs and traditions. A mighty fire would break forth and would fundamentally change everything that it touched............bro Frank
| 2018/3/26 16:57|