Hello Brothers and Sisters,
I thought this would be a good opportunity to share a bit of testimony here about what took place Monday night at our Men’s group.
Our leadership team decided that we were going to have an “Afterglow” (time of waiting on the Lord, availing ourselves to Him in prayer, worship, and allowing 1 Corinthians 12-14 to be real among us.
Normally we have roughly 150-200 men in attendance on Monday Nights. We just completed a 10 week concentrated course through the Conquer Series, which specifically addresses the subject of lust and pornography among men. ( I am sure there are other studies out there for women, but this is after all a “Men’s Group”).
As we got started, I couldn’t help but think about this forum, and Frank’s heart and was wishing you could have been there brother Frank, I really believe you would have loved it!
Here is how it went down:
The Men’s Pastor, one of the Elder’s and I met at 5:45 to discuss the evening and pray.
At 6:30 we went into a room with all of our group leaders (about 16 men) and continued in prayer for the evening asking God to move. While this was taking places, various men arrived early and moved chairs into a circle around the room, it’s quite a large room and could seat roughly 200.
At 7:00 the pre-prayer ended and we joined everyone gathered in the main room, there were about 100 men in attendance, all seated in a circle around this very large room. Normally we have potluck style food for the men, but we had no food this night and encouraged the men to fast for the evening.
Our Men’s pastor opened in prayer and began discussing what the night would be about. He talked about the importance of waiting on the Lord, letting Jesus be the Head of the meeting, and encouraged the men to be open to the gifts of the Spirit. He also emphasized heavily that we were there to hear from the Lord, and not man, and that it wasn’t a time for someone to give a long Bible study that they had rehearsed or prepared.
Afterwards, he invited me up where he was, as so I could share something on my heart, which I had brought up in an earlier meeting.
I began with 1 Thessalonians 5:19 and reminded the men “Do not quench the Spirit”. I told them that there were two ways we could quench the Spirit as we were gathered. 1) We could quench the Spirit by self-promotion and parading ourselves and drawing attention to ourselves, and 2) We could quench the Spirit by remaining silent when God is prompting us to contribute and speak or be involved with the meeting. I encouraged the men that they are “not spectators” and that Jesus wanted to manifest Himself in and through each of us, and to pray, be poised and ready to be used by the Lord.
So, the meeting began with my exhortation, which I would say was a word of prophecy because in 1 Corinthians is says “he that speaks prophecy speaks edification, exhortation and comfort to the hearers”.
Following this we had two songs of musical worship while men praised the Lord in song.
After this, one of the Elders was moved to ask the men if anyone wanted to be prayed for to receive the Baptism of the Spirit. Men came forward, were anointed with oil and prayed over by this Elder, and several leading men around him.
While this was going on, I stood up and read from Ephesians 19 about the difference between the Baptism of repentance and the Baptism of the Spirit, and briefly explained what was taking place. About 10 men came forward for this.
Following this, there were several spontaneous scriptures read, thanksgivings and praises.
After this, there were several words of knowledge given regarding specific situations men were in, and I will do my best to remember them:
1)One was regarding unforgiveness in men, who could not move forward, and needed to repent, and be prayed for (several men responded to this)
2)One was regarding anger and bitterness towards God, more men responded and were prayed for, confessing
3)One was a word that told men that they were to act on the prayer that was in their heart for someone in the room, and many men stood up, walked over to someone, knelt down and prayed something specific that God had placed on their hearts.
After this someone was moved to ask the men if anyone had a testimony of victory over sin as a result of the Conquer series, and three men shared what God had done in their lives and it was powerful – all were edified and Jesus was magnified.
This whole process took about two hours, and it felt like the blink of an eye.
We sensed the things were drawing to conclusion, so we had a final song, stood to our feet and ended.
Here are some thoughts and takeaways from this meeting.
• This happened. It really happened! In a large church (over 2000 people) in a Men’s group on a Monday night with over 100 men present, seated in nice chairs, in an air-conditioned building (praise God!)
• Many gifts were exercised, but not all. That’s okay.
• Pastors and Elders were present leading, shepherding and ensuring the meeting was according to Scripture, but they were not the focus.
• I had the thought “I love this, and wish we could do this more” but I never had the thought, “I wish this was the new normal every Sunday morning”. I think these types of meetings happen and occur, perhaps we just don’t know about them because people aren’t chronicling them as I have done here.
• I believe the early church operated like this because gatherings were small and conducive for this, but now we have several thousand people in our congregation, so this would not be feasible in one large gathering. That’s why we gather collectively Sunday and share a facility that can hold us, and then we scatter in small groups throughout the week in homes and try and “be small, together”.
• I wish it could have gone longer, and I felt a small inclination to almost force something to happen because I didn’t want it to end, but the Lord showed me that was me, and not Him. “The Spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet.”
• I was hoping for something really dramatic, like a man being raised from a wheelchair, or mighty rushing wind, but the Lord was present, Jesus was magnified and it was extremely edifying. Isn’t that enough? It must be. There is a temptation to always “out do” each meeting, which present another problem because we want that high, that emotion, that feeling and that experience like we had “that one time”. Jesus is enough. He is greater than my need for an experience. His presence is the experience. His purposes and plans are far greater and wiser than my own.
• We will do this again, we typically do as a men’s group at the conclusion of each study/session and also at our Annual retreat. It’s always different, always precious, always impactful.
I hope this testimony encouraged someone!
All my love in the Lord Jesus,