Acts Rev Dr Edgar Mayer – Living Grace Lutheran Church, Toowoomba – Date: 11 June 2017
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Laying On of Hands
What are some of the most basic things that everyone needs to know about the Christian faith? If you had to make a list, what would be on the list? One book of the Bible (Hebrews 6:1-3) mentions six random items which are identified as “the basic things we were taught about Christ”. What are they? There are the usual suspects of (1) repentance (turning away from sin), (2) faith (trusting Jesus for salvation), (3) baptisms (with water and the Spirit), (4) the resurrection from the dead and (5) the judgement to come (at the end of the world). These are familiar but then there is another “basic thing” about the Christian faith which may be not that familiar to many Christians (at least in my upbringing it was never mentioned and many other Lutherans and mainline Christians have not heard about it either), that is (6) the “teaching about the laying on of hands”.
Hebrews 6:1-3 [CEV]: We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught about Christ. We shouldn’t need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God. And we shouldn’t need to keep teaching about baptisms or about the laying on of hands or about people being raised from death and the future judgment. Let’s grow up, if God is willing.
What is the basic “teaching about the laying on of hands”? It is the understanding that you can receive the Holy Spirit – either a more general immersion with the power of the Holy Spirit or a particular gift – when another Christian or a group of Christians lay their hands on you.
1 Timothy 4:14 [CEB]: Don’t neglect the spiritual gift in you that was given through prophecy when the elders laid hands on you.
2 Timothy 1:6: For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the [spiritual] gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
Acts 8:14-17: When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
When another Christian or a group of Christians lay their hands on you, there can be a transference of the Holy Spirit and his power – an impartation – from them to you. Of course, this is not the only way that Jesus can impart the Holy Spirit and his power to you. On one occasion, a man had such overwhelming faith in Jesus simply commanding the healing of his servant that the healing happened this way without the physical touching of the person by Jesus:
Matthew 8:5-13: When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
However, even though in this instance Jesus did not come and touch the servant for phyiscal healing, the very next episode reverts back to the basic practice of touching a person for administering the power of the Holy Spirit (in this instance for healing):
Matthew 8:14-15: When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
When a man named Saul (later Paul) was persecuting the church, Jesus himself appeared to him in a powerful encounter enabled through the Holy Spirit (cf. Revelation 1:9-18) but even then, the breakthrough impartation of the Holy Spirit happened through another Christian who laid his hands on Paul.
Acts 9:3-9: As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
Acts 9:10-12: In Damascus, there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
Acts 9:17-19: Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength…
There can be powerful impartations of the Holy Spirit simply by preaching and speaking the truth about Jesus:
Acts 10:39-47: “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”
1 Corinthians 2:2-5: For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified... My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Thessalonians 1:5-6: Because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction…You welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
There can be powerful impartations of the Holy Spirit through prophesying the will and intentions of God. (In general, whenever we speak the Word of God – be it in preaching or prophesying or any other sharing of the truth about Jesus – we set up the Spirit to move – we activate and release the Spirit – because the Word of God is the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) – the tool and means of the Spirit to release his power.)
Ezekiel 37:4-10: Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
However – again – the powerful impartations of the Holy Spirit through preaching – speaking the simple truth about Jesus – and prophetically declaring his will do not cancel out the basic “teaching about the laying on of hands” but frequently the two go together. First, we preach and prophesy under the power of the Holy Spirit, and then we impart the Holy Spirit to the listener(s) – giving them a personal experience of what has been preached and prophesied – through the laying on of hands.
In a previous Bible quote (right at the beginning), we could already see how prophecy and the laying on of hands work together in ministering the Holy Spirit to people.
1 Timothy 4:14 [CEB]: Don’t neglect the spiritual gift in you that was given through prophecy when the elders laid hands on you.
The prophetic word announces the release of a particular spiritual gift (establishes the spiritual authority to receive this gift) which is then imparted through the laying on of hands.
[The prophets of old practiced declaring particular gifts and callings with the laying on of hands, accentuated through smearing oil on a person’s head:
1 Samuel 16:13: So, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David…
1 Kings 19:15-16: The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.”]
In the same way, the preaching (like the prophetic word) announces what God wants to do to a person which is then imparted through the laying on of hands in the prayer ministry after the preaching. The listener(s), through the Holy Spirit, come into a personal experience of what has been preached through the laying on of hands. (Therefore, in my thinking, preaching without the laying on of hands is often incomplete. When you preach under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit only waits to confirm the Word through prayer ministry and the laying on of hands.) [Even in the healing ministry, we usually combine the laying on of hands with the declaration of God’s will. As we touch people, we say, “Be healed” or words to that effect.]
One of my favourite demonstrations of this truth happened in Vietnam two years ago (July 2015):
In preparation for Saturday morning, I felt to preach on Hezekiah and did not know why. (We were told that we would preach at another congregation where there were also orphan children.) It did not seem the time for concentrating on leaving an inheritance but when I saw the many children (including forty orphans in Pastor Phi’s church in Cu Chi) and youth I knew why God had chosen this talk. (Most people in the congregation were children and youth.) The story of Hezekiah was perfect for telling an interesting Bible story to the children (armies, angels, miracles, kings) and I made much of young Hezekiah, merely twenty-five years old, leading the biggest revival of turning an entire nation back to God. What could God do through them? They were young but nothing was impossible with God. They had a call for Vietnam.
In the prayer time after the preaching, we were busy with praying for the adults (also one conversion) and so the children were taken aside to another room where Mrs Cuc prayed for them. Many of these children (primary school age) met Jesus and were taken by him to heaven where he showed them their mansion in eternity, talked to them about their call, etc. Some saw the golden streets, the heavenly Jerusalem, a rose garden which was theirs, Jesus dying on the cross, etc. Some were rather emotional when they were sharing their testimony. (Cf. the testimonies of the orphans in H.A. Baker’s account “Visions Beyond the Veil”.)
One young woman, whom Pastor Phi especially mentioned and thought that she was special, was twenty-five years old – exactly the same age as Hezekiah!
[From the Jesus Tent in Toowoomba, 2012: What took me by surprise was the strong emphasis on deliverance over the five days. Every night, the glory of God confronted the darkness in people so that demons were coming to the surface before they were expelled through prayer and commands in Jesus’ name.
On Saturday night – when most people had already left the tent – one woman (with deep involvement in witchcraft for generations) was set free from many demons. The deliverance was like a horror movie – with demons looking out of her eyes, using her vocal chords – (I heard them say that they are many) – and her body writhing on the ground. It must have been so traumatic for the woman but she went home a new person and the whole family was rejoicing.
On the Sunday night especially, when I preached on 1 John 3:8 (“For this reason the Son of God was revealed, so that He might destroy the works of the devil.”), we had the witches in the tent and Satanists taking up position on the ridge behind the tent – cursing the meeting while fire twirling.
Cf. One Living Grace member stood up and, under the influence of an unclean spirit, began speaking against the sermon that mentioned the defeat of demons in hell. / One Lutheran chairman experienced the stirring of an unclean spirit when I shared the testimony of spiritual warfare around the Jesus Tent.]
The Holy Spirit set up the preaching about the young king (Hezekiah) and impressed on all the listening children and youth that Jesus was calling even the young to do great exploits for him, and then after the preaching – when we laid hands on the children and youth – Jesus met them personally, even took many of them to heaven, and talked to them about their destiny. This is a most common experience: The preaching (like the prophetic word) announces what God wants to do to a person or whole congregation which is then imparted through the laying on of hands in the prayer ministry after the preaching.
Preaching and being “ministers of the word” (Luke 1:2) is all important – of primary importance – because without sharing knowledge about Jesus, no one can put their faith in him and be saved.
Romans 10:13-14: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” … But how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
However, the ministry of the word is not a stand-alone exercise of merely speaking the word but does make use of the “laying on of hands” for impartation – a most basic teaching of the Christian faith according to Hebrews 6:1-3. Such power is released through Christian hands that in the Bible a famous magician – who was drawing people in with his sorcery – offered to pay money for this even greater “magic” that he witnessed among Christians.
Acts 8:18-19: When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
The ministry of laying hands on people is from God and looks great and feels great:
Luke 6:19 [CEV]: Everyone was trying to touch Jesus, because power was going out from him and healing them all.
Mark 16:18: …they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.
Acts 19:5-7: On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
Why does the laying on of hands work? Why – how – can the Holy Spirit be passed on in this way? You can make it easy and say: “Because God said so.” He made a promise which he is going to keep.
However, there is more to unpack and understand. Christians can pass on the Holy Spirit and his power through their hands because the Holy Spirit is located in us – in our bodies. One Bible reading asks: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples [dwelling places] of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God” (1 Corinthians 6:19)? Amazingly, our human bodies are the home of the Holy Spirit who, when he resides in us, impregnates our very flesh and bone with his presence. The Bible speaks about us being baptized and immersed and marinated with the Holy Spirit which explains why there can be – there is – a transfer of the Holy Spirit and his power happening when our Spirit impregnated bodies touch someone else, and we do the touching usually with our hands.
We are talking about spiritual things but they are not airy-fairy ideas about God (floating around in an endless universe) but concrete realities, tied to time and space. The Holy Spirit can be compared to the sun which makes you warm and hot when it shines on you, and you can pass on the heat to anyone that comes close to you. It is that physical with the Holy Spirit. Usually the transference happens through the laying on of hands but, to illustrate the point of the physical impregnation with the Holy Spirit, I give you a few of the more extreme examples from the Bible:
Exodus 34:29-30: When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. => The Holy Spirit and glory of God had permeated Moses so much that his face was changed physically and took on some of God’s radiance (enough to scare the others).
Acts 6:15: All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. => The Holy Spirit permeated Stephen so much that his face changed physically and reflected the glory of God like an angel.
Matthew 17:1-2: After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. => As Jesus is being filled with the Holy Spirit and the glory of God, his very clothes change their physical appearance and reflect the intense presence of God.
John 20:21-23: Again, Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” => Jesus is absolutely filled with the Holy Spirit so that even his breath releases the power of the Spirit to others.
Acts 5:15: As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. => The Holy Spirit rested on Peter so mightily that he could transfer and release the Spirit’s power when people only came close enough to be in his shadow.
Acts 19:11-12: God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. => The Holy Spirit had permeated Paul so much that he could pass on the impregnation even to items of clothing by touch, and it would be more than a brief impregnation.
2 Kings 13:21: Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet. => The Holy Spirit had permeated and impregnated Elisha so much that even his dead bones contained enough of the Holy Spirit and his power to bring a corpse back to life as he came into touch with Elisha’s bones.
Maybe I tell you another testimony of how the presence of God becomes concrete in time and space. This story is about two angels and we are not so different from angels (and they do assist us in ministry). Through the Holy Spirit, we can be equally filled with the presence and glory of God.
John Killpatrick, Larry Sparks, and Michael L. Brown: The Fire that Never Sleeps: Keys to Sustaining Personal Revival, Shippensburg: Destiny Image 2015. John Kilpatrick writes:
By the time I was fifteen, I had been praying with Brother Wetzel for almost two years. During these unique prayer meetings, there was great division stirring inside and outside our church. This was starting to weigh heavily on our spirits. Things had been stolen. Someone was shot and wounded outside the church one week. We were tired, weary, and beaten down. We were desperate for a strengthening touch from the Lord.
It was around midnight. We were walking around the sanctuary, praying for our church, our families, and our friends. This was definitely one of those nights we needed to “pray through.” Police officers showed up routinely at the church building to make sure each door was securely locked.
That night two angels broke into the church through those locked doors. This is a literal account of what I saw. This was not a vision of the mind or even an open vision. I saw the angels with my natural eyes. Both of the sanctuary doors were flung open—doors that had been bolted and locked. I can still hear the loud pop of the tin doorknob hitting the plaster walls.
All seventeen of us looked up to see two powerful-looking angels walk through the entrance. One turned like a soldier and went to the right side in the back of the sanctuary. He stood there solemnly, filling that area from the floor to the ceiling. Right after him, the other marched by, turned like a soldier, and went to the left side of the church. He, too, stood solemnly, his presence reaching from floor to ceiling.
So there I am, just fifteen years old, watching these mighty angels enter the church building. I was simply awestruck. To this very day—and at the time of writing this book, I am sixty-four—fifty years later, I can picture it as though it was just yesterday. That one encounter is forever etched into my mind. I remember how they looked: beautiful and tranquil. One moment my eyes were fixed on these angels, and the next, they caught glares from the headlights of the cars outside. The angels were just as real as the traffic passing by the church. They did not have wings, but they were adorned like warriors. They just stood there, filling the church from top to bottom.
I thought to myself, “Dear God, I shouldn’t be here—I’m too young for this.” I was shocked, overwhelmed, and awed. My mind raced. “I’m fifteen. I’ll probably never see something like this again. I have got to remember everything my mind can capture from this experience.” Even though we prayed nightly, we had never seen anything like this before, and I was not sure what to do. I glanced at the other men and boys. Their eyes stood wide open, thus confirming that they, too, were seeing what I was seeing. This was no vision; we were standing on holy ground.
When I looked back at the angels, I noticed no wings or shields
or helmets. I simply saw different hues of blues, pinks, and golden brilliant
colors forming an aura around them that was too bright to pierce. They stood
radiantly for what seemed like the longest five minutes I have ever experienced.
It was clear that they were standing guard over the church. Then, as if they
got an order, they turned like soldiers, marched back to the middle aisle, and
walked right out the door toward the passing cars.
We sat in silence, absolutely stunned. No one moved…
Reflecting on my encounter, I remember that when the angels left, the building was absolutely saturated with the power of God. Brother Wetzel slowly stood and walked toward the back of the church to close the doors. Like little children fearing for their safety, each of us followed on his heels as he made his way to the doors. When we got back to the area where the angels had been positioned, we all fell like dominos under the power of the Spirit. The residue of power in that area was so strong, we could not stand under its weight.
The atmosphere was electric with the presence of God. I didn’t just fall down and then quickly get back up afterward; I went totally out and didn’t open my eyes again until the sun came through the stained-glass windows on Monday morning. Amazingly, those doors were still open from those angels visiting us the night before.
Christianity is nothing short of a supernatural life. When we drift away from the dynamic demonstration of our faith, we are in desperate need of revival.
That was my first supernatural experience. It made such a profound impression on me that it became a benchmark for the rest of my life—and the rest of my ministry. Because I saw and experienced the genuine, nothing else would ever satisfy me. The emphasis here is not angels; it is the supernatural realm that angels come from. The Church was never established to be an organization; it is a community of called-out ones, filled with the Spirit of God and empowered to do the works of Jesus on Earth…
I will never forget that from that moment onward, things shifted supernaturally in our church. Everything just exploded. In the very next service, the power of God broke out at little Riverview Assembly of God. As the pastor began to pray, just before the offering, the entire church fell under the Spirit’s power. Thirty-eight people, many of whom had been coming to church for years, received the baptism of the Holy Spirit that day. God was showing me how encounters produce momentum. Divine encounters are significant for our personal spiritual journeys, but based on what we do with these stories and testimonies, we can actually watch the Spirit of God breathe on them afresh and multiply our corporate level of hunger, thirst, and desire for revival. When you remember what God has done in your life and share your stories of His mighty power, these testimonies create hunger in the people listening. They want to experience the same thing!
The angels were so full of the glory of God that the very spot where they stood became impregnated with the power of God so that no one could stand but seventeen people fell like dominos, the 15-year-old John Kilpatrick losing consciousness until the next morning. And the whole atmosphere of the church building had changed with people falling under the power of God in the Sunday service and many receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The angels had imparted something of the presence of God, and we can do the same through the laying on of hands.
Next question. If Christians can pass on the Holy Spirit and his power through their hands because the Holy Spirit is located in us – in our bodies as the dwelling places of the Holy Spirit – are some of us better at this than others? Are some of us more effective in laying hands on people than others?
This is not such an easy question to answer. On the one hand, any Christian – no matter how new they are to the faith – can ask for an infilling with the Holy Spirit and be completely baptized – immersed – with the Holy Spirit. This experience and empowerment are a gift from God and no reward for performance and obedience to Jesus’ commands (even though we can diminish the gift and our own effectiveness in stewarding the gift by “quenching” and “grieving” the Holy Spirit through sin and disobedience.)
1 Thessalonians 5:19: Do not quench the Spirit.
Ephesians 4:29-32: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
A brandnew Christians can be full with the Holy Spirit which means that this new Christian not only has the person of the Holy Spirit dwell in him for salvation but also power – he can be filled to overflowing by the Spirit – and this enables him to do just fine with imparting the Holy Spirit and his power to others through the laying on of hands.
Therefore, on the one hand, any Christian – no matter how new they are to the faith – can be filled with the Holy Spirit and impart this kind of fullness to others. But, on the other hand, there is a role that maturity plays in maintaining the fullness of the Spirit and growing in the authority that God gives us for certain tasks and leadership.
When Philip preached the message of Jesus in Samaria and many people came to faith, it took the apostles from Jerusalem – the senior leaders – to come and lay hands on the new converts for the baptism – the full immersion – with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:14-17: When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Paul, another apostle and senior leader, knew of his role to impart realms of the Spirit to churches. We can all pass on something of the Spirit to others but leaders – by nature of their calling – are responsible that none of the gifts and power of the Spirit are missing. Paul writes to Christians in Rome whom he has not met before:
Romans 1:5-12 [NIV + AMP]: Through him [Christ Jesus] we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ…
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world … constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times … For I long to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift, to strengthen and establish you…
Paul identified his job as bringing all Gentiles – non-Jews – to the “obedience that comes from faith” and this obedience cannot operate apart from the Holy Spirit and his gifts which therefore Paul must impart.
See also the following Bible passages:
Acts 6:2-6: So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
Acts 14:23: Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Titus 1:5: The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.
James 5:14-16: Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
When Moses – the leader whom God used to deliver his people from slavery into Egypt and lead to the Promised Land – needed help in overseeing the nation, the Bible is careful to note that God took from “the power of the Spirit that is in you and put it on them” to “share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone”.
Numbers 11:16-17: The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.
Numbers 11:24-30: So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.
However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.
Some people observe (and I think that the observation has merit) that Moses had the calling, responsibility and gifting for the governance of God’s people and leading them to the Promised Land, and when God imparted the Holy Spirit and his power to seventy others leaders, he did not do so directly from heaven but made them all share in the Spirit and the set of giftings and responsibility that was already in Moses. There were not to be competing callings and anointings but God used the senior leader of a people to impart what was needed for the job that was entrusted to him.
This is food for thought when we think about church communities and their senior leaders. When everything is right, the calling and empowerment of the senior leadership comes with an impartation for other leaders in the community and the whole congregation and this impartation does not compete with what has been entrusted to the senior leader and God’s purpose for this particular community. Of course, there can be a beehive of activities in the church and widely divergent ministries but there is also a calling and identity that holds the community together and gives it a particular focus. Not all churches are the same and have the same assignments from God.
In a positive sense that enables the whole church to operate in the anointing of the senior leadership or even excell and complement that anointing. Randy Clark, a healing evangelist and teacher, is convinced that one of the best decisions of his life was to accept a team from John Wimber instead of the man himself. They carried the same anointing – the same empowerment of the Spirit – as the senior leader. [This is the same teaching as on “spiritual covering” but coming from a different angle.]
Transcript of Randy Clark talk @ Toronto Airport Church, 20 January 2014: And the next day I was walking through the living room and John Wimber’s on television. I don't know who he is, I just heard him and sit down on the couch and listened to him and said “I like this guy. This is really good, and I agree with him. I don’t say it as good as he says it. But, this guy I really like.” I taped it in the afternoon and took it to the deacons and said “I want to invite this guy to my church”. I didn’t know he probably wouldn’t come to a little Baptist church of 150 people. But I called him. He told me “I can’t come, but I can send you a team.” Now I, I offer people all the time, when I can't come, to send a team of some of my spiritual sons. And most of them say no. I was smart. I said “Yes. If you can’t come, I’ll take the team.”
Elisha certainly received the particular anointing – particular empowerment and calling – that was on the prophet Elijah – literally carrying his mantle and performing miracles of the type that Elijah did, even exceeding him.
Immediately prior to the time Elijah was caught up to heaven in the whirlwind, his younger understudy Elisha requested a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (2Ki 2:9). Elijah being under the inspiration of God then replied that Elisha’s request would be granted provided that the younger prophet were with him at the time he was taken away. The scriptures then record that this condition was fulfilled.
After reading of the spectacular career of Elijah, it is difficult to believe that any man could have a double portion of his spirit, yet it came to pass that exactly twice as many miracles were done in the ministry of Elisha as in that of Elijah. The miracles in the careers of these two men of God may be summarized thus:
Miracles in the Career of Elijah: 1) Causing the rain the cease
for 3 1/2 years (1Ki 17:1) / 2) Being fed by the ravens (1Ki 17:4) / 3) Miracle
of the barrel of meal and cruse of oil (1Ki 17:14) / 4) Resurrection of the
widow’s son (1Ki 17:22) / 5) Calling of fire from heaven on the altar (1Ki
6) Causing it to rain (1Ki 18:45) / 7) Prophecy that Ahab’s sons would all be destroyed (1Ki 21:22) / 8) Prophecy that Jezebel would be eaten by dogs (1Ki 21:23) / 9) Prophecy that Ahaziah would die of his illness (2Ki 1:4) / 10) Calling fire from heaven upon the first 50 soldiers (2Ki 1:10) / 11) Calling fire from heaven upon the second 50 soldiers (2Ki 1:12) / 12) Parting of the Jordan (2Ki 2:8) / 13) Prophecy that Elisha should have a double portion of his spirit (2Ki 2:10) / 14) Being caught up to heaven in a whirlwind (2Ki 2:11)
Miracles in the Career of Elisha: 1) Parting of the Jordan (2Ki 2:14) / 2) Healing of the waters (2Ki 2:21) / 3) Curse of the she bears (2Ki 2:24) / 4) Filling of the valley with water (2Ki 3:17) / 5) Deception of the Moabites with the valley of blood (2Ki 3:22) / 6) Miracle of the vessels of oil (2Ki 4:4) / 7) Prophecy that the Shunammite woman would have a son (2Ki 4:16) / 8) Resurrection of the Shunammite’s son (2Ki 4:34) / 9) Healing of the gourds (2Ki 4:41) / 10) Miracle of the bread (2Ki 4:43) / 11) Healing of Naaman (2Ki 5:14) / 12) Perception of Gehazi’s transgression (2Ki 5:26) / 13) Cursing Gehazi with leprosy (2Ki 5:27) / 14) Floating of the axe head (2Ki 6:6) / 15) Prophecy of the Syrian battle plans (2Ki 6:9) / 16) Vision of the chariots (2Ki 6:17) / 17) Smiting the Syrian army with blindness (2Ki 6:18) / 18) Restoring the sight of the Syrian army (2Ki 6:20) / 19) Prophecy of the end of the great famine (2Ki 7:1) / 20) Prophecy that the scoffing nobleman would see, but not partake of, the abundance (2Ki 7:2) / 21) Deception of the Syrians with the sound of chariots (2Ki 7:6) / 22) Prophecy of the seven-year famine (2Ki 8:1) / 23) Prophecy of Benhadad’s untimely death (2Ki 8:10) / 24) Prophecy of Hazael’s cruelty to Israel (2Ki 8:12) / 25) Prophecy that Jehu would smite the house of Ahab (2Ki 9:7) / 26) Prophecy that Joash would smite the Syrians at Aphek (2Ki 13:17) / 27) Prophecy that Joash would smite Syria thrice but not consume it (2Ki 13:19) / 28) Resurrection of the man touched by his bones (2Ki 13:21)
The anointing – the particular empowerment by the Holy Spirit – that is on people creates an environment around them – an atmosphere in the space around them – that allows others to enter in and operate in the same anointing. This further confirms the role of leaders and their callings for the whole community and what is imparted through them.
1 Samuel 10:9-13: As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying. When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, “What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”
A man who lived there answered, “And who is their father?” So it became a saying: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” After Saul stopped prophesying, he went to the high place.
1 Samuel 19:18-24: When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied. Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”
“Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said.
So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
The anointing on a group of prophets created such an atmosphere of the Spirit around them that others – even those with hostile intent – could not help themselves but also started prophesying and operating in the anointing of the prophets. In a church community, we can experience the same and start operating in the anointing that is on others in this place.
Therefore, on the one hand, any Christian – no matter how new they are to the faith – can be filled with the Holy Spirit and impart this kind of fullness to others. But, on the other hand, there is a role that maturity plays in maintaining the fullness of the Spirit and growing in the authority that God gives us for certain tasks and leadership.
Maybe I should clarify another point. Moses, Paul, and other senior leaders played an important role in imparting certain empowerments and gifts of the Holy Spirit to their various communities but this does not mean that the impartation that happened when they laid hands on people was limited by the extent of their own giftings. On the one hand, it seems to be easier to impart what you already carry in the Spirit (see the story of prophets and Saul above) but, on the other hand, no one person operates in all of the available gifts in their greatest expressions. If that were the case, we would no longer need each other and complement each other. You can pray and impart some gift that is not yet operational in your own life, because we minister the Holy Spirit to one another and he is a person who carries the fullness of all of his power expressions in himself and can freely choose how to bless another person.
A few years ago, I laid hands on a person for a most powerful impartation of prophetic giftings which operated differently from mine. I had been sharing from Ezekiel 2-3 and Revelation 10 on “honey scrolls” which God gave people to eat for prophetic release. Then, I invited people to give this a go, and laid hands on people, praying for an impartation of these honey scrolls.
Bernie Tranter (happened on 13 May 2011 and shared on 22 May 2011): I wasn’t really familiar with that story of the scroll being placed on your tongue sweet in your mouth and sour in your belly. But I was open and trusted my leaders. And I went forward for prayer and actually as we were praying I saw a vision of an angel prying open my mouth and he was pretty big and he put this little tiny thing (maybe twenty centimetres length and quite thin) and it was kind of golden and he put it on my tongue. And, at that point, it was very sweet and my tongue went numb. (And I went [makes mouth movements and smacking lips and tongue].) I had no feeling in my tongue. It was really weird. What was going on? And then I felt like a thick kind of substance went down my throat. It was a bit like snot. Helen suggested that it might be like honey. To which I responded: “Yes – this may be a nicer way to describe it.”
And then Sunday afternoon (my husband and I were out for a drive), I said: “Oh, you gotta get me home. I don’t feel very well.” “What’s wrong?” “Get me home.” He looked over to me and suddenly drove home quite urgently. Only when I saw myself in the mirror did I realize that I was not very well. I had gone as white as a sheet. I felt as bad as I looked. It was horrible and I wondered whether this was something like being sour in the tummy because I was so nauseous.
Oh, it was horrendous but, since then, I have not stopped hearing from God. It’s been continual. He’s been waking me up in the night. I have seen really visual picture – just being in continual communion with him and I feel like he has been prompting me for some time to pray and I have been saying he was wrong because I don’t like to (I’m a pretty social person) do things by myself and I thought, “Well, you would not have made social if … You commission me to do something social.” I should have just listened to what God … He knows best.
But he’s been calling me to prayer and opened up my spiritual eyes since that evening just to hear … oh … I feel a bit overwhelmed and been sharing a lot with my dear friend Helen and she’s just been overwhelmed too by the volume and how specific some of the things have been that I am getting. It’s been awesome but it’s been overwhelming too … I am hearing words. I am seeing things. Sometimes I see things and say: “God, I don’t know to pray for that.” And he just takes me through it. (E.g.: Pray for an angel. Pray for this …) And then it’s resolved. I have never done that before.
[All five senses work in Bernie spiritually. She hears, sees, smells, tastes and there is also touch.]
I did like the adventure of this ministry time, and Bernie received a far fuller expression of the prophetic ministry (e.g.: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting in the Spirit) than I have. When you lay hands on people and impart the Holy Spirit, you impart the whole person of the Holy Spirit and he can express himself in ways that you do not experience yourself.
I summarize what we have said so far:
· The “teaching about the laying on of hands” is basic Christian teaching.
· When another Christian or a group of Christians lay their hands on you, there can be a transference of the Holy Spirit and his power – an impartation – from them to you.
· In the preaching (like in the prophetic word) God announces what he wants to do to a person which is then frequently imparted through the laying on of hands in the prayer ministry after the preaching. The listener(s), through the Holy Spirit, come into a personal experience of what has been preached through the laying on of hands.
· Our human bodies are the home of the Holy Spirit who, when he resides in us, impregnates our very flesh and bone with his presence which explains why there can be a transfer of the Holy Spirit and his power when our Spirit impregnated bodies touch someone else.
· On the one hand, any Christian – no matter how new they are to the faith – can be filled with the Holy Spirit and impart his fullness to others. But, on the other hand, there is a role that maturity plays in maintaining the fullness of the Spirit and growing in the authority that God gives us for certain tasks and leadership.
· The anointing – the particular empowerment by the Holy Spirit – that is on people creates an environment around them – an atmosphere in the space around them – that allows others to enter in and operate in the same anointing. This further confirms the role of leaders and their callings for the whole community and what is imparted through them.
· On the one hand, it seems easier to impart the spiritual gift and empowerment that you already have but, on the other hand, you can pray and impart some gift that is not yet operational in your own life, because we minister the Holy Spirit to one another and he is a person who carries the fullness of all of his power expressions in himself and can freely choose how to bless another person.
How then can we enter into this kind of ministry in laying hands on others and receiving something of the Spirit through others laying hands on us? How is this ministry done?
It’s not that complicated. There is no special technique required for the laying on of hands. Some use their open hands, others a few fingers, and Bill Johnson simply placed his thumb on my forehead. (I wanted the whole hand – both hands – but he tought that the thumb was enough.) Heidi Baker hugs people. There are some that like blowing on people like Jesus breathed on the disciples, but the most common way of transfering the Spirit in you is through the laying on of hands which also seems a little more personal and loving than blowing on people. Just put your hands somewhere (where it does not create embarrassment).
Before we already talked about setting up the impartation through the laying on of hands in the preaching and prophesying beforehand. As we declare the will of God and his promises, the Holy Spirit just waits for the opportunity of confirming the word of God, and this happens frequently with the laying on of hands.
Then, a most important key is faith for the impartation (in the one ministering and the one receiving ministry). One time, a desperate woman’s faith drew the anointing out of Jesus when she touched him even though Jesus himself was not even aware that this woman had come close to him.
Luke 8:42-48: … As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
When Reinhard Bonnke was a conference speaker in Brisbane (maybe 2011), I just went to have him lay hands on me and receive an impartation from him. Before we were able to go to his first preaching session, we met him at a lunch function where he shook hands with all those that came. As I waited in the queue to shake his hand, I resolved to be the same as the woman in the crowd that touched Jesus. I resolved to draw on his anointing when it was my turn to shake his hand. My faith would draw the anointing out of him, and if he felt a little tired after that because power had gone out from him, so be it. (There was time to nap before the evening meeting.) This is what I did, and it was just as well, because in the evening session he declared that he did not believe in impartation ministry even though I knew that he himself had received a powerful impartation at the beginning of his ministry and wrote about it in his autobiography. (I also exercised faith to receive an impartation from the atmosphere around him in the evening session. What worked for Saul around the prophets does work even today.)
Reinhard Bonnke: Living A Life of Fire, Orlando: E-R Productions 2009, p146-1 49: … After finishing school in Swansea, I said my goodbyes. Lifelong relationships were begun there at the school of Wales. So many memories. The fellowship, the tests of faith, and the wonderful Bible classes – these had now become forever a part of me and would follow me wherever I went. Furthermore, my English had become passable.
I traveled by train to London. Having some money to spare, I decided I would simply take an unguided sightseeing tour of the great city. Big Ben, the famous Parliament building, Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London. I hoped from bus to bus, crisscrossing the city as if on a holiday. Which, in fact, I was. My first holiday.
At length, I arrived at a place called Clapham Commons, a large park in a lovely residential section of the city. With no specific destination in mind, I decided to stretch my legs. I began walking through the surrounding neighbourhood totally at random. All of a sudden, I stopped because I saw a blue nameplate in front of a house. On that nameplate I read, “George Jeffreys.”
I thought to myself, could this be the great George Jeffreys who had founded the Elim Pentecostal Churches in Ireland and England? I had read much about him. He had been a great firebrand evangelist who had traveled across the world preaching to overflow crowds in some of the largest venues. Miraculous signs and wonders had accompanied his preaching. I recalled that 10,000 had been coverted in his historic Birmingham crusade. 14,000 had responded during a crusade in Switzerland. He was known to many as the greatest evangelist Britain had produced after George Whitefield and John Wesley. My heart pounded with anticipation to think that of all the residences in London I might have stumbled upon, I had stumbled upon his.
I felt a spiritual and natural link with this man. As with so many other British revival leaders, Jeffreys had been born in Wales to a miner’s family. He had been a teenager during the great Welsh Revival of 1904 and 1905, and for him, the fire had never gone out. What especially linked him to me was that he had also ridden the tide of the Pentecostal revival that followed from Azusa Street and onward. He had embraced both revivals.
You only live once, I decided. I walked through the front garden gate and climbed the porch, pausing at the door. There I rang the bell. A lady opened the door.
“Pardon my intrusion, ma’am. Does the George Jeffreys live here who was that famous firebrand evangelist I have heard so much about?” “Yes, he does.” “May I please see him?” “No. Under no circumstances.”
She had hardly said no when I heard a deep voice from within the house say, “Let the young man come in.” I squeezed past that lady in a heartbeat and into the house. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I saw him coming slowly down a staircase, holding it unsteadily as he made his way toward me. As he reached the landing, I stepped forward, took his hand, and introduced myself. I told him I had a call of God on my life to be an evangelist and to preach the gospel in Africa. That I had been to college in Swansea and was now returning home to Germany.
What happened next was extraordinary. All of a sudden, he took me by the shoulders and fell to his knees, pulling me to the floor with him. He placed his hands on my hand and began to bless me as a father blesses a son, as Abraham blessed Isaac, who blessed Jacob, and on and on. The room seemed to light up with the glory of God as he poured out his prayer over me. I was dazed by that glory. I do not remember the words with which he blessed me, but I do remember their effect. My body felt electrified, tingling with divine energy.
After about a half hour he finished. I stood up and helped him to his feet. He seemed very frail. We said goodbye. The lady came and escorted him away. He could hardly stand. Nor could I, for different reasons. I stumbled from his house and staggered back toward Clapham Commons like a drunken man. There, with my head spinning, I waited for a bus to carry me on my way to the railway station.
What were the odds that this had happened to me? Even more, what did it mean that it had happened to me? It seemed like a dream. I had to convince myself, again and again, that it had actually happened. Why would God grant me this unexpected and unplanned meeting as a 21-year-old Bible college graduate in London on his way hom to serve a practicum at the smallest church in all of Germany?
I did not know. I kept it to myself.
I arrived at home and began the process of serving with my father in Krempe. I had been home for just a few months when one day Father said to me, “Son, did you hear the sad news?” “No, what news?” “George Jeffreys died in London.” “George Jeffreys! That’s impossible, Father. I just saw him. I met him.” And then I told him the story of my meeting with him in London.
In fact, he died on January 26, 1962. I was still 21, three months short of my 22nd birthday. As I absorbed the news, I realized something wonderful had happened in London. I had caught Elijah’s mantel that day. God had connected me with former generations of evangelists – George Whitefield, John Wesley, Evan Roberts, George Mueller, Rees Howells, George Jeffreys. The gospel is like a baton in a relay race. That day I got the baton into my hands. The fire I had already within me. The fire is always fresh. The baton of the gospel is always old, and it is passed on. I now understood that on that day in London, the baton and the flame had met …
It's not complicated. Place your hands on someone or allow someone else to touch you, exercise faith, and then see what is going to happen. God is good.
However, we have a habit of making easy things difficult, even when we are open to God. This is why I want to share a testimony of Randy Clark before he became known and famous across the world for ministering impartation to others. He even wrote a book about the topic: “There Is More. Reclaiming the Power of Impartation”. He himself had to overcome obstacles to receiving a most powerful impartation.
Randy Clark: Waking Up the Church, http://www1.cbn.com/700club/randy-clark-waking-church (accessed 6 June 2017): The late John Wimber prophesied over Randy Clark in 1984 that he had an apostolic call on his life and would one day have a translocal ministry of impartation. The prophecy seemed outrageous at the time because Randy had never left the continental US nor was rarely asked to speak anywhere.
Randy grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist Church and came to know the Lord intimately following a car accident at age 18. Following many meetings with John Wimber, Randy says the Lord directed him to establish a Vineyard Church in St. Louis in 1986 where only 11 people came in the first 11 months. This “desert experience” was felt by many in the mid-80s and by 1993; he was discouraged, miserable, and distressed. That summer Randy attended a Howard-Browne conference in Tulsa that changed his life. He says he was touched, received an impartation forcefully by the Holy Spirit and healed of a nervous condition. The next Sunday back in his home church, Randy reports that a worshipper “fell under the power of the Spirit.” She lay on the floor for 45 minutes, laughing and slapping her thigh. Word quickly spread in Vineyard circles about what was happening in St. Louis. Randy was invited to speak at regional and national denominational meetings where he says the Spirit moved powerfully. He was then invited to speak in Canada where God used him to begin the Toronto Blessing.
Randy Clark, There Is More, Bloomington: Chosen Books 2013: Then the flood went to an occasional shower, and by the time nine years had passed since the initial outpouring in the Baptist church, I found myself and my Vineyard church in the midst of a desert time. I desperately cried out to God, and He answered my prayers. In His wisdom, He sent me to a Rodney Howard-Browne conference at Rhema Bible Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was not in agreement with some of the ideas coming out of this particular church, but I sensed that my attending was a test from God at the time, so I went.
During the first few days of that conference, I was uncomfortable with the Holy Spirit manifestations that I saw going on around me. I knew, however, that I did not want to return to St. Louis until God had touched me. On the last day, when the call came to go forward to receive, I could not get to Rodney because of the 4,500 other people crowding to the front. In desperation, I cried out again to God, asking Him to touch me even if it meant my shaking, rattling and rolling around. I went to a hallway to get in line and wait for Rodney to lay hands on me. When he did, suddenly I found myself on the floor, unable to get up!
This happened five times when Rodney laid hands on me, and it was during these times that God changed my heart. I repented of my mean spirit and realized how displeased God is when we take the attitude of attacking Christian brothers over issues that would not be considered heresy. I also received a powerful impartation that changed my life.
When I returned to my church in St. Louis, things exploded. Every Sunday following my return, we had a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit—this in a church that had never experienced anything like it in its eight-year history. The power of the Spirit fell, bringing powerful manifestations and deep changes in people. I also attended our regional meeting of Vineyard pastors, and I asked the Lord to touch the pastors there who were as desperate as I was. The second night of the meeting, God moved sovereignly and everyone got blasted! People were running around dancing, slapping each other on the back, rolling around and generally acting drunk. Happy Leman, my regional overseer, was laughing hysterically. When I saw Happy, typically a nondemonstrative “Mr. Control” type, doing that, I knew it was God!
Then my area pastoral coordinator, who was already drunk in the Spirit, asked me to pray for him. I agreed even though he had already been prayed for twice. I touched him, and it was as though the Spirit of God hit him and knocked him into some chairs. He said it felt as if a truck had hit him. I did not know he had a severe spinal injury that caused him to wake up in tears every morning from the pain. I also did not know that he had been told there was no hope for correcting it surgically. When God came on him, he said it felt as if a hot hand went down in his stomach and pulled something out, and he was healed! The anointing of God was on him, and he could not talk for months without stuttering. He stuttered all the time when the Spirit of God would come on him. God had done a wonderful thing for him.
Transcript of Randy Clark talk @ Toronto Airport Church, 20 January 2014: I remember when I went to start the new church, I wanted to start a church that would be based upon the presence of Jesus and go, grow, because of the power of Jesus that revealed the mercy of God. I wanted to grow because people were being healed, and delivered and set free and experience His presence that would cause them to weep, or to laugh, or to shake, or to be still. I didn’t care how it came, I just wanted it to come. His presence. The experience.
And when I started that church we did have healings and we trained a ministry team and it looked, I mean it started out pretty good, we had quite a few healings, but every year they decreased. We got, what I explained to one of my friends, Champaign, Illinois, in the Vineyard there, the vicious downward spiral is the word that he called it and that explained it, what it was.
And he said “When we first met you, as you were our overseer in the Vineyard, our doctrine and our faith were at the same level. But as time went by, our experience was less than our doctrinal position, our faith did not stay at the level of our doctrine, our faith was following the level of our experience. And so each year when our experience was less, the following year our expectation was less, and then because our expectation was less, the next year our experience was even less followed by less expectation.” And he said we were caught up in this vicious downward spiral.
And he said “What do you do to get out that?” And I said “Well I have to go somewhere where there is an open heaven, where I see my experience go the other way. And my faith, follow it. Because there is a difference between what we know to be true biblically and what we are experiencing as true that the scripture speaks about. And our faith and a sense of expectation, is much more affected by our experience, or may I say, our testimony.” God understood that, that’s why God, as I’ve heard Bill Johnson share many times before, we are to remember the commandments and the testimonies, and when the people of God forget the testimonies, they always go into backsliding. And where there is a lack of testimony there begins to be a lack of expectation. So it’s not that (thank you Paul), it’s not that we can’t have faith apart from experience, but I do know that experience does deepen our faith.
So I was in a vicious downward spiral and every year I was seeing less and less and less power. Power for power’s sake can be occultic, it can become witchcraft, power for my sake, power to get our, what we want. But there’s another kind of power, a power that’s rooted in love. A power that’s not for my benefit, but for your benefit. That kind of power is a power based in the love of God. A power that often comes from dying to self – experiencing our, our cross to live in his resurrection power.
So what happened was by the time 1993 arrived, I was a mess. And I didn’t like my church, as you saw me talking on a video a while ago. And you can’t blame your predecessor when you started the church. And the Lord spoke to me. This was, I’d been there eight years. “You don’t like your church, do you?” “No, I don’t”. “Why don’t you like it?” “You know Lord”. “You don’t like it because there’s too much you and not enough me.” And the Lord knew that I had an idol, and the idol in my life was to have a church of 1000. So Lord spoke to me and said, “Would you be happy?” cause I was miserable, I was not happy, I wouldn’t have gone to the church if I wasn’t paid. If I hadn’t been the pastor, it wouldn’t have been the church I’d picked, because the presence of God was not as strong as I would have wanted. People were still being saved, but we weren’t seeing hardly anybody being delivered, or set free or healed up of broken heartedness, or physical healing, and that’s what we’d started way over there. And now the church was around 400 – 310 average attendance.
But we have come a great distance. You see when the Spirit began, the Holy Spirit’s presence began to be, to wane, instead of crying out to God, and doing whatever as members and get before God and cry out until He comes, I didn’t do it. It was easier to see a friend of mine whose church was growing very rapidly in Ohio, a friend and want to say, well maybe that’s what God is doing now. I tried to become what my friend who was successful in the Vineyard, I tried to be like him. I became desperate, empty. Church was growing and I was shrinking. Because, I wasn’t, this wasn’t God’s destiny for my life. I have a friend whose name is Steve Sheldren. When I met Steve, he was doing a lot of things with the poor and, I, we were both, I mean I was just getting involved in the Vineyard. And I was seeing people get delivered and healed, and power manifestations and this was now eight years later and he was still doing what he was doing when I first met him, but I wasn’t. But then I felt like the Lord said, I said “Lord, even if I had 1000 people”, that’s my idol, I thought about it, “I wouldn’t be happy. I wouldn’t be happy because all’s going to be is more people, more problems. You got all the hard stuff without the good stuff that makes it enjoyable. Your presence.” I really realised that the more, that more than I wanted a big crowd, a big crowd without him is not satisfying. “I just gotta have you.”
Then he really wanted to see if I was serious. And he said “What if I grew your church to 5000, would you be happy?” And I think, that’s as big as any church in St Louis! Then I thought “No Lord, I wouldn’t. What’d really make me happy? Is to feel you. To see things happen in church that we can’t do.” I was growing the church on the arm of the flesh. I had learned church growth principles. I knew how to do a good assimilation program, I, my wife and I. But I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, literally. If you said a cross word to me, my shirt would start shaking, my muscles, cause I’d lose control of them. I couldn’t make decisions – my associate and my wife were making decisions because I was, I was that bad off. That day I made a decision. I’m going after God. I went to my Associate Pastor and said, “You know, I haven’t preached on Holy Spirit in probably five years. We’ve been growing this church without an emphasis of Holy Spirit and if we open up and go after the Holy Spirit we could lose half, maybe 80% of the people we’ve gained.” I said to him “I don’t care, I’ve gotta have God. I am so miserable, I can’t continue this way.” And he said “If you go for it, I’ll follow you.”
This was the first important key for Randy Clark. He had to come to a place where he didn’t care about anything else but God and his presence through the Holy Spirit. He had to give up his idol of a 1000-member church, and doing things in his own strength. He had to give up a good deal of his membership – risk losing them.
So I am so dry and so desperate I cry out to God, “God, you gotta do something. And I’m gonna go after you.” So what did I do? I went home and got out the videos that we had of Baptist meeting when Blaine came. And I watched them. And I sat there and watched the videos and wept and wept and wept. I cried out “God, you gotta touch me again.” And I called up my friend, Steve Sheldren and said “Steve, I bless what you’re doing. You’re doing what God has called you to do. But do you remember when we first met? What I was doing? Well, I lost it and I didn’t persevere to get it back. And I tried to become you and it almost killed me. So I bless what you do, but I got to do something different.” And he blessed me.
Remembering past high watermarks of our walk with God also helps and if we do not have our own memories and testimonies, we read the Bible and books of other people and revivals.
Psalm 77:5-15: I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
Judges 2:7: The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.
I continue with Randy Clark’s testimony:
What is it that God’s put in your heart? For me I know, I can’t be satisfied for something that I can do and we could do. I can only be satisfied when things start happening that only God can do so that he gets the glory. And so we make this transition. One week after we make that resolution that I’m going after God, just one week after, a friend calls me at midnight. Now I haven’t been healed yet. Now, I’m still in this mess, I’m still about to have a nervous breakdown, and my friend calls me, who had been in my Baptist church in 1984, and he said “How are you doing?” It’s midnight. Midnight! “How are you doing?” I said, “I’m doing fine”, which was a lie. Don’t, parishioners, don’t ask your pastors how they’re doing. We speak sometimes by faith. Because we don’t want you to know sometimes, how bad it is. Because we’re afraid you’ll get scared, make you insecure. He said, “How’s your church?” I say, “Fine.” And in one way it was. We’d had ninety-two baptisms that year. We’d grown by one third. We bought a new building, we got out of the school, and we were meeting our budget. The three B’s of success if you’re a Baptist. Baptisms, Budgets and Buildings. So we were doing really well by my former criteria. But it wasn’t the truth.
The church needed more of God in it. Man, it was, it’s so hard to grow when you’re built on the arm, your flesh, your arm, your strength. It’s so much more enjoyable when you’re floating down river and He is carrying you along. It’s not so much a work then. So I realise, by his questions, I feel guilty I’m lying to him. Then he said, he asked me how I’m doing, he asked me how the church was doing, then he said “I gotta tell you something.” “What?” “I just went to Louisville, Kentucky”. And I just heard this South African guy preach. And I’m telling you, it was just like what happened when Blaine came to our Baptist church, except more, cause there’s more people. And, I saw stuff that didn’t even happen when Blaine came. I said “What’s that?” He said people got stuck like statues and couldn’t move for an hour. Now we’d had to drive people home at my Baptist church at midnight, drunk, so I’d seen that happen before. We’d seen bizarre things happen before which we didn’t understand. But my friend said “Randy, it’s starting again.”
That’s what I want you to hear. Two things. You may have been touched in 1994. I was touched in ‘84, ‘89, ‘93. I confess I want God, I want God to shake me. What was it Nancy Honeytree, was that her name? Shake me, rattle me, roll me. You know, I want that again. With, hopefully, with even greater wisdom.
I knew this was the Lord, through this guy’s telephone call, I knew this was grace. I knew that this telephone call was the Lord encouraging me because I had responded to his questions in a way that He saw I was open. Draw near to God, He’ll draw near unto you. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call on Him while He is near. You’ve got to know when those moments are.
So my friend continues to talk until 3 am in morning. Asked me these questions, telling me how depressed he’d got. How he’d almost committed suicide, how he needed the Holy Spirit. And that’s why he went to see Rodney. And then he said “Randy, you need to go see Rodney. Even if you have to sell furniture to get the money, whatever you gotta do, you do it.” His name was Geoff, and I told him “Well, Geoff, I will.” 3 o’clock in the morning, we hang up, I get out of bed. I knew this was a telephone call, not from Geoff McCluskey, this was telephone a call from God. And I got on my knees because I knew all the time he was telling me about what had happened in 1984, and blaming those team of other four guys that come, that was in my past but it wasn’t my (present) and when you think about the past and those moments of visitation it begins to stirs the hunger again. During this last 20 years I believe there are many people on the sound of my voice tonight, that you had your experience but you’ve, to be totally honest, may find yourself in very dry place tonight.
So I got out and got down on my knees and prayed a simple prayer. I’d heard Wimber pray it, and I’d internalised it and made it mine. “Lord, make me a coin in your pocket. Spin me any way you want. God, if you’ll touch me just one more time, I’ll go anywhere, I’ll do anything you tell me to do, if you’ll just touch me one more time.” Now going anywhere, doing anything for me, by my experience in the past was maybe 100 miles. You see, I’d had one invitation in the last sixteen years to go preach anywhere. One. And then Blaine messed that up when he came. We’d had this experience of God and then that group wouldn’t invite me to go anywhere, except to leave the denomination. Then after that not another one for the next 16 years.
“I’ll go anywhere, I’ll do anything.” Then I got real serious. Real serious. I said “Lord,” now He knows, He knows I hate fasting, He knows. I have friends that fast one day week like they like it. I hate it. I said “Lord, I am so desperate for You, I am not going to eat again until You touch me.” Now years later my wife said “Do you know when you said that?” I said “Yeah”. She said “That scared me because I didn’t think he was gonna touch you again”. Fourteen days later, I bought a ticket, I flew to Tulsa. Why did I fly to Tulsa? Because when I called Rodney’s office, got a hold of his secretary, I said “I’ve got this weekend that I could go. I can get myself covered, not this weekend, but this week. Where’s he gonna be at?” And they said Tulsa. Now that may be not a big deal for you. But you see, I didn’t like Tulsa. It wasn’t Tulsa I didn’t like, I didn’t like the “The Word of Faith” Movement. Now, I have now, an Apostle in the Word of Faith Movement who’s one of the most balanced ones I’ve ever met who teaches for me in one of my schools. So, God has done a big work in my life.
And when Mark Dupont, back in 1994 at Berry where you guys were at, and John and Carol, and Wes and Stacey and Mark was there, my wife and I, and I think Larry might have been there, Peter was there, yeah. I remember you gave me this word – where’s he, where’d Mark go, oh, there he is – you gave me this word, and part of it was “and you’re even going to go to the Pentecostals, Assemblies and The Word of Faith,” and I looked at you and said “If that, if that happened, it would have to be God because I don’t even like them”. And the next invitation I got was to the Word of Faith Church. And what you said about the invitations and where I was getting them was going to dry up, they did, instantly, from 100% to 10.
But it was the Lord. So I’m desperate. And I’m crying out “Lord, I’m not gonna eat again until you touch me.” And l find out when I call, Tulsa is where he’s gonna be at. Well Tulsa’s the Mecca in Medina, of the Word of Faith movement. My thought was “Well there are other churches there. There’s other, there could be other, it could be nice. It doesn’t have to be….” So I said “What’s the name of the church?” The secretary said “Rhema.” And I said “Is that where Kenneth Hagin’s at?” “Yes sir”. I said “OK. Thank you”.
I remember I put the phone down, looked up to heaven and said “You set me up. You know that’s the last place I’d like to go. Why does it have to be there?” And the Holy Spirit spoke and said “If you can only drink from your own stream, you’ve got a denominational spirit.” Then He said this “How thirsty are you for me?” I said “Alright Lord, I’ll go”. I always thought this was funny because, Ken Gard, who opened up the Watering Hole in Europe, he had a group he didn’t like. It wasn’t Word of Faith, it was called the Vineyard. And Ken had told, I think I got this right, Ken had told some of his staff that “If ever I catch you going to a Vineyard conference or playing Vineyard music, I’ll fire you.” Ken didn’t get to go to Rhema. Ken had to come to Toronto to, at the time, a Vineyard church. Why? Because God is looking to see how desperate we are for Him and his presence and I think He also wants us to see that his presence is sometimes in places we didn’t expect it, because he’s after a spirit of division and He wants to create a spirit of unity in his body.
(Cf. Former prideful reluctance to ask anyone for prayer and impartation. / Johannes Hartl and Catholic prayer centre in Augsburg. Andreas received the gift of tongues while listening to a teaching on tongues by Johannes Hartl while driving his car. / Heidi Baker and super-rich healing evangelist. / Lutheran pastor teaching on the Holy Spirit.)
Randy resolved not to eat again until God touched him which scared his wife because she didn’t believe that God would. Fasting is in the Bible. How desperate are you? And God immediately tested his resolve and surrender of pride by making him go to a faith tradition that he had judged and rejected. Would he go and would you go in his stead?
Randy Clark, There Is More, Mechanicsburg: Global Awakening 2006, p27: Three others from the church went with me to Tulsa. The church held 4,500 people. The evangelist, Rodney Howard-Browne, was teaching. While he was teaching, a woman was laughing with the most false-sounding laugh right below me in the balcony. I was thinking, “Why doesn’t he get an usher to shut her up?” But the time he finished teaching, I was on edge and was also quite upset. I was thinking this meeting was really out of order, and that ruined my whole evening. Even though many people fell and a lot of “stuff” happened, I still wasn’t sure if this was real or not. I didn’t know any of these people and for all I knew, they could have just been the overly emotional type. I wasn’t convinced at all.
The next morning, Rodney got up and said, “You know, sometimes people laugh out of hurt or immaturity or because they need attention. Sometimes they laugh and it’s not the Holy Spirit. They may laugh in the flesh because they need help. If things get too bad, we’ll take them out of the meeting. If they are really laughing in the Holy Spirit, they’ll keep it up and they won’t care who is watching. But if it’s in the flesh, they’ll soon stop. Now I want to say something to some of you who got angry last night because of what was happening. You moved into anger and judgment and that’s your flesh. From God’s perspective, your flesh stinks more than that flesh, because yours is the flesh of superiority and judgment.” I sat there trying to remove the knife from my back as I realized that God was really out to get me!
Transcript of Randy Clark talk @ Toronto Airport Church, 20 January 2014: So anyway, I fly all the way to Tulsa. Get there. I’m up, there’s about 4500 seats in the church, I’m up in the balcony. Way up there, because I’ve never been to, I’d actually never really been to a Pentecostal church either. So I saw things I’d never seen before. Like little bitty jigs, you know running, people get up and run around building. I’d never seen anything like that. I was Baptist, and then a Vineyard, which is like Baptist with better music, a little more open to the gifts of the Spirit, and um, but I’d never seen anything like this. And actually, I’m judging it. I’m sitting up there judging everything. I think “That’s God, I don’t think that’s God, I don’t think that’s God, I know that’s not God, that might be God.” And all the time I’m judging it, I don’t want it because I’m not sure if this is really God.
And so a couple of days goes by, or a couple of sessions. And then this night this little kid comes out. He’s about five, three or five years old, and I had children that have been that age. Actually two that already been that age a one that was that age right then. And he’s blind. And this little boy comes out. It wasn’t Rodney who prays for him, but it was this youth pastor or children’s pastor, who prays for him and he falls down on stage. And I look at my watch and I say “OK. I need a credible witness. I understand little boys. If he lays still very long it’s going to be God.” Because for a three or five year old boy to lay still for a long time, I’ve forgotten how long it was, twenty minutes or forty minutes, I don’t remember now. But anyway, that’s kind of up there, like splitting the red sea. Cause he didn’t move and when he finally got up I was convinced. I may not like everything, or the trappings or the culture. You know, we develop religious cultures, and we like our culture, and sometimes we are more concerned about our culture than we are his presence. And I’ve decided that I will never want to let the culture be more important than His presence. And be able to see and recognise Jesus in other cultures whether its bells and smells or holy rollers. To feel the presence, know its God and be open to it, even though it may be from a different culture, religious culture than mine.
So when I see this happen, you know what I did? I got up from the balcony and moved to the closest seat I could get to the front. Why? Because now I’m convinced this is God. Did I, was I convinced everything was God? No, but I’m old enough and smart enough, have enough wisdom, growing up in churches to know that you always have wild fire show up when there’s real fire. You’re always gonna have the flesh. I just decided to quit looking at the flesh and look for the Spirit. And when I was convinced this is the God then I wanted it.
And one of the things that Rodney did, he didn’t pray for everybody, he only prayed for the ones that God is beginning to touch. And I thought “God, I want to be one of those ones” and I wasn’t. But my Assistant Pastor with me, he called him out. He prayed for him, he goes out, fell down. We went, after me, we’re trying to get him to come to, and he’s dazed. And, we’re jealous. Come back the next meeting, I’m right as close as I could get. I don’t know if it was the air conditioning or I don’t know if it’s just, my hand began to tremble. But he called me out and he prayed for me.
And remember, my ‘84 experience was I felt so much power it shook and caused my joints to ache the next day from electricity. My ‘89 experience was I was knocked to the floor, burning up, sweating with the heat of God, the fire of God, hands drawn, just the power of God, they became like stone and cold, and fearing I’m gonna die, so much power going through me. This time Rodney prayed for me. I fell down, but I felt nothing. Absolutely nada. I’m laying there thinking this isn’t God. This is psychological suggestion and I’m weak-minded. I’m going to get up. I try to get up. Nothing moves below my neck. I said “I can’t move. This is God. But it’s just different.”
I’m lying there, and then somebody, a woman three bodies down, got the anointing. She starts (pig noises), growing up on a farm you can’t hear that without getting tickled. And I started to laugh in the natural, and then it went, kinda like, maybe people, some people gets tongues when somebody teaches them how to say Japanese names of cars really fast. They start out in the natural and end up in the spirit. I started out in the natural and ended up really laughing with the joy of the Lord, and actually got drunk and barely made it back to the hotel, because I was drunk walking.
Now in telling this story, let me tell you something. I have been drunk like that three times in twenty years. But there’s been hundreds of times the Spirit came and I just cried like a baby. And I cherish joy, and laughter and drunkenness, and sometimes people come up to me when I was ministering and say, “I want the Holy Spirit” and tears are just rolling down their face and I say “Well what do you call this?” “But this doesn’t count, I want to laugh.” I say this does count. Don’t put God in a box. He may come and you may laugh, He may come and you may cry, He may come and you may lay in peace. See, I just wanted to give this peace away, that I had received. So I’m lying there. I got up drunk, walking home to the hotel.
And came back the next day, and Rodney said “Today. Tonight, we’re going to have a Holy Ghost blow out, but today…” And he told about how good it was going to be that night and I thought “That’s good, I’m leaving this afternoon”. But then he said this morning I’m going to pray for everybody that’s here.” Now he never did that. He only prayed except maybe on the last session of the week, but normally it wasn’t what he did. So, I got in line. I hate lines. I don’t like lines, I don’t like waiting. I you know, if the best hotel, the best restaurant in town if there’s ten people outside the door, I’ll go on down to Burger King or something, I just don’t like standing in line.
So I said that, say this, even though I don’t like being in line, and he said “I’m gonna pray for everyone who wants prayer.” 4500 people there. How many, how long do you think that line was? 4500.
Pentecostals aren’t like Baptists though, they even do their architecture and their carpet is designed for falling down. I mean, it had nice 18 inches this way and it changes colour. You get on the line, like here, see right there? You get on that line. I’m on the line, I’m waiting. I hear him through the intercom, “Fill, fill, fill, fill” – 45 minutes. I got tired I sat down. Guy said “Get up, get up he’s coming!” So I got back up. Came by, touched me, I fell down again. This time I could get up pretty quickly.
And I remember Rodney said “You don’t get drunk on a drink” so this is my last time I want more and I want another drink. So I went to another part of building, I didn’t cut line. And I got in the end of the line. And I waited. He prayed for me again. I fell down again. I got up, went to another part of the building. Got into the end of the line again. And waited. And as he’s coming toward us he’s, “Fill, fill, fill, fill for 2nd time today”, and I’m still down here and so I thought “Oh, oh, I better take these glasses off and put ‘em in my pocket”. Ducked my head. He prayed for me and I fell down again. I did that 5 times.
Then I was too chicken to get in line again and so, he’s going, and I decided, “I have, God I want this”. I wanted it. I remember when I saw Blaine, he gave 20 words of knowledge. I watched him give 20 words of knowledge and then he stopped and then he said “That’s enough for now”. I said “God. I want that!” What you really want you go after. What you really want you cry out for. And what we really want, often, is because God has purposed that for us. Anyway, I remember Blaine came to my church, I don’t know many years after, a new church, a different church, and somebody came up to me and said they didn’t know who he was. They didn’t know this was the man who came and prayed for me. They didn’t know this was the guy who laid hands on me, and I received a powerful impartation from. They didn’t know that, all they did was came up to me and said “You know Randy, I really like the way he ministers.” “Yeah why?” “Because he ministers just like you.” And I said, “Oh no, you got it backwards. That’s the one who prayed for me”.
So now, I’m with Rodney, and I’m watching him. And I remember John Wimber said “You’ve got to learn to see what the fathers’ doing.” And I’m following Rodney around from about here to you guys, just watching him, following, watching him, and he’s “Fill, fill, there it is take it!” There was what? What did he see? How did he know there it was? And I’m following, listening, watching, observing. And then the Usher comes up “Can I help you?” “No, I’m just seeing what the Father’s doing.” I didn’t mean he was a father, like God the Father, you know. So I followed him around some more and the usher comes up “Can I help you?” “No I’m just trying to see what the father’s doing.” Finally, the usher came up and said “Rodney told me to tell you, you gotta quit following him around, he said you’re bothering him, you’re catching him out the corner of his eye”. I don’t know if he thought I was a stalker or what, but he said “You gotta stop following him”. I said “OK”. So I said, “Alright, if I can’t follow him what can I do?” Cause I thought “God I want to do this! I want to do this! This is what I want to do.” So I’m going to watch where he’s been. So I started walking through where he’d been. Looking at all the bodies. And I remember praying “Lord, don’t ever let this mental picture leave my mind, burn it in my mind. Let it always build faith in me. I want to do this God.” And I walked. It looked like Gone with the Wind with all those bodies out there.
And then Rodney came in and he’s on stage. Only about 20 people left, so I’m down here and I’m watching him. He’s up there. I’m too scared to get in line again because I’ve been in line 5 times. I’m watching him. Basil, his big brother, or his brother comes up. He’s a big man. He got to me and pecked me on the shoulder, he’s about this tall. “Yeah”. “Do you want to go up there?” “I’ve already been up 5 times.” “That’s all right. You look thirsty. Go get in line”. So I came up. I didn’t have to take my glasses off, duck my head or anything. I stood in line, he came up to me. “Fill!” Wham! I hit floor again. I never did shake, I never did feel electricity which was my standard of whether or not you got something. My previous experience. I am not sure when I leave, if anything substantial had happened to me.
I go home. The next day is Sunday morning. For eight years nobody had ever fallen in my church, and for the last several years nobody, not nobody, but hardly anybody, had been healed. We couldn’t even get people to come up and pray for people, they were so discouraged. So after a friend of mine shared a little bit of what he’d seen at the meeting, we began to, I just said, “Um, would anybody like to be prayed for?” and scores of people ran to front. I mean, we couldn’t get anybody to come to the front. We could plead for them to come and they wouldn’t come to the front. And they were just up there.
I went down and I picked up my hand to say “fill” and they hit the floor. I mean just Bam! I touched the next one. Bam, bam! This had never happened. Eight years it had never happened. Everybody we prayed for is hitting the floor. Some of ‘em was, that was 8 o’clock service, was 4:30 pm in the afternoon before they could get up off the floor, for some of ‘em. Some of them were seeing themselves being molested, as little boy, by another man, and God healing that memory. Sovereignly, without anybody doing any counselling it was sovereignly being done. Amazing things were happening, people were being healed. And we were just going through and praying and God is doing these wonderful things.
And I get to the end of the line and at the end of line there’s this Methodist guy, just graduated law school, and he went to our church, a member of our church. But, and he doesn’t like this at all. He thinks I’m ruining the church. And he’s upset. So he’s taking communion during worship, and the worship’s been going on. And he turned around like this, and the Holy Spirit sticks him, right here. Now, he can’t move. I don’t know that. I’m coming down the line. I get to him, he opens his eyes. He said “I don’t believe this is God”. I said, “If you don’t believe its God, why are you in line?” “I’m not in line.” “Well if you’re not in line, why are you at end of line?” “Because I’m stuck.” “What do you mean, you’re stuck?” “I mean, I can’t move my feet.” I said, “Well, since you’re not going anywhere, let me pray for you.” Finally he said “OK”. This was guy who was, had terrible memories of terrible things that had happened to him. Anyway, I started praying for him. And, you know, there are people who just fall down when nothing’s happening. They just do. There are other people, they wouldn’t fall down unless a 10-foot angel with a baseball bat came and clipped them. I mean, I used to be as well. I used to think I was a “hard to receive” myself, because I was a lot like that. So I prayed for him and he gets like this. I keep praying, I keep praying. He opens his eyes and he says “Randy?” I said “What”. He said “Don’t do it anymore. It hurts”. I said “Why don’t you lay down?” He says, “Can I?” I said “You don’t have to be knocked down, just lay down”. Hours before he could get up. Memories being healed by the power of God. It was an awesome thing.
Now, it started with call at midnight. And it started out of hunger, and desperateness. So that began to happen every day, every Sunday that I was there. And for 3 months, August, September, October. November, December, 5 months. I forgot when John called me, but in October I went to regional meeting of the Vineyard. [I was given 5 minutes to share. An hour later God came and knocked all of us down, and every person there got touched, except one and she got touched on the way home. As a result of that, had a layman told John and the leaders of the Vineyard about it, and John Arnott heard it and out of all the leaders, he’s the only one that had ears to hear what happened. So, he called me and said “Randy would you come to Toronto?” “I’m thinking, I have to go out of the country? I don’t even have a passport.” “Would you come to Toronto?” I said “John, you only want me to come to Toronto because you heard what happened at the Vineyard Regional Meeting.” “Yeah” “But that may not happen again”. “I’ll take a chance”. “That’s a lot of money for you to spend and what if it doesn’t happen?” “I’ll risk it.” “I don’t want to come by myself. I need a little team. Will you pay for them to come too? 4, 5, 6 others?” “Yeah. I want you to come and preach four times.” “Oh John, I can’t do that. I’ve only got one sermon left that’s any good, that’s worth preaching. And one testimony. So I can only preach twice. And my assistant will come with me and he can come and preach to children and youth twice and then we can go home” “OK.” And then I said “OK, I’ll come.” And then I started getting very, very nervous.
Because I know the only reason John wants me to come. I mean, I’ve not been invited to preach anywhere for sixteen years, but once. I know what this invitation’s about. He’s hoping that what happened at the regional meeting of the Vineyard, is gonna happen here. Well that’s a lot of pressure. What if God doesn’t come? I got so nervous. I’m praying. I’m seeking God. I’m fasting. January 20th is getting close, so I decide on the first week of January 1994, I’m going to drive to Lakeland Florida from St. Louis and see Rodney again because I need to get topped off, before I come back, I come up here because. And people ask me all the time “What do you think going to happen when you go to Toronto?” and I say, “I hope God shows up?”
My 12 year old son, who’s now 32, he told me one time, he says “Dad you don’t have any faith.” I said, “Well, son, I can’t help it. I’m being honest, I hope he shows up.” But I’m scared. I’m so scared that’s why I went to Lakeland Florida, where Rodney was at, at Carpenter’s Home Church. I got prayed for again, ended up on the floor. Didn’t feel anything. Could have got up just like that. And I remember having this little dialogue with God. A book I read in college was by JB Phillips “Your God’s Too Small”. One chapter in there is “God is Not a Cosmic Bellhop”. And I remember lying on the floor and I prayed this prayer, “Oh God. You are not a Cosmic Bellhop. You are not my servant, I’m yours. Lord, I don’t feel anything. You know I’m supposed to go to Toronto. God, you know what they want, God I don’t. I’m scared. God, I need you to touch me again. So God, even though I don’t feel anything, it’s not like ding, ding, you’ve gotta show up like that, the Cosmic Bellhop. I’m gonna lay here. And I’m gonna position myself to wait until they make me get up, or the janitor’s about to close up and makes me get up to go home. Unless you come touch me.”
As I’m lying there I landed like this and after a while, my arm is hurting, my shoulder is hurting, so I gotta move my arm, because I’m gonna wait. Because I’m desperate. Because it’s not me that needs to be here when I come, it’s Him. And I remember trying to lift my arm, it falls like that, it’s cold, it’s ice. And I thought, “What’s going on with my hand”. And then I get a look at it and they’re purple looking and they start drawing and they get hard and cold and I can’t move them. And they hurt and are drawing in and Rodney sees it. He comes down and he puts his hand in mine and says “This is the fire of God in your hands. Go home and pray for everybody.” I did and God knocked them all down.
You’d think by then I’d have faith. Nope. I didn’t. You see I knew what my problem was. My problem was I understood that, bad theology, but it was still where I was at, I knew that I was attributing to God, a relationship I’d had with my father. My father was a good father, hard working man, worked 80 hours a week most his life, two jobs most of his life. He going to care for me, provide for me. But when I was in sports in high school and grade school, I’d look up in the balcony, seeing did Dad get to come, or did he have to work over? You could never depend on him. And I knew I was attributing this relationship to God. I knew that was bad theology. But I couldn’t heal it. And God had used a man in my life over, for 10 years, from ‘84 to ‘94. And this man would sometimes, at least 3 times he heard exactly how much money I needed the day I needed it, or the day before I was going to need it. His timing was so impeccable, that I just knew that sometimes, he heard for me. Now, I didn’t think everything he heard was from God. Matter of fact, he sent me several prophesies between 1984 and ‘94 that I threw away. He said, “I see you preaching to 100,000 people. I see you, a great dam is gonna break, and a flood of water and God is gonna use you in a great revival. You’re gonna preach to thousands.” I’d look at my wife and say, “He’s crazy. He’s saying I’m gonna speak to thousands, I’m gonna speak to 100,000. I’d like to speak to 100.” I only had about 50 people in my church at the time I started. So it wasn’t like everything he said I believed.
But when it came to timing, this is January 19th 1994, the night before I’m going to come to Toronto. Telephone rings at 10 o’clock, it’s this man, Richard Hoakim, and he said, wasn’t really trust me now. Its “test me now, test me now, test me now. Do not be afraid. I will back you up. I want your eyes to be open to see my resources for you in the heavenly even as Elijah prayed that Gehasi’s eyes would be open. Do not become anxious, because when you become anxious, you can’t hear me.” He did not know I was going to go to Toronto the next day. That word healed my heart. I’ve never doubted since then that God was going to back me up. He gave me a strong faith. I got in and met the team the next morning and I said this, used language we didn’t have language for. I said “We’re going on an apostolic mission trip and we’re going to see more than we have ever seen in our life.” You say “Where did that come from?” It came out of that prophetic word.
So we came to Toronto. On the first night Dan Slade gets so blasted goes to Russian Ukraine becomes a missionary with his family. People are bouncing, falling, shaking, crying, laughing. Carol Byrd, she’s over there on the floor. I went over to her and prayed for her and she giggles a little bit and walked away and the Lord says “Go back and tell her she’s been sad long enough.” So I went over to her and said “God says you’ve been sad long enough. Did my hand like that, and did my hand like that to her mouth and said “Drink” and she got drunk and then for years later I thought what started out in the Spirit had ended up in the flesh. Cause every time I see her, she’s drunk. You can’t stay drunk 20 years. I mean, you know, turned out later found out that she was dying and she’d been very, very sad and very depressed from a terminal illness that she got healed of that night. And she wasn’t drunk all time, just every time she saw me she’d get drunk. And when I got her testimony, that I included in the book “There’s More”, I repented before God and said “God I judged her.” And she entered her own ministry and had lots of healings, and still does.
And then I remember in the first week or two at John’s, Carol’s House, Carol came in and said, I’ve forgot the woman’s name, “God says to you and John, don’t be afraid, I’m coming to you gently now so you will not be afraid when I come to you in my power.” Did you get that word? Shirley. This was the word. She said “Tell John and Randy, ‘I’m coming to you gently now, so you will not be afraid when I come in my power.’” Toronto was the gentleness of God to prepare us so we won’t be afraid when he comes with His power. Which is consistent with the word, prophetic words that happened in late 1980’s in the middle of the desert. God is going to send a revival. It will start with the church. This revival will come in two waves. The first wave will be to the church, to heal the church up, bring back the backsliders, renew the church, revive the church. But the 2nd wave will be greater than the first one. And it will be to the streets. I believe Toronto was the 1st wave. The greater wave of God coming and as I see it on the horizon. And I just believe that there are things that God is doing, preparing the church around the world for a great revival harvest of souls, with healing and miracles, and this is the will of God.
I believe that some of you are where I was in 1984. I was touched in revival but I need more. Some of you are where I was in 1989. I began to move in the Gifts of the Spirit, but I still had things in my life I need to have victory over. And some of you are where I was in ‘93. “God, I’ve been touched twice, but I’m dry now and I need you to touch me again.” Some of you may be hard working people, servants of the Lord. You’ve not backslidden, you’ve worn yourself out. One of things that’s been so wonderful about this move of God, is to not wear yourself out. You can always go back to the spring and drink of the water. The question is, have you had the wisdom to do so? I believe that God is wanting to come and touch us, because some of you have such calls on your life. And maybe got detoured, maybe you got tired, maybe you just entered a season like I did from ‘84 to ‘89 and ‘93 that what we used to see we’re not seeing any more, not as much of it. And God doesn’t want to take us from great to little, He wants to take us from great to more.
The grace of God is what came to me. Prevenient grace. I can take no credit for anything that’s happened in my life. I have to give Him all the credit. He would never let me go. And in my worst moments, He would send somebody with the word for me. It’s all about Him and His purposes. I want to cry with His tears. Tears. Sorrow for when He’s sorrowful. But tears of overwhelmed with love. I’ve learned in study of late, that tears are the main historical sign of when people are being touched with the Spirit. Throughout 2000 years of church history, “tears” is the most mentioned of all. Laughter, yes. Tongues, yes. Shaking, yes. Falling, yes. These are all evidence of God’s presence. But let us not belittle that which is the longest history. Being so touched by his love that tears run down our face, because he won’t let go of us. Because we feel His love. At same time, man, if everybody’s laughing around you, or crying around you, maybe like David, some of you may be laughing. God is big enough and orderly enough to do two things at once. If we can make a computer that can multi-task how much more can the Holy Spirit multi-task in a meeting like this.]
Randy Clark was a conservative Baptist pastor but desperate – determined not to eat until God touched him, desperate enough to overcome his prejudices and judgement of other streams in the wider church, and humble enough to come for many refillings – which God honoured by pouring out the Holy Spirit on him and granting him an impartation that would touch millions around the world – literally.
I don’t know how you feel in this meeting. Are you tempted to take offense at anything? Maybe a Lutheran teaching on the Holy Spirit? Don’t. None of us are perfect but our eyes are on God and we are desperate for his presence. You are invited to receive an impartation.
However, before closing one final thought, please note that you cannot keep living purely on the impartations from other Christians. There are Christians that love the prayer line and receiving the Holy Spirit through Spirit-filled servants of God but, at the same time, are reluctant to live a life-style of stewarding the fullness of the Spirit themselves.
You can learn a life-style of prayer and obedience which keeps you full with the Holy Spirit without becoming dependent on other Christians laying their hands on you. And you need to build up your character because the anointing cannot take you where your character cannot sustain you.
The “laying on of hands” is a basic Christian teaching and, this morning, you are invited to be hungry for this ministry and receive an impartation. Amen.