God’s Power

by David Stahl

Where is the spontaneous move of God?  I can remember growing up sitting in church and suddenly like a mighty rushing wind the power of God would move; everyone would be crying and praying on their face before God (now that is true worship) people would run down to the altar no need for 15 -20 minutes of twisting arms or manipulating.  Now the two characteristic marks of early Pentecost that I remember were originally in the moving of the Spirit and spontaneity. These two marks I think are all blurred now.  I have been in many Pentecostal meetings, but this substitute that we have now these two marks are not evident.  There was an originality of the Spirit, but no one today wants to make room for it.  We encourage the Spirit, but tell Him what we want Him to do.  This is wrong.  When the Holy Spirit wants to work we do not need to instruct or encourage Him we just need to flow with what He wants, but in most services it has come to a method where He has no original design because He is so coached.  I remember the Holy Spirit might use one person as a channel to flow through to provide the theme for the meeting it would be the key for that one gathering and the meeting would center around that theme.  Now the next night the Spirit may not move on that person (the one the night before) and choose another. The move of God was spontaneous; it was not studied or encouraged.  I hope and pray that raising our hands when the recognized harmony of the music is just right or speaking in tongues out of order in a service against what Paul instructed us (1 Corinthians 14:5-6, 21-23) is not what the Holy Spirit has been reduced to in our church services. We do need the power of God moving in our church services it is the missing piece the world is looking for. It is what separates the world-wide church from the rest of the world’s meetings.  Not the gifts and power of God just to show the power, but the gifts and power of God to show God’s power to a lost and dying world who need a God who can save them from their sins.  To answer this critical question I would like to share some reasons (not in order of importance) why I believe the spontaneous power of the Holy Spirit is not present in our church services today:

The first is we have programmed God into doing what we want Him to do in our services and do not allow the Holy Spirit free reign to move in our hearts; we hamstring God out of design. In most churches when we come in we go for the piece of paper that gives us the order of things to come and when we do this week after week we are programming ourselves into what is expected in our service.  It is a subtle and an oh so sinister programming the flow of a service in our spirit: three fast ones and a slow one, take up the offering, some announcements, 15-20 minutes of a sermon with a good moral story (not a message of thus says the LORD), and out to beat the other denominations to your favorite cafeteria style restaurant.  Every second is spoken for, but what if God just wants us to just sit still and be quiet before Him?  What if God does not want us to sing, dance, or wave some flags?  What if God just wants us to pray?  Lay on our face before Him? Will we give God room?  Do we have the Spiritual leaders with a Spiritual ability to recognize the shift of the Spirit to accommodate God’s desires? In most churches I have been in lately I would say no:  they plow ahead and do what they have written out in their programs, they sing the songs, they give the announcements, they do what they want to do, as God watches.     

The second area is a huge issue in the church world-wide.  I cannot begin to tell you of the number of pastors (around the world) I have spoke with that struggle with this one issue. We have denied the truth and ignored the word of God by allowing women to take leadership roles, preach, and teach in our churches.  The Holy Spirit is very clear here, Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:11-13) The Holy Spirit did not forget women and has provided for their role in the church and in society, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;   4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” (Titus 2:3-5)  But this is not what you see in most homes and churches today, this is not good enough for some ambitious women like Jezebel and even some ambitious women we personally know who have leave their husbands to tramp all over the world thinking they are doing God’s will or worse ambitious woman who have emasculated their husbands stripping them of their spiritual authority in their home.  Sadly the folly of these ambitious and rebellious women to God’s word is destroying the Spirit of God in homes and in our churches. Say what you will and justify what you may, but God’s word is clear women have NO leadership authority from God within the home and our churches.  Now some men will give women this authority, but I have seen time and time again the great confusion, falling away, and destruction (in the end) that comes out of it.  God has ordained men to be in leadership positions in the church. The Bible does not support women as:  elders, deacons, bishops, apostles, evangelist, preachers, pastors, or teachers.  No need for a prophet or prophetess the Holy Spirit is now here. Nowhere in the Bible does God give His permission, now women may be qualified (educated, a great speaker, know the Bible), but so was Jezebel, “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”  (Revelation 2:20) Women may be qualified, but they are not authorized and this my friend is the difference.  For those churches who choose to reject God’s word and order, so be it you will reap what you sow.      

The third area I would like to discuss is we have gone after emotions (we want to feel good and be blessed) instead of the leading of the Spirit of God.  What happened to those verses in the Scripture that talk about enduring trials and tribulations? Whatever happened to, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”  (2 Timothy 3:12)  Do we not want to be godly? Most people in church do not want to suffer, they do not want to overcome anything.  Sadly we want to use the power of the Gospel to soften life’s problems.  Well my friend this is not God’s idea.  If we desire to see the power of God again we must get back to enduring life’s many problems with a song in our heart and the word of God on our lips.  Why do we think the Holy Spirit should reward our lazy, slothful behavior?  We read of the hall of faith in Hebrews 11, but when was the last time you heard a message (or even a sermon) from verses 33-39? “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:”  (Hebrews 11:33-39)  After doing all of these mighty things of God by faith, “And these all, having a good report through faith receive NOT the promise.”  Why would or should God give us the promise and not them?  Who do we think we are? Do we think we are better than the Christians in Hebrews 11:33-39?  They saw the power of God because they endured tribulations and even death. How about us?

 The fourth area why the power of God is absent in most churches today is because in the early 70s there was a deliberate movement away from evangelism to teaching in most Bible Schools.  Not much money, power, or fame in evangelism, but in teaching you can get a big international ministry and travel the world, feed and heal the masses in huge crusades, get your picture in all kinds of Christian magazines (an oxymoron) and on Christian TV.  In teaching you can get a huge international church and then hit the conference and seminar circuit that are advertized in those Christian magazines or on Christians TV (another oxymoron).  This time in history also was when we started to see great crowds of people gathering in tents, stadiums, and conference centers instead of a church.  All Godly ministry must be built on Godly relationships and must be filtered though the church, a local body of Believers.  If not then it is man focused and profit driven, sounds familiar does it not? Power and manipulation are the characteristics and not the spontaneous and original move of the Spirit of God. Also in the early 70s Evangelist, pastors, and teachers started watering down the word of God to the people by preaching what the people wanted to hear (making them happy) and not wanting to offend them.  Remember if you want people to give you money just tell them what they already know and what they want to hear. They started preaching or teaching a sermon (a story with a moral or religious lesson) and not a message from the LORD (thus says the God).  And why, it was easier, a good sermon we can get off the internet, but a message from God now that will require us to spend time before Him and endure His dealings and judgments in our lives to be the vessel His word can flow through.   

This last area we will look at I wrestle with even today in my heart because I love my country of which I gave 24 years of loyal, dedicated service in the U.S. military. I read the Bible and it tells of the spiritual condition of the world and of man’s heart condition in the last days (oh how I see this before my eyes and even see this in me at times) and I know God must judge America and the whole world for their waywardness. But I also know why America was created by God; not to spread freedom and democracy around the world but to spread the glorious Gospel message around the world. My friend there is no freedom and liberty (this thinking is the product of the liberal social philosophy of many denominations and religions) in God only restriction and limitations that will bring us to fulfillment and completion. And if the church world-wide and American does not walk in the restrictions and limitation of God’s word both will be erased from God’s plan and from history.  In most churches we feed our selfish flesh as it cries out, “look at me I want to sing, I want to dance for the glory of God,” but in reality this all is a lie and a sham we sing and dance, clap our hands because we miss the ways of the world like people at some rock concert and now we have justified and incorporated  worldly ways in church to satisfy our fleshly worldly desires. Now please do not get me wrong if you want to sing, dance, whatever in church have at it, but Christian music is just that, music it is entertainment and we must not allow ourselves to be caught up in the emotional feeling thinking we can make an approach to God through music, any talent, or skill.  A holy God insist on more than singing, clapping, and dancing to come before Him. The Bible says, “Those with clean hands and pure heart shall see God” that is see God now on earth and in the eternity.  Our approach to God must never be with singing songs, playing music, waving flags, painting, drama, etc. God is not looking for these things to get us to Him, He is looking for an approach with our whole heart by the Spirit of God. God cares little about how well we sing, dance, jump, run, or paint, but He is greatly concerned about how faithful, committed, and obedient we are to Him.  These are the characteristics God is looking for in His children.  Sadly, (and I cannot explain it) we see older ladies (ages 40-60) who should know better, but dress and wear make-up like they are in their 20s, where is their modesty and womanhood.  My friend unless the church goes back to a simplistic conservative delivery of the word of God the church will become irrelevant in the world to reach lost souls. I will even go further, if the church does not go back to a conservative, Bible-based, Holy Spirit delivery of the word of God America as a nation is doomed.  If the church in America fails so does America. Our churches have become political pitting black against white in class warfare, Democrats against Republicans.  America’s strength is not her military and money, but God. God does not care about the White House He cares about a pure and holy temple where He can eternally abide. This is why He desires to conform us into the image and character of His dear precious Son Jesus Christ. Yet we have allowed the church to be divided out over political matters and have ignored the weighty matters, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”  (Matthew 23:23) the things God holds near and dear to His heart.  Unless America and the church world-wide goes back to a simplistic, conservative method of sharing the Gospel message and turn their backs on the social liberal method that has gotten then both off track their best days are behind them. Jeremiah was interceding for the nation of Israel and here is what God told Jeremiah to tell Israel to do, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. 17Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.”  (Jeremiah 6:16-17) God has been telling the church world-wide and America for many years in many ways these words and has sent many watchmen of which I am one. I have qualified and been approved by God for this position. Let us not deceive ourselves anymore.  What we call the Spirit of God moving today is nothing more than our flesh seeking after God. Let us expect more from the Holy Spirit by being willing to do the things of God to see the Spirit move again like in the old days.  The way back to the heart of the Father is back on the “old paths.” We must get back to the basic, simplistic, one-on-one delivery of the Gospel then and only then will we see the spontaneous and the originality of the power of God again in our service and in our lives.