Learning to Let the Holy Spirit Move
The singing-part of the church service was nearly finished so I knew the Pastor was soon to introduce me as the guest-preacher and hand the rest of the service over to me.
But God hadn’t given me a sermon yet!
So I prayed nervously: “God, you better hurry up! They’re about to hand the service over to me!”
So I asked again: “God, you better give me a sermon! They’re handing the service over to me!”
The moment came where the Pastor introduced me as the guest-speaker, and handed the service over to me – but God still hadn’t told me what to preach on!
(My custom was to look to the Lord during the singing-part of a service, and divine inspiration would be given to me about what to preach on – but this time it wasn’t happening!!)
So my opening remark was to ask the band and the congregation to repeat their last song, meanwhile giving me time for one last desperate prayer to God for a sermon.
The thought occurred to me that as a solution perhaps I could just preach an old sermon from memory. But then I thought: “Wait a minute! If it was really the Holy Spirit who gave me sermons in the past, then it must really be the Holy Spirit who’s not giving me one now.”
So I had the sense to ask: “What do You want me to do?”
“Just hand the meeting over to me,” came the reply.
So I said to the church: “I know we usually have the Word at this time in the service. But instead tonight lets just let the Holy Spirit move, and perhaps we’ll have the Word afterwards.” And I exhorted everyone to allow the Holy Spirit time to move, and simply to respond to Him in any way they felt He was touching them.
Anxiously but with anticipation I remained seated thinking: “I hope something happens…otherwise this could be embarrassing!”
We waited for a short time. And then suddenly some began to cry aloud. Others fell off their seats to the floor, under the power of God. Without any laying-on of hands, some began speaking in tongues for the first time. Others prophesied. It spread to the whole congregation.
As various ones were prompted by the Spirit to move around the group praying, a great conviction settled upon all. Others came asking for prayer, and when hands were laid on them, they too fell to the floor.
After observing all the tears for quite some time I started thinking: “I wonder how much of this is emotionalism, and how much is really the Holy Spirit?” for I remembered the verse: “The fruit of the spirit is…joy” (Gal.5:22,23)
“Its ok,” I thought, “if God’s Spirit makes people cry at first. But after He’s finished working in their life it should result finally in joy.”
So I said to the Lord: “If you want me to operate more often like this in future meetings, please show me a sign that this is you, let me see some joy! – for the fruit of the Spirit is joy.” And before I even finished speaking, you know what happened? They started laughing! And I thought, “Well I guess that’s joy!”
(I’d never heard of laughter breaking-out in a whole congregation like this before. Being down in Mindanao island, I don’t think I’d even seen another Aussie in 6-months let alone hearing anything about what was happening in Toronto). But even the quietest members of the church danced for joy that day until finally they became so filled with the Spirit they couldn’t stand on their feet anymore.
It lasted about two hours – this wonderful move of the Spirit of God. We were so glad we’d let the Holy Spirit have His way in the meeting.
Over the next several weeks we continued to look to the leading of the Spirit for each meeting, and wonderful things resulted. The Holy Spirit used these meetings to teach us about His will and how He moves. Demons were cast out. A stroke-victim who was paralyzed down one side was healed and danced around the stage. One meeting lasted 11-hours and still nobody wanted to go home. We submitted to the Holy Spirit to direct whom He wanted to use in each meeting, and for what function. There was repentance. Gifts such as prohecy and the interpretation of tongues flowed. Backsliders were restored to fellowship. As people continued to be taught the Word of God, the church grew so much that a building-extension was made. Members went out evangelizing. New ministries were raised-up and appointed.