For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14

14
Apr

The Way of the Spirit

“As you do not know what is the way of the Spirit(wind), Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. Eccl 11:5

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it , but cannot tell from whence it comes from and where it goes.  So is everyone that is born of the Spirit”  John 3:8

Over the years I have watched the Holy Spirit touch people so powerfully that there was immediate and instantaneous transformation in character and life.  As the Spirit of God came upon individuals, unusual physical manifestations took place causing others to doubt that what was happening was truly God at work but  God was working within these people a miraculous work that resulted in dramatic change.

This passage in Ecclesiastes changed my life and ministry.  We spend so much time in trying to know certain things about God and His ways and that is something we should do.  Here the writer declares that we do not know something.  We do not know the way the Holy Spirit moves and explains this by tying the thought into the formation of a child and the works of God.  This is an amazing statement!  We cannot even fathom how the bones grow in the womb of a woman with child.  It is invisible to our eyes and how the baby comes together and then comes forth is a wonder.  The word Spirit can be translated “wind”, so it can be worded, “you do not know the way of the wind”.  Does anyone?

Jesus likened the conversion of the soul to the blowing of the wind and describes the wind is uncontrolled, it comes and goes.  There is a verse in Job which talks about the wind being in the fist of God.  You cannot command the Spirit of God, the breath of God, the activity of God.  No one gives orders to the Holy Spirit and tells Him what He can or cannot do, or how He should do things, or what it will look like.  He is not to be imprisoned by our concepts of how God should work.  There needs to be a reverence for the Holy Spirit and a brokenness when it comes to the way God moves among men.  That is why the writer says that we do not know the way of the Spirit thereby forcing us to live very near to God so we can not only allow Him the freedom to blow so to speak but recognize when it is truly Him.  Many have stumbled over external, bodily and physical manifestations that take place in people’s lives when His Spirit moves upon their lives.  We cannot imagine that anything is really happening besides that not realizing that God is working internally, in the heart, in the will and in the life of that person, like the bones forming within the child in the mother’s womb.  Those same people would have started the early church quite a bit different in the Book of Acts yet God started the church did He not?  And what did that look like?  Sound of a wind, yet no actual wind.  Tongues of fire sitting on the heads of 120 people.  Apostles acting in such a way that to observers they appeared drunk.  At 9 o’clock in the morning no less.  And Peter said this was nothing else but the pouring out of God’s Spirit in the last days.  Really?  All the manifestations taking place were answered in one phrase, “This is that” prophesied by Joel.  Yet Joel did not mention any of these manifestations taking place in the upper room when he talked about the pouring out of the Spirit of God.  Great fruit though.  Thousands converted that first day.  Was not this the work of God?  Did anyone know how the wind would blow that day?  No!

In 3 Corinthians we read in verse 17……”Now the Lord is that Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

It goes on to say that we are “changed …..as by the Spirit of the Lord”.  We know that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind and we know that the word transformed is the same greek word for changed here in Corinthians.  The Spirit of God brings the enabling power to experience in life what our renewed mind has determined to be God’s truth.  That is why there must be a relinquishing of control to the Holy Spirit.  The phrase the “Lord is that Spirit”, can be rendered, the Spirit is Lord.  The word Lord means the one who rules, controls, is master.  The Holy Spirit must have Lordship over our lives, all of our lives.  We always use this verse to announce freedom to the people of God, encouraging them to have liberty but that is not the point of this passage.  When God is free to be God, when the Holy Spirit is set free to rule and reign in our lives and gatherings, when He is no longer imprisoned in our lives and in His own house, then the ways of God will be made known, the fists of God will release the winds of change and transformation and we will be stunned at His works as they break forth in us and through us.

Over the years I have witnessed incredible works of God when the Spirit of God was given freedom to do what He wanted, when He wanted and how He wanted and here are some of the true stories of life changing transformation in people just like you and me.

Stories from Fiji

     I was the first white man to actually live in Pastor Tabakas home in Lautoka, Fiji.  I was nearing the end of my 23 day trip to the nation in January, 1995 and this story was one of the many amazing things I witnessed during that time.  Pastor Tabaka was at one time, the leading evangelist in the nation in a prominent denomination and now was a pastor and evangelist nearing 60 in another.  The story of how I came to Fiji is remarkable in itself but I will share it later on.  This was my first trip to another nation and the call to the nations began after an encounter with God on November 10, 1994 at 9 o’clock in the morning in a Christian School classroom.  During that visitation that resulted in the entire school coming under the power of God for 7 hours and it kept happening every time I came to the school, God spoke to me and said, “I am sending you to the nations”.  As a dialogue with the Lord ensued, He made it clear that what was happening to me that morning He wanted to happen to countless others.  I was transformed in that encounter and a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit was one of the things that happened to me.  I wanted to know what I was to say to the nations and He said, “Tell them if they are hungry that I am coming now”.  I remember thinking, “that’s it?”  To which God replied, “That’s it”.

Within a few months God supernaturally sent me to Fiji to fill in for a man from India that started 1,000 churches.  The lawyer who had handled the adoption of our daughter Ilima was talking to me after the visitation of God on that day in November and rejoiced with me.  He also was a good friend of a man in Fiji who was in the government and also one of the pastors in one of the fastest growing denominations in the nation and Josefa told our lawyer that there was this conference planned and the keynote speaker from India had cancelled and Mike said why don’t you invite Earl to come, he just had a visitation from God, so why not give him a call.  The funny thing was that the day he called, I had just driven the two and half ride to Hana on the island of Maui to just preach in a small extenesion church.  After the car ride, I came to the building and no one showed up for church.  Not even a cat.  A speaker with a name had come to the main church and all the folks in Hana drove there to hear him and who was I?  No name for sure, but also had just been invaded by God but the things that were taking place in that classroom were a bit startling for the conservative AOG church I was part of anyway.  I think I was the only pastor on that staff that ever had zero in attendance for a service.  So I stayed awhile in case someone came, prayed for revival for Hana and was not feeling too good about my day when I began the ride home.  I got carsick, felt very insignificant and came home depressed.  Here I was with this incredible anointing and release of His presence whenever I stood before anyone and went to a church and no one showed up.   I was very oppressed as I told my wife when suddenly the phone rang and it was Josefa Davui from Fiji wanting to know if I would come to Fiji for a month and do leadership events, hold meetings and go to other cities in Fiji.  You have to understand, I had never been out of the country and was washing windows, had resigned as staff pastor of 2 churches to seek for a baptism of His power that would cause me to know Him more, be like Him more and have more of His power so people would believe in Him and come to Him.  The churches were good churches and the ministry was blessed but I was so desperate for God that I refused to minister anymore until I had at least the Book of Acts in my life.

I told Josefa, maybe 3 weeks, I mean I did not know what to say.  Then he asked what was my title or ministry function and obviously I could not say I had one then and going to a church with no one there was not a good place to start so I just stepped out and said that God was going to visit and transform his life and home, bring a prophetic word to the nation and would descend everywhere I went and demonstrate His reality.  The Spirit of God came upon him as I was talking and he declared that God was all over him and after getting the approval of his  senior pastor, I arrived in Fiji in early January and immediately it began to happen.  On the 4th day I was speaking in the national gymnasium with chiefs, government personnel including the secretary of state, other leaders and pastors on national radio ….finish and rewrite…

It had been an incredible day in Lautoka and I was tired and wanting to get some sleep.  I came into the front part of the home to say goodnight to Pastor Tabaka and his wife Sarah and noticed that there were a few others also with them.  Pastor Tabaka asked me to read a scripture to everyone because they were hungry for more of God.  There was a young man there, late teens, who was standing in the hallway and said that many of his friends had been touched deeply by God but nothing had happened to him and he was depressed and wondered why God had not touched him.  I was so tired but as he shared I knew I could not leave him in that condition or disappoint the Pastor and others who were there.  I told the young man that God would come and while talking to him I noticed a woman sitting at the kitchen table.  She was just sitting on a chair and I guess she was part of the church or something.  I did not know what to read or say but I knew that if they were hungry, He would come and the hunger was there so I just announced that He would come.

I think I began sharing something from the Book of Acts when the young man in the hallway suddenly fell straight backwards and was motionless under the power of God.  He was still there long after I went to bed but I was told the next day that he had a visitation from God that changed his whole life as a Christian.   Then I heard something to my right and the woman at the table was now under the table laughing uncontrollably and could not stop.  The presence of God began filling that room and Pastor Tabaka and Sarah were just basking in Him and others in the room were having fellowship with God.  The woman was still laughing and I just decided it was a good time to go to bed so that is what I did.

The next afternoon my wife and I were in our room in the back getting ready for the evening meeting when the woman who was ended up under the table knocked at our door.  She proceeded to tell us what had happened to her.  She said that as I was speaking she just felt the presence of God and an uncontrollable desire to laugh and somehow she ended up under the table.  In fact, she spent the whole night laughing under the table, the entire night.  When she arose, she did not feel tired but refreshed and decided to clean the pastors house.  Then she had an incredible urge to pray for the sick and began going house to house looking for sick people and prayed for each one and everyone was healed!   By the way, women do not do that in Fiji but God had given her a healing gift and she had this compassion to see anyone diseased and infirm healed.  Not bad fruit for laughing under a kitchen table all night.  This woman was a gangly sort of woman, uneducated, an ordinary Fijian woman, not attractive, not charismatic, just a village woman who now was extraordinarily anointed by God to heal.

She went on to say that she had come to see us because she wanted more of God as a result.  She was sincere, just hungrier than the night before.  My wife casually remarked, “That is wonderful….by the way how is your marriage?”  Well, the moment my wife said that, the woman blurted out, “I want to kill him”.  She then shared how he was an abusive husband and she hated him and could never forgive him for the way he treated her.  My wife calmly responded by telling her that if she wanted more of God that she would have to go home and ask forgiveness for what was in her heart and also give it up before the Lord and forgive her husband.  She was not at all happy with that but her hunger for God got the best of her and we prayed with her and she went home.

That very night we had a service in a theatre and one of the men up front frantically screaming out to God with sweat pouring down his face was her husband and his wife’s repentance caused him to pursue God and that night he encountered God, met him in salvation and ended up in a pile of men when the Holy Spirit just blew through the theatre touching hundreds with His reality.  His wife increased in power and we held a meeting for 400 in Nadi, many leaders and decided to have this woman pray for all 400 by herself and release the Lord’s power through her but also release her as a woman in power and break off the thinking that Fijian women could not minister in those ways.  I will never forget how she stood in front of each one, tapping each one a few taps on the forehead and everyone, I mean every person there, collapsed under the power of God, demons coming out of people, people being healed, weeping, laughing as they were set free from bondages and it all began with a reluctant late night bible study but no one knows the way of the spirit and that night, the works of God broke out among those present and look at what happened.

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