Note: I’m part of something called the “Apprenticeship” in the ministry school of the Dallas House of Prayer. These are a few comments about the experience:
A friend of mine asks me how “healing school” is going. He means the Apprenticeship, and I guess that is as good a designation as any, because the goal is to follow in my older Brother’s footsteps, which are described like this:
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)
I think though that my friend is puzzled by the whole school aspect. For a lot of people “gifts of the Spirit” seem like something that ought just to work automatically if you got ʼem, and not something you can just take a class in if you don’t.
The idea of a learning curve in supernatural, Spirit-empowered ministry seems counter-intuitive.
So how does this work? What is it we are doing with the schooling? It’s spiritual, right? So are we somehow training our spirits? Maybe. I really don’t have a good answer to that right now. So then, is it about the mind? That’s the kind of learning we are familiar with, training the mind. I’ve had a boatload of that, by the way. Do I need some more?
Before we give in to something that is a bit of a reflex in “Spirit-filled” circled, let me come to the defense of the often-denigrated mind. “My brain,” says Woody Allen, “that’s my second-favorite organ.” Well, not entirely sure what he had in mind, but if we’re big fans of the spirit, which is made to interact with the Holy Spirit, I want to commend the mind to a close second. It’s very important especially if full function in the spirit is what we aspire to.
The mind serves as a kind of switch, directing our focus, our point of concentration. The apostle Paul tells us:
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)
I figure I could teach a PhD course on setting the mind on the flesh, if anyone actually needed a lesson. Setting the mind on the Spirit, however, that’s something I could stand to beef up more than a little. And so I want to suggest that this is one thing we’re about in the curriculum of the Internship and the Apprenticeship. “Renewing the mind,” Bill Johnson says, is “when the impossible begins to look logical.”
Maybe then it’s really an unlearning curve.
A few things I’ve been unlearning:
- A settled and confident expectation that “it” won’t work (a) this time, (b) for me. Whatever I may be telling myself in the front of my mind—based on the amazing statements of the Word of God, that the promises of God are “Yes” and”Amen,” what I seem to know in my knower is “No.” I know that I know that it’s “No.”
I am in the process of unlearning this.
- Normal Christianity looks much like regular folk, only we have an extra compartment for Bible, Church, and God stuff. Day-to-day life is much the same for me as for the next door neighbor with whom I share a common culture. Tweak it: I don’t cuss. I think some things about history that he doesn’t. I have ideas about the far-off future that he doesn’t. But on the rudiments of how the world works, we’re just not that different.
I’ve been on this unlearning curve a good while now. What I’ve been discovering in the Apprenticeship is that I may not be as far along it as all that. But we’re moving on.
- God tolerates me. We do use the word “love,” but I give Him credit for better taste than that. I’m quite pleased He’s let me in the door. I’m convinced He isn’t going to kick me out. He’s quite magnanimous, after all. If I sit in the corner and be quiet, maybe He’ll toss me a bone from time to time.
He’s unteaching me this putrid notion, insulting to Him as it is. As yet I have grasped a mere scintilla of His measureless love. But give me time, the infinite takes a little longer.
- To be is to do. Time’s a wasting. We’re burning daylight.
I have known in a conceptual way that spending time with the Lord is important. This has a way of becoming just another “do this” however. I’m unlearning “relationship” as a kind of code term for holding a correct theological position or having come into a particular judicial standing or exhibiting behavior that is more or less moral, on my better days. What part of “Real, Living, Present Person” do I not understand? Whole bunches of parts, sorry to say. I fall easily into my mental ruts.
But I’m unlearning.