Tag Archives: word of knowledge

Report from the Street

By Marv

” The meat is in the street,” John Wimber used to say.

His aphorism goes back to Jesus’ words in John 4:32 and 34

 “I have food to eat that you do not know about.  My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

Jesus had just prophesied open the heart of a fallen, theologically-confused woman and brought salvation to a village. Though He was tired and thirsty (vv. 6-7) and doubtless also hungry, seeing God glorified in the goodness mediated through His own words and actions was more deeply satisfying than the choicest meat and drink.

I recall being cautioned, in Seminary, against Wimber’s contention that the kind of empowered ministry Jesus engaged in here was just the kind of thing we as disciples should do, following in His footsteps. This, despite His explicit instructions immediately afterward to see the “harvest” as He did as well as His reminder that they are commissioned to be “reapers.” The works He did in the Father’s name, everyone who believes in Him will… may… should… do in His name (John 14:12). Let’s get it and let’s do it.

I have a sweet story from some who are learning to “do the stuff” or rather who are going out and doing it. A team of students from a training program at a Dallas church step out each week to lift up their eyes to the Spirit’s leading and do the works in His power which have been prepared for them. Here’s what happened two weeks ago today.

In the morning team leader “C” found himself driving to the church out of his usual route, for some reason. Passing a coffeehouse he had seen but not visited, he sensed his attention being drawn to it and figured this might the spot the Spirit was sending his team to that day.

So there they went, and when C stepped in and saw a familiar face, he knew one of the reasons they were there. The man was a minister–an evangelist–and C had known him slightly, as a customer in a different coffeehouse where C had once been an employee. So C and another team member, “M” (both men, as it happens) sat down and began to chat with him.

Meanwhile, students “F” and “S” (women, as it happens) took a look around, looking and listening for what the Spirit might be saying to them. An adjoining room where patrons sat sipping Java had artwork displayed along the walls. One odd painting caught F’s eye, because it had a small inscription in French, her native language. It read “Pour le corps,” that is “For the body.” Across the top of it a row of human figures stood holding their hands on their bellies. Below them a vicious-looking blob with bared fangs turned menacingly toward a pair of vaguely tear-shaped objects. Weird picture.

“Looks like a liver to me,” F told S, about the lopsided teardrops, and they decided to go for it. The painting hung on the wall over a lady, like a sign, and after introducing themselves to her, they casually asked her if perhaps she had had issues with her liver.

In fact she had, for not a week earlier she had been diagnosed with liver cancer. She declined their offer to pray for her healing, however, first since she was a Muslim and second because she had confidence in the treatment she had been prescribed. She was interested in talking to the ladies however. As it happens the lady was Turkish, while F is French and S Lebanese. And they talked about Jesus, who the lady, being Moslem, said did not die on the cross. Our two ladies explained not only how He did, but why. In short, they preached her the gospel.

Though she declined prayer for healing, she was happy to let them give her a blessing as she was leaving. So bless her they did, with a request for Jesus to reveal Himself to her–even in her dreams, as is reportedly not uncommon among Muslims. Saying goodbye, she kissed them on the cheek, one cultural feature all three had in common. Would she be healed? Would she come to faith in Jesus? This we likely will now know. But did she hear God’s word and sense His love from God’s people? Without question.

Meanwhile C and M were still talking with the coffee-loving minister, and by this time speaking words of encouragement over him, for he was sorely in need of encouragement it seems. F and S joined them, as their lady had left, and a mental image of a little girl flashed through F’s mind. She thought “daughter.” At the same time a cloud-like shape in the mottled floor pattern seemed to jump out at her, reminding her of a “thought balloon” you see in the comics. Had the man been thinking about his daughter?

A second before she could ask, M “stole her thunder.” “Do you have a daughter?” he asked the man. In fact he did, though he had lost contact with her for years. She was grown and living in New York. But she had been on his mind, a great deal, as he was hoping and praying to be able to restore their relationship, which had long since become estranged. So they prayed for this, of course.

Now as for what happened as they were finishing up, you have to understand that this was July in Texas and it was a typical sultry Dallas day, under a clear sky, the hot, humid air lay motionless on us all day. I can testify to that.

C’s prayer for the man had been, among other likely phrases, that God’s Spirit would blow afresh over his ministry–which refreshment he needed. They had stepped out the front door, accompanying him toward his car, when a sudden gust of wind came along, nearly knocking the table umbrellas over, and picking up fallen leaves and pedals from the bushes and swirling them in a vortex.

The man and our team stared in amazement. The event was so striking, several patrons inside the shop ran out to see what was happening. The moment then stepped off the curb, however, the wind stopped.

One man who had stepped out was impressed. “Would you mind praying for me too?” he asked. And so they did.

What do we make of this kind of thing? Acts quality? Not quite, but frankly, I think it’s getting there. Not momentous, not earth-shattering. No thousands were saved. Perhaps not one person was saved through this outing. But people were loved in Jesus name. People heard the good news. People were encouraged. People were prayed for and blessed. And for those with eyes to see, God showed Himself alive and well.

Is it easy enough to toss off every one of these details as imagination, coincidence, simple natural occurrence. Absolutely. And please do so if that is what you wish.

But I think it is a little, sweet example of how the Holy Spirit testifies to Jesus through His people and brings glory to the Father. And it is useful for illustrating a few of the ways the Lord speaks to us, as Jesus promised He would, and leads us into the works prepared beforehand that we should walk in.

It’s a remarkable report, or I guess I wouldn’t be writing about it. But really, if we believe our Lord, this is simply normal Christian life.

 

Advertisements

The Word/Message of Knowledge

It’s been a few weeks now since I posted my article on the gift of the word, or message, of wisdom. As I mentioned, we have been currently going through a series on the gifts of the Spirit from 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 at Cornerstone. This series should wrap up next Sunday.

If interested, the audio preaching-teaching sessions can be listened to or downloaded from our podcast or from iTunes.

In this article I want to focus in on the gift of the word, or message, of knowledge, which is referred to in 1 Cor 12:8 just after the message of wisdom.

What Is The Gift?

As I mentioned with the gift of the message of wisdom, the Greek could be more faithfully translated here as ‘message of knowledge’. Some might still prefer ‘word of knowledge’. The ESV translates as utterance of knowledge. Again, this is a small case of semantical preference. Continue reading

3 Teachings on 3 Gifts of the Spirit

by Scott

The past 3 Sundays at Cornerstone, I have again been giving some teaching on gifts of the Spirit, at least those found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

During these past Sundays, I have covered 3 specific gifts:

  • The message (or word) of wisdom
  • The message (or word) of knowledge
  • Distinguishing between spirits.

Below are the audio teachings to listen to or download. I might post some articles as well, as I already have done so for the message of wisdom.

Message of Wisdom

Download at our podcast or iTunes.

Message of Knowledge

Download at our podcast or iTunes.

Distinguishing Between Spirits

Download at our podcast or iTunes.

An Everyday Example of Prophecy

by Scott

I posted an article a few weeks back about the nature of revelation. Though the word usually gets distorted in terms of eschatological understanding or with the gifts of the Spirit, the word simply means an unveiling or an uncovering. It’s like pulling back the curtains to introduce the characters and scene of a play. All of a sudden you get ‘the picture’.

I believe Paul brings it down ‘out of the clouds’ when he shares these words with the Corinthian church:

What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. (1 Corinthians 14:26 NIV)

Paul expected that each person of the body of Christ could be utilised in all these things mentioned above, and more of course. Not all at the same time in every gathering. Such would be overwhelming. And that is what Paul strongly challenged the Corinthians to stop doing. But these gifts of God’s Spirit were available to the whole body.

Why? These things must be done for strengthening the church, building it up (e.g. 1 Cor 14:26).

So, currently I’m leading our house group through a book entitled Becoming A True Spiritual Community. It’s by one of my favourite authors, Larry Crabb.

Now, here is the thing to note: I’m pretty sure Larry Crabb would not identify himself as a charismatic, Pentecostal, nor Third-Wave. I don’t say this in a derogatory way. It’s just that, after reading about six of his books over the past years, I don’t think he would classify himself in that way. And that’s fine.

But, he is definitely a man who wants to hear from the Spirit, tune his ear to the voice of God. It comes through in many of his books. He mainly writes about how the church can better walk out our call to emulate the relational nature of the Trinity. He has a passion to see the whole body of Christ moving towards maturity in spiritual friendships. And, in doing so, he is always bringing in the element of listening to the Spirit when it comes to faithfully relating to and caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

All this to say: Larry Crabb is not identifiable as charismatic. But he is identifiable as one who wants to hear from God.

And as I was re-reading through chapter 7 of the afore mentioned book, I found a beautiful story of the gift of prophecy, or we might call it a word of knowledge. In all, it’s a present-day example of God’s Spirit bringing revelation, or uncovering truth, for the building up of the body. Now begins the short account:

The seminar was fifteen minutes from beginning. We had been worshiping God in music for three quarters of an hour. It was now 7:45 on a Friday evening, and I would start speaking at 8.00.

I stopped singing to listen to something rising within me. It was a prayer.

“Lord,” I heard myself say, “if this message about connecting and a new level of community is from You, I must know. If I’ve made it up to give myself something to think about as I grow older, I want to scrap it.

“But if it is really from You, I want to know it with a certainty I cannot deny. And…” – I hesitated; the next thought forming in my mind seemed pushy – “I’d like to know this weekend.”

I prayed the prayer inaudibly. No one heard me but God.

Nearly everyone else in that large auditorium was standing to worship. I knew that I would be on my feet for the next two hours, so I was sitting. The chair to my immediate right on the front row was empty.

A few moments after I finished my prayer, a man I didn’t know slid onto it.

“May I have a word with you?” he asked.

I nodded quizzically, with a slight edge to my nod. After all, I was praying and about to address a large group for two hours. I thought he was a bit rude.

He told me his name, then said, “I am on the pastoral staff of this church. We’ve never met, but since the day we invited you to our church, the Lord has laid you on my heart. I feel strongly impressed to say something to you. I intended to wait till after the seminar but I feel I must tell you now. I’ll only be a minute.”

I nodded again, this time with no edge.

“I sensed that you want confirmation from God that your new direction in ministry is from Him, and that you want it this weekend. I believe God has called you to what you’re doing and He wants me to tell you that this weekend you’ll know.”

A few more words and he slipped away.

End of account.

Absolutely beautiful!

In other church contexts, this could have been prefaced with, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ It could have been done with a louder voice, running to the microphone so all could hear, etc. But it was simple, real and revelatory.

Actually, if you really read the account, you notice it was very directive. But yet it wasn’t too pushy.

But, in the end, this revelation, this prophecy, maybe this word of knowledge, accomplished it’s purpose as laid forth in Scripture: it was for the common good (1 Cor 12:7) and it strengthened a member of the body (1 Cor 14:26).

Larry Crabb was praying a prayer and God looked upon him with grace and confirmed His direction through another member of Christ’s body.

This is real, this is edifying, this is strengthening.

God revealing His heart. A member of Christ’s body being willing to listen, receive from Him and then share that edifying revelation with Larry.

That’s an everyday example of prophecy.