Recently I was in a conversation in which my interlocutor expressed a keen scepticism of the reality of my experience of revival. They were very scornful of my sincerity and wisdom and my worthiness to be engaged in any form of spiritual leadership let alone revival. There were some extremely harsh accusations which left me reeling and somewhat dazed. I have decided to journal this experience for a couple of reasons. First of all this person is probably not the only one who feels this way and I should address this issue. Secondly this is a very important person in my life and I need to respond to this. And thirdly as I considered this I realized that this is likely a very common experience of those who experience revival.
My first observation is that the way I was treated is the way I have treated others myself in the past. While being railed against I felt like protesting ( though I didn’t ) that my critic had looked past quite a number of positive characteristics in order to zero in on what they considered highly offensive issues. In retrospect I must confess that I have done exactly that same thing. I have confessed this before but this is probably a good time to do so in more detail. I have criticized Christian leaders who are well admired and loved by many people. I have looked past their significant virtues to hammer them harshly for what I considered to be major faults. I had a huge beam in my own eye as I zeroed in on the slivers in their eyes. Much worse I slandered these persons by making these accusations to others and thereby tainted either their opinion of the person I was slandering or more likely of myself. I have since confessed to the persons I have slandered and have asked for and received their forgiveness, but my experience of being in their shoes, this past week, has made me realize just how damaging and painful it is to be criticized and judged in this manner and why it is such a serious sin against God and man. May I never, ever, be guilty of such an offense again.
My second observation is that I have not made significant or sufficient amends to this person for past offenses, so they are not entirely to blame for thinking that I have not significantly changed as a result of being revived. And revival itself is a relatively fast experience. I became revived in less than a week, and it is not surprising if someone is skeptical that I have changed behaviors in a few weeks and months that I have struggled with for forty years. Moreover my circumstances, being very difficult at the moment, are not allowing me to do many things which I would gladly do if I had the means. I have some evidence to refute the accusations but not enough for their satisfaction at the moment. I can do little in matters of finance but wait upon the Lord for His blessing.
I must confess that I was tempted, for a bit, to simply write the person off, important as they are to me, as an unsafe person, whose contempt and criticism I just don’t need. But as I talked it over with the Lord, He encouraged me to be patient, and continue to seek to win them with His love, and wisdom. Recently I was in a listening prayer session and the lord gave me the image of eggs. I was seated in this image, holding a basket of eggs of all different shapes, sizes and colors. The sense I received was that I was incubating these eggs and that I needed to be diligent in this matter in order to see these eggs birth and become living realities. Part of that diligence was for me to be still and careful, so as not to disturb or break or in any way harm these fragile beginnings. Some of these eggs represent relationships, such as with this person, who at the moment holds me in not a little contempt. I am believing that with a little time, and a lot of the grace of God, this egg will hatch into a whole new relationship of mutual love and respect.
One of this persons concerns was that I have not in the past submitted to other spiritual authority and am not at the present connected with any church or authority to which I am submitted and therefore have no authority or warrant to give leadership to revival or to any other spiritual endeavor for that matter. There is a lot of truth to this criticism and and I take it very seriously, and have a few things I want to say in regard to it.
First of all, prior to my being revived, I was hypocritical, and not genuinely submitted to God, His law, or the church, though I thought I was. In some small credit to me, I was always In various ways, connected within the church, being credentialed for a time, pastoring for a time, and almost always being part of a small group or a men’s fellowship group. And these connections were extremely good for me, even life saving, and God never once left me alone. Now, being revived, and in true submission to God and His law, I am longing to be in submission to the body of Christ, but at somewhat of a loss to know where and how. I have a renewed passion for the church and a new love and kindness for the denominations. I know really clearly what I don’t want to be part of, and there are pastor’s and churches out there who know really clearly that they don’t want me to be a part of their leadership team.I have forty years of baggage, and had come to a complete stop in terms of ministry. When one has lost all of his momentum in the ministry, getting things rolling again is a great challenge. Trust is entirely based on track record. So in response to this very valid criticism all I can say is that I am waiting upon the Lord for His guidance in this matter, and am looking for a good fit, where I can serve, and be served, loved and be held accountable. But in the meantime, I am going to continue serving thru this website and speaking and sharing my testimony anywhere I am invited. I suppose in some ways this website itself is my accountability for I have chosen to be completely transparent to you my reader, and I certainly welcome your comments, prayers, and advice.
Finally my critic said that they would not be satisfied that I have truly changed or taken past behavior seriously unless I do some kind of a 12 step program. For this person’s sake alone I am willing to do so , but again am at a loss to know how and where to begin. I am a trained drug and alcohol counselor and have quite a bit of experience in 12 step groups. What my critic is saying though is that I have never had a sponsor who would call me out or hold me accountable, which is quite true. Perhaps a sexual addiction group would be appropriate for me, for pornography and lust were certainly core besetting sins in my life before revival. And there can be no harm in going through the steps once again, ( for in essence that is what revival is) . I will give this much thought and prayer and perhaps a reader will have some good suggestion for me in this regard. And please remember me in your prayers that the Lord will guide me and give me favor with those I love, that 2016 will be a year of reconciliation and restoration.