Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hearing God- Another Level

I don't know about you but there are moments that challenge me as a Christ follower. These are the moments- truly subjective moments- that are not about sinning or walking righteously but rather hearing the will of God - discerning it. These are two or three perfectly righteous possibilities, but the will of God may be a bit fuzzy. This is another level. Let me explain.

There is a fundamental level of following Jesus. Learning to adapt to and embrace the values of heaven. Living by the principles of scripture. Adopting a christian world view that values what God values. This is a difficult adjustment and, frankly, takes years to be reformed- to have, as the scripture says, our minds renewed. I have walked with God for 30+ years and struggle to embrace the values of a heavenly citizenship over and above those espoused by every media outlet and every person I meet on the planet.

But there is another level. This is the level that hears God. Prayer life consists of more than moments of devotion but of a lifetime of devotion. Prayer infultrates every cell of our lives. There is no longer a distinction between doing and being. The object of our affections becomes the fellow of our fellowship. But there is the challenge of hearing God in the everyday decisions. To buy this, to hire him or her, to live here (or there), to drive this car... what is God's will?

How are you at this spirit led lifestyle? Too many talk about the christian life as if it is a surrender to Biblical positions and subjecting ourselves to principles that are revealed in Scripture. But life is more than black and white- it is a walk with the Spirit. God help us to hear him in the everyday decisions.

Gal 5.25 "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep step with the Spirit."


Paul M. Harrison said...

Pastor Dave,

I have sixteen years of experience in hearing God's voice, being around prophetic people, having revelation through intercessory burdens, interpreted tongues, and ecstatic experiences. I have tapes with prophetic words, journals with people's confirmations and spontaneous phone calls. I have journaled impressions that have seemed uncanny in their fulfillment and have had inner dialogue.

In order to understand these experiences I read "Hearing God's Voice" and "Experiencing God" by Blackaby, "Hearing God" by Willard, "Hearing the Master's Voice" by Jeffress and so many others that sorta repeated themselves. There were some points in John Eldredge's books about this, and I also went on to read specifically and watch the video seminars of prophetic ministries to learn all I could.

After putting all of this into practice over all of these years and seeing so many others who claim to hear God daily and prophesy, I can tell you that nine time out of ten it is total crap. Delusion.

I wrote an autobiography with example after example of this starting in 1992 to the present. I have seen so many people hurt by false prophesy and make crazy decisions, but have hardly seen anything accurate. I have seen people beg, moan, plead, and still get silence from God. I even saw Rod Parsely say if a pledge is made he will pray a prayer that guarantees perfect hearing of God for a year. What this means to me is he got a lot of mail from people saying it isn't working and so he is marketing to those existential needs. Look at it this way:

1) I sell you bullshit.
2) You complain, so I sell you books, tapes, and seminars with qualifications and formulas to activate it (more bullshit).

John Avanzini has a book called, "It Ain't Working Brother John! 25 Reason You Fail to Receive." So when you sow your seed and don't reap the harvest, here are 25 reasons why you did something wrong. Upon looking into prophetic movement books, the entire movement is filled with so many qualifications that there is nothing left being claimed! It's like getting Vista on day one. None of the bugs are worked out, the helpdesk sucks, and you are basing your life's biggest decisions on their promises.

For instance prophetic movement leaders like Joyner claim that God told them He has to limit prophetic accuracy in the movement to no more than 60% or there would be too many Ananias' and Sapphiras'. So in his mercy towards us, God said he will shoot some blanks. It is God's specific doing to prophesy falsely. It was about here I abandoned the movement as a joke.

I finally came across "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Gary Friesen and it was the first book that really showed me biblically that there is no such things as "the perfect will of God" and that we aren't supposed to be asking God for every little thing we do. Now, as I said in another post, I was taught that the more you give up self and depend on God, the more mature you are. I was given a book called, "The Final Steps of Christian Maturity" by someone prophesying to me that God was putting me in this final phase of death before launching me into this giant plan. I needed to put my intellect aside and obey revelation. When all of these "supernatural" revelations failed, the advice was reversed. I was then told God has to hold the hands of babies, but when they grow up, He entrusts them with responsibility. I was being immature to trust God for every little thing, my faith was presumption. Where was my common sense? So I wasted two years in this ridiculous circle.

I can honestly say I have seen very little good from anyone depending on supernatural revelation. I've sorta abandoned Pentecostalism as a rule and believe if you are lucky enough to get an encounter from God, be very thankful. There is just far too much liability and false hope in the former way of living.

Now, I know some people who refuse to admit they are wrong, who still believe they hear God daily, and are addicted to these experiences. Some can't live without them and will revise them until they find a hit and see God in every situation of their lives to make Him seem more real to them. I see these people as deluded and I understand not wanting to give up that hope.

When I was harmed by false prophecy, the first thing people did was let God off the hook, the second thing they did was let the prophet off the hook (they need to believe they have a pipeline to God there, they protect him) and this is followed by, "Let's see how you screwed this up, Paul." Let the myriad of qualifications begin.

Do you know the day I stopped praying after incessantly and obsessively seeking God I found peace? I said, "Lord, I've been seeking you for months with no answer and I am out of heart. I'm going to stop depending on You and make the best decisions I can. I will be wrong, all decisions are risks, and there are no guarantees, but that's life. You are free to show up whenever you want to, but I'm going be responsible for screwing up my life this time, not some prophet."

I started making responsible decisions based on my own freedom and reason and life has been very good since freeing myself of those delusions. I am in a relationship with a girl for a year now, have moved twice, etc. and not once did I stop to seek God about any of it. And for once, life is great! When I was lead by every voice, impression, or prophecy it disrupted stability and was more times than not wrong. Prophets usually demand the nonsensical and eccentric.

For the record, I don't think most of us hear from God, but we are hungry to aren't we? I think we want Him close for our own well-being, and of course in your position as a bishop over souls, how much more do you want God near!

The more I strangle God to speak to me, the less grand He is. The more I let go - even in being an agnostic or mystic - the more He seems to be God.

I think the problem is we hear so many grand stories from people who have no reason to lie and think, "Why not me too?" Then we want the keys to his anointing or something. I've come to temper those claims with skepticism and not be so envious.

My way of doing things now is to just live a reasonable life by general standards, remove myself from eccentric subcultures, and let God be God. May He speak to us both.

Pastor Dave said...

Sadly, your experience with "prophets" has jaded you toward prophecy. However, I can tell you anecdotal stories about people who no longer trust the medical community because they missed a tumor in their sisters brain; or people who won't vote because their candidate never wins, etc.

Biblically speaking (that is usually my frame of reference)the peopel of God hear the voice of God (Jn 10). While no one needs prophetic guidance to select a pair of shoes at the mall there are some instances in which it is immeasurably helpful. I can give you story after story of specific and clear prophetic guidance that I have seen and heard first hand.

When our church was looking for property in the area- we looked at a delapidated facility that was for sale for 1.2 million dollars. I marched the council through it and they said it was too much for us. Later the same facility became available again for 990,000 dollars. I marched a different board in and they felt that we weren't supposed to bid on it. the local government decided to buy the property contingent upon raising and additional 2 million dollars in taxes. 1 year latere they were unable to do that and it went back on the market. I offered $725K for the place- all the while I was certain that God would give us this place that I had asked him for. The bidding was between three churches and, though we had the largest bid and the best financial package, they sold it to someone else. I was disheartened. A Prophetic brother came along and prophecied over me that God had a facility in mind that would be worth 3.5 million dollars. It was an outrageous sum for a small church to muster up. I thought the prophet had missed God. Later I received a call from the owners of the church- the contract with the previous body had fallen through for some reason and they wanted to know if I was still interested. Long story short- we bought the building for $600K. We have spent 3 years working in the facility. It now is worth $3.5 million dollars (according to the Insurance estimates).To God alone be glory.

All Prophesy is supposed to be judged. It should all be pastored. Over the years we have developed a plan to pastor prophesies. When a prophet prophsies here at CLC we are careful to judge the word and pastor the prophecy in the lives of those who recieve them. it doesn't sound like you were prophesied over while you were under a spirit-filled authority. We pastor these prophecies and are careful that there are no private personal prophecies. Too bad that wasn't the case- you would have saved yourself some heart ache.

My wife has burnt garlic bread in the past, but I still eat it these days. Because bad experiences don't invalidate the realities.

You clearly have a spiritual hunger- but have been burned - don't let the crazies, the dysfunctional, and the unbiblical push you off of what is rightfully yours as child of God.

Paul M. Harrison said...

Yes, I remember this conversation well in your office. I know who the prophet is as well. We talked about the idea that "all prophecy speaks to potential" and whether or not God knows the future. You said, "When you find out, write a book about it and I'll buy it."

I'll refrain from comment here only to say that when I go through these issues in a youtube series you will see all of the variables in my situation specifically. In my conversation with others it either leaves us all stumped or each person resorts to a different qualification.

As for being pastored, I submitted every word to leadership or to the prophetic counselors over me, asking all to seek God with me about these words, but more times than not, they were just as off. Then there was the church split, propets battling prophets, etc. But there was no single head who specifically guided me along, no.

In my Youtube series on unbelief, even many atheists say, "Wow, how do you explain a lot of those events naturally?" Unless I appeal to "mere" coincidence not orchestrated by God but by chance, or just false pattern seeking and confirmation bias, it would seem something supernatural was going on.

For me specificially, the obedience to these words cost me everything and left me homeless. What drove me to suicidal despair was wandering the forest every night saying, "Where are You? I obeyed You? What hapened? You promised!" as more and more of my life was collapsing, only to be met with silence.

I am still good friends with Wayne Wasion, and he understood that for sheer survival and to fend off insanity, abandoning the influence of a movement that seemed to be so delusional and crush me and everyone around me had to be done, but that maybe in a few years, once healed up, God will begin to ease me back in.

I drew a circle around the entire Pentecostal movement and held it all suspect. More than anything else on YouTube I get Reformed Calvinists who tell me I was never saved and that Pentecostlism, not Christianity, ruined me, and that I need to be "truly saved." It's hard to be kind to them.

I have invited God to speak, but my standards are much higher now for what will pass for the voice of God. Only time will tell.

I'll let you know when the videos are done and if you have a moment you can give me your critique.