I have found that many people who are filled with the Holy Spirit and move in power do not typically start that way. Many come from fundamental backgrounds and have a past that was quite conservative and would not be considered a miracle-performing, tongue-talking, prophesy-speaking, flaming Pentecostal. Any of the above descriptions would have gotten them the left foot of fellowship, ending with their being asked to leave their denomination. The road to moving in the gifts of the Spirit is not as easy as one would think and, for most, a very harrowing experience. When you hear their stories, you wonder how they ever got to where they are now, considering all they went through. Sometimes you must ignore the rotten fruit from well-intentioned people so that one day, you can taste good fruit.
My first pastor, Wade B., passed away this past year at the age of 65. He was a remarkable individual, a person that was an exceptional Bible teacher, a gifted singer and worship leader, and fun to be around. That didn’t mean he was perfect; he had his demons to deal with, and at times they got the best of him, but I will never forget the things he taught me. He was my pastor for the first year after I gave my heart to Jesus. Then he left and went to Dallas Theological Seminary for two years, graduating with straight A’s before returning to our small town in Montana. On his way back, he stopped in Anaheim, CA, at the Vineyard Church and brought back with him not only worship songs but a powerful anointing.
I remember seeing him after he first returned, sitting downstairs in the fellowship hall surrounded by a group from the congregation. He would lay hands on them and pray, and when he did, they would cry and cry while others would tremble and shake uncontrollably. I never spent much time there, so I wasn’t privy to everything that was going on, but people said that the Holy Spirit would come, and when He did, they would weep. I thought it to be quite interesting, and since I never had much need for that kind of ministry, I didn’t spend much time around there when it was happening.
By then, I was a leader in the church. Our church didn’t have elders, so we were called deacons or board members. I remember there being around four of us that fit in this group. One evening when our group was meeting upstairs in the pastor’s office, we started talking about what was happening with the pastor and others. I asked how a person was supposed to receive the Holy Spirit and Pastor Wade said you have someone lay hands on you and pray for you to receive the Holy Spirit. I said, “Is that all you need to do?” Wade said, “Yes.”, and I replied. “Let’s go down and get prayed for.” I had been reading about the Holy Spirit, and after all, why wouldn’t you want it, especially if all you had to do was ask and then get prayer for it? I don’t know what I thought would happen; certainly, the idea that flames would be seen resting on my head like on the day of Pentecost or speaking in an unknown language wasn’t something I expected to happen.
We all went downstairs from Wade’s office to the sanctuary, and when we got there, I turned around to find Wade lying on one of the front pews. I thought that was peculiar; after all, wasn’t he the one who had the Holy Spirit and would be praying for us? But there he was, lying on the pew, his body trembling like a big bowl of jelly. I looked at him, and he at me, and I motioned him to come over to where we were, and he just looked and pointed towards one of the men and said, “Why don’t you pray for Bob?” I didn’t know how this worked, but I was willing, so I just said Okay. So, Bob came over, stood in front of me, and I started asking the Holy Spirit to come and touch him. Suddenly Bob’s hands began to tremble, and soon they began shaking. I
said more; Lord and his hands went from shaking to being like a fan. You could feel the wind blowing as his hands went faster and faster. He began to weep, and not knowing what to do, I stopped and asked him what was happening. He said, “There is a wall in front of me, and I can’t get over it; I just can’t get over it.” I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but the wall seemed to bother Bob profoundly, and I got the idea that it stood between him and the Holy Spirit. I said, “Lord, tear down the wall.” Suddenly Bob went ballistic; his hands began to shake faster and faster, and tears rolled down his cheeks, but this time the tears were tears of joy, not sadness. He said, “The wall, the wall, it’s coming down.” I will never forget what he said next. “Oh, the love of God, the love of God is pouring over the wall.” I never saw anyone shake so violently nor simultaneously have such a look of joy over what they were experiencing. So far, so good! But things were about to get a little weird.
I stopped and looked over at Wade, who had raised himself on one elbow, and was watching what was happening. I walked a few steps toward him and said, “This is so cool; anyone can do this.” Wade looked at me and said, “Rex, I think you have a demon.” At that point in my walk with God, I believed whatever the pastor told me. I said, “Really, how can we get rid of it?” This would be a good time to cue the music from the television show, The Twilight Zone.
Wade made a phone call to a friend of his to come and assist him. When he arrived, they had me sit in a chair and commanded the demon to leave. After a while, Wade felt the demon had taken up residence in my arm. He then asked the other man if they could force the demon to go down my arm into my hand and out through my fingers. Which I thought was a bit odd. It was then that I realized that they didn’t know what they were doing. Then they asked if I had any unconfessed sins in my life. I confessed any sin I could think of, and to make sure I didn’t miss anything, I confessed any unknown sin that I may have now or later. Just in case one was hiding. By this time, it was getting late, and I had to go to work in about five hours, so I told them. Listen, guys, I have confessed everything I can think of, and I need to go home and get some sleep. I got in my car, drove the nine miles up the mountain, parked in the driveway, and walked in the pitch-black darkness up to our house, and all the while, I was surrounded by the peace of God. I went in, and Lois was waiting up for me. Fortunately for me, Pastor Wade had called Lois and told her that I was on my way home and that I had a demon they had been unsuccessful in removing. He said, “Hey Lois, your husband has a demon; we couldn’t get it out of him, so your demon-possessed husband is on his way home. Have a nice evening.”
I didn’t have a demon, but Wade did, and later went ballistic and was asked to leave the church. I remember when the leaders met with him, he threw erasers from the chalkboard at them while hurling profanity at them. He also wanted to bring Bob and his wife up to the front of the church and publicly have them humiliated and removed from the church. Later Bob became a pastor in Idaho and held that position for many years. Does that mean what happened to Bob wasn’t God? No, it doesn’t. I found it Interesting that you can feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit on someone who is troubled by an evil spirit. It is not uncommon for a person to be a Christian and be addicted to nicotine, pornography, or have issues with authority. How often have we read about pastors who are addicted and have severe character issues, yet people are saved and healed under their ministry? Does that mean they weren’t saved? God honors people’s hearts even if their redemption comes through unclean vessels.
Much love in Him,