From Lisa Hansler...
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” - 1 Kings 19:11-13 NLT
This passage reminds of a time, fairly recently, that I was worried about so much. I longed for a big sign or expression from God so that nobody, including myself, could deny His deity. It is in those times I go back to this passage. So often we look for something “big” or “spectacular” to define God’s move, but maybe He simply wants us to quiet our soul so that we can actually hear God speak. A whisper is sometimes more powerful than the shout. How awesome is it to be trusted with God’s secrets to a victorious life in the midst of chaos?
Time and time again we’ve taken the “big” acts of God and turned them into a blueprint as the “move” of God when in actuality it has often been those times of “hiding” in a cave that I’ve felt and heard Him more deeply than ever. The whisper penetrates my heart in the midst of brokenness and transforms me. That is a powerful move of the Holy Spirit!
From Chris Hansler...
I am grateful for these words from Lisa. We need the genuine, authentic power of the Holy Spirit at work in our churches.
I am an advocate of good, biblical leadership principles. I believe we need great systems, well-prepared services, mission-driven small groups and prayerfully-crafted strategies to reach our communities with the gospel of Jesus. I am convinced that the Holy Spirit can speak about what He wants to accomplish 6 months prior to a service as well as He can in the midst of a service. In other words, I don’t believe preparation prevents the move of God’s Spirit. He can be in the preparation.
But I am also keenly aware that we get cautious; we get afraid; we’ve seen abuses. We’ve seen times when a move of God’s Spirit gets hijacked by the flesh or when a unique expression of God’s Spirit in a particular location gets packaged and pressured as the definitive way of God’s Spirit for all locations. So in an effort to curtail abuse, the pendulum swings back too far and we do those things we can control. Over time, if left unchecked, we stop teaching and encouraging the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. And in so doing we run the risk of employing human strategies devoid of the power of the Spirit. Those strategies will not bear fruit that remains.
We need the genuine, authentic power of the Holy Spirit at work in our churches. It starts with prayer - it always starts with prayer. We also need to teach about the filling of the Holy Spirit and the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. We need environments where permission can be given for people to learn, practice and grow in their giftings. Our communities need prophets as well as teachers. We need miraculous healing as well as medical professionals. We need deliverance as well as development. We need power as well as preparation.
Pastor, if this makes you nervous or uncomfortable, I get it. I’ve been there. We’ve seen the crazy stuff. We feel responsible for what transpires under our leadership. But we must lead. We must keep our hearts open. We must pray and lead our churches to be open and sensitive to His voice. Our neighbors and neighborhoods need to hear from God in genuine, undeniable, transformative ways.
Now some of you may be saying, “Yes! We need Holy Spirit revival!” But we must be careful not to have preconceived notions of what this might or must look like. We must be intentional in our teaching, but it can’t be contrived or manufactured. It may sound like a mighty rushing wind, or it may sound like a whisper. It may happen in the church building on Sunday morning, or in a neighbor’s home on a Friday night. I suspect it will not look just like revivals of the past. But our prayer, the prayer of Lisa and me, is for the genuine authentic power of the Holy Spirit at work in our churches.
Some resources that may be helpful:
Who is the Holy Spirit? by Amos Yong.
Christians talk about the Holy Spirit, but rarely know how to recognize the Spirit's presence and activity in the world. These meditations attempt to discern how the winds of the Spirit have blown in the lives of Jesus, his disciples, and the earliest Christians so that we can track and participate in the works of the Holy Spirit in the global village of the 21st century.
The Art of Hearing God by John Paul Jackson.
The Art of Hearing God is an introductory yet profound course that will give you step-by-step instructions and practical tools to learn to hear the voice of the Lord clearly and consistently. You will gain a delineated awareness of hearing that allows you to discover how or why you sometimes miss God. You will learn how to distinguish God’s voice from your own, recognize some seldom-understood ways the enemy limits your hearing even when God is shouting your instructions, and train you to recognize hindrances that prevent you from hearing Him.
Is that Really You God? by Loren Cunningham
This practical guide to hearing God's voice shows how an ordinary man who committed to hearing God and obeying Him, became the founder of the largest interdenominational missions organization in the world.