“My people will never again be put to shame. You will be convinced that I am in the midst of Israel. I am the Lord your God; there is no other. My people will never again be put to shame. After all of this I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your elderly will have revelatory dreams; your young men will see prophetic visions. Even on male and female servants. I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will produce portents both in the sky and on the earth -blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sunlight will be turned to darkness and the moon to the color of blood, before the day of the Lord comes -that great and terrible day! It will so happen that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered” Joel 2:26-32
One of the families that attend out house church (HC) Wednseday night has a son that turned 13. We sat him in the middle of our den and those who attended house church laid hands on him and prayed over him. It led to a time of prayer and laying of hands on other for healing. When time passed we took a break to get coffee and food, then I and the others went back into my den to spend time in the word. The family with the 13 year old boy were leaving to go to a birthday dinner. At the door as they were leaving, the boy stopped another member of our HC and said he wanted to receive the Holy Spirit like you prayed over me. So he and the boys father laid hands on the boy and he received the Holy Spirit.
Another younger boy around 7 was in the room and saw them praying over the boy. He came up and said he wanted the Holy Spirit as well. So our church member laid hands on him to pray over him. As soon as he laid hands on the boy a large boom of thunder shook our house. I was in the other room leading our time in the Bible together unaware of these things going on in the other room. Those in the other room were unaware that we were reading the passage from Joel. Right after we read “I will produce portents both in the sky and on the earth” is when the thunder shook our house.
Those from the other room joined us and we were discussing signs, visions and prophecy in the church. In the middle of it the 7 year old boy came into a room carrying a Lego figure he had made. On the front of it was a staircase that went started of black at the bottom and purple on the top. On the top of the staircase was a figure of a man in yellow. The back side had what looked like a waterfall flowing down made out of red Legos. The boy said he had a vision of Jesus standing on top of the staircase and that was where Jesus stays. He wanted to share with us what his vision looked like. We all sat there like WOW! This 7 year old boy who never prays out loud, has no theology of heaven, and struggles to make a truck with his Legos, after being prayed over creates this amazing scene of Jesus seated on high with a waterfall of his blood flowing down on earth! After showing it to us he went back into the other room and back to watching “The Good Dinosaur” on TV that he was doing before the Holy Spirit and Jesus interrupted his life. The whole experience gave me goose bumps. I wish I would have taken a picture of the Lego scene.
Signs, visions and prophecy are supposed to be part of the normal life and gifting of the church. The passage in Joel tells us, “Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your elderly will have revelatory dreams; your young men will see prophetic visions. Even on male and female servants. I will pour out my Spirit in those days. “ The Holy Spirit has been poured out onto the church through Pentecost and in our baptism. The Holy Spirit flows with great revelation into our lives, so why do we have such a domesticated church? The vast majority of churches today in the west are “safe” where the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in signs, visions, and prophesy are not encouraged. Churches are structured in rows facing front to encourage conformity and control. If someone were to stand up in church or approach you and tell they have had a vision or a prophesy from God to share, eye brows would raise more times in dismissal and uncomforatableness than hands in acceptance and praise.
The Lord declares that in his outpouring of the Spirit people will not be put to shame. Yet those who display on outpouring of the Spirit are in a way the focus of shame and marginalized. Why is that? The Holy Spirit is not a lap dog we can beckon to come and control with the right Power Point presentation, stage back drop, worship song set list, sermon or building lay out. Yet that his where most of the churches time and resources are focused on. And that is what we as church members focus on. This whole awareness from our time together Wednesday night has consumed my prayer and devotion time since then.
Read the passage from Joel above again. Reflect on how has the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into your life in your baptism manifested signs, visions, dreams, and prophesy? How is it accepted, encouraged and manifested in the church you attend? If someone comes up to you and tells you they have received a vision of God by the Spirit and wants to share it with you, what emotions and thoughts go through your mind? I would love to hear your reflections and thoughts. What will it take for the church to allow the un-domesticating of the Holy Spirit?