The face of God is His Presence and His favor. Favor is charis, or grace, and is not just having our sins forgiven, but accessing God like Jesus did. Not everyone has the same amount of favor, but regardless of how much favor you have now, you can increase in favor. The amount of God’s face that we see, His Presence we experience, His favor that we enjoy is directly related to how yielded we are to the Holy Spirit. The question is, will we settle for just partial transformation?
Num 6:22-27 gives the blessing for Israel: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord let His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” The favor of the Lord’s face is what Israel was to demonstrate. Favor needs two things: faith to land on and a specific purpose. Faith is pretty well understood, but to illustrate the latter, Joseph had favor bring Israel to Egypt and Moses had favor to bring Israel out of Egypt. The problem with favor is that favor looks like it is missing when we are in the darkness, but it is favor that enables them to rise out of the darkness to accomplish the purpose. Thus, favor may not be obvious, but it is still important for us to recognize favor in ourselves and others. Johnson will bring people to speak at his church who have anointing, but who are rough in character, or who may disagree with some non-essential elements of Bethel’s theology, just so that people will learn to recognize anointing.
When we experience the outpouring of the Spirit we are experiencing the face of God. The Old Testament prophets really only had one solution for the problems of Israel: more of the Holy Spirit. Moses had the opportunity to be successful without God, but refused anything less than God’s Presence; by contrast, Israel could have met God any time at the sanctuary, but did not. God showed Moses his form (Num 12:8) because He could trust Moses’ heart, but he showed no form to the Israelites because they would make an idol. We can position ourselves for encounter with the Spirit by recognizing when God is encountering others even if we do not sense it yet, and by realizing that when we perceive something, God is inviting us to an encounter. Finally, we need to get rid of the idea that God only encounters “others who have a special gifting,” as this is faith-destroying.
Ps 37:9 says that “those who wait for the Lord will inherit the land.” Wait here is more like “to lie in wait,” like hunting or ambushing. So if God isn’t showing up where you are, go somewhere else, do something different. Visit a different church, read a different translation. If you aren’t finding deer downtown, try visiting the woods. Another way Johnson lies in wait for God is to take a few minutes throughout the day to simply be an object of God’s love. Finally, be self-controlled, a fruit of the Spirit: say yes to what God values and no to what He doesn’t.
The experience of God’s face transforms you. Heidi Baker and her husband had started four unremarkable churches in Mozambique in 14 years; she encountered God and was unable to move for seven days and in the ten years after that they have seen thousands of churches, countless miracles, dozens of resurrections, and whole villages coming to God. T. L. Osborne had a frustrating and unfruitful ministry as a missionary to India, but after he encountered Jesus in his room, he went back and saw countless miracles and thousands saved nightly in his crusades. The apostle Paul was killing Christians but after he encountered Jesus, he went on to have the greatest effect on the world after Jesus, as even non-Christian historians attest.
The current outpouring of Spirit (the experience of God’s face) tends to manifest in joy. In Luke 10:21, Jesus rejoiced after the disciples returned from their mission trip, and the word used for “rejoice” connotes leaping and jumping for joy, so we should not be surprised if the manifestations of this joy that the Spirit is pouring out look rather excessive. Joy is a result of seeing the face of the Father. All of us, but most visibly in children, want to be enjoyed by someone, and joy is the result. “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” (Phil 4:4)
We are called to shine. When Moses saw God’s face, his face shone, and he put a veil over it. But when Jesus was transfigured, the glory caused his clothes to shine. In the Old Testament, the veil covered the glory of God in Moses’ face, and the leper’s uncleanliness polluted the clean. In the New Testament, God’s glory will radiate and affect our clothes, and God’s purity makes the leper clean. We shine by extending the favor God gives us, by giving away what He has given us, and by releasing the Kingdom. Unbelievers will come to Christ because we are shining. Hell is plan B; plan A is that it is “God’s kindness that leads to repentance.”
Face to Face with God is a book full of meditations on what it means to experience the blessing that God gives to Israel of seeing His face. Johnson shares some compelling stories about how experiencing the Holy Spirit (seeing God’s face) radically transforms us, and gives some practical tips on how to position ourselves for such an encounter. However, the organization is a little, ... loose, and if you like the above, I recommend looking at the notes for some additional meditations.
Ch. 1: The Journey Begins
- “And the truth is that the degree to which we perceive the face of God corresponds directly to the degree of our yieldedness to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ. The question for every believer is whether we will be satisfied with only a partial transformation or whether we will be so captivated by who He is that we will allow Him to kill everything in us that would inhibit us from becoming a mature manifestation of Christ.” (3)
- For nine months Bill prayed “more of You at any cost.” When God came, it was in undignified power surges through his body; God was getting rid of his need to look respectable.
Ch. 2: The Favor of His Face
- One aspect of the face of God is His presence.
- God’s Presence increases as we learn more aspects of His character. He is present everywhere because He holds all things together. He is present in a greater sense in those who receive Him as Savior. He is present in greater senses as two or three that gather in Jesus name, and more so when He is enthroned on our praises.
- “Truths that are not experienced are, in effect, more like theories than truths. Whenever God reveals truth to us, He is inviting us to a divine encounter.” (22)
- “The Holy Spirit lives in every believer, but He rests upon very few. Why? It’s not because He’s fragile; it’s because He is holy! Few people give Him a life to rest upon.” (23)
- The other aspect of the face of God is His favor.
- Jesus increased in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). Why did he need to increase in favor with God, since he was perfect? Possibly because Jesus was showing us how to live, and since we must increase in favor with God, he did, too.
- The word used for “favor” is “charis,” usually translated “grace.”
- Our “unmerited favor” is not just having our sins forgiven, but of accessing God the way Jesus did.
- Grace includes the empowerment to become like Christ.
- Increasing in favor is pursuing God and receiving empowerment to being conformed to the image of Christ.
- Not everyone is given the same favor.
- When we have a problem with this, it is because we don’t believe that God is good.
- Regardless of the amount of favor we start off with, we can increase in it.
- Proverbs shows how to increase in favor:
- Be kind and truthful (Pr 3:3-4)
- Finding wisdom (Pr 8:35)
- Diligently seeking good (Pr 11:27)
- Being a good man (“good” including pleasant, cheerful, gracious, generous) (Pr. 12:2)
- Good understanding (Pr. 13:15)
- Acting wisely as the king’s servant (Pr 14:35)
- Stewarding the blessing of marriage (Pr 18:22). “If you want to catch the attention of the king, treat his daughter well.” (36)
- We have a need for affirmation, and favor gives us that from God.
Ch. 3: Heading to the Promised Land
- God told Aaron to bless Israel saying “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord let His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Num 6:22-27). The favor of God’s face is what Israel as a nation was to demonstrate being available.
- “It was never intended that the people of Israel would enjoy God’s love exclusively, but instead that they would become the example of what He offers to everyone.” (47)
- We need to have God’s grace to see things the way He does. (Also known as repentance, changing the way we think to match God’s) This is why Israel didn’t get it
- The favor of God is not because of the person’s merit. God was clear that Israel’s favor was because they were the least, not the greatest.
- Favor have two important characteristics:
- It needs a place to land on, namely, faith.
- It has a specific purpose. The favor of Abraham was for a nation, the favor for Joseph was to lead the nation into Egypt, the favor for Moses was to lead to people (now slaves) out of the then world power.
- In the darkness it looks like there is no favor, but the favor is what enables to person to learn the lesson from the darkness and rise. Favor is why Joesph learned his lesson in prison and rose to the top to fulfill his assignment.
- Moses knew the power of Egypt, but he was only familiar with the miracles of his ancestors, not the magnitude of the miracles that would be required to deliver the people from Egypt. “This was where Moses had to step out in radical obedience. In doing so, Moses received a revelation of the God who invades the impossible like no one before or around him. And I believe this level of revelation explains why Moses had such a profound, unique relationship with God.” (53)
- Pharaoh is an archetype of the devil and how he tries to keep us in slavery. “Worship nearby.” (Small changes) “Only the men can worship” (Families not united in worship). “You worship without your herds.” (Worship God without your finances)
- Crossing the Red Sea is a picture of water baptism (1 Cor 10:2). That just brings us out of slavery, out of sin, out of the red. It doesn’t bring us into the Promised Land and into the black. To go there requires crossing the Jordan River. The Holy Spirit is pictured as a river; crossing the Jordan is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- God knows all the facts about us. But for Him to know us, we have to open up our heart. Confession is a start to this, but relationships are built on trust, communication, common interests, honesty, and time together.
- “The giving of the Law at Mount Sinai was intended to facilitate the process by which Israel would unlearn the thinking of Egypt and learn how to walk in their new identity as [a kingdom of] priests to the Lord.” (61)
- Israel was afraid of God and rejected His offer of relationship, and asked for a mediator instead.
- Moses was the mediator of the first covenant, but ironically, he was the one person who understood that it was about relationship.
- It is important to recognize God’s favor on other people. Miriam and Aaron didn’t, which is shown by when they grumble about Moses’ wife, God does not respond to their complaints but instead says “I speak to Moses face-to-face, unlike prophets or anyone else; why were you not afraid to oppose him?”
- Despite the fact that God says no man may see My face and live, plenty of people see God’s face and live (Jacob, Gideon, and John in Revelation, for example). However, when you see God, something in you dies, and you become a different person.
- “What seems clear to me is that Moses and those who had personal encounters with God stepped into realms of truth that are simply not accessible to those who are content with the letter of the law and knowledge about God. ... In fact, the entire Bible was written with this assumption: only those who have a personal relationship with God will truly be able to understand it.” (69)
- I will bring speakers in to his church who are rough but anointed, or disagree with (non-essential) elements of Bethel doctrine but are anointed and have integrity. His purpose is so that the congregation will learn to recognize anointing.
Ch. 4: His Manifest Presence
- The Holy Spirit is usually portrayed by water in the OT (Ps 72:6, Hos 6:3, Isa 44:3)
- The prophetic books only had one solution to a problem (droughts, attacking armies, not keeping the Law): pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
- Joel 2 was only partially fulfilled in Acts. God saves the best for last (wedding at Cana; restoration is to a greater level, e.g. Job). Therefore, the Church’s greatest time is in the future, not the past.
- The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is different from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is a time when the Holy Spirit comes on people in power. It is linked to the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- Praying in tongues but having little power in your life is like crossing the Jordan river and camping on the banks without going in to possess the land.
- The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is so that we would have power to represent Jesus to the world.
- When you experience God you almost certainly cannot keep it to yourself.
- “Unlimited power has been granted to those who encounter Him over and over again. Each encounter works deeper in our hearts, bringing about the needed transformation so that we might be entrusted with more of Him. The more profound the work of the Spirit is within us, the more profound the manifestation of the Spirit flowing through us. [That is the essence of Eph 3:20]” (83-84)
- “This power enables us to present Jesus to others in a way that meets every human need. ... Those who encounter Him on this level are much more prone to take risks so that miracles would happen.” (84)
- “This purpose was announced by the psalmist: ‘God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us—that Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations' (Psalm 67:1-2, emphasis added [in the text]).” (84)
- Some people resist God blessing them because they feel it would be selfish, but the blessing is to bring people to God.
- Experiencing the outpouring of the Spirit is encountering God’s face. (Eze 39:29)
- It is important to recognize God’s face in the outpouring, not just His effects. We are responding to God’s face, not to the manifestations.
- “The degree to which we perceive the face of God through the manifestations of His presence is largely determined by what is in our hearts.” (86)
- “But at one point God gave [Moses] the opportunity to be successful as Israel’s leader in a different way [from hearing God moment by moment]. He offered to assign an angel to take the people of Israel into the Promised Land. This angel would have made sure that every success came to Moses as God promised. But Moses was hungry for God alone, not merely for what God could do to make him successful. He insisted on following the presence of God Himself, saying, ‘If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here’ (Exodus 33:15). Moses was the great leader he was because he was not focused on personal success but on the God who could be known.” (87)
- Israel had this same opportunity, since the presence of God was in fire and cloud at the Tabernacle day and night, but they missed it.
- God showed Moses His form (Num 12:8) because God could trust his heart, but he did not show His form to the Israelites, because they would make an idol. “Today we fall into the same trap when we create formulas to represent kingdom revelations.” (88)
- In John 12:27-30, God speaks for the benefit of the crowd. The crowd encountered God, but some thought it was thunder and others thought the voice was for Jesus, not for them. “The Father spoke to make something known to all who could hear. But in doing so, He exposed the level of perception that all those standing by actually possessed.” (89)
- In the West, we have such a strong materialistic worldview that a spiritual reality is out of the question. So anything coming from the spiritual reality has to be explained as something physical. This view infects the church, too, making it difficult to for believers to have encounters with God.
- Every time we encounter God, faith will make us more alive to God and unbelief will harden us towards Him.
- We can position ourselves for encounter in two ways:
- “Honor the point”: recognizing that others around us are encountering God, even if we are not aware of Him yet ourselves. (See Mark 16:14)
- “The second thing to realize is that when God does lift the veil of our senses to perceive what is going on in the spiritual realm, we are not spectators who have stumbled upon something that has nothing to do with us. God is communicating with us and allowing us to see what He sees in order to invite us to know Him and partner with what He is doing.” (92)
- Thinking that only “gifted” people encounter God squelches faith, because we are “others” or “not gifted.”
- “God has combined the ultimate quest [the quest for His face] with the promised outpouring of the Spirit because the ones He intends to clothe with the same anointing that rested upon His Son are those who have the same heart for the face of God that Jesus possessed. Only those with His heart can be trusted to use His power for its intended purpose—to represent Him in all His glory and goodness.” (93)
Ch. 5: Jesus: The Face of God
- John the Baptist recognized the presence of God from the womb—he jumped in the womb when Mary walked in.
- This ability needs to be protected. The angel muted Zacharias (John’s father) because he did not believe the angel’s words, and might have killed God’s promise with his words in his unbelief.
- John did not recognize the Son of God (John 1:34). “Jesus didn’t stand out as the Son of God—until the Holy Spirit came upon Him and remained. Jesus, the face of God, wasn’t noticed until the Spirit of God came upon Him.” (101)
- Remaining is the important part; you have to craft your life around the Holy Spirit in order for Him to remain.
- John knew that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit, and confessed his need for this baptism. John was the greatest prophet, yet he needed the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is why the least of those in the kingdom of God are greater than he.
- So what does the face of God look like? If I could only pick one word, it would be that God is good. He is always good. Even when He doesn’t seem to be looking that way.
- “How many sick and diseased people came to [Jesus] and left afflicted and disappointed? How many times did Jesus actually say that the problem a person had was because God the Father was trying to teach a lesson that would ultimately make him more like Him? To how many diseased people did He try to explain that it just wasn’t God’s timing for them to be well? How many tormented people did He leave in that condition, saying, ‘This is the result of their choices. I would set them free if they really wanted to be free'? How many storms did Jesus bless? He not only lived differently from their common understanding of God; He lived in complete contradiction to their common understanding of God.” (105)
- “Powerlessness demands an explanation or a solution. Blaming God seems to be easier than it is to take responsibility and pursue an encounter with Him that changes our capabilities in ministry.” (106)
- Jesus is perfect theology, the exact representation of God’s nature (Heb 1:3)
- What about Job? Well, I am a disciple of Jesus, not a disciple of Job.
- “It was the intimacy that Jesus had with His heavenly Father that became a foundation for all the signs, wonders, and miracles performed in His three and a half years of earthly ministry.” (108)
- The face of God is revealed in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Eze 39:29). It also needed to happen for Jesus. The title “Christ” means “anointed one,” so he needed the experience to get the title.
- Why was it better for Jesus, the face of God, to disappear? Because then each of us can have his experience.
- “Many will remind us that while God is good, He is still the judge of all. And that is true. But in Jesus’s time that judgment was only directed at the people who claimed to know God but didn’t know Him at all: the religious leaders.” (110)
- The sinners all recognized Jesus as Messiah, but not the religious leaders. The religious leaders thought they had no needs; the sinners knew they had needs. “It is this single factor of being aware of personal need that enables someone to recognize that which God is doing in the earth.” (111)
Ch. 6: Setting Up an Ambush
- “God reveals Himself to those who love Him.” (see John 14:21)
- David is definitely someone who loved God. Up until then Israel’s main expression of worship was a blood sacrifice, but David would write songs of worship to God. He also learned that it is the broken and contrite heart that God values.
- David risked his life to kill the lion and bear because he a) embraced the responsibility of watching over his father’s sheep, b) knew his identity with God. He was not trying to impress people as a brave man, for example. So God let him beat Goliath publicly.
- “A private victory leads to a public victory and a corporate blessing, because God turns His face of favor toward those who will demonstrate character when no one is looking.” (118)
- David said “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Ps 37:7). “Rest” has two definitions. One is “to be still” and the other is “to take a leisurely walk.” (118) This suggests Adam walking with God in the cool of the day.
- “So, to rest in the Lord means basically that the obstacle to the relationship is removed and the striving is over. I don’t need to fight to gain God’s attention.” (118)
- We tend to work for God instead of working from Him.
- Jesus is our righteousness, so we are already accepted.
- Martha and Mary: “When Martha became jealous, she asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her in the kitchen. Most servants want to degrade the role of friend to feel justified in their works-oriented approach to God.” (119) Mary single-mindedly kept her focus on Jesus and was told that was better.
- “Patiently” in the Bible is defined as “writhing in pain, as in childbirth” or “whirling the air in dance.” (49 out of 53 times) Waiting patiently is not passive, it is an intense focus.
- Ps 37:9: But those who wait for the Lord will inherit the land. “Wait” here is “to lie in wait,” that is, to ambush God. (See also Isa 8:17)
- If you are going to ambush God, you need to go where He is. You can’t hunt deer by camping out at Wall Street. If He’s moving somewhere else, go there!
- Some people say “signs are supposed to follow you, not you follow the signs.” You aren’t following the signs, you are seeking the One whom the signs point to.
- A classic example is the woman with the internal bleeding. She was the only one in the crowd that “saw the dimension of heaven that He was carrying and touched Him in a way that put a demand on the anointing of the Holy Spirit that was resident in Him.” (123-4)
- Likewise, Jacob sought God’s blessing so hard that he held onto God as he wrestled.
- It was the pursuit of God that changed Jacob. There’s no point in trying to get cleaned up before we come to God, because He’s the only one who can clean. Cleaning ourselves distracts us from the single-minded pursuit of God.
- Elisha was another person who waited patiently. Elijah tried to shake him on his last day, but couldn’t. Elisha asks for a double portion, and Elijah says if he sees him as he is taken, he would have it. A chariot of fire suddenly separated Elijah and Elisha, but Elijah went up in a whirlwind (not by the chariot). The test was if Elisha would be so focused on Elijah that he wouldn’t be distracted by the chariot and miss Elijah in the whirlwind. “God simply arranged the circumstances in order to see whether what he [Elisha] was doing out of instinct had enough force of character behind it to be sustained in spite of the kind of distractions he would face, should he be entrusted with a double portion.” (127)
- There is no limit to what we can experience (assuming our bodies can handle it). “It is my personal conviction that God has made available to us whatever measure of His glory our bodies can handle.” (130) Some measures have been experienced far more fully in the past than in the present—there is more available.
- I will often take a few minutes during the day to be still before God and simply be an object of His love.
- Ps 63:1: My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You. Before we could be a new creation, David’s flesh hungered for God. “It is possible to be so drenched in the glory of God through a lifestyle of worship that our bodies discover one of the great purposes for which they were created.” (131)
- I often get ideas of good things or remember things I need to do. This is God bringing them to mind, so I always come with a pen and paper, so that I can write them down so I don’t need to worry about forgetting them, and can then quickly return my attention to God.
- The ability to sustain passion and focus is self-control. This is a fruit of the Spirit.
- Self-control is not discipline, it is saying yes to things that fit with God’s value system and no to the things that do not, out of love.
Ch. 7: Never the Same Again
- Jesus said that we would do greater works than he did!
- Stories of people’s face-to-face encounters with God:
- Robert Evans (Welsh Revival): he was awakened at 1am with extreme joy and was in God’s Presence. He talked with God face to face, as a friend, for four hours, then he came back to normal. After that he knew that the Christianity had not failed and that God was going to do something. These encounters continued for three or four months.
- John G. Lake: He had an experience of waves of God’s glory and power, and afterwards miracles and answers to prayer were more common. However, he felt like he was on the borderland of a spiritual realm, but had not entered in. So he met with like-minded people, praying for the Baptism. He said that if God would baptize him in the Holy Spirit and give him the power of the Holy Spirit, nothing would stand in the way of “hundred-fold obedience.” One day God told him to wait until autumn. One day in autumn, he and a friend had gone to pray for a severely arthritic woman, and while the other person was talking to her, he was baptized in the Spirit, and when he laid his hands on the woman, she and the other man felt the waves of power (he was knocked to the floor), and she was healed. Lake quit his job shortly afterwards to preach full-time, as he now saw people as lost sheep.
- Charles Finney: shortly after giving his life to God, he was at the office by himself, and felt like he wanted to pour out his soul to the Lord. Behind the door to the other room shone a light, and when he entered, he saw Jesus, and he poured out his soul. He received waves of liquid love, so strong he thought he would die. Finney travelled the New England states and old England and saw something like 500,000 people saved.
- Smith Wigglesworth: somewhere he had gone, he received some kind of anointing that left him wanting nothing but God for four days, but he had not received the gift of tongues. So he asked the wife of the man he was staying with to lay hands on him and pray for him. After she left the room, the fire fell and he was Baptized, speaking in tongues. He was bathed in power, felt that he was cleansed, had a vision of Jesus, the empty cross, and Jesus exalted at the right hand of the Father. His wife would not believe it until he preached; he had always been a terrible speaker, but he got up, God gave him a verse, and he preached with such power that she and some others who knew him well wanted what he had. People were healed, got out of wheelchairs, blindness left, the dead were raised.
- Sometimes the Presence of God would descend while he was leading a prayer meeting in such holiness that people left the room (in order according to their level of spirituality). The person recording this had determined to stay, and held out until it was only him and Wigglesworth, but he eventually had to flee (crying) or he knew he would die.
- “Smith Wigglesworth’s ministry was based on four principles: First, read the Word of God. Second, consume the Word of God until it consumes you. Third, believe the Word of God. Fourth, act on the Word of God.” (156)
- T. L. Osborn had gone to India, but had not seen any success. He said that if he saw Jesus, his life would be transformed. The next morning, he had a vision of Jesus. “Of all I had heard and read about Him, the half had never been told me. His hands were beautiful; they seemed to vibrate with creative ability. His eyes were streams of love, pouring fourth into my innermost being. When I came out of that room, I was a new man. Jesus had become the Master of my life. My life was changed. I would never be the same. Old traditional values began to fade away, and I felt impressed daily by a new and increasing sense of reverence and serenity. Everything was different. I wanted to please Him. That is all that has mattered since that unforgettable morning.” (156-7) Hundreds of deaf-mutes were healed; as many as ninety blind people in one crusade instantly saw; the lame walk; creative miracles; the dead raised; thousands of people being saved in one night.
- Paul: He was trying to kill Christians, when Jesus revealed himself to him on the road to Damascus. When Ananias prayed for him, his sight was restored and he was baptized in the Holy Spirit. The result was that he immediately started preaching the gospel and reasoning with the Jews. He turned the whole world upside down. “The Spirit so anointed him in thought and deed that his church ‘newsletters’ were rightly recognized as God-breathed Scripture. Next to Jesus, he is considered by believers and unbelievers alike as one of the most influential men who ever lived.” (161)
- Heidi Baker: Heidi was a strong Type A woman, and she and her husband had ministered in Mozambique for 17 years with only four churches (two of which were fairly weak) to show for it. She went to the Toronto outpouring, Randy Clark suddenly asked her if she wanted the nation of Mozambique. She fell down, and got so hot she said “I’m dying!” and God said, “Good, I want you dead.” She could not move or speak for seven days. Her husband had to carry her to the meetings, and she had to rely on others to feed her, give her water, take her to the washroom. “I’ve never been so humbled, never felt so poor, so helpless, so vulnerable.” (162) She learned to relinquish control to God. In the eight years after this, along with the fourteen people in their leadership core, who have also had a similar encounter released on them, 6000 churches have been planted, one million people saved, 80 resurrections, countless healings, and entire Muslim villages turning to Christ because of the miracles.
- “Through their testimonies I know that such possibilities exist and the pursuit of them is worth any price.” (164)
Ch. 8: Joy: The Reward
- The recent outpourings of the Holy Spirit have been consistently marked by joy. These manifestations of joy, laughter notably, offend people because they seem to be out of order.
- “Only when we are able to get past the fear of the criticism of others that such an experience brings are we poised to receive all that God has for us. Fear of man is the heart and soul of religion—form without power.” (169)
- God’s order often looks pretty messy by Man’s standards. For instance, when I attended the birth of my children, it looked messy and chaotic, but the doctors and nurses didn’t seem bothered.
- We tend to try to take control when we get uncomfortable with something, and we often thwart a move of God. “I’ve come to realize that He is not all that concerned with us feeling comfortable. That’s why He gave us the Comforter—He planned to make us uncomfortable first.” (170)
- “I have found that it usually takes greater faith to rejoice in His presence than it does to weep. To rejoice I have to believe that I am acceptable to God.” (171)
- The idea that God uses disease as part of His plan is opening the gates to the enemy. Yes, He does use it, in the same way He uses the devil for His plans, but that doesn’t mean that disease is part of God’s plan for us. Jesus paid for our sins and he paid for our health.
- Luke 10:21: “At that time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit.” “Rejoiced” here connotes “shouting and leaping,” a very active rejoicing.
- Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him (Heb 12:2); “The Father added a reward that was so significant that it would bring the Son of man through the greatest suffering ever known to a human being.” (174) That joy is our reward as well.
- The idea that it is not spiritual to do something because you want a reward is bunk. In fact, a healthy view of eternity includes keeping our reward in mind.
- The joy is a result of seeing the face of the Father.
- Children want to be another’s joy, to be the sparkle in someone’s eye. Adults are no different—we want to in relationship with people that enjoy us.
- If we don’t see the joy the Father has in us, we will be limited in the joy that we have.
- This explains why a lot of the church is joyless—they don’t see the face of the Father.
- See John 16:24, “... ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full”
- When the law was read to the returnees of Israel, they wept as they understood how they had failed to keep it. But the priests ran among them to tell them not to weep, but instead to celebrate with joy. Why? Because they now understood the law.
- “If ever there were a moment in the Old Testament that gave a sneak peak of New Testament life, it was this one. It violates all of our understanding of the severity of the Law and even violates our understanding of how God moves in revivals. For this reason many have missed the much-needed revelation of joy through grace that came forth in this present move of God. It is legitimate. It started with joy.” (179)
- Phil 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice!
Ch. 9: Reflection of the Face of God
- Jesus said “don’t believe me if I don’t do the works of my Father [i.e. miracles]” (John 10:37). “As the Father has sent me, so send I you” (John 20:21).
- “The Bible celebrates the man healed by the pool of Bethesda. If that were done today, the Christian periodicals would interview the people by the pool who were not healed.” (185)
- “We become like that which we worship” (185) So if we don’t see God completely (for instance, only through an Old Testament lens), we won’t look like Him completely. “He is perfect in love, power, character, and wisdom. These are the expressions of His nature that must be seen all at once—this time, in and through us.” (186)
- God gave away sacrificial love. “While we can give without loving, we can’t love without giving.” (186) So if we pray that people would come to church and get saved, that’s not really how Jesus did it; we need to go out to them and give love away. For example, the Good Samaritan, who hired the innkeeper to take care of the stranger.
- Power and character cannot be made a choice between one or the other. “I’m not impressed with anyone’s life that does not have character. But I’m not happy with that life until there is power.” (188)
- “Christlike character is not merely being victorious over sin issues. It is the realized effect of the life of faith, which is righteousness, peace, and joy [see Rom 14:17]” (188)
- Righteousness: this is greater than simply morality. It is living without attachments to ungodly things. It is having Jesus’ view towards injustice, especially to the widow, the poor, and the unborn. It is having Jesus’ attitude towards those held by disease (“the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings” Mal 4:2).
- Peace: not just the absence of conflict, peace is the presence of God driving out the darkness. It is rest for us and terror for the enemy.
- Joy: “joy is to salvation what tears are to repentance” (190) The joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh 8:10)
- if you lack joy, the solution is simple: learn to rejoice!
- “Wisdom is the creative expression of God” (Pr 8:22-31)
- The Queen of Sheba is recorded as being impressed with some normally unimpressive things about Solomon: the house he built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of the waiters, the clothes they wore, etc. It wasn’t the wealth and treasures, but the everyday things that impressed her. “She was now looking at mundane things that had taken on meaning through the creative expression of God through a man. And it made her speechless.” (190)
- Four cornerstones to how I do life:
- God is good: a lot of people don’t really believe this.
- Nothing is impossible: “Some Christians shy away from the pursuit of miracles because they consider them impossible. The saddest part of their story is that they think the rest of the Christian life is possible.” (191)
- We fight from the victory of Christ: we aren’t fighting to win, we are fighting to enforce the victory Jesus already won.
- I am significant: this should give us true humility. If we become prideful, we haven’t really understood this.
Ch. 10: A People of His Glory
- Everything Jesus did, he did as a man, through the Holy Spirit. Thus, we are intended to be able to do it, too. He didn’t walk on water because he was God, but because he had a perfect relationship with God.
- In the OT, the veil hid Moses’ glory, and lepers made the clean unclean. In the NT, Jesus’ clothes shine (the glory makes the veil shine) and when the unclean touch his clothing, they become clean. The unrighteous become the righteousness of God; the forgiven become forgivers.
- The church is the light of the world; we are to be transforming everywhere we touch.
- In order to shine, we must be okay with being glorious.
- Our glory is not because of ourselves, but because of God. But when He calls us significant, it is false humility and unbelief to say that we are worthless.
- Pr 27:2: Let another praise you and not your own mouth. But note, it is okay for another the praise you, just not yourself!
- “When people give me honor, I thank them for their thoughtfulness. But I refuse to respond with the nauseating religious jargon, ‘It wasn’t me; it was Jesus.’ Rather, when I get alone with God, I bring the honor given to me and give it to Him, saying, ‘Look what someone gave to me. I believe this belongs to You.’” (206-7)
- How do we shine?
- God shows favor to the people we show favor to. (His face shines on us; we release life and death in our speech; Eph 4:29: we give grace to those who hear).
- “Shining is an act of giving away who we are.” (210) The more we give, the stronger we shine. Giving doesn’t lessen us, it increases us.
- (“I won’t write a check if I don’t know that I have money in the bank.” (210) Encountering the face of God reveals to us the treasures we have.)
- John 7:37-8: if we drink of Jesus, rivers of living water will flow from us. God turns the drink we take into a river that flows out. The river is the Holy Spirit.
- We release the kingdom through our words when we say only what the Father is saying.
- We release the kingdom through acts of faith, through laying on of hands.
- The kingdom is released through prophetic acts (an action unrelated to the miracle that is needed, like throwing a stick to get an axehead to float). This is especially good for people who require understanding before they will do something.
- Isa 60:1-5 gives an example of shining.
- God’s glory came to the temples built by human hands; how much more will His glory come to the temple He is building with His hands (namely, us, because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit).
- Israel lived in rebellion in the desert, yet God’s manifest presence was with them, and that was under an inferior covenant!
- Hell is real, but it is plan B. Plan A is “the kindness of God leads to repentance.” People are going to start coming to the Church because we are shining.
Copyright © 2015 by Geoffrey Prewett