“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Holy Spirit is Weird

There's been an outpouring of the Holy Spirit at IHOP (International House of Prayer) in Grandview, MO. I heard that Bill Johnson was coming to visit along with other leaders who have been involved with various revivals in the past few decades. I really had hoped to see Bill Johnson speak in person. I've been listening to his podcasts for many months.

The IHOP was packed. They had to shuttle people from a satellite parking lot. The main sanctuary was standing room only. I made my way to the overflow room and found an empty spot on the back bleachers. I had picked up snippets of a conversation between friends talking about a third friend that had been "manifesting" earlier in the day. It had been a while since I heard the term, but I wasn't surprised by it. I'm familiar with some of the weirdness that comes with the moving of the Holy Spirit.

As I read about the history of revivals, there's always an undercurrent of weirdness going along with it: people falling down, shaking, rolling. In the revivals of the 1990s, people laughed and made animal noises. I don't know how far the IHOP revival will spread, but the manifestation I saw in several people was a "turkey walk". It's a twitch forward, a hunching of the shoulders and the neck being pulled down into the shoulders. But my assessment is only based on casual observation. The "turkey walk" may be only limited to a few and will not become the "signature" manifestation of this outpouring. I also saw a familiar manifestation of the back bend: leaning over backwards at the waist. This manifestation was one I've seen in a friend years ago.

I've witnessed these kinds of things before. I've experience being put on the floor by the Holy Spirit and the manifestation that came with one of those experiences is still with me. I twitch when I get in the presence of the Spirit. I wasn't there for curiosity or even out of a desperate need for a touch from God. I sensed that I was supposed to be there, and I was looking for what God had for me. Someone did pray for me and gave me a word from God. It was later confirmed by a prophet who came to our church this week. That's a different story.

What I've been thinking about is why God chooses to move in such strange ways. I even see suggestions of this in the Old Testament prophets. If you read carefully it seems that the prophesying was sometimes accompanied by weirdness. For example, when the Spirit of the Lord came on king Saul & he lay naked on the ground, prophesying. The wonder was in the recipient of the prophecy, not the process. It seems that the Holy Spirit has been putting people on the ground for a long time.

It is from Bill Johnson that I received an insight about all this weirdness. We are to seek the peace that passes understanding. But that means we have to let go of our need to always understand. The 12 disciples didn't understand Jesus sermon about eating his flesh and drinking his blood any more than the thousands who turned away. But they went beyond their understanding to recognize that there was life released to them that went beyond what they could comprehend.

I've come to believe that the Holy Spirit is weird so that we have to get past our intellectual offense and grasp a level of understanding that is spiritually grasped. That is what I'm chasing after. If I have to walk like a turkey to get it, so be it.

1 comment:

Dad said...

Thank you, Eric, for your observations. I especially appreciate your comments that our detemrination to understand can get in the way of our receiving what God has for us.