Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When Prophetic People Do Stupid Things

How come church people are so ridiculously stupid sometimes? I have to wonder if they were born that way, or take stupid pills for it. Really!

I spent most of the day with three different friends that I have met at church. One, a pastor, and occasional mentor. He and I took a walk and discussed the church, politics, and where do I think I will be in five years (more on this some other time). The other was a guy that I have kept up with from men's group and spent some time with at a retreat. We grabbed a coffee and took a ride in my Mustang. The third is a friend of mine that I played on the worship team with at my old church. He and his wife have been to the house a couple of times. I also played guitar at his son's memorial service back in March.

So why am I upset about stupid church people? In talking with a grief stricken father, a gentle soul, and loving dad, I found out that more than one-- count 'em 5 -- well meaning Christians told him that his son would live and not die. It wasn't true. Kenneth sadly, and painfully, died of mesothelioma on March 1st of this year.

But David, don't you profess the use of the prophetic in church? I do profess that the prophetic is a needed gift in the church. I have written about it a number of times before. But I also profess personal responsibility, training and humility to go along with it!

The purpose of this blog today is to see if we can learn anything from this painful situation. I don't know about you, but I am tired of sloppy agape! So let's take a look at what might have helped this situation to have turned out better.

-1 We NEED prophetic training for people that want to prophesy as well those that want to RECEIVE prophecy. This should be all of those in any given church that professes the use of the gifts. It is absolutely not enough to mess around with it at small groups. The church needs to be taught the giving and receiving of prophecy, or forget about using the gift.

-2 What possible encouragement could this have brought? If the giver of the prophecy was right maybe it would have given some hope to the distraught parents, but in this case being wrong only made the sadness worse -- and destroys faith in God. The purpose of prophecy is to edify, encourage, and create a destiny "that which is not, as though it is." Getting it wrong is NOT edifying.

-3 Just because you hear from God, it is not a license to take on major events in people's lives. IE: Jobs, births, deaths, marriages and divorces. These types of things should be left to the seasoned prophetic voices. We don't give race cars to kids, do we? Can these things be successfully prophesied? Yes. Do they need to be? That is the question.

-4 Testing? The realm of the spirit can be exciting, but regardless of how you feel (it's not about you), prophecies and prophets need to be tested. If you fancy yourself as someone that hears from God, then prove yourself. Because prophetic words create destiny, they can do that without the person ever hearing it! I suggest that you get a confidant, and start sharing with them today. When you have done this for some goodly period of time, then share it with others. Until then, shut up!

-5 Accountability? Why is that we want to be all about ourselves when we get it right, but when we get it wrong, we don't want to mention it again? In this case, a number of people were WRONG! How about a little humble pie and phone call to say, "I AM SORRY, I MISSED IT?" No wonder people hate the prophetic and think that it's the devil. If you are going to enjoy your success, you also need to be accountable for your failures.

- 6 Forming the prophetic voice - And let me say that we have problems like this because we do not get involved in people's lives in such a way that it affects their use of the gifts. Actually, in many cases, the use of gifting does not happen at all. Pastors and home-group leaders should be keeping a file of "words" you give and their coming to pass. It is a good way to see if you really are a hot shot or not. You need a track record, not a microphone.

Honestly, think about it, how would you feel if your loved one was very ill, and someone gave you false hope?

So, how do I know all this? Experience. And yes, I have missed it.

The truth is that I have also gotten it right, and the pastor thought I missed. So, he had me go to the person receiving the prophecy and tell them that I was sorry for the false hope. The fact of the matter is that the word created a real destiny and came to pass anyway. That is what the word of God does. Once it is spoken, it is done.

Now, the good news is that it doesn't have to be in the presence of the person that it is for in order for it to come to pass. Yeah, that's right. Therefore; when it comes to important words, like life and death, jobs, kids and churches closing, all of these are things that I have been given knowledge of, I find it is better to run it by someone else. I have a group of guys and we decide whether to share it, or keep it as prayer fodder. Many were never told to the person until after it happened... and some never revealed at all and they came to pass.

In the end, I still think that the prophetic is a wonderful and awesome gift when used properly by trained and accountable people. Conversely it is a clanging gong when used irresponsibly by folks that are untrained and insensitive to the plight of others.

12 comments:

photogr said...

David:

I can relate to the grieving father being told his son would live. Something similar to that happened to me when my Dad died.

His sister, who was at the wake and a devout Christian informed me he was going to hell because he did not believe and go to church.

Considering she was never around much she did not see my Dad and his love of his fellow man. His times he quietly read the Bible and prayed when he thought no one was watching made me think he believed.

Yes some times Christians can be stupid and insensitive based on their perceptions and judgements.

No one but the Lord really knows what is in a persons heart. Any one who passes judgement on others based on their beliefs will face judgement by the Lord severely.

We are all going to face the severity of death one day. Our flesh cannot live eternally but our spirit will. Those that walk in the light of the Lord will have eternal life. Our new bodies will be transformed into a new form that knows no pain or deformity. We will then be perfect and sinless. We will be like Jesus, we will be with Jesus and worship him as our God and provider for ever.

The Gifts> Something that I am very new at and quite frankly they scare me. So much responsibility with them. Never had I ever heard of former ministers speak much about or try to explain it to the lay people.

As a matter of fact I spoke to a small groups minister recently and told him I want to learn about the gifts and what they mean. All I got was a blank stare and the subject was changed.

I think the Churches of today and in my case in the past are fearful of discussing the gifts and do not want to dive into that issue at all. Perhaps they feel it is only for the clergy to have. Kind of reminds me of the priest in Bibical times thinking.

If you think aout prophesy, it is odd that no one has ever come forward and prophesized correctly since Bibical times or have they?

In some of my books I have studied, there have been instances of prophesy by two young girls and a lady in England about one to two hundred years ago as well as others. A more recent one I would think is possibly Martin Luther King or Martin Luther in the reformation ( I think). Most were branded as Heresy by the church at the time.

Consider Jesus in His time. Certainly One who taught out side of the box and was despised by the clerics of that time.

Until the Churches opens up all avenues to the Lord for all, many of the seeds sowed will fail to produce a bountiful crop. It is good to have organization and by laws in a church but the prime objective is to win souls to the Lord. Not get bogged down in organizational objectives.

Half the time I don't know what I am talking about. It is just my observations as a new student of the Bible.

eaglegirl said...

By no means am I a 'prophet', but slowly over the years the Lord has increased me in this area.
About seven years ago a group of us were praying over a woman and her boyfriend was nearby. I had a picture in my head of her in a wedding dress and I was new at this. What was I to do? As you said David I was trained to not speak out about jobs, marriages, etc.
So I did say something about what I saw. And I said "I see you covered in white". It was what I saw, but not in too much detail.
And it turns out that they did get married afterall.
I wish there was some good prophetic teaching available in my area. If I am not mistaken you got some good training years ago with John Paul Jackson. Maybe his group will come to Cincinnati.
Here is one of my pet peeves: Going up to a prayer team to ask prayer for a 'specific' need. And what do they not do ? Not pray about my specific need, but try to give me a prophetic word instead that has nothing to do with my prayer need.
If they would first pray for the need as requested and then had a prophetic word about something o.k.
Another thing is people who are always looking for a 'word'. I was a little like that when I first was baptized in the Spirit. When first being around the prophetic that can happen, you find out something new you never knew about. It is exciting and you want to know more. With maturity it is not so necessary. But a word in season is always good to receive.
And if one thinks they have a prophetic word for someone, that is appropiate to share it can be good to start out with " I think I am hearing this or seeing this". And not 'thus says the Lord'.
How sad for that grief stricken father, and how confusing it could be.
And there are some things we may feel the Lord is showing us, but it may be just for us to pray about, or bounce off seasoned beleivers as you suggested.
Oh, I just remembered a really bad memory. Being in a small church where I went up front to receive a prophecy. How this prophet/apostle did it was he would speak your personal prophecy into an actual microphone for all to hear !!! I almost died. It was definitely not appropiate in my situation to do this.
I later emailed him that I felt he should have spoken it more privately. And his response to me was not nice, somthing like he does not have to answer to me and I could take it up with some big shot who was supposed to be his overseer.
Now, over five years after that this ministry has not grown much. Gee, I wonder why.
Prophecy should be a wonderful and special thing to receive. Too bad these negative things happen too often and give it a 'bad name'.

David said...

photogr - If you think about prophesy, it is odd that no one has ever come forward and prophesied correctly since Biblical times or have they?

There has been no direct (new) revelation pertaining to doctrine since John penned the Revelation. There are not going to be anymore epistles, no more information on Jesus, or something of that nature.

That said, the church should regularly be hearing about the strategies pertaining to taking their cities and regions-- leadership, giftings within the congregation etc. New Testament prophecy absolutely must line up with the Bible.

Sorry for the judgmental stupidity surrounding your dad's death. Can't imagine where some people get their information.

David said...

@EagleGirl - Some interesting comments. Agreed, we should be very cautious about saying "The Lord said (or showed me)." My question about the "covered in white" word is this: What reason is there to declare this over them face-to-face? As stated, you may have created a destiny by declaring it anywhere-- with a trusted friend at home etc. Certainly, 10 years into this with a certified track record, it is much more feasible.

Regarding prayer lines. I am one of those that will go with what the Lord is showing me over the request at hand. I find that the Lord is more often after "hidden fruit" and "root causes" then He is to be used as a spiritual bellhop. I can't tell you how many times what the Lord had to say as much more important then my "pressing need." But I certainly see your side too.

We should be expecting God to speak to us-- using the Word, a word, our situations etc. -- when our life is in motion for Him. What we shouldn't do is expect a word until we have done something with the last one or two that we received.

Regarding public corporate and personal prophecy - this too is for experienced prophetic people with a TRACK RECORD. I have seen it done amazingly well by folks like Rick Joyner, Denny Cramer, Graham Cooke, John Paul Jackson, Larry Randolph, Emil Samuel, Phil Zaldatte, and James Goll. Humility and the right response when one is wrong is paramount. I am sure you can find videos of them on YouTube.com.

Marietjie said...

Hi David, I cannot agree more. It's like the spirit of stupid has been released in the church/body of Christ. And I whole heartedly agree that we have to be involved in one another's lives and be accountable to one another. It is a shame that people do not have "letters of commendation" anymore. We should not give place to those who have not been tried and tested or who's personal life is in shambles. We tolerate way too much nonsense in the name of grace and love.

Marietjie said...

It is like the spirit of stupid has been released in the church/body of Christ. Accountability and humility has also become dirty words. It's a shame that "letters of commendation" is a thing of the past. We accept way too much nonsense in the name of grace and love.

David said...

@Marietjie - Spirit of stupid! LOL And conversely, letters of commendation-- both insightful.

photogr said...

It has been said,( form quote from Jewish scholars)our primary commission from the Lord is to spread the "Good News " to all corners of the earth. The "Gifts " are only a part of the "Good News" but we need to know of their ramnifications.

In a sense we all have to become as prophets to convey what is written in scriptures as we understand them ( not literal porphets though). We can't say we had a vision or the Lord told me this new revalation.

What do I know? I am only a new student of the Bible.

Davd said...

@photogr - Creation is meant to share in the joy that God had in His Son Jesus, and the work that He did on the cross to eradicate sin. The good news is that we can share in it, and get saved from eternal damnation as a by product of having a relationship with Jesus. We further get set free and hopefully turned on too. That is the Gospel.

The Old Testament prophets testified to the coming of the Messiah, His life, ministry, death, resurrection and eventual return. Some OT and NT prophecies are in regards to the circumstances surrounding the return of Jesus. The day and hour are unknown, but we should all be aware of the season of His return.

New Testament Prophets are to bring direction and clarity to the ministry of the church. IE: Possibly who is to be a minister, where to build a building, where to set-up an out-reach and personal ministries and gifting etc. That and the other gifts are just the "tools of the trade" and are in no means the Gospel. They are used in doing what we see the Father doing. Just a tool for reaching people with the gospel that's all. But because the power is not in our flesh and blood, but by His Spirit, we must use these gifts to accomplish His work on earth.

David said...

@All - Carol sent me an email pointing out that my comments made her feel "less than" so first let me apologize to her, that was not my intention at all. I am sorry, Carol.

She did add the fact that her pastor had asked her to say what she thought she was hearing from the Lord. That changes everything. In this case she was doing exactly the right thing. Especially if the pastor was willing to help her and the recipient though the interpretation of the word.

She is also correct in saying that prophetic people are more likely to go into prophetic mode and ignore a sincere request to pray for a situation. This is really a tough area, everyone needs to hear from God about what to pray for, and balance that with compassion for the request. In all things we need to be led by the Spirit.

For those of you that are prophetic, please be more sensitive to the recipient's request, and for those of you that are more sensitive, please be more prophetic. Hearing God is the most important thing; bringing His kingdom to earth in love.

Carol also raised a good question how we become seasoned in personal prophecy. So here it is.

-1 Work in a very small group with people that you know and trust.

-2 Stay away from the big stuff.

-3 Write down all of your impressions and discuss them with a confidant regularly. I suggest at least a year. In the mean time, stay away from the big stuff.

-4 As you prove yourself, be very humble in your delivery, and be willing to jump on it when you miss it! The 5 people mentioned in this post, just blew it off as if it didn't matter. That is selfish, immature and totally irresponsible.

Thanks, Carol (eaglegirl) for pointing these things out.

Tevet said...

There is a lot to this and there is a good dialouge going, but it is limited by this forum.
I am wondering if your friend has approached the 5 people to discuss the situation. As the Body of Christ it is each individual's obligation to bring offenses to others. (Mathew 18*15-35)
Often times people will pray to be a better Christian, Dad, Mom, Apostle, Prophet.... and more times than any Jesus will use the people and situations around us to bring about this change. By bringing this to his brothers/sisters in Christ he may be a vessel of Jesus, he may be an anwser to prayer.
We need to give grace, we have to give forgiveness and we have to seek grace and forgiveness.
At the very least, if the people do not receive the correction, your friend will know what type of Christians these people are and he can deal with them accordingly. (Mathew 18*15-17)
For me, whenever I "give" anything to someone, I preface it with "You will need to judge this by what Jesus is telling you, by the Word and by others" I will never be the only "voice" of Holy Spirit.

David said...

@Dave T. - My friend actually seemed very forgiving. Certainly he was sad that this did not come to pass.

It is me that has taken up the cause for eradicating stupid Christians from this world. That is done by teaching, equipping and the use of common sense.

Yes, you are good to qualify your impressions. NI the end, the recipient has as much respnsibility as the giver.

In this case, I just think they were overreaching; albeit well meaning.

I have one from an old friend regarding my kids. I kept it in my Bible for nearly 10 years. They are both adults now; it is unlikely to ever happen. It is doubtful that she'll call me to say sorry, I missed it.

So, we move on striving to be more like Him.

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