Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Speaking in Tongues. For the Ninny or the Intellectual?

Ah, yes.  My first real controversial blog.  My husband will be proud.  Though I am not trying to be.  It saddens me that this has become such a taboo topic within churches.  I understand this is scary to some people, not understanding the purpose of "tongues".  My desire is this would help those seeking, and encourage those that have already received.

I would like to say that I am not trying to talk anyone into receiving the gift of speaking in tongues.  I believe it is a powerful gift, but like salvation does not have to be received. I would never deny you my friendship, or think you are going to hell if you do not operate in this gift. But I do think you are missing out on something meant for all believers. I would also like to emphasize that this is a multi-functional gift, with many aspects for different situations, which I will describe shortly. 

Below, I will simply go to scriptures, that you may or may not have already read. I will try to answer the main questions surrounding the gift of tongues, and hit the main important points. I truly hope you will study on your own, with an open heart, to seek Truth.

1) The baptism of the Holy Spirit  is a separate experience to being born again.
Acts 19:2-6
"He said to them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' And they said to him, 'No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.' And he said, 'Into what then were you baptized?' And they said, 'Into John's baptism.' Paul said, 'John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
"And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying."

2) The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for EVERY born again believer.

This is after Jesus had breathed on them and they became born again.[John 20:22]
This is Jesus speaking in Acts 1:4-5
"Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, 'Which' He said, 'you heard of from Me; for John baptized you with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'"

Acts 2:4
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance."

2b) But that gift was only for the Apostles...oh really?

Acts 11:15
"And ask I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.  And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, 'John, baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" Peter speaking to the Gentiles, remembering Acts 1!!!

3) The Lord wants to baptize you with His Holy Spirit. 
Luke 11:9-13
"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened."

Lets pause right here for a moment...it DOES NOT say seek and seek and seek...knock and keep knocking. No!  It only says seek and you will find.  God is not looking for you to prove how much you want the gift of tongues.  God WANTS to give it to you! So, we only need to ask one time in faith, and believe we received without begging or pleading.Okay, lets continue in these verses.

 "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

It is almost like Jesus knew the Baptism of the Holy Spirit would make people fearful.  He was trying to reassure that God will ALWAYS give good gifts to His children. And this is one of them.

Just a side note: Don't get frustrated if you don't speak in tongues right away, or you can only utter a few syllables.  It took me a few weeks to flow naturally in my prayer language.  And just because you don't speak in tongues right away, it doesn't mean you didn't get baptised in the Holy Spirit.  Give yourself some time, don't get condemned!

3b) Why should I want to speak in tongues????

Have you ever wanted to talk to God?  Have you ever wanted to know that He was hearing your prayers and your prayers were powerful?  Have you ever wanted to pray for something or someone but didn't have the words?  God invented this fool-proof (in my case- idiot proof) way to communicate in the Spirit.  We know that God is Spirit [John 4:24], and we also know that when we are born again we become a new and perfect creature in Spirit [2 Corin 5:17].  Why wouldn't He give us a perfect language to communicate Spirit (ours) to Spirit (His)?

Just a few verses to back up the reasons this gift is awesome:
Acts 1:8
"but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you"

1 Corinthians 14:2 "For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries."

1 Corinthians 14:14 "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful."

So, to address the multi functions of the gift of tongues:  This gift absolutely can be used for an earthly language.  For example, if God wants to minister to someone through me who only speaks French (and I don't speak French) this is a gift God can speak another earthly language through.

 Also, someone can have a "Tongue" that is for the whole congregation of people surrounding them.  This "Tongue" needs an interpretation, so those who have heard can understand.  Sometimes the one giving the "Tongue" also has the interpretation, sometimes the interpretation comes through another believer. 

And then lastly, there is your own personal prayer language.  This has many names, but its only function is to build YOU up, to edify you. [1 Corin 14:4] And why do you need to do this?  For those many moments in life you are sad, frustrated, tired, or in need of encouragement.  When you start praying in the Spirit you get refreshment, encouragement, revelation of a situation you have been stressing over, or a scripture you don't understand.

Your own personal prayer language is not going to help anyone else.  I would much rather lay hands and heal someone, or get a prophesy for someone I am praying for.  But many times we need to build up ourselves in God before we are ever able to help someone else.

So, to return to the first question I posed: Is Speaking in Tongues for Ninnies or Intellectuals?  My answer is that it is for anyone to wants it.  For the Ninnies, the Intellectuals, and everyone in between.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Altars and Leaving... "The Bubble"

The end of our 2nd year at Charis Bible College is quickly approaching.  We are on the horizon of something new. Something exciting.  But also something unfamiliar- a new, nameless adventure.  And along with thoughts of all the wonderful things God is going to do through us, there are moments of questioning...pangs of fear.

There is a 3rd year at CBC, and there are even talks of starting a 4th year program.  We really sought God on if He wanted us to continue on to the 3rd year.  We wanted to perhaps do our 3rd year over seas- in England or Ireland.  However, over the last several weeks we know that is not what we are called to (at least not for the next season). I saw a good friend at church last Sunday, and as we were talking, he said something that started my wheels turning...

He believes he is going to continue going to Charis and do the 3rd year.  But to truly understand our conversation you must be told about...."The Bubble".
{This is some super inside information people!}

"The Bubble": what the students refer to the positive, uplifting environment of being in bible college.  Many people forget about the "outside" world and all the ministry to be done when they are attending school and constantly being "fed" by all the teaching.

When 2nd year students are about to graduate, there is usually apprehension about leaving "The Bubble".  

Now, back to my friend.  As we were talking about "The Bubble" he brought up this verse.
This is in Matthew 17.  Jesus has just asked Peter who He was, and Peter reveals that He is The Christ. 

Starting in verse 1: "Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

Really, truly, I love Peter.  He was so real, so foolish, and yet such faith.  He was so enjoying what he was witnessing, he just wanted to stay there.  He wanted to bask in the glory all around him. Can you blame him?!?!

But instead of indulging Peter's request, after coming down from the mountain, Jesus rebuked a demon-possessed boy and healed him.

Do I believe that going to 3rd year at Charis Bible College is wrong or evil?  NO!  Of course not!  You should always follow the lead of the Holy Spirit above all things.  My only concern is the desire to stay because it is easier.  Safer.

In some ways I don't want to leave.  In other ways, I can't wait to go.  But I cannot stay here and build "altars" to Charis Bible College, or to Andrew Wommack.  Or to any other teacher or minister.  I must follow Jesus and heal the sick and hurting through his mighty and perfect leading.  No offense to Andrew, but if it is a choice between him and Jesus...I choose Jesus.  :)

I want to hear your thoughts~ what sort of "altars" do people build?  Feeling and thinking that it is the "right" thing to do, but missing the point entirely?

*Thank you to Joe for being my muse in this blog...your heart is a beautiful thing to behold.