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Growing Deep, Growing Strong

Are you troubled that an unusually high percentage of Spirit-filled people never belong to a local church body?

One Sunday when he arrived for the service, the staff pastor responsible that afternoon called him aside and said that the church management team had decided that my friend would not be needed to administer baptism that day or any more. The church’s call was to identify and equip young emerging leaders, and he was too old. They needed his space on the team to train the new ministers or potential ministers.

The next story is about a distinguished influential Christian layman who took offense to a group of Christians who loved to dance and attended a church where the pastor allowed them to dance as part of the Sunday morning worship services. Even worse they danced the hula, a dance with pagan origins and followings. When the pastor declined this fellow’s request that the dancing be stopped, the man wrote a long critical letter to the editor of the City’s largest newspaper who printed it with a big border on the editorial page along with the opinions of several ministers the paper had solicited who likewise urged that the dance was irreverent and ungodly. The group still dances at the church and travels extensively in the US and abroad dancing in churches. A number of fine Christians left the church because of the dancing.

Then there is the Christian lady I once knew who had suffered a shattered eardrum in an accident. Her affliction required surgery and she had an appointment for that in several days with an eye and ear hospital in a nearby city. In that interval, her husband took her to hear a man with the gift of healing, and while he was preaching, God healed her ear and the surgery was cancelled. She took that healing as a confirmation that she possessed superior spiritual properties and a deep understanding of God’s ways. When someone resisted her ideas, she became angry, resentful and bitter. She literally would shake the dust off her feet and after speaking the appropriate warning to those needing to be warned, she would exit, never to return.

Eight years later her husband finally gave up and left her, and she became someone who bounced from church to para-church to church and on and on. It seemed that every time phenomena were present in a meeting, she was there with an opinion, the correct opinion of how things should be done.

My last story is about a church where God’s spirit and presence were evident for a long season of time. The congregation grew in that season of fifteen years from 20 to 5,000 every Sunday. People were saved, healed, delivered; prophecy was commonplace and every gift of the Holy Spirit was in operation. Most of the congregation spoke in tongues, and those who did not constantly were seeking the gift. Over time they built or acquired facilities to house all the people that came. It was the flagship church in its denomination and it contributed the most money to missions and headquarters.

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2001

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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