Way down in the bayou country of Louisiana was a Prophet by the name of J.D.
I did not know this man personally, but I had heard numerous things about him. I never met him, but I did sing in an ensemble at his funeral.
The song we did was called, “The Hills of Home, Are Calling Me.”
Some of the rumors I had heard about him was that he was a bit unpolished, but wherever he went, sparks flew.
The reason I know how important he had been, was by the people that attended his home-going celebration.
There were higher ups from at least 3 Pentecostal organizations and maybe more.
Leadership from these groups presented themselves humbly at his service and there was a tremendous feeling of hushed respect.
I knew first hand that normally, these ministers did not fellowship with one another. The fact that they were all together and being strangely polite to one another told me much about the man they were honoring.
I came along in a time when certain Pentecostals, especially in the city, had grown into nice progressive churches and already changes had occurred in their practice of the Apostolic.
It was later that I learned how privileged I was to have also traveled in rural areas across several states and have seen much of the old-fashioned style of worship.
Just as it had been in other Christian organizations, there had been a pulling away from some of the demonstrations of the Spirit, likely in an effort to be more accepted and also, because of fear of being labeled with others who had abused the Gifts.
It appeared that freedom to move in the Spirit was still much more present in those churches which had not yet become so “citified” and so organized.
The rural folk seemed much more determined to hang on to the old ways and that allowed me to see things in action I never would have otherwise.
I went to Tent Meetings and even some Brush Arbors. I have to add, that the power of God was mighty.
Casting out devils was a common thing. It wasn’t just the ministry that knew how to do this, every saint was taught that they had the same Power in them to do the works of the Spirit.
Jesus said, “these signs shall follow them that believe” and it meant ALL believers.
It was not uncommon for someone to stand up in the service and say, “I have a word from the LORD.”
There was no fear from the people, because every one with the Spirit had the ability to discern if this person was speaking something of the Holy Ghost, or merely exercising the flesh.
And furthermore, it was also not uncommon for a Prophet to walk in, uninvited and interrupt if necessary, to deliver a message to the church or even the pastor.
Where this person came from didn’t really matter. What mattered was if they genuinely had a message from God and if it were true, the people received it gladly; the entire church was edified.
If it was good news, the people rejoiced and shouted. If it was a warning of some kind, the people all fell on their faces before God to correct the error or to pay reverence to the mighty power of the Spirit.
There was awesome reverence for the working of the Spirit.
Where are the Prophets today?
And one can note that this also includes women and always has…. Call them Prophetesses if you please, but whatever, their position and function is the same.
I’m a bit perplexed today when I think about what Paul said: We should speak in tongues often, but we should seek even more to prophesy.
It should be a common thing and instructions on the order in which prophets should operate was clearly written.
I think this is another of those things the leadership of our churches pulled away from. Each person should ask themselves, why that happened.
We had Prophets at some of our major Camp Meetings and Conferences. A few were allowed and encouraged to speak to the masses.
There were mighty outpourings of the Spirit at these times and many were blessed and inspired. We left such meetings revived and anxious to share and demonstrate what we had heard and seen.
Unfortunately, that elation was doused upon arriving back at the local church level. It was there that you realized where the power structure really was.
I hesitate to say this, but pastors simply do not have absolute power and authority over the entire Church. This is where the Prophet should have stepped in.
May I say, no one is above rebuke or correction in God’s church. If the Apostles and Prophets of the 20th century had been allowed to function and operate in the Spirit in His Church as He intended, we would have seen one of the mightiest moves of the Spirit ever known.
The Apostles for example could have demonstrated how to use the Power of the Spirit to heal and the absolute manifestation of how the Gifts of the Spirit work, just like they did in the early Church.
The Prophets could have given warning and exhortation and direction from the Spirit to prevent us from falling into error or misusing the things God had given to His people.
We say we’re Apostolic. I saw something a few days ago that struck home with me. The quote was, “We are Apostolic in belief, Pentecostal in experience.”
Excuse me! Why are we not fully Apostolic in practice?
We all received the Pentecostal experience as they did in the Early Church, but that was just the beginning.
What the Apostles did in the Book of Acts was to demonstrate just what someone who had received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost could actually do.
I heard someone here say the Book was actually the Acts of the Holy Spirit. I think that message is clear.
It really is how people who have been endued with this dynamic Power from On High function and operate. It’s what happens when people seek the Gifts of the Spirit and have been anointed to be members of the order set forth in His Holy Scripture.
So, where are the Prophets?
They are among us, they always have been. You cannot kill the five offices of the ministry.
You might hinder the flow of the Spirit and forbid them to speak and operate normally, but you cannot snuff out something God anointed and set in order.
God never intended that the Shepherd had to do everything himself, or herself for that matter.
He’s the shepherd, not the owner and his unparalleled responsibility is to live among and guard God’s flock and make sure they get fed a well-rounded diet.
The flock is fed by the other 4 ministries also and this absolute “rule” issue over His heritage has resulted in God’s sheep being weak, full of sickness, undernourished and too often powerless.
Tell me, what IS this spirit and attitude that we cannot make way for the Spirit to move and operate as He intends?
Since when does one person behind the pulpit have the right or authority to determine how the Spirit flows?
We’ve rapped that scripture about being “decent and in order” until it’s worn out. That’s true, but since when does the Spirit not know how to be decent?
Since when does the order the Spirit chooses to function in not be adequate or proper?
It can be scary and risky to allow humans to operate in the Spirit. No one gets it right every time.
But how in this world can we learn to operate the Gifts that have been bestowed upon us if we are never allowed the chance to try, to “exercise” what God placed there for the edifying and perfecting of His Church?
The Prophets would have told us of the errors we were making. Some actually tried, but were over-shouted by those placed in authority, whether some of them should have been in authority or not.
Do you think the Spirit would have let the Prophet sit back when “who’s who” was set in motion?
Or when the music department of God’s church became a playground of entertainment and puffed up individuals who have either forgotten or don’t have a clue what “one mind and one accord” actually means?
The Prophets should have been allowed to speak!
They would have declared that everything we needed to have mighty church was right there in that Book and anything that did not allow the Spirit to move at any time or any place, should be thrown out.
Can you imagine what it would be like if an entire church was operating in the Gifts of the Spirit and using all the precious gifts God has bestowed upon His people?
You couldn’t get close to the place!
If you think people are not hungry, you are sorely mistaken. People today are likely every bit as hungry for something that is real, maybe even more so.
But they are not hungry for what some of us have; a watered-down, half-hearted attempt at deep spirituality, covered up by loud preaching and loud music/ singing.
In days gone by, they came to see the real demonstration of the Spirit and they will come again!
One should know that much of the Mega-this and Mega-that, has not solved the problems of the people in them. What we need and they need alike is Mega Holy Ghost that operates when we stay out of the way.
You don’t have to cheer people on like a pep rally. The Spirit is what makes people move; and I mean moved in a deep fashion that cannot be compared, it cannot be duplicated.
So Prophets and Prophetesses, what are you gonna do?
Things seem to be going downhill in a hurry all over the world.
Our people are dying for lack of knowledge and have such great need for restoration.
I know they killed the Prophets in the old days of the Word. I also know what they did to J.D. and others like him who dared to proclaim the news that God had given to them and for exercising the office that God had called and anointed them to.
Your peers likely can’t kill you physically and get away with it, but they sure can destroy your spirit and your reputation and thwart the work you were called to do. But not forever!
You’ve been called and highly trained for your position. God’s kept you in waiting for the time He has chosen to call you forth.
The Holy Spirit continued to teach you in your cave and you’re not dead, tho you might feel like it.
The brook’s about dried up. The assembling of ourselves together may not be in the same house we were once in but this Church, which is the people, is the heart of God’s tabernacle and will rise up in their day to do their job.
Those whom God has called for this hour can feel a stirring in their Spirit, something that will not let them be.
You’re restless, you cannot be still for long. Something is crying out, something that you cannot push back or deny. You might as well get ready.
This position is not an easy one to fulfill. You’ve been chosen because not everyone can do the work you’ve been called to do.
We must never forget, God knows what He is doing.
If He thought you were not capable of doing His mission, He would not have anointed you and had His Spirit teach you in such a manner.
Keep your ear to the ground, and your cloak in your hand, girded with the oil of preparation. The rain’s coming.
There might be a lot more of tribulation first, but likely sooner than later, there will be a mighty downpour.
He prophesied it in His Word and everybody’s gonna know who He is before He’s finished.
As Joel said, “sons and daughters,” Prophesy!
“I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth,” Isaiah 43:6.
First published: November 24, 2011.
~ Robert Blackburn