Pastor Benny Ho’s message on “Activating the Gifts of the Holy Spirit” today at Faith Community Church was amazing.
It seemed to me that God was orchestrating a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on FCC.
Pastor Benny began his message by sharing on the common theme of the four church camps from which he had just returned from speaking: the Holy Spirit. And I could sense that in today’s service, Pastor Benny brought with him the same spirit and passion of the camp meetings that he had just attended.
The message opened with a quote from DL Moody: “the key to a life of victory is not to suck out a sin here and there, but to be filled with the Spirit”.
It’s true. So often our Christian lives are so focussed on what we do with sin, and how to modify our behaviour, rather than to focus on Jesus and the life-giving flow of His Spirit. I heard someone once ask: “why do we emphasise so much on dying to self, instead of focussing on Jesus and His finished work?” What that person was saying is that, yes, there is a need to die to self, but I can choose to put my attention on myself, or I can focus it on Jesus. I think if a choice is to be made, I would rather fall into the arms of Jesus!
Anyway, today’s message was about activating the gifts of the Spirit in the life of Faith Community Church. I could sense Pastor Benny’s impassioned plea for the church to return to the Holy Spirit as the source of power, rather than relying on programs, skills and smarts.
There is definitely this sense I have felt since being part of FCC (I could be wrong of course!) that there was a time when the power of the Spirit was manifest and obvious, where you couldn’t say “maybe they achieved that because of good planning and great leadership tempered by anointing”, but rather that everyone would say “despite what we did, the Holy Spirit showed up”. There was a sense that in the near forgotten past, there would be prophecies and words of knowledge given right in the midst of the worship, rather than going from song to song in a structured way.
And so, I felt that today’s message wasn’t just about activating the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church, although that would certainly be a by-product. Rather, the message was about hungering after and falling in love with the Holy Spirit again. When that happens, the church will become supernatural in orientation.
From a personal perspective, it seemed that God has been bringing me to this moment. For the weeks leading up to Pentecost, I had been reading Dennis Bennett’s Nine O’Clock in the Morning and more recently Vinson Synan’s An Eyewitness Remembers the Century of the Holy Spirit. What was obvious from reading these accounts was how revival took place every time the Holy Spirit fell, and how the church was irrevocably transformed to live out its purpose and impact the world.
For months now, I have missed that sense of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit which I was used to in my old cell group at my old church. We used to worship in a pretty unstructured way and give room for everyone to move in the gifts. I’m naturally shy and taking risks in releasing words was always scary, but there was also the exhilaration of being part of the what the Holy Spirit was wanting to do in the lives of your brothers and sisters. Having not been part of such a group for some time, I began to drift away from that reliance on the Holy Spirit. I think I became more assured in my own abilities and felt that sometimes my skills and planning had somehow usurped the place of the Spirit.
Today, something resonated in my spirit. It was as if the Holy Spirit was ready to be poured out afresh again, not only on FCC, but also on my life. That God would renew a hunger and passion for His Spirit once again.
So I went down to the altar for prayer and Pastor Daryl T’ng prayed for me. I don’t think I’ve met Daryl before (except through a Whatsapp tennis group, and even then we haven’t yet play together but as I was at the altar with my eyes closed, he began to give me a word. I was little creeped out at first when he mentioned my name because I didn’t recognise the voice (I only realised it was Daryl after the prayer time and I finally opened my eyes). He said that he saw me like a warrior who was tired and worn out and who had laid down my sword and shield. But now it was time to take them up again and make an impact for the kingdom.
Little did I know that at the same time, our friend (and an intercessor) June Yap had passed on a word she had for me to Ling: that she saw me as a tree that was charred but that when the Holy Spirit fell on me, the tree would become shiny and glorious. She saw fruits as well: fruits of many colours and that the fruits were shiny and were in fact jewels. This represents eternal impact. Wow! Unceasing fruitfulness!
I was really, really blessed today. I am really excited about what God is doing in my life in this season and in the days to come.
And I believe that in days to come, God will also reorientate FCC as we begin to dig up those old wells of the Spirit. We will be a skilful church, but also a supernatural church. Like Paul says in 1 Cor 14, when the gifts are in operation, the unbeliever amongst us will have the secrets of their hearts laid bear, and they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming “God is really among you!”