I was filled with the Spirit at a Jesus People gathering in 1970 after I first poured out my guts to God and acknowledged all my sin to Him. I had said a sinner's prayer a couple of years earlier, but I had no power to walk out the Christian life. I was quickly becoming a church hypocrite as I modeled myself after the elders in this little fundamental church my wife and I were attending.
This time I was holding nothing back. This time I made an unconditional surrender. I gave Him everything I had been, was and ever hoped to be, all that I owned, my family, and my whole life. I expected to loose it all. Jesus let me keep my wife and children and our house. Everything else went. In exchange I got the most wonderful love relationship with my Lord and with others who loved Him as well. This was the beginning of the most wonderful two years of my life. The only "gift" that I received at this time was speaking in tongues and a ministry of helps that I shared with joy as a servant of the Lord.
The ministry that formed out of this 1970 outpouring of the Spirit in Spokane, Washington, was powerful in the beginning. In the first year alone we saw over 1000 young people come to Christ in our coffee house prayer room alone, and we saw many more come to Him in meetings that we held elsewhere in the US and Canada.
Gradually the ministry was taken over by a heavy handed brother who knew the Bible well and could really teach. He also knew how to use the power of his soul to take us all captive under his control. The more he rose, the less of the Holy Spirit we saw moving among us. By 1976 my wife and I were very miserable and finally got a sign form the Lord that we had been praying for. It was time to leave.
We moved away to get out of that man's clutches and healed up for the next year in Bellingham, Washington, my wife's home town. A year later the Lord sent us back to Spokane, where I had to face some old sin issues in my life. He required me to go out to the Jesus People's communal ranch and apologize to the leader for judging him and harboring unforgiveness toward him in my heart. This started a release of the Spirit in me that brought me in touch with even deeper heart issues.
We started going to a church in north Spokane where the Spirit was welcome. There I met a brother named John Sanford. John wrote The Elijah Task and many other books on inner healing. Through counseling with John and his staff, I came to a place where I could forgive my father, and with this came a release that brought my first prophecy. It was just three sentences in a weekly Bible study that John was leading. Afterward he really blessed me when he said, "That was right on."
This is where my story takes a different course than that of many who are in ministry today. In 1980, while still attending the same church, the Lord started to deal with my heart even more deeply. I had been moving in the prophetic and also leading a home group for that church. I thought I was on my way to becoming something great for God. I knew down in my heart that the more the Lord used me in my gifting, the more I wanted to be acknowledged by men. I knew I needed a heart change.
One day I was praying for the Spirit's leading on what he wanted me share at the next home meeting I was to lead. As I was praying, I had a vision of myself dressed in a white robe and standing on a marble pedestal. The people in my group were all around the pedestal on their knees, facing me. They were lifting hands and praising God for the ministry they had received through me. As the praises ascended to the Lord, I reached out and grabbed them one at a time and tucked them in my robe next to my heart. I said, "God! Is this what I am doing to you? Taking your praises to myself? If it is Lord, kill this thing in me that does it." He heard my prayer.
The following week I was again praying for the group and I heard the Father say, "Michael, if I cease to move in your gatherings with my Spirit, will you try to fake it?" I said, "No Lord, You quit, I quit." I thought I heard Him reply, "Okay, just checking." In the next two days I received two phone calls from folks who were elders in the group. They both said that the Lord told them to quit coming to my meetings. I took this as a sign that God was shutting it down, told them what the Lord had been telling me and gave them my blessing. The following meeting I announced that it would be the last and that those who remained were welcome to continue on their own.
About that time, the church got into a divisive split and I was trying to be a voice of reason between the two factions. All I succeeded in doing was getting shot at by both sides. I felt like I did when my parents got a divorce. I was heartsick that the people I loved were attacking each other and going their separate ways. I had one final meeting with the leaders of the new faction who were trying to get us to join them. They made it clear that my wife and I had to submit to their heavy handed control. This was all a rerun for us. We saw this same spirit in the former leader of our Jesus People ministry in the early 70s. I told the leader of this new group, "I have seen this all before! I am not going to come under your control. I have had all this 'fun' with you Christians I can stand. So I am going to take a little trip to the back side of Midian and I will see you in about 40 years!" With that we sold our house in Spokane and moved onto a piece of rural land in western Washington. For the next few years we had little to do with organized religion.
By 1982 we were about to go bankrupt and loose everything. I had been unemployed for about six months and could not find work. This was a time of the Lord's humbling. Some call it a baptism of fire. After I left Spokane, the gifts ceased to function in me. My prayers were falling off my lip and hitting the floor. The Bible ceased to be that intimate word to my heart that it had been. I felt as if I was entombed in solid brass. Finally, I got a phone call from my Mormon uncle, telling me of a job opportunity in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The only trouble was that I would have to go alone, leaving my wife and family behind. I took the job and it became the bottom of my pit, complete with miry clay. God gave me the desires of my heart, but sent leanness to my soul. I worked up there for six months, surrounded by alcoholics and drug abusers. I was lonely for my wife and my home, but most of all for my Lord. I could not get Him to answer me. I was not only in a spiritual wilderness, but a literal one!
At one point while, I was even cut off from the joy of the work of my hands by a union dispute. I felt unwanted by everyone. I called my wife to tell her that I wanted to quit and come home and she told me to stay there, that there was no work in that area. So one afternoon in deep depression, I walked back to the bunkhouse, sat down on my bed, and watched my consciousness get up out of my body and head for the door! I knew that I was about to go catatonic. I had seen it before. I cried out to Jesus to please hold me together long enough to get me back to my family again. He heard my cry.
That was the bottom of my pit. From that time on, coming up out of that pit was like walking up a long slow ramp. The rise was hardly perceivable, but things did start to get better. I found work back home in western Washington and things started to improve. My "dark night of the soul" continued through the rest of the '80s.
In 1989 we moved to northern Idaho and began attending a church that was pastored by the son of a friend of ours. He invited me to a men's retreat, and the first evening he had another brother and me stand up. He asked the other men to gather around us and pray for us. He told them that we had been called into the prophetic and were going through a wilderness time in our lives. I was touched by his compassion for us.
That night I got down on my knees and asked God to forgive me for judging Him for letting those Christians do everything they had done to me. The next morning when the meeting was about to start, I asked the pastor if I could share something. He told me to go ahead and I said, "I don't expect that any of you will understand what I have to say, but I want to tell you that God is good and all His ways are perfect and I accept everything He has done in my life." That was the beginning of my release from the wilderness. It took me eleven years to get to the point where I could acknowledge that God is God and I am not! I can see now that was what the whole book of Job was about. God was saying, "Job! Me Boss, you not!"
So where am I now, twenty years since my wilderness journey began? In the last six years the Lord has been giving me the gift of writing. I correspond with many saints and write prophetic teachings. I have had opportunity to see folks get healed of cancer as we prayed, believing. I still don't find myself part of institutional Christianity, but love to meet with the saints in the simplicity of small gatherings where the Holy Spirit is welcome.
I also feel that the whole Church is about to be reborn into a totally different paradigm. For the last 2000 years we have been in the Church age. We are about to leave that behind enter what I call "the Bride's age." I believe that this purging many of us have been going through is meant to make us true "friends of the Bridegroom." We are being prepared to bring forth the bride from her chambers and present her to Jesus, beautiful and spotless. For us to operate in this ministry, we must be true eunuchs for Jesus. Like Abraham's faithful servant, our whole desire must be to see the joy of the Bridegroom fulfilled as He beholds His bride (See Genesis 24). For this to happen the Church cannot be settled on its old lees as Moab was. We must be poured out into His new container (See Jeremiah 48:11-12). I believe that in being "poured out," the bride will be made ready for the coming of the Lord.
We are on the threshold in time between the second and the third day spoken of in Hosea 6 (a day being as a thousand years). I believe that we are about to be raised up to dwell in His sight, but only afterwards. After He has torn us and then healed us (See also Joel 2).
Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight. Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth. (Hosea 6:1-3, NKJV).
(Note the timing: after two days and on the third day.)
So this is where I am. Empty and waiting for Him to raise me up to a more pure understanding and relationship with Him that my mind cannot begin to comprehend and I am willing to pay any price to get there. I am nothing! He is everything! Make it so, Lord! Amen.to top