A Fresh Move of the Spirit
Benny and the Jets
Brothers, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tested. (Galatians 6:1)
The past couple of months my office work slowed down, which gave me the opportunity to spend more time praying in the Spirit. Over the course of time, I found myself watching old Benny Hinn videos on YouTube in the evenings. This was a bit out of the ordinary for me. I had seen Benny in person some twenty years ago when he came to preach at ORU, but I hadn’t really followed him since then. This past Monday, I understood why he had been on the forefront of my heart. He publicly renounced some of the extreme prosperity teachings that he had preached in the past.
There is no doubt that the Lord desires his people to be blessed, as he says in this interview. But it is all wrapped up in the believer’s identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, not his tithing or his giving.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19) (emphasis supplied)
that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind [fad] of doctrine . . . . (Ephesians 4:14)
Benny’s announcement will hopefully mark the moment when the more extreme prosperity teachings lose their traction in the body of Christ. But Spirit-filled believers will have to lose their Corinthian ambitions, too, for the Gospel’s power to be seen and heard.
Breath as Gospel Tract
A couple from our church, Mike and Sharon, invited us to brunch this past weekend. We had sent a copy of Breath 1 to them and the conversation drifted to our article about Joe Morris, a modern-day Agabus who experiences manifestations of the Spirit in his ministry. We talked about the “old days” when there were such regular manifestations in the church, and that somehow took us to Stovall Weems’s encounter with the Lord in Breath 2. We told Mike and Sharon about the Lord’s presence during our interview with him and also about his series on YouTube (included in a previous newsletter). Ironically enough, Mike was slated to oversee communion at church the next day.
What we saw the next morning was a man visibly shaken by the revelation of the Lord’s table. It was so beautiful and so what the Gospel is about. Mike rushed up to us after the service, thanking us again and again for letting him in on Stovall’s encounter. We had a Breath 2 in our truck and were more than thrilled just to give it to him. He ran off to read it to get ready for the second service. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this revelation rattle through the rest of the church over the fall.
This is Breath as Gospel tract as Aisha so eloquently wrote in her editor’s letter in Breath 2.
God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap, for he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that sows to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:7–8)
The “prosperity gospel”—tithing and giving to receive or earn earthly returns—is a product of the fad of consumerism that has infected the church since the late 1980s. Weems’s vision and Hinn’s renunciation show that it is on its way out. What’s going to take its place?
Expect to see more Christ-based, cruciform preaching. Weems’s church, Celebration, used to be a seeker-friendly mega-church that synergized Harvard Business Journal business-growth principles with sprinkles of scripture here and there. He has turned it into an energized body of believers who engages scripture at every turn and demonstrates its believing allegiance by celebrating the Lord’s Table every week in homes, schools, and even at restaurants, all over Jacksonville. This new move of the Spirit will involve not just worship on Sundays, but engagement and manifestations in the public square.
Stovall is still wearing jeans, but don’t be surprised to see suits and jackets returning to the pulpit. There is something to be said about looking after your appearance and honoring the Lord with your Sunday best. Yes, we can pray to the Lord any time no matter what we’re wearing. But what we do in the flesh, even in appearance, matters.
Go Ye Into All the World
The Gospel is worldwide and that is why you see so many different places in Breath. We flew to Paris for Breath 2 and were able to use a few photographs—including Notre Dame on the back cover (before it caught fire). But the weather didn’t otherwise want to cooperate. We decided the City of Lights wasn’t going to get the best of us, so we are making our second missionary journey to France’s capital this week for Breath 3.