Henry Blackaby: What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches
- Friday, June 20, 2003
Crosswalk.com: How do you personally hear the Lord and what do you do to spend time with Him?
Blackaby: I take the Scriptures, and when Jesus said, "I'm going to give you another teacher, the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things. He will guide you into all truths," and so on. So, I spend time in God's word, clearly expecting that the Spirit of God who is my teacher will use the word of God like a sword. Paul talks about the sword, which the Spirit wields, is the word of God. In John 16, Jesus said, "Now the Spirit never speaks on His own authority. Whatever He hears, that's what He speaks." So I know that when the Spirit of God takes the word of God and brings me to an incredible understanding of the truth about God, or about the Lord, He is doing so from the Father's purpose in my life. In other words, when the Father says, "Holy Spirit, here's what I'm about to do in Henry's life. Make sure he doesn't miss it. So when he comes to the Scriptures this morning, that's what I want you to do." I have watched that happen over the years. I used to get up very early, probably between four and four-thirty. I spend an unhurried time before God. The greatest thing that a person can do is spend an unhurried time before God, however early he needs to get up. Jesus got up way before dawn and spent time with the Father. The relationship to the Father and the Holy Spirit that rested on him and the Scriptures were very powerful in the life of Jesus. If that was so with him, it must be for us. I've found that over the years, that's exactly what He's done in my life.
Crosswalk.com: Your father was a layman and a church planter. What kind of influence and role model has he been to you? How has he influenced your life?
Blackaby: My father was probaboy the greatest single influence in my life. He was not a pastor. He was a layman. He was a businessman. He had been a deacon. Often his business took him to towns and villages where there was no church. He looked at the New Testament and realized that all the deacons preached. When they were scattered, they taught, and then started churches. My first memory of church was in a dance hall with my dad preaching, my mother playing the piano, my older brother ushering, and my younger brother and I were the congregation. Dad preached faithfully and taught us church discipline and we prayed. He lived out the New Testament Christianity. Our home was open for prayer meeting, for people to come, Native Indian people as well as business people. I watched churches develop. I watched his integrity with the Scriptures and prayer and his witness. The greatest soul winner I have ever known was my dad. He would bring business people into our home and say, "Mother and boys, would you pray? I'm going to talk to my friend about the Lord." Maybe an hour later he would come out, and the man would be weeping, and he would say, "He has something to tell you." He would bear witness that he had just put his faith in Christ. That had a profound influence on my life. Because of that, I sought to live out spiritual integrity in my life before my family. As a father of five, my prayer was, "Father, help me to so live before my children that all of them would choose to want to serve the God they saw their dad serve."
Crosswalk.com: That's a wonderful testament.
Blackaby: I have a great heritage from my father.
Crosswalk.com: What motivated you to write this book now, in this point in history, at this time?
Blackaby: The book as it's coming out from Multnomah really is a reprint and revision of the very first thing I did. God had done such a huge work in the little church. The original subtitle was, "From Disbandonment to a Mighty Ministry: A Church Discovers Its Future." We took a little group of ten people who had called a meeting to disband the church because they were so discouraged. They had been without a pastor for about five years. I said I would come. I went from Los Angeles to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I was there twelve years, and out of that twelve years, from that little group, we started thirty-eight additional new congregations, baptized a hundred and eighty college students, saw about a hundred feel called into the ministry and started a whole theological college just to train those being called. I felt that what God taught us about how He works in the life of any congregation, when the church listens to what God is trying to say to them, that can happen to any church, any size, anywhere. I have sensed that it is a very needed one today. Some of our churches are in great disarray, not knowing who they are, what they are, what they're supposed to be doing. They're practicing religion but without the power of God. They know the power of God is missing, but they don't know how to get back. I think this little book has a tremendous potential for touching in a very simple, clear, illustrated, but Biblical way how a church experiences God when they listen to what the Spirit is saying to them.
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