A number of years ago I was talking to my wife and planning my week. I wanted to go to a certain conference, and it didn’t look like I could fit it into my schedule. I told my wife “I have to go and see this preacher… I really want to go and see this preacher”…
As I did I felt the Holy Spirit inside speak to me: “You’ve got that wrong!” he said in a small, still whisper I could barely hear. I went over what I had said and couldn’t work out what was wrong with what I said. So I took some time to pray and listen and the Holy Spirit explained to me that most people (including me at that time) want to see preachers. We use visual language.
But the power isn’t in a man – it’s in the words he speaks. The words Jesus spoke are spirit, life and truth – that’s why we have 4 excellent records of what he SAID but there are no photos of him! It’s not looks that matter, it’s words. The Holy Spirit said you need to go and hear that preacher, not go see him. You need to realize the power is in the words that he preaches, and the message. This is confirmed by Romans 1.16-17 where Paul says the power is in the gospel, not in him. Peter tells the crowds when the crippled man is healed – why do you look at me as if by my power the man was healed – but it is the name of Jesus that brings healing and salvation.
So now I don’t chase after men of God – I chase after their message. I thought I was the only one who the Holy Spirit needed to refocus in this way, but after Heal the Nations I saw a lot of behaviour which shows that many, many people don’t know where the power is. One lady thought the meetings were too far to travel to, and she was too busy, but she wanted me to drive one of the speakers to her house so they could pray for her in person. The power isn’t in the prayer – it’s in the gospel, it’s in the message! Another lady couldn’t make it as she was too busy, but asked me to invite one of the speakers to attend her wedding as that would make her wedding really anointed! A pastor was very very disappointed that another one of our speakers couldn’t have lunch with her during the conference – there simply wasn’t time, but barely turned up for any meetings. It’s all the same problem – the lack of realization that the power is in the messages. I’ve seen people drive hours to have lunch with a preacher then drive back before their meeting… let me tell you the guy you have lunch with isn’t your spiritual father if you don’t listen to his messages.
I know you want to see your favourite preachers, but you have to hear them!