Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I hate even thinking about Christmas before Thanksgiving is completely finished. So in honor of the Christmas season being upon us, I thought I'd post this classic Christmas moment (much to my wife's dismay since she hates Charlie Brown. I know, I know.)

What a great moment in television history. Charles Schultz wrote this into the Charlie Brown Christmas original story but networks told him they wouldn't air it with this clip included. He said, "Then you won't air it at all," and they relented. Linus is such a cool kid and this part of the show is such a sweet, innocent, whispering reminder of Jesus heard through the noisy chaos of the Christmas season.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me..."

Last Saturday Christina and I visited a church called Calvary Community Church where several West Houston members go once, twice, or even three times a year for Ministry Team Training Day. It's a day full of the Holy Spirit and is quite different from any conference or training seminar I've ever been to.

The day began with a brief time of worship, then we went to our class - Foundations of Power Ministry. Steve Meeks, the senior pastor of CCC led our class and had some pretty powerful things to say about the difference between "knowing God" and "experiencing God." Most of us, according to Pastor Steve, only know God and have yet to really experience Him. This has been true for me.

He told stories of how his church was once a regular Southern Baptist church doing regular Southern Baptist things until one day when everything changed. He said he had been "feeling a voice" inside his head that he had been trying to ignore. One Sunday morning as he made his way to the podium to preach, the voice inside his head said, "Don't speak." So he stood there silent, waiting to hear what to do next. After several awkward moments the voice said, "Ask Jeff (an associate pastor) if he has something to say." So he turned to Jeff and said, "Do you have anything to say?" Jeff immediately fell to the ground weeping. Soon the entire congregation was on the floor wailing, crying, shouting out their sins, and confessing their need for God. All Steve Meeks could do was fall to his knees and acknowledge the Spirit of the Lord being upon his congregation.

Since then their church has been transformed by the Holy Spirit. He and his staff have discovered their gifts of prophecy and healing. Many from our church here at West Houston have told me stories of these men whom they've never met telling them a word from the Lord about specific names, events, or words that only they knew. One man told me of a moment in a prison with these men ministering to the inmates when he and another man laid their hands on an inmates shoulder. He said he felt a strange sensation inside the mans arm as though the ligaments, tendons and muscles were moving around. When the prayer was over the man complained of an intense burning sensation, then said his shoulder had never felt better.

Okay, all that to say that we have heard some new things that Christina and I aren't used to. Before lunch they had an opportunity to go to the front and receive ministry from some of their members and staff with the gift of prophecy. I decided to go forward to experience it for myself. When I did, something happened.

I stood in front of a man dressed in business-casual attire. He looked like a nice person. He read my name tag and said, "Cory, I'm going to pray over you." He placed his hand over my chest without touching me and began to softly say, "Holy Spirit come." When he said this my legs got weak and I broke out into a sweat. He said, "I think you're going to fall so I'm going to stand on the side of you to catch you." I said, "No, I'm fine," but I wasn't. I was really going to fall. I was forcing myself to stand up despite the strong feeling I had of someone, or something, pushing me backward. The man's hand never touched my chest yet it felt as though someone were shoving me. I couldn't stop sweating and suddenly I couldn't stop giggling. I felt this overwhelming sense of joy - not a goofy sense that something fun is happening, but a real feeling of pure joy.

Then Steve Meeks,the senior pastor, came over and led me to a chair because I still felt the sensation that I was going to fall over. As I sat in the chair he put his hands on my head and prayed for God to give me the spirit of healing, prophecy, and to be given visions in dreams. Weird huh. I've yet to have any experiences with those, but I continue to pray that God make His Spirit alive in me in ways I never believed were possible.

I know it sounds crazy and I know that in CofC it's not kosher to talk about the Holy Spirit "that way," but it is what it is. I look forward to visiting CCC again in February when they have another training day. Who knows what will come from a second dose!