Chris Jefferies posted the following comment to the last post I wrote, and it reminded me so much of when we learned the principles of following the Holy Spirit back in the UK. It was so good, I thought it worth posting as a main blog.
"Felicity, you and Tony will certainly remember times in the 1970s in the UK when the Holy Spirit really had control. He'd be pouring his life into each one – a tongue here and an interpretation there, a song, some verses from the Bible, a prayer, praise, worship, prophecy. And at the end we all went home encouraged and built together with the theme of the evening fresh in our hearts. And depend on it – there was always a theme. Often we couldn't see it creeping up on us, he would surprise us again and again.
But somehow we let all that go, we lost it, many of us thought it was necessary to add structures and leadership and so we built our own houses and gave them names and left his house broken and abandoned (Haggai 1:2-11). Your post reminds me of those times. We still have them sometimes. But when it doesn't work out we think, 'What did we do wrong?' But, as Paul Young likes to say, it's not about what we do, it's about who he is. If we could remember and really believe that it's all about who he is we'd come before him with hearts full of praise and worship and we'd let him run the meeting. Much as John White explained so recently as a guest on your blog. And if we could apply the principle of 'who he is' to our lives (not just to meetings) he might break out in awesome power 24/7! He wants so much to build his church, but often we will not let him do it."
Like Chris, I remember those times very well. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit was almost tangible. I remember running to get to the meeting because I couldn't wait to get into the Lord's presence with the rest of the body of Christ. No one dared go in with unconfessed sin because the Holy Spirit was likely to address it publicly. I remember times when everyone was on their faces on the floor, lost in God's presence.
It was in that kind of context that we learned to follow the Holy Spirit in a gathering. Week after week we would watch the Holy Spirit lead and guide in his own unmistakable fashion, drawing out whatever theme he had for us.
Things may not be as dramatic in this current move of what God is doing (the house church movement in the UK was very tied in to the charismatic movement). But the Holy Spirit still leads clearly, and I'm spoiled for anything else!