When we hear the word “oasis” we normally tend to associate it with a lush green patch of vegetation and perhaps even some trees because of a very direct and concentrated water supply in a very dry and difficult terrain. For people who are desperately thirsty or perhaps weakened by their journey, an oasis can literally mean the difference between life and death. (Can you think of at least one movie where you’ve seen that experience take place?)
Last evening, a relatively small group of believers from several different churches gathered together for an evening which we have come to call Encounter. This gathering was started the first week of August when it was clear that many people were hungry for some opportunity to be together to encounter God and others in an environment that was deemed “medically safe,” but not terribly restrictive.
Last evening we had one such gathering and without being overly dramatic, in just the way that the Holy Spirit pulled together the necessary parts of this gathering and the direction that He took, it proved to be an oasis moment for most everyone that attended. We had an excellent worship leader who brought us into the presence of the Lord and I know that many found refreshment in that part of the experience. However, here was the interesting part.
For most of these gatherings, although several members of the leadership team help to make this happen, I normally have the final responsibility of providing some teaching or finding another person to teach and almost always a current testimony from someone who attends or is in some way related to a regular attender.
However, as of election day, Tuesday, I had neither a teacher or a testimony and I was earnestly asking the Lord what to do. The only leading that I received from the Spirit was that God wanted to demonstrate His healing mercy and power in our lives.
I’m not at all bashful about teaching on this subject, but I sensed the Lord wanted more than just an exposition of scripture. He wanted to do something dynamic.
The next day I called one friend who I know has a demonstrated gift in the area of healing and often receives guidance from the Holy Spirit about specific conditions and situations. The next morning he responded very kindly but with regrets that he already had a commitment for Thursday night and couldn’t make it. (Now, what is your plan Lord? This gathering is eight hours away?!) I followed the only nudge that I sensed from the Lord and that was to call a long time friend and partner in the ministry, Kent Addams, whose primary source of income is working on all kinds of transportation; most especially racing motorcycles and automobile repair and even total rebuilds. Kent can do it all.
I sent Kent a similar message as I had to that of my other friend and he promptly responded that he was also engaged for the evening and couldn’t make it. Not five minutes later I received another message from Kent saying that he prayed about it and felt the Lord really wanted him to be part of the gathering. He simply asked for more than just a few minutes to share his story. (He did not know that I was more than delighted to give him both the teaching segment and the testimony segment so that I could simply oversee things and listen.)
To cut to the chase, the Lord used Kent in a mighty way to affirm the current and accessible ministry of the Holy Spirit to bring about healing and renewal and restoration of broken bones, serious illnesses, long term disfigurement and even some very unusual and complex situations that he would have no way of knowing or understanding other than “the Lord showed me this.”
The very best part of the evening was that Kent was not just there to tell what he was doing but to share with us all that God indeed wanted to use every one of us in some way to be a vessel of healing and perhaps other gifts of the Spirit throughout our daily routines. Kent said with clarity and conviction that we too easily settle for what we’re used to and pretty soon find ourselves unwilling or unable to step out in faith when we need to.
After he shared his testimony and some scriptures that supported his basic premises, he challenged everyone in the room to be willing to pray for others and that set off an extremely dynamic time of refreshment.
Seeing people who may have been hurting with their own issues praying for others to be healed was dynamic; but then to see others turn and pray with them and to realize that it didn’t take one up front person to be the instrument of God’s healing power was like discovering an oasis in the dessert.
Even more, for those 90 minutes I found myself completely free from the non-stop and rather intense political coverage associated with our current election, and all that really mattered was that I was with God’s people and enjoying God’s presence and discovering God’s power in ways that perhaps I had known in the past, but have allowed to become less urgent in my day-to-day life.
In the end, I came home refreshed and excited and incredibly thankful for the unbelievable way that God supplied everything we needed from a sound system that really worked and was graciously donated by one of our attenders, wonderful worship and an incredibly dynamic and hope-filled testimony and challenge to trust God that He is alive today and wants to flow life to us and through us to others. It was my oasis moment and I pray that each of you might have one even more dynamic for your life as well.