Don’t Dam It by Virgil Stokes

Virgil Stokes is a Pastor and Teacher, serving churches since 1980 in Oklahoma, New York, and Arizona. He and his wife, Judy, pioneered Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson in 2004. Prior to entering ministry Virgil worked as a Registered Nurse in the field of mental health and addictions treatment. A recovering addict himself, Virgil has written and spoken extensively on Christian recovery. He is the author of several books, and is the founder of Faith Ministry Training Institute, a training program empowering local pastors to equip ministers in their own churches. Pastor Virgil is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and Rhema Bible Training Center. His passion is getting people out of the pews and into the harvest.

Don't Dam It by Virgil StokesThis year, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “I’m turnin’ it up!” He is going to do more of what He loves to do. The Spirit of God will be moving in the earth in a greater way. Whatever He called you to do, you will have a greater capacity to do it! As I meditated on this concept, the Lord pointed out to me that water, in this case the river of His healing power, always flows to the place of least resistance. I don’t know about you, but I want our church to be a place of least resistance to the flow, a stream without dams. I have been doing this a long time now, and I know there are some things that hinder or resist the move of the Spirit of God in a church. Here are six blockages that we are determined to remove:

Strife: You can feel it in the atmosphere when you walk in the room. It’s not just disagreement. We never all agree about everything. It is an angry, defensive, prideful attitude about the disagreement that poisons the atmosphere. Give up your need to be infallible. It takes two to strive. Resign from the debate.

Rebellion: This is the ugly sister of strife. The rebel reflexively resists authority, believing himself to have a greater insight than the one set over him. When I am under authority I can flow with what my leader wants, as long as it is not sinful, and keep a respectful, loving attitude, even if it is not what I would do in that situation. If asked, I can make respectful suggestions, not unsolicited demands.

Tradition: “This is not the way we used to do it” will stop the Spirit every time. Sometimes our traditions are so powerful that they blind us entirely to what God is doing in the moment. Anything the Bible doesn’t specifically prescribe can be changed to fit the situation and the on-the-spot leading of the Spirit: song choices, service order, altar practices, seating arrangements, carpet colors, you name it. Don’t get blinded by how we used to do it. He makes all things new!

People-pleasing: We might call this “fear of man.” The moment I run the leading of God through the filter of “What will they think of me?” I have quenched the flow. We stifle the Spirit of God because we don’t want other people to think we are foolish. Get over yourself and obey God!

Indifference: This one is almost exclusive property of Christians who have been around the things of God for a long time. They have become bored with God. They despise prophecies, stand limp during worship, and never open their Bible during a message. They have seen and heard it all. The Holy Ghost is a gentleman who will never bother them with His manifest presence.

Human ambition: This is the problem we face when we get carried away with the human measures of success. I want to draw a crowd so I can be esteemed as important in the community, be a big shot in my organization, and increase my financial well-being.  These motivations lead me to do things that cater to people’s “felt needs” rather than things that challenge believers and convict sinners. The two are sometimes not compatible.

Somebody Said: “The root-trouble of the present distress is that the Church has more faith in the world and the flesh than in the Holy Ghost, and things will get no better till we get back to His realized presence and power.”  Samuel Chadwick

The service of God and the expansion of His Kingdom are both possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit. To dam the flow of the Spirit is to effectively fight against God.  Lord, help me not to dam it.