Dear People Who Keep Company with God,
On October 14, Dennis Degrasse brought the following word to our church body, “I see a sword being removed from under a bed. It is dusty from being long unused, but I see hands dusting it off. It is still sharp, shiny and ready for warfare. This sword is the gift of tongues.” One week later, on October 21, David Walters ministered in the first service on the topic of “the power of speaking in tongues” and many were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues for the first time. Since that day several others have received this gift and we have been very diligent in our corporate services to both pray and sing in the spirit. The sword is out from under the bed, dusted off, and we intend to use it. It turns out we are not the only ones God is speaking to about tongues; the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board announced that they would assign no one to the mission field who spoke in tongues. But once the Board’s vote was taken the Director, Jerry Rankin, acknowledged that he had prayed in tongues for the past 30 years.
More recently, Lifeway Book Stores, the official book-seller for the Convention, conducted a survey and found that 70% of Southern Baptist lay-people believe that spiritual gifts, including tongues, are valid today; 50% say they are open to receiving that gift. More astonishingly, the survey discovered that 50% of SBC pastors privately pray in tongues. This is significant because historically, Baptists have been “cessationist”–claiming that the gifts ceased with the death of the Apostles or completion of Scripture.
I began speaking in tongues within weeks of my salvation. I attended a campus Christian fellowship group that showed a message for new believers given by Bob Mumford entitled “3 Keys for Spiritual Growth”. In this simple, but life changing message Bob stated that we need three things in our lives if we are to grow spiritually. I was hungry to grow so I was all ears. First, he said you need to receive the gift of salvation; I said to myself, “I got it”. Second, you need to obey the commandment of Jesus to be water baptized; I had been baptized in water a couple of weeks prior. Finally, he said you need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and receive the gift of tongues, I thought, “this is what I am missing”. He went on to explain each of the three.
I went home that day and prayed a simple prayer: “Lord, I want to grow spiritually so baptize me in the Holy Spirit and give me the gift of speaking in tongues”. I then said hallelujah two times and the third time about half way through saying hallelujah another language began to flow on my tongue. I felt no emotions, feelings, or anything, but by faith I continued to allow this new language to flow and I am glad I did. It has been a spiritual life saver for me during some of my darkest moments over the years (Romans 8:26-27).
Although I have been keen on speaking in tongues in private I must admit I never really cared much for the public use of tongues. For some reason I felt so foolish speaking in tongues in public, so I hid it under the bed when it came to the public use. That was a manifestation of pride in me which I quickly repented from when Dennis gave this word.
Of all the spiritual gifts, tongues is by far the most controversial and it seems God made it that way. It is the only gift designed to edify the believer who practices it (I Cor. 14:4), and it is also seems to be the only one designed to attack our ego and pride. To the unsaved and many believers, the mere mention of speaking in tongues incites negative responses and attitudes. Many believers would volunteer for the ministry of healing, faith, or discerning of spirits, while they want no part of tongues. That is a manifestation of pride in which we all must repent from as we are living in an hour where tongues are very important to the plans and purposes of God.
Praying in tongues edifies the believer, edify means to build an edifice on the inside in order to house a capacity to release the kingdom of God, to house a revelation that needs to be released in the earth. Tongues bypass the embarrassing infirmity of our mortal minds, the smartest of us are stupid compared to what we need to be, but by the Spirit I can access in an unknown language that which is my portion of divine revelation which will come to me as surely as if I was to send out a request in English. If I don’t know how to pray, I’ll pray into the mysteries I need to have revealed to me for the administration of my office. Is there some dimension of power that is lacking (word of wisdom, word of knowledge), then I will pray in tongues until I have built an edifice to house the manifestation of the gift I need to get the job done. Tongues is the key catalyst to outmaneuvering spiritual wickedness. The vehicle God gave you here to complete the blueprint of what to do when your natural comprehension and spiritual development has hit the very boundary of its’ capacity.” Lance Wallnau
Many Blessings, BW