Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable to you. (Hebrews 13:17)
In 1987, I really thought the Lord was promoting me when He directed me to leave a large liturgical church and attend a small Charismatic one. Ouch! How naive I was!
At the first church service, I thought, freedom at last. Now, my calling will come forth as it should, amongst people who understand prophetic callings and the gifts of the Spirit.
The following four years of my life were spent at this small church, giving hundreds of prophetic words and praying hours upon hours at the altar. That’s the good part.
But the ugly side is I took so much correction and so many rebukes that after a while I could no longer discern what was from the Lord and what was not. I was confused.
Once, a prophet noticed my attire. “You are called to be a man of God; and a man of God needs to always wear a suit or sport coat every time he comes to church,” he said, pointing his finger at me.
Clothing pleases the Lord?
Another respected prophet lambasted me during a special meeting. “You are not called to be a prophet, but instead, you are called to just give the oracles of God,” he said.
Talk about adding confusion to my life, this prophetic word certainly did!
A prophetess said, ” Larry used to be a good prophet, but he doesn’t pray enough anymore.”
At the time, I was getting up at 3:50 AM, praying for two hours and then heading over to the church for another hour of prayer. All of this took place before I went to work, laboring at maintenance and construction for 8 hours. Then, I came home and studied.
Not praying enough?
An elder with his nine-year old daughter stopped at the one-room apartment I was renting because of my marital separation. He looked at the shabby, 10′ x 7′ room, and then said to his daughter, “This is what happens when you disobey God!”
I received corrections on my clothing. On my prophetic style. On my teachings. On my preachings. On my finances. On what books and teaching tapes I listened to. On whether I should submit every teaching I gave outside the church to the leadership beforehand for their approval or not. On this and on that. On everything.
Can you guess what scripture was always used to validate my corrections? Good old Hebrews 13:17.
Now, none of these people were mean spirited. They actually believed they were doing the will of the Lord for my life. Plus, they were victims of bondage, too.
And it was the worst type of bondage.
(Continued in Part 5)