Jim was a Third Year BSSM student from Medowie, Australia. He is serving with BSSM School Planting and volunteering for Brandon Rice, a First Year Revival Group Pastor. In Medowie, Jim is on staff at a church and is planning to plant a school of supernatural ministry upon his return.
We are hoping that one of the lessons God taught him during his time at BSSM is that God will often use offense to show you different aspects of His unconditional nature.
Spending time in a supernatural culture has shown me that I am way more religious than Jesus.
I have discovered that the supernatural will always stir up religion and will offend the religious. If I saw God move in way that I did not agree with or could not imagine, I assumed it was not Him. I would become offended on His behalf.
God Is More Concerned with Hearts than Our Expectations
The first time I really noticed this was when I ministered undercover at a psychic fair. We offered dream interpretations, healings, and spirit readings (prophetic words). Sadly, many of the attendees had been hurt by Christians and the Church, so we used language that was not religious or would cause them to put walls up. We built rapport by just loving them. They eventually figured out we were Christians, but without us saying anything.
To reach the people at the psychic fair, we did not say Jesus, God, or Holy Spirit. Instead, we called God the “Spirit of Creation.” Honestly, this already had me on the verge of feeling offended.
A young man came into our booth for a “spirit reading.” I asked him if he would mind if I invited the “Spirit of Creation” into the tent, and he said that would be okay. After we prayed, we ministered to him with a bongo and maraca. The person I ministered with began to shake and wave the maraca over the young man’s head while I pounded out the most spiritual sounding beat on the bongo that my rhythmically challenged hands could manage. It felt like we were really just making fun of the new age scene, and afterward struck me as somewhat mean-spirited of us.
I did it, but it actually kind of offended me
What made the situation even weirder was that as we invited the “Spirit of Creation” through what I thought was our mockery of the new age, Holy Spirit actually responded and fell in that tent. We were all overwhelmed by tangible peace and could feel His presence on us. The young man ended up having a vision of the Trinity and then giving his life to Jesus. It was absolutely beautiful.
I walked away from this experience very confused. I felt offended on God’s behalf about our behavior, and yet, He had moved in that moment. I asked Holy Spirit about it. I said “Holy Spirit, we were being absolute idiots. It felt like we were mocking other people, and You still fell. You used what we were doing even though what we were doing seemed offensive.”
He responded, “I was more interested in him encountering Me than what you guys were doing.” This was the first time I realized I am way more religious than God.
God doesn’t fit into our boxes. He doesn’t always move in the ways we expect Him to. He is more concerned with the hearts of people than with fitting into our expectations of Him.
Jesus Is Not Afraid of Offending Us
This tendency for the supernatural things of God to look different, to look uncomfortable, to look outrageous, can cause us to assume it is not God moving. We can have this tendency to want to protect His reputation, or protect our concept of how He looks. How often do we use offense rather than discernment to determine if something is from God?
In much of the church, we seem to be scared of offense and the mess it will create. We are afraid it will chase people away, and it just does not fit with our image of meek and mild Jesus. We assume offense cannot be from God, even though that is far from biblical. If we look at the Bible we can see that Jesus is not afraid of causing offense. One illustration of this can be found in John 5:16-19.
According to Jewish culture, Jesus breaking the Sabbath was bad enough. However, Jesus breaking the Sabbath and saying He broke it because He is equal with God, and God wanted Him to, was even worse! To the Jews, it would have come across as Jesus saying God was less concerned about the Sabbath than they were. As a result, they were offended, and to them, they were offended on God’s behalf. Because they were more religious than God, they missed out on the truth of what Jesus was saying, and the revelation He was trying to give them.
Jesus was not afraid of offending people
There are plenty of other examples of this in the Bible. Bill Johnson often says, “Jesus will offend the mind to reveal the heart.” For me, it was easy to see this in Scripture, but harder to apply that to my own life. I found I was willing to accept Jesus offending people in Scripture as fitting with His nature. And yet, if something offended me in my walk, I would rarely jump to, “Oh, Jesus is teaching me something.” My idea of how things should work, of how God should do things, actually prevented me from knowing and seeing God’s heart. Religion can keeps us from knowing the heart of God.
God Is Bigger Than My Boxes For Him
A few days after the psychic fair, I found myself prophesying over a woman and her yoga business. It was one of those moments where the words were out of my mouth before I realized what they were.
Yoga had always been something I had considered spiritually negative. I had always viewed it as new-age related, and a practice that God did not like. Then out of my mouth comes a prophetic word about God using her business to bring transformation and restoration to people’s lives. I was offended! How could that be God? How could God use something so wrong?
This was a lesson God kept repeating for me, and through that, I learned a tool I now use regularly. I asked Holy Spirit, “Are you offended right now?” He responded, “No, and so you don’t have a right to be either.” The religiousness in me was trying to prevent me from seeing God’s heart for this woman, and for the people around her.
In leading a school you are going to run into the supernatural. Remember, the supernatural often offends and often does not look how we expect it to, but that does not make it bad or not God. We need to use discernment to tell the difference between what is God, and what is not Him, but offense is not a sign that something is not God.
Now, whenever I see something that offends me, but does not feel demonic, I actually get quite excited. I ask Jesus if He is offended, and if He is not, then He is just showing me He is bigger than I previously thought. If I find myself getting offended about something that God is not offended by, it means that God is bigger than my boxes for Him, and He is helping me get free of religion. Next time you see something in your environment that offends you I’d encourage you to ask Him if He is offended. If you discover that He is not offended, view it as an opportunity for Him to show you how big He is. Jesus sometimes offends the mind to show the heart deeper revelation and deeper truth.