Last Month my wife, Barbara, and I attended the monthly meeting of a new FGBMFA Chapter in Puyallup, Washington. The chapter president opened the meeting by introducing the evening speaker, a man from Kenya Africa, as a prophet of God. Then he asked me to give his chapter a brief report on the recent FGBMFA Eighth National Convention in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
As I described the convention I remarked that I considered the Friday noon speaker Chuck Ripka, a banker from Minneapolis, to be a Workplace Apostle. I concluded my report by introducing the Convention’s “Joshua Generation” Speaker Chis Overstreet, as an instructor at Bill Johnson’s “Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry” in Redding, California. As soon as I sat down, a man at the table behind me jumped up, pointed to the speaker from Kenya, and in a loud and agitated voice said “You are no prophet! To be a prophet you must have seen Jesus, I’m a prophet, I have seen Jesus!”… Then turning toward me he began railing against Bill Johnson and the Redding School of Supernatural Ministry. He quoted an obscure gospel watchdog group which had published a report branding Bill Johnson as a heretic.
The man’s tirade had taken everyone in the meeting by surprise; I had my back to the man and was trying to understand what he was talking about. When I realized what was happening, I turned to the man and said, “Mister you are out of line!” By now Ken Hemiger the Chapter President, a big man, had gathered his composure and was standing. He pointed to the “would-be prophet” and said boldly and authoritatively,“If you can’t conduct yourself in a civil manner “leave this meeting now!” As the man left the room, I prayed short prayer, asking the Lord Jesus to let His peace return to the meeting. All of this happened in the period of a few minutes, the people present dismissed the incident, the peace of God returned to the meeting, and it went forward as if nothing had happened.
Bill Johnson, in his book Face to Face with God offers some good advice to men like the self-appointed prophet in the above Chapter meeting.
“There are many self-appointed watchdogs in the body of Christ who have some explaining to do before God. Their websites, books and radio shows are filled with slander and criticisms of some of God’s closest friends… When people have to disregard the signs that follow a person’s life in order to feel justified in their criticisms of that person, they have ignorantly stepped into the place of judgment before God. “Do not slander a slave to his master, or he will curse you and you will be found guilty” (Proverbs 30:10, emphasis added)
Recognizing the favor of God on another believer plays a huge role in preparing us for the increase of God’s favor in our own lives. Whoever honors the one whom God honors is positioned for an increase of favor from God.”
Our goal is to conduct our meetings in a way that will bring a greater measure of unity and harmony among all members of the body of Christ, but we should never quench the Spirit of God in order to satisfy men. Our meetings should be a place where men from every Christian denomination are united in a common goal, that of reaching men with the good news of Jesus Christ. It is a place where the Spirit of God is allowed to flow freely, not exclusive, but inclusive, encouraging men to come into full submission to the “Lordship of Jesus Christ”. It is a place where the Chapter President enlarges his men’s vision by challenging them to become actively involved in the fulfilling “the Vision” that God has given our Fellowship, that of reaching all men everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.
It is a place in which we encourage the nine gifts of the Spirit” – tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophesy, the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, the discerning of spirits, special faith, the gifts of healings, and the gift miracles to flow freely in our meetings.
It is a place where we don’t preach or teach, we simply share our testimony of what God has done in our lives. When a man share’s his testimony it encourages us, and it reminds us of what God is like… We are saying, “This is my God, and this is what He has done in my life.”
The scriptures tell us that God is no respecter of persons, so when I share with you what God has done for me, it testifies to what God will do for you. The testimony of men is the touchstone of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America.
But in recent years I have watched some of our chapters become more like a church service, where the speakers preach or teach using stories from the Bible, rather than sharing their personal experiences with God. These men want to talk about what Jesus did 2000 years ago when he walked on earth in a human body, rather than testifying to what he did last week, when He walked with them on the earth in their body.
It’s alright to teach a Bible truth, but you should be ready to demonstrate that truth in the meeting in which you are speaking.
Keeping the testimony of God’s actions in our lives and our meetings fills our hearts and our minds with an awareness of His presence. It trains us to constantly perceive our problems from heavens perspective.
If we fail to regularly remember and testify about who God is… And about what God has done… or to prophesy of what he is going to do, we will begin to view life by what we can do without Him… And we will lose the excitement and the anticipation that we used to experience when we were first born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit… when we first launched out in Faith.
Men, as Full Gospel Business Men it is our responsibility to know God and to make him known, to everyone with whom we associate.
The Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America has prepared an excellent three-fold brochure entitled “Speaker Guidelines and Suggestions”. Every chapter president should make sure that you furnish your speaker with a copy of the brochure at the time you engage him to speak in your chapter. It will eliminate any misunderstandings that might occur. The brochure is free, and it is available from the National Office in Portland, Oregon at no cost when ordered in reasonable quantities. Below is a quote from that brochure.
“The Apostle Paul provided an excellent example for giving your testimony in Acts Chapter 26 in his address to King Agrippa. There were four aspects of his testimony.
In his testimony, he shared:
1. What his life was like before he met Jesus as his Savior.
2. How he met the Lord.
3. What effects that decision has on his life.
4. The fact that this gift of salvation is available to all men.
His testimony was positive and to the point. He didn’t labor excessively over the details of his life before he met the Lord but simply highlighted his past sins. He promoted and exalted the Lord Jesus Christ, not his church in Antioch or other ministries. He was encouraging and uplifting to those around him, giving hope and faith to those who would listen.
Each chapter meeting is for evangelistic purposes only. The Lord did not establish us to be a church, but to assist the church in bringing in the harvest of souls.
Thus, we do not have Bible studies or teach seminars at the chapter level. Nor do we allow the main speaker for the meeting to belittle other ministries or organizations. We do network with other ministries, and organizations, but the speaker should not use the meeting to either promote or denigrate anyone.
Hopefully, there will be men attending the meeting who do not know Christ. During your testimony, include scriptures that have brought you through the difficulties in your life. Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in telling stories from your life with which these men can identify. Avoid religious clichés and theological terms. Many of these men may not have been raised in church. Make it a simple message that anyone can understand. Let the Holy Spirit do the convicting and convincing, and then, He will also confirm your words with signs and wonders.”
Men! Let me close this newsletter with the words that our founder Demos Shakarian wrote in the late 1980’s: “God has shown me that He is going to have a people… a powerful people willing to participate in this final hour of end time spiritual history.” God has shown me the future, and has revealed that “A New Wave of Revival is about to EXPLODE within the body of Christ. The powerful miracle VISION God gave me for the Fellowship, and the world, is not over … IT HAS JUST BEGUN…” *
*Page VI – booklet entitled “A New Wave of Revival – The Vision Intensified”
In Jesus’ Name,
Robert W. Bignold
Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America