I remember the first time I was a facilitator in Life in the Spirit Seminar, I did not fully grasp what it would entail. I thought it would simply be speaking with fellow Christians about the Holy Spirit and sharing insights. I mean, that is what my own facilitator did with me, right? Little did I know that although that is what he did, I had only seen the end result of what it entailed. This October we started the most epic Life in the Spirit Seminar (LISS) ever done in Nigeria, as it was decided that it would be done fully online. To usher us well into this ministry, we needed to be properly armed and so invited a beloved brother to orientate us appropriately. Below are some snippets of what he shared with us.
THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD
He started by explaining that facilitating LISS makes us have the abiding presence of the Lord until the end of age. The abiding presence of God? Isn’t that what we all seek? Well, he stated that this is what we would receive as a facilitator of the LISS program. He congratulated us for aligning to the will of God and continuing God’s work. To stress this alignment, he mentioned John 6:39 where Jesus stated thus: “And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should NOT LOSE anything of what He gave me.” He stressed that we are in the perfect will of God when we facilitate and that thethis perfect will is focused on saving souls.
Then he mentioned a man called Lazarus. Yes, the same man whom Jesus raised from the dead who ended up becoming Saint Lazarus of Bethany. Tradition says that after rising from the dead, Lazarus was only seen to smile once in his 30 years thereafter. He understood the seriousness of saving souls after spending 4 days with the unredeemed souls in limbo. When I heard this strange story, I had a brief (very brief, almost miniscule) moment of whether I should tamper my jovial nature during the seminar to focus on the seriousness of the task. Alas, it was only a miniscule moment of consideration… I resolved to maintain my smiles. 😊
However, it did make me refocus, that’s for sure! We all know about the solemn fact of eternal punishment for the wicked. Eternal. Forever. Unending. This damnation of souls for all eternity should be the greatest motivation that facilitators should have, in order to carry the gospel to the world. I recall a missionary telling me how she imagines herself as having the only cure to a rapidly contagious disease. Now that I think of it, imagine that you hold the cure to COVID-19 and you don’t share it. That is akin to being saved by the gospel and being in intimacy with the Holy Spirit, but not telling others how to enjoy this sweet intimacy you enjoy.
The existence of hell and the risk of eternal damnation is what should push facilitators to bring their members into intimacy with the Holy Spirit. In short, to be a facilitator of LISS is the perfect act of love. Facilitators need to do all they can to teach others how to avoid hell and how to be saved. Failure to do this, would be pure unadulterated wickedness. It needn’t take us spending 4 days in limbo to appreciate the seriousness of being denied salvation which Lazarus had seen.
WORTH OF A SOUL
In this age of secular humanism and New Age ideals, you may be asked how you know that you have a soul and if so, what is the worth of a soul. The bible teaches us that the soul is an eternal being, precious in the eyes of God. The foundation of our new life in Jesus is based on the action of God DESCENDING to die for a soul. Whenever I contemplate the torture and death of God for me, this love seems more and more unfathomable. That God valued a soul that much is incomprehensible- we are THAT precious in the eyes of God.
The speaker then mentioned Lazarus again, this time not that of Bethany but the one in the parable of the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. That is one parable which makes me self-reflect, especially in this neck of the world where you see poverty in so many places. He cited the parable to explain the import of the rich man’s plea. He begged for Lazarus to go to his family to warn them of the reality of eternal damnation for the wicked, As facilitators, God is sending us to families. Our assignment is to save souls and to warn them of the tragedy of missing out on eternal life with God.
ETERNITY IN OUR HEARTS
Ecclesiastes 3:11 is a wonderful verse and the speaker cited it to point out that our group members have eternity set in their hearts. As a facilitator, you are to bring out this yearning for eternity. The foundation has been set already in their heart so our role is to guide them towards heaven. Sound easy? Well, it should be since eternity has already been placed in their hearts, right? This is where the challenge arises – the battle has always been between life and death and as a facilitator you are fighting all the forces of evil which seek to stifle that yearning in your group members. We are to bring them into the knowledge of the truth and to repentance, if they are to experience intimacy with the Holy Spirit which groans deep down within them.
CHARACTERISITCS OF HELL
There are so many references in the bible to hell that it is truly amazing how the devil has managed to convince people that it does not exist. Some people actually believe that hell is a fictitious place or at best, consider it a state of mind. Hell is without a doubt, a place of tribulation and cruelty where there is a total absence of love. Mark 9:48 calls it a place of worms and unquenchable fire. Rev 20:14 talks of it being a lake of fire which burns with sulfur, which is echoed in Jude 1:7 in its reference to Sodom and Gomorah. He cited 2 Peter 2:4 stressing the need for us to free our group members from the any chain of darkness which may be keeping them bound, as we also stand in the gap for them throughout the seminar and thereafter.
Now do you see why I said that I had not fully grasped what I had gotten myself into at that very first seminar I facilitated? I was to be reminded of more as the speaker emphasized that Revelations 14:11 describes hell as a place of eternal torment and of no rest and as such, we needed to be desperate not to allow our members to fall into such a place. As a facilitator you need to speak to them of the mercy of God made evident in the shedding of the precious blood of Jesus which ransomed us from eternal damnation.
The speaker then explained how the world has repackaged sin to make it appear more acceptable by first of all watering down the concept of eternity. He presented a snapshot of how long eternity would be, by saying that by the time a student reads all the books in every area of human endeavors 100 times over, it would still NOT EVEN EQUAL a single iota of a moment in eternity😲. NOW that freaked me out! It reminded me how very serious it was for me to lead my group members to that place that Jesus had gone to prepare for all of us.
Although sin has been repackaged, we were reminded that God remains the same and so we should not entertain ourselves with things that nailed Jesus to the cross. This not only includes pornography, but also our enjoyment of sinful programs and reading books which contain impure content. The speaker stated that we must hate the sin but love the person. Even when it appears that they would derail, we must be unrelenting as seen by Paul’s unceasing passion to save souls in Acts 20:31. He did his own part. We must do ours.
BE A SHEPHERD
Whenever I would think of a shepherd, I would think of Jesus who is the good shepherd or at best, of the priests who have a pastoral duty to their parish members. I rarely used to think of myself as a shepherd. Well, that changed with LISS. As a facilitator, I found myself guiding and feeding the souls of my participants – a scary task at first because Jesus is actually telling each facilitator to feed his sheep just like He told Peter after his resurrection. This mandate from God can be daunting but Isaiah 52:7 and Romans 10:15 point out the blessing that fall on those who proclaim the good news of salvation. The lyrics of this song spring to mind (note the bold):
I who made the stars of night/ I will make their darkness bright/ Who will bear my light to them?/ Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord/ Is it I, Lord?/ I have heard You calling in the night/ I will go, Lord/ If You lead me/ I will hold Your people in my heart
The orientation ended with prayers of intercession for all the facilitators, as all submitted themselves to be vessels for God to use. As a facilitator, you must be ready to be broken and remoulded. You must ask God to give you a tongue that is sharp, to remodel your brain and to give you the spirit of understanding to download His will to your participants. There must be a pruning of self to give way for the spirit of evangelism to erupt and there must be removal of things not needed for the kingdom.
We were directed to pray for the anointing of the shepherd boy; the anointing of King David who understood the value of the Holy Spirit upon seeing the consequences of when the Spirit of God left Saul. David pleaded for God not to cast him away from His Presence; a plea which all facilitators must echo. He sought the joy of God’s salvation and a renewal of the Holy Spirit within him.
The beauty of being a facilitator in LISS is that you are also being renewed as you are renewing your members. As you hold God’s people in your heart, God is also holding you close to His heart. We must not give up as we plead for God to pour out anew, the grace that was upon each of us at our very first LISS as a participant. This grace always comes because God is in the business of saving souls and you have aligned to His will to do just that!
I am particularly excited about LISS starting in October. It is the month of Mother Mary who is FULL OF GRACE. Whose better care to place these participants under if not Hers? She is the Mediatrix of All Graces and together with Her Spouse, the Holy Spirit, we are set for an amazing LISS. Grace unending and victory over darkness.
The speaker ended with words of healing and victory from Isaiah 49:24-26: And I will feed thy enemies with their own flesh: and they shall be made drunk with their own blood, as with new wine: and all flesh shall know, that I am the Lord that save thee, and thy Redeemer the Mighty One of Jacob.
Alleluiah! He is the Lord that healeth thee! Jehovah RAPHA shall be your mandate as we claim souls for Christ Jesus. Amen