Live, Love, Laugh!

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John Arnott called me that first infamous weekend in January 1994, urging me to come down to Toronto for the pastor’s meeting at TACF.

He got my attention by saying that God was in the house like never before! I came for the morning pastor’s meeting to check it out, but like so many others I was skeptical and thinking nothing is going to happen to me. Boy was I wrong!

I so identified with Randy Clark as he shared how discouraged he had become as a pastor. Randy’s humility and honesty helped me to admit my own dryness and discouragement, and I went forward for prayer when he gave the invitation.

I began to relax and really enjoy being outside of my comfort zone.

Little did I know that underneath all that discouragement, pride and disillusionment there was a river of joy that was going to break loose. For about three hours, I laughed until I thought I was going to die laughing. I could not stop! Everything was funny. John asked me to share what happened to me in the evening and the laughter erupted all over again.

From that moment on, whenever I would try to preach or give a testimony, I would be completely overwhelmed with laughter again and again, drunk in the Holy Spirit.

Now up until 1994, I thought I was a pretty spiritual guy. I was the pastor of a fast growing “cutting edge” church. Through the weeks that followed, I found myself asking the Lord the same things other people were asking me: “Why are you doing this? Why is this happening; what sense does this make?” That was the first hurdle to get over; God does not need to explain himself. His ways are not our ways!

After the initial orientation of church on His terms, not on my terms, I began to relax and really enjoy being outside of my comfort zone. I could really see the humour in confounding the wisdom of the wise. It became more and more hilarious.

Many times when I was asked to speak at TACF, I would be completely incapacitated by the Holy Spirit, and those meetings turned out to be some of the best I had ever been in. “Holy laughter” is extremely infectious, and we need so much more of it, especially in these days of fear and uncertainty in the world.

In the early days I heard a prophecy which was given during one of the evening meetings that answered my earlier question, “What sense does this make?” It went something like this, “I am going to take the elder brother out of the church, so that when the lost son comes home, he will meet the Father not the elder brother.”

Immediately the Holy Spirit whispered to me “that elder brother is in you too!”

I gasped, “Who me?”

With great conviction I had to admit that I had fallen back into the same old rut, trying to do in order to be. It was the first time that I saw in the story of the prodigal son, that the elder brother was just as lost as the younger brother, but he was lost in religious striving. I wasn’t lost in lawlessness, I was lost in legalism. Still trying to look right, talk right and do right, but with a heart of stone. I was a human do-ing!

In 1983 I had received a revelation of the Father’s unconditional love, and that gave me faith to believe the Father really loved me just as I am not as I should be. The Father was about to take this revelation to a whole new level. This has been the greatest change the river has brought in my life, the transformation from a shame based life into a grace based life. One philosopher said: “to do is to be”, another said: “to be is to do”, Frank Sinatra said: “do-be-do-be-do.”

Jesus said, "Follow me!"