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My Big Problem with the Awakening

As many of you know, we’re experiencing a unique (to us) move of the Holy Spirit at IHOP-KC right now.  Whether or not this is the new SOP or merely a glimpse of things to come, we’re not sure.  What we are sure of is that most of us haven’t seen or felt what we’re seeing or feeling.

People are coming clean and getting free.  Most nights each week the FSM auditorium is packed beyond capacity, with crowds gathering in overflow rooms and around the world at computer screens.   It’s as much a reflection of their hunger as it is the presence of God…but whatever came first, the chicken or the egg, we’re feasting on something we’ve only dreamed of.

In spite of what a few might think, understatement is valued at IHOP.  We’re not quick to term something a revival.  Weeks into this thing, the baptism count is probably nearing 200 if not beyond,   Some  have had very dramatic encounters and manifestations.  We’ve seen worship singers drop to the floor as God touched them, hard core non-dancers bust a move, and more tears that we care to count.  With all that, we’ve settled on referring to it as an awakening.   Time and the effect on those around us will be the deciding factor on whether or not this is revival.

All that to say it’s good.  And it’s God.  And I have a big problem with it.

Understand, the problem is mine.  It’s not the Holy Spirit.  It’s not the leadership.  It’s my own hang ups.   My big problem with all that is happening is that I struggle to put down my leader role and ask ‘what meaneth this for me…’.   I am full of thoughts of getting the word out, managing chaos, and how things worked, but painfully short on the one prayer that matters when He moves – God, what do you want to do in me?

I’ve held off writing much about all this because it’s difficult to write about a move of God that largely accentuates how shallow I am.  Then again, this could be a great gift.   As my shallowness is exposed, I find myself sickened by it.  In between my weakness and my frustration with my weakness, God seems to sneak in, and once He sneaks in, all bets are off.

The other night, I was watching via webstream.  I watched a lot of it via webstream because with seven children, you move slowly, and often not at all.  As I watched, I saw my dear friends getting absolutely hammered by the presence of God.  These are not flighty guys.  These are rock solid, even stoical types.  I sat watching, engaging as best I could…yet feeling pretty left out.   With all the kids in bed, I determined to go over and join the meeting late.

I nosed the Montero out of The Compound gate about 9:15pm, and as I drove past the mailbox on the way to the move of the Holy Spirit, I had a thought.  The thought was “I hope those shoes I bought on eBay arrive tomorrow….”.    Just being honest.  I’m that spiritual.  I’m on my way to the most significant move of God that I’ve ever been near and my mind is consumed with a pair of second hand Doc Martens that I bought on eBay.

During the drive over, I texted a friend – one of those I watched manifesting like post menopausal conference junkies.   I said “I am coming.  I want you to pray for me.”   I wasn’t quite sure what they had, but as much as God had for me, I wanted.  

And I thought about my shoes.  Doc Martins.  Cheap.  Got a sweet deal on them.

I found a parking spot at the FSM building and made my way into the building.  It was wild.  People were laying every which direction and my friends were going from person to person, prayer bombing them.  As I ducked through the crowd, one of them saw me and motioned for me to wade into the mess.   I waded in and they turned on me, praying with gusto.

They prayed for fire.  They prayed for a visitation. They prayed for the new wine of the Holy Spirit.  One of them nearly fell down but continued to pray for me.  Let’s hear it for the Korean work ethic.  They prayed that I would be set free.  I just prayed “God come, whatever that looks like…”, so tired of making excuses for what God might really want to do.

You know what happened?  Nothing.  At least nothing visible.  I didn’t shake, I didn’t shimmy, I didn’t fall.  I didn’t even feel anything.  It was as if they were reading the phone book to me, albeit with much enthusiasm.  I felt a little bad for them.  They were putting a lot into this and it would appear that I was getting zip.

After about twenty minutes, they all gently moved on to pray for others.  I stood there, hands out, a little bewildered.  For this, I drove across town?

As I was about to go, a young woman came up to me and grabbed my elbow.  She said “This may be completely off…but I think I have a word for you.   But it may not be God at all….”.

Obviously, with that sort of introduction, I set my expectations accordingly.  Here we go with Generic Prophecy #23425.   Then this tender young lady dropped the bomb.

“The Lord is saying that you are getting new shoes….”.

My head snapped up and my eyes opened wide.  You kind of forget prayer protocol and the whole bow your head thing when people are reading your mail and telling you about the packages that are coming.

She continued “The Lord is saying that you are getting new shoes and you’re concerned if they fit…I am telling you that they represent authority, and they will fit fine.  They are your shoes, and you’re supposed to step into them….and step into the authority He has for you.”

Well almighty then.  With that, she was gone…and I was still there.  Not shaking.  Not falling.  Not even crying.  But indelibly marked.

By the way, the shoes arrived yesterday.  I love them.  They’re perfect.  Not sure where they’ll take me, but they fit.

Thank you, Holy Spirit.

25 Responses

  1. I love you Randy. This was beautiful. – Richy Clark

  2. WOW. Amazing that a post about shoes (and Awakening) will sneak up on me and make me burst out crying. How do you DO that?

  3. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. How much were the shoes?

  4. @Todd – HA! Best comment in a long time… Spelled it all right too! 🙂

  5. Just read that post twice… teared up both times at ‘the lord is saying you are getting new shoes…’ i love the lord. you are a gift to us randy bohlender. 🙂

  6. Randy. I know a lot of the TDA families already follow your blog but would you care if I put this out in our TDA paper. I have been looking for piece like this for the paper. this is deeper than the facts of who did what and what happened and I want my student writers to see the impact of a well written piece.

    If you feel it is too personal I understand. can you let me know by Thursday night!

  7. Gotta love Jehova Sneaky… or sneaker 🙂

    Love ya Bro!

  8. Whoa!!! I love how the LORD knows so specifically and personally how to get our attention, confirming HIS intimate knowledge of the desires of our hearts. I must keep this message to share with my Pastors, family, and friends. Thank you, Randy

  9. our God is so awesome; thank you for sharing this. it really touched me today.

  10. Randy, just want you to know how much I love you and your family’s facebook, twitter moment to moment updates. I mean it. But this one made me sob, now, i should tell you it isn’t taking much to make that happen these days, and I am loving it! I think getting delivered from the antidepressants is helping too.WOOT!
    Who knew I had a fountain of water springing up?? Literally.
    Thank you for who you are and all you do, you make me smile, and cry!

  11. tears of revelation as I see myself… too often I’m in services where I see God moving and touching other while feeling like I’m on the periphery. Inside I’m begging God “see me too! Touch me, I don’t want to feel this way…” Yet I’m too busy trying to administrate and make things smooth for all the others around me to stop and go forward and be humble enough to ask…
    thanks for being honest Randy… hopefully I can be too…

  12. My favorite quote…’what is this to thee, follow thy me!’ God has a unique place to take YOU! Jump in with those shoes:)

  13. WOW. Amazing.

  14. I love the specific personal way the Holy Spirit speaks to us! Thank you for sharing this Randy. I know it will minister to many as it has to me.

    Due to life circumstances, traveling and working full time, Joel and I haven’t been able to attend any of the meetings. But we have been watching from the beginning via the webstream. So, needless to say, as much as we’re enjoying partaking in the limited way that we are able, it’s difficult to feel anything at times other than the fact that we are literally on the outside looking in… and wondering things like, ‘did we do something wrong? is there something we need to repent of? why aren’t we in the big middle of this?’

    Yet, knowing we have sown into this current outpouring for years and having faith in the God that is at the center of it all, we show up again and again in front of our computer monitor to participate to the degree that we are able.

    Then two nights ago our daughter gets sloshed as the Holy Spirit digs deep into her soul freeing her in ways we’ve only dared to hope would one day take place! Now this is the girl that never even twitches. Oh she can write songs with deep revelation like nobody’s business, and deliver them with notes that only Whitney Houston can hit. But until two days ago, never even blinked or shuttered when the Holy Spirit was near.

    I remember looking out over a sea of people as I would be leading worship in the mid 90’s during the Toronto-Brownsville era, and while everyone around her was physically manifesting the presence of the Holy Spirit, Audra would practically yawn as yet another person would prophecy over her the things God had in store.

    So, of course she comes home and lays hands on us and… shew… hoooe… shondie…

    God is good. He is faithful. We’ll show up in front of our computer monitors again today… and tomorrow… thanking God for technology!

  15. great article and update on the awakening… I see myself often as one who is more concerned that people are in a safe atmosphere then being open in my heart. thanks, for your insight and honesty.

    glad you have new shoes…my docs have lasted almost 10 years… that’s a long time. made in England.

  16. love it! I went to the awakening over thanksgiving break and didn’t feel much at all but had a very significant word of knowledge which was probably exactly why i was suppose to come in the first place.

  17. Randy….Thank you for your honesty (I know you hear that every day). I got on my blog to write a similar piece and happened to trip into yours first. You are such an inspiration to me. You can’t know how much you and Kelsey move my heart and lift my spirit just by letting me into your home to see your daily lives. Though sometimes chaos is…chaos (^_^),, sometimes it gives me hope. This was one of those times. When I’m looking out with despair and confusion and I have not a thing left to hold on to, He keeps using the two of you to slam me back into reality. I am more grateful to you two than I think I have every been to anyone.

  18. Thank You!!!!
    We have 4 children, just shy of your # but still it causes us to move slow or not at all.

    We so want to come out and be there at ihop, even with all the kids, but we just cant. We watch just about every night doing our best to press in while the kids are asleep (the are with us until there bed time). I feel the Lord & His Spirit moving in my heart. Amberly was touched deeply the other night. Some how I just feel distent, yet like He is right on the door step.

    You blessed me with you story, I feel very similar to what you said. I appriciate your wrighting, sometimes it seems like its a personal letter to me, so Thank You Randy!

  19. That really got me. Thanks bro.

  20. been reading your blog for a while. don’t know if i posted before but thanks for writing this.

    i’m sitting at work (here in Korea) with a tears in my eyes hoping none of my coworkers walk over and think i’m having a breakdown! lol.

    what God gives us will certainly fit.


  21. I love this sentence: “In between my weakness and my frustration with my weakness, God seems to sneak in, and once He sneaks in, all bets are off.” So true, so God, so good. I love that He knows just how to speak to each one of us. And I love how He always finds me in the midst of my own weakness and frustration…. it’s like it leaves a space for Him to appear… yet again… when I give up, and throw my hands up… then I see Him again. Right where we left off. If only I could figure out how to stay there. 🙂

  22. […] reason a prophetic word leaves you stunned (like my shoe experience) is because the word morphs the sacred and mundane in a way that reassures us that He sees and […]

  23. Glad the shoes fit!!
    : )

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