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Jul 02, 2008

Authentic Spirituality

First of all, I'd like to say that I consider myself to be a "Charismatic Christian." By that, I mean to say that I share an excitement about God that is not always visibly evident in some of the more traditional denominations. I also share the belief that the Holy Spirit is alive and moving as much today as in the New Testament. Most of my writings specifically address the Christian mindset from the perspective of Charismatic-Pentecostal because that is the background from which I come. I say that because I want to make clear that when I "call stuff out," I am not critically standing on the outside looking in, but I am living very much on the inside. The fire with which I address certain subjects, however, does not come from my loyalty and love for a set of beliefs or a particular sect, but from a sincere love for individuals who many times are trampled to death by those beliefs.

With that in mind, I would like to address something that has bothered me all my life, but have never put into words until now. I believe that this little issue has taken its toll on thousands of genuine and honest God-seekers, and has left them feeling as though they are completely missing God. It's time to expose one of the church's greatest and best-kept secrets. Exposing this could set Charismatic Christianity back a thousand years. I'm about to blow a cover off this religion in a way I've never seen done before, so buckle your seatbelts.

My 8th grade science teacher pinned up one of those psychedelic mind-bending posters that supposedly had a picture within a picture that you could psychologically see inside, if you stared long enough and allowed your eyes to go out of focus. Those things never worked for me. I could stare for hours and I never saw anything but a bunch of squiggly lines and shapes. Supposedly this particular poster had moving dinosaurs in it. At least that's what the first kid claimed to see as he let out a, "Wooooee, dude, I tooootally see it!" I got up close and looked till my head hurt but I still couldn't see what he was talking about. Sure enough, one by one, people started to see the moving dinosaurs. Everyone was laughing and talking about it. There was energy and excitement as people coahed friends on how to look in just the right way to "experience" it with them. One by one you could hear people getting a "break-through" as they would finally se what everyone else was seeing. I felt ignorant, because all I saw were stupid, squiggly lines.

I quit trying about half-way through the year. I got to the point where I just ignored the poster when I came to class. Truthfully, I resented the fact that he put it up there in the first place. It was a science class. Why hang a poster with hidden dinosaurs? It didn't make sense to me, and I found it to be a source of irritation every time another two or three people exclaimed, "I see it, I see it!!!!" I even considered lying to everyone at one point because it was only me and perhaps two other kids who were on the outs, and neither of them had a cool bone in their body.

By the end of the school year, it appeared that the majority of the school had experienced the dinosaurs and I still couldn't see them. How embarrassing. My embarrassment was short-lived, however, because on the last day of school, the cocky old science teacher stood before the class and revealed to everyone that there were no dinosaurs in the picture. IT WAS A HOAX! He wanted to illustrate how peer pressure can easily sway others. It was amazing to see different people become angry and defensive and swear up and down that they saw moving dinosaurs. I believe those kids could have taken a lie-detector test and passed with flying colors. They fully believed that they saw dinosaurs moving!

Time and again, I have sat with sincere people who feel like they must be missing something in the God department. They tell me that they don't understand why God hasn't moved on them the way He has with their friends and Church mates. They are plagued with a nagging sense that they are always a few miles behind the rest of the group and regardless of how hard they try; they can't seem to catch up. Every time there's another testimony about God moving in someone's life, they are reminded that they can't hear His voice like everyone else and don't feel the same spiritual ecstasy that their Christian counterparts continually describe and claim to have received.

Over and over, I hear people talking about "Peace that surpasses understanding" and "joy unspeakable," as though it's an orgasmic state of mind that truly spiritual people achieve after encountering God in a personal way. I can recall being in Bible college, watching my classmates weep and wail while lying on the floor during the worship service as though the Holy Spirit had completely taken control. They would talk about receiving a touch from God that instantly changed everything. Some couldn't remain upright during the service because the ‘power of God was all over them.' All the while, I felt like I did in my 8th grade class when I couldn't see the moving dinosaurs. What am I missing here? Why doesn't God do that to me during praise and worship? When am I going to receive a touch like that? How come I can't hear His voice so easily? Why do I still struggle with depression? What's wrong with me?

It began to unravel when a popular evangelist came to our Bible college. This guy was known for laying hands on people and having them "fall out" in the spirit. I was excited to receive this and nervous that I wouldn't. After a short sermon on the power of God, this gentleman instructed us to line up side by side. He would then walk from person to person, laying hands on each one. Sure enough, they were dropping like flies. Everyone he touched turned to Jell-O and hit the floor under the power of God. I was praying a million miles a minute as he drew closer. Finally, I felt his hand on my forehead and I stood there waiting to be launched into the supernatural. I waited and waited but nothing happened. He kept praying for me but I wasn't going down. Then he started saying things like, "Just receive it, brother," and "Don't hold back from God." At that moment, I felt the eyes of everyone in the class upon me and I knew somehow it was my fault that I wasn't receiving "the power of God." Guess what I did. . . . I fell.

When we were in the parking lot and walking to our cars, my classmates were praising God and leaping for joy because of the incredible move of the Holy Spirit that they had just witnessed. People were talking about how awesome God was and how wonderful it was to receive a touch of His power, but I continued walking with my head down, saying, "I will never, ever do that again!" Someone asked me what it was I'd never do again and I said, "I fell on purpose." To my amazement, every person there admitted that they had purposely fallen, as well.

I say all that to say this: For the better part of my ministry, I have attempted to take things that people say about God that are terrible and wrong and correct them. I have kept myself busy for the past ten years in an attempt to correct all the troubling misconceptions taught by the Church regarding the heart of God. Recently, however, I felt like I came to the conclusion of those bad things. I couldn't find anything to address because I had pretty much covered it all. Then I felt the Lord strongly impress upon me that He would reveal that even all the good things said about Him are not true.

Our concept of "living in victory" has been embellished and exaggerated from generation to generation, to a point where we wouldn't recognize the real thing if it jumped up and bit us on the nose. People talk about "freedom" as though it were a state of spiritual nirvana where nothing goes wrong and everything is blissfully perfect. I believe that in the Charismatic movement, there are thousands of people chasing dinosaurs in an effort to appear like they're getting it when in fact, they have no real idea of what "IT" is.

I'm amazed when I hear testimonies of people in those Churches. It reminds me of "Reality Television." The problem with "Reality Television" is that there is nothing real about it.

The editor reveals what he chooses by cutting and pasting bits and pieces. He omits certain parts and highlights others in an effort to create exactly what he's looking for. This is what I see in modern-day Christian testimonies. They remind me of a 30-minute scripted sit-com where everything miraculously comes together in the end. The middle part that is raw and real is always mysteriously omitted so that the listener only sees the rags-to-riches part of what God did in a person's life. "I once was lost, but now I'm found." Nothing in the middle. That's it. Overnight, everything changed and now there are no more struggles and strife in the Christian life, only continual happiness and fulfillment.

I think we do this because deep in our hearts we're trying to sell Jesus to the public. We attempt to make Him out to be more than He is in an effort to spark interest. We present "life with Jesus" as though it's a continuous mountain-top experience that comes with batteries included and a life-time guarantee. If this isn't your personal experience with Him, something is wrong with your spirituality. Sadly, the result of this pattern of exaggeration is that people chase a carrot that is always just out of reach and then become depressed and disillusioned.

Let me be the first to say that the reason you can't find the peace and joy and freedom that you've heard about is because it doesn't exist. At least not in the way it's been presented. The Christian life as advertised to you is a lie! The promises and claims that were made to you about Jesus were nothing but a list of sales tactics to close the deal. After all, who would reject eternal happiness and contentment? Who in their right mind would walk away from a Jesus who could make all their problems go away overnight? Who would say no to instantaneous freedom and victory? Especially when it's as easy as 1, 2, 3. Rattle off a quick sinner's prayer and you're on your way to a life of constant adventure and roller-coaster spirituality.

I think there is something to be said for the way Jesus presented Himself 2000 years ago. He rode into the city on the back of an ass. Now that resonates with my life! I get this real and raw picture in my mind, "Life on an Ass," and it rings true. Maybe it's not a popular concept with the Christian world, but the fact is, life is humdrum. There are "up" days and there are "down." There are times of purpose and times of purposelessness. There are extended times when there is clear direction and you know where you're going and then there are times when you just sit and stare at the walls and go nowhere. Life with Jesus is not filled with a continuous vibration of exhilaration and adventure. Scripture never promised that to us.

I believe that until we are given permission to accept and embrace our humanity, we will be unable to possess values such as peace and contentment. Present-day Christianity seems to be about denying and even detesting our humanity and all in the Name of Jesus. We want nothing to do with out human-ness. It's as though people present the Christian life as a rejection of the physical realm and an adoption of all that is spiritual. You'd think that some of us are embarrassed to have arms and legs because we think we're supposed to float from here to there through the power of God. Anything physical or human is considered ugly by today's Charismatic standards. The phrase, "In the flesh" has been coined in an effort to shame and silence anyone who might dare to be normal and live with both feet on the ground. If God was against living in the flesh, He wouldn't have created flesh and inserted our spirits into it.

I believe that true authentic spirituality is more physical than spiritual. In other words, it's NORMAL. Today's perception of true spirituality is equated with someone no one can relate to. I think it's something else entirely. If a person is truly in touch with their spiritual side, they will connect and become relatable to everyone. They'll embrace their flesh and be content with who they are while, at the same time, accepting it in others. Peace and contentment is not a point in life where you no longer experience pain and discomfort. It's the point when you understand that you will experience pain and discomfort in this life and when you do, you know He is with you and nothing's wrong. Many perceive any form of depression as evidence that God is not present or we are not receiving what we should from Him. I disagree. Being spiritual, in my opinion, is when an individual embraces every facet of their humanity with no apologies, knowing well that their shortcomings are not evidence of God's absence but rather, evidence of life. True spirituality comes when we understand that in the midst of living, He will never leave us.

I am convinced that an authentic Christian life looks nothing like what most Charismatic churches promote. The picture they paint is not only unattainable but it's impossible. I no longer believe the majority of the testimonies I hear. They've been edited to fit a story-line that's proven to be a crowd-pleaser and a bestseller. Rarely does anyone merely provide an accurate account of their life because to do so would be flat-out boring. We don't want a day-to-day Jesus; we want Super Jesus!

Additionally, I don't believe all the hype that comes out of Florida. I'm telling you right now that all the people who profess to have experienced "the fire" in Florida are nothing but a bunch of self-conscious teens claiming to have seen the moving dinosaurs on a poster in science class. When asked to produce a shred of verifiable evidence of healings and miracles, the ring-leaders in Florida have come up empty-handed. Everything you are hearing about that "outpouring" is nothing but exaggerated rumors from people who desperately want to appear as if they got it too.

Matthew 24:24
"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it."

These rumors are spread by those who sincerely want to believe that something's happening somewhere because when they look at their own "humdrum" life, they are filled with guilt and condemnation for not measuring up to the embellished testimonies and exagerated claimes they've grown up hearing in the Church.

Yes, I believe that God heals and yes, I believe the Holy Spirit is alive and well. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit and I believe that God is actively speaking to His people. I consider myself to be Charismatic to the bone, but I don't believe for one moment that these manifestations occur in the manner that we claim. The sooner we release the modern-day Christian fantasies about true spirituality and embrace normalcy, the better we'll be.

You might be surprised to find that what you have been seeking; you already have.


Darin Hufford

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  1. Gravatar
    David Alan

    Wow... facing this every week in a Foursquare Church has been getting unbearable for me. Thanks for voicing my own thoughts so well.

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    Very well said, Darin. Thank you also for articulating my thoughts, also, so well. I especially liked your following words:

    "If a person is truly in touch with their spiritual side, they will connect & become relatable to everyone. They'll embrace their flesh and be content with who they are while, at the same time, accepting it in others. Peace & contentment is not a point in life where you no longer experience pain & discomfort. It's the point when you understand that you will experience pain & discomfort in this life & when you do, you know He is with & and nothing's wrong...Being spiritual is when an individual embraces every facet of their humanity with no apologies, knowing well that their shortcomings are not evidence of God's absence but rather, evidence of life."

  3. Gravatar

    You hit that one out of the park. I grew up in an AOG church. It nearly turned me completely away from God. You articulated everything I have thought about the whole thing.

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    Jake Sanford

    I was a member of a Southern Baptist Church from 12 yrs of age 'til I was 40. I left the baptist church seeking a closer relationship with my Lord. I attended a Charismatic church for a season and then I left there because I felt I had become a phony along with most of the people around me. I understand the things you write because I have been there and done that. I also share your thoughts and feelings; in other words I am concerned that many who think they are on the right path are deceived and are smothering to death in an empty religion, pretending to serve a customized Jeaus that does not exist. We must teach them that Christianity is not a religion but is a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus who is with us through all our troubles and gives us grace to overcome.

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    Thank you for describing my experience! I have waited for 17 years to hear this from someone within the movement.It has been that long that I worked for a TBN affiliate for 3 years from which experience I became very depressed and almost lost my mind, seriously. I was so terrified about the entire thing that I wouldn't dare to discuss it with anyone around me!

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    Darin Hufford

    Don't ever be afraid again Glays!! I would love to talk further with you about this if you are open to it. You can email me personally at

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    Ann O.

    Have you been taking a tour of my brain?!? This is so right on, the things God has been showing me about my own issues. I have just recently grasped that things go in cycles. Life, weather, you name it, there is a season. And its ok! Its totally normal! Thank you for all that you do!

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    Sylvia Jean

    I do believe that when we let go of all the pressures and just walk in His love, we will see the Authentic Spirituality, it's NOT about me but how others view God in me. It's how we live and love others that we can find the authenic. Thanks Darin for you openess. May God Bless you!

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    Katherine Gunn

    Hmm... all I can say is - you nailed it. Been there, walked that, got out.... whew. Now I am learning a thing or two. ;-)

  10. Gravatar

    Don't forget people that the word became "FLESH" Hmm wonder what that means??????? it means that jesus was human......great message darrin.

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    Dave A

    Thanks for this Darrin.

    I grew up in all very conservative places. But I wasn't free from the desire to see the dancing dinosaurs. Mine just looked different. More of the game of "who's got the most head knowledge?" I gave that up for desiring to know Him more.

    I still hate my flesh but you've caused me to begin to think differently.

    Peace to you.

  12. Gravatar

    Darin, thanks again for uncovering the truth. Like in "The Emperor's New Clothes," no one wants to admit that...he's naked! I went through a traumatic experience with one weird dude as a baby Christian who lined everybody up so we could all be knocked down by the HS one by one. I was the only one who didn't get it and I left feeling awful. Then the same thing happened at a HS retreat! (what's next, Jesus hotrod races?!) Everyone fell out and started laughing "holy laughter." I felt so horrible and so left out. This is a form of spiritual abuse that is devastating and derailing to people who simply want to learn who Jesus is and how to abide in him. I am SOOOOOO angry at the way I was so calloulsly misled by these Jesus freaks! (in this context I DON'T mean that as a compliment!) URCOOL!

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    Katherine Gunn

    Hmm... I think what "In the flesh" means in Romans and what the church world uses it to mean are not the same thing. It is a heart - motive - issue, not a physical body issue.... at least that is what I have seen.

  14. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Your right Kathrine,

    Isn’t it interesting that the word “flesh” is used in a derogatory way by the Church? It has become a catch-phrase that over time causes us to think that our flesh is a bad thing altogether. This is what ultimately led to the monks whipping their flesh over and over to try and get God’s approval. That’s the point in the blog I’m making.

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    Katherine Gunn

    Yes, it is also, in my experience, a catch-phrase used by the religious to denigrate anything they, personally, disapprove of or that might interfere with their personal view of 'how God works.' In the process, those Christians who are sincerely struggling to have an real relationship with God end up twisted sideways, trying to live up to an impossible and non-scriptural expectation.

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    Katherine Gunn

    Thinking about this some more, the religious stuff I came out of, this issue of 'the flesh' was carried to the extreme of meaning anything that wasn't all spirit. Therefore, the physical and the soul were 'the flesh' and bad and to be crucified. What a revelation when I was directed first to Psalm 23:3 - He restores my soul - He cares about my soul; then to Psalm 107:9 - He satisfies and fills the longing and hungry soul; and then to Mark 14:33 and Hebrews 10:38 - Jesus has a soul (duh!) and God, Himself, has a soul. Therefore, the soul, itself, must not be the problem. *Sigh* The things that are taught to keep people in line.

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    Darin Hufford

    I love the way you think Katherine.

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    Katherine Gunn

    Thanks, Darin.

    Hmm.. the concept of self-flagellation - the monks flailing the physical 'flesh' to please Christ. In the modern church, I see it more as a self-flagellation of the soul - anything that we like that doesn't fit within the mold presented to us is 'flesh' that must be beaten down. I remember a place where I was constantly 'beating myself up' internally because I could not seem to measure up to the standard presented. BLEAH! It is, in my opinion, just another form of trying to earn righteousness. *sigh*

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    Maxine Doll

    I am so happy to have found your web site, Thanks for speaking the truth. This blog is so true, I know because I was trying to become more spiritual and all the while feeling like a failure. Since I have been listening to your stuff and the God Journey, I am so enjoying life and people, like I never thought was even possible. Living life with God the way we are coming to know it, is so free because we don't live with the checks and balances any more. We aren't constantly aware of right and wrong so we are just free to live and enjoy our Father and Saviour along this path of life on earth. You are right you can't emabrace peace until you are able to except who you are. Thank You Maxine

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    Mark T

    I grew up in the So. Baptist environment that is anything but Charismatic, yet many of the same attitudes exist. I got the feeling that much of the time the leadership was not only trying to sell Jesus to the public, but they were trying to sell Him to themselves- to say all the right things in an effort to convince themselves that he was there doing certain things even when there was no visible evidence to back it up. They too were under pressure to say the right things whether they had experienced them or not. Sadly, I learned to do the same.
    Now I have come to celebate the humdrum. Now that I have learned more about His heart I can see Him in the everyday things- and because I now truly know Him, I don't feel as if I have to profess anything, I do not have to fall on purpose.

  21. Gravatar

    Thanks for peeling another, rather thick, layer off the onion. At one time, I fell for it all. I remember the utter frustration, and sometimes despair, as I waited in longing for the next great experience, that hopefully would be "the one" to catapult me to that state of spiritual euphoria. You know, that non-existent one you have so beautifully revealed here!!

  22. Gravatar

    This sounds like a reliefe if I understand you correctly. Let me use different words to make sure I got it right. When believers use terms like "a personal relationship with Christ", "being led by the Spirit", or "hearing God" they are not refering to something that is actually experienced by the person. This is something we know by Faith. We don't have to go looking for it with our hearts because we know intellectualy that we already have it.

    Is this the same as when others use terms like: my impression, woman's intuition, my gut feeling, or even deja vu?

    So if we don't actually experience this "Peace that surpasses understanding" and "joy unspeakable" does this only refer to "pie in the sky after we die?" I find myself asking "how then should we live?", by the bible?

  23. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Firewood, I think that being led by the Spirit and hearing God IS something we experience. I'm just saying that the peace and joy that we have grown up hearing about has been greatly embellished. The true peace and joy is nothing like what we have been taught. It's more subtile. We are to live by our hearts and by love. The problem is that many of us are trying to achieve a certian spirituality that's been presented to us by Church and in reality it doesn't even exist in the way they've presented it.

  24. Gravatar
    Katherine Gunn

    Hmm... peace that passes understanding. A year and a half after walking away from church, I am finally beginning to understand it - a little. For me, the best way to describe it is an underlying peace that everything is going to be all right, even when things are in seeming utter chaos. It is like the ocean. Even when there is a hurricane, if you go down below the surface of the water, it is calm. See for me, it is like a deep calm underneath all the surface storms that come. Some storms stir things up a little deeper than others, but down at the bottom, there is still an anchor of calm. This has come from following my heart instead of a set of religious rules....

  25. Gravatar

    With this being said, I imply that Christ told us that being a faithful son of God is not about being obsessed with long lasting happiness… the one that is portrayed by the “Charismatic Christian”. Being a faithful son of God it is not about rejecting God in the face of adversities either. A faithful son of God, as Christ showed us, is about having the conviction to ‘live a life’ that cannot always be charismatic… it is about having the conviction to ‘want to’ live life as it is… with the necessary wisdom to reflect on those things that cannot be changed due to life’s nature.

  26. Gravatar

    Whereas there is nothing wrong about seeking happiness for our lives, I think that one should be careful in expecting that happiness “should/must” be the result of being a 100% faithful and devoted Christian. It seems that that is the only reason why we are Christians.
    In his sermon in the mount, the lord acknowledged His pain and His human side requested for His relief of such a pain (“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”). It seems as though He taught us to humbly embrace pain, whatever type of pain that is.

  27. Gravatar

    Very interesting your post, sir…
    Your portrait of Christian charisma makes me wonder how come somebody who calls himself a Christian can be concerted on achieving ever-lasting ‘happiness’. I often think about those who proselytize the Christian gospel and teach of embracing such a gospel in hopes of achieving (reward) a happy life. (By the way, a wise man once told me: “Life is not fair; life is not unfair either; life is just as it is.”)

  28. Gravatar

    That was a brilliant post! Thank you for writing such a candidly honest article!

  29. Gravatar

    I can't tell you how it feels to see others express what I've felt for so long. I thought I was the only one that couldn't "feel" God in their sense of the term. I've been to all the meetings and gatherings where I've felt like a failure over and over. My eyes are starting to open and posts like this help me even more.

  30. Gravatar

    I have tears in my eyes. After three evangelical/Pentecostal churches in five years, I've had to "take a break from all things Christian" because what they said, what they preached, what they DID, what the Bible said and what my life was simply did not end up. I'm so confused about what they promised would happen vs. what really happened, and who God really is, and the truth of the Bible. I'm now in counseling and finding "the real me" again -- and actually finding peace! Thanks for lifting a very great burden off my weary heart!

  31. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    TLC please feel free to email me personally anytime. I would love to get closer to you and walk this out with you. I've been exactly where you are right now and I totally understand how you feel.

  32. Gravatar

    So refreshing! I've been there. God is gracious and now we have a small fellowship where we take our lead from Scripture. We have found the peace of God much more wonderful as he takes us through life's problems, rather than round them. We live real lives and can bring comfort to people because we've been where they are. It's a tragedy when we think that many of our folk feel they are so faithless and worthless they are beyond salvation because of what they have been taught in other churches.
    Imagine their relief when they realise Jesus loves them too, and the "whosoever" in Jn 3:16 really does apply to them!
    We can take comfort that all this will build character, unlike the "instant fix" recently promised on Christian TV.God's way is to "work in us". The results last forever. Praise Him!

  33. Gravatar

    Thanks, Darin, for being honest. And there are many of us who feel as you do. I'm ready for the real Jesus. I am one who is seeking a daily walk with Jesus that does not come from "teachings" but from the Jesus I find in Scripture who dealt with the same emotions that He has given me--anger, grief, suffering, irritation, etc, and joy! As you say, we know He is with us and we also know He has been there! As He said, "In this world there is tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." And someday we will also!

  34. Gravatar

    That was so refreshing! I walked away from God after growing up in charismatic churches and seeing my parents ride the roller coaster, almost always producing bad fruit instead of good. Thank God He saved me as an adult and began to teach me the truth through His Word once I put down all the books filled with hype. This message could set some people free if they could receive it. Thank you for writing it! Finally someone with the courage to say "Hey, what about this big old elephant in the middle of the room?!"

  35. Gravatar
    Tim H

    Thank you for that very good post. I have been discussing this very thing with a brother and I have stated many times that I wonder when people will plant their feet firmly on the ground, get their heads out of the "super-spiritual clouds" and live this walk called Christianity with truth. I needed to hearthis. Very timely. Thnak you.

  36. Gravatar
    Keri Jackowski

    This is digging up the doubts I have had since being sent, as a brand new convert, to a conference where I could/should learn to speak in tongues and be filled with Him (as if I needed a conference)! Further, I always wondered why "ordinary" people weren't asked to parade their testimony on stage to share how they "victoriously" walked out their daily lives, and only the brilliant, amazing stories were shared. Yes, Darin, you totally call it out. So, if this is NOT what being a REAL Christian is, would you share what it IS? I would love that perspective, actually. And maybe you have shared it previously, but I am new to your blog. Thanks, Darin, for being truthful and calling it out. May REAL peace be yours!

  37. Gravatar
    Mary B

    Very good article. I used to attend a christian camp each summer for bibble study leaders as I was involved in a college ministry. One of the exercises was put us in a groups of about 5 or 6 people each and our group would have to go through an obsticle course. We would each take turns being the leader. As the leader it was your job to size up each obsticle and consider each person in your group- their strenghs and weakness.
    Then you would strategize who would go first, ssecond etc Each obsticle usually involved a strong person to go first or a tall person and each person played an intricle part in achieving the goal of getting EVERYONE over the obsticle. if one person was left unable to get over, you failed. A good leason for a bible study leader.

  38. Gravatar
    Mary B

    Anyway, that is the problem I think with the charismatic church. NOT only is there often a false sense of spirituality as you talked about, but it's one size fits all pressure. If someone has an authentic mountaintop experience it is for that person alone. And if it is truly authentic then it should be for the building up of the body of Christ-the chief end being the great commission.

  39. Gravatar
    Vickie C.

    Thanks so much for your article,Darin.I feel so betrayed by our pastor, because he ended up going to Lakeland twice to "get some", and brought it back to our church.At first I tried to accept what was going on but I just knew in my heart that things that were happening were more about the "experience" and feeling something physical than it was about teaching God's word.When there was any biblical sermons, they were to try to justify the changes that took place in our church.I have since quit going to this church and it sickens me how quick all the members were to just go along with everything that was brought back from this "revival".Now I sort of feel lost. I am praying that God shows me where to go next.

  40. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I understand how you feel. It's amazing how easily some Christians can be led astray. It's proof that they are starving to death and they'll eat anything put before them. It's sad. It's not just the congregation that's starving, but it's also your pastor. These people still haven't found what they are looking for. That's why they'll travel all the way to Florida looking for something to fill that emptyness within them.

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    I agree about "the people starving to death" bit and I can relate to "These people still haven't found what they are looking for." What I want to know is why is that? Why does God allow this? Why don't the sincere seekers find? The standard answer is WE are at fault -- WE haven't done something right -- WE haven't jumped through the right hoops. Now, I wonder if the seeking is even appropriate or possible here on earth. Is the emptiness within just part of living in a fallen world and thus never able to be filled here?

  42. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    email me firewood We can continue this.

  43. Gravatar
    Katherine Gunn

    Good questions. I would like answers there, too. Maybe it depends on what they are seeking... I continued to seek something real with God in the middle of the pentecostal/charismatic upbringing and was mostly disappointed. Eventually, I was led out of the church by God Himself and am finding Him more active 'out here' than I did 'in there.' But there are still a lot of questions....

  44. Gravatar

    I agree and understand, I quit being part of the hype awhile back, but I like to go to church but then I get turned off when I see the stuff I know not to be true-----so what do I do now?

  45. Gravatar

    I have just been overwhelmed by this post - I posted my thoughts on my own blog here -
    Thanks for articulating it so well.

  46. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Wow justjuls I love what you said about "life on an ass". I want to add your words to this article. I now a better writer then me when I see one and YOU ARE IT. Seriously, can you email me personally?

  47. Gravatar
    Michael Fortner

    I feel sorry for you, you have lost so much. I have heard and read too many testimonies of people who have reached the end of their rope and cried out to God as a last resort and were instantly saved and set free. Perhaps you have not yet needed a miracle. It even happens in the 10/40 window where people know little about Jesus.

  48. Gravatar
    Michael Fortner

    I think you misunderstand being "in the flesh". It means to act as though you are doing something in the Spirit, but you are not, such as falling down when prayed for. Though it is possible that some churches use it in a different way than the church where I grew up.

  49. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Michael I would rather hear from you in regards to what you have personally witnessed. Not what you've heard or read about. Anything less than personal testimony sounds hollow to me. I think you missread the purpose for the article. I believe in everything you do as far as God's ability to produce miracles. I've seen them first hand. The point of the article is that these things were never promised EVERY DAY in the Christian life. When we expect that, we are in for dissapointment.

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    I so vividly remember battling with this very thing not too long ago. It seems that today's church teaches us to lie to ourselves. Thank GOD there are people like you insisting people tell the truth.

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    Its amazing what we'll do in our yearning for wholeness. If everything was possible in a experience, why doesn't the NT teach it? Why is the word 'patience' so abundant? I was in a Ch Bible study @ flesh vs spirit, and the thought popped into my head that flesh can't be all bad - the Word tells us marrieds to be of one flesh. That's the school room for how to become a complete adult. It's all @ love nourishing & cherishing, not manipulating. Several questioned why God isn't responding to sincere seekers in these services. They are looking for what man is offering in manipulative emotionalism, & not what God is offering in authenticity. The 2 don't co-exist. You do have to come-out of them My people. You have to let go of what you are grasping to receive what He is providing.

  52. Gravatar

    "Your right Kathrine, Isn’t it interesting that the word “flesh” is used in a derogatory way by the Church"

    We are to pray, "Remove my heart of stone and replace it with a heart of 'FLESH'".

  53. Gravatar

    Dear Darrin, First of all I have to say that in may ways i know youare right, As chasimatics we get caught up in hte emotionalism. God had been dealing with me in several area of my life and leading me ro a holier lifestyle, Evne Paul had i]his ps and downs, trail and tribualtions, The oy you speak of is not an emotion but a pease tah knowing God is in full controll of your like, He didn;t promise us a garden of eden, But he did a life of peace and joy, He didn's say he would supplyall our wants, He did say he would supply our needs according to His riches in Glory. I feel that the way to really get to know God is through His word the Bible, spending time in prayer and meditaion on Him. I have struggles every day of my life, but I know that God is with me, even when I fail Him.

  54. Gravatar

    I loved this, that is all I can say. Thank you!

  55. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks Linda!!

  56. Gravatar

    Very good and poignant truth, Darin! God deliver us from this religious kingdom and paradigm that has clutched the heart of our dear brethren everywhere and who have so erroneously embraced it as God's truth. Many blessings "down unda."

  57. Gravatar
    Dallas Thomas

    I really loved the heart of this article. Really resounded with my heart. However I think to say there was no verifiable evidence of healing is pretty lame because I know for a fact that people were healed. Iwas healed myself in a meeting like that in Toronto. . Regardless, love this article.

  58. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Dallas thanks for the comment. That statement about them not being able to provide verifiable evidence of an authentic healing is actually a factual statement. That's not to say that no person has ever been healed there. I'm just making the statement that the ring leaders of that movement have NEVER been able to bring forth any real medical evidence of their claims. I believe like you; I've been healed by God several times. I know He heals. That's not the question in my mind. Blessings man:)

  59. Gravatar
    eMary Freem

    Thank you Darin, you have put into words what has been on my heart for so long. At the right time!! I was talking to a 'baby' believer and he was struggling with 'not being able to see the Dinosours' - I will pass on your article.

  60. Gravatar

    Within days after my father's funeral I had a profound spiritual experience. I was not a Christian at the time. I had no beliefs about who God was or how I was to be in relationship with Him. This happened in 1978 when I was just 22 years old. I was sitting at home busy with some paperwork that needed to be done. I had been devastated by my dad's death because I never thought he loved me. Before he died, he told me he wanted to talk to me, but then he never got the chance. As I was sitting, doing my paperwork, I felt a loving presence enter the room. I didn't see, smell, hear, or feel anything touch my skin, but was filled with perfect love. I was left with the feeling that everything is OK, that I am completely loved and that my deepest need is met even if I don't "feel like it".

  61. Gravatar

    Ah gotchya Darin. Where did you get that information though? I'd be interested in doing my own research into that movement for the same reason.

  62. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    You can check out pretty much any Christian watch dog group out there. Also Prime Time, 20/20, Dateline, and several other popular news stations have done study after study and they have never been given proof of the claims made.

  63. Gravatar
    Mike Donahoe

    Thanks Darin, all I can say is...WOW. So my 'normal' somewhat boring Christian life isn't so far out of the norm after all.

  64. Gravatar

    I remember that when they came to the garden to accost Jesus, they didn't know which one he was, he looked like the average person. Judas had to point him out with the kiss. Christians are just average people too. Some Christians would be an open target if they lived in persecution and walked around with their peculiar clothing. ;O) They think that verse about being peculiar means they need to make it a point to look different. Sounds like show offs to me.

  65. Gravatar
    Russell Macfarlane

    Oh -- I see this is six months old -- Its as fresh as a newborn baby. My Radio aka Worldwide Church of God was against the average emotional demonstrations but was off the beam in a different direction -- so I didn't suffer from the fake fall down syndrome -- Exclusivist self righteousness was more of the problem -- (I did faint at the sight of a polio shot and also at the overbearing presence of my dad.-- does that count? ) Thanks much

  66. Gravatar
    Alice Scott-Ferguson

    this is SO right on...posted all the way across the Pond to other precious wounded ones!! Thanks dear Darin!!

  67. Gravatar

    Okay, I agree with the whole keeping up with the jones' thing, I've seen it, but I have had a few experiences. After hitting bottom I cried to Jesus about the way I was living (drinking and drugging) and asked him to heal me I told him I knew he didn't want me to live that way and that I was sorry.. fell asleep... woke up in the morning and the desire to drink was gone.. I wanted to tell everyone, but I clearly knew that all I needed to do was walk it out, that was eight years ago. Right after this experience I wanted to learn more about Jesus, I grew up in a Catholic church and didn't want to go back there. I wanted more.. ended up in a charasmatic church.. on my 6th or 7th Sunday I felt a desire to dance, scared I stepped out of the pew into the aisle and slowly swayed to the music

  68. Gravatar

    when I felt a weight on me that made me stagger and eventually I fell down, my body shook, I never even heard of being slayed in the spirit.. no one touched me.. I just went down. I stayed in that church for eight years, sincerely believing what I was taught, until I started seeing and hearing things that didn't line up with what I was being taught.. my prayer to God then became "don't let me die (meaning become apathetic and religious) and show me the truth... well I am out of the four walls and learning to enjoy the gift of life without all the to do's. I struggle but knowing that I really am loved (period) makes returning to a normal humanness easier. What a trip, unlearning everthing they taught me. Darin thank you for being you. I'm happy I found this place.

  69. Gravatar

    Thank you for this article. In the 80's I was very active in the charismatic movement and was moving up the ladder in the church I attended and the ministry they were connected with.I served in most positions from janitor to associate pastor and every thing in between. At a revival I was serving as an usher/catcher for the prayer line and things got out of control and I witnessed black eyes, bloody noses and even a severely broken arm from people falling with no catcher close by (I often wondered why we needed catchers, if people were truly falling under the power of the spirit would they be getting injured)I brought the lady with the broken arm up front for prayer and was later chastised for it. I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit but much of what we see today is pure flesh/emotion.

  70. Gravatar

    Thank you for this article. In the 80's I was very active in the charismatic movement and was moving up the ladder in the church I attended and the ministry they were connected with.I served in most positions from janitor to associate pastor and every thing in between. At a revival I was serving as an usher/catcher for the prayer line and things got out of control and I witnessed black eyes, bloody noses and even a severely broken arm from people falling with no catcher close by (I often wondered why we needed catchers, if people were truly falling under the power of the spirit would they be getting injured)I brought the lady with the broken arm up front for prayer and was later chastised for it. I believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit but much of what we see today is pure flesh/emotion.

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