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Archive for November, 2007

I only caught a portion of Paula White’s appearance the other night on Larry King Live.  I found myself yelling at the TV – I just couldn’t stomach watching her dance around Larry’s hard questions.  The whole thing is so sad, because I can remember when she still preached Christ.  It wasn’t that long ago, either.  Back in the spring of 2006, she was a featured speaker at our former church.  As I’ve mentioned before, we had a coveted front-row seat for that service, and I was so inspired by her passionate preaching of God’s Word that the next morning, I visited her website and signed up to be one of her prayer partners.

Now I’m wondering how someone could change course so dramatically in just eighteen months.

“Linda,” one of our readers, left a great comment about Paula’s sad cop-out performance on LKL.  Check it out:

I came across this web site while trying to look up more info on Paula White’s appearance on Larry King the other night.

I was FLOORED when Larry King asked her POINT BLANK, “What is God to you? Is He a Spirit? Who is He?” And all she could say was, “Yes, Larry, God IS a Spirit, and I don’t profess to know everything about Him,” or something to the extent. She could NOT tell Mr. King that God was in Christ, that to see Christ is to see the Second Person of the Godhead; that Christ came FROM Heaven so that we may know God. She had NO ANSWER for Larry King.

And believe me, from the looks of it…Larry King has been searching,it seems, for a very long time…having one spiritual person on after another, asking them all, “how do you get to heaven? Do you think Jews will go to heaven if they don’t believe in Jesus?” This man is older…has a young wife, and two young children…he doesn’t want to leave this earth….and he’s looking for the fountain of youth…trying, like my former boss….to keep from dying. But…knowing we all die…you can tell that he wants ANSWERS…

Yet he keeps having people on like Paula White, and Joel Olsteen…who WON’T TELL HIM the truth, for fear of the gospel, and that it will shame them in front of the whole world. They won’t tell him that JESUS HIMSELF SAID He was the gate, to enter by the narrow way. Nor did Paula tell him, “Larry…Jesus said you MUST be born again of His Spirit….due to the fall of Adam…that’s why He entered thru the belly of a woman…to bypass the human fallen line.”

Because of what she did…I began to read over her entire web site, and I saw a very familiar thing that I see with many of these seed faith people…they will talk about GOD…and about JESUS…and they will always say, Jesus AND God…but they NEVER say Jesus IS God….ever. I didn’t see her say it once. I see her say, “the Lord,” but never the LORD JESUS….or that Jesus IS the Holy Spirit…(I Corinthians 15:45; John 20:22)….

Anyway…this is what I noticed….I’m relieved to see that I wasn’t the only person who was put off by this woman’s ministry…It just always struck me as a ministry of “self-help,”…trying to make the flesh stronger…when Jesus said that apart from Him we could do nothing…and the flesh availeth nothing. If anything…these people need to help people DIE TO THEMSELVES…SO THAT CHRIST can ALONE reign in their hearts… after all…it’s HIS LIFE…not ours…(Gal. 2:20). What do these people think they’re doing telling DEAD PEOPLE….(who no longer live…but it’s CHRIST WHO LIVES IN THEM)…..to clean up their lives, and become stronger? The original sin is one of PRIDE…and the holy spirit brings us to see our WEAKNESS…not our strength…so that like Paul, we can glory IN OUR WEAKNESS, so that then we will be strong IN THE LORD AND HIS MIGHTY POWER.

These people truly have not grasped the good news that the people they’re trying to reach don’t need “things” or a “good SELF image”…they need LIFE….Jesus’ life….He is the resurrection and THE LIFE.

Well said, Linda!  We couldn’t agree with you more.

I just don’t understand why the Body of Christ keeps supporting people like Paula White.  As she herself said, she can’t “do what she does” without money.  If enough folks stand up and quit sending her their donations, maybe she can be put out of business.

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One of the great mysteries we still wonder about is just how much Pastor Smith realizes and understands about the stuff that goes on at Living Word Church (once again, our usual disclaimer:  “Pastor Smith” and “Living Word Church” are both pseudonyms, as are all other names used on this site).

Awhile back, we posted an entry about whether or not what we experienced at Living Word was actually the “presence of God.”  Pastor Smith called it the presence of God.  The church members all thought it was the presence of God.  At the time, we ourselves would have said that that certain “rush” – that certain something that made us want to both weep and jump for joy at the same time – was the Holy Spirit.

But when you look at the harsh facts, it’s difficult to know for sure.

On the one hand, this “feeling” – or whatever it was – is marketed by Pastor Smith as the single most important reason why people should leave their “dead churches” and plant themselves at Living Word.  This “feeling” is also carefully orchestrated and cultivated, particularly through the use of music.  People would often refer to it as “The Anointing.”  They believed – and Pastor Smith taught – that “The Anointing” was something he personally dispensed (for lack of a better word).

Yet, on the other hand, how could Pastor Smith knowingly be so manipulative and still come across as so believable and sincere?  How could he stand there week after week, as he’s done for more than twenty years, and not be afraid that God was going to strike him dead with a lightning bolt or something?

After posting “Hooked on a Feeling…”, I really enjoyed the comments that different folks left.  They helped me to come to the following sudden realization:

Sometimes I think that, rather than being so diabolically manipulative that he deliberately manufactures a FALSE something that he then tries to pass off as the “presence of God,” Pastor Smith is actually just as hooked on the sensation (what ever “it” is) as the rest of his audience. He’s probably deliberate in how he wants the service structured, and in the kinds of music he tells his son to choose. But I think he and his family do genuinely believe that whatever it is they “stir up” in people actually IS “the anointing,” or the presence of God. 

Probably the fact that they believe they CAN dispense God’s presence is one of the reasons they’re able to hold themselves above everybody else. I mean, if you think you’ve got God Himself at your disposal, you’re going to feel pretty superior. And you’ll actually begin to believe that you NEED bodyguards and that you DESERVE all the best things.

If the Smiths genuinely believe this – that they somehow “have God on tap” – a lot of the crazy stuff at Living Word would make more sense. Such as the birthday offerings they’d take for themselves. I always wondered how they dared to have the nerve to TELL PEOPLE to give them gifts. Who do they think they are, anyway? But I think I may have inadvertently explained this to myself here. They think they’re the keepers of God’s presence. That’s GOT to be some heady stuff! No wonder they do all the arrogant, insensitive, and prideful things they do. It all suddenly makes sense. 

What do YOU think?

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Here is Part 2 of our analysis of Pastor Smith’s (“Pastor Smith” is a pseudonym for our former pastor) sermon on “The Anointing.”  If you haven’t already done so, please take the time to read either the sermon transcript, or Part 1 of our analysis, or both.  We realize that they’re lengthy.  The sermon transcript alone is over 10,000 words.  Yet there’s just something about reading it straight up, seeing Pastor Smith’s words in black and white, that demonstrates the pitfalls of Charismania far better than we ever could.

So let’s continue with our analysis.

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We left off with Pastor Smith’s admonishing the crowd not to expect a “pie-eating buddy” out of him.  Instead, he tells them, he must keep his distance from his people.  After expounding on this for awhile, he goes on, in paragraph 29, to discuss his next point, which is that everybody needs a moment in time that defines their Christianity.  He says:

(29) Most churches don’t – what I would say on a corporate level – pray for people.  Now I’m talkin’, we pray, but I’m talking about, PRAYING for people.  When Samuel found David, he just didn’t say, “OK, David, you’re the next king of Israel, sha na na, go go go, well, ya ya ya, bye.”  No, he took the vial of oil, he poured it over his head, he probably laid his hands upon him.  Whatever transacted at that moment, it said the Spirit of God came upon David from that moment.  See, every one of you need a divine encounter with the Spirit of God. 

(30) Every one of you need a place, you need some place in your history that you go back to, and you say, “Right then and right there is when I turned into a different kind of person.  Right then and right there is when I became that new creature that Paul wrote about.  Right then and right there is when the burden got removed, the yoke got destroyed, the depression got broken, the cancer got healed, the spirit of suicide lifted off of me, wrath, rebellion, and disobedience broke off of my life.  Right then and right there.  I was at that altar, that man of God, that woman of God, put their hand on me, and the power of God hit me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet.

This sounds good, and it does get the crowd cheering, but the most important question we could ask is, “Is this Biblical?”  Does the BIBLE tell us that we NEED a moment or a place of dramatic encounter, dramatic transformation? 

I believe the answer simply has to be “No.”  Search the Scriptures.  Can you find any verse in the Bible to support this notion?  I couldn’t.  And while it is true that key figures in the Bible, such as the Apostle Paul, did have single life-changing experiences, there are also plenty of other important people, such as the Apostle Peter or King David or Timothy, who had faith and a walk with God that progressed in fits and starts.  Timothy, we learn, had been trained since his youth.

Once again, Pastor Smith advocates a type of experiential Christianity that could have the effect of making many folks – particularly those who have been Christians since childhood and have gradually matured in their walk with God over many years – doubt the validity of their faith, if they can’t point to a single defining moment of “going to the altar” and returning to their seats radically changed.  At the same time, this teaching sets people up to value a single dramatic encounter over the less showy (but more Scripturally supported) character traits that demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit

There is NOTHING written in the Bible about “being able to point to a definite time or place.”  But the Bible DOES say that we show that we are Christ’s by demonstrating His love and His humility.  We demonstrate our faith by having the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control) and (according to James 1) extending kindness and generosity to orphans and widows. 

Also note that although God used Samuel to anoint David, it had NOTHING to do with Samuel and EVERYTHING to do with God.  Samuel was just obediently following what God told him to do.

In paragraph 31, Pastor Smith says:

(31) So, why, why do I spend so much time laying hands on people?  I mean, and sometimes, I’m standing there saying, “Why am I doing this?”  Because anointing is being imparted.  Power is imparted.

Here I have to ask, how do we know this?  Is it because some people fall down?  Is it because Smith TELLS us this is so?  If “anointing” is really being imparted, then why do so many of the people who fall down get up and continue to live just like they always did?  Why do so many Living Word folks seem to remain mired in their same unbiblical lifestyles?  If they REALLY had received “the anointing of God” from Smith’s hands, then why are so few people truly permanently changed after they fall down? 

Paragraph 31 continues with,

Why is it important for that touch of God to be upon you?  Because as the power of God comes upon you and the revelation of the authority or the call of God upon your life is upon you, you will also understand that to get you to where God wants you to be, He will release favor on you.

Here I just have to ask, how did we suddenly leap from “anointing” to “favor”?  Where in the Bible does it say that favor goes with anointing?

Paragraph 31 ends with,

But when you are on a mission to possess what God has truly called you to do, I believe there will be that favor of God upon you to get you to where you’re going.

Where?  Where in Scripture do we see this principle?  Yes, God will work out HIS purposes for us.  For HIS glory.  This often will have nothing to do with “favor” as we humans would define it, however.  We are told many times in the New Testament that as followers of Christ, we can EXPECT persecutions.  Not an easy life marked by “favor.”  Since we are not God, we have a limited understanding of how God will work out His purposes.  Sometimes what God chooses to do for us won’t even be remotely close to what we’d choose for ourselves.  Yet we can take comfort in the promise of Romans 8:28, that all things will – in the end – work together for our good, to the glory of God.  And that’s going to include persecutions.  Jesus was persecuted.  All the Apostles were persecuted.  We have NO Scriptural basis to expect anything less for ourselves.

Paragraph 32 continues with the notion that we are anointed to succeed in a particular profession.  Again, it’s difficult to see how this is Scriptural.  Pastor Smith also, once again, segues here into talking about Joseph, although to repeat my earlier point, we don’t read anything in the Bible about the term “anointing” in connection with Joseph’s life.

In paragraphs 33 and 34, Pastor Smith engages in a practice that has had some interesting psychological effects on his congregation:  he calls out certain people by name and uses them as examples in his sermon.

I’ve mentioned before how the seats in the front rows were reserved for certain “special” people.  Some of them were part of the Smiths’ entourage, functioning as bodyguards and door-openers.  Since I’ve already described this practice of special reserved seating, I won’t bother to go into detail again here.  But those front-row folks enjoyed a certain level of status that was only accentuated when Pastor Smith would use them as examples.  It made all the rest of us “no-accounts” aspire to the day when Pastor Smith would know US, would use US as part of his object lessons.

Remember, Pastor Smith has already alluded, just a few moments earlier, to how he keeps himself distant from the congregation, how he doesn’t know what’s going on with most people, and how that’s for THEIR OWN GOOD, so that he can have a clear head to “deliver a word” to them.  Yet these front-row folks are suddenly exceptions to the whole “pastor-as-isolated-celebrity” spiel.  It sends oddly mixed messages, and it functions as a power play.

It also keeps certain influential members – often very financially successful and socially visible people – feeling special, which probably helps to keep them tethered and loyal to Smith’s ministry.  It’s really a very interesting ploy.

In paragraphs 35 through 37, Pastor Smith describes the Holy Spirit as being our “agent.”  He describes the ways that we can expect God to move on our behalf.  Once again, you’d be hard-pressed to back up this concept with anything out of the Bible…unless it happens to be the “Bible” that Joel Osteen (of “Your Best Life Now” fame) has been using lately. 

In paragraphs 38 through 53, Pastor Smith discusses how “the anointing” will create character and will create a hungering and thirsting for righteousness.  This is probably the strongest section of his sermon, providing a reminder that we all need from time to time.  Yet considering Smith’s topic is supposed to be “the anointing,” it would be helpful if Smith had explained how – specifically – this function of “the anointing” differs from the role of the Holy Spirit as described in the Bible. 

In fact, if you read that section of Smith’s sermon, it’s impossible to tell how “the anointing” is any different from having the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The Bible tells us that it is the Holy Spirit’s role to convict us of sin.  And as we yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading and direction, it is the HOLY SPIRIT that produces within us the character and integrity that Smith speaks of.

I’m not sure why Smith is emphasizing a nebulous concept like “the anointing” when he could just as easily – and with FAR more Scriptural support – be talking about the Holy Spirit.

Within this section about character and integrity, I find it fascinating that in paragraph 43, Smith cites Bill Hybels (of Willow Creek fame):

(43) Now listen to me about this.  When Bill Hybels, who pastors one of the largest churches in the United States, at one time Willow Creek was the largest in the United States, thousands of people, and Hybels said this in his book called “Courageous Leadership.”  He brought this subject up, he said, “I used to hire number 1, that my number 1 priority in making a hire was basically, do they have the ability to do the job?  Do they have the education, do they have the experience, do they have the knowledge, do they have the skill set to do this job?”  Now we’re talking about a church that has tens of thousands of people, so when you put somebody in charge of something, they better be able to carry the mail.  And he said, “Do they have the skill set?  And I learned through the journey of pastoring that I could teach a person how to do the job, but I could never teach at a leadership level how to be integrous.”  Said, “My number 1 thing now when I hire is integrity.”  And what you’re seeing here, is in more of a business way of communicating it, he said, “What I’m looking for is an anointed man.”  Because if you’re an anointed man, the anointing will do what a class cannot do.

I really wonder why Smith would quote Bill Hybels as an authority on anything.  Hybels is one of the three original proponents (Robert Schuller and Rick Warren are the other two) of the “user-friendly” church that Smith is always mocking!  Why is Hybels suddenly credible?  Because he has a large church?  Considering how Smith loves to boast about how HE has refused to cave to the “seeker-friendly” movement, it makes no sense that he’s now quoting Hybels as some sort of expert on “anointing.”

Did anyone else notice that once again, after quoting Hybels, Smith then turns around and re-defines the terms?  Hybels says he’ll only hire people of integrity.  Smith announces that this is “just another way of saying he wants ‘anointed’ people.”

Here we get to a perfect illustration of my biggest frustration when Smith – or any other Charismaniac – tosses around the term “anointing.”  And that is this:  why do we need to talk about such a convoluted subject as the “anointing”?  Virtue, character, and integrity are all great to discuss from the pulpit, because there are literally thousands of Scriptures to back you up.  You could spend years preaching about obedience and practical ways to follow what God commands us to do.  Talk about how we can LOVE each other.  Talk about how we can be HONEST in our lives.  Talk about how we can pursue moral purity, humility, self-discipline, generosity, patience, and kindness. 

And also…at the risk of sounding like I’m just a nit-picker…I really wish that someone would tell Pastor Smith that “integrous” is NOT a real word.  Smith finds ways to inject “integrous” into just about every one of his sermons, yet it seems like nobody – not even one of his chosen front-row folks – has ever had the nerve to tell him that while “integrous” may sound all proper and intellectual, it’s not actually in the dictionary.

One more important note on this section about the role of “the anointing” as it relates to integrity would have to do with paragraph 45:

(45) Now when there’s integrity, you will impact everybody around you, because you become a person that people can trust.  But when you get into holiness, it is part of your relationship with God.  The priesthood could not draw nigh to God.  They had a golden plate that was across their chest that said, “Holiness unto the Lord.”  Now we’re in a church situation in our culture that holiness is something people don’t even talk about anymore.  Everything that seemed to represent integrity or righteousness has kinda been thrown under the bus.  But what you’ve got to begin to see is that when you draw nigh unto God, God is expecting you to have a pure heart. 

I was very disturbed by this particular paragraph, as it seems to be saying that somehow, if we have integrity, we then possess something in our own strength that can enable us to approach God.  I believe that, although at first blush this SOUNDS good, it effectively minimizes what Christ has done for us.

The ONLY thing that allows us to approach God is the blood of Jesus.  The Bible says that all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.  We bring nothing to the table apart from the Cross of Christ.  It’s only when we throw ourselves on Christ’s mercy and depend on His grace that we can have a “pure heart.”  It has nothing to do with some mystical impartation of “anointing.”  It has everything to do with Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection.

Within the last several paragraphs of this sermon, we see Smith’s final thrust, which I believe he summarizes best in the paragraphs 54 and 55:

(54) So anointing is more than power.  OK, hear me, I said anointing is more than power.  Anointing – number one, everybody say, “Impartation.”  [Crowd responds, says, “Impartation.”]  Understand anointing has to do with impartation.  This is why you cannot cultivate a more powerful walk in God in a dead church.

(55) Cuz there’s nothing to impart.  What’s Tiger Woods gonna learn from me in golf?  What NOT to do?  [Crowd laughs.]  What could I teach Todd Helton about batting?  What could I teach Michael Jordan about a jump shot?  Nothing!  So why – he wouldn’t hang around me for sports advice.  “No, Michael, do it this way.  Do it like this, Mike.”  Huh, good Lord.  “Now, let me show you how to hit that ball, Tiger.”  Y’all are laughing about that, but do you realize, people, that in their heart they say, “I really wanna be all that God wants me to be,” set in DEAD spiritual environments with PEOPLE that all they’re doing is working through it up here.  I’ll tell you something, if you want an impartation, you better get around somebody that’s HAD an impartation.

Ah, once again we’re back to Smith promoting himself.  The whole point of this sermon is, you need Pastor Smith.  You need him to be cold and distant and uninvolved in your life, except to “speak a word” to you and to “lay hands on” you.  You need him, because he’s anointed, and somehow, this mystical anointing – that you can’t just declare that you have, although SMITH can declare that HE has it – is what makes you pursue holiness and integrity.  You need this anointing, because it is what brings “favor” on you.  If you go to Smith’s church, you will begin to have people magically respond to you, giving you jobs you’re not qualified for, opening doors that you naturally couldn’t open, because Smith’s anointing will transfer itself over to you, and you will have favor.  And favor proves that you’re anointed.

The bottom line is, Smith cheats his people by wasting their time with all this “anointing” mumbo jumbo.  He should just tell them about Jesus, how you can actually pray to Him and ask Him for power, and through the Holy Spirit, He will help you obey what He wants you to obey!  Yet instead, we have to wade through more than an hour of blather and convoluted mysticism, all for the purpose of promoting your need for Smith and for Living Word Church.

It’s really too bad.

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We’re still working on our analysis of the second half of Pastor Smith’s (a pseudonym) sermon.  We hope to post it either later today or else tomorrow.  But in the meantime, here’s something that’s been on my mind, as I’ve spent more time lately listening to Living Word Church (another pseudonym) on iTunes.

And that is…even now, nearly a year after we quit attending Living Word, it still puzzles me that we (and lots of other educated long-time Christians) willingly set aside a lot of things we knew to be true and willingly put up with a lot of manipulation and other bad behaviors from the Smiths.  What WAS it that hooked us in and drew us back week after week?

As I listen to Pastor Smith preach, I find myself being reminded, just by the sound of his authoritative yet raspy voice, of all that I used to love about the place.  And most of that, I think, comes down to how I FELT when I was there, in the sanctuary.  There definitely WAS something almost tangible, something that you could FEEL, during many of the services. 

Pastor Smith has another sermon available on iTunes, his latest in the series about “The Anointing.”  I doubt I’ll take the time to transcribe this new one, but I did listen to it, and as I heard many of the things that Smith said, I couldn’t help but feel some of the same emotions I used to feel back when we went to church there.  As Smith talked about “the anointing” in this second sermon, he gave several examples of feeling the presence of God. 

And despite all of my wariness, all of my cynicism, all of my “been there, done that” attitudes about Living Word, I found myself remembering that yes, I really did used to believe that the emotional rush I felt when I was at church actually WAS the “presence of God.”

The best way I can explain it is, it felt like a cold blast of water to a thirsty place deep within me.  Sometimes it felt like a blast of cold air.  (Of course, sometimes that was probably because we often sat near the gigantic air conditioning vents…)  Sometimes I would feel waves of emotion, almost to the point of tears.  And I’d sit and just shut off my brain and let my thoughts flow from one thing to the next, and pretty soon, I’d glance at my watch and realize that Pastor Smith had been preaching for an hour…when here it felt like time had practically stood still!

And whatever this feeling was, it was quite addictive.  Pastor Smith mentions “hungering and thirsting for the presence of God” in both of the “Anointing” sermons.  When I went to church there, I would have thought I knew exactly what he was talking about – which was my continual desire for more of what I just described in the above paragraph.

So I guess what I’m wondering is this:  WAS that almost-tangible “something” in Living Word’s atmosphere the presence of God?

I’m honestly not sure.

I now lean toward thinking that of course it wasn’t. 

I know, as a commenter once pointed out, that no church is perfect, and that even the most sanctified and consecrated pastors are going to have sins, struggles, and problems.  I know that God continues to use and work through all of us, sinful and utterly fallible though we are.  And I’m very grateful for that.

But…would God choose to manifest Himself in a special, tangible way at a place that is such a hotbed of questionable teachings, unbiblical practices, greed, haughtiness, false prophecies, and manipulation?  And if not, then what WAS that feeling that I used to feel, that special “buzz” that I’d get from going to church there?

I think this is a very important question, because I believe there are a lot of people out there in Charismania who are hooked into it by this very thing.  Now that I look back on it – and now that I hear Pastor Smith’s teachings on the presence of God – I realize that the entire congregation at Living Word probably also believes that that thing that they FEEL when they’re there at church is indeed God’s presence.  And that by desiring that feeling, they are “hungering and thirsting” for God.

I don’t really have any way to wrap up this blog posting…it’s more of an open-ended question.  What do YOU think?  If you were ever involved in Charismania, do you remember that certain feeling that I’m describing, that certain unique wave of emotion?  If so, what do YOU think that it was?

I’m still puzzled.

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It’s been quite an interesting exercise, to transcribe the full and exact text of Pastor Smith’s sermon about “The Anointing” (please note:  “Pastor Smith” is a pseudonym, as are “Living Word Church” and all other names – aside from those of celebrities – in this post).  We mentioned this in a comment following our last post, but it bears repeating:  hearing Pastor Smith live and in person is a radically different experience than reading a transcript of his preaching.  It’s even different than listening to him on a CD.  

We’ve come to realize that Pastor Smith possesses the gift of being able to present almost anything in a manner that sounds profound and full of authority.  Plus, he talks really fast, and with a great deal of enthusiasm, so that it’s easy to quit following his exact words and instead just get caught up in the emotion of what he says.  But if you stop to analyze his statements and, more importantly, compare them to what the BIBLE says…well, it can be a shockingly eye-opening exercise!

If you haven’t already done so, we’d like you to go back to our previous post and read the full transcript of Pastor Smith’s “Anointing” sermon.  Yes, it’s a LOT to read.  We really debated about how to post the transcript, because it is so long.  At first, we thought we’d put it up in segments, to make it easier to wade through.  But then we decided that it needed to be up in its entirety.  Otherwise, a reader wouldn’t get the full effect, and the possibility would exist that perhaps we’d taken something he said out of context.

At any rate, here are some of our immediate reactions.  We went ahead and numbered the paragraphs, to make it easier to follow where the various thoughts fit into the sermon as a whole.  We appreciate the input of our readers, so please post your comments and add any thoughts that you may have.  Special thanks go to reader “AJS,” who, where noted, gave us his input.

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The first eleven paragraphs of Smith’s sermon really don’t contain much of great significance.  Pastor Smith begins by reading three passages of Scripture – I Samuel 10:6-7, I Samuel 16:13, and Acts 10:38.  As usual, Smith uses the King James Version of the Bible.  We don’t think there’s really anything “suspect” about Smith’s favoring the KJV.  We’re pretty sure he does so because it’s the Bible he grew up with and it’s what he’s familiar with.  However, using a more formidable, difficult-to-understand translation such as the KJV does have the effect of making Smith’s congregation more dependent upon what Smith says about the Scriptures, rather than encouraging them to read the passages for themselves.  It’s easy to get hampered by the archaic language of the KJV, and it’s so much simpler, if you’re an average member of the audience, to shut off your mind and let the “expert” (Pastor Smith) give you the interpretation of the verse.

Smith then goes on to give several paragraphs of introductory remarks.  He promises that in this new series of teachings, he is going to discuss what the anointing is, why we need the anointing, and why we should desire it.

Our first real red flag goes up at paragraph 12, which says:

(12) Now how many believe you’re saved for MORE than just getting’ to heaven?  Wuh, no, I, no, I got about half of you on that.  I said, how many believe you’re saved for MORE than just getting to heaven?  This is important to me because a lot of Christians look at this as, “OK, I’m, I’m a believer, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna get to heaven, and that’s the, the heighth and depth and breadth of.  But how many believe the Word said, “He that believeth in me, the works that I do you shall be able to do also and greater works than these shall you do.”  It said, “He that believeth in me, as the Scriptures sayeth, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”  

Here, in paragraph 12, we see a common theme of “Charismaniac” preaching – that somehow, the Christian life is about MORE than the salvation of our souls, is about MORE than “getting to heaven.” 

On the surface, this sounds good.  It appeals to our flesh, because as humans, our primary desire is to have a nice life in the here and now.  But think for a moment.  The whole premise of the Gospel, as outlined in ALL of Scripture, is that there is MORE to life than just what we can see in the flesh.  And this “more” is that there is a hereafter.  There is an unseen world, and an unseen but very real Creator.  This Creator has full rights to set all the rules, and in His holiness, He has taken offense to our sin, sin that we’ve inherited from the first man and woman, Adam and Eve.  Yet in His great love and mercy, this Creator made a way for us to be reconciled to Himself, by sending His Son Jesus.  Jesus died for our sins – took our rightful place on the Cross – and then rose again 3 days later. 

Our ONLY hope in life and death is that there IS more to this life than just what we can see, and that God has made a way for us, through Christ, to go to heaven and not to hell as we deserve.  But Pastor Smith, in this one statement (“How many believe that we’re saved for MORE than just gettin’ to heaven?”) turns the Gospel upside down. 

Search through the entire Bible, and you will find that this is heresy.  Our salvation IS about heaven.  It IS about the bodily resurrection of the dead.  This life is short.  If the Gospel is mostly about the here and now, then all the Apostles really missed the boat, because they enjoyed NONE of the wealth, prosperity, and earthly clout (“favor”) that Pastor Smith so often touts as the REAL benefits of the Christian life.

Moving on, alarms continue to go off for us in the very next paragraph, paragraph 13:

(13) What is it that transforms a teenager in the shepherd field into somebody that could be the most influential king in the history of Israel?  What is it that takes a man named Jesus and puts the power of God on him so strongly that everybody he prayed for, every oppressed person that he ministered to was delivered, everywhere that he went, miraculous things happened?  What happens when you take a young man named Oral Roberts who was dying of tuberculosis, uh, had a speech impediment and the power of God come upon him, heals his disease, heals his speech impediment, and has right now over one million documented healings that were medically proven and verified to be exactly what was said.  They were healed by the power of God.  What happens to a person to be able to take them from one place and then everybody’s sayin, all you’re gonna do is die, and if you live, you’ll never make an impact, and turn them into somebody that changes the world around them.  It’s not your I.Q., it’s not the ivy league college you went to, it’s the anointing of God.

If we could stand up in the middle of a Smith sermon and shout out our honest reaction, here is what we would say:  WHAT???  So now Jesus is just a ‘man’??  Uh, NO, Jesus did what He did because He is GOD!!  He was God from the moment that He was born into an earthly body, because He’s always BEEN God.  More heresy!  This one brings down Jesus’ miracles to our human level.

This is another common “Charismaniac” ploy.  Charismaniacs like to over-emphasize Jesus’ humanity at the expense of His Godhood.  Instead of keeping a balanced focus on the fact that Jesus was BOTH fully man AND fully God, Charismaniacs treat Jesus as though He were just another human being like the rest of us, only somehow, through “the anointing,” He was able to become God.  Dangerous, dangerous heresy!

Also, note how Smith cites Oral Roberts in exactly the same way as he cites Jesus.  Even if Oral Roberts had seen the miraculous operating in his life in exactly the way Smith claims (and this is HIGHLY dubious!), it’s incredible that Smith would elevate Roberts to basically the same status as Jesus.  Or, if you’d prefer, bring down Jesus to the same level as Oral Roberts. This disturbing theme of downplaying the Godhood of Jesus continues in paragraph 15.  Here is the exact text of what Pastor Smith said:

(15) And this is this thing, we create all of this mystical mystery about the Bible and the people that are in the Bible, I believe part of the reason they are written about is because they’re just REGULAR guys.  Joseph was a 17-year-old kid, and the Spirit of the Lord gave him a dream and gave him a vision about his future and about his life.  Jesus comes on the scene at 30 years of age and turns upside down.  This is the thing that I, I wonder what people, they say, “Well, people just thought He was God, He wasn’t really God, you know it was just kind of uh, a folklore or something.”  But you know the amazing thing, ladies and gentlemen, how could one man, how could one man completely turn the course of history upside down just in his flesh or his – there’s been a lot of good teachers on the scene, there’s been a lot of people that have prophetic insight on the scene, there’s been a lot of people that drew a crowd, that crossed the pathways of this world, but why did Jesus flip the world upside down?  Because the Spirit of God was upon Him!

Again, note how Smith says that Jesus “flipped the world upside down” because the Spirit of God was upon Him.  Do you see what an interesting spin this is?  If the secret to Jesus’ life was that the “Spirit of God was upon Him” (and NOT that Jesus actually WAS God, as the Bible clearly says), then it’s just a small leap in logic to say that we can be exactly like Jesus.  If “the anointing” was what made Jesus Who He was, and if WE can also be anointed, then we, in our humanity, can become equals with Jesus.  Yes, it’s subtle, but again, it’s heresy!

In paragraph 18, we notice some interesting psychological ploys that Pastor Smith uses.  Here is paragraph 18:

(18) And people think the only time the anointing comes upon a person is when they get in the pulpit.  Or when Tommy sits up there and he begins to praise and worship and lead and the anointing comes on him, and then we feel the presence of God out there in the crowd as the glory of God begins to come into the house.  See, what God does when He brings you in here, He wants you to experience His presence.  He wants, He wants to cause His presence and His power to come upon you.  He wants to charge your battery, He wants to encourage you, He wants to energize you so you can face the challenges that the circumstances of this life bring to you.  But if you just think the anointing only operates within the four walls of the church, you’re kinda in that typical Charismatic mindset that when a man preaches, he feels the anointing of God, or when someone sings, they feel the anointing, or when someone’s in the prayer chamber they feel that power and presence of God.

While it’s not nearly as disturbing as detracting from the Godhood of Jesus, notice what Pastor Smith does in Paragraph 18…he plants the notion in his listeners’ minds that the very presence of God is within Living Word Church.  He tells the audience NOT to labor under the false assumption that they will ONLY feel the presence of God while they’re at Living Word.  In so doing, Smith sets up a straw man (he argues against a made-up premise to prove the opposite point of what he seems to be making). 

In other words, it’s highly doubtful that Smith’s people actually think that the presence of God ONLY exists within the four walls of the church.  It’s also doubtful that Smith himself believes his people think that.  But he sets it up as though it’s just a GIVEN that the presence of God is located at Living Word.  This is psychologically manipulative.  It causes people to view Living Word Church as some special, consecrated, sanctified spot where God literally dwells, in a more tangible and special way.

Smith also puts in a shameless plug for his son Tommy’s “anointedness” when he talks about Tommy leading worship.  When we were attending Living Word, we noticed that Smith was always doing this with his sons – he was always injecting the notion that his boys shared his special “anointing” – even when it should have been obvious that they were just young, inexperienced, moderately talented young men.  Tommy had written a few nice worship songs and could play the piano well, but the sad truth was, he was tone deaf and did not have the voice for singing.  More bothersome to me was that Tommy also displayed a certain “spiritual tone deafness,” where he seemed totally insensitive to the responses of the people.  For instance, we’d sing a touching song that had stirred people to the point of tears, to where the mood would be very tender and emotional.  But rather than flowing with that, Tommy would jump in and squelch it by barking ill-timed orders to “Give the Lord a great shout!”

Yet Pastor Smith is very careful to plant the idea that somehow, his audience labors under the notion that they need Tommy to bring them into the presence of God.  It’s not heresy, but it’s sure clever and worth noting.

Toward the end of paragraph 20, Pastor Smith suddenly segues into talking about Joseph.  But where in Scripture do we read that Joseph was “anointed”?  We don’t.  Smith is making a logical jump from seeing “favor” on Joseph’s life, and equating that with “anointing,” without ever backing up this leap with Scripture.  This is an important thing to note, because from this point in the sermon on, Smith tends to use the terms “favor” and “anointing” interchangeably.  Yet he gives us no Biblical reason for equating favor with anointing…perhaps because there IS no Biblical reason!

In paragraph 21, Smith declares that “God wants anointed businessmen,” and then goes on to tell his audience all about how God wants them to succeed.  Yet once again, where in the Bible do we read ANY of this?  Where does it say, specifically, that God wants anointed businessmen?  Where does it say that God even wants us to succeed in our businesses?  Certainly there have been occasions where God has allowed Christian businessmen to go bankrupt in order to teach them some fruits of the Spirit, or some other character-shaping lessons.  Certainly, if you consider all of Scripture and “the whole counsel of God,” it is evident that occasionally, God will permit hardships to come into the lives of His children.

In paragraph 22, Pastor Smith finally gets around to defining “anointing.”  Here is his definition:

(22) Anointing.  Anointing is the transference or impartation of divine power and authority.  Anointing is the transference or impartation of divine power and authority.  Now if you are anointed, or when the anointing of God is released upon your life…there will be an impartation of power and there will be an impartation of authority.  I’m gonna talk more about that in just a minute.  It also declares that anointing is a bestowal of favor and an impartation of virtue and holiness.

We can’t help but wonder, where is Smith getting this?  Where in Scripture do we read any of these definitions?  If they’re not from the Bible, Smith should say where they come from.  Is it from some Bible dictionary?  Some commentary?  His own head?  Who knows!

In paragraph 23, Smith says:

(23) Now, let’s just talk about this for a few…Most people think of when a person is anointed, they have power.  That’s part of it.  The Bible says in the book of Romans, I believe it’s the 11th chapter and the 29th verse, it says, “The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance.  Let’s stop there for just a second.  It says, “The gifts and the callings of God are without repentance.”  So how many would agree  if it’s a gift, it came from God.  And how many would agree if there’s a call on your life, it came from God.  And basically, God says, if I release it, I’m not taking it back.  I’m not sad that I spoke it, I’m not grieved over the fact that I declared it, and as long as you live on earth, you will have to live with the responsibility that you were called of God, and you’ll have to live with the responsibility that I put the gifting of the power in you to fulfill that call.

Since Smith says, “Let’s stop there for just a second,” I’ll agree with him.  LET’S just stop there.  What does Romans 11:29 actually say?  More importantly, let’s examine Romans 11:29 within the context of the entire chapter of Romans 11.

Before we proceed, click on the link to read Romans 11, paying special attention to how verse 29 fits into the chapter.

Romans 11 is discussing the Jews, and how, although they’ve rejected Jesus, we Gentiles still owe them a debt of gratitude.  We must not look down on them, because God is never going to renege on His promises to them.  THAT is where the verse (Romans 11:29) comes in – “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”  In other words, God’s gifts TO THE JEWS and calling OF THE JEWS are not going away.  This has NOTHING to do with the supposed “gifting” that God gives to us as Christians. 

And yes, we’re aware that as Christians, we have now been grafted in to Israel.  By virtue of our faith (a gift from God), we are now part of “the seed of Abraham,” and can now share in the promises made to Israel.  BUT, in Romans 11, Paul is specifically talking to the Gentiles about what their attitude toward the Jews should be.  If Romans 11:29 were applicable to the Gentiles whom Paul was addressing, it seems like he would have been careful to say so.  Instead, read in context, Romans 11:29 is discussing God’s promises made specifically to ethnic Jews, not the Church in general.

Here we see classic Charismaniac Scripture-whacking at its finest.  Charismaniacs almost always pluck Bible verses out of context to support what they say.  As we’ve already seen, Smith’s standard practice is to read one or two verses and use them as a text to support an hour-long sermon.  Here, Smith takes a single line (“The gifts and the callings of God are without repentance”) and uses it to prop up the notion that if God has given you a “prophetic vision” of something, then God will not let that thing die.  God is bound to fulfill it.

This might not seem like it’s all that bad, but trust me, in real life, at Living Word Church, this type of message poses special dangers.  You see, many people at Living Word are there because they are especially into the “gifts of the Spirit.”  In particular, they are into prophecy.  And many folks at Living Word genuinely believe that they’ve either received a “word” from Pastor Smith (who speaks for God), or that they received a “word” or vision on their own, also from God.  We’ve discussed at other times how Pastor Smith’s prophecies tend to go, so we won’t get into that again except to briefly say that Smith generally gives people very positive prophecies, all about how financially prosperous they’re going to be, how much influence they’re going to have in the world, and how they will rise up and lead people. 

It’s safe to say that if you’ve received a “word” from Pastor Smith, you’d love for it to come true.  Also, the folks that we personally knew who had had “visions” about their “destinies” (this was really very common among Living Word attendees) tended to have grandiose ideas about loads of money, fancy mansions, and world-famous ministries for themselves.

So you have to understand, hearing this type of message from the pulpit – that “the gifts and the callings of God are without repentance” – has special significance to the people at Living Word, as just about all of them have some big dream about their “destiny.”  This is the reason why many of them come to church, because through Pastor Smith’s messages, they receive much-needed “shots in the arm” to keep going for another week, to keep believing in their dreams. 

For instance, we had friends at Living Word, dear sisters, who were (probably still are) utterly convinced that “God told them” they were going to run a “hospitality” ministry and own a particular mansion in a particular high-end neighborhood here in our city.  They’d also had visions of a specific dollar amount ($53 million) that God was going to give them at some point, to make this dream come true.  I know that you’re probably shaking your head and smiling at this, but it was NOT a joke to these two gals.  They were staking their entire future on this prophetic vision, to the neglect of their current jobs.  And rather than putting any money away for retirement, or working to own a more attainable home (like a moderately priced townhome), they were giving huge “faith offerings” and planning for the day when “God was going to retire them” and place them into this mansion and ministry.

And this is just one example.  In our time at Living Word, we realized that just about everyone we met there also had some sort of professional “ministry” that they were hoping to move into full-time. 

So a message like this, where a single Bible verse is plucked out of context, has some very real and very dangerous ramifications.  What does it do to these folks’ faith in Christ, if they are told, FALSELY, that God almost “has” to fulfill their dreams and visions because Romans 11:29 says so?  Once again, the glorious work of Christ on the Cross has been minimized, taking second place to our earthly “calling,” and once again, Smith runs the very real risk of portraying God as a liar.

We then read, in the middle of paragraph 24,

…So it said, “The gifts and the callings of God are without repentance.”  So if you wanna change the wording in there just a little bit, you could also say, “The, uh, power and the authority of God are without repentance.”  Authority and power are different.

We noticed (as did alert reader AJS) that Smith makes another strange leap in logic here.  My immediate reaction to this segue was, Oh great.  Now we’re not only abusing Scripture by ripping it out of context and incorrectly applying it to something that it never meant.  Now we’re also changing the WORDING of the Scripture!  Since when do “gifts” and “calling” equal “power” and “authority”?  They don’t!  Not in ANY dictionary.

But after redefining terms midstream, Smith continues for several more minutes to talk about “power” and “authority,” as though he’d just supported this leap with Scripture.  Yet he didn’t even support it with a dictionary.

Then Smith says, in paragraph 26,

(26) So when, when the anointing comes upon a person’s life, understand something, you don’t anoint yourself.  You just don’t wake up and say, “OK, I’m anointed.”  There’s an impartation.

We found this statement to be almost humorous.  Because, while Smith declares with absolute authority that you can’t “anoint yourself,” HE has certainly anointed HIMSELF.  Smith doesn’t ever explain where he gets his OWN authority from.  But we’re expected to believe in HIS anointing without question.  He bases his entire ministry upon his anointing.

Reader (and commenter) AJS also makes this interesting point about “anointing” and “impartation”:

…there is a narrow definition of impartation implicit within the message which defines impartation strictly in terms of laying hands on people. In reality, more impartation happens in discipleship relationships than anywhere else. Oddly enough, the only mention of Jesus doing anything like anointing the disciples is in Matthew 10, but there is no record of Jesus laying hands on them. If the laying on of hands is so important, why isn’t it mentioned there of all places?  (See the full text of AJS’s observations in the “Comments” section following the Transcript post.)

In paragraphs 26 and 27, Pastor Smith makes yet another interesting transition.  Considering the fact that the subject of this sermon is supposedly “The Anointing,” it’s rather bizarre that we find Smith saying the following:

(26) …Ah, the problem we got with most churches, is that they want a soul-ish relationship with their pastor.  Now they say they don’t, but they really do, because if you don’t have enough pie and coffee with some folks, they not gonna stay.  I don’t know why they want Marie Callender as their pastor.  You know, they want Ronald McDonald, they want Marie Callender, they, they just – they want a buddy.  They want a religious buddy.  Uh, er, there’s plenty of people out here in the crowd that can be your religious buddy.  But see, what begins to happen is people begin to crave a soul-ish relationship with somebody that is not raised up by God to be their buddy. 

(27) Now it’s real quiet.  And so [mimics a whining voice], “He won’t be my buddy!  He’s distant!”  Do you realize what it takes to do what I do?  Do you realize what it takes to have a word that is broad enough to touch every person that comes through the door and not be impacted by what everybody in the crowd is dealing with and their issues?  One of the hardest things about pasturing a smaller church is this:  everybody wants to make sure you know all their stuff.  So then if you preach, then somebody gets mad, because they say, “Yeah, he preached that because I told him that.”  Well, the bigger this church gets, I don’t know much of anything but Christ and Him crucified.  And people say, “Well, you’re distanced.”  Well, maybe that distance isn’t so bad.  Maybe that distance is the ability to be an anointer.  Maybe what all of a sudden starts happening is you’re able to make an impartation into people’s lives because their expectation of you is not to be their buddy, but their expectation is that you can impart something into their life, that you can put your hand upon them and really not know everything about all their business, but you can, in faith, become a person of supernatural agreement to see breakthroughs come into their life.  See, you don’t need another buddy.  What you need is somebody who can make an impartation into your life.  So what’s happened, though, what’s happened is people begin to come into church and they begin to come into environments, and they’re not hungering for the presence of God.

Since this has NOTHING to do with “The Anointing,” it’s not rocket science to realize that Smith has some other purpose in these two paragraphs – some other hidden agenda – than defining “The Anointing.”  What is he REALLY trying to teach his people here?

Well, Smith is using these two paragraphs to respond to a very real criticism that he is completely distant from his people.  That is simply a true fact.  He does NOT deal with anybody on a personal level.  He walks around the church facility ONLY if he’s surrounded by his bodyguards.  Special velvet ropes are strung across the walkway before Smith travels from his office to the stage entrance.  He doesn’t even bother to worship with the people, instead making his grand entrance toward the end of the singing time.  This is a very real problem at Living Word.

But Smith is setting up another straw man here.  Nobody really wants or expects him to be available to go out for pie and coffee.  People aren’t so crazy that they think they’re all going to be his friend.  But they WOULD like a pastor who shows some connection to the circumstances of the average person’s life, and Smith obviously does not want to do this.  He likes his mansion, he likes his absolutely top-of-the-line Mercedes, he likes his designer clothes and the perks of being a mini-celebrity in his own little world.  He LIKES the distance.  So he uses this part of the sermon to promote the crazy idea that somehow, by distancing himself from the people and holding himself ABOVE the people (rather than being a SERVANT, like Jesus commanded), he is somehow doing his PEOPLE a favor.  He’s better able to “deliver a word” to them, if he is totally out of touch with them.

This has nothing to do with “The Anointing,” but it DOES serve Smith’s own purposes for promoting himself.  Does anyone else find this kind of manipulation as appalling as we do?

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Well, our post is almost up to 5,000 words, and we’ve only made it a little less than halfway through this sermon, so we’ll stop for now and take it up again shortly, when we hope to post the rest of our analysis.  In the meantime, please do us the honor of sharing YOUR thoughts.  We value your input, particularly if you add some insights directly from the Bible.

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As we promised, here is the transcript of Pastor Smith’s (a pseudonym) recent sermon about “The Anointing.”  We have some commentary that we’ll also post in an upcoming article, but for now, just read it for what it is.  Yes, we’re aware that this is an extremely long post, but we’d really appreciate if you’d take the time to read the full transcript.  And please, give us your feedback.  How do YOU think Pastor Smith’s teaching lines up with the Bible?

The Anointing, by Pastor Smith 

(1) Stand to our feet across the house.  I want you to open your Bible into the book of I Samuel.  I’m gonna read 3 scriptures I’m gonna read 3 scriptures to you, so if you can, be a little mobile today, if not, watch the screen, they’ll be on the screen. 

(2) Uh, but in first Samuel, the tenth chapter, and the sixth and the seventh verses, and this is Samuel talking to Saul, “And the spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them and shalt be turned into another man, and let it be when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee, for God is with thee.” 

(3) Now turn over a few chapters to the sixteenth chapter of first Samuel, now this is after, this is after David’s called out, his brothers are reviewed, and Samuel says basically, um, the king is not amongst them.  They finally get David out of the shepherd’s field and the thirteenth verse says, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brethren and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” 

(4) And then flip over to the New Testament into the book of Acts, if you’d turn over to the book of Acts the tenth chapter and the thirty eighth verse.  Acts the tenth chapter, the 38th verse.  “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with him.” 

(5) Father, anoint me today with this Holy Ghost, with this power of the Holy Spirit, Lord, that you have graciously released and bestowed upon our lives to do impossible things, and Lord I pray today that your people will have an ear to hear they will have a mind to perceive, they will have a heart to believe.  And I declare, God, that the spiritual side of who we are will become awakened and stirred and ignited.  And that we will leave this house today truly empowered by your presence and by your Spirit, in the name of Jesus, and everybody said amen.  Amen! 

(6) You may be seated. For the next few Sundays I’m gonna be preaching about the anointing.  And I will be carrying over in different aspects and dynamics of it into the Wednesday night as well.  So, Sunday morning and Wednesday nights I’m going to be really digging in to the subject of the anointing.   

(7) Most of you realize I wrote a book a few years back entitled, “[Book Title].”  I’m sure all of you have a copy of it, or several copies of it, uh…yes, I’m “sure” about that.  Ah, I wish you all had a copy of it, uh, but even if you’ve read the book, ah, there’s so much when I get into preaching something that I can bring out and it also brings a quickening into your spirit.  Uh, one of the things that I think begins to happen when I taught on this originally years ago, we weren’t even at this location, we were at the [street name] property, something really begin to ignite within the church, uh, because revelation really begin to come upon them about what it was to be anointed, who was anointed, what we’re anointed for.  Uh, the different dynamics and aspects of the anointing. 

(8) Most people really do not understand as I would say the height, depth, and breadth of what it means to be an anointed vessel.  When the Lord says in Acts the tenth chapter how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth.  When Jesus said, and now I’ll refer to it a little bit later in the message as well, in the fourth chapter of Luke the 18th verse, said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has ANOINTED me.”  How many believe that anointing is a vital part of the texture of Scripture? Now, what I want to – you to – let me lay some groundwork today.  I think there’s one thing that we begin to understand is, I’m gonna talk to you today very strongly about what the anointing IS.  Now a lot of times, in Sss – in – with Scriptural things that we use the term – How many know this term a lot, at least in our church?  And we talk about the anointing.  We talk about the presence of God.  We talk about the power of God.  We talk about these things quite frequently, and sometimes, uh, there’s a multiplicity of…interpretation and definition.  And I wanna bring some clarification to what it means to be anointed.

(9) Well one of the things I wanna maybe approach you on is why on earth do we even WANT to be anointed.  You know, why should we have any hungering or any thirsting to WANT to have as…when it says, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.”  It said, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, and He went about healing all that were oppressed of the devil.”  And, uh, what, one of the things that I want to get into you today is to trigger in you a hungering and a thirsting to be an anointed vessel. 

(10) Now, how many understand, we have all of our abilities, we have all that God has, in a sense, gifted us with, and we can navigate and move through life through what our natural mind can help us understand, what our natural abilities can help us produce.  But how many believe that when God really shows up in the middle of everything that we’re putting our hands to do, that things can become dramatically more impacting?  How many believe that your life can make a greater difference under the empowering presence of God?  How many believe you can do things…it says Saul was turned into another man.  It was like, you might say, the anointing did for him – I think Rod Parsley put it this way, said, “The anointing did for him what a phone booth did for Clark Kent.” 

(11) And you know, when you stop and think about it, if you just wanna continue to kinda operate in your Clark Kent mode and you just doing what you have the ability to do, or what the world has told you, and this is how far you can go, this is how much you can accomplish, this is how much favor you can have, this is how much you can sell, this is how much you can earn, this is how much influence you can have, this is the impact you can make.  If you wanna just operate in the sphere or the box of where your flesh can take you, that’s fine.  But if you really want to bust the walls out of the box, you might say, if you want to really rise up and say, “I believe I can get more done than what I oughtta be able to get done, I believe I should accomplish more than what my education tells me I can accomplish, my experience tells me I can accomplish,” then you’re gonna have to rise up and say, “Lord, I need to be anointed, I need to have something upon my life that empowers me to do great things.

(12) Now how many believe you’re saved for MORE than just getting’ to heaven?  Wuh, no, I, no, I got about half of you on that.  I said, how many believe you’re saved for MORE than just getting to heaven?  This is important to me because a lot of Christians look at this as, “OK, I’m, I’m a believer, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna get to heaven, and that’s the, the heighth and depth and breadth of.  But how many believe the Word said, “He that believeth in me, the works that I do you shall be able to do also and greater works than these shall you do.”  It said, “He that believeth in me, as the Scriptures sayeth, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”   

(13) What is it that transforms a teenager in the shepherd field into somebody that could be the most influential king in the history of Israel?  What is it that takes a man named Jesus and puts the power of God on him so strongly that everybody he prayed for, every oppressed person that he ministered to was delivered, everywhere that he went, miraculous things happened?  What happens when you take a young man named Oral Roberts who was dying of tuberculosis, uh, had a speech impediment and the power of God come upon him, heals his disease, heals his speech impediment, and has right now over one million documented healings that were medically proven and verified to be exactly what was said.  They were healed by the power of God.  What happens to a person to be able to take them from one place and then everybody’s sayin, all you’re gonna do is die, and if you live, you’ll never make an impact, and turn them into somebody that changes the world around them.  It’s not your I.Q., it’s not the ivy league college you went to, it’s the anointing of God.

(14) I think at our, in our, um, that our efforts to accomplish things a lot of times, we do take God out of the equation way too much.  Ah, then again, I’m just trying to, trying to get you in the same zone where I’m at with this right now.  When you, uh, when you think about this, we look at God helping us in the sense of, OK Lord, you know, kinda show up, and help me make the right decision and help me do the right things, but you know, it – I’m talking about more than this.  I’m talking about when what is happening should of never even had the potential of happening – David should of never had the potential of being the king.  Are you with me?  Elijah or Elisha, just regular guys. 

(15) And this is this thing, we create all of this mystical mystery about the Bible and the people that are in the Bible, I believe part of the reason they are written about is because they’re just REGULAR guys.  Joseph was a 17-year-old kid, and the Spirit of the Lord gave him a dream and gave him a vision about his future and about his life.  Jesus comes on the scene at 30 years of age and turns upside down.  This is the thing that I, I wonder what people, they say, “Well, people just thought He was God, He wasn’t really God, you know it was just kind of uh, a folklore or something.”  But you know the amazing thing, ladies and gentlemen, how could one man, how could one man completely turn the course of history upside down just in his flesh or his – there’s been a lot of good teachers on the scene, there’s been a lot of people that have prophetic insight on the scene, there’s been a lot of people that drew a crowd, that crossed the pathways of this world, but why did Jesus flip the world upside down?  Because the Spirit of God was upon Him![Crowd claps, you hear one amen.] (16) What is the anointing?  Yuh, what IS the anointing?  Now I think this is the, the first thing I wanna really delve into today.  What, what IS it?  What IS the anointing?  Well, when you study it out, now in Charismatic Pentecostal circles, we, we talk about the empowering presence of God, which I don’t think is, is a bad terminology, uh, we talk about, now, when I, when I grew up in Pentecost, they called it the unction.   Most of you don’t have any idea what the unction is.  But, uh…the, kind of the unction was when you really FELT something.  It’s kinda like you’re just standing there, and then you just [makes whooshing noise] FELT that.  I know you don’t know what I’m talkin’ about, but.  And, and you know, so people tell me, “So I’m anointed,” and how do you know, “Well, I felt it.”  I’m not saying you don’t feel it.  I mean when the presence of God comes upon me when I preach, I feel it.  Uh, a glory, there’s a weight.  The presence of God is real.  And so when I’m talkin’ about being anointed, I’m not making fun of somebody that says, “Ooh, I felt that,” because I do feel it. 

(17) When the presence of God comes on me to do whatever I’m doing, I feel and sense His presence.  But it’s more than a feeling.  I’m not hooked on a feeling, ladies and gentlemen, it’s more than a feeling.  And it’s more than just an empowering presence, it’s more than just, say, the ability to pray for somebody that is sick, or somebody that is oppressed of the devil.  There, there is much more to it than that.  And that’s what I wanna begin to delve into, because what happens for those of you that are out there in the pews today, that work in the corporate world, for those of you that own businesses, for those of you that do a multiple of things, and it’s not necessarily leading praise and worship, or teaching a class or preaching the Gospel, but you’re out there in the front lines of the system of the world. 

(18) And people think the only time the anointing comes upon a person is when they get in the pulpit.  Or when Tommy sits up there and he begins to praise and worship and lead and the anointing comes on him, and then we feel the presence of God out there in the crowd as the glory of God begins to come into the house.  See, what God does when He brings you in here, He wants you to experience His presence.  He wants, He wants to cause His presence and His power to come upon you.  He wants to charge your battery, He wants to encourage you, He wants to energize you so you can face the challenges that the circumstances of this life bring to you.  But if you just think the anointing only operates within the four walls of the church, you’re kinda in that typical Charismatic mindset that when a man preaches, he feels the anointing of God, or when someone sings, they feel the anointing, or when someone’s in the prayer chamber they feel that power and presence of God.

(19) That’s why you gotta look at it beyond a feeling.  Cuz there’s gonna be times when God won’t let the feeling hit you.  You say, “What do you mean?”  Now, when, when you’re trying to work in the corporate world, when you’re in a board of directors meeting, you don’t need to get up and say, “Whoo, I felt that!”

(20) They’re gonna be checkin’ your blood – they gonna – they’re gonna be taking samples of all sorts of things to find out what drug you say you’re not on.  Are you, are you with me?  No, sometimes you’re not gonna feel anything, but the anointing and the presence of God is gonna come upon you at different times and give you the mind to make the right choices, give you a discerning to know who is wrong and who is right, who is evil and who is good, who is deceiving or lying, because God wants you to be blessed, God wants you to succeed.  And you are not gonna succeed in this world without the presence of God in a persistent constant operation in your life.  It’s not just about praying for the sick.  We have record that Joseph had no encounters in a healing line.  We have no record of Joseph ever praying for one sick person that we know of in Scripture.  But was Joseph anointed?  He was probably the greatest prototype of an anointed lifestyle that we have in the Bible.  But yet he never prayed for the sick, he never cast out a devil, but what he did do, he spoke the Word of the Lord.  He had insight into the future, and he could run a company and a nation like nobody the world had ever seen.

(21) See, God wants anointing businessmen.  God wants us to be anointed community leaders.  God wants us to be anointed in real estate development.  He wants us to be anointed in our electrical contracting businesses.  He wants us to be anointed as lawyers, he wants us to be anointed as doctors, he wants us to be anointed in the construction field, he wants us to be anointed in the high tech world that’s out there.  He wants you to be anointed in buying and selling.  He wants you to be able to say that’s the one to buy and that’s the one to sell.  He wants you to be anointed to have an understanding, “Don’t even go near that property, but buy that one as fast as you can.”  He wants you to be anointed as you deal with your children.  He wants the anointing on you as you deal with your spouse.  He wants you to be able to help the hurting and the broken, the distressed and the hungry, and without His presence upon your life, your efforts are going to produce what every carnal effort produces.  It will go as far as your natural man can take you.  But when you step into that phone booth, you might say, and you come out different than when you went in, you will understand something.  It will make more sense to you, when it says, “Greater is He that is in ME than He that is in the world.”

[Pauses for crowd to clap and cheer.]

(22) Anointing.  Anointing is the transference or impartation of divine power and authority.  Anointing is the transference or impartation of divine power and authority.  Now if you are anointed, or when the anointing of God is released upon your life…there will be an impartation of power and there will be an impartation of authority.  I’m gonna talk more about that in just a minute.  It also declares that anointing is a bestowal of favor and an impartation of virtue and holiness.

(23) Now, let’s just talk about this for a few…Most people think of when a person is anointed, they have power.  That’s part of it.  The Bible says in the book of Romans, I believe it’s the 11th chapter and the 29th verse, it says, “The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance.  Let’s stop there for just a second.  It says, “The gifts and the callings of God are without repentance.”  So how many would agree  if it’s a gift, it came from God.  And how many would agree if there’s a call on your life, it came from God.  And basically, God says, if I release it, I’m not taking it back.  I’m not sad that I spoke it, I’m not grieved over the fact that I declared it, and as long as you live on earth, you will have to live with the responsibility that you were called of God, and you’ll have to live with the responsibility that I put the gifting of the power in you to fulfill that call.

(24) See, a lot of people wanna say, I’m just not able to do it.  If, if the Spirit of the Lord comes upon you, you can do anything God gives you to do.  You may not do everything YOU wanna do, but you can do everything God gives you to do.  So it said, “The gifts and the callings of God are without repentance.”  So if you wanna change the wording in there just a little bit, you could also say, “The, uh, power and the authority of God are without repentance.”  Authority and power are different.  Power is the – is when the Spirit of God comes upon you and you pray for the sick or you pray and believe for a miraculous intervention.  That’s the power of God upon a person’s life.  Authority is much broader than that, authority has to do with call, authority has to do with your destination.  Authority has to do with divine purpose.  You have to be able to rule and reign.  The Bible says you are kings and you are priests unto God and unto His father.  If you’re a king, then you’re a captain over God’s inheritance.  If you’re a spiritual king, then that means you operate in a certain realm in an authority. 

(25) Now, what am I getting at with this?  First of all we understand that somewhere in your life, there is an impartation that releases the power of God and if the power of God is released, it is connected to the authority of God.  The gift, and the call.  Everybody still with me?  It’s funny when you get into this, everybody gives you that “deer in the headlights” look.  When you start on it, you say, “Yeah I know all about that.” 

(26) So when, when the anointing comes upon a person’s life, understand something, you don’t anoint yourself.  You just don’t wake up and say, “OK, I’m anointed.”  There’s an impartation.  And I, and I think this is one of the reasons why the enemy works so hard to keep churches from laying hands on people.  And, uh, you know, to be honest, uh, let me be just kind of candid here for just a moment, uh, uh, totally unlike my personality.  Ah, the problem we got with most churches, is that they want a soul-ish relationship with their pastor.  Now they say they don’t, but they really do, because if you don’t have enough pie and coffee with some folks, they not gonna stay.  I don’t know why they want Marie Callender as their pastor.  You know, they want Ronald McDonald, they want Marie Callender, they, they just – they want a buddy.  They want a religious buddy.  Uh, er, there’s plenty of people out here in the crowd that can be your religious buddy.  But see, what begins to happen is people begin to crave a soul-ish relationship with somebody that is not raised up by God to be their buddy. 

(27) Now it’s real quiet.  And so [mimics a whining voice], “He won’t be my buddy!  He’s distant!”  Do you realize what it takes to do what I do?  Do you realize what it takes to have a word that is broad enough to touch every person that comes through the door and not be impacted by what everybody in the crowd is dealing with and their issues?  One of the hardest things about pasturing a smaller church is this:  everybody wants to make sure you know all their stuff.  So then if you preach, then somebody gets mad, because they say, “Yeah, he preached that because I told him that.”  Well, the bigger this church gets, I don’t know much of anything but Christ and Him crucified.  And people say, “Well, you’re distanced.”  Well, maybe that distance isn’t so bad.  Maybe that distance is the ability to be an anointer.  Maybe what all of a sudden starts happening is you’re able to make an impartation into people’s lives because their expectation of you is not to be their buddy, but their expectation is that you can impart something into their life, that you can put your hand upon them and really not know everything about all their business, but you can, in faith, become a person of supernatural agreement to see breakthroughs come into their life.  See, you don’t need another buddy.  What you need is somebody who can make an impartation into your life.  So what’s happened, though, what’s happened is people begin to come into church and they begin to come into environments, and they’re not hungering for the presence of God.

(28) Now we gonna get into this thing a little bit.  They’re not hungering for the power of God, they’re not hungering to be the person they’re called to be.  They’re just hungering to get something that’ll get ‘em through tomorrow.  Well, you gotta understand something, the way to get through tomorrow is to have a vision of who you are, and if you know who you are, by prophetic utterance into your life, the devil can throw everything at you but the kitchen sink, as they would say, and you’ll rise up and say, “You know what, I’m gonna be who God says I’m gonna be.  It doesn’t matter to me what you throw at me today, it doesn’t matter what the checking account says right now, it doesn’t matter certain relationships are doing, I know who I am, and I know what God wants to do with me, I know the authority that God wants me to walk in, and I know that to walk in that authority, I’m going to have to have the power of the Holy Ghost upon my life.”

[pauses for crowd to clap]

(29) Most churches don’t – what I would say on a corporate level – pray for people.  Now I’m talkin’, we pray, but I’m talking about, PRAYING for people.  When Samuel found David, he just didn’t say, “OK, David, you’re the next king of Israel, sha na na, go go go, well, ya ya ya, bye.”  No, he took the vial of oil, he poured it over his head, he probably laid his hands upon him.  Whatever transacted at that moment, it said the Spirit of God came upon David from that moment.  See, every one of you need a divine encounter with the Spirit of God. 

(30) Every one of you need a place, you need some place in your history that you go back to, and you say, “Right then and right there is when I turned into a different kind of person.  Right then and right there is when I became that new creature that Paul wrote about.  Right then and right there is when the burden got removed, the yoke got destroyed, the depression got broken, the cancer got healed, the spirit of suicide lifted off of me, wrath, rebellion, and disobedience broke off of my life.  Right then and right there.  I was at that altar, that man of God, that woman of God, put their hand on me, and the power of God hit me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet.  Yes, but was there that big of a difference in David?  Yes!  In his natural ability he could kill a lion and he could kill a bear, but in his supernatural ability, he could bring down the arch-enemy of a nation.  In your natural ability you can do certain things, but when the power of God comes upon you, you do impossible things!

[crowd cheers and claps]

(31) So, why, why do I spend so much time laying hands on people?  I mean, and sometimes, I’m standing there saying, “Why am I doing this?”  Because anointing is being imparted.  Power is imparted.  Why is it important for that touch of God to be upon you?  Because as the power of God comes upon you and the revelation of the authority or the call of God upon your life is upon you, you will also understand that to get you to where God wants you to be, He will release favor on you.  Now a lot of people just think, well, no matter – anything and everything I do, there’s gonna be favor to do it.  I don’t particularly agree with that.  I just think sometimes you can be just out there doing your thing, and you just might as well accept you’re out there doing your thing.  And don’t expect any help from heaven.  It’s your business.  God has, God has ways of helping you work through that stuff.  But when you are on a mission to possess what God has truly called you to do, I believe there will be that favor of God upon you to get you to where you’re going. 

(32) Now sometimes I need help in the journey.  Sometimes I need God to open a door that I can’t open.  Sometimes I need God to give me an audience with somebody I couldn’t get.  Sometimes I need God to give me favor to get things done quicker than what I, what they should normally be done.  So when we see the hand of God upon Joseph, one of the things that we see dominantly operating in Joseph’s life was that he operated with favor.  Now, what you have to understand, if you will understand that you’re anointed to be a businessperson, and if the career you’re in is the career that God, and the business that you’re in is the business that God has ordained for your life, then you can expect favor.  You just shouldn’t expect favor if you’re gonna preach or teach. 

(33) Uh, John [one of the front-row guys], you have a plumbing company, but you’ve also done a lot of work to help young men at uh, ah, the Riverdale Facility.  You shouldn’t just expect favor if you’re gonna go up there and minister to those incarcerated teenagers.  You should expect favor for God to help promote your plumbing company to be everything that God wants it to be, because He’s anointed you to be a businessman.

(34) You know, Dan [a front-row guy], you, you and Alice [Dan’s wife] – Alice is a doctor – you’re in real estate development, all those different things that you work in, you do so many things that I can’t keep up with you.  But you should not just have an anticipation that the presence of God and the power of God and the favor of God is upon you when you’re here or if you’re doing something that is religious.  You should have an anticipation that every time your wife walks through the door of her practice, God’s favor’s gonna be with her.  Every time you walk through the doors of offices that you’re having to negotiate and work with people, that the favor of God should be – that for some reason, they’re lookin’ at you and saying, “I was gonna give this job to somebody else, or this deal to someone else, but I’m turning it over to you.  That’s favor.  You see that’s not you walkin’ in and selling yourself.  That’s God selling you.

[a few cheers]

Aw, nobody heard that.

[More applause and cheers]

(35) It’s kinda like God, you know the Bible talks about that the Holy Ghost is your advocate, and all we think about is him representing us when we get into trouble.  But you know, these athletes have agents.  Aww, you don’t – it’s too early for some of you. I said, these athletes have agents.  And, and, and, it’s not, uh, [quarterback’s name] going in there and negotiating with [team owner’s name], it’s his agent going in there, and that agent’s laying it all out, “You know the talent this boy has, you know the career he’s got in front of ya, you know the – blah blah blah,” and all of a sudden what’s happening?  Favor is being released, it’s not coming out of the mouth of [quarterback’s name], it’s coming out of the mouth of his representative.  You’ve gotta understand something, when God is with you and God is for you, God is with you and God is for you.  And all of a sudden the Lord is causing to people to look at you different than you could have ever made them look at you.

(36) Get out of your Pentecostal persecution complex.  Some of you think because you praise God and you talk in tongues and you believe God for miracles that the whole world is against you.  That’s a lie out of the pit of hell.  The greatest thing you’ve got working in your life is that the power and the presence of God is upon your life.  Pray for wisdom.  Don’t act and play the fool. 

[applause and cheers]

(37) You don’t go into a business place and break out in a shimmy and shake.  Whoo!  Put on your garment of praise when it’s appropriate to put on your garment of praise.  Put on your kingly robes when it’s appropriate to put on your kingly robes.  Put your crown when you oughtta be acting like a king and then take the crown off when you just oughtta be a worshipper.  Are you hearin’ what I’m sayin’?  You need to learn how to rise up and understand how to operate in the different environments that God places you in.  Sometimes it’s time to throw your hands up and shout unto the Lord with the voice of triumph.  Other times it’s time to set down and let the mind of Christ and the wisdom of God and your tools and your gifts and your abilities be enhanced by the presence of God to where all of a sudden that person will say to you like Pharaoh did to Joseph and all that were around, “Can we find such a man in whom the Spirit of God dwells?”  God can give you a favor that nothing else can give you!

[cheers and applause]

(38) Then it talks about – when you study anointing, then you understand that there’s two other key elements, that if a person is truly anointed, that will manifest in their life.  And it’s the impartation and manifestation of virtue and holiness.  Now y’all gonna check out on me.  We are in a world today, that if we have ever needed people to rise up with character and integrity, it’s now.

[cheers and applause]

(39) Bill Clinton will never be known as a man of character. It’s not whether you like him or you don’t like him, he’s not gonna go down in history as being a man of virtue.  He will go down in history as being one of the most brilliant politicians that ever lived.  He will go down in history as being one of the most charismatic leaders that ever, ah, that ever rallied for things for his party, or rallied causes.  He’s got a magnetic personality.  He’s got a charismatic way about him.  He, he has, he has abilities that are just second to none in the political realms.  But I don’t believe history is going to remember him as a man of impeccable character.  Because, he wasn’t.  And barring a miracle, isn’t. 

(40) He’s not running for anything, so don’t get uptight.  I’m not gettin’ into politics…no way, this election!  I’m just goin’ preach Jesus all through the election. 

(41) Now, hold on.  But when a person is anointed, there is going to be something that goes into them.  They’re gonna hunger for it.  And it is going to be manifested out of them, and it’s integrity.  And then the other side of it is holiness.  Now, your virtue, if you’re anointed, virtue that’s in your life is going to affect the world around you.  If you’re a person of integrity, even criminals will wanna be around you.  I brought this out before – when – it’s an amazing thing that some people can be a thief and be a liar and be a betrayer and have people working for them that, as long as they lie and steal from other people it’s OK, but when it comes to their relationship, they’d better be integrous. 

(42) It’s very confusing.  But see, there’s something inside of a person, if they bring a person close to them, they want integrity in that person.  Excuse me.  They could marry somebody that was a prostitute, but when they get married, they expect them to be virtuous.  Doesn’t make any sense, but they expect it, because when you bring somebody into the closeness of who you are, you have a heartfelt expectation for virtue and for character.  Because there’s something in your heart that cries out for that which is akin to God’s nature.  I don’t believe you guys want liars as your confidants.  I don’t believe you want embezzlers as your account manager.  You say, “Well that’s just good common sense.”  Yeah, it is good common sense, “Let this mind be in you which is in Christ.”  But see, the thing is, when the anointing begins to operate in your life, all of a sudden virtue becomes a part of who you are.  The more you press in to the presence of God, the more God will break those old tendencies that were eroding your walk with Him. 

(43) Now listen to me about this.  When Bill Hybels, who pastors one of the largest churches in the United States, at one time Willow Creek was the largest in the United States, thousands of people, and Hybels said this in his book called “Courageous Leadership.”  He brought this subject up, he said, “I used to hire #1, that my #1 priority in making a hire was basically, do they have the ability to do the job?  Do they have the education, do they have the experience, do they have the knowledge, do they have the skill set to do this job?”  Now we’re talking about a church that has tens of thousands of people, so when you put somebody in charge of something, they better be able to carry the mail.  And he said, “Do they have the skill set?  And I learned through the journey of pasturing that I could teach a person how to do the job, but I could never teach at a leadership level how to be integrous.”  Said, “My number 1 thing now when I hire is integrity.”  And what you’re seeing here, is in more of a business way of communicating it, he said, “What I’m looking for is an anointed man.”  Because if you’re an anointed man, the anointing will do what a class cannot do. 

(44) The anointing of God, when the presence of God comes upon you, the presence of God will wake you up and begin to convict you of behaviors, will convict you of communications, will convict you of how you manage certain things and say, “This is not the way that the Lord would have you to do this.”  And they can put you in a class, they could put you in a seminar, they can send you to a psychiatrist, they can do everything you can think of, and you can’t put that into a person.  But when the presence of God comes upon a person, it begins to mortify the flesh, and when it begins to mortify the flesh, you’ll be awakened, and you will be convicted by the Holy Ghost by saying your actions are not integrous, your speech is not integrous, what you’re doing is not upright.  You will get up and say, “God, help me, set me free from myself.  I’ve seen this modeled year after year, and it’s a curse that’s been in my family, and I’m not going to buy into it, I am going to break free from this thing.  If I give my word, my word is my bond.  I will not color it with anything but accuracy.  But my integrity is what I want to be remembered for.  Now it says, we also understand when a person is anointed, there is an impartation and a manifestation of holiness.

(45) Now when there’s integrity, you will impact everybody around you, because you become a person that people can trust.  But when you get into holiness, it is part of your relationship with God.  The priesthood could not draw nigh to God.  They had a golden plate that was across their chest that said, “Holiness unto the Lord.”  Now we’re in a church situation in our culture that holiness is something people don’t even talk about anymore.  Everything that seemed to represent integrity or righteousness has kinda been thrown under the bus.  But what you’ve got to begin to see is that when you draw nigh unto God, God is expecting you to have a pure heart. 

(46) That don’t mean you’re goin’ be perfect in everything.  But it does mean you’re gonna hunger for it.  Holiness and integrity are, are very very close and are very very similar.  But integrity has more of, of, an aspect of how you work with the world around you.  Holiness is that aspect of how you interact with God.  Joseph did not say, “I cannot commit this sin against Potifer.”  He said, “I cannot commit this sin against GOD.” 

(47) When something inside of you said I can’t do this.  And the reason I can’t do it is I will not jeopardize anything that has to do with my personal, intimate relationship with God.  You say, “Pastor, I thought when you said we’re gonna teach on the anointing, boy you gonna swing on some chandeliers this morning.”  I’ll get there in just a minute.  But see, you’ve got to begin to understand that an anointing vessel…I’ve met a lot of people that have an unction or have some power of God in their life.  But they would not open themselves to the full workings of the Holy Ghost.  And because they wouldn’t do that, how many great leaders have we seen just in the last five years – over the last five months – uh, crash and burn.  Did it do – did it have to do because they lost their gifts?  Did it have to do because they lost their public appeal?  That people weren’t still infatuated with them as communicators and uh, because they didn’t have a good message to share?  No, it had to do with some things that go way down deep in here.  Had to do with character.  Had to do with holiness.  It had…did, did they lose all their favor?  Not really.  But wha-, what happens, is that you’ve got to understand, if you’re anointed, the first evidence of being anointed is not gonna be if somebody gets healed or if somebody gets delivered, the first evidences of anointing is going to be you are modifying how you’re approaching God and how you’re approaching people.  The rest of it’s not that hard.  The battle zone is that inner anointing. 

(48) Next week I’m gonna get into this real strong, cuz next week I wanna talk to you, and I touched on this a couple Wednesdays ago when I was teaching, I wanna talk to you about the spirit of God that comes upon you, and I wanna talk to you about the spirit of God that works within you.  Now when you begin to understand something, that you don’t let the increo work within you, all the good you do will ultimately be evil spoken of.  Because God is simultaneously working with you.  He’s working on your character, he is working on your hungering and thirsting for the presence of God.  I get almost ill when I hear things about how certain people have handled and conducted themselves in the work of ministry and leadership, and sometimes you guys look at me like, Pastor, you’re hard on folks.  I’m, I’m trying not to be, because I know we’re all flesh and blood, we’ve all sinned, we’ve all come short of the glory of God, but I see when a person, ah, when the holiness of God and when the integrity of God becomes secondary, or not even, not even an issue anymore.  When, when I hear about people who just, ending, born again, Spirit-filled leaders ending marriages, uh, just because they’re going in different directions…

(49) Excuse me, it’s not I don’t like folks, but after awhile, somebody’s direction’s gotta be submitted to the purpose of God, because if God puts people together, he doesn’t put ‘em together to rip ‘em apart.

[audience applauds]

(50) “We just goin’ in different directions.”  Well, if you’re going in different directions somebody’s goin’ in the wrong direction, because if God makes two people one, somewhere we get yoked together and if you yoke oxen together, they gonna have to pull in the same direction.  So somebody’s will’s gotta die, somebody’s purpose has gotta die, and the will of the Father’s gotta be submitted.  People will say, “Well, I still felt the presence when they pr – spoke.”  You probably will because the gift is without repentence, but you still have to understand, if a person has yielded their life to the anointing, you’d better realize this, there will be the evidence of that in holiness, and there will be the evidence of that in integrity.

(51) I know this is just real down home, this is not – this is not real theatrical today.  But what I want you begin to understand.  I want to have an anointed church.  Did you hear me?  I said I wanna have an anointed church.  I want anointed people IN my church.  And to have anointed people IN my church, then they oughtta have power.  But they also should be possessing and fulfilling their call.  But there should be evidence, if they’re out there in the business place, there oughtta be favor.  And the favor is really gonna be released because you let the integrity of God manifest through your life, and people don’t understand why they trust you so much because it’s God going before you and putting a magnifying glass upon the heart of integrity and the spirit of holiness that’s upon you, and then they’re saying, “I don’t know why, you don’t have the resume, this other guy does, but I feel SAFE around you.”

[audience applauds]

Come on.

[more applause]

(52) Don’t kid yourself.  It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a restaurant, you’re working in the tech field, it doesn’t matter what company it is, guys that are at the head of companies want people under them that are trustworthy.  Want people under them that will keep their word.  Want people under them that when they look at them and they give them tasks, they can say, “I know you’re gonna fulfill the task, and if I turn my back and walk away, you’re not gonna be stabbing me in the back or stealing outta my cash register.”  They want that.  Where does that come from?  That comes from integrity.  Where does integrity really come from?  The nature of God.  How is it brought out of a man?  When the presence of God is upon a person, that presence of God DEMANDS that you walk in that and that you move in that!

[audience applauds]

(53) I’ve been confronted with situations throughout my life and my ministry, and it probably would have been to my economic advantage and to my advantage of notoriety through the years to do things differently than maybe how I did ‘em.  But the thing is, when I lay down my head at night, I know I did it the way that God wanted me to do it.  And so however high God wants to take me, that’s how high I go.  And if He don’t want me up that high, that’s fine, because sometimes people get themselves up into a place that they can’t maintain the place once they get there they come crashing back down.  I just a soon go where God takes me.  Cause if I go where God takes me, He will never leave me and He will never forsake me.  If I go where God takes me, I can rise up and know I will have favor every step of the way.  If I go where God takes me, then my holiness or my approach TO God, or my walking into the presence of God does not become compromised.  If I go where God wants me to go, then my integrity stays intact.  The power will be there.  The call will be fulfilled, because the inner anointing is breaking me day by day.

[audience responds with “amens”]

(54) So anointing is more than power.  OK, hear me, I said anointing is more than power.  Anointing – number one, everybody say, “Impartation.”  [Crowd responds, says, “Impartation.”]  Understand anointing has to do with impartation.  This is why you cannot cultivate a more powerful walk in God in a dead church.

(55) Cuz there’s nothing to impart.  What’s Tiger Woods gonna learn from me in golf?  What NOT to do?  [Crowd laughs.]  What could I teach Todd Helton about batting?  What could I teach Michael Jordan about a jump shot?  Nothing!  So why – he wouldn’t hang around me for sports advice.  “No, Michael, do it this way.  Do it like this, Mike.”  Huh, good Lord.  “Now, let me show you how to hit that ball, Tiger.”  Y’all are laughing about that, but do you realize, people, that in their heart they say, “I really wanna be all that God wants me to be,” set in DEAD spiritual environments with PEOPLE that all they’re doing is working through it up here.  I’ll tell you something, I you want an impartation, you better get around somebody that’s HAD an impartation.

[Crowd cheers]

(56) If you want something poured INTO your life, you’d better get around somebody that has something IN their life.  Now people, people are saying, “While the day of the, of the church, the day of what we call the church, is, is passing.  Barna wrote a book, I haven’t, I, ah, I won’t – I’m not GONNA read it, cause I’ll get upset, because it’s like, because of all the negative things that have happened, now everybody’s just saying, “I’ll just get some friends and we’ll set around and we’ll talk about the Bible at home.”  OK now, just stop and think about this principle.  Just put it into a sports analogy.  So you get me and Ralph [another front-row person] and John [yet another front-row guy] setting around, trying to teach each other how to be great golfers.

[Crowd chuckles]

(57) Now we’ll even bring Reggie [another guy in the crowd] in to help us.  We’ll bring Reggie in, and we will have a foursome on how to be great golfers.  And none of us really know enough to be above average.  If I shoot in the 70s, I’m waiting on the rapture to take place, cause I know heaven has just kissed earth.  I’ve broke 80, but it doesn’t happen every time I go out.  I’m a 10, 12 handicapper, shootin’ in the mid 80s, I’m pretty content, and that’s just about the way it is.  But we could get all our greatness together, Ralph, and we could combine all of our brilliance on the golf course, and all of us go out on the golf course and be as mediocre as we’ve ever been.  But you bring one person into the group that’s the real deal, that every time they go out, they’re playin’ at a level [snaps fingers]…

(58) Ladies, just stay with me, I don’t know how to make this a shopping analogy, but I’ll think about it.

[crowd chuckles]

(59) But – but you bring one guy into the group, one guy, one guy, that, that shoots 70 and under most of the time, and all of a sudden, he looks at Ralph, and he says, “Ralph, here’s what you doin’ wrong, this is why you always end up in the woods, Ralph, this is why you never get out of the sand trap, this is why you miss all the key putts.  All of a sudden – and Ralph starts making adjustments – and what happens?  His game comes up.

(60) Now I can’t take his game up, cause I’m right where he’s at.  But one person comes on the scene that’s operating at a different level.  So what does God do?  God says, “You know what, I’m gonna anoint some people, and I’m gonna empower ‘em, I’m gonna put something in ‘em that is worth imparting, and I am gonna bring a flock underneath ‘em, and as they begin to impart, something begins to happen.  What happens?  You start coming up to another level, you don’t wallow in mediocrity, you don’t wallow in the…I don’t know what to do about that, I don’t know how to get over that hump, boy that’s a tough one.  No, no, no, no, no, all of the sudden, you’re saying, “Wait a minute, I can win this battle.  Wait a minute, I can do greater things than what I’m doing.  Wait a minute, I move up to a higher place.”  Why?  Because somebody is speaking that has something to impart.  Somebody is imparting something that will remove burdens and will destroy yokes.  And what we need, we need an anointed church.  And to have an anointed church, you have to have anointed leadership.  To have anointed leadership, you have to have a people that are hungering for not an emotional connection, but they’re hungering for a spiritual connection. 

(61) And I look at our people, I got so many wonderful people at this church, but I still wanna say this.  Dan, I’d rather be your pastor than your buddy.  Reggie, I would rather be your pastor than to be your golf partner.  You say what are you getting’ at.  Because, if you can touch somebody’s spirit, they will be turned into another man.  And someday they’ll look down the road and say, “Wait a minute, my business is off the Richter Scale, my success in the things of God, and they’ll look back, and what will they say?  Who made the transfer, who made the impartation, who was the vessel that emptied themselves out, that helped me to rise up and be who God anointed me to be?  It wasn’t my pie-eatin’ buddy, it was the man that said, “I am anointed to bring about transformation!”

Oh, somebody better praise God!!

[Crowd cheers, claps enthusiastically]

Come on and bless Him, come on and bless Him!

(62) Stand to your feet all over the house.  [Piano music begins to play softly in the background.]  David had the indebted, the distressed, and the discontented that gathered themselves under him, and it was before he became all that God had truly called him to be.  But when it was all done, every one of those men became those that were known as “David’s Mighty Men.”  They became great warriors, they became financial successes.  They become leaders and influencers.  Why?  Because what was on David, that got on him, in the 16th chapter of the book of First Samuel, what got on him, he emptied out to them.  They loved him, they respected him, they drew from him, they got an impartation from him.  Was David perfect?  Far from it.  Did David make mistakes?  Yes.  But David always knew [soft organ music begins to accent the piano] – see, this is the working of the anointing – David commits adultery.  You say, “Was that right?”  Far from it.  God was angry at David, He sent Nathan to him.  Nathan spoke words of judgment.  Basically, “God’s gonna take you out, David.”  And David fell on his face, and basically, the famous Psalm, where it says, “Take anything you wanna take, but don’t take your Spirit.  Create in me a clean heart, renew a right spirit.”

(63) We’re a society of justification.  Sometimes you just gotta get on your face before God and say, “God, I’ve sinned, I was wrong.  But I want my relationship right with you.”  Sometimes we make mistakes in the journey, some of them are not just mistakes, they’re just out and out sins.  [Other instruments join the music]  Maybe it has to do with how we deal with other people.  Integrity issues.  But see, when the anointing is working on you, you won’t be able to sleep at night, cuz God’ll convict you of that stuff.  How many of you ever have the Lord keep you awake because of how you dealt with somebody, what you said to somebody, how you handled a business issue?  It – it keeps working on you.  Well as he keeps that part of you intact, then praying for the sick, or operating in the power and authority of the anointing is not a big deal, it’s not that hard, but see somewhere, somebody, there’s gotta be something emptying into you, something pouring into you.  I wish I could just get up here and preach a real easy word to you and just say, “You know, just work it out, folks, you know.” 

(64) Different people have different calls.  Some people, the only thing they ever say is a word of encouragement and hey, you’re OK and everything’s wonderful.  Well sometimes you just need to be real about some stuff.  I’ve tried to encourage my sons through their entire lives, but there’s been a few times they’ve gotten pretty strong rebukes from me.  A few times they got hands laid on ‘em.  You know, parenting is not just telling your kid they’re cute.  You know sometimes you say you’re cute, but you’ve been real bad.  You bring ‘em into order.  And pastoring is a lot like parenting.  And a lot of times, you say, you know, y’all are real cute, but some of y’all been real bad.  And you need to bring it into line with God. 

(65) So over the next few Sundays, I want – I wanna talk to you again what the anointing is, why we need the anointing.  I wanna talk to you about the different dimensions of the anointing.  I wanna talk to you about the inner anointing for you.  I wanna talk to you about the anointing upon you for others.  And I wanna talk to you about one thing.  If the anointing is working in your life, it will keep the burdens removed and it’ll keep the yokes destroyed.  How many wanna stay free? 

(66) Let me give you this, and this will be our bridge to next week.  Why should you want to be anointed?  Number one, for personal freedom.  Everybody say, personal freedom.  [Crowd repeats upon command.]  You wanna be anointed for the issue of personal freedom.  Number two, you wanna be anointed because you want to impact other people through your integrity, through your ability to pray for the sick, number two, you wanna impact the world around you.  And then number three,  it is the only resource you have that will enable you to fulfill your destiny.  You will never fulfill your divine purpose unless you really hunger for that empowering presence of God to be upon your life.  Those are the three reasons you should hunger for it and seek it and press in. 

(67) You shouldn’t look at somebody wanting to pray for people and say, “Oh Lord, they’re gonna pray for folk.”  If [guest evangelist’s name] wants to pray for you, you oughtta get your head under his hand.  If I wanna pray for you, you oughtta get your head under my hand.  It creates more work for me, but you can’t be anointed unless there’s an anointer.  How GOD anointed Jesus of Nazareth.  Samuel anointed David, Samuel anointed Saul.  Elijah anointed Elisha, the priesthood was anointed.  And God is trying to show us something.  It is an issue of impartation. 

(68) You can’t get from somebody what they don’t have.  Did you hear me?  You can’t learn how to be a great golfer from me.  I don’t have it.  You can’t learn to be a great baseball hitter from me.  I don’t have it.  But there’s guys out there that do.  And if you want to learn how to rise up and be one that will put the enemy to flight, I can teach you that.  If you wanna learn how to bust through barriers, I can teach you that.  If you wanna learn how to live through some stuff that oughtta’ve killed you, I can show you how to do that.  You know why?  It’s been part of my journey, that I have been anointed and empowered to pour that out.

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We know we’ve harped on certain subjects here.  Certain aspects of our “Charismaniac” experience bother us a LOT, and we tend to talk about them a lot.  Several times, we’ve mentioned the Smiths’ practice of taking up birthday offerings for themselves.  In several posts and in many of our responses to your comments, we’ve alluded to the Smiths’ nepotism and how they insisted upon promoting and cementing into power their young-adult sons. 

And we’ve often discussed the Charismaniac tendency to overuse the term, “anointing.”

Those are some things that really irritate us.  It’s crazy (not to mention probably not compliant with not-for-profit tax laws) for a pastor to use the church’s stage, sound system, stationery, and postage meter to solicit birthday gifts for himself and his wife.  It’s nauseating to watch a couple of nice-enough young men display attitudes of ever-increasing arrogance and entitlement because their parents are determined to give them a ministry which rightfully ought to belong to the people of the church.  And it’s simply bizarre that Charismaniacs practically build an entire religion around the term “anointing” without ever actually defining what “anointing” is.

So you can imagine our surprise and excitement when Pastor Smith (a pseudonym, as is “Living Word Church” and all other names used in this article) recently preached a sermon all about “The Anointing” and made it available on iTunes.  We listened to it eagerly and were especially delighted to hear Smith declare, in the opening few minutes, that he was going to tell us exactly what “the anointing” is.

Perhaps, we thought, there is some hope for Living Word after all.

Well, we were wrong.

We came away from listening to the entire hour-long sermon more confused than ever.  In fact, our befuddlement was so complete that we couldn’t even really remember or articulate one single concept that Smith had shared.  And remember, both of us are college-educated, fully capable of making sense of difficult information, complicated textbooks, and even less-than-stellar professors.

That’s when we decided to do something we’d never done before.  We decided to transcribe Pastor Smith’s entire sermon.  Certainly, if he actually explained what “the anointing” is, we wanted to know and understand what he’d said.

So I managed to get my hands on a Sanyo Memo-Scriber TRC-6400.  Yep, a device commonly known as a “Dictophone,” complete with foot pedal controls for the “play” and “rewind” functions, and a dial that enables you to slow the tape down.  Typing is something that has always come easily to me, and I figured it’d be worth the investment of a few hours of my time.  It would be a great and rewarding challenge to commit Pastor Smith’s EXACT WORDS to paper (or screen) and finally nail down what he means when he discusses “the anointing.”

My first obstacle was getting the sermon onto the little micro-cassettes that our Memo-Scriber uses.  But I quickly solved this one by placing the little “remote recording” accessory right up next to the speakers on my laptop.  The sound quality was definitely not the greatest, but once I’d clamped the huge, circa-1980, Judy-from-Time-Life headphones over my ears, I could hear Pastor Smith perfectly.  We were good to go.

The actual transcribing took a little longer than I’d anticipated.  Even with the “speed” button slid all the way down to “slow,” so that Pastor Smith’s voice was a half-octave lower than normal and he slurred a little, like he’d had too much to drink, I still had to frequently stop and rewind so that I could catch all of his rapid-fire phrases and lengthy sentences.  But after perhaps four hours of effort spaced out over two afternoons, I’d completed the task.  The sermon, timed at just a bit over 60 minutes, took up 22 pages of 12-point Ariel font.  THAT is how fast Pastor Smith talks, how much he is able to say in an hour’s time.

We’re in the process of analyzing Smith’s teaching about “the anointing,” and soon we’ll be posting the entire sermon transcript here on this site.  Since it’s such a huge document, we may put it up in segments.  We would really like your feedback to this sermon, so if you wouldn’t mind, please tell us what you think, and more importantly, give us YOUR analysis of how Pastor Smith’s teaching on “the anointing” lines up with what the Bible has to say.

So check back…the sermon will be posted soon.

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