Signs of the Prophetic Calling
What Does a Prophet Look Like?
What does a prophet look like? What kind of picture do you have in your mind when you think about prophets? Do you think of the Old Testament prophets?
Do you think of men like Nostradamus who were considered modern day prophets?
Do you think of those who do fortune telling or predict what is going to happen in the future? Or do you perhaps think of Bible prophecy and the Second Coming of Christ?
What Does a Prophet Do?
Can he or she read your mind and tell you what you are thinking or reveal the secrets of your heart? Can he or she tell you God’s will for your life? Is a prophet an austere person who preaches fiery sermons and messages of condemnation, and exposes your sin?
Today God is restoring the Prophetic Office to the church in a new way. The prophetic function has always been there, but everyone is becoming more aware of it today. Prophets are springing up everywhere, and people are asking these questions:
1. How will I know if I am called to be a prophet?
2. If I am called to be a prophet, how will it show in me?
3. How will God train me? What kind of preparation do I need?
These are some of the questions asked, and there are many people teaching on this subject now. Those whom God has raised up to the Prophetic Office are sharing what He has taught them. They are teaching what they understand about the functioning of the prophet.
There are many voices speaking and teaching about both the Prophetic Ministry and the Prophetic Office. Many are confused; others are slowly beginning to understand what is going on.
This book is our answer to this great need, and is based squarely on both the Scriptures and our experience in this ministry. We are firmly grounded on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and would like to show you some very important principles concerning the prophet.
Probably the best place for me to start is to share with you some of my own experiences. I will show you how God called me to the Prophetic Office, trained me, and raised me up to function as a prophet in office.
As I share some of these experiences with you, you may identify with some of the things that I went through. You might not identify with all of them.
God may not take you through the same stages that He took me. But I am sure you will see many similarities in your own experience.
God called me to be an apostle, but He took me through the Prophetic Training to bring me to the apostolic.
Not everyone will follow that route, so some of what I share may not apply to you. But I will go through it so that you can see the kind of things that God uses to prepare his prophets.
I will be sharing memories, experiences and things that I learned along the way. I will open my heart to you and share what God taught me; what He showed me, what He did in me, and what He continued to do in me.
Perhaps somewhere along the line a few pennies will begin to drop and you will start to understand better. You will identify how God prepares His prophets.
You will understand how prophets function and how they move into their ministry. I trust that many other questions that you might have about the Prophetic Office will also be answered.
After I have laid this foundation I will show you what the Word teaches concerning the Prophetic Ministry. You will see what God requires of us as prophets and learn everything you need to know about the Prophetic Ministry.
Do Prophets Still Exist?
I remember the first time I ever heard somebody talking about a prophet. They were talking about an old man that would receive revelations.
He would be sitting at the dinner table with people, and he would begin to identify some of the problems that they had. He seemed to know all about them.
As I listened to all of this I must admit I was a bit skeptical. I thought to myself,
“That doesn’t sound right. Does God still work that way? I know the Old Testament prophets were like that, but do we still have that in the New Testament?
Surely that has all been done away with now? It sounds a bit spooky to me; almost like New Age or occult.”
I felt a bit nervous about this guy. It just did not sound right.
Of course, in those days I was somewhat ignorant of the prophetic realm, so I did not understand much of what was happening.
Many people today have that same attitude. Some have grown up as Christians and have been believers for years. They have served God, been in His Word, witnessed for the Lord, and exercised many other ministries. But when you call someone a prophet, they get their backs up and say,
“That is not for today. God doesn’t do that anymore. It is not necessary. We have the Bible now. We do not need any special revelation.”
I also thought that at first, and it took God a while to change my attitude. I had to see that there was a whole lot more for me, and for the Body of Christ. The Church was certainly not embracing and experiencing this.
The ‘Good Old Days’
I grew up in a Pentecostal Christian home. My parents had also grown up in a Christian home and even their parents had been Christians.
I came from several generations of Pentecostal Christians. They dated from the early Pentecostal revival in the days of John G Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, and others who were used so tremendously by the Lord.
I heard all the stories about how God moved back in those days. It was a bit like the Children of Israel who had grown up long after the Exodus.
Their parents would tell them about the wonderful things that God had done when He delivered them from Egypt and performed all the miracles in the wilderness. I am sure the kids must often have thought,
“Wow. Those must have been some days, hey? But they are gone. We don’t see that anymore.”
That was the kind of situation I grew up in. I heard all about these things, but I did not see them anymore.
I remember when the Lord finally brought me to that experience with Him where He filled me with His Holy Spirit. I began to realize for the first time that there was a realm there that I had not really touched. I had heard plenty about it, but I had not really experienced it
God led me into a spiritual dimension that had not been in my life before. I was one of those unfortunate people who could not speak in tongues.
Everybody was speaking in tongues, and you were a third rate Christian if you did not do it. Every young teenager and the kids were speaking in tongues, and I was going on 20, and I was not speaking in tongues yet.
I grew up in Pentecost but I still could not speak in tongues. I would go forward in meetings to receive it, and there would be a little 10 year old next to me who would get it in a flash.
Then they would pray for me, and Les Crause would walk away still not able to speak in tongues. I just could not get it. I could not understand what was going on.
Then one day I met the Lord in the Spirit and He became real to me. He took my life and turned me inside out.
He manifested Himself to me and placed His power on me. He placed in me a desire to go out and do His work, and to give myself fully for Him and the extension of His Kingdom.
The power of God ‘hit’ me and I wept before the Lord. I was overwhelmed with His glory and power, and I could feel it physically. But I could not speak in tongues.
I knew that I had changed. I knew that I had received this ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ that they were talking about, but I could not speak in tongues.
I would see people come in and they would get saved one week. The next week they would go forward for prayer and they would speak in tongues. I began to say,
“Lord, I must have this thing. Lord, you have called me to your work already and I still can’t speak in tongues. What is going on?”
But God had to train me in the gifts in a way that He does not train other people. He had to make me the exception to the rule. I would hear these Pentecostals saying,
“We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the Scriptural evidence that is speaking in tongues.”
Every time I heard that I would say,
“That is nonsense. You guys are just interpreting your experience into a doctrine. I received the baptism and I didn’t speak in tongues.”
People do not like you preaching that. It rocks their doctrine a bit. But I could not help it. I could not speak in tongues. I began to seek the Lord and I said,
“Lord, I must have this thing. Lord, everybody else is speaking in tongues.”
I was rising up and was already a Youth Leader in the church, and all the young people under me could speak in tongues but the Youth Leader could not speak in tongues. I tell you, it was a bad situation.
I waited on the Lord in prayer and fasting, and I would say,
“Lord, why can’t I speak in tongues? Why aren’t you giving me this thing?”
Some thoughts came to my mind like,
“There is still sin in your life. The problem with you is you use your tongue to criticize too much. You have been using bad language. How can the Holy Spirit use an impure tongue? How can God fill you with His Spirit when there is sin in your life?”
I struggled so much. I dealt with the sin; I dealt with my tongue. It was so difficult. Then a Scripture took root in my heart. Paul said,
“I want you to all speak with tongues. I want you to all… ALL… ALL speak with tongues.”
I said, “That is me. I am part of all. I have to speak in tongues. God said it, therefore I must have it.”
I remember the day when I had just had enough. It was a Sunday afternoon and everybody was having an afternoon rest. I tried to lie down, but I could not relax because I was tossing and turning. I walked through to the living room alone to pray and I said,
“I want it, and I want it now! I am not going to leave here, Lord, until you give it to me.”
Reaching Out By Faith
I do not want to major on tongues here because I want to get into the Prophetic Ministry.
But God showed me that day as I began to wait on Him, that we do not receive these things by works or by being holy enough to receive them. We reach out and we take them by faith.
So I closed my eyes and I took my ‘hand of faith’ – whatever that is. Inside I could see me reaching out and grabbing that thing and saying,
“I am taking it now.”
Then I opened my mouth and I started to say any old thing. I began to speak in tongues slowly.
I thought, “This is nonsense. This can’t be tongues.”
I tried going a little faster and thought,
“Surely that can’t be tongues?”
It sounded a bit like tongues, but was it really?
I said, “Lord I do not feel a thing. Is this tongues? Have I got it now?”
Then I said, “Lord, I need some kind of confirmation. I want you to give me a tongue that I can understand.
I want you to give me a language from the African dialects; one with clicking sounds like I have often heard spoken in the real world. Then I will know that this is real because there is no way that I could do that in the natural.”
I opened my mouth and I began to pray, and I prayed in an African click language. Wow, that was God! It just began to pour out of me.
I began to feel as though I was lifted up. And as I raised my hands I began to feel the glory and the power of God begin to come down on me and to pour into me.
A fountain started to flow and it started to pour out of me. I could not stop. It went on and on, as fast as what my poor tongue could speak. Then I knew that God had given me what I had asked Him for.
Did I receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit that day? No I believe I received it way back at the beginning, a long time before that.
I entered into a new gift; a new manifestation in the Spirit that I had never had before. I read in the Bible that it was the gift of diverse tongues or different kinds of tongues. So I said,
“Lord, I want to speak in different tongues. I want a different one now.”
Then I opened my mouth and I spoke in another language.
I said, “Father, this is amazing. Am I really speaking in tongues? Lord, I want a different one.”
And then I spoke in yet another language. It was so exciting I began to experiment. Eventually, I had about five or six tongues that I could choose from.
I can still use them. They are still there. One sounds like Russian, another sounds like German, the other is clearly African. It was a gift of different tongues that God had given to me.
I would find there were times when I would begin to pray and I would say,
“Father, I do not know what to pray. Give me something in the Spirit. Give me the correct words to pray for the need that is here.”
I would begin to pray and suddenly my tongue would change. I would find myself praying in a completely different tongue that I had never used before.
I would pray and pray, and I would feel in the Spirit that I was praying something real. I was being inspired and led by the Lord.
I would continue praying until gradually the burden that I felt within me would begin to wane. Then I would find myself coming back to the regular tongue that I seemed to use all the time.
I said, “Wow, is that in the Bible? I have never heard people talking about this before. I have never heard of anybody doing that kind of thing.”
I would open the Bible and find a Scripture and I would say,
“Okay Lord, I want to say that Scripture in tongues.”
Then I would speak out in tongues, and something would come out of my mouth that was completely different.
I thought, “Did I really speak in tongues what was there?”
I am not sure, but it was fun. I started to experiment with it. I had waited so long for this that I had said to the Lord,
“You give me this thing and I will use it every day.”
I went wild. Everywhere I went I spoke in tongues. I would be driving in my car and speaking in tongues. People would pull in next to me and they would look at me strangely, so I would cover my mouth with my hand so they would not think I was crazy.
Everywhere I went, every time I was alone I would be speaking in tongues. It was wonderful. I was on cloud nine. I could not stop. I knew what Paul was talking about when he said,
I thank God that I speak with tongues more than all of you.
Paul knew that he could use it to tap into a new power that was there.
I realized that all those that received it so easily did not appreciate it. They would wait until they were in a meeting and the anointing would come on them, and then they would speak in tongues. But they would go home and never speak in tongues again.
I said, “Lord, this is a gift that needs to be used. This is something we should use all the time.”
Every time I went to pray I started speaking in tongues. I would sing until I ran out of words. Then I would take the same tune of the song and would start singing it in tongues.
Next, I started making up songs in the Spirit in tongues. I had some wonderful experiences in tongues. I will share a bit more of that as we go on. You see God had given me a Word that said,
“I want you all to speak with tongues.”
I took hold of that Scripture promise. I laid hold of it by faith, and I reached out and took what God had offered me.
I read in the Scriptures about all the other gifts and I was amazed. I could see myself standing up and saying,
“Everybody who has a problem, please come forward and make a line here.”
I could see myself going down the healing line, praying for people and God performing miracles. I began to dream.
The Gift of Prophecy
After I had been speaking in tongues for some time, an idea began to form in my head.
I said, “Oh Lord, I have spoken in tongues. I want to prophesy now. Wow, I wish I could prophesy. I wish I could speak your Word in English now.”
I read in 1 Corinthians 14, where Paul spoke about prophecy being greater than tongues. He said,
“It is great that you speak in tongues, but it is better that you prophesy.”
Then he said something that hit me right between the eyes. He said,
For you may all prophesy.
Well, maybe he was talking about it in the context of everybody sharing or whatever. It didn’t matter what he was talking about, that word ‘all’ just stood out in great big gold letters at me. For you may all speak with tongues, and you may all prophesy.
I said, “That’s me; I am ‘all’. I am going to prophesy. It is mine. I took tongues that way, now I’m also taking prophecy that way.”
I began to tell everybody,
“I am going to prophesy. The Word says you may all prophesy, therefore I am going to do it. God is going to give me the gift of prophecy and I am going to speak a word of prophecy. You wait and see. It is going to happen.”
I could not wait. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I began to believe and speak it forth.
My Trial Run
God gave it to me at a time when I least expected it. We were having a little family prayer time and my mother needed a word of prayer.
I do not know if she was feeling down or whatever it was. But as I came to lay hands on her, suddenly I began to feel a nervous feeling inside my stomach. A few words came into my mind:
“You shall go forth in my name and…”
“You shall go forth in my name and…”
I said, “Lord, and what?”
He said, “Speak those and I will give you the rest.”
I had never prophesied before, but I opened my mouth and I began to speak. And as I did so the words came out and I found myself saying things that staggered me. I thought,
“I must be making this up. This is just too good to be true. This can’t be.”
I spoke and spoke and it just poured and bubbled. Then it was over and I thought,
“What did I say? I spoke in the name of the Lord over somebody. And there was a prediction that went with it.”
The reality hit me and I sat there dazed thinking,
“Wow, I actually spoke for God. I spoke a prophetic word. I said I was going to get the gift of prophecy. This is it; it has arrived. Hallelujah.”
The very gift I had reached out and claimed from the Lord had come. Now I had heard people giving words of prophecy in the past. It is great when you are in a meeting and you can say,
“Thus says the Lord, Behold I am with you and you need not fear…”
There are probably one or two there who have fear. So if I miss it on one count maybe I will hit the other one. Somebody might say,
“I think that prophecy was for me.”
But nobody would have the courage to come and say,
“You were wrong. That did not apply to anybody.”
However you may prophesy over only one person and you start saying things like,
“You have thought in your heart… And you have said this… And the Lord would say to you, you are this, and you have been thinking that, and you are going to do that.”
When it is over you sit and think,
“Oh dear, what if I was wrong? What if I was out of order? What would I do if they turned to me and said,
“Where did you get that from? It is a load of nonsense. I have never thought that. I have never wanted to do that. What are you talking about?”
It could be traumatic. I became a bit nervous of this thing and I thought,
“Lord being able to prophesy is great. I’m glad I have it, but we will just put it on the shelf for now until I am a little more experienced in this thing and I know how to handle it. Thanks for the gift, but we’ll keep it until later.”
I became very nervous and insecure about speaking a word of prophecy. I avoided using that gift again for a while until the Lord eventually opened the way for me to go into full time ministry.
By that time my ministry had developed strongly in the Word, and a very clear Teaching Ministry was showing. I could stand up and preach, proclaim the Word and give teaching, and it was wonderful. People would come to me and say,
“Do you know you are a Bible teacher? You have a real Teaching Ministry.”
Everywhere I went my Teaching Ministry manifested and it was great.
God put me in a little church as my first pastorate. It was a small church that had just been established. It was still very new so I thought,
“Well, they need a teacher now to ground them in the Word.”
So I walked into that church and nobody knew anything about flowing in the gifts. But somebody brought a message in tongues one day. We sat there waiting for an interpretation, but there was no interpretation. I sat thinking,
“I wish somebody would interpret.”
Nobody did it though and it worried me. I discussed this with a fellow minister that I fellowshipped with at that time and he said,
“You know Les, God showed me that in a meeting if I am the pastor, people are expecting me to interpret and bring the prophecies.”
He said, “Although I had never flowed in it before, I had to realize that I needed to reach out by faith, open my mouth and speak forth, and let God give it to me.”
He said, “If that happens again, you are going to have to learn to bring the interpretation because the people are looking to you as the Pastor to do that.”
I said, “But I’m a teacher, not a prophet.”
But I knew he was right, and God did not let me off the hook. Somebody brought a message in tongues again. This time I prayed and said,
“Lord, please give somebody the interpretation.”
But nobody brought it and the Lord said,
“It is you. It is your turn to speak.”
I remember that day as I opened my mouth and stumbled and fumbled. I spoke the first thing that came into my mind and it did not feel very anointed. But I guess the people were satisfied with it, and it made sense.
It was difficult, but I learned that there is a step of faith involved in reaching out and claiming the gifts.
As I had reached out and taken tongues; as I had reached out and taken prophecy, I had to reach out now and take the gift of interpretation of tongues. And so I had to learn to start developing confidence in these things, and I needed to start exercising them.
Many believers sit and wait for God to use somebody else. You might sit there and you have that nervous feeling coming inside of you, and you start feeling butterflies in your stomach. Your heart starts going ‘doof, doof, doof’ and you know God wants you to speak.
But if God has raised up somebody else that is confident and bold and they are quick to bring the interpretation or prophecy, you tend to make excuses like,
“But Lord, Sister So-and-so is really good at that. I’m sure she will get it. Please Lord, let her get it.”
You wait and you wait. Eventually, Sister So-and-so gets it because God has a Word for His people and He will give it. So that person speaks, and you heave a sigh of relief and think,
“Whew! Thank goodness.”
But you walk out of there with a sense of guilt, knowing you were meant to bring that Word today and you did not bring it. You disobeyed the Lord.
A Difficult Ministry
It takes a step of faith. It takes courage to speak out and to exercise the gifts that God gives you.
Way back there already, although I did not realize it, God was preparing me for the Prophetic Ministry. He was already trying to impress on me that He wanted me to speak His Word to the people. I was to minister to their needs and prophetically speak the Word of God.
I stumbled and struggled with it and it was difficult. I kept trying to get back to the Teaching Ministry and the Lord kept saying,
“I want you to move in the Spirit. These people need a spiritual ministry.”
The only other spiritual gift I had ever moved in at that time was the gift of discerning of spirits. I was in a place where there were demons everywhere and witchcraft in the area. So the gift of discerning of spirits kept coming up, and I kept trying to push it aside saying,
“I am a teacher.”
The Lord kept saying,
“These people are under oppression. They need help. Respond to what I am showing you.”
It was a difficult lesson. Eventually, the time came for me to move away and arrangements were made to move me out of that church. I finally came a point where I thought,
“Well, I can’t do any harm. If I mess up now it does not matter. I’ll just act on the revelation that God gives me and share with the people what He shows me.”
Suddenly things started to change. People began to say to me,
“Wow, why didn’t you do this before? Why are you leaving? We need you here.”
The Lord was showing me that He does not impose these things on us. He places these things in us, but you have to let them out. You have to exercise them. You have to be bold and have the courage to speak out the Word that He gives.
As you use that courage and boldness and take that step of faith, it begins to increase. It starts to get better and you become more confident in it.
So God gave me my first few little tastes of a prophetic ministry. There were no wonderful revelations; no marvelous prophetic ministry or prophetic office. The thought did not even enter into my mind that I was to be a prophet because I knew I was a teacher. Everywhere I traveled people still said,
“Wow, you are a great teacher.”
So God brought me to a place where the teaching gifts could not function anymore.
The country I was living in, Rhodesia, faced an economic crisis, and my Senior Minister said to me the one day,
“Les we cannot afford to support you financially anymore. You will have to go back to secular employment.”
I prayed about it and God said,
“Leave and go to another country.”
So we moved and went to South Africa. It was the country that was south of us and it was more economically stable.
Going south involved a new step of faith. It meant giving up full-time ministry. It meant going in faith, not knowing if I could ever move back into ministry again. There was no ministry post waiting for me down there.
As we said our farewells at the airport, my Senior Pastor said to me,
“Les, your teaching ministry has been successful wherever you have gone. If it does not work out down there then come on back. I can put you anywhere here.”
But God had closed that door. And although I did not know it at the time, He was leading me into a time of preparation for the new ministry office I was to embrace – the Prophetic Office.
Trouble from the Start
So we boarded the plane and flew south to South Africa, and as the flight proceeded things began to go wrong for us. When we booked we did not realize that it was an excursion flight. It did not include meals and the children were hungry all the way down.
We left the plane and there was nobody there to meet us at first. When the folks arrived we found that they had assumed we would already have eaten on the plane and had not prepared supper for us. There was confusion and misunderstanding. It was an awful start to our new life in this country.
I had arranged a job that was waiting for me before we moved. But when I went to see the person shortly after arriving he said,
“I am sorry. I meant to let you know, but the job opportunity has fallen through. It is not available for you anymore.”
It seemed that from the moment we boarded that plane things started to go wrong. The world uses the term ‘bad luck’. If we were to use that term, this certainly was our experience. One thing after another; problem after problem; everything started to go wrong in my life.
I had always been able to break through this kind of thing in the past. I had always been able to stand in faith on the Word and reach out and trust God, and somehow at the last minute God would always bring us through.
Some miracle would always take place and we would be delivered. Things would fall into place, people would change their attitudes, and new circumstances would be created. It always seemed to work out. But it looked like these rules did not apply in this new land. Those must have been rules for another country.
I remember sitting with a diary one day after we had been there for a while and making a list of everything that had gone wrong from the time we arrived. I arrived at only one conclusion – anything that could go wrong had gone wrong. I could not find anything that had gone right. I could not understand it.
We were forced to live with other people, largely family and relatives. Have you ever stayed with family? It does not take long when you are in a family with three little kids, for nerves to get on edge, and for tempers to begin to flare.
There was conflict, and we ended up moving from one home to another home, then to another one. Eventually, our relatives were weary of us and we had to go to other Christians that we knew. In time they grew weary of us too. I did not know what was happening. I could not understand it.
Eventually, the Lord opened the way for me to find a very low paying job which was barely enough for us to survive. However, it included company housing so we could have a house of our own to stay in.
I thanked the Lord for that job, even though it meant getting up early in the morning. I had to catch a bus to travel way out to where I would work, work there all day and then coming back late at night on the bus again. What a life it was, working long, hard hours for a very low salary. It was really difficult.
Now I needed to settle into a church situation. I had come down, having been in ministry, so I said,
“Lord I’m in ministry. Where am I going to minister?”
I went to see the senior overseer or moderator of the Assemblies of God in which I was ordained. He told me,
“I am afraid I do not have a vacancy for you here. But go and settle down in one of the local assemblies so that I know where you are. If something comes up I will call you, and we’ll talk about whether we can put you into an assembly and get you back into the work again.”
I thought, “That’s wonderful. I will fit into one of the local assemblies. I will settle in and give them a second pastor for free. They can have two pastors for the price of one.”
I said, “Here I am folks. My ministry is available to you. I have this teaching ministry that God has blessed elsewhere.”
I had the opportunity to share in open ministry meetings that they held, so there was no difficulty. There was plenty of opportunity for me to share, and it was wonderful.
I began to share all of the great things that God had taught me, and I saw the same results I had experienced elsewhere. The people loved it and began to respond to it. They would come and question me, respond to my ministry and share with me.
Rejection of the Prophet
I thought, “This is great. I have settled in. I am beginning to exercise my ministry.”
But then I noticed that one person in the church was not particularly happy about my success in ministry. That person was the current pastor.
It did not take long for him to preach against what I was teaching. He began to preach against some of the doctrines that I stood for. A conflict situation began to develop, and there was tension in the air.
I said, “Lord that is not what I came here for. Oh Father, let me not be a stumbling block.”
So I gently eased out of the church. I did not want to step on the toes of the man of God that was there. I did not want to cause confusion in the flock, so I pulled out and left.
Where could we go to now? We had to travel a bit further afield to try and find another church. I wanted to stick to that denomination because that is where I would have the opportunity to move back into ministry.
So I would find another church a bit further afield and we would travel a distance to get there. We would pitch in, and the same thing would happen again until I began to cry out,
“Oh Lord, what did you bring me down here for? Father, you have called me to the work. I am trying to do what you have called me to do. I am being faithful in it. But Lord wherever I go I am facing rejection and causing problems instead of helping.”
Eventually, I was forced to not attend or get involved in any of the regular Assembly of God churches. So I tried an independent one but the results were the same.
I do not know if my reputation had gone ahead of me already, but when we tried to get involved we were given a clear message from the leadership,
“You go so far and no further.”
I came in saying,
“Here I am – a qualified minister, a preacher and a pastor. You can have what I have for free.”
I was offered the position of an usher. I did not understand that God was trying to humble me. At that time I did not know what He was doing to me. I couldn’t understand why these things were going wrong. I thought,
“Lord you have called me to a promotion in ministry. You showed me that you are going to use me. But from the time I left the plane everything has gone wrong in my life.
I have had conflict with people that I know, and now Lord even in your house, even in your Body, I am being rejected. I am having people misunderstand me, and turn against me and ostracize me. They restrict me and put me in my place, and do not allow me to do what you have called me to do. Father, why did you bring me here?”
Death of a Vision
We stopped going anywhere for a while and just sat at home. I did not stop serving the Lord, but I would get into the Word by myself. I would share the Word with my family and we would worship together. We would play music and sing, and we would pray and have family devotions and serve the Lord.
But wherever we went we could visit only as strangers, with nobody getting to know us. I would go home from the meeting in frustration thinking,
“Lord, what is the point of me coming to this church, to come and sit and warm the pews? You have given me a ministry and placed a calling on my life, but I do not have the opportunity to exercise it.”
The Lord brought me to a total death of my calling and of my vision to minister for Him. I thought,
“Forget it. I might as well just go back to secular employment. I might as well do something un-ministerial and unspiritual. Obviously, this whole ministry thing was a big mistake.”
In all the years I had waited to go into ministry, I had never really tried to qualify in anything. I had never aimed for great educational status.
God called me from just after I left school, so why would I want to go and study and obtain degrees and qualifications? The Lord was coming soon. All I needed to qualify in was His Word and nothing more. So that was all I had studied. I was not qualified in anything secular.
Resurrection of a Vision
The Lord brought my whole ministry vision to a total death, and eventually, I stopped going anywhere. But then one day after I had given up all hope, I came across an Assembly of God church that did not have a pastor.
The situation was totally different now. It was an independent little church with no pastor; just a couple of elders running the show.
They had open ministry each week and I could go there and join in the fellowship and share with the folks. I could stand up and preach, and people responded. Even the elders liked my ministry. It was wonderful.
The people responded well as always. There was nobody there to say,
“You are preaching wrong doctrine. I disagree with what you are preaching.”
The people loved it and opened their hearts wide. I thought,
“Lord this is it. You have opened the way at last for me to move back into the ministry and become a full-time pastor again, and to take over your work. Oh Lord, this is wonderful. Lord, just let these people call me now to come and take over. They are already looking to me in leadership.”
Submitting to Authority
However, the overseer of that area had a very different plan in mind. He was against calling me, so they called somebody else. We heard that someone from outside had been called to take over as the pastor of the church. I was really grieved and I asked,
“Lord, what is going on?”
The Lord said,
“Just submit to it.”
So when the new pastor arrived I went to him and said,
“Brother, I just want you to know I am behind you all the way. I am not opposed to you. I have been here ministering to the people and I want to back you all the way. I want you to know that I am here to help in any way that I can. I do not want to oppose you, but rather to give you my full backing.”
What a victory that was for me. All the bitterness had gone out of my heart and I had a wonderful victory to share with him. I settled down in the church. And would you know it, the very first Sunday that he stood up to preach he preached one of the sermons I had already preached there.
The next week he shared something else that I had been sharing there. The guy had been looking at my notes. He started to preach to the people all the principles I had been teaching them. The Lord was giving me a clear message that said,
“There is someone else who can do what you were doing.”
I was totally confused and asked,
“Lord, what are you doing here? Why did you bring me here in the first place?”
One night a short while later it all became clear. We arrived early for the Sunday evening service to gather for prayer as we often would do in that church. The young folks were usually there and we would have a glorious time in the presence of the Lord, praying the power of God down until the meeting started.
We arrived that night a little later than usual. The prayer meeting had already begun and everybody was flowing in the Spirit and having a great time. We walked in and sat down in one of the back rows and began to enter in to the presence of the Lord.
But as I did this, it seemed like something was wrong. I could not enter in. It was like there was a barrier. I had a distinct impression of,
“What am I doing here?”
As I sat there I sensed the voice of God speaking in me, in a clearer way than I had ever heard it before. And He spoke these words:
“You are finished here. Your time is up. You do not belong here anymore.”
My reaction was one of panic.
“But Lord, this was my last hope of going into the ministry again. This was my last chance. Lord you brought me here specifically so I could go back into the work, didn’t you?”
“No I did not.”
I stood up and left the room, and walked out into the fields that surrounded the building. The sun was going down, and I stood and looked out at the freeway that ran past, and saw all the cars going back and forth. As I stood there I cried out to the Lord and asked Him what was going on.
His voice spoke once again so clearly in me. He said,
“You are finished here. The work here is done. I want you out there now.”
“What do you mean?” I asked
“You know what I mean. I want you to go out there and do something new.”
My heart sank in fear and I said,
“Lord what are you talking about? I am a teacher not an apostle. I can’t go out and lay new foundations. I cannot go and start something new. Lord, I am a teacher. You have to give me a church that is ready for me to teach.”
But the Lord said,
“I want you out there. You are finished here.”
It was so staggering; so startling and traumatic, that we did not even remain for the meeting. We went home and I asked,
“Lord what are you telling me? What are you saying to me?”
God began to put this growing conviction in my heart that I should leave that church now. I asked,
“Lord where do I go to?”
He said, “Just leave the church. I will tell you where to go to afterwards.”
How would I tell this new pastor that I was leaving now that he had arrived? I had pledged my allegiance to him and told him I was right behind him and was backing him all the way. Now I had to tell him I was leaving. How would I go about it?
Severing the Ties
The Lord saved me the effort of having to pluck up the courage to go and see the new pastor. He and his wife came to visit us that very week. They told us,
“We have come to establish the relationship now. You said you were going to be involved with us. Let’s start talking about how we can involve you.”
“Umm, I have something to tell you guys.”
“The Lord has told me I must leave.”
“What are you talking about? What do you mean you want to leave? You said you want to get involved. We want to help. We want to get you involved. We want you to be part of this.”
Their first reaction was disbelief, horror, and criticism.
I began to share with them what God had been placing in my heart. As I did that the wife suddenly got a glow on her face. She was a prophet. She saw it first and began to smile, and she said,
“Yes, you are correct. God confirms it to me.”
Well her husband was very happy to go along with it, and so he agreed as well. So they acknowledged that God had spoken to me and that maybe this was of the Lord.
They asked, “Where are you going to go?”
I said, “I do not know, but God has told me He wants me ‘out there’ wherever that is.”
We parted with their blessing and they prayed and committed us to the Lord. They prayed and said,
“Father, just lead Les. Show him the way and bless him, and lead him in this new thing you have called him to.”
Then they walked out. And as they walked out, so did the last opportunity I could ever have to go back into full-time ministry with that organization. It was over; the door was closed. I had turned my back on my last opportunity. It was gone.
Letting Go of All Self-Dependence
I waited on the Lord and asked Him,
“What do I do now Lord?”
He said, “Leave your job.”
“Lord, what are you talking about?”
“Pack up your job and go full-time for me.”
I said, “Lord, I have been battling to pay my debts WITH a job. We have huge doctor’s bills that I have not paid. How can I pack up my job?”
The Lord said, “Pack up your job because I am calling you full-time.”
That was a really hard one. I said,
“Lord, I cannot pack up my job because I have debts. If you want me to go full-time, then you will have to pay my debts first.”
The Lord said, “How much do you need?”
I worked out a figure and said,
“Okay, this is how many thousands I need. If you give me that Father, I will obey you, and I will pack up my job and go full-time.”
The Lord said, “Reach out and take it now.”
Using My Faith
I still remember the night. I paced the floor and said,
“In the name of Jesus, I have this money. In the name of Jesus, I reach out and take it.”
I began to tell people,
“Do you know what? The Lord has given me this money.”
I told the lady at work who was not even a Christian,
“God has given me this amount of money.”
God began to teach me to reach out to Him. I did not have a clue where it was going to come from. But the one day the Lord sent a relative to me and placed a burden on him as we were praying. It was a very heavy burden. Eventually he turned to me and he said,
“I do not understand what is going on, but God is telling me I have to give you money, and that I have to give you such-and-such an amount.”
It was the amount I had asked for. My heart began to beat in my chest. It was exciting but I began to grow fearful. I thought,
“Lord, I have to keep my promise now.”
It took only a few weeks and I was handed a check for the full amount. And there I was now with this amount in my hand. I had promised the Lord,
“Lord, if you pay that for me, I will give you a 20 percent tithe instead of 10 percent on this.”
Now here I stood with the money in my hands and I said,
“Lord, who do I give the 20 percent to?”
He said, “Go back and give it to the guy that released you in ministry; the new pastor of the church. Give it to him for his personal ministry.”
I arrived at his house that day, just weeks after we had told him we were leaving to go in faith. I came with a big envelope of money and placed it in his hands. His eyes nearly popped out of his head. He could not believe it. So we left and I said,
“Well Lord, I know I have to leave my job, but did I hear right? Lord I really need to know that this is what you want.”
As we arrived home again after giving away that money, we went to check our mailbox and there was in it just one blank envelope with nothing written on it. We opened the envelope, and it contained bank notes.
To this day I do not know where that money came from. But the Lord said to me in no unmistakable and uncertain terms,
“See, I can provide for you. Now do what I have told you to do.”
I went in the next day and resigned. I told my boss,
“I am going into full-time ministry. God has called me and I must obey.”
This Is The End Of Part 1 of Identifying The Prophetic Calling