Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9-13)
Our scripture passage has stirred some memories. In 1976 the Wind was blowing and I got caught up in it. What this Wind had stirred up has been labelled; the Jesus Movement. In this season I became very zealous for the Lord. Thousands of people, like me, moved from unbelief or nominalism to faith sufficient to alter their entire orientation to life. This great and strong Wind was rending the mountain of religion. It was breaking it in pieces. No one can adequately explain this season without pointing to the Breath of God. This Wind subsided but many of us pressed on with all the zeal we had accumulated in order to sustain the supernatural thing we had been caught up in.
In this Wind, we learned how to worship the Lord with stringed instruments and drums and even dance. We practiced ways to share our faith with others. We became students of the Bible. The Wind seemed to break us into smaller groups and emphasize transparency. The group we belonged to was known as Insight Ministries and we practiced this lifestyle near college campuses in America and in Europe. We thought of ourselves as a discipleship ministry.
When we felt a shift in the Wind in 1985, most everyone (maybe 100 folks) returned to Tulsa. With the Tulsa-based folks and our kids, we numbered between 150 and 175. The wind had carried us into community which, unbeknownst to most of us, we had already been experiencing to some degree in our small campus-oriented groups. When we returned to Tulsa, we leaned into this notion of community with even more intentionality.
Our group, which became Ahaha Community Fellowship enjoyed an extraordinary amount of sharing. We were uniquely dependent on God through each other. This is how the book of Acts read to us. We wanted to mirror that first century church as best we could. Why else would God have even created us? With some shrinkage, this group survived until 1997. The last meeting of Ahaha Community Fellowship was in 1997 (I think). For myself and many others, we had tasted some unique things of God in the Ahava community. We had experienced some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and had shared life in close proximity. You might ask, “If Ahava was such a grand experience, why did you leave?” I could say that the wind blew us in a new direction (and I believe this would be honest) but it actually took some significant earthquakes and some fire to finally dislodge us.
Your Aunt Krissa was about your age (seven) when we moved from Tulsa to Enid. Kelli was 10 and Daniel was not quite two years old when we moved. We did our best to connect with the believers in my birth-city but we were in for another shockwave when we engaged in a local charismatic church. They were barren of community (as we had come to know it) and the charismatic streams that flowed into this church were different than what we had known. Without condemning the good people of this tribe, it felt to us as though we had left Canaan and returned to Ur. Even though we had many friends in this congregation, I was longing for more. I could not conceive how life (as I had come to understand it) could be birthed in this setting but the wind began to blow once again.
The Lord had apparently passed by the Toronto Vineyard Church and breathed upon it. They were calling this fresh wind the Toronto Blessing. Our Tulsa friends were giving us first hand account that a strong wind had begun to blow. I did my best to position myself (and the Enid church where I was an elder) in a direct path with this wind. My expectations were super high. Unfortunately, if new life was to have been birthed from this “blessing,” it was a miscarriage.
When the Toronto winds failed to make much of an impact on our local church (or me) my co-leaders adopted a wind blowing from Colorado Springs through Peter Wagner, down through Chuck Pierce and eventually through John Benefield. I would call this the Apostolic Prophetic wind. While this wind was encouraging to others, it just spun me in circles. It was as though the Lord said to me, “Rob, what are you doing here?” I had to answer, “Lord, I’m driving leaders crazy and they are reciprocating.”
I did not know where to go or what to do. I more or less wrapped my face in my mantle and found the entrance to a cave. It happened to be the Grace World Outreach Prayer Room. In that space I screamed, I cried and I laughed until I healed, to some degree. For 2 or 3 years I stood alone in this cave and waited for the wind to blow. After my earthquakes and the fires I eventually heard the sound of a gentle wind blowing. When the Lord asks me today, “Rob what are you doing here?” I respond, “Lord, I only know that I am caught up in a mystery which involves your Life. My life (in Your Son) is now sufficient wind for me. For what its worth, I will record what I observe, giving an account of the hope that is in me.”
My prayer for you and the other grand kiddos is that you will be caught up in the fullest gospel there is – the one that includes the Breath of God. Many groups bar the front door so that this Wind cannot enter. The Holy Spirit is generally very compliant. He seldom bothers people who are not interested in Him. However, I pray that you will be a part of body of believers who worship the Lord in spirit and truth. Just as God is your Father and Jesus is your Lord, I pray that the Holy Spirit will become your Friend and Counselor.