It took me over 10 years to discover that during one event back in May of 2000, I received one of the most significant blessings of my life and ministry. In fact, that one single night would go on to define everything about my Christian journey from that moment onward. And to think, I almost missed its significance and importance! I pray that my story will help you recognize and steward your divine moments.
The Journey of An Unwilling Worshipper
The event took place in a church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Nothing really special about the place. It was not some type of megachurch, conference or revival service; it was simply a night of worship led by a musician from Australia, Darlene Zschech. Little did I know what God was orchestrating behind the scenes. You see, this was all new for me at this point in my life!
I had been a true follower of Jesus for less than a year when I attended the worship event. It was only in the late summer of '99 where I received a powerful, life-changing touch in God’s presence that supernaturally changed my life. God was no longer a concept to me. He was not distant and detached. Christianity was not some moral code that I needed to adhere to in order to get to heaven and make the rapture. That is how I thought until I encountered His presence.
If you told me back in 1999 that I would be attending a worship event—and actually be excited about it—I would have thought you were insane. My encounter with God was sovereign and supernatural. The Spirit stirred my curiosity concerning the things of God. At the time, I was attending a local nondenominational church that happened to do “contemporary worship.” This involved clapping, slight body movement and upraised hands. All of this was way outside my comfort zone and, to be honest, a little creepy. In fact, I did not consider it a bad thing when I showed up to church late, missing the music, as my heart was hungry to receive the inspiring teaching.
God's ways are absolutely amazing and surprising. One Saturday night, I showed up at church before worship began. To cut a long story short and bring us back to the worship event with Darlene, I remember very clearly that during one of the worship songs, I felt something in my chest/stomach area—like, physically felt something. It was not bad; it was absolutely glorious. It was like fire. My hands felt a slight but extremely noticeable sensation, like mild electricity. God’s presence started to touch my life. From that point on, I knew that the Jesus in my heart was alive and very near.
Heaven Came Down and Changed Everything
Back to the worship event in Ft. Lauderdale. I knew who Darlene Zschech was (most notably, the writer of “Shout to the Lord,” which my Christian school had been doing in chapel for many years at that point). Interestingly enough, it was also one of Hillsong’s songs, “In Your Hands,” that the worship team was playing during my first power encounter with the Holy Spirit. Since that moment, I started listening to their music—and absolutely loved it.
Even so, nothing in this world could have prepared me for what I experienced during that night of worship. I came to that event hungry for God and left hungrier than ever. I stayed for both services, as I just could not get enough. There were moments of high worship, where I felt like my physical body could not bear any more of His glory. I am not talking about a flutter in my heart, a tear trickling down my cheek or a smile on my face. No. The mighty presence of God came crashing down on me like heavy waves. Heavy. That is the only word I can use to describe the climate of that atmosphere. Surely the priests of old knew it well. When the glory came, they could not “stand to minister” in that weighty presence of God (2 Chr. 5:14, NASB).
Just when I thought there was a moment of relief, another wave came. I was getting gloriously pummeled by His presence and absolutely relishing every single moment. Wave after wave reminded me that He is alive. He is not religion. He is not a theory. He is not a Bible class. He is not a program. He is not platitudes and spiritual sayings. God Almighty is alive and moving and, yes, graces humanity with special moments like this where He manifests His presence in a specific location.
Something awakened in my heart during that event. A desire. A longing. A hunger. An unquenchable thirst. I must have more. At all costs, I must press in to experience as much of His presence as possible this side of heaven.
Your desire for more is absolutely legal. When we encounter these waves of His presence, with each one crashing over us with greater love, intensity, strength, power, joy and glory, each wave gives us a greater glimpse of greater glory and summons us to greater hunger. This is exactly what happened to me that night in Ft. Lauderdale.
But of course, life went on ...
Recognize Your Covert Blessing
One thing I could not shake was my appreciation for Darlene Zschech’s ministry. It was not fandom. Even hero is not an adequate word to describe Darlene’s influence upon my life. This woman is a general of the faith. She is one who has been key in sowing into generational revival, passing this “baton” of extravagant worship to emerging leaders. When the history books are written, I believe Darlene will be listed among other people of His presence, such as A.W. Tozer, Kathryn Kuhlman and John G. Lake. Even though these men and women are reocgnized for different aspects of ministry—writing, healing, signs and wonders—their burning quest for God’s presence motivated everything. Such is the case with Darlene.
I was absolutely drawn to her hunger for God’s presence. From that event onward, I continued to listen to her music. We have attended at least 10 events in the states where Darlene has led worship. I have been over to the Hillsong Conference in Australia twice. I have had the great honor of meeting Darlene on multiple occasions and even interviewing her.
Yet none of these things ultimately satisfied me. I celebrate them all, for sure. However, I was not simply looking to meet a hero in the faith—though she clearly is. Instead, I was looking at someone who walked out a pursuit that I desired to live myself. I discovered that during that worship event back in 2000, I received an impartation from Darlene. Her hunger for God called me up higher and left an indelible imprint on my spiritual life. It was totally covert. I did not go forward, asking her to pray over me—I received it by simply being present in that atmosphere.
“God Transformed My Life … and I Didn’t Even Know It!”
I want to encourage you that some of the most significant moments of impartation in your life can take place without you even knowing it! The key to unlocking these hidden blessings is taking time to reflect on your history with God. What stands out? What are common themes? What drives you? What are you passionate about? What are you experiencing breakthrough in? What causes you to dream?
When we look back over our lives, we notice certain threads. For me, it has been a quest to experience more of God’s manifest presence, to help bring others into a similar encounter and to help them walk out their Christian lives confident that God Almighty actually lives inside of them. The very purpose of my ministry was birthed in that impartation—and I had no clue what was going on!
This immediately makes me think of Jacob in Genesis 28. He has this incredible prophetic dream of a ladder stretching from heaven to earth, with the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. Verse 13 even reveals that “the Lord stood above it and said ... ” All of this supernatural activity is going on, not to mention that the Lord God Himself is speaking and reminding Jacob of the covenant promise He made to Abraham.
So, what’s first thing Jacob says upon waking? “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it” (v. 16). This tells me that we can encounter God in one dimension and yet our minds need some time to catch up with the transaction that took place in the spirit. Consider Jacob’s language: I did not know it. God was there. Something life-changing and destiny-defining was clearly happening to Jacob, and yet—during the moment it was taking place—Jacob’s mind could not comfortably wrap around the work of God in his life.
Jacob’s story is a powerful illustration of how God can covertly release something into your life that goes on to shape everything about you. Most likely, you will not possess full clarity of what’s happening during your moment of impartation. Nevertheless, something has been released into your life that will be profound and significant for the days ahead.
One of the Key Signs You Received a Life-Altering Impartation
Even now, I encourage you to come before the Lord and ask Him to reveal significant moments in your life where you received an impartation. There are kingdom leaders who have incredible teaching on the power of impartation. Most notably, I think of Randy Clark, president of Global Awakening Ministries. For more resources on this topic, I encourage you to look into his ministry and others like it.
Please do not over mystify or hyperspiritualize impartation. Charismatic Christianity has often turned it into some type of “super-sized” anointing type of experience. It’s not. Impartation has nothing to do with receiving another anointing or the upgraded Holy Spirit. It is a blessing—a grace of power that is released into your life that is tailored specifically for you. For your calling, your ministry, your purpose, your destiny. It is a significant way that God uses the body of Christ to edify and build up one another to ultimately accomplish His kingdom work. Impartation is for you, but it is not about you—it’s about you becoming more effective in seeing His glory cover the earth.
Research some of the major leaders in the body of Christ. Many will have impartation stories that defined their lives and ministries. I think of Reinhard Bonnke and the impartation he received from British evangelist George Jeffreys. Leadership expert John C. Maxwell recounts a powerful impartation he received from E. Stanley Jones. I think of Brownsville Revival evangelist Steve Hill and the impartation he received from being exposed to the powerful Argentine revival through leaders like Carlos Annacondia.
One of the key signs that you received a life-changing impartation from God, even if no one laid hands upon you, is the unusualness of the experience. I cannot think of a better word than that. Only you will be able to recognize the significance. It does not have to be a dramatic moment. We should never assume a destiny-defining moment has to be dramatic; however, it will always be significant to you.
During my impartation, others were experiencing the same presence of God. However, I knew what was taking place was significant. Looking back now, I recognize the significance even more.
You can be experiencing waves of God’s presence crashing over you or you can be sitting under teaching on a certain subject—and something ignites within you. You can have a leader lay hands on you and pray or you could be sitting in your prayer closest reading a passage of Scripture—and suddenly your heart starts to burn. The reality you just read about grips you unlike anything you have ever experienced before. It could just be one verse—one truth that sets the course of your life. You cannot manufacture these moments; they are supernatural and sovereign. Like with Jacob, they can be so significant and so deeply spiritual, your mind may not even register what is going on.
But something undeniably happened. And your life will never be the same again!
Larry Sparks is the author of Breakthrough Healing (Destiny Image, 2014). He is a conference speaker, blogger, columnist and host of the weekly radio program Voice of Destiny (www.thevoiceofdestiny.org). Featured in Charisma magazine and on CBN’s Spiritual Gifts webcast, Larry is also founder of Equip Culture—a ministry that equips believers with the tools and resources to live victoriously through the supernatural power of God. Subscribe to his blog at www.lawrencesparks.com. Follow him on Twitter @LarryVSparks.
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