A few years ago Liz Doyle, an ordained Foursquare evangelist and missionary based out of New Hope Christian Fellowship (Waterford Foursquare Church) in Waterford, Mich., was in London to take part in a ceremony recognizing the historic abolition of slavery in Great Britain. Before Liz left the U.S. for England, she twice received confirmation, through a word of knowledge and a prophetic prayer, that the power of God would “run through her right hand” while she was in Britain. She did not know what this meant but believed it would happen.
The ceremony took place aboard a replicated 19th-century slaving ship, one of the vessels used in the 2006 film Amazing Grace. Liz is also a vocalist and had just completed a duet when London Mayor Ken Livingstone, a left-leaning politician who considered himself a socialist, came over to shake her hand.
As he offered his right hand and she stretched out hers in response, Liz was lost for words as she sensed the power of God surging through her right hand. Livingstone suddenly began to weep. He stepped away, then returned and took her hand again.
This time, he began to sob while sharing that he was heartbroken over the suffering caused by England’s historic slave trade. When she heard these words, Liz knew the Holy Spirit had touched the mayor and that she was hearing God’s heart.
Over time, Livingstone remained resolute—he later broke down in tears during a public memorial service as he apologized for London’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and the tainted financial gain it brought the city.
The word of knowledge and the prophecy in prayer that prepared Liz before she went to England are examples of how the gifts of the Holy Spirit can work through yielded believers and lead ultimately to transformation in the lives of others. In this second part of our three-part series on “Reclaiming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit,” we asked Foursquare leaders to describe ways in which they see the gifts working in the lives of others, such as one-on-one encounters like Liz experienced, in small-group settings or through friendships.
Small Groups: Freedom of Expression
Doretha O’Quinn, vice provost of multiethnic and cross-cultural engagement at Biola University and assisting minister at Faith Community (San Diego Foursquare Church) in San Diego, Calif., has seen God perform miracles and answer numerous prayers for people through expressions of the gifts in small groups.
“I have seen divine healing take place,” she tells Foursquare.org. “I have seen interpretation of tongues, as well as given interpretation of tongues in the lives of others. I have observed, multiple times, words of wisdom, faith, knowledge [for] choices in marriage, jobs, colleges, home purchases and so on.
“So many of these experiences were met with confirmations once the decisions were made,” Doretha adds. “[People knew] the gifts of the Spirit were at work, because [the results] were above the work of a natural mind.”
There is hardly a better relational setting than home groups for believers to step out in faith to use their spiritual gifts, observes Christopher Manginelli, senior pastor of Mill Creek Foursquare Church in Lynnwood, Wash.
“I’ve often seen one person functioning in a gift spark another person toward functioning in a spiritual gift,” he notes. “It encourages people to know that they heard the Lord and can share it.”
Pastor Russell Schlecht of Living Word Fellowship (Oak Harbor II Foursquare Church) near Seattle holds a similar view.
“Small groups provide an ideal environment to speak into the lives of those present,” he says. “There is safety, established trust and a strong relational dynamic that is conducive to the gifts being implemented.”
Friendships: A Place of Miracles
Personal friendships often prove to be just the right context in which the spiritual gifts work in fresh and exciting ways to reach those who need Christ. Doretha O’Quinn recalls how the gift of faith, and words of wisdom and knowledge, combined to create a miracle in the life of a runaway girl. The teen was the daughter of one of Doretha’s friends and had not been heard from in months.
“My friend believed her child was safe. She sought the Lord for wisdom on how to pray specifically for her daughter and those of influence around her,” Doretha explains. “A group of us mothers prayed for her, and aligned our hearts and our faith with [the mother’s].”
Doretha and others joined their friend in declaring a call on the girl’s life that she would minister to the same street people she ran with. Her friend sought the Lord specifically to show her where her daughter was, to bring her home and to turn her life around.
“God did just that, through the gifts of the Spirit,” Doretha affirms. “There came the time of the specific place to go, where she was and where to pick her up. It was absolutely amazing. [The teen] is preparing now to do what the word of faith spoke over her: She is training in ministry at a Christian institution, preparing to minister to runaway teens.”
John Decker, a Foursquare teacher and missionary evangelist, often senses the leading of the Holy Spirit when the wellbeing of others appears to be at stake.
“Whenever I see a need materialize in the lives of others, I’m often prompted by the Holy Spirit to attempt to meet the need,” John observes. “I rely on the fact that there is a gift of the Spirit to meet every need in peoples’ lives.”
Christopher Manginelli describes a similar outworking of the Holy Spirit in his life: “The gifts have worked best in or through me when I’m simply wanting to build up others in Jesus,” he says.
When Liz Doyle invites women into her home at Christmastime to hear her personal retelling of Jesus’ birth, she prays that the Holy Spirit would grace her gift of teaching with His words and provide revelation to the hearers. Last December, 52 women attended—about half of them Muslims from the local Dearborn, Mich., Islamic neighborhoods, and their feedback was “great,” she says.
Liz, who is also co-founder with her husband, Syd, of Nations Light cross-cultural training ministry, sums up the role of the gifts in changing people’s lives: “It’s about simply allowing the Holy Spirit to use us in relationships.”
You are reading Part 2 of a three-part series.
By: Jimmy Stewart, a freelance writer living in the Orlando, Fla., area