The Gift of Prophecy
1 Corinthians 12:10; Acts 11:27-28; Acts 21:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
This gift is essentially the same as what you read about yesterday—without the introductory tongues. It is God saying something important through a human mouthpiece. But don’t imagine that prophecy is just another term for preaching or teaching, as good as those things are. This is an in-the-moment, unrehearsed, divinely inspired, supernatural message.
It may be a prediction, as in the case of what Agabus said in one of today’s readings. Or it may be a message for “strengthening, encouraging and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3). Either way, it tends to make a powerful impression on the hearers; Paul wrote that “they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you!’” (1 Cor. 14:25).
A struggling, start-up congregation in Sacramento, California, got such a message back in 2013 when a visiting speaker tacked on something extra to her prepared remarks. “The Lord says that soon you will be owning multiple properties. And in addition, you will have a television network.” This made no sense at all. The little group was currently meeting in an ill-suited car showroom they had tried to convert into worship space. The air conditioning couldn’t seem to keep up with the summer heat, and the acoustics were terrible. The little church had no media presence at all, not even a local radio program.
On the drive home that Sunday, Pastor Samuel Rodriguez looked at his wife and said, “Well, I’m not doubting, but … that was really an audacious prophecy.” They both knew that if any of this was going to happen, it would have to be God’s doing all the way.
Within eighteen months, the following events had bloomed:
The congregation had grown strong enough to stop renting and buy a church property with two buildings on five acres just off a busy freeway.
Another building 140 miles northeast in Sparks, Nevada, was donated so they could start a satellite campus.
Solid plans were put in place for a 24-hour TV network that would air nationwide in English to serve second- and third-generation Hispanic-Americans. It launched on June 1, 2015, with a schedule that included not only Pastor Rodriguez’s messages but those of other Latino ministers and musicians.
“There is a fine line between the pathetic and the prophetic,” says the pastor. “But when an authentic word comes from heaven, it has the power to shift people, families, churches, and ministries from surviving to thriving!” Holy Bible App.