Even before I was saved I wondered if God had a calling for me. One thing I wondered about was that maybe I would become part of a team working on a website made for people like me at that point of my life. One thing I did find out around then was that it was very hard to find any websites for those who were still seeking. Most websites were either made for Christians or even in some cases for atheists or similar; arguing about why Christians were wrong. None of these gave me what I felt I needed. I remember actively seeking for websites about testimonies, but found few websites dedicated for it. And even those websites that had testimonies had more often short, brief and few testimonies. I think that time was what seeded my dream about a website dedicated for testimonies of people’s meeting with Christ, and their life with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
But even with that dream starting to awake within me, I didn’t think about it too seriously. I didn’t really think I had a calling, or that God would start calling me even before I was
saved. (Although I WAS sure that I would be saved.) Anyway in July 2006 I was saved and any calling was not in my head, with other things being more in my focus. Like how I needed my “spiritual temperature” to increase so I would actually be daring to sing out loud during worship, or me having no church, and not daring to just simply start attending one where I could grow further in my faith.
It was in the end of September I was sitting in front of my computer, listening to a Christian TV-channel on the internet, while I was typing a prayer into notepad about these issues and other things that was on my heart. On the TV-channel, I hear this guy who they called a prophet, and I remember being a bit skeptical about it. But I still enjoyed listening. I came to a point where I decided to save the prayer I had been typing, and ten seconds I got this surprise: The prophet guy started praying into the same things I had been prying over. Not very specific as in “there is this guy who have problems with these and these issues”. No, it was rather a kind of prayer for a group of people, more specifically what he called “workers of the harvest”, and he specified it even further. To the people who had a feeling they were called to be workers of the harvest, but that felt there were things or issues that prevented them from going into their calling.
I had read the bible for years before this, and often seen the term “workers of the harvest” during my readings, but never had I reacted to it like this time. It was like God switched on a spotlight directed to a title of my spesific calling, and it was “Worker of the harvest”. I remember thinking even when he was starting up his prayer, telling who he would be praying for: “Worker of the harvest? So THAT’s my calling!” And I remember that when he continued praying for those who felt there were things preventing them from going onwards in their calling, that I felt he prayed right into the situation I had been praying over. To me, my immediate problem with getting onwards in my calling was that I had neither a church to attend, nor Christian friends, nor was I baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Still, all these things were about to change. Maybe a minute or maybe five minutes after this prophet guy had been praying, I almost jumped where I sat in my chair, I was still surprised and somewhat awed over that this guy had been prying right into my situation. The reason I jumped, was that all of a sudden, with no warning it felt like my heart was very big, like a meter or three foot in width. It only lasted for about a second, but in that second I heard my own “thought voice” saying: “Now you are going to the Unbad meeting!” Even though the voice was with my own “thought voice”, I didn’t feel like the thought came from me. It was simply too different in speed, authority and mildness. It had so much authority that had there been an Unbad meeting just then, I would have been out of the house within a minute after this experience, on my way to the meeting. When the “heart growth” had returned to normal, I was totally awed. I knew the Holy Spirit had done something, and I remember thinking how the big heart had felt like, thinking: “So that’s how it feels like to have a lion’s heart!”
Back then I thought the Holy Spirit had only given me a taste of what he can do, and of things to come, but I did not know that it was then I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. After all, I did not suddenly feel a yearning to speak in tongues! Which to me was one true the sign of having been baptized by the Holy Spirit. Also, I expected to be baptized in water before the Holy Spirit baptism. It took me at least another nine months before I understood that I had been baptized by the Holy Spirit at this occasion and before I actually started to pray in tongues.
Anyway, this happened on a Monday, and the first Unbad meeting was on the Friday, so I had a looooooong week to start doubting my experience. But I did trust God, and even though I was VERY nervous to go that Friday, I simply HAD to go. And God made sure that I would be well received. Not so much before the meeting, but the preacher talked into one issue that I was dealing with, and I had at least the boldness to go forth to be prayed for about this issue during the altar call. When the preacher learned to know that I knew no one else there, he was quick to introduce me to one of the regulars there. Had this not happened, I am pretty sure it would had taken a lot longer time before I would have been feeling at home in that church which is now my church. God WANTED me to go there, and since then I have been on most meeting there I have had the opportunity to come to.
Now back to the story of my calling: I think God even started preparing me for my calling about a month before my baptism in the Holy Spirit. I was attending Trønderkonferansen (a regional conference for the Pentecostals) in this same church. I knew no one else but my uncle there, but I am sure God was preparing me to make this church my home church even then, by making it a good experience. Anyway, during that time there was a rather big and dividing conflict in a national sports organization I was a member of, which was somewhat devastating for me to be an observer of. Because I knew it weakened both my own motivation to continue working within that organization and that it weakened the whole organization. Even though I had been saved only weeks before this, I knew well from both stories I had heard, and from my own wanderings on the internet that there is a lot of division and lack of unity even in the body of Christ.
And the unity of the body of Christ happened to be the main theme of the different speakers on this conference. So every speech at this conference that I got the chance to hear echoed deeply within me and my sadness for the lack of unity. Even the night before, I made this mental illustration of demons working with different tools, like bitterness, proudness and misunderstandings, beneath the true body of Christ in order to cause more and more divisions in the body. During one of these meetings on my first day at this conference, the preacher talking about unity, I brought up this image of division caused by these demons and the image suddenly got its own life. Through the cracks that the demons had created I saw people that fell down in the fiery pit below the demons. As I saw this I felt this overwhelming sadness coming over me, because I knew it to be true. I knew that the division in the church far too often caused people to not find their place in the body of Christ. The sadness, or sorrow, I felt was so strong that I could not handle it, I felt the tears springing out in my eyes, and my heart aching terribly. I could not handle the sadness of it all, so I had to open my eyes, and concentrated very hard to concentrate on what the preacher said, trying very hard to not thing of what I had “seen” and preferably to not remember anything of it. Still after maybe five minutes, my eyes closed again in prayer, and the image appeared again, people still falling. But it was then I saw this white fire coming down from above, spreading out before it hit the body below and covering the whole body of Christ. As this white fiery covered the people of the body, I could see that the divisions started to heal. It was like the white fire was a healing balm that was poured over the body and cured every sore created by the demons below.
I remember that seeing this, I opened my eyes and I was very puzzled. I thought something like “This must be a sort of godly inspiration!”. I thought this because I have never reacted this emotionally to anything I have created in my mind on my own, so I was sure that God somehow had something to do with this. Anyway, I could not forget this experience and was pondering it all, and at some point I was starting to wonder what the bible says about experiences like this. And the first question I asked myself was: What kind of experience was this? Having some bible knowledge I knew very quickly that there is nothing in the bible that mentions any thing called “godly inspiration”, and the closest thing to what I had experienced would be that of prophetic visions.
Now THAT thought gave me a scare! Me having had a prophetic vision?!? Why?!? How?!? The best way to describe it would be that it was like I had gotten this interesting stone or small rock to examine, and suddenly it turned very hot in my hands. I did not really like the thought of having had something like that, I felt I did not deserve it, that it was waaaay above me, and I had absolutely no problem finding reasons why I should not have had a prophetic vision. And even my reaction to the thought of having had a prophetic vision scared me, I knew very well that Paul wrote that we should want and seek to get the prophetic gift. I knew very well that the spiritual gifts are not something given because one deserves it. The Norwegian word for the spiritual gifts “nådegaver”, meaning gifts of grace explained very well to me that if God wanted to give me a prophetic gift, he could do so without deserving it. Simply out of his great grace and love for me and his people. I wrestled with this experience, even unsuccessfully trying to find biblical evidence of what I had seen to be false or unbiblical. But after three months I settled with this conclusion and prayed to God: “God, if you want to give me a prophetic gifting, please do so, but please teach me to use it well and correctly as you want it!”
Even early in this process, I understood that if God wanted to give me a gift of prophecy, it would be because he would want me to actually use this gift. The thought that I actually would have to use this gift, is possibly one of the reasons I opposed so much to the idea of me getting such a gift. I think I preferred to just be an anonymous Christian that didn’t have any particular gifting and that could just live his Christian life in anonymous obscurity. And to have a prophetic gift would mean I wouldn’t be able to just hide away as I had done somewhat in my life before I was saved. And it was early in this process I got this experience of finding out my calling was to be a “worker of the harvest”. Which I guess nudged me towards accepting the thought of prophetic gifting.
It was also during this time when I was about to fall asleep I sometime, that I was “rehearsing” my testimony in my head. That I had this image that I sometime might do it live in front of a group of people in what I felt was a small congregation house or possibly even a gymnastics room of a school. I was standing on a scene behind a pulpit. What was odd was that I did not feel particularly uncomfortable about standing behind that pulpit that I even wanted to get the chance to stand there and tell those people my story about how I came to Christ. Because the story wouldn’t be about me, but the story would be about Jesus and what he can do in a young man’s life.
During the next months I was eventually baptized in water, it was God’s working that it happened when it did as well, but that’s another story. And having finally been baptized, and finished with the mindwrestling about the possibility of having a prophetic gift, I turned my focus on what it could mean to be a “worker of the harvest”. The term is as I see it very “general”, it doesn’t say much about the specific ministry I am called to do. Also I was wondering if it was just my own thoughts that put that calling into me, or if it really was from God. And it was during that time at an alter call someone prayed prophetically over me, and saying that they saw me as a “worker of the harvest”. I had then never told anyone about me suspecting to have a calling as a harvester, so this confirmed to me very well that it was from God. Later I spoke with him who said that to me, and he told me he had seen the image of a rake, gathering the straws, meaning I would be a gatherer. This felt true in my heart, so I knew my calling indeed would be to be a harvester. I just didn’t know what it meant. All I knew that a harvester would be a sort of evangelical calling, but to me there are a lot of different kinds of evangelical ways to minister to people.
At some point I concluded that God did possibly not want to give me much more of a hint about what my specific calling would be. Possibly because knowing more precisely would scare me so much I’d rather run away or be discouraged. And I still believe that was the main reason God didn’t reveal much more to me back then. But God didn’t stop his work on preparing me for the calling he got for me. At another occasion someone mentioned that I would be involved with youths and young people. Although I did then feel, and still feel that my calling is towards people of all ages, I do like and enjoy working with young people. At the same time I was considering the idea of actually following up the idea of making a website dedicated to testimonies of Christians of all backgrounds, and I even registered a domain and set up a prototype for such a website. At that time I considered that website as “probably a sort of ‘hobby calling'”, a calling that wouldn’t be the main part of a future ministry, but that would run on the side and separately from whatever God would call me to.
That first summer after I was saved, I went to Uppsala to the Word of Life’s Europe Conference for the first time of my life. At my second day there, I attended the morning prayer, and let my tongue loose (I had been praying in tongues for a couple of months then), and while I was standing there, my tongue just running on its own, my thoughts came into the thoughts of my calling or future ministry, and I listed up to myself all those things I knew about my calling and possible ministries: harvester, working with youths, web site for testimonies.
And for a few seconds I had this compact idea or dream how all those could actually work together, a ministry web site where people could send testimonies, a travelling ministry to churches, bringing a couple people with some interesting testimonies and a worship band, and making some of the people from the local church come with their testimonies.
As I saw this idea, I knew why God hadn’t shown me earlier, and I even thought it was too early to know then. But God knows the perfect timing of everything, and that was the perfect timing for sowing that ministry dream in my head. I did not dare thinking much on that thing for a while, it was simply too big, too large for me. It scared me, still scares me. I felt and feel too uncomfortable with the size of it, but at the same time, it is calling me. Telling me that someday, this is what you can do. Will do. Maybe in a different way than I imagine it today. It is still nothing but an idea, still growing, still dreaming. But it is something I feel God is calling me towards.
Even today I do not know the way to get to where I can actually be in that calling. But at the same time, I am not in a hurry. I trust that if God want me to enter into a ministry like described, he will make sure I walk the way I need to go. My most immediate calling is to be where I am at, to walk the path he has set before me. To learn those things he want me to learn, to do those tasks he give me on the way, to learn to know him better, to be a witness where I am. To not try to run ahead of him in my impatience, but to walk with him. To trust that he will get me where he need me to be, and to trust he will prepare me for things I will meet both on the way and when I reach the goals he have set for me.
I believe yesterday’s small “testimony meeting” was one of those small steps I was supposed to walk. But even thought I believed this, or maybe because I did believe this, I was very scared to arrange it. “What if it wasn’t God who wanted me to have it? What if I have misunderstood God’s calling for me? What if I am doing the wrong thing?” When I drove to Betel yesterday I was just as nervous as that first time I was on my way to my first Unbad meeting. I “knew” that God wanted me to do this, but what if I was wrong in believing it?
I very much felt like the man in my drawing, standing on still water, looking into the roaring, scary waters. Wondering “Should I go? Should I take the next step? Do I dare to?”, and I did take it. I had made sure I couldn’t do anything else. “Advertizing” the idea of a testimony meeting long time in advance, made sure I could not take any easy way out, like going to bowl instead, anything else easy, simple and “normal. I really had to take a step in faith, and God both gave me the strength to do it, as well as giving me the wisdom to prevent me to find an excuse not to do it.
Thank you God, for your wisdom and your help.
Thank you God, for the Holy Spirit working in me.
Thank you for all the testimonies we heard yesterday.
Thank you Jesus, for the testimony you have put in every follower of you.
Thank you Lord for your word, and for your ways of speaking to our hearts.
I pray that this meeting was not one of one, but a first of many.
I pray that you will give your children in the boldness to speak out their testimonies.
That they will truly be bold in their ways, contrary to the world’s opposition against us.
I pray that you will increase the flame you have put inside of us,
so we no longer can hide it for the world.
But be a bright candle, a lighthouse in an otherwise dark land.
Help us Lord, to love people like you love them.
Lord, I pray, love them through us; let us see your lost sheep as you see them.
There is so many, Father, that goes through their lives without knowing you.
There are so many, too many, that never ever really get to hear about you.
I pray God; let your children not be content in staying comfortable in our homes.
But put the dream in our hearts that we cannot do anything, will not do anything,
want not do anything, but what you have called each and every one of us to do.
To receive your Holy Spirit, and be your “witnesses in Jerusalem,
and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to then ends of the earth.”
In Jesus’ name, Amen.