Spreading the Fire

An autobiographical sketch by Henry H. Mitchell.

On Sunday morning, June 7, 1998, during a service of praise and worship in the new sanctuary of the Lighthouse Deliverance Center Church (just north of Chatham, Virginia), three strong impressions came to me in sequence. They are as follows:

1. The Bellows.

The first impression was simply the following: “This place is to be a bellows, not a furnace. Here the wind of the Spirit should fan and greatly intensify the fire of the Spirit in each of you, then you are to take that flame out and release it into the world around you.”

“A nice idea,” I thought, “almost corny.” I did not immediately rank it as “from the Lord,” but didn't reject it outright, either. Immediately the second impression came.

2. The Church in the Wildwood.

The second impression was visual. I was standing outside a fairly small country church, at night. The building was about the same size as the Lighthouse, but it was a traditional structure, wood frame, a steep roof, Gothic windows with “cathedral points” at the top of each, etc. It sat in a dark wooded area. Bright light, warm in color, streamed from every window. In fact, the light was so bright that it made the outside darkness seem absolute.

My inclination was to go inside. I knew that something good was happening there. But I was prevented, and caused to move away, up a gentle slope, and to look at the building from a greater distance. There the light from within the building was not so overpowering, and my eyes adjusted to the dark areas. To my surprise, there were demonic figures laughing, dancing, seemingly literally partying. Some were even reclined in a relaxed pose with legs crossed on the roof of the building! I was made aware that their happiness came from the fact that the light was all inside the building, and that it was not interfering at all with their “turf,” the darkness!

Again, I did not immediately say, “This is the Lord!” The picture was so cartoonish, the demonic figures and their cavorting so much like Looney Tunes figures — in fact, the “body language” of one roof-recliner reminded me very much of Bugs Bunny enjoying a carrot! The truth revealed in the scene was accurate, and a good illustration of the admonition that we are not to “hide our light under a bushel.” but the scene was almost too light-hearted, in my opinion of the moment, to “be God!” Then, the third impression came quickly.

3. If the gifts of the Spirit are for today…

The third impression was a split-second revelation. It began with a question, “You know that some say the gifts of the Spirit are not for today, don't you?”

“Of course,” I silently replied.

“They claim that early Christians were ‘just making do,’ having to validate their message with signs and wonders because the New Testament Scriptures were not yet written down. Similarly, many think that the events of Acts happened in the streets, courts, jails, homes, and marketplaces because those first-generation Saints were ‘just making do’ until they could ‘get settled down’ into their own church buildings, where their activities would be safer for themselves and less disruptive to others.

The Gospel is meant to spread like the fire it is, not be ‘safely contained.’”

This last revelation convinced me, “This is God!”