Before I get into Shawn Bolz, here are some qualifiers that are appropriate for anything someone might consider a direct communication from the Lord (restated from first August/September post):
- Any given apparent communication from God is not necessarily a communication from outside the person. – The perceived thing could be born of the person’s own mind, be it as a thought or interpretation of circumstances.
- Every communication from outside the person is not necessarily a message from God. – God can speak to us. So can demonic entities.
- Every message from God is not necessarily intended for distribution beyond the person to whom God initially spoke. – It’s possible that a message that involves someone other than the receiver is intended as a prompt for prayerful intercession and not necessarily a call to approach the person directly.
Shawn Bolz is a minister based in Los Angeles. He’s a great example of what ‘getting a word from the Lord’ can look like. It’s not hyperbole to suggest that he’s currently the most dramatic example of that kind of thing, in popular public ministry. In a given ministry time, he stands in front of anywhere from one to thousands of strangers and offers one or more “clues” (my word) that he’s apparently heard from God. He offers these clues to the room with the understanding that the clues might be information from the Lord regarding someone in the room. From my experience of seeing him in person and on youtube, there’s typically one person or party in the room to whom his clues will obviously apply. Those people might stand and describe their personal connection to whatever hints Shawn spoke to the crowd. Shawn will then share what he thinks is God’s message for the party in question.
Here’s how this worked (to the best of my recollection) when we saw him in August. He called out a street address; a person’s name; and the word ‘son’ (words of knowledge). A woman in the audience stood and said she lived at that street address; that her best friend is named by the name that Shawn called out; and that the best friend’s son died earlier in the year. Shawn spoke to the woman for several minutes. His message (prophecy) for her included a comforting word for the best friend, the message being that the son is safely with God in heaven.
At a previous ministry night earlier in the year, he called out (I changed the names) “a Brenda, who is somehow attached to Leo.” A woman named Brenda stood up in the audience, holding her child Leo. Shawn then told Brenda what he believed God had told him about her. Brenda, like the woman in the previous paragraph was moved to tears by the apparent revelation that the Creator of the universe is aware of her life circumstances and that He takes an active interest in her.
Looking back at the qualifiers at the beginning of this post, in regard to Shawn Bolz, I’m personally comfortable skipping to the second one. For Shawn Bolz to ‘know’ the kinds of things that he does, we can rule out the possibility that he is gifted at reading body language and other clues that might reveal things about a person’s life. He brings his list of words into the room with him, anyway. So he’s not making up anything on the spot (at least not when I saw him.) He’s not offering “vague yet specific enough to fit any number of people in the crowd” clues. If the man is telling you the strong password that you just created for your financial accounts (an example from his book Translating God), then we can rest assured he’s getting his info from the non-material world.
The pertinent question regarding Shawn Bolz is, “Does his highly specific ministry information come from White Hats or Black Hats?” Answer: I don’t know. We can look at the fruit of his work to get some insight. When Shawn makes a connection with someone, that someone will likely be moved to tears with relief; they will be encouraged; they will very likely think they have heard God’s words through Shawn, because the nature of the words indicates they come from a being who loves the person and knows the secrets of his or her heart. The only way I see Shawn Bolz operating under Satanic authority is if there’s an incomprehensibly complex and stealthy deception at work, globally. Such a deception would be entirely consistent with Biblical warnings of the End Times. So – trust, but verify. “Trust, but verify” is from Ronald Reagan, by the way; to give credit where’s it is due. In context of words of knowledge and prophecy, I’m using it in place of “Wait and see.” Same principle.
There are a couple of reasons I mention Shawn Bolz at all (other than the fact that it is truly fascinating to watch him do his thing.) First, I’ve been going on and on for three years now in this blog about what might or might not happen with me, with regard to gifts of the Holy Spirit. For anyone who reads this blog and doesn’t know any better, I want to emphasize that the planet is crawling with people who regularly minister with the gifts of the Spirit. Shawn is indeed a megawatt example; but there are countless others, most of whom will never be on youtube, and many of whom will never be known outside their local community. Which is still probably understating how common this kind of thing is.
There’s a guy named Wade whom I know at church. Wade has got a definite healing gift, which he uses in conjunction with fearless evangelism. He and a small team of students approached a stranger at Target one day this year, asking if the person needed prayer for anything. The man revealed a large tumor on his hand. The team prayed for the man, and the tumor shrunk a little, real-time, right before their eyes. They prayed again, and the tumor shrunk some more. They continued praying until there was no longer any evidence of the tumor. Wade and team took that opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the stunned man. Wade doesn’t have a youtube channel. But he’s a guy who knows Christ and wants the same for those who do not. There are a lot of Wades out there, doing things in their own unique way, in the name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The second reason I wanted to introduce Shawn Bolz is because of what he said in his message when we saw him in August. He spoke for about 45mins before moving on to the personal prophecy time of the evening. I’ll pick up there in the next August-September post.