I have had a very interesting weekend (Written Jan. 15, 2012). I have been in Seattle Washington spending time in some John Crowder meetings.

For those of you that don’t know, John Crowder took a lot of heat a few years ago for being different, silly and to some - offensive. I was in the camp that found him offensive. About four years ago, I had read some of his first book, The New Mystics, and I was very impressed. Then I saw him at a local church and I was very stretched, as he stumbled around the stage, hammered drunk in the Spirit, spouting facts about church history and displaying a deeply impressive theological mind, I couldn’t reconcile what I was witnessing. After a short while, I took on an offense in my heart, and I judged my brother.

In the last two years, the Lord has been working on grace and honor in my heart. For me, this has boiled down to walking in full, true, deep freedom and expressing this to others. I also have been learning to pour love unconditionally upon others and apologize a lot more. I express this as treating every person as “worth dying for” as expressed through the work of Christ. Let me back up a little.

In September I was a speaker at a conference alongside Chad Dedmon, and on the last night of the conference, I ended up on the floor of the church rolling in deep belly laughter with David Dodd, Darren Stott, and Chad for over an hour. I had not been touched in a physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit like that in about ten years. In some ways, if I am honest, I had grown cold toward manifestations and I felt quite out of touch with those that experienced them.

So in planning this weekend in Seattle, I had talked with my wife throughout the month of December regarding my desire to come to Seattle and sit under John Crowder’s ministry. She kept asking “Why? I thought you didn’t like him?”  I couldn’t quite find the words to reply, but I have them now.

I still have had remnants of legalism in my heart. I am not naturally inclined to swing from the rafters, but I also don’t want to be the Pharisee that judges others when they do.

I want to be like Jesus, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

In my journey into grace and freedom, I have not found many that share my passion for freedom, until I recently read John’s new book, Mystical Union. As I read, I realized that because of my judgment a few years ago, I had missed out on the opportunity to receive from this gem of a man. My journey to Seattle this weekend has been to connect with this wonderful man that I had rejected in my immature heart. As I have had a few days with him I have found him to be gentle, kind, humble, brilliant, insightful and carrying a deep heart of love for people. Basically, John is a beautiful picture of Jesus.

In this, I want to encourage you, don’t judge or reject others. Yes, discernment is valid, but judging and rejecting are not required. As you begin this New Year, allow the Holy Spirit to stretch you and clean out your filters and give others another chance.

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