I was gonna be a fly on the wall. Watch and learn. Listen and observe. Casper the friendly reporter. I had my trusty notepad and pen and was determined to see just what goes on inside the River School of Supernatural Life, otherwise known as RSSL. Not that the whole school is steeped in some Scooby Doo mystery or anything, but it garnered enough intrigue on the innerparts of my brain to want to know more. And if you’d like to get a glimpse of that “more,” then read on.
One night at RSSL
From the best I can tell, it starts off with everyone in the sanctuary for some song and worship. Now, I’d be remiss to not mention the acoustic set thrown down by Jason Ellis, Lana Tramonte, and Kathrine Tripp. Now, I’m a guy who really digs him some intimate, low-key band moments on stage. A singer – or in this case, a few singers – and a guitar and that’s it is crazy cool. And for this night and this setting, it ruled and made the Holy Spirit drop like an atom bomb on the place. The good kind of atom bomb. Am I biased because I prefer acoustic over the works? Probably. But, you’d think it was awesome, too.
So after a few jams, Pastor Tommy went up to the front to say his “hello’s” and then broke the room up into two sections – first session people and those that are already well into the school’s teachings. A faux pas, I guess, on my part is that I never really asked how the schedule breakdown of the school happened, but this leaves an amazing opportunity for YOU to ask and seek more info. Neat how that worked out.
So, the…let’s call them freshmen (helps me put things into perspective) went with Pastor Tommy to learn about how to hone and use your giftings and callings from the Lord. We all have them, it’s just a lot of us don’t tap into them.
The…let’s call them upperclassmen (and women) who have been in RSSL for a bit, stayed in the sanctuary and watched a film about street preaching and witnessing.
Both sounded cool. I was torn. But, however, since I cannot be in two places at once – not a gift I have – then I opted to check out Pastor Tommy’s teachings and went with the freshmen. (Small tangent: I noticed a lot of people had something like a 3-inch binder with papers and notes and all sorts of stuff, yet I never asked to check one out. It’s assumed this is part of the stuff you get when you sign up, but someone can let me know when they enroll because they read this and thought RSSL was right up their alley.)
Oh, before I forget. Pastor Tommy mentioned that River offers a $100 referral (essentially 100 bucks off your tuition) for everyone you get to sign up for RSSL. So…keep that in mind.
As I thought about the opening of RSSL this night and scanned the room as I left for pastor’s class, I thought to myself, “This is like a fine-tuned, streamlined, yet powerful type of worship.” I liked it. It felt…anointed?
So, anyhoo, we get upstairs to Pastor Tommy’s freshmen class. There are only a few of us so the setting is super personal. It begins with general conversation but fast tracks to testimonies about healings. I grabbed my pen.
Pastor Tommy spoke of a time he instantly healed his swollen, messed up ankle.
Another woman in the class (why don’t I get names?) told us about a time a boy fell and hit his head, cracking it open. She immediately grabbed a rag, pressed it to the wound, prayed over it for roughly 10 seconds, and once the rag was moved away, the cut was gone.
The same woman spoke of another time where she pretty much pulled a fever out of a child and it felt like “hot water” running from the child, through her, and up and out of her other extended hand to the sky.
It was at this moment, coupled with some other mentionings from the class, that I felt kinda out of my league…if I’m being honest. I’ve never healed anything. Even that bird I shot off the light pole at 20 yards out with my friend’s BB gun almost 20 years ago that I cried and begged and pleaded to come back to life, even after my friend’s dog grabbed it up in her mouth and took off running. Since that day – and really, even before it – I have never understood hunting. But, if you’re a hunter and you’re reading this, we’re still cool, right?
So, yea, never healed a thing that I know of. Not even the bird that I hit with an insanely lucky (or really, unlucky) shot all those years ago. And we got people in here healing feet and potential brain damage and heat flying through them into the sky. If they were freshmen, I was a 3rd grader.
All that was about to change. But, not because I healed anyone else. I healed myself. Rather…gosh, that is a tad misleading…I was healed by Pastor Tommy’s explanation of gifting and talents going into my brain and me accepting it as fact. So, wait, did Tommy heal me or did my acceptance heal me? Ah, forget it, GOD healed me.
There were books mentioned. Oh, yes. Books. I love books. Not libraries so much, but books. Here are some of the ones mentioned:
God’s Generals by Roberts Liardon
When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson
The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind by Bill Johnson
It should be noted what Pastor Tommy said about the book When Heaven Invades Earth: “It’s the lyrics to the tune I’ve been whistling.”
“Impossible becomes logical.”
The message to the freshmen in the room this night was about having a renewed mind, specifically when following your calling and what you think is your calling. A renewed mind changes the way you think about everything. AND there was a nice side lesson about function versus titles in the church. Good stuff.
We are able to hear from God all the time. If it’s not Him speaking, it’s Him pointing us in one direction or the other. Guiding us. Half the time He’s fighting a stubborn current. But since He’s God, He will get us to where He wants us to go eventually.
This is about the time Pastor Tommy spoke about people doing things the way they did back in Moses’ day, or how they can do it since Jesus lifted the veil. A “grace versus law” type thing.
“I can hear from God myself, or let someone else tell me what to do.”
Kinda smacks of another religion I know, but this isn’t a post on wool over eyes and sitting in a booth to make sure we don’t go to Hell.
The class was asked to check out 1 Timothy 4:11-16. Don’t worry, I provided that for you here:
11 Prescribe and teach these things.12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, butrather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
Zoom in on #14. Paul was telling Timothy, and ultimately God was telling us, to not neglect the gifts we have in all of us. As Pastor Tommy put it, we need to, “Grow and develop our callings.”
Then he spoke a little prophecy over the house. He said that the River was gonna be a place from which a prophecy revolution would spring. How awesome is that? Just thought I’d throw that in there.
From discovering and nurturing your gifting/talent/anointing, we were told to do two seemingly contradictory things.
1. “Don’t specialize too fast in your ministry, giftings, callings.”
Often people who get into ministry know of a specific route they want to take – say, the “prophecy trail” – and go full speed ahead at that, possibly never seeing any fruit on the vine. Why? Well, they listened to their own wants instead of God’s.
God will use your journey to hone that one gifting you know you have even if you have to work in every other single church department before you get to the one where your talent sits. It’s called refinement. Pastor called the times working around our giftings instead of in them our “training ground.”
2. “Be totally absorbed in your call.”
On your off days, read a book…about your calling. About your gifts. Learn and sponge up as much information as you can about the who, what, why and where of your desired realm. Make sure everyone and anyone knows that you’re the go-to person should the opportunity ever present itself to be the tour guide on the “prophecy trail.”
These two pieces of advice are crucial to lining up with God’s will for your gift(s.)
“Be willing to serve wherever needed and God will promote you,” we were instructed. And you, blog reader, are in luck because the other people who heard these gems had to enroll to hear them. You got some freebies. Use them wisely!
As usual with any River event I have been privileged to write about, it was not without some wisdom McNuggets to chew on like these:
“Pay attention to what your heart is crying out for.”
“Don’t make room for yourself.”
“Be willing to serve anywhere.”
These three, outside the context of God and His call for us, seem like, “um, okay.” However, within the confines of our ministries, they are LASER BEAMS.
“Serve quickly, but don’t think too highly of yourself.”
Yes, be the guy – or gal – with your hand up first to volunteer for whatever betters the church. However, don’t be the guy – or gal – who thinks that because they volunteered first they are somehow superior to the person behind them who also had their hand up, but your big head blocked them from view. (For the record, Pastor Tommy did not say this part, I took the liberty to make up my own summation.)
Oh, the side lesson. On titles versus function. Pretty much talked about how “pastors” are the only ones in the church who get the paycheck, which leads people who are really more of an evangelist or prophet to saddle themselves with the duties of a pastor and neglect their proper job description in order to pay the bills. The church – moreso the Western church – is stuck on the title of the person rather than the function. It’s a bummer because men and women all over are not following God’s will, but their own, and not because they are bad people, but because they’ve been corralled into the pen.
One last thing concerning the term “apostle.” In ancient Greece, then Rome, an apostle was someone who went into a newly conquered territory and transformed the culture to match that of the Empire. They were environment changers. Mindset alterers. That’s what Jesus asked the 12 to do. Go out into the world and change it towards God.
All in all, RSSL is pretty sweet. It would be super interesting to soak up a few semesters worth of the anointing floating around there. Who knows? It may kickstart someone’s own ministry and calling therein.