The anointing of the Holy Spirit is so precious and so rare. This fragrant balm breaks yokes and releases people from heavy burdens (Isaiah 10:27, 2 Corinthians 2:14-16). Only the anointing draws people. We need it in worship, preaching, and prayer if we want to minister to people.
Jason Crabb sings with anointing. People feel it when he sings, even if they don’t realize the anointing is what they feel. The Crabb family (Jason, Terah, twins Aaron and Adam) gave life to the Gaither music video How Great Thou Art (2007) with an anointed rendition of “I’d Rather Have Jesus” (YouTube). Jason performed the solo in one of his signature songs. It was so good he gave an encore. This video didn’t have much life before the Crabbs sang. But I think everyone felt the loss after they finished. If Jason ever loses the anointing, he will also lose his ministry.
Charles Billingsley is an excellent soloist. I love his songs “Marks of the Mission,” “Holy One,” “Freed,” and “The Light of that City.” I love Billingsley’s album God of the Ages: Live at Thomas Road Baptist Church (2009) too. One of his latest albums is Never Forsaken (2012). However, the only good song on it is “Why My Heart Sings” (YouTube), a duet with none other than Jason Crabb. This is the only song with spiritual life. The rest of the album has nothing of lasting value.
Billingsley is a really nice guy. But he’s the first in a long line of Christian singers I admire who do not have the anointing. I don’t know if Billingsley will ever find it. I’ve never felt the Spirit move or release me when he sings.
Allison Durham Speer sang “I Will Glory in the Cross” (YouTube) on the Gaither music video I’ll Meet You on the Mountain (2004). Earlier in her career she seemed shy, rarely singing in public. This is why “I Will Glory in the Cross” is so special. A shy young woman came to life and ministered to people with visible power and anointing. “When You Walk Through the Water,” from a 1993 album, has also ministered to me in recent years.
Allison isn’t shy anymore. She gave a spirited rendition of “I’m Bound for that City” (YouTube) in Smyrna, Tennessee, six years ago. In this video Allison is dripping with the anointing. But she certainly wasn’t anointed when I heard her sing at a music festival last spring. Like Jason Crabb, if Allison loses the anointing she will also lose her ministry.
Jonathan Pierce didn’t sing “Soon and Very Soon” with anointing in a 1994 TBN special live with Christ Church Choir (Nashville). But I loved Jonathan the moment he clapped his hand over his heart as the Spirit moved him. How many of us are like this man? How many of us feel the Spirit when we worship, whether we’re in the choir or in the congregation? [Pierce has left the music industry and is now an interior designer with his own company. I hardly recognize him. What happened?]
I’ve heard some good preaching by both men and women in the last 20 years. But I cannot say I’ve ever heard anyone preach with anointing. Before 2000, evangelist Michael Lee came the closest. I just don’t remember enough of his sermons to say for certain. I didn’t know then what I do now either – the difference in ministry between the anointing and the flesh.
Since 2000, Pentecostal pastors Tommy Bates and Mitchell Tolle, both from Kentucky, have ministered to me the most in church. But I wouldn’t call them anointed. I didn’t know what anointing was until I watched the first Gaither music video The Gaither Vocal Band Homecoming (1991). Larry Gatlin reminisced about a man preaching “the hair down his back” when he was a child.
How many of us have heard preaching like that? Does it still exist? Only anointed preaching will draw sinners to seek salvation and saints to seek holiness.
I don’t know how to pray. I rarely hear anointing praying either. Vestal Goodman prayed for Dottie Rambo pretty strongly, or at vocally, in that first Gaither music video. But she didn’t have spiritual power – not like the middle-aged woman who opened a Tennessee campmeeting service with prayer four years ago. She was sparse with words, but she was bold. It’s been four years and I still remember what I felt when this woman prayed, even if I don’t remember the words.
How many of us pray like that? Only anointed praying will release spiritual power. Only such praying will bind Satan and relieve people from heavy burdens.
Some people rely on talent. Others rely on skill. But few seek or rely on the anointing, one only the Holy Spirit can give in all his fullness. If we don’t have the anointing in worship, preaching, and prayer, then what are we doing and why? Sinners aren’t getting saved. Saints aren’t being sanctified or released from burdens. A church without anointing produces nothing. We must pray and seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit!
A successful church is a burning bush. God speaks from it. Our word is His word, or it is no word at all. A church aflame with God, a bush burning with holy fire will attract people better than any amount of PR hype. God is clothed with fire and his servants are “flames of fire”. Unless we are burning we can never set anybody else on fire. We can be so orderly, doing everything with dignity and decorum but … without fire! Correct but cold. On Mount Carmel the pagans laid everything correctly on the altar ready for the sacrifice but the devil could not bring a spark from hell to light it. Elijah then rebuilt the altar, stones, wood, sacrifice, everything according to the book, and called down fire from heaven. And it came! Fire is the divine logo. Like it or not, the Christian faith is either fervent or a failure. It is characterized by fire: hearts and lives ablaze, faces glowing with God, lit with fervor and overflowing joy. Is that you?