1 Timothy 5:17 “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.”
For the past two years I have been blessed to be influenced by the life and teachings of Pastor John Himmelberger of Deep River Church in Sequim, WA. God has given John to us at Deep River as a spiritual father, pastor/shepherd, and a discipler. The way he shares with us from his own journals and life lessons, as well as testimonies of the lives of others, brings revelation and life. Our home church is connected to the rich community of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. We participate via live broadcasts on the web. John, and his wife, Amy, are taking classes with Bethel, and they pass on what they’re learning about. John is a man who seeks to know the Lord Jesus better day by day and lives a lifestyle that is sensitive to the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit. As John says, “School is always in session.”
Personally I have had dozens of life-changing revelations directly as a result of John’s influence. When asked to write on who has influenced me, I immediately thought of him. Briefly, here are some of the things I have learned from John.
John stresses spending time with God and regularly going to “the secret place” to soak in His presence and continue in revival fire of the Holy Spirit. John often answers questions with the question, “What does Holy Spirit say?” to encourage us to go to God with our questions and when there are decisions to be made. The most common statement you will hear from John is, “I love the Lord!” John also constantly reminds us to be thankful and how we enter God’s presence with the password, “Thank You”. (See Psalm 100:4, Message Bible.)
Often John has us pair off and speak encouraging words to one another as we seek to develop a culture of honor, love, and faith. If we look at each other with “kingdom eyes” we will think well and speak well of one another and extend grace and hope to each other. Putting these things into practice has caused them to be more of a lifestyle. More often when I talk with someone now, I listen to the Holy Spirit about what I might share to speak an encouraging word or what I might give them. John is one generous guy and he has so much fun giving that it is contagious.
Our words are extremely powerful and John reminds us to speak out the truth and make declarations in faith of what we hope for, even if we don’t feel like it and even if we do not see it yet. For example, one of our declarations is, “God is prospering all of our relationships.” Another one is, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Another is, “Our prayers are powerful and effective.”
I’ve come to look at myself, or my identity, more positively too. I am amazing, anointed, gifted, empowered, continually filled with the Holy Spirit, and sent out by Jesus. I have assignments waiting for me every day, everywhere I go. In Jesus I AM the divine appointment because my identity is Christ Himself. As the Word says in 1John 4:17, “As Jesus is in the world, so are we.” Pastor John tells us, “We do what Jesus did and say what Jesus said. It is not enough to believe, because even the demons believe. We are world changers and history makers!”
I even pray differently now. I pray with authority and speak out with more boldness. According to Ephesians 2:6 I am co-resurrected and co-seated with Jesus on His heavenly throne. I don’t ask God or plead with Him to move mountains, I speak to the mountain and say: “BE REMOVED!” I have gift for intercessory prayer. As a result of John’s teaching this has expanded to actually “shift the atmosphere” through praying when I come into a room or in preparation for a worship meeting. Also, in the past I seldom would pray for miracles, but I’ve learned to pray just as Jesus would. John has taught us to persevere in prayer and be expecting miracles. He always says, “The conditions are perfect.” He encourages us to fully trust God even when we don’t see the desired results of our prayers. He has continued to challenge us to be “fearless now” and to “cross the chicken line” and follow Holy Spirit’s leading and not be timid, go by our feelings, our fears, or past experiences. He reminds us, “Our past does not have to determine our future. We have a great destiny.”
John has continually prayed for us to enter into God’s freedom. Freedom is a wonderful thing--free from the fear of what people think, free from fears, free from regrets and “if only” thoughts, free from perfectionism, and free to be all that our Creator made us to be. In these last two years I have come to realize I’m a dancer and a flagger for worship and intercession. To enter into God’s presence as I freely dance and flag during worship and prayer is one of the most glorious things I’ve ever experienced. I think this is one of the things I was born to do!Not only have I been encouraged, inspired, and challenged by John’s life, I have been CHANGED. Thank you, John, for all you have imparted to us to strengthen and establish our faith and to expand God’s kingdom. You are amazing!