In ministering, never follow the path your mind wants to take. Don’t lean to your own understanding. Learn to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit within you. He is there inside you to lead you.
I remember when I started the ministry. I had been preaching for about two years in various churches, usually in ones in which no one else would preach.
Then one day the Lord spoke to me to get out of those churches and start holding some meetings of my own. I prayed about it, and the Lord led me to Wichita Falls, Texas. I rented an old abandoned drugstore building and some folding chairs.
On one particular Wednesday night, I remember that the anointing was really strong. I preached on the Reality of the Righteousness of God. I was going great, and I was having the time of my life. But just as I built my sermon up to its climatic moment and God was just coming forth with the finish, a woman in the audience suddenly burst forth in tongues.
I felt like someone had stood up and doused me with a fire hose. I said, “Lady, hold that until I finish.” She got a little louder. I shouted, “In the name of Jesus, shut up!” She grew louder still. By this time the service was in shambles. I finally just stood back and let her go on and on and on. It seemed to me that she went on for an hour and half. Then she shifted over into English. “Yea, yea, saith the Lord…” She never said anything intelligible.
This continued on for what seemed like an eternity. After a while, everyone was squirming around in their seats. They looked like they were about ready to wring her neck. Finally, when she hushed, I looked right at her and I said sternly, “Well, we’ve already lost what we were studying anyway, so I am going to teach you something. You wouldn’t have the nerve to interrupt me in English while I was preaching, so why would you do it in a language you don’t understand?”
About that time, a man sitting next to her spoke up and said, “Brother Copeland, she is stone deaf. She didn’t hear a Word you said.”
What do you do when faced with a problem like that? Whatever you say can and will be held against you. What is there to say anyway?
I found out later that someone had planned the whole thing. They had already run half a dozen preachers out of town with the same trick. She was being used by some very selfish people. It was set up that when the man next to her punched her with his elbow, it was “her turn” to prophesy.
During times like these, your decision to meet the needs of the people must rise to the surface. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth and that His sheep would know his voice. I was determined that no demonic spirit would run me out of town.