Being Led By The Spirit Is The Key! The Wisdom of Walking with Holy Spirit vs the Knowledge of Men
It so incredibly encouraging to have people who have lived life, and seen the faithfulness of the Lord do great and mighty things in their lives, to walk alongside us and share their lives with us. In this exciting moment, Greg Lancaster continues his conversation with longtime friend and brother in the Lord, Jack Hollis. Vulnerability and transparency have become so rare in our present age. But not with Jack. His life story is a breath of fresh air for those who are hungry for a deeper and closer connection with the Lord. Jack openly shares about his beginning moments coming to the Lord when the Lord showed him something so encouraging and powerful that is in Deuteronomy 4:37-38, “And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day”. Essentially, God brought him out to bring him in. In Jack’s own words, he expresses how profoundly that impacted his life and what the Lord was showing to Jack that He had done. “I didn’t just bring you out of the hell that you were in. I didn’t bring you out of being an alcoholic, I didn’t bring you out of being lost and being undone, I brought you out to bring you into something better, something real!” This moment with the Lord has been something that he has carried with him his whole life. He even recalls those moments before the Lord compared to walking with the Lord as simply incomparable. There was such a powerful change in Jack’s life when Jesus Christ took over!
There were so many things that the Lord did through his life, and the 58 years of marriage with his wife Shellie, that he describes those years as “living two or three lives”. Throughout his time walking with the Lord, Jack experienced the temptation to slow down and be like other people. But he knew he just couldn’t do that. “Maybe everybody’s right. Maybe I need to settle down in a church and do all that stuff. Nah. Didn’t work. Nothing worked.” It’s not about being successful in this life. It’s about being successful in heaven’s eyes; in the eyes of Jesus. As Jack points out, “we have to overcome success in order for God to work through us”. Having to work while he just started high school, Jack decided to drop out of school. Because of that decision, he wasn’t able to get his GED until he was 30. It wasn’t for another twenty years that he got his Bachelor’s degree, and another 10 years to acquire his Master’s degree. The interesting thing is after all of these years of theological education, it didn’t make much of a difference. “I don’t know a bit more than I did before I did all of that.” The Spirit of God had already led him in all of those areas. Ken Sumrall was a spiritual father to both Greg and Jack. He had a similar understanding as he shares this wisdom, “I was dying by degrees”. In our world of more and more knowledge, simply walking in obedience to the Holy Spirit confounds the minds of men. As Greg shares, “people think that you got something over them. ‘No, its just that Holy Spirit told me to be here, told me to say this’”.
There is nothing more exciting that living a life following the voice of the Lord and the leading of Holy Spirit. As Jack points out, Holy Spirit leads him in his daily life to share with others what God has said to him about them, and impacts their hearts so profoundly, they are led to tears. But it doesn’t always turn out that way. When Jack was sitting down one day at a restaurant, he felt the leading of the Lord to go talk to a lady who was sitting at a nearby table. The conversation started off innocently enough; “excuse me, but…” and that was all it took. She stopped him right there in his tracks. “GET AWAY FROM ME!” She quickly put her hand in her purse and pulled out her pepper spray which was immediately aimed directly at Jack. “YOU GET AWAY FROM MY TABLE!” With his hands up in defense, Jack immediately complied and walked back to his table. “Yes ma’am. No problem. No worries.” After making it back to his table where his lovely wife was sitting, she had seen the sudden stark reaction, and asked Jack, “what was that?” Recognizing that God surely has a sense of humor, Jack replied, “I just about got pepper sprayed and I think God is up there laughing His head off”.
Even though not everyone may be open or receptive to hearing from the Lord, following the leading of the Lord is what this life is all about. Greg beautifully captures the importance of this timely wisdom as he shares, “I know that being led by the Spirit is the key because God is just looking for us to obey Him for the opportunity for Him to do what He was planning on doing anyway”. Imagine living a life fully devoted to following the voice of the Lord in our lives. How immensely powerful would that be impacting the lives of those around us and loving on the heart of the Father by simply obeying Him? Everyday we have a choice whether or not we will follow the Holy Spirit. Jack points out the important truth, “all you got to do to be led by the Spirit is don’t be led by the flesh”. Greg highlights how many people have described him as a men that “JUST DOES IT!” But the truth is, its just following God. When people ask Jack how he lives a life like that, he plainly asks them in response, “how do you not do it?” Do we even really have a choice? Greg nails the reality by asking this important and vital question; “if we’re doing it for Him, why would there be a choice not to obey Him?” This is what it’s all about. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives and we can make that choice to live every life focused on the heart of the Father, and loving Him by simply walking in obedience to Him.
HUMOR MOMENT: Nearly Pepper Sprayed for Following God?
There is nothing more exciting that living a life following the voice of the Lord and the leading of Holy Spirit. In this hilarious humor moment, Greg has a conversation with Jack Hollis about following the Holy Spirit and when He gives gentle promptings of words of knowledge to share with people. As Jack points out, Holy Spirit leads him in his daily life to share with others what God has said to him about them, and impacts their hearts so profoundly, they are led to tears. But it doesn’t always turn out that way. When Jack was sitting down one day at a restaurant, he felt the leading of the Lord to go talk to a lady who was sitting at a nearby table. The conversation started off innocently enough; “excuse me, but…” and that was all it took. She stopped him right there in his tracks. “GET AWAY FROM ME!” She quickly put her hand in her purse and pulled out her pepper spray which was immediately aimed directly at Jack. “YOU GET AWAY FROM MY TABLE!” With his hands up in defense, Jack immediately complied and walked back to his table. “Yes ma’am. No problem. No worries.” After making it back to his table where his lovely wife was sitting, she had seen the sudden stark reaction, and asked Jack, “what was that?” Recognizing that God surely has a sense of humor, Jack replied, “I just about got pepper sprayed and I think God is up there laughing His head off”.
The Power of Gratitude in our Hearts expressed by Giving Thanks with our Tongues
In this exciting and encouraging conversation, Greg Lancaster sits down with longtime friend and brother in the Lord, Jack Hollis. Jack is such a transparent and humble man, that listening to him share about his life, his doesn’t waste time turning the attention to the Lord and His faithfulness. Jack talks about the importance of not just being grateful, but also living a life of continually giving thanks. We can’t stop at the mere moment of being grateful and having gratitude for those around us, we have to use our words to give thanks. As Jack expresses this important truth, “but until you give thanks; until it comes out of your mouth, it has no power. It’s nothing. They can’t benefit. You can’t benefit.” How many people are living their lives with a heart of gratitude but never allowing their tongue to express to the world around them the powerful words of thankfulness? Greg highlights the importance of expressing kind words to those around us because the devil will always capitalize on silence. “If you’re not talking, the devil is, and he’s not talking you up. You better say something quickly.” This is what living an abiding lifestyle with the Lord is all about. Imagine how powerful it would be to start your day every day by expressing your thankfulness to the Lord of all that He has done and is doing in your life? Greg continues, “we practice…a gratitude journal where it forces you to pause from your busy life, to dig around and see things that God did yesterday in your life, and give Him thanks for it.” The enemy is pressing down hard upon all of us each and every day. If we don’t take the time to stop and remember these important moments of how the Hand of the Lord is upon us, the devil will steal those important moments and memories from us.
The Wonderful Blessing of Having Faithful Friends in Our Lives
It is such an encouraging breath of fresh air to have a conversation with those who are down to Earth and humble. Jack Hollis is one of these men and his life is a wonderful, joyful testimony of the faithfulness of the Lord. Greg Lancaster was recently privileged to be able to sit down and recall those iconic memories of a deep heartfelt relationship that has spanned multiple decades. One of those memorable moments, as Jack shares, was when Jack invited Greg to speak at a leadership conference. You may think that such an exciting moment would have provided a few weeks to prepare and plan for. Not exactly. This particular event was held at a federal prison and Jack wanted Greg to be there. So he called him up to graciously extend the invitation to come and speak. “We started at 6:00 and I called Greg at 3:30, I think. And I said, ‘You want to speak at our A.M.I. Conference? Our Gathering at this time?’” Greg asked the obvious question, “Oh Yeah! When is it?” “In two hours and a half”, Jack responded. Jack continued to share the continual needed details. “Well you don’t need to bathe or nothin’, just c’mon.” Greg was there. After giving Greg the directions, he said to simply call him so that Jack could send someone to meet him at the gate. Upon arriving at his destination, Greg was shocked to see multiple signs, “DO NOT ENTER!”. It was at the Federal Prison! Greg had to drive down unknown prison roads to eventually end up at a building he assumed was the building they were meeting at. Remember, it was dark, he was at a prison and couldn’t see hardly anything until he opened the door to the building they were meeting in. Greg was so grateful that it was the right building and not prisoner cell or chow hall. LOL Jack even recalls how powerfully the Lord moved through Greg’s message to his leadership in that moment as the Lord delivered a powerful word for all of those who were gathered. Not only does Jack recognize the significance of the moment, but also life and character of Greg; “not too many people are instant in season and out of season”. Greg shares the one thing that joins and brings him and Jack together, “well love is what connects us so we do what we can.” It’s so deeply refreshing to witness such a beautiful relationship between two people who have the Lord in common and see how deeply the Lord can demonstrate Himself through our lives, and in the lives of those around us.
Jack Hollis: The Impactful Life of Pastoring a City
It is such an encouraging breath of fresh air to have a conversation with those who are down to Earth and humble. Jack Hollis is one of these men and his life is a wonderful, joyful testimony of the faithfulness of the Lord. Greg Lancaster was recently honored to be able to sit down with Jack and take the time to talk about some of the wonderful miracles that the Lord has done through Jack’s life. It is such an honor to see and experience someone who has the heart and desire to pastor God’s flock, (a church family), to care for them, and demonstrate the love of the Lord to each of them. Jack has been a pastor in his hometown of Marianna, FL for decades, and has had such an influence upon his community, as Greg shares, he has “one thing that the Lord has used you in and what you’ve been faithful to do is literally, pastor a city”. At his recent birthday celebration, Jack’s son Quinton recognized the profound impact that Jack has had upon his local community; “no matter who they were; no matter whether they went to your church or not, when crisis hit, you’d be the first one they’d call”. Even when Jack and wife Shellie were financially broke themselves, they did all they could in those moments of need for others to help them pay their utility bills or to help them with rent. What a beautiful moment demonstrating the love of Jesus to those around us!
As Greg continues to point out, Jack is a man who continually demonstrates his heart of gratitude to those around him, he doesn’t keep it to himself. When Jack walks past a table of law enforcement officers, he makes sure to take the opportunity to express how grateful he is for them AND to pay for their entire meal when possible. What may seem like a simple act of kindness and generosity has the potential of changing someone’s life. As a former law enforcement officer himself, Greg empathizes with the profound influence of those kinds of actions. “Being former law enforcement…very few people do that…It was so depressing some of the things that we had to do in law enforcement, to have some kind words, or an extra helping of this, or ‘we appreciate you’, it just changed everything.” Not only did Jack continually love on his community around him, but also continually spoke at the local university for the Baptist Campus Ministries, BCM, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FCA, events.
Jack recalls one particular moment speaking at an event that he recalls many of those who were present “went to church”, but yet they had never given their lives to the Lord. He knew that being able to connect with them personally would have an impact on them. “If you want to talk to me about anything, here’s my phone number and just let me know..” After following the leading of the Lord and sharing a prophetic word for two young athletes who were present that day, they made sure to express to Jack that they had taken down his phone number and would be calling him. As Jack says, “that’s what it’s all about”. In those moments and years, his devoted wife, Shellie, would be faithfully ministering alongside him to all of those who were in need. There was such a hunger for the love of God, back during the days of The Jesus Movement, that Jack’s son, Quinton, recalls his father being able to minister the Word of God for “9 hours straight and no one got tired of it” including Jack. That is what the anointing of the Lord allows us to do.
Did God Call Us to Organized Religion or Connected Family?
When we give our lives to the Lord, we so desperately want to serve the Lord with all of our hearts and imagine what it looks like to live a life completely devoted to the Lord. What does a life consumed with the love of Jesus Christ look like? Sitting down and having a conversation with Jack Hollis, a man who has been walking with the Lord for more than 50 years, reveals that encouraging life story. Greg Lancaster recently had the immense privilege of spending time with Jack and talking about some of the miraculous testimonies that the Lord did through Jack’s life. One of these moments was when Jack and wife Shellie would take time to spend weekends at a one-bedroom cabin to minister to people. One particular weekend, the cabin was filled with 30 people who were hungry just to learn about and grow in the things of the Lord. They would spend hours singing together and worshiping the Lord, and then Jack would share a message from Scripture. Talking with Jack, Greg recalls that season of the 1970’s as a sovereign move of God as the Lord was drawing so many people to Himself through family. As he shares, ‘it seems like some sort of pattern in the 70’s were, were in this thing as a family, we are connected, the Holy Spirit just connected everybody as a family. There was no time limits. I love being with you. I love being with God. Were eating together. That was just the season.’ What a beautiful moment to recall and remember as the Lord was doing so many wonderful and awesome things amongst His people. Greg recalled, during their his interview with Jack, that this was the same time that Keith Green was planning on building on land that he had purchased to help give housing and to disciple as many people as he could in the things of the Lord. Keith Green felt that those being saved in the Jesus Movement, which were known as Hippies, needed more help in being discipled and building life skills needed for them to succeed in life. Keith’s plans were cut short when he got on to a plane with some of his children and a visiting missionary to show them all the land and share his plans which ended tragically with the plane crashing and Keith’s light going out here on earth, but, surely, began burning bright in heaven.
Isn’t that what is missing today? Some questions that some have asked when it seems the love of God has seemingly left parts of His church. When people say they love the Lord, do they love the Church? Do they love those that are next to them? One minute the person who says they love God, is now the person that is crucifying you. How does that make sense? As Greg expresses, “if I love you, then I love Jesus. Then if you love me then you love Jesus and our love for God is measured by our love for each other.” If this is what God expects of us, and if this is what is written in Scripture, how did we get where we are today? Why is there so much religion that is absent of the presence and love of Jesus? We can’t walk in the love of Jesus without our hearts being broken for the things that breaks the Lord’s heart and seeing others as Jesus sees them. Jesus speaks to the apostle John describing this as “leaving our First Love.” Greg recalls that moment when Ken Sumrall, who was a spiritual father in the Lord to him, was suddenly overcome by the Holy Spirit with an awareness of God’s Father Heart towards His [God’s] ministers where a burden from God imprinted upon Ken Sumrall’s life of a Father’s heart for pastors and ministers in that awesome, heartbreaking encounter. Ken Sumrall wept all night as God broke his heart in this encounter with our Father God, that is why I refer to it as “heartbreaking”. God broke Ken Sumrall’s heart when what was breaking His. God’s heart was broken for so many of His ministers being fatherless. They had no one in their life to speak into their lives, encourage them and be a spiritual father to them as Paul was to Timothy and so many others. This encounter with the Lord happened most of the night and change Ken Sumrall’s life and ministry from that point on. This all happened when he was praying in his hotel room seeking the Lord for what the Lord wanted him to speak about the next day at the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International in Mobile, Alabama where he was a guest speaker. ‘he was praying and suddenly God just came down and broke his heart and He said you know, basically, ‘My Church is fatherless. All these pastors are fatherless.’ And it just shifted everything.’ Think about this important truth. Of all the words to be used in language, God chose to use Father when describing Himself. We HAVE to tap into and connect with this reality. This is a river of truth that every area and portion of our lives should flow from. When Jesus shared with the disciples how to pray, He said, pray like this “Our Father…”
Jack underscores this important reality by stating this vital truth; “everything is about the Father”. Jack continues to talk about how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always glorify one another. When he talks to people about praying, he reminds people to always pray to the Father. If we’re not praying to the Father, we’re wrong. “It’s wrong. Jesus Himself said you’re never going to ask me for anything again. Ask the Father in My authority and He’ll give it to you. He said, don’t ask me for anything. I’ve already given you everything.” This is why Jesus started off the Lord’s prayer with this important words in Matthew 6:9 “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”” This is what Jesus has done for us. Jesus has provided us access to the Father. As John 14:6 reveals, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” As Jack describes in his own words, “Jesus has given us the entrance into the presence of the Father”. We’ve made it about everything BUT the Father. As a man who has walked this Earth more than 82 years, it’s incredibly wise to listen to the wisdom that one would share. Jack expresses the vital revelation that came to him only a few short years ago, “This thing is all about glorifying God. It’s not about any of that other stuff.”
If we leave Jesus out of the reality of this moment we call life, we will have seriously missed what everything is all about. Greg describes an encounter that he had with the Lord, given to him in a dream, that has forever marked him and impacted his life. “I was standing at the doorway, outside the [God’s] Throne Room, and the door was [slightly] open, but not fully opened, and the presence of God was so awesome it feeled every possibly space. I was filled with the deep overwhelming fear of the Lord. It was like ‘where’s Jesus’? since the only way we can withstand God’s awesome, holy presences is by and through Jesus.”
Greg continues to share about his seemingly overwhelming profound experience. “It’s not like you can’t bring something up in His presence. It’s like, there’s no room for something else other than Him. As I was standing there, the one thing I thought about was Jesus, because it’s about accessing Him, like you said. I was like, ‘JESUS! Where’s Jesus.’ Because Jesus gives us access to this awesome, holy, perfect, God.” Greg goes to say, “you don’t want to show up at God’s thrown room without Jesus. Jesus is the only way you can have access to God” “With Jesus we can approached God’s thrown with boldness, yet, it is with fear and trembling.” Encounters like this don’t simply leave you unchanged. Greg also briefly points out how, in a previous encounter with the Lord, he was shown the Lord on the Cross, and in another encounter, he was able to embrace and fully embrace the Lord. Now after experiencing the Throne Room of God, he says, “I’M TERRIFIED! That’s the whole thing. Jesus gave us access.” “It’s not being terrified of God, it’s understanding His Holiness as did the apostle John when He saw the Lord and fell as dead before Him. To see God, understanding I was on the outside of His Throne Room with just a slightly opened door, is to be overtaken by the Fear of the God for He is awesome and all powerful and sits in the center of all Creation upon His Throne.” What is immensely powerful to realize and truly connect with, is the fact that this awesome and holy God loves us and wants a relationship with us. More to come!