..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Harald Bredesen: The Passing of the Torch?

I just heard that Harald Bredesen went to be
with his Lord. I know the news reached me a
bit late, (he died December 29th) but I had
to write this entry in his honor. For those of
you who are unfamiliar with who Harald was,
here are a few sites worth looking at CBN.com,
and Harald's 85th Birthday.

For those of us who were baptized in the Holy Spirit in
the early days of the Charismatic Renewal, the name
Harald Bredesen was widely known because Harald was,
and is, a legend! I am sure that heaven is enriched for
his being there and we, here, are suffering the loss
of a spiritual,for lack of no better term, giant.

There are times and seasons in God. In God sovereignty
He chose to pour out His Holy Spirit in a substantial way
in what came to be known as the Charismatic Renewal,
primarily during the 1960's and early 1970's. Many of
our lives where changed at that point as we entered
into a deep dimension of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Harald Bredesen spiritually fathered so many people
into this work of the Spirit that months of time would
not permit the telling of the stories. The lives he has
touched is a testimony to the grace and mercy of God.
And now he has gone to be with the Lord.

My own recollection of Harald comes from my time
spent working, during my grad school years, as
the evening telephone operator for the Christian
Broadcasting Network. I would be, most likely,
the person you would have talked with if you
called CBN Network between 6 and 11 p.m. in
the mid 1980's. From that experience I should
have written a book, but that is another story.
Harald, on the Board of CBN's Directors, used
to call in late at night to make phone calls.

We used to, in general, get some mighty strange
calls at that time of the day and I always had to
pause and listen when I would answer the phone
because there would often be an extended silence
on the other end of the line.

Experience taught me that many times it would not
be a bad connection or wrong number, or some
raving lunatic, but dear Harald calling in.
"Harald, is that you?" Harald?" I would
say into the phone. Sooner or later would
come his cheery voice, "Praise the Lord! God bless
you!..." and a happy chuckle. If I didn't know better
I would be tempted to think that Harald was a bit
scatterbrained, and maybe this was partly true,
but Harald also exuded an immense sense of the
Presence of God everywhere he went. He was also
not afraid to speak in tongues wherever and
whenever he felt like it!

I'm thinking that by learned obedience and a
listening heart he could hear God better than
just about anyone I know. I was always impressed
with his childlike ability to obey God and delight
in Him. God, I gather, was also pretty impressed!

For this reason his passing, along with
Judson Cornwall's somewhat recent passing,
makes me fully aware that the work
of these fathers is now being passed onto the
next generation.

God only plants so many seeds in each generation.
On top of this, He only plants so many seeds of a
certain species. The seeds then go, biblically
speaking, to four destinies: along the roadside,
fallen on rock, strangled by thorns and on good
ground. So again, biblically speaking, three out
of four seeds are lost to the challenges and
difficulties of life. The last seed that falls on
and grows in good ground is left to carry the
burden of bearing fruit for the kingdom of God
in its chosen generation.

So now, as I sit here thinking about this, I
feel the heavy sense of calling and destiny
coming to rest on my generation, passed to
me by the likes of the Harald Bredesens and
Judson Cornwalls of the last one. I wonder
if we are made of the same Christlike stuff,
wonder if we are up to the call, wonder if
our crop of kingdom fruit will please God as
much as the previous crop did.

I am sitting here, on a snowy winter's day,
asking God what it will take to make us fit
vessels for His use. Mostly I am sitting here
crying. I know each generation
expresses His glory with a slightly different
nuance. I just wonder if my generation's nuance
is mostly without brilliance and sadly in need
of cleaning, pruning, and discipline.

May God give my spiritual generation the desire
to obey Him completely and to follow Him without
reserve. Thank God for the inspiration of men like
Harald Bredesen. They hold the banner high for us.
They make us climb to reach it, and take hold of
it, so when it comes our time to pass it to the
next generation, the standard of the Gospel will
still be the standard of God's Holiness and Truth.

Dear Harald, thank you! and enjoy Jesus, even
more then you ever have!

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