After a rather casual Sunday morning service, things were looking up. There is nothing like a fellowship of believers gathered around a nice meal with a mouth watering banana pudding waiting for desert—it is almost a high and tingling spiritual experience.

But as Nana is prone to say, "If nothing ain't happening, you ain't doing enough stuff for Jesus." We all know that Nana is almost always right about everything. Most importantly, she makes a banana pudding that will bring tears of joy flowing down your rosy cheeks.

As I dug into that mountain of banana pudding, savoring the lovely soft texture of the vanilla wafers, there was a short tug of my right shoulder—followed by this voice, "Preacher could I talk to you in private for a few minutes?" From his demeanor and attitude—Ralph looked to be on the verge of doing a double backflip with a half-twist.

We went into the office and he got right to the point. It wasn't a double backflip with a half-twist after all—Ralph owned up to being deeply involved into all sorts of bad stuff. So the thing to do immediately— considering my banana pudding is out there waiting on me—is to make an appointment for Ralph.

So the call went out to a pastor friend for help. Pastor Jimmy is just the one—he is smarter than me, but this is not much of a compliment is it? You know that you are in over your head. And you later discover that both you and your friend pastor Jimmy are over your heads in this one.

But not to fear, what is life without adventure anyway. The apostle Paul could handle this and eat his pudding at the same time and not miss a lick. He would probably even sing a little while taking a whipping from the religious folks. Which is quiet common for apostles and pastors. But we pastors don't sing a lot when the religious folks are beating on us; that is unless you call whimpering singing.

The evening session greets us with the shock of our life. Ralph confesses to us that he is involved in some serious perversions. What makes this worse is that he is in the ministry. He tells us point blank that if we can't help him, that he will kill himself with a real big gun that very night.

The sound of crickets—and more crickets. I looked over at pastor Jimmy and noted that he also hears the crickets. He's got that "mule eating briars" look on his face again. It sounded like a cricket serenade was going on in the room that night. And nobody was having any fun but the crickets.

Three hours later we are still there listening to the crickets. Two pastor, dumb as a ham sandwich and wishing they were somewhere else. Ralph is sitting on the edge of the chair waiting for some of our wisdom—but he is not going to get anything but baby pablum from us, because we are Southern Baptists and all that demonic stuff is not even in our domain. We are not supposed to have a dog in this fight because we don't even have a dog. Demons are to us what leprecauns are to the Catholics—simply mascots.

The worst of it all—we have met something or someone that we don't even believe in. Our denomination absolutely will not allow it. This would be viewed by the denomination as our imagination "running wild!"

Maybe even borderline insanity! Well there is this problem, our so called imagination or insanity (take your pick) is talking to us in a very threatening tone—in what sounds like the robe of death with some weird sounds thrown in for the bonus round! Where is that precious denomination now that we have come face-to-face with at least one full blown demon! The hairs on the back of my neck have taken on the nature of a very aggravated porcupine.

Ralph realizes that some real serious stuff is going on here. He senses that he is tied to the tracks and a fast freight is coming his way. All he has is two dummies who can't even untie a knot to free him from the track. I am thinking, "Well Ralph, you were the one who stirred them up—and we don't even want to be here. There is some banana pudding waiting for us somewhere. And you are ugly too!" We made him promise us that he would not do anything stupid and hurt himself—and we sent him home while we did some research.

What to do—what to do? This was prior to Google and the internet. I was a graduate of a large University in the local area and still had library priviledges. Maybe they had something for us to chew on! Indeed they had something! They had centuries of work that related to spiritual warfare. It provided us with a good start in our research. Then a German Lutheran pastor, Kurt Koch was located through further research. He was a noted scholar and his works were available in the bookstores. His works are a treasure for the serious pastor. I say serious here, because the person who is not serious should stay away from this work. Why? Because it is troubling stuff. Helpful but troubling! Frank Hammond calls it, "taking out the garbage."

Well Ralph found his freedom through our research and counseling—and mostly through the work and power of the Holy Spirit. At the time we didn't exactly know how it happened—but it did. Ralph's session lasted over four hours and Pastor Jimmy and I came through the session more astonished that Ralph. We both knew that it was the beginning of something bigger than big. It later proved out to be an enormous event for ministry. Being in the presence of the supernatural and realizing it when it is happening caused the following question to come to mind. "Why have we not seen this before?"

Well the main reason that we have not seen this out in the open is because the enemy has planned it that way. Jesus had this thing about opening the eyes of the blind—both physical and spiritual—but it didn't seem to take on some of us.

Most of the violence that we are witnessing in our day is a direct result of the work of the enemy—and we are not seeing the cause! It is all too easy to blame it on the guns! And the knives, the sticks, the rocks,...how about the demons—has anybody got the guts to say this?

When someone is brave enough to bring this point up—people call them insane. A note on the word "insane!" When someone told Charles Spurgeon that the noted poet and songwriter, William Cooper was "insane." Spurgeon loudly proclaimed "Blessed Insanity."

We pastors like to blend in with the crowd and we definitely don't want folks calling us insane. We want people to like us. After all, we have our reputations to consider.

And we have that lovely hand carved offering plate that has to be fed.You would be much better off with the attitude of Charles Spurgeon—"Blessed Insanity!"

What was the attitude of our Lord Jesus? How about the apostles—especially the apostle Paul. People were calling them much worst names that insane. Yet, didn't they seem to go out of their way to take on the evil spiritual forces. It appears to me that they exhibited a certain joy over dealing with and defeating the evil one! A large percentage of the New Testament concerns these battles.

Many leaders in the church today are too concerned about how the congregation is feeling! To such an extent that they take polls and review the results of these polls as if they are "the gospel truth." Got to make sure that the folks out there are happy.

No disrespect to the many congregations that find themselves in this sort of situation, but this is not a social club here we are discussing. It is the "Church of the Living God." Strong pastors don't go around taking polls in order to understand how to lead their churches. They fully understand that being called "insane" is part of their calling. Incidently, there are some who will never call you insane—they are the ones that you helped get through the toughest part of their lives.

You may question why this has been titled, "Spirit." After all we have just been talking about demons and evil spirits. That is a very good question. Here is a quick answer. During the counseling sessions there comes a point where you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to come and minister. And most often you will sense when He enters the room. Electrifying is the term that comes to mind. It is an event you will never forget! It is at that point that He takes charge and you serve the Lord in ministry. It is alway a done deal when He engages the enemy.

In these spiritual encounters there will be some frightening manifestations. The enemy brings them forth in an attempt to frighten anyone who would dare to take them on. The Lord allows them to do this in order to teach us about the supernatural. It is one thing to believe the scriptures—it is another thing entirely to experience them in real time. These encounters will tend to frighten you until you learn the stuff that the Lord is teaching you about the enemy.

You will remember that episode when the disciples came back from a trip in the fields and loudly proclaimed, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us." You may be one who doesn't believe these spiritual events still happen. Until Pastor Jimmy and I came face to face with the demon that night, we didn't believe they still happened and neither did my wife of fifty two years. If I were you, I wouldn't believe me either.

A few weeks after this event there was a New Testament revival in church with the works of the Spirit in such force that church service lasted until late one night and early into the next morning. This was the beginning!

Here are five noted authors and the hyperlinks to their books and CD's on the subject.

Kurt Koch

Mark Bubeck

Frank Hammond

James Robison

C. Fred Dickason