I guess you could say that my spiritual journey in the church has been far from ordinary. When I look back at some of the people God has brought into my life at key moments I am astounded. These are people who have radically shaped charismatic movements in the church's history. Interestingly, some of them have been the most unlikely characters. God seems to pick people like this to confound man's wisdom. Many have asked why God would use them for such great things; if the church were to choose great leaders they would not have been on the list. One of these people is Lonnie Frisbee. He was a wild hippie kid off of the streets of southern California who had a radical salvation experience and ended up in the forefront of the Holy Spirit's move in Calvary Chapel. When Lonnie showed up the miraculous happened - the Holy Spirit moved on people with such incredible manifestations as hadn't been seen since the early part of the century most likely. Lonnie was discipled under Kathryn Khulman and became the poster child for the Jesus movement. He even graced the cover of Life magazine.
But there was another side to Lonnie....a side that would leave a permanent smudge on his legacy. He would party on Saturday then show up Sunday and minister in the church. Then it was revealed that he had one foot in the gay lifestyle. I've read many sides to the story, and what I've assessed is that the church leaders of the time needed Lonnie regardless of his short comings. When he said, "Come Holy Spirit" all heaven broke loose. He was the show stopper, and for the show to go on he was a necessary commodity. Ultimately the church leaders curtailed Lonnie's involvement in the church. He was never able to rid himself of his demons and ultimately died of AIDS. In one book called "The History of the Vineyard Movement" Lonnie's story is relegated to a few pages in the appendix.
I met Lonnie at my church when I was in high school. Up until this time my church life was ordinary. When he showed up one of the things he said was, "The holy spirit is going to move through you like poop through a goose!", and indeed he was right. The manifestations that ensued ranged from people being thrown through the air and shaking like a thousand volts of electricity was pulsing through them to a person who sat frozen like a stone for hours while God spoke to her. No one could deny that God was present.
Lonnie took a ministry team to South Africa shortly after he ministered to our church and I was going to part of another team following. My passport was stamped and I was prepared to go, but it was around that time that Lonnie's ministry was coming to an end. I look back and wish that trip would have happened....The last time I saw him was in Kauai at a worship conference about three years later. He looked tired and worn - a shadow of his former self. I remember sharing with him what God was doing in my life and he replied to me, "It's a legacy." At the time I didn't realize how completely accurate and prophetic that statement was. I'm extremely proud to call Lonnie one of my spiritual fathers. Although I knew him only briefly his life and ministry had a profound impact on me. He showed me that God loves to use the nobodys and outcasts of this world to do the greatest exploits.
If you're listening Lonnie - thanks for rocking my world.