Divine Download: Definition
A “Divine download” is a special deposits that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, places within His servants in order to equip them to move God’s agenda forward.
Divine Download: Illustration
In November, 2009, I participated in a leadership role in a Dunamis Conference in Seattle, WA.[i] My responsibility was to present a summary of Dunamis’ introductory course, “Gateways to Empowered Ministry,” to people who had not yet gone through that material. Our class met in the afternoon leaving me free to enjoy the evening sessions. Late Friday afternoon Nick Krantz – the primary leader of the Seattle Dunamis team – pulled me aside and said, “We are hearing the words ‘forgive one another’ and ‘love one another.’ We think someone needs to teach tonight from Ephesians 4:32-5:2 on these themes, and we think you’re the man. Will you do it?” After recovering from the surprise of that request and offering up a quick prayer, I replied, “Yes, I will.”
I went into a side room to be alone and asked God for guidance.
A few minutes later Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, downloaded into my mind a brief teaching on forgiving one another. Honest – He downloaded it. Normally it takes me several hours to prepare for a teaching of this nature. However, the heart and structure of this talk, along with an excellent visual illustration, came to me in about five minutes.
That evening Jesus helped me to speak clearly and simply – a talk that lasted about 15 minutes. Then, He helped me pray a deep and loving pastoral prayer over the group.
Following the teaching and prayer Nick gave an invitation for people who had baggage they needed to let go of, to come to the altar and pray. And people came.
Throughout the remainder of the conference reports kept trickling-in about how significant that teaching and invitation was for many people. To God be the glory!
Divine Downloads: Background
The concept of divine downloads is anchored in the second book of the Bible, Exodus 31:1-11. The context is this: Following the ratification of the covenant between God and the people of Israel (Exodus 19-20, 24), God determined to dwell among His people, that is, to tabernacle in their midst.
Have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Ex. 25:8, NIV
I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. Exodus 29:45, ESV
Where will God live when He comes to dwell among His people? In a Tabernacle. In Exodus 25-30, God gave Moses a myriad of details pertaining to the Tabernacle and its furnishings including the mercy seat, the golden lamp stand, and the bronze altar.
Step back for a moment to see the big picture. In God’s mind resided a clear and detailed picture of the finished product, the Tabernacle. In our day architects convert concepts into electronic files and send them as attachments to their clients. But that technology was not available in Moses’ day.
How did God turn the concept that was in His mind into reality?
The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel … and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab …” Exodus 31:1-5, ESV
Notice the essential role that the Spirit of God played in the process of crafting the Tabernacle and its furnishings. The text implies that the Spirit of God perfectly understands the Father’s desires and plans, and that He knows how to build and construct things. He demonstrated this when He assisted the Father in creating the world (see Genesis 1:2ff.). The Spirit is an excellent craftsman! The Father filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God (Ex. 31:3), and the Spirit, in turn, downloaded the concepts and skills needed for Bezalel to get God’s work done in God’s time and in God’s way. The Spirit downloaded in Bezalel the skill-set of a master craftsman.
Divine Downloads: More Examples
In my reading I have come across several examples of Divine downloads. Here is a sample.
Through the Spirit, Jesus occasionally downloads words of knowledge.[ii]
In his book Kingdom Triangle, J.P. Moreland includes the following story.
Last week, my wife and I attended a small group fellowship that is part of our church. We talked at length with a dear twenty-year-old named Mindy. She works in a Christian clothing store called “C28” at Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, California.
Part of her job description is to offer prayer to shoppers. A few months ago, a woman entered the store, and Mindy sensed a burning need to pray for her; but when she offered to do so, the woman said that she wasn’t interested. About ten minutes later, while Mindy was at the cash register totaling up the woman’s bill, the Lord spoke to Mindy and told her that the woman was seriously ill and she was to pray for her. So Mindy asked the woman if she had a serious illness, and the woman began to weep and told her that she had a serious form of cancer; while she had recently started chemotherapy, the doctor’s told her that there was only a slight chance the therapy would work.
In response to the woman’s change of heart, Mindy laid hands on her and prayed for healing. Two weeks later, the woman returned to the store looking for Mindy. She had brought her entire family with her. The week after receiving prayer, the woman’s doctor performed a scheduled test on her, and to his amazement he found that the cancer was completely gone! The woman had been healed, and she had brought her entire family to the store for Mindy to pray for them.[iii]
Through the Spirit, Jesus occasionally downloads insights into creation.
I am not sure how much of the following story is folklore and how much is actually true. Nevertheless, it serves to make the point that through the Spirit, Jesus can impart a special understanding of some facet of the world in which we live.
George Washington Carver called his laboratory “God’s little workshop.” According to his own account, it was in that workshop that the famous scientist asked Jesus to help him to discover uses of what was then a lowly, unesteemed crop: the peanut.
“Dear Mr. Creator,” the humble man began, “Please tell me what the universe was made for.”
“Ask for something more in keeping with that little mind of yours,” God answered.
So Carver tried again.
“Dear Mr. Creator, what was man made for?”
Again the Lord replied, “Little man, you ask too much. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent.”
So the scientist tried once more.
“Then Mr. Creator, will you tell me why the peanut was made?”
“That’s better,” the Lord said, and beginning that day Carver discovered over 300 uses for the lowly peanut.[iv]
Through the Spirit, Jesus occasionally downloads specific guidance.
Once again I quote a paragraph from Kingdom Triangle.
A well-known cessationist[v] professor told me that a few years ago she went through a period of several months in which she grappled with an important decision to no avail. Knowing that she had to decide the matter on Monday, she went into the weekend a bit frustrated with what she perceived as the Lord’s lack of concern to provide guidance on this crucial matter. On Sunday, as she was leaving church, a fellow parishioner with whom she was modestly acquainted approached her somewhat sheepishly and said, “I don’t know you very well, but you are grappling with making a decision about such and such, aren’t you? Well, I almost never dream, but last night I had a vivid dream about you and your decision, and I have to tell you what I saw.”
This professor went on to tell me that the woman described in incredible detail the nature of the decision, the options, and the direction she saw in the dream. Keep in mind that no one knew about the professor’s decision. The event was simply supernatural, and while she responsibly weighed it with her own sense of God’s leading, it played an important role in giving her direction. She finished our conversation with this remark:
“I don’t believe in gifts of healing, prophecy, and so forth, but I believe that God still heals, speaks in various ways, and performs miracles. The only difference between me and noncessationists is that they expect these things to happen more than I do, and I want to grow in my experience of God’s supernatural Kingdom.”[vi]
Divine Downloads: A Personal Story
Sometimes we do not know what Jesus is downloading into us but we know it is happening, as the following story indicates.
On Saturday evening (November, 2009) during a Dunamis Conference in Seattle, the worship team led us in exalted worship. The next thing on the schedule was prayer ministry and, as we worshiped, I felt a need for extra prayer so that I would be more fully equipped to serve on a prayer team and minister to others during the prayer time. As the singing continued the Lord directed my attention to one of the teachers, Judy Cook. I sat down beside her and said, “I’m feeling a need for prayer. Can you pray for me?” She immediately lifted her right hand high above my head and then slowly lowered it toward me. As she did, I “saw” and “felt” glittering lights coming down upon me like rain.
She startled and said, “Wow! Did you feel that!?! God is giving you increase!”
“Everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance,” Mt. 25:29, NIV.
Divine Downloads: For you, too!
I firmly believe that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, continues to bless His servants with Divine downloads including wisdom, guidance, insights into knotty issues, courage, and more. One of my prayers for myself at this time in my life is this: “Jesus, please download into me the skill set of a good and godly leader.” Jesus’ purpose in gifting us with Divine downloads is not to make us feel good or give us great stories to tell our friends; rather, it is to bring glory to His Name and to advance His agenda.
Divine downloads: Not just for other people but for you, too!
Keep asking and you, too, will receive; keep seeking and you, too, will find; keep knocking and the door will be opened for you, too! (See Matthew 7:7)
© 2017 Philip J. Noordmans
Note: For more insights into the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, see my book on Amazon, FireStarter: The Holy Spirit Empowers.
Moreland, J. (2007). Kingdom Triangle. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
[i] For more information about Dunamis visit www.prmi.org.
[ii] For a brief definition of words of knowledge, see the post in HolySpiritEmpowers.com, Spiritual Gifts: Tools for Building.
[iii] J.P. Moreland, 184-185
[iv] Adapted from Paul Thigpen, “No Royal Road to Wisdom,” Discipleship Journal (Sept/Oct 1985).
[v] “Cessationist” is a term that theologians use for a person who does not believe that ‘manifestational gifts’ – such as healing, tongues, prophecy, and words of knowledge – exist in our day. Rather, they believe that gift of that nature ceased with the completion of the NT.
[vi] J.P. Moreland, 176-177