Sons of God's Generals: Unlocking the Power of Godly Inheritance (5 page)

When I finally went to Toronto I had really high expectations, and I was lying on a floor one night realizing that I felt nothing at all. I wasn’t laughing or crying uncontrollably. I wasn’t hearing anything. I got up fully depressed and thought, “Wow, maybe God isn’t real.” A crazy thought, given our family history, but it was how I felt at the moment. The next morning I went to the conference anyway, and hypocritically enough even started praying for people before a young woman next to me named Shara grabbed me and asked to pray for me. What followed was a prophetic unleashing like I had never experienced, during which she called out the fact that I had “questioned the existence of God.” That’s all it took for me never to do that again. One night of questioning who He was, and He revealed Himself in an undeniable way. Shara has become part of our family and remains a strong prophetic voice in my life.

I’ve heard that hunger for God is a gift, and I know that to be true. It’s something you can’t do on your own. You can’t get yourself so excited and worked up that you’re suddenly passionate about God. The only thing I can say—and something Bill Johnson talked about in Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry—is that in the Kingdom, the more you eat the hungrier you get. The more you experience of Him, the more you’ll want Him. I really cherish a few specific times of intense hunger for the Lord, those seasons of real intensity and acceleration in my walk with Him. I want to always remind myself to stay dependent, to ask for a constant awakening of that hunger, and to not grow overly content with what I’ve already experienced.

One of those intense seasons with the Lord began during my senior year in high school. My cousin Marissa came to live with us and volunteer for the year out of a conservative Calvary Chapel background. We both had radical encounters with the Holy Spirit and began practicing every spiritual gift we’d heard about. We practiced the prophetic and did prophetic art even though I don’t draw. I would strum the five chords I know on guitar and we would sing as many worship songs as we could learn. If we heard worship music going on in the Iris center somewhere, we would literally run out of the house to find it. We would find ourselves laid out at any moment in the Presence of God laughing or crying, having visions of heaven in our rooms, at the church, in the visitor’s center. I feel like God supernaturally taught us a lot about His Spirit that year. It was immediately after that season when I traveled to Mongolia and Brazil to preach and started seeing real breakthrough when I prayed for people to get healed.

When God breaks your heart for a country or a calling, I believe it’s a supernatural thing. It’s a gift because you feel such a connection and intimacy with His heart. India is just one example of a place God gave me a passion for a long time ago. I feel like during that year I was able to see just a glimpse of His heart for a nation, just a fraction…and it was life changing. My hope is that every Christian would experience something like that. I’m not a stranger to feeling called to something and then questioning it later when it doesn’t make a lot of sense, when you have obstacles in your way, or when you feel you’re not hearing the Lord like you used to. One of my biggest spiritual questions has been asking, “When do you pursue something with everything you have despite opposition, and when do you rest and wait for the Lord to be your defender and open the doors?” Of course, I know in my heart the answer is personal relationship with Him, a relationship I need to nurture and rely on at all cost.

In my life, navigating my calling has been an interesting journey overall. Often I’ve felt a deep internal pressure to “change the world” before I’m thirty. It’s been a self-inflicted pressure, possibly reinforced by some people but not by my parents. I’ve endured many a “prophetic word” from well-meaning people that sound more like they’re guessing what I need to hear based on what they know of my family rather than listening to God. Occasionally that’s made the conference crowd feel a little unsafe. Of course, I’ve also received
much
needed encouragement along the way and allowed myself to be okay about feeling called to more than one area and learning to recognize which season I’m in.

Growing up, all I wanted to be was a missionary. Early on I wanted to become a doctor, but when I started radically experiencing the Holy Spirit, I decided what I cared about was seeing people encounter Jesus and getting healed on all levels. So I went to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry after high school. The Lord started speaking to me about creative arts and the nations when I was seventeen, and reminded me of that a few years later when I felt a bit at a loss about what direction to take in school. When I consider how often I had a camcorder in my hand as I grew up, ready to host some fake documentary or try to make people laugh, it’s not actually so surprising that I ended up feeling called to the arts as well as missions. I studied media and communications in college before landing in drama with a minor in international relations. I have a passion for storytelling and continue to study acting in Los Angeles where oftentimes my husband and I are producing or editing either small film or music projects. Acting has helped me come alive creatively and is both frightening and the most fun imaginable.

When I look back at meeting my husband Brock, an incredible man and anointed musician and songwriter, it’s remarkable how the Lord simultaneously instilled in him a love for missions in the Third World and instilled in me a deeper passion for the arts and for artists. We spend the majority of our time at our home in Los Angeles, in Mozambique, and in Knoxville, Tennessee, running with some of our most-treasured friends who also happen to be epically gifted music and media makers. Now we have a vision to highlight and partner with artists in places where their talent and passion have been stifled by any number of things—lack of resources, hunger, or the inability to dream of a future. Linked with Iris and United Pursuit we’ve started our focus on musicians in Mozambique, but envision working with future filmmakers, actors, and other artists in Africa, India, and around the world. We’ve realized that wherever we are the vision is the same—to encourage artists and friends toward their dreams and see people encounter the love of God through relationship.

The Inheritance

Many people may not know that Iris was founded as a dance and drama ministry in Asia, born out my parents’ dream to use the arts to spread the Kingdom. After an early focus on science, my father became a gifted writer and photographer, so he appreciates our desire to tell visual stories. My mom was a ballet dancer and actress who gave it up in pursuit of her missions calling. It’s not hard to see the artistic flair in her. My parents have been really great at giving me encouragement and grace to clumsily, at times, navigate though my own passions and calling. It’s a process that never feels over, but I know I’ve inherited both a passion for the creative and a generational missions mandate from them. It’s amazing to me that, after my mom’s sacrifice in those early years, God is inspiring this generation to revisit that passion for the arts and run with it. It’s something I see happening not only in people I know, but on a huge scale. Ever since Brock and I were married in 2008, we’ve felt a tug between the Third World and the West and believe there’s a massive bridge between the two that doesn’t just mean resources from the West go to provide for the poor. It means that those who have been hidden will be empowered, walking in dignity and recognized for who they really are and what they have to offer the rest of the world. It means we get to see an incredible exchange of strength and gifting take place.

I am continually experiencing radical generational favor in my life. I married a man who carries an incredible amount of favor and destiny on his own life, and that has made me a better, more radically blessed woman. I feel like our biggest mandate—one confirmed by one of the most influential words spoken over our lives—is to steward that favor as best we can and to forever remember to know and love Him well, and from that place to love those around us well. If I find myself wondering what stewarding favor looks like, I can rely on the conviction that, at least in part, it looks like always remembering to serve the poor and the broken in some capacity. Biblically it’s a no-brainer, right? I need to consistently ask myself if I’m living a life dependent on God and taking risks or if I’m getting too comfortable.

I will be ever grateful for my upbringing, for my astonishing parents, for their motivation and boldness to follow their calling as a family, and for the way growing up in Africa has forever required of me more compassion and open-mindedness. One of the things that impresses me most about my parents is the fearlessness they’ve always shown in pursuing God’s purpose for their lives and how fulfilled they are now doing exactly what they were meant to do. Years down the road, I want to be in my 50s and 60s and beyond, knowing I took the path God asked me to take and I was unafraid. I know their experience has pushed Brock and me years forward in some areas, enabling us to learn things more quickly and less painfully so we could begin our journey in a healthier place. In other ways, I still feel like I have so far to go and so much to learn from them. I’m often curious where this journey will take me next, but I’m learning to let my insecurities go and focus on God’s overwhelming goodness in my life, the things He speaks over me, and the boldness that is my inheritance.

CHAPTER 3
THE WAR FOR INHERITANCE
Justin Goll

When I think of my parents, James Goll and the late Michal Ann Goll, I am drawn to a photograph taken in the 1970s. Recently married, Mom and Dad are wearing denim overalls, wading through a stream in rural Missouri, leaning on each other. My dad’s left arm is draped over my mom’s shoulders; my mom’s right arm hangs around my dad’s back. They are treading downstream to find the right spot for my dad to baptize her. What an amazing generation has gone before me! I only pray my generation will be found as faithful.

What can I write about my parents that hasn’t already been written by their ministry colleagues and friends? Their exploits ran over continents. Their books multiplied across languages. There were great obstacles overcome and tremendous encounters with God’s power. And yet there is something very simple at the core of their lives—friendship. Before the electricity and controversy of “The Kansas City Prophets.” Before mom’s missions to Africa. Before the angelic encounters. Before all of that, they were friends to God and prized Him above all else. And despite being gifted in some divergent ways, they were lifelong friends,
best friends,
to each other.

Of course it wasn’t all roses! As the firstborn, I got a front row seat to many a marital spat (what Che Ahn calls “intense fellowship”). These are real people with tempers, insecurities, and who don’t like mushrooms! And that brings me to what I am grateful for the most. I didn’t get perfect parents. In fact, I can’t imagine having learned as much about God if I had. What I did get were
teachable
parents, parents who pursued the Lord with their whole hearts and who let God change them over and over again throughout their lives.

The War for Inheritance

Now it’s one thing to grow up with godly parents. It’s another thing entirely to step into a family inheritance of faith, to acquire the
spoils
of past victories. There are few things that God enjoys and the devil hates more than multiple generations linked together by the desire for God’s presence. An old Catholic teaching even declares that while the mission of the church is to extend the Kingdom of God across geography, the mission of the
family
is to extend His Kingdom across
time
.
1

Of course, there is no inheritance without relationship. So I’ve set out to tell a tale about relating to my dad, my mom, and through it all, my God, who gave the gift of my parents to me in the first place. First, Dad.

Part I: My Dad, the Prophet

My dad is the warmest, most generous, and most complex man I know. He is a giver—I can think of no better way to describe him. He gives what he has, whether that is little or that is lots. With dad, there are always gifts being given, prayers being declared, and advice being offered—whether you want to hear it or not! There is always a relative he is thinking of, a young leader he is encouraging, a conflict between friends he is mediating. And he is a man of contradictions. He is extremely loud; he is sensitive. He loves proper etiquette; he loves to break proper etiquette. He’s a goofy Holy Spirit drunk; he loves structure and theology.

He is ever involved in the messy lives of people, always helping someone navigate the relational mire. My dad and I, both being strong-willed persons, often clashed as I grew up, but in adulthood I have grown to appreciate the man and the values that forged him. More than his spiritual gifts, I will always be marked by his love and servanthood of others and his commitment to his family.

Prophetic Parenting

As you might have guessed, my first experience of prophecy was not in church. It was at home. I could never tell you the first day I heard it, but as far back as I can recall, I knew that my dad had seen visions of what would happen to me in my lifetime. Everything from career to gifting—not to mention a few prophecies about the end times—was already clearly laid out for me before I even gave 30 days’ notice in the womb. Like Zechariah naming John the Baptist, dad had received my name from the mouth of an angel. And the Lord specifically told him that I would “love the arts and history” but that one day I would choose history over the arts.

Now, may I make a request, dear readers? Some of you have perhaps started to think, “That’s too much information for a child to absorb.” Right you are! But please let’s bear in mind that when I was growing up there was no rule book called
How Prophets Should Deal with Their Vivid Dreams and Visions Concerning Their Children
. In fact, the prophetic movement was, in many respects, in the same stage of life I was in—infancy. I was a guinea pig in an experiment called “prophetic parenting.”

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