Podcast: What Is the Orphan Spirit?

What does it mean to live as sons and daughters of God? Leif Hetland, author of Healing the Orphan Spirit and Called to Reign believes that one of the biggest problems in the Church today is the tendency for believers to live as orphans.

In this episode of Church InTension, The King’s University President, Dr. Jon Chasteen, speaks with Leif Hetland about identifying the orphan spirit and how to leave it behind. Leif Hetland is the founder and president of Global Mission Awareness. He is a champion of global missions, and he and his wife, Jennifer, live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Jon Chasteen: Leif Hetland is our guest today. He’s the founder and president of Global Mission Awareness. He is doing an incredible work, and I want him to share some of it with you in the Muslim world and some of the things that God’s leading him to do.

But the particular topic we’re going to talk about is one that I say this, it might sound like I’m being a little hyperbole, but I’m really not. It’s probably one of the most impactful topics that I have studied for my personal life in years. The way it’s shaped me to think, to lead, to act in my behavior, everything. It’s really been revolutionary. So I need to shut up and introduce this guy. He’s wrote so many books. He’s wrote Healing the Orphan Spirit. He’s wrote a book called Called to Reign, which is an amazing book. He’s wrote a book called Baptism of Love. Leif, welcome to the program, man. Thank you so much for being on with us today.

Leif Hetland: Oh, thank you so much for having me. What an honor. I am excited.

Jon: So, we were talking a minute ago, and this podcast is sponsored by The King’s University here where I serve as president and the King Seminary, and we’re tied to Gateway Church, but as we begin to talk, Leif, you told a story that was so awesome. I want you to share that with our listeners real quick, about one of your first experiences in America.

Leif: Yeah. I am from the country of Norway, and even my name and my accent pretty much say that. My name is Leif Hetland, and in 1985, I came to America and the first place I landed was Los Angeles. We were right in San Fernando Valley, right off the Boulevard. And I was like, “I need a church.”

Jon: Wow.

Leif: “Where is there a church?” And then somebody mentioned there’s a church down on Sherman Way. It’s almost just walking distance, and I didn’t even have a car. And so I headed to church and the first church service actually was very interesting. I came to Sherman Way, and Jack Hayford was there. And it had such an impact on my life. Well, I start crying even talking about it, but the worship, when I walked in there and worship started, it was almost like experiencing heaven on earth, and that was my first introduction to America, that church service. And later on, I found out well, Dr. Jack Hayford, he’s a very well known, recognized leader. That was in 1985, long, long time ago, and I’m still smiling.

Jon: Wow. That is so special to me, especially the divine encounter of coming across your book, studying it, impacting my life. And then full circle moment, with this story of you mentioning Jack Hayford. So that’s so special.

Let me just briefly share my experience and how I stumbled upon this topic. And then I really want to just let you loose and start hearing your heart. So about, I would say, five or six months ago, I was at a leadership event and the speaker was talking about leadership, and he just mentioned this word. And he said, he was saying something along the lines of we should not behave or lead like orphans. And he used the word orphan leader, and he went on to talk about something else. Honestly, I don’t even remember what he talked about because I was locked in because it was just a word that I’d never really thought through or processed through.

So it began a deep dive for me in studying this topic. And I stumbled across your books, Leif, and read … The two books I’ve read is Healing the Orphan Spirit and Called to Reign. And they impacted my life greatly, and so much so that I began to teach on it to my staff at the church, and some of the leadership staff at the university, end up doing a sermon series on it, that I’m in the middle of it, doing right now. And I really, I want to read a passage of scripture then I’m just going to turn you loose.

One of the very first verses I read when I began to study this was a verse we’re familiar with, when Jesus is telling his disciples that the Holy Spirit, “It’s better that I go, I’m going to send an advocate. I’m going to send the Holy Spirit,” in John 14:15. And so He says all these things, and then in verse 18 was a verse that I had never really paid attention to when Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans.” And I don’t think it’s an accident that Jesus used this word. I think He knew that we would be tempted to behave as orphans. And so just Leif, share your heart. Where did this begin in you? Where did this study begin? I know it’s a life message for you, and what does it mean to you?

Leif: Yeah. First, I have to take it back, where when I was young, something happened. I was maybe about 12 years old, and there was an abuse that took place. And as a result of that fear, shame, guilt hit that young little one and I ended up as a prodigal son.

So the next five years, I went so far, came from a good family, Godly family, spirit filled, born a AEG, centered-on-God family in Norway, which is very unusual because it’s mainly a Lutheran background, but I ended up in the pig pen at the age of 18, suicidal and just addicted to drugs, messed up. Eventually met Jesus. I got gloriously saved. He delivered. I say, that’s the good news. I say the bad news is I went to church, and I said that in a jokingly manner because I do love the church. But pretty much what happened for me, I went from rebellion to religion and I became a prodigal brother because after everything Jesus has done for me, I’m going to serve Him. I’m going to live for Him. I’m going to die for Him. I’m going to take up that cross and follow Him.

I left my country Norway first in ’84, and then later on, I came to the States in ’85, but I didn’t realize that I was still an orphan on the inside. I knew Jesus, and later on, I went back and I pastored a Baptist church. I had gone to college, seminary, but all of that with an orphan spirit. So the whole root system in me is that I have to do something to have something then I become something. Welcome to the orphan world. But it didn’t matter how much I did. The more you have, the more you became, but it was always a black hole in my soul. I never did enough.

So I’m out there serving God, doing things for God, and God that I served at the time, seems to be a little bipolar in nature and it was all up to me to please Him. When I did the right thing, he returned towards me. He was smiling. But when I didn’t live up to the expectation while He was a holy God, he couldn’t handle my message, He would turn his back toward me. And what happened is I had a view of God that did not look like Jesus.

So in June 1995, I’m one of the two that Dr. Randy Clark that some of them maybe will know, but Heidi Baker and Leif Hetland is the two stories that Randy always talks about, and he’s very, very close to me. And I have the honor being part of his apostolic council and board. But anyway, he prayed for this Baptist pastor and he prophesied that I was going to be a bulldozer going into the darkest places in the world when the gospel had never been before. And I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and baptized in fire June 6th, 1995.

I came off from that place with the gifts of the spirit, and God started to show up in my little Baptist church. And later that year, I ended up in Pakistan and I started to go to the nation. The next five years, what I didn’t realize, I’m just an orphan with power, with dynamite and you blow up things. And you will blow up your marriage. You will blow up your children. You’ll blow up things, because again, the root issue. I still was operating with an orphan heart. I was still not having a home. I had a nice house. I had a nice ministry, but I didn’t have a place of security. I didn’t have that place of love and value and purpose that you get when you have a father.

So for me, that whole journey went all the way to year 2000. I had seen half a million people saved, 300,000 people healed, been to 54 nations, an orphan with an awesome spirit. I’d had a broken neck, broken back, body cast. I’d gone through so much, but as an orphan, you have to do, you have to have, and then you become. But then you realize when I don’t do enough, my wife don’t do enough, my kids don’t do enough. The church don’t do enough and people, they have to do. They have to perform because that’s welcome to the orphan world.

And then I had a bad system of love experience in year 2000. Wow. It transformed this Norwegian viking, this bulldozer. I knew the line, but I didn’t know the lamb of Jesus. And the liquid love of Papa came in and I was with a man named Jack Taylor who’d just passed away. He was my spiritual father, and we talked together every day for 21 years. He was 87 years old when he went to heaven on April 25th of this year. But he had a little sons’ meeting. And in that sons’ meeting, a man named Dennis Gernigan was playing the piano, and I was invited to be part of that. And then he says, “Leif, I have a song for you.”

So, there was about 100 leaders in the room and I stood there, broken body, broken… Actually, I was not able to do anything, and imagine when your value system is that you have to do-

Jon: That you have to do.

Leif: To become, and then you orphans compete with one another, while sons and daughters complete one another. So it’s very painful even to be in a setting when you’re hearing about other people’s successes and you’re not able to live up to it. Instead of then if you were a son, you would see when that person stock goes off.

My stock goes up because it’s a family business, but I didn’t know that. But that day when Dennis says, “I have a song for you,” and he started to play a song from Papa God that Father sung and the liquid love came over me. And the liquid love took me back to when I was in my mother’s womb and she had a surgery and she had fear. It took me to the 12-year-old boy, and it was like a movie. I laid on that floor, and I was not one that showed emotion. We are Norwegian, cold weather. We are stoic, but now I am there weeping and weeping as this liquid love it wouldn’t stop. It just came over me and over me and I laid on that floor, weeping and weeping and weeping and in front of everyone. And then was an audible voice from heaven that said, “Leif, Leif you’re mine, and you’re my beloved. You’re my beloved son. Son. Son. I love you. I love you, and I am well pleased with you.”

And I know he quoted Matthew 3:17, but for me, it was an encounter. “Whoa. I’m the son,” not an apostle, not … Because I had a lot of ship, including an apostleship, leadership, stewardship, friendship, many ships, but all the ships got shipwreck, and the only one that survived was sonship. And something happened when I came up from that floor. “I’m the son. I’m an anointed son. That’s who I am. I don’t have to do to have to become. I already am. And because of who I am, I already have. And because of what I have, I get to do.” So it’s not what you do that makes you who you are. It’s who you are that makes you do what you do.

Jon: That’s so good.

Leif: And that started my journey towards sonship. I became a son of Papa God. I woke up in the morning with an A+ before I take the exam. And I didn’t have the life of pressure any longer, but the Father’s pleasure. And I learned how to be a receiver instead of just an achiever. And this whole journey, that’s when it started 21 years ago, and I’ve been on a journey, learning to go from … Because now and then, some of that orphan tendency come in. It’s us against them from the political climate, and stuff that is taking place, or how I see finances. That orphan tendency, now and then, creates stuff and then I just had to go back to the main thing to be the main thing. What was the special sauce in the life of Jesus? Because who Jesus is to us is also who He would be through us.

And I realized when Simon Peter got the Father revelation of Jesus and He looked at Jesus and just as, “You are the Christ. That means you’re the anointed. You’re the son, son, son. You’re an anointed son. You’re an anointed son. And upon this identity, I will build my church that the gates of hell will not prevail against.” The church is built up on anointed sons and daughters, and the resting place in that. Now, I’m learning the hard work of rest and that’s my weapon to wear the enemy out. So anyway, that’s the beginning of my journey. It’s been-

Jon: That’s so good.

Leif: … 21 years and so.

Jon: So, somebody needs to rewind that right now and just listen to it again because it’s like a fire hydrant of information, and I think it’s such a healing word. I know for me, Leif, I am just now, this week, when we’re recording this, it’s around the 1st of August. I’ve been on a six-week sabbatical and I just got back Monday. And so one of your books, I read through my sabbatical. I was already studying the topic and I was on, I’m going to tell you this quick story. I was on this little vacation getaway and we were at a resort, and I could go up to the roof to study in the mornings and I was reading part of your book. In part of your book, you talk about this moment when Jesus is baptized and His heavenly father says, “This is my son in whom I’m well pleased.” Before He ever accomplished anything, before He healed anyone, before He performed any miracles, before any sermon He ever spoke. The son was pleased before He ever did anything.

And in your book, you mention this idea because it says the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and rested on Jesus. And I kid you not Leif, I’m reading this portion of your book and I look over to my right, and there’s a dove 10 feet from me. And the Holy Spirit said to me, in this moment, he said, “Jon, doves don’t land on branches that are wavy. Doves don’t land on things that aren’t restful.” And the Holy Spirit descends like a dove, but the dove or the Holy Spirit will only rest upon things that are at rest.

And I think … I don’t think I know that us coming to this understanding that we are no longer orphans, that we don’t have to behave like orphans. We are sons and we are daughters before we accomplish anything, before we do anything, that is where we find rest, because I can find rest leading a church. I can find rest leading a university. I can find rest even in seasons of my life where my schedule seems busy, but inside I’m at rest. As a son, I don’t have to perform, I don’t have to achieve, I don’t have to prove to anyone, anything that I’m just a son. And it was such an impactful moment for me, and I think it’s so important for pastors, specifically, Leif, being in the ministry, you understand the pressures of pastoring. You understand the turmoil and the loneliness and many times even the depression that pastors walk through. That’s why I wanted you to come on today and talk to people in ministry specifically about this topic and why it’s so important.

Leif: Yeah. And I think also, Joe, Jon, excuse me, that the church first we live in an orphaned world. And most of the churches, like I had a friend of mine that read my book that Orphan Minister to his leadership because he had an orphan encounter where he realized, he says, “Leif, I build an orphanage of 3000 orphans, and all of them are coming to see what they can get. Instead of being sons, they can see what they can get. I build a megachurch,” he said, “That became an orphanage full of orphans, and the value system was what I needed to do for them and if I didn’t live off to the expectation, and it was pretty much burning me up.”

“But we are now shifting into becoming a family, a healthy kingdom family,” and he says, “Can you help us to do that then?” Because again, he changed. Revival hit him, then it hit his family. And he went to repent to his wife and then to his children, and then eventually, to the staff. And now it’s starting a ripple effect that is even suddenly bringing rest into the rest of the people. And it’s just been a beautiful-

Jon: Yep. Starts with the leader.

Leif: And it starts with the leader, yeah. And I believe that, and I talked to a couple of people. One, I just saw one of the big five out Fort Lauderdale. They said that, “I’m sure that some … like the Bob Mumford and Derek Princeton.” But I talked to Bob Mumford one time because I realized they were tapping into something. And I know it ended up in abuse, the shepherding movement, but he said something that captured me. I said, “Bob, how was this with all these fathers?” And somehow, it seems like it was orphans that started coming in again. And he says, “Leif, we were all fathers, but we were not sons,” and I never forgot that statement. And I realized that some of us, and for me, this is my concern, is when my identity that any of the shifts in all life, including being a father, pastor, all of that is pressure unless sonship goes before. And the sonship move into mature sonship that becomes friendship, where he says, “I no longer call you servant. I call you my friend,” and that’s the co-laboring with Him.

But there is something that takes place in leaders. And that’s what, like for me, I got burned out and crash landed mainly because I was juggling the different hats in different settings. But now, that the hat that is on me, I’m a son.

Jon: Absolutely.

Leif: I’m a beloved son, and my Papa loves me. Out of that, I’m a husband, I’m a father, I’m a minister, and all those other things. But my identity is not being an author, all these other things. As long as my sonship, that was the secret of the life of Jesus. And when I realized when Simon got that, he became Peter, and he became unshakeable and up on this rock up and this identity, Jesus just starts to build something the gates of hell cannot prevail against.

So I believe that this is what we have seen now, big shift and change because the orphanages that we sometimes call churches, I’m not putting anything down on the church-

Jon: Sure.

Leif: … I just believe that the Father wants His family back.

Jon: Amen.

Leif: And that’s what that John 14:18 is about.

Jon: Yes.

Leif: Jesus only said what He heard the Father say. It’s actually the Father saying, ‘I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you. I didn’t just send Jesus to save you from something, but save you to something.” And that’s why I think that half of the gospel is what we’re being saved from instead of –

Jon: That’s so good.

Leif: … Jesus is the way. Way to where? He’s the truth. The truth about what? He said, “If you’ve seen me, you have seen what?” The whole purpose of Jesus is to bring us home. And then from that place, living a life like we have a home and we have an identity. And out of that identity, there’s intimacy. Out of the intimacy, we’re living from inheritance not towards it. And then we can step into our calling and our destiny. And that’s a different way of living and loving.

Jon: That’s so good. I’m going to listen to this again myself later. One of the things I want you to share, I know you’ll know where I’m going with this, you mentioned this in your book, but you go all the way back. You talk about creation and Adam, and I want you to … You can walk through that as well with Adam, especially the part about they were created on the sixth day. The very first day was rest. But even going further back, you talk about the devil and the origin or the Genesis of this orphan spirit. You want to go into that a little bit?

Leif: Sure. I think that one of the things, I mentioned a baptism of love experience, and I think there’s also a 2.0. And one is they’re taken from Ephesians 1:4 and 5, where there’s even, before the foundation of the world, I knew you and I predestined you in love. So, wow. Even before there was anything, before creation, if we took people back to the eternal covenant. So in the beginning, God. So everything begins with God and it ends with God, but what God there is Elohim. In the beginning, there is a Father, there’s a Son, and there’s a Holy Spirit. If you ask who’s the most important, the Father points to the Son. Son points to the Spirit. Spirit points to the Son. Son points to the Father. They are totally one. The Father loves the Son. The Son loves the Spirit, Spirit loves the Son, Son loves the father. They are totally one, but here’s the key. The father loved the Son, but the Son loved the Son the way the Father loves the Son. That’s covenant at one. They’re totally one with one another.

And this is for the culture of honor because honor is what love looks like. And we see this dance of the Trinity from eternity path to eternity future. But anyway, I’m not going to complicate this. I have a whole chapter of this in the book.

Jon: That’s good.

Leif: But Lucifer, who was a worship leader, or he was an archangel, Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, and I have a whole chapter in the book to break this down, but it’s stated in a simple way, the root of that orphan spirit the Father, because this is the perfect place with a perfect God where there’s a perfect love, but Lucifer did not love Lucifer the way the Father loves Lucifer. And you can read that very subtly. It was a truth deficiency that led to love deficiency, that became a blessing deficiency.

So it is I want to be like the most high. These five I statements. Why are you God and I’m just a worship leader? Why is he a senior pastor and I’m a youth pastor?

Jon: Wow.

Leif: That root started there with Lucifer-

Jon: That’s so good.

Leif: … that led to the fall of one third fallen angel that are orphans. They don’t have a home any longer. So that’s what the orphan spirit, and it’s much more in the book, but Lucifer, in his rebellion, there was a truth deficiency. Is God really good? And am I really good or not? If I do something, I have something, I become something. God is actually withholding something for me. If I get what He has, I’m going to feel better about myself?

You can read that subtlety all to Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, and you can see the fall of Lucifer and the biggest assignment for Lucifer, because he is an orphan and he wants the world to be an orphanage, if he can just get the levers to eventually operate with an orphan heart so the orphan spirit can come, then he has done his assignment. He’s not so worried if we just get faith and one day, he’s going to get to heaven. But he’s very concerned is when we start to show how good Papa God is and how loved people are because we’ve gotten our identities as beloved sons and daughters that reflect His glory, His goodness, His holiness, His splendor, every aspect of who our Father is in a fatherless world.

So in the garden then, Lucifer comes in, after six days of creation, God goes into the highlight of His creation and He goes in, and we know the story, He breathes into dust and Adam. I believe the first thing Adam ever says is [foreign language 00:24:31], the Hebrew word Father, Papa. The first face he sees is the face of a loving father.

What is the first feeling? It’s the perfect love of his father. He’s placed in the present of his father, and he’s abiding in Eden. That means that the life or pleasure of his father. Then God makes him sleep, because when we are rest, God is working.

Jon: Wow.

Leif: And there’s another scripture where it says God brought Eve to Adam. So which case did she see? Which voice did she hear? Which love did she feel? What presence did she experience? And what did she abide in? The pleasure of God. That’s when you see the first… Then God brought them together, not to do, but to be. Be fruitful, and what you become, you can multiply and what you can multiply, you do authority and dominion. And then when Lucifer comes in, the same pattern and that is he goes to Eve, and we know the whole story is, “Hey, listen. Is God really good? And are you really good enough?”

There’s this subtlety behind the light of the orphan spirit. If from this you are going be like him-

Jon: You can be. Yeah.

Leif: … they are already made and His image. You already have an A+. Why would you actually try to do something, to be something, to become something? That’s the love. “Would you like to be like Jesus? Well, you have to,” and then we start to live. Welcome to the orphan world with the orphan spirit.

And that’s how we have now presented a message worldwide that has created 7.8 billion people. And even within the church, it’s about 93% based upon survey. We operated more from an orphan heart and sonship and daughtership that becomes fathers and mothers. Interventions can’t stop the curse that is in the land. And that curse is the last word of the old Testament, where God wants to restore His family. And that’s why Jesus came. To restore back against the family that was in heaven, and to be able to see that on earth where we honor and and we love, and that’s the prayer there in John 17. And that’s how the world can see who we are because we have known how to love that way, the way the Father loves the Son, but also the Son loves the Father. That love is going to be us, and then Him and us.

Jon: It’s such a foundational truth. I think so many times, we try to be fathers or mothers or leaders or pastors or business owners, or even just Christians without the foundational truth of leading from sonship. I think you’re spot on. I think we’ve focused on the wrong ship and we’ve gotten good at stewardship and leadership and fellowship and friendship. But if you do all of those things without sonship, they will not end well.

Let’s get into some maybe some details as a leader for the leaders that are listening out there. What are some ways … I tell you what, studying this topic for me Leif, what it’s done for me is it’s almost tuned me into the frequency and it’s almost like the Lord has revealed the enemy’s playbook to me, both for my own heart, but also I can see I’ve gotten to where my radar is so sensitive to this that I can recognize an orphan heart when I speak to somebody on the phone or when I meet somebody in a grocery store. I can pick up on it so quickly. And so what are some of those, I don’t know what we would call them, triggers or identifiers for a leader? Let’s say a leader has a staff. What are some examples of an orphan heart and what that might manifest like so that a leader knows how to identify it? And then secondly, how does a leader confront the orphan spirit in someone else?

Leif: Yeah, I think first of all, it starts with me as a leader and to make sure how do I see God? And how does God actually see me? And how do I see the role and how do I see the future? I call it up, in, out, forward. Because if I had that view of God, that’s what I had, that does not look like Jesus while Jesus is perfect theology. And He said, “If you have seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”

So Jesus came to reflect there’s a God that looks like Himself, because if I’m looking at God and God is authoritative, then I will lead from an authoritative position, including in my home. And then you have to do and have … If God is more a critical God that is looking at my mistakes, then my view of God is reflected how I see myself and how I see me is actually how I see you. I don’t see the world the way it is. I see the world the way I am. I don’t see me. I don’t have 2020 vision when I look in the mirror, unless I have a proper view of God that looks like Jesus.

So for me, that is the starting point. How do I actually see God? Do I see a God that looks like Jesus? I would make a line there where I’m just saying, okay. Let’s look at Jesus. So a lot of people, 25% of the believer has an authoritator of leaders. About 28% have a critical God or they maybe have a distant God or a conditional. So when you are aware of those things, I certainly repent, first of all, meaning I changed the way I think. So I get a proper view of God. Then I can look in the mirror. How does God see me?

How does He see me? Does He see me as a son? And then how do I subtly see me the way He sees me? Loves me the way that He loves me? Say about me what He says? And then I can start to look out through staff and leadership. So the first part of the leaders, if you lead pastor or in any leadership position is first looking up. Get the proper view of God and be honest because when I have a view of God that does not look like Jesus, I’m living a question mark. And I wrote down some of those things, and I was a little scared when I recognized that sometimes earthly fathers, spiritual fathers, some of the systems we live in an orphaned world. So here would be one of the practical lie that I, I mean two lie that I’ve struggled with and I’m still sometimes encountering.

Luke 16, I think is a very beautiful picture, and this is about the father that had two sons, not sinners. One is rebellious and one is religious. That my view is that when I did something wrong or didn’t live up to the expectation, God turned away from me because He was a holy God and He couldn’t handle sin. And certainly, what I realized, just that one there, the way I saw that, then it was up to me to have to do something, to have something to become. So I believe God turned away from me, but what I didn’t realize, I’m actually the one turning away from Him when I sin, because I certainly got a God that looked like Jesus. And I realized that what the holiness is is instead of then repent and turn back to Him and get back into intimacy and love and connection, now I’m spending a week in shame, fear and guilt, instead of automatically, when that is happening now, I repent when I have that view because it’s the orphan. It’s not the son.

And I realize that the Father is looking, the Father’s full of compassion. The Father is running, the Father, as I’m saying, He is embracing and kissing that’s at your worst moment. That’s before repentance because it was the goodness and the kindness that leads to repentance. That’s just a pitch of Luke 16, of the prodigal God, a loving Father with two of His sons. So that’s one of the element I would encourage leaders. How do you see God? And second of all, how does God see you?

And the big root problem or the lie that I’ve struggled with, I, at my baptism of love, I was so changed by how much He loved me and I loved even the darkest places in the world. And the people know my story, I was going into the Middle East to the darkest places. I loved the worst terrorists and have seen some amazing over a million names, added to the lamb’s book of love in the darkest places in the world. Well, Father love me, but here’s where my … I did not love me the way that he loved me and that was the dark place in my soul. So I would say to any leaders before we start to bring transformation in regard to leadership culture, that’s just, again, the alignment in our life before we start the assignment. And that is, do you love you the way that Jesus loves you? And only John captured it in the new Testament.

Jon: That’s so good. That’s so good. I know for me, it was, one of the things you said in your book that I really like is you said that the orphan spirit cannot be cast out. It must be replaced. And I think sometimes, I’ll say the word orphan heart versus orphan spirit. And for the only reason being is because sometimes I think when we use the term spirit, whether it’s a Jezebel spirit or whatever spirit we want to identify, sometimes, it can let me off the hook that I just need somebody to lay hands on me and pray for me and get this spirit off of me. But really for me, it became something that I begin to, as I studied this, I would identify the orphan spirit at work in my heart numerous times a day.

The Holy Spirit would prompt me and say, “No. My son doesn’t think like that. Orphans think like that.” If I have a fear of failure or if I’m comparing myself to someone else or another pastor or another church or another leader, or, “Why wasn’t my name mentioned? I was a part of that project too. Why didn’t he mention my name from stage?” They’re all small things that the Lord would just prompt me to say, “No. That’s the way an orphan thinks.” And you’re right. I couldn’t cast that thing out. It’s like Paul saying, “I got to take it captive and make it obedient to Christ.” So I would have to capture it and replace it. And the only thing to replace it with is what you were referring to as that baptism of love, that God loves me so much.

Leif: Yeah. And you’re totally right. Actually, I should have called the book Healing the Orphan Heart. We did on purpose the spirit, but it is a big difference in regard because it is the orphan heart. You need to give the orphan a home and the spirit of adoption needs to be connected. And the baptism of love, because the biggest root of sonship is love. And the deepest root, if you go all the way back to the root, it is fear. Anything that is fear base is connected to the orphan spirit. And often, the twins that go along with that is shame, and shame will always tell you who you are not. The Father will always tell you who you are. And then guilt. Those are the three often that goes along with that orphaned heart. I know that when the enemy, “Oh, I shame people,” meaning that because again, if that’s what I see in the mirror, then it does get reflected. My view of Him is reflected how I see people.

So with sonship, I don’t see people the way they are, but the way they’re going to be. With sonship, I don’t treat people based on their history that they’re destiny.


That’s so good.


With sonship, I don’t see Islam as the problem, but as the promise. And it’s a whole different way of living and loving when I certainly have His eyes. When I see the terrorist Saul, I can see the apostle Paul writing love is patient, love is kind because that’s the eyes of love when I’m looking up then in and there’s an environment that starts to change.


That’s so good. I love that thought. I love everything about this Leif, and I’m so thankful that God put this word and this revelation in your heart. I’m thankful that you wrote books on it. It’s changed the way I think. It’s changed the way that I lead. And I thank you for your work. And for those of you that are listening, I would highly encourage you to get this book, to get any of Leif’s books, but particularly, the Called To Reign or Healing the Orphan Heart and the Baptism of Love, just amazing books that will change the way you lead. It’ll change the way you go inward, but it’ll also change the way that you go outward. Leif, any parting words? Anything you want to share to our listeners? Any last things you would want to share from your heart?


No. I just felt very clearly that I just had a leader that came to me and it was dealing with an issue and some tension. I said that, “Do you operate in the love of law or the law of love?” The orphans will have a love of law while sons and daughters live by the law of love, where when you love God, you love your neighbors. You love yourself. There is freedom. And whom the Son sets free is free indeed. And with the spirit of the Lordship, the Spirit is Lord, there is Liberty and there is freedom. So just even to some of the leaders of different things that we maybe wrestle and struggling with, to even if that’s in if that’s in ministry, do we operate by the love of law, or the law of love?

And I feel that was a tipping point for this leader. He just told me right before I came here, just talked about the transformation that has happened, where there was tension in his staff and leadership. But when he got these different lenses, he is actually in the movie industry, but the culture started to change, where he’d rather have relationship than being right, and that’s family.

And then I thought one little … I was at Bethel’s wedding with my friend Bill Johnston. And I spoke a few years about their prophetic conference and people can find that online. And the speaker before me was Sean Boles who’s been a dear friend for years. And Sean, he hit some home runs and everything else. And somebody behind me whispers and says, “Leif, you’re going to have to follow that.” And in the moment I went from son, guess what? How did that happen? I started to compare myself to somebody else.

Jon: That’s good.

Leif: I started to compete. But I realize, “God, that’s what’s happening.” And for five minutes, I had walked in and I started to think about words of knowledge. Maybe somebody has a back problem. Maybe somebody in Bethel TV… coming up, but it’s so silly when we try and-

Jon: Go into performance mode.

Leif: Performance mode, yeah, and we try to be a copy instead of an original, instead of being you and being how God has intended you to be, being full of you and blessed you to be you. So I did repent. And then when I went off on stage, I said, “Well, this is my brother Sean. And wow. When his stock went up, my stock went up because this is the family business.”

Jon: That’s good.

Leif: And then how can add value to what I honor?

Jon: Wow.

Leif: And if we can create that culture, honor is what love looks like. And it’s beautiful now to start to see within staff, within leadership. As sons, we suddenly start with a mutual submission and we start to honor one another. We celebrate one another instead of tolerate one another. I just want to encourage leaders to explore this, and you’re going to see there’s going to be twice as much truth with half as much energy when you’re living from pleasure instead of pressure.

Jon: That’s so good with. And with social media these days, there’s just a perpetual comparison. And I know you mentioned in your book, I may butcher it, but I know you mentioned this idea, that orphans compare, along these lines. Orphans compare because they’re trying to compete, whereas sons and daughters are just, we’re complete. So we operate out of being complete, not out of compete.

Leif: Wow.

Jon: So that’s so good. Listen, Leif, we’re so thankful that you came on today. If somebody wants to get in touch with your ministry or be a blessing to your ministry or be a part of your ministry, or just contact you in general, what’s the best website or something they can reach you at?

Leif: Yeah. If they see my name just Leif, L-E-I-F, and then Hetland, H-E-T-L-A-N-D. Or if they look at Global Mission Awareness, Global Mission Awareness. So both of those names, they can Google and they can find it. And they’re also on Amazon. You can get Audible books if you don’t want to read. So we have it pretty much on every platform, some of the tools and some of the books. And actually, I have a new book that is called The Love Awakening that’s going to come up with destiny in March so people can watch out for that. I really do believe there’s a tsunami wave of love that’s going to bring in a billion new names, but not the billion orphans, but a billion sons and daughters, that God is restoring His family now, so that we can be ready for this family, this incredible outpouring that is about to take place. So I’m excited about that.

Jon: Love it. Love it. Well Leif, thank you again, my friend. Thanks for being on the show, and we can’t wait to have you on again someday.

Leif: That’d be awesome. Thank you so much for having me.

Jon: Well listeners, thank you for tuning in today. We’re praying for you as you lead, as you live out the call of God on your life. Help us spread the word on this podcast. We love you. We’re praying for you. Have an amazing day.

Church InTension
Church InTensionhttps://church-intension.simplecast.com
The Church InTension podcast is a place to have healthy conversations about areas of tension and the intentions of the Church. Hosted by Dr. Jon Chasteen and powered by The King's University and Gateway Church.