Listen to this teaching from tonight’s class at thelab school of fire—The Lifestyle of a Forerunner.
You will get rocked as you listen to this teaching from thelab school of fire. It’s hot off the press—just a couple of hours old.
Are you ready to step into the calling of an end-time forerunner? Listen and find out!
Additionally, here is a short audio about the most troubling end-time dream I’ve ever had. I shared this tonight, but stopped the recording before I did so. http://media.johnburton.net/2217865
The Lifestyle of a Forerunner
1. A Generation of Zealots
a. One of this ministry’s primary callings is to minister with a “forerunner spirit”. Forerunners prepare the way for the Lord by preparing people to respond rightly to Jesus in light of His Second Coming.
b. A description of the forerunner ministry:
I've been listening to Mike Bickle's series on the forerunner and the fasted lifestyle. Fasting of our time, food and money. He talks about how disruptive it is to give ourselves to God in a radical way. We are living in a prophetic time, we are a prophetic generation, many believe the generation before the Lord's return, and there is a call to radical, extravagant devotion to Jesus.
If we say Yes, we are blessed in the deeper things of God during this life and the one to come. If we say No and lock ourselves behind our safe religious traditions, we risk our hearts growing cold to the deeper things of God. We don't separate ourselves from His love, but we close the door to a greater awakening and walking in deeper revelation. Don't know about you guys, but I want a deeper revelation. The same ole same ole doesn't work any more.
But the radical, fasted lifestyle messes with our worlds. It's disruptive. It means eating less, spending less, sleeping less so we can get up or stay up for prayer. Worse, our pursuit disrupts the lives of those around us – our friends and families.
In Matthew 11:19, Jesus is preaching and reminding the people the religious leaders said John the Baptist had a demon, and they accused Jesus of being a glutton and drunkard. Bible believing, Bible preaching people are going to be offended at the radical lifestyle and they are going to call us crazy, demonized, drunkards and all sorts of things. Our reputations will be ruin, perhaps.
Jesus tells us we will be reviled because He was reviled. But, we will have what can't be taken a way – a knowledge of the Beautiful man. An experience in the pleasures of God, IN THIS LIFE. And I believe, walking in divine power and authority.
I've concluded: Prayer is a must. Not bless Aunt Betty prayers, but intercession. We cannot go on without it. We must pray the Word, believe the Word. We must dialog with God using His own words. It deepens our own understanding, our own revelation.
Giving, praying, fasting unlocks our hearts! Even our smallest effort. The writer of Hebrews understood this and challenges us. “Oh my stars, you guys still want milk? You could be eating steak by now.
c. We are in a transitional season between generations.
i. A prophetic generation is arising around the world who's daily lifestyle will look nothing like their parent's.
ii. Both ancient and emerging
1. Acts 2:43-47 (NKJV) 2:43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
iii. Forerunner- a person who goes or is sent in advance to announce the coming of someone or something that follows
iv. John the Baptist was the forerunner- Matthew 11:7-10 (NKJV) 11:7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 “But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 “For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.'
1. Luke 1:15-17 (NKJV) 1:15 “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
v. Detroit is a forerunner city- we as forerunners are establishing a city of the future as God reveals his plans.
vi. The ministry of the forerunner, especially during transitional seasons like the one we're in, is one of the most important in the church.
1. For those who are forerunners
2. For those who are not
3. Forerunners must:
a. Clearly hear God's fresh Word
b. Accurately declare that Word
c. Warn others of what is coming
e. Apostolically prepare new ground
f. Prophetically see what God is doing and do whatever is necessary to prepare the body for what lies ahead
g. Isaiah 40:3-5 (NKJV) 40:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
i. We are also preparing the way for Jesus! The preparation of the arrival of a city of refuge, of a city of worship and of Jesus himself requires absolute focus, energy and passion.
h. Embrace the continual disruption to our rest, our focuses, our families, our relationships, our work and our pursuits- as God continually requires more of us, shakes us to the core and develops us into radical pioneers!
i. My call to die (YMCA)
ii. Becca was told that she would have to surrender her family to God if she wanted to accept her calling.
iii. Vision of her daughter on the dock
iv. The life of the forerunner, as with John the Baptist, is a life of lonely and zealous and continuous declaration.
1. They have surrendered their lives.
2. God asked Becca permission to take her life. He asked me permission to take mine. He's asking the entire generation of forerunners to die.
3. Mat 14:10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison.
i. Report from the Forerunner School of Ministry
i. My Internship Experience: Do Not Despise the Process
As I sit down to write this paper and reflect upon the changes that have occurred in these last six months, I’m actually weeping because of my gratitude and amazement. I could never have imagined all that has happened in these last six months. As I read through my application testimony, I’ve realized that the girl sitting here today is not the same person that wrote that paper less than a year ago. God’s been busy…
I’m not going to lie; this was not a fun season of life. I’ve never cried so much, nor felt so lonely, nor felt like my very life was being sucked out of me with each passing hour in the prayer room (graphic, yet true). I had anticipated a breaking of sorts when I got here, Lord knows I needed it, but I did not understand the entirety of what I had signed up for. In the infamous words of Corey Russell, God got up in my business. Almost as soon as I got here, God took me out of the excitement and comforts of internship bonding and into a twenty-one day fast (promptly breaking my fear of fasting). It was clear that this season wasn’t about my ability to make good friends; God wanted me all to himself. In a place where every single false comfort and idol had been stripped away and only loneliness and barrenness remained (thank you, Dana Chandler for providing language for the groaning), I quickly realized that I had a deep fear of intimacy and animosity against God. I didn’t trust God. Actually, everything that I struggle with has its roots in distrust, is God really who he says he is? Will He really do everything he has promised? Can I really give him my whole life? God has proven faithful time and time again to answer my many questions.
This is what it all boils down to: I’ve fallen in love with a Man and he’s bid me come and die so that I may truly live. I’ve signed up for a life that’s different, wholly other than what the world thinks of as a successful life. I didn’t know that my life would be “ruined” when I got here. I didn’t know that there would be an unsatisfied ache in my soul that will remain all the days of my life. I didn’t know that I was going to be preparing for the last days and the return of my Lord and Savior, which was, by the way, one of the biggest shocks of the internship – my college education in theology did not prepare me for this message! I didn’t know the cost would be so great and that the reward would be far greater…here I go weeping again. As this internship ends, I find that I’m embarking on a great journey: To spend the rest of my life now and in eternity experiencing this man and his love and seeking out a comprehension of this God and his glory; what could be greater?
I've had a hard time giving language to all that has taken place in my life. What do you say when God takes you to a place of complete death to self, only to realize that what rises from the ashes is a hunger pang that can never be satisfied by anything less than the presense of the Lord. Guys – I'm ruined. I don't want anything but God. All else in this life is dim, dull and painfully worthless
j. Those who don't feel they are forerunners must:
i. Embrace their relationship with the forerunners in their lives
ii. Listen closely to the instructions of the forerunners
iii. Prepare for a drastic lifestyle change in the comings months and years
iv. Deliberately discipline themselves according to the Word of the Lord for this season
d. I've lived a strange experience in ministry
i. Since 1991 I have been burning with virtually the same message and have been both disappointed and shocked that so few in the church were eagerly responsive.
1. Calling prayer meetings as a youth pastor and everyone stayed in the foyer
2. Prayer walking in San Diego- less than 10 people vs. going to the beach- 40-50 people
3. In the church in Dayton every day after work for hours alone while most others barely made it 2-3 times a month
4. I found myself puzzled as I would proclaim the necessary and critical directives of God- pray hours a week! I'd get nods, smiles and some response… but much non-responsiveness.
ii. I wasn't alone in my pursuit, I knew that. I experienced first hand mighty people of God who also modeled such a lifestyle.
e. The critical relationship between the forerunner and the body
i. As I've discovered more about the forerunner ministry, the more I have understood the critical importance of an intentional relationship between them and the church.
ii. If you can't hear God, stay very close to someone who does.
1. Amos 3:6-8 (NKJV) 3:6 If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it? 7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. 8 A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?
2. We know that we should all prophesy, should all hear God… especially those associated with ministries like this as we are a team of forerunners and developing forerunners.
a. However, there is a special prophetic declaration that is being sounded through forerunners- and it's critical to heed that alarm!
b. The difficulty in this is that those who don't personally hear the alarm simply assume that it is not sounding, or that it is not for them.
c. The reality is that God established the prophetic ministry as a protective measure for his church.
d. It's very important to read the Elijah List, to listen to people like Chuck Pierce and others who are proclaiming the Word of the Lord for these end-times.
e. Habakkuk 2:2-3 (NKJV) 2:2 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
i. The visionaries, the forerunners, write the vision down and the rest of the body reads and runs!
ii. John 1:14-15 (NKJV) 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' ”
iii. John the Baptist said, “this was He of whom I said”… yet people weren't entirely ready for his arrival. Will the church be ready to respond to the word of the prophets? The forerunners? Is the church resisting or responding? Heck, are those who are called as forerunners resisting or responding!
f. Are you called as a forerunner? Someone who is establishing now what God desires to exist in the not to distant future?
i. If so, you will have the responsibility of proclaiming and establishing some difficult truths.
ii. You will have the responsibility of reordering every part of your life to ensure there is extreme time, energy and passion available to complete the mission.
iii. We as forerunners are living now as the entire generation of Spirit-filled believers will be living in a short amount of time.
1. We are praying hours a week, we are together in strategy sessions continually, we are maturing at a very fast rate, we are unified and organized as a holy military.
2. We are allowing extreme lifestyle pressure to hit us because of the severity of the prophetic call on our lives.
3. Isaiah 62:6-7 (NKJV) 62:6 I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, 7 And give Him no rest till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
4. We must repent for our schedules!
a. We are called to order our lives in such a way that our mandate is carried out, not in a way that focuses on rest and entertainment!
g. The forerunner is simply announcing what will be the normal lifestyle of the normal believer in a short time to come.
i. This doesn't mean all will respond, but it means that those whose hearts don't grow cold will be those that do respond.
ii. Luke 8:16-18 (NKJV) 8:16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 “Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”
iii. As we hear and shine the light of the Word of God, more and more revelation will come to us. It's the normal way of life for the believer- but we are living below the bar.
1. It will be the norm to be in church and ministry activities 4 or 5 nights a week.
a. Psalms 27:4 (NKJV) 27:4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.
2. It will be the norm for every believer to pray easily 15 or more hours a week (This lifestyle is already normal in Africa- Friday prayer meetings. We must look at this and understand we are lagging way, way behind God's norm for the church)
3. It will be easy to understand that the lifestyle God gives us is not there to bring comfort to our lives, which is the opposite of the mindset of the western church now.
a. The extreme problem in the church as we know it is that we assume it's there to make our lives better, that God's primary purpose is to comfort us… but it's an inaccurate idea!
i. When we find ourselves full enough, the prayer stops, the effort ceases, the pressing eases. We must push because of the magnitude of our mission!
ii. We will only fulfill our mission if we are bleeding and sweating and pressing in great unity every day of the week with smiles on our faces and fire in our eyes!
b. Our pleasure and comfort will come through intimacy and obedience.
c. Isaiah 58:12-14 (NKJV) 58:12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. 13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
4. The disruption of our daily lives will be embraced.
5. Romans 12:10-11 (NKJV) 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
6. Let's join with other forerunners around the world and establish now in our lives and in this city what is to come! Detroit is a forerunner city- one that will be devoted to God not only on Sundays, but 24/7! It will disrupt everything in our lives, it will demand much, and it is what God has called us to!
7. The way we live our lives now, as forerunners, is what we are prophetically declaring to the world- as we live so they will live. Is it enough?
2. John the Baptist
a. Characteristics of a forerunner's life
i. Self-denial- Matthew 3:4 (NKJV) 3:4 And John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
ii. Courage- Matthew 3:5-8 (NKJV) 3:5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…
iii. Obedience- Matthew 3:13-15 (NKJV) 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
iv. Powerful Preacher- Mark 1:4-5 (NKJV) 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
v. Humility- John 1:19-23 (NKJV) 1:19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the LORD, ‘ ‘ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
vi. Holiness- Mark 6:20 (NKJV) 6:20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
vii. Burning Zeal- John 5:35 (NKJV) 5:35 “He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
viii. Honored by Christ- Matthew 11:11 (NKJV) 11:11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
ix. Did No Miracle- John 10:41 (NKJV) 10:41 Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.”
x. Suffered Martyrdom- Matthew 14:10 (NKJV) 14:10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison.