You might be surprised at the danger in the worship movement and how we connect to it.
I had a prophetic dream that is extremely simple to understand—the prophetic warnings are being drowned out by casual spirits and, yes, even today’s worship movement.
Ezekiel 13:1-3 (ESV) 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the LORD!’ 3 Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
Ezekiel 13:6-9 (ESV) 6 They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the LORD,’ when the LORD has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. 7 Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares the LORD,’ although I have not spoken?” 8 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord GOD. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
There is a rapidly increasing movement of people who are shutting their ears to any prophetic words that have any measure of alarm to them. The warnings are not wanted as they threaten the current structures of comfort and ease.
These people are at risk of a catastrophe that will mercilessly hit them and those who have been influenced by their messages of peace and safety.
There are true voices that must emerge and declare the word of the Lord in its pure form.
If we EVER temper a message in the pulpit, online or one-on-one in the hopes of maintaining an audience, we've become a 2 Tim 4:3-4 false-teacher.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV) 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Revival always includes the conviction of sin on the part of the Church. What a spell the devil seems to cast over the Church today! ~Billy Sunday
I was the guest speaker at a church, and I was burning with an extreme prophetic message that I knew every single person must hear. Not only must they hear it, but they had to allow God to break and wreck them so they could become carriers of that burning message. God needed them to proclaim the word with boldness and brokenness.
It was time to begin the service, and I was on the platform feeling troubled and confused. I had about eight friends with me, people who were absolutely given to the message and who were standing very close to me.
Other than my friends, literally nobody was listening. Even the leadership was absent. People were dressed in shorts and flip flops and casual clothing and were just slowly walking around taking to friends.
My disturbance kept intensifying.
To my right there were a couple large garage doors and they were both open. People were moving out of the building and out onto the grass. It was a beautiful, sunny day.
As people kept leaving the building, someone walked close to the stage as I was preaching with unction and urgency, and he attempted to drown out the message by singing a worship song. It was a brilliant tactic. After all, it’s good to sing songs of worship in the church, right?
When he finished singing, the building was nearly empty. In my desperation to get the message relayed, I too went outside.
My friends and I left the building and stood on a small slab of concrete outside. I continued to preach, but it was as if I was nearly invisible and inaudible. From time to time people would wave and wink to me as an indicator that they are “with me” and to thank me for my ministry. I didn’t want their thanks. I wanted their hearts.
My friends pressed very close to me…so close that we were all squished together as a single unit as I kept preaching truth.
The people kept playing while we kept trembling.
I then noticed that some chose to climb a tree. When they decided to come back down, one of them fell just a couple of feet and those around them were alarmed and looked right me. They demanded that I leave my place and come over to help. I was grieved.
I did leave the concrete and tended to the person who had an extremely minor injury.
Distraction and a casual, playful, self-centered spirit overpowered the prophetic word of the Lord.
I then woke up.
We live in a day where churches promote comfort and self-satisfaction. Coffee, personal ministry, blessing, programs and other lesser things are overshadowing the call to the cross. The alarm of the hour is not a welcome sound.
Casual spirits are driving the culture. The problem? The message of the cross is not a casual message.
The bottom line is this: A casual spirit will always reject a prophetic warning if it threatens their comfort. A prophetic spirit will always threaten something.
A.W. Tozer: I want the prophetic spirit upon me or I want to die.
In the dream it was significant that even the leaders were absent.
The pastors of that church should have been on their faces in deep repentance as they led their people into brokenness!
Nobody in that church had any concern about their own salvation (they should have), the condition of their city or the message of God. All was well. Peace and safety were the cries of their hearts.
My friends who were very close to me represented the remnant—those who are broken and surrendered and devoted to the call. They counted the cost and said yes.
Please keep this in mind—the remnant is an extremely small percentage of people in the church. Don’t presume that you have signed up as an end-time remnant Christian just because you go to church, love God and want revival. True remnant people aren’t only interested in revival, they are invested in it. To find a remnant Christian is actually quite rare, though every Christian has been extended that invitation.
Possibly the most interesting part of the dream had to do with the person who walked up to me and started singing a worship song.
I believe we are in a place of both great hope and great danger in regard to worship in the church.
True worship is going to return to the church. That’s the hope. There is a great movement of groan and intercession driven worship and adoration to Jesus that’s coming. It’s not here yet, but soon can be.
The present danger is great, however.
The worship service can easily become the lazy man’s intercession. Please consider this point carefully! The church is to be a house of prayer for all nations!
I’ve been in ministry for over 22 years and it has grieved me time and again when people would come and go based on the skill, style and feel of the worship team, but are indifferent regarding the prayer focus. In fact, when the call to worship is sounded, people flock, but when the call to prayer is sounded people flee.
This is disturbing and it’s an indictment on the church!
We don’t attend a church based on it’s ability to appeal to our desires! My God! How far have we fallen?
At Revival Church we recently made a bold decision for our current season—when our worship leader moved on, I decided it was time to bring intercession back to first place.
Instead of sitting back or lightly engaging as someone else leads in worship, we are calling the entire body to pray with us boldly for an hour prior to the teaching. Fervent prayer has replaced musical worship! The experience of worship or any other thing can no longer trump the call to pray and to deliver the prophetic messages of God.
In fact, I’m confident that biblical worship will emerge from this platform of prayer and no longer will we casually connect to God when the music plays. Musical worship has taken a back seat to the word of the Lord and it will again be calibrated to God’s heart.
If you want to gauge the spiritual maturity of your team, call a prayer meeting. Develop a prayer culture. Bring prayer front and center where nobody can hide. It may be offensive, but it’s simply true that only the broken, hungry and maturing will remain. It shocks me that people can lead worship, pastor a church or function in ministry without a vibrant, all-consuming life of prayer! It is actually rare to find praying church leadership in America!
There are individuals who have never done anything for Jesus Christ, and I have no doubt there are preachers as well, who have never done anything for the God Almighty. ~Billy Sunday
“If we do not praise we shall grow sad in our conflict; and if we do not fight we shall become presumptuous in our song.” –Spurgeon
Worship leaders who don’t burn night and day in intercession need to take a critical break to rediscover the God of their songs. A fearful tremble and awe must return to worship.
In the dream I moved to a concrete slab outside of the building as the people were scattering and playing. I have been crying out for the last several months for the pavement people to emerge! These are people in the remnant who are not looking for personal comfort, affirmation or anything other than hitting the pavement in true worship.
2 Chronicles 7:3 (ESV) 3 When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
I was on the pavement with my friends who were staying very close to me. I continued to preach in desperation as people were in the vicinity, but who were not at all provoked by the message. They were certainly not responsive, and, of course, they were in no place to become carriers of that fiery word for the nations.
Again, my grief escalated.
The types of distractions that the enemy will attempt to force on us are extremely hard to counteract.
First, it can seem strange and wrong to label worship as a disturbance or distraction. The enemy is often using worship, as I shared above, to provide people with a false sense of intimacy with Jesus, or at least a radically minimized encounter with him. If the music is good and even slightly anointed, and it feels peaceful or invigorating, then our job of honoring God seems to be done. We don’t have to go any deeper in Jesus. We are satisfied. It’s time to move to other things.
Additionally, the person that fell out of the tree was wounded, ever so slightly, and all eyes were on me to help. So, the corporate prophetic alarm ceased.
The problem? The person should never have been in the tree. They were called to the pavement. Their improper positioning negatively impacted the masses.
When we are close together, there is safety. Risk is minimized. Even when there is an issue, we can all stay together, in position as we serve one another.
Those in the Upper Room in Acts 2 certainly tended to each other as they were all on that holy pavement, that place of coming encounter and intercession for the nations.
Those who are scattering and playing instead of gathering and praying are loosely connected until crisis comes.
It’s time that we are “all together in one accord in one place” as they were in Acts 2.
A RESISTANT CHURCH
As it was in the days of Noah, so it is today. The alarms are resisted.
Matthew 24:37-39 (ESV) 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Do we not know that God is raising up prophetic voices to help us? Why would we reject the warnings?
It’s time we gather and pray. It’s time.
I asked a question on Facebook recently:
If your church cancelled everything for a year…cancelled children’s ministry, teaching, programs, pot lucks, small groups…and replaced those activities with prayer meetings, would you stay in your church?
One response rocked me. It encouraged me that the remnant is out there:
That’s when I’ll return to the church.
Friends, it’s time that we embrace a God that loves us enough to keep us from slumber, to shake us with warnings and to prepare us for the tragic and glorious end-time shocks that are coming to the Earth.