It’s past time to boldly and fearlessly stand against the spirit of the age.
Watch John teach this message titled Set Your Face:
SET YOUR FACE
A radical misunderstanding of how godly love truly manifests has led to a passive, affirming, tolerant response to one of history’s most diabolical assaults.
We have borrowed an unbiblical, humanistic definition of what love truly is. The mantra of the age is love is tolerant, love is affirming, love accepts unconditionally. This has painted a picture of a benevolent, passive God who so values mankind that he is willing to allow them to choose any path they desire and he will tolerate and affirm the accompanying behaviors, beliefs and mindsets.
Such a belief system elevates man to idol status and minimizes God to a mystical, happy force that has few standards or expectations. The most important thing is that people are happy, and when they are, God is most satisfied.
This doctrine of demons has resulted in a fear to represent God as he truly is to a generation that’s largely hedonistic. The prevailing thought is a humanistic one: We have to ensure only God’s positive attributes are revealed while hiding or even disagreeing with his standards. This has deemed today’s prophetic voices that adhere to that strategy as impotent at best and extremely dangerous at worst. The risk is that they veil God’s holiness and the reality of eternity and, in turn, raise up disciples of a demonic counterfeit that wraps it’s arms around a rebellious people—all in the name of love.
IT’S TIME TO WAGE WAR
The default position for all of us must be to reveal the true and immeasurable love of God to all. That goes without saying.
This however does not complete our job as end-time prophetic messengers and warriors of Christ. We have to understand that very few will in fact turn to Jesus in a legitimate way. While we need to contend for salvation for all, we have to understand that most will reject that call.
There are many clear enemies of God, and our mission of advancing light into the darkness much match that reality. Our expectations and strategies must match the situation.
James 4:4 (ESV) 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
The following is from a Glenn Beck article titled Past 10 Days Have Been A ‘Slapping Of God's Face':
“…you don’t have to be a genius to figure out what the problems are in the country,” Beck said on his radio program. “It’s because our society, our people, us, have become lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to our parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman. We’re slanderers,” Beck continued. “We’re haters of good. We’re treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure much more than lovers of God. [We’re] holding the form of religion, but denying the power of it.”
The time is now to wage war against the spirit of the age. While we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, we do wrestle against evil spirits.
Flesh and blood humans who embrace those evil spirits will absolutely feel the force of the warfare. We can’t allow that troubling reality stop us from opening our mouths and declaring truth.
We must be strong, and fight:
Ephesians 6:10-11 (ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
What are we doing to stand against the evil schemes in America today? It’s not enough to share the love of God to the lost through evangelism and other methods, as critical as that mandate is. There is more—much more. There is an invisible realm that is manifesting visibly in our nation. We must go to war as conquerors, as victors and as ambassadors of Christ.
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Several keys are revealed in the totality of the Ephesians 6 passage including taking up our shield of faith, wearing the helmet of salvation, and praying in the Spirit. The final method of battle is revealed in verse 19 where Paul is asking for prayer:
Ephesians 6:19-20 (ESV) 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
In addition to all of the spiritual armor Paul is wearing, his prayer at the end of his instructions reveals he must also take on boldness to speak! This is where the American church is failing embarrassingly today. Very little of the messages coming from it require any boldness at all to speak.
The true gospel message will very often provoke and disturb the majority who are opposed to truth. If the message wouldn’t cause problems for the enemies of God, and in turn for the messenger of God, why would boldness be necessary? There is a radical resistance to holiness and obedience to God in the land that is largely unmet by today’s Christian voices. We must again pray for boldness to preach what will result in great persecution for the church.
As Paul was writing this letter to the Ephesians, he was being persecuted, currently imprisoned because of that very message. He didn’t ask for the physical issues to be removed but rather that he would boldly confront the spirit of the age with the gospel. His plan was to continue preaching the very truth that was irritating the people of the region.
It’s a contrary, offensive, demanding, in your face message, contrary to the sugary, passive message that many are calling the gospel today.
SET YOUR FACE AND PROPHESY AGAINST THEM
In Ezekiel 25 we see a key strategy emerge.
Up until this point, concerning Jerusalem and the land of Israel, people had been holding on to faint hope due to the encouragement of false prophets. Then, contrary to the words of the false prophets, Jerusalem was destroyed. We are hearing the same thing today from so many Christian prophets and preachers—that everything is okay, and even getting better and better, all while great evil is increasing exponentially, persecution is increasing and darkness is expanding. People are being lured into nationally sanctioned sodomy and perversion and Christians who oppose it are being ridiculed and fined. Soon, if things don’t change, we will see Christians in prison in America just as they are in North Korea simply for preaching the Bible.
After Jerusalem was defeated, Ezekiel switched his prophetic focus to the surrounding nations. It would not be pretty. His message wasn’t one of happy affirmation.
In fact, Jesus himself didn’t always have the disposition of a gentle shepherd. Watch how he set his face against cities:
Luke 10:13-16 (ESV) 13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. 16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
J. Vernon McGee said:
We get a warped view of Him when all we hear is, “God is love, God is love.” It is true that God is love, but don't lose sight of the fact that God is also holy. He is righteous and He will judge. You are not rushing into heaven on the little love boat today. If you reject His salvation, there will be nothing left but judgment.
Ezekiel 25:1 (ESV) 1 The word of the LORD came to me:
I often have to stop after seemingly unimportant verses like this one to consider the ramifications: “The word of the Lord came to me.”
Is the word of the Lord coming to anybody out there today? Of course several true messengers of God are receiving the alarming, Rhema words of God in this hour, but they are few and far between. I appreciate people like John Kilpatrick who has the courage and discernment to declare that “America is now an apostate nation.” Other like Steve Hill, Leonard Ravenhill, Isaiah Saldivar, Nathan Morris, Mike Bickle, Mario Murillo and Lou Engle are voicing or have voiced culture shaking truth.
When supposed messengers of God are expressing only happy, positive, affirming words they instantly lose credibility with me.
Jeremiah 23:16-17 (ESV) 16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”
Contrast the previous verses with what follows:
Jeremiah 23:18-20 (ESV) 18 For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? 19 Behold, the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked. 20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.
Just as in Jeremiah’s time, today people are prophesying words that did not originate with God:
Jeremiah 23:21-22 (ESV) 21 “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.
Thankfully, Ezekiel did receive the Word of the Lord. Now, what happens next is a spiritual mandate that is almost entirely forsaken in today’s church.
Ezekiel 25:2 (ESV) 2 “Son of man, set your face toward the Ammonites and prophesy against them.
One of the most quoted scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16. It’s a revelation of God’s love. I believe we stop short of the greater message to the detriment of the mission.
Here’s the famous verses:
John 3:16-17 (ESV) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
And here’s what’s so often neglected though it is a part of the preceding passage:
John 3:18 (ESV) 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
We need to understand that the wrath of God remains on those who don’t have eternal life in Christ. Reading further in chapter three of John reveals this:
John 3:36 (ESV) 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
So, clearly there are enemies of God who are choosing to remain condemned, and we can’t sit back hoping that they someday turn.
As we prophecy against the enemies of God we are simply bring revelation regarding their condition and their future should they not repent. This is an act of godly love that will be rejected as hatred in our humanistic culture!
In fact, even within the church we are called to some extreme measures for the sake of the rebellious person’s soul—in the name of love!
1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (ESV) 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
We are to deliver unrepentant people in the church to Satan! This is a very powerful example of what Ezekiel was doing by prophesying against people. Again, this is an expression of love as we trust God’s wisdom. Note that delivering someone to Satan would introduce them to a terrible season of life as their flesh is destroyed—so that their spirit might be saved.
As we prophesy against the spirit of the age, we are also agreeing in battle with God as he moves to protect his own. God is zealous for his Bride.
THE AMMONITES CELEBRATED AND EZEKIEL RESPONDED
Why was God against the Ammonites?
They celebrated when Israel was defeated.
There are many today who are applauding the defeat of godly marriage in our nation, defeats regarding abortion, prayer in school and many other losses. This is the rebellion in the land that must be confronted, in love, with boldness by today’s preachers and prophets.
Ezekiel 25:3-4 (ESV) 3 Say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Because you said, ‘Aha!’ over my sanctuary when it was profaned, and over the land of Israel when it was made desolate, and over the house of Judah when they went into exile, 4 therefore behold, I am handing you over to the people of the East for a possession, and they shall set their encampments among you and make their dwellings in your midst. They shall eat your fruit, and they shall drink your milk.
This is serious.
Is America at risk of being handed over to other nations who will ultimately defeat us? Yes. It’s becoming easier to see a day when America will be no more. I know such a thought will cause the positive thinkers to react and accuse me of not standing in faith or professing doom and gloom. Those accusations don’t move me. If I had no faith for America’s spiritual revival I would never waste time sounding an alarm like I am in this article. A revelation of a possible, or even probable, troubling future is not an exercise in faithlessness, it’s an act of love. Tornado alarms go off to help people prepare for trouble and react accordingly so they might be saved. Can you imagine getting angry at the alarm?
Just as I wrote that I heard very loud thunder exploding outside, and then I heard loud, distinctive tones booming out of my mobile phone. A message is currently displaying that says:
Flash Flood Warning in this area until 9:00pm CDT. Avoid flood areas. Check local media. National Weather Service. Imminent severe alert.
Interesting timing, don’t you think?
I just read a powerful prophecy of judgment and destruction coming to America by A.A. Allen in Charisma Magazine. In part, he says:
The next thing which I saw was a huge ball of fire. The only thing I have ever seen which resembled the thing I saw in my vision was the picture of the explosion of the H-bomb in the South Pacific. In my vision, it was so real I seemed to feel a searing heat from it.
As the vision spread before my eyes, and I viewed the widespread desolation brought about by the terrific explosions, I could not help thinking,” While the defenders of our nation have quibbled over what means of defense to use, and neglected the only true means of defense, faith and dependence upon the true and living God, the thing which she greatly feared has come unto her!
How true it has proven that “Except the Lord keep The city, The watchman watches but in vain.”
It’s interesting that God’s primary motivation is not making life better for everybody. He’s not interested in affirming people in their sin or letting them know how much he loves them.
So, what is God’s ultimate purpose? To prove himself!
Ezekiel 25:5 (ESV) 5 I will make Rabbah a pasture for camels and Ammon a fold for flocks. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
Ezekiel continues by addressing their celebration of wickedness. God makes it clear that rejoicing in immorality results in judgment:
Ezekiel 25:6-7 (ESV) 6 For thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet and rejoiced with all the malice within your soul against the land of Israel, 7 therefore, behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
Again, this is so that everybody may know that he is Lord! This is a prime motivation!
Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV) 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The day homosexual marriage was legalized across the nation people filled the streets in cities from east to west in mass gatherings of celebration.
Time Magazine: Crowds of people filled the street outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City on Friday, celebrating the Supreme Court’s landmark gay marriage ruling and marveling at how much has changed in the past 50 years.
nbcnewyork.com: Celebrations Erupt in New York City After Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide. From pop-up parties to weddings, New Yorkers are celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. Within an hour of the ruling, rainbow flags were hanging outside City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio officiated at two same-sex weddings on the steps of City Hall on Friday afternoon as hundreds of spectators waving rainbow flags and holding signs looked on. Another couple renewed their vows.
acj.com: More than 1,000 people showed up in the rain Friday night to celebrate a milestone they never thought they would see. Gays and lesbians hugged and kissed in joy. They waved rainbow and American flags. Some were in drag, others in suits. Some brought their children. “This was a victory for us all. A victory for civil and human rights,” said Felicia English, trying to feed her 14-month old daughter Samantha, whose adoption was finalized on March 3. “Our daughter had two mothers and I am so happy for her. That she will not have to face adversity and discrimination.” “Today, love wins,” de Blasio said Friday.
We must boldly set our face and prophesy against such unholy demonstrations and celebrations of the defeat of biblical morality regarding gay marriage.
Revival will come when the distinction between light and darkness is its sharpest. It’s messengers of God who must bring definition to our current crisis.
The goal isn’t the affirmation of the people but it’s that they know that Jesus is Lord!
It’s time to clearly decry the darkness and shout the message of light, boldly, no matter if we are imprisoned or not.
That, in fact, may be a not too distant future reality for true prophetic voices today.
Watch: What should our response be as America celebrates in the streets the legalization of immorality?
SET YOUR FACE—A STUDY IN EZEKIEL 25
America is celebrating by dancing in the streets as immorality and perversion has been legalized.
This is a powerful message from Ezekiel 25 about God's response in such a situation.
Watch as John boldly calls for prophetic voices to set their faces and prophecy against the spirit of the age.
Is our response to mass immorality simply to be nice in the hopes that people get saved?
No way. It's time for bold prophetic voices to draw the line in the sand, to preach light and to expose the darkness.
No more excuses: Don’t let an orphan spirit keep you from fulfilling your destiny!
I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 1 Corinthians 4:14-16
It’s true that spiritual fathers are needed, and it’s also true that sons and daughters must discover their true identities—and those identities are not dependent on whether fathers appear in their lives or not. It’s much deeper than that.
The sins of the fathers are significant, and they impact the succeeding generations dramatically. The call is for every one of us as sons or daughters to break off generational destruction and align ourselves with Father God. If we don’t, the devastation will continue. Children of God arise!
…Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? And the LORD says: “Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it, but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them. Jeremiah 9:12-14
Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will feed this people with bitter food, and give them poisonous water to drink. I will scatter them among the nations whom neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them.” Jeremiah 9:15-16
This generational problem resulted in judgment then—and we are at risk of judgment again today. Notice that judgment was not due to the father’s sins, but rather to the children’s refusal to break the cycle. The children have the power to cover the sins of their fathers and experience blessing. But, that’s not what happened.
The same story unfolded with Noah:
Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. Genesis 9:20-26
The children had the power to either cover or enjoy the sin of their father. Blessing followed Shem who interceded for his father. A curse followed Canaan who exposed his father.
Children are called to stand in the gap, intercede and cut off the pattern of sin set by their fathers. As we align with our true Father, Jehovah, great blessing will come.
In fact, a major end-time prophecy hinges on the resolution of this problem:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” Malachi 4:5-6
Interestingly God reveals that this issue must be fixed, or as in Jeremiah, destruction will come.
The Malachi prophesy resurfaces in the story of John the Baptist:
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will 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 for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:16-17
Did you notice the end-time spirit of Elijah, as manifested through John the Baptist, had, and still has, a two-fold mission:
- Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.
- Turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just.
This isn’t mostly about dads and kids rediscovering their lost friendships. It has to do with aligning ourselves, as disobedient children, with the spirit of Wisdom, with God himself.
What’s an orphan to do?
I absolutely validate the desire that is within us as Christians to have earthly, spiritual fathers—whether they are biological or not.
I remember many years ago when I was extremely young in the Lord that a strong desire for a mentor overcame me. I asked a youth pastor if he would be that to me, and he was visibly taken aback. He said he had never been asked that before.
Well, he never did follow through on that, and I want to share with you why that was the best thing for me. God’s best for me was to not have an earthly spiritual father at that point in my life.
I grew up in a phenomenal family with an amazing mom and an incredibly spiritually strong father. However, at the time of this story, I had moved from Missouri to Ohio and was very much alone on a new adventure as a young man. I had recently encountered God in dramatic fashion and I craved a deeper relationship with him. I also yearned for spiritual growth.
I didn’t understand it then, but I believe God wanted me to understand how he would be using weak, inexperienced children, many of whom are spiritual orphans without a godly human mentor, to change the world.
What I did know what this: I was burning so hot inside, and my vision was so consuming, that there was no way I was going to wait for a spiritual father to show up in my life. In fact, I knew early on that few fathers would be able to keep pace with me.
Now, of course, there have been many people in my life that have impacted me, and there are others that I highly value and I have submitted myself to. But, to date, I’ve never had a spiritual father other than my natural one.
A lonely venture
From that moment I started blazing trails and advancing very quickly. This child wasn’t waiting for a father because he had already discovered one—Abba!
I ultimately ended up in Manitou Springs, Colorado to plant my first church.
I’ll never forget a life-changing lunch I had with an older, wiser man whom I had just met shortly after moving to Colorado.
He looked the part too. He had a beard and eyes burning with wisdom. A long wooden staff would have completed the picture! He asked me, “John, what is the one thing you want on a personal level as you begin your new church?”
I immediately said, “Well, I’m alone in this new venture. I am craving someone who has the same vision as me, who will run at the same pace with me as we get the church off the ground, and as we go after full blown city transformation.”
His answer is one I’ll never forget: “It will never happen.”
What? Was he serious? He absolutely was.
He said, “God gave you the vision, and he has given it to no one else. You can’t wait for others to lead the charge. That is your job. Others will come along side you and support the vision, but nobody else in the world has that unique, special gift that God himself has given you.”
The wisdom of this fatherly man ensured I wouldn’t be disobedient in my calling by waiting around instead of advancing. There was work to do. You have work to do too. This next section will help you fulfill your calling without waiting around for outside help.
The Gideon Strategy
Are you ready for the strategy to boldly break off an orphan spirit? Great. As I’ve said before, it’s not to wait for spiritual fathers to arrive in your life. Let’s look at Gideon.
The Israelites were under attack and went into hiding. There was no true, bold leader in the camp and the result was insecurity, fear and delay in fulfilling their destiny.
The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. Judges 6:1-2
God was the one who gave them over to the enemy, and God would be the one who would give them a strategy to break off their orphan spirit that resulted in a confused identity.
You see, fathers are supposed to nurture and build up, but since Israel forsook their Father, they were left with the opposite—oppression and brokenness.
For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD. Judges 6:3-6
They were orphans who were aimless and lost, but eventually they cried out—to their Father.
Mighty Man of Valor
Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” Judges 6:11-12
Keep in mind, God will be using children who break off an orphan spirit to accomplish his purposes—children who are united with their Father. This was true in the story of Gideon, and it’s true today in the end-times. An emerging army of supposed orphans are rising up. They won’t take no for an answer as they advance in their missions with ferocity and boldness as their Heavenly Father leads the way.
With Gideon, God was restoring this beautiful relationship by referring to him according to his true identity. His Father saw him as a mighty man of valor! He didn’t see him the way Gideon saw his self. This revelation comes through a dynamic, growing relationship not with people but with God himself!
What happened next was a critical lesson to be learned. Gideon was confused about the Father/son relationship and God was about to school him.
And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:13
Gideon incorrectly presumed that the role of a father is to fully alleviate burdens, answer every question and to resolve issues. This isn’t the case. If you are craving a spiritual father, that is good. However, be warned. God the Father will stretch you to your breaking point so you can discover the power and responsibility you have as a child! Fathers point the way and children go.
Check out how God responded to Gideon’s confusion and frustration:
And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” Judges 6:14
Did I not send YOU? God again addressed him according to his true identity, as one who is mighty, and let him know in no uncertain terms—you don’t send me, I send you!
As a spiritual child (quit referring to yourself as an orphan) you have a Father and you are a part of this end-time mission! Go in your might!
Gideon continued in his confusion with another excuse:
And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:15-16
Gideon felt like the least and the weakest. In fact, he said something quite interesting: I am the least in my father’s house. He had an orphan spirit. He acknowledged rejection and a disappointing relationship with his earthly dad.
What happened next was so important for Gideon. He was learning how to draw from his spiritual Father.
And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.” Judges 6:17-18
Please don’t depart…I will stay till you return.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you… James 4:8
That’s it! The child noticed the favor of his Father and started into an interactive relationship with him. He had a bad earthly dad. His entire nation had no leader. He was confused. He had an identity crisis. But, something was compelling him. He found One who believed in him, and One who was calling him higher. He found his Dad.
As the drama continues, Gideon’s eyes are opened and he is undone before his Father. He is an orphan no more!
Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites. Judges 6:24
He immediately built an altar to God, but there was another altar to deal with—his earthly father’s.
That night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” Judges 6:25-26
Children of the end-times will not only discover their true identities as revealed by their true Father and build an altar of worship to him—a spirit of boldness will arise in the children to tear down altars established by the previous generations—altars to Baal that will result in continued bondage and destruction. End-time children won’t wait for their fathers to make things right—they will go to battle and initiate deliverance no matter the cost!
When children tear down altars of old, there will be threats of death! This is the moment of destiny we are looking for! Gideon went from weak and the least to one with an identity of might that was given to him by his Father. His call wasn’t to wait for his earthly father to come around, it was to destroy the generational curse that was devastating him, his dad and the entire nation!
When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar. Judges 6:28-32
It was then that Gideon’s dad finally rose up! Gideon’s leadership was clear and God’s leadership was being reestablished in the nation as his dad agreed with the destruction of Baal’s altar. The hearts of father and son were turned!
Gideon was then called Jerubbaal which literally means, “let Baal contend.” Now that’s an identity!
Is there an army of former orphans who refuse to wait for earthly fathers to show up? Is there an army that will discover their true spiritual Father? Is there an army of spiritual children who just might have their names changed as they contend against the spirit of the age? Come on! It’s time!
Children, it’s time to awaken! No more hiding! No more confusion! Get alone with your Father and respond to his call into destiny!
Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. Judges 7:20-21
The miracle? Gideon fulfilled both roles: He discovered his identity as a child of God and he emerged into a spiritual of father who lead companies into destiny. This is your story!
Today’s children are marked to be leaders and fathers who will take cities and rout the enemy.
Yes, you are one of them.
As I said above, I’ve never had a spiritual father. However, there is a very important takeaway for me.
While I am ever learning and endeavor to glean much from the generals of the faith, I have come to understand that nobody I’ve met has been where I am called to go. The same was true for Gideon.
Nobody can lead me into my personal land of Promise except God, my Father.
Others can support the vision and encourage me in the journey, but most of my learning has been one-on-one with my Father—and it has been priceless. I wouldn’t change a thing.
I want to strongly encourage you to read my book, “Piece of Cake.”
It is a practical guide for starting ministries, missions, businesses and other ventures. It will help set you free from the waiting game. You as a child of God, as a mighty person of valor, absolutely can advance with confidence and strength without delay!
You can find the book here: www.johnburton.net/resources
3: marked by originality and verve <audacious experiments>
Every definition of the word audacious fits perfectly in the definition of the mission of the church. It certainly does for the church I am so honored to lead, Revival Church in the Detroit area.
In a season where most of the church in the Western world has been marginalized, the time is now for daring, bold, and yes, reckless leaders to pierce a stagnant, stale and religious culture with the sharp sword of the Spirit of the Lord. Now is the time for burning men and women to shock the nations.
I will never apologize for the white hot passion we have for the presence and plans of our wonderfully fearful God. In fact, we are still quite far from the level of trembling and zeal that will soon be here. The fire must get perpetually and exponentially hotter.
We refuse to get excited about any goals that don’t require ridiculous faith and that don’t cause the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of religion to shudder. Those kingdoms are coming down.
The plan of action includes the pursuit of extreme Holy Spirit activity. Signs, wonders, miracles and experiential manifestations of the glory of God are key. We are going after God with abandon!
So many people believe that we are waiting for God to bring revival…and that we have to jump through hoops to cause him to do it. What a frustrating life to live! Jesus let us know that he was done. He said, “It is finished.” He sent the apostles to do the work that Jesus used to do when he was on the Earth. He said he’d send the Promise, the Holy Spirit, to enable them. So they waited for the Holy Spirit…but we don’t have to! He has been empowering us for 2000 years! Now we literally carry God and we have every resource right now to release revival into the world! We aren’t waiting for God, he’s waiting for us!
It’s time to gather together, to receive ridiculous vision, stir up crazy faith and plan the impossible! We can bring revival to Detroit now!
TEN AUDACIOUS GOALS
- It’s all about the numbers. At Revival Church we are fearlessly going after those that yearn for God, and we are out to build the largest and most impactful ministry in Detroit—and every other pastor in this region should have the same audacious plans! If the Detroit Lions can hold Sunday services and unapologetically draw in 70,000 people to Ford Field, you have to be kidding if you think Christian leaders should have a problem with determining to have a greater impact. I see stadiums filled week after week with fervent lovers of Jesus in Detroit. (I can’t wait for TheCall on 11/11/11, but it’s an indictment against the church that months of cheerleading and mobilization must take place prior to the event just so the church would show up for one service at Ford Field—and the tickets are free!)
- Acts 2:47 (NKJV) 47 … And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
- The culture will never drive us. It’s time for the church to repent for succumbing to the busyness and distractions of American culture. We are calling people to a fully immersive life of Kingdom activity. Instead of cancelling services out of respect for the distracted we are calling a company of forerunners to blaze a trail of Acts chapter 2 style devotion and urgency. Someone asked Pastor Steve Gray, the leader of the Smithton Outpouring, “How is it that you can be at church six nights a week?” Steve replied, “How is it that you can watch TV six nights a week?”
- Ephesians 5:14-17 (ESV) 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
- We are planning on hosting and serving one of the worlds greatest revivals in history. The times are urgent, and the harvest is waiting. We acknowledge that many other amazing churches are building according to the critical plans God has given them. But, the vision we have cannot be found anywhere in Detroit, so we are provoked to build. There is a Nehemiah cry that is resounding at Revival Church. The project is massive and the time is short. We both praying and working simultaneously so the masses have a place to go on any weekend or weekday to experience the revival they so crave.
- Nehemiah 4:1-2 (NKJV) 1 But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish–stones that are burned?"
- We are to be a threat to the status quo. The religious structures are coming down. We embrace the principles of the story of Gideon. Religious altars are coming down and an army of fearless warriors is being raised up to take a city. We have no option to blend into the prevailing church landscape. It’s time to war!
- Acts 17:6 (ESV) 6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,
- The 24/7 church will be the norm. If the Tigers and Red Wings can dominate the night here in Detroit, and if thousands converge together in unity to celebrate them, we won’t stop until the same level of devotion is found in the church.
- Acts 2:46-47 (NKJV) 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.
- We are believing for millions of dollars to come into Revival Church. We are boldly praying and asking for the resources to complete our mission. A religious spirit will attempt to shoot down such a focus, but if a person can believe for his household bills to be paid then you better believe we are expecting God’s mission to be financially covered. The provision will match the vision.
- Philippians 4:19 (ESV) 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
- The church isn’t a building, but it meets in one. We’re planning on a property to hold thousands of people, dorms, a school of ministry and much more. Read more here: https://burton.tv/2010/08/20/you-are-not-the-church-the-scattering-movement-what-about-church-online/
- We’re going to annihilate the sheep stealing myth. At Revival Church we have open hands. We don’t own the sheep at Revival Church and we have no patience for any controlling doctrine that teaches otherwise. While we do encourage people to a high level of honor and commitment, we also honor them and understand that God may lead them to participate in other churches and ministries. We have an open recruitment policy here as well. Any pastor can come into Revival Church and attempt to recruit anybody on my staff or team without any guilt or fear. You can read more here: https://burton.tv/2011/09/06/church-competition-and-the-sheep-stealingtransfer-growth-myth/
- Revival is coming to Detroit. With all of the phenomenal and hungry revivalists in Detroit, and with the prayer movement and other strategies expanding all over the region, the time is now to experience revival. However, we also believe that revival will probably be hosted in one primary location. We are preparing for that location to be Revival Church. But, we’re also pretty smart and we realize that the chances are high that it will land in another church. The call will be to travel, to lead the people out, to go where the fire is. So, in that case, we will be highly invested there in addition to developing the supporting ministry of Revival Church.
- Exodus 13:21 (ESV) 21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
- We have names and faces. We fully embrace the heart of the nameless, faceless movement. Extreme humility is mandatory. However, that movement has in some places adopted a strange false-unity ideology. Leaders are being renounced in favor of equality in function. This just isn’t biblical. We expect to have so many humble, surrendered people who embrace the cross of Christ that they will be promoted by God to have influence over millions of desperate people. We can’t hide. We can’t blend in. We can’t espouse false humility. There are prophetic messengers arising and the world will know who they are and they will fall in love with Jesus who they carry.
- 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV) 1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.