The hyper-spiritual too often wait for God to do what he’s not going to do.
At first glance, those who know me might raise an eyebrow at the title of this article. Many might consider me to be hyper-spiritual myself. Most wouldn’t use the term in a derogatory manner, but they would argue that my life has been marked by a clear supernatural focus. They would be right.
I’ve been awed throughout my life and ministry by the way God has performed stunning and miraculous works. I mean, I’m floored every time I think about any of the numerous times God moved outside of my natural grid.
Further, I’ve written on the prophetic, have led prayer movements that are fueled by tongues and fire and unapologetically call those who are naturally minded on the carpet. The call to live, move, walk, pray and function night and day in the Spirit is non-negotiable. Further, it’s there that the Christian life begins to make sense…and produce joy, freedom and a load of fun!
So, no, I am absolutely not calling anybody to pull back from living in that spiritual realm. What I am doing, however, is highlighting an error that causes many people to be spiritually minded to the exclusion of understanding God-given abilities and opportunities that exist in the natural realm. They are hyper-spiritual instead of appropriately spiritual. They are hesitant instead of proactive. They spiritualize their timidity.
NATURAL MAN POSSESSES AMAZING ABILITIES
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Genesis 11:4-6 (ESV)
God gifted every human, Christian or not, with abilities that are profound. Of course, everybody’s gifts, talents and abilities are different, but the truth remains, even outside of a life devoted to Jesus, mankind can do remarkable things.
Consider man’s ability to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. Even today’s most brilliant minds are astonished by that ancient architectural accomplishment. Think about the Hoover Dam, the Great Wall of China, the Superdome in New Orleans, the world’s tallest buildings and other marvels. The engineering required to build such impressive structures is mind blowing.
Think about life-changing inventions, medical advances, air and space travel and even military weaponry. Not only did all of these come about outside of a hyper-spiritual life, most of them were accomplished by unbelievers who had no spiritual focus whatsoever. Mere humans produced wonders.
Man was building the Tower of Babel and God knew they had the ability to do so, which is why he stepped in and stopped their progress. If unbelievers and even evil people can accomplish so much, why do so many Christians over-spiritualize decisions they make and presume that floating on some supernatural cloud will result in progress? It sounds so spiritual to say, “I’m waiting for God to open a door,” or “God hasn’t spoken to me about that yet.”
I’ve met innumerable people who fit this description. They love to soak in God’s presence (as we all should!)…but without any forward, natural momentum as a result. The extent of their forward movement is a stream of semi-prophetic words they share in church, on Facebook or to anybody who will listen. They love to talk about their supernatural revelations (or imaginations), but, when it comes to actually doing something, they retreat back into their mystical, nebulous existence. They prefer to adopt the appearance of the monk on the mountain instead of the person with the shovel in their hands. They think they present themselves as spiritually wise and mature, but in reality they are spiritually stunted accomplishing little in the spirit or in the natural.
We should certainly develop a life of intimacy with Jesus. We should have a prayer closet where we encounter God in supernatural ways. We should be prophetic and on fire for Jesus. We should also move out and produce!
YOU HAVE TO GET OUT AND MOVE!
The Bible tells us that the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord. We can have great confidence that God will be with us when we advance!
Too often we are gazing into the clouds waiting for signs that we are to make a decision or to move out. Stop gazing and move! Stop waiting for God to do something. He’s already enabled you to do so much!
Write your book—THIS year! Start a business! Tell people about Jesus! Start a ministry! Go to a school! Learn a trade! Get another job! Do what is burning in your heart to do! Is there a place for seeking out wise counsel before making big decisions? Yes, there is. But, be sure the counsel is wise and not coming from someone as overly cautious as you’ve been!
My wife and I have enjoyed a remarkable life of advance, often because we just jumped out of the boat and went for it.
Understand, I’m not talking about moving carnally. I’m not talking about ignoring God’s leading. I’m not talking about living outside of God’s grace. I’m talking about acknowledging that God has very powerfully affirmed and enabled us and we have many permissions, resources and abilities to do things that don’t require the planets to align or a visiting prophetic minister to read our mail.
I’ve met so many aspiring authors who tell me they have a book in them, and have been waiting years and decades for the right time to write it. What? This is nonsense! Write the book in the next three months and move on to the next project! Is there a time to wait? Of course, but today’s hyper-spiritual Christian presumes a tentative life is a spiritual life. They stop until God says go instead of going until God says stop!
After years of full time ministry as church planters and pastors, my wife and I moved to Branson, Missouri. While I’d continue writing and traveling to speak at churches and conferences, we knew we’d need to develop additional sources of income. Additionally, we were excited about the opportunity to start something new. We knew God would be with us as we stepped out. He’d order our steps.
On a trip to Tulsa to visit Oral Roberts University with my son Skylar who was considering where to attend college (he ultimately decided on Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee) we had some down time. We jumped online looking for things to do and noticed something called an escape room. I had heard of them, but wasn’t exactly sure that they were. We decided to go. We played two games and were hooked. In the car afterward my wife said, “We can do this.” She was right.
Since we had developed a life of living, praying and moving in the Spirit, we knew God would redirect us if this wasn’t his will. We’d go unless God said stop. The other option would be to wait until God confirms it is his will. I’ll tell you, that is usually not the right decision. Be so intimately connected to Jesus in his supernatural realm that you can continually advance without delay, knowing that he will redirect you as necessary in the natural realm.
We returned to Branson and rented a storefront, dealt with the city code requirements, built out two different escape experiences, developed our branding, installed signage, advertised and opened for business.
The entire process, from the day we played our games in Tulsa to the day we opened and watched other people play our escape games in Branson was less than eight weeks! God’s grace was with us!
Two years later, as we continued to develop our business, we were awarded as the fifth best escape attraction in the entire nation by USA Today! We were humbled and excited that out of thousands of escape rooms in America, we are in the top 10! It’s not the Great Wall of China, but it’s at least a lot of fun for our family to develop and enjoy our little business!
We were the first escape room business in Branson, and now there are at least five others. The competition is fierce, and the limited tourist season here presents challenges for a business like ours, but God’s grace has empowered us.
We moved, God graced and now, instead of waiting for open doors and signs in the sky a few years later, our business is established and we are on to other ventures, assignments and opportunities.
Going until God says stop will save you years of delay!
YOU CAN DO IT!
God loves you and is on your side!
Live in the Spirit. Pray in the Spirit. Advance in the Spirit. Be spiritual. Don’t be hyper-spiritual. It will hold you back and stunt your growth.
God has plans for you and he’s ready to direct your steps if you just go!
Why isn’t every Spirit-filled Christian craving to gather to pray in the fire every day?
A DESPERATE CALL
This is a raw, unprepared message from my heart about the desperation in my spirit for an awakening in the church.
It's saddens me that so many excuses are immediately raised at the point where the call to prayer is sounded. I'm not seeing the passion for continual, never ending intercession in most circles, and there must be a shaking come to the church.
If we don't have time to gather to pray every day we are probably doing something God doesn't want us to do. It's time to cancel most of what makes up our daily lives and pray with a passion strong enough to launch revival in the land.
This is your hour to awaken and burn with a passion for Jesus that will shock your culture!
The apathy, sleepiness and casual responses to today's urgent alarms must cease immediately.
It's time to wake up, strengthen what remains and is about to die!
Watch as I share the vision for theFurnace as we contend for revival in the nations of the Earth.
Watch as I share about what is needed if Detroit and other cities have any hope for revival and awakening: http://youtu.be/zhjAFhTChVg
Also, read an article I wrote about several threats to revival. What do you think about the status of revival in your region?
What will it take for revival to land? What is standing in the way?
There are over 19,000 cities in America—and none of them are experiencing the biblically normal culture that revival would bring. Something is tragically wrong! Extreme, shocking and potentially offensive reformation is necessary.
To better help you take the pulse of your own life and your own city, I am suggesting some threats to revival. As we eliminate the threats, we’ll be steps closer to an outpouring. Some of what I’m sharing is from my book 20 Elements of Revival and some is from what I’m currently witnessing in my city of Detroit, Michigan.
First, consider this quote by Evan Roberts, the hero of the Welsh Revival, as he shares the simple formula for revival:
“Congregate the people who are willing to make a total surrender. Pray and wait. Believe God’s promises. Hold daily meetings.”
You’ll notice Evan’s formula for revival is addressed throughout the following points:
TEN THREATS TO REVIVAL
The local church—Yes, I know that’s a provocative statement, and I must state very clearly that I love the church and I love pastors—and honor their amazing devotion. However, the alarm must be sounded. If a regional call to action is muted by the over-saturated, over-protected local church calendar, the necessary strength to both initiate and then support revival on a regional level won’t be there. Additionally, if we allow jealousy, insecurity, offense or other tactics of the enemy to keep us and the people in our churches away from the regionally emphasized mission, revival will most certainly not arrive, and the grace to run our local churches won’t be there. It’s a lose-lose situation. It’s time that we as leaders intentionally monitor closely where the fire is burning in a region—and then cancel our lesser activities so we can lead the people there. We must see the mobile, regional, 24/7 church emerge.
A belief in fate—Many people tend to believe that they have little effect on whether revival breaks out or not. They may say things like, “Nothing will stop God if he wants to pour out in a region,” or “If God wants to bring revival, he will.” A belief in fate minimizes the radical importance of our participation. Additionally, the many prophecies that have been revealing God’s plans for an outpouring in Detroit are conditional. In order to see them come to pass, we must involve ourselves in the process. As Mike Bickle says, “Prophecy isn’t a guarantee, it’s an invitation.”
Taking a “wait and see” approach—Related to the above point, many are sitting back waiting to see if this current outpouring in Detroit is in fact a move of God. The problem? God’s moving is largely dependent on you and me! We have been instructed to tend to the fire, and in our unwitting arrogance we have reassigned that job back to God! We believe God is to do our job of keeping the fire burning when he explicitly requires us to do it. If we don’t build the fire, the fire will go out—even though God’s prophesied plans are to bring the fires of reformation to Detroit.
The scattering movement—We are in the end-times, and it’s clear in scripture that we must gather together even more during this historic season. Satan’s plans to overthrow God were well on track as the greatest movement of unity in history was advancing. That unity gave strength to the building of a tower that would reach the heavens. God realized the threat and initiated ‘operation scattering’. The language was confused and they scattered all over the Earth. Now, Satan is using God’s own strategy against the most powerful governmental system on the planet—the Church. Instead of gathering in unity that would be strong enough to overthrow Satan’s kingdom, we are being scattered. We are not together. This is why stadiums will be critical in this next season. We must have the city church literally together, in the same place, consistently. Read more about the scattering movement in my article You are Not the Church. Remember, a key element of revival, which is emphasized by Evan Roberts, is daily meetings. Yes, it will be normal for people to be in church, together, under apostolic leadership most every day of the week.
A seeker-sensitive movement—I’ve often told the people in my church that I will never tone down the activity of the Holy Spirit out of respect of those less hungry. We need burning churches that result in people falling to their faces and crying “Holy!” when they walk through the door. It’s arrogance to presume that our human strategies are more potent than the supernatural capabilities of the Holy Spirit. When people are in desperate need they don’t look for Clark Kent, they are don’t want someone who looks just like them to come to their rescue. They need to experience the superpowers of the Burning Holy Spirit.
A lack of intercession—Evan Roberts declared that revival hinges on our obedience to pray and wait. The call in Detroit is for1000 intercessors to gather together in the same place every Friday night as we release fire and cover this great mission. If we don’t respond, we probably don’t want the consuming fire of revival to come. We won’t be prepared for such a fearful burning.
Fear of loss—A key reason pastors don’t advance their churches into the experiential realm of encounter with God is that the risk of losing people, money and their reputation is high. It’s clear that a instituting a marginalized church culture is a much less risky option to develop a growing church in America. However, it’s also clear that such a culture is void of power and miracles. The world isn’t looking for another man-made system to join. In fact, the world does a much better job of building humanistic kingdoms than the church does. We’ll only see revival when we have the guts to call people into the wilderness of extreme encounter where the Fire and the Cloud leads them into a supercharged adventure. Pastors, let’s be willing to lose people, lose our salaries, lose our reputations, to allow our local churches to close if necessary—for the sake of the advance of the regional, city church! Such a disposition will result in a greater grace on both the local and regional levels.
Unbelief—Evan Roberts reveals one of the elements of revival is simply to believe God’s promises. It’s stunning how little the church believes in the supernatural. Healing, freedom, power and abundant life are tragically rare. Its no wonder that people are avoiding the church today. We are a people who are living on the wrong side of the Ascension. In Acts 1, the disciples were waiting for Jesus to snap his fingers and work more wonders. They wanted him to establish his Kingdom. But Jesus gave them clear instructions that would shock them to their core. They weren’t to wait and hope for something to happen (hope deferred makes the heart sick)—they were to do it themselves! They transitioned from disciples on one side of the Ascension to apostles on the other. Now, they, as ‘sent ones’, were to believe and act. They were to be the answer to people’s impossible situations. They waited for the necessary power to change the world, and when they received the Holy Spirit, they went everywhere in fiery belief healing, delivering and preaching the Kingdom.
Seeking an enhanced life—People generally want God to make their current lives better. They want an enhancement, an upgrade. However, the demands of revival include the willingness to embrace a fire that won’t warm your flesh—it will consume your flesh. Evan Roberts called for people to gather—but not all people—only those who were willing to make a total surrender. Revival doesn’t enhance lives, it crushes them. If we attempt to advance with a semi-surrendered people, the fire simply will not fall.
A lack of immediate response—This is one reason why church schedules must be flexible. It’s also a reason why daily meetings are critical. When prophetic instruction is received, the entire region must know about it right away, and the people must respond. In Joshua 3, the instructions were clear, and everybody responded in unison. There’s no way to fulfill this mighty mission if we are only together one day a week (actually 2 hours a week!). There’s way too much work to be done! As an example, Mike Bickle recently called an urgent meeting. Most of the departments at IHOP in Kansas City were immediately closed and the people all gathered together to receive an urgent prophetic message. In Detroit, we must promote extreme alertness and flexibility so we can respond moment by moment to the demands of regional revival. If we are mostly focused on our local, personal ventures, we’ll stay disconnected from the greater, regional mission. The response won’t be what is necessary and revival will most likely never come.
The cities of the Earth are waiting for the church to encounter God.
There’s an exceedingly urgent prophetic call for churches to become encounter and intimacy focused again. Head on over to media.johnburton.net and watch tonight’s service and download the notes so you can follow along.
This teaching reveals a serious call to reorder our lives, lock arms with other intercession-driven Believers and discover the mandate for intimacy, encounter and taking dominion.
As we do this, entire cities and regions will experience the supernatural wonder of God.
I also discuss the radically serious mandate for 1000 intercessors to gather every Friday night from 10-midnight at theLab. The times are so desperate, and we simply must call every pastor, leader, intercessor and revivalist in Detroit together for deep prayer in the Holy Spirit each week. This intimacy and agreement will result in an explosion in Detroit that’s so needed.
For info on where our next prayer experiment will be, text FOLLOW REVIVALLAB to 40404 or visit www.revivallab.com.
If you were at Revival Church last night, you know the severe and weighty call of God that’s being delivered to the church of Detroit
I’m asking everybody associated with Revival Church to listen to this message and forward it to as many friends as possible. This is a severe and serious call as we prepare for revival.
You can listen to the message, which is titled, “An urgent call to gather and pray for revival,” at www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/teaching.
Then, tonight at 8:30pm we’ll all be together for theLab radio show. Please spread the word about this show and call in early so you can participate in the call.
To listen, go to www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/thelab or call 323.679.0954.
Lastly, we were able to purchase monitors for the worship team thanks to your financial help. We now need to raise money for our video equipment. If you can give, please do so at www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/donate.
Thank you! See you tonight on the show!