Posts Tagged ‘experience’

Revival Games and Glory Meetings: A radical misunderstanding of just what we are pursuing

Revival Games—The grand prize is not what we think it is.

There are over 19,000 cities in this nation, and none of them are experiencing revival. None. Zero.

Of course, God is moving in unique and legitimate ways in various small pockets all over the world, but not on a regional level anywhere in America.

I propose a primary reason this is the case is the focus of our efforts.

Most are seeking after glory meetings, soaking sessions and sign and wonder events instead of zeroing in on the costly, sobering, prophetic call to repent, consecrate and lay down our lives.

game noun \ˈgām\ An active interest or pursuit; activity engaged in for diversion or amusement

Revival is not a game designed for our amusement.

Revival demands an extreme lifestyle of surrender, intercession and a precise, searing laser focus.

The games that too many are playing today have an end goal of having an experience with God in a powerful corporate setting. You may be scratching your head at what I just wrote. Why would having an experience with God together with other hungry people be a negative pursuit? It wouldn’t. Read it again:

The games that too many are playing today have an end goal of having an experience with God in a powerful corporate setting.

If there’s an event where God is manifesting in supernatural power, I’ll be the first one there and the last one out. I’ll be on my face for hours, days and weeks if possible. I’ve been in many such atmospheres, and it’s impossible to describe just how overwhelming God’s manifest presence can be. Having an experience with God isn’t the problem. Pursuing that experience as an end goal is the problem.

When we play the revival game, the grand prize is limited to a personal encounter with God. I know, that seems like a risky thing to say. How can I even consider that an audience with the King of Glory is an insufficient reward? That sounds absurd if not slightly blasphemous!

However, we must stop and consider this point closely.

I believe revival is not exploding in our cities because we have been satisfied to settle for a personal encounter with God instead of aggressively laboring for millions of others to be overwhelmed by him.

The mission has been limited to our own experience. When we are full, we stop.

True revival isn’t a game, and we don’t stop when we win. We don’t stop when we are full. We start when we are full.

This issue is currently costing us greatly.

People are vacating churches because they don’t perceive the glory is being pursued. The soldiers are more focused on the benefits than the battle, and the enemy is gaining ground.

It’s not about us. It’s about the nations, and we must all be in position every time the church doors are open, on our face, praying night and day no matter how dry the environment is.

Twenty-Elements-of-Revival-Box-ShotINTERNATIONAL IMPACT

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. Acts 2:1

In my book 20 Elements of Revival, I map out a step-by-step process of revival based on Acts chapter 2.

The first step, or element, is agreement. We can’t pretend to think we’ll experience God together, much less revival, if we aren’t submitted, agreed and in position.

Today, if people don’t sense a glory meeting or other type of experience is the goal, they will check out. They become conference hoppers looking for the latest, greatest supernatural rush—all while the true remnant is dying to their opinions, praying night and day and crying out to God together. They are unified.

The second element is what I call an extreme devotion of time. They were all together in one place, and refused to leave until the Promise arrived. Today? Finding people to stay in position as commissioned soldiers is nearly impossible. Our American life offers way too much, or demands too much, for us to consider our call to pray and advance in the church to be a primary devotion.

The third and fourth elements deal with the necessity for the atmosphere to be charged with supernatural power and for everybody in the mission to be driven by it.

And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:2-4

This brings us to element number five: International Focus.

The Upper Room wasn’t about the Upper Room. It wasn’t a glory meeting for people to enjoy. It was a supernatural equipping center for only those most devoted to the cause. It burned through everybody there, and what they experienced resulted in international impact.

God’s power, glory and truth pierced Jerusalem and the hearts of the people who had gathered from the nations.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” Acts 2:5-12

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

What does this mean? This is the question that will launch a revival.

How ridiculous does it seem to consider that the 120 in the Upper Room would have just focused on enjoying themselves! That historic moment in human history where super invaded natural was not about a glory meeting! It wasn’t about personal satisfaction. It was about the nations.

This must grip us. Today we must have a remnant people who will stop seeking after personal satisfaction at the cost of Earth rocking revival.

There was a major stadium event being planned in Detroit a few years ago. People were called to gather together to pray on fire for the passions on the heart of God.

In preparation for this massive meeting I had the privilege of attending one of the pastor’s prayer sessions. There were around 40 or 50 pastors and leaders there, and as we entered into prayer, a holy hush came over all of us. In that place of sober silence I received a sharp prophetic word for all of us in attendance:

Pastors and leaders, we cannot look to this event, where thousands of people will gather, as an opportunity to grow our own ministries. If we are participating because we are holding out hope that people and resources will come into our churches as a result, we must repent. God will judge all who attempt to use this pure, holy, solemn assembly for their own satisfaction and gain.

Groans were heard filling the room.

When we stop seeking after personal gain and start looking at the masses who are currently sentenced to Hell, our motives will change. Our intercession will explode. Our expectations for revival will shift dramatically.

The power of God will radiate out of our prayer room into the nations and all will be provoked for an answer to their desperate question, “What does this mean?”

Our response will then be like Peter’s: we will preach the Word in power and people will be cut to the heart.

A glory meeting, no matter how intense or widespread, cannot be considered revival. Only when a message of repentance results, and when people respond in mass can we even begin to hope revival is near.

Is it possible there are no people alive today who have experienced legitimate revival? Many believe Azusa and the Welsh Revival were the last true moves of God that could be defined as revival. That was a very long time ago.

ENCOUNTERING GOD

When we have an experience with God, the goal is not to remain on our faces.

Many people didn’t understand why the awakening that occurred a few years ago at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City was eventually deemphasized. I directed one of the four primary internships at IHOPKC for a short season, so I understand at least in part the culture and the vision. The mandate is to pray. I wasn’t there when the awakening broke out, and I’m sure if I was I would have been on my face as often as I could have!

Why did Mike Bickle allow the awakening to settle down? I won’t pretend to have the answer, but I’d at least like to offer a hypothesis. The end goal for IHOPKC isn’t a glory meeting or a local awakening. It’s prayer for the nations.

I am actually in awe of that ministry. Unlike so many others who burn out after a move of God lands, IHOPKC didn’t miss a beat and they didn’t violate their primary purpose. They stayed in the prayer room through the awakening and didn’t pull back when it ended. They had work to do. They were on their face, and then were put back on their feet. I’ll explain that powerful principle in just a moment.

Understand, I am one who is addicted to the love, power and glory of the Lord Jesus! When his presence manifests in a weighty glory, I can just stay on my face forever! The biblical norm for believers is to experience the weighty presence of the Holy Spirit regularly.

However, there is more—much more. And, there is a greater goal than simply experiencing God myself. Others must know about him.

Consider just how intense our God is:

As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal. Ezekiel 1:4

This is the glory of the Lord!

When God touches us, we can expect to fall over as dead!

Consider this:

  • Lightning is a created force—and if it strikes you, you will fall over as dead.
  • Angels are created beings—and people fall over as dead when they encounter them.
  • What happens when we encounter the Creator?! We can’t presume to just stand there and grin with a hand lifted up when God truly touches us! We will fall over as dead!

I’ll admit, the experience is so phenomenal, so shocking, that it would be easy to just stay in that place, after a supernatural lightning strike puts us on the floor. But, when we stay there, the hope of revival fades.

I was at the International House of Prayer one day when God moved in great power. Someone who had recently attended the Lakeland outpouring was shaking under the presence of God. He came over to me and prophesied over me. I got hit by fire! I fell over and he immediately picked me up and said, “You are going to have to learn to stand and minister under this anointing.”

He was right. I couldn’t just lay there and enjoy the moment. There was work to be done, and I had just experienced the necessary power to do it.

ON YOUR FACE. ON YOUR FEET. ON YOUR FACE.

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. Ezekiel 1:28

Ezekiel was rocked and he hit his face. But, notice that he doesn’t stay there:

And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.”  And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. Ezekiel 2:1-2

Ezekiel couldn’t enjoy his glory encounter for long. He was being encountered by God Almighty for a purpose, and the purpose wasn’t just to bless Ezekiel:

And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. Ezekiel 2:3-5

Messengers and divine messages always precede revival, and Ezekiel was to carry and release a word that was necessary to be heard. If Israel responded, revival would erupt. If not, judgment would come. True messages of revival always include revelation on both mercy and judgment, on revival and rebuke.

See, the Spirit is looking for a people who he can set on its feet. He is ready to empower us to use our feet to walk in the Spirit and to awaken a sleeping generation.

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel— not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.” Ezekiel 3:1-11

Then, again we see God striking Ezekiel and standing him back up:

So I arose and went out into the valley, and behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the Chebar canal, and I fell on my face.  But the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and he spoke with me and said to me, “Go, shut yourself within your house. Ezekiel 3:23-24

We see how invested Ezekiel was in revival in Israel. He didn’t stay in a soaking session simply enjoying God’s presence. He was obedient and instant in his response as God gave him his directives. He was set on his feet to go to his house…and to experience distress over the state of the nation:

And you, O son of man, behold, cords will be placed upon you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people. And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house. Ezekiel 3:25-27

Ezekiel wasn’t playing revival games, seeking his own amusement! He was repeatedly stricken and put upright by his Commander!

WARN THE CHURCH

In Revelation chapter one John has a similar encounter with God. He also fell, but clearly he was not to soak in God’s presence. He was given a critical mission to warn the church.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. Revelation 1:10-20

John immediately started writing what was revealed to him. Again, the call was for revival.

SO, WHAT ABOUT GLORY MEETINGS?

As I said, we should expect God to show up in extreme glory at times. This is very good and absolutely biblical.

God finally took Ezekiel into a place of glory:

Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever… Ezekiel 43:1-7

This is revival! The glory of the Lord filling the temple and the glory of the Lord covering the Earth! This is revival! Even though, as in the continuing drama in the book of Ezekiel, many won’t respond, the spirit of revival will arrive and God will be glorified.

In Acts 2, many marveled and many mocked. While revival can and should impact a city and a nation, the mark of revival is not comprehensive response. The mark is the glory of God filling the region. When that happens, most will rebel more distinctly, but the remnant will be found. The wheat and the tares will be defined.

“As for you, son of man, describe to the house of Israel the temple, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and they shall measure the plan. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, that is, its whole design; and make known to them as well all its statutes and its whole design and all its laws, and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe all its laws and all its statutes and carry them out. Ezekiel 43:10-11

So, yes, we will find ourselves on our face before the Lord in glorious victory and true revival…but, the point I’ve been driving home must be clarified again:

The goal isn’t our experience in God’s glory—it’s the experience of the nations!

The process is simple:

  1. On our face: Get struck by God in a place of extreme consecration, prayer and obedience.
  2. On our feet: Be put on your feet to minister the messages of God to a sleeping and rebellious generation.
  3. On our face: Experience revival—God is worshiped by the nations and his glory fills the Earth.

On our face. On our feet. On our face.

…and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. 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.” 2 Chronicles 7:1-3

Fresh church model: intimate setting, passionate worship, quick teachings…

imageGet ready for a new experience at Revival Church TOMORROW at 7pm!

FIRST: Don’t forget we’ll be in Dearborn at the Justice House of Prayer leading in intercession from 8-11pm TONIGHT!


As we prepare our environment for our new media ministry, you will have an opportunity to participate in the development Saturday night!

The service will be intermixed with bursts of worship and intercession, quick exhortations and short teachings—and from beginning to end we will be experiencing the fire of the Holy Spirit!

ONE HOUR+

Our intention is to make the bulk of the service available to our future media audience, and with that in mind we will keep it to about one hour in length.

We will begin at 7pm and end by around 8-8:15pm, at which point the cameras (when we have them!) will be turned off.

You will be free to leave, or to stay with us for an extra hour or so of worship, soaking, personal ministry and occasional extended teachings.

DON’T BE LATE!

With such a short window at the beginning of the night, you won’t want to miss any of it!

In fact, if you can, show up for prayer in the war room at 6pm!

INTIMATE SETTING

The room is set up ‘in the round’ and you are encouraged to sit on the floor or in a chair close together with other firebrands!

This will make for an amazing experience both locally and when viewed online!

PROPHETIC CULTURE

These more intimate services will have an amazing prophetic flow to them. Prophetic decrees, intercession, worship, dancing, flags and other expressions of the Holy Spirit will be constant from beginning to end!

QUICK TEACHINGS

Instead of worshiping first, then sitting for the teaching, we will be shaking it up.

Teachings will be 10-15 minutes long, and may include either one or two segments. The goal is to keep a powerful flow going!

We can’t wait to see you tomorrow night!

John and Amy

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Exciting news: Revival Church moving into next phase of the vision

A new globally focused experience awaits you at Revival Church THIS SATURDAY EVENING!

imageWith the new book The Coming Church now available, the time is right for Revival Church to shift gears into its next season.

I continually hear about people’s frustration with “church as usual” and the hunger for a more fiery, passionate atmosphere is increasing around the world.

Over and over I hear from people from other cities and nations who say, “John, I’m craving an experience of fire like you have in Detroit!”

That experience is about to go up about ten levels.

TWO FOLD STRATEGY

ONE.

A brand new flow.

The culture at Revival Church, theLab University and the Detroit Prayer Furnace has always been driven by passionate prayer and encounter with Jesus.

That will remain as our service structure changes fairly radically beginning this Saturday. Church as usual it is not!

After a short (5-10 minute) welcome we will launch into our service. The environment will be intense and engaging as we gather together and being with worship and intercession. It will be interactive and full of fire!

Once or twice we will have rapid fire prayer, and also, once or twice, we will have short 10-15 minute messages.

The entire hour will be intermixed with worship, prayer, decrees, teaching and more.

After the hour is up, the rest of the night will be worship and intercession with occasional exhortations!

TWO:

Media.

Our goal is not to build up a large local body, but rather to impact Detroit and the nations with an anointing that breaks yokes and messages that rock nations. We are continually receiving feedback from other nations about our ministry, and we want to minister to them in a more effective way. Media will help us do that.

The reason for the hour time-frame is so we can create a fast paced, edgy, prophetic and professional broadcast that will be available around the world.

The cameras will role beginning after the welcome until the end of the first phase, one hour later.

The rest of the night the cameras will be off as we continue in intercession and worship.

Understand, our goal is not to have a low quality video of a church service. It’s to create an intimate, personal, vulnerable view into the culture of fire at Revival Church that so many are craving.

Our belief is that potentially millions will be impacted and set free from our “studio of intercession” in Detroit.

THIS WEEK

The cameras and equipment are not here yet, so this week and the weeks to come will be perfect opportunities to get comfortable with the new format and to work out the kinks.

Come expectant and bring as many people as you can find. We are believing for 40+ hungry, prophetic voices to emerge in our local context—voices that will be heard around the world!

Everything else that you know and love about Revival Church remains the same.

  • 6pm War Room intercession (some of that will be videoed and archived)
  • Children’s ministry
  • Life with John and Amy (this Sunday at our house!)
  • Prayer watches
  • Etc.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

We are pricing equipment now. The cost for studio quality equipment (cameras, boards, computers, etc.) that will allow us to stream live, with full effects, will be significant.

Additionally, we need studio lighting and décor to make our building TV ready.

We will also be producing studio shows (in addition to live services) and hitting the streets to capture prayer throughout Detroit and on the road as we travel.

Contact me directly at john@johnburton.net if you would like to make a financial contribution (tax deductible). We must raise funds for all of the equipment needed, so anything you can do would be great!

Thanks!

See you Saturday for the launch!

Manitou Springs Event: Revolution Experience—Three Nights of Fire

Manitou Springs Event: Revolution Experience—Three Nights of Fire

Registration is FREE but REQUIRED for this powerful three night experience in the mountains of Colorado!

Register TODAY at www.rhop.com/revolutionexperience!

I will be bringing a team of intercessors and revivalists from Revival Church in Detroit and the International House of Prayer in Kansas City to pray and contend for a spirit of awakening in the Pikes Peak region.

Worship, intercession, powerful teaching, impartation and personal prophetic ministry are on the agenda for REVOLUTION EXPERIENCE at Revolution House of Prayer.

Wednesday, February 6th through Friday, February 8th at 7pm nightly we will experience an explosive atmosphere of Holy Spirit joy and freedom!

Spread the word and register early!

RHOP is located at 12 Old Man’s Trail, Manitou Springs, Colorado 80829.

Revolution-Experience

What is a revival culture really like? (inconvenient, hard work!)

A revival culture is quite different than most realize.

image In my upcoming book The Coming Church I detail some of the mind blowing, unsettling yet explosive changes that are coming to the structure of the church.

The reformation that’s coming will be resisted by most—even by most who would say they are hungry for revival.

The surrender and work and trouble that’s required will cause those who are addicted to comfort and personal endeavors to stop well short of the mark.

20 Elements of Revival (Order HERE!)

I wanted to make it easy for people to understand what the vision at Revival Church is.

I want to answer the questions:

  • What should I expect from the Revival Church experience?
  • What should I not expect?
  • What is the goal?
  • What's expected of me?
  • What are the core realities I should run with?

The entire vision is best viewed by reading 20 Elements of Revival. If it's in there, it's in our vision. But, it helps to narrow it down as well.

Here's what I came up with…it's still a work in progress, but I thought I'd let you take a look:

Revival Church Mission Statement

Revival Church exists to gather forerunners who are united in the mandate to initiate reformation in the church and revival in the region. As carriers of the fire of God, we are single-minded in our mission to rally a generation that will embrace the cross of Christ, pursue radical holiness, engage in fervent prayer, live a life of repentance and experience both the freedom and the fear of the Lord.

Revival Church Mission Strategy

Adapted from John Burton’s book 20 Elements of Revival, we rally around these revival strategies:

  1. Consecration: As a company of reformers we are alert and intentional in our mission. The call for all is to gather together continually, free of distraction, with surrendered hearts, in unwavering agreement and with an unusual investment of time, energy and passion.
  2. Fiery Prayer: The biblical church is a house of continual prayer, and we commit to upholding that standard. Every Christian has the sober responsibility and wondrous opportunity to pray in such a way that the fire of God burns night and day in our lives, our church, our region and the nations.
  3. Fear & Trembling: The fear of the Lord will always be before us. Brokenness and repentance is a continual reality in the resulting atmosphere that will facilitate a historic end-time revival.
  4. Culture shock: When truth is preached, religious spirits react and the hungry marvel. Comfort zones are threatened and personal endeavors are disrupted. In the fear of the Lord, we will prophetically decree shocking and liberating realities of the Kingdom of God.
  5. Wonders: A supernatural baptism of fire will hit all who have given themselves to Jesus without measure. Death to self, humility and a bold, burning spirit of prayer will open the door to a life of wonders!

The purpose of this is to help people understand what it really takes to see revival come. Of course, the above isn’t comprehensive, and it’s not meant to be. But, it does help people understand the foundations.

Let’s lock in and endure to the end together—it will be well worth it when the fire falls!

Listen now! A sudden outbreak of the spirit of revival in Detroit last night!

I didn’t see it coming! The spirit of revival surprised a zealous people in Detroit!

imageThis message will absolutely rock you with violence! Is it possible you have a crisis of revelation? Listen and expect a powerful experience with God HImself!

Listen NOW here: http://media.johnburton.net/4086197

I boldly share three motivations that keep me burning every day—and this strategy will cause you to burn through every obstacle in your life.

In a day when unity in the church is so critical, I refuse to unify with anybody who is lukewarm! This means that we must discover a burning, white-hot remnant that loves not their own lives, who are ready to explode!

Are you in this remnant?

Are we ready to lay down our lives for our city, or are we simply interested in a move of God that brings personal blessing and prosperity?

There is an awakening that must happen! When we start desiring encounter more than breakthrough the spirit of revival will come.

Listen now and follow along with my notes below:

My Three Motivations

I. We must burn

a. We were born to literally and aggressively awaken the sleeping and to change environments.

i. I believe to live an average life requires continual sin.

1. Our call is to live by the most fervent faith and have the most zealous disposition.

b. Night and day, never taking a break…we are to be consumed with the fire of the Living God!

c. I’m going to share three personal motivations that ensure I stay on fire.

i. If our foundational relationship is with God as problem solver, we’ll find ourselves to be sleepy, tepid and dry.

ii. We are called to govern and to bring about the change ourselves. We are to solve the problems!

iii. You awaken! You prophesy! You pray! You burn!

d. Church at Sardis- we have a problem.

i. Revelation 3:1-3 (ESV) 1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “ ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.

1. God will actually come against the church!

2. Our very good God will take on the role of adversary, as thief, against his church if it isn’t pure, white, spotless.

e. Church at Laodicea-we have a problem.

i. Revelation 3:15-19 (ESV) 15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

1. We must burn!

2. We can’t make declarations of our own satisfactory condition if God sees us as poor, blind and naked!

3. White hot devotion is a must!

II. Motivation #1: Deep, experiential intimacy with Jesus

a. Critical point: I’ve met many who identify with one of the three motivations, and that single focus is not enough to sustain us.

i. Many would say that all we have to do is experience God’s love and everything will just fall into place.

1. Not true!

2. Have you ever met someone who loved God and then sinned?

3. Have you ever met someone who just soaks in God’s presence but isn’t available to do the work of the ministry?

b. That being said, nothing else will work if we don’t have a deep, abiding, experiential, overwhelming and intimate relationship with Jesus!

c. Intimacy with Jesus will form us!

d. A. W. Tozer: The love of Christ both wounds and heals, it fascinates and frightens, it kills and makes alive, it draws and repulses. There can be nothing more terrible or wonderful than to be stricken with love for Christ so deeply that the whole being goes out in a pained adoration of His person, an adoration that disturbs and disconcerts while it purges and satisfies and relaxes the deep inner heart.

i. My personal life is marked by continual and intentional encounters with Jesus.

1. I am extremely devoted to intimacy!

ii. It’s a major, daily focus of my life!

1. Worship music is playing almost continually in my office.

2. I pray in the Spirit, soak, mediate and spend time just enjoying the Lover of my soul, the bridegroom.

3. My desire is alive!

4. E.M. Bounds: The deeper the desire, the stronger the prayer. Without desire, prayer is a meaningless mumble of words. Such perfunctory, formal praying, with no heart, no feeling, no real desire accompanying it, is to be shunned like a pestilence. Its exercise is a waste of precious time, and from it, no real blessing accrues.

iii. Matthew 7:7-8 (ESV) 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

1. Asking, seeking and knocking must be continual.

2. God isn’t resisting us, he’s wooing us!

a. We too often want God to manifest in our natural realm when he’s hiding just on the other side of the border of natural and supernatural.

b. He wants us to manifest in his realm!

c. The Great Commandment

d. Matthew 22:37 (ESV) 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

e. Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV) 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

e. This is why the cares of life must be violently eradicated!

i. David Wilkerson Many of those who once were so passionately in love with Christ now run about pursuing their own interests. They're burdened down with stress and problems, chasing after riches and the things of this world.

ii. If we are distracted by life, the Bible tells us we won’t mature, and we see a church out there that is immature and without time to be intimately involved with God.

iii. Luke 8:14 (ESV) 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

1. J. Oswald Saunders : We are at this moment as close to God as we really choose to be. True, there are times when we would like to know a deeper intimacy, but when it comes to the point, we are not prepared to pay the price involved.

iv. I’m looking for a store front for Revival Church North where we can devote many nights a week to fervent, intimate prayer! It’s a must!

1. Anna: Luke 2:37 (ESV) 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.

2. We must pray and refuse to allow anything to get in the way!

3. Oct 12.

III. Motivation #2: Fear, Trembling and Obedience

a. David Wilkerson: Love is not only something you feel, it is something you do.

b. Every day of my life I have a keen focus on working out my salvation, on obedience and on allowing God to reveal his justice to me.

c. Keep in mind we are not dealing with the friendly spirit, the cozy spirit…He’s the Holy Spirit!

i. Revelation 15:4 (ESV) 4 Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

1. Yes, he is the comforter…but, if you find yourselves comforted in sin instead of comforted from sin, it’s a demon you are dealing with.

2. God’s comfort comes in holiness!

ii. Philippians 2:12-16 (ESV) 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

d. Am I blameless? Do I grumble? Do I obey without questioning?

e. Adam Clarke: Considering the difficulty of the work, and the danger of miscarriage. If you do not watch, pray and continually depend on God, your enemies will surprise you, and your light and life will become extinct; and then consider what an awful account you must give to Him whose Spirit ye have grieved, and of whose glory ye have come short.

i. One way I know I’m doing well is if I experience the fear of God and not the spirit of fear.

ii. If the spirit of fear is there, I know I’m not pursuing intimacy with Jesus sufficiently.

iii. If the fear of God isn’t there, I know I’m blinded to his righteousness and judgment.

1. There is simply no way to approach God in fullness without trembling and considering our own depravity!

2. Abu Bakr: When you advise any person you should be guided by the fear of God.

3. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV) 13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

4. Matthew 10:34 (ESV) 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

a. The call to partner with God is a call to a hard core, sobering mission—and to sleepwalk through life, to pursue comfort and ease is to intentionally depart from God at the point of mission.

b. The fear of the Lord won’t allow us to leave when the loving feeling lets up.

c. I know my walk with Jesus will eventually lead me to the garden of Gethsemane, and I’ll have the option to sleep or to be with Jesus as he is about to shock the planet.

IV. Motivation #3: My Mission

a. If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice? – David Livingstone

b. I simply know that I can’t take a day off in my fervent pursuit of God because of the importance of my calling.

i. The same is true for 100% of you out there.

ii. If I don’t burn hot every day of my life, people will go to Hell.

1. James 3:1 (ESV) 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

iii. I have been seeing 11:11 everywhere!

1. I don’t know exactly what it means.

2. Could judgment be coming on Nov. 11?

3. Revival?

4. I believe 1 Cor. 1:11 is a key verse.

5. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV) 1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

6. Follow me as I follow Christ.

iv. Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

1. Since I know others eternities are dependent on my connection with Jesus, I cannot be one that doubts!

2. The moment I am faced with circumstances that challenge my faith, I have no option but to cancel everything and stir up my faith!

3. Tozer: “Any faith that must be supported by the evidence of the senses is not real faith.”

4. Also, I am to teach others what I’ve been commanded.

a. If I am not a student, if I’m not in deep contact with God, I won’t be able to disciple the nations!

b. And successful or unsuccessful ministry always results in either heaven or hell.

c. That keeps me motivated every single second.

c. This is why I simply cannot ever understand how people can excuse themselves from ministry by giving into distractions and excuses, relaxation and personal pursuits.

i. Every day I have eternity in my windshield. Every single day.

1. – Luis Palau A nation will not be moved by timid methods.

2. – David Livingstone Christ alone can save the world, but Christ cannot save the world alone.

3. Do you have an overwhelming, all consuming heart to change the world for Jesus?

4. Consider Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China:

a. As child, at age 5:
When I am a man, I mean to be a missionary and go to China.

b. As a young man:
I feel I cannot go on living unless I do something for China.

c. Late in life, as a veteran missionary:
If I had 1,000 lives, I’d give them all for China.

The spirit of abortion…in the church?

The spirit of the age is overwhelming the church in ways we may not have considered.

As is necessary when addressing an ultra-sensitive issue, I will make some qualifications on the front end:

God is without question, and I will declare without apology, passionately interested in blessing his children. It is fully appropriate to give a measure of attention to the wondrous process of discovery of God’s abundant life, overwhelming benefits and blessings.

That being said, I now must move on to offering some analysis on a hidden crises.

THE SPIRIT OF ABORTION…IN THE CHURCH?

As a prophetic messenger, a primary driving force of my daily life is to reveal and help destroy any barriers to Kingdom advance and the revelation of the cross and resurrection of Christ. In fact, we all must have our eyes wide open to this disturbing movement that is overtaking the church and stand in unity against its advance.

Now, of course, the thought of the spirit of abortion in the church is potentially offensive and certainly provocative. It’s a bold statement to say the least.

It’s important at this point to understand our discussion isn’t about all of those other Christians or all of those other churches that just don’t get it. We must look inward. Yes, we have to boldly and humbly ask ourselves the question, “God, are the same spirits that drive the abortion movement also driving me?”

Check out this quote which highlights the issue quite well. Notice how this person affirms killing a threat to other “good” endeavors:

Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. Abortion is profamily, prolife, moral, and good. For many millions of women, abortion has meant getting on with their lives and continuing to meet their responsibilities to themselves, their families, and society. PATRICIA W. LUNNEBORG, Abortion: A Positive Decision

Is it possible that we in the church are also more focused on getting on with our lives at the expense of God, the church, our mission, the Word and other people?

It’s shocking to me how Little League, school, family vacations and rest and relaxation are not looked at as threats to our personal freedoms, but a call to the prayer room is.

With that in mind, here’s another qualifying statement: The demonic abortion strategy is multi-faceted. It includes spirits of murder, violence, hatred and many others. While we as Christians may not be driven by those spirits, there is one spirit that has a foundational, comprehensive assignment. This spirit is what has infiltrated the church, and it’s, in my opinion, a key reason why we haven’t had the authority to eradicate it from its assignment of murdering babies.

This spirit has one key focus, one goal as it ministers to the minds and hearts of people:

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

People are focused primarily on their personal experience.

You could also call it selfish ambition.

Check out this passage of scripture:

James 3:13-16 (ESV) 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Selfish ambition is demonic. Jealousy, which results when we focus on our own personal experience, is also vile, earthly and demonic.

When a woman is carrying an unwanted baby, her focus immediately shifts to her own personal experience. Her ambition. Her dreams.

The call to lay down her life for another, to make a great sacrifice, to change her priorities, to embrace a life of struggle and inconvenience for another person all fall on deaf ears. After all, it’s her body and she can do what she wants with it, right?

One method of destroying a concept is by diluting its meaning. Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living. AYN RAND, The Ayn Rand Lexicon

The unwilling mother has rights! It’s her life. It’s her time. It’s her dreams. It’s her decision, and in the case of abortion, she makes the decision for self instead of for another. Her personal experience was instrumental in her decision.

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV) 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

So, how does this affect the church? This issue is impacting the church and Christians in very deep, disturbing ways. It’s not a minor issue that’s affecting a few. It’s a major problem that’s a primary driver in the very fabric of Western Christianity.

We have to understand that so much of preaching today has been fashioned to appease people looking for a positive personal experience. This must end.

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.

Do you know how difficult it is to find churches that preach the cross? Cost? Death? Surrender? The personal experience must be positive and without much cost if we hope to fill the pews. The same thing happened at the cross. The place Jesus died was empty except for those killing him and those closest to him. Where were the crowds who were looking for a message to satisfy their itching ears? They left when the message included death. When you preach the cross the masses will run and you will be left with those who are the closest to you and those who are out to kill you.

“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

“I believe that there are too many accommodating preachers, and too many practitioners in the church who are not believers. Jesus Christ did not say, ‘Go into all the world and tell the world that it is quite right.' The gospel is something completely different. In fact, it is directly opposed to the world.” ~C. S. Lewis

What should send us to our knees is that it’s the very gospel of Jesus that is being rejected for the sake of the pursuit of personal blessing and benefit! There are preachers in churches with crosses on their steeples who refuse to call people to the cross at the altars! A minimized cross results in Christians that are only artificially vibrant as they pursue blessing, but dead and dying inside—and this has eternal implications!

It’s time for us to respond positively to what many have called negative messages; these piercing, demanding, shocking negative messages of death at the cross were born through God himself and delivered to us in the form of the Jesus.

“I doubt that more than two percent of professing Christians in the United States are truly born again.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

Just like the woman who wants to remove the threat of a baby for the sake of her own personal experience, we in the church are all too often looking for relief and blessing instead of carrying a heavy cross for the sake of others! The refusal to sacrifice time, money, energy and our very lives on a daily basis results in a prayerless, self-centered, quasi-Christian that’s driven by the question, “What’s in it for me?”

Have you noticed that the biggest offerings tend to come when the emphasis is on what we can expect in return? The biggest conferences tend to be those that highlight personal breakthrough. The most appreciated sermons are those that reveal the blessings we can expect as Christians. I often wonder what would happen if we held a conference titled, “Come and die.”

We live in a day when we unwittingly embrace a deadly, self-centered spirit of religion.

Religion is: Man’s attempt to use God to get what he wants.

When we don’t get what we want out of God our the church, we have an opportunity to accuse, to get angry, to place demands and to flee. When Jesus was here, the spirit of religion killed him because they didn’t get out of Jesus what they wanted.

The crowds were crying out, “Hosanna!” during the Triumphal Entry, which literally means, “Save us now!”

Jesus had of course decided to do just that—but not in a way they wanted.

In the next passage Jesus goes into the temple to overturn the moneychangers tables. Why? Because they were using the church for personal gain! The spirit of religion was in the temple! We are to enter the church with the expectation of leaving with LESS than we entered with, not more! We aren’t to use the church, but we are to bring an offering and to be a living sacrifice for the sake of others!

Then, that spirit of religion ended up killing Jesus. Jesus didn’t give them what they wanted in the way they wanted it. So, that spirit of abortion, of murder, took care of business.

Theocentric simply means we exist for God rather than He for us. Egocentric praying is our attempt at managing and directing God to accomplish our will instead of His. If “covetousness is idolatry” then attempting to harness the power of God to the priorities of self-centeredness is SIN! ~Harold Vaughn

The emphasis today seems to be on God alleviating our struggles instead of joining in on the great end-time struggle!

“If a Christian is not having tribulation in the world, there’s something wrong!” ~Leonard Ravenhill

Again, God loves to bless his children, but we must discuss the approach:

I absolutely love to give my kids presents. I come alive! My son Jet’s birthday was yesterday and I had so much fun watching his face beam as we opened presents, and as Chuck-E-Cheese led out in singing happy birthday. I also couldn’t wait to get him home, after he thought all of the presents had already been given, and see his face as he opened the shed to ride his bike…only to see his brand new bike sitting there! What a moment! Later that night we were laying on the hammock under the stars together, and he very casually and thoughtfully said, “Yep, this was about the best birthday ever…the best Chuck-E-Cheese birthday ever.”

Now, compare that to other days when I take the kids for a routine shopping trip to Walmart. From the moment they hit the door their sad, frustrated faces reveal what’s coming next. “Dad, please, can I have…”

No. No. NO! Over and over again. The tears come. The sadness increases. Their carnal nature is showing in radiant brilliance! Their consideration is not for mom and dad, our focus on saving money or anything else. It’s on self! You see, I often bring my kids with me when I go out just because I want to be with them, and to their credit, my wonderful children often want to be with me too! We love being together. But, something happens when the focus turns to self. What’s in it for me?

TROUBLED

When threats to your dreams or your time or your personal endeavors come, how do you react? When preaching cuts instead of satisfies, how do you respond? The answer to these questions can go a long way in revealing what spirit you are driven by.

When the threats came to Jesus, he didn’t resist—he died. He surrendered for the sake of the world.

However, when the threat of a new King being born was discovered by Herod, he was troubled. The threat to his own personal experience, his reign as king, resulted in the spirit of abortion entering him.

Matthew 2:13 (ESV) 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”

Matthew 2:16 (ESV) 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

We see this pattern repeating itself throughout history. Massive resistance comes when a threat to personal experience arrives. It emerged, for example, when the African-Americans threatened a segment of society’s idea of racial purity. That resulted in the Ku Klux Klan and the horrific murders of many innocent people.

We saw it during the holocaust as Hitler was threatened by the Jews and other groups. Again, millions of innocent people died for the sake of one demented person’s overzealous aim to ensure his personal life experience was protected.

Today, terrorism is on the rise and murder is the strategy of choice for many who refuse to allow their life experiences to be threatened by other cultures.

This demonic spirit is incredibly crafty. The call of Christianity is to die for others and the call of this demonic spirit is for others to die for us.

ANGRY PEOPLE

Of course, the act of murder isn’t the strategy of choice for those who are threatened in the church—or is it?

Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV) 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Jesus equates anger to murder. In the church the manifestation of anger usually results in gossip, which is a deeply destructive spirit. Gossip results in dark hearts manifesting outwardly against those who threaten them. The same accusation that the abortionists hurl are used by the uncrucified, angry Christians—”You are threatening my freedom and my rights!”

No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother. MARGARET SANGER, Woman and the New Race

When we become Christians we gain freedom but we lose our freedoms.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV) 16 There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

It’s also possible to take on the offense of others. We have to be very careful! If we allow others who have had their own personal experiences threatened to lure us into a inappropriately merciful, sympathetic position, we are at great risk of taking on their offense and embracing anger against the threatening person. We saw Absalom do this as he took on the offense of others who didn’t get what they wanted out of King David.

Again, we are to expect a sharp sword, a high bar, a challenging life and a call to die to everything, including our own opinions, for the sake of others.

The spirit of abortion fights for personal rights no matter what the cost to others is. It resists the preaching of the cross with a vengeance. The cross threatens our very life!

REPENTANCE

Repentance must hit our churches. We have to return to the cross and refuse to buy into the demand for messages that tickle our ears. It’s time to once again be OK with deep inspection of the Lord into our hearts.

It’s this type of life that is a manifestation of deep, selfless love. This love will result in a great authority against the mission of murder against the millions of precious babies.

If we embrace the same self-centered spirit that drives the abortionists while at the same time crying out against them, we will be powerless. But, if die to self we will have the authority to defeat the spirit of abortion, murder and death that has overrun our nation.

Men tell us in these days that sin is what you think it is. Well, it is not. Sin is what God thinks it is. You may think according to your own conscience. God thinks according to His. –John G. Lake

People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated. –D.A. Carson

It is perilously easy to have amazing sympathy with God's truth and remain in sin.– Oswald Chambers

A fearful vision of what the church will soon look like

The change that’s coming to the church is absolutely unnerving and fearful

First: The following article may provoke the burning inside of you to rage. Join us for theLab Internship and help establish a model of fire that will reform the identity of the church. $100 discount now available. www.revivallab.com


imageI had an encounter that left me shaken and shocked.

What I saw was clearly a picture of the church…clearly in my spirit, that is, because my intellect was confounded. It didn’t make sense.

Before I share the vision, and some very interesting confirmation and insight, lets look at the current model of the church:

THE CURRENT CHURCH

There’s no way I’m going to attempt to present a comprehensive picture of the church with all of its varying streams and complexities. The point I’m focusing on is the simple, common experience that the current structure and function of the church presents.

  • Teaching driven: In most churches, the Sunday service revolves around the message, the teaching.
  • Sunday only: The average attendance for a church goer in America is less than two services a month. Most of those services occur on Sundays.
  • Predictable & scheduled: Each service and ministry of the church is mapped out and scheduled, and while there is often some flex, you can usually have a pretty good picture in your mind of what to expect during each event. Several songs of worship, a few announcements, receiving the offering and a 30-40 minute message is what most have come to expect.
  • Mostly natural: While some churches do experience a measure of supernatural activity, the overwhelming experience is logical, natural and humanly comprehendible.
  • Locally focused: Most churches have a vision that is limited to themselves. Their local church is where most of their energy is focused.image
  • Seeker focused: Even churches that aren’t identified as “seeker sensitive” tend to be intent on attracting visitors and they gear their ministry to do so.
  • Personal gain highlighted: God blesses and that message when presented in appropriate context is a necessary one. But, most churches highlight personal benefit while keeping the bar of personal surrender and commitment quite low.

THE VISION

In my encounter, the vision I saw was shocking and quite mysterious. I have had many visions of the church, of reformation, but this one was markedly different. It sure didn’t look like a vision of a church, but it immediately felt like one.

I was standing in an apocalyptic looking environment. It was dark and weighty. In front of me was an absolutely massive crater. God immediately revealed to me that I was looking at the soon coming church.

imageReally? It sure didn’t look like a church. My initial analysis was that what was coming wouldn’t be defined by what is logically communicable. The building and steeple and Sunday experience was gone, and what replaced it was frightening.

My spirit was provoked and raging, but I knew that those who were more logical than spiritual in their life experience would most probably resist what is just over the horizon.

1 Cor 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Note, this doesn’t mean the unsaved, it means those who are naturally minded. That’s a lot of Christians. Here’s what Paul says next:

1 Cor 3:1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready…

The crater that I was looking at looked alive. It was moving and churning. There was glowing red lava coursing throughout.

The closer I got to the edge of the crater, the church, the greater the fear of the Lord was, the more ominous the vision was. I couldn’t casually participate as the shaking and trembling rocked my whole being as I approached this invasion of Heaven into Earth.

Then the vision ended.

I shared this vision in a class at theLab Internship and one of the interns about came out of her skin.

She just watched a National Geographic special on craters on the Earth!

THE CRATER

She shared some dramatic revelation about the coming crater based on what God was revealing through my vision and the program she watched.

  • The asteroid that caused the crater was huge. When it impacted the ground, the top of it was still 30,000 feet up—that’s where jets fly!
  • When it hit, a pillar of fire instantly exploded and reached from the surface of the Earth up into the heavens.
  • Balls of fire shot out from the pillar and scorched regions far away from the point of impact.
  • A cloud of smoke then rose and actually surrounded the entire planet. The entire Earth was covered by the residual impact of the asteroid.image
  • Celestial elements, parts of the asteroid that don’t exist on this planet, were implanted into the ground. Heaven was brought to Earth.
  • Earthquakes rocked the Earth all around.
  • Molten rock filled the crater.

THE COMING CHURCH

We won’t be able to define ‘going to church’ the way we do now.

God is coming to reform, to crush structures of old for what is to be introduced very soon.

The force from Heaven, the celestial asteroid, is going to impact the church, and most pastors and people will resist with everything that’s within them. Man-made support systems will be removed. People’s financial and relational structures will be threatened by this strange, new spiritual invasion.

The human wisdom and natural common sense that has been involved in the development of the current church structure will not be usable in the new. Those who walk by sight are in danger.

We will have to rely on a new set of senses as we, in faith unlike any we’ve ever allowed ourselves to embrace, begin to walk blindly into a fearful new church reality.

  • Encounter driven: We will gather together with the primary goal of having an overwhelming encounter with an invisible God. The burning of God will engulf us day after day. A 2 Chronicle church will be the normal reality.
  • The 24/7 church: The thought of only gathering in the crater, in the lava of God’s shocking presence, on occasion, a few times a month, will be laughable. Our entire lives will be empowered by this tent of meeting and our energies will be spent gathering the desperate masses into the fire to experience an otherworldly spiritual encounter together. Most days of the week we will easily make room to be in the church, on our faces, trembling under the weight of God.
    • 2 Chronicles 7:1 As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.2 And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord's house.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.”
  • Unpredictable: Finally we will begin to know a God who is limitless in expression. Every moment with him, in our corporate gatherings, will be unlike any other. The fierce burning will never stop, the myriad of emotions we experience as God hovers over us will surprise and overwhelm us continually. A gathering of burning ones will result in fire balls of worship that lead to sharp swords of prophetic teaching that shake the people to their core. Wave after wave of fiery shock and awe will never disappoint. Services will be open ended and will overlap each other as room is made for an uncontrollable Holy Spirit to orchestrate the events in his wisdom.
  • Supernatural: We will take the leap from mostly translating God into our natural language and understanding to allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us out of the natural realm and into a supernatural culture that can only be understood via our spirits. The lost will finally have hope as we stop trying to give them logical reasons to ‘get saved’ and we start introducing them to a supernatural God that they have been craving to meet.
  • Regionally focused: The level of impact that the rock from Heaven will bring will not be confined to a local church. Pastors and leaders will stop focusing mostly on developing their own local ministry and will instead shelve much of what they did in the old church model and focus on serving the regional mission. The local will give way to the regional as leaders ‘lead’ the people into encounter, into regional mission and into the greater vision of revival and reformation. The spirit of Pharaoh that focuses on personal goals and keeping people locally focused will give way to the spirit of reformation and Kingdom advance that was manifested through Moses and Joshua.
  • God focused: Instead of attempting to ‘grow the church’ by focusing on visitors and seekers, the leaders will be fully devoted to a 2 Chronicles 7 strategy of compelling God to show up in extreme, weighty power. The pillar of fire that connects Heaven to Earth is the new goal. In fact, an empty church is a better goal than a full church if we understand that passage of scripture correctly! Many people will leave the church as a more serious devotion to Holy Spirit activity is given, but the supernatural invasion of fire will result in fire, smoke and earthquakes that will rock cities and nations.
  • Personal surrender highlighted: Instead of compelling people to ‘join our church’ through the promise of personal gain, we’ll highlight the cross. The cost. The Rich Young Rulers will leave while the end-time remnant will gain confidence in leaders seriousness for revival and will flood in and serve with military level commitment. You will know leaders have turned the corner toward the new model of church when they actually raise the bar so unapologetically that those with money and influence are allowed to go. How many RICH RULERS are in our churches because leaders have compromised the call, just so they don’t lose their money?

The new church will look nothing like we see now. We must learn how to live in the Spirit if we hope to embrace this uninvited yet deeply needed invasion from Heaven. Everything is at risk. Will you embrace or resist this reformation?

Seeking early adopters : Breaking away from the marginal Christian experience

The call at Revival Church : Three burning focuses will help rip the Christian church out of a marginal, stale state into a tremble that never ends.

I’m waiting.

I’m looking.

The strategy of God in this nation requires people who refuse to live according to a skewed Christian experience that has suffocated the church into a near flat line.

As a leader with a humanly impossible mission to call together people who will form their entire lives around the prayer room and the activity of the Holy Spirit, I find myself waiting and looking as I sound the alarm for the willing ones to move into position.image

A radical response will result in a nuclear explosion of shock and awe that the nations of the Earth will witness—and then tremble.

My current city of Detroit must wake up. The church must destroy the habit of a casual response to a terrifyingly urgent call to repent, to respond immediately and to follow the feverish pace of the Holy Spirit toward revival.

During a prayer & whiteboard session on Monday, God refined the burning focus of the Detroit mission. We are intent on calling people together to participate in the mission at Revival Church… and the call is unapologetically and necessarily extreme:

REVIVAL CULTURE

The focus every day at Revival Church is to develop a culture of revival. The presence of God simply must press against us at every turn. It’s hard to believe that church services actually are allowed to continue without it! How can we teach and worship without the fire of God burning in our midst?

This culture is impartation and refreshing driven—meaning, God desires to impact, heal, deliver and pull destinies out of every one of us. Additionally, this focus results in communities of fiery love. People who are intentionally committed to one another… people who become family…who go deep in relationship and Holy Spirit fueled love.

Also, a key focus of this ministry is taking the fire of revival to the cities of the Earth. (If you are ready to book me, go to www.johnburton.net/booking) Teams of revivalists will be moving out with me as I minister in churches, at conferences and other events. We desire to train and coach others into a vibrant culture of wild revival.

REVOLUTION MANDATE

The second strategy of our ministry is all about reformation. Revolution.

Understand, the Sunday style of ministry must end. The 24/7 church must emerge. Now.

People who are used to living their lives throughout the week and attending church for a couple of hours on a Sunday morning must brace for an abrupt shock to their systems. A Kingdom perspective is being imparted into the forerunners who will be leading the church into it’s new reality.

Today, the church tends to be focused on feeding people… tomorrow the focus is for the people to feed God. To minister to him. To pray.

Today, the church gathers together, on average, 2-4 times a month. Tomorrow, people will be together several days a week.

Today, people tend to seek out teaching. Tomorrow, they will receive equipping and instruction with an expectation of response…ministry…action.

There are a lot of changes coming, and the call is now for the early adopters to respond and change their lives unlike few are willing to. At Revival Church, we are setting up shop to appeal to these early adopters.

REVELATION DRIVEN

The entire church and Christian experience must be driven by the voice, activity and revelation of God himself. RevelationDrivenPrayerBoxShot-50%It must become normal for every Believer to be a person of extreme, zealous and fiery prayer as their primary activity in life. The church must embrace this primary mandate. Revival Church certainly does.

As prayer becomes the primary reason we gather together in the church, and the number one activity of our lives, we’ll hear God’s instructions clearly and continually.

Revival Church is called to be a prophetic revival center for the region. We must hear God. We must have people in our midst who are zealously on their face in night and day prayer. This is non-negotiable.

I’ll say it very clearly. If Detroit is to experience Kingdom normalcy… a revival culture… drastic and momentous change must come now.

Are you hungry enough for such a drastic interruption in your life? Are you willing? OK, let’s go. It’s time.

THE REVIVAL CHURCH CALL

So, what’s the minimum call for this new-form mission at Revival Church?

  • Be early for prayer every Sunday at 5pm
  • Make it extremely rare to miss a Sunday evening service.
  • Nurture a life of radical prayer, study in the Word and pursuit of God’s presence.
  • Participate in theLab, our weekly 8:30pm Monday radio show at www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/thelab.
  • Participate in all, or as many as possible, of our weekly prayer meetings at IHOPE. We pray at noon every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. www.ihopedetroit.org
  • Be extravagant tithers and givers
  • Be an extreme communicator—participate in theLab, email us about what God’s revealing to you regarding the mission, be in contact with leadership and share your heart as often each week as you can.
  • In order to understand the Revival Church vision, read John’s books, starting with 20 Elements of Revival (www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/resources)

The 24/7 church is emerging, and we’ll soon find ourselves in corporate ministry together at least 20 hours a week on the low end… and this transitional call of less than 8-10 hours a week will help ease our way into that new structure.

I’d love to hear from you! Are you ready to join the wild Revival Church family of revivalists? Contact me directly at john@johnburton.net.

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