Posts Tagged ‘Gideon’

The Gideon Principle Will Turn The Church Growth Movement Upside-Down

We have radically misunderstood the purpose of the church—and the Gideon principle is the shock it needs.

Pastors, quit getting excited when your church grows in number.

Quit getting depressed when it declines in number.

Quit selling your soul to compel people to join you on Sunday mornings.

Numeric church growth is not the goal—mission completion is—and the people you are wooing just may be your downfall.

CHURCH AS WE KNOW IT

As one who has planted two churches and spent many years in church leadership, both as a staff pastor and senior leader, I have had a front row seat to the American church reality. There’s much that has been absolutely amazing and much that is radically disappointing.

Church as we know it, however, doesn’t take years of leadership experience to analyze. It’s simple: we gather together once or twice a week and worship a little and pray a little (usually very little) and listen to teaching. After saying hi to friends and small talking with others we head out into our world until next week.

Pastors are heroes, in my opinion. Superheroes in fact. However, even mighty men and women of God must step back at times and truly analyze their motives and ministries. I suggest part of that analysis must include reckoning with an unhealthy desire to see the church grow numerically. Pastors tend to get weighted down when the seats are empty, and then, miraculously, they perk up and have an extra jump in their step when the roar of the crowd is louder. It’s human nature. Unfortunately, it’s human nature that is threatening the church and the lives of people it’s called to impact. We need to adopt supernatural wisdom as we move into the next generation of the church.

imageTHE DEEP, THE SHALLOWS AND THE SAND

I shared a prophetic word at a city pastor’s gathering in Detroit several years ago. I don’t believe it was received well as most remained silent after I shared it and then they moved on to other business. I do believe it was the Lord, however. It was a word of warning and a strategic call.

I saw an ocean beach on a sunny day. There were many people on the sand, a good number splashing in the shallows and a handful of people swimming in deeper waters.

Those who were on the sand were mostly happy building sand castles, tanning and enjoying the afternoon sun as the cool mist from the crashing waves blew over them. Some were curious about the water and even took off their sandals and walked where the waves met the sand. Others would slowly venture out and start splashing in the shallows, but most were satisfied just where they were.

The people in the shallows were having a good time. They were together, jumping, splashing and swimming. They were in waist high water and were able to stand on the sandy bottom. They were also satisfied.

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I then looked out at the small number of people who were in the deep. They couldn’t stand as the water was well over their heads. They were so hungry to explore the wide-open seas. It made no sense to them why anybody would be satisfied experiencing so little. However, these people had nobody to lead them into the deeper waters. You see, the people on the sand, in the shallows and in the deep all represented a single local church.

What I saw next brought clear, obvious revelation to the situation.

I saw a man, the pastor, in khaki pants, a dress shirt and a tie. His shoes were off and his pant legs were rolled up. He had one foot in the water and the other on the sand. He was not dressed for the deep. In fact, he wasn’t dressed for the shallows or the sand either. He determined to remain anchored between the sand and the shallows where the majority of the people were, yet unable to really reach any of them.

The pastor was under great stress as he would look upon those on the sand, then those in the shallows and he’d then squint as he saw those who were drifting out to sea. His eyes continually darted between the three groups, attempting to maintain some sort of control over the spiritually diverse congregation. However, he couldn’t. Those in the deep became a nuisance. He found it easier to allow them to go and to focus on the sand and the shallows. He

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knew those in the low water would not go deeper and those on the sand were safe, and maybe, some day, they would jump in and splash around with the others.

3 Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. 4 Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. 5 Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. 6 And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. Ezekiel 47:3-6 (ESV)

9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. Ezekiel 47:9 (ESV)

26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:26-27 (ESV)

THE CALL TO THE DEEP

I believe the strategy of the church must radically change. The pastor, the leader, must be in the deep ahead of the people. The priests are called to step into the waters and to lead people into miraculous situations.

14 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Joshua 3:14-16 (ESV)

The evangelists are called to minister to those on the sand. Prophets can call them into the waters. The local church’s apostolic leaders must focus on the deep, calling people to advance into impossible waters as they seek to encounter the wonders of God and to take new ground. They announce the need to live consecrated lives as they prepare for God to move in power.

5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” Joshua 3:5 (ESV)

Seeker churches are well known for focusing on the people on the sand. The beach goers have been affirmed in their position by this regrettable church movement. Further, the poison of seeker ministries has soaked into the soil of the greater American church foundation. Today, most churches may not identify as seeker sensitive, but seeker principles are adopted and adapted to fit their local expression in hopes of attracting the very same sand dwellers and shallow splashers. Those yearning for the deep are minimized and ignored—often because of the pastor’s own lack of depth—and commonly because of the pastor’s devotion to growing a larger church.

THE GIDEON CHURCH GROWTH PRINCIPLE

Churches have too many people, or at least they have the wrong people. Church missions have been compromised.

Please understand, I do believe in numeric church growth. We see in Scripture how thousands were added. I believe we’ll see stadiums filled with Christians interceding and contending for revival. The harvest will come in. There absolutely are and will continue to be anointed, surrendered leaders who have been graced to lead large numbers without compromise. There are “churches of the deep” that are diving into unseen realms and growing mighty disciples. In fact, if given a choice, I’d rather attend a large church like this than a small group of unified zealots—though I do value both.

With that in mind, most churches and pastors will benefit from applying the Gideon principle, though it will be scary, painful and humbling. Death to self, rejection of selfish ambition and mighty faith are required. I believe God is about to invite leaders into divine wrestling matches as they renounce their fabricated and confused identities and adopt their divine callings and discover their identities in Christ instead of success.

12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:12-13 (ESV)

God also believes his pastors and leaders are heroes. He addressed Gideon, a leader who had yet to step into that identity, as a mighty man of valor. It would do us well to honor God’s men and women in the same way. While many will reject the call of God to shift, some will hit their spiritual rock bottom and cry out from their caves of desperation. God is raising up warriors like this, and we should celebrate the process.

Whenever we are out of sync with God a common complaint will be, “God, where were you? Why have you forsaken us?”

Today pastors are gazing up into the heavens wondering why God isn’t bringing growth. Where is he? Why is his presence so rare in their local church? What is going on?

This is a good prayer as long as we are ready for God’s reply.

14 And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” Judges 6:14 (ESV)

Go in might. I have sent you. That’s God’s reply.

15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:15-16 (ESV)

If we allow God to truly search our hearts, this is where the divine wrestling match begins. We may honestly feel unworthy, unprepared, weak and the least of all. What a contrast to God’s identifying decree: You are a mighty man of valor, I will be with you and you will be victorious—but the victory depends on radical surrender and wild faith. Pastor, will you allow this Gideon principle to take over your church and your life?

The process included Gideon seeking God, looking for confirmation, hearing his voice, discovering his new identity and emerging as a true leader. It would do us well to cry out for a similar process to initiate in our own lives.

EMERGING JERUBBAAL LEADERS: DESTROYING ALTARS AND ADVANCING IN VICTORY

25 That night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it 26 and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here…Judges 6:25-26 (ESV)

The next step is critical. We must destroy altars of old. We must differentiate between God-given mantles and God-opposed altars. God absolutely will grace us with the water from the wells that our fathers and their fathers dug years ago. There are mantles and rich, godly traditions that have eternal value. However, there are unholy altars that have become normal in the church today that must be torn down. Traditions of man, selfish ambition, the pursuit of notoriety, becoming drunk on money and pride must be crushed. Annihilated.

28 When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29 And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” 30 Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” 32 Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar. Judges 6:28-32 (ESV)

Are you ready to be renamed? Are you an emerging Jerubbaal? When we tear down ungodly altars, we step into a promotion in the spirit. We will be known as one who has stared evil in the eye and is unafraid at the threat of demonic backlash.

When we have proven ourselves to possess the obedience and fearlessness necessary to stand against the prevailing religious culture of the day by tearing down altars that so many hold so dear, we will be ready to advance in the mission—by allowing most people to leave.

THE PEOPLE IN YOUR CHURCH MAY BE HINDERING YOUR MISSION

Remember, we are called to leave the sand, to leave the shallows and to lead into the deep. Most people will not remain when you allow God to shift your church into a “deeper water” ministry. Your mission requires the right laborers be with you and those who are resistant to be let go. It doesn’t mean we don’t love them. It means we understand those who leave will pale in comparison with those will be set free through our obedience.

2 The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. Judges 7:2-3 (ESV)

Pastor, when you cast this renewed vision of going into the deep, most in your church will, most likely, be afraid of such a venture. It will not be what they signed up for. They wanted you to occasionally wave at them as they soaked up the sun on their beach blankets. They wanted you to splash with them if they ever decided to test the shallows. This new, awakened leader will be an irritant to them. Most will leave. That’s okay. The mission is for all who are fearless and surrendered to Jesus. The choice is theirs. If Gideon would have refused this filtering process, the entire camp would have been decimated. The enemy is ready to decimate our churches too. We need Jerubbaal to emerge and lead with the mysterious, illogical wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

4 And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” Judges 7:4 (ESV)

6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the LORD said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” Judges 7:6-7 (ESV)

God knew who was needed to get the job done. 300 out of 32,000, less than one percent, were called as the church, the Ekklesia, a governmental people with determined unity and a fearless disposition, to rout the enemy.

AN UNCONVENTIONAL CALL

The result of applying the Gideon principle for church growth will most probably result in an extreme decrease in numbers but a supernatural increase in power.

An unconventional man, Gideon, was called.

An unconventional army, only 300 in number, was gathered.

An unconventional method, banging jars and shouting, was used.

The result was glorious victory.

20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. 22 When they blew the 300 trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. Judges 7:20-22 (ESV)

ACCUSATION WILL COME

I’ll conclude this article with a key point that could easily have been ignored.

1 Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they accused him fiercely. Judges 8:1 (ESV)

When God calls you to destroy religious altars, and to advance mostly alone in your region, you will absolutely be accused by other pastors and leaders. Who are you, after all, to presume you know what should be done in the city? Your answer? You are Jerubbaal.

While I appreciate it when pastors in a city meet together and attempt to unify and support one another, it’s rare for them to truly promote revival in a region. The reason? They presume their efforts to affirm one another and support one another are the goal. It’s satisfying. Somehow, unifying around this low level commitment feels spiritual. It’s nice, but it can be threatening to the greater mission. When God calls you to tear down altars they have built, or that their fathers have built, then what? When God calls you to advance in the city without them (due to their own choice), with a small army of radicals, how will they respond? Many will accuse.

This doesn’t mean, by any means, that we go rogue and function in an independent, rebellious spirit. God will crush that fast. He resists the proud. God will, however, awaken key people to do what few others will, and what most will flatly reject. This Jerubbaal leader will threaten religious structures. Their humble surrender and bold resolve to obey their God at every turn will threaten those who have their religious culture carefully defined.

Who are you? What is your identity? You are a mighty man of valor. God is inviting you as a Jerubbaal. He will rally an army around you to assault the enemy and to advance the Kingdom of God. Those who leave, and those leaders who aren’t consulted, will most certainly accuse you.

That’s okay. Go in this spirit of Jerubbaal and see God move in some of the most remarkable signs, wonders and miracles the world has ever known. You are invited, mighty man of valor, to be an instrument in God’s hands in a dark and desperate world. This hour is yours.

Entice your enemy to attack before moving into your promise!

Run from the enemy and miss out on the dramatic, victorious promise God has in store for you!

We are in a generation of runners. At the point of crisis, God’s children tend to run from the battle instead of defeating the very enemy that has them fleeing.

ASUS-000000021People leave assignments. They quit jobs for the wrong reasons. They break off relationships.

People run from church to church, hoping to leave their past behind them. That never works. Their undefeated enemy, whether it’s a spirit of rejection or anger or outright rebellion, shows up the very first day they visit their new church.

Someone visited Revival Church in Detroit a couple of years ago. One of the first things this child of God said to me was, “I’ve been kicked out of every church I’ve been in. I’m determined that this won’t happen here too!”

That was a great plan, but, unfortunately, she was unwilling to battle the demons of old. Sadly, she didn’t last more than several weeks with us.

FREEDOM

We so crave freedom from whatever bondage we are experiencing that we often demand an immediate yet premature resolution to our captivity.

In Portland, Oregon, a man was scheduled for release from prison in less than a week after 272 days behind bars. He couldn’t wait. He escaped with six days left on his sentence!

He was caught just hours later.

Sometimes the quickest route to freedom is not the most direct, or the easiest, or the most obvious. In fact, sometimes it’s to back up and entice our enemy to pursue us!

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. Exodus 14:1-4 (ESV)

They were already on the borders of the desert, and a short march would have placed them beyond the reach of pursuit, as the chariots of Egypt could have made little progress over dry and yielding sand. ~Jamieson-Fausset-Brown

The Israelites could have continued in the direction they were heading, and they would have been out of the reach of Pharaoh should he decide to summon his armies and chariots to pursue them.

It surely seemed to be madness for Moses to direct the people to turn back!

Freedom was to be had! It was right in front of them! But, their mandate was to turn back and to face the enemy they fled from.

I propose we embrace leaders like Moses today—those who aren’t trying to lead us into the Land of Promise while avoiding the challenges, struggles and pursuing armies that God desires for us to defeat. We need leaders who lead into trouble for the sake of victory!

It is a valid question: Why would God cause freedom to be delayed? Why would he put people he loves in grave danger? Two simple reasons:

  1. God will get glory.
  2. They shall know God is the Lord.

God is interested in our freedom. He’s also interested in his glory.

6 “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. 8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Isaiah 42:6-8 (ESV)

This is such an important lesson for all of us. God’s primary motivation is not to make our lives easier, nor to give us immediate satisfaction as we pursue freedom. As it always has been, and always will be, God is focused on his name being known for the sake of the generations.

We must trust God’s wisdom, his truth, if we desire to experience freedom. His truth will very often violate our own wisdom or common sense:

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (ESV)

Note how 250 years later Gideon had an important point of reference as he dealt with his own issue of captivity:

And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:13 (ESV)

Gideon heard of the of Moses and the Hebrews. That story would not have been the same if God hadn’t caused them to turn back and face a fierce enemy.

13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14 (ESV)

Instead of taking matters into their own hands, devising plans and strategies and moving according to their own wisdom, God was instructing them to stay put and be silent. How hard this must have been for them! What a lesson in faith this was!

15 The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” Exodus 14:15-18 (ESV)

Quit crying and follow my instructions! Now it was time to advance, in the direction God revealed—right into an impossible sea. What kind of God was leading them? It sure seemed he was a monster, bent on their sure demise. How could any God presume to love anybody if he is pushing people to the limits of their sanity by toying with them as pawns on a great, seemingly demented game board. No wonder they would end up demanding to return to Egypt!

What they needed to understand, and ultimately would, is that freedom isn’t found at the place of safety. It’s found in God’s presence. Where he is there is freedom, even if that means turning back to face the enemy:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)

SUPERNATURAL VICTORY

19 Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, 20 coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night. Exodus 14:19-20 (ESV)

The cloud that was moving before them moved to the back. It wasn’t simply a cloud, however. It was a mighty angel of the Lord!

We must learn to trust God’s wisdom as he leads us into threatening, deadly situations. There are angels. There is a Holy Spirit. There is a pillar of cloud and of fire that will go before us and guard behind us.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, 25 clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.” Exodus 14:21-25 (ESV)

There it is!

The Egyptians acknowledged the Lord! That was one of God’s goals. It took a fearless heart on behalf of Moses and the Hebrews. It took radical obedience. It required a resistance to temptation to make a jailbreak prematurely. Faith was key. God’s name was made great among the Egyptians and the generations to come.

You and I will be much stronger, more free and God’s name will be glorified in our lives if we don’t run from the enemy. We must defeat the demons, the Goliath’s, the Egyptians, our fears, our rebellion, our rejection. Turn back and fight!

A young man named Gideon would pull on this amazing, ancient story at the foot of the Red Sea as God, again, encouraged someone to advance in obedience and in the power of God.

And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” Judges 6:14 (ESV)

Go in this might of yours and watch God receive the glory as you advance into supernatural freedom!

Three Critical Responses to Homosexual Marriage and our Current Crisis

At a time of national crisis, the church must respond in a way we haven’t in recent memory.

The current crisis of legalized homosexual marriage and the attack against Christian business owners who are standing up for their faith is resulting in a lot of uproar, strong opinions, Facebook and Twitter wars and even confusion and fear for many Christians. Ten years ago the reality of what we are facing today was unthinkable. The thought that a Christian baker would be fined $135,000 because they refused to provide a cake for a homosexual wedding would have been absolutely nonsensical and unbelievable. Yet, this is where we are today.

Dell-000050162In 2008, President Obama said, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”

It’s highly doubtful our President really believed what he said in that campaign season. Just seven years later he lights up the White House in rainbow colors and declares:

This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land.

In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that principle enshrined into law by this decision.

This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have so long for their basic civil rights.

This ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.

If President Obama only understood how erroneous that statement was. The result isn’t a freer America. It’s an imprisoned people who are now validated and locked into an identity that will bring devastation and spiritual death.

The Church Must Respond

All of this is taking place on the church’s watch. It’s our fault for refusing to do what’s necessary to see revival and a spiritual revolution come to America. Our reckless slumber is resulting in millions of people falling deeper into the hopelessness that sin and a Christ-less lifestyle brings.

Pastors, nobody wants to come to our churches anymore when they are devoid of passion, power, depth and a consecration worthy of the King of kings. The answer isn’t inviting friends to our church services, it’s finding those who are serious enough to contend in tears for a move of God.

We can’t be surprised that, as Pastor John Kilpatrick says, “America is now an apostate nation.” As with Israel during the time of Gideon who was given into the hand of Midian for seven years, America is experiencing the early stages of judgment—and our response must be quick and fervent.

Judges 6:1-2 (ESV) 1 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.

The enemy has escalated his attack against the church in an attempt to completely overtake this culture and to destroy our provision, overwhelm us with fear and cause us to cower as the roaring lion threatens to devour.

Judges 6:3-5 (ESV) 3 For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4 They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in.

While there are a diversity of reactions that are appropriate, I propose the following three to be non-negotiable:

STEP ONE: Cry out.

In a time of desperation, it’s time to cry out.

We must see churches embracing reform and becoming prayer meetings again. Solemn assemblies should start popping up in every city in our nation and every blood bought Christian should be in attendance. No longer can we offer up the “good excuses” that have crippled the church. Gather together and repent. Pray. Burn. Contend. Cry out.

Joel 2:15-17 (ESV) 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16 gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. 17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, “Spare your people, O LORD, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

How’s that for shutting down excuses? How often do we think it’s okay to reject the call to gather and pray because other activities seem to be more demanding? The call is to gather the congregation and the elders. Every Christian, every pastor in the city should be together. But, certainly if the solemn assembly doesn’t have child care then moms would be exempt, right? No. Obviously someone who has spent a great deal of time, energy and money preparing for their wedding day would be excused, right? It depends on what’s more pressing, I suppose. How serious are we? How desperate is the situation?

I suppose the question is, what must happen in our nation before no excuse is powerful enough to steal our attention from the call to cry out as a church.

Ask yourself an honest question: What is different in your life as a result of the onslaught of the enemy against Christianity and the church? Are you gathering together continually to contend in prayer with other remnant Christians? Are you broken and repentant? Are you waking up everyday burning hot with passion for advancing the Kingdom? Are you calling for solemn assemblies? Just what is different? Or, are you attending church services just as you always have, focusing on family life, pouring energy into entertainment and saying a nice bedtime prayer?

I want to challenge you to CRY OUT! Embrace such a radical shift in your daily life that people around you are stunned. Become a burning, shining lamp, a blazing, searing force that ignites atmospheres!

The threat of the enemy will only grow more terrifying if the church doesn’t discover its end-time purpose.

For Israel the threat was so fearsome that they retreated into hiding in caves. Will the American church wait for that to happen before we repent? Will the church of this nation have to go underground as is the case in China and other nations where Christianity is forbidden before we lay our American dreams on the altar?

Christianity is already becoming illegal. Christians in business cannot adhere to their faith anymore as they are at risk of bankruptcy inducing government fines as was the case in Oregon:

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) awarded $60,000 to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for “emotional suffering.”

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” the final order read. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

According to the BOLI, the lesbian couple suffered great angst. One of the women “felt depressed and questioned whether there was something inherently wrong with the sexual orientation she was born with.” They said she had “difficulty controlling her emotions and cried a lot.”

Apparently if our faith results in someone having difficult controlling their emotions we are operating our business illegally.

It’s time to cry out, church.

Judges 6:6 (ESV) 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD.

STEP TWO: God sends a prophet.

Too often we presume our prayer, our cry, should result in God flipping the switch from bad to good, from crisis to help. This is rarely how it works.

After we rend our hearts and cry out to God he most often sends clear instructions to us. We need to resolve the issue that resulted in the crisis, and God will grace us and empower us to do so.

Judges 6:7-8 (ESV) 7 When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites, 8 the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage.

Through a prophet God encourages the Israelites by reminding him of his faithfulness and his ability to rescue and redeem. Even though they aren’t out of the crisis yet, God is so loving that his first reaction is to comfort them—even as they are still suffering and hiding in the caves.

His encouragement then continues, along with a clear indictment:

Judges 6:9-10 (ESV) 9 And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”

The reason they were cowering in caves, being plundered by their enemies and fearing annihilation was not because their enemies refused to honor God or to establish laws that are scriptural. It’s because they were disobedient. Similarly, we can’t point the finger and blame a corrupt, perverse, godless society for our troubles! The legalization of homosexual marriage is the expected outcome in our culture! Don’t be shocked. More is coming—unless the church figures things out quickly.

STEP THREE: Obey.

Now is the time to hear God’s voice and obey!

Judges 6:11-13 (ESV) 11 Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Gideon was complaining that things were bad, that things weren’t changing, but he didn’t realize that he was the reason! It was his fault and the fault of the Israelites that things were bad…and it was him who must turn things around.

God refused to listen to his complaints. He was done with the excuses. He called Gideon according to his true identity!

Judges 6:14 (ESV) 14 And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”

It was time for Gideon to obey.

His excuses continued, and God gave him one more striking vote of confidence:

Judges 6:15-16 (ESV) 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”

Gideon proceeded to tear down his father’s altar, form a remnant army and advance against the enemy as one man!

This is your calling, friend. You are called to cry out, receive prophetic instruction and obey the command of the Lord as you route the enemy of the church and our nation as one man!

Our call to cry out will have some pretty powerful results. The cry will shift from the people of God to the enemy as they run for their lives:

Judges 7:20-21 (ESV) 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled.

CoFI Break Video: The One Percent—Are you a part of the remnant?

The One Percent—Are you a part of the remnant?

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300 people out of a possible 32,000 were deemed ready and usable to advance in a great mission under the leadership of Gideon. Are you ready to be a part of the one percent?

John discusses some key factors in ensuring you are indeed ready to be chosen worthy and ready. It's a sobering challenge, but if we are alert and consecrated we will most certainly find ourselves running ahead with in victory!

WATCH TODAY’S VIDEO FREE FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS HERE!

Brand new ebook | Orphans No More: How to break free from a spirit of insignificance

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$2.99 | Brand new ebook | Orphans No More: How to break free from a spirit of insignificance

FIRST: Have you read my latest articles in Charisma Magazine?

  •  A Troubling End-Times Dream for America
  •  9 Prophetic Keys for Binding the Homosexual Spirit
  •  6 Reasons Haiti May Be Closer to Revival than the US
  •  Warning: Culture of Positivity May Be Roadblock to Revival

You can read them HERE.


Orphans-No-More-Paperback

ORPHANS NO MORE! HOW TO BREAK FREE FROM A SPIRIT OF INSIGNIFICANCE

ORDER AND READ NOW!

Publication Date: September 30, 2014

A powerful message of freedom also found in my book Carry Like Mary:

No more excuses: Don't let an orphan spirit keep you from fulfilling your destiny! Elizabeth had to be delivered from her barrenness to deliver John the Baptist and Mary had to miraculously overcome the fact she was a virgin to bring our Lord Jesus into the world. It's time for the issue of fatherlessness to, in the same way, be overcome by the power of God!

I agree that it's widely acknowledged today that there's a serious problem with fatherlessness and orphan spirits in the church and in the world.

I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 1 Corinthians 4:14-16

It's true that spiritual fathers are needed, and it's also true that sons and daughters must discover their true identities-and those identities are not dependent on whether fathers appear in their lives or not. It's much deeper than that.

The sins of the fathers are significant, and they impact the succeeding generations dramatically. The call is for every one of us as sons or daughters to break off generational destruction and align ourselves with Father God. If we don't, the devastation will continue. Children of God arise!

ORDER AND READ NOW!

A bold strategy against fatherlessness | Stepping into your destiny with no excuses

No more excuses: Don’t let an orphan spirit keep you from fulfilling your destiny!

imageIt’s widely acknowledged today that there’s a serious problem with fatherlessness and orphan spirits in the church and in the world.

I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 1 Corinthians 4:14-16

It’s true that spiritual fathers are needed, and it’s also true that sons and daughters must discover their true identities—and those identities are not dependent on whether fathers appear in their lives or not. It’s much deeper than that.

The sins of the fathers are significant, and they impact the succeeding generations dramatically. The call is for every one of us as sons or daughters to break off generational destruction and align ourselves with Father God. If we don’t, the devastation will continue. Children of God arise!

…Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? And the LORD says: “Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it, but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them. Jeremiah 9:12-14

Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will feed this people with bitter food, and give them poisonous water to drink. I will scatter them among the nations whom neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them.” Jeremiah 9:15-16

This generational problem resulted in judgment then—and we are at risk of judgment again today. Notice that judgment was not due to the father’s sins, but rather to the children’s refusal to break the cycle. The children have the power to cover the sins of their fathers and experience blessing. But, that’s not what happened.

The same story unfolded with Noah:

Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. Genesis 9:20-26

The children had the power to either cover or enjoy the sin of their father. Blessing followed Shem who interceded for his father. A curse followed Canaan who exposed his father.

Children are called to stand in the gap, intercede and cut off the pattern of sin set by their fathers. As we align with our true Father, Jehovah, great blessing will come.

In fact, a major end-time prophecy hinges on the resolution of this problem:

 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” Malachi 4:5-6

Interestingly God reveals that this issue must be fixed, or as in Jeremiah, destruction will come.

The Malachi prophesy resurfaces in the story of John the Baptist:

And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:16-17

Did you notice the end-time spirit of Elijah, as manifested through John the Baptist, had, and still has, a two-fold mission:

  1. Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.
  2. Turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just.

This isn’t mostly about dads and kids rediscovering their lost friendships. It has to do with aligning ourselves, as disobedient children, with the spirit of Wisdom, with God himself.

What’s an orphan to do?

I absolutely validate the desire that is within us as Christians to have earthly, spiritual fathers—whether they are biological or not.

I remember many years ago when I was extremely young in the Lord that a strong desire for a mentor overcame me. I asked a youth pastor if he would be that to me, and he was visibly taken aback. He said he had never been asked that before.

Well, he never did follow through on that, and I want to share with you why that was the best thing for me. God’s best for me was to not have an earthly spiritual father at that point in my life.

I grew up in a phenomenal family with an amazing mom and an incredibly spiritually strong father. However, at the time of this story, I had moved from Missouri to Ohio and was very much alone on a new adventure as a young man. I had recently encountered God in dramatic fashion and I craved a deeper relationship with him. I also yearned for spiritual growth.

I didn’t understand it then, but I believe God wanted me to understand how he would be using weak, inexperienced children, many of whom are spiritual orphans without a godly human mentor, to change the world.

What I did know what this: I was burning so hot inside, and my vision was so consuming, that there was no way I was going to wait for a spiritual father to show up in my life. In fact, I knew early on that few fathers would be able to keep pace with me.

Now, of course, there have been many people in my life that have impacted me, and there are others that I highly value and I have submitted myself to. But, to date, I’ve never had a spiritual father other than my natural one.

A lonely venture

From that moment I started blazing trails and advancing very quickly. This child wasn’t waiting for a father because he had already discovered one—Abba!

I ultimately ended up in Manitou Springs, Colorado to plant my first church.

I’ll never forget a life-changing lunch I had with an older, wiser man whom I had just met shortly after moving to Colorado.

He looked the part too. He had a beard and eyes burning with wisdom. A long wooden staff would have completed the picture! He asked me, “John, what is the one thing you want on a personal level as you begin your new church?”

I immediately said, “Well, I’m alone in this new venture. I am craving someone who has the same vision as me, who will run at the same pace with me as we get the church off the ground, and as we go after full blown city transformation.”

His answer is one I’ll never forget: “It will never happen.”

What? Was he serious? He absolutely was.

He said, “God gave you the vision, and he has given it to no one else. You can’t wait for others to lead the charge. That is your job. Others will come along side you and support the vision, but nobody else in the world has that unique, special gift that God himself has given you.”

The wisdom of this fatherly man ensured I wouldn’t be disobedient in my calling by waiting around instead of advancing. There was work to do. You have work to do too. This next section will help you fulfill your calling without waiting around for outside help.

The Gideon Strategy

Are you ready for the strategy to boldly break off an orphan spirit? Great. As I’ve said before, it’s not to wait for spiritual fathers to arrive in your life. Let’s look at Gideon.

The Israelites were under attack and went into hiding. There was no true, bold leader in the camp and the result was insecurity, fear and delay in fulfilling their destiny.

The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. Judges 6:1-2

God was the one who gave them over to the enemy, and God would be the one who would give them a strategy to break off their orphan spirit that resulted in a confused identity.

You see, fathers are supposed to nurture and build up, but since Israel forsook their Father, they were left with the opposite—oppression and brokenness.

For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD. Judges 6:3-6

They were orphans who were aimless and lost, but eventually they cried out—to their Father.

Mighty Man of Valor

Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” Judges 6:11-12

Keep in mind, God will be using children who break off an orphan spirit to accomplish his purposes—children who are united with their Father. This was true in the story of Gideon, and it’s true today in the end-times. An emerging army of supposed orphans are rising up. They won’t take no for an answer as they advance in their missions with ferocity and boldness as their Heavenly Father leads the way.

With Gideon, God was restoring this beautiful relationship by referring to him according to his true identity. His Father saw him as a mighty man of valor! He didn’t see him the way Gideon saw his self. This revelation comes through a dynamic, growing relationship not with people but with God himself!

Confusion

What happened next was a critical lesson to be learned. Gideon was confused about the Father/son relationship and God was about to school him.

And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:13

Gideon incorrectly presumed that the role of a father is to fully alleviate burdens, answer every question and to resolve issues. This isn’t the case. If you are craving a spiritual father, that is good. However, be warned. God the Father will stretch you to your breaking point so you can discover the power and responsibility you have as a child! Fathers point the way and children go.

Check out how God responded to Gideon’s confusion and frustration:

And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” Judges 6:14

Did I not send YOU? God again addressed him according to his true identity, as one who is mighty, and let him know in no uncertain terms—you don’t send me, I send you!

As a spiritual child (quit referring to yourself as an orphan) you have a Father and you are a part of this end-time mission! Go in your might!

Gideon continued in his confusion with another excuse:

And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:15-16

Gideon felt like the least and the weakest. In fact, he said something quite interesting: I am the least in my father’s house. He had an orphan spirit. He acknowledged rejection and a disappointing relationship with his earthly dad.

Growing Close

What happened next was so important for Gideon. He was learning how to draw from his spiritual Father.

And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.” Judges 6:17-18

Please don’t depart…I will stay till you return.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you… James 4:8

That’s it! The child noticed the favor of his Father and started into an interactive relationship with him. He had a bad earthly dad. His entire nation had no leader. He was confused. He had an identity crisis. But, something was compelling him. He found One who believed in him, and One who was calling him higher. He found his Dad.

Two Altars

As the drama continues, Gideon’s eyes are opened and he is undone before his Father. He is an orphan no more!

Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites. Judges 6:24

He immediately built an altar to God, but there was another altar to deal with—his earthly father’s.

That night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” Judges 6:25-26

Children of the end-times will not only discover their true identities as revealed by their true Father and build an altar of worship to him—a spirit of boldness will arise in the children to tear down altars established by the previous generations—altars to Baal that will result in continued bondage and destruction. End-time children won’t wait for their fathers to make things right—they will go to battle and initiate deliverance no matter the cost!

Identity!

When children tear down altars of old, there will be threats of death! This is the moment of destiny we are looking for! Gideon went from weak and the least to one with an identity of might that was given to him by his Father. His call wasn’t to wait for his earthly father to come around, it was to destroy the generational curse that was devastating him, his dad and the entire nation!

When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar. Judges 6:28-32

It was then that Gideon’s dad finally rose up! Gideon’s leadership was clear and God’s leadership was being reestablished in the nation as his dad agreed with the destruction of Baal’s altar. The hearts of father and son were turned!

Gideon was then called Jerubbaal which literally means, “let Baal contend.” Now that’s an identity!

Is there an army of former orphans who refuse to wait for earthly fathers to show up? Is there an army that will discover their true spiritual Father? Is there an army of spiritual children who just might have their names changed as they contend against the spirit of the age? Come on! It’s time!

Children, it’s time to awaken! No more hiding! No more confusion! Get alone with your Father and respond to his call into destiny!

Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. Judges 7:20-21

The miracle? Gideon fulfilled both roles: He discovered his identity as a child of God and he emerged into a spiritual of father who lead companies into destiny. This is your story!

Today’s children are marked to be leaders and fathers who will take cities and rout the enemy.

Yes, you are one of them.

Conclusion

As I said above, I’ve never had a spiritual father. However, there is a very important takeaway for me.

While I am ever learning and endeavor to glean much from the generals of the faith, I have come to understand that nobody I’ve met has been where I am called to go. The same was true for Gideon.

Nobody can lead me into my personal land of Promise except God, my Father.

Others can support the vision and encourage me in the journey, but most of my learning has been one-on-one with my Father—and it has been priceless. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I want to strongly encourage you to read my book, “Piece of Cake.”

It is a practical guide for starting ministries, missions, businesses and other ventures. It will help set you free from the waiting game. You as a child of God, as a mighty person of valor, absolutely can advance with confidence and strength without delay!

You can find the book here: www.johnburton.net/resources

Audio and notes : A must hear message : A spirit of insignificance

Last night’s service was simply indescribable—freedom reigned as spirits of insignificance were broken off!

Man, I have to tell you—if you make a habit of skipping out on the services at Revival Church, change your habits! You are missing a lot!

God was moving in dramatic fashion all night last night! The prophetic was ramped up and lives were rocked! Aaron Crider brought us into a place of encounter through worship and I delivered a message that people are already requesting so they can listen again and share it with ministry teams and friends.

The sermon is now ready for you to stream or download!

Head on over to www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/teaching and listen to A Spirit of Insignificance.

PLUS—I’ll be discussing this topic further LIVE online TONIGHT on theLab radio show at 8:30pm EST.

Go to www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/thelab tonight and listen in OR call in and listen at (323) 679-0954.

Here’s the notes from last night’s teaching, A Spirit of Insignificance:


A Spirit of Insignificance

I. The Gathering

a. A massive mission requires a massive response

i. Key moments in history require two things:

1. Gathering together

2. Prayer

ii. Acts 2

iii. Gathering and praying in the garden (vs. sleeping)

1. Joe Sazyc- The mosque was packed at 6am, and he went to his prayer meeting where there was one person.

2. The major issue I’m seeing right now is the lack of the prayer fueled corporate gatherings.

3. Exhortation- the churches must be full! A weak person’s simple prayer on a night like tonight can be what it takes to launch revival!

a. I’m calling the church of Detroit to be in position… we are declaring that we don’t participate based on what we get out of it… the church isn’t there to entertain us… we must work! We must understand the tactical needs… we need everybody in church all the time. The vision is huge, and we’re awaiting an army.

b. Pastor Loudermilk- we need you in church!

c. IHOP- every day

d. Brownsville- 5pm-1am every day! 2000 in line by 7am every morning!

iv. This call to gather, the call to the 24/7 church is being fought against by the enemy incredibly.

1. My thought was that due to the hunger of revival in Detroit, it would be easy to sound the alarm and gather a desperate army.

2. However, the hunger is overshadowed by a variety of issues.

v. People are kept from the corporate mission for many reasons

1. Distraction

2. Business

3. Apathy

4. An inability to look past personal struggles to focus on the city

a. The church is inundated with fixing people’s problems instead of the people coming together and fixing problems.

vi. Today I want to hit on the issue of insignificance

1. It’s common to feel that our participation, our attendance, our prayer, our response isn’t important.

2. We’ve discussed the definition of religion quite a bit.

3. A spirit of insignificance will cause us to believe that we have no hope of bringing anything to the mission, so we default on participating based on what the mission can bring to us.

II. Insignificance

a. Judges 6:1-2 (ESV) 1 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.

i. We see the enemy scattering the church.

ii. The power of unity and corporate advance was diluted to the point of having no effect as they separated and hid in caves.

b. Judges 6:3-6 (ESV) 3 For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4 They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian…

i. Step one: In the time of desperation, it’s time to cry out.

1. Verse 6: And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD.

c. Judges 6:7-8 (ESV) 7 When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites, 8 the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage.

i. Step two: God sends a prophet with instructions and encouragement.

d. Judges 6:9-10 (ESV) 9 And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”

i. Step three: Obedience

ii. Enter- Gideon!

e. Judges 6:11-13 (ESV) 11 Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

i. Gideon was complaining that things were bad, that things weren’t changing, but he didn’t realize that he was the reason! It was his fault and the fault of the Israelites that things were bad… and it is him who must turn things around.

f. Judges 6:14 (ESV) 14 And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”

i. God spoke to Gideon based on his true identity, not his perceived identity.

g. Judges 6:15-16 (ESV) 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”

i. Those who perceive themselves to be insignificant are but a moment away from initiating a move of God that will be felt throughout the city!

ii. Moses felt insignificant… he stammered. One of the greatest stories in history was in front of him.

iii. Gideon remembered that God delivered them from Egypt… what he didn’t realize was that someone with the same insecurities as himself was the deliverer.

h. As the story unfolds we see God continue to advance his plans through seemingly insignificant means.

i. An insignificant man, Gideon, is now called to lead an insignificant army against a city.

i. Judges 7:2-7 (ESV) 2 The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’ ” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. 4 And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the LORD said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”

i. The least and the weakest is leading 1% of the army available to him.

ii. Now, an insignificant man with an insignificant army was to attack with an insignificant method.

iii. Remember David, an insignificant man with an insignificant army (none) used an insignificant method to defeat Goliath. Joshua used an insignificant method to take down Jericho. Let’s see what Gideon did.

j. Judges 7:15-18 (ESV) 15 As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the LORD has given the host of Midian into your hand.” 16 And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars. 17 And he said to them, “Look at me, and do likewise. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. 18 When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’ ”

i. It makes no sense!

k. Judges 7:19-22 (ESV) 19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. 22 When they blew the 300 trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled…

i. You are significant!

ii. A small army is significant!

iii. A strategy of prayer is significant!

Tired of church and religion? New Teaching : The Spirit of Gideon

Are you just tired of church? Has your hunger for God led to disappointment?

Do you ever find yourself getting frustrated because people aren’t moving ahead in the power of God, with fire in their eyes, to advance the Kingdom?

Stop! In a day where people are tired of church, where people are moving from church to church, conference to conference in hopes of finding a move of God, where they are nearly giving up in frustration… we have to reconsider our strategies.

Instead of waiting for others to change and systems to change, we can just take on the attitude of a mighty man of valor. We must, in humility and in boldness, move out in fervency and might!

You should not be frustrated, discouraged, casting blame and waiting around for things to change—YOU should be moving… as a weak person with little resource, little experience… moving out in the spirit of Gideon.

There are religious altars to be torn down and cities to be taken!

Sunday night at Revival Church I taught an impromptu message on this in a powerful, prophetic atmosphere. God was teaching us something important for our mission here in Detroit. We can’t wait and hope for God to pour out… we must move, we must initiate… NOW!

Open your bible to Judges 6 then head on over to www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/teaching and listen to “The Spirit of Gideon.”

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