Posts Tagged ‘house of prayer’

Leaving The Church? It Must Be The Pastor’s Fault.

People are leaving the church in droves, and most fingers are pointed at the senior pastor.

Covens-in-the-Church-Paperback

Triggered. That’s the best way to describe a lot of people when the topic of “going to church” is brought up. You see, there’s a group of ex-church goers who are so angered by their previous church experiences, that any suggestion of support of the local church triggers them. I’ve had interactions with many people who tense up the moment I start a discussion about the church and the importance of being rightly aligned and connected with leadership.

Let me be clear: I’m a fierce advocate of the local church. I’m also a passionate visionary. I see well beyond the current structure and I regularly rock the boat and challenge systems, motives and traditions that exist within the local church. I believe we should stay connected, submitted and tender hearted within the church while we are, with wisdom and honor, advocating for reformation.

 

Sadly, many who share my passion for revolution within the church have gone the route of abdication, accusation and hibernation. They have abandoned their post while pointing fingers at pastors and leaders who didn’t measure up to their standards. They end up spiritualizing their decision to stop going to church so they can, as they say, “be the church.” The problem? You can’t be the church if you don’t go to church. I dealt with that in my article: You are NOT the church : The scattering movement.

I also address the abandonment of the church in my book Covens in the Church. People are leaving assignments and putting the church at great risk. It’s a movement of witchcraft and rebellion in the name of God.

A key reason why people are so disenchanted with the church is simple: Their expectations of what pastors are supposed to do and how the church is supposed to function are wrong.

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE ROLE OF PASTOR AND THE CHURCH

THE PASTOR IS SUPPOSED TO BE MY CLOSE, PERSONAL FRIEND

There are many disappointed people who expected the pastor of the church they once attended to become a close, personal friend. While it’s true that pastors will have friends, and it’s possible to be counted among them, that should not be the goal or the expectation.

In fact, it’s a bit ludicrous to presume the pastor has to squeeze time, emotional energy and attention to you into his very busy and important life. The pastor’s role is not to be your close, personal bud. It’s to be a faithful leader and to watch out for your soul.

Stop and think about this for a moment. Do you have unlimited time and energy to give to literally everyone who chooses you as their new friend? How would you do it? Would you go out to lunch with them every day? What about hundreds of others who have the same demands? It simply doesn’t make sense.

We need to honestly understand just why pastors may choose not to be our close, personal friend. Here are a few:

His mandate is mostly to pray and study the Word.

1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:1-4 (ESV)

It’s concerning today that pastors, instead of spending loads of time on their knees and in the Word, are being pulled in every direction to visit people in the hospital, meet with visitors to the church, answer the phone at all hours of the night and meet the needs of everybody in the congregation.

One of my favorite stories about Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City brings clarity to this point. A person of great influence was flying through Kansas City and wanted to meet with Mike during his layover. Mike was unavailable. The layover was during Mike’s daily scheduled prayer time. He politely declined the meeting.

We need a new breed of leader that will install a team who will take care of the people and then focus on meeting with God, getting wrecked in his presence, gaining powerful revelation in the Word and, as a result, stand behind the pulpit with fire in their eyes and a tremble in their spirit.

He may not have sufficient time or emotional energy to invest in another close relationship.

Related to the point above, pastors are busy. Really busy. Even those who lead small churches can’t be expected to be best friends with everybody. I’ve heard people say that if they can’t be close friends with all, they should resign from ministry. Ridiculous.

Further, do you know how many ministry families are being torn apart because of the pastor having absolutely unreal, unnecessary demands placed on them? Burnout is real. Pastor’s kids are often neglected. Pastor’s wives often live with great resentment against the church and those who are crushing her husband under the weight of their demands.

This study by Robin Dunbar is revealing:

Is there a limit to how many people you can actually be friends with at a time?

According to psychologists, the answer is yes. A study by Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at University of Oxford, shows the average person can only manage five close relationships at a time.

So, if your church has more than five people attending, chances are the pastor simply won’t have room for another close friend.

He may not like you.

This one may sting. I’m confident you don’t have a blast hanging out with everybody. You have your favorites. So do pastors. It’s natural. It’s normal. Your personalities might not match. You might be clingy, weird, co-dependent, high maintenance or unbalanced. He'll be most effective ministering to you from afar.

This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. It doesn’t mean you can’t be friend at a less intimate level. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you. He just isn’t going to take you on vacation or hang out in his PJ’s watching football with you.

You have yet to prove yourself or invest in the ministry.

Smart leaders will invest mostly in those who have proven themselves faithful. Jesus devoted himself to twelve, and then at a closer level to three. Pastors will hang with those who share his vision, who are fierce defenders of the church and who don’t exhibit selfish tendencies. The pastor has a serious call of God to lead the church into an impossible vision, and he needs people around him who will empower that vision.

If you are dead weight, they will love you, pray for you and do their best to awaken you, but they won’t—and shouldn’t—be close friends with you.

God told him not to get too close to you.

There have been a number of people over the last two plus decades of ministry that I was specifically warned about. God told me not to befriend them. Some had devious intentions. Others would be a time-suck. Others would want to be inappropriately close to my family and me. Healthy boundaries were necessary.

Sometimes, my wife would be the one to wave the red flag of warning about an individual. It’s always wise to listen to a discerning spouse! And, often, God didn’t tell me exactly why I should keep my distance. I simply had to obey.

Other reasons God may keep you from a close personal relationship with your pastor abound. God may want you in a desert season. He may want you to pass the test of rejection. He may want you more focused on God than man. The list goes on and on.

You would be better served connecting with others in the church.

While a pastor’s charisma and maturity may be appealing, they may not be the best fit for friendship. It would be best to honor their role in your life as teacher, intercessor and leader while enjoying deep relationships with a few others in the church. The fit would simply be much better.

You wouldn't be able to handle his strong leadership in a close relationship.

Good leaders will slice and dice you in love, challenge you to the extremity of your limits and rebuke you, again in love, for deficiencies that remain unaddressed. Most people can’t handle such a direct approach. Their skin isn’t thick enough.

A well known, influential senior pastor of a huge mega-church met with my wife and me in his office one day. I had ministered with him in prayer events and, while we were not close friends by any means, we were friends. He had access to my life. At this particular meeting, he reached into my soul, pulled it out and threw it against the wall. He challenged me. He was very direct and the meeting was extremely upsetting. My wife cried on the way home—and several times thereafter. We were rocked, but we took his counsel to heart, though I didn’t know if I agreed with everything, and I felt he was quite harsh about simple philosophical differences. I was troubled.

The next week we had another scheduled meeting. We were anxious to see him again in hopes of asking some questions and gaining clarity. We were also a bit uptight as we didn’t know what else he may challenge us with.

To our surprise he looked me in my eye and simply said, “You passed the test.” Then he hugged me.

He went on to explain that he was intentionally pushing me to my limit, challenging things he knew I held dear in ministry and wanted to see how I’d respond. He said other pastors and leaders have stomped out of his office in pride and indignation after similar confrontations.

Though I admittedly was angry after the first meeting, I also understand that’s the culture within structures led by leaders with strong personalities and cutting-edge leadership abilities. They don't play around.

He is mostly focused on connecting with his leaders, who, in turn, train others to connect with the body.

Pastors should be spending most of their time and energy on a small number of leaders, not the entire body. Those leaders will then multiply what they received into others.

Do you think Moses could be best buds with every one of the millions who left Egypt? That’s ridiculous. It’s also unnecessary. There’s a better way to ensure people in the church are connected.

18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. 19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.” Exodus 18:18-23 (ESV)

THE CHURCH IS SUPPOSED TO MOSTLY FOCUS ON MEETING MY NEEDS

This possibly may be the most destructive belief about the local church.

People who are disenchanted about the church are usually upset that their needs haven’t been met. In fact, for many it’s a strange thing to hear that the church isn’t mostly there for them. Instead, they are to be there for the church.

Churches should not be started in the hopes of drawing in people and simply ministering to them. But, this is the extent of the vision of many church planters and pastors. Churches should be started when there’s a powerful, God-given vision for advance. For example, if God speaks to a man about transformation and revival in a certain city, it might make sense to start a church and gather the laborers. Those laborers will be trained for the sake of running the specific race God has given that church.

Yes, churches should absolutely reach out to widows and orphans. They should be centers of healing. When there are needs, the church should do what it can to help (though, it can’t always help in every way at all times). That being said, those who have been trained, healed and equipped should understand the church needs them as laborers, as intercessors, as financial givers and as champions of the vision.

Most of the spiritual needs we have don’t require the involvement of the pastor. We can easily grow in the Word on our own. We can seek out deliverance through others. We can learn to lean more on God than man.

If our churches were strong militaries where everyone signed up to give to the mission instead of making demands, the world would be turned upside down.

RELATIONSHIPS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

If there one thing that troubles me, it’s when people gather together in the church to meet with friends and then lose passion when they are called to invest in the vision. I’ve seen this happen many times. People who want to connect relationally will stay involved until that well runs dry. Then, the pastor and leadership are accused of not having a loving church or facilitating friendships. While relationships are important, they aren’t the goal. The pastor’s job isn’t to develop a friendship club. The mission of intercession and Kingdom advance should be their focus.

I heard a story, again about IHOPKC, that speaks to this. Long ago, they instituted small groups. They started to flourish as people focused on developing relationships and satisfying that desire to make friends. That’s good. However, the primary, foundational purpose of IHOPKC was compromised. The main reason the ministry was founded was to gather people to pray and worship night and day. The prayer room started to empty as the small groups grew. They put an end to the small groups. It wasn’t until years later that they reinstituted them using a different model, one that ensured the small groups empowered the prayer room instead of threatening it.

This is one reason many churches today focus on small groups, visitor assimilation, pot lucks and connecting events—as the call to prayer goes silent. That’s what will fill the church, and kill the very reason we are to gather in the first place. To pray. Prayer is to be the main thing in every church.

17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” Mark 11:17 (ESV)

WE SHOULD ALL BE ALLOWED TO MINISTER DURING THE SERVICE

26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 1 Corinthians 14:26 (ESV)

This is the famous verse many disgruntled people use when they share their frustrations about the church. They want to minister in the service and they don’t like just sitting there and listening to one person teach. They attempt to spiritualize their irritation.

This argument is often a manifestation of a spirit of rejection. Their ministry has not been given a place and they took offense. As one who has led churches for years I don’t apologize for disallowing certain people from ministering in the service. My role is to protect the sheep. If someone desires to minister, but it’s from a wounded heart, it can do great damage. But, let’s leave that alone for a moment and deal with the crux of the matter.

Shortly after Pentecost, the early church had, as some estimate, over 10,000 Christians. There would be, of course, no way for all of them to teach a lesson or deliver a message in tongues, and then wait for an interpretation. It’s impossible.

The reality is there were two complimentary expressions of the church, the large group meeting and the small group meeting.

In the small group meeting, spiritual gifts could be exercised. A variety of people could share a message. Various songs could be sung. However, this is not the only expression of the church. In fact, I’d argue the large meeting just might be the most important. This is where God’s ordained leader would gather the people and bring mature, focused instruction. In fact, the Ekklesia best defines the large group meeting. It’s a secular term that indicates a governmental gathering where leadership gives instructions to the people.

Paul did this. Peter did this. God reveals key information to pastors and leaders regarding the mission of the church, the culture, the hour and the resistance of the enemy. The pastor must then have the attention of the people so they can rightly respond.

WE AREN’T SUPPOSED TO BE SPECTATORS

Let’s deal with this two ways. First, I believe at times we absolutely are to be spectators, meaning, we sit at attention and listen carefully to the teaching. We can’t diminish the value of this, as I revealed in the previous point. Second, it’s true that we all have a role to play. The pastor has no obligation to allow us to minister any way we choose. When I was a youth pastor in a large church in Texas, the pastor assigned some ministry assignments to me that I despised. My ministry was to clean all of the bathrooms between services and to spend 8 hours every Friday in the scorching heat mowing their massive lawn. Oh yeah, I got to do some youth pastor stuff too.

I guarantee, those who are truly serious about not wanting to be spectators will have many opportunities to serve in the church! In fact, I bet if you ask your pastor where you can serve he’ll give you at least two or three options.

WE CAN WORSHIP AND GROW IN THE WORD ALONE OR IN SMALL GROUPS

Yes, we absolutely can grow alone. In fact, we should grow alone and in small groups. As I explained above, the small group expression of the church is valuable. Additionally, we should all be students of the Word and in prayer all by ourselves. Our prayer closets can’t hold more than just one of us.

However, don’t forget, the purpose of the church isn’t primarily to meet our personal needs, be they spiritual or natural. It’s great that you can grow better on your own than by sitting in the pew on a Sunday morning. That’s exactly what’s supposed to happen. But, remember, the purpose of the church is to be a house of prayer for all nations. You are needed as a soldier to show up for duty. You are needed on the wall. The church isn’t there to load you up with Bible knowledge or to act as a bridge between you and intimacy with God. You can do that on your own. The church needs you to meet it’s needs.

THE CHURCH ISN’T A BUILDING

Somebody needs to shout this loud and clear: Stop saying the church isn’t a building!

This argument is most often a passive aggressive attempt to devalue the Sunday local church gathering. People say this to validate their decision to disengage from the local church and to just “be the church.” Yeah, no. That doesn’t work.

As far as I can tell, people who leave “the building” to meet in homes are still meeting in buildings. Homes are buildings. Further, buildings are really great when it’s snowing or raining outside. I’m a big fan of buildings.

They may also argue that they don’t want to invest money in the maintenance of a building when they can simply meet in homes instead. This argument doesn’t work either. As I shared above, there must be two expressions of the church. The large group gathering is important. What happens if the church grows beyond 50 or 100 people? Some would say to multiply out and start new home groups.

This might work at times, but very often it doesn’t. We forget that God will specifically call a man or woman to lead a work. It’s important that we have the opportunity to sit under that person’s leadership, and that will most usually require a large venue.

When I was a part of IHOPKC, it was important for me to be in services with the entire community to hear Mike Bickle teach, share vision and give direction. It was invaluable. It required a large auditorium to do that.

WE ARE ALL EQUAL AND PASTORS SHOULDN’T BE ELEVATED ABOVE US

Nonsense. God absolutely favors people differently and he calls people differently. Some are able to teach, and some aren’t. Some have the gift of leadership and others don’t. We all play a part, but every single part is different.

Throughout Scripture, God called specific people to give leadership over others. Moses, Joshua, Paul and many others were put into leadership roles. Their function was not the same as others. Their maturity was not the same. Their gifting was not the same. Their anointing was not the same. None of that was equal.

Of course, God is no respecter of persons when it comes to his love, his passion for their lives and the fact that he died for them. But, you’d have to be biblically blind to say he favors and positions everybody equally.

We must understand there is rank and order in God’s government. God has generals, captains, privates, and, sadly, a bunch of people who have gone AWOL because they don’t affirm this leadership in their lives.

Give double honor to spiritual leaders[a] who handle their duties well. This is especially true if they work hard at teaching God’s word. 1 Tim 5:17

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’d encourage you to recalibrate your expectations of the church and of pastors with Scripture. God hasn’t called us into rebellion against his precious church. We need the large and small group gatherings. God’s leaders must spend their time in prayer and the Word. The church isn’t mostly about feeding you, it’s about equipping you as a soldier in a war. When we all get unified in prayer and mission, the church becomes both a beautiful bride and a potent weapon in the hands of God.

Assisted Suicide—The Death of the House of Prayer

Assisted Suicide—This powerful dream was first shared in my book The Coming Church.

I recently had a dream that really shines the light on the coming battle in the Church. As I’ve said, the Church is to be a House of Prayer. Any other dominant defining attributes than intercession dilute and compromise the Church’s mission.

The Church isn’t to be a house of teaching, a house of friendships or a house of evangelism. It’s a House of Prayer, a place that facilitates a lifestyle of night and day intercession. We are all called to pray at that level, not just some mystical, elite group of prayer warriors. The coming Church will be a Church on fire. No longer will we gather around a fire to warm our flesh, but rather we’ll lay across it as burning ones who allow the Consuming Fire to do just that—consume us.

As we pray and live on fire, much trouble will come. We will threaten those who don’t choose to pray, those who don’t see the need. There are already strategies and theologies that are opposing and assaulting the prayer movement, and my dream brings clarity to that reality.

And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” Mark 11:17

Assisted Suicide—The Dream

In the dream, I was walking up a dirt hill where my dad was. In the dream, my dad represented the prayer movement. In the Branson, Missouri area he gave leadership to a significant regional prayer effort called the Uninterrupted Prayer Team (the UP Team).

My dad was on the top of that dry, dirty hill for a very specific reason. He was going to be executed. It was a public execution. I was shocked at how passive my dad was. He was on a bed, like a hospital bed, and he was submitted to the demand that he die.

I sensed that the forces were too strong for me to fight against them. He was to be executed, and there seemed to be nothing I could do about it.

I asked my dad what in the world was going on. He was pleasant in his demeanor, and in fact, most of the people around him who were helping facilitate the public execution were casually going about their day, and they were good friends of my dad. They were “good Christians” who were focused on having a great day and did what they could to eradicate anything that would threaten that.

My dad said, “John, this is going to be an assisted suicide.”

I couldn’t believe it! The pressure of the Church as it opposes the prayer movement will be so great, that many will be overwhelmed and will lose hope that their mandate to pray will have impact. The prayer movement is at risk of agreeing with its own death!

The Church today is threatened by the prayer movement, and it will do much to embrace the spirit of the age and execute the spirit of intercession.

As the dream continued, I then left his side and walked down the dirt road in deep, troubling thought. I looked down and saw a lighter, that looked like it was broken. I picked it up and I understood that if I could only get it to light, the execution would be called off.

If we pray, the fire of God will burn, and the opposing spirits will lose their strength.

Believe me, this is a very real situation. Someone actually contacted me online recently and arrogantly told me that they and others in a local church were actually praying for a local house of prayer to close down—and it did close down.

It’s absolutely stunning that supposed Christians can oppose prayer with such zeal that they actually pray against the prayer movement!

We can’t even call people to prayer today due to the fear that they will leave our churches! My God! How can we presume revival is near?

I met with a House of Prayer network leader the other day who said that people leave churches when leaders shift time, energy and attention from them to God. I’ve watched that happen myself, and it rips me up!

The coming Church will be marked by constant prayer, and there will be a divide along this line. If we don’t pray, I do believe it’s a serious issue with eternity hanging in the balance. If we truly know God, we will understand the desire and need to connect with him in prayer.

A CHURCH ON FIRE

Where are the ones who aren’t looking first for human friends, personal affirmation or a sense of belonging but who are seeking after every available minute to minister to God in prayer? The prayer rooms must be full—and the main prayer room in the American Church is the Sunday morning sanctuary!

And don’t you even think of using the excuse that you need to create a non-threatening environment for the new believer! Every person, young or old, immature or seasoned must be in the prayer room—and it must be their primary focus! What if the Upper Room were toned down in the hopes of drawing a bigger crowd and interested seekers?

We must absolutely refuse to tone down the activity of the Holy Spirit out of respect of those less hungry! God is a consuming fire, and he is about to consume what is unholy and compromised. Who are we to presume we know better how to facilitate a service? Is inviting the Holy Spirit to step aside as we give preference to human wisdom the way to go? I’ve heard it said that the main Sunday service should be a toned-down meeting so as not to freak out visitors and seekers. Apparently the meeting where the Holy Spirit has liberty to move in freedom should be reserved for a night when there’s little risk of the unconverted showing up.

This is humanistic religion at its best! Did those in the Upper Room tone down the Holy Spirit so as not to confuse and trouble the seekers in the city? Absolutely not! In fact, the power was so extreme and so unusual that the people were provoked to wonder and proclaim, “they must be drunk!” What was happening was off of their grid.

When man moves, it’s naturally familiar. When God moves, it’s supernaturally shocking. Keep in mind, there’s always a spirit giving leadership in a service—the spirit of man, a demonic spirit or the Holy Spirit.

I told God one day many years ago that if I responded to his extreme call to facilitate a white hot environment of prayer in our church I would lose my reputation. People would sever relationship with me and hurl accusations my way.

God said, “Good. My Son was of no reputation, why should you be?” I was rocked. It was that day, many years ago, that I stopped trying to look good and build a ministry and make people happy about running with me. Selfish ambition died that day. The moment we make decisions based mostly on attracting people, keeping people or raising money is the moment we have failed as leaders.

…but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:7-8

I’m not trying to build a ministry—I’m devoted to obeying God and delivering the messages he has given me. I know these messages will directly hit theologies and ideals that so many hold dear. That’s the point. I crave people’s freedom from those harmful ideals! I desire the truth of Jesus to invade everybody’s life!

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

One reason I’m OK with this divisive strategy (that Jesus affirmed above) is that it clearly reveals who’s for and who’s opposed. I’d rather make the message clear and know who I’m running with than to tone it down and have those who are opposed to it in our camp. So, we love and serve everybody in the camp, but we can’t get sidetracked from our mission for the sake of their comfort.

Trust me, the resulting remnant of burning ones will rejoice at such an atmosphere of clarity and fire! Those who are lukewarm today just may awaken and burn tomorrow—if we have the courage to preach the very difficult, costly truth and call every person to the fire of continual prayer!

I’m sure there are some who translate boldness and refusal to soft step issues as arrogance—but I do not apologize. Yeah, I know that sounds arrogant! The reason I don’t apologize is because I wrestle with the call to humility continually, and I check my heart non-stop. The possibility of pride and arrogance is there, without question, and I take that very seriously. I check my heart to ensure I’m humble and full of love. It’s wisdom to receive insight from your critics, at least to a point!

People that are close to me do know my heart—and they know I’m broken before the Lord. My call is to aggressively sound alarms, gather people around the mission of revival and provoke people to pray night and day. It can’t be a soft spoken suggestion if we hope to awaken a great end-time army!

Several years ago in Colorado, the Lord directed me very urgently to learn how to walk in extreme humility and extreme boldness at the same time. It was a full year of intense prayer and discovery—a personal school of the Holy Spirit. In that school, I learned much, including this—I was not to attempt to appear humble, I was to be humble. Why was this important? Because the Elijah-level boldness that is required to impact a region would often look like anything but humility. It would appear as arrogance and selfish ambition.

We are not in a season where we need to gather around a table and water down the message in the hopes of finding common ground that results in handshakes and smiles. The message of the hour will overturn that table with violence.

I endeavor to love every person deeply, but I refuse to affirm systems, methodologies, theologies and lifestyles that are an offense to the Word of God. I will, in humility and boldness, be relentless in provoking the sleepers to awaken and those given to a lukewarm life to be shaken. Prophetic threats against human systems and unholy altars results in accusation, gossip and resistance.

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.” Judges 6:28-31

I know the accusations will continue, but you need to know that, if you are bold, you will provoke. You must be OK with that! Love people deeply, hate the enemy powerfully and know there will be a crisis in the middle as God, people and demons step into the ring. Don’t wrestle against flesh and blood! Be innocent! But don’t presume a passive spirit is the same thing as a humble spirit.

The assault against the prayer movement is extreme and we must advance against the spirit of the age with fire in our veins and tears in our eyes.

Priests or Thieves? Churches must shift radically and immediately into furnaces of prayer.

The current danger in the world demands an immediate shift of strategy for the church.

Cheerleading and positive motivation has become today’s preferred substitute for prophetic decrees, and the church is fading away as a result.

The world has entered a season of great danger and the church must respond aggressively and unapologetically with a bold prophetic thrust.

I have no desire to gently encourage people to consider the possibility of going deeper in the place of prayer. I’m declaring that it’s that or massive spiritual death in the nations of the Earth.

Either run with the remnant and initiate a prayer movement that is anchored on Sunday mornings or get out of the way.

Priests or Thieves?

And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” Mark 11:17

How many leaders are functioning as thieves instead of priests?

Before you answer, consider how much of church life is strategically set up today in order to draw and keep people and the money they bring with them.

I asked my wife the other day if she thought we’d do anything different in our ministry if the need for tithes and offerings wasn’t there. She thought for a moment and then said, “No, I don’t believe we’d change a thing.”

That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.

You see, when the reformation in the church comes in full force, the high majority of people currently in our churches will run. The call will be too inconvenient and the cost too extreme. We won’t have entry level churches anymore that pander to a casually committed seeker looking for an enhancement to their lives.

Just as in the days of the early church, people will once again realize that the decision to follow Jesus very well may cost them their lives.

If your church cancelled every program, ever meeting, every service, every children’s event, every conference and did nothing for a year but pray in the Spirit and decree the Word of God, what would happen?

  • Most would leave.
  • Money would disappear.
  • Pastor’s salaries would be lost.
  • Church buildings would have to be sold.
  • Complaining and gossip would skyrocket.
  • Accusation and bitterness would fill the hearts of many.
  • Revival would come.

The church is first and foremost a house of prayer. This means that prayer must be the driving force, the primary activity and the expected, continual function of every member.

A Christian who is not invested wildly in fervent prayer is in an eternally risky place. In fact, a non-praying Christian isn’t a Christian at all.

Non-praying Christians are the result of non-praying churches. Prayer drives people out and God in. Our American ego won’t allow for the appearance of failure that empty chairs would bring, so we invite the invisible God to leave instead in the hopes that the crowds of people will presume he is there by default.

And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.” 1 Samuel 4:21-22

TROUBLERS ARISE!

1 Kings 18:17-18 (ESV) 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.

imageIs there anybody out there like Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson who is bringing attention to how so much of the church is following the Baals?

We need more troublers to arise! Why? Based on what we see in Elijah’s story, the prevailing culture is actually what is troubling the church and it’s the prophets of God that MUST stand boldly in the face of their accusations. Truth will prevail. God will answer by fire.

We can’t even call people to prayer today due to the fear that they will leave our churches! My God! How can we presume revival is near?

Over 340 Houses of Prayer closed their doors last year. I met with a house of prayer network leader the other day who said that people leave churches when leaders shift time, energy and attention from them to God. I’ve watched that happen myself, and it rips me up! In our church in Colorado we shifted from potlucks to prayer meetings and there was a mass exodus. We lost people and money. I had to get a part-time job. It was disruptive. It was heartbreaking that people ran from the call to pray.

Where are the ones who aren’t looking first for human friends, personal affirmation or a sense of belonging but who are seeking after every available minute to minister to God in prayer? The prayer rooms must be full—and the main prayer room in the American church is the Sunday morning sanctuary!

I heard about a pastor of a 1200 member church that shifted their culture to that of a house of prayer. 600 people left! That pastor is a true leader in the Kingdom!

And, don’t you even think of using the excuse that you need to create a non-threatening environment for the new Believer! Every person, young or old, immature or seasoned must be in the prayer room—and it must be their primary focus! What if the Upper Room was toned down in the hopes of drawing a bigger crowd and interested seekers?

MY REPUTATION

I told God one day many years ago that, if I responded to his call, I would lose my reputation. People would sever relationship with me and hurl accusations my way.

God said, “Good. My Son was of no reputation, why should you be?” I was rocked. It was that day, many years ago, that I stopped trying to look good and build a ministry and make people happy about running with me. Selfish ambition died that day. The moment we make decisions based mostly on attracting people, keeping people or raising money is the moment we have failed as leaders.

Philippians 2:7-8 (KJV) 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

I’m not trying to build a ministry—I’m devoted to obeying God and delivering the messages he has given me. I know these messages will directly hit theologies and ideals that so many hold dear. That’s the point. I crave people’s freedom from those harmful ideals! I desire the truth of Jesus to invade everybody’s life!

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.

One reason I’m OK with this divisive strategy (that Jesus affirmed above) is that it clearly reveals who’s for and who’s opposed. I’d rather make the message clear and know who I’m running with then to tone it down and have those who are opposed to it in our camp (Have you ever had a witch infiltrate your ministry? I have, and it’s not fun!). So, we love and serve everybody in the camp, but we can’t get sidetracked from our mission for the sake of their comfort.

Trust me, the resulting remnant of burning ones will rejoice at such an atmosphere of clarity and fire! Those who are lukewarm today just may awaken and burn tomorrow—if we have the courage to preach the very difficult, costly truth!

There are some people thanking me for my boldness in delivering the messages God gives me. There are others who are vocally opposed to me. There are many more still who are silent but resistant—many of them friends in the past who I don’t hear from anymore. They sadly just disappeared from our lives.

I’m sure there are some who translate boldness and refusal to soft step issues as arrogance—but I do not apologize. Yeah, I know that sounds arrogant! The reason I don’t apologize is because I wrestle with the call to humility continually, and I check my heart non-stop. The possibility of pride and arrogance is there, without question, and I take that very seriously. I check my heart to ensure I’m humble and full of love. It’s wisdom to receive insight from your critics, at least to a point!

People that are close to me do know my heart—and they know I’m broken before the Lord. My call is to aggressively sound alarms, gather people around the mission of revival and call people to pray night and day. It can’t be a soft spoken suggestion if we hope to awaken a great end-time army!

Several years ago in Colorado, the Lord directed me very urgently to learn how to walk in extreme humility and extreme boldness at the same time. It was full year of intense prayer and discovery—a personal school of the Holy Spirit. In that school, I learned much, including this—I was not to attempt to appear humble, I was to be humble. Why was this important? Because the Elijah level boldness that is required to impact a region would often look like anything but humility. It would appear as arrogance and selfish ambition.

We are not in a season where we need to gather around a table and water down the message in the hopes of finding common ground that results in handshakes and smiles. The message of the hour will overturn that table with violence.

I endeavor to love every person deeply, but I refuse to affirm systems, methodologies, theologies and lifestyles that are an offense to the Word of God. I will, in humility and boldness, be relentless in provoking the sleepers to awaken and those given to a lukewarm life to be shaken. Prophetic threats against human systems and unholy altars results in accusation, gossip and resistance.

Judges 6:28-31 (ESV) 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.”

I know the accusations will continue, but you need to know that, if you are bold, you will provoke. You must be OK with that! Love people deeply, hate the enemy powerfully and know there will be a crisis in the middle as God, people and demons step into the ring. Don’t wrestle against flesh and blood! Be innocent! But, don’t presume a passive spirit is the same thing as a humble spirit.

With this in mind, lets look at three churches that are endangering millions of prayerless people:

THREE DANGEROUS CHURCHES: How Compromised Church Movements Put Our Salvation At Risk

There are different types of churches that millions of Americans are a part of—that are at significant risk. I challenge you to read this book in its entirety and prayerfully consider, in humility, whether you may have fallen into one of these at risk groups. I must also wrestle with this myself.

God 2.0

I’m disturbed. That’s not news, really, as I was created to carry the burden of God for the Bride—his Church. This results in a life of both continual joy and non-stop grieving—and never-ending bold calls of consecration.

The dissatisfaction with God in our nation has resulted in an attempted upgrade—a 2.0 version of God that meets our demands and fits the picture of the perfect leader. Always happy. Always nice to us. Always working to fulfill our desires. Not inconvenient. His personality matches what we expect in a God.

And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.  They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” Exodus 32:7-8

The previous verse reveals the motive of the people:

And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. Exodus 32:6

The Hebrews were not satisfied with the current version of God, so their 2.0 upgrade was in the form of a golden calf—a god of their own design.

After all, God’s purpose is to perform as we expect him to, right? He is mostly interested in our desires to eat, drink and play, isn’t he?

My God, how far has the church fallen?

BEZALEL

The warning of Exodus 32 should really begin a chapter earlier.

The LORD said to Moses,  “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,  and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship,  to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze,  in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.  And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you:  the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent,  the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense,  and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand,  and the finely worked garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests,  and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do.” Exodus 31:1-11

Just how were they able to craft the golden calf? God himself gave Bezalel the Spirit of God, ability, intelligence and knowledge and all craftsmanship. God’s anointing, if you will, resulted in Bezalel and his men having the ability to craft another god. This is what we are seeing today. People who have been gifted and anointed by God are forming movements, idols, that are attractive to people. This should cause us great concern. Everything that looks beautiful, effective and anointed is not approved by God. Much of it is an abomination.

The Bride

Entire movements in our nation have upgraded God to their 2.0 version, and have successfully seduced millions of Christians to abandon the old, outdated, ancient Jesus. The arguments of the emergents have infiltrated the mainline church in America.

Before I continue, I have to make an important point. When bold truth is revealed that threatens the status quo of the church, it’s common for those who are invested in that system to accuse the messenger of being unloving or unconcerned for the Bride of Christ.

How opposite the reality truly is!

It’s deep, troubling love that causes those who are broken over the compromised Bride to sound alarms and shine lights to shake and wake a church that’s in extreme risk of living forever without the Bridegroom!

We must be concerned not for the personal desires and perspectives of those who presume to identify with the Bride, but for God himself and his desire for those who are lukewarm or deceived to pursue him with passion!

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if over one-half of the true church fell away in the end-times. This should shock us into reality.

This, my friend, is why we must risk offense to let an at risk Bride understand just what is at stake. Many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day. That reality haunts me non-stop.

The False Bride

Do we understand that not everybody who calls themselves a Christian actually is? Again, that is why we have an urgent job as forerunners. The false bride, those who think they are Christians but are not, are at extreme risk of burning in Hell for multiplied trillions of years. Actually, forever. We cannot remain silent.

An immediate and unbiblical response that many people have today is, “It’s not your place to judge.” How many times have you heard that defense from the secular camp? Now, we are hearing it from Christians when their pet sins, false doctrines or structures are threatened!

The accusation is that we are being cruel, unloving or presumptuous by dealing with this subject matter. Again, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

As Christians, we actually have a very serious responsibility to judge in love! It’s a part of our job description. Pure love of the Bride will reveal all that hinders love!

We absolutely have a responsibility to urgently warn, to release messages of awakening, to talk about eternity, about Heaven and Hell. We must call people to greater fervency. It’s love that demands this, yet so few are sounding alarms.

If I see a child wandering into oncoming traffic, I don’t really care so much about whether he chose to rebel by running into the street. I’m not thinking about his motives or his error of judgment. I just want to warn him so he isn’t crushed by a bus. Yes, it is that simple. It is that urgent.

At Risk Churches

With that in mind, I want to reveal some major church movements and expressions that are actually opposing the cross. The call of every single Christian is to hear God’s voice, to know him deeply and to intercede for the nations. You can gauge where the general church public is by calling a prayer meeting. The most elementary call for any Christian is to pray–and when Christians avoid the prayer room, it’s a revelation of just where we are as a church in this nation. Frightening.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if most people in the church in America are unsaved.

Leonard Ravenhill said he doubts that 5% of American church goers are actually saved.

I heard someone once say, who had a heavenly encounter, that approximately only 1 in 1000 who die on any given day make it to Heaven. Possibly 99.9% go to Hell. That wouldn’t surprise me, and it grieves me beyond what I can bear. Those who follow God 2.0 would never support this statistic. He is benevolent and unconcerned with the condition of our hearts. There’s a ring of Universalism sounding from that camp–and millions are at risk of eternal torment because of it.

Mike Bickle said that the false-grace message, which is one of the leading causes of people being deceived as a false bride, is more dangerous than the issue of abortion and 54 million baby’s blood crying out in our nation!

Three Dangerous Churches

Listen closely! This is serious! My God, help us! Potentially millions of people who are absolutely convinced that they are saved are actually following Jesus in an unsaved condition right now! Many more will fall away in the future! Who will warn them?

Before we look at the problem churches, we must consider this: We have to resist the urge to presume the current Sunday driven church structure is the biblical norm. If we think we’re functioning normally, we’ll resort to minor adjustments to that system instead of the destruction of it in favor of the introduction of the biblical church.

When we truly understand this, we’ll devote ourselves to the removal of man made systems and give ourselves to the development of the new.

Most people alive today have no idea what revival is. They have never experienced it. They have no grid for it. So, we default to what we have experienced and try to build on that faulty foundation.

1. The Money Changers Church

In Matthew, the passage that deals with the money changers follows immediately after another type of church that we’ll discuss next—the Triumphal Entry Church. I find it interesting that these two stories are back-to-back, and that they are events that are closely situated to the drama of the cross. Simply said, the cross of Christ is not only foreign, but resisted.

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.  He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew 21:12-13

The money changers church is possibly the best representation of the current American/Western church. This is a serious issue. This is possibly the most severe and violent reaction from Jesus to a situation when he was still on the Earth.

Note how aggressively Jesus rebuked and resisted the money changers. Why is this?

They were fueled by a spirit of religion. Religion defined is man’s attempt to use God and his church to get what he wants. They were using the temple for personal gain. They were thinking about their own needs and desires instead of ministering to God. They went into the temple with the expectation of leaving with more than they entered with. The call to the church is for us to enter with an offering. A sacrifice. We leave with less than we entered with!

Today, prayer is nearly dead in the church. Additionally, even in churches that support prayer, if every service was cancelled and replaced with prayer meetings, there would be a mass exodus of disappointed people who aren’t getting their desires met.

In Acts, the “wait and pray” mandate was resisted by almost everybody. Thank God for 120 who weren’t waiting for a call from a pastor, a pat on the back or the perfect ministry center for their family. They showed up, laid down their agendas and changed the world.

I’ve said it probably thousands of times and I’ll say it again. Our false expectations of what a church should be are resulting in a defiled structure. The church isn’t a house of teaching, a house of evangelism, a house of friendships or even a house of musical worship. It’s a house of prayer first and foremost. The other focuses are important, but secondary at best. Would you stay in a church that prayed as their primary activity? Or would you get frustrated and leave if your demands weren’t met? Is it possible you may be functioning in a similar spirit as the money changers? You go to church to receive instead of to give?

Pastors know most would not stay, so they have all too often traded in their mantle of prophet for salesman. The church product has been altered, spruced up and packaged in a way to let the people know that they will receive the best bang for their buck if they come to their church.

This is grieving, and must end! I am looking for pavement people—those who aren’t looking for comfort, but will hit the pavement and cry out to God as they did in 2 Chronicles 7!!

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

Long ago as a young, first time church planter, my wife and I would often take visitors out to lunch after the service. I’d do my best song and dance to sell the Revolution Church experience to them. I’d ask what they were looking for in a church, and more times than not I’d encourage them that we’d get right on that! We’d be sure to sell them the product they are looking for!

My brilliant wife would get so frustrated with me! She wanted me to stop the nonsense and simply communicate our vision. Boy, was she right! I was acting in the spirit of the money changers!

I slowly changed my sales pitch. Instead of letting people know how much they would receive if they chose our church for their home, I was reveal the challenge and the cost. I’d let them know that we all pray together 10+ hours a week. We give financially in an extravagant way. We are fervent and burning and calling people into a radical lifestyle—to the cross.

I’d actually try to discourage them from participating if they weren’t on board with the vision! And, surprise! I got more response from that call than I did trying to sell the perfect experience!

2. The Triumphal Entry Church

Now this is church!

I’ve witnessed first hand how people will flood into an environment that’s full of celebration and exuberance. I enjoy those environments too!

I’ve also witnessed first hand how those same people—those who are dancing at the altar, going after a happy experience, will get sad when the call to the cross is preached. It’s heart wrenching.

The focus of the people at the Triumphal Entry is similar to the focuses in the other churches we are discussing. They wanted their lives to be better. Blessing and personal gain were their motives.

The word “Hosanna” literally means, “save us now.” The people wanted a king who would give them life in a kingdom that would be personally fulfilling. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that desire—unless that’s the extent of the desire.

Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”  And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”  And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Matthew 21:8-11

Notice how there was a measure of sacrifice by the people. They gave their cloaks. They got to work and cut down palm branches. They were exuberant in their worship. I can imagine a spirit-filled environment where people are at the altar dancing and laughing and worshiping. I’ve had that happen in churches I’ve led many times, and it’s great! Many churches are growing with this very positive, happy focus—but, the growth is, in my opinion, often driven by people who will not stay the course if the cross is preached with boldness.

See, Jesus was willing to save them now. However, his methods were nowhere near satisfactory for a crowd of people who were looking for life, not death. Jesus chose the cross as the means to answer their prayers. This crowd of energetic worshipers switched quickly to energetic crucifiers.

I’m all for wild, fervent worship. I am a proponent of continual joy. We should dance and smile a lot. However, we can’t dismiss the burden of the cross and the call to die.

Don’t presume a church is alive just because there’s an electric atmosphere. Human energy and desire can create quite an environment. Wait and see who remains when the call to surrender is high, and the alarms of intercession are sounded.

3. The Rich Young Ruler Church

There is some relation between the Rich Young Ruler church and the Money Changers Church. In both scenarios, personal gain was the focus.

The Rich Young Ruler, however, possessed a sincere desire to follow Jesus. Notice how Jesus reveals this story is all about salvation:

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”  And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”  He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,  Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”  Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” Matthew 19:16-25

I am convinced there are millions of people following Jesus in an unsaved condition. Pastors have affirmed people’s commitment to Christ and, in turn, their eternal security, all while, in many of those cases Jesus knew the deeper truth—they were not willing to surrender all. I believe the sinner’s prayer has probably led more people to Hell than to Heaven. Handled wrongly it gives people false-confidence in their position in Christ.

How many go to church each week, raise their hands in worship, pay their tithes and “follow Jesus” in a very public way, the same way the Rich Young Ruler wanted to—but are actually not saved?

Even Billy Graham admits less than 2% of people who make decisions at his crusades over the years remain true followers of Jesus. Wow!

If you are struggling with this and the truth of your own salvation, that’s good! That’s healthy! I don’t know where it started being negative for us to wrestle with that. Today leaders don’t want to upset people with messages like this out of fear of accusation and ridicule. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling! The disciples in the above passage wrestled with it, and so should we. Let’s see what Jesus says next:

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”  Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:26-29

The most controversial thing I’ve ever said just may be this:

I give myself about an 80% chance of making Heaven.

Is there any part of the Rich Young Ruler in me? Is it possible that I could fall away? It would be arrogant for me to presume that I’m exempt from the great falling away. I wrestle with Jesus and with my own heart—and I love that process.

Again, it’s healthy and necessary to work that out day by day. And, we need pastors and leaders who won’t skirt that tough topic out of fear of losing people who would rather be coddled. It’s possible that the best giver and most vibrant member of your church is on a track that leads to Hell. We can’t stay silent on this issue.

When you understand how deeply God loves you, it’s wonderful to wrestle with the difficult topics. It’s invigorating!

It’s critical! So many will be shocked to enter Hell. We see this proven in scripture:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

The Coming Church

Spiritual encounters, whether they are visions, dreams or visitations, can go a long way in preparing individuals, groups, and even nations for the otherworldly, dramatic and critical shifts that God is setting into motion. Of course, we know in Scripture that spiritual things must be discerned spiritually, and it’s important to understand clearly what’s being communicated. We also know that all dreams, for example, are not necessarily spiritual dreams. That must be discerned. I challenge you to stay up until 3AM and then consume a bucket of hot wings, a can of Mountain Dew and a half a gallon of ice cream and see what kind of crazy images dance around in your head when you finally fall asleep. Experiences like that won’t shake nations. However, the encounter I had absolutely must.

I had a vision of the soon coming Church. For me, a spiritual revelation, a message delivered directly by the Creator of the world, is usually very easy to discern. It’s rare that I have to go to someone seeking out an interpretation. The scene and the message are almost always extremely vivid and revealing. I immediately understand what the players, atmosphere and story line are attempting to communicate to me.

This particular encounter was no different—in fact, it was so striking, fearful, engulfing and overpowering that the imagery and message will keep me trembling in my spirit forever.

In order to appreciate the magnitude of the message that was communicated to me in the vision, it will be helpful to understand the context. Try to imagine, at least to an incredibly small degree, the picture of the true Church that God himself sees. It shouldn’t be a stretch to realize the picture of the compromised Church that we see on the Earth today clearly cannot match up. Meaning, when God drew up the designs for the glorious Church, leading up to its launch in the book of Acts, the blueprint that was before him looks little like the Church we see today. God’s Church looks little like the Church we have come to know.

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. Acts 2:1-3

Do me a favor and read that passage in Acts chapter 2 one more time. I want those three verses to dive into your spirit and shake you up. When God started diagramming the Church, this is what he envisioned—this is where he started. When you compare this passage of Scripture with descriptions of the modern-day Church as we know it, it seems like we are comparing apples and oranges, or even the living and the dead.

I’d like to ask you to read the passage one more time. As I’m writing this, I feel the Spirit of the Lord starting to burn in my inner man. Let me pray for you right now just before you read it again:

Mighty God, I pray the burnings of your Spirit would be transmitted into your friend’s heart. Give them a glimpse into the supernatural yet strikingly real realm of the Church. Give them the capacity to release old paradigms, structures, traditions, mind sets and cultures as they come alive to the reality of the Church as you see it. Amen.

Okay, go ahead and read the passage in Acts chapter 2 one more time.

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. Acts 2:1-3

Is it becoming a little bit easier to understand just what the Church should look like? You see, as God designed and then launched the Church, it was literally blowing and burning and every one of those in that upper room experienced it. As we begin to embrace the truth that passages like this are not science fiction, and that they communicate actual phenomena that are expected to be normal for us as believers, it will become easier to leave behind what we know and press toward the soon coming Church. We will suddenly find ourselves so deeply dissatisfied that any thought of maintenance becomes quite ridiculous.

America doesn’t need another bed-and-breakfast church that comforts our flesh (our natural desires). Our nation needs a Church with a volatile atmosphere that explodes, burns human flesh and shocks our culture.

Now, keep in mind that this fiery Acts 2 reality was communicated to us by the Spirit through the Word. This passage is the Word of God, not simply a descriptive, historical report. So, God’s plan is for the Church to be a supernatural raging furnace of Holy Spirit activity.

Mark 7:13 reveals how powerful tradition of man is. It actually makes the Word of God ineffective! The traditions of man overpower the greatest power in existence—Jesus Christ himself. Do you feel the weight of that? Is it possible that we need to embrace the fear of the Lord again? There is a holy tremble that will come as the fierceness of God is revealed to us at the same time the burning love of God does. The thought of allowing man-made concepts, structures or agendas to push aside and nullify God’s plans seems nonsensical. Yet it happens with stunning regularity every day all over the world.

…making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down… Mark 7:13

Of course it’s true that the definition of the Church cannot be limited to a perspective of one segment of the greater structure. It is certainly true, as is revealed later on in Acts chapter 2, that the healthy Church will include Kingdom-focused fellowship, breaking of bread, bold proclamation of the Gospel, discipleship, evangelism, prayer and other critical activities. However, what we see in the Church today is a lot of activity, even good activity, but usually without the tangible burning and blowing of God’s Spirit.

The Crater

If you take a look at the cover of this book, you will see a futilely poor attempt at visually communicating what I experienced in my vision. In the vision, I found myself in a dramatic, apocalyptic scene. Everything seemed to be colorless, or at best a variety of dark blues, grays and greens. The ominous clouds matched up with the dark and wild landscape all around me.

Directly in front of me was the focal point of the vision, a tremendously massive crater. I can’t begin to describe in human language the overwhelmingly weighty, urgent, and fearsome atmosphere that gripped me and demanded my complete attention. I was trembling as I looked at the edge of the crater in the distance. As I slowly walked toward the gigantic hole in the ground, I knew I could not approach it casually. The fear of the Lord surrounded me. I couldn’t imagine what type of alien invasion could have created an impression this deep in such solid ground. The force had to have been greater than anything my human mind could comprehend.

As I was analyzing the drama that I was experiencing, God revealed to me that the crater I was drawing near to was not simply a hole in the ground. It was, in fact, the coming Church.  The Church? My mind certainly couldn’t even begin to analyze what that meant, but my spirit was raging. My mind presumed I should be looking at a small white church building with a steeple, but that was not at all what my spiritual eyes were seeing.

My spirit was provoked and alive, 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.

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

Note that 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:

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 1 Corinthians 3:1-2

I continued to tremble as the increasingly intense, colorless atmosphere engulfed me, and as I ever so carefully, fearfully, yet with intense curiosity approached the edge of the coming Church, the crater.

Again, I realized I couldn’t casually participate. This was a very clear message that I was receiving. The days of casually connecting in secular fellowship in the Church were over. The shaking and trembling rocked my whole being as I approached this invasion of Heaven on Earth.

Once at the edge, I was stunned and my senses were overwhelmed as I looked at what seemed to be alive. While everything else around me was grayscale, I saw vivid, bright and glowing, neon hues of orange, yellow and red and a prism of colors in between. The bright, colorful, burning lava was living and active. It was moving, coursing throughout the crater. My trembling intensified.

Holocaust?

I received an email from someone in theLab University, our ministry training center, here in the Detroit area. The message instantly received my attention when I saw the content contained the word holocaust. Of course, that’s a provocative and sensitive word and it takes some care to handle it when applying it to current situations.

The email was sent to several of us at theLab in reference to a conference I was about to minister at. I’ll share the complete, unedited email so you have a full glimpse of what was being communicated. Keep the vision of the crater in mind as you read.

Hey Fellow Fireball Launchers! I’ve been hit w/ this urgency thing to pray for John, his upcoming trip to Connecticut to speak at the conference w/ Brian Simmons & James Levesque, & well, the conference as a whole. I just feel like we need to rally around him & call down fire on this conference! I’m feelin that God is gonna break through in a crazy way during this, & John is carrying this crazy powerful message. As the Lord impressed it on my heart to pray, I heard 1 word… holocaust. At first, the only thing that came to mind was “the” holocaust of World War II. After my initial thoughts on the word subsided, I started to think about the word. As I was talking to the Lord, I kept asking “What do you mean?”. He prompted me to look up the definition.

Here it is:
hol•o•caust noun
a great or complete devastation or destruction, especially by fire.
a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering 
(Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved October 23, 2013, from Dictionary.com website:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/HOLOCAUST)
Hah! How crazy is that? I’m not even sure what else to say right now, but whoah!  It feels like the meaning He’s relaying is not negative. It feels powerful! Still grasping the full context of what’s going on here, but I do know that God is bringin down the house with this one!!

This word was given right after I shared the vision of the crater with the students and staff at theLab. What is coming to the Church is not an enhancement or an adjustment. The destruction (or we could use the word deconstruction) will be so comprehensive and total that it will not only remove current structures, but also the faulty foundations (anything other than the foundation of Christ) they were built on. The coming Church will look nothing like the Church we now know.

This transformation will take us well beyond our human ability to understand. I believe God intentionally overwhelmed me with such a vivid vision while also leaving almost every question unanswered. This plan for reformation won’t easily translate into a formulaic church growth process. The only way we can apply it to our own situation is by falling on our faces, being consumed by another world and submitting ourselves to the risky, vulnerable and shocking process of transformation.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. Proverbs 3:5-7

Check out this simple yet profoundly important quote by Andrew Murray:

Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. (Christian Reader, v. 32, n. 4.)

We are all too often guilty of praying for what we can see or imagine. The dynamic life of prayer and faith doesn’t even really begin until we venture outside of the realm of human senses. It’s too easy to get consumed with what seems to be obvious and natural in our pursuits while forgetting that the majority of our answers and adventures sit just beyond the reach of our human understanding.

If this is true (which it is), then we must agree that God’s picture of the Church is also painted with colors that exist outside of our earthly realm. This invasion of Heaven on Earth will result in an explosion of brilliance that we could never have imagined.

This is precisely what happened in the Upper Room. God was birthing the Church as only he could with revelation and power that only he had. There was no way for anybody in that room to possibly imagine what was coming no matter how creative they may have been.

In fact, their human futility was obvious just prior to the outpouring in the Upper Room. They were required to fulfill the mandate to find a replacement for the fallen Judas. Their process actually looks a lot like the decision-making processes of Christians today. They prayed and then cast lots.

And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles. Acts 1:26

They were so limited in revelation because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given to them—that they relied on human methods of decision making. They could do no better than pray and cast lots. Today’s church is much like that—there’s little revelation and little power so we do what is humanly understandable. The coming Church is both ancient and emerging. It’s ancient because it’s the Church founded through an empty tomb and a burning Upper Room. It’s emerging because it’s been largely forsaken. Humanism has replaced supernatural power. Humanistic efforts result in a limited, disappointing life.

However, when the Holy Spirit is in the mix, what is humanly impossible becomes the launching pad of Kingdom life. The transition that is coming will result in a shift of manifestation. Instead of hoping for God to manifest in our natural realm alone we will begin manifesting in God’s supernatural realm!

As wonderful as it is, when we focus solely on God touching life as we know it in our earthly realm, we limit God. But when we venture beyond this world into the great expanse of the heavenly world, the possibilities of encounter, adventure, abundant life and Kingdom living are limitless.

I trust the idea of the Church being defined by a Sunday service with some worship songs and some teaching is looking quite ludicrous right about now.

The day after I received the vision of the coming Church I was still processing through it. As I shared in the previous chapter,  I decided to share the vision along with my clear, yet still limited interpretation with the class of interns at theLab.

Celestial Elements

It’s not uncommon for me and others to receive prophetic revelation such as dreams, visions and words, especially during the feverishly hot spiritual environments when theLab is in session, and it can be at least somewhat common to share those impressions with the class. It’s a prime environment to learn how to be intimately connected with the lover of our souls, and to hear the beating of his heart. It’s quite powerful to communicate just what that beat feels and sounds like!

This particular class was different in every way. I was suddenly carrying a burning coal from the embers of God’s heart, and I was undone from the inside out. A tremble was resonating throughout my being, and I knew I at least had to communicate what was happening. The problem was that I honestly didn’t have full understanding of what was going on. My spirit was burning with revelation, but how would I put it in human language? What would I say? Would it even make sense to these growing and hungry students? Little did I realize, it was about to make perfect sense to all of us very quickly.

I addressed the students and let them know that something terrifying, yet desirous beyond description was revealed to me the previous evening. I had their attention. I proceeded to share the events just as I did with you in the previous chapter. I was in a state of burning and sobriety. It was quite clear that all attention was to be on what I was saying, and that it certainly wasn’t time for interruptions.

I wasn’t long into the encounter when one of the students, Kathy, suddenly got quite animated. She was popping her hand up and down, clearly wanting to be heard. I wasn’t ready for any type of break because I was in the middle of sharing the revelation, so I asked her to wait until I finished. Throughout the remainder of the story, she was respectful as she waited her turn, but it was clear that something was awakened within. She was about to come out of her skin.

I ended by saying something like, “I’m not sure what any of this means specifically, but I do know this—the Church as we know it is about to end. There is a fearful burning that is about to replace today’s church culture with the supernatural force of God himself.”

Now it was Kathy’s turn. Our unsettled student was about to bring revelation with great clarity.

Kathy said something along the lines of, “I have been about to explode the entire time you were talking! I have to share with you something that I saw on National Geographic just before I left for class tonight!”

What she shared next launched this revelation into an entirely different realm. She shared what she saw and later sent me the link to watch the documentary myself online. It was a brilliantly produced special on the ramifications of a massive asteroid crashing into the Earth.

The parallels to the encounter I had were remarkable. The question that was being considered in this documentary was this:

What would happen to the Earth if a massive asteroid collided with it?

After listening to Kathy explain what she saw, I was provoked! I went home and watched the National Geographic special myself. I was stunned as I found myself in the middle of one of the most significant revelations of my life. As I watched, it was easy to see what God was saying. There is a coming collision and it will change everything. Here’s the specific takeaway as I compared my vision with the very timely National Geographic special:

The Collision

The Size

The first point of interest was quite interesting indeed. When the asteroid collided with the Earth, it was so massive in size that the top of it was 30,000 feet in the air—where commercial jets fly! This documentary revealed the shocking ramifications of an alien rock that size colliding with the Earth. Shock and awe would not be sufficient to describe it.

Spiritual Application:
God is coming in such force that it will impact not only the Earth, but the Second Heaven (the atmosphere where the enemy moves freely) as well. The strong demonic influence on the Earth from the Second Heaven will take a mighty blow as Heaven invades Earth–on a path that takes it right through his domain. This doesn’t mean the enemy will be disarmed. In fact, the demonic activity will intensify with great power, but the Church will be awakened into its authority and will see many demonic attacks thwarted. Confidence to advance the Kingdom of God will be at an all time high as a burning Church is broken and activated into its true authority. When God’s forceful entry is experienced, everything that can be shaken will be shaken.

A Pillar of Fire

The documentary went on to dramatically explain that when the asteroid hit the Earth, a pillar of fire instantly exploded and reached from the surface of the Earth up into the heavens.

Spiritual Application:
The connection between Heaven and Earth, between God and his Church, will be a conduit of fire. The burning of the Holy Spirit will be raging as the Church and God are in constant encounter at a level never before known to man.

Regional Impact

Next, balls of fire shot out from the pillar and scorched regions far away from the point of impact.

Spiritual Application:
An impacted and supernaturally reformed Church will be so volatile, so explosive, that it will ignite fires in regions far away. A single impact in a single region will be so powerful that other cities will not only feel the Earth shake, but will be hit with the otherworldly fire as well.

World-Wide Impact

As I watched the dramatic presentation continue, the global impact became clear. A cloud of smoke then rose and actually surrounded the entire planet. The entire Earth was covered by the residual impact of the asteroid.

Spiritual Application:
The glory of God will cover the Earth! The residue of his activity will be felt all around the planet, capturing the attention of every nation. Nobody will be able to escape the impact, though many will resist it.

Heaven Impacting Earth

Celestial elements, parts of the asteroid that don’t exist on this planet, were implanted into the ground. 

Spiritual Application:
This is powerful! Heaven was brought to Earth! The Church will be infused with the very DNA of God. God himself will be coursing throughout.

RADICAL SHIFT

The time is NOW for the church to shift into its true identity as a house of prayer. What is coming cannot be supported by today’s church structure. Will you shift and trust God’s wisdom? I suggest you do. I suggest we must.

Prayer and Worship: The church I crave and may never see

As the years come and go, I wonder if I’ll ever see the church my spirit is yearning for.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

…“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?…” Mark 11:17

Greeting. Worship. Announcements. Teaching. Dismissal. Repeat 7 days later.

Sound familiar? Yeah, too familiar.

For at least 8 years specifically, and 23 years generally I’ve been teaching, writing articles, writing books, recording podcasts and posting videos about this very subject—extreme reformation in the church. Yet, the church service in nearly every Christian church looks the same (or worse) than it did decades ago.

I’m just about done. Finished. I can’t stand the thought of additional years of church experiences modeled after a wine skin that’s been outdated for years—yet, I acknowledge that it’s all I may have to choose from while I’m still on the earth. Reformation seems to be far off.

The goal is not to hope for a more anointed old wine skin, but rather for such a radical reformation that it looks nothing like what we see today.

Simply, what’s coming will look more like an extreme prayer meeting with people laid out all over the place with fire and tears in their eyes than the casual, tired & predictable worship and teaching services we see today.

imageYes, the Sunday service will finally be the Upper Room experience that the burning, desperate remnant has been yearning for. Raging prayer, fervent prayer, passionate prayer will return to first place in the church.

The Trap of Worship | Where's the Prayer?

Did you notice that the very biblical identity of the church was not even listed in the church service model I shared above? Greeting, worship, announcements, teaching…but no prayer. Sure, people say prayers, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I mean a culture of never ending night and day prayer where every single person is invested with wild passion in ministry to God.

This is the one issue in today’s church that is absolutely maddening to me. I have made this point countless times over the years, yet the prophetic call to action is rejected soundly.

How can we even presume to be a legitimate Christian church if prayer isn’t primary? According to scripture, the church is a house of what? Worship? No. Teaching? No. Fellowship? No. The church is a house of prayer—except in America. Except in the Western world.

Regarding worship I’ll qualify this one time as I dive deeper into this point—I am zealous about worship and affirm it is critical and biblical, without question. I have worship music playing hour after hour as I go through my day. Misty Edwards is leading worship on the screen as I write this, and I love it!

That being said, I am troubled at the attention musical worship receives in the church today. It has become an idol for many and is all too often devoid of a spirit of prayer.

I’ve said before that worship music in its current state can be used as a lazy man’s intercession. It’s entertaining. It feels good. It feels spiritual. Yet, it by no means defaults in spiritual maturity or true worship. 

And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to the LORD. Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.” Exodus 30:37-38

That Scripture is for today. Today’s pop worship culture better take notice. The incense, the worship, is holy. It’s for God. It’s not to enhance our personal experience! It’s not perfume for us, it’s incense for God!

I’ve become increasingly grieved at how popular worship events can draw thousands while prayer meetings draw few. The call to prayer is rejected.

Even more disturbing is how easy it is for people to blend in, raise their hands, dance at the altar and enjoy even truly anointed musical worship—while not legitimately worshiping at all and not being grieved over their immaturity, sin and lack of radical commitment to the cross of Christ. They celebrate some presumed freedom while not being locked in as prayer-driven people, broken and fervent warriors. No sacrifice. No surrender. Just a pursuit of a personal supernatural experience. I’m becoming more convinced than ever that many of these supernatural experiences are certainly supernatural, but not holy.

I’ve witnessed people who are involved deeply in the New Age, engaging in homosexual activity, gossip, watching impure movies or television and a variety of other issues that, at times, would even disqualify them as true Christians, worshiping and dancing with abandon. However, I’ve never seen people who are given to these compromises stay engaged in an Upper Room style, Holy Spirit driven prayer meeting. A culture of burning prayer draws the remnant. A culture of prayer repels the casual. Prayer is that powerful. 

This is why I have counseled leaders and others—if you want to know who’s on fire, surrendered and truly following Jesus, throw a prayer meeting. In fact, I’ve actually modified that advice. Now I instruct them to develop a prayer culture. Remove any activity that would allow them to hide or blend in—and call them to the furnace of intercession. I have dramatic stories of how this strategy has rocked our own ministry. Here’s a few.

Demons Can Hide

An amazing young man was on our worship team in a previous church. He was skilled and committed. I was growing concerned about our worship team at that church due to a slight independent spirit that was manifesting. It wasn’t major, but it was growing and I had to deal with it. So, I started mandating that the worship team join us for an hour of prayer prior to the service. I knew that a call to fiery, Spirit-driven prayer would bring issues to the surface.

The young man was immediately resistant. He would suddenly show up late and then attempt to hide in a corner. I noticed this immediately, and decided to gather everybody together to pray so nobody could shrink back from the fire. He stood there as stiff as a board with a blank look on his face. His agitation was increasing as the prayer grew in fervor.

Isn’t it interesting how demons may be able to hide in the midst of worship, and even on a worship team, but can’t stand people praying in tongues in a prayer meeting!

The type of deliverance that comes from musical worship only comes from a lifestyle of ministry to God—of prayer.

And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him. 1 Samuel 16:23 image

Prayerless Worship Teams

We were between worship teams once, so we decided to invite guest worship teams to lead in the interim. What I witnessed saddened me deeply.

We required these visiting worship teams to join us for pre-service prayer, and most of them looked lost, confused and eager to get out. Some would actually leave and hang out in the foyer. Just one, from a House of Prayer in the area, was on their face crying out in prayer with us.

I couldn’t imagine how those teams, who were mostly quite skilled, could even begin to lead a church in worship without a spirit of prayer on them. Prayer was actually foreign to them! Even worse, for many, prayer was troubling to them!

After several weeks of the nightmare, God spoke to me clearly: “Don’t seek out another worship team until I say.”

He wanted us to worship—from a place of Spirit-filled prayer. Worship doesn’t require music. It requires a surrendered heart of continual, burning prayer.

The question was clear: would people still gather together if the musical entertainment was removed in favor of prayer? Most did not, and we were left with the remnant God was after. No longer could people shrink back and hide in the music. Now everybody was unified together in passionate prayer.

That was one of the best decisions I ever made as a leader. We had people who may have been using incense as their personal perfume, and when it was removed, they left too. You see, worship requires sacrifice, and today’s worship culture doesn’t highlight that.

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3

God instructed us to discover true worship without the assistance of a live worship team over a year ago, and to this date we don’t have one—and I’m not looking for one. Now, prayer drives our services, and while we do use video worship from the International House of Prayer, it will always be supplemental. We could proceed with it or without it. So, thus far God hasn’t revealed that it’s necessary for us to have someone leading live musical worship. Simply, we can worship now from a place of intercession, and that is what we are doing. In fact, I can see churches of many thousand people praying throughout their service with video worship playing over them and not even have an in house worship team! I personally think it would be a powerful move.

And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song.., Revelation 5:8-9

What’s become to be known as Harp and Bowl Worship is truly a powerful way to intermix prayer and music. However, very interestingly we see in the above passage that it’s the creatures and elders who are singing—and it’s the saints who are praying!

It’s the intercession of the saints that results in new songs! This is why the primary focus must be on prayer, not music. Prayer + worship (surrender, adoration) can result in new songs. But don’t confuse musical worship with biblical worship. They are separate though sometimes overlapping realities.

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” Isaiah 56:6-7

The above passage is the perfect example of a biblical church service—in prayer with offerings and sacrifices. Music not required.

Of course, as I’ve tried to make evident, music is biblical and an important supporting element in the right context, but first we must recalibrate the church. Music has been a crutch for too long and has resulted in a lot of lazy Christians.

The singers will sing with a powerful anointing when the church is in right governmental order.

For the people of Israel and the sons of Levi shall bring the contribution of grain, wine, and oil to the chambers, where the vessels of the sanctuary are, as well as the priests who minister, and the gatekeepers and the singers. We will not neglect the house of our God.” Nehemiah 10:39

Prayer Fueled Worship

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! Psalm 95:6

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. Psalm 29:2

If you need musical worship to feel close to God, it's an indicator that your prayer life is lacking.

Again, it’s troubling to me that people can enter into worship while, at the same time, resisting a culture of prayer. That should be a litmus test for us. If they can’t pray with endurance and fervency, just who are they worshiping when the music starts?

Worship isn’t about us feeling good. It’s about God being glorified! We lay everything down and bring offerings and sacrifices and worship! No music required!

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; 1 Chronicles 16:29

Our team at Revival Church has prayed in fiery tongues in over 70 Detroit region churches, and our ministry in Manitou Springs was in over 100 Colorado Springs churches. The two hour prayer meeting was intense as we prayed in the Spirit together, non-stop.

Often the pastor would ask if I wanted their worship team to play, or if I wanted a worship CD to play in the background. Most of the time I’d say no. I didn’t want us leaning on the familiar. It was time to go into the uncharted territory of passionate, continual prayer. I knew that when we found a company of people that could enter in and pray on fire in any environment, that reformation in the church would draw nearer.

You see, when we pray in tongues, when we pray in the Spirit, then we can see worship in the Spirit come. Instead of English lyrics, I see waves of spiritual tongues rising up as incense becoming dominant. This is the spirit and truth worship of the hour.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

At Revival Church I’m on the hunt for what I call Pavement People. These are the 2 Chronicles 7 people who couldn’t even enter the building due to the glory of God filling it—so they hit the pavement and worshipped. No comfortable chairs, no music, nothing but them, the pavement and God.

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

And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. Nehemiah 8:6

But today, if there’s isn’t a powerful musical worship experience in the building, you’ll find not only an empty building, but an empty parking lot.

The coming musical worship movement will come from a place of extreme prayer. Maybe it would make sense to sit the musicians down and call everybody to hit the pavement and pray in tongues for two hours every Sunday—and then again on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We will come to the House of Prayer in the fear of the Lord to revere him.

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. Psalm 5:7

Maybe after a year or two of Upper Room style prayer, with no musical assistance whatsoever, we’d see a new wine, culture shifting musical worship movement emerge.

Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Matthew 9:17

We will be so undone and overwhelmed by the ‘groans that can’t be uttered’ from a life of intercession that the musical worship that emerges will be nothing like we have today.

Everybody will be on their face groaning and crying out, repenting and worshiping with deep groans of intercession as the instruments play over them. From that place new songs will explode out of us!

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Psalm 84:2

Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah Psalm 84:4

A Reformed Church Service

So, just what does a reformed church service look like?

It looks like a prayer meeting—because it is a prayer meeting. When people arrive on a Sunday morning, they will see people plastered all over the floor groaning and interceding. In prayer. The kids will be on the floor with them as biological families come together with their spiritual family for hours of passionate prayer. That’s the new, reformed church model! Apostolic leaders will break in briefly with instruction and prophetic decrees that take everybody back into focused intercession.

The church will finally become the House of Prayer that it was born to be.

Maybe there will be music, maybe there won’t be—but, without question, there will be prayer. Raging, continual prayer. And, that culture of Holy Spirit baptized intercession will result in clarity as to who’s with you and who is not.

Sin won’t be able to survive in the camp. Resistance will become immediately evident. Gossip will cease. Pride will die. Personal comfort zones will be threatened. God will be exalted.

From that place of prayer, other secondary events will take place such a teaching services, but they will remain supplemental. Prayer will be primary because, it’s clear, the church is a house of prayer for all nations.

We will be in the church, physically with other Believers, most every day of the week in intercession and new wine ministry!

And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God. Luke 24:52-53

So, here’s the model:

Greeting. Fervent prayer. Groans of intercession. Apostolic instruction. Zealous decrees. More groans. Declaration of Scripture. Fear. Trembling. New songs. Brokenness. Repentance. Prayer. Joy. Dancing. Freedom. Repeat again tomorrow.

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Psalm 96:9

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 7:9-12

Prayer. That is the call of the church. It's time for a prayer reformation. A prayer revolution.

Madmen are coming—and their bold decrees just may kill your church.

I knew there was a risk of losing everything when the call to the deep was announced.

imageThe coming church will be a model of normal Christianity, and it will be so costly, offensive, exclusive and challenging that only the remnant will remain—and this is most certainly the plan of God.

We’ve become such a passive church society that the abrasion that’s coming will be wholeheartedly rejected by mainstream Christianity. False-humility and superficial pleasantries are masquerading as spirituality while truth is moderated to ensure it doesn’t disturb anybody.

The result is a Christian culture that celebrates the shallows and merely acknowledges the depths as optional for those who may want to venture in.

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. 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. 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. 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

The time is coming when the deep is no longer presented as an option for the Christian, but rather, it’s the only hope for those who desire to truly follow Jesus. Prophetic awakeners will be boldly moving into deep waters and calling out those who are splashing like children in the shallow waters while presuming themselves to be normal, biblical Christians. These awakeners will be shocking an apathetic people like madmen!

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 2 Corinthians 11:23

We have fallen for the deception that we are all equal in our Christianity and any type of distinction based on maturity, passion or discipline is quickly hushed out of fear that the less committed will feel alienated. This fear is going to cease as prophetic voices will be calling all who are willing into the deep—and those who choose to splash and play will do so of their own volition.

 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:1

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Ephesians 4:11-14

About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, Hebrews 5:11-12

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11

Grow up and get into position! That’s the call of the hour. It’s time to count the cost, get into position and run with passion as the Church worthy of the name of Jesus Christ!

Don’t think for a minute that you can’t do it. That would be an insult to the grace of Christ!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Paul refused to shrink back. He moved in great grace and turned the world upside down! He ran. He fought. He knew his sole purpose on the Earth was to advance the Kingdom and that mission burned in him night and day.

 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24

Paul said to the people, “Follow me as I follow Christ,” and not to Jesus, “Hey, wait up, let’s move at the pace of the people.” God sets the pace, not us.

The fear is that others will presume we are arrogant or haughty when we call them higher—after all, if we are calling them higher, we must think we are higher already.

  • First, the closer we get to Jesus, the deeper we go, the more humble and broken we become—our own depravity, weaknesses and struggles are clarified as the holiness and majesty of Jesus are magnified. The deeper we go the deeper we have to keep going. The deep is truly the point of no return.
  • Second, what would the suggestion be? That we lessen our intimacy with Jesus and encourage people in their apathy so as not to offend any or invite division within the camp? No way.

And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Matthew 11:6

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39

Extreme Church?

When I called the church into the deep in Colorado several years ago, I knew that I would lose many people, a lot of money and even my reputation. Many would be angered that we were picking up the pace and raising the bar—beyond where they were willing to go. I fully understood there was a risk of killing Revolution Church when we did this—and it literally almost happened. Many truly thought I was a madman—and they were right! The remnant came alive to the call and ran with passion, but, sadly, those who were given to this costly, fiery, normal Christianity were very few and far between. I decided early on that I’d rather have a small church on fire with Christians who were ready to invest their very lives than a church of two or three hundred people who gathered around a space heater—and I knew I could have either. A church of 200 would provide a good salary and stability for my family. Good programs and honey-dipped messages would draw the socialites who would invest just enough to provide a cozy, Laodicean environment for all of us. I get sick even thinking of that option—and so does God. 

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:16

In a world where lukewarm is normal, the common response to an extreme church environment is that it’s not the appropriate church experience, that it’s not for a typical Christian, even though some would agree such a ministry has some value, for some people. An extreme church culture to many is more like a para-church ministry than a legitimate church. It doesn’t fit within their definition of what a church is suppose to be and do. The accusation is that such an extreme focus is only for a small minority of Christians—and then, most probably just for a short season.

I’ve spent years and tears attempting to address this fallacy. Normal church today is that of mildly committed followers of Jesus who put limits on their passion and devotion—it’s children splashing in the shallows. This is not the Christianity of the Bible.

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ Matthew 11:16-17

Revival Church is not an extreme environment, not even close. However, compared to the user friendly, bread and breakfast version of the church that dominates the landscape of our nation, it does feel like a para-church, over the edge, specialized ministry for the minority instead of the majority. This grieves me—not because I want more people to stuff themselves into our church building, but because the thought of extreme passion feels specialized and uncommon, unwanted and unnecessary.

The church experience in our nation has become more about living a wonderful life instead of dying a remarkable death—and pastors know very well that a focus on surrender versus benefit will result in empty pews and offering plates.

While I would never presume to have a perfect understanding of the function of the church, I am confident on several points—and when I employed these critical elements into our ministry I fully believed that the result would be a sound, vibrant and biblical church. We are para-church in no way. I want to alleviate the fear pastors may have of being accused of not being a legitimate church—when you gather together to pray on fire and release the messages of the Lord, you are modeling the coming church. This is what the church will look like when the reformation is complete! That being said, the accusations will fly, but don’t relent. Stay the course, gather the people and pray.

Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; 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. 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?’” Joel 2:15-17

The call is for every person who has made the radical and costly decision to follow the living God to dive into the fire together. No matter how long we’ve known Jesus, our pace should be the same—intense and fiery.

Have you ever met someone who was recently radically saved? They can’t run fast enough or burn hot enough! Yet, we’ve fallen for the deception that new Christians need to take baby steps! No way, no more!

Extreme church is the only option in today’s end-time climate. The formula is simple—too simple for most—pray with fervent passion together with others several times a week, read the Bible, believe it and respond to God’s mandates with faith and obedience. Pray continually. Live in the spirit. Die daily. Surrender all. Be holy.

This is normal church. It’s a culture of uncommon holiness and passion for intercession where we refuse to be amused by darkness and endeavor to slow the flow to Hell with prayer and action. This is why were are on the Earth.

I believe we would be much closer to the true, biblical model of the church if we did little more than pray nonstop in tongues for two hours on a Sunday morning than what we see today.

The Coming Church

Please understand this point. Consider it. Pray on it.

We live in a day where Christians are boldly, unapologetically defending their measured religious devotion and are denouncing calls to extreme commitment. I hear it all the time—fervency is shunned in favor of the status quo. Can you believe this? Being extreme for Jesus is an unwelcome negative attitude, an invasive intrusion into the well guarded lives of American Christians.

If the thought of the church experience being made up mostly of praying in the Spirit with infusions of apostolic messages and reading of scripture feels incomplete or uncomfortable to you, you will find yourself frustrated and resistant in the coming church.

Change is coming. For example, many are looking for a church with an amazing worship experience where it’s easy to sit back and bask in the atmosphere. In the coming church, in place of polished worship teams, we will see an environment where groans of intercession are echoing in the room—with or without instruments. Everybody will be on their face burning, groaning and crying out as acts of worship in place of today’s Christian karaoke. Imagine gathering together multiple nights a week to hit our faces and groan in intercession together! Most everything else that we’ve come to know in today’s church will be done away with as we all serve as worshiping intercessors in the house of prayer for all nations. We will worship in spirit. In truth.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

This type of a church environment seems extreme, and demanding, and uncomfortable. Yes. Today it will feel like that, but when the reformation and revolution in the church is complete, it will feel normal, and God will call us to yet another level—a level today that we wouldn’t even think is possible. It’s a level, one beyond the level where we are going next, that will result in continual supernatural power. Keep that in mind. If the next level seems extreme, just compare it to what’s coming beyond that!

Again, the coming church, the next level, will be white hot and perfect for every Christian at every maturity level. The prayer room is the only room for the new Believer and the apostolic leaders who are investing into them! This is my heart for Revival Church. I see this model being perfect for people of all levels as it calls everybody into the same place—death and destiny. Everybody gathers, prays, grows and is intentional in their discipleship. It’s intense and life changing. And then, when the remnant does this together in unity, it will be world changing.

Our ministry school, theLab University, is an extreme experience of prayer and maturity—and my view is that the school is closer to a normal, biblical church than churches we see today.

The commitment level at theLab is high (by today’s standards)—we meet together four days and nights a week. We have homework to complete and turn in on a weekly basis. There are prayer events that are required for us to attend somewhere in Detroit every Friday night. We are held accountable for our attendance and participation. Holiness is commanded. We are a family. We are locked in and ready to grow at a rapid rate together. This, my friend, is church. However, in America, it’s para-church. It’s extreme. It’s not for the general Christian. This, again, deeply grieves me.

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Romans 12:11

Zeal is not a personality trait! It’s a command!

And he said, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD.” So he had him ride in his chariot. 2 Kings 10:16

I challenge you—live so boldly that others take notice, and call them to experience your zeal for the Lord! Call them higher! Call them out of the dead and dying manmade American church system that is headed for judgment!

“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. Revelation 3:1

…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. Revelation 3:3

The coming church is what the scoffers and mockers and seekers and disillusioned are waiting for. They want to see a people who are serious about their God, radical in their devotion and done with the imitation religion of our day.

They are waiting for a people who won’t renounce the sin of homosexuality one minute and enjoy an R rated movie the next.

They want to see a church that’s finally devoid of hypocrites—people that won’t be amused by unrighteousness in media that required the death of the one they say they love.

They are waiting for a church that will not only boldly expose the sins of the nation, but also pray night and day for it.

The world needs a church that burns with such love and anointing and holiness and that’s single minded in it’s purpose—to set the world ablaze.

No more programs, productions or promotions. It’s time to pray as the church again. America is waiting.

theLab University Online is now LIVE! Apply today…

imagetheLab University Online is LIVE! Apply from anywhere around the world TODAY!

Two months ahead of schedule, theLab University Online is now ready to accept new students!

You can apply TODAY for ONLY $50 here: www.thelabuniversity.com/online.

Once you are accepted into the program, the remaining tuition is ONLY $150!


All Memberships Include:

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An Active Community

You will be continually connected to instructors and other students online.

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Books & Resources

Our instructors have written several books and other materials. Many of these resources and our growing archives are provided as a part of your tuition.

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Expert Instructors

You will connect with leaders who are regularly available to our students and continually invested in the prayer movement.

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An Invitation to Travel

Hit the road and meet up with theLab Carriers of Fire team and enjoy a deeply discounted conference rate. (optional)

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A Mobile Ready Environment

Watch training videos, read articles and books and access materials while you are at home or on the go.

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A Certificate of Graduation

Successful completion of the initial twelve-week session results in a certificate of graduation.

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An Unbelievably Low Tuition

Our goal is to impact a generation of emerging forerunners and carriers of fire. The costs are low so everybody can be equipped.

Apply TODAY for ONLY $50 here: www.thelabuniversity.com/online.


Apply for our NEW twelve week online university!

Your enrollment will begin immediately upon payment. 

Lead Instructor:

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theLab Director & Founder of Revival Church in Detroit • John Burton is available to minister in your church or at your conference or event. John has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored eight books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City.

Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer and revival focused ministry school in Detroit. John also has a web and graphic design business and is continually developing new and exciting ventures. He and his beautiful wife Amy have five children and currently live in the Detroit region.

John’s mandate is to call the church in the nations to repentance from casual Christianity and to burn in a manner worthy of the King of Kings.  He is equipping people to confront the enemies of God (established religion, Jezebel, etc.) that hinder an extreme, sold out level of true worship.


theLab University Online Classes:

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  • The Coming Church
  • Becoming Unoffendable
  • Six Enemies of Fulfilled Destiny
  • Carriers of Fire
  • A Spirit of Insignificance
  • Prophetic Messengers
  • Covens in the Church
  • Pharaoh in the Church
  • Revelation Driven Prayer
  • The Terror of Hell
  • Carry Like Mary
  • Four Fires

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theLab University is a unique school of fire that is designed to equip people from high school on up as intercessors, forerunners, prophetic messengers and students of the Word. The subject matter is alive and intense, designed to challenge and impart the knowledge of God.

You will experience a fiery prophetic community of people who are vigilantly preparing themselves for ministry and an end-time lifestyle.

We value a vibrant social culture where you will be able to continually interact with instructors and students via chat, live video, forums, conference calls and optional live, on site events.

theLab University is a perfect option for individuals, small groups, high school students, families and others interested in growing deep.

After completing your twelve week session, you will retain access to the members only site so you can stay connected, review past teachings and more!

Cost: $50 application fee + $150 tuition


A typical weekly schedule

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Each week will be devoted to a single primary teaching that you will watch or listen to.

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After watching or listening to the teaching, you will be given an assignment to study and homework to complete.

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Connecting online with instructors and other students will give you a chance to ask questions and share your journey. Additionally, prayer and other corporate events will take place regularly.

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Practical assignments such as prayer walking, developing sermons and planning mission projects will help you strengthen as an emerging leader!


Apply TODAY for ONLY $50 here: www.thelabuniversity.com/online.

A call to reformation in the church : 27 points of reform

The following was written after being awakened in the night—a word of reformation for the church.

It was delivered to the church of Colorado Springs many years ago, but it is applicable to the church of America. I shared this at Revival Church recently. It’s time for reform!

imageReformation: The Church of Colorado Springs

God has given the Church of Colorado Springs every resource necessary to initiate a fire of revival that will burn our city, our nation and our planet.

We can all agree this fire is not raging- and the current structure in our city can neither initiate nor sustain a move of God of this magnitude.

It’s time for a radical and momentous change in the Church of Colorado Springs. It’s time for a reformation.

1. We must repent of prayerlessness. A call is being made for every believer to pray with hunger and passion to an extreme degree. Spiritual leaders of this city must model such a lifestyle of prayer on a daily basis. It must be our primary activity. Pastors and leaders- let’s agree to a minimum of one three hour prayer watch every day.

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Pastors who don’t pray two hours a day aren’t worth a dime a dozen”

Acts 6:4 “but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

2. We must repent of competition. It’s time to promote the City Church ahead of our local Church. Are we willing to lose people, money, our ministries and our reputations in order for God’s corporate dream of city-wide revival to explode?

Phil 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

3. We must repent for being mindful of man ahead of God- and then resign our positions as salespeople. We are to once again lead with a bold prophetic mantle. As a leader, the primary role is to hear God in prayer and to declare his Word to the people. The body must renounce consumerism in the Church by asking not what our Church can do for us but what we can do for our Church.

Mat 16:23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

4. We must repent for forsaking the house of prayer. There is a call for every church in the city to maintain a 24-hour prayer center as its primary ministry. It is to be modeled and led by senior leadership. The primary purpose of the Church is not teaching, visitor assimilation or fellowship. It is undeniably night and day prayer for the nations. Lengthy prayer should be taught and modeled as the dominant activity of every believer.

Is 56:7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

5. We must repent of pride. God resists the proud, and this city can’t afford for God to move away from us. We must repent, humble ourselves and cry for Jesus to come!

James 4:6 “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

6. We must repent for quenching the Holy Spirit. Our cry must be, “Come as you are and do what you want!” Sunday services should be marked by significant and earth-shaking supernatural moves of the Holy Spirit.

1 Thes 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.

7. We must repent for resisting the prophetic. Now, more than ever, we need to hear the Word of the Lord. We must teach every believer how to hear God, how to steward that Word and how to take responsibility in the fulfillment of that Word.

1 Thes 5:20 Do not despise prophecies.

8. We must embrace and teach on the experiential reality of the presence of God. If someone were to be on the moon, would he want to learn about air or experience air? Colorado Springs must experience the fresh flowing air of the Holy Spirit again.

Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

9. We must be willing to forsake programs and policies set in place by the demands of man in favor of the divine vision of the Holy Spirit.

10. We must release control of our services and expect to stay late, burn hot, experience much, cast out demons, prophesy, proclaim the Word, worship intensely and enjoy a wonderfully messy but Holy Spirit ordered event. The first Church was birthed supernaturally in such a way that many marveled and many mocked. It must continue now as it started then.

11. We must raise the bar of expectations and do now what we will be doing when revival breaks out. Pray continually, be in the House of Prayer daily, cry out for justice, establish the 24-hour church, give, serve and enjoy God with other believers..

Luke 18:7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?

Luke 2:37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

Acts 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

12. We must repent for canceling services, closing the church doors and lowering the expected commitment. We have submitted to a deadly and apathetic American culture, and it’s time to lead the way and bring reformation to that culture. The Church must dominate our calendars again.

13. We must cry out for the love of God to weigh on His church in the form of both mercy and judgment. Pray for God’s judgment to rest on you, your church and this city so as to ensure wrong things are made right, holiness prevails and God reigns supreme.

1 Pet 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

14. We must teach Acts chapter two style- experience a move of God and then teach on it. Experience an overpowering move of the Holy Spirit to such a degree that highly anointed biblical teachings penetrate hearts. What God does is taught and explained from a supernatural perspective.

Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

15. We must admit there are demons and that they must be dealt with. Not through programs and projects but through prophetic proclamation. A unified assault on the kingdom of darkness will result in mass deliverance in our city.

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

16. We must be available for repositioning and do away with the redundancy that a church on every corner invites. Many churches in our city should close. Those pastors would then assume more appropriate positions of service in other churches. Teachers would lead centers of teaching, pastors would lead small groups, and other leaders would serve in a variety of physical locations within the City Church. The goal is one City Church, many departments, unified leadership and individualized roles.

17. We must again become Holy Spirit sensitive instead of seeker sensitive. People aren’t looking for something worth living for, but rather for a cause worth dying for. Show them the cross. The normal New Testament Church experience is one of extreme manifestations of God, death to self, prophetic preaching and an unapologetic invasion into the culture which results in momentous change.

Mark 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.

18. We must again embrace dreams, visions, praying in the Holy Spirit and extreme encounters with God.

1 Cor 14:39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.

19. We must repent for presenting a watered down, socially acceptable gospel. Salvation requires death, surrender and commitment to the plans of God.

Mark 10:21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

20. We must repent for emphasizing what people can get instead of what they are to give. To enter a church with the expectation of leaving with more than you entered with is to embrace the same spirit the money changers did. We must again, with fear and trembling, enter the House of Prayer with the expectation of making a sacrifice and giving an offering.

Mat 21:12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.' ”

21. We must encourage every believer to grow intentionally, rapidly and independently. And then, to step into their assigned ministry role.

Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

22. We must call for the fear of the Lord to return to our Churches and city.

Prov 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; 18 For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.

23. We must repent for rebellion, self-government, lawlessness and an independent spirit. This is evidenced through church hopping and by leaving a church without being sent out by the leaders. This results in compromised missions, a divisive spirit and a splintering of the body. Accountability and submission to authority must again return to the Church.

Heb 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

24. We must repent of gossip, complaining and other forms of witchcraft.

Prov 6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

25. We must repent for embracing a religious spirit. Religion is man’s attempt to use God to get what he wants. It’s time to cry out for God to remove our man made structures and advance his Kingdom in our city!

26. We must repent to the nation for misrepresenting Colorado Springs as a significant national Christian center of Holy Spirit activity. It is not. We have wrongly stewarded this responsibility.

27. We must repent for not praying intently for our leaders. Their failure is our failure.

1 Tim 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

As we pray, unify, preach the cross, love God and the people of our city with passion and embrace the present Word of the Lord Colorado Springs will be a propellant for revival around the world.

Written trembling in the fear of the Lord,

John Burton

A simple explanation of how to step into burning, revival leadership

Discover how you can participate in strategic intercession and personal growth as an end-time forerunner!

People have been asking how they can participate with us, even if they live on the other side of the world. I want to help answer that question!

imageThis is my second video today, and this one will give you simple, practical steps into core leadership and intercession for Detroit.

We are looking for 40 burning men and women of God to join our core leadership team at the Detroit Prayer Furnace.

We are also identifying 1000 intercessors for Detroit—and anybody from any place in the world can participate!

Watch this short video and you are sure to be stirred by the fire of God!

http://youtu.be/qDxistTwOWc

After you watch the video, CONTACT ME and I will help you get started into a key leadership position for revival!

A raw, revealing, direct message from my heart | Troubler of Israel

I’m going to let it rip—this is one message you won’t want to skim.

Troubler of Israel

1 Kings 18:17-18 (ESV) 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.

image Is there anybody out there like Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson who is bringing attention to how so much of the church is following the Baals?

I told you I’m going to let it rip. Understand that I am not sending this out of frustration or because of a personal vendetta. This is a searing, troubling message that is consuming every part of me—and it’s time for it to come out with strength.

We need more troublers to arise! Why? Based on what we see in Elijah’s story, the prevailing culture is actually what is troubling the church and it’s the prophets of God that MUST stand boldly in the face of their accusations. Truth will prevail. God will answer by fire.

First, I want to directly address fellow pastors and leaders with both brokenness and boldness—open your mouths!

When people tell me that I have guts to say what I do in teachings, on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, I am shocked! Really? They can’t be serious! I barely reveal even a small percentage what is burning within me. The messages are minor and obvious, yet somehow in our passive, ultra-sensitive culture they come across as sharp and risky. We have to open our mouths and deliver the troubling truth! No more messages designed to grow churches. No more sermons that result in us looking good, smart and polished.

If we are out to save face, we may do just that—as we ultimately lose our soul in Hell.

The raw, irritating, offensive messages of the Word of God must explode out of us with the full understanding that many of those under our care will revolt! That is true love based preaching!

image Just so you know—yes, I am extremely intentional with the messages I post, and they are meant to trouble and provoke, boldly and in love. They are meant to expose error and awaken people to truths they may have not considered—but that often has serious impact on their eternities. My posts are meant to trouble the spirits that are assaulting the church and the people who are entertaining them! We must be disturbed & wrecked by our mandate to awaken the sleepers & warn those falsely convinced of their salvation—and those at risk of losing it.

We can’t even call people to prayer today due to the fear that they will leave our churches! My God! How can we presume revival is near?

Over 340 Houses of Prayer closed their doors last year. I met with a house of prayer network leader the other day who said that people leave churches when leaders shift time, energy and attention from them to God. I’ve watched that happen myself, and it rips me up! In our church in Colorado we shifted from potlucks to prayer meetings and there was a mass exodus. We lost people and money. I had to get a part-time job. It was disruptive. It was heartbreaking that people ran from the call to pray.

Where are the ones who aren’t looking first for human friends, personal affirmation or a sense of belonging but who are seeking after every available minute to minister to God in prayer? The prayer rooms must be full—and the main prayer room in the American church is the Sunday morning sanctuary!

I heard about a pastor of a 1200 member church that shifted their culture to that of a house of prayer. 600 people left! That pastor is a true leader in the Kingdom!

And, don’t you even think of using the excuse that you need to create a non-threatening environment for the new Believer! Every person, young or old, immature or seasoned must be in the prayer room—and it must be their primary focus! What if the Upper Room was toned down in the hopes of drawing a bigger crowd and interested seekers?

MY REPUTATION

I told God one day many years ago that, if I responded to his call, I would lose my reputation. People would sever relationship with me and hurl accusations my way.

God said, “Good. My Son was of no reputation, why should you be?” I was rocked. It was that day, many years ago, that I stopped trying to look good and build a ministry and make people happy about running with me. Selfish ambition died that day. The moment we make decisions based mostly on attracting people, keeping people or raising money is the moment we have failed as leaders.

Philippians 2:7-8 (KJV) 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

I’m not trying to build a ministry—I’m devoted to obeying God and delivering the messages he has given me. I know these messages will directly hit theologies and ideals that so many hold dear. That’s the point. I crave people’s freedom from those harmful ideals! I desire the truth of Jesus to invade everybody’s life!

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.

One reason I’m OK with this divisive strategy (that Jesus affirmed above) is that it clearly reveals who’s for and who’s opposed. I’d rather make the message clear and know who I’m running with then to tone it down and have those who are opposed to it in our camp (Have you ever had a witch infiltrate your ministry? I have, and it’s not fun!). So, we love and serve everybody in the camp, but we can’t get sidetracked from our mission for the sake of their comfort.

Trust me, the resulting remnant of burning ones will rejoice at such an atmosphere of clarity and fire! Those who are lukewarm today just may awaken and burn tomorrow—if we have the courage to preach the very difficult, costly truth!

There are some people thanking me for my boldness in delivering the messages God gives me. There are others who are vocally opposed to me. There are many more still who are silent but resistant—many of them friends in the past who I don’t hear from anymore. They sadly just disappeared from our lives.

I’m sure there are some who translate boldness and refusal to soft step issues as arrogance—but I do not apologize. Yeah, I know that sounds arrogant! The reason I don’t apologize is because I wrestle with the call to humility continually, and I check my heart non-stop. The possibility of pride and arrogance is there, without question, and I take that very seriously. I check my heart to ensure I’m humble and full of love. It’s wisdom to receive insight from your critics, at least to a point!

People that are close to me do know my heart—and they know I’m broken before the Lord. My call is to aggressively sound alarms, gather people around the mission of revival and call people to pray night and day. It can’t be a soft spoken suggestion if we hope to awaken a great end-time army!

Several years ago in Colorado, the Lord directed me very urgently to learn how to walk in extreme humility and extreme boldness at the same time. It was full year of intense prayer and discovery—a personal school of the Holy Spirit. In that school, I learned much, including this—I was not to attempt to appear humble, I was to be humble. Why was this important? Because the Elijah level boldness that is required to impact a region would often look like anything but humility. It would appear as arrogance and selfish ambition.

We are not in a season where we need to gather around a table and water down the message in the hopes of finding common ground that results in handshakes and smiles. The message of the hour will overturn that table with violence.

I endeavor to love every person deeply, but I refuse to affirm systems, methodologies, theologies and lifestyles that are an offense to the Word of God. I will, in humility and boldness, be relentless in provoking the sleepers to awaken and those given to a lukewarm life to be shaken. Prophetic threats against human systems and unholy altars results in accusation, gossip and resistance.

Judges 6:28-31 (ESV) 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.”

I know the accusations will continue, but you need to know that, if you are bold, you will provoke. You must be OK with that! Love people deeply, hate the enemy powerfully and know there will be a crisis in the middle as God, people and demons step into the ring. Don’t wrestle against flesh and blood! Be innocent! But, don’t presume a passive spirit is the same thing as a humble spirit.

FALSE UNITY IS NOT MY GOAL

Today I hear a lot about leaders, churches and movements in a region unifying for the sake of revival. I have been disturbed by that strategy for years.

First, it’s imperative that we honor people. That’s a heart condition issue that will either qualify or disqualify you from ministry. But, honor and unity are not at all the same.

I commit to serve all, but I refuse to strategically align with someone who is doesn’t embrace fervent prayer as a lifestyle, holiness as a principle and dying daily as a goal.

Today we have worship leaders who listen to secular music and go to secular concerts. There are pastors who are entertained in media by the very sins that required the death of the Jesus they preach about. It makes you wonder just what they are ministering to us!

I’ll say it plainly—we cannot align with those who are operating in the spirit of Baal. We must confront them in the spirit of Elijah!

Ephesians 5:11-14 (ESV) 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

There is so much fear today that messages of holiness will result in accusations of legalism. I say, bring on the accusations! You have to be kidding me if you think it makes sense to lessen the call to purity for the sake of unity!

When preaching holiness results in accusation of legalism you can know darkness is increasing in strength in our culture—and in the church.

No, it’s NOT OK to watch movies that have cussing, nudity, violence or crude humor it it. It’s NOT OK to soak in secular music in one moment and with worship music in the next.

It’s so hard for so many to encounter God today—and this is the main reason! Media! Holiness! Prayer!

I have a high value for true unity and am looking for those in the Detroit region that will truly gather in a spirit of humility, brokenness, intercession and passionate, unhindered focus on the goal of God’s heart—revival that transforms a culture.

The call today is first for consecration, not liberation! First comes holiness and a resolve to be single-minded in our pursuit of a holy God—and then the power to set the captives free will come.

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

Listen closely: the lukewarm, casual church must be shaken! Yes, the true church is one that is burning hot, in love with her Bridegroom. I risk offending a lot of people when I deal with this issue of fervency and costly discipleship as it’s an assault against their theologies and lifestyles. It is NOT OK to be casually committed, loosely connected and given to the apathy that is destroying the church. I’m calling awakeners to rise up! We must pray and burn non-stop! You can do this! There is no better way to live—and there is no other option!

I know this is why some don’t connect well in houses of prayer, or even in my own church—the call to burn hot is beyond what most are comfortable with. The call over the edge is unsettling for those who don’t even want to come near the edge. Listen—your eternity is at risk! Be fervent and radical in your love of God and commitment to his mission!

HELL

In the end, this issue is what drives me. It is my life mandate. Hell.

Why? If you would have had the same encounter that I had by being dragged toward Hell, you wouldn’t ask that question.

Many, MANY in the church will be SHOCKED to find themselves in Hell one day. I’m talking about seemingly alive people who lift their hands, live good lives and made a decision to follow Jesus.

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.

I am grieved and shocked by the casual attitude in this nation regarding salvation. There’s such a quick and easy thought that “of course” we are saved, yet for MANY of those people, they are NOT. They WILL go to Hell when they die, and will be utterly confused as to why they are there.

This article is not at all meant to be a theological study. I’ve done that in the past and will do it in the future. This article is a raw eruption of the emotions of my heart—and my heart is sickened and broken over such terrible theologies that affirm the salvation of people in such a cavalier way. The attempt is to affirm the culture and encourage people in their lifestyles—even though it’s resulting in eternal tragedy! I'm concerned that the American church is working so hard at aligning with culture instead of irritating it.

The greatest resistance I receive is when I talk about eternity. To be specific, the threat of living eternally in Hell. (People love to hear about Heaven!) There are great people who are living great lives who reject messages that focus on Hell—due to fear. The accusation is that I shouldn’t preach on messages that result in fear. My response? If you aren’t going to Hell, you have no fear! If you are in the love of God, you should have no fear whatsoever, no matter what is taught! If you are in fear, the issue is with you, not with the messenger, and I want to help you move out of fear and into the love of God, leaving any threat of Hell behind you!

This is the primary reason I am so violent against the false-grace message (https://burton.tv/grace-message). I will not be silent on this matter. It’s not a minor theological issue that we can just agree to disagree on. It’s sending potentially millions of people to Hell—people that will be in maddening torture a hundred billion years from now just because they embraced this heretical teaching. I can’t stay silent, hoping to keep from making waves, trying to make friends and grow my church while every single day churched people shockingly live their first eternal moments in a tormenting fire they were convinced they were exempt from.

So, yes, I am violent and vigilant and brash at times because of the reality of Hell. Wouldn’t you be? Shouldn’t you be? Yes!

RAW, RISKY CONFESSION

I’ll admit, like Elijah (though I’m not pretending to be anywhere in the ballpark of the great Elijah!) I do feel extremely alone here in Detroit. But, I’m smart enough to know there are 7,000 who have not bowed their knees to Baal. (1 Kings 9:9-18)

I’m also blessed by the amazing friendships I have with some leaders, forerunners and intercessors in the area. But I’m so saddened by others who have disappeared from our lives—those I know had a calling to run as men and women on fire! I wrestle with anything I may have done to wound that relationship, that destiny, and I live in repentance and tears over it. I see so much destiny in people that it is crushing when I don’t get to see it come to pass! I get violent against the enemy that would attempt to threaten that relationship and that alignment!

I am EXTREMELY hesitant to share this, as I really don’t need to for my own emotional health. But, I do believe there is something that must be dealt with in this region, and in regard to church health in any region. A spirit of competition and distrust between pastors and churches just saturates Detroit, and it’s time for it to come to an end.

First, you’d be shocked at how easy (and wonderful!) it is for me to enjoy people who have disappointed us, wounded us or betrayed us. Really, it is! My message on being unoffendable really, really works! (https://soundcloud.com/johneburton/becoming-unoffendable) These are truly amazing people that I love!

So, my agenda in this portion of the article is not personal. It may be hard for you to believe that, which is why I’ve avoided dealing with this for so long. But, I’ve just met too many wounded people who are afraid to deal with these issues due the fear of accusation. I have no such fear. Lets do this.

Detroit

When I first started traveling to Detroit, the energy was electric. People were ready (or so it seemed) for revival in this region and the meetings and strategies I was privileged to be involved in had a level of excitement I had never experienced before.

Then, after moving from Kansas City to Detroit, something strange happened—I was awakened to the spirits of this region. There were giants in the land. (I discuss this more in my brand new book Piece of Cake: http://detroitrevivalchurch.com/2013/08/06/wondering-how-to-start-a-ministry-or-other-project-piece-of-cake-is-available-for-order/).

Every day I check my heart, as I shared before, to ensure I’m not driven by arrogance, selfish ambition, self promotion or other attitudes that would ultimate disqualify me from ministry. Humility is the only option.

I started hearing through the grapevine, almost immediately upon the launch of Revival Church four years ago, that some people were not happy with us doing so. It was a strange shock as we had been convinced that these people were running just as we were in Detroit for regional revival.

In fact, one church actually met with us (two of their associate pastors) and accused of of strategizing to steal their sheep. To their credit, they came to me, which both Amy and I really appreciated! However, that accusation was so far from the truth that we couldn’t even begin to imagine where it came from. We were extremely intentional about honoring other pastors and churches. It’s core to our DNA! We want other churches to grow faster than ours!

As an example, our primary plan when moving to Detroit was to launch a different church (before Revival Church) out of a local ministry. However, we predetermined to honor a local pastor who was connected to that ministry by refusing to launch it without his blessing. He didn’t bless it due to its proximity to his own church and other concerns, so we didn’t launch it. It was very important for us to honor him, and we still do to this day.

We continued to serve and bless that ministry even though we didn’t have an official connection with them anymore, and love those leaders a lot! They are great friends.

When we were released from that, we aligned with Barbara Yoder’s ministry and launched Revival Church.

So, in our meeting with the two associate pastors, we didn’t know where they were getting their information that we were attempting to steal people. I knew that it was simply the enemy that was spreading lies that were very easy to hear in such a volatile, competitive region.

Amy and I blessed them after that meeting.

I had another meeting with a leader in a nearby city who actually repented to me. He knew he was to connect with me and have me speak at his church, but someone there was speaking against me and he entertained her accusations. He knew it was wrong, and he contacted me to ask for my forgiveness. I love that! But, it shows how vile gossip and accusation can be, and, most importantly, how it absolutely disrupts the pursuit of revival!

I’m convinced revival should have broken out a few years ago! But, there was resistance against a 20+ day move of God in Dearborn. God was moving, but resistance came.

So, here we are in a strange new land looking for alliances with revival minded friends, but instead, we experienced quite a bit of resistance. It broke my heart, but didn’t nullify my mission. I’ve grown to understand that apostolic ministry will do that. It’s a ground taking, status quo shaking anointing and it will disturb those who don’t agree with that type of Kingdom advance.

Since that day we have experienced amazing growth and advance and have developed extremely important, key relationships with apostolic and prophetic leaders with regional authority. We have also experienced a lot of additional attack, which is not unexpected, but here’s the point I really want to make:

Church of Detroit, you MUST break off the spirit of competition, distrust and accusation that has infiltrated you! If we embrace a spirit of Accusation, that spirit one day will turn on us.  If we embrace a spirit of Criticism, that spirit will one day attack us mercilessly.

I refuse to shrink back on this out of fear that people will accuse me of wearing my emotions on my sleeve or that some may even resist relationship with us due to erring on the side of caution. I’m really not here to make friends (though I like friends!). I’m here to bless people and to sound alarms in a city that just went bankrupt and is dying! Now is not the time for diplomacy! I didn’t move here to let this city die and I know my revival minded friends in the city won’t let that happen either—not on their watch!

Honoring Leaders & Leaving Churches

When I wrote my book Covens in the Church I exposed what the enemy can do in churches through independent spirits of gossip and accusation. The book deals directly with how to appropriately honor your leaders, how and when to leave your church, processes and protocols, that must be followed, etc. I deal with the Absalom spirit that entertains gossip and initiates division. Detroit needs to hear this message!

I believe the principles in that book must be embraced in this city!

I teach those principles at Revival Church and in theLab University. There is a pattern that must be broken if we hope for revival to break out here.

Here’s the principle: Honor leaders and the mission God has you on by staying in position, through challenge and joys. If you feel led to move on, initiate a process with your leader and stay locked in as you walk through the transition together, ultimately leading to a blessing as you go.

It’s a tough call, and I understand that. It’s not enough simply to announce your plans to leave to your leaders (though even that would be a step in the right direction!) but we must bless them by asking them to partner in the decision making process. Give them the voice in the decision they rightfully have.

I love it when I have the opportunity to celebrate and bless people both privately and publicly when they move on from our church to another! It’s rare that I am able to do that. What results is improper transition where people are uncovered and independent, and, unfortunately, the pattern most often repeats itself. The church of the city is weakened.

This is not unique to our church, I realize that. But, I do want to initiate change! This region must discover the power of being surrendered and unified. Upper Room level power will result! The purpose of this entire article is to awaken a dysfunctional, sleepy church into its destiny—sooner than later!

The call? Honor! Stay connected! Stay locked in! You are important! Revival needs YOU!

Here’s a very interesting portion from my book Covens in the Church that explains exactly how the process should go:

An earlier version of this book was read by a couple who lived in another state.  They were feeling strongly that God wanted them to move to Colorado Springs to serve the developing House of Prayer movement.  They were extremely excited about the call and while they didn’t have all of the answers to their questions (when do any of us have it all figured out?), they we’re burning hot with the vision.
    So, during this process, they read this book.  I met them for the first time as they were visiting Colorado at a conference in Denver.  They shared their testimony with me there.
    In the midst of their planning and excitement they read Covens in the Church.  Both of them reported that they felt a great offense crawling up their spine as they turned through the pages.  It was hard for them to embrace.
    They re-read it and prayed.  Through the process they both felt God confirming that what they were reading was what they needed to grasp as they were getting ready to move into another important season of their lives.
    What they shared with me next absolutely floored me.  They went to their pastor and shared all of their dreams and plans to move away.  However, they told him this, “Pastor, we honor you as our God ordained authority–not in title only, but in function.  We want you to know that though we feel led that we are to go, if you tell us that you feel it is not the right move, we will honor you and stay.  You make the final call.”
    They saw tears start to roll down the cheeks of their pastor.  He looked at them and said, “I’ve been in pastoral ministry for fifteen years and this is the first time anybody has ever come to me like you just did.  You are the first people who have ever asked me to partner with you as you move on.  Thank you.”
    The result?  Their church prayed intently for Revolution House of Prayer every week.  We prayed for them and were excited about the new relationship that would soon follow.  It’s the healthiest transfer from one church to another that I’ve ever experienced.  This is the way it is supposed to happen.

An Amazing Update

    I am blown away at the lengths God goes to when confirming His prophetic insights.  I have been gripped by the content of this book since I first received it several years ago in Kansas City.  I, of course, am convinced at the supernaturally driven freedom that comes as we’re fully submitted in love to leadership, however one day very recently I was asking God to give me further confirmation.
    The very next day was the first day of the new internship that Amy and I are giving leadership to.  We met a couple from a house of prayer in the Michigan area and asked them if they knew this particular couple that I shared about above.  They said, “Oh yeah!  We know them very well!”
    We talked a little more and discovered something amazing.  God answered my prayer of just a day prior by actually bringing this couple’s leaders from the ministry in Michigan to  the internship I was directing!  They said they have never witnessed anybody leave a church or ministry with such excellence, integrity, humility and honor.  They we’re astounded at their maturity and decided then and there that they would also model their exit plan when they themselves left.  They did so and these leaders also departed in a mature and healthy manner and ended up running the race with me in the internship!  They will be teaching one of the tracks each session here–and I wonder if all of this might not have come together as it did if every party involved, me included, would not have been obedient and surrendered to the biblical blueprint for honoring authorities in our lives.  I’m still stunned.

There you have it. There is much broken, and we can’t just keep repeating the positive and hope that a head in the sand approach will work. The good news is that we can all go low, repent, love deeply and refuse to surrender to the spirit that is driving the region. It’s the Holy Spirit’s turn, and he is seeking willing hearts to move through.

So, what do you think?

A special & important message for those interested in the house of prayer and revival

As promised, here is information about a special opportunity to invest in the prayer movement!

If you missed it, read about the exciting news we announced yesterday HERE! Revival Church and theLab University have a new home!

image

Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly. 1 Chronicles 29

We have connected with many amazing people around the world who are contending for a movement of prayer that initiates revival and transformation.

We now have an opportunity to invest into that passion!

Revival Church and theLab University are moving into our new mission base in the Detroit area. The mission is significant, and our army is small—so we are reaching out to that army AND to those around the world to help us get moved in and functional in our new property.

We have broken down the needs, placed a dollar amount on them, and made it easy for you to cover the cost of that purchase!

View the needs and donate here: http://www.explorerevival.com/specialgift

Needs include everything from children’s materials to signage to furniture to sound and lighting equipment.

Your donation will help enable us to:

  • Provide a place for the Detroit region to gather and pray seven days a week
  • Equip end-time intercessors, revivalists and prophetic messengers at Revival Church and theLab University
  • Equip children to know God deeply, pray and prophesy
  • Provide teachings online for anybody around the world to experience
  • Much, MUCH more!

We are about to move into a feverish month of preparation—and your donation this week will help us do all we need to do before the first service on July 13th.

Thank YOU for your heart and passion for revival!

If you prefer not to designate a specific item to donate toward, there is a place on the form to choose the amount of your donation and allow us to apply it to whatever is most pressing.

Donate TODAY: http://www.explorerevival.com/specialgift

Read the following passage on passionate investment in the place of prayer:

1 Chron 29:1 And David the king said to all the assembly, “Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the Lord God. 2 So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones and marble. 3 Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God: 4 3,000 talentsa of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house,b 5 and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver. Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himselfc today to the Lord?”

6 Then the leaders of fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work. 7 They gave for the service of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 daricsd of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron. 8 And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite. 9 Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.

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