I'm often asked how to experience God on a regular basis. I do believe there's an answer, but it's not a simple one.
There's a phenomenal opportunity available to every legitimate follower of Jesus: an indescribable and life-rocking encounter with an invisible, all-powerful Deity. Sadly so few do what's necessary to live in this realm where the Holy Spirit reveals his shock and awe to the children of God.
It seems so many are satisfied living a typical, logical life in the natural realm. The idea that we can be overwhelmed by a Spirit and experience unimaginable manifestations that only exist beyond where our eyes and ears can discern is silliness to them. Twilight Zone. X-Files. Science fiction.
Yet, to others, it's not far-reaching at all. They yearn to meet God in this place but they don't know how to get there. It's those hungry people I'd like to try to encourage.
THE RECIPE FOR ENCOUNTER
RAW, RISKY BELIEF
5 …so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:5 (ESV)
Intellectualism may be the greatest killer of faith and supernatural encounter among those who are truly living for the Lord. Their left-brained approach to invisible and mystical realities rarely works. When it does, you usually have to take the long way around.
My passion is for God to encounter me in ways my natural, logical, intellectual capacities could never predict, gauge or moderate. The moment I limit this to my own understanding or my careful analysis is the moment I've diminished my hope of moving into that spiritual realm that exists beyond what can be grasped.
The “I have to see it to believe it” mantra doesn't work in a “walk by faith, not by sight” Kingdom. Having to understand it before seeing it doesn't usually work very well either.
Of course, I'm not proposing a renunciation of the pursuit of understanding. However, when logical understanding must come first, before the other-worldly revelation that God wants us to experience, we short circuit the supernatural happenings.
While many would argue that seeing is believing, for Christians the opposite is true. Believing is seeing…and encountering, and being shocked by the fire and power of the Holy Spirit!
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)
I'll never forget the night many years ago that changed my life. I witnessed God doing remarkable things in the lives of some of my friends. These seemingly normal American guys who were grunting on the basketball court and staying up to all hours playing video games were also undone by an unseen force. I'd watch them weeping in prayer, pacing the church and crying out to God for him to move. These people had tapped into something that I convinced wasn't invented. It wasn't fake. It was real and I had to meet God they way they had.
Alone one night, I paced around the youth room of the church, feeling nothing but desperation. I prayed a simple prayer, the only one I could. “God, you know my heart.” That's it. Over and over I was talking to God using those words, revealing the depths of my hunger in a simple statement. God knew how deeply I desired to know him.
The rest is history. My eternity has forever been altered by that simple yet overwhelming prayer. Shortly after, he flooded into my life in a way that could never be described by using human words, though I'll try. Extreme boldness replaced timidity in a split second. A tangible force shook my being. Passion for Jesus was instantaneous. There was a power source connected to me and I was radiating with fire.
I didn't seek to understand what I was pursuing. I was simply desperate. Hungry. Willing to surrender all. In fact, I told God in the days preceding this momentous experience that I didn't want anything to do with him if he “wasn't all that he was cracked up to be.” I wasn't interested in fairy tales or following some religious icon who didn't heal, couldn't deliver and wasn't omnipotent, good and alive. However, I also said, “But if you are all of this, I will die for you.”
While an initial encounter may not require a disciplined life of intercession, I've discovered that a regular, continual encounter with Jesus absolutely does. It's in the place of fervent, fiery prayer, especially praying in tongues, where the presence of God is constant, and very often extremely intense.
Some may wonder why it's so important to contend for encounter. They may see it as unnecessary and possibly even evidence of an imbalanced or immature person, someone who is driven by emotions or strange, mystical rushes of adrenaline. Oh my, this couldn't be further from the truth. Encounter is absolutely necessary for every blood-bought Christian.
As we walk in great faith and hunger with great desperation, the cries of our heart and the intercession of the Holy Spirit through us will launch us into the place where God can be clearly heard. We can discern his heart. He can reveal mysteries to us. Critical information, some of life and death, is transmitted to us through impressions, dreams, visions or other prophetic means. Simply, if we aren't living in encounter, we are tragically limited to our own understanding, the very understanding the Bible instructs us not to lean on.
But, as we pray in the Spirit, everything changes. The heavens open. God's voice resounds. An inner tremble shakes within. Our daily lives become adventures as God takes the reigns and gives us direction that can only be received via the Spirit.
God resists the proud. This is why I firmly believe the gateway to deeper levels in the Spirit includes many opportunities for humiliation.
I'll never forget meeting a young lady at an event who was a part of another church. She told me she so wanted to experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but had no idea how to do so. She was unpretentious and authentic as she shared her expectancy for what was going to happen at the worship conference we all converged at in Los Angeles.
I don't have space to explain what happened the next night other than to say, this hungry young lady was suddenly, without warning, flopping all over the ground as strange and wonderful new sounds were exploding from her mouth. God's activity in that moment hit her and many others, including myself. I was suddenly on the floor experiencing an extremely weighty manifestation of God's glory that wouldn't dissipate until the next day. The presence of God in that moment was something I can still remember, though it's been over twenty years since it happened.
Humility caused this young lady to dismiss how she might look to the hundreds of people all around as supernatural God invaded her natural self. She wanted God. She was hungry at a level few experience. She was filled.
If you think a very Holy Spirit is going to brood over you and manifest in and through you as you are living an unholy life, you have been terribly deceived. Holiness is absolutely mandatory if we have any hope of God moving remarkably in our lives. This is such common sense, yet so many Christians can't understand why they aren't being consumed by God's Holy Spirit.
You simply cannot watch movies, TV and other media that contains foul language, nudity, coarse joking and other immorality and think you are a candidate for encounter. You are kidding yourself. In fact, why would you want the Holy Spirit if that's your chosen lifestyle? You are only inviting conviction if not judgment.
I encourage everybody to eliminate all secular music and listen to nothing but anointed worship music. I even suggest doing away with most contemporary Christian music and pumping music through their headphones that carries the unusual fire and glory of God.
Those who have taken me up on this, time after time, experience dramatic breakthrough. Those who don't tend to trend downwards.
14 …For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)
Possibly the quickest shortcut to living a life of dramatic, supernatural encounter with God is to sign up as a martyr.
We are called to die daily, to take up our crosses and to love life not unto death. This is our portion as Christians. The key moment in my personal life came shortly after my initial encounter I described above. Do you remember that I told God I'd die for him? He was listening.
From my article Risks of the Upcoming Presence Movement:
One night my life changed forever. In the midst of my amazing daily encounters with Jesus, I found myself in a prayer room at a youth lock-in in Dayton, Ohio. While 300 students were playing volleyball and basketball I was alone in a dark, glorious room overlooking the skyline of the city. God was waiting for me when I waked in.
I paced around praying and worshiping as the presence of God swirled all around me. I never wanted to leave.
Suddenly, as I was enjoying God, walking back and forth in his manifest presence, I heard a voice, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”
I was irritated. My focus on loving Jesus was interrupted by someone with what felt like a terribly different agenda. Little did I know, it was an agenda to grow me up and gauge my devotion.
I shook off that distracting voice, and attempted to enter back into the glory realm. I prayed and worshiped, but the presence of God was completely gone—or so I thought.
Again I heard, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”
Though I clearly understood I was being asked to give my life for Jesus, my emotions were negative. I was distraught, irritated, lonely and even afraid. My enjoyment was gone. However, what I didn’t realize was this—my feelings were not sufficient to analyze the situation. God’s presence had actually increased exponentially in that room of destiny, not dissipated. The fearful judge had arrived and he meant business.
Though I tried to enter back into worship again, it was futile. I heard the voice one more time, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”
Finally, in a state of lonely desperation, I realized I couldn’t live my life without the fire of Jesus burning within me. I needed him. I wanted him, even if it meant the loss of my physical life.
Understand, I was convinced that I was going to physically die that night. It was very real to me.
I told God, “I can’t live without you. If my death will result in the advance of your Kingdom, I give you permission to take my life tonight.”
The moment I said that, his manifest glory flooded the room about one hundred times greater than I had experienced it before. I had experienced the glory and the severity of God, and I was forever changed.
ZEAL FOR THE WORD OF GOD
As I reveal the final ingredient of the secret sauce of encounter, I can feel the naysayers breathing down my neck right now. They are riled up at the thought of focusing on the experiential, on the suggestion that faith trumps logic, on the mystical, invisible and on what they would call hyper-Charismatic fluff.
I'll try to put them at ease. Nothing I am proposing can defy Scriptural truth. If there's ever a contradiction, it must be eliminated. This means that we must be students of the Word. There should be a burning zeal in us for the powerful, eternal and non-negotiable truths of Scripture.
However, while many would hold up the giant family Bible in the air as a defense against the supposed superstition that I'm dealing with here, true Bereans will excitedly search the Word to see what powerful revelations it holds.
From my article What To Do When We Hear Rumors Of Revival:
11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. Luke 24:11-12 (ESV)
Belief and expectancy will result in running as a result of any news that God has moved with great passion. Doubt will always result in resistance, staying away and embracing suspicion.
I often hear about the concept of being a Berean from some who may be considered heresy hunters. Those who are deeply suspicious of any report of a fresh move of God often attempt to disguise their unbelief and mocking spirit with a religious cloak. They say, I’m just being a Berean.
People driven by a false Berean attitude hear a report of a possible revival or outpouring and their immediate response is to discredit it. They pull out scriptures that supposedly renounce any new move of God and declare the participants to be misguided at best, heretics at worst. Others may take a less direct approach by holding back, waiting to see if it passes muster.
That, my friend, is not being a Berean.
I agree that we must be based on the Word of God more intentionally than ever in history. There is too much foolishness out there today in the name of revival. The answer is a people who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit and firmly grounded as students in the Bible.
However, I don’t agree that our immediate response to a potential fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God should be suspicion! This attitude can affect even the most godly of people. It’s all too easy to immediately doubt that such a move could be anything more than overreaching hope, hype or sensationalism.
I propose we all have the heart of a true Berean.
Before the stop at Berea, Paul preached about a powerful fresh move of God at Thessalonica. I believe heresy hunters are actually more like the Thessalonians than the Bereans:
2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5 But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. 6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” Acts 17:2-7 (ESV)
There was an urgent and immediate rejection of the report of resurrection power. Let’s contrast this with the pure hearts of the Bereans:
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Acts 17:10-13 (ESV)
This is a powerful passage of scripture!
The Bereans were more noble than those in Thessalonica. This is an important point! Why were they more noble? When they heard the report of a powerful, transforming, new move of God that would change everything in their lives, they received the word with all eagerness!
Their response was not scrutiny, unbelief, jealousy or resistance. They were excited to hear the news! They were so impacted by the potential of such a report that they immediately dove into the Word with the hope of confirming—not disproving—the life altering revelation!
But then, in verse 13, we see the unrelenting Thessalonians actually traveling to Berea to gather people to them in opposition to what God was doing there.
I hope you are truly ready for revival. This is what it looks like. The resistors will show up in force.
The question that needs to be answered is, which camp will you be in? Are you a scrutinizing Thessalonian or an eager Berean?
If God promotes you, you better be ready for what’s coming your way.
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)
One of the most common prophetic words in the various prophetic streams (whether real or fabricated) has to be, “Your promotion is coming!” It’s probably as popular as, “This is your season of open doors!”
I believe God does plan promotion for all who are truly humble and surrendered. Yet, the promotion may not be what a particular human heart desires. There are many who crave promotion onto the platform while God’s assignment is promotion into the prayer room. Others desire promotion unto notoriety. God may desire to promote them unto obscurity as part of a nameless, faceless generation.
It’s critical we handle spiritual advance with wisdom and care. Promotion is all about God’s will for our lives and not our own.
I’d like to do two things regarding your passion for promotion in the spirit:
- Encourage you
- Caution you
Several years ago I was in an exciting and very active season of ministry in the Detroit area. I had planted a prophetic and prayer focused ministry there and I was contending for revival corporately and also for personal growth so I could be ready and equipped to lead with strength.
Whenever I have an opportunity to step away from the pulpit and get refreshed at a conference or another church service, I typically like to find a place in the back to let God minister to me during worship and the teaching. Some friends from my church and I decided to check out The River, a church led by Marlin Reid, a revival minded pastor in the region. He was hosting Jeff Jansen, whom I had never had the opportunity to see minister.
As I sat on the floor in the back of the conference center at the Southfield Westin Hotel, God and I had an interesting dialogue. He had impressed on my heart that promotion was coming, and I probed him with questions about just how something like that happens. What was my responsibility? How should I prepare? Was I doing anything wrong? What was the timing? What exactly is the purpose of a promotion anyway? As I sat there enjoying both the service and the conversation the Lord and I were having, God spoke very simply, yet very clearly: I am going to show you how easy and how quickly promotion will come. I was intrigued.
At the end of the service, several hundred people were stirring around and I headed for the door to go home. Pastor Marlin, whom I had met only briefly at the beginning of the service, called out to me before I could leave the building. He wanted to introduce me to Jeff Jansen before I left. Leaving three or four hundred people behind, Marlin led me into the hallway and then into an elevator. Next in was Jeff Jansen and two others. Pastor Marlin said his goodbyes and returned to the conference room as the four of us shot up to the top floor of the Westin. We entered Jeff’s suite where there was a chef and a spread of food ready for us.
We sat at the table and Jeff immediately started prophesying over me. His accuracy was stunning as he saw me writing books and ministering powerfully through articles and other writings. Remember, we had never met and he had no idea I had written several books. He then took some heavy gem stones out of his pocket and put them into my hands. He revealed that they were the stones that famously and miraculously manifested as the glory of God came down during some previous meetings.
Suddenly, in the midst of this remarkable setting, God spoke to me. He reminded me that he told me mere minutes ago that he was going to show just how easy and quick promotion can come.
Just moments ago, I was about to walk into the parking lot to drive home. I was suddenly diverted and out of at least a few hundred people, I was chosen along with two others to meet with the man of God. I was “promoted” to the top floor of the hotel in mere seconds, was seated at an exclusive table and had my ministry confirmed in powerful ways. That encounter was a real life object lesson that God used to encourage me. When it’s time for promotion, it will come.
Since then, I’ve written over two hundred articles for Charisma Media, have written a total of ten books and continue to see doors open like the Elijah List and other media outlets. Favor truly follows this ministry, and I’m humbled.
Of course, the promotion is not simply a natural one. It’s spiritual. I’ve watched God work wonders in our ministry and I’m eager to continue to be available as a vessel. Our God is amazing and we have barely begun to see what he has prepared for us!
8 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they went up in full force to search for him… 1 Chronicles 14:8 (NIV)
The moment you are anointed, promoted into your next position in the spirit, the enemy is sure to be alerted. The purpose of this segment on using caution is not to instill fear in you, but rather to cause you to soberly understand the weight of what comes with promotion. It’s laughable to think that pastors and leaders have an easy, favored life on the platform. The assaults that come with promotion and leadership in the church are beyond the scope of what most could understand.
If pastors and leaders were honest, many would admit to being hunted and haunted by a very real demonic hoard. Many experience emotional disturbances, mental disorientation and spiritual desperation. Curses are strategically directed at them both by the world and the church. The arrows that stick in their backs are sharp and difficult to remove, yet they power on, devoted to the call that God has on their lives.
Your passion for promotion very well may have been deposited into your spirit by God, and if it was, you can be sure that the Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you, even though the journey will often be very painful and lonely. You absolutely must use caution in the process. Getting ahead of God or lingering behind would be bad ideas.
Those who are simply enamored by the supposed glamor and glory of ministry, pursuing promotion is absolutely a bad idea. You have no clue what you are asking for. It would be much better for you to step back, seek the Lord and learn to enjoy the position he has assigned you to. Leadership in God’s Kingdom comes with an extreme price, and unless you are truly called of God to assume that position, you will be assaulted by an otherworldly fury that you cannot defend.
If you are assigned by God, get ready. You must use great wisdom as you navigate the battleground God is leading you into. Above I shared the first part of 1 Chronicles 14:8. There’s a little more to that verse, and in it we see the spirit of a warrior:
8 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went out to meet them. 1 Chronicles 14:8 (NIV)
David heard about it and went out to meet his enemies. He was ready and full of faith. This is where we can first see a differentiation between those who are truly called and the pretenders. Those who crave promotion but are not called will not be anointed or empowered by God to advance against the enemy. Fear will keep them away while God’s promoted and anointed leaders will run to the battle! David is quite famous for this.
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 1 Samuel 17:48 (NIV)
Now, it’s important, again, that caution is heeded. When we as leaders advance, we can’t be presumptive or casual. We must continually seek God for direction, wisdom, revelation and clarity. David did just this.
9 Now the Philistines had come and raided the Valley of Rephaim; 10 so David inquired of God: “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The LORD answered him, “Go, I will hand them over to you.” 1 Chronicles 14:9-10 (NIV)
David inquired of the Lord and received an affirmative response. Yes, it’s time to advance. His obedience in both hearing God and in responding rightly resulted in victory.
11 So David and his men went up to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, God has broken out against my enemies by my hand.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. 12 The Philistines had abandoned their gods there, and David gave orders to burn them in the fire. 1 Chronicles 14:11-12 (NIV)
Yet, we see God’s answer is different at the next provocation of the enemy.
13 Once more the Philistines raided the valley; 14 so David inquired of God again, and God answered him, “Do not go straight up, but circle around them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. 15 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 16 So David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army, all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. 1 Chronicles 14:13-16 (NIV)
This time God had different and more precise commands. David responded rightly, and another promotion came.
17 So David's fame spread throughout every land, and the LORD made all the nations fear him. 1 Chronicles 14:17 (NIV)
TRUST GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
Promotion like we see in David is a very serious thing indeed. We can’t casually, lightly pray for promotion to come. When we do, demons will catch the scent and will pursue you with vengeance. If God is with you, and you are responding to his directives, you will still have to fight, and the war will be intense, but the victory will be yours. If your promotion results from selfish ambition, look out. It’s not God who has elevated you, but you yourself have propped yourself up—perfectly in line of sight of the enemy. I’d duck if I were you.
The chaos that erupted on a United Airlines flight yesterday should never have happened.
I was in the vicinity of two unfortunate United Airline situations over the past week.
First, I was on my way to preach at the Strike The Match Conference in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada last Thursday. My flight from Chicago to Toronto was delayed most probably due to a fake bomb threat on a Toronto to Chicago flight earlier in the day.
Second, I was at O’Hare International Airport again, this time on my way back from the conference yesterday (which, by the way, was an electric and supernatural explosion of Holy Spirit power!) —the same day passenger David Dao was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight.
The police never should have been called. David never should have been dragged off the airplane. He never should have been bloodied or knocked unconscious. This never should have become a trending story on social media.
David Dao should have obeyed the directive to walk off the plane.
I have to admit, I am disturbed at the number of Christians who are knee-jerk reacting against United Airlines and in favor of the unruly passenger. While the police may have possibly employed regrettable actions, the airline was acting within their rights, just as they do many times a day in similar situations. Submission to authority is an elementary level truth for Believers. David Dao, and every one of the nearly one billion air travelers in the United States agree to very clear, non-negotiable terms when they buy their ticket. The Contract of Carriage allows airlines to remove and rebook passengers.
Complaining, refusing to comply and rejecting the directives of our authorities is ungodly behavior. Period. David may or may not be a Believer, but Christians, you should know better.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world… (Phil 2:14-15)
And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. (Num 11:11)
MY UNITED AIRLINES EXPERIENCE YESTERDAY
Everybody who travels by air is well aware of the fact that there is a chance you won't make it on time. My trip to Canada and back was negatively impacted both directions. I was exhausted in both instances and easily could have been grumpy and unreasonable with the decision makers who were putting stress on my journey.
Two flights were delayed on the way to Canada and air traffic control issues forced the cancelation of my flight from Chicago to home last night. I missed my daughter's birthday because of it. Plus, the airline only paid half of my hotel. I'm out at least $160 for hotel, food, toiletries, etc. Guess what? That's life folks! I wasn't pounding my fist on the United Airlines customer service counter (after waiting in line for an hour) demanding better treatment. I didn't strong-arm them into finding my luggage, that was unnecessarily checked through to my final destination at the gate by the way, so I could have clean clothes to wear today. I was tired, probably a little smelly and ready to go home. Instead I emptied my wallet because of no fault of my own, checked into a hotel somewhere in Chicago, slept just a little, woke up early, wore the same smelly clothes today, and finally flew home.
How sad of a story that is, right? You have to be kidding. That’s simply called travel.
Come on people. It's not all about us. Sometimes life doesn't go as planned. Yes, the man in Chicago who refused to deplane was extremely in the wrong.
It’s our job as lights in a dark world to smile and reveal the life and love of Jesus in challenging and unfair situations and not grumble and demand our rights to be met!
Ironically, just as I emerged from the jet bridge in Springfield, Missouri, I saw the group of people waiting to board the plane for their own flight. The attendant said, “This flight is overbooked and we are looking for volunteers to surrender their seats.” I’m sure those who either volunteered or were forced to give up their seats acted a lot more maturely and appropriately than the gentleman did yesterday.
THE LOST ART OF SUBMISSION TO AUTHORITY
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. (Rom 13:3-5)
We aren’t only to submit to authority that is fair or right. We don’t turn our submission on and off based on our own analysis of the situation. We should have no fear of authority, of pastors, of leaders, of the police, if we are doing what is right.
Regardless of whether David Dao was treated properly or not, he disobeyed a clear and direct order. He was wrong, no matter how important he believed himself to be. Entitlement must go. Humility and submission to authority must find its way into our independent, narcissistic culture.
As I said above, I’m stunned at the Christians who are instant in their defense and outright celebration of David’s clear indiscretion. In today’s society it seems it’s the authority that’s always the villain. Corporations, pastors, police officers, parents and others are held in suspicion at best and rebelled against without apology at worst.
Airlines absolutely have the right to remove people for any reason. Refusal to comply is against the law. That simply cannot be argued. We are required, per Scripture, to obey. Our supposed ‘rights' are not more important than our responsibility to submit.
God will always support authority that is wrong before he supports one under authority who is right and in rebellion. Those who don't understand this set themselves up for great bitterness both against authority AND God.
We presume God is most interested in right vs. wrong. He is not. He’s interested in our response, our reaction.
It doesn’t matter if United Airlines was wrong (though I personally do not think they were), David’s reaction was unacceptable. The airline had the right to do what they did. They had no obligation to explain themselves. They along with the lawmakers write the rules.
There are many “unfair” rules the flight attendants must enforce on flights. They are irritating. I really don’t think my seat being two inches more upright is really going to save me in an air disaster. However, they are the boss! What they say goes, whether it’s when we can wear headphones, get up to use the restroom or whether we get to fly that day at all. They and ultimately the captain are our authorities in the air. It doesn’t matter if we like the rules or agree with the rules. We simply have to obey the rules. I think introducing “yes sir, yes ma'am, no sir, no ma'am” back into our culture would do us all a lot of good.
FALSE HUMAN RIGHTS
From my Charisma News article False Human Rights Destroying the Church and our Nation:
Today we are absolutely overwhelmed by the constant, self-centered shouts of those who demand that their country—or their church—gives them what they believe is rightfully theirs.
It's a false human rights movement.
The right to abortion. The right for same-sex marriage. The right to be equal. The right to be heard.
It's a sickening, selfish focus that is driven by human desire instead of a willingness to take up our cross and die. How often have people left churches because their supposed rights weren't addressed? How much dissension is in the workplace because people are looked over in favor of another?
I've said it before—today, when people's self-centered pursuits are rejected, they abandon relationships, leave churches and cause division, but when Jesus was rejected, He didn't abandon people. He didn't forsake the church.
An offended people will destroy a nation. A surrendered people will build a nation.
All over social media today I’m reading about who was right and who was wrong. Some are screaming that United Airlines was wrong and that David is the victim.
Friend, it’s not about right or wrong. It’s about our response.
Christians are being tortured, raped and murdered as martyrs all over the world, and we think someone being required to vacate a seat on an airplane is a violation of human rights? We’d have to be sick to think such a thing!
COVENS IN THE CHURCH
From my book on authority, Covens in the Church:
The enemy has caused many to believe that we can’t experience freedom while being submitted. This is simply not true.
Freedom from authority is rebellion.
Freedom in the absence of authority is anarchy.
Freedom under authority is liberty.
It must be made clear now that while God desires leaders to serve with great love, humility, passion and care, there are some in the body who simply do not do so. While God will hold those leaders deeply accountable for their leadership, God will hold the rest of us accountable for how we respond to them. Do we serve from a position of great love, humility, passion and care–or not?
Loving submission to authority is non-negotiable and more important now that it has ever been.
God loves you very much and is capable of protecting you even as He has placed you under the authority of imperfect men and women. Remember, we are not to be self-governing in an attempt to protect ourselves from flawed leaders. That is the wrong response to the problem. Using a spirit of Control to fight a spirit of Control doesn’t work. This is the core idea of the entire book. As we submit to those whom God placed over us, be they good or evil, God will ensure our protection.
We may have to go through difficult situations that seemingly limit us, put our dreams on hold or even violate our pet ideas and opinions. The situations may last years, but we must submit in love without failure! God is able to bring us through!
We never speak against or elevate our own opinions above God’s established authority. Pastors, prophets, apostles, politicians, policemen, bosses, etc. We humbly support them, unless, and only unless, they were to cause us to violate a CLEAR Scriptural truth. That’s it.
It’s important to understand that to submit to God’s appointed leaders in our lives only to the point where we agree with the order is NOT submission at all.
Submission is actually spotlighted when someone honors his or her authority when the order is contrary to their own opinions, experience or position. We can agree with our authority while not agreeing with the order or instruction or position. It is never appropriate to remove ourselves from a position of submission if the order given is inconvenient, bothersome or irritating.
HONOR OF AUTHORITY MUST RETURN—TO THE NATION AND TO THE CHURCH
It’s time to crucify our narcissistic, independent flesh and love and honor—and obey—the authorities God has put in our lives. We don’t have to be afraid. We can be free.
Today there seems to be a new uprising against the establishment, against leadership almost continually.
We can contend for cultural change. In fact, as Kingdom Christians, we have a mandate to do that! But, we do it with intercession, love and honor for our leaders.
God will not affirm those who use control, manipulation, unrighteous anger and an independent spirit to affect change.
Entire movements of zealous intercessors and godly social activists can do wonders in society—as long as their heart is right.
Come on friends, let’s change the world the right way. Let’s go the way of honor. God will have our backs.
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.
You are marked as a forerunner! Get equipped in fire and be provoked into reformation in today’s teaching!
I start out today’s teaching sharing about an INTENSE encounter with God that I had in the middle of the night last night. There was a healing mantle released, and I begin today’s teaching praying for those who need healing. I’m expecting powerful testimonies!
FOUR FIRES PART 4
Discover the call of the forerunner, the passion of those who are burning white hot for Jesus every single day of their lives…and those who are waking up the sleepers!
The marks of a forerunner include radical holiness, humility, boldness and freedom from fear. God is ready to move greatly in and through you!
A civil war in the church is drawing near—and it will be centered around the fear of the Lord.
Before I get into the meat of this message, I want to address something that I’m sure many of you have wondered about.
Yes, I am absolutely intentional regarding my “unbalanced” approach on the end-times, the church and the call to reformation. The reason is simple—the situation in the church is so dire that an urgent, radical response is necessary.
We cannot casually sit back and initiate Christian small talk as we seek to find common ground anymore. Billions are headed to Hell, and in their ranks are a very high percentage of those who call themselves Christians.
Many believe the church is mostly doing well with a few minor, non-essential issues to address, and an upgrade in positive, encouraging messages will help nudge us back on course. A focus on God’s goodness and love alone will be enough to convince people to veer back on course. If that were the case, I would absolutely be more subtle in my approach. However, it is not. The church is way off balance, and an extremely weighty counterbalance is necessary.
I let my son Skylar get behind the wheel of the car for the first time in a parking lot the other day to begin to teach him how to drive. He was getting used to the steering, gas pedal and brake responsiveness, and, under my watchful eye in the passenger seat, he would jerk the car left and right, brake too hard, step on the gas too quickly and give us quite a ride. My response? Subtle, encouraging words to straighten it out, to ease up on the gas, to brake more softly. He was on the right track, but was simply learning how to stay on it.
That is not where the church is today. Things are not mostly good. We are not on the right track.
How would you react if the person driving your car decided to go the wrong way down a highway, at 100 miles per hour, at night with the headlights off, with his eyes closed and not a care in the world?
You would scream! You would grab the wheel! You would not passively, subtly encourage him to straighten it out. You would not talk about how lovely an evening it is. It wouldn’t be the right time to teach him how to parallel park or how to change the oil. You both are near death and immediate, continuous cries and alarms must be sounded! Not only are you near death, but others will be crushed by your wayward vehicle as they come over the next hill!
The church is also near death—and is putting many others at risk. Many in the church are on their way to Hell—and they have no idea. This is why I sound alarm after alarm after alarm. If you choose to turn a deaf ear, so be it.
However, I challenge you to be receptive and responsive, and not shut out the warnings of the Lord, no matter how irritating and repetitive they are. In fact, join me in my cry. Cry out REPENT! Turn around!
Matthew 3:1In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Preparea the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’”
A Coming Civil War
I needed to explain what I did in the opening section to help you understand what I’m going to share next.
Entire popular movements today are in the wrong lane, going the wrong way and putting the church at risk of eternal death.
We are going way to far with our ecumenically driven strategies of unity within the church. The false-love movement that focuses on friendships and affirmation has led to a false-unity movement where we presume anybody who goes to church and professes Christ to be a legitimate Christian worthy of our alliance.
I’ve said before and I’ll say again—I will love everybody with the fiery love of Jesus, but I absolutely, unapologetically refuse with bold resolve to unite with anybody who isn’t carrying their cross, dying daily and burning hot for Jesus Christ.
I do not presume people to be saved simply because they say they are.
We are all in process, and as long as we, in our weakness, in our struggles and in our brokenness are truly running after Jesus, I will be right there with you. However, if that is not the case, you heard me right—I will not run with you.
I will love you. I will pray for you. I will honor you. I will encourage you. But I won’t run with you. I won’t unite with you.
You might be wondering how, with that type of resolve, we can avoid a civil war in the church. We can’t. We don’t want to.
The sickle is about to be taken to both the wheat and the tares, so we will all be hit with the judgment of God. This will be a very difficult season for everybody, but it is a necessary one.
Matthew 13:30Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
Matt 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For 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.36And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37Whoever 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. 38And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Jesus boldly revealed what a true believer looks like. His sword of truth is about to strike the church and those who are not fully his will be revealed.
North vs. South
The true remnant will rise up with spiritual violence to liberate masses from the slavery that has been granted them through inappropriate theologies and religious systems.
There will be great confusion in the nation as the world watches this happen in the church, yet it will only be for a season. The true church will eventually emerge, finally, with the power and love they have been craving to see.
Great leaders will rise up in the spirit of Elijah and John the Baptist to initiate conflict (instead of avoid it) and to wrestle with spiritual forces of darkness.
Ephesians 6:12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
“The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong.” – September 1862 – Abraham Lincoln – Meditation on the Divine Will
The Fear of the Lord
Please consider what I’m about to communicate very carefully.
We must be humble, teachable and repentant. As prophetic messengers, we cannot move in the flesh and come against what may be a true move of God. Take your viewpoints to God and ensure he confirms them to you. Allow your theologies to be challenged by the Holy Spirit. Let the Spirit of Truth reign in your life.
That being said, we cannot stay silent when there is a clear and present danger in the church. To do so would be treason! When God sounds an alarm in your spirit, you must respond to that alarm!
The coming civil war in the church will hinge on the issue of the fear of the Lord (among a handful of other issues).
There are entire movements that are vocally opposing the validity of the fear of the Lord. The civil war in the church will form as the camp divides on this primary issue.
Of course, the false-grace movement and the false-love movement (that refuses any scriptural reality that doesn’t feel like love) are devoid of the fear of the Lord. There are other significant movements out there that may not be as extreme as this, but are at least silent if not resistant to any discussion of the fear of the Lord.
Spiritual pride is a direct result of the absence of the fear of the Lord. So is apathy, a focus on personal experience, the rejection of the call to live a repentant life and having a benefit and blessing mindset.
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Luke 1:50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
While I understand, and even affirm to a degree, the desire to call God “Daddy,” I am at least a little troubled at how casual we have become with such a fearful, mighty God.
God is not our personal emotional warm fuzzy. He cannot be limited to that. He is mighty indeed!
Does he comfort? Oh my, YES! Does he encourage? Yes! Is he your Daddy? Absolutely! But, my friend, he is so MUCH more.
We can and MUST experience both comfort and fear simultaneously! The civil way in the church will see a departure on this issue. Many will reject this mandate to fear God.
Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
Without the fear of the Lord, his true nature cannot be discerned. Without the fear of the Lord, there is no friendship of the Lord.
Psalm 25:14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
1 Peter 1:17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile
This fear of the lord is indeed the beginning of wisdom. This consciousness of sin is the straight pathway to heaven. ~Joseph Barber Lightfoot
It is critical that we allow the fear of the Lord to expose issues of our heart that put our relationship with him at risk! This is very good! This is desirable! And, the fear of the Lord is not “respect” of the Lord. The Bible calls it dread. Terror. It’s quite the mystery indeed that we can experience both terror and love at the same time! How mighty is our God!
2 Corinthians 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
The fear of the lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death (Proverbs 14:27)
Vision of a Chess Board
I once had a vision of a chess board, and on the appropriate squares stood actual humans, Christians. They each were fervent and focused as devoted warriors. They all seemed to be spiritual mature and responding to their call of duty.
Suddenly, the chess board began to shake violently. It was clearly a tremor from Heaven as God was causing everything to be hit by his loving judgment. He will shake everything that can be shaken.
What happened next was remarkable. Most of the Christian soldiers remained standing, while a few hit their faces in humility and brokenness. Those who stood, in pride, were suddenly shaken so violently that they turned to dust.
This shaking is coming to the church. Those who pridefully reject the fear of the Lord are in great danger, though they are fervent in their religion.
A Concentration of Government
I shared at a recent regional church leader’s prophetic prayer meeting that we must be careful.
There is a lot of pride in this region—especially within the church of Detroit.
Acts 10:35 But in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
It’s right to respond to God’s mandate to focus on our region and on the state of Michigan. I am friends with some phenomenal leaders who are spearheading a movement of prayer in this state, and they are doing so with great humility.
We must follow their lead, and we cannot allow the pride of Detroit to manifest in our zeal to see a great end time revival land here.
While geographic boundaries do have extreme significance, we have to understand the greater reality.
Washington DC is not important to this nation because of its geographic boundaries. In fact, it’s a very small area. The reason Washington DC is significant is because of the concentration of government. It is our governmental center, and the governmental activity is greater there than anywhere else in the nation.
Yet, the Pentagon is also important and strategic to our nation. So are our military bases. Why? Because of their affiliation and alliance and responsiveness to the governmental leadership in Washington.
Michigan is no different. Pride would cause us to presume that there is something special about our geography. Humility, and an accurate analysis of the situation would reveal something very different—Michigan will be special because of the concentration of humble, cross-bearing, anointed Kingdom government officials and offices that will be established here. Heaven’s authority is coming, I believe, to Michigan. Our impact will be determined by our willingness to humbly respond to God’s governmental leadership.
Just as with Washington DC, it’s not about making Detroit famous. We have been given a sober mandate—to serve our nation in the midst of a coming national, civil war.
A Dividing Line
As God’s government increases, no matter where it is, the division will increase. Gray will become black and white. People will have to choose where they stand. It sounds terrible, but in a wheat and tare season, it is absolutely necessary. God is bringing judgment to the church, and people will absolutely choose sides.
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
This is why the fear of the Lord is so critical! We are scarcely saved and judgment is coming!
Those with a casual disposition and a resistance to the fear of the Lord, and a focus on “Daddy God” without also acknowledging him as “Fearful Judge and Father” will be disturbed beyond description.
Their understanding of who God is will be threatened and they will end up choosing to resist the one they say they know! My God!
Thus, the civil war will commence.
The false-unity, “can’t we all just get along” hopes will be crushed as the fearful reality of the Judge brings his sword of division. His love will provoke him to call the true bride of Christ out and give those compromised by faulty theologies a clear and compelling chance to run to him.
The false-grace, false-love, false-unity movements are radically resistant to the fear of the Lord, yet they won’t be able to escape it when it all comes crashing down.
The world is getting better and better?
The glorious fear of the Lord results in radical and continual repentance as we joyfully encounter the lover and judge of our souls at the same time.
The grief and mourning is multi-faceted, yet much of it comes from an understanding that great destruction is upon us and Hell is expanding as millions are sucked into its horrors.
Those who reject this idea are focused on blessing and benefits. The belief is that the world is getting better and better, and we can rest easy—eat, drink and play.
Exodus 32:4And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a goldena calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” 6And 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.
So many have fashioned a god of their own design—and have given it glory for rescuing them from Egypt! The plan is to play instead of forging ahead to save the world. They want to stay at the bottom of the mountain with their hands in their ears saying, “La la la la la!”
I’ve heard it said that God is always in a good mood. This is not only ridiculous theology, but it’s dangerous. Why? When those who subscribe to this idea experience the fearful shakings of God, they will reject him as a foreigner or as a demon.
John 8:48The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge.
I honestly have no patience for the argument that God is always in a good mood, and that he no longer judges. We need his judgment!
How can 4000 babies a day murdered in our nation, an increase in radical terrorism, absolutely disgusting moral decline, pornography viewed by most people—in the church and increasing suicides, murders and other atrocities cause anyone to presume the world is getting better?
The goal is not to live a great life now—it’s to rescue a dying planet and prepare the way of the Lord!
The fear of the Lord will result in a sobriety that will shake us terribly. We will see the heartbreak of God and join him in his distress.
God is absolutely not in a good mood all the time. If he was, he’d be a monster as he laughed and did a happy dance as he cast people into eternal torment in Hell.
No, God is very often sad, disturbed and heartbroken.
Pray. Pray like your life depends on it. It does.
Mourn. Cry out. Sound alarms. Prepare ye the way of the Lord!
Be broken. Be humble. Be repentant.
A civil war is coming. Will you choose the way of comfort and pleasure and personal benefits as you fashion a god of your own design? Many significant movements and churches will do so. The pressure to join them will be extreme. The deception will be convincing. Will you seek after peace and safety with them?
Or will you drop your toys, leave the remote on the couch, let the dead bury their own dead and head up the mountain where the lightening, thundering, shakings—and God himself are?
Exodus 19:16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain[b] trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
There is a growing and unified cry in the church for a leaderless move of God.
First: Audit theLab this Saturday, June 18! This week’s class is based on my book 20 Elements of Revival. Discover how you can step right into God’s plan for city-wide revival! The cost is $15 and the class goes from 10am-2pm. Just show up, no registration required. We meet at THE TABERNACLE: 14205 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088.
A Nameless, Faceless Revival?
A common, unified cry is echoing throughout the landscape of the church—especially the revival ready church—the next move of God is going to be nameless and faceless.
This sounds right. It feels saturated with humility. In fact, I whole-heartedly agree with the base value that every Believer must embrace radical surrender, humility and must repel temptations for pride and accolade. We must go low and not desire our names or our faces to be known. It’s all about the fame of Jesus.
We decrease as God increases.
However, the assumption that God is done with acknowledging and burning through individual, human leaders is, in my analysis, a knee-jerk reaction to some epic failures in the lives of key leaders in recent movements.
Simply, people are offended. Many have allowed the spirit of offense to take root in their hearts, and it has led to radical distrust of Christian leaders and a violation of clear, theological principles. One of those principles is that God identifies, promotes and even publicizes humans for the sake of Kingdom advance.
Humility Breeds Boldness
True humility doesn’t result in permanent hiddenness. It results in a fiery boldness that rocks religious structures and an alarm that is heard far and wide.
In scripture we have men and women who have been tapped by God to be seen and heard as they gather people and deliver mandates and messages to the masses. They have a name and they have a face.
Consider Moses. He was the meekest man on the face of the Earth. He was also the human leader chosen and promoted by God to be seen and heard by all of Israel. True humility results in legitimate ministry that has visible impact. It’s actually false humility that would cause us to retreat. And, if we expect others to retreat as a visible sign of their humility, we are placing an unhealthy expectation on them. We are not to blend in, we are to stand out and call out.
In fact, God gives grace to the humble. Grace is God’s enabling power to accomplish what is humanly impossible. When mortal humans start walking in supernatural, miraculous grace, and divine messages are delivered, and lives are transformed and bodies are healed, you can’t expect that person to go unnoticed.
One inherent weakness with the nameless/faceless campaign is that of identity. True humility results in an overpowering revelation of who we are in Christ. We are weak yet he is strong. We were created in his image. We are the head and not the tail. Above and not beneath. We are serious authorities in the Kingdom.
In fact, it is in God’s nature to promote. He does it out of love and honor of his people, but also because it’s strategically necessary. It’s a divine strategy of Kingdom advance that has been used time and again.
Joshua 3:7 (ESV) 7 The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
Joshua was the leader, and Joshua was exalted. He wasn’t nameless and faceless. Just like so many men and women of God who have been called today such as Lou Engle, Bill Johnson, John Kilpatrick and others—Joshua had a name and he had a face that everybody recognized.
Why is this important? So people knew who to follow! It really is as simple as that! The person called of God for that special role must be known so they could lead the masses into their own destiny of revelation of who they are in Christ. So they can move in clear unity under prophetic and apostolic direction.
Paul clearly said to follow HIM as he followed CHRIST. That was a bold statement that I’m sure many translated into pride and arrogance.
What are the issues?
- Offense: People are so upset with and offended by the failures of people like Todd Bentley, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart an others that they have simply determined that God must be offended at them too. God must be done with them. However, we know scripturally that a spirit of offense will imprison people. In fact, it can lead people right down a path of extreme destruction. An offended heart that loses trust in people that God is moving through can do great damage to God’s plans for revival. This is why it would not surprise me at all if God chose to use fallen people to launch some of the great end-time revivals through. God still trusts, promotes and governmentally uses people. Apostles, prophets, evangelists and others are uniquely gifted to do what others cannot do.
In fact, the idea that everybody is to be nameless and faceless is truly nonsensical if we really think about it. Even those who have been deeply offended by the Todd Bentley’s of the world still admit to acknowledging other leaders who have a name and a face. They read books that have the author’s name clearly marked on the front and their photo displayed on the back. They promote other, likeminded Christian leaders they enjoy listening to. They gravitate to certain Bible commentaries that are written by humans. I could go on and on. We aren’t in this alone, and even offense can’t stop us from following anointed men and women of God—though we might be doing it with a wounded, bitter heart.
- Insecurity: The belief that we are all given equal assignments, equal levels of promotion and equal giftings is simply misguided. Only one person in the entire world was called, anointed and graced to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. His name was Moses. Only one person in the world was called to facilitate the Brownsville revival. John Kilpatrick. Of course there were many other key players in the stories, but there was only one leader. The same will be true in Detroit where God is preparing a massive outpouring. We must keep our eyes open for who were are to respond to. Who will God be using here?
An insecure leader, and especially an offended, insecure leader, is at risk of devaluing God’s chosen leaders and separating out and away from the greater city mission. A church planting coach once told me that the greatest threat in a new church plant is an insecure leader who refuses to acknowledge others who are more gifted and qualified than he is. They keep their people away from others who have more influence, anointing and authority than they do. They don’t bring on staff that would threaten their leadership abilities. So, in effect, the entire church is weakened and usually dies because of an insecure, threatened and prideful leader. This can happen in the greater city church as well.
For example, I’m fully aware that the revival that’s coming to Detroit will probably not arrive at my church. The chances are slim. So, with that in mind, I understand that other people, with names, faces, influence, differing theological bents and abilities well beyond my own (or even much less than my own) are great candidates for God to choose as leaders for the Detroit outpouring. So, the right move would be to acknowledge these human individuals and support them just as Israel was called to support Moses and Joshua.
- Entitlement: It’s extremely easy to presume, especially in this competitive nation of America where every boy and girl is told (improperly) that they can grow up to be the President of the United States if they want, that we are entitled to be equal in every way with other leaders.
A common take away is this: if someone is flamboyant, aggressive and driven, and they are in front of a revival or Christian movement, they MUST be doing something unholy. There must be arrogance or self-exaltation in the mix. Why? Because we are all created equal, and I haven’t been afforded the the opportunity to be out in the front like they are. My humility is keeping me grounded and their pride is resulting in self-promotion.
Sound familiar? We simply have to understand that everybody isn’t entitled to be in the forefront. But, just because someone is on the platform doesn’t mean they are there because of selfish desires. Even if they are bold and aggressive and persuasive, it isn’t a mark of an unholy attitude. Often their mandate is so heavy and urgent that they can’t take a casual, passive or slow approach. Study the prophets of the Bible. My oh my, it seemed like they built their own platform and demanded everybody’s attention. However, the reality is that they had a special calling that others didn’t have. They weren’t entitled to. That doesn’t make them better or more loved, but it does mean that they had a job to do that most others didn’t have to do.
I’ll finish by reemphasizing a point that is at risk of being overlooked. God demands humility. It’s non-negotiable. He resists the proud. We should esteem others more than ourselves. We should never take the credit that belongs to God. We should always boast in the Lord.
That being said, the clear, biblical expectation of humility is extreme, anointed boldness that will draw the attention of people, demons, angels and God Himself. In fact, those with the greatest humility will often be those with the greatest call to extreme leadership. Many people will know their name. They will recognize their face. Get to know them well. You just may be called to minister with humility and passion under their leadership.