People are leaving the church in droves, and most fingers are pointed at the senior pastor.
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
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.
I’m BURNING! Two key IHOPKC trained prophetic messengers will be releasing prophetic decrees and teaching on The Coming Church TONIGHT!
Julia Palermo & Chris Ferguson will be tag team prophesying, teaching and decreeing the word of the Lord with me TONIGHT at Revival Church!
I’m SO ROCKED right now…something is absolutely going to explode at Revival Church tonight! Join us in the sanctuary at 5:15pm for targeted and passionate intercession, and then at 6pm for a special guest worship team, prophetic decrees and teaching on The Coming Church!
OUR GUESTS SPEAKERS:
CHRIS FERGUSON: Director of Pastoral Care, Internships at International House of Prayer Kansas City • Chris & Yvette Ferguson, have been married for over 20 years and have two children. They are currently on full time staff at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Prior to joining IHOP-KC in October of 2005, the Ferguson’s were Associate Pastors at TurningPoint Community Church in Seattle, Washington. Chris has served 20 “Intro to IHOP-KC” Internships as Sr. Core Leader and Director of Pastoral Care. Coaching, mentoring and raising up the next generation of leaders in each of IHOP’s four Internships.
JULIA PALERMO: Founder & Director of Sojourners International •Julia Palermo is a raging furnace of revival who is only growing more focused and intense in her ministry. Prepare yourself to be rocked by a burning prophetic messenger that operates at a uniquely high level of maturity, passion and excellence. Julia is a sign and a wonder who will encourage your church into its destiny. ~John Burton
Revival Church meets at CENTRAL CHURCH, 1529 E. 12 Mile Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071. www.explorerevival.com
I regularly receive requests for theLab to be made available online…and that time has come!
This will be an extremely unique training experience and end-time community.
More info is coming soon…but in the mean time, check it out at www.thelabuniversity.com!
COMING JULY 18, 2013!
theLab University Online
Our NEW twelve week online university launches on July 18, 2013.
INTRODUCTORY TUITION PRICE of $100!
Your enrollment will begin immediately upon payment. The twelve week school continually rotates so you can jump in at any time.
Your enrollment includes:
- Twelve weeks of training on various subjects including the end-times, prophetic prayer, the coming church, the lifestyle of a forerunner, and the call for revival
- Various books, notes and videos to accompany each week’s class
- Monthly live classroom sessions
- Personal prophetic ministry
- Practical ministry assignments
- Daily access to instructors and fellow students in forums and chat rooms
- Life coaching and mentoring
- Much more!
theLab University Online Classes:
- The Coming Church – John Burton
- Becoming Unoffendable – John Burton
- The Forerunner Calling – Julia Palermo
- The Forerunner Lifestyle – Julia Palermo
- Prayer 101 – Fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit – Chris Ferguson
- Prayer 101 – Revelation of Intercession – Chris Ferguson
- Six Enemies of Fulfilled Destiny – John Burton
- Revelation by Meditation – Chris Ferguson
- Intro to the Prophetic – Chris Ferguson
- Intro to the End-Times 1: Urgency of the Hour – Julia Palermo
- Intro to the End-Times 2: Overview of the Book of Revelation – Julia Palermo
- Carriers of Fire – John Burton
Chris Ferguson from IHOP and prophetic messenger Julia Palermo will be at Revival Church and theLab School of Fire THIS WEEK!
First: Listen to Sunday’s teaching on the Joshua Generation and hear about the shock that’s coming to our nation and the call of the church to move with passion into position! Listen here (notes will be included below): http://media.johnburton.net/7637627
THE COMING CHURCH
What is coming to and through the church? That’s the theme this week as very special guests Chris Ferguson and Julia Palermo minister in fire at Revival Church and theLab School of Fire!
THURSDAY: END TIMES TEACHING
Julia and Chris will be ministering prophetically over everybody in attendance, and then a key teaching on the end-times and the church’s role in the Tribulation will be presented.
This is a MUST attend event!
We normally charge $25 to audit a class at theLab, but we are opening this class to everybody at NO CHARGE! FREE!
Simply show up at 7pm on Thursday! Revival Church & theLab meet at CENTRAL CHURCH, 1529 E. 12 Mile Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071.
FRIDAY: INTERCESSION IN DETROIT
Julia and Chris will be joining theLab and other revivalists and intercessors at Apostle Londen Winters Ministries THIS FRIDAY, March 22nd at 7pm.
The level of prophecy in this ministry is high and the atmosphere is hot! Bring friends or come alone!
This special prayer event is being held at: 8316 Dexter Blvd., Detroit 48206.
Get ready for powerful worship and an unusual night of prophetic fire!
Chris, Julia and I will be tag team teaching on what we see coming for the church in the end-times.
There is a great shock that’s coming, and we need to be prepared for this amazing upcoming season in the church of our nation!
We begin with IHOP worship on the screen and intercession in the sanctuary at 5:15pm.
The service begins at 6pm. You can let us know you are coming and we’ll give you a FREE copy of my book SIX ENEMIES! Go here: www.explorerevival.com/plan-your-visit
JOSHUA GENERATION NOTES
I. The Great Mission
a. Threefold Strategy of God
i. Salvation & Deliverance: The initial goal in the Exodus was to escape captivity. (inward)
ii. Intimacy & Offering: The secondary goal was to worship God in intimacy in the desert. (upward)
iii. Warfare & Possession: The ultimate goal was to take their new culture of intercession and worship into the Promised Land and conquer demonic strongholds on cities that stand in the way. (outward)
b. This is our focus at Revival Church: get you free, encounter God in intimacy, rise up as warriors and fulfill a mission. All three must be active!
i. The house of prayer must come before we take the city!
c. That’s the great mission, and now let’s look at a great mistake.
II. The Great Mistake
a. They had been slaves there for over 400 years, and God went to great lengths to deliver them from bondage.
i. They appreciated the deliverance, but they didn’t transfer their gaze from inward to upward, from them to God.
b. Shortly after their salvation form Egypt, due to their persistent unbelief that God would faithfully and safely take them into a land of their own, the Promised Land (Canaan–or Israel), God brought judgment and chastisement upon them (Numbers 13–14). He sent them into the desert to wander for 40 years. (This is most Christians!) All of the people aged 20 years or older were destined to die in the desert and to never enter the Promised Land because of their unbelief (Numbers 14:26–35, Hebrews 3:16–19).
c. The great mistake? The Israelites were known for their complaint!
i. What a legacy!
ii. Their complaining led to unbelief which led to wandering and then death.
1. If you wander too long, you will not see your promise!
iii. One of the most tragic mistakes we can make is to assume our attitudes and personal dispositions don’t have much of an impact.
iv. Check this out:
d. Numbers 11:1 (ESV) 1 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.
e. 1 Corinthians 10:8-10 (ESV) 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
i. Dang! What is that! To be destroyed by serpents! Hard core! The Destroyer!
ii. Why? Just for sexual immorality? Grumbling?
iii. Yes, our attitudes and actions reap consequences!
f. Numbers 14:1-10 (ESV) 1 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.
i. Do not rebel.
ii. Do not fear.
iii. You would think the complaining would end…but no! Check it out!
1. Numbers 16:1-3 (NIV) 1 Korah …became insolent 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD‘s assembly?”
2. Numbers 16:31-33 (NIV) 31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.
iv. This is getting serious!
1. Today it’s expected that leaders make it easy for people to follow.
2. I disagree. Leaders are called to lead you into the most challenging, risky and humanly impossible adventure!
3. We should make it easy for leaders to lead!
4. Paul said, Follow me as I follow Christ.
5. If you are going to follow apostolic leaders, you better have your running shoes on!
6. Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV) 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
7. 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 (ESV) 24 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. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
a. Apostolic leaders lead into a difficult, costly mission with a sharp prophetic edge.
b. Pastors mostly lead you into comfort, and there is a place for that… and apostles lead you into mission, into movement.
c. This is why churches are usually best led by apostles and small groups are usually best led by pastors, or the regional church led by apostles, and local bodies led by pastors. They must work together.
d. We equip people to work, to move, to fulfill a mission.
e. Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
f. It’s time to move!
III. The Great Movement
a. From the Great Mistake to the Great Movement.
b. From dead in the desert to moving into destiny!
c. The older generation complained, grumbled, sinned sexually, had idols, etc… but the younger generation was humbled, tested and disciplined by the Lord during their desert sojourn.
d. They were ready to move into their mission.
i. Only 10% of Christians know what their calling is…their mission!
1. This means that precious days are being lost wandering and surviving instead of advancing!
2. Just because you are moving, doesn’t mean you are advancing in your mission!
3. Psalm 107:4-5 (NIV) 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.
4. The only way to discover your calling is to be fully given to it!
a. This is why thelab and other ministry schools are so powerful.
b. It requires a complete surrender of time, dreams, comfort in a movement of radical unity!
c. God is isn't coming back for a church with scattered believers. He's coming back for a company of people with a common vision. ~Mike Bickle
d. The highest blessing, the commanded blessing, comes when God's people gather together in unity.~Mike Bickle
5. This end-time passage gives us the critical secret to fulfilling our mission.
a. Revelation 12:10-12 (ESV) 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
b. Salvation, power, the Kingdom, authority!
c. How do we live in that and conquer?
i. The blood of the lamb
ii. The word of our testimony
1. JFB: Their testimony evinced their victory over him by virtue of the blood of the Lamb. Hereby they confess themselves worshippers of the slain Lamb and overcome the beast, Satan's representative.
iii. Death to self
iv. This is such an important step…today most are looking for ‘life to self’…but don’t realize that life doesn’t come before death.
v. If we emphasize the benefits while ignoring the cost, people will run from Jesus when their cross is presented to them.
1. Romans 8:35-36 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
2. Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
3. John 12:24-25 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Those who love their life will lose it, while those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
4. Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
a. Die daily! It’s worth it because of the power of the resurrection!
5. 1 Corinthians 15:30-34 (ESV) 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
e. Our church’s key verses:
i. Joshua 3:4-5 (ESV) 4 …Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” 5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”
1. Verse 4 is why we must embrace apostolic leadership—we have never been this way before…apostles are ‘sent ones’…they are pioneers.
a. You need a Daniel Boone leading you!
b. Despite some resistance from American Indian tribes such as the Shawnee, in 1775 Boone blazed his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina and Tennessee into Kentucky. There he founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, one of the first American settlements west of the Appalachians.
c. Boone was a militia officer during the Revolutionary War (1775–83), which in Kentucky was fought primarily between the American settlers and the British-aided Native Americans. Boone was captured by Shawnee warriors in 1778, who after a while adopted him into their tribe.
d. Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 European people migrated to Kentucky/Virginia by following the route marked by Boone.
2. The only way we can survive such a dangerous mission is if we follow verse 5 instructions: Consecrate yourselves and prepare for wonders!
a. The call to movement means that we have to leave what is familiar into what is risky!
b. We can’t add God’s supernatural assignment to our human dreams. We have to leave our dreams and lay down our lives!
i. The non-negotiable price of supernatural mission is the surrender of convenience, comfort, and control.
3. Consecrate: Prepare, sanctify, clean, dedicate, purify
a. The older generation who died in the desert complained because they were lacking, and because they had unbelief.
b. Notice the remedy: The younger generation embraced a fasted lifestyle as they consecrated themselves…and also embraced ridiculous faith as they were called to step into the waters of the Jordan and march around the walls of a fortified city.
i. The requirements? Anybody can do it!
1. Don’t complain.
2. Be holy.
4. Respond in extreme unity and precision.
ii. We are moving into the uncharted, impossible, not into the predictable and casual! Daniel Boone! Joshua! How about Peter Pan?
1. Peter Pan Jesus
2. It’s time to follow! To blaze a new trail!
3. Now, you have to understand, you are either living in the camp or dying in the desert!
a. You can’t just live between the two in some imaginary safe place.
f. Boldly following
i. If you really want to advance, you will have to literally face trouble and threatening situations.
1. There are giants to take down, city walls to march around.
2. “I've found that great leaders are comfortable making other people uncomfortable.” JD King
a. Look at Joshua. He was leading people into sure drowning in the river, sure defeat at Jericho!
b. Today we are looking for comfort when God is calling us to challenge!
c. 1 Kings 18:21-22 (ESV) 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.
i. Will you follow those you are in relationship with, even if they lead you astray? Are you with the 450 or the 1? It’s time to lock in! Don’t be tossed around! Don’t waver any longer!
ii. If you live a decisive life, you will have to move, and you will have to break away from comfort and what is familiar.
1. Never be afraid to stand with the minority which is right, for the minority which is right will one day be the majority; always be afraid to stand with the majority which is wrong, for the majority which is wrong will one day be the minority.—William Jennings Bryan
2. A wrong choice results in death in the desert!
3. The following quotation is from the “Cadet Prayer.” It is repeated every Sunday in chapel services at West Point: “Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be contented with half truth when whole truth can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when right and truth are in jeopardy.”
iii. Ephesians 4:11-14 (ESV) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 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, 14 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.
d. The mission is not one of personal satisfaction, but one of full surrender.
i. If you are looking for comfort and personal satisfaction, you are primed to fall into whatever false-doctrine provides that.
e. You can’t just soak in the river!
f. You are either dead in the desert or advancing into destiny!
i. Revelation 3:1-2 (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.
ii. Revelation 3:5-6 (ESV) 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
g. If you just soak, the river will carry you away into death:
i. The Jordan river flows to the salt sea, the dead sea!
ii. If you stay still, you will be carried away into death! The salt sea has no outlet. No movement! Death!
iii. The Dead Sea is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea.
iv. We are to be salt to the earth, not in our place of comfort! If we carry salt, we must move!
v. When Lot’s wife stopped advancing, she turned to salt. Sodom was located next to the Salt Sea, the Dead Sea.
vi. The only way to live as salt is to move! To obey!
1. Lot’s instruction: Genesis 19:17 (ESV) 17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”
vii. Not only can’t you complain, you can’t look back! You must advance!
3. Joshua 3:2-3 (ESV) 2 At the end of three days the officers went through the camp 3 and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it.
4. God is raising up trailblazing leaders who carry the presence of God into the land of promise! Dare you follow?!
5. Joshua 3:9-13 (ESV) 9 And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God.” 10 And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. 12 Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. 13 And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”
ii. Joshua 6:1-2 (ESV) 1 Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.
iii. Joshua 6:3 (ESV) 3 You shall march around the city…
iv. It’s time to move!
a. If you want your city, you have to conquer your river.
b. If you want your Goliath, you have to conquer your lion and your bear.
c. If you are not interested in taking the city, you’ll waste away in the desert on the wrong side of promise.
d. If you aren’t interested in taking on Goliath, you’ll be bait for a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
e. We have no option. We must fight. We must believe. We must advance.
Listen to this teaching from tonight’s class at thelab school of fire—The Lifestyle of a Forerunner.
You will get rocked as you listen to this teaching from thelab school of fire. It’s hot off the press—just a couple of hours old.
Are you ready to step into the calling of an end-time forerunner? Listen and find out!
Additionally, here is a short audio about the most troubling end-time dream I’ve ever had. I shared this tonight, but stopped the recording before I did so. http://media.johnburton.net/2217865
The Lifestyle of a Forerunner
1. A Generation of Zealots
a. One of this ministry’s primary callings is to minister with a “forerunner spirit”. Forerunners prepare the way for the Lord by preparing people to respond rightly to Jesus in light of His Second Coming.
b. A description of the forerunner ministry:
I've been listening to Mike Bickle's series on the forerunner and the fasted lifestyle. Fasting of our time, food and money. He talks about how disruptive it is to give ourselves to God in a radical way. We are living in a prophetic time, we are a prophetic generation, many believe the generation before the Lord's return, and there is a call to radical, extravagant devotion to Jesus.
If we say Yes, we are blessed in the deeper things of God during this life and the one to come. If we say No and lock ourselves behind our safe religious traditions, we risk our hearts growing cold to the deeper things of God. We don't separate ourselves from His love, but we close the door to a greater awakening and walking in deeper revelation. Don't know about you guys, but I want a deeper revelation. The same ole same ole doesn't work any more.
But the radical, fasted lifestyle messes with our worlds. It's disruptive. It means eating less, spending less, sleeping less so we can get up or stay up for prayer. Worse, our pursuit disrupts the lives of those around us – our friends and families.
In Matthew 11:19, Jesus is preaching and reminding the people the religious leaders said John the Baptist had a demon, and they accused Jesus of being a glutton and drunkard. Bible believing, Bible preaching people are going to be offended at the radical lifestyle and they are going to call us crazy, demonized, drunkards and all sorts of things. Our reputations will be ruin, perhaps.
Jesus tells us we will be reviled because He was reviled. But, we will have what can't be taken a way – a knowledge of the Beautiful man. An experience in the pleasures of God, IN THIS LIFE. And I believe, walking in divine power and authority.
I've concluded: Prayer is a must. Not bless Aunt Betty prayers, but intercession. We cannot go on without it. We must pray the Word, believe the Word. We must dialog with God using His own words. It deepens our own understanding, our own revelation.
Giving, praying, fasting unlocks our hearts! Even our smallest effort. The writer of Hebrews understood this and challenges us. “Oh my stars, you guys still want milk? You could be eating steak by now.
c. We are in a transitional season between generations.
i. A prophetic generation is arising around the world who's daily lifestyle will look nothing like their parent's.
ii. Both ancient and emerging
1. Acts 2:43-47 (NKJV) 2:43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 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.
iii. Forerunner- a person who goes or is sent in advance to announce the coming of someone or something that follows
iv. John the Baptist was the forerunner- Matthew 11:7-10 (NKJV) 11:7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 “But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 “For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.'
1. Luke 1:15-17 (NKJV) 1:15 “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
v. Detroit is a forerunner city- we as forerunners are establishing a city of the future as God reveals his plans.
vi. The ministry of the forerunner, especially during transitional seasons like the one we're in, is one of the most important in the church.
1. For those who are forerunners
2. For those who are not
3. Forerunners must:
a. Clearly hear God's fresh Word
b. Accurately declare that Word
c. Warn others of what is coming
e. Apostolically prepare new ground
f. Prophetically see what God is doing and do whatever is necessary to prepare the body for what lies ahead
g. Isaiah 40:3-5 (NKJV) 40:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
i. We are also preparing the way for Jesus! The preparation of the arrival of a city of refuge, of a city of worship and of Jesus himself requires absolute focus, energy and passion.
h. Embrace the continual disruption to our rest, our focuses, our families, our relationships, our work and our pursuits- as God continually requires more of us, shakes us to the core and develops us into radical pioneers!
i. My call to die (YMCA)
ii. Becca was told that she would have to surrender her family to God if she wanted to accept her calling.
iii. Vision of her daughter on the dock
iv. The life of the forerunner, as with John the Baptist, is a life of lonely and zealous and continuous declaration.
1. They have surrendered their lives.
2. God asked Becca permission to take her life. He asked me permission to take mine. He's asking the entire generation of forerunners to die.
3. Mat 14:10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison.
i. Report from the Forerunner School of Ministry
i. My Internship Experience: Do Not Despise the Process
As I sit down to write this paper and reflect upon the changes that have occurred in these last six months, I’m actually weeping because of my gratitude and amazement. I could never have imagined all that has happened in these last six months. As I read through my application testimony, I’ve realized that the girl sitting here today is not the same person that wrote that paper less than a year ago. God’s been busy…
I’m not going to lie; this was not a fun season of life. I’ve never cried so much, nor felt so lonely, nor felt like my very life was being sucked out of me with each passing hour in the prayer room (graphic, yet true). I had anticipated a breaking of sorts when I got here, Lord knows I needed it, but I did not understand the entirety of what I had signed up for. In the infamous words of Corey Russell, God got up in my business. Almost as soon as I got here, God took me out of the excitement and comforts of internship bonding and into a twenty-one day fast (promptly breaking my fear of fasting). It was clear that this season wasn’t about my ability to make good friends; God wanted me all to himself. In a place where every single false comfort and idol had been stripped away and only loneliness and barrenness remained (thank you, Dana Chandler for providing language for the groaning), I quickly realized that I had a deep fear of intimacy and animosity against God. I didn’t trust God. Actually, everything that I struggle with has its roots in distrust, is God really who he says he is? Will He really do everything he has promised? Can I really give him my whole life? God has proven faithful time and time again to answer my many questions.
This is what it all boils down to: I’ve fallen in love with a Man and he’s bid me come and die so that I may truly live. I’ve signed up for a life that’s different, wholly other than what the world thinks of as a successful life. I didn’t know that my life would be “ruined” when I got here. I didn’t know that there would be an unsatisfied ache in my soul that will remain all the days of my life. I didn’t know that I was going to be preparing for the last days and the return of my Lord and Savior, which was, by the way, one of the biggest shocks of the internship – my college education in theology did not prepare me for this message! I didn’t know the cost would be so great and that the reward would be far greater…here I go weeping again. As this internship ends, I find that I’m embarking on a great journey: To spend the rest of my life now and in eternity experiencing this man and his love and seeking out a comprehension of this God and his glory; what could be greater?
I've had a hard time giving language to all that has taken place in my life. What do you say when God takes you to a place of complete death to self, only to realize that what rises from the ashes is a hunger pang that can never be satisfied by anything less than the presense of the Lord. Guys – I'm ruined. I don't want anything but God. All else in this life is dim, dull and painfully worthless
j. Those who don't feel they are forerunners must:
i. Embrace their relationship with the forerunners in their lives
ii. Listen closely to the instructions of the forerunners
iii. Prepare for a drastic lifestyle change in the comings months and years
iv. Deliberately discipline themselves according to the Word of the Lord for this season
d. I've lived a strange experience in ministry
i. Since 1991 I have been burning with virtually the same message and have been both disappointed and shocked that so few in the church were eagerly responsive.
1. Calling prayer meetings as a youth pastor and everyone stayed in the foyer
2. Prayer walking in San Diego- less than 10 people vs. going to the beach- 40-50 people
3. In the church in Dayton every day after work for hours alone while most others barely made it 2-3 times a month
4. I found myself puzzled as I would proclaim the necessary and critical directives of God- pray hours a week! I'd get nods, smiles and some response… but much non-responsiveness.
ii. I wasn't alone in my pursuit, I knew that. I experienced first hand mighty people of God who also modeled such a lifestyle.
e. The critical relationship between the forerunner and the body
i. As I've discovered more about the forerunner ministry, the more I have understood the critical importance of an intentional relationship between them and the church.
ii. If you can't hear God, stay very close to someone who does.
1. Amos 3:6-8 (NKJV) 3:6 If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it? 7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. 8 A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?
2. We know that we should all prophesy, should all hear God… especially those associated with ministries like this as we are a team of forerunners and developing forerunners.
a. However, there is a special prophetic declaration that is being sounded through forerunners- and it's critical to heed that alarm!
b. The difficulty in this is that those who don't personally hear the alarm simply assume that it is not sounding, or that it is not for them.
c. The reality is that God established the prophetic ministry as a protective measure for his church.
d. It's very important to read the Elijah List, to listen to people like Chuck Pierce and others who are proclaiming the Word of the Lord for these end-times.
e. Habakkuk 2:2-3 (NKJV) 2:2 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
i. The visionaries, the forerunners, write the vision down and the rest of the body reads and runs!
ii. John 1:14-15 (NKJV) 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' ”
iii. John the Baptist said, “this was He of whom I said”… yet people weren't entirely ready for his arrival. Will the church be ready to respond to the word of the prophets? The forerunners? Is the church resisting or responding? Heck, are those who are called as forerunners resisting or responding!
f. Are you called as a forerunner? Someone who is establishing now what God desires to exist in the not to distant future?
i. If so, you will have the responsibility of proclaiming and establishing some difficult truths.
ii. You will have the responsibility of reordering every part of your life to ensure there is extreme time, energy and passion available to complete the mission.
iii. We as forerunners are living now as the entire generation of Spirit-filled believers will be living in a short amount of time.
1. We are praying hours a week, we are together in strategy sessions continually, we are maturing at a very fast rate, we are unified and organized as a holy military.
2. We are allowing extreme lifestyle pressure to hit us because of the severity of the prophetic call on our lives.
3. Isaiah 62:6-7 (NKJV) 62:6 I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, 7 And give Him no rest till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
4. We must repent for our schedules!
a. We are called to order our lives in such a way that our mandate is carried out, not in a way that focuses on rest and entertainment!
g. The forerunner is simply announcing what will be the normal lifestyle of the normal believer in a short time to come.
i. This doesn't mean all will respond, but it means that those whose hearts don't grow cold will be those that do respond.
ii. Luke 8:16-18 (NKJV) 8:16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 “Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”
iii. As we hear and shine the light of the Word of God, more and more revelation will come to us. It's the normal way of life for the believer- but we are living below the bar.
1. It will be the norm to be in church and ministry activities 4 or 5 nights a week.
a. Psalms 27:4 (NKJV) 27:4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.
2. It will be the norm for every believer to pray easily 15 or more hours a week (This lifestyle is already normal in Africa- Friday prayer meetings. We must look at this and understand we are lagging way, way behind God's norm for the church)
3. It will be easy to understand that the lifestyle God gives us is not there to bring comfort to our lives, which is the opposite of the mindset of the western church now.
a. The extreme problem in the church as we know it is that we assume it's there to make our lives better, that God's primary purpose is to comfort us… but it's an inaccurate idea!
i. When we find ourselves full enough, the prayer stops, the effort ceases, the pressing eases. We must push because of the magnitude of our mission!
ii. We will only fulfill our mission if we are bleeding and sweating and pressing in great unity every day of the week with smiles on our faces and fire in our eyes!
b. Our pleasure and comfort will come through intimacy and obedience.
c. Isaiah 58:12-14 (NKJV) 58:12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. 13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
4. The disruption of our daily lives will be embraced.
5. Romans 12:10-11 (NKJV) 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
6. Let's join with other forerunners around the world and establish now in our lives and in this city what is to come! Detroit is a forerunner city- one that will be devoted to God not only on Sundays, but 24/7! It will disrupt everything in our lives, it will demand much, and it is what God has called us to!
7. The way we live our lives now, as forerunners, is what we are prophetically declaring to the world- as we live so they will live. Is it enough?
2. John the Baptist
a. Characteristics of a forerunner's life
i. Self-denial- Matthew 3:4 (NKJV) 3:4 And John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
ii. Courage- Matthew 3:5-8 (NKJV) 3:5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…
iii. Obedience- Matthew 3:13-15 (NKJV) 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
iv. Powerful Preacher- Mark 1:4-5 (NKJV) 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
v. Humility- John 1:19-23 (NKJV) 1:19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the LORD, ‘ ‘ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
vi. Holiness- Mark 6:20 (NKJV) 6:20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
vii. Burning Zeal- John 5:35 (NKJV) 5:35 “He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
viii. Honored by Christ- Matthew 11:11 (NKJV) 11:11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
ix. Did No Miracle- John 10:41 (NKJV) 10:41 Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.”
x. Suffered Martyrdom- Matthew 14:10 (NKJV) 14:10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison.
Life with John and Amy is THIS Saturday March SECOND (not third) at 6pm!
Just in case there may have been some confusion, the community of revivalists meets this Saturday, March 2nd… which is TOMORROW!
And, while I have you, I should let you in on a powerful shift that has taken place at Revival Church.
A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR THE DETROIT REGION : IHOP WEBSTREAM
No revival has come without a fiery, consistent foundation of intercession.
Soon, we will host intercession daily in our new mission base. But, we aren’t waiting!
Last Sunday we started gathering those who are ready to pray without ceasing and with fire in their bellies at 5:15pm for aggressive, fervent intercession in the sanctuary with the IHOP webstream video playing over us.
We then roll right into the worship service that has a mix of praise, intercession, worship and declarations throughout the night.
Of course, passionate teaching on revival and altar ministry will close out the night.
I’m convinced that only those who are alive in the place of prayer, who are intimate with Jesus and deeply connected to his heart, will thrive, or even survive, in the end-times.
We are in the end-times right now.
Revival Church desires to see everybody joyfully alive and maturing rapidly in the place of prayer. theLab School of Fire, Revival Tribes, our worship experience and other focuses are fueled by people who pray.
These people (YOU!) will change the world!
We are always looking for praying people who are ready to take the fire to the cities of the Earth. We are taking intercessory warriors to Manitou Springs, Colorado SIX times this year. People who pray best understand the power they have to shock regions and nations!
So, come on out and get your feet wet at 5:15pm THIS SUNDAY!
Audit theLab class “Unoffendable” this Thursday AND listen NOW to all three nights of fire from the conference in Manitou Springs!
First, you CAN’T miss my most requested teaching, Unoffendable, THIS THURSDAY at 7pm at theLab! You can audit the class for $25. Simply show up and pay at the door… and get ready for a night of prayer, impartation and deliverance!
theLab meets at CENTRAL CHURCH, 1529 E. 12 Mile Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071.
CARRIERS OF FIRE: REVOLUTION EXPERIENCE IN MANITOU SPRINGS, COLORADO
The three nights were so overwhelming that we made a decision to return with a team from Detroit and IHOP six times in 2013.
If you are interested in joining these carriers of fire, contact me and I will discuss it with you. You MUST start planning now if you wish to join us. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org right away.
You can listen to all three nights here:
- DAY ONE (The Coming Church): media.johnburton.net/6954614
- DAY TWO (Your Spiritual Gifts): media.johnburton.net/6954658
- DAY THREE (Carry Like Mary): media.johnburton.net/6954727
The audio does not simply contain teaching, but the entire experience of deliverance, declarations, confrontations with witchcraft and homosexuality, fire tunnels and freedom!
As you listen, pray and ask God if you are meant to join us in Manitou this year.
There will be an application process, but we are opening it up to those outside of Detroit. If you know of people who are ready, and who are maturing, faithful, humble and submitted to authority, this could be a trip that will change the course of their lives.
The next trip will be at the end of May, so, the time is NOW to save money and start consecrating yourself!
HOUSE OF PRAYER IN DETROIT
I am getting URGENT and reliable words about the IMMEDIATE need to get this new house of prayer established.
I’m BOLDLY pulling on you, asking you to ask God about giving financially. We are looking for another $44,000 RIGHT AWAY.
We are looking for a property and are aggressively inviting prophetic messengers, musicians and intercessors to get ready for a major shift in their lives.
Contact me at email@example.com if you have thoughts or questions.
You can donate today at www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/donate.
7 Characteristics of the End-time Praying Church
4:00PM EST 1/3/2013 Mike Bickle
Here’s another must read article… a repost of a message by Mike Bickle. You can read the story in its original location here: http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/13386-not-just-a-movement
The end-time role of the praying and worshipping church
Right now, all across the earth, the Holy Spirit is raising up a worship-based prayer movement that will culminate in the second coming of our King, Jesus. This isn’t a new idea, but one rooted in history and, more importantly, in the Bible. This prayer and worship movement that we see exploding across the planet was prophesied many years ago, as recorded in the Scriptures. I believe that what we’re witnessing today, with the rapidly growing worldwide prayer and worship movement, is the beginning of the fulfillment of biblical prophecies about the end times.
This conviction that God is raising up a worldwide prayer movement that will precede Jesus’ return has strengthened my resolve to build a 24/7 worship community. We started on May 7, 1999, and for the last 12 years the International House of Prayer Missions Base of Kansas City (IHOP-KC), consisting of full-time missionaries who serve as worship leaders, singers, musicians and intercessors, has continued nonstop in worship and prayer. Our hearts are set on gathering corporately to worship Jesus 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. Partnering with Him in intercession, we contend for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for the release of justice, both in our own city and in the cities of the earth. What started with 20 full-time missionaries has grown to more than 1,000 full-time staff and 1,000 students and interns in our Bible school.
Why do I mention this? Because if weak and broken people in Kansas City, Mo., can do this, anyone can! And that’s exactly the point God wants made. The Lord is determined to establish a culture of prayer in the entire body of Christ worldwide before He returns. Over the last 10 to 20 years, we’ve watched the prayer movement grow especially fast in Asia and Africa. Yet this rapid growth is only the first fruits of what Jesus is doing in His church in this generation.
I believe this is the hour in history when many of God’s people from a multitude of ministries, churches and denominations will align themselves with Jesus’ commitment to build His church. It will be in such a way that He Himself will call it “a house of prayer for all nations” (Is. 56:7).
The Scriptures describe several characteristics of the end-time worship and prayer movement that are involved in releasing God’s presence and power. When people pray, the spiritual atmosphere over cities and regions is changed. Demons are driven back from their place of influence, angels are more active, and the Spirit releases a greater measure of grace on our labors. Thus, the preaching of the gospel and the works of the kingdom become more effective. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to be expressed on earth as it is in heaven (see Matt. 6:10). This includes worship—the Father desires to be worshipped on earth as He is in heaven.
The apostle John wrote more on the end-time worship and prayer movement than any other writers of Scripture. From two of their books—Isaiah and Revelation—we can define seven characteristics of this global movement.
1. It will be God-centered (Rev. 4:8; 5:11-14; Is. 24:14-16).
The worship order of heaven is decidedly God-centered. Night and day, day and night, those nearest God’s throne proclaim the truth about who God is and what He does. He desires that His creation would encounter His majesty, love and goodness and that, in turn, they would offer up their praise and adoration for all He is, all He has done and all He will do. Treasuring God and adoring Him endlessly is the priority of the prayer movement. It is the necessary and fitting response to His matchless beauty and immeasurable worth.
Worship is a witness on earth to the indescribable value of Jesus. The truth of His greatness must be declared in song and in proclamations because it is the ultimate truth on which the created universe exists. This truth of the greatness of God is powerful. God loves the truth, including the truth about Himself.
The power and supremacy of the grand truth about God demand expression on the earth. If the people do not worship our great God, Jesus said the rocks would cry out in our place (see Luke 19:37-40). The end-time worship and prayer movement will extol the majesty and worth of God as it joins the symphony in heaven, where the worshippers are forever crying out, “Worthy is the Lamb!” (Rev. 5:12).
Our prayer life is best energized when we experience intimacy with God’s heart. The Father relates to us with tender mercy. Jesus relates to us with fiery desire as our bridegroom God (see Is. 54:5, 62:5).In Revelation 22:17, John prophesied that the Spirit and the bride would say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” This is one of the most informative and significant prophecies describing the end-time church. In it, John describes an end-time church in unity with what the Spirit is saying and doing.
What is the Spirit saying? He is speaking to believers about their corporate identity as Jesus’ bride. What is the Spirit doing? He is interceding for Jesus to come in power and calling thirsty people to come to Jesus, the bridegroom God.
In the end times, for the first time in history, the Spirit will universally emphasize the church’s identity as Jesus’ bride. It is not the Spirit and the family who will say, “Come!” or the Spirit and the army, kingdom, body, temple or priesthood. Rather, it is the Spirit resting on the church as a bride. Forever, we will rejoice in our identity as God’s family, body, temple, priesthood and more.
As sons of God, we are to experience God’s throne as heirs of His power (see Rom. 8:17). As the bride of Christ, we are to experience God’s heart—His desire for us. The bridegroom message is focused on Jesus’ emotions for us, on His beauty, on His commitments to us (to share His heart, home, throne, secrets and beauty), and on our response of wholehearted love and obedience to Him.
Understanding this message begins with experiencing His affections for us. Jesus delights in us, enjoys us, partners with us in the work of the kingdom and is committed to our eternal success.
Isaiah described the end-time prayer movement as deeply relational, a quality that would stem from the revelation of God as our bridegroom (see Is. 54:5, 62:5). In no way should “the bridegroom God” term conjure up images of our Lord and King as some sort of sensual lover or “boyfriend God.” That is grossly inappropriate and dishonoring to Jesus.
One reason people burn out in intercession and ministry to others is because they lack intimacy with God through encountering Jesus as their bridegroom God. The revelation of the church as Jesus’ cherished bride is essential for keeping our hearts alive through the years as we diligently do the work of the kingdom.
2. It will be continual (Rev. 4:8; Is. 62:6-7; Luke 18:7-8).
In Revelation 4-5, the apostle John describes the heavenly worship order around the throne. In His vision of God’s throne room he witnessed celestial beings who “do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy ” (Rev 4:8). As already mentioned, God desires to be worshipped on this earth just as He is in heaven—continually and unceasingly.
Moreover, the prophet Isaiah saw a prayer movement on earth that would not rest night and day until God’s purposes were fully established (see Is. 62:6-7). In these last days God is raising up a prayer movement that will continually worship Him and cry out to Him for His plans to be executed and His justice to be released (see Luke 18:7-8).
The call to 24/7 worship and prayer is not an invitation to organize it all under one roof. Continual prayer usually is expressed by the body of Christ together as prayer is offered up from many different buildings across a city or region. The call of 24/7 prayer is to build a prayer culture among God’s people across cities and regions so that Jesus receives continual, corporate worship from many different ministries and locations. Each does its own small part, but together all offer night-and-day prayer and worship.
I do not believe the Lord is calling most churches to start a 24/7 prayer ministry in their building but instead to build a prayer culture in their church. Unless the Lord specifically calls you to start 24/7 prayer in your congregation, it is best to view it as what will result from the collective efforts of hundreds of prayer meetings held in homes, churches, universities and businesses across your city.
3. It will be global (Is. 24:6-7, 42:10-12; Mal. 1:11).
The Scriptures are clear that the end-time worship and prayer movement will extend all across the earth, even to the most remote and difficult-to-reach places. Isaiah prophesied that even in the remote islands of the earth God’s people would sing to the Lord in worship and intercession (see Is. 42:10). He witnessed worship going forth in the wilderness, or desert places—even in Islamic villages such as Kedar in Saudi Arabia and Sela in Jordan—and that God’s people would worship from one end of the earth to the other until Jesus returns (see Is. 42:11, 13-15).
Simply put, the end-time worship and prayer movement will be in every place, even the hardest and darkest places (see Mal. 1:11). That means it will be international. King David had a continual, musical worship movement in Jerusalem. About 300 years after him, Isaiah said, in effect: “The worship moment will go far beyond what David did. David was limited to one location. The end-time movement will be global.”
4. It will be musical (Is. 24:14-16; 26:1; 27:2; 30:29; 32; 35:2, 10; 42:10-12; 54:1).
Some who lead prayer ministries struggle with the idea of prayer meetings being led by music, but the idea is biblical. One aspect of the kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven involves music in our prayer meetings. This is seen in Revelation 5:8-9.
When I first began having daily prayer meetings, we did not include music led by a worship team. We spent more time shouting at the devil than we did talking to God. It seemed like the mark of a good prayer meeting was exhausted and hoarse intercessors. Eventually I introduced music, and our prayer meetings became not just bearable but enjoyable!
The end-time prayer movement is musical. The human spirit is deeply musical because we were created in the image of God, who is very musical. Few things touch the human spirit in the way that anointed music does.
5. It will be missional (Rev. 7:9, 14).
The end-time worship and prayer movement will be instrumental in ushering in the greatest harvest of souls in history (see Matt. 24:14; Rev. 7:9, 14). Jesus said in Luke 10:2 that we must pray for the Lord to release laborers for the harvest. Throughout the Scriptures we see a pattern in which communities, such as the one in Jerusalem in Acts 2 and the Antioch community in Acts 13, gather together in worship and prayer. From those prayer meetings, missionaries are sent out and evangelism movements are unleashed that result in a significant harvest of souls.
Jesus connected night-and-day prayer to the release of justice on the earth (see Luke 18:7-8). He spoke of this in the context of the end times, with specific reference to His second coming (see Luke 17:24-37; 18:8). John spoke of the end-time prayer movement as being deeply connected to the release of God’s judgment to remove oppression from the earth (see Rev. 6:9-11; 8:3-6).
6. It will be youth-oriented (Mal. 4:5-6).
The end-time prayer movement will consist primarily of young people. We know historically that most people who turn to Jesus do so before they are 25 years old. Most great revivals of history were focused primarily on youth. This will be the pattern again because the majority of the world’s population is under age 25.
Malachi prophesied that the Holy Spirit would turn the hearts of the fathers to a focus on the youth during the generation in which the Lord would return (see Mal. 4:5-6). This means spiritual fathers and mothers will focus on God’s purpose for young people in the end times. Thus, the end-time prayer and worship movement will comprise youth who walk in a spirit of humility and honor.
David spoke of a time when young people would declare the excellence of God’s name throughout the earth. This will happen, in the fullest sense, only in the generation in which the Lord returns.
David went on to prophesy of the power of this worship movement that would flow from the mouths of babes. He said that even through the youth God would release His strength to silence the enemy and the avenger (see Ps. 8:1-2). Jesus referenced David’s prophecy during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It was at this time that He declared His house would function as a house of prayer.
Matthew tells us that immediately after this the scribes were indignant at seeing children cry out in worship to Jesus. Jesus answered them by quoting David’s prophecy that from the mouth of babes God would perfect praise (see Matt. 21:13-16). David’s prophecy of young people worshipping God was so important that Jesus emphasized it in the context of calling God’s house a house of prayer. On another occasion, David prophesied about young people volunteering for the Lord’s end-time army at a time when God’s power would be openly manifested in the nations (see Ps. 110:3, 5).
7. It will be unified (John 17:21-23; Eph. 3:18).
In His high-priestly prayer, Jesus prayed and prophesied that He would pour out His glory, enabling His people to walk in unity and greatly enhance the effectiveness of the gospel (see John 17:21-23). The end-time worship and prayer movement will function in gracious cooperation because God has entrusted different aspects of His purposes and plans to separate parts of His body. Out of necessity, but borne of love, the prayer movement will be profoundly unified as the church experiences the fullness of God’s purpose by honoring and serving one another in relationship. This will be achieved by a supernatural grace that God will pour upon His body, enabling it to walk in love and a spirit of unity. For unity is the place where God commands His blessing in the greatest measure (see Ps. 133:1-3).
The Holy Spirit is calling the church to rise up in unity as the end-time prayer movement to offer fervent, continual intercession and worship that flows from prophetic music and intimacy with God. From this position of strength we will work together to fulfill the Great Commission and bring in the greatest harvest of souls in history. And Jesus will respond to the voice of His bride calling out as one with His Spirit for Him to come in power, vanquish His enemies and fill the earth with the knowledge of the Lord.
What the Bible Says About the Prayer Movement
Revelation 22:17 speaks of the Spirit and the bride—the praying church—crying as one to the Lord Jesus, saying: “Come!”
No one knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ coming. But we do know that He will come in response to a worldwide worship and prayer movement beckoning Him to return. Check out all the indicators of this in Scripture:
- Psalm 68:32; 96:1, 9, 13; 98:1-9; 102:15-22; 149:6-9
- Isaiah 12:4-6; 19:20-22; 24:14-16, 23; 25:9; 26:1, 8-9; 27:2-5, 13; 30:18-19, 29, 32; 35:2, 10; 42:10-15; 43:26; 51:11; 52:8; 54:1; 62:6-7
- Jeremiah 31:7; 51:8
- Joel 2:12-17, 32
- Zephaniah 2:1-3
- Zechariah 8:20-23; 10:1; 12:10; 13:9
- Matthew 21:13
- Luke 18:7-8
- Revelation 5:8; 6:9-11; 8:3-5; 9:13; 14:18; 16:7; 18:6; 22:17
God is moving powerfully through many different streams—which one is the right one for you?
In the last month Revival Church has hosted guest ministers from a variety of streams—Bethel, TheCall, The Bay of the Holy Spirit and others.
I absolutely love dipping into a variety of different streams within the body of Christ!
Watch this new XPmedia video where I talk about this important topic. Which stream is best for you?
THE BAY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Out of all the streams, I’d say that the revival movement through John Kilpatrick and Nathan Morris is the closest to my own DNA. I come alive in these meetings like nowhere else! The call to the cross, to repentance, to a sobering and urgent yet deeply freeing revelation of the severity of the situation on the Earth grips this revivalist deeply.
But, their DNA only matches a fairly small percentage of my own. God has done MUCH in me personally that is unique. This is the way it should be!
I met someone once who lead a house of prayer (IHOP model) in another state. He said that literally 100% of their ministry is modeled precisely after IHOP. There is no departure whatsoever.
I grieved just a little bit. How can we launch into a ministry without God revealing to us his specific mission for us? How can we robotically copy another? Yes, we can glean key principles from a movement, but we must not forsake our personal mission.
Watch this video: http://www.xpmedia.com/OJv2EkVejjNV
And, oh yeah, another stream is represented at Revival Church THIS SUNDAY as Corey Robinson will be with us!