God has a new heart for us that cannot be offended, an “unoffendable” heart. Beloved, possessing an unoffendable heart is not an option or a luxury; it's not a little thing. Consider: Jesus warns that, as we near the end of the age, a majority of people will be offended to such a degree that they fall away from the faith.
I have been casting a very costly vision for revival in Detroit. I have a great friend in Ireland who was with me in Colorado Springs when Secret Prayer was functioning. Like we are beginning to do now in Detroit, we prayed in a different church every Friday night in Colorado Springs from 10pm to midnight. It was a powerful movement. Strangely, after dealing with the topic of offense the last few days here, my friend just so happened to mention it as he was encouraging me in this new city prayer strategy:
Expect a good offended carnal Christian sorcerer's curse to fly your way, but just cancel it and move on. If they're really seeking God's power, they'll eventually repent and come back. If they don't then they're not seeing themselves properly within the context of the Body at large, and won't be able to support the necessary ministry to the whole body that the Spirit's going to stir up.
Offense is one of the primary issues that pulls people out of position. It’s a very serious issue. When the challenge increases, when the prophetic message strikes a nerve, a soft heart will respond in joy while an offended heart will often respond quite differently. A prophetic call is actually holy communication, it’s a message that has attached to it the expectation of response.
What often happens first when a heart is offended is that the enemy will fight this call to action, this holy communication, with silence. Dialogue, discussion, prophetic response, revelation, etc. will cease as it gives way to an underground movement of murmuring. The Absalom spirit is often awakened right at this point.
Of course, silence isn’t always indicative of offense taking root. Some people are simply wired differently, or are slower to respond, or need additional time to process the call. However, I do believe you can look at the broader picture and if the large scale communication drops at the point of prophetic communication, it would do you well to gather the intercessors and to pray against that spirit.
There is a desperate cry from a remnant for the bar to be raised, for the prophets to step up and unapologetically call the body to the cross and into a culture crashing reality. Just today, someone said to me (slight paraphrase), “John, you just have to go! Lead in the fullness of your mandate, you have to be released and not held back.”
I want to exhort you to move with great passion, from a place of extreme challenge and full of the Spirit of God. To continue doing what we have been doing while expecting a different result is insanity. We must have reformation in the structure of the church—and the cost will rock us to our very core.
Note that this is a prophetic call, a prophetic ministry, a prophetic movement and it’s led by prophetic people. To run a race like this one requires that you understand the characteristics of prophetic people. This will help with understanding the call and what the focus and flavor of the mission is.
Definition of a prophetic movement: People who are uniquely called as spokesmen for a cause; advocates; a vehicle to advance a movement
Characteristics of Prophets/prophetic people:
l. Strong Personality
Innately the prophet has a strong personality. I have never
met a true prophet who didn't have, in secular terms, a type A
personality. Prophets are usually intense about most things and
are always intense about their walk with God. That is why
prophets often have difficulty understanding those who are less
than 100% committed to the Lord.
2. Direct - Issue Oriented
A prophet is very issue oriented and sees things in black or
white. For him there is very little gray and most things are
either right or wrong. Hence, a prophet will not easily
compromise on an issue. Nor does a prophet have a lot of mercy
for those who can't or won't measure up to the austere standards
of God as he sees them. Again, the mature prophet has love and
cares about God's people. But does he have mercy? Not much! I
always visualize Amos holding the plumb line as God's
stereotypical prophet. (Amos 7:7-9). The plumb line is
representative of God's righteousness on any given issue and, to
the prophet, all things relating to that issue are to be measured
against that plumb line.
3. Strong in Prayer
The prophet is given to much prayer. The true prophet has a
real burden, not only for God's will, but for His people as well,
both those saved and those not yet saved. This inevitably leads
to a strong intercessor's prayer burden for people and issues.
Remember, the prophet is intense and this intensity flows over
into his or her prayer life.
4. Outward Life in Order
The prophet generally has his outward life in order. Since
the prophet sees matters in black or white, he is much less
likely to become ensnared in outward sins such as adultery,
cheating on his taxes, etc. However, there are two big, covert
sins with which a prophet must continually battle. They are pride
and judgementalism. As God matures His prophets, this pride and
judgementalism gradually diminishes, but they are always a
potential snare for the prophet. These two sins are Satan's most
effective weapons against the prophet.
5. Authority and Power
A prophet, when moving in the prophetic call, will move with
great authority and power. When God delivers His word through a prophet,
it is God's power and authority that is manifested, not the
prophet's. Those who have a discerning spirit will know when the Lord
is delivering His word through someone be it spoken forcefully or given
in a whisper.
6. Prophets are Poor Long-Term Counselors
Prophets generally do not make good long-term counselors.
They lack the patience and mercy necessary for this kind of
counseling. A prophet is much more inclined to spend some time
with a counselee, give that person the word of the Lord, then
become impatient if the counselee continues to drift in his sin
or shows a lack of commitment to correct a failing.
7. Spiritual Gifts Accompany a Prophetic Call
The mature, called prophet will exercise many of the
spiritual gifts enumerated in I Corinthians, chapter twelve.
Though the prophet may operate all of these gifts at some time in
his or her ministry, the gifts most often manifested are the
prophetic word, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, and the
discerning of spirits. The prophet often is the first to spot a
demonic presence in a person or circumstance. Further, signs and
wonders such as healing, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and
the breaking down of demonic strongholds are often seen in the
Let’s discuss this tonight on theLab. www.revivallab.com.
Superheroes Aren’t Supposed To Die
The mystique and allure of superheroes is their seeming immortality. No matter what evil villain appears and no matter the level of their insidious attack, there’s always a miraculous victory that ensures there will be another comic book issue, another blockbuster movie. The good guys always win.
Superman and Spiderman are assured of many centuries of battle after victorious battle. Shoot, even Indiana Jones keeps coming back for more!
Why is this? Superheroes aren’t supposed to die. A defining attribute of a superhero is their bulletproof exterior that covers a tender heart for mankind.
Countless people have contacted me with their testimonies of my dad’s soft, compassionate heart. I have been so blessed to watch my superhero in action for the last forty years. His passion for people was second to none.
My dad was my superhero—and, on Good Friday, 2010, my superhero died.
Robert Burton absolutely had superpowers. He used them all the time, and many people have been saved because of them. What were they? Mercy. Compassion. Love. Faithfulness. A continual sense of humor.
Here’s a testimony from someone about one of my dad’s many victorious battles against the forces of darkness:
"All I can tell you about Bob Burton boils down to this: In two short years of knowing him, he accomplished what an army of people, including my wife, attempted for decades, and failed: he brought me to Jesus. All of the others pushed, but Bob led. He led with love, and understanding, and tolerance and with patience. Lots of patience! He was a kind, kind man, who gave of himself so that others could have a piece of him to hold onto through this sometimes difficult life. And he did that with love, and gladness in his heart.”
The reason this testimony was possible, the reason why we all can be free, why we can also win battle after battle against life’s villains, is because my dad also had a Superhero. His Superhero also died on Good Friday.
The result? We all have the opportunity to be endued with Superpower, with the Holy Spirit. We all can love and heal and touch terrified, desperate people who have been abused by a very evil enemy.
Jesus also rose from the grave. He is now alive and active. Extremely active. And, because of that resurrection, my dad is also alive and active right now with Jesus in Heaven. Many people who are still on the Earth are alive and active because of my dad’s willingness to carry Jesus and walk in resurrection power everywhere he went.
A Very Special Part of the Story
As I mentioned above, a key superpower my dad wielded was his sense of humor. He had joy and expressed it continually.
I was sitting in a Starbucks here in Grosse Pointe, Michigan connecting with a young, emerging leader in our church. As we were concluding our meeting I received a text message from a friend of the family in Branson:
Praying for you, your mom, Mike and all the family… Bob was an awesome demonstration of God’s grace and love…
Was? Bob ‘was’?
I felt the color leave my face and chills instantly flooded every part of me. I knew Dad was having some struggles with his health, but I wasn’t expecting a text message like this.
I called Mom and she immediately asked, “Are you coming?”
I said, “What do you mean?”
What? How could this be? I drove home and parked in the driveway as Mom and I talked about what happened, what needed to happen, when we should drive down to Branson.
Then, suddenly, God did something very special for me—something I’ll never forget. He disconnected the call with my mom, it dropped in the middle of our conversation, and a moment later my phone rang and I saw my dad’s picture pop up on my phone. My dad’s cell phone was calling me.
I answered and the nurse was on the line. She said my dad wanted her to get me on the phone. “Ummm… OK.” I said.
The next voice was indeed my dad’s. His superpowers of joy and sense of humor touched me yet again. “I’m calling from Heaven.”
What? Dad? What’s going on?
He said, “I’m still among the living. There was a miscommunication regarding my condition, but it won’t be long.”
I said, “Dad, this is like the Twilight Zone! Wow. Should I come on out to see you?”
In his normal, selfless manner he said, “Nah, just pray.”
I told him I loved him and that was it. It was the end of a brief but precious phone call with the man who impacted my life more dramatically than I could ever explain.
We immediately packed and drove to Springfield to see him in the hospital.
By then he was not communicating very well, but he did say, “I love you.” He also said, several times, “Mom.” His tender heart, his superpowers of mercy and love, were still shining through. He wanted to ensure the love of his life here on the Earth, my mom, who had been mostly bed-ridden for over 30 years, would be very well taken care of.
I learned that his last phone call with my mom was filled with tears and he told her how sorry he was that he was leaving her. He was so sorry that he wouldn’t be there to care for her any more.
That was on April 1, 2010. April Fool’s day. It would have been an appropriate send off if this master of the superpower of humor departed on that day. However, I believe God wanted to make a larger statement about his life of consecration and surrender to the Lover of his soul, Jesus.
He held on and passed away the next morning—Good Friday.
Yes, superheroes do die. But the greatest heroes actually die well before they leave the Earth. As we take up our cross, die daily, surrender all and follow Jesus, many villains will be defeated and many special people will find the abundant life they so desperately desire.
Thanks Dad for your life. I can’t wait to see you again.
You can view a special website in honor of Bob Burton at www.johnburton.net/bobburton. Please submit any stories, testimonies, photos or other information about him by filling out a form on the site. You can also donate toward the care of Bob’s wife Barbara.