I'm often asked how to experience God on a regular basis. I do believe there's an answer, but it's not a simple one.

There's a phenomenal opportunity available to every legitimate follower of Jesus: an indescribable and life-rocking encounter with an invisible, all-powerful Deity. Sadly so few do what's necessary to live in this realm where the Holy Spirit reveals his shock and awe to the children of God.

It seems so many are satisfied living a typical, logical life in the natural realm. The idea that we can be overwhelmed by a Spirit and experience unimaginable manifestations that only exist beyond where our eyes and ears can discern is silliness to them. Twilight Zone. X-Files. Science fiction.

Yet, to others, it's not far-reaching at all. They yearn to meet God in this place but they don't know how to get there. It's those hungry people I'd like to try to encourage.

THE RECIPE FOR ENCOUNTER

RAW, RISKY BELIEF

5  …so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:5 (ESV)

Intellectualism may be the greatest killer of faith and supernatural encounter among those who are truly living for the Lord. Their left-brained approach to invisible and mystical realities rarely works. When it does, you usually have to take the long way around.

My passion is for God to encounter me in ways my natural, logical, intellectual capacities could never predict, gauge or moderate. The moment I limit this to my own understanding or my careful analysis is the moment I've diminished my hope of moving into that spiritual realm that exists beyond what can be grasped.

The “I have to see it to believe it” mantra doesn't work in a “walk by faith, not by sight” Kingdom. Having to understand it before seeing it doesn't usually work very well either.

Of course, I'm not proposing a renunciation of the pursuit of understanding. However, when logical understanding must come first, before the other-worldly revelation that God wants us to experience, we short circuit the supernatural happenings.

While many would argue that seeing is believing, for Christians the opposite is true. Believing is seeing…and encountering, and being shocked by the fire and power of the Holy Spirit!

5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)

DESPERATE HUNGER

I'll never forget the night many years ago that changed my life. I witnessed God doing remarkable things in the lives of some of my friends. These seemingly normal American guys who were grunting on the basketball court and staying up to all hours playing video games were also undone by an unseen force. I'd watch them weeping in prayer, pacing the church and crying out to God for him to move. These people had tapped into something that I convinced wasn't invented. It wasn't fake. It was real and I had to meet God they way they had.

Alone one night, I paced around the youth room of the church, feeling nothing but desperation. I prayed a simple prayer, the only one I could. “God, you know my heart.” That's it. Over and over I was talking to God using those words, revealing the depths of my hunger in a simple statement. God knew how deeply I desired to know him.

The rest is history. My eternity has forever been altered by that simple yet overwhelming prayer. Shortly after, he flooded into my life in a way that could never be described by using human words, though I'll try. Extreme boldness replaced timidity in a split second. A tangible force shook my being. Passion for Jesus was instantaneous. There was a power source connected to me and I was radiating with fire.

I didn't seek to understand what I was pursuing. I was simply desperate. Hungry. Willing to surrender all. In fact, I told God in the days preceding this momentous experience that I didn't want anything to do with him if he “wasn't all that he was cracked up to be.” I wasn't interested in fairy tales or following some religious icon who didn't heal, couldn't deliver and wasn't omnipotent, good and alive. However, I also said, “But if you are all of this, I will die for you.”

PASSIONATE PRAYER

While an initial encounter may not require a disciplined life of intercession, I've discovered that a regular, continual encounter with Jesus absolutely does. It's in the place of fervent, fiery prayer, especially praying in tongues, where the presence of God is constant, and very often extremely intense.

Some may wonder why it's so important to contend for encounter. They may see it as unnecessary and possibly even evidence of an imbalanced or immature person, someone who is driven by emotions or strange, mystical rushes of adrenaline. Oh my, this couldn't be further from the truth. Encounter is absolutely necessary for every blood-bought Christian.

As we walk in great faith and hunger with great desperation, the cries of our heart and the intercession of the Holy Spirit through us will launch us into the place where God can be clearly heard. We can discern his heart. He can reveal mysteries to us. Critical information, some of life and death, is transmitted to us through impressions, dreams, visions or other prophetic means. Simply, if we aren't living in encounter, we are tragically limited to our own understanding, the very understanding the Bible instructs us not to lean on.

But, as we pray in the Spirit, everything changes. The heavens open. God's voice resounds. An inner tremble shakes within. Our daily lives become adventures as God takes the reigns and gives us direction that can only be received via the Spirit.

DEEP HUMILITY

God resists the proud. This is why I firmly believe the gateway to deeper levels in the Spirit includes many opportunities for humiliation.

I'll never forget meeting a young lady at an event who was a part of another church. She told me she so wanted to experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but had no idea how to do so. She was unpretentious and authentic as she shared her expectancy for what was going to happen at the worship conference we all converged at in Los Angeles.

I don't have space to explain what happened the next night other than to say, this hungry young lady was suddenly, without warning, flopping all over the ground as strange and wonderful new sounds were exploding from her mouth. God's activity in that moment hit her and many others, including myself. I was suddenly on the floor experiencing an extremely weighty manifestation of God's glory that wouldn't dissipate until the next day. The presence of God in that moment was something I can still remember, though it's been over twenty years since it happened.

Humility caused this young lady to dismiss how she might look to the hundreds of people all around as supernatural God invaded her natural self. She wanted God. She was hungry at a level few experience. She was filled.

UNAPOLOGETIC HOLINESS

If you think a very Holy Spirit is going to brood over you and manifest in and through you as you are living an unholy life, you have been terribly deceived. Holiness is absolutely mandatory if we have any hope of God moving remarkably in our lives. This is such common sense, yet so many Christians can't understand why they aren't being consumed by God's Holy Spirit.

You simply cannot watch movies, TV and other media that contains foul language, nudity, coarse joking and other immorality and think you are a candidate for encounter. You are kidding yourself. In fact, why would you want the Holy Spirit if that's your chosen lifestyle? You are only inviting conviction if not judgment.

I encourage everybody to eliminate all secular music and listen to nothing but anointed worship music. I even suggest doing away with most contemporary Christian music and pumping music through their headphones that carries the unusual fire and glory of God.

Those who have taken me up on this, time after time, experience dramatic breakthrough. Those who don't tend to trend downwards.

14  …For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)

WILLING MARTYRDOM

Possibly the quickest shortcut to living a life of dramatic, supernatural encounter with God is to sign up as a martyr.

We are called to die daily, to take up our crosses and to love life not unto death. This is our portion as Christians. The key moment in my personal life came shortly after my initial encounter I described above. Do you remember that I told God I'd die for him? He was listening.

From my article Risks of the Upcoming Presence Movement:

One night my life changed forever. In the midst of my amazing daily encounters with Jesus, I found myself in a prayer room at a youth lock-in in Dayton, Ohio. While 300 students were playing volleyball and basketball I was alone in a dark, glorious room overlooking the skyline of the city. God was waiting for me when I waked in.

I paced around praying and worshiping as the presence of God swirled all around me. I never wanted to leave.

Suddenly, as I was enjoying God, walking back and forth in his manifest presence, I heard a voice, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”

I was irritated. My focus on loving Jesus was interrupted by someone with what felt like a terribly different agenda. Little did I know, it was an agenda to grow me up and gauge my devotion.

I shook off that distracting voice, and attempted to enter back into the glory realm. I prayed and worshiped, but the presence of God was completely gone—or so I thought.

Again I heard, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”

Though I clearly understood I was being asked to give my life for Jesus, my emotions were negative. I was distraught, irritated, lonely and even afraid. My enjoyment was gone. However, what I didn’t realize was this—my feelings were not sufficient to analyze the situation. God’s presence had actually increased exponentially in that room of destiny, not dissipated. The fearful judge had arrived and he meant business.

Though I tried to enter back into worship again, it was futile. I heard the voice one more time, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”

Finally, in a state of lonely desperation, I realized I couldn’t live my life without the fire of Jesus burning within me. I needed him. I wanted him, even if it meant the loss of my physical life.

Understand, I was convinced that I was going to physically die that night. It was very real to me.

I told God, “I can’t live without you. If my death will result in the advance of your Kingdom, I give you permission to take my life tonight.”

The moment I said that, his manifest glory flooded the room about one hundred times greater than I had experienced it before. I had experienced the glory and the severity of God, and I was forever changed.

ZEAL FOR THE WORD OF GOD

As I reveal the final ingredient of the secret sauce of encounter, I can feel the naysayers breathing down my neck right now. They are riled up at the thought of focusing on the experiential, on the suggestion that faith trumps logic, on the mystical, invisible and on what they would call hyper-Charismatic fluff.

I'll try to put them at ease. Nothing I am proposing can defy Scriptural truth. If there's ever a contradiction, it must be eliminated. This means that we must be students of the Word. There should be a burning zeal in us for the powerful, eternal and non-negotiable truths of Scripture.

However, while many would hold up the giant family Bible in the air as a defense against the supposed superstition that I'm dealing with here, true Bereans will excitedly search the Word to see what powerful revelations it holds.

From my article What To Do When We Hear Rumors Of Revival:

11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. Luke 24:11-12 (ESV)

Belief and expectancy will result in running as a result of any news that God has moved with great passion. Doubt will always result in resistance, staying away and embracing suspicion.

I often hear about the concept of being a Berean from some who may be considered heresy hunters. Those who are deeply suspicious of any report of a fresh move of God often attempt to disguise their unbelief and mocking spirit with a religious cloak. They say, I’m just being a Berean.

People driven by a false Berean attitude hear a report of a possible revival or outpouring and their immediate response is to discredit it. They pull out scriptures that supposedly renounce any new move of God and declare the participants to be misguided at best, heretics at worst. Others may take a less direct approach by holding back, waiting to see if it passes muster.

That, my friend, is not being a Berean.

I agree that we must be based on the Word of God more intentionally than ever in history. There is too much foolishness out there today in the name of revival. The answer is a people who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit and firmly grounded as students in the Bible.

However, I don’t agree that our immediate response to a potential fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God should be suspicion! This attitude can affect even the most godly of people. It’s all too easy to immediately doubt that such a move could be anything more than overreaching hope, hype or sensationalism.

I propose we all have the heart of a true Berean.

Before the stop at Berea, Paul preached about a powerful fresh move of God at Thessalonica. I believe heresy hunters are actually more like the Thessalonians than the Bereans:

And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” Acts 17:2-7 (ESV)

There was an urgent and immediate rejection of the report of resurrection power. Let’s contrast this with the pure hearts of the Bereans:

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Acts 17:10-13 (ESV)

This is a powerful passage of scripture!

The Bereans were more noble than those in Thessalonica. This is an important point! Why were they more noble? When they heard the report of a powerful, transforming, new move of God that would change everything in their lives, they received the word with all eagerness!

Their response was not scrutiny, unbelief, jealousy or resistance. They were excited to hear the news! They were so impacted by the potential of such a report that they immediately dove into the Word with the hope of confirming—not disproving—the life altering revelation!

But then, in verse 13, we see the unrelenting Thessalonians actually traveling to Berea to gather people to them in opposition to what God was doing there.

I hope you are truly ready for revival. This is what it looks like. The resistors will show up in force.

The question that needs to be answered is, which camp will you be in? Are you a scrutinizing Thessalonian or an eager Berean?

Watch last night’s service NOW! Extravagant Intimacy

imageWe had audio issues last night during the live stream, but they have been resolved. You can watch the worship and teaching NOW, and it sounds great!

The presence of God was so sweet, and I’m sure you’ll feel that as well as you watch.

WATCH HERE: theFurnace – Extravagant Intimacy Part 2

theFurnace – Extravagant Intimacy Part 2 from John Burton on Vimeo.

theFurnace-school-of-revival

Join us THIS MONDAY at 7pm for worship, teaching and some great discussion.

We are currently in a video series by John Bevere. Trust me, it’s GOOD.

If you aren’t in the Detroit area, you can, as always, watch online at www.thefurnace.tv/live.

Hi!

My name is John Burton and I am praying for new Kingdom connections with pastors and leaders both in this nation and around the world.

I’d love to give you a call and hear more about your ministry. Is there a time that would work?

If you feel it would benefit your ministry, we can discuss scheduling a church event or conference in your region that would powerfully encourage you and your team!

In the meantime, my bio can be viewed at www.johnburton.net if you’d like to take a look.

The short version is:

  • I’ve planted two churches, one in Colorado and one in Detroit.
  • I’ve written eight books on the topics of prayer, reformation and revival.
  • I directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.
  • I crave being in God’s presence with other hungry people!
  • I also believe strongly in the local church and would love to serve your mission.

 

Contact me any time via email at john@johnburton.net or phone at 719.231.6000.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

John-Burton-Ministries-Promo

An overwhelming experience in God’s presence is coming—and that is going to produce some issues in the church.

I often say that a 2 Chronicles 7 church is coming—and it is going to be shocking when it does.

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 7:1-3

Now, that’s a good church service!

I am definitely wired to appreciate and crave encounters with Jesus that leave people wrecked and rocked. I’ve experienced visible glory clouds, manifestations of gold dust and oil and indescribable encounters that left me absolutely floored in the glory of God’s presence. I believe one second in God’s presence is enough to convince the most resistant skeptic and it’s enough to free people from years of demonic assault.

However his presence may not feel like what we think it might.

“I just want to feel Jesus.”

I was compelled strongly by the Holy Spirit in a recent season at Revival Church to call everybody back to the raw, elementary truths of Christianity. I shifted from teaching mostly on experience and encounter to the tenets of our faith for several weeks when I started to become troubled with the lack of maturity in the camp.

In fact, I was deeply grieved when I discovered one young lady who had connected with us and absolutely loved to worship and pray was actually steeped in extremely demonic New Age teachings. That was a wake-up call for me. How was it that we had a culture of experiencing God’s presence and someone could blend in who was so radically deceived? I knew I had to shock our culture with a fresh understanding of what God’s presence truly is—and it starts with his Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

My experience there was priceless—I had to gain an understanding of the risk that will accompany the coming moves of God that will result in unprecedented manifestations of his presence. Many fiery Christians will shrink back when God’s true presence manifests.

When we shifted, I began preaching and teaching on the hard topics of salvation, Hell, repentance, the cross and the blood of Jesus. I have to admit I was stunned at the fierce resistance that came as I was communicating the elementary tenets of the Christian faith. I believe it’s possible to experience God’s presence and be so undisciplined and focused on personal experience that one isn’t even saved. This is the main reason this topic has to be addressed. Is it possible some of the most fervent worshipers and wildest dancers weren’t saved? I don’t know. I tremble at the thought of it.

In this critical season, instead of a careless, party atmosphere that had become common at Revival Church, the bar was raised as I called everybody into intentional steps of maturity, repentance and brokenness before the Lord.

What followed broke my heart—and confirmed my suspicions.

With the happy, dancing, party dialed down as we invited God to reveal himself to us in a deeper way, I saw sad faces and disengaged people.

Someone said, “I just want to feel Jesus again.”

What they didn’t realize is that Jesus was actually moving in greater power than he had previously, even though those prior encounters were something to behold. God was calling us deeper, beyond the entertainment and warm fuzzy feelings that are very much Holy Spirit initiated, but limited greatly. There was more—and for those who are addicted to happy feelings, more with God can feel like less.

“I want you to give me your life.”

I understand the struggle with feeling God’s presence removed.

In the early 1990’s God had absolutely overwhelmed my life day after day. I wish I could communicate how remarkable that season of my life was. God was overwhelming me with his presence and I became a different person literally overnight.

After work every day I’d go to the church, by myself, and pray for hours. That’s all I craved to do! God met me there continually, and I was rocked over and over again. My entire life revolved around the prayer room and enjoying God. Nothing compared.

One night my life changed forever. In the midst of my amazing daily encounters with Jesus, I found myself in a prayer room at a youth lock-in in Dayton, Ohio. While 300 students were playing volleyball and basketball I was alone in a dark, glorious room overlooking the skyline of the city. God was waiting for me when I waked in.

I paced around praying and worshiping as the presence of God swirled all around me. I never wanted to leave.

Suddenly, as I was enjoying God, walking back and forth in his manifest presence, I heard a voice, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”

I was irritated. My focus on loving Jesus was interrupted by someone with what felt like a terribly different agenda. Little did I know, it was an agenda to grow me up and gauge my devotion.

I shook off that distracting voice, and attempted to enter back into the glory realm. I prayed and worshiped, but the presence of God was completely gone—or so I thought.

Again I heard, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”

Though I clearly understood I was being asked to give my life for Jesus, my emotions were negative. I was distraught, irritated, lonely and even afraid. My enjoyment was gone. However, what I didn’t realize was this—my feelings were not sufficient to analyze the situation. God’s presence had actually increased exponentially in that room of destiny, not dissipated. The fearful judge had arrived and he meant business.

You see, the contrast in experiences was so stark that I actually wondered if the voice was coming from Satan! My lack of maturity in spiritual discernment and biblical truth resulted in a misdiagnosis! This is the risk of the presence movement!

I ended up rebuking the voice that was speaking to me! I was rebuking God as if he were Satan! The lesson is clear—our analysis of the situation must include sources much more comprehensive than feelings alone.

After all, would Satan ask me to lay my life down for Jesus? My feelings should have been shelved in that critical moment in lieu of applying the Word of God.

Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? Matthew 12:22-26

Though I tried to enter back into worship again, it was futile. I heard the voice one more time, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”

I didn’t realize it that night, but the reason I couldn’t enter back into worship is two-fold:

  1. I wanted to worship a God of my own design. I wanted to enjoy God conditionally. I cringed when he decided to reveal another part of his self to me, and since it wasn’t what I expected, I rejected him, at least temporarily as I was wrestling that night. God demanded that I worship him as he is, not as I presumed.
  2. I was resistant to embrace the costly, troubling part of Christianity—potential martyrdom. I was all in when the glory was on me, but I was quick to hesitate when something negative was required of me—my death.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

Finally, in a state of lonely desperation, I realized I couldn’t live my life without the fire of Jesus burning within me. I needed him. I wanted him, even if it meant the loss of my physical life.

Understand, I was convinced that I was going to physically die that night. It was very real to me.

I told God, “I can’t live without you. If my death will result in the advance of your Kingdom, I give you permission to take my life tonight.”

The moment I said that, his manifest glory flooded the room about one hundred times greater than I had experienced it before. I had experienced the glory and the severity of God, and I was forever changed.

Unreliable Feelings

imageWhen the person said, “I just want to feel Jesus,” they didn’t understand what they were asking for. In my experience I felt Jesus in a variety of ways. My problem was that I presumed happy feelings equaled Jesus and difficult feelings equaled Satan. Boy was I wrong. Happy feelings can be Satan and difficult feelings can be Jesus! We can’t discern emotionally, we must discern spiritually. Confirmation must come from the Word.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

Spiritual discernment bypasses feelings and our human senses and draws from the truth of Scripture.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14-16

The Rhema and Logos of scripture must drive us. We can’t allow ourselves to check in and out based on what we are sensing. Our commitment is unconditional and it can’t waiver based on what we perceive. We always return to the Word.

We must lean on Jesus and his revealed will in the Word of God.

Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Isaiah 40:13-14

The point is that our counsel must come from the Counselor. Our discernment must come through the spiritual truths found in the Bible. As we yield to the Word, the Holy Spirit can awaken revelation to us as it is needed.

We must move beyond the subjective statements about what we feel God is saying or doing and truly understand his revealed truth.

It’s all too common to hear personal opinions about what someone feels God is saying or doing, and how they feel led to respond, while their discernment is simply off or incomplete.

As we mature we become less reliant on nebulous senses and more reliant on both God’s clear voice and what he reveals to us in scripture.

Truth

This issue of leaning on feelings can impact us negatively in many ways. It’s easy to feel like God doesn’t love us due to the lack of, well, feeling him, even though the Bible makes it clear that he does love us. It’s so sadly common to hear about people who struggle their whole lives with this issue. Does God even love them? It’s a black and white question with a black and white answer. Yes. Their feelings have led them astray and it affects their entire life!

The answer is to simply believe! That belief doesn’t come from an experience or a feeling. It comes from reading text on paper (the Bible) and believing it. We don’t have to feel it to believe it!

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

I often tell God that I want to worship him with my belief.

Back to the discussion about my season of teaching on the tenets of the faith. They didn’t result in a euphoric sensory overload. It wasn’t a glory teaching. So, some withdrew when the feeling wasn’t happy even though the information was truth. It was important truth. It was time to go to school and to the altar with tears in our eyes, and not a time of dancing.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

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

The risk of the coming presence movement is that people will reject anything that doesn’t feel like glory, even when it is God.

The cry of our heart must be for God’s true presence to be with us always, regardless of the form it takes.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:10-11

His presence will hit us with truth as our hearts are cleansed, as we are consecrated. His presence can be glorious and it can be fierce.

The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. Psalm 97:5

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, Psalm 114:7

Apostolic Leadership

God will be raising up key prophetic and apostolic leaders who will be leading people into the presence of God and into the missions of God. There will be many focuses that don’t feel like God (note my experience of being asked to die above) that God’s leaders will call the people to. Will the people respond? What if they don’t sense the Holy Spirit on it? Feelings and senses are wildly subjective. I personally value counsel that’s directly from scripture much more than I do personal, subjective experiences or supposed discernment. That doesn’t mean I don’t at all value personal discernment, but that revelation almost always ends up on the shelf as I await confirmation.

Keep in mind, I radically affirm prophecy. I promote encounters and experiences. I believe in dreams and visions. I have an intercession team that evaluates prophetic data on an ongoing basis. But, the point remains—we see in part. And, we can often see wrongly. It takes humility to admit that.

Sometimes we are so in tune with our own historic personal encounters with the spirit realm that we can lose sight that we are human! I’ve had a lot of amazing encounters and I have a high level of sensitivity in the spiritual realm. I also know that I’m human and that I’ve been wrong in the past. I much prefer to submit prophetic data for evaluation and for confirmation in scripture. Just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is right. Feelings sit on the lowest shelf of the confirmation process. More revelation and confirmation is necessary to trust our feelings.

Apostolic leaders will call you to action very often in ways that are contrary to what you are sensing. Are you ready to respond regardless? Or will you declare that God isn’t in it and hold back?

Read the following point from my article “Five Reasons NOT to Leave a Church.” The reason I’m including it is to highlight how important it is to promote scripture over feelings:

When NOT to leave a church? When God tells you to. OK, I’m sure you are awake now! Have you ever played the God card? As a leader I’ve heard many times, usually through the grapevine, that, “God told so and so to move to another church.” Really? That’s odd. I was entrusted as their leader, which is a very serious position, and God just forgot to tell me about this? He left me out of the loop? Maybe Hebrews 13:17 isn’t what we think it is? The church I’m leading isn’t important enough for people to honor the mission?

I hope you are getting the point.

We are called to submit to authority—even ungodly authority like judges, elected officials and our bosses at work. Certainly it makes sense that God would include our godly authority in a decision making process as important as leaving one family and one mission for another.

The point is this—God wouldn’t just tell you to leave without your leader being involved in the process. In fact, can I just be blunt? It’s extremely disrespectful, presumptuous, rude and self-serving to abdicate your responsibility in your current church by leaving without honoring the authority in your life. Your pastor has every right to participate with you in your process.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (ESV) 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

Why was it important to include that portion of the article? To show how critical it is that we are biblical Christians. We can’t presume a feeling or a discernment exempts us from biblical protocol. I’ve felt on many occasions that a leader in my life wasn’t hearing God, and that I was, but in humility I had to surrender my opinion and follow my leader—and often I realize that my sense was in fact wrong or incomplete. We can’t gravitate toward what is easy, happy, glorious and enjoyable and away from what is troubling or negative by using the “God card.” God will often call us into his fearful presence, and we have to be unified with others who are being led in that direction.

Do you remember the Exodus? The Israelites were famous for analyzing their various situations based on their feelings. They felt alone and abandoned, so they crafted a new god made of gold. They presumed that the absence of God’s manifest presence meant something was off—yet, little did they realize one of the most astounding events in history was taking place up on the mountain! They then ended up dying in the desert when they presumed God was all about their comfort and happiness—and were indignant when he was asking them to put their lives on the line in a land of Giants—and a land of Promise.

I want to challenge you to get ready for a great outpouring of God’s presence. It will feel very different than you expect. It may be a glory cloud or it may be in the midst of a fiery furnace.

Ask yourself how you react to your feelings now. Do they drive you? Do you presume any negative feeling to be from the enemy? Do your feelings and emotions drive your decisions?

You need to wrestle with this now so you are ready to receive Jesus when he shows up. I am certain—he will manifest in ways we’ve never experienced before.

On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the LORD to look and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out against them.” Exodus 19:16-22

Tomorrow morning at 10am the revolution in Detroit continues at Revival Church North!

imageIf you are ready to dive into a prayer-fueled mission of revival in the northern Detroit suburbs, come hungry TOMORROW, Sunday, at 10am!

We’ll be going hard after God, encountering him in prayer and worship and catching the vision of widespread fire in the region!

You can watch a video where I share the vision of this exciting new church plant here!

FOOD AND FUN!

After the service ends, we’ll hang out and fire up the grill and eat, talk and get to know each other!

I would love to have a room full of people I’ve never met before! Come out and bring everyone you can find to this brand new church plant!

If you’d like to let us know you are coming, that would be great! We’ll be ready for you! Contact us here: http://revivalnorth.com/contact-us/ 

LOCATION

For a map and directions, click HERE.

THE VISION

We are gathering a team of hungry people who are ready to experience God in this region in unprecedented fashion.

As one of what will ultimately be 50 Revival Church locations in the Detroit region, we are devoted to starting fires and inviting people to watch us burn!

These fires will spread—and fast. The harvest is ripe and God is gathering those who are ready to help infuse them with the abundant life of Jesus!

THE CULTURE

What should you expect? Freedom and fire!

Revival Church has a passionate and  fun atmosphere, exciting and challenging teaching, God’s amazing presence and a environment to nurture life-long friendships!

If you are looking for a point of reference, we affirm and appreciate a variety of ministry streams including the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Bethel Church in Redding, California, Barbara Yoder, Steve Gray and World Revival Church, John Kilpatrick and The Bay of the Holy Spirit, Catch The Fire in Toronto, Lou Engle and many others who embrace the power and presence of God and his advancing Kingdom.

So, plan your visit by contacting us here, dress any way you want (most of us dress in jeans), bring the family, grab some free coffee and enjoy Jesus!

The Culture is our set of core values at Revival Church. It sets the pace and clearly communicates the culture we are called to establish and steward.

  1. Our mission is your freedom – The mission of freedom from sin, sickness and poverty drives everything we do at Revival Church. We reject a casual approach to God and affirm abundant life, passion and fire for all.
  2. Honor is in our DNA – Honor is something we are. No matter the issue, you can’t stop us from honoring you! We believe that honor is a condition of the heart and not dependent on someone’s actions toward us.
  3. We rally around the vision – Revival Church is built on the vision God gave John. As a company of burning ones, we are passionate defenders and champions of it. Every person is responsible to catch fire and burn hot every day. The resulting corporate torch will inflame our region with revival.
  4. We are a threat to the status quo – This is a ministry of extreme reformation. As we storm against the prevailing flow of the church and society, we fully believe many will be provoked to turn and follow our lead into freedom.
  5. There is one church in the city and we aren’t it – Revival Church is one department of many in the landscape of the city church. Our focus is regional impact and the increase of the harvest that will be felt far and wide.
  6. We affirm ridiculous faith – We simply believe that God is extreme and his plans are bigger than what we can imagine. If it doesn’t look ridiculously insane, it’s less than what God has in mind.
  7. We are all about the numbers – We are unapologetically intense in our mission to gather and equip people of destiny.
  8. Corporate mission prevails – We are focused on preparing for the influx of zealous people the harvest will bring to Revival Church. We launch and support only those endeavors that fit into the corporate mission.
  9. We refuse to live below the Biblical norm – Healings, signs, wonders, miracles, extreme love and bold prophetic teaching were and are the standard.
  10. Poverty has no chance – Extravagant giving in every sphere of life, whether it’s in the church or a big tip at the coffee shop, will displace a spirit of poverty, transform individuals and reform the economy of our region.
  11. Sickness and disease have no right to torment believersThe Lord Jesus Christ has been given power and authority over all sickness and disease. He has delegated that authority to us.
  12. We err on the side of freedom – Revival is messy and is to be stewarded, not controlled. We embrace an atmosphere of bold prophetic declaration and Holy Spirit initiated freedom.

We look forward to getting to know you!

The Revival Church Team

10pm Friday nights are a wide open slot on the calendar to gather the church of the Detroit region.

imageWhat would it be like if every Christian in Detroit gathered together every Friday night to pray for revival? Can you imagine that?!

That means, if you are in this region, you are a critical part of this vision!

I hear people say all the time, “John, I can’t imagine anything that could keep me away from encountering God at theLab on Fridays. What else could there be?”

GOLD DUST

Last night theLab was at an amazing church in Attica and the King of Glory revealed himself!

Suddenly gold dust started showing up all over people’s hands and clothes. Visible evidence of God’s presence was everywhere!

Check out a video on my Facebook Timeline at www.facebook.com/johnedwardburton.

This was the second time this happened in this particular church!

At Revival Church and theLab we’ve experienced gold dust, oil on people’s hands and the visible mist of God’s glory. It’s a sign of God’s glory!

EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT

So, by all means, help spread the word to the Detroit region church: Every pastor, leader, intercessor and Christian hungry for revival is called to gather in a different church each Friday night from 10pm-midnight at theLab!

THELAB SCHOOL OF FIRE

Has God been speaking to you about going deeper? Lives are being rocked and equipped at theLab School of Fire!

The next three-month session begins Saturday, January 7th at 10am.

Apply today at www.revivallab.com/apply!

We are going after the supernatural burning presence of the Holy Spirit at Revival Church!

FIRST: Immediately after the Revival Church service tomorrow, Sunday, June 12th, we will have a very short member’s meeting. Members are those who received a giving statement from Revival Church for 2010.

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We had several people audit today’s class at theLab, Unoffendable. Lives were radically rocked there, and also at last night’s prayer event at the location of The Bay of the Holy Spirit event in Taylor. Words can’t describe the atmosphere! People felt a heavy presence of angels and the Burning Man Christ Jesus!image

We’ll all be going after the supernatural manifestation of God’s glory tomorrow at 6pm at Revival Church. We believe that signs, wonders, miracles and unusual moves of God will follow where the heavy, weighty presence of God is. We meet at THE TABERNACLE: 14205 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088.

I’ll be teaching on moving from a live devoid of God’s presence (Ichabod) to one overwhelmed by the weight of God’s glory (Kabod)!

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Last Sunday was remarkable. The fire tunnel resulted in people so influenced by God that they could barely walk! The floors were filled with groaning, crying people. You MUST listen to it, or watch it online. I listened to it as I was driving in the car and got blasted! Just head over to http://media.johnburton.net.

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Here are some testimonies from today’s class at theLab:

“Today was a day of life changing power.”

“The whole teaching this morning was life changing. I’m now able to walk away and be totally offense free.”

“God is amazing. I am wrecked by what he is doing. I am totally free. The Lord is freeing me from offense, judgment, wrong mindsets. The Lord is ALL I want!”

“There has been a fire turning in my spirit to have crazy encounters in the Spirit become an everyday experience, and to EXPECT IT!”

The Thinning of the Veil : October 29-31, 2010

THE THINNING OF THE VEIL conference with Michele Perry, founder of Iris Ministries Sudan, will impact your life in dramatic fashion!

Michele Perry Card Front-588x400

Michele shared with me that she is experiencing the supernatural realm with significant ease, and wants to see the church step into that same life of encounter.

Halloween is commonly known to be the time when those involved in witchcraft and the occult can move into the spirit realm most easily. The veil is thinnest that night of the year.

Of course, everything the enemy does is a reproduction or a skewed version of the pure are real. God loves it when we go deeper into his presence, when we walk in the Spirit and when it becomes normal to know and hear him continually.

Michele will be teaching and coaching you into this amazing reality!

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

The main sessions, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, are FREE, but you must register at www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/events.

The three Saturday workshop sessions require both registration and a small fee.


THE THINNING OF THE VEIL CONFERENCE REGISTRATION- OCTOBER 29-31, 2010


Friday (FREE, registration required, no child care)

  • 7pm

Saturday (Special workshops, payment and registration required, no child care)

  • 10am-noon: Connecting with the supernatural/hearing the voice of God
  • Noon: Lunch (on your own)
  • 2pm-3pm: Driven by revelation (John Burton)
  • 3pm-4pm: Changing a regional atmosphere/carrying God's presence

Saturday (FREE, registration required, no child care)

  • 7pm

Sunday (FREE, registration required, nursery only, no additional childcare)

  • 6pm

If you have questions, please contact us at www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/contact.

We can’t wait to see you in a few weeks!

Amy Burton
Senior Leader
Revival Church

John Burton
Visionary Leader
Revival Church

image We’re about at the ‘last chance’ to register for Michele Perry! Head on over to www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/events and REGISTER TODAY. (It’s required AND it’s FREE!)

She’s flying in on Saturday and is incredibly excited about being with us at Revival Church on Sunday evening! Invite EVERYBODY you know—pastors, intercessors and every hungry person out there!

You can watch Michele take about her encounter with Heaven and other amazing stories on Sid Roth’s program HERE.


TONIGHT AT REVIVAL CHURCH

Last week’s “Bring Your Blanket to Church” event was so sweet that we’re doing it again TONIGHT!

We’ll be on our face, pacing, soaking and enjoying the depths of God’s presence tonight starting at 6pm.

So, yes, by all means, bring your blanket AND your passion for Jesus tonight at 6pm!

www.detroitrevivalchurch.com

Hi!image

I wanted to let you know about several new teachings that have been uploaded to our site.

Two new series, Extravagant Favor and The Presence Centered Church, are available FREE to stream or download.

Also, there’s a teaching I delivered to a group of ministry leaders in Colorado Springs on Saturday via Skype titled The Prophetic Life.

Lastly, a recent prophetic message titled My Personal Book of Revelation is ready for you too!

Head on over to www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/teaching!