I'm often asked how to experience God on a regular basis. I do believe there's an answer, but it's not a simple one.
There's a phenomenal opportunity available to every legitimate follower of Jesus: an indescribable and life-rocking encounter with an invisible, all-powerful Deity. Sadly so few do what's necessary to live in this realm where the Holy Spirit reveals his shock and awe to the children of God.
It seems so many are satisfied living a typical, logical life in the natural realm. The idea that we can be overwhelmed by a Spirit and experience unimaginable manifestations that only exist beyond where our eyes and ears can discern is silliness to them. Twilight Zone. X-Files. Science fiction.
Yet, to others, it's not far-reaching at all. They yearn to meet God in this place but they don't know how to get there. It's those hungry people I'd like to try to encourage.
THE RECIPE FOR ENCOUNTER
RAW, RISKY BELIEF
5 …so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:5 (ESV)
Intellectualism may be the greatest killer of faith and supernatural encounter among those who are truly living for the Lord. Their left-brained approach to invisible and mystical realities rarely works. When it does, you usually have to take the long way around.
My passion is for God to encounter me in ways my natural, logical, intellectual capacities could never predict, gauge or moderate. The moment I limit this to my own understanding or my careful analysis is the moment I've diminished my hope of moving into that spiritual realm that exists beyond what can be grasped.
The “I have to see it to believe it” mantra doesn't work in a “walk by faith, not by sight” Kingdom. Having to understand it before seeing it doesn't usually work very well either.
Of course, I'm not proposing a renunciation of the pursuit of understanding. However, when logical understanding must come first, before the other-worldly revelation that God wants us to experience, we short circuit the supernatural happenings.
While many would argue that seeing is believing, for Christians the opposite is true. Believing is seeing…and encountering, and being shocked by the fire and power of the Holy Spirit!
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)
I'll never forget the night many years ago that changed my life. I witnessed God doing remarkable things in the lives of some of my friends. These seemingly normal American guys who were grunting on the basketball court and staying up to all hours playing video games were also undone by an unseen force. I'd watch them weeping in prayer, pacing the church and crying out to God for him to move. These people had tapped into something that I convinced wasn't invented. It wasn't fake. It was real and I had to meet God they way they had.
Alone one night, I paced around the youth room of the church, feeling nothing but desperation. I prayed a simple prayer, the only one I could. “God, you know my heart.” That's it. Over and over I was talking to God using those words, revealing the depths of my hunger in a simple statement. God knew how deeply I desired to know him.
The rest is history. My eternity has forever been altered by that simple yet overwhelming prayer. Shortly after, he flooded into my life in a way that could never be described by using human words, though I'll try. Extreme boldness replaced timidity in a split second. A tangible force shook my being. Passion for Jesus was instantaneous. There was a power source connected to me and I was radiating with fire.
I didn't seek to understand what I was pursuing. I was simply desperate. Hungry. Willing to surrender all. In fact, I told God in the days preceding this momentous experience that I didn't want anything to do with him if he “wasn't all that he was cracked up to be.” I wasn't interested in fairy tales or following some religious icon who didn't heal, couldn't deliver and wasn't omnipotent, good and alive. However, I also said, “But if you are all of this, I will die for you.”
While an initial encounter may not require a disciplined life of intercession, I've discovered that a regular, continual encounter with Jesus absolutely does. It's in the place of fervent, fiery prayer, especially praying in tongues, where the presence of God is constant, and very often extremely intense.
Some may wonder why it's so important to contend for encounter. They may see it as unnecessary and possibly even evidence of an imbalanced or immature person, someone who is driven by emotions or strange, mystical rushes of adrenaline. Oh my, this couldn't be further from the truth. Encounter is absolutely necessary for every blood-bought Christian.
As we walk in great faith and hunger with great desperation, the cries of our heart and the intercession of the Holy Spirit through us will launch us into the place where God can be clearly heard. We can discern his heart. He can reveal mysteries to us. Critical information, some of life and death, is transmitted to us through impressions, dreams, visions or other prophetic means. Simply, if we aren't living in encounter, we are tragically limited to our own understanding, the very understanding the Bible instructs us not to lean on.
But, as we pray in the Spirit, everything changes. The heavens open. God's voice resounds. An inner tremble shakes within. Our daily lives become adventures as God takes the reigns and gives us direction that can only be received via the Spirit.
God resists the proud. This is why I firmly believe the gateway to deeper levels in the Spirit includes many opportunities for humiliation.
I'll never forget meeting a young lady at an event who was a part of another church. She told me she so wanted to experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but had no idea how to do so. She was unpretentious and authentic as she shared her expectancy for what was going to happen at the worship conference we all converged at in Los Angeles.
I don't have space to explain what happened the next night other than to say, this hungry young lady was suddenly, without warning, flopping all over the ground as strange and wonderful new sounds were exploding from her mouth. God's activity in that moment hit her and many others, including myself. I was suddenly on the floor experiencing an extremely weighty manifestation of God's glory that wouldn't dissipate until the next day. The presence of God in that moment was something I can still remember, though it's been over twenty years since it happened.
Humility caused this young lady to dismiss how she might look to the hundreds of people all around as supernatural God invaded her natural self. She wanted God. She was hungry at a level few experience. She was filled.
If you think a very Holy Spirit is going to brood over you and manifest in and through you as you are living an unholy life, you have been terribly deceived. Holiness is absolutely mandatory if we have any hope of God moving remarkably in our lives. This is such common sense, yet so many Christians can't understand why they aren't being consumed by God's Holy Spirit.
You simply cannot watch movies, TV and other media that contains foul language, nudity, coarse joking and other immorality and think you are a candidate for encounter. You are kidding yourself. In fact, why would you want the Holy Spirit if that's your chosen lifestyle? You are only inviting conviction if not judgment.
I encourage everybody to eliminate all secular music and listen to nothing but anointed worship music. I even suggest doing away with most contemporary Christian music and pumping music through their headphones that carries the unusual fire and glory of God.
Those who have taken me up on this, time after time, experience dramatic breakthrough. Those who don't tend to trend downwards.
14 …For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)
Possibly the quickest shortcut to living a life of dramatic, supernatural encounter with God is to sign up as a martyr.
We are called to die daily, to take up our crosses and to love life not unto death. This is our portion as Christians. The key moment in my personal life came shortly after my initial encounter I described above. Do you remember that I told God I'd die for him? He was listening.
From my article Risks of the Upcoming Presence Movement:
One night my life changed forever. In the midst of my amazing daily encounters with Jesus, I found myself in a prayer room at a youth lock-in in Dayton, Ohio. While 300 students were playing volleyball and basketball I was alone in a dark, glorious room overlooking the skyline of the city. God was waiting for me when I waked in.
I paced around praying and worshiping as the presence of God swirled all around me. I never wanted to leave.
Suddenly, as I was enjoying God, walking back and forth in his manifest presence, I heard a voice, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”
I was irritated. My focus on loving Jesus was interrupted by someone with what felt like a terribly different agenda. Little did I know, it was an agenda to grow me up and gauge my devotion.
I shook off that distracting voice, and attempted to enter back into the glory realm. I prayed and worshiped, but the presence of God was completely gone—or so I thought.
Again I heard, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”
Though I clearly understood I was being asked to give my life for Jesus, my emotions were negative. I was distraught, irritated, lonely and even afraid. My enjoyment was gone. However, what I didn’t realize was this—my feelings were not sufficient to analyze the situation. God’s presence had actually increased exponentially in that room of destiny, not dissipated. The fearful judge had arrived and he meant business.
Though I tried to enter back into worship again, it was futile. I heard the voice one more time, “John, I want you to give me permission to take your life tonight.”
Finally, in a state of lonely desperation, I realized I couldn’t live my life without the fire of Jesus burning within me. I needed him. I wanted him, even if it meant the loss of my physical life.
Understand, I was convinced that I was going to physically die that night. It was very real to me.
I told God, “I can’t live without you. If my death will result in the advance of your Kingdom, I give you permission to take my life tonight.”
The moment I said that, his manifest glory flooded the room about one hundred times greater than I had experienced it before. I had experienced the glory and the severity of God, and I was forever changed.
ZEAL FOR THE WORD OF GOD
As I reveal the final ingredient of the secret sauce of encounter, I can feel the naysayers breathing down my neck right now. They are riled up at the thought of focusing on the experiential, on the suggestion that faith trumps logic, on the mystical, invisible and on what they would call hyper-Charismatic fluff.
I'll try to put them at ease. Nothing I am proposing can defy Scriptural truth. If there's ever a contradiction, it must be eliminated. This means that we must be students of the Word. There should be a burning zeal in us for the powerful, eternal and non-negotiable truths of Scripture.
However, while many would hold up the giant family Bible in the air as a defense against the supposed superstition that I'm dealing with here, true Bereans will excitedly search the Word to see what powerful revelations it holds.
From my article What To Do When We Hear Rumors Of Revival:
11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. Luke 24:11-12 (ESV)
Belief and expectancy will result in running as a result of any news that God has moved with great passion. Doubt will always result in resistance, staying away and embracing suspicion.
I often hear about the concept of being a Berean from some who may be considered heresy hunters. Those who are deeply suspicious of any report of a fresh move of God often attempt to disguise their unbelief and mocking spirit with a religious cloak. They say, I’m just being a Berean.
People driven by a false Berean attitude hear a report of a possible revival or outpouring and their immediate response is to discredit it. They pull out scriptures that supposedly renounce any new move of God and declare the participants to be misguided at best, heretics at worst. Others may take a less direct approach by holding back, waiting to see if it passes muster.
That, my friend, is not being a Berean.
I agree that we must be based on the Word of God more intentionally than ever in history. There is too much foolishness out there today in the name of revival. The answer is a people who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit and firmly grounded as students in the Bible.
However, I don’t agree that our immediate response to a potential fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God should be suspicion! This attitude can affect even the most godly of people. It’s all too easy to immediately doubt that such a move could be anything more than overreaching hope, hype or sensationalism.
I propose we all have the heart of a true Berean.
Before the stop at Berea, Paul preached about a powerful fresh move of God at Thessalonica. I believe heresy hunters are actually more like the Thessalonians than the Bereans:
2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5 But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. 6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” Acts 17:2-7 (ESV)
There was an urgent and immediate rejection of the report of resurrection power. Let’s contrast this with the pure hearts of the Bereans:
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Acts 17:10-13 (ESV)
This is a powerful passage of scripture!
The Bereans were more noble than those in Thessalonica. This is an important point! Why were they more noble? When they heard the report of a powerful, transforming, new move of God that would change everything in their lives, they received the word with all eagerness!
Their response was not scrutiny, unbelief, jealousy or resistance. They were excited to hear the news! They were so impacted by the potential of such a report that they immediately dove into the Word with the hope of confirming—not disproving—the life altering revelation!
But then, in verse 13, we see the unrelenting Thessalonians actually traveling to Berea to gather people to them in opposition to what God was doing there.
I hope you are truly ready for revival. This is what it looks like. The resistors will show up in force.
The question that needs to be answered is, which camp will you be in? Are you a scrutinizing Thessalonian or an eager Berean?
Self-absorbed apostles are compromising the government of the church.
Last night I had a dream.
I'll begin by clearly affirming the value of apostles, prophets, pastors and the entire five-fold ministry, not to mention every person who functions in any capacity God has assigned them to. In fact, this is all the more reason the dream I had is significant. God's ordained leaders in the church must align themselves with God's order and character more intentionally and soberly in these last days. We need anointed, surrendered, humble and powerful church leaders in position and ready to serve.
49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ Luke 11:49 (ESV)
I found myself among many other Christians, leaders and people who were serving at a special church meeting. Specifically, this event was a gathering of apostles. It's important to understand that all of these people were clearly called of God. They were reputable, legitimate and most of us would agree that they are great, godly leaders. Unfortunately, after beginning their ministry years prior humble and pure, somewhere along their journey, they veered off course.
As I watched the interactions between the apostles, it was evident they were exhibiting some concerning characteristics as well. While they were connecting and enjoying conversation with others in the room, it was easy to discern they were focused primarily on promoting their viewpoints and agendas, eager to be recognized as special. They were obsessed with their rank.
Additionally, these convening apostles were entirely dismissive of the others who were not, as some would say, at their level. The individuals at this event who were not apostles at all were looked down on as inferior. Other apostles who didn't rise up with strong, charismatic personalities were ignored. Their focus was on mingling only with those leaders they felt could offer them something, or who they could target as an opponent to be analyzed and defeated. While they might seek to align with others who might have something to offer them, their end game was to dominate, gain influence and out play the other apostles.
Then, as dreams often go, there was an interesting twist. The focus of the event turned toward four young, star quarterbacks who were moving up the ranks from college to pro. These were sharp, impressive young men who were rightfully invited to this special meeting. Predictably, the apostles ignored these emerging team leaders as insignificant, though, in reality, they were resisting them as a threat. It was clear these young men were validated and positioned among the next generation of leaders. The quarterbacks were all skilled yet humble, excited to learn from the apostles, yet they were not well received. Not at all.
I then went to a store looking for a football to buy so I could play catch with them. My intent was to connect with the young quarterbacks and to encourage them. However, I could only find a small, junior sized football. I knew they had been promoted well beyond that level, and I didn't want to risk offending them by communicating that they were amateurs.
The dream shifted once more. As I continued to survey everything that was happening at that gathering of apostles and the young, emerging quarterbacks, I was fully unmotivated to join in the fray. I had no desire to play politics or to jocky for position. Instead, I stepped outside and dove into the ocean. I swam away from the shore and then deep under the water. I saw and then caught a beautiful, massive, shiny silver fish. It shined like a chrome bumper on an old, restored car from yesteryear. After wrangling the fish to the beach, I brought it inside, but none of the apostles were interested. I was surprised that such an brilliant fish provoked nobody's attention. I broke open the fish and there was absolutely nothing inside except for, remarkably, some incredibly delicious fruit. It tasted and looked very much like an orange. I pulled apart the fruit and ate it. It was amazing. Still, nobody cared, even though a legitimate miracle had occurred before their very eyes. The fruit and the fish wasn't their focus. Power and position was.
Again, these were all people we'd agree had been reputable leaders. But, as they advanced in ministry, their motives were compromised.
Before I reveal what the Lord showed me, I want to take a moment to share something important regarding spiritual dreams.
It's extremely common for people who study the dreams of God to jump to conclusions about other people's dreams. I've seen this happen multiple times over the years, and while their intention is usually pure, they can bring confusion into the mix by attempting to over-analyze, redefine or incorrectly interpret what has already been revealed.
The person most able to interpret a dream, in most cases, is the one who had the dream. Only they know the tone, the mood, the revelation and just what the Holy Spirit has interpreted for them. While a dream interpreter may be convinced they know the meaning of a horse or rain or sleep or vehicles or any number of other symbols, they need to be careful as not to taint the actual meaning of the dream that is, at times, revealed to only one individual–the dreamer. Often times the dreamer interprets the dream quite differently than even the most seasoned dream interpreter. Of course, there are times the dreamer doesn't have the interpretation, and they may very well need to consult with others. But, we must use caution. Dreams of God can get confused quite easily.
I believe the meaning of most of my dream is fairly obvious. While some may want to read too much into some of the symbolism, I believe the takeaway is simple.
First, I want to emphasize again that the apostles were truly people of God. They led anointed ministries and had a track record of righteousness. However, something happened along the way that resulted in compromise.
Frankly, there are many Christian leaders who are addicted to ministry because of the supposed fame and adoration it brings.
Too many pastors and ministers are absolutely duped into believing they have arrived and that their “call” to ministry is highly valued by most. The reality? Few care. I'm not saying this to devalue their call. If they are called, they won't care how valued they are.
However, many who are addicted to ministry are idolizing it, and they can't imagine life without it. Trust me, if this is you, and if you ever decided to step down from full-time ministry, there wouldn't be a collective gasp by a stunned and disappointed society. People will go on with their lives. You are valued, but you aren't that important. None of us are.
What I'm saying is that the collection of pride-driven apostles in the dream was both sad and laughable. There is great value in apostolic ministry, but the value is not in the position, it's in the function, in the call to humbly serve. The deception in the room was extreme, and the scheming and parading around as if they were royalty was honestly quite embarrasing.
The quarterbacks repesented the next generation of team leaders. Quarterbacks are the defacto leaders of the football team. Their leadership directly determines whether the team advances or not. These emerging leaders did no wrong. They were humble and simply responding to an invitation to the gathering of apostles. They were wronged, however, by a suspicious and threatened apostolic council.
The dream culminated with the fish and the fruit. The clear, obvious truth is that we are called to be fishers of men and to bear fruit. It's that simple. Instead of diving into the depths of humanity and focusing on shining the light of Jesus in the world, the apostles were climbing over one another. Instead of fishing and bearing fruit, they were seeking power and position.
If this dream spoke to you as a leader, simply repent and allow God to give you a glorious and refreshing reset. You are valuable, you are called and what God has for you to do on the earth is exceptionally critical. In order to fulfill that calling, all pretense, all jealousy, all selfish ambition and all pride must die. You and many others will experience phenomenal abundant life as a result–including the emerging young leaders who are waiting for you to raise them up.
If God promotes you, you better be ready for what’s coming your way.
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)
One of the most common prophetic words in the various prophetic streams (whether real or fabricated) has to be, “Your promotion is coming!” It’s probably as popular as, “This is your season of open doors!”
I believe God does plan promotion for all who are truly humble and surrendered. Yet, the promotion may not be what a particular human heart desires. There are many who crave promotion onto the platform while God’s assignment is promotion into the prayer room. Others desire promotion unto notoriety. God may desire to promote them unto obscurity as part of a nameless, faceless generation.
It’s critical we handle spiritual advance with wisdom and care. Promotion is all about God’s will for our lives and not our own.
I’d like to do two things regarding your passion for promotion in the spirit:
- Encourage you
- Caution you
Several years ago I was in an exciting and very active season of ministry in the Detroit area. I had planted a prophetic and prayer focused ministry there and I was contending for revival corporately and also for personal growth so I could be ready and equipped to lead with strength.
Whenever I have an opportunity to step away from the pulpit and get refreshed at a conference or another church service, I typically like to find a place in the back to let God minister to me during worship and the teaching. Some friends from my church and I decided to check out The River, a church led by Marlin Reid, a revival minded pastor in the region. He was hosting Jeff Jansen, whom I had never had the opportunity to see minister.
As I sat on the floor in the back of the conference center at the Southfield Westin Hotel, God and I had an interesting dialogue. He had impressed on my heart that promotion was coming, and I probed him with questions about just how something like that happens. What was my responsibility? How should I prepare? Was I doing anything wrong? What was the timing? What exactly is the purpose of a promotion anyway? As I sat there enjoying both the service and the conversation the Lord and I were having, God spoke very simply, yet very clearly: I am going to show you how easy and how quickly promotion will come. I was intrigued.
At the end of the service, several hundred people were stirring around and I headed for the door to go home. Pastor Marlin, whom I had met only briefly at the beginning of the service, called out to me before I could leave the building. He wanted to introduce me to Jeff Jansen before I left. Leaving three or four hundred people behind, Marlin led me into the hallway and then into an elevator. Next in was Jeff Jansen and two others. Pastor Marlin said his goodbyes and returned to the conference room as the four of us shot up to the top floor of the Westin. We entered Jeff’s suite where there was a chef and a spread of food ready for us.
We sat at the table and Jeff immediately started prophesying over me. His accuracy was stunning as he saw me writing books and ministering powerfully through articles and other writings. Remember, we had never met and he had no idea I had written several books. He then took some heavy gem stones out of his pocket and put them into my hands. He revealed that they were the stones that famously and miraculously manifested as the glory of God came down during some previous meetings.
Suddenly, in the midst of this remarkable setting, God spoke to me. He reminded me that he told me mere minutes ago that he was going to show just how easy and quick promotion can come.
Just moments ago, I was about to walk into the parking lot to drive home. I was suddenly diverted and out of at least a few hundred people, I was chosen along with two others to meet with the man of God. I was “promoted” to the top floor of the hotel in mere seconds, was seated at an exclusive table and had my ministry confirmed in powerful ways. That encounter was a real life object lesson that God used to encourage me. When it’s time for promotion, it will come.
Since then, I’ve written over two hundred articles for Charisma Media, have written a total of ten books and continue to see doors open like the Elijah List and other media outlets. Favor truly follows this ministry, and I’m humbled.
Of course, the promotion is not simply a natural one. It’s spiritual. I’ve watched God work wonders in our ministry and I’m eager to continue to be available as a vessel. Our God is amazing and we have barely begun to see what he has prepared for us!
8 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they went up in full force to search for him… 1 Chronicles 14:8 (NIV)
The moment you are anointed, promoted into your next position in the spirit, the enemy is sure to be alerted. The purpose of this segment on using caution is not to instill fear in you, but rather to cause you to soberly understand the weight of what comes with promotion. It’s laughable to think that pastors and leaders have an easy, favored life on the platform. The assaults that come with promotion and leadership in the church are beyond the scope of what most could understand.
If pastors and leaders were honest, many would admit to being hunted and haunted by a very real demonic hoard. Many experience emotional disturbances, mental disorientation and spiritual desperation. Curses are strategically directed at them both by the world and the church. The arrows that stick in their backs are sharp and difficult to remove, yet they power on, devoted to the call that God has on their lives.
Your passion for promotion very well may have been deposited into your spirit by God, and if it was, you can be sure that the Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you, even though the journey will often be very painful and lonely. You absolutely must use caution in the process. Getting ahead of God or lingering behind would be bad ideas.
Those who are simply enamored by the supposed glamor and glory of ministry, pursuing promotion is absolutely a bad idea. You have no clue what you are asking for. It would be much better for you to step back, seek the Lord and learn to enjoy the position he has assigned you to. Leadership in God’s Kingdom comes with an extreme price, and unless you are truly called of God to assume that position, you will be assaulted by an otherworldly fury that you cannot defend.
If you are assigned by God, get ready. You must use great wisdom as you navigate the battleground God is leading you into. Above I shared the first part of 1 Chronicles 14:8. There’s a little more to that verse, and in it we see the spirit of a warrior:
8 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went out to meet them. 1 Chronicles 14:8 (NIV)
David heard about it and went out to meet his enemies. He was ready and full of faith. This is where we can first see a differentiation between those who are truly called and the pretenders. Those who crave promotion but are not called will not be anointed or empowered by God to advance against the enemy. Fear will keep them away while God’s promoted and anointed leaders will run to the battle! David is quite famous for this.
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 1 Samuel 17:48 (NIV)
Now, it’s important, again, that caution is heeded. When we as leaders advance, we can’t be presumptive or casual. We must continually seek God for direction, wisdom, revelation and clarity. David did just this.
9 Now the Philistines had come and raided the Valley of Rephaim; 10 so David inquired of God: “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The LORD answered him, “Go, I will hand them over to you.” 1 Chronicles 14:9-10 (NIV)
David inquired of the Lord and received an affirmative response. Yes, it’s time to advance. His obedience in both hearing God and in responding rightly resulted in victory.
11 So David and his men went up to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, God has broken out against my enemies by my hand.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. 12 The Philistines had abandoned their gods there, and David gave orders to burn them in the fire. 1 Chronicles 14:11-12 (NIV)
Yet, we see God’s answer is different at the next provocation of the enemy.
13 Once more the Philistines raided the valley; 14 so David inquired of God again, and God answered him, “Do not go straight up, but circle around them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. 15 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 16 So David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army, all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. 1 Chronicles 14:13-16 (NIV)
This time God had different and more precise commands. David responded rightly, and another promotion came.
17 So David's fame spread throughout every land, and the LORD made all the nations fear him. 1 Chronicles 14:17 (NIV)
TRUST GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
Promotion like we see in David is a very serious thing indeed. We can’t casually, lightly pray for promotion to come. When we do, demons will catch the scent and will pursue you with vengeance. If God is with you, and you are responding to his directives, you will still have to fight, and the war will be intense, but the victory will be yours. If your promotion results from selfish ambition, look out. It’s not God who has elevated you, but you yourself have propped yourself up—perfectly in line of sight of the enemy. I’d duck if I were you.
Watch today’s powerful video! God has called us to consider others more significant than ourselves. It’s time to be free from pride driven entitlement.
It’s time for the spirit of entitlement to be eradicated from the church and the nation.
We must go low, serve others and quit making demands that promote our special interests.
Everywhere we look people are demanding what is presumably rightfully theirs. This spirit of entitlement drives major, evil movements today such as abortion, homosexuality, feminism. It’s also fueling crusades and campaigns that are generally good, but tainted because of this foul spirit.
What if we stopped focusing on our own rights and started loving people even if it costs us comfort, money and vindication?
In a self-centered, narcissistic world one can only presume entitlement would be in the mix as well. This attitude is doing great harm to our testimony as Christians in addition to creating a proud, lazy people who expect to be served instead of to serve.
23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 (ESV)
We can presume we are entitled to something because it seems right. If other people stand in the way of what is rightfully ours, we might presume we have the right to obtain it—even at the cost of others. It might be lawful for us, but is it helpful? Does our pursuit of that build others up?
Operation Houston: It’s time to launch a movement of Spirit driven prayer in the face of homosexual bullying
For those of you who read my recent article titled 9 Prophetic Keys for Binding the Homosexual Spirit, you may know where this article is going. It’s time for a humble people to boldly advance with tears in their eyes and fire in their mouths. The homosexual agenda is advancing in unprecedented arrogance and the church must respond boldly in the authority it has been given.
With this in mind, I want to warn against any human zeal or pride that would result in combating against the aggressive demands of the city of Houston. The arrogance of those who are placing improper and unrighteous demands on pastors in Houston must not be met with arrogance and unrighteous demands by the church. True humility will result in true boldness and the power of God will be made evident. Keep in mind, this isn’t a political human rights or first amendment issue—this is a spiritual issue. If America were not a free nation, how then would we respond? It wouldn’t be in the courts of our land. It would be in the courtroom of Heaven.
This doesn’t mean human judges won’t be involved—they very well may be. It does mean, however, that they can’t win alone. The church must pray.
We have great authority as Christians thanks to what Jesus did for us.
…which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church… Ephesians 1:20-22
This authority grants us the right and the responsibility to govern on the Earth. God’s government trumps the government of the city of Houston and as we operate in our authority as a unified church entire cities will shift. We have the keys of the Kingdom and we have the authority to bind and to loose—and God will have our back.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19
The church has historically had a tragically weak response to the homosexual agenda. We haven’t stood in our authority.
I believe this is mostly due to the fear of being accused of hatred. After all, our calling card is love and it would seem to make sense to protect that branding. The thought is that we should simply respond to assaults with a smile on our face and a bear hug. Unfortunately, that won’t work against principalities and powers. In fact, such a response is not the perfect expression of love. Not even close. It looks more like timidity.
It’s rare today to hear people clearly sounding alarms and warning those who are in grave danger. It seems that it’s more loving to avoid discussing someone’s possible eternal future than to warn them that they are at risk of eternal torment. The gut wrenching truth that causes me to shudder and break in my heart is that the Mayor of Houston is fighting against God and, based on Scriptural truth, is currently destined for Hell. Again, it’s love that communicates this horrifying reality, and it’s also love to go to battle on behalf of Mayor Annise Parker and her supporters in Houston.
God’s passion for them is intense and the enemy’s attack against them is continual. The church finds itself in between, warring for their souls.
WHO ARE WE FIGHTING?
First, we must agree that this is a fight. We have to move beyond our simple evangelism strategies and relationship building at the coffee shop. The church of America is at war and our weapons are not man made.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
When considering the homosexual advance, it’s important that we understand what our battle is. Our fight will look very different depending on the situation. Who are we engaging?
We don’t fight people, but we do fight an invisible enemy. That enemy will manifest differently depending on just who it’s attacking. Consider these two strategic focuses:
- The Homosexual Victim
- The Homosexual Agenda
There are millions of people who have been violated by Satan’s hordes and the result is extreme confusion regarding their sexual identity. The homosexual victim has been abused and confused and our approach as loving Christians must be tender. Of course, we will fight the enemy on their behalf but the point I want to make here is that a giant smile and a massive bear hug are absolutely appropriate in this particular scenerio. A personal, relational approach is necessary and we should take the time to serve those who feel hopeless and confused.
This article, however, is directed more to the homosexual agenda. Our response to this massive onslaught in our nation will look much different than it does to the homosexual victim. At this level, the war is on.
For the victim we are dealing with emotions, woundings and various demonic attacks. Regarding the agenda it’s a completely different story. We are dealing with extremely powerful, influential wicked powers that can’t be won with a hug.
The homosexual agenda is driven by a violent, organized and deadly demonic strategy that has little to do with same sex attraction—it’s all about taking dominion in America and it’s manifesting clearly in Houston.
This evil assault must be met with one key spiritual strategy—praying in tongues. Fervent, unified, passionate and continual prayer in the Spirit. This is a call to the church to always be in the Spirit and to pray without ceasing.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25
Again, read my prior article for a more comprehensive explanation of this revelation. The present danger our nation is experiencing cannot be allowed to advance.
It’s time to bring confusion to the camp. The violent, intolerant homosexual agenda will be stalled via a massive movement of people who are praying in the Spirit. The groans of intercession need to be heard in our nation again!
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-20
Praying in the Spirit is one of our weapons of warfare! It results in precise intercession being lifted up and a sword of the Spirit exploding out of our mouths! Just imagine the demons that are scattering as we pray!
I see stadiums filled with thousands of people who spend all day and night groaning and roaring in the Spirit along with myriads of angels waging war in the heavenlies over Houston!
Just as those in the homosexual movement have a common language, and just as those at the Tower of Babel had one language, the church’s response must be the common language that God gave us in Acts 2.
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. —Gen. 11:1
Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:3-4
Just as confusion came to those at Babel, another unified language resulted in confusion in Jerusalem:
And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled… Acts 2:6-7
The difference? At Babel the confusion stopped the unified work of Satan. In Acts the prayer-fueled unity initiated outpouring caused people to marvel!
It’s time for Satan’s agenda in Houston to be confused and for the people of Houston to marvel!
ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD?
We all know the verse:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
This is one of the most misused verses in all of Scripture.
When somebody has a bad day—their girlfriend breaks up with them or they can’t pay their bills or they break their leg—it’s common to quote this famous verse. The problem? It’s terrible counsel and it doesn’t work. That single verse cannot stand alone. Context is necessary.
You may have noticed that the verse started with the word AND. That should tip us off to something that comes prior. There’s a condition that must be met for verse 28 to activate. Those conditions are found in verses 26 and 27:
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
It’s when we allow the Holy Spirit to intercede through us with groans that things start to come together.
America needs a groaning movement of deep intercession! The Holy Spirit knows what the mind of the Spirit is, and he prays through people who physically groan and travail. This prayer is perfect prayer as it’s according to the will of God. We don’t need human strategy when we pray in the Spirit!
When the groans are burning in and through us we find ourselves loving God more deeply and trusting him more fully. We agree with his calling on our lives. Then all things work together for good!
As the church of Houston and of our nation gathers together in unity to allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us, we will begin to see all things working together for good! The love of God will explode! The homosexual agenda will lose its power and the plan of our glorious Savior will advance in power! Let’s fill churches, streets, homes and stadiums with groaning intercessors! Can you imagine what tens of thousands of people groaning deeply in the Spirit would sound like? The stadium roof would explode!
Unity always surrounds a cause, or a point of focus. The homosexual agenda is possibly the most unified movement in the world today. They are gathered around a singular focus.
Consider the three Hebrews who unified against King Nebuchadnezzar. The king called everybody to rally around an image. His strategy for national strength was brilliant—unity.
So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Daniel 3:7
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego chose a different point of unity—the fire.
Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” Daniel 3:15
God was the only one who could deliver them, and God was the only one who could change the nation. So, in the face of certain death, they stood together in unity.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
This is where the church is right now. What will we rally around? If we attempt to blend in and let the situation play out, we, by default, worship the image—the image that the homosexual agenda is gathering everyone in the city around.
When we make our stand, we will absolutely appear to be divisive, hateful and arrogant, and that will result in rage in the camp.
Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Daniel 3:19-20
It’s at this point, well into the battle, where Jesus will be made known to all:
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:24-25
Their radical unity in the fire resulted in a manifestation of Jesus that was undeniable. The nation turned at that moment. Our nation, the city of Houston and Mayor Annise Parker can all be transformed over night.
Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon. Daniel 3:28-30
Operation Houston will result in a unified church in the midst of the fire, wielding their weapons, praying in the Spirit and impacting not only Houston but the nation and the entire world. The love of God will be made manifest and millions of people will have an unprecedented opportunity to experience it. Church, this is our hour.
Does anybody in Houston have a stadium we can borrow for a day?
It’s time to pray.
A deeper, weightier revelation of God’s love is coming—and it will look much different than we realize.
Are you ready for a deep, heavy, absolutely overwhelming revelation of God’s love?
I’m sitting in a powerful session with Barbara Yoder, Cindy Williams and a ministry team from Catch the Fire (Toronto) at Shekinah Church in Ann Arbor. It’s all about encountering the love of God, soaking in his presence and preparing to serve in love in a revival atmosphere. I’m yearning for more of this presence! I love what this ministry is about!
There is a MASSIVE increase in revelation of the love of God and the experience of his presence coming, and much of it will fulfill the yearnings of our heart. I’m convinced that much of it will also be quite surprising to you at how it manifests.
In order for there to be a false-anything, there must be a true, pure reality. Those of you who are longing for a pure, love-driven move of God, get ready! We are about to have the opportunity to go deeper than we ever have. True love will change the world.
Philippians 1:9-10 (MSG) 9 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings 10 so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of…
We are to learn to love appropriately. This scripture is a critical exhortation! Why? It means there are inappropriate ways to love. There are deceptions that feel right, but are poor representations or even counterfeits of truth.
As God’s love begins to manifest in such amazing, deeper ways at the end of the age, we have to be aware that the enemy will work hard to redefine, misrepresent and twist true love. He has a castrated version to offer us.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s we saw the emergence of free love.
Free love is a social movement that rejects marriage, which is seen as a form of social and financial bondage. The Free Love movement's initial goal was to separate the state from sexual matters such as marriage, birth control, and adultery. It claimed that such issues were the concern of the people involved, and no one else.
Much of the free-love tradition is an offshoot of anarchism, and reflects a libertarian philosophy that seeks freedom from state regulation and church interference in personal relationships.
The free love movement was not a love movement at all. It was focused on self-satisfaction, personal experience and relational connections. The intimacy they sought after was never found as sexual promiscuity served as a destructive, unfulfilling counterfeit.
I believe we are experiencing a similar free love movement in the church today:
- Rejecting marriage—this speaks to a resistance to covenant. The desire is to control the love connection, the experience. When the emotional rush is gone, and relational intimacy is disappointing, so many of today’s Christians sever that connection and move on to more satisfying relationships. They move from partner to partner, driven by selfish ambition seeking to be served instead of to serve.
- Social and financial bondage—free love seeks after social and relational euphoria, and if this is not experienced, people tend to flee from the threat of bondage. True investment into others is resisted unless there is an exchange, unless what they are seeking after is given to them. The problem? This is relational prostitution. Many Christians will invest into others only if their friendship is given in return.
- Separation from the state—just as those in the free love movement several decades ago sought after liberation from governmental control, many Christians today reject biblical government. Government requires submission, and submission doesn’t feel like love—though it is. Kingdom order requires submission, respect of boundaries and a surrender of personal rights. This is love! We hear so much about human rights today, as if it’s the purest manifestation of love. It is not! The homosexual movement demands the government stays out of their intimate pursuits. The pro-choice movement demands the government stays out of their wombs. 1 Corinthians 13 reveals that love is not self-seeking! It’s not about human rights, it’s about serving God’s government, his purposes and his people.
False-Love Myths and Deceptions
Keep in mind that false or tainted love doesn’t flow mostly from an evil, debased heart. It also doesn’t mean that there is nothing about the argument or viewpoint that is true. A person who craves pure love can, in their zeal or in their weakness, allow impurities into their expression of love that twists and compromises it. The reason I needed to say this is to encourage you if you’ve been hit by the false-love spirit. Your desire for manifested love is very probably true, yet the enemy can come in and confuse the process.
With that in mind, here are some false-love (or tainted love) myths and deceptions that have hit the church:
- Expecting or demanding love from others—Remember, love is not self-seeking. Have you ever been wounded by someone who didn’t act in love toward you? It is normal to desire to be loved, but true love doesn’t expect or demand others to be the one to fulfill that desire. If we point our fingers at others who aren’t acting in love, then it’s an evidence that we ourselves do not love. If someone isn’t acting in love toward you, isn’t relationally close to you, won’t befriend you, how will you react? Will you refuse to invest into them unless you get something in return? You have actually fallen into relational prostitution. Jesus laid down his life for those who hated him and we must do the same.
- Focusing on God’s love is all we need—This is a disturbing trend in the church, but it’s actually not mostly incorrect. It’s mostly right! The argument is that when we focus on experiencing the pure, true love of Jesus, everything else in life just falls into place. If we focus on love, sin won’t be an issue. Maturity will just happen. Not so. What is mostly right? Well, the greater the revelation of God’s love for us, the more we want to be holy, respond in obedience and mature. Love is a great motivator! However, experiencing love is not all we need! The Bible is filled with instructions and mandates and focuses that we are responsible to respond to even if the love connection isn’t there one day.
Additionally, the Bible is filled with stories of people who loved God, and who sinned. Being with Jesus, loving Jesus, being intimate with Jesus is worthy of most of our energy and focus. However, even in a deep, intimate place with Jesus, obedience can be hard. Flesh can rise up. Satan can tempt. We can be deceived. Our theologies can be off. This is why we must continually let God search our hearts for any wicked way in us. We must be in the Word! We must be submitted to authorities who watch out for our souls. We can’t just enjoy God and presume our job is done.
- Love initiated pride—There seems to be a rapid emergence of those who are going after love of Jesus, and who are resisting discipline and discipleship. The reason? Pride. The presumption is that their encounter with the love of God has elevated them to a point where they no longer need to be a student of the Word, to focus on the sin potential in their lives or submit to others. They wouldn’t say that they are above others, but their arguments reveal their hearts more than not. When the call for holiness, brokenness, study, obedience, etc. is presented to them, they become puffed up and in turn, while rejecting your “inferior focuses”, call you to come up higher and just focus on love. Their response very often is, “If you really understood the Father’s love, you would see what I mean.” It’s arrogance masquerading as spirituality. The very fact that this is happening is a revelation that they have not truly experienced love the way they claim.
- Love must always manifest a certain way—In scripture, we do have a great definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13. I’d encourage you to read a recent article where I unpack it HERE. So, it is true that, for example, love is always patient. If you aren’t patient, then, that is a specific issue that you can analyze in yourself. However, there is a spirit of accusation in the camp that moves outside of this scriptural definition and declares that if you don’t function a certain way, then you don’t love the way God loves. For example, someone might say to an intercessor, “If you truly loved people, you would move out of your prayer closet and hit the streets and feed the homeless!” It’s an accusation against a child of God that they don’t love because they don’t fit into an imperfect definition of what love really is. Can you really imagine someone looking at a sweet, passionate grandma who prays with tears every day that she doesn’t love people because she isn’t street witnessing? On the flip side, an intercessor might say, “If you truly loved people you would spend hours a day praying from them!”
Additionally, in the article I linked to above I explain how love will manifest through the different offices. Love looks different when delivered through a pastor than it does when delivered through a prophet. As a church leader I have had to expend a lot of energy explaining to people what type of love and connection they might expect from someone like me. Most people think I’m a pastor when they first meet me (because church leaders in America are almost always called Pastor). If people presume that I will express love like a pastor, they can actually get very offended when that doesn’t happen. Accusations can fly. But, if we simply understood that, in addition to the 1 Corinthians 13 definition, different people, different offices and different cultures will express love very, very differently, it will be easy to honor and love them instead of making demands of them.
- Love always feels good—Oh boy, this one is big. When we encounter love, we will be presented with a view of God that is quite different than what we previously understood to be true. God’s love can be expressed in a very direct, uncomfortable way that breaks you and may even wonder how a loving God could act that way. God’s expression of love will often put you at risk, threaten you and trouble you. Jesus’ expression of love on the cross put Peter at risk of the same grisly death! How could Jesus do this? Peter was confused as he was presented with a side of Jesus he never saw—and he denied that expression of Jesus and his love for the world! I guarantee that Peter did not feel good as Jesus loved him by rescuing him from Hell by dying on the cross. Today, sharp, provoking preaching is rejected because it doesn’t feel good. They might say in their disturbed state, “That’s not the Jesus I know.” The risk is, like Peter, rejection of God when the feelings aren’t warm and intimate. This is one reason why being people of the Word is non-negotiable. We can’t afford to call good evil and evil good. We must learn about Jesus and how he functions so that our emotions don’t lead us astray.
- God is always in a good mood—Not true. Period. I’ve said it this way: If God is always in a good mood, he would be a monster, laughing and doing a happy dance as he casts people he loves into Hell. If we believe God is always in a good mood, we will reject messages and revelations that don’t result in us being in a good mood. We will associate the love of God with the hate of Satan. We know that God is still wrathful. He still gets angry. He is saddened. He is joyful. He is happy. He has moods, and the deepest place of love exists when we partner with God in his emotions. What is on God’s heart? How can we serve him and minister to him?
- Love requires that you are emotionally connected—Again, not true. Humans have the ability to love many but can only befriend a few. Different people have different capacities, but the principle remains the same. Don’t presume someone doesn’t love you if they don’t get close to you at a heart level. In fact, may I be so bold as to say, they might not like you! To love someone does not require that we like them. So we can love the masses and only connect at a close, friendship level with a few. Think about it. Do you want to be friends with everybody? Nope. Why would you expect the same from another? A rejection complex has really done a lot of damage to people—and they look for their healing to come from others loving them the way they want instead of dying to self and refusing to place that burden on them. They love them.
I remember a mega-church pastor that was extremely popular. He felt like your best friend though you really didn’t have a real personal relationship with him. People often wanted to get close to him, and they actually had a bit of a system in place to handle that! An associate would approach those who were a bit overzealous in their attempts to befriend the pastor. He’d say, “The Pastor will serve you well and express love by leading you, teaching you and helping you connect with Jesus. However, don’t expect him to be a personal friend of yours.” The same scenario is true for small churches. The pastor may be an introvert, may have limited emotional energy or simply may be called to focus on different things! Don’t presume that someone doesn’t love you just because they aren’t serving you the way you want. How potentially offensive and seemingly arrogant is this passage?
Acts 6:1-4 (MSG) 1 During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers—”Hellenists”—toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines. 2 So the Twelve called a meeting of the disciples. They said, “It wouldn't be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor. 3 So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we'll assign them this task. 4 Meanwhile, we'll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God's Word.”
They were saying that they would not be connecting to people who needed help! They would focus on connecting to God and their very specific tasks! And, my good friends, that is love! They weren’t to feed the widows. They weren’t to make hospital visits. They weren’t to answer their phones every time someone needed them. They were to pray and preach, and that was deep, fiery love!
- You have to convince people that you love them—We are to be kind, without question. However, we aren’t to modify our messages, to soften our speech or to attempt to convince people that we love them. We should simply love them! How’s this statement of love:
Acts 2:22-24 (MSG) 22 “Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you—the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge— 23 this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands, and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him. 24 But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him.
You pinned him to a cross and killed him! He was in their grill! He was bringing correction with a bold, fiery spirit! He wasn’t worried about hurting their feelings—he was proclaiming the power of Jesus! His goal wasn’t to sit down and ask how their heart was, how they were feeling, if they feel OK. He was in another mode, functioning in love, and rocking their world and exposing their thinking that would lead them to Hell! I’m sure they didn’t feel loved, but if they responded to Peter’s message, they would have been flooded with the experiential, burning love of Jesus!
- Hard messages aren’t driven by love—This is attached to the above point, but it’s worthy of some extra attention. Jonathan Edwards’ message “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” is largely dismissed by today’s ultra-sensitive, thin-skinned culture as unloving. I’ve heard it said that he didn’t have a revelation of the Father’s love. This is not only wrong, it’s a violation of scriptural truth! We cannot avoid the hard messages of sin, Hell and repentance out of fear that we’ll be rejected by those who are offended. We can’t modify our messages to sound loving—we must trust that the Word of God is a message of love! Truth delivered in love doesn’t always feel great, and it will offend many, but those who receive it are changed forever!
We could go on and on for quite a while discussing myths and deceptions regarding love. The enemy is terrified of the manifestation of true love, and he’s offering a castrated version of it to those who are seeking after good, happy feelings. Castrated love feels good, but it has no ability to bring forth life!
It’s time for us to trust God as he is, not as we want him to be. It’s time to dive into the Word and embrace Jesus as he manifests a variety of emotions which are all rooted in love.
The following was written after being awakened in the night—a word of reformation for the church.
It was delivered to the church of Colorado Springs many years ago, but it is applicable to the church of America. I shared this at Revival Church recently. It’s time for reform!
God has given the Church of Colorado Springs every resource necessary to initiate a fire of revival that will burn our city, our nation and our planet.
We can all agree this fire is not raging- and the current structure in our city can neither initiate nor sustain a move of God of this magnitude.
It’s time for a radical and momentous change in the Church of Colorado Springs. It’s time for a reformation.
1. We must repent of prayerlessness. A call is being made for every believer to pray with hunger and passion to an extreme degree. Spiritual leaders of this city must model such a lifestyle of prayer on a daily basis. It must be our primary activity. Pastors and leaders- let’s agree to a minimum of one three hour prayer watch every day.
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Pastors who don’t pray two hours a day aren’t worth a dime a dozen”
Acts 6:4 “but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
2. We must repent of competition. It’s time to promote the City Church ahead of our local Church. Are we willing to lose people, money, our ministries and our reputations in order for God’s corporate dream of city-wide revival to explode?
Phil 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
3. We must repent for being mindful of man ahead of God- and then resign our positions as salespeople. We are to once again lead with a bold prophetic mantle. As a leader, the primary role is to hear God in prayer and to declare his Word to the people. The body must renounce consumerism in the Church by asking not what our Church can do for us but what we can do for our Church.
Mat 16:23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
4. We must repent for forsaking the house of prayer. There is a call for every church in the city to maintain a 24-hour prayer center as its primary ministry. It is to be modeled and led by senior leadership. The primary purpose of the Church is not teaching, visitor assimilation or fellowship. It is undeniably night and day prayer for the nations. Lengthy prayer should be taught and modeled as the dominant activity of every believer.
Is 56:7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
5. We must repent of pride. God resists the proud, and this city can’t afford for God to move away from us. We must repent, humble ourselves and cry for Jesus to come!
James 4:6 “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
6. We must repent for quenching the Holy Spirit. Our cry must be, “Come as you are and do what you want!” Sunday services should be marked by significant and earth-shaking supernatural moves of the Holy Spirit.
1 Thes 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
7. We must repent for resisting the prophetic. Now, more than ever, we need to hear the Word of the Lord. We must teach every believer how to hear God, how to steward that Word and how to take responsibility in the fulfillment of that Word.
1 Thes 5:20 Do not despise prophecies.
8. We must embrace and teach on the experiential reality of the presence of God. If someone were to be on the moon, would he want to learn about air or experience air? Colorado Springs must experience the fresh flowing air of the Holy Spirit again.
Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
9. We must be willing to forsake programs and policies set in place by the demands of man in favor of the divine vision of the Holy Spirit.
10. We must release control of our services and expect to stay late, burn hot, experience much, cast out demons, prophesy, proclaim the Word, worship intensely and enjoy a wonderfully messy but Holy Spirit ordered event. The first Church was birthed supernaturally in such a way that many marveled and many mocked. It must continue now as it started then.
11. We must raise the bar of expectations and do now what we will be doing when revival breaks out. Pray continually, be in the House of Prayer daily, cry out for justice, establish the 24-hour church, give, serve and enjoy God with other believers..
Luke 18:7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?
Luke 2:37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Acts 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
12. We must repent for canceling services, closing the church doors and lowering the expected commitment. We have submitted to a deadly and apathetic American culture, and it’s time to lead the way and bring reformation to that culture. The Church must dominate our calendars again.
13. We must cry out for the love of God to weigh on His church in the form of both mercy and judgment. Pray for God’s judgment to rest on you, your church and this city so as to ensure wrong things are made right, holiness prevails and God reigns supreme.
1 Pet 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
14. We must teach Acts chapter two style- experience a move of God and then teach on it. Experience an overpowering move of the Holy Spirit to such a degree that highly anointed biblical teachings penetrate hearts. What God does is taught and explained from a supernatural perspective.
Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
15. We must admit there are demons and that they must be dealt with. Not through programs and projects but through prophetic proclamation. A unified assault on the kingdom of darkness will result in mass deliverance in our city.
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
16. We must be available for repositioning and do away with the redundancy that a church on every corner invites. Many churches in our city should close. Those pastors would then assume more appropriate positions of service in other churches. Teachers would lead centers of teaching, pastors would lead small groups, and other leaders would serve in a variety of physical locations within the City Church. The goal is one City Church, many departments, unified leadership and individualized roles.
17. We must again become Holy Spirit sensitive instead of seeker sensitive. People aren’t looking for something worth living for, but rather for a cause worth dying for. Show them the cross. The normal New Testament Church experience is one of extreme manifestations of God, death to self, prophetic preaching and an unapologetic invasion into the culture which results in momentous change.
Mark 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.
18. We must again embrace dreams, visions, praying in the Holy Spirit and extreme encounters with God.
1 Cor 14:39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.
19. We must repent for presenting a watered down, socially acceptable gospel. Salvation requires death, surrender and commitment to the plans of God.
Mark 10:21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
20. We must repent for emphasizing what people can get instead of what they are to give. To enter a church with the expectation of leaving with more than you entered with is to embrace the same spirit the money changers did. We must again, with fear and trembling, enter the House of Prayer with the expectation of making a sacrifice and giving an offering.
Mat 21:12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.' ”
21. We must encourage every believer to grow intentionally, rapidly and independently. And then, to step into their assigned ministry role.
Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
22. We must call for the fear of the Lord to return to our Churches and city.
Prov 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; 18 For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.
23. We must repent for rebellion, self-government, lawlessness and an independent spirit. This is evidenced through church hopping and by leaving a church without being sent out by the leaders. This results in compromised missions, a divisive spirit and a splintering of the body. Accountability and submission to authority must again return to the Church.
Heb 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
24. We must repent of gossip, complaining and other forms of witchcraft.
Prov 6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
25. We must repent for embracing a religious spirit. Religion is man’s attempt to use God to get what he wants. It’s time to cry out for God to remove our man made structures and advance his Kingdom in our city!
26. We must repent to the nation for misrepresenting Colorado Springs as a significant national Christian center of Holy Spirit activity. It is not. We have wrongly stewarded this responsibility.
27. We must repent for not praying intently for our leaders. Their failure is our failure.
1 Tim 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
As we pray, unify, preach the cross, love God and the people of our city with passion and embrace the present Word of the Lord Colorado Springs will be a propellant for revival around the world.
Written trembling in the fear of the Lord,
Christians in Hell: “The rate of Heaven and Hell is 1 to 1000.” (Matt 7:14)
Heaven and Hell: A Thousand to One By Rev. Park, Yong Gyu. http://www.DivineRevelations.info/PARK
In 1987, Reverend Park had died from high blood pressure. But by the grace of God, his life was extended for another 20 years. However, for the first four years, he was not able to speak due to his condition. He was about 50 years old when he had come back to life. During his death, the Lord showed him to Heaven and Hell.
I want you to know if you are arrogant and prideful, you will bring curses upon yourself. I had a mega church of 5000 members but I was struck down by God due to my arrogance. Now I fear God. (James 4:6)
I used to own property worth about 150 million US dollars. I owned five luxury cars. But after my death experience, I gave it all away. Please remember, salvation cannot be achieved by your possessions but through faith. And now I plead to the deacons, elders, and the other leaders in their churches to serve your pastors with all your heart.
On December 19, 1987, after I had finished my lunch and while I was resting, I began to feel excruciating pain, it was so unbearable that I felt as though I was going to die. Then I lost consciousness. I woke up four months later in a vegetated state, and my doctor told me that I would eventually die. All my body parts were mangled very badly from the paralysis. And my family had never allowed any of the church members to visit due to my horrible appearance. Then I finally died.
When I died, I saw two people enter my room. But these people had entered into my room through the wall. I screamed, “Who, who are you!! My house will crumble down if you do that!!” Then one said, “We are angels descended from Heaven. We are from God’s kingdom.” A brilliant light shinned from the angels.
The angel to my right introduced himself. “I run errand for Jesus in His kingdom. Jesus called me and commanded me to go down to the Earth. He commanded me to take you to Heaven. You are dead. But since your family cries out with so much sadness, He desires to grant you a little more time to live. But for now, He desires to show you Heaven and Hell. He will show you and you will witness to the people of the Earth. May the number of people
who end up in Hell be decreased and the number of people going to Heaven increased through your testimony. This will be your mission. God instructed us to tell you not to delay. If you delay, you will not be able to visit Heaven and Hell.”
Then the angel to my left said, “The moment you were born and until the moment you had died, I had been with you.” At that time, I did not understand what the angel had meant. Now I know. He was my guardian angel. So I said, “I cannot go! I will not go! I am a pastor! I cannot meet the Lord in this physical condition. I want to see Him as a healthy person. I would probably be receiving more rebukes than compliments from the Lord. I am prideful and arrogant and now I am cursed and sick. How am I able to enter Heaven? I am so scared. Please go back to Heaven and ask the Lord to heal me. Then come back and take me to Heaven through my dream. Please ask for mercy on my behalf.”
But the angels were not listening to my arguments. They took my clothes off and said that they were too filthy to be wearing in Heaven. They then clothed me in a white gown. (Zech 3:4)
They grabbed my hands and we flew straight up to Heaven. We flew through the clouds and as I looked down, I saw the Earth becoming smaller. They let me go near an endless Golden Street. I saw a brilliant shining light, too bright to look directly at. I said, “Where is the light coming from?” “It is from Heaven” the angel responded.
I thought, “Wow! It is huge!” I saw groups of people in white gowns flying ahead. “Who are they?” I asked.
The angel replied, “They are the ones who had served God faithfully and trusted in Jesus by obeying and following the lead of the Holy Spirit with all their heart. Their bodies are dead on Earth. They are now the souls heading toward Heaven.”
The other angel continued, “There are twelve gates in Heaven. When a saved soul comes to Heaven, they must enter through one of those gates.” We were standing in the south gate but it was closed. As we were waiting, I asked the angel, “Angels, why is this gate not opening?”
The angel replied, “It is because you are not singing the Heavenly worship song.” (Psalms 100:4)
I asked, “Angels, I was very prideful and arrogant and as a result I was cursed with sickness. I am not good at singing Earthly worship songs. How am I able to sing Heavenly worship songs when I had never heard it before?”
The angel replied, “You are correct. But you must still prepare yourself to worship. You are a prideful person but prepare to sing.” The angels began to sing. As they sang, I began to sing with them. It became natural to me, and we entered in.
The scene of Heaven was indescribable. I can’t describe Heaven with my Earthly words. I said, “Lord! Thank you so much! Even though, I was very prideful and arrogant and cursed with a sickness, You have still brought me to Heaven to show me around.”
I then heard the voice of God, “My beloved Pastor Park, Yong Gyu, I welcome you. You have made a long journey here.” His voice was overflowing with love and tenderness.
I replied back crying in tears, “Lord,….” The angels immediately said, “you have been a pastor for 20 years. Do you not know your scriptures? There are no tears in Heaven. Please stop it!” I was not even able to cry. (Rev. 21:4)
“How much time did you spend reading the Word (bible)?
How much did you give of offerings?
How many times have you evangelized to people? Did you tithe properly?
How much time did you spend in prayer?”
I could not answer the fifth question. The Lord rebuked me for the fifth question.
“After you had become a mega church pastor, you had become very lazy with prayer. Being busy is no excuse to Me!” I had to repent of it later. “The angels will show you many places in Heaven and of Hell. Look around as much as you desire. You will leave after witnessing many different places in Heaven and Hell.” But the Lord did not allow me to see His appearance.
The angels first took me to three different places in Heaven. In the first place, I saw little children living together.
The second place was where the adults lived.
The third place was where the souls had barely made it to Heaven. Even though they made it to
Many people had asked me how old the little children were. They appeared like kindergartens. They were not the little boys or girls as we would know of gender. Each child had their own baby angel to accompany them.
In Heaven, most of the souls will have their own individual home. (John 14:2) However, there were some who did not have
homes. I will explain this later. Moreover, the children did not have their own individual homes
either. I asked, “The children are also souls, why do they not have their own homes?”
The angel replied, “Just as the people on Earth require materials to build their homes, we in Heaven also need materials to build here. When a person serves the church and others faithfully unto the Lord, those deeds will become materials for a person’s home in Heaven.
When the materials are provided, the angels assigned to build a saint’s home will go to work on constructing it. The children who are below the accountability age have not built up any materials to build a home. In other words, they did not have the time or chance to earn their rewards/materials. This is why they do not have homes.”
I continued with my questions, “What shall I do on Earth to provide more materials for my home?”
The angels replied, “There are seven things one must do to build up their materials to build their home.
The second is their time spent reading the bible. Third, their time spent praying.
Fourth, their time spent evangelizing to people.
Fifth, one’s offering to the Lord.
Sixth, their obedient tithes to God.
Lastly, their time spent serving the church in any way.
These are the deeds or works of obedience in which one accumulates materials for their Heavenly home. If one is lacking in these areas, they will have no materials to build their home.”
The angels replied, “They live here.” As I looked around, they were gathered throughout the garden of flowers. The garden of flowers was so beautiful and the fragrance was out of this world. The scene was beyond what I could describe with my words.
The second place was for faithful adults. There is a difference between salvation and rewards. This place had so many homes. The homes were built with beautiful gems and rare stones. Some of the homes were as high as the highest
skyscrapers on Earth. Those people who had faithfully served the Lord while living on Earth had their homes built with beautiful gems and rare stones. In this particular place, all the people looked around the age of 20 to 30 years old. There were no men or women in regards to gender. There are no sick, old, or lame people.
I once knew an elder named, Oh, Im Myung. He had died at the age of 65 years old. He was a very short man, as tall as 2nd graders in elementary school. He had suffered from a rare disease called rickets. However, when it came to the bible, he was a PHD. He had written many commentaries. I met him in Heaven, and there he was tall and handsome. He was no longer sick but healthy. Heaven is a very wonderful place!! I am so full of expectations! Please believe what I am saying beloved people!
The third place was for those who were shamefully saved. (1 Cor. 3:15) This particular village was enormous in size, several times bigger than the second place, where the homes were made of gems and rare stones. I arrived at this place at great speed, riding a golden chariot. It was very far from the other beautiful places I saw in Heaven.
I asked the angels, “I see great wilderness and fields. Why do I not see homes?” The angel replied, “What you are seeing are homes.”
I saw huge wide flat houses, which reminded me of a large chicken coop or some type of warehouse. These homes were not glorious, but shabby. This village and homes were for the souls who were shamefully saved. There were numerous large sized shabby looking homes. This village is several times bigger than the place where rewarded souls reside.
The angel said, “Do you see the two large homes, one to your right and one to your left? I answered, “Yes, I do see them.”
The angel said that he wanted to show me those two houses specifically. He said, “The right home is for those who were pastors on the Earth. The left home is for those who were elders on the Earth.” As we arrived to the front of the two homes, I noticed they were humongous. My jaw dropped. When we opened the door and entered, my first impression was, ‘chicken coop.’ Instead of thousands of chickens living in their coop, I saw souls. The angels advised me to observe very carefully because I would recognize some famous pastors from history. It was true. I recognized many pastors from history. I specifically picked out one pastor and asked the angel, “I know that Korean pastor! I know how famous he was and the work he had done for the Lord. Why is he here? I do not understand.”
The angels answered, “He never provided any building materials for his home. This is why he is living in a community home.”
I asked out of curiosity, “How did this happen? Why did he not have any materials?” The angel answered, “While he was a pastor performing the functions as a pastor, he had loved to be complimented by the people. He had loved to be honored. He had loved to be served. There was no sacrifice and servitude on his part.” This particular pastor was greatly honored in Korea and is an icon within the Korean Christian history. But he had no reward!!
You pastor out there, please listen! You have to lead people to more than just Sunday morning services. You must visit them in their homes. You must take care of the poor, the lame and old. The pastors who have served without sacrificing their lives and loved to be honored have no reward in Heaven. (Matt 23:5-12)
After I had witnessed this scene in Heaven and after I had come back to the Earth, I immediately gave all of my possessions away including my five luxury vehicles. Our life is but a moment. In the bible, the average life is about 70 to 80 years old. But it is only God who knows when a person will die. Anyone can die before the age of 70 or 80 years old. I had decided to give everything away, even my clothes. The people I saw had received salvation in shame. They were pastors, elders, deacons, and lay believers. There were multitudes of elders and deacons in this flat shabby home. But of course, it is much better than Hell. However, why would anyone want to enter Heaven in such a way? I will not end up in that shameful place. Their clothes were even shabby.
What are the requirements for Christians to receive such beautiful homes in Heaven? First, we have to evangelize to as many people as possible. How should we evangelize? The angel told me, “Assume there is an unbeliever who does not know the Lord. The moment you decide to evangelize to that particular person, the building materials for your homes will be provided. As you unceasingly pray for their salvation, more building materials are provided. You must continue to check up on them, visiting them and continue your evangelizing. This will add more materials to your home. If a person says he/she cannot make it
to church because they do not have nice clothes, then you must provide them with some. If the person says he/she does not have a bible, you must provide one. If a person says he/she does not have glasses to read, you must provide it for them. You must provide whatever you are able too so this person can be led to the Lord. Those who live in the best homes are those who had evangelized many times.”
The angel then escorted me to the place where the saints lived in nice homes. This is where saints who had evangelized much lived. It felt like downtown Heaven.
In Christian history, there are four people who have the biggest and most beautiful homes. The angel showed me the home of American evangelist D.L. Moody, British Pastor John Wesley, an Italian evangelist, and Korean Evangelist Pastor Choi, Gun Nung. These four people have the largest homes in Heaven. These four had spent their whole lives evangelizing to people even through up to the time of their deaths.
Within the Korean believers, there was a lay believer who had a large home. This lay believer had built many church buildings with his all his possessions. He had given three thousand bags of rice to the poor. He secretly helped thousands of pastors and leaders with their finance. He helped students studying theology or in bible school with their tuitions. He had also taken in a pastor (65 years old) into his home and took good care of him. His own church had kicked him out.
I heard an angel shout, “The materials are coming!” I questioned the angel to my right about the materials and he told me, “These materials are for a deaconess from a small church who is from the country. In fact, she receives materials every day. Even though she is poor, she comes to early morning service each day. She prays for 87 church members daily. When she finishes praying, she cleans up the church.”
I heard another angel shout, “Special delivery! The daughter of the deaconess has given what little money she had to her mother. However, the deaconess did not spend it on herself. She bought five eggs and two pairs of socks for the church pastor. Even though it may appear to be a small offering, she had given all she had for the day. This became special materials for her home in Heaven.”
Second, those who also have a large home are those who have built church buildings or other buildings for Kingdom purpose with their possessions and resources.
In Heaven, I also met an elder named Choi. Among all the Korean elders and deacons who are in Heaven, he had the most beautiful home. His home was much higher than the tallest building in Korea. Choi had built many churches in Korea with his wealth.
I asked the angel, “How about my house? Is it in the process of being built? The angel said, “Yes it is.” I begged to see my house. But they told me it was not allowed. I continued to beg and after some persistent begging, the angels said that the Lord will now allow it.
We entered the chariot and traveled very far to another place. I was full of expectation. I asked, “Where is my house?” The angel replied, “It is over there!” But it looked as though the place was only a foundation, only ready for development. I cried out, “How could you do this to me? How could this be happening? How can my house be in a developing zone? Surviving the Korean War, I sold my only home to build a church. This church eventually grew to five thousand members. I wrote many books inspired by the Holy Spirit. One book became a best seller. With the proceeds from the books, I built Christian schools. The school birthed 240 pastors. During tenure as the dean, I had given out over 400 scholarships to over 400 poor children. I have built homes for the widows to live in. This all cost huge amounts of money. So how could this be? Why is my home in a land development? I am so upset!”
The angel replied sternly, “You do not deserve to live in such a beautiful nice home in Heaven because you have been honored by people countless times. Every time you had built or done something good, you were praised by people. You were even honored by the secular news. Therefore, all your works are in vain.” (Matt 6:1)
I looked at my home in the development zone. It was located in the middle of three other homes. It only had three stories. The house had many small rooms on the first two floors. I asked the angel, “Why do I have such small rooms?” The angel answered, “These rooms are for your sons and daughters.”
“I only have four children,” I replied. The angel responded, “No, they are not for your Earthy children, but for the ones you had evangelized and are saved.” I loved it! I asked, “Where is my master bedroom?” The angel said that it was on the roof. That bothered me.
My room was not even finished. In an angry tone I said, “It is so small! Why is it so difficult to finish?” The angel replied, “You are not even dead. We cannot finish your home or rooms because we do not know if more materials will be provided. Do you understand?”
When we entered my room, I saw two certificates hanging on my wall, so I went to read them. The first certificate described when I was 18 years old living in an orphanage. On Christmas day, I was on my way back to the early morning church service. I had seen an elderly man shivering on the street. I took my jacket off and gave it to him. That deed had given me a reward in Heaven. The second certificate described the same incident but it was for buying some bread with the little money I had for the elderly man. The amount is not the issue. The act must be accompanied by genuine faith. The dollar amount has no significance.
We left the place and headed back out. During the ride, one of the angels asked, “Are you sad? I will tell you how to have a beautiful home built. The Lord said when you go back to the Earth, you must go to tell the people about Heaven and Hell as you have witnessed. Second, the Lord desires you to build a place to gather elderly female pastors and evangelists who do not have places to go or live. If you truly faithfully do these things, you will have a beautiful home.”
The two angels escorted me to Hell. They said, “Now you will visit Hell.” You have no idea the enormity of Hell. I kept shouting, “It is so big! It is so big!” This is the place where souls who are cursed and receive eternal damnation are placed. It felt like Hell was a thousand times larger than the Earth. Half of Hell was colored red and the other half was pitch dark black. I asked the angels, “Why is this part red?”
The angels replied, “Do you not know? It is burning sulfur. The other half is darkness. When people sin and end up here, they will be tormented from both sides…There are multitudes of churches on the Earth and many of the churches are filled with many people. However, most of them are not true Christians. They are but church attendants. The true churches will firmly believe in Heaven and a Hell. The lives of many Christians are in chaos because they do not firmly believe in Heaven and Hell. When one soul enters Heaven, one thousand cursed souls enter Hell. The rate of Heaven and Hell is 1 to 1000.” (Matt 7:14)
I am a Presbyterian pastor and a well-known speaker. I have graduated from one of the largest theological school in Korea. I never believed those Heaven and Hell stories. But now, I am one who writes such experiences to testify to others. Although you may believe you are a Christian, if you live your life according to the will of demons, you will end up in Hell!
The first place I saw was a place of burning sulfur. You can’t even imagine how hot the fires of Hell are. No one can bear the intense heat.
People in Hell say three statements.
- First, it is too hot and they feel like dying. (Luke 16:24)
- Second, they are so thirsty and feel like dying.
- Third, you will hear many asking for water. (Zech 9:11)
It is eternal! Many people say we are free in Christ and they live their lives as they desire. I asked the angel, “Those who are in here, what have they done?” The angel answered, “The first group is unbelievers.” Those who had not evangelized to their own family must repent!
The angel continued, “The second group is those who believed in Jesus, but did not repent of their sins.” We must repent of our sins and must confess to the Lord. We must not sin. Just giving lip service is not repenting. With a contrite and earnest heart, we must repent!
Christians in Hell
I then saw many pastors, elders, and deacons in Hell. I asked the angel, “I know them. They had served God faithfully while on the Earth. They had died some time ago. We all had thought they were in Heaven with God. But now, I see them all in Hell and they are crying out that it is so hot! Why are they here?” There were so many pastors, elders, deacons and all other lay believers.
The angel answered, “Pastor Park Yong Gyu, a person can appear to be a true follower of Christ on the outside but God knows the heart.
THEY DID NOT KEEP SUNDAYS HOLY. IN FACT, THEY HAD LOVED TO MAKE MONEY ON SUNDAYS. (Jer. 17:27)
Many of the deacons and elders had criticized the sermon of their pastors.
THEY DID NOT TITHE PROPERLY. (Malachi 3:9)
THEY DID NOT PRAY.
They had not evangelized to people at all. (Ezekiel 33:6)
Many of these elders and deacons had harassed their pastors and would come against their authority. They had interfered with the pastor’s duty and business. (Num. 16)
On their death beds, they thought they had done a good job so they did not repent of those things. This is why they were thrown in the fires of Hell.”
I then saw a king and a prince who were had first persecuted Christians in Korea. This king and prince beheaded many of the first believers in Korea. They were placed in the center, which was the hottest place of all. I also saw Hitler,
Stalin, Mao Zedong, and a famous pastor from North Korea named Pastor Kang, and a famous Japanese hero, and many more.
Then we arrived at an extremely dark place, too dart to see where to step. I shouted, “Angels! Angels! It is so dark! How can I see anything?” The angels patted my shoulder and said, “Just wait a little bit.”
Within a few moments, I was able to see a countless number of naked people. All of them had insects crawling all over their bodies. Not an inch was spared as their whole bodies were completely covered with insects. The naked people attempted to drive the insects away gnashing their teeth. I asked, “What did these people do as they lived on Earth?”
“They are those who have criticized and back stabbed each other. They were not careful of what they had said to one another.” (Matt 5:22)
I saw the demons piercing and stabbing the stomachs of the people with sickles. Their screams were unbearable to me. I asked my escort, “Angels, what did these people do as they had lived on the Earth?
“These people had jobs, houses, and families but they did not give to God. They did not help the poor, their churches, or other Godly purposes. They were very stingy and greedy. Even as they encountered the poor, they ignored them and did not care. They only cared for themselves and their families. They were well clothed, fed, and had a comfortable life. This is why their stomachs are pierced for their bellies were full of greed.” (Proverbs 28:27)
It was a very frightening scene. After witnessing such a scene, when I got back to the Earth, I gave all of my money and possessions to others. Salvation cannot be earned with money or property. It is by faith. Hell is an unbearable and miserable place. It is eternal torment!
I also saw people who had their heads hacked off by a very sharp saw. I asked the angel, “What did these people do to deserve such awful torment?” The angel replied, “Their brains were given by God to think good and beneficial things. But these people had thought of filthy things. They thought of lustful things.” (Matt 5:28)
Next I saw people being stabbed and cut into pieces. The sight was horrible. I asked, “What about these people? What did they do to be tormented in such a way?” The Angel replied, “These were elders and deacons who did not serve their churches. In fact, they did not even want to work or serve! The only things they had loved were to receive and receive from the flock.” (Zech 11:17) (Hosea 6:5)
I saw the elders, deacons, and other lay believers tormented by the demons. The demons made a hole in their tongues and placed wires through the tongues of one another. Then the demons dragged the people with the wire. I asked again, “What did they do on Earth?” The angel answered, “They had committed four different types of sin.
First, they had criticized their pastors. They would speak negative things about their pastors. They were back biting and ridiculing their pastors.”
I plead with those who have committed such acts to REPENT, REPENT!!
The angel continued, “Second, they insulted the church with their words. They had harassed other Christians to the point where even the faithful ones were affected and they stopped attending church and even caused some to stop believing. They did all they could to stop faithful Christians from doing God’s work. These wicked ones caused many faithful to stumble.
Lastly, there are spouses who drank alcohol and were abusive to their family members.”
I saw demons piercing men and women in their stomachs with a very huge sharp nail. I asked, “What did they do?” The Angel replied, “These are men and women who had lived with one another but were not married. These are guilty of abortions as they also got pregnant. They had never repented.”
I saw another group of people. The demons were slicing their lips as if one thinly slicing meat or vegetables. I asked, “Why are these people tormented in such a way?” The angel said, “These are sons, daughters, son in laws, and daughter in laws who had talked back to their parents. All they had to do was say, ‘I’m sorry’ instead of making things worse. Many of them had used abusive language. They had attacked their parents with harsh language. They were rebellious. This is why their lips are being sliced.”
Brethren, we are all going to die one day, but we don’t know when that will be. Please be prepared. Being prepared is to go to Heaven. When we go is not the issue. Please forgive each other as frequently as necessary if you need too. Repent and repent and do it all day long if you have too.
My beloved brethren, I used to ignore such testimonies. I was a conservative Presbyterian pastor who ignored such things. But now, I must witness and testify to you what I have seen. Please do not hesitate to live a holy life. Please avoid this miserable torment and judgment. Be saved! Do not live for your flesh but submit to the Kingdom of God. Please pray for those who do not know Jesus. Evangelize and bear fruit. Please pray early in the morning and keep Sundays HOLY. Please tithe to the Lord properly. Accumulate your rewards in Heaven and not in this Earth. I pray and bless you in the Almighty Name of JESUS! By Pastor Park, Yong Gyu
Listen to a very interesting and important teaching about a church in crisis: Almost Homosexual
My heart is provoked to see 50+ churches launched in the Detroit region, and many others around the world. I am currently praying about what this looks like. Pray with me as God reveals his heart for revival style churches launching all around!
Visit the site here: www.revivaltribe.com
You can listen to the audio Almost Homosexual: Church in Crisis here: media.johnburton.net/2661671
You can follow along with my notes as you listen if you’d prefer. I taught this last night to my staff.
theLab Staff 072612 Almost Homosexual
I. Come Full
a. One of the traps of being involved with a ministry based on prayer is that we can unwittingly use the ministry for our own personal edification.
i. We can minimize our own life of prayer in the hopes that the activity at church will make up for it.
ii. It won’t.
1. We must become well accustomed to praying fervently, alone.
2. Romans 12:11-12 (ESV) 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
a. Fervent: hot, boiling
3. Romans 15:30 (ESV) 30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,
a. Fervent, urgent
4. James 5:16 (KJV) 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
a. Fervent: To be active, to be mighty in, to work
iii. E.M. Bounds: Our Lord warns us against feeble praying. "Men ought always to pray," He declares, "and not to faint."
iv. E.M. Bounds: The atmosphere about us is too heavily charged with resisting forces for limp or languid prayers to make headway. It takes heat, and fervency and meteoric fire, to push through, to the upper heavens, where God dwells with His saints, in light.
v. E.M. Bounds: While fervency is not prayer, yet it derives from an earnest soul, and is precious in the sight of God. Fervency in prayer is the precursor of what God will do by way of answer. God stands pledged to give us the desire of our hearts in proportion to the fervency of spirit we exhibit, when seeking His face in prayer.
b. When we lose this intimate and active encounter with God, we unwittingly embrace spirits that are out for our destruction.
II. Almost Homosexual
Almost homosexual: A crisis in the church
As I begin this urgent and troubling prophetic message, I must do my best to make several points extremely clear.
- God is passionately jealous and zealous for his beautiful bride, the church. His emotions are extreme and deep as he yearns for love fueled intimacy with those he laid down his life for. His affection cannot be described by even the most romantic or poetic language.
- When I mention the church in this message, I am referring to the global body of Christ. The global bride of Christ. I’m fully aware and thankful that there are many local expressions of the church that are radically surrendered and given to the lover of their souls—Jesus Christ.
- The primary points I will expound on have little to do with sexuality, or sexual sin. You will have to intentionally keep this in mind so as to ensure you understand the issues when I deal with the spirits behind homosexuality and how these spirits are being embraced in the church (again, the global church; or, the church in general).
Jer 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
This is a powerful verse, and the more time we spend on our face in the presence of God, the more we realize how true it is.
Before we can go any further, we have to all agree on the above point that is found in Jeremiah 17: Our hearts are both deceitful and wicked. What does this mean? Very simply, it’s possible and common for impure motives to be rooted deeply in us even though we may be devoted followers of Christ.
The more time I spend in prayer the easier it is for the Lord to dig deep and bring to the surface issues that wouldn’t normally be evident. My heart has harbored pride at times though at the surface I felt meek. Other times I’ve verbally forgiven people, but then the Holy Spirit revealed to me a deeper reality—that I hadn’t truly done so.
This is why we must not only be OK with messages like this one, but we have to eagerly invite God to shine his burning light into every part of our lives.
Is 6:5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
When God is in our midst, a revelation of our own sin and issues are made known. A key problem today is that God’s manifest presence isn’t with us as He should be! Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. He is the Revelation. He is the Word. Where God is, revelation is. You can’t separate the two.
As God, in his burning love for us, reveals our hearts to us, we will find ourselves falling to our knees.
God is calling the church to massive repentance.
God has suddenly revisited me with a prophetic word that shocked me and those I shared it with a few years ago—and he’s added to the revelation.
Trust me, I’ve waited several days before deciding to write this (I usually write prophetic words the moment I receive them). I’ve considered the trouble it may bring. I’ve also considered God’s thoughts about the matter and I’ve chosen to trust his wisdom that this will free many more people than it will disturb. God’s word and his wisdom must return to the pulpits again.
"If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified." — Leonard Ravenhill
Deuteronomy 4:23-24 (ESV) 23 Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
God is jealous of his church—and the spirits that have not only invaded the church, but that have been embraced by the church, have made him jealous indeed.
As I was on the airplane flying into Colorado a few years ago, the Lord surprised me with a strong and striking word for the church. I was shaking.
The church is almost homosexual.
This is a word that I’m confident is tearing at the heart of God… he’s watching his bride become bewitched.
Question—Is it possible that we in the church are close to embracing the same spirits that fuel the homosexual agenda?
As I was watching the mountains of Colorado draw closer during the final approach to the airport that day, the Lord revealed three drivers of the homosexual agenda:
Understand—the driver of the homosexual agenda is not same-sex attraction, but rather there are strong deceiving spirits of pride, self-promotion and identity, and lust.
I was on a train where two homosexual girls were very visibly hanging on each other, making it very clear that they were together. Their actions were not a result of raging hormones, but rather, they were making a bold declaration, a prideful pronouncement of their chosen identity as lesbians.
They wanted to force affirmation, be noticed and demand acceptance and equality.
"All of the acceptable sins in church are keeping us sick."-Steve Gray
"Be careful about what you think is innocent. It may come back and choke you."- Steve Gray
The church has been bewitched by the same spirits that give fuel to the homosexual agenda—and this is a primary reason we have not had success in winning homosexuals to Jesus. We can’t cast out the same demonic spirits we embrace.
We’ve all heard of gay pride. Pride is a hallmark of the homosexual movement, and, all too often, it’s a driver of the church as well.
I hear continually that it’s rare to find a church where the tangible, manifest presence of God can be experienced. I believe, sadly, there are more Ichabod churches than we realize. An Ichabod church is simply a church that is devoid of God’s glory. The ark of God’s presence has been captured. It doesn’t mean God hates that church. Quite the opposite—He is grieved that he must be removed from his lover, his bride.
1 Samuel 4:21-22 (ESV) 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
1 Peter 5:5 (ESV) 5…Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
You may not have thought about it this way, but God, though he loves so deeply, actually opposes, or resists, those who are proud. God’s glory departs.
We live in a culture where we fight for success, we jockey for position and we can’t imagine being hidden or failing. Compromise has consumed the church as it seeks success, a larger building, more people, more influence, more money and other demands. Pride has resulted in worship of images made of gold where humility demands the gold is given as worship to God. Pride has resulted in worshiping a packed house where humility calls for laying down our lives for even one.
We wonder why the church isn’t having more success in the culture.
I believe a key reason is that we are attempting to attack worldly pride with religious pride. We are actually retaining the services of the very same demons that we are attempting to battle! A spirit of pride! God resists the proud! Is it possible that we are attempting to change culture from a position of religious pride all while God is not standing with us?
When humility reigns, the church will have the grace that God promises in 1 Peter 5.
This point is the most burning issue in my spirit right now.
I am fully given to seeing people step into their destinies, discover their true identity in Christ and finding freedom from lies and emotional scars that the enemy has given them. It’s a significant focus of my own ministry.
However, we have a growing problem.
- Focus is on self more often that it is on God.
- Focus is on living more than it is on dying daily.
1 Corinthians 4:10-13 (ESV) 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
Please understand, I believe we are seated in Heavenly places with Christ Jesus. We are kings and priests. We have great authority. We have overcome. We are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath.
But, our identities, when rightfully understood, don’t lead us to focusing mostly on personal benefit. When we embrace the cross of Christ, which is where our identities originate, we are now focused on going low, humbling ourselves, serving with passion and identifying with the scum of the world—so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
A focus on our own benefits, our own healings, our own identities as it relates to personal gain has actually resulted in us aligning with a key spirit that drives the homosexual movement.
Just as with homosexuals, God loves them and us too deeply to affirm a false identity—no matter how desirable and convincing that identity may be! God’s wisdom is much higher than ours, and it takes humility to admit that.
This is a huge, huge point!
When we fight for a false identity that feels so overwhelmingly a part of us, and when our focus is on acceptance, affirmation and human rights, we give up the call to die to our own desires. Suddenly securing our own identity is more important than serving the masses.
The goal is not to be affirmed, accepted, liked or honored. We aren’t to look for equality. We don’t compare ourselves with others. We can’t make demands when life is unfair. The church is to die so that others may life. Our identity is to be fully and entirely in Christ.
An improper attention given to the pursuit of identity (acceptance, affirmation, etc.) causes us to forsake the call to focus on our mission for the sake of devotion to narcissism. This is where the temptation to disobey God and submit to the demands of man can happen.
"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." James 3:16
Lust is oozing through the church today. Yes, it’s true that sexual lust is rampant as pornography has been viewed by as many as 50% of Christian men recently.
However, lust is not limited to the sexual variety.
Simply ask the question, “What causes you to get excited, to come alive?”
Many honest Christians would admit that everything from money to fame to popularity to sex could be the answers.
James 1:14-15 (ESV) 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Lust results in death. It really is that simple. The life is sucked right out of people. Suicide is on the rise. Eternal death is another threat as well.
This is a tragic reality in the church today—we’ve lost our first love! False intimacy in the form of lust has take the place of a deep, satisfying, truly intimate and never ending encounter with Jesus! He yearns for us while his beautiful bride is yearning for other lovers!
The church has lost its desire for intimacy with Jesus. Many Christians don’t even know what it is to be overwhelmed by his deep, burning love. Jesus is more of a principle or a foreign character in a book than he is a real, tangible, literal person you can feel.
This lack of revelation and encounter in a very intimate, life giving way with Jesus has resulted in one more comparison with the homosexual movement:
The bride is becoming intimate with the bride.
What does that mean?
We have become more interested in reproducing after our own kind than in receiving a fresh impartation directly from God himself. How does this play out? Several ways:
- We become enthralled with a certain stream in the body (Word of Faith, house of prayer, etc.) and want to have a relationship with that stream hoping that it produces life.
- We turn to other people in the church instead of to God through prayer and study of the Word in the hopes that the union can result in the outcome we are looking for.
- We are move connected socially to people than we are spiritually to God.
- We believe our church growth comes through people, so we comprise the mission, cancel prayer, water down the message and get intimate with the body!
An intimate union with God will result in a fresh stream birthing through your ministry!
A deep encounter with Jesus will bring the results that a million human counselors never could!
“You can have all of your doctrines right—yet still not have the presence of God.”Leonard Ravenhill
Intimacy. Repentance. Falling in love with Jesus. Humility.
Yes, fervent, zealous prayer must return to our churches again!
2 Chronicles 7:14-16 (NKJV) 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
We cannot anymore develop systems that enhance our own identities, stroke our pride or fuel our lust for power, recognition or anything else.
It’s time again to declare the cross, holiness, humility and passion from our pulpits and on our faces!
The core call is for a movement of humility and holiness.
It’s a call to become broken and undone, desperate and deeply intimate with Jesus.
It’s a call to a fasted lifestyle, to full surrender and complete saturation in the advance of the Kingdom.
It’s a call to the deeply humble, yet powerfully bold life of John the Baptist.
Are we ready to let the Lover of our souls invade the deepest parts of our inner man? He is wooing his glorious bride back to him…will we respond?
Song of Songs 1:4 (ESV) 4 Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers.