Posts Tagged ‘prophecy’
How to contend in earth-shaking intercession without getting bored, tired and discouraged
Could you not pray for one hour? ~Jesus
Prayer doesn’t typically come naturally. Actually, it comes supernaturally, but even so, there is a learning curve.
At Revival X, I am excited about the opportunity to help train hungry people in the art and science of impactful, fiery, powerful and supernatural intercession. Once we are struck by the shock and awe of prophetic prayer, we will crave interacting with God night and day.
Could you not pray for one hour? The obvious answer is no. The couldn’t. Or, actually, they didn’t. They could have. They should have, but the impetus was not there. The passion had faded. The urgency was gone. Carrying the burden of another requires we are impacted by the Spirit of God at a pretty deep level. This is what makes an intercessor.
This isn’t an involved teaching on the matter (that will come on Tuesday nights at Revival X!), but these are some simple tips and truths that will help make intercession much more enjoyable and meaningful. We’ll want to pray, without ceasing, as Scripture directs.
Eleven tips: How to engage in impactful, supernatural, prophetic and addictive intercession
ONE: UNDERSTAND THE ASSIGNMENT
Burdens for intercession become weighty and tangible when we understand, adopt and own the assignment. What is the purpose of your intercession? Is that purpose captivating you? If not, go to battle over your mind and emotions and avail yourself to the Spirit of God.
The assignment might be naturally obvious, like praying for someone to be healed. Or, it may be sudden and unexpected. There are times I’m awakened in the night with a celebrity on my heart. It’s typically someone I never spend time thinking about, and I know the Lord has asked me to stand in the gap for them.
Understanding God’s assignments in prayer will also relieve us of other prayer focuses that aren’t as pressing or timely on God’s agenda. It takes some discipline to stop praying for what we want to focus on to make room for what God is doing. Doing so is the first step toward intercession that’s fueled by God’s supernatural grace.
When we become “assignment-driven” instead of “issue-driven” in our lives, our prayer lives tend to erupt.
TWO: UNDERSTAND YOUR AUTHORITY
Prayer becomes a frustrating exercise of futility if we don’t understand our authority. If we don’t know without question that we cause things to happen simply by declaring and decreeing, commanding and enforcing, then we’ll fizzle out after just a few minutes of tiring prayer.
However, when we acquire a revelation of just how potent and powerful our words are, and how atmospheres and enemies have no choice but to submit to our Spirit-revealed directives, everything changes! We become super-charged, supernatural agents of the King.
We move mountains. We cast out demons. We war in the Spirit. We dictate breakthrough. We condition atmospheres. We truly are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
THREE: PRAY IN TONGUES
Bold tongues originating from the depths of our inner man should be erupting out of us from the beginning of the intercession session to the end. If I had to put a percentage on it, I’d say 95% tongues, 5% English. The Spirit knows exactly what needs to happen through our legislation. The most efficient way for him to move is praying in tongues. There is no comparison.
The Bible talks about groans “that can’t be uttered.” These are overwhelming spiritual unctions that overwhelm and overtake us as we take on the Holy Spirit’s burden. There is no need for words and there is no need for intellectual understanding when this occurs. We can rest easy knowing that God is actively, literally and immediately moving. Faith explodes through tongues and groans.
FOUR: DECLARE SCRIPTURE
The Bible is true. It’s mandatory that we absolutely, without any doubt or hesitation, fully and completely believe it. We must never condition Scripture with our experiences, disappointments or personal insights. The Word of God rules.
When we believe Scripture at this level, our minutes of prayer can easily launch into hours.
Grab hold of a single scripture or a passage and decree it. Declare it. Enforce it. Meditate on it. If you aren’t seeing a particular biblical truth manifest in your life or in a situation, go to battle. Proclaim the truth to the enemy. Proclaim it to yourself. Command your mind and emotions to align with it.
When you are done, find another scripture and do it again. Another hour will pass before you know it.
FIVE: KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL IS
It’s safe to say that a lot of prayer that’s offered up every day, possibly the majority, is little more than asking God for stuff as we wonder if he’ll answer. This is a recipe for intercessory failure. Our faith plummets. Our hope fades. Our relationship with God is negatively affected because we don’t truly understand his desire for us.
The easiest way to know God’s will is through the Word of God. If he wrote it, he means it. Review the previous point and get excited about all of the promises in Scripture that are chiseled in stone. God means what he says.
In specific situations that the Bible may not cover (like what job to take or how to spend our money), the next point will help. Suffice it to say, intimacy with Jesus is key. As we learn to hear God’s voice, our prayer time will take a dramatic shift. No longer will we gaze up into heaven wondering where God is and what he wants. We’ll move right past that point and have great confidence in our prayer. It will shift direction from asking God to commanding situations. We will be a walking, breathing, supernatural command center, enforcing God’s will, not aimlessly wondering what it is.
And, during the “in between,” the times between our intercession and the clear revelation of God’s will, pray in tongues and declare Scripture. Enjoy Jesus. Develop intimacy. Correct wrong theology (like God is resisting you, or that he doesn’t love or like you). Simply know that Jesus is interceding for YOU nonstop!
SIX: DISCOVER THE PROPHETIC
Prayer that isn’t infused by the Spirit of prophecy is doomed. It really is. We must learn how to receive revelation. This is a massive topic that can’t be even summarized here. However, we need to know that God is talking and the things he’s saying are weighty. Our job is to receive the transmission and respond accordingly.
It’s critical to flow prophetically during intercession so we get the right job done the right way. We don’t want to pray for something that God is actually opposing. We don’t want to focus on a point that God says to put aside. This is where tongues helps (a lot). God will suddenly and overwhelmingly impact us with skyrocketing faith on a matter. He will tell us what to decree and how to contend. His will becomes obvious. What’s on his heart in the moment overtakes our heart. When the prophetic meets intercession, miracles happen. This is where the realm of wonders exists.
SEVEN: EXPECT SIGNS, WONDERS AND MIRACLES
When we pray, and when the prophetic is hot, miracles, signs, wonders, healings, revelations and great faith result. They become quite normal.
The key is that we must stimulate our faith and develop extreme expectancy. Tongues helps. Scripture helps. Prophecy helps. Embracing our assignment helps. When all of this is working with synergy, the Spirit of God will often manifest.
A prayer-life without unwavering expectation of supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit is a prayer-life that’s truly on life-support.
EIGHT: FIGHT THE ENEMY
When all of the above points are in play, they will ultimately expose the activity of the enemy. When that happens, we must fight!
Understanding our authority will make this an obvious next step. It becomes clear that the enemy has been working hard behind the scenes (and often right on stage) to steal, kill, destroy, disrupt, discourage and stop God’s activity in our life and situation.
The prophetic is an invaluable tool as it shines a bright light on the darkness. The enemy can no longer hide. However, it’s absolutely critical that we engage in serious warfare. The enemy doesn’t like the light, but he’ll gladly stand there exposed if he knows we aren’t going to do anything about him and his schemes.
NINE: COMMAND VS. PETITION
If there anything that will kill a life of prayer it’s petition.
Yes, there are times to petition God. Scripture is clear about this. However, when we become petition-dominant in our prayer, our faith plummets. So much of what people petition God for has already been settled and revealed in Scripture.
So much more would be made known prophetically if we had fine-tuned that spiritual skill. Remember, part of our responsibility in prayer is to discover what God’s will is. Very often, his will is ready to be revealed, or at least the part that we need to know in the moment is. We just need to find it. Most often, petition is not the quickest way there.
TEN: FOCUS OUTWARD NOT INWARD
If I had to guess, nine times out of ten people pray about themselves or issues that directly impact them. There’s a time for this, but it’s certainly not ninety percent of the time.
Intercession demands we take on the issues on God’s heart. Keep in mind the assignment most usually will be mission oriented. Our call is to pray for souls, to contend for revival, to push back the enemy, to stand in the gap for others, to invade the darkness, to heal the sick, and on and on.
Intercession that’s focused outward is exponentially more potent than prayer for ourselves. Again, there’s a time to pray for our own situation. Even daily we can give time and energy to this. We can go to God with our desire for personal growth, concerns, questions and other such communication. We just need to know that staying in that place will drain us and weaken our faith. We were created to advance and to fight for others.
This is one reason why I personally feel prayer meetings at church shouldn’t focus much on their own church. Church growth, church needs, church challenges, etc. can be hit briefly in prayer, but don’t dwell there. Camp out on intercession for the city, for revival, for transformation and for regional and national issues.
ELEVEN: JUST DO IT
No matter the struggle, no matter how silent God seems to be and no matter how ineffective you feel your prayer is, do not stop. Go deeper. Go longer. Pray more deliberately. Intercede with passion.
You have to practice prayer continually in order to break through into new realms, new experiences, new victories and new revelations of how God moves through our intercession.
Simply know, God absolutely, without question, hears you, is moving through you and is training you as a mighty warrior of atmosphere-shifting intercession!
REVELATION DRIVEN PRAYER
Game changer! The most incredible, instructive and distinctive reading on prayer I’ve experienced in a long time. The writing is simplistic, refreshing and applicable. Every faithful Christian should read this to be renewed and empowered! ~Walkbyfaith
If, throughout the Bible, God causes men and women to do things that defy human logic, why do we default to common sense when making decisions in our lives? If God told Gideon to secure only 1% of his army to go into battle, which obviously defies solid and time-tested military wisdom, why don’t we consider that God may also cause us to advance in our lives via nontraditional and even bizarre means?
Job 11:7 “Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?”
The message of Revelation Driven Prayer will help launch you into the unusual and deep things of God that he has prepared specifically for you.
BREAKING: Jeff Jansen Scrutinized for Trump Prophecies, Dismissed from Church Leadership
Controversial prophetic leader Jeff Jansen is under fire this week.Newsweek brought a controversial viewpoint, one held by many Christians (and refuted by many others) to the forefront yesterday. “What's coming can't be stopped,” Jansen said in a Facebook video on Tuesday. “There's all kinds of amazing things that are happening, and I'm talking about President Trump. I'm talking about him coming back into power.… I'm talking about everything that God promised, back-to-back terms.” While many who have dug their heels into the ground regarding the certain re-election of Donald Trump have quietly stopped pushing their agenda, Jeff Jansen continues to stand firm. Other ministers have issued apologies for missing the prophetic mark but there are some, Jeff included, who are not shying away on what they feel is inevitable—the heroic return of Donald Trump. Newsweek followed up with another report today, “Evangelical Christian pastor Jeff Jansen, a self-described “prophet,” said that he is “quadrupling down” on his prophecy that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated—despite his previous prediction that this would happen by the end of April failing to materialize.” I've often wondered just what benefit there is to predicting certain things such as who the next President will be. Understand, I fully affirm legitimate prophetic ministry. I'm convinced we need to hear God's voice more, not less. In fact, God will be revealing extremely important information to those who have an ear to hear as we move deeper into the End Times. Key revelation will be needed so the church can respond in strategic intercession and move into position to battle the enemy and advance the Kingdom. Without divine communication, God's people will be at a great disadvantage. We can be sure those who are tuned in to the evil one will respond with precision to his commands. That being said, the barrage of prophecies about Donald Trump have resulted in some really bad fruit and widespread division among Believers. I honestly can't think of any healthy, beneficial result of forcing these so-called prophecies into the mainstream conversation. Are we looking for an I-told-you-so moment? I know many are. They point their fingers and puff out their chests as they proclaim, “Just wait, you'll see. The prophets were right and you will be exposed as one who is lacking faith, naturally minded and listening to the voice of the enemy.” I know that sounds extreme, but that sentiment, if not those very words, is being relayed. Those who disagree with the prophecies are outed as doubters, enemies of God's plans. I'm so appreciative of Dr. Michael Brown's leadership in releasing the Prophetic Standards Statement. It's time for calibration to God's Word in the prophetic camp. The “thus sayeth the Lord” approach to prophecy is often damaging to those who are listening, and watching, and waiting for the word to come to pass. Quite often, it does not and the level of faith of those who are tainted by the unnecessarily bold prophecy plummets.
JEFF JANSEN HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM MINISTRYTo say Jeff is under fire this week would be an understatement. I believe it's necessary to emphasize how important it is to pray for Jeff. We all know, regardless of his situation, Satan is looking to devour him. We shouldn't be doing the same. Love-driven intercession for Jeff, especially right now, is mandatory. Yes, it's appropriate to address the issues that Jeff is bringing front and center, and it's right to confront any trouble that results. This is a seriously critical season of learning for the church, and we need to allow the Holy Spirit to recalibrate us. Unfortunately, people God loves can often be spotlighted during such seasons. Our response must include sobriety, fervent prayer, introspection, repentance and a determination to undergird those in challenging seasons. The enemy wants to crush Jeff. God wants to bless Jeff. In possibly unrelated news to Jeff's controversial prophetic views, Newsweek reviewed a message received by those connected with Global Fire Church. Jeff's information seems to have been removed from the church website and his wife, Jan Jansen, is now listed as the Senior Leader. “It is with deep sorrow that Jeff Jansen has been asked, by his board, to step down as Co-Senior Leader of Global Fire Church, and from Global Fire Ministries due to unscriptural and unbiblical behavior. He was asked to step down in April, and this was made public to the church body on May 2, 2021. A statement was released to partners and friends on May 5,” the email said. “Rather than submit to the process of healing and restoration, Jeff recently made an intentional decision to leave his wife and family to pursue his own desires. He remains unrepentant and unremorseful,” the ministry said. The statement noted that any further actions or statements from Jansen should not be associated with Global Fire Ministries. Many years ago I had a significant “God moment” that was nothing short of miraculous, and Jeff was instrumental. I had the opportunity along with a few others to connect with him in his hotel suite in the Detroit area. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that God dramatically impacted my life through Jeff. The reports from this week are grieving to my spirit and I hurt for him and his family. Unfortunately, we as Christians have the responsibility to react and respond, and if necessary, warn about trouble. Certainly, we also have the responsibility to pray. We don't know what's going on inside of the heart of those who are in the midst of trial. We are left with the call to analyze fruit. Bad fruit doesn't make someone bad. It doesn't make them unredeemable. Quite the opposite. Those are the very ones God desires to reveal his love to in an even more powerful way. Of course, this part of the comments by Global Fire Church is quite disturbing: “Rather than submit to the process of healing and restoration, Jeff recently made an intentional decision to leave his wife and family to pursue his own desires. He remains unrepentant and unremorseful.” If true, Jeff is without question disqualified from ministry. In fact, his soul is in jeopardy. Satan is raging and the church must respond in love and en force! The takeaways to all of this include the need to cover (not cover up) our brothers and sisters in Christ. We as the church must endeavor for prophetic accuracy and conformity to biblical protocols. We should understand the times we are in volatile. We have no option to dabble haphazardly in the prophetic. We need to embrace humility. Intercession must skyrocket. I'd like to conclude by saying I'm praying that Jeff is well, the reports are not accurate and that concern is unwarranted. If his prophecies come true, we should celebrate. If the situation in the church and with his family is other than is being reported, we can rejoice. We need more bold prophetic leaders right now, and for many years, Jeff Jansen has been one of them. At this point, however, it seems all of us, Jeff included, should seek God's face and allow him to refine, redefine and renew us. A humble, repentant heart is necessary if we are to endure what is to come. Photo credit: “play of light in santhome church” by VinothChandar is licensed under CC BY 2.0
A Call To Reformation In The Broken Prophetic Movement
Extreme reform must come to the out of control prophetic movement.
I believe we must see a radical increase in authentic prophetic ministry. While there are issues and extremes in today’s prophetic movement, the truth is that most churches are woefully shallow or outright resistant when it comes to developing a prophetic culture.
An electric, supernatural and stunning spirit of prophecy should be energizing our church services. The Holy Spirit is moving powerfully and it’s critical that we tap into what he is doing and saying.
“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19–21, ESV)
A CALL TO REFORMATION
The famine of the Rhema voice of God in so many Christians and churches has been a burden of mine for decades. Unfortunately, it seems some have tried to fill that void with either unhealthy, unbalanced or outright unbiblical prophetic practices. Reform is needed.
NO MORE PROPHETIC GUARANTEES
Have you ever heard someone in church belting out a revelation that starts something like, “The Lord is saying to you…” or for some of our more traditional Pentecostals, “Thus sayeth the Lord…”
Yeah, this has to stop.
People are sharing prophetic words as if they are guarantees. They fail to consider the myriad of variables that come into play regarding a prophetic word. People are mortal. They can make mistakes.
Further, prophetic words are always conditional. People have a role to play. A failed response can result in a word that doesn’t come to pass.
Also, hearts can change. Someone can fail to measure up to the demands of the word. They can reject the word. They can fall into sin. On and on.
Prophetic guarantees can do great damage to people’s faith. I’ve known people who have made very costly life decisions because of a prophecy. They have quit their jobs, sold their homes, moved across the country, married the wrong person, and on and on simply because they received a prophetic guarantee. Like I said, this has to stop.
A better way to say it would be, “I sense the Lord is saying,” or “Be sure to pray over this and weigh it carefully. I feel God is saying…”
PROPHETIC WORD SHOULD BE SUBMITTED FOR ANALYSIS
“but test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, ESV)
The Bible clearly requires all prophetic words to be tested, weighed and judged.
“Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.” (1 Corinthians 14:29, ESV)
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” (1 John 4:1, ESV)
It requires humility to invite a thorough critique when releasing a prophetic word. Instead of a prophetic guarantee, we should be submitting our divine revelation for consideration. We should invite people to analyze it, to pray over it and to judge it. If people did this with each word they communicated, it would remove much of the stigma surrounding the prophetic movement.
MINIMIZE FORETELLING, EMPHASIZE FORTHTELLING
Has anybody else grown tired of the circus-like, crystal ball-style fortune telling in so much of the prophetic today?
Understand, I absolutely do believe in foretelling, in revealing future events as the Holy Spirit gives the revelation. The Bible is filled with such prophetic information and authentic foretelling absolutely happens today.
That being said, there has become an unhealthy obsession with gazing into the future. It’s time for a fresh, anointed prophetic climate to emerge that is driven by forthtelling, by a Rhema revelation of timeless biblical truths. We need prophetic preachers who breathe fire as they release oracles from Heaven that erupt right out of the Bible. The Word of God must again be primary.
WE NEED TO QUIT LEANING SO HEAVILY ON PROPHETIC WORDS
As someone who affirms the need for a radical increase of true prophetic ministry, you might be surprised that I rarely get excited or uptight about a prophetic word.
This is true when the word is for me personally and it's true if the word is a public word.
Why? It's simple. Prophetic words take time to unfold. Also, they are often flat out wrong. If they are true, I need to discover what my role is and how I should steward the word. There is process.
It's not like winning the lottery or finding a genie in a lamp.
Does this mean I don't prepare if a prophetic word is given to warn me? No way. I prepare as the Lord leads, but I don't get spun out about the word or overly obsessed with the word.
Does this mean my faith isn't encouraged if a positive prophetic word is given to me? Nope. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. The Rhema, prophetic word of God.
However, you'd be shocked at how many positive, encouraging words I've received that have never come to pass. Good people were attempting to bless me but wrongly labeled their encouragement as prophecy.
Prophecy can be wrong no matter how convinced we are that God said something. We can interpret incorrectly. We may miss the analysis. We may not rightly steward the word. We might wrongly discern the timing.
The prophetic is less like a fortune cookie then many realize.
WE NEED BOTH GRACE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
The Old Testament “stone them if they are wrong” mindset needs to finally come to an end. In the New Covenant prophecy is markedly different. While a prophetic word can certainly be extremely weighty, it’s never complete. In fact, prophetic data comes not in the form of a bellowing, clearly heard and perfectly understood voice erupting out of a burning bush, but rather as abstract, nebulous impressions and sensations.
Consider dreams. They require interpretation. So does every other type of prophetic impression. Today, it’s not difficult to be deeply intimate with Jesus, living a life of prayer, humbly surrendered, wholeheartedly given to God’s call on our lives and also mistaken about a prophetic word. We need to give people grace when they miss it.
Yes, as I have already said, grace will be more easily extended when the prophets stop slapping a “thus sayeth the Lord” on every word they deliver.
And, yes, we also need a more solid system of accountability. What happened to those who prophesied that COVID would be gone nine or ten months ago? What about other failed words that go unjudged and are long forgotten? There’s a healthy way to handle this. Ignoring it isn’t the answer.
QUIT SHAMING THOSE WHO WEIGH AND JUDGE PROPHETIC WORDS
If you hang on to prophetic words without weighing them, and shame those who are in fact weighing, you have no idea how biblical prophecy works.
There is no medal of honor given to those who are unmovable regarding prophetic words. Scripture, in fact, requires that we are flexible as the outcome of prophecies can change depending on many different variables.
There has been a spirit of mean unleashed this past year by those who have white-knuckled grips on prophetic words about the election and other key issues. Dare to weigh the words, as the Bible commands, and question them in the slightest, and you better duck. Some uber-spiritual people will launch assaults questioning your faith, your spirituality and even your salvation. It’s disgusting.
REJECT WORDS NOT BIRTHED FROM THE FURNACE OF PRAYER
If the person delivering the word isn’t burning hot in the furnace of intercession day after day, their word cannot be trusted. Throw it out. If it’s truly a word of God, it will jump right back into play and it will be undeniable. However, I’ve found it to be quite rare that a prophecy can be truly trusted if it’s not birthed from the place of intercession.
There are other measures we can take to see the prophetic become healthy and effective, but if we can start with the above, the prophetic culture this nation so desperately needs will become vibrant, anointed and accurate again.
Joe Biden Is NOT My President! (Actually, He Is)
Hocus Pocus, Conspiracy Theory, Vigilante Christianity In A Post-Trump AmericaPost-Trump America. If those three words have you screaming from the depths of your agitated soul, “Joe Biden is NOT my President!” you have stumbled upon the right article. I voted for Donald Trump and I am quick to shout from the rooftops that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have teamed up to create a terrible disturbance in the force in our nation. The first several days in office have proven this as they are aggressively and without apology promoting the immorality and wickedness that the liberal left is so famous for. Christians should be deeply grieved, yet so many are actually celebrating the ousting of Trump and the establishment of our new President and Vice President. In fact, I’m sure many who are reading this are among those who are rejoicing over the new administration. I honestly am more troubled and grieved by professing Christians supporting such a devious political party than I am the fact that the left is now leading our nation. Based on what I’ve seen on social media, there are millions of professing Christians who are vigorously applauding Joe Biden’s election. I’m talking about radical Believers who are known to be deeply devoted to Jesus. I’m stunned. I don’t believe it’s a stretch to suggest that the blood of millions of future dismembered children will be on the hands of those who voted for a pro-death politician. As I’ve often asked, if a political candidate admitted they would promote legislation to make the killing of any child under the age of two allowable, would you vote for him or her? If they believed parents had the right to tear off their toddler’s arms and legs as they bled to death if caring for them became too inconvenient, would it be right to support their candidacy? Of course not. It would make both the politician and the supporter horrid monsters. This is why Christians (or any sane person) supporting a pro-death party simply makes no sense. This among many other disturbing “values” of the left including an alleged stolen election should be enough to make any support laughable.
JOE BIDEN IS OUR PRESIDENTIt would seem, given what I have already written, that I would be right along side those who are plastering all over social media that Biden isn’t my President. I’m not. In fact, I don’t believe any honest Christian who lives a life of integrity can. The truth that cannot be debated is that Joe Biden is the President of the United States of America. He’s living in the White House. Donald Trump isn’t. You might argue the “clear and obvious” voter fraud, the corrupt courts and all sorts of other accusations of illegal activity, and you may be right (and you may be wrong). However, none of that has changed the legal outcome of the election. Joe Biden is our President. Left-leaning George Stephanopoulos said the following:
No election is perfect. But there were 86 challenges filed by [former] President [Donald] Trump and his allies in court. All were dismissed. Every state certified the results.” He also insisted that former Attorney General Bill Barr even said that there was no “evidence of widespread fraud.”I’m personally disappointed by the #notmypresident mantra that so many Christians have adopted. Well, not adopted, it was borrowed from the left. Check out this from the Washington Post:
Hillary Clinton dismissed President Trump as an “illegitimate president” and suggested that “he knows” that he stole the 2016 presidential election…And, from another source online:
“They are clapping back with the trending hashtags #NotMyPresident and #ImStillWithHer, simultaneously decrying Trump’s win and showing support for his opponent, Hillary Clinton.”A post on Twitter summed it up:
I refuse to accept that a racist, homophobic, pig is going to be president. #NotMyPresident #ImStillWithHer — Brennyn (@UnicornsSlay) November 9, 2016To employ such a juvenile attack strategy by kicking feet, pouting and whining and slapping #notmypresident all over the interwebs is embarrassing, especially for God’s holy church. Christians, shame on you.
HOCUS POCUS PROPHECYAs a Charismatic Christian who strongly believes in the importance of embracing legitimate prophecy, it’s easy for me to admit that we need reformation in today’s prophetic movement. So much of it has become bizarre hocus pocus released by unleashed ministers without any of the weighing and judging that Scripture demands. You might be shocked at the personal attacks I’ve experienced simply because I am doing what the Bible mandates we do by weighing and judging prophetic words. One lovely Christian told me that God has turned his face from me. Others have accused me of not having faith. Some have let me know that I don’t know how to stand in the midst of trial. Someone called me ignorant and accused me of perpetuating the lies of the left. My agreement with the Hell’s agenda makes me complicit, said another. Why is there so much vomit coming out of the mouths of Christians over this election? An intense, negative reaction to the results of the election should terrify you. It reveals where your hope rests. It exposes your lack of readiness for the end times. It opens the door of your soul to the anti-Christ spirit and, in the near future, the anti-Christ himself. Understand, I'm not talking about being passive or not being aggressive against the enemy. I'm talking about triggered people. Depressed, angry, mean, rude, divisive people. Those who have become unhinged and nearly hopeless. Those who will shame, assault and divorce anyone who doesn't join them in their emotional crisis. In fact, I’ve called people to pray for our new President, and I’m so disheartened by many people’s replies. Some refuse outright to pray for him as he’s an “imposter.” Others refuse to pray anything but God’s judgment on him. It’s madness! The state of the church must be very bad indeed if this type of response to a call to lovingly pray for someone is so common. I believe a key reason for this intense, unrighteous reaction is partly due to the unbalanced, unrestrained prophetic movement that had such an influence on gullible people during the election. Remember, I’m a promoter of healthy, biblical prophecy. We need more, not less of it. A holy prophetic spirit must emerge in the American church if we have any hope of surviving the vicious wickedness that is both here and on the horizon. But, too much of what has been labeled prophetic in this current season is either flat out wrong or it was handled wrongly. Mario Murillo said:
“There were true prophets and false prophets. And, while their messages about Trump seemed the same, there was a stark difference. The true prophets rightly coupled the promise of Trump’s victory with a call for the Church to repent. But the false prophets spoke as if we were entitled to an automatic victory.”Mario’s point is extremely important. Prophecy is conditional. It must be presented with the conditions so the hearers know how to respond. This is part of the prophetic reformation that is so necessary today.
CONSPIRACY THEORISTS AND CHRISTIAN VIGILANTESHas anybody else noticed the morphing of recent prophetic words about the election and the QAnon style conspiracy theories? In one breath someone is declaring they are standing on the words of the prophets about Donald Trump’s reelection, and in the next they are attempting to prove their positions by sharing various videos and left field news stories. Am I saying all of these reports are false? Of course not. Do I believe there is no fraud, secrecy, corruption or illegal and unconstitutional activity surrounding the election? I actually believe there may be. The problem comes with the way Christians are handling their suspicions. Does that mean we can't keep hunting for fraud? No. Does that mean we can't be hopeful for a dramatic, miraculous turn of events? No. But, let's do so honestly and with integrity. Joe Biden is our President. Saying he's “not my President” is simply false and those who are saying it are surrendering their credibility. All you have to do is consider what is required for someone to be legally elected President of the United States. Joe Biden fulfilled every obligation. Many of you remember the trial of the century as OJ Simpson was accused of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Many (most?) would argue that the evidence that OJ Simpson was guilty was absolutely overwhelming. In fact, some would suggest you’d have to be a fool to believe he didn’t kill them. However, in our nation, in our judicial system, little matters other than the verdict. The verdict is superior to the facts. No matter how convincing the evidence was, OJ Simpson was found innocent. Not guilty. That was the judgment. He was a free man. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not or whether he did it or not. It doesn’t matter what the evidence was. He was free and he could never be tried for those crimes again. It was settled. The same principle applies with the election. Once the verdict has been delivered, the evidence doesn’t matter. What we believe doesn’t matter. The suspected fraud doesn’t matter. The courts refused every single case. Of course, you might argue that the courts are biased or even corrupt. You may be right, but it doesn’t matter. The decision of a biased or corrupt court is still the only decision that matters. All we can do is take it to a higher court. And, as Christians, it sure would be nice if we stormed the courts of heaven over this instead of hurling accusations against everyone who doesn’t dance to the drum the conspiracy theorists are incessantly beating. The vigilantes are out in force. Cross them with any suggestion that we should move ahead under the leadership of Joe Biden and his administration and you will be outed, mocked, shamed and assaulted with all sorts of conspiracies and supposed proofs. Get ready for your Facebook Messenger to be flooded with stories and videos that prove their point. This is no way for loving Christians to act. Remember, I believe there may have been some improprieties, I agree there may have been fraud. But conspiracies and goofy prophecies have hijacked too many people. They drank the Kook-Ade (I meant to type Kool-Ade, but I think I’ll leave it as I wrote it) and they have lost their balance as if what they were drinking was spiked with an intoxicating and wicked potion. Dr. Michael Brown wrote regarding the failed election prophecies:
What you prophesied did not come to pass. There is not an alternative, spiritual reality in which Trump is still functioning as president. Nothing is going to change in a month or a year. It’s over. Even if there was massive electoral fraud, the results of this election will not be overturned. Donald Trump will not serve a second, consecutive term. Face the facts, be accountable before God and man, take the hits that will be coming, and humble yourself before the Lord and His people. This is not the time for excuses. This is not the time to concoct spiritual myths. And this is absolutely not the time to blame others. If you prophesied falsely, you and you alone are to blame.More than any other Christian voice today, in my opinion, Dr. Brown brings wisdom and biblical balance to this volatile situation. He also said:
So many of God’s people are hurting, and the world is mocking us, thinking that our faith in Jesus is just as false as these failed Trump prophecies.He’s right. Leaders like Mario Murillo and Dr. Michael Brown are needed more than ever today when conspiracies and divisive Christians are multiplying every moment. Sadly I’ve heard Christians proudly declare they have stopped following Dr. Brown because of his stance. I’m sure many will unfollow or block me too. Oh, and by the way, if the conspiracy theorists are correct and the election is somehow overturned and Donald Trump is restored as President. I’ll celebrate, but sadly too many of the Christian vigilantes will be filled with pride, pointing fingers and puffing themselves up as spiritually superior. How do I know this? Nonstop I’ve heard from them predicting their victory in this strange, divisive battle. “You’ll see!” “Your faithlessness will be exposed!” “Just wait, the prophets are right!” Well, I hope those who are prophesying God’s heart are right. I’m ready to celebrate with my vigilante brothers and sisters in Christ. Break out the confetti. Photo credit: “Lunch with Joe Biden” by jurvetson is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Originally published by The Stream.
Is Today’s Prophetic Movement Fake News?
No matter what ultimately happens with the election, we need reformation in today's prophetic streams.I've hesitated writing this article for several weeks. The reason? I'm placing myself right in the crossfire of the prophetic zealots (of which, ironically, I am one) and those who are fed up with the mystical, self-serving foolishness that's rampant today. I'm in that group too. Truly, it's a no-win situation. However, ministry isn't about winning. Ministry is about communicating truth so the Kingdom of God can most powerfully advance. So, onward. It's important for you to understand that I have been embracing the prophetic for years. My entire life has been marked by strange and glorious supernatural occurrences. God's leading has been nothing short of remarkable and miraculous. I'm humbled and in awe. I believe that God speaks, moves and interacts with every Christian who has an ear to hear. The wonders that so many experience on a consistent basis are not only dramatic, but they are required if we are to move in the direction the Spirit of God is leading us. Without hesitation I admit to endorsing the often bizarre, sometimes confounding and always stunning biblically-based prophetic ministry. Honestly, it would be impossible for me not to. I've written about my personal, humanly impossible, logically indescribable prophetic happenings in several of my books. I can't doubt.
FALSE PROPHETS!With that, I'm also disturbed by the butchering of prophetic ministry today. Before you attempt to offer me a high-five in celebration of finding another who is bent on exposing today's false prophets, you need to hear me. Let's deal with the elephant in this article. Several high profile prophetic leaders have boldly predicted another four years for President Trump. You need to understand that I personally know some of these people, and I've been following the ministry of several others. To call them false prophets based on the current state of our nation's affairs alone would be ridiculous. These men and women of God are so pure, so passionate about Jesus and radically locked-in to God's heart. They are also imperfect. Let's settle something right now. Missing a prophecy does not deem one a false prophet. As I stated above, that is ridiculous. There's a difference between false prophecy and poor prophecy. False prophecy is demonic while poor prophecy flows out of imperfect children of God at times (just as poor teaching, poor pastoring and poor evangelizing does). Of course, at the writing of this article, the election isn't settled. President Trump could very well be re-elected, even at this late stage in early December, 2020. This would, I suppose, vindicate the prophets. But do they need vindication?
NEW TESTAMENT PROPHECYOld Testament prophecy and New Testament prophecy are markedly different. In the Old Covenant, a small handful of prophets received occasional, clear, precise messages from God. In the New Covenant, every Believer in Christ, including those who hold the office of Prophet, can hear God's voice. However, while Old Testaments prophets received messages, today we perceive God's messages. Today, prophecy is intuitive, often abstract and, in most cases, it must be learned. Quite often, prophetic signs, dreams, visions, impressions and other spiritual data must be interpreted. It also must be weighed, analyzed and prayed through. The Holy Spirit brings the understanding to the precise parts of the divine message entrusted to us. That process can result in accidental errors. Prophecy is tricky. We need to exhibit both faith and humility. Admitting there is a chance we might be wrong either partially or completely isn't exhibiting a lack of faith. I don't believe we should ever give a “thus sayeth the Lord” when prophesying. We should say, “I sense the Lord saying,” or “I have a strong impression that…” Why? We can miss it. Prophecies in Scripture are absolute. Prophecies today are not. Further, prophecies not found in the Bible are conditional. We have a role to play in the outcome. All of this is why I believe declaring a prophecy that is not found in Scripture to be one hundred percent certain to come to pass is inappropriate and irresponsible.
FAKE NEWS PROPHECYThis brings us to the necessary reformation. Are there foolish, self-satisfying people growing a pseudo-prophetic ministry that's fueled by the enemy? Absolutely there are. Are there others who are immature in their understanding of the prophetic, and as a result are out of step with true biblical prophecy? Yes. Has the prophetic become way too dominant in some people's lives, to the exclusion of basic, orthodox, historical Bible truths? Most definitely. (Though I'd suggest there are way more who have excluded a true, biblical, prophetic lifestyle in favor of dry, dead religion.) Simply, is much of today's prophetic ministry that's flourishing all over social media fake news? It is. I'll introduce some sub-points that should at least get us thinking:
PURPOSEPredictive prophecy (foretelling) often leaves me asking a question: why was it necessary to share that message? What is the purpose? Understand, it's just a question. There may be a legitimate answer. Of course, Scripture is filled with predictive prophecies. Yet, there must be a reason God would reveal this information to us. Why did we need to know that President Trump would supposedly win the election? What is that purpose? On one hand, it could be to bolster a prophets resume of successful predictions. Is there another hand? Maybe. But we really need to know what's in that hand. What is our role in response to the prophetic word?
STRATEGYI personally believe all prophecy not found in Scripture is conditional. I believe it was designed this way by God as a catalyst to rally the troops. For example, if the prophets are revealing that Trump was God's choice, what must the church do to advance that agenda? Prophecy that is devoid of a strategic call to action is at least suspicious. Prophetic messages should provoke a response, whether it's a warning or revelation of God's heart or an uncovering of the enemy's plans, we as hearers of the word need to know how to proceed.
FORTHTELLING VS FORETELLINGPersonally, I am significantly more impressed with prophetic preaching, forthtelling, than I am with foretelling, revealing future events. Understand, I affirm and value both, when handled well. But, give me a Leonard Ravenhill any day over one of today's pop prophets. Forthtelling always has a fiery, urgent and unapologetic call to action. Unfortunately, too many of today's foretellers are more excited about their ability to craft the perfect fortune cookie message than they are revealing the depths of God.
THUS SAYETH THE LORDI dealt with this above, but I wanted to put it in the list of thought provokers. When I hear someone declare that “God said” and that what they heard is perfect, complete and guaranteed to come to pass, I change the channel. We prophecy in part. We see in part. We understand in part. And, guess what? We are fallible humans. We can miss it. Again, New Testament prophecy is intuitive. I'm not saying it can't have a measure of clarity. It absolutely can. I'm not saying it can't be overwhelming, weighty and convincing. It can. In fact, we need to live in the realm of the weighty much more than we do today. The prayer rooms should be soaked with sweat and tears from the brows of the prophets. However, we aren't privy to an unmistakable voice booming out of a burning bush. The Holy Spirit is the one brooding and impressing upon God's people mysterious and often illogical messages that require discernment, prayer and interpretation to grasp.
PROPHECY IS CONDITIONALI posted the following to Facebook recently: What percent chance do you give Trump being reelected at this stage of the game? (If you say 100% or 0%, you are delusional. I'm sure you are nice, but still delusional.) Needless to say, a bunch of delusional friends responded! (I say that with a friendly smile on my face.) There are so many factors at play in the prophetic that we can rarely if ever proclaim that a prophetic word is certain to come to pass. Remember, prophecy not found in Scripture is conditional. It's an invitation, not a guarantee. Several promoted the idea that thinking anything less would be a violation of faith. This is not true. We have a part to play. This is what happens when “thus sayeth the Lord” style prophecies are accepted as the norm. They can seduce people into a false sense of comfort as they sit back and wait for it to come to pass.
THE ENEMYAnybody who has adopted a prophetic lifestyle knows that prophetic words must be warred over. Simply receiving and believing is far from enough. Satan is exceptionally skilled at disrupting the plans of God in our lives. When we simply receive and believe, we are playing right into the enemy's hands. We must go to battle! Presuming a prophecy will come to pass without a sword in our hands is akin to wishing upon a star.
FINAL THOUGHTSThere are many other factors at play including timing, sin in the lives of the prophets, fear, doubt, presumption, etc. I feel some great first steps in reforming the prophetic would include:
- Prophesying from a place of fervent, Spirit-driven intercession.
- Considering the purpose of the word.
- Majoring on forthtelling, minoring on foretelling.
- Communicating prophetic strategies, not just a prophetic word.
- Inviting the word to be weighed.
- Admitting when you missed it.
- Giving grace to those who missed it.
- Avoiding presumptive prophetic guarantees.
Troublers of America, Arise!
Where are the firebrands who will fearlessly confront the wicked systems of the day?
Handcuffs, ankle monitors and locked church buildings are the new normal for many Christians in America today. The state has threatened worshipers of Jesus at the same time they are opening the “essential” doors of Planned Parenthood wide. Somehow it's safe to congregate at Walmart, Home Depot, liquor stores and on golf courses but gathering in worship, prayer and repentance are a threat to national safety.
A closed church isn't the most disturbing reality, however.
17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 1 Kings 18:17 (ESV)
The pathetic extent of many Christian's response to the lock-downs and governmental threats is to remind people to wash their hands as they shelter in place and fearfully wait it out as they hope for the best. It's shameful. Washing hands is a great common sense idea, but how can that be the best insight and advice a blood-bought, Spirit-filled, fire-breathing Christian can offer?
The most disturbing reality in the midst of this crisis is a muzzled, cowering church. Where are those who have a reputation as troublers? The church shouldn't be afraid of the United States government. The church should cause politicians to tremble!
The time is now for humble yet bold prophetic people to use every medium available to them to strike cultures and unholy systems with ferocity! Cast down arguments, assault wickedness and become defenders of our rights as Americans to assemble, to worship and to be free from tyranny. The Constitution wasn't written to protect us from a virus at the cost of our liberty. It is in place to protect our rights, and those rights aren't suspended in the midst of a pandemic or any other crisis.
After being accused of troubling Israel, Elijah, in the anointing of the Lord, struck back with the sword of truth:
18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals. 1 Kings 18:18 (ESV)
Holy indignation must erupt from within as we clearly stand against the threats, taunts and attempts to shut down the only governmental authority that outranks that of the United States of America: the church.
The secular leadership of our nation, our states and our localities need to hear loud and clear, whether they might identify as Believers in Jesus or not: America has abandoned the commandments of the Lord!
Troublers of America Arise! from John Burton on Vimeo.
POLITICS IN THE PULPIT
I would suggest pastors who refuse to consistently and without apology confront the spirit of the age, including vile cultural and political positions that are embraced, celebrated and promoted by our nation's leaders and influencers, have disqualified themselves from ministry. Ichabod may soon be stamped above the doorposts of their church if it hasn't been done already.
When pastors understand their prime call is to equip a prophetic people to expose and assault the kingdom of darkness, it will become clear that it's not possible to go silent on the politics and immoralities in the land.
Sadly, there is but a small number of fervent, devoted, highly trained and radically surrendered people who are prepared to respond to the taunts and assaults that the enemy is bringing through this testing season. Instead of equipping the people diligently over the last few decades, many pastors have instead played around in the shallows in the hopes that they keep everybody comfortable and happy. Instead of trained warriors they have produced sloths who have little interest in the things of the Spirit.
21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 1 Kings 18:21 (ESV)
Elijah demanded a decision. He fearlessly confronted leaders, false prophets and all of the people and called them out. He didn't stop there. He went to war in the power of God and ultimately killed all 450 of the prophets.
There are extremely powerful prophetic systems in America today that must be not only confronted but taken out via the power of the Holy Spirit. The media is prophesying lies twenty-four hours a day. Many politicians are releasing oracles that originate from wicked hearts that are in radical rebellion to God. Lawmakers are enforcing demonically influenced restrictions on the church. Satan is gaining ground while Christians sleep.
We need troublers of America to arise! This prophetic army will be deeply humble, surrendered and functioning from a place of sobriety. They won't sound mere opinions but will rather trumpet prophetic truths. They won't stand still when liberties that so many gave their lives to protect are ripped away from us. They will aggressively and with fire in their eyes stare down the enemy and remove him from his place.
It's time the unrighteous leaders of America hear loud and clear that they have been disobedient to the Lord God and that God has an awakened, equipped and determined people who will confront their unholy advances in this hour.
A REPAIRED ALTAR
31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 1 Kings 18:31 (ESV)
Holy confrontation isn't the ultimate goal. A restored altar is. America must be taken back and we can't get there without you and I standing up boldly to the spirit of the age. Jezebel must go. False prophetic systems must go. The rains of refreshing must return but that will only happen as the nation repents as a result of God's people taking a stand.
A restored altar to the one true God in America is the goal. This is a season of divine reset and every one of us must shift dramatically. Repentance must hit us deeply as we renounce a casual, shallow life. Today is the day for you and everyone of us to respond to the call of the Lord to fight against deeply wicked systems in our nation. The altar will be built, the false prophets will die and the fire will fall. Only then can we call America a Christian nation again.
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there. 41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” 1 Kings 18:38-41 (ESV)
Originally published on The Stream.
2020 Is Here And So Are The (False?) Prophecies
Exactly what value is there in prophesying all the great and wonderful things that are coming in the new year and in the next decade if we aren't dying to self and catching fire for Jesus?Before all of you prophetic folks get triggered, understand that I am a mega-proponent of legitimate prophecy. While there is a seriously unhealthy prophetic culture in our nation today, God is still speaking and we need mature, broken and consecrated prophetic people to relay critical information. The messengers most certainly must cry out and awaken the church in these end times. That being said, the prophetic nonsense must stop. Not once have I read or heard about any prophecy for 2020 that includes judgment, correction, rebuke or warning. To stuff our spiritual faces with nothing but happy prophetic thoughts is utter foolishness at best. At worst it will seal the fate of our nation as one that started godly and ended suddenly under God's wrath.
33 They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. 34 They set up their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. 35 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. Jeremiah 32:33-35 (ESV)While there are many amazing, consecrated and anointed men and women of God in our nation, people who tremble in the fear of the Lord and who are standing for righteousness, there are many more who are casual, lukewarm and sleepwalking. Abortion is destroying the next generation as children are sacrificed at the altar of Molech. You'd be shocked at how few pastors and prophets speak out against it. You'd be sickened at how many actually support abortion. Homosexual activists are forcing their agenda, pornography is being devoured by the high majority of Christians including pastors and leaders and it's nearly impossible to find a church with a spirit of prayer driving it. We are in crisis yet the prophets seem to think God is well pleased and ready to pour out blessing without any thought of dealing with the depravity that both the church and our culture refuse to renounce.
16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’” 18 For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? Jeremiah 23:16-18 (ESV)Am I saying we can never prophecy blessing, promotion and open doors? No, I'm not. What I am saying is that simply focusing on the positive to the exclusion of the undeniable and terrifying reality that's staring us in the face is a serious misuse of a prophetic gift. Effectively, it's lying. Even worse, it's taking God's name in vain as his name is attached to impure and/or incomplete messages. It's time the professional prophetic voices take a break and follow the instructions of Jeremiah 23:18. We need every prophetic person to give themselves night and day to prayer, consecration, tears, groans of intercession and the fear of the Lord. We all must stand in the council of the Lord! There are warnings that must be sounded so we know how to respond. I can see America collapsing and people fuming in anger asking why nobody warned them of what was to come. Where were the prophets, they will say. To publish word after word about how blessing and promotion is our portion in 2020 will do little to nothing to prepare the people for what is to come. Honestly, it doesn't take much of a prophetic gifting at all to know the call for 2020 must be radical consecration, intercession, repentance and a fresh revelation of both the love and the fear of the Lord. We must stand in his council.
A LUKEWARM CHURCHAn apathetic, lukewarm church is at serious risk. Apathetic, lukewarm followers of Jesus are as well.
1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Revelation 3:1-3 (ESV)Where are the prophets who are warning the church that God himself will come against it? Where are those who are shaking people out of their mediocrity and casual connection to God, awakening them from a lethal slumber? Do we even realize how dangerous such a life of apathy is? Most don't. The prophets aren't telling them. The pastors aren't either. Podcast… If we aren't burning white-hot on fire for Jesus we better stop and consider where we are in God. Our passion, fire and level of intimacy with Jesus absolutely impacts where we will spend eternity, not to mention the future of our nation. There are millions of people who are lifting their hands in worship, praying, reading their Bible, serving and “living right” as they faithfully follow Jesus in an unsaved condition. They don't have passion for Jesus and they have no oil in their lamps.
16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Revelation 3:16-17 (ESV) 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Matthew 25:8-13 (ESV)
AN ARMY OF PROPHETIC WARRIORSWe must see prophetic schools emerge, training young and old to step into an assignment that has been mostly ignored by the current generation. We need an army of prophetic warriors, and warners, to emerge, people who have zero fear of man and who are functioning with the penetrating love of God that is perfectly synchronized with the paralyzing fear of God. These warriors will spend their lives trembling, crying and interceding in the fire, standing in the council of God and releasing strike after strike of prophetic shock waves into our churches, regions and the nations of the earth. While I am cautiously thankful for our President, and I do believe God is doing great things through him, I believe the prophets have erred in one critical area: many of them have prophesied President Trump's emergence as the goal, as the end game, as the answer to our nation's woes. The result is a people who are now putting too much hope in a man without concern for their own holiness, passion or part in the story. The prophets must call God's people to repentance. This nation's ills should be resolved by the church, but instead much of the church has abdicated that responsibility to a politician. Again, I am thankful God is using him, but I am also grieved that we have placed so much reliance on him. This national problem lays squarely at the feet of the prophets. The army of raw, undignified and irritating prophetic messengers that God is raising up will bring a correction to this prophetic crisis. They will have no tolerance for the prophetic games that are being played by so many today. The terror of the Lord will drive them. Low level, feel good, happy words won't be entertained. In fact, they will irritate their spirits. Too often those who are immature in the prophetic will communicate a low level impression or an uninvited, spontaneous thought as a prophetic word. The more abstract or unusual it is, the more they think it's God. Folks, most of the time these are simple imaginations. We have to stop encouraging people to prophesy haphazardly. So many of today's prophets never matured out of this, but have been elevated to the public stage because of their charisma. As a result, the words that are coming out of their mouths are meant to create a positive vibe among the people and to enhance their ministry. They know negative words of judgment and correction won't do that. For the sake of their status they steer clear of such prophecy.
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (ESV)A lot of itching ears in our nation can support a prophetic ministry very nicely. Well, a false prophetic ministry, at least. The emerging army of prophetic warriors won't care at all about money. The thought of focusing on building their ministry and solidifying their status is nonsense to them. The fear of people attacking them, speaking out against them and causing them trouble doesn't exist. Filling up their ministry calendar isn't a goal. They'd rather turn down invitations than accept them if God isn't burning in them to go. 2020 is here. Does God have good plans for his true, remnant church? Sure. However, his true church isn't mostly concerned about that. Those aren't the words they want to hear. They are in tune with the assault of the spirit of the age, with the immorality in the land, with the abominations that both the world and the church are in alignment with and with possible judgment and wrath that can strike our nation if we don't turn. They are crying out for God to prophetically speak about this stuff. They want to be warned and they want to share those warnings with the world. I'm not saying the following passage is a prophetic word, but it sure is a much better exhortation than many I'm reading concerning the new year. I propose we do this:
13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name 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 the prayer that is made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (ESV)
Facebook Prophets: 10 Reasons Pastors Won’t Let You Prophesy in Church
Disqualified people are rushing to social media to establish illegitimate ministries. Are pastors to blame?There's a level of toxicity regarding the prophetic in today's churches that must be addressed if we hope to hear God's voice and advance with clarity and power in these end times. People who have had their ministries rejected in the church are taking their services to Facebook and other social communities in hopes of developing influence. The problem? Influence without authority is birthed out of deep dysfunction and it can lead people into that same dysfunctional, unauthorized spirituality. They would argue they receive their authority and their authorization from God directly. This tired argument is evidence of resistance to being rightfully responsive to flesh and bone people that God has called us to serve and honor. We don't have the option to reject human authority while, in the same breath, attempting to establish ourselves as an authority. It's silliness. Listen to the podcast on this topic…
PROPHECY IS CRITICAL IN THE CHURCH TODAYWe cannot go on without pure, potent and mature prophecy filling our churches every single week. The lack of God's rhema voice is telling as churches are resorting more and more to sociological mind tricks instead of advancing according to supernatural revelation. It has become quite rare to see a body that's healthy and strong in the prophetic as people are rightly equipped and released to communicate oracles from heaven. Faith is epidemically low as millions of Christians have no idea what God's voice sounds like.
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (NKJV)The word “word” in the above verse is translated as rhema. This is the “now” word of God, the revelation whether it's a prophetic word or the words of Scripture leaping off the pages. When this active, precise and timely message from God pierces a people, faith skyrockets. Not only does a strong prophetic culture give a local church body the ability to move ahead in the direction God has determined, but everybody involved is wildly invested as a result of hearing God speak. True prophetic messages don't stop at the ears or the mind, but they sear our spirits and impact our emotions like no other message can. When this happens, faith goes up and we respond in unity, power and joy. Sadly, most churches could not be described as prophetic churches. There are reasons for this. Blame rests both on the pastor and on the people. Let's deal with the people first.
10 REASONS WHY PASTORS DON'T LET YOU PROPHESY IN CHURCH SERVICES
ONE: A LACK OF HUMILITYI'll begin by communicating loud and clear something many prophetic people won't want to hear: never, ever start attending a church with the intention of mentoring, teaching or refining the pastor via prophecy or otherwise. What arrogance it must take for you to presume such an uninvited role in your church. If your wealth of wisdom, knowledge and experience are needed, be sure the pastor will request your counsel. Otherwise, keep quiet. Whether in this scenario or another, pastors have no use for people who want to minster to those they have been commissioned to protect if they aren't truly humble. Meekness is a prerequisite for prophetic ministry as any measure of arrogance or selfish ambition will taint the messages being delivered. This following passage of Scripture speaks to this issue perfectly:
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 3:13-17 (NKJV)Wisdom is demonic if self-seeking and envy is what drives it. Follow the advice in verse seventeen and be willing to yield.
TWO: DISORDERSpeaking of being willing to yield, undisciplined prophetic people tend to enjoy rebelling against the order of the house. Influencing the service with the spiritualized sound of their voice is what drives them. Many years ago as I was planting my first church a visitor asked me about our prophetic protocol. I explained that we value prophecy and that she could deliver a prophetic word to me or leadership for review during the worship service. She didn't like that answer. She went on to say that she would have to interrupt the service, even if I were preaching, if God gave her a prophetic word for the body. Ummm, nope. She presumed her supposed prophetic insight was important enough to violate order. We were interested in investing in her and in her prophetic gift and in developing a very active, life-giving prophetic culture, but she didn't want to function within those boundaries. She ended up leaving the church and we were the better for it.
THREE: IMMATURITYThere's a difference between someone who is actively and willingly growing in their gift and someone who refuses to grow up. Those who are intentionally undisciplined and who are not giving themselves to everything that needs to be done to grow and develop their gifting should not be set free to prophesy in the church. A lot of damage can be done. These people love to prophesy, but you don't see them in the prayer rooms. They are unresponsive to leadership. They aren't in the Word.
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. Hebrews 5:12-14 (NKJV)Those who are prophesying are most definitely functioning in the arena of spiritual discernment. If they cannot discern spiritually due to a lack of maturity, there's no way they can be trusted to deliver prophetic words. Does this mean their prophecy is always wrong? No. But it means they are reckless in their devotion to stewarding their gift, and if they are driven by the wrong spirit, they can do damage.
FOUR: ADVERSE TO CORRECTIONThere's no pastor alive who should allow someone to influence the body who won't take correction. This is not only an indicator of immaturity, but also of a dangerous, unsubmitted person. It reveals their heart and that's a heart that should never be trusted to minister.
1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid. Proverbs 12:1 (NKJV)Enough said.
FIVE: YOU WON'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWERThe pastor has the right and responsibility to refuse to allow someone to deliver a prophetic word (or to minister in any fashion) if he chooses. If someone reacts wrongly to this, that's evidence enough that they shouldn't have been allowed to share the message. Understand, much of the time a leader will disallow a prophetic word simply because he doesn't feel it fits. It may have nothing to do with the character of the person who desires to share the word. It may just be a timing issue. We need to yield to our leaders and not get uptight or feel rejected if they don't believe our ministry is appropriate at that time. If you are a prophetic person, you need to understand that what you wish to share in a public setting isn't always what others feel should be shared. Since you are a person under authority, you need to be okay with the reality that your leaders may not want you to share your revelation at times. If not, you'll grow bitter very quickly, and then we should run far and fast from any prophetic word you try to impose on us.
SIX: A POOR TRACK RECORDIt wouldn't make sense for a pastor to allow someone to preach on a Sunday morning if they have a history of teaching error. Further, they shouldn't allow someone to minister as a part of the worship team if they are always off key or don't show up for rehearsals on time. This simple and obvious realty applies to prophetic people as well. If they repeatedly deliver wrong, confusing or unscriptural messages, they can't be allowed to continue. Pastors must ensure truth is communicated and if someone can't be trusted to deliver truth, they must be benched until they can grow as a Believer.
SEVEN: MANIPULATIONThis is a big, big point and I want to make sure I have your full attention: If you are attempting to use your supposed prophetic gift to steer the church in a direction not sanctioned by the leadership, you are functioning in witchcraft. You are in rebellion and your ministry is dark and it should not be tolerated. Charismatic witchcraft is rampant and we must have bold pastors who fear God more than man to deal very aggressively with it. If you are operating in this unruly spirit and attempting to pass it off as prophecy, you need to go. Leave. Don't come back. I'd be quick to show someone like this the door, unless they were truly repentant. Don't underestimate the damage that such a demonic spirit can do in a church, especially if the leaders God ordained to protect the flock refuse to act. Their silence can kill an entire church, and it happens every day. God will protect a leader who is “wrong” (I'm not talking about sin, I'm talking about organizational direction) before he affirms a prophetic person who is “right” yet manipulative, rebellious and fueled by an evil spirit of witchcraft.
EIGHT: DOMINATING THE SERVICEThere goes Sister Linda again! Oh, Brother Joe is about to stand up and deliver a word…I can just feel it! We know the all too predictable scenario all too well. In many churches there's one or two people who, week after week, dominate the prophetic culture by delivering word after word after word after word after word…you get it. Again, the counsel is to yield! Do you have any idea how much cringing goes on in the church, by the pastor and by most of the body, when the same people are giving nearly the same words in most every service? Oh, it's true. The cringe factor is high. Pastors, the body is often wondering why you don't put a stop to it. You need to do your job and lovingly encourage these types of people on how to rightly minister in your local church setting.
NINE: GOSSIPClosely related to manipulation, and equally as deadly, is gossip. Sadly, unrestrained prophetic people are famous for their ability to gossip. Stopping with a manipulative prophetic word is definitely not enough for them. When leadership doesn't change the course of the church after repeated doses of prophetic pressure, their next step is to gather people around them and to sell their perspective. Any good charismatic witch would do just that. All it takes is a Christianized coven meeting to give real power to their motives. Gossips are some of Satan's most anointed salesmen, and when that person is looked up to as a prophetic voice, you have some incredible manipulative, supernatural and extremely evil power behind their words. They can destroy a church overnight, and they cannot be tolerated.
TEN: YOU ARE NEEDY/YOU HAVE IDENTITY ISSUESPeople who need to minister for the sake of affirmation, or to feed their misguided identities, shouldn't be given a platform, unless that platform is at the altar. Too many wounded prophetic people have developed a craving for affirmation in their gifting, and that weakness has compromised that gift, no matter how precise or developed it is. Our identity must be found in nobody and nothing else than Jesus. It should be easy to lay our gifts and callings down, with the only grief coming from our passion to see lives transformed. Our own need to minister should never be a factor. Those who need to minister should not be allowed to minister. Instead, they should spend time with Jesus and give themselves to the process of healing. Then, they will be free, healthy and trustworthy when it's time to step into ministry again.
PASTORS, THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE NEED FROM YOU REGARDING THEIR PROPHETIC CALLING
ONE: EQUIPPINGA key reason there's so much dysfunction in prophetic people today, and a reason they are running to Facebook to minister, is because pastors have failed to equip them. It's as simple as that. Prophetic people are yearning to be trained, but it's nearly impossible to find a church today that includes a prophetic school as a part of their foundational culture. Heck, you can barely find a Sunday School class focusing on it. Pastors, it's your responsibility to equip the people in the prophetic. How can you hear what God is saying if you don't? Church is a corporate venture, and while you are the point person, and while God will speak directly to you in most situations, you need others to confirm those words and to introduce additional revelation that's critical for the mission. If you shut down the prophetic in your services to avoid the issues I addressed above, you are wrong. It's as clear as that. Their failure is most often your failure.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 (NKJV)
TWO: AN OUTLETPeople need an outlet. Prophetic messengers especially must have a place to release their revelations. If not in the church, then where? If not in a safe place with the oversight of leadership it will happen unmoderated, uncontrolled and undisciplined in public. Pastors, you have no option but to nurture your prophetic culture in such a way that the body can minister the various impacts the Spirit of God is having on them. If they are muzzled they will most usually break free and unleash those words from a place of rebellion. Their rebellion is not only their fault. Very often, it's also yours.
26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NKJV)
THREE: FEEDBACKProphetic people want feedback. Those who are thin skinned will be revealed, which is advantageous to you. Those who are truly humble and teachable will come alive as you share your heart regarding their ministry. Did they prophesy from a healthy heart? Let them know. Was their message a little confusing? Coach them. Be invested in their development and your church will be the better for it.
FOUR: NO FAVORITISMFirst things first. It's okay for pastors to acknowledge prophetic people who have passed tests, proven themselves and been faithful. They absolutely should be favored. Further, those who have failed the tests should not be favored. That being said, all things being equal, it's important that pastors give room to everybody who's healthy and ready to minister. The young need room to grow, the new people need a family to thrive in and those who have been trusted for years need to mentor the next generation. If you want to ensure a church stays in a spiritual rut, refuse to acknowledge anybody except those who have been in the inner circle for decades.
FIVE: A RIGHT RESPONSEProphetic people don't simply want to share a legitimate word from God. They are excited about the shift in the atmosphere that it will bring. Too often, pastors want to grab the reigns as fast as possible after a prophetic word is given and redirect back in the previous direction. Pastors must humbly admit that God will use prophetic people to bring fresh wind that demands the sails are repositioned so the boat starts moving the direction the Holy Spirit desires. These prophetic people simply want to see the fruit of their obedience to release oracles instead of the resistance and rejection that is so commonplace in the church today.
SIX: ENCOURAGEMENTEverybody needs encouragement, especially prophetic people! Speak life into them and let them know how blessed you are because of their ministry. Thank them for their heart, for their devotion to humility, for their growth. Let them know you see them developing and that you appreciate them. A healthy, loved and encouraged prophetic person is a valuable member of your team.
SEVEN: VALIDATIONThere comes a time to publicly validate a ministry. This holds true for every ministry, but it seems those with prophetic callings are all too often overlooked. If someone has passed tests and proven themselves, over an extended period of time, let the body know you trust them and that their ministry is valid. Not only will this encourage the individual and give them a track to run on, it will show everybody else the type of person and what it takes to be validated. It will give them a goal. It will communicate that others, who have not proven themselves, are not affirmed, at least not at that level.
VICE VERSAA bunch of the above points could be applied to the other party. Pastors also must be humble. They shouldn't manipulate. They must be mature, teachable and not a gossip. The prophetic person should encourage their pastor. They should have a right response to leadership. However, lets start the way I laid it out. We must see health come to the church, especially today, and most certainly in the arena of the prophetic. God has a lot to say to us.
The Demons are Hiding: What Happened to the Supernatural Church?
Bizarre, supernatural manifestations should be normal in the church. What happened?When given the choice between hearing another sermon and witnessing invisible and very active demons being cast out of a precious soul, I'm buying the ticket to the deliverance. Why then, if deliverance is even allowed at all, is it so often stopped so they can escort the individual into a back room somewhere? Today's church needs to see the power of the Holy Spirit overcoming the power of the enemy in people's lives right before their eyes! Here's a podcast on this topic: In fact, supernatural manifestations are consistently shut down as irritations or some sort of spiritual disorder. Manifestations should be expected, not avoided. We must allow our all-powerful God to interact with the people. When such a mighty force touches weak, finite humans, it's simply impossible to maintain our casual or dignified disposition. We will react with shock, awe and wonder!
THIS REACHES BEYOND SIMPLE SUPERNATURAL MANIFESTATIONSToo often the Western church is functioning in the safe, natural, middle ground, and the demons remain in hiding, very active and unconcerned about any Christian interference. There is no threat. However, when a deeply determined and wildly prophetic people who are devoted to intercession and warfare unite, the unseen world starts to shake under the weight of their authority. When people like this advance together, they are met with dramatic and often bizarre supernatural reactions. Demons and angels engage and respond, and this will be easily discerned by men and women of God who live their lives in the spiritual realm. The invisible realm becomes exposed. We must have mature warriors who understand the realm of the invisible and who function in great authority giving key leadership in our churches. It's laughable to think that a church is truly having impact if the enemy isn't provoked and if the Holy Spirit isn't manifesting.
A DEMONIC COMMAND CENTER IN MANITOU SPRINGS, COLORADOI'm astonished at how often Christians live in disbelief (or disinterest) regarding the demonic world. The story I'm about to share can easily be dismissed as too extreme. They'd prefer to climb back under their safe, comfy blanket and deny reality—all while the demonic army gains strength and momentum. Hiding under the blankets or sticking your head in the sand is no strategy against such a formidable force. The Lord had revealed to me that Manitou Springs was a demonic communication center, a command center, much like NORAD, which was an active center of defense for our nation for years just a few miles from our town at the base of Pikes Peak. Further, it was expressed that Manitou Springs, at the base of America's mountain, was called to be an angelic command center of revival for the nation. We had a lot of work to do. A complete take-over and shift in authority must occur. My lead intercessors and I were prayer walking through the streets of Manitou Springs, Colorado several years ago. This city is well known for it's occult roots. Anton LaVey, who wrote the Satanic bible, lived there. Witchcraft is rampant and homosexuality and liberal ideals promoted. In fact, the pastor of the city at the time led a profoundly heretical church. During this particular prayer walk, which was one of hundreds, we were interceding on the grounds of a very old Episcopal church property. Suddenly, I saw a dark entity, a hooded creature. I told my intercessory friends, Miles and Jodi, about the encounter and we quickly moved closer to the church building where this demon was seen (and had since ducked into hiding). It's extremely important that we are all prophetic people, able to hear God's voice very clearly. If we don't, we can miss some life altering instructions and revelations. What God said next was absolutely critical for the advance of the Kingdom in this dark city. God told us the demon was a messenger on assignment, and that he was there to receive the keys of authority to the city. He was to transport them to his leaders. Understand, the enemy is granted great authority to advance its agenda when humans are in agreement. It gives power to their assignments. God revealed this particular messenger, on a very important mission, was fully surprised to see Spirit-filled children of God at his rendezvous point. It was even more shocked that I saw it. We prayed, seeking instructions on how to deal with this situation. God told us to intercept the keys. The authority in Manitou Springs was being transferred that day in surprise fashion.
AN ASSIGNMENT DEEP INSIDE THE EARTHVery shortly after this transfer of authority I, along with very experienced and high ranking intercessors from the surrounding states gathered together for a prayer assignment in Manitou Springs. After some dramatic prophetic experiences that day, we capped it off with our primary assignment deep within a cave system. The intercessors knew Manitou had very evil roots and a wicked history, and they wanted to gain spiritual intelligence so they could devise a strategy. As we were all about to enter the cave, the regional intercessory leader, who was a little older than the rest of us, told me she wouldn't be going into the cave. She would stay back and cover us in prayer. She then privately gave me an assignment: determine whether the deep part of the cave where we were going to end up was a demonic command center. I eagerly accepted the challenge and then I, along with the rest of the team, started our journey into the depths. As I was walking deeper into the cave, I began to understand the severity of the assignment. I certainly didn't want to presume anything. I didn't want to guess. I needed to hear from God clearly about whether our final destination was in fact a center of demonic activity that was focused on destroying the people of Manitou Springs and the nation, or not. When we finally entered the furthest room in the cave system, I was absolutely stunned at what I was experiencing. All I could think was, “The Holy Spirit isn't welcome here.” It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The void created by the absence of God's manifest presence was something I never want to feel again. It felt like Hell without the fire and torment, and I can't imagine spending even a few seconds in there. However, I was on assignment and I had to deal with this supernatural reality. I couldn't leave. We stopped and turned off our lights and began to pray. It was perfectly dark. I hit my knees, trembling, wondering what was going to happen and what God wanted us to do. In the spirit, I saw the earth open underneath me. A massive entity emerged from the depths. This was a portal between the demonic realm and the land of the living. I did in fact discover a demonic command center. I was experiencing intercession unlike any time in my life. It's impossible to describe the experience. I was beyond overwhelmed, shaking, undone, disturbed. It was confirmed that the determined agreement of humans in Manitou Springs with the Satanic realm was extremely strong, and demons emerged from the depths to give instructions to people and to receive information from them. These were messenger demons much like the one I experienced on my prayer walk by the Episcopal church. Wait! The Episcopal church! God reminded me of the encounter I had there. As this massive portal was opened up under my feet, it was clear what I was to do. I had taken the keys of authority. I had them! I was to use this new found authority to shut this portal down. Lock it up. Seal it shut. Take dominion. I shared all of this revelation, in that pitch dark cave, with the other prophetic intercessors, and they all immediately agreed that I was discerning everything correctly. In that evil place where the Holy Spirit wasn't welcome, I felt a mighty shift. The anointing of the Holy Spirit filled me and I commanded, in the authority of Jesus Christ, that the enemy's assignment was over and that the portal must shut. We all roared and groaned in the Spirit, prayed with power, declared truth of the Word and successfully fulfilled our mandate. As we emerged from the cave, the faithful general in the faith who remained behind to pray had a smile on her face. She asked me, “Well, was it?” I said, “Yes!” I went on to explain what happened. She nodded her head and told me that God revealed the same thing to her as she was praying. Mission accomplished. Understand, this never could have happened if we didn't embrace the wild and bizarre supernatural realities that are all around us. In fact, a secular drama company from Broadway in New York City put this experience and others into a production and toured it from Washington D.C to New York City to Chicago to Los Angeles. My prophetic decrees, powerful personal freedom and other supernatural stories from our ministry were depicted on stage in front of thousands of mostly liberal, atheistic people who were in a prime position to meet Jesus! Isn't it amazing how God works when we start moving in the supernatural, spiritual realm?
A TEAR JERKING EMAILThis assignment in the cave along with many others over several years (some even more dramatic than this one) resulted in powerful breakthrough. This week, I received an email that moved me to tears. You see, we passed the baton to others as we eventually moved out of Manitou Springs. This message shows how much prayer, the prophetic, endurance and obedience can do to the enemy's camp. I pray this encourages you to allow God to move exactly as he wants, to invade the realm of wickedness with authority, to expect supernatural manifestations and to contend for freedom, even if you don't see the results on our watch.
Hey John! I love getting your emails – they are so challenging and so good. Thank you for what you do! I’m a huge believer in giving credit where it’s due – and since you were such a HUGE part of our transition and journey to Manitou, as David and I are a week away from transitionIng our, I wanted to give you an update – because you sowed seeds for so many years and made this ground so fertile. You wouldn’t recognize Manitou today! It’s becoming a beautiful community – restoration taking place in the supernatural and in the natural. Houses and buildings being restored and families moving in seeking community. We’ve prayed over every inch of this city. The bridge over rainbow falls was restored, and the day it reopened, we prayed over it as a city gate and renamed “beautiful” at the Lord’s prompting. The same weekend, we dedicated the old Masonic lodge as the new worship space for new life Manitou – cleansed the ground, and claimed that gate as well. The mineral springs by the Loop was recently refaced, and, “coincidentally,” a new life member was contracted to do the work. He wrote our prophetic passage for Manitou on the back of each rock – Isaiah 41:17-20 – “the poor and needy are searching for water where there is none, and I THE LORD will answer them…” and now scripture is hidden in one of the central fountains in Manitou. It’s our little secret. 🙂 Not long after that, a sign that had been decades missing from the rainbow falls bridge was replaced. It says “Manitou Springs – healing waters.” New Life Manitou has been a full-fledged, weekly church for 3 years now. We beat the odds! It’s a thriving community of believers serving the city and accepted as part of the community. We’re meeting in the renovated (and very well-cleansed!) Masonic lodge on El Paso and running around 150 each Sunday. Every week, it seems, a new family shows up saying they just felt called to Manitou. We’re literally the only evangelical church here – but Manitou has embraced and not just tolerated us. Hiawatha Gardens, where you guys met for the HOP, is being restored. Interestingly, your banner is still hanging on the back door – even though they’ve been in there cleaning and renovating. There sign remains. Just a reminder of your mark on this community. David and I have been here for 4 years, and now we’re being called away. My heart is so torn – I have grown to adore this town and its people – our neighbors who are atheists and lesbians and agnostics who we are leaving we now have to entrust to Jesus. We’re headed back to San Antonio to pastor a church there. I can’t help but think of your story of leaving and how it must have been so bittersweet for you and your family. We have certainly felt the weight of living here – the call and yet the resistance and pressure – and yet the yearning to see more of God’s movement, knowing that you wouldn’t be here to see the completion firsthand. Because of that, I wanted to tell you again that your hard work and toil and trials and prayer and faithfulness did not go unseen, unnoticed, or unfruitful. Your obedience here in Manitou for all those years paved the way for what is happening now and for the restoration and revival that is happening here in Manitou. I know from firsthand experience that it wasn’t easy and that you suffered for the call. But your legacy lives on here. Your faithfulness and intercession and prophetic words spoken over this city tore down strongholds and softened hearts. You pastored this city so well. Well done, good and faithful servant. And thank you for giving us so much insight and comfort 4 years ago when we were so freaked out about moving here. Thank you for being the forerunner and for giving us the courage to carry the torch. Thank you for introducing us to Miles and Jodi, who passed the prophetic torch to us. I still have the house of prayer banner they gave us and still weep at the thought that our weekly prayer meetings were held in the very same room as your early prayer meetings were held. God has such a heart for this place, and my heart breaks to leave it – We have wept over it, loved it, and learned so much in our time here – but our time is done and we did what we came to do – 4 years of so much joy, so much travail, so much beauty. And you were such a huge part – so thank you so much for your labor, John. You are a giant in the kingdom, and I just wanted to let you know that we recognize your sacrifices and work here. It lives on and you are part of a very beautiful story that God is writing in Manitou Springs. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The Father is well pleased. Love, Sarah and DavidI cried tears of joy.
Is The Holy Spirit Really That Important?
Either the extreme activity of the Holy Spirit is critical to every Christian, or it is not.I've resisted writing this article for a long time, as there doesn't seem to be a way around causing a schism, or at least provoking people to pick a side. Then again, maybe this is just what we need—an honest evaluation of the value and purpose of allowing the Holy Spirit to be fully free in our lives and in our churches. Is the movement of the Holy Spirit vital to our success as Christians? Or, can we choose to tone down the manifestations due to personal discomfort or outright disagreement over how appropriate it is?
AMAZING CESSATIONISTSOne of the reasons writing this article is such a struggle is because of how many truly amazing, godly and humble men and women of God there are who don't affirm the gifts of the Spirit. Additionally, there are many others who affirm the gifts and activity of the Holy Spirit, but don't emphasize them or give room for them in the church. In fact there are many “Spirit-filled” churches today that are sadly restrictive of the Holy Spirit. Yet, I've met so many of these pastors and leaders, and they are remarkable people. I'm continually humbled by people like this who are lovers of God, faithful givers, students of the Word, brilliant leaders in the church and who possess truly tender hearts toward people. You won't find any praying in tongues, deliverance of demons, mention of dreams and visions or supernatural manifestations in their ministry. However, they are feeding the poor, visiting prisoners, giving to the needy, standing for righteousness, preaching with conviction and loving those God brings across their path. There are those who would argue that people who discount or minimize the gifts and workings of the Holy Spirit are not saved at all. While I personally feel this is a serious issue, I could never jump to such an extreme conclusion. However…
BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT IS CRITICAL FOR ALLI must admit my spirit is grieved terribly when Christians attempt to shut the Holy Spirit and his workings away. I recently heard someone raise the question as to why the activity of the Holy Spirit is even necessary today. He argued that if we focus on the basics, on salvation and preaching the Gospel, that is more than sufficient. He wondered out loud, “Just what else is necessary?” He felt the outward expressions, the loud groans of intercession, tongues, deliverance of demons, and other manifestations were hindrances to the advance of the Gospel. I do understand why he has arrived at his position. There are too many people acting out in bizarre, emotional and strangely spiritual manners while excusing it away as the activity of the Holy Spirit. While I fully embrace the truth that it will become supernaturally intense and even quite messy when God invades a people and a church in great power, too often overly zealous people are getting a little nutty when the power really isn't there. Their passion can get the best of them and, for better or worse, it turns a lot of people away from such theatrics. With all of this in mind, I must clearly reveal the core of my heart and my position on this matter:
Those who dismiss, reject, minimize or tone down the gifts and activity of the Holy Spirit due to discomfort or theological position are at great risk of rejecting God himself—and encouraging others to do the same.Yes, the baptism in the Holy Spirit which results in a remarkable life of power, praying in unknown tongues, experiencing the supernatural realm and living a prophetic life is critical, not simply optional, for all.
WHY IS THE HOLY SPIRIT SO IMPORTANT?No, preaching the Gospel and winning the lost isn't all that we are called to do as Christians. Not even close. However, it's easy to argue that the very act of preaching the Gospel and leading the lost to Jesus can't be done with any real effectiveness, anointing or power without the very direct and active influence of the Holy Spirit.
Only the Holy Spirit knows when, where, how and to whom we should be preaching the Gospel. Of course, we should default to preaching and ministering everywhere we go—unless the Holy Spirit tells us not to. If we are not tuned in to the clear and present words of God, we will not be able to discern his will on anything, including our ministry strategy. Further, we know that praying in tongues edifies us, and the Bible teaches clearly that this gift is available for all. While some of the different gifts of tongues (tongues and interpretation, for example) are reserved for select people, as is true for most spiritual gifts, the prayer language of tongues is a critically important gift for every Christian. We all need the edification that only the Holy Spirit can bring, and his chosen vehicle for that edification is praying in tongues. There is no substitute. No tongues, no edification. That is a recipe for disaster.
Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. Acts 16:6
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 1 Corinthians 14:4Also, the Holy Spirit enables us to prophesy. We can hear God's voice, receive prophetic revelation, have dreams and visions and discern spiritually as the Holy Spirit moves in and through us. Those who are not baptized in the Holy Spirit may occasionally receive rare and unusual revelation from the Holy Spirit, but such an important part of the Christian life is not supposed to be rare and unusual. Our lives should be filled with never-ending revelation from God. This is part of the wonder of the Spirit-filled life! From my Charisma News article, Should the Church Get Scary?
We need a church on fire today more than ever. The lost are being introduced into lukewarm, natural, Ichabod religion instead of a supernatural shaking that can only come from the great I Am. They are convinced they are saved as they are assimilated into a community of like-minded quasi-spiritual people who would love to see God manifest in their natural realm—yet have no interest in manifesting in the spiritual realm where the Holy Spirit broods.