Posts Tagged ‘prophets’

A second chance for America’s prophets and preachers

Do we trust God’s message enough to risk everything to share it?

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time… Jonah 3:1 (ESV)

YOGA-000000001We never want to cause God to bring his word to us more than once. Jonah was resistant. We are all familiar with the story. The mission the Lord gave Jonah was a critical one, and he wasn’t about give up over the childish, selfish approach of his prophet. Nineveh needed to hear from God, fast, and Jonah was the man to bring the message. The longer I live the more dismayed I become at the state of preaching and prophetic ministry. While there is a small, raging, faithful remnant that is operating out of the fear of the Lord in these dire end times, the normal approach to preaching in our nation is cautious at best, outright rebellious at worst. Human wisdom has taken over numerous pulpits. Many are trading unchangeable truths in Scripture for a modified version that seems more godly, and less costly. For example, I asked a question on Facebook recently: If a professing Christian was caught in sin such as greed, pornography, gossip or other intentional failures, and they repeatedly refused to repent, what should happen? Many rejected Matthew 18 as too severe. They generally replied by saying we should pray for them, keep them in the church so they can hear the truth, be patient, etc. That sounds good, but it’s not biblical. They are attempting to extend a type of mercy that God never intended them to.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17 (ESV)

Cultural resistance to any hint of judgment has caused many American preachers to go soft and silent. Churches are crawling with immoral people who name the name of Christ, and we as leaders will have blood on our hands if we don’t deliver a sobering message of repentance to our nation. The Bible is extremely clear on this point. We must judge with a heart of love and sobriety for the sake of the church:

 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 (ESV)

The Bible reveals in the end-times, people will call evil good and good evil. While church leadership as a whole isn’t at the point of calling sexual sin good, the lack of action as demanded by Scripture reveals that some leaders are calling evil something less than evil. Weakness. Struggle. Human nature. They wish to extend mercy to those who willfully continue in their deliberate decision to defy God. There comes a time when we must trust God’s wisdom and understand the unrepentant are evil. Period. Boy, that sounds self-righteous, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t, unless you’ve been conditioned by the politically correct, religiously correct culture we are living in today. In truth, it’s not self-righteous. It’s simply righteous. We can, and must, have a heart of compassion and eyes filled with tears as we witness people rejecting God and his standards. Those tears however can’t result in a failure to exercise biblical protocol. There does come a time when we must act, no matter how terrible the action might feel. God can be trusted.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 (ESV)

It doesn’t get any more direct than that.

A SECOND CHANCE FOR AMERICA’S PREACHERS

The primary purpose of this article is not to discuss protocol for discipline in the church, though that is a necessary sub-point. The reason I led with that point was to reveal the deep dilemma we are currently in in America. We have gone soft on sin and few are speaking on the crisis. Judgment is not only probable, it’s most likely necessary to ensure more people aren’t contaminated by compromised, carnal, passive, quasi-Christianity. Judgment is God’s method of giving opportunity for those who still have hope to escape the prison they locked themselves into through their disobedience. We need judgment. It’s God moving in both love and severity at the same time, for good cause.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” Jonah 3:1-2 (ESV)

This is a message for America. It’s time to call out against it. We have no option but to deliver the message that God gives us. We need great, humble and bold men and women of God to reject fear of man, to stop thinking about the impact on their ministry and reputation and call out! It’s time for a shaking to come to America, and it needs to be initiated by preachers behind pulpits and in front of cameras from coast to coast. We know that Nineveh famously repented, and God relented.

Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. Jonah 3:9-10 (ESV)

We need messengers of God to arise and open their mouths! We must call out against America and cry out for deliverance from destruction.

CALL OUT AND CRY OUT!

I’ve met many pastors who admittedly have surrendered the fiery and unapologetically confrontational message that God had given them years prior for a more palatable message that ensures people keep showing up on Sundays. As an itinerant prophetic minister, I’m often called in to bring a sharp prophetic message, when in reality the leadership should have been bringing it themselves all along. I understand what bringing in catalytic people can do. That is a God designed strategy, and many amazing pastors do that to help bring some fresh revelation and instruction into their situation. But, much of what I and others do can be accomplished without any outside help whatsoever. Call out and cry out night and day! Gather the people to pray! Repent! Refuse to lead a typical American church! Go deep and burn with passion! Call every person to be branded by the searing heat of the Holy Spirit. It’s time! We don’t want to live a Jonah 3:1 life. The second time God is required to speak due to our delay and disobedience is one time too many. Let’s back up to Jonah 1:1:

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD. Jonah 1:1-3 (ESV)

There we see the original directive. Instead of calling out against Nineveh, Jonah instead went away from the presence of the Lord. Listen closely: Many of today’s prophets and preachers are ministering on the run, outside of God’s presence, in a spirit of self-centeredness. They are evading the hard messages because of unresolved inner issues in their lives. The thought of offending people, losing them from their ministry, losing financial support, losing favor and their pedestal, have all resulted in preachers without an anointing delivering a message born of their own hearts.Judgment is coming—first to the preachers, and then, very possibly to our nation. Remember, it’s God’s love that demands this. It would be the least impactful way to awaken the greatest number of people. Judgment is necessary if repentance is absent.

PREACHERS PREACH!

Being open to God’s voice in our lives will result in a lifestyle of inconvenience, challenge and impossible mandates. It will cause huge, huge problems in our lives, and it will cause damage and bring calibration to our lifestyle. But, as we understand our roles to bring reformation and calibration to the church and to the world, we’ll see that our lives won’t collapse. We will function in power as we hear God and release decrees and declarations! As many of today’s preachers and prophets are running from God’s mandate and asleep outside of his presence, the world is crying out for you to awaken!

So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” Jonah 1:6 (ESV)

There is no safe place outside of God’s call. Jonah’s disobedience was putting the lives of those around him at risk. They demanded that he wake up and call out to God! I want to encourage you to do the same. Call out to God and then call out against America. Then, cry out for her as intercessors. A great drama is before us, and we must ensure that drama includes the greatest move of repentance in history; a revival that cannot be measured. Preachers, America is waiting for you to arise from your slumber and release the burning messages of God. Like Jonah, this is the very reason you were born.

CoFI Break Video–Key Changes Coming to the Church

Based on my latest Charisma Magazine article, I discuss key changes that are coming soon to the church.

Dell-000050015

John discusses a recent Charisma Magazine he wrote dealing with significant changes coming to the church. Much will be introduced and much will be eliminated, and if we aren't ready we risk resisting, being offended or fully rejecting what the Holy Spirit is doing.

Watch the video and check out the Charisma article HERE.

Prophecy games: A culture of eagerly misled people yields few winners

The fear of deception is giving way to a demand for it—often at the cost of people’s souls.

We are living in the days of deception on demand—a prophetic culture that serves encouragement at the expense of truth.

“Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their evil, declares the LORD. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall, for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:11-12

imageIt’s important that you know as I begin this article that I hold a high value for prophecy. I’ve written and taught on it for years, and I strongly encourage everybody to live a bold, active prophetic life.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

It would be equally as easy, and important, to write about movements that are defying scripture by quenching the Spirit and despising prophecies. Today, more than ever, the church must live and walk in the spirit as it hears God’s Rhema voice. God is absolutely talking and we must absolutely hear him—and relay key end-time prophetic data to the church and the world.

“For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7

God has established the office of Prophet, and we need to embrace that office. Additionally, we are all called to live prophetic lives, and we should embrace that gift.

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:1

With that established, we have to ensure the prophetic revelation is accurate, and that we don’t modify it at all—even if the message will be violently rejected. The way we handle prophecy will result in people either knowing God in the clarity of truth, or in people living a life of deception that may very well lead to an eternity in Hell.

The scripture instructs us not to despise prophecies, BUT it also instructs us to test it and to only hold to what is good. This is what we must do now in the prophetic movement—bad prophecy is doing great damage.

Salvation Deception

Wrong information will lead to a tainted analysis.

While many of today’s prophetic voices trend toward affirming people in their current condition via false words, these people are falling into deception that puts their very souls at risk.

How often have you heard someone affirm somebody’s salvation in order to bring them comfort? This is an example of a violation of prophetic protocol. We should never assure someone of their salvation, especially since we don’t know the depths of their hearts and we don’t know what type of decisions they will make in the years to come. False information like this is dangerous. Just as the disciples did, we need to all wrestle with our own salvation.

And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:23-26

Theologies and prophetic insights today rarely address the issue of salvation in any way other than affirming it—even for those who are only marginally devoted to Jesus. Somehow, there appears to be a certain valiance associated with the idea of easy salvation. What it communicates is that Jesus is willing and able to save every person regardless of their personal commitment and relationship with him. That feels heroic, and it is great news for those who are not fervent in their relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, that great news is not the Good News.

Not everybody who hears the Good News receives it. In fact, the Good News doesn’t usually feel like good news at all. Most reject it.

And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 18:18

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Luke 18:22-23

I am convinced that it is exceedingly rare for people to be legitimately saved. I’ve said before that I often wonder if even 10% of people in vibrant, Spirit-filled churches will end up in Heaven. Of course, there is no way to scientifically arrive at a literal percentage, but the inspection and analysis is appropriate. This is a prophetic process that is much different than the sugary prophetic imitations that are most common today.

When I have this discussion about uncommon salvation with fellow Christians, the reaction is most usually a mixture of shock, anger and fierce resistance. How dare somebody question their salvation!

It’s love that propels me to shine the light on the “angel of light” belief systems that are temporally satisfying yet eternally damning. Feel good messages are delivered which are actually not good at all—they are doctrines of demons.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 1 Timothy 4:1

In fact, as I’ve said before, I only give myself an 80% chance of “making Heaven.” I am not exempt from deception. I am not immune to temptation. I have a free will and I can walk away at some point in the years ahead. The great falling away is coming, and every one of us will be courted by it. If I died today, I’m confident I’d be with Jesus, but tomorrow is another day.

Salvation is not a status, it’s a dynamic lifestyle that isn’t gauged by an on and off switch. It’s measured by a deep, growing, intimate love relationship with Jesus that manifests radical obedience and surrender.

Jesus warned about false prophets that will put people’s salvation at risk. This is very real, and we are in those days right now.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14

Lying Prophets

Lying prophets would never think of alerting an at risk person of their eternal future. Instead, they serve what is demanded—a promise of a future and a hope.

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. 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.’” Jeremiah 23:16-17

As people are flooding into Hell while thinking they are on the road to Heaven, it’s horrific to think that we wouldn’t warn them!

Today’s lying voices who are building their own reputations are about to experience the reformation of the Lord in their lives. This reformation is coming to the entire prophetic culture in today’s church.

…spirits like Baal and Jezebel are working through those who accepted the call to ministry but have given in to the financial pressure of building their own kingdoms rather than serving the kingdom of God. ~Jennifer LeClaire

When supposed prophetic voices share nothing but happy, encouraging words, they lose credibility. There is absolutely no way, in today’s volatile world, that everything is OK and getting better. Where are the warnings? Where are the rebukes?

True prophets will warn as often as they encourage. They will rebuke just as they build up.

One of the most often misused verses in scripture is Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

This is one verse that doesn’t stand on its own very well. Context is necessary.

This is a perfect example of today’s prophetic culture—encouraging people without supplying the context and the often challenging instructions that are attached. Lets look at the context.

“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:10-14

Instead of receiving a nice, comfy personal prophecy that all will be well, that there’s a great future ahead, the truth is that there’s much more to this prophetic process!

The future comes after seventy years! The hope arrives when God’s plans are reactivated after the exile is over. It’s then that they can pray and be heard. It’s then that they will find God, but only if they seek him with all their heart! Not only is the prophecy about the far off future, it’s also conditional.

The process is spelled out precisely:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 29:4-9

The prophecy they wanted to hear was that they would be freed immediately. God warned them not to listen to lies, false prophecies that would be exactly what they wanted to hear, and even words that seemed to validate their view of the goodness of God. Certainly, a good God would never approve of being held captive by their enemies, right? Wrong.

Remember, God assigned a demon to Paul. He cast Jonah into a fish. He threw Joseph into a pit. God’s ways most certainly aren’t our ways, and he most definitely is not compelled to fit within our definition of what is good and right.

For those in exile, the true word was inconvenient, disappointing, challenging and irritating. It even put the hearers at risk of losing hope and having an emotional meltdown!

The truth remains—they were to build houses, plant gardens, get married, have kids and even wait for them to get married and have kids. What a prophetic word! Their was no hope until they were grandparents!

Here’s a huge point—God was certainly interested the individual’s plight, but, as always, he was more interested in the bigger picture. This is such a critical issue in today’s narcissistic Christian culture! Yes, God loves us as individuals, but he is more interested in the future of his entire people. He will allow one to go through great trouble for the sake of the freedom of many. Of course, Jesus is the perfect model of this truth.

Martyrdom is another model of this truth. God will allow one to be tortured and murdered for the sake of the advance of the Kingdom. What if today’s prophetic messengers started revealing people’s call to die at the hands of a terrorist for the sake of the Gospel? What if they started affirming our call to die before we live? True prophecy will be troubling as often as it is affirming.

What this means is that our process is not only about us, but for many others.

So, instead of demanding the flaky, invented prophetic words that promise a quick improvement to our personal lives, we need to hear the difficult messages that deal with our sin, our struggle, our disobedience and what should be done to correct. We need the words that call us higher.

There are generally three types of messages:

  1. What God has done for us and the benefits that result
  2. What God is about to do to benefit us
  3. What our responsibility is

The first two are all too common, and when delivered appropriately, these messages are great.

The last one is what we must see an increase of. In fact, we need to hear what we are doing wrong! We have to be OK with that so we can be calibrated to God’s plan for our lives. This is great, great news indeed!

Lets move beyond generic, incomplete words that reveal that God has a future for us. Instead, we need to know what he expects from us, how we have failed, what we can build on, how we can grow and what the big picture is.

Prophecy should propel us to action, not satisfaction.

Eat the Scroll

The prophetic words of God will be weighty, and won’t usually be received very well.

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel— not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.” Ezekiel 3:1-11

Today’s false or flaky prophetic movement is not birthed in the place of trembling intercession. It’s open to hear the most satisfying words that will result in the church elevating it, affirming it and celebrating it.

That’s why we need true prophetic messengers who will eat the scroll, carry the weight of the revelations of God and fearlessly confront the stubborn rebellion in the church. When we eat the scroll, we are undone, fearful and trembling.

Watch how Ezekiel, a true prophet, responds:

Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great earthquake: “Blessed be the glory of the LORD from its place!” It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the sound of the wheels beside them, and the sound of a great earthquake. The Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the LORD being strong upon me. And I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the Chebar canal, and I sat where they were dwelling. And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days. Ezekiel 3:12-15

He was lifted up by the Spirit and experienced bitterness and heat in his spirit. His investment resulted in him being overwhelmed for a week. We need prophets who are overwhelmed.

Prophecy on Demand/Paying for Prophecy

I wrestle with the issue of prophecy on demand. On one hand, I do believe that God is always talking and that we can receive messages about others on a regular basis. On the other hand, all too often the prophetic words are nothing more than encouraging words that may or may not be accurate. There’s great immaturity and a lack of the fear of the Lord all too often.

True, biblical encouraging words are great, but I believe we need to take the prophetic label off of that ministry if it’s not truly prophetic.

That being said, there’s something that I am absolutely alarmed about—a growing trend of payment for prophecy. This must stop.

I see this in the prayer movement and there are many who affirm ministries that offer prayer and prophetic words in exchange for financial support. Boy, this is dangerous.

Not only is the financial exchange iffy, it puts people on the spot. If a prophecy is ordered, the supposed prophet must come up with a prophecy. What if God isn’t talking? What if the word is negative? What if the prophetic person is having a bad week? What if they can’t hear easily? We could go on and on with the issues.

The spiritualized fortune telling has to stop. I’m not saying it’s all entirely inappropriate, but the precedent it’s setting is dangerous at the least. The fear of the Lord must hit the prophetic movement, and by all means, ministries that charge for prophetic ministry must be shut down.

Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. Acts 8:18-22

Prophecy for payment is functioning today in the spirit of Balaam—administered by for prophet false prophets.

Balak paid Balaam to deliver a specific word of the Lord. Balaam was not invested in the process, but God did in fact put a word in his mouth, as a test. Balaam delivered this word, but Balak was furious—it wasn’t the word he paid for!

Behold, these, on Balaam’s advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the LORD. Numbers 31:16

Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. Jude 1:11

Prophecy for payment feels right—Christian people are delivering words that even God may have initiated, just as he did with Balaam, but the foundation is that of divination.

The money changers in the temple are about to be overturned.

If someone wanted me to be their resident prophetic counsel, I’d direct them to a much more reliable source—the Bible.

The Bible

All of this brings me to the issue that’s burning hottest in my spirit. The purest prophetic messages are those that are read directly from scripture.

The Bible must return to front and center in the prophetic culture.

The greatest anointing won’t come when we are foretelling or reading somebody’s mail. It will come when a prophetic spirit comes upon us as we declare the ancient truths of scripture.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11

Wow! It seems everything people are looking for in personal prophecy can already be found in the Word of God. Rejoicing, enlightening, reward.

The issue is this—we must invest our lives into the Word of God. It takes effort. Personal prophecy is easy. We ask and receive.

Have you ever wondered why God is intentionally silent when we pray? Is it possible he doesn’t want us to have the information that a supposed prophet would be more than happy to divulge? Is it possible God wants us to search scripture for ourselves?

Personal prophecy has a place, but a reformation must come. It’s time we stop being lazy and resistant to the tough love of God as he either withholds information for a season or requires our radical participation in the process.

The prophecy games must come to an end. It isn’t harmless encouragement if it’s contrary to truth. The players in this game are being setup for eternal loss, and God is about to hold all of us accountable.

Church Nightmares: We need a Gordon Ramsay style reconstruction in the church

Examine ten clear points the church must consider as we prepare for Kingdom advance.

The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line!~Leonard Ravenhill

capture-00000087I always feel a bit strange when I cry most every time I watch the TV show Kitchen Nightmares. Then, the light came on. Gordon Ramsay is a prophet in waiting, a man who, in the natural, brings order to disorder in dying restaurants. He is doing in secular culture what prophets are called to do in the spiritual. He is doing what Leonard Ravenhill is talking about in the business realm and its time for us to see it in the church realm. That prophetic reality results in tears for me—and a yearning for action—now!

I’d encourage you to watch the entire teaching on this topic (it was a spontaneous prophetic message that God rocked me with Sunday night during worship as I was getting ready to preach).

I‘d recommend reading a similar article: 10 Threats to Revival.

CHURCH NIGHTMARES

  1. A CRY FOR HELP—Historically, when a cry for help sounded God sent a prophet. Judges 6:7-8 (ESV) 7 When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites, 8 the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel.

    In Kitchen Nightmares, the restaurant owner is usually in a very desperate situation so Gordon Ramsay is summoned to help.
  2. THE ANALYSIS—In every episode I’ve seen, the restaurant owner is convinced that they are on the right track, and simply need some expert guidance and a little enhancement to see things turn around. For those who watch the show, you know that this is the place where things get ugly. On the first day of a several day process, Gordon Ramsay enters the restaurant, meets the owner and then sits down to order a meal. Without fail, the owner and the chef are absolutely convinced that the food they are serving is wonderful. At least an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.Without fail, Gordon Ramsay samples the food and is horrified. His unique and expert perspective grants him the ability to immediately determine whether the food is good or bad—an analysis that is contrary to the analysis of the owner and the chef. It’s immediately clear, after just a few moments, to Gordon Ramsay why the restaurant is failing, though the ownership, after hours, days and years of analysis is confused and clueless.
  3. OFFENSE & CONFLICT—Gordon Ramsay then goes directly to the kitchen and shocks the staff with his brash and direct approach. He is often extremely upset that he was served food of such a low caliber. He has accused them of lying to to the patrons by offering one thing on the menu and delivering something totally different on the plate. People’s faces show shock and anger as Gordon attacks ‘their baby’…their food, their dream, their way of doing things. Similarly, prophets, who are called to analyze situations and sound alarms for radical change, are often resisted vehemently when they touch the dreams and efforts of pastors and people in the church. Offense can spike and division can come if honesty and humility don’t reign. The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men. He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile.~Leonard Ravenhill
  4. On the show, at this point of the process, people are radically offended, often in tears, shocked beyond measure and second guessing their choice to invite Gordon to help. They usually want him gone—and fast.

  5. THIS IS NOT AN ENHANCEMENT—As I stated previously, the restaurant owners on the show, and also pastors and leaders in the church, are expecting their endeavors to be affirmed and then enhanced so as to yield a better result. The reality? The mission of Gordon Ramsay and the mission of prophets in the church is not one of enhancement. It’s near total deconstruction and complete reformation—or nothing. What is presumed to be untouchable is touched—and torn down—without apology by Gordon. Staff is fired, food that has been served for years is removed from the menu, the owners are rebuked for their poor leadership, and on and on.In less than a week, Gordon Ramsay comes in and enhances nothing, but reforms everything. The décor is modernized, old equipment is replaced with new equipment, staff is reassigned to new, better suited duties and everything becomes instantly better.In the church we see the same issues. Leaders are often so set on the way they are doing things, on the vision of yesteryear, that they simply want their comfort zone of ministry to be affirmed and enhanced. Churches open their doors wide to consultants but slam the door hard to prophets. One brings enhancement and affirmation while the other shuts everything down in favor of developing a brand new wine skin.
  6. EXTREME MEASURES—More than once Gordon Ramsay has shut down the dinner service with a full house of hungry customers. He had the staff send them home due to breakdowns in the restaurant. The staff is usually embarrassed and furious. The risk of losing people through such a method is extremely high. They usually feel that Gordon, at that point, actually destroyed their business instead of helping it.What the owners determined was an acceptable way to run a business was actually so below the bar that Gordon Ramsay closed the restaurant for the safety of the patrons.I believe it’s critical to allow God to shut down programs and even entire churches, at least for a season, for the sake of a full deconstruction and reconstruction of systems, policies, functions and vision. Yes, many people will leave, but the resulting structure will be able to fulfill its mission.
  7. NEW IDENTITY—One of the most powerful moments comes when Gordon’s crew spends the entire night ripping out the old décor and refurbishing the entire restaurant. Everything changes. Gordon has gone as far as changing the name of the restaurant and hanging a new sign outside! He changed the restaurant from specializing on one type of food (sea food, for example) to another (burgers and shakes). The reformation went as deep as the very core of the vision that the restaurant was initially developed from. The prophet breathes the rarefied air of inspiration. He is a “seer” who comes to lead the blind.~Leonard Ravenhill
  8. NEW ASSIGNMENTS—Gordon Ramsay is an expert at analyzing people’s strengths and weaknesses. He reassigns people according to their passions and abilities. The chef may become a bus boy. A waitress may become the manager. The owner may be asked to stay out of the way and let more gifted people lead.We must see this happen in the church as well. Prophets and apostles are experts at bringing order to disorder. The pastor or leader of a church or ministry may not be gifted with this level of revelation, and it will make sense for them to give way to those who do.
  9. SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT—Gordon, when he arrives, assumes control to an offensive degree. But, he also invests himself, his time and his money. Thousands of dollars are put into new equipment, the new branding, food, remodeling, etc. More than once he has actually hired a world renowned chef for thirty days to help the restaurant stay on track after he leaves.We can expect this in the church as well. Prophets and apostles are often willing to cancel other appointments and ministry assignments to come to a city to help with the reconstruction.
  10. HUGS, TEARS AND THANKS—Every single time owners and staff—that absolutely hated Gordon and wanted him to leave almost before he arrived—end up thanking him passionately, usually with tears in their eyes. Gordon did what they could not do because of his unique calling and gift mix.Gordon Ramsay has such a tender heart and desires deeply that every restaurant owner would be prosperous and successful. You see him truly developing real friendships with people who once despised him.If pastors will trust the offensive and threatening process that prophets and apostles will call for, at the end of the day, they will thank them. Proverbs 16:7 When a man's ways please the Lord,
    he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

    Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said, “No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected.” The prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are his “brand name.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

    The prophet is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow.~Leonard Ravenhill

  11. RETURNING TO OLD PATTERNS—Time and again it’s proven that those who revert to their old ways, and forget everything that Gordon Ramsay set into motion, end up failing. Some of the shows are devoted to visiting restaurants that Gordon had been in previously. Often, he’ll find the restaurants closed and the reports from the old employees he tracks down are always the same—the owner reverted back to their old way of doing things.On the other hand, those who stuck with the new menu, who embraced the rebranding, who fired employees who should not be there, and who ensured the employees who remained stayed in their newly assigned roles reported great financial gain and and a restaurant that’s packed every night. Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV) 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I’ve stated many times in recent years, and have written in my book 20 Elements of Revival, that the reformation that’s coming to the church is going to be extreme and everything we hold dear is at risk.

Another key point to understand is that every church in the nation is included in this massive reform. It’s easy to think that God is referring to the dead, dry, religious churches when he speaks of reformation. The reality? The most Spirit-filled, fiery churches are those who must be reformed first, so they can move ahead in the spirit of a forerunner and model the extreme change that’s coming to the rest of the church world.

What do you think?

X