Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Unbiblical “Freedom Theologies”–The Growing Rejection of the Need to Go Deep in God

Arguments against the invitation to go deep in God are increasing…and it’s Christians who are leading the resistance.

re·li·gion /rəˈlijən/ Man’s attempt to use God to get what he wants.

imageSlap the label “religious” on anything that threatens your theology or impacts your definition of freedom. It feels spiritual. It is spiritual. The demonic spirit realm is filled with unholy wisdom, and very often this is the source of such a defense. Today’s rallying cry seems to be fueled by the desire to be free from anything that places restraints, expectations or requirements upon someone. All of that, to them, is religious.

Many of the arguments are coming from those who have been duped into believing an unbiblical doctrine of grace. This false-grace ideology presumes that all has been completed by Jesus, and that nothing remains for us to do in order to be in relationship with him. Simply, his actions on the cross and at the tomb were sufficient. The result, if we only understood, they would argue, is that absolutely nothing can be done by us to increase our nearness to him, and, from the other direction, nothing can be done to decrease his nearness to us.

They argue that our sin is impotent. Our effort is both futile and unnecessary, and actually an offense to the finished work of Jesus. Their proposition is that we simply need a revelation of this supposed truth. When they discovered it themselves, burdens and weights were lifted and they began enjoying God as a good, good Father. They would say they do nothing, except believe and receive and live in that revelation.

YOGA-12-7-2018 3.03.07 PM 00000000The truth is that eliminating every burden (God’s burden is light, not non-existent) just may cost us our lives. If you are carrying a backpack on your three-day hike into the mountains, it’s going to get heavy. If you decided to take it off and leave it behind, it will feel like freedom! You are suddenly relieved of that irritating, uncomfortable burden. However, you will also be without food, water, a sleeping bag and shelter. The elements of the world will overtake you and you may very possibly succumb.

I celebrate with zeal every time someone I know encounters legitimate freedom and the immeasurable love of the Father! However, our experience in God cannot stop there. Those who do stop short need to be awakened to the deeper call of God on their lives.

You see, religion isn’t that which produces a barrier to freedom, it’s the attempt to use God in order to have the most pleasurable experience possible, no matter how selfish that pursuit may be.

Those who wanted Jesus to be their king one day, turned on him and demanded his death the next. Why? They were not set on worshiping Jesus but rather on using him. When he didn’t deliver what they wanted, they decided to eliminate him for a better option. This is religion in action.

9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9 (ESV)

12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” 14 And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Mark 15:12-15 (ESV)

A SIMPLE YET PROFOUND CALL

God is calling us into the deep.

The only way there is through radical surrender, fervent intercession, living in the Spirit and unapologetic holiness.

We must die daily. We must be living sacrifices.

I’m writing this from my hotel room during a ministry trip to Albany, New York, and I’m watching The International House of Prayer’s prayer room live on YouTube. I was on staff at IHOPKC for a couple of years and it was easy to see one specific reality: Most of these people were devoted to God at a level rarely seen in this nation. They weren’t perfect people, but they were hungry people with a level of consecration rarely seen in the church. I’ve known many people who are offended at this. They actually despise IHOPKC and ministries like them. Why? Because their own level of passion for Jesus and depth in God are exposed as lacking. The thought that much is required of disciples of Jesus is contrary to their personal pursuits of undisciplined freedom.

Understand, I know these words I’m writing are provocative. I also believe they must be written so I can most effectively make my point. As obvious as it seems, a growing number of people in this generation don’t get it: we can only experience the deep things of God if we are fervent, radical, surrendered and dying daily to the things of the flesh. There is no other way. There are no shortcuts.

At IHOPKC and other similar ministries all around the world, people are praying 2-4 hours a day or more. They are allowing the groans of the Spirit to erupt out of them. They are devouring the Word of God as they allow the presence of God to permeate them in the prayer room. The Holy Spirit is speaking to them with clarity. The prophetic atmosphere around them is electric. Dreams, visions and a powerful anointing become regular. The chambers of their heart are opened to the searching of the Spirit of God. These people are undone, hungry, desperate and relentless.

Yet, those who subscribe to the unbiblical “freedom theologies” that I addressed above somehow believe that they are as close to God as those who are giving themselves in a more deliberate manner, even if they make no effort in drawing close to him.

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-10 (ESV)

A POWERFUL ANOINTING

I’ll never forget the time I had a regional prayer meeting in my church. A well known mega-church leader was in the prayer meeting along with several of his friends. I was praying with my eyes closed when I felt this intense wave of the glory of God wash over me. I opened my eyes and this man of God had just walked by me. I waited for him to make another lap, and as he passed by again, the wave hit me a second time. This happened several times.

I knew this man knew God. There was a depth that was uncommon. He was living in such a way that resulted in a very powerful anointing swirling around him. I yearned to do whatever it took to carry that type of glory on my own life.

I’ve experienced similar manifestations several times, and each time leaves me crying out for a deeper hunger and a more resolute life.

Pastor John Kilpatrick was preaching at a Bay of the Holy Spirit remote event in Detroit. I was on the front row during this morning session enjoying the wisdom that John was releasing to us. Suddenly, in the middle of a point, he stopped. He simply said, “He’s here.”

As he gazed toward the rear of the auditorium, I turned my head and looked myself. You could see a wave of God’s glory moving from the back to the front, row by row. Then it hit me. If I had an unlimited vocabulary at my disposal, I would still not be able to describe that experience. Simply, God arrived.

There is no way that manifests except via a radically devoted life, a life that John Kilpatrick exemplifies. There are precious few who live this way.

1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” Isaiah 6:1-7 (ESV)

As we life consecrated lives, encounters are revelations will increase. The truth found in Scripture will explode off the pages. We will be undone. As with Isaiah, the revelations will result in a declaration of God’s holiness and our weakness and struggle. If there is sin in our lives, it will be instantly evident. Then, the fire will sear us and our redemption and deliverance will be made clear.

We will live with a never-ending burning in our spirits and a tremble that marks us forever.

If we want to experience the wonders of God, radical consecration is the only option.

5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” Joshua 3:5 (ESV)

THE TERROR OF HELL

The Terror of Hell Paperback 500Not only will we live tepid, powerless lives that are focused mostly on our own personal experience instead of laying our lives down for Jesus, but those who refuse to consecrate and devote in the place of intense prayer and surrender are at risk of eternal separation from God. There is a terror of Hell that the enemy is making ready for them to experience.

My book The Terror of Hell is a sobering message of how intimacy with Jesus and salvation in Jesus are related. In the encounter, I was dragged toward Hell. The terror I experienced was horrifying and fully indescribable. God spoke to me after the encounter and said, “John, many Christians will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.”

It’s possible that a Christian may be in a good place today, but in the future they may grow apathetic or they may lose their first love. Here’s a portion of an article based on my book:

A backslider is focused on his own condition, on his own comfort zone while a good man is in tune with the heart of God. His pleasure comes from intimacy with Father God. His pleasure comes from going where God is going, doing what he is doing and feeling what he is feeling. There is no sense of ease in the storm, but there is satisfaction and joy in the presence of God and by being in active agreement with him.
This message is a wake-up call for every one of us. Many wonderful people will be terribly shocked to find themselves separated from God forever.

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

This scripture is in reference to those who would call themselves Born Again Christians. People who have understood and actually flowed in the power of the Holy Spirit. They understood their heavenly position and earthly authority as they overcame demons. These were your miracle workers.

We need a wakeup call, church. We can’t presume to be in a place of safety simply because we said a prayer, go to church, give offerings and talk about Jesus. An intense pursuit of holiness and intimacy is required.

This is a message that must be shouted from the rooftops.

I can’t imagine multiplied millions of people who are current following Jesus in an unsaved condition crying out in terror one day, “I’m going to Hell? That’s impossible!”

“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. 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. 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)

WE MUST DIVE INTO THE DEEP

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. Revelation 3:1-2 (ESV)

Unbiblical “freedom theologies” reject the call to the deep. I’ve had people actually tell me that going deep is unnecessary. Others have called people out of the prayer rooms! They argue it’s an unnecessary practice if we truly understand that there is nothing left to be done. They say we just need to rest in our fully resolved position in Christ. Still others reject prayer movements like IHOPKC because their devotion to intercession is a devotion to unnecessary works.

I’ll be honest with you, I never thought I’d see entire movements of supposed Spirit-filled Christians standing in opposition to prayer!

Someone connected with me on Facebook recently and shared her desperation to see a prayer movement emerge in her region. She actually said she’s been involved in a church that’s all about revival, but they haven’t had a prayer meeting in ten years! I simply responded by confirming her suspicions: you can’t be a revival church without a fervent, consistent and supernatural culture of prayer. It’s impossible.

THE SUBMARINE DREAM

YOGA-12-7-2018 2.12.07 PM 00000000My wife and I were in a military grade nuclear submarine following behind a second submarine that contained my Father and Mother-in-law.

I was analyzing the situation, trying to gain understanding on what exactly were were doing while my wife was playfully looking through the periscope. Both submarines were staying at the surface of the water, and they were being used as tour vessels. The atmosphere was playful and carefree.

After a short time everybody was done playing and we decided to park the submarines alongside a long pier. We climbed out and walked down the pier and onto an ocean side boardwalk. There were people everywhere enjoying a beautiful sunny day. The restaurants and shops were full of activity.

We walked onto the sandy beach which was about one hundred yards from the submarines.

As we gazed out over the water, both submarines suddenly began leaving. They headed out toward deeper water.

My in-laws immediately started running into the water giving chase to the submarines. As they did, I was thinking that it was impossible for them to get anywhere near to the fast moving vessels and I didn’t understand why they had tried.

Then, my wife ran into the water as well.

What I saw next can’t easily be described in a way that is true to the emotion I felt. The water immediately began erupting as if a powerful hurricane was upon us. I was terrorized as I frantically tried to devise a plan to help. What I saw next drained every bit of hope from my being. A whirlpool opened up underneath my in-laws and sucked them under. Then, a second whirlpool took my wife.

I was screaming for help. A few people gathered around but could offer no help whatsoever. I called 911 and all I heard was this recording, “We can’t send help for an hour. We can’t send help for an hour.”

It looped over and over. I knew that THIS was the hour. I couldn’t wait! The emergency was upon us.

As I stood on the beach, hopeless, the scene changed.

Only a few days had passed yet it was now bitterly cold and the water had frozen over. There was at least ten feet of snow on top of the ice.

I started moving slowly, though as quickly as I could, through the snow in the direction of where the whirlpools were.

imageI started digging ferociously and what I saw next will forever be seared in my memory.

It was my wife, frozen. She was gone.

I ran back to the boardwalk and into a restaurant. I saw someone who had tried to help previously behind the counter of a sports bar. He was a volunteer firefighter in addition to working at the restaurant. I yelled, “Help! Help! I found her! I found her! Come quickly!”

He just casually said, “Sorry man, I’m working.”

What? I couldn’t believe what I heard. I said, “No, you don’t understand! I found my wife! I need help!”

He just said, “Sorry.” and then looked at a customer and said, “How can I help you?”

imageI ran back to the snow where my wife was buried. I thought that maybe, just maybe, since she was frozen that there was a chance she could be revived. I’ve heard of people freezing and their heart beat is slowed to almost nothing before being brought back.

As I was thinking about this I looked down at her, and there was a piece of paper right next to her frozen face.

I picked it up. All it said was, “Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die.”

Then I woke up.

Interpretation

When I woke up I was shaken to my core.

As I started to pray and analyze the dream, the following is what was highlighted to me:

  • The submarines: Vehicles represent ministry, and I believe the submarines represented the church. The church is not meant for casual play at the surface of the water. It’s a military weapon of war designed to move into the deep as it advances toward enemy targets. When the submarines left on their own, that represented the truth that the church will most certainly advance on its mission with or without us. We can be left behind as we continue our focus on entertainment and leisure if we so choose.
  • My family: Of course, this was a hard core part of the dream. The first reaction is to do everything I can to ensure those close to me are doing well and burning hot for Jesus. Beyond that, symbolically I feel they represented familiarity and presumption. It’s very easy to presume those who are close to us are most certainly doing well in their relationship with Jesus—and then to model our lives after theirs. What happens so often is that we can adopt their pace and their level of passion instead of staying locked in, on alert and advancing in the fire of God. The pressure of maintaining civilities and false-unity can result in a marginalized, lukewarm, casual disposition.

    This verse best represents what I am communicating:

    …I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Revelation 3:1

    We must be careful not to presume that we are alive and that others are alive simply because of the preceding reputations. There are many people with both a spiritual legacy and a name for being zealous who are doing little more than playing—and it’s possible that those people may be some of our closest friends, family, pastors and other personal heroes. Don’t measure your life by their grid. We must calibrate to the truth in scripture that will bring light to every issue of our heart.

    Then, we can be true awakeners. If we think people who are are asleep are already awake, then we will have no need to step into our roles as end-time prophetic messengers.

  • 911: I was sounding the alarm in a variety of ways including by calling 911. I also ran into the sports bar looking for help. Both rejected the alarm. It’s clear that the hour is now for awakening though even those trained as emergency responders won’t see it. What was the alarm? Those that have a reputation of being alive are dead! Wake up!
  • The storm: It was sudden, violent and really out of place. It didn’t make sense, but it wasn’t obligated to explain itself. If we would have been in the submarines AND in the deep, the storm would not have touched us.

    “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; Matthew 24:36-38

THE CALL

So, what’s the call?

It’s simple, and it’s directed to the church, to those who are to be in the deep:

Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Revelation 3:2

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:4-6

God instructed me to wrestle with Revelation 3:1. I've been burning hot for Jesus for over 20 years, yet, is it possible that my devotion is not as deep as I might think? Yes, it is possible.

God didn't accuse me of being dead. He didn't reveal that my passion was false. He simply wanted me to always consider the possibility that my reputation will always be at risk of being more intense than my reality.

…I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Revelation 3:1

It's time to go deep, to be awake and alert and then to awaken the sleepers…many who may have a reputation of being very much alive…but are not.

It’s time for revival, not the promotion of selfish “freedom theologies.” This is the hour.

CoFI Group Video: Four Fires Part 2

Watch a powerful teaching on dead religion, unbelief and experiencing the wonder of God!

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The new video switch and cameras are up and running! Check out the updated tech as you watch this week’s powerful teaching!


Are you carrying spices in your hands, expecting a dead Jesus? Are you doubting as you walk down the road to Emmaus? Come alive as you discover resurrection power in your life!

From Series: “CoFI Group – Four Fires

John discusses four specific keys to experiencing revival on a regional level. The call is to burn hot and to see that fire ignite in our churches and in our cities. This is a powerful teaching that will leave you more passionate for Jesus and for an outpouring then ever before!

WATCH THIS WEEK’S VIDEO AND DOWNLOAD THE TEACHING NOTES HERE!

The religious system’s fight against revival : A threat is coming to the church

Revival is a serious threat to the prevailing church structure as it will put at risk every comfort zone we know.

imageThe reformation that revival will facilitate will cause quite a resistance even from many of the most devoted Believers due to some significant threats to their comfort zones.

It’s important to understand that it’s a religious spirit that is the force behind anything that might resist a costly revival.

Religion is: man’s attempt to use God to get what he wants

Jesus threatened the church of the day—so the church killed him. They got what they wanted.

Today, it’s normal for many to attempt to use God or to use the church to get what they want. They want life to be comfortable and convenient. They want the church experience to be a certain way. They might shop around until they find the spiritual experience that meets their desires and demands. If people aren’t careful, they can unwittingly embrace a spirit of religion while minimizing the cost, the cross and the mandate to surrender all for the sake of Kingdom advance.

As revival approaches, here are some of the issues we will have to wrestle through:

  • All traditions are at risk: Traditions have the power to void the Word of God (Mat 15)! It’s no wonder God is so intent on resolving this issue. The coming reformation will impact many traditions that have become signatures of church as we know it. It’s imperative that we don’t resist the change that will affect the days and times we gather together, the style of worship we’ve become familiar with, programs, etc. The coming church will look nothing like the church we know today. Kim Clement said recently, “The church as we know it is being abolished.”
  • Pastors will have to face the risk of losing people, money and their reputations: The pressure for church growth, and the temptation to compete with other pastors and churches for the best ministry, is pretty extreme. Additionally, drastic change to the familiar church experience will be a serious threat to pastor’s salaries and retirements. The fear of loss will hit many. If people who are unwilling to buy into such a drastic change and such a zealous experience decide to leave the church, their money leaves with them. Further, if people leave the church, accusations of pastoral failure will start to fly. Reputations will be lost. The question is, is a move of God more important than security and position?
  • Local church missions will have to adjust: When revival lands, it will probably land in a single location. That location most likely won’t be our specific church. This means that local church leaders will have to have open hands and and be quick to release the people in their church to participate at a high level in the revival. The pastors will need to lead the people out as they join forces with the greater city church. When I went to the outpouring in Lakeland, Florida I was saddened that no church marquee gave any indication that they were cancelling some services so they could participate in the revival. Not one. I wonder if the threat of that revival caused them to lock everybody down and keep them far from that tent where the fire of God chose to manifest.
  • Investment will increase radically: The time, money and focus required to steward a revival is off the charts. Cares of life must finally be dealt with and preparations to spend day after day and dollar after dollar must be made. Lesser priorities will have to take a back seat to the coming ‘all hands on deck’ season.
    • Acts 2:46 (NKJV) 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple…
  • We will have to release control: The Holy Spirit is going to manifest in such bizarre and extreme measure that those who are nervous about such environments will be tempted to shut it down.
    • Acts 2:12-13 (NKJV) 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?" 13 Others mocking said, "They are full of new wine."
  • Most people don’t like change, and that is a problem: Leaders tend to shy away from alienating the people they are leading, but a crisis is coming. The change that’s coming to the church will cause most to vehemently resist. Will we as leaders respond to God or man? Peter, interested in man ahead of God, unwittingly renounced the great change and cost of the cross, and Jesus gave him one of the strongest rebukes in scripture. Peter was embracing religion, the desire to use God and eliminate the cross. This religious disposition is a serious risk to revival.
    • Mark 8:31-33 (ESV) 31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
  • Sharp yet love filled prophetic messages must be preached: In Acts 2 direct and prophetic teaching was a direct result of the outpouring. The days of sloppy grace and tickled ears must come to an end.
    • Acts 2:36-37 (NKJV) 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

The systems that we have developed are about to be destroyed as God paves the way for the coming church. The revival that’s nearly hear will be both great and terrible. It won’t be a series of nice meetings, but rather it will break a lot so that the love and abundant life of Jesus can be felt in much fuller measure.

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?

Invite John Burton to bring a message of fire to your church or conference

“Last night your message was incredible!  I was trembling the whole message and my spirit was coming alive!”~Ruth

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Head on over to www.johnburton.net/booking and learn more about what John can bring to your church or conference. He’s a burning revivalist with a deep passion for the advance of the church.

He just finished his sixth book, Pharaoh in the Church, a burning message of reform and transformation in the wilderness of encounter. He is able to minister on that topic or on any number of others.

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BIO

  • Planted Revival Church in the Detroit region
  • Directed one of the four major internships at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City
  • Planted Revolution House of Prayer in Manitou Springs, Colorado
  • Appeared on The Miracle Channel program, The Bridge
  • Has written six books including 20 Elements of Revival
  • Has led two city-wide prayer initiatives
  • Is launching theLab internship in Detroit (www.revivallab.com)
  • Have been active in ministry for 20 years

On the booking site, you can fill out a form and we’ll be in touch shortly! Pharaoh-in-the-Church-Box-Shot-032511

TESTIMONIES:

I listened to Sundays message again. I’m so messed up, tears, groans, trembling (can barely type) such an anointing…o God, give us your heart and let us take heed to the call to prayer. I see us on the verge of a deep valley (the glory) (the radical call) God is saying just take the step down and let go. Make the changes and you will see my glory manifest in Detroit! – Michele

So much fear and bondage has broken off my life. I am very grateful for John’s persistence in calling out destiny in people’s lives and the deliverance anointing that is on his life.  I am grateful that he is not afraid to make clear the mandate for God’s people to raise the bar in their lives so they will be a people who are deeply in love with God and willing to follow Him wherever He leads.  God is calling more to take the challenge and live the adventure!  Don’t hesitate to respond! – Amy

God called you last night to rip open a revival in me, and it was REAL – building on the call and the BURNING I felt last Friday. Truly the Holy Spirit spoke into my life and burned through me – I was shaking from my feet up, like I was boiling. Your prophecies spoke to deep, deep rooted lies and hurts. I left wanting more -I woke up in the middle of the night still talking to God. I asked him to keep my revival going through my dreams so I would not have to let go of Him – and I dreamt all night of praising Him powerfully. There is such a strong desire in me for more intimate encounters with the Spirit. I ache – ACHE to hear his voice, and PRAISE JESUS I have HIM with me always! I will be back and I am ready to be part of God’s incredible work here in Detroit!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for ushering us into that closeness with the Holy Spirit. His calls keep getting louder – and I want nothing more than to respond. -Katie

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