Posts Tagged ‘upper room’

Overcoming the Stigma of Small Churches

If a church is small, does that mean God’s favor isn’t there or that the pastor has failed? Not always.

Given a choice, I’d attend a large, impactful and vibrant church. That’s simply a preference of mine, though I understand why many others prefer smaller churches. Additionally, given a choice, I’d prefer to lead a large, impactful and vibrant church instead of a smaller one. The key words are impactful and vibrant. Over nearly three decades of ministry, however, I’ve learned that large does not always equal successful, small doesn’t always equal failure and a lack of numeric growth doesn’t always equal stagnant. It’s time we overcome the stigma of the small church.

MY STORY

Like most young church planters or pastors, my vision for the church I was leading included explosive numeric growth. That seemed to be the non-negotiable, obvious part of the ministry plan that required no explanation. Starting and developing a church clearly demanded attracting people to the mission as a core strategy. In fact, the Ekklesia is defined by three distinct marks: People. Leadership. Instruction.

The Ekklesia is a gathering of people in the region under governmental authority in order to receive apostolic instruction. More simply, it’s people coming together under God ordained leadership to fulfill a mission. So, yes, people are needed if you want to lead a church.

Some of my most memorable church planting moments include an empty 700 square foot room in Manitou Springs, Colorado where I’d pray, usually alone, in the early stages of our church launch there. Eighteen years have passed and a lot of lessons have been learned, but those hours on my knees or pacing around that room were the foundation of my church planting experience.

I’ll eliminate the countless remarkable stories, miracles, supernatural encounters and other happenings that spurred the church development process, both there in Manitou Springs and also in Detroit where we planted our second church. I’ve written about these miracles and wonders in some of my books (www.burton.tv/resources), but suffice it to say, I’m humbled at how God moved. In fact, I’m stunned at just how much God did. I and many others will never be the same, and for all eternity we will be able to praise God for what he did in those seasons.

INTENTIONAL “FAILURE”

To this day I wonder if my two church planting exercises were massive tests—for me. I know for sure that both contained many tests, but my question is about the comprehensive experience. Did God call me to plant two churches mostly to develop me personally and to test my heart? Certainly there were enough stories of impacted lives to fill many books and countless articles, so I don’t question whether the ministry was legitimate or not. I’ll be forever wrecked by the transformation that resulted in people in those two regions, in those two seasons. Watching lives supernaturally transformed before my eyes caused tears to flow.

Yet, as God truly branded many people with his fire in those many years of ministry, I do wonder if God was mostly testing me. Would I be more interested in growing my legacy, my ministry, my church and my reputation—not to mention my bank account—or, was I truly in it for love and to minister to the heart of God?

In both Manitou Springs and Detroit we saw the churches grow. People to this day count those years among the best of their lives. God was drawing people together and we were contending for revival together.

In both Manitou Springs and Detroit, God tested my heart. It was difficult to say the least. Crushing even. To simplify what he was doing, he called us to go deeper and to raise the bar higher. The cost of consecration and the call to fervent intercession became a much greater focus (and we were already known for being an edgy, intense ministry). While we had amazing people in both churches, I knew the decision to become even more revival focused, even more intercession driven and even more devoted to a consecrated, holy lifestyle would result in many people disengaging. I knew it. I was troubled. God was calling me to “intentional failure.”

I’ll never forget the key moments in both places when God nailed me to the ground and directed me to surrender all, including my reputation. There were many cries and questions during the many hours of prayer in those two defining seasons in Colorado and Michigan. If I obeyed God and introduced a new wine, reformation church that was very unique and specific to our particular mission, those who were mostly invested in the church experience for reasons other than revival, reformation, intercession and revolution would most definitely jump ship. That would be almost everybody. Literally. No exaggeration.

I was right. That’s exactly what happened. I could have stayed the course and watched the churches continue to grow and “thrive,” possibly into several hundred in number. I have no doubt that I could have chosen growth over God, and that freaks me out. It would have been very easy to spiritualize my decision and avoid the pointed fingers and accusations of failure by continuing on the way we started. And I would have failed some of my most critical tests. I would have satisfied people and rejected God and the church would have grown. That is absolutely terrifying.

Attempting to transition a passionate, Spirit-filled, fiery church into a church that’s even hotter, more costly and one that results in a terrifying tremble in our spirits is not for the feint of heart. You see, there are many who absolutely love to warm themselves by the fire, but very few who are willing to lay across the fire as it consumes their flesh as a sacrifice to the one they love.

Piece of Cake 200FAILURE DOESN’T DEFINE YOU

If small churches have a stigma attached to them, and failure has a stigma attached to it, failed churches most definitely have a stigma attached! But why?

Stop and think about it. Pastor, I want you to be free from the finger-pointing and cruel accusations if you struggle to grow your church or if you fail altogether. Has anybody figured out why failure in this manner is such a negative for some people? Failure in man’s eyes means little. The question is, are you growing in God? Are you truly obedient to God even if such obedience results in people presuming you are weak? (By the way, we are all weak!)

Here’s a portion of an article based on my book Piece of Cake, which deals directly with the stigma of failure:

One of the greatest fears man has is that of failure. It invites scrutiny, accusation and mocking—but society’s greatest leaders embrace a culture of failure!

The goal isn’t to look like you know what you are doing, the goal is to experiment, try, fail, try again, grow, have epiphanies, gain knowledge, fail again and ultimately succeed!

Success doesn’t develop experts nearly as well as failure does.

Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” (attributed to Thomas Edison)

If we understand the scope of our project, it’s actually quite insane to presume we will accomplish it without significant and repeated failures.

Yes, you are going to fail. Go ahead and wrestle with it now, you can’t avoid it. I don’t mean ultimate failure, of course. But, I do mean that you will pray much, do your best to gain insight from God, consider your best options, seek wisdom from others and then move out with at least a measure of confidence—and you will experience failure!

Failure should not intimidate you! People will presume you to be inadequate, confused or immature during your experimenting.

Most young ministers crave for others to see them as successful and steady with a pipeline directly into the command center of Heaven. The reality? We see in part. We understand little. We have clarity on a small part of the big picture, and when we initiate action, others will watch as we stumble and struggle. Are you OK with that?

THE STIGMA OF SMALL CHURCHES

I’ve heard it said that small is the new big. I believe that is true for many, though we have to be careful not to use that as a cop out. There are some leaders out there who have what it takes to grow a large church yet their lack of personal growth, faith and surrender is standing in the way. Small is the new big only if God has called a particular ministry to be small. There are a lot of silly excuses pastors give for having a small church, just as there are many compromises pastors make to have a large church.

I know we could have easily seen our churches grow moderately large, but I also know I’m probably not gifted enough to lead anything in the thousands. But, in reality, if I honestly analyze God’s mandate on my life, I may not be able to stay true to God’s call while leading more than a hundred—if that. Twice I have traded my ability to grow a church for God’s mandate for a small army of zeroed in warriors. You have no idea how thankful I am that I didn’t fail those tests (though I’ve certainly failed a bunch of other tests over the years! I’m thankful for God’s grace and mercy!).

Further, many pastors simply are not equipped or called to lead a large ministry, yet they expend ridiculous amounts of energy trying to fill the seats.

Pastors, if you have a small church, it could be that you aren't gifted to lead a larger one. God didn't give you that ability. Leadership doesn't come naturally to you. The quicker you can admit that, if it's in fact true, the quicker you can shift expectations and pivot into strategies that take advantage of what you are gifted at.

There's such a stigma regarding small churches. People presume them to be failures. Why is that? Numeric growth should not be the barometer of health and success.

The moment you realize it's okay to be small, the stress and pride and anxiety will fall off. Joy will return as you enjoy being who God created you to be.

The truly scary reality is that many people are naturally gifted to lead a large church or ministry, but God has actually called them to lay that on the altar—and they don’t. They can’t imagine the ridicule, the mocking, the accusation and the massive price that would come if they took their church in a direction that few would join them in.

In fact, I wonder how many mighty church growth visions are being fulfilled as Ishmaels instead of Isaacs. I propose churches all over the world be laid on the altar of sacrifice as God brings redefinition and redirection. The revival we are yearning for requires a sacrifice—a surrender of personal ambition and dreams of success. Put it all on the altar. It requires the church is birthed supernaturally, as Isaac was, not naturally as Ishmael was.

I often think about heroes like Leonard Ravenhill. I would imagine if Ravenhill had decided to start his own church, it would probably be initially well attended, and then a colossal failure. His rebukes of the church that he’s so well known for in his writings would most definitely drive the typical church goer away with mocking and accusations flying out of their mouths. You see, if he would have experienced failure such as this, it wouldn’t be his failure, it would be the failure of those who rejected the call to respond.

Leonard Ravenhill received a lot of criticism about his view of the church being weak witnesses for Christ. He sought to rekindle the fire of the church into the devotion that the first century church had. To him, the greatest tragedy was not sinful activities of the world; it was a sick church in a dying world and so he thought, “Save the church and you will save the world!” Leonard Ravenhill was an old time preacher that warned of the wrath of God, hellfire, heaven, the need for repentance, confession of sin, living a life of holiness. ~Jack Wellman

IF I DECIDED TO PLANT MY THIRD CHURCH

I’d encourage you to read an article I wrote about just what my third church plant might look like, should God direct me to launch one: What My Third Church Plant Might Look Like.

Here’s a portion:

We Will Be Intentionally Small

Understand, I'm someone who absolutely loves large-group meetings. I love praying and contending with thousands of people at various conferences and events. I also would have no problem with a church that does in fact explode in number as a result of revival. I believe we will see that.

However, after 26 years, much of that in pastoral ministry developing churches, I no longer value growing numerically for the sake of numbers. I don't get excited when more people show up, unless those people are hungry and ready to engage God with us at an extreme level.

I believe the sharp, offensive messages that will be preached, the call for 100 percent of the people to be invested in supernatural, fervent prayer and the extreme commitment necessary to advance apostolically will repel most people. Only a remnant will be left. It's with that remnant that we can preach what much be preached, pray what must be prayed and do what must be done to prepare a region for revival.

IT’S TIME FOR REMNANT CHURCHES—WHICH MEANS MOST CURRENT CHURCH MEMBERS WILL LEAVE

Large churches can be a serious threat to revival—or a great strength to revival. We cannot measure success by the number of people who are attending. We must measure by the number of remnant Christians who are fully devoted and being equipped and marked by God in the fires of intercession. Again, some leaders can gather a small group of firebrands and some can gather hundreds or thousands. The key is the temperature of the fire and the level of surrender. When the fire gets hot, many will leave.

We have too many churches filled with people who are marginally interested in a move of God. They would be counted among those who rejected the call to the Upper Room. Understand, what happened in that Upper Room resulted in the launch of the church. If we don’t see tongues of fire igniting above everyone in attendance, and we don’t feel the wind of the Spirit of God blowing through the place, we have to know our church is either compromised or not ready.

The call must be so severe that most people reject it. Hundreds rejected the opportunity to be a part of the Upper Room prayer meeting. Those who did respond changed the world and ultimately impacted billions.

So, yes, when I gave leadership to the churches in Manitou Springs and in Detroit, I was so hungry for God to move more in the region than in my own meetings that I refused to pursue church growth at the cost of obedience and the greater vision. Those were painful years that resulted in a lot of tears as people moved on to other places. Understand, I don’t blame these people. Many are great friends who simply had a different focus in their lives. It’s easy for us to presume such decisions are black and white, but they rarely are. People are at all different places in life, and sometimes one crazy and wild church may just not be what God has for them at that time. I understand that.

I blessed those who left, as difficult as it was to see them go, but I knew my heart was pure and my decision to contend for revival and God’s plan instead of growing my church was correct. Would I do some things differently? Of course. But, the final, big decision to say yes to God and no to personal ambition was the only decision that really mattered.

BE ENCOURAGED

Simply do what God calls you to do. Period. It really is that basic. There are many pastors that would be better served entering the marketplace. Others need to come to terms with the size of their ministry. Others have to mature and develop before they will see the next level. But, don’t allow people’s analysis of your progress control you or impact you emotionally. People, even many Christians, love to capitalize on someone who is down, and they will use that opportunity to elevate themselves. Just let them. It’s okay. Love them and trust God. All eternity will be marked by the way you respond to people and challenges. It truly is a glorious thing to be free from the scrutiny of others as we allow the fear of the Lord to overcome us. He is truly a very good Father who is cheering you on, not stepping on your neck when you are down and broken.

It’s time to start scaring visitors away from our churches

Many are working hard to attract the wrong crowd on Sunday—and the result is an Ichabod church.

We soon won’t be able to define going to church the way we do now. God is coming to reform, to crush structures of old for what is to be introduced very soon. Our call isn’t to stand strong until the shift comes, it’s to prophetically sound the alarm and awaken those at risk! God is coming! The force from Heaven, the celestial asteroid, is going to impact the Church, and most pastors and people will resist with everything that’s within them. Man-made support systems will be removed. People’s financial and relational structures will be threatened by this strange new spiritual invasion. The human wisdom and natural common sense that have been involved in the development of the current church structure will not be usable in the new. Those who walk by sight are in danger. ~The Coming Church, John Burton

The-Coming-Church-Paperback(Thin)300

I've met countless pastors and others who say they are focused on revival, but who are misguided on exactly what it is. Their focus is on attracting people to the church, on people getting “saved” and on other church growth strategies.

The problem? The foundational pursuit of revival has nothing to do with church growth or the lost. It has everything to do with the church awakening, contending in intercession and attracting the fire of the Holy Spirit.

The lost didn't show up in the Upper Room. Marginal followers of Jesus were repelled by the Upper Room.

Revival isn't marked by a full house. Revival starts in a room that reveals the remnant. The revival that erupted in that roomful of remnants resulted in explosive church growth and Kingdom advance.

Premature church growth will result in a multiplication of lukewarm, dead and dying people who have no idea what it feels like to have tongues of fire igniting over top of them.

1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Acts 2:1-3 (ESV)

VISITORS SHOULD BE SHAKEN BY WHAT THEY SEE IN THE CHURCH.

The pure Christian message of surrender, repentance, holiness, intercession and rescuing souls from Hell has been replaced by a self-centered gospel that boldly affirms a focus on benefits without cost, on personal gain without sacrifice, on freedom without consecration. The Church has been unapologetically and boldly focused on how to have faith to receive while forsaking the call to have faith to give. The spirit of the age infiltrated churches long ago—and now, all too often, that demonic spirit is the primary counselor. ~The Coming Church, John Burton

It’s time self-focused, semi-interested people are no longer given the opportunity to demand what they are looking for in a church. It’s time to close up the welcome centers and put away the welcome gifts. When presented with the unmistakable burning only a supernatural church can offer, their decision to stay or leave will be immediate. I’ve often said that one indicator of the Holy Spirit moving in power is that bystanders will do one of two things. They will either marvel or they will mock.

12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” Acts 2:12-13 (ESV)

When naturally minded people walk into a furnace of intercession, a place that is electric with supernatural activity, they should be radically unsettled, yet so many church assimilation teams today attempt to make the environment as familiar and comfortable as possible.

I’ve often heard pastors admit they hide the pre-service prayer (for those who have pre-service prayer at all!) in a side room instead of filling the sanctuary with groans of intercession because they don’t want to freak out the soon-arriving visitors. I’ve heard that many, many times and I was grieved every time. There are a few legitimate reasons why prayer might not work in the sanctuary prior to the service in some churches, but that’s not one of them. If we are attempting to introduce people into the wonder of a supernatural encounter with Jesus, why would we, at the same time, work so hard at shielding their eyes? I propose bringing the fire and the groan right into the heart of the Sunday service! Those who remain will be the laborers you need to fulfill your mission.

Many years ago, when I first started Revolution Church in Manitou Springs, Colorado, I worked hard at assimilating visitors. I would excitedly connect with them and share just how much they would enjoy making our church their new home. It didn’t take long for me to start feeling like a used-car salesman; dirty; compromised. My strategy grieved my spirit. The truth was that our atmosphere and our vision were called by God to be driven by intercession and marked by a strong prophetic emphasis. The messages were intense. Revolution Church was not designed for those who would be marginally committed (as no church is}. The “Sunday go to meeting” Christians would, by choice, not remain for long.

The reality was, that by attempting to attract those types of people, I was compromising the vision. The church needed the remnant who would lock in and pray, who would contend for revival and who would endure with great strength. A large group of non-remnant people would be a distraction. Years would be lost. Lives would be at risk. Eternities would be in danger.

So, I shifted. I started literally trying to scare people away from our church.

To the dismay of those who simply want to hear a little worship and listen to good (and short) teaching, services will become more like prayer meetings. This is one of the most critical and most upsetting shifts that will come–and it must come now. Today, most of the energy church leadership teams expend is usually on attracting and keeping visitors instead of training and engaging intercessors. ~The Coming Church, John Burton

A CHURCH ON FIRE

America doesn’t need another bed-and-breakfast church that comforts our flesh (our natural desires). Our nation needs a Church with a volatile atmosphere that explodes, burns human flesh and shocks our culture. ~The Coming Church, John Burton

I knew we were called to lead a church on fire, and that just wasn’t possible with tepid, resistant, lukewarm people.

1 …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… Revelation 3:1-2 (ESV)

I was confident that, if I clearly shared the wild, costly, other-worldly vision that God had given us, and how people at our church were called to invest into that vision, that those who would not be interested in such a lifestyle would not return. Understand, my invitation for them to run with us was genuine. Our door was wide open. When I say “I tried to scare them away” I mean I was simply authentic. I stripped off the suit of a salesman and shared my raw, passionate dream of God to advance with a team of zealots for Jesus. Such an invitation was all I needed to see who was deeply hungry for revival and who was not. I would do my best to help those people connect in another local church. I’d give them the names of some churches they might enjoy. While I truly wanted the very best for them, it always broke my heart when they decided against adopting a lifestyle of intercession and revival. That lifestyle is not for a specialized few. It’s for all.

This resulted in a confidence that those who remained were, in most cases, part of our remnant, firebrands who would dig in and assimilate with our tribe of revivalists.

When you spend energy attracting the mildly committed, you compromise your entire vision. Simply, you need soldiers to become equipped and ready to lay down their lives and fight for the freedom of souls in the region.

I believe it’s core to the mission of the church to give opportunity for people to clearly evaluate their commitment and to give room for them to leave. The intensity of the truth demands it. We must call people out of a natural life and into the supernatural, out of a casual place and into radical surrender.

63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” John 6:63-67 (ESV)

Understand, similar to the way Jesus ministered in the above passage along with other key examples in Scripture, the Upper Room served as a filter. It filtered out those who weren’t radically devoted. Most were repelled by the call to pray. The agenda did not change in the hopes of assimilating more people. The disciples loved them as they went their way…and then they turned the world upside down with the few who remained as a result. What filters do you have in your church, pastor, to call people to a transparent, genuine place of soul searching and decision? You must start and continue with an Upper Room atmosphere and an offensive, flesh-crushing Gospel message.

It’s important to remember that the Ekklesia, the church gathering, was not designed for the lost. So many pastors get derailed on this point alone. The church is a house of prayer for all nations. The predominant church activity should be white hot intercession with tongues of fire atop everyone, with groans filling the atmosphere. It’s a remnant ministry. This call is for all who call themselves Christian.

If you build a church with people who won’t devote themselves to the prayer room, you build your church with those who are disinterested at best and lukewarm at worst. Your church will be a low-water-level church. It will be a place where the fire can’t rage. It will be naturally familiar with distant, elusive, marginally supernatural dreams. Pipe dreams.

Christians who aren’t invested in fervent, supernatural prayer will be enticed by the natural familiarity of Ichabod churches (where the glory has departed). ~The Coming Church, John Burton

WHAT ABOUT THE SEEKERS?

A question I hear from very good-hearted people is this: What do we do with people who are seeking? Do we just turn them away?

We absolutely don’t turn them away! We invite them into the furnace. We do not turn down the fire. We turn it up! Those who are hungry for God must not be introduced to a tepid, natural environment with an image of God that looks just like themselves. Reveal the glory of our mysterious, fiery, living God and watch them collapse to their knees in desperation!

However, as I have stated already, many will choose to leave at the sight of something so alien and costly. That’s a choice they themselves have a right to make.

Again, we must faithfully reveal the cost of following Jesus. We don’t come on our terms. We come on God’s. Too many are interested in warming their flesh by the fire instead of their flesh being consumed by the fire.

23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For 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.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:23-30 (ESV)

Many will turn away sad. Even the most devoted will feel the severity of a life devoted to Jesus. They will cry out, “Then who can be saved?” That tension will result in a church that is sober and on fire and something that true seekers will give themselves to. Pretenders will certainly go away sad as the remnant church is revealed.

My lifelong commitment in ministry is this: I refuse to tone down the activity of the Holy Spirit out of respect of those less hungry.

That commitment requires everything I do to have the smell of smoke. In fact, pastors, one reason even the most devoted people aren’t coming to your prayer meetings is simple—they are dead, humanistic and boring. They are logically driven. They are simply a rehashing of what the natural mind can discern. As someone who comes alive in prophetic, prayer-fueled environments, I aggressively avoid powerless prayer meetings that are driven by lists of needs and human understanding. I don’t want my soul activated. I want my spirit to burn! I think tired, powerless petition-driven prayer meetings can do more damage than good much of the time. Do your prayer meetings have the smell of smoke? Are tongues of fire resting on everybody? If not, don’t be surprised when the even the most devoted disciples are no-shows.

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 likeminded 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.

My challenge to pastors is simple. Risk everything. Allow your church to dwindle, if necessary, to a few remnant people who will live, pray, walk and advance in the Spirit. The world is waiting for them.

You can download a free chapter and order The Coming Church by John Burton at www.burton.tv/resources.

Revival Games and Glory Meetings: A radical misunderstanding of just what we are pursuing

Revival Games—The grand prize is not what we think it is.

There are over 19,000 cities in this nation, and none of them are experiencing revival. None. Zero.

Of course, God is moving in unique and legitimate ways in various small pockets all over the world, but not on a regional level anywhere in America.

I propose a primary reason this is the case is the focus of our efforts.

Most are seeking after glory meetings, soaking sessions and sign and wonder events instead of zeroing in on the costly, sobering, prophetic call to repent, consecrate and lay down our lives.

game noun \ˈgām\ An active interest or pursuit; activity engaged in for diversion or amusement

Revival is not a game designed for our amusement.

Revival demands an extreme lifestyle of surrender, intercession and a precise, searing laser focus.

The games that too many are playing today have an end goal of having an experience with God in a powerful corporate setting. You may be scratching your head at what I just wrote. Why would having an experience with God together with other hungry people be a negative pursuit? It wouldn’t. Read it again:

The games that too many are playing today have an end goal of having an experience with God in a powerful corporate setting.

If there’s an event where God is manifesting in supernatural power, I’ll be the first one there and the last one out. I’ll be on my face for hours, days and weeks if possible. I’ve been in many such atmospheres, and it’s impossible to describe just how overwhelming God’s manifest presence can be. Having an experience with God isn’t the problem. Pursuing that experience as an end goal is the problem.

When we play the revival game, the grand prize is limited to a personal encounter with God. I know, that seems like a risky thing to say. How can I even consider that an audience with the King of Glory is an insufficient reward? That sounds absurd if not slightly blasphemous!

However, we must stop and consider this point closely.

I believe revival is not exploding in our cities because we have been satisfied to settle for a personal encounter with God instead of aggressively laboring for millions of others to be overwhelmed by him.

The mission has been limited to our own experience. When we are full, we stop.

True revival isn’t a game, and we don’t stop when we win. We don’t stop when we are full. We start when we are full.

This issue is currently costing us greatly.

People are vacating churches because they don’t perceive the glory is being pursued. The soldiers are more focused on the benefits than the battle, and the enemy is gaining ground.

It’s not about us. It’s about the nations, and we must all be in position every time the church doors are open, on our face, praying night and day no matter how dry the environment is.

Twenty-Elements-of-Revival-Box-ShotINTERNATIONAL IMPACT

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. Acts 2:1

In my book 20 Elements of Revival, I map out a step-by-step process of revival based on Acts chapter 2.

The first step, or element, is agreement. We can’t pretend to think we’ll experience God together, much less revival, if we aren’t submitted, agreed and in position.

Today, if people don’t sense a glory meeting or other type of experience is the goal, they will check out. They become conference hoppers looking for the latest, greatest supernatural rush—all while the true remnant is dying to their opinions, praying night and day and crying out to God together. They are unified.

The second element is what I call an extreme devotion of time. They were all together in one place, and refused to leave until the Promise arrived. Today? Finding people to stay in position as commissioned soldiers is nearly impossible. Our American life offers way too much, or demands too much, for us to consider our call to pray and advance in the church to be a primary devotion.

The third and fourth elements deal with the necessity for the atmosphere to be charged with supernatural power and for everybody in the mission to be driven by it.

And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:2-4

This brings us to element number five: International Focus.

The Upper Room wasn’t about the Upper Room. It wasn’t a glory meeting for people to enjoy. It was a supernatural equipping center for only those most devoted to the cause. It burned through everybody there, and what they experienced resulted in international impact.

God’s power, glory and truth pierced Jerusalem and the hearts of the people who had gathered from the nations.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” Acts 2:5-12

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

What does this mean? This is the question that will launch a revival.

How ridiculous does it seem to consider that the 120 in the Upper Room would have just focused on enjoying themselves! That historic moment in human history where super invaded natural was not about a glory meeting! It wasn’t about personal satisfaction. It was about the nations.

This must grip us. Today we must have a remnant people who will stop seeking after personal satisfaction at the cost of Earth rocking revival.

There was a major stadium event being planned in Detroit a few years ago. People were called to gather together to pray on fire for the passions on the heart of God.

In preparation for this massive meeting I had the privilege of attending one of the pastor’s prayer sessions. There were around 40 or 50 pastors and leaders there, and as we entered into prayer, a holy hush came over all of us. In that place of sober silence I received a sharp prophetic word for all of us in attendance:

Pastors and leaders, we cannot look to this event, where thousands of people will gather, as an opportunity to grow our own ministries. If we are participating because we are holding out hope that people and resources will come into our churches as a result, we must repent. God will judge all who attempt to use this pure, holy, solemn assembly for their own satisfaction and gain.

Groans were heard filling the room.

When we stop seeking after personal gain and start looking at the masses who are currently sentenced to Hell, our motives will change. Our intercession will explode. Our expectations for revival will shift dramatically.

The power of God will radiate out of our prayer room into the nations and all will be provoked for an answer to their desperate question, “What does this mean?”

Our response will then be like Peter’s: we will preach the Word in power and people will be cut to the heart.

A glory meeting, no matter how intense or widespread, cannot be considered revival. Only when a message of repentance results, and when people respond in mass can we even begin to hope revival is near.

Is it possible there are no people alive today who have experienced legitimate revival? Many believe Azusa and the Welsh Revival were the last true moves of God that could be defined as revival. That was a very long time ago.

ENCOUNTERING GOD

When we have an experience with God, the goal is not to remain on our faces.

Many people didn’t understand why the awakening that occurred a few years ago at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City was eventually deemphasized. I directed one of the four primary internships at IHOPKC for a short season, so I understand at least in part the culture and the vision. The mandate is to pray. I wasn’t there when the awakening broke out, and I’m sure if I was I would have been on my face as often as I could have!

Why did Mike Bickle allow the awakening to settle down? I won’t pretend to have the answer, but I’d at least like to offer a hypothesis. The end goal for IHOPKC isn’t a glory meeting or a local awakening. It’s prayer for the nations.

I am actually in awe of that ministry. Unlike so many others who burn out after a move of God lands, IHOPKC didn’t miss a beat and they didn’t violate their primary purpose. They stayed in the prayer room through the awakening and didn’t pull back when it ended. They had work to do. They were on their face, and then were put back on their feet. I’ll explain that powerful principle in just a moment.

Understand, I am one who is addicted to the love, power and glory of the Lord Jesus! When his presence manifests in a weighty glory, I can just stay on my face forever! The biblical norm for believers is to experience the weighty presence of the Holy Spirit regularly.

However, there is more—much more. And, there is a greater goal than simply experiencing God myself. Others must know about him.

Consider just how intense our God is:

As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal. Ezekiel 1:4

This is the glory of the Lord!

When God touches us, we can expect to fall over as dead!

Consider this:

  • Lightning is a created force—and if it strikes you, you will fall over as dead.
  • Angels are created beings—and people fall over as dead when they encounter them.
  • What happens when we encounter the Creator?! We can’t presume to just stand there and grin with a hand lifted up when God truly touches us! We will fall over as dead!

I’ll admit, the experience is so phenomenal, so shocking, that it would be easy to just stay in that place, after a supernatural lightning strike puts us on the floor. But, when we stay there, the hope of revival fades.

I was at the International House of Prayer one day when God moved in great power. Someone who had recently attended the Lakeland outpouring was shaking under the presence of God. He came over to me and prophesied over me. I got hit by fire! I fell over and he immediately picked me up and said, “You are going to have to learn to stand and minister under this anointing.”

He was right. I couldn’t just lay there and enjoy the moment. There was work to be done, and I had just experienced the necessary power to do it.

ON YOUR FACE. ON YOUR FEET. ON YOUR FACE.

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. Ezekiel 1:28

Ezekiel was rocked and he hit his face. But, notice that he doesn’t stay there:

And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.”  And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. Ezekiel 2:1-2

Ezekiel couldn’t enjoy his glory encounter for long. He was being encountered by God Almighty for a purpose, and the purpose wasn’t just to bless Ezekiel:

And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. Ezekiel 2:3-5

Messengers and divine messages always precede revival, and Ezekiel was to carry and release a word that was necessary to be heard. If Israel responded, revival would erupt. If not, judgment would come. True messages of revival always include revelation on both mercy and judgment, on revival and rebuke.

See, the Spirit is looking for a people who he can set on its feet. He is ready to empower us to use our feet to walk in the Spirit and to awaken a sleeping generation.

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

Then, again we see God striking Ezekiel and standing him back up:

So I arose and went out into the valley, and behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the Chebar canal, and I fell on my face.  But the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and he spoke with me and said to me, “Go, shut yourself within your house. Ezekiel 3:23-24

We see how invested Ezekiel was in revival in Israel. He didn’t stay in a soaking session simply enjoying God’s presence. He was obedient and instant in his response as God gave him his directives. He was set on his feet to go to his house…and to experience distress over the state of the nation:

And you, O son of man, behold, cords will be placed upon you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people. And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house. Ezekiel 3:25-27

Ezekiel wasn’t playing revival games, seeking his own amusement! He was repeatedly stricken and put upright by his Commander!

WARN THE CHURCH

In Revelation chapter one John has a similar encounter with God. He also fell, but clearly he was not to soak in God’s presence. He was given a critical mission to warn the church.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. Revelation 1:10-20

John immediately started writing what was revealed to him. Again, the call was for revival.

SO, WHAT ABOUT GLORY MEETINGS?

As I said, we should expect God to show up in extreme glory at times. This is very good and absolutely biblical.

God finally took Ezekiel into a place of glory:

Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever… Ezekiel 43:1-7

This is revival! The glory of the Lord filling the temple and the glory of the Lord covering the Earth! This is revival! Even though, as in the continuing drama in the book of Ezekiel, many won’t respond, the spirit of revival will arrive and God will be glorified.

In Acts 2, many marveled and many mocked. While revival can and should impact a city and a nation, the mark of revival is not comprehensive response. The mark is the glory of God filling the region. When that happens, most will rebel more distinctly, but the remnant will be found. The wheat and the tares will be defined.

“As for you, son of man, describe to the house of Israel the temple, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and they shall measure the plan. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, that is, its whole design; and make known to them as well all its statutes and its whole design and all its laws, and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe all its laws and all its statutes and carry them out. Ezekiel 43:10-11

So, yes, we will find ourselves on our face before the Lord in glorious victory and true revival…but, the point I’ve been driving home must be clarified again:

The goal isn’t our experience in God’s glory—it’s the experience of the nations!

The process is simple:

  1. On our face: Get struck by God in a place of extreme consecration, prayer and obedience.
  2. On our feet: Be put on your feet to minister the messages of God to a sleeping and rebellious generation.
  3. On our face: Experience revival—God is worshiped by the nations and his glory fills the Earth.

On our face. On our feet. On our face.

…and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14

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

An offensive church

There’s a way to develop a church that will provide extreme opportunity for offense—and also the promise of great power.

FIRST—the situation in this nation is extremely serious. Pray with us for favor and open doors to get the prophetic message of revival, reformation in the church and city strategies out to the masses. Some have come to us feeling we must get on the radio or on television as soon as possible. If you can give toward this, please do! www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/donate. (15 minutes a day on a popular radio station in Detroit will cost around $2400 a month)

AN OFFENSIVE CHURCH

In a hyper-grace church world, the type of message that I was rocked with on Sunday night might be dismissed or even renounced. Our ministries have become conditioned by the perceived needs and demands of the seekers instead of the demands of scripture for radical surrender. Even when discussing the concept of revival, most believe that it will enhance their churches, while in reality revival brings us back to the cross—and anything in our churches that doesn’t embrace the cross will be crushed.

Revival, when it comes, may actually result in many churches closing down under the pressure of the offensive demands of the cross. Other churches will remain open but lose a lot of lesser committed people. Finances might plummet. Everything will be at risk. If we want God more than we want our churches to grow and our own personal security, then get ready for our paradigms to be violated and calibrated.

At Revival Church Sunday night, God wrecked me.

He said that churches could be birthed and developed from one of three different places:

  1. The Board Room—In Acts 15 we read about the Jerusalem council. The simple parallel here is that we can meet and discuss how church should be done. Come up with a great plan, follow clear wisdom, appoint leaders and let them run with a plan of action.
  2. The Upper Room—This one surprised me when God started talking about it. Of course, I love the idea of functioning out of a white hot atmosphere of prayer and prophecy. My book 20 Elements of Revival outlines this in detail. However, it’s true that there’s a certain temptation to participate in a movement that has the hopes of some power encounters, signs and wonders. We can inappropriately focus on the outward explosion while forsaking the true cost of participation. We can have upper room style conferences and churches that gather together the masses, but we’ll have limited impact if we don’t consider the next place that God spoke to me about.
  3. The Cross—Where two or three are gathered, He is there. This was never more literal than at the cross. The offensive call to full surrender, to the terrible cost of the cross, must sound louder than any other alarm. It’s rare to find churches that emphasize the extreme cost of a life in Christ. The call to the cross is inconvenient, extremely costly and wildly offensive—and few will respond. Many are called, but few are chosen. Our churches must be driven by repentance, by surrender to a fearful call. As we launch our churches with people who refuse to scatter (remember, even devoted disciples ran away from Jesus when confronted with the cross!), and with people who actually sit at the foot of the cross in the face of severe threat to their very lives, it will be a church that cannot be stopped.

STOP TRYING TO GROW HUGE CHURCHES—AND YOU MAY FINALLY GROW A HUGE CHURCH

The point? Start the development of your church, and continue it’s process, from the cross. Raise the bar as high as Jesus did. There’s a false doctrine in the church that rightly emphasizes that Jesus paid the price that we could not pay, but wrongly communicates that we have no part to play in the process.

I’m radically concerned that MANY, MANY people in the church…in really great, Spirit-filled churches, have chosen to avoid the cost of following Jesus, the cost of the cross (Jesus isn’t the only one assigned to a cross—we are as well), the call to deep intimacy, and due to a false grace message are convinced of their salvation when, in fact, they are not saved.

If we build churches around the cross, the crowds will be VERY small. Maybe only a few. Only two were at the cross with Jesus. But, the resulting victory and power will explode the church into the nations.

Then, we’ll move into the upper room, and into the board room as the Church develops in wisdom and power.

Prophetic Mandate

First—I thought you’d enjoy notes from our Revival Church staff meeting. I charted Elements 1-10 from my book 20 Elements of Revival. You can see the PDF here: www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/files/20ElementsofRevivalChart1-10.pdf


Yesterday’s teaching on the Prophetic Mandate is ready to listen to at www.detroitrevivalchurch.com/teaching.

If we are looking to lead a generation of fire-breathers, we simply have to go deeper, burn hotter and give more then the wild radicals that are multiplying on the face of the Earth.

Here’s the notes:

1. Introduction

a. We’ve been given a clear mandate at Revival Church to help introduce revival to Detroit.

i. This means the way things are now must morph into something very different.

ii. The most successful way to ensure the coming outpouring remains for decades is to introduce reformation before it arrives.

iii. It’s the upper room strategy—respond to an extreme lifestyle call and carry it out forever.

iv. Do you ever get frustrated when a new road is under construction forever?

1. This situation is just like a road under construction—hundreds of thousands will benefit from it. But, it’s still being built. We are not those who are frustrated, we are the ones with the hard hats and gloves on. We are the workers!

2. The fact that it’s a long term project doesn’t frustrate us because we understand the scope of the project. We know it takes a long time to pull together a work force, to survey the area, to bring in the bull dozers, to dig, to lay asphalt… for it to harden, and on and on.

3. We need the work force to simply show up for work every day.

4. Greek: technites- an architect, one who plans, calculates and constructs a building

5. Have you ever gotten frustrated watching construction workers just standing there by the side of the road doing nothing while you are backed up in traffic?

b. Hebrews 11:8-10 (ESV) 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

1. The process of building is critical

2. This passage is true for individuals, and it’s also true for mission driven churches.

3. Luke 6:46-49 (ESV) 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

4. Now, the enemy understands what a unified group of people who are determined to build can do.

5. In fact, he borrowed this Godly strategy himself and was on pace to do great things for his kingdom.

6. Just as the Holy Spirit is calling us together to build, an unholy spirit was orchestrating things behind the scenes here.

c. Genesis 11:1-8 (ESV) 1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.

1. We are seeing the enemy do to the church what God did to his mission—people are being scattered.

2. So, our goal, and God’s goal is for us to put on the hard hats, pick up the shovels and have one language.

    1. Rom 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

i. If we agree, if we align ourselves together in the purpose of God for Detroit- who can stop us? Who can be against us?

ii. Every noble work is at first impossible. Thomas Carlyle

1. On the contrary, if we are not aligned, we cannot win- we need each other, in a place of agreement, in a place of health and maturity and fully devoted to taking city for Jesus!

2. I challenge you—take inventory of your alliances. Who and what you are aligned with will determine your destiny.

3. Agreement is a powerful force.

ii. Matthew 18:18-20 (ESV) 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

1. This is usually used when talking about prayer—but this is really talking about mission.

2. Do you see the focus is on being together and warring against the enemy and moving ahead in agreement?

iii. You know the old saying, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." This saying is applicable within the church too. In the battle for Stalingrad during World War II the Russian commanders ordered their soldiers not to give up any more ground. Any soldier who fled from the Germans was shot on the spot. The Russian commanders knew that if even a couple of soldiers fled their post the Germans would have an opening through which they could pour into the city. Likewise, when the church is divided, Satan finds it so much easier to attack and to conquer.

1. We have to know that we are aligned, agreed, together and committed as builders, workers and warriors.

iv. Tonto and the Lone Ranger were riding through a canyon together when all of a sudden both sides were filled with Native American warriors on horses, dressed for battle. The Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and asked, "What are we going to do?" Tonto replied, "What you mean ‘we,' Whiteman?"

v. 1 Cor 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1. In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn't. "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus. "These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they're nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold." "Which channel do you want?" asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can't you guys get organized like that?"

2. So, what must we be agreed on?

2. The Terror of Hell

a. Intimacy

b. Salvation

a. Many in the church will be surprised one day, just as you were surprised in the dream, to find themselves under the control of demons as they are taken to hell.

a. Proverbs 14:11-14 (ESV) 11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. 12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. 13 Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief. 14 The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.

b. Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV) 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

b. This message is probably the number one mandate from God for me.

a. It’s all about two things:

i. Intimacy- seeking, knocking and finding Jesus, hunger, desire

ii. Lawlessness- in control of ones own life, not surrendered, not responsive, following Jesus on one’s own terms like the Rich Young Ruler.

1. There’s an anti-authority, anti-submission, scattering spirit in the church today, and it’s exceedingly dangerous!

2. 2 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV) 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

iii.

c. House of prayer movement

a. The house of prayer is not a splinter movement, it is a call to calibration for the entire church.

b. Luann Zettle- "..a house of Prayer for all Nations..yep, totally agree with you John. Biblically this is so clear. And there are SO many I know that do see it that way. But, I think the biggest problem is that we don't know how to get there from here. The current church structure just seems to throw prayer in as an "add-on" or an additional ministry/program or that 10 minute exercise we do in the morning as opposed to the driving furnace of the Church, through which all other church Life flows. And i agree. IHOP,KC looks a lot more like Church than most anything else I've seen. "

3. Reformation in the Church

a. 20 Elements of Revival

b. Ancient and emerging

c. Dangerous scattering in the church

d. Cares of life

e. Misunderstanding of the purpose of the church

i. A wrong understanding of why we go to church will immediately result in a faulty understanding of how to participate.

ii. Many are saying that they don’t need the church anymore, or they only need the church a few times a month. This is an indicator of a wrong understanding of what the church is.

iii. Have we ever considered whether the church needs us?

iv. Can you imagine the USA military being strong if the soldiers only reported one day a week? No way! America would have been defeated and held captive long ago—and this is what has happened to the church.

v. Old paradigm- God first, family second, ministry third

vi. New paradign- all of it happening in the same places at the same time

1. We’ve come to believe that our families are healthier as we sit in front of the TV together instead of in the prayer room.

2. We might have a measure of personal health as we participate at a low level, but it comes at the expense of the church.

f. Some are saying that the Kingdom must advance out of the four walls of the church and into society. I agree! But, this can only happen if we are strategy minded and mission oriented in a place of burning prayer within the four walls of the upper room.

4. Encountering God

a. Making it easy for people to thoroughly enjoy God

b. We want people to know God, not just know about God.

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

5. Prophetic Atmosphere

a. A command center for the region.

b. Manitou Springs—a revival command center for the nations.

 

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