Life.Church is celebrating that more than 2,000 baptisms that took place on their campuses last weekend. Here’s the story from CBN:
Sunday’s service at the Oklahoma megachurch began with praise and worship as more than 80,000 attendees watched people make a public declaration for Jesus Christ. From the young to the old, many took that step of faith at a large facility pool used by the church, while others got baptized at satellite campuses. Some even got baptized in their bathtubs,
Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life.Church ….remarked, “The power of God is moving.”
“We’re not praying for revival. We’re in the middle of one. I thank God for what he’s doing,” the pastor said. “God is doing a big thing.”
Is Churchianity getting in the way of revival? I believe that it is.
We all have pre-conceived ideas about how God can move among us and bring revival. For most Christians it is confined to the 4 walls of a church building or maybe a special tent or conference. Even when we go to the streets we take our Christian culture, language, and music with us.
But what if God really wanted to do something different in our midst? Well we have a myriad of ‘heresy hunters’ to take care of and discount that potential turn of events. Fact is, every Revival has been different and every one of them made the church uncomfortable.
After all, we might want revival but most American Evangelicals expect it to come during a 20 minute sermon surrounded by 3 hymns and a couple of prayers with an offering in the middle. Plus it better be over in exactly on the hour cause the next service starts when the big hand strikes 12.
Of course I am being ridiculous but mix in your own form of worship and church structure or denominational traditions and see where God is really allowed to move. I believe this is why God is continuing to shake up the church and even allowed it to be bullied and shut down during COVID. And in the aftermath, over 20-30% of the members have never come back. Actually, we are at the point where the church in America needs revival to survive.
What if he wants to move downtown on main street or in the neighborhoods, or maybe at your work or business? What would that look like and how would the church respond?
So God starts a revival in a Methodist university and a prayer service lasts for more than two weeks. Who would have guessed or expected that? Eventually they ‘had’ to go back to the regular college business of teaching classes. But it proves that if it can happen there it can happen anywhere and even near you. This is just the beginning.
Worship leader Sean Feucht continues to spread revival across America through his ‘Let Us Worship’ events. This time thousands were touched in Alabama. From CBN News:
“Feucht brought his “Let Us Worship” event to Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday where God’s Spirit poured out over thousands of worshippers at Veterans Park.
“Thousands gathered from over 10 states to fill Veterans Park with a NEW SOUND! There is an AWAKENING in America!!! God showed up! Salvations, healing and freedom!”
One of the few encouraging news reports during the pandemic were the worship events that Sean Feucht brought to cities all across America. Many of those events were held in the same places where violence and destruction had taken place. Now is the time for healing, revival, and a new awakening. Let’s pray it in.
A couple of weeks ago two Christian friends of mine, and on the same day another, sent me a link to a YouTube video of a pastor sharing about a dream he had that showed America basically being destroyed starting in November. My friends wanted my input and opinion.
After watching it I was really concerned and asked the Lord—is that dream really true?
He responded immediately saying:
That’s the Devil’s plan. I have different plans for America.
I immediately started praying for God’s plan and for the devil to be defeated once more. You choose-Let’s pray in what we want–Let’s unite in prayer for America.
Yesterday we celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today I submit that the entire American church needs to be resurrected.
Some church leaders are looking for a new awakening and others are calling for a new reformation—that too. But the American Church that was so popular a ‘Palm’ generation ago is now being assailed in this culture and some are demanding its submission and ‘crucifixion’ while others are saying that it is already over for the church as we to knew it.
Meanwhile, many mainline church leaders are caving in and turning in the ‘unpopular’ parts of their Bibles to maintain ‘cultural relevance’ and respectability. Other conservative Christian voices are claiming that this culture is only going to get worse and the only thing left for the church is to be ‘raptured.’
I believe that ‘a New Day’ is about to dawn upon the America church. Some will call it revival, others a new reformation, but the new move of God will resurrect the American Church and it will rise up and fulfill its calling and destiny while there is yet day.
I posted the following last year at the beginning of the new Biblical (Jewish) year. I believe that it is still poignant and for today:
(Posted on September 30, 2017)
It is a new day and a new Biblical year and we are still looking forward to revival. But sometimes there is stuff that must come first or may come along with it that we would rather avoid. But the word ‘Revival’ only brings to our minds the ‘good stuff’ and all of the ‘not so good’ that came along with former moves of God is usually forgotten or disregarded.
500 years ago on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther tacked 95 theses to a door in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther wanted to bring revival and reform to the church but schism came instead and a few years later he was excommunicated and then the wars followed for several hundred years. But the church was reformed and change came to all of the church regardless. One wonders if he would have proceeded differently if he had known all the stuff that was going to follow.
One thing for sure, the Reformation was a Move of God. More than anything else the most important result was access to the Bible and real knowledge of the written Word of God- the Logos. Before 1517 The Word was only available to the Priests, Monks, and scholars and very little of it was allowed to ever trickle on down to the regular folks. Not only that but ‘worship’ services were in Latin which only the educated could understand.
Coming out of the Reformation, services started being conducted in the vernacular and an exposition and teaching of the Scriptures became an important part of worship. Later the Bible was translated into the languages of the people and with the invention of the printing press it became available for regular folks. The church was changed by the Logos of God.
Most of us in Charismatic and Pentecostal churches look back on Azusa Street in 1906 as the beginning of another Move of God that changed the church. This time it was the Rhema Word of God that was restored along with all of the Spiritual gifts. A good historical case can be made that the ‘gifts’ never really departed entirely from the church but few regular folks in the church had the opportunity to experience them.
Now we are at a new crossroad where a significant part of the church is questioning whether the Bible is still even relevant and whether certain plain teachings in the Word should be disregarded or ignored. Ironically it is the old ‘Reformation’ mainline churches that are in the midst of rejecting their own foundations which were rooted in ’solo scriptura.’
The point is, major change and a new move of God including some kind of new ‘reformation’ is ahead for the church and we can expect that the revival we are hoping for may be far different than our romanticized expectations. Fact is, the church is always ‘looking forward’ to the past revivals and is never fully prepared to receive the new one.
To demonstrate what I am talking about let’s take a look at Acts. Before all of the good stuff in Acts 2 we find in chapter 1 that all the church devoted themselves to prayer. Since Pentecost came 50 days after the Passover they could have been praying solid for at least a month or so. Not only that, but for only this one time in history the entire church and everyone in it was actually prepared to receive a move from God.
Now for the scary part that may be relevant for us now or in the very least for the church some time in the future. We all like the ‘good stuff’ in Peter’s quote of Joel 2:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,and your young men shall see visions,and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. …
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Here’s the part of Acts 2 / Joel 2 we would rather ignore. The verses between 18 and 21 (19 & 20):
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
In light of all of the major disasters lately, these verses might be far more relevant to a coming revival than we want to admit. Also, a falling away and major persecution might well come along with it.
It is time for the church to pray. It is always time for us to pray but especially now.
26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire. –Heb. 12:26-29
While I was reading the 12th chapter of Hebrews this morning the 26-29 verses leaped off the page and the Following word came to me:
This is the revival you have been praying for.
As I read the verses again some of the implications and dangers for the church in midst of revival and afterwards began to come to mind. It may not be as rosy and cozy as most of us expect. For sure the church will be changed in ways we do not see now. We have been praying for the Kingdom to come down in our midst and have not fully comprehended how that will change the church as we know it.
The church and the leaders will be refined by God’s own fire and that which can be shaken will. It will be glorious but also painful. The church that remains will stand up and more accurately represent the Kingdom of God on earth, fulfill its calling, and finally become the worthy Body and Bride of Christ.
Unfortunately part of the church as we know it will not endure. Look for whole denominations and movements to go into apostasy afterwards. We can already see it happening as some of the mainline churches are turning their backs upon the Word of God. Look for some to turn their backs upon the Word himself and deny his divinity for the sake of world peace.
Revival will come to every church and signs and wonders will follow and many will be saved but the response of the leaders and the aftermath will not be the same.
He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. –Mark 6: 5-6
I am really tired of living in Nazareth where only a few folks are healed, as wonderful as that is.
I have friends who have gone on mission trips to India, Africa, and South America, and have come back with incredible testimonies of how God healed everyone they prayed for. Opening blind eyes, healing the deaf, and seeing all kinds of miracles including folks who could not even stand on their own two feet running laps. Some have even seen the dead raised. Then when they come back home to America it is just like it was before- they see a few folks healed once in a while and are glad for it.
At the beginning of the year it was impressed upon me that faith and belief were THE issues that the American and Western church needed to deal with this year. First of all the scripture that came to me on New Years Eve was Mark 9:24–
I believe; help my unbelief.
I have been praying that one everyday since.
Then reading on in Mark, I came across the passage in 11:22-24 where Jesus talks about having a strong enough faith and belief to move a mountain. I never really considered literally or physically moving mountains as something I might want to do. Maybe figuratively.
However, once when I was on a long hike with my family years ago and realized when we got to the top of one mountain peak that the lake we were going to was on the other side of another mountain. I would have like to have moved a mountain if I could. Then on another vacation I went fishing with a friend on the east side of the Sierra Mountains near Yosemite. We hiked down a mountain side to a pristine lake and had a wonderful day catching fish. Then we literally thought we were going to die going back up that mountain with 10 big fish and all of our equipment including an ice chest and chairs. Moving a mountain would have come in handy that day. However, it never occurred to me to pray it away and I still do not believe that it would have been justified under those circumstances. When would one actually need to move a mountain into the sea? Something I have always wondered. I guess when God tells you to.
Nevertheless, while reading this passage in Mark, I received a strong word to read it in the Greek. I was in my comfy chair but the Lord knows me well and it came in a way that I could not ignore. It was the first three words of Jesus that changed it all and gave me a different perspective. Maybe I have heard someone preach on verse 22 in the past but it was rhema for me that day and ever since:
Ekete pistin Theou (a transliteration-my site will not print out the actual Greek)
All of the English translations (12) that I have in my library have it as- “Have faith in God.” So that is obviously the best translation. But there is a couple of things in the Greek which give it a fuller meaning. First of all, ‘ekete’ calls for continuing action- not just ‘have’ but continue to have. ‘Faith’ (pistin) is the subject but God (Theou) is not only the object of it but is the possessor (genitive or possessive in the Greek). It is God’s faith.
So how do you get the kind of faith that can move mountains? My conclusion is that we can only get it from God- we have to ask him for it and we have to completely believe that God’s wants us to do it in the first place and has given us the power to accomplish the task.
We have faith but Holy Spirit help our faith.
If we want to leave behind the environment of Nazareth where we only see a few wonderful healings then we need to see an exponential increase in our faith and belief. We have to seek it and ask for it.
It is time for the American and Western church to live in a Kingdom environment where signs and wonders, and the miracles and healings of Jesus are demonstrated in our midst. They need to be commonplace and not just fortuitous exceptions but a part of the norm. Then church will become relevant once more and offer a viable and attractive alternative world view in the midst of an unbelieving secular culture.
We are praying for America today at the crossroads of US 50 and US 65 in mid-America, Sedalia MO:
Father, send your Spirit across this nation from the west to the east and let your light shine from the north to the south. Let revival and a new awakening shake America once more. In Jesus name, Amen.
I am challenging everyone of you to designate a major crossroads in your city and to remember to pray for America and revival every time you pass through it. Our real hope for change is in Jesus regardless of the election results in November.
Bonnke’s next stop is Miami, where he will preach to a crowd at the American Airlines arena on July 18-19. Over 200 churches across racial, denominational, cultural and even linguistic barriers have joined forces to help Bonnke witness Jesus to South Florida.
Here’s what He has to say about the new effort:
“I am scanning the skies for men and women who pray and weep for the salvation of America. As Bill Bright used to say, ‘Let’s leave our logos and egos.’ Let’s rally at the foot of the cross of Calvary and preach the Gospel of salvation to the nation,” Bonnke says. “The Holy Spirit will cooperate. God is pouring out His Spirit with glorious indifference to our differences! He said, ‘I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh.’ And it seems to me He pours Himself into the mold of any vessel.”
Response: A few years ago many of us were expecting revival and a new awakening to break out across all of North America. Instead we ended up with the big push for gay and LGBT rights including same-sex marriage which is beginning to trump religious liberty in the courts and culture all across America. Increasingly we are being told that religious freedom is now only Constitutionally assured within the four walls of an official place of worship.
Now Christians who believe in the authority of the Bible are increasingly being cast and misrepresented as ‘bigots,’ ‘haters’, and irrelevant folks who are on the ‘wrong side of history.’ At least that is what is happening in the dominant American culture on the West Coast where I live and in New England and within the main stream American media.
This turnaround has happened in a very short time. In 2009 at the inauguration of President Barack Obama evangelical pastors participated in giving the prayers but by 2013 we saw a pastor who had been invited to give a prayer hounded until he resigned over preaching a Biblical lesson which included homosexuality 18 years ago. Now conservative Christian business owners who do not want to participate in same-sex ceremonies are being sued and forced to either provide their services or be fined. Times are changing in America so much so that if the trend continues Bible believing will soon be considered ‘immoral’ by folks in the dominant American culture.
Point is, it really is time for Revival and for Bible believing Christian to stand up for their faith and refuse to go quietly into the night. One way is to join in campaigns like what Bonnke is initiating and particularly join him in prayer to change America for the better before it is too late.
We are in the middle of a battle and most American Christians don’t even realize it and yet the Gospel is going forth among the nations at an unprecedented pace and millions are coming to Christ every year. Also millions of Christians are being persecuted and killed for their faith and we are actually in the midst of a new age of martyrs though it is being ignored by most American Christians.
I do not believe that God is through with America but it is rapidly becoming a mission field which may see African pastors and Asian evangelists from China and Korea soon helping in a new push to save Americans. I believe that Bonnk’e effort is just the beginning. May God really bless America once more.
J. Lee Grady has an article which lists 9 bad habits that we really should reconsider. I have experienced every one of these one time or another and it is a matter of degree in each case.
Anything that is a natural response to the Holy Spirit is one thing but when some of our actions become ‘expected’ and part of an act or when we attempt to re-create something that was a blessing at some conference or another is when we enter the territory that Grady is talking about here. It is the traditional ‘formulas’ that actual sap the strength of the Holy Spirit and drive it right out of the room.
“9 Bad Charismatic Habits We Need to Break” (Link NLA):
1. The body slam.
2. The courtesy drop.
3. The song that never ends.
4. The amateur flag corp.
5. The wannabe telethon offering.
6. The sermon with seven endings.
7. The praise-a-go-go dancers.
8. The ear-shattering amp.
9. The “jump-start” glossalalia.
I have experienced this many times in churches which don’t even believe in the ‘gifts’ so it may be an American pastoral problem in general.
Also I have been at a service where there was a ‘song that never ends’ and no one really wanted it to since the Spirit was really in it. I have also endured what Grady is talking about which is was a ‘formula’ trying to make something happen that the Holy Spirit really isn’t in.
The one listed here that has always bothered me the most is the ‘jump-start’ on tongues. Personally that was tried on me and I didn’t get it then but latter one morning when I tried to order breakfast at a restaurant. So much for my highly educated respectability. I laugh every time I think about how I struggled that morning to order my eggs and sausage.