Word of the Month: April 2011
Controversy is nothing new to the move of God and many that we hale as pioneers of the past such as Finney, Wesley, and Whitefield were highly controversial in their day, but because of their boldness and failure to relent on what they believed they restored back to the church the office of the evangelist and saw true change in their life time. The same is going to be said of this generation. Those that are coming forth in these days will push the envelope of what some consider acceptable.
And while many in public ministry have prophesied the restoration of the Apostolic office, the truth is, that when it arrives much of what we think it should look like and those that are used to restore it will most likely stretch our spiritual wineskins. We better get ready because things are changing faster than we think and what is coming is going to take us by surprise.
We are again on the edge of a third great awakening, not just in America, but the world. Yet there are still some so called famed preachers sitting and waiting for their next shot at televised revival. While they sit and wait. A new breed of ministry gifts is arising. They have counted the cost of persecution at the hands of the mainstream and determined to step beyond the status quo no matter the cost. Venturing into uncharted places in the Spirit; risking their reputations to bring the truth not just to those sitting in the pews of churches, but to the lost and broken of the world.
Much like those early reformers that risked their lives and characters to bring truth to their generation, once again we are going to see many raise up with the same life-force. They will be new visionaries for a new movement. A movement not worried about fame or fortune, but love. A movement not possessed with building mega ministries and huge networks because, let's face it, this generation is not interested in giving to building projects and "church" growth plans. This generation is only interested in funding causes that it believes in. And they will give with more than just money. They will give with their entire lives. Like the revivalists of the past many will count the cost in our generation to spend their lives on Him. Every great awaking that has come has cost those involved all that they had; money, reputations, friendships, and even mainstream church acceptance. A simple study of past moves of God will easily reveal to us that nearly every major shift and reformation in church history has been rejected by the mainstream church. With most leaders feeling that what was being preached was simply fanaticism and not the gospel. This next great awakening will be no different. The truth is that if we are to go deeper into the realm of eternity we can no longer fear controversy and even complete rejection by the mainstream church. It is simply part of the package deal. We must hold eternity more precious in our sight then the approval of men, and the treasures of heaven of greater weight then a seat at the table with the who's who in the charismatic zoo.
Wesley Weighed Eternity
John Wesley is without a doubt hailed today as a pioneer of revival. In fact you will be hard pressed not to find him listed as a top "general" of the faith, but many truly fail to understand why he had such an impact on his generation. I believe that his secret lied in his ability to weigh his work into eternity and not on his present reality. He was converted at 35 and he preached for nearly 53 years dying at the age of 88, preaching all the way to the end. And you know what he left behind when he died? He left only a few books, a worn out gown that he preached in, six silver spoons that someone had given him, six pound notes, that he said, "give one to each of the poor man that carry me to my grave" and a Methodist church that he had built. That's all he left! No wealth in the natural to speak of no worldly fame to boast over just a life spent on Christ. The man gave his life's worth not to build his ministry, but to fund a reformation. And today no one would dare challenge the significance of his work or say that he wasted his life in vain.
He had found the priceless pearl in Christ and no matter the cost he was willing to pay the price. He weighed his life into eternity on his passion for Christ that consumed his every action and decision. Leonard Ravenhill is quoted as saying about the Judgment seat of Christ, "From the Judgment seat, a man's life, all his ministry is shown all his works are either wood, hay, and stubble, silver, gold, and precious stones. We must see the difference between the wood, the hay, the stubble and the silver, the gold, and the precious stones. Wood, hay, and stubble are above the ground. They catch the eye. Silver, gold, and precious stones are below the ground. No one sees them!" To go low is to go the way of the cross. To prefer our brothers and sisters above ourselves and our own personal agendas is to have the heart of heaven. Men focused on personal agendas can never build anything that lasts into eternity because their foundation is tainted by self-promotion. Although what they construct in the natural may seem to be mighty and grand if not built on love for God and people it will surly suffer massive loss at the judgment seat. It's time to keep love in the center of all that we are going for in the Spirit. When you build on love and do everything with the heart of love what you build will last into eternity. In the movie The Sand Lot the young boy is visited in a night vision by Babe Ruth, "The Great Bambino." He steps right out of the cloud of witnesses (you would be surprised who is there in that cloud). He tells the young man something that struck a real cord with my heart and it's this. "Heroes get remembered but legends never die." Let me ask you a question. What are living for to be a hero or a legend? The true is that legends leave legacy, they leave impartation, and they leave a heritage. It's time to make this shift in our generation from a hero to a legend. Let's build into eternity and leave a legacy.
The Shift Is On
There is such a shift that is taking place that even the earth is feeling it right now. The very earth beneath us is moving and trembling at what is coming. We need to begin to position ourselves for the future and align with eternity. We cannot be satisfied with what we have now or what seems to be popular in our "stream". Even if what we feel we are bringing to the body of Christ seems to be something fresh and new. It's time to make a shift in our minds and focus on building into eternity. This may be an unpopular statement with some of my friends that are "fully satisfied", but I am not content with a new revelation. I'm content on seeing nations transformed with the glory of God not little gatherings with people happy about their new found revelation.
I'm reminded of a story about Kenneth Hagan when Jack Coe was telling him that he wasn't doing anything of significance for God because he was still in the local church ministering with pastors and leaders. Jack told Kenneth he should go out and get a tent like him because that was what God was doing. It was the new big thing! They were going against the grain! Jack said they were taking over the church and releasing something new and fresh. Jack was right about bringing something new to the body, but the arrogance and spirit behind it was wrong. He failed to count the cost and keep love in the center of what he was doing for God. Hagen looked right back at him and said listen here when your dead and gone I will still be around because your building on your gift, but I building on the word. The fact is that Jack Coe forgot to build on love and not on a revelation. . . .TO BE CONTINUED