On February 13, 2019; there was a bit a personal reset happen. The news of the passing of Paul Cain hit me to the core and made me put many of life’s decisions in perspective. I became very uncomfortable with the status quo in my life to be quite honest.
Note: This is a personal message from Peter Vandever
Normally, you would expect a call like this for revival or national awakening from Azusa Report. This deep stirring is not either of those. (Even though we need both!) It is a call to deep repentance in our own hearts, lives and families. It is no longer ” them sinners” but more ” us sinners.”
It seems we have lost the emphasis of personal repentance in our midst to be real. We do not weep over our transgressions anymore. We talk a lot about national repentance but very little about personal repentance. This is actually causing many false conversions.
The truth is there is no redemption from sin without repentance of sin. It is sad that I can count the messages on this reality on one hand in the last quarter of a century.
More than anything from the Spirit of God of late, I hear the call to personal repentance, a very unpopular and unsettling message. It has been unsettling for me personally. God has been dealing with my own struggles and saying “ENOUGH!”
Make ready our hearts!
Most people know I was born again in the Brownsville Revival in 1996 under Evangelist Steve Hill. What many do not know is I also spent a lot of time at the Smithton Outpouring in Missouri. The song above is one of the old songs we use to sing and it seems to be the message that God has dealing with me about.
Make ready your heart. Make ready your home. Make ready the people of God.
While this is not scripture it and of itself, it is founded on biblical text. I have to openly admit that I have neglected the first one in the past, ignore the second one altogether in order to do the third one. In my own life, God is calling for a reset of what really matters and why I do what I do.
Azusa Report reaches over 1,000,000 unique people a year but does that matter if there is not depth of repentance and some humanity in my own life? Revival after all is not just about having a few thousand people in a meeting night after night.
The song talks about preparing the way for the Restorer but there is no restoration without real repentance. Could it be the lack of restoration in our lives (in my life?) is due to the absence of extended deep soul searching and corrective action? I believe this is quite possibly the case.
What I do know is I have not had this urgency for holiness and intimacy since Brownsville. A lot of things I loved and thought I needed in life are no longer mattering of late. Only being close to the Lord matters.
Was the Philippines a mistake?
I have been asked this numerous times and I have felt the answer has always been that one sows and another waters. The early seeds in 2006 where fruitful in southern Palawan. It was not really until about 2013 that things took a very radical turn to the worst. However, at this point, I had more important business to attend to than anything I was doing in the Philippines.
I do know that some positive things came out of being in the Philippines. I was able to see some things happen that I have never seen anywhere in the spirit. However, around the fall of 2013, the door began to shut and a lot of things happened that was very fleshly.
I also had three different prophets that did not know me speak to me at meetings that “I needed to go home.” One of them gave me even more details. To be honest, I blew them off because I had little desire to be in the United States at the time. That was wrong of me. 1 Corinthians 14:29 condemned my attitude towards the prophecies.
Was I the prodigal son in Luke 15? Some might say that could be the case from 2013-2018. I do not see it that way. I was just doing what I wanted without regard for how it touch other people’s lives at all. I saw living outside the country as a way of escape and the Philippines as a place where I did not have to care what people thought of me.
How I become numb?
Several people that knew me expressed at different times that I was becoming numb emotionally and it was really clear when I did not even bother to show up at my father’s funeral. I would talk to people with no empathy whatsoever. If I offended people, so be it. When people attacked me, I normally laughed it off because I was numb to emotions.
I would walk in a room knowing I was the smartest person in the room but also the most cocky one as well. It was almost humor to me to make people look foolish. I did not like it then, I do not like it now. It was not who I am.
I could pull the (non-combat) PTSD card and blame it all on trauma but that would be too easy. While there was a very real Threat/Non-Threat analysis going on, becoming numb to emotions is not the acceptable response. It could have been handled much better than it was. I was not doing the things I needed to do.
This has been one of my challenges in life. It is easy for me to just become numb and void of emotions to be “hard as nails.” It is not what I want to do but it is something that I can very easy reach for when I stress out.
Emotional detachment is a very dangerous but accessible for people who have experienced some of the issues that I have in the past. It does not make it right.
Reset : How now shall I live?
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
As I have look at reset a lot of what I am about and what my vision for life, I look back and am reminded that many of my old friends are either dead, in prison, in a wheel chair. I can only think of one that I grew up with before I got saved that is successful today.
There has been a lot of restarts over the last 20 years and most of them were failures. I have seen the world but I wonder at what cost to the people around me that should have cared about me?
I do know that being numb to people and just trying to be the smartest person is not the way to go. Winning debates was fun in college but it is not good for healthy living at 38. Caring about the person is more important than “schooling them” on any subject. I have failed in this area horribly for many years.
The reality is that I could make a long list of people that really believed in me and the call of God on my life in the last 20 years that I have burn bridges with. I have some people who will never talk to me now, others are just very short with me. None of them want to stick around in fear I wound them emotionally.
I do not know how but I have to show some of the people that use to believe in me (and gave up on me)that I am safe to engage with. Some of the bridges can be re-build and some of them can’t. Some of the people that I need to see are in Heaven (or hell) today.
Being abrasive has been a survival skill to protect me since I was a child. Reacting from a place of retaliative thought is a preferred social skill because it protected me. It has been very effective as a defense mechanism but not very good for much more.
What I do know it is time to go and have some painful discussions with some people who use to believe in me in ministry but no longer do. This time is not to correct them or have them be amazed at my grasp of revival history but just to listen to them. I have deepen wounded people whom believed in me and my success.
One thing I do want to make clear: this is NOT about the ministry. It is not about people who helped Azusa Report back in the day. It is about honestly coming and saying, ” Let’s fix things between us.” If I never do another act of ministry, being the one man army is not the way of the future.