I am sitting here in my office in St. Joe thinking about a quote of Bono from U2,
Can I confess something? As an christian leader and minister, one verse that many people interpret a certian way has really bother me for many years. Here is it:
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
We have used this to mean that all philosophy is bad but that is not what it says. It says that philosophy depending on the traditions of men is bad. There is a place for Christian thinkers in philosophy. You know some of our thinkings concerning various elements of theology is just as depended on traditions as some of the secular philosophers.
A while back, I was talking with a woman that believed that Sunday School was something that Jesus commanded us to do. Why did she think that? It was because she grew from 9:30 to 10:30 on Sunday mornings going to class to learn the Bible. It was not a biblical concept but rather a tradition of men that is only about 150 years old. The issue was not Sunday school with her but she was joined at the hip to “that ole Pentecostal religion.”
However, I believe there is some really good understanding we can gain from guys like Søren Kierkegaard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, and Jacobus Arminius. I even believe we can gain some understanding from guys like Plato, Aristotle, and Hippocrates. By no means do I support everything these secularists embraced but I also believe there are some some things they understood than Americans today desperately need.
Take for example, Plato’s understanding called “Allegory of the Cave” that in 1998 became a Jim Carrey Movie called The Truman Show. The basic theme of the doctrine is:
Plato imagines a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of the cave entrance, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Plato, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to seeing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not constitutive of reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.
Sound familiar? Yes, it should for us believers. That is the imaginary of conversion that Paul talked about in 2 Cor 5. As you can see, not all philosophy is bad, just what is based on man’s traditions instead of biblical beliefs.
First of all, before I write any more, let me say this: I move in healing ministry and believe like Jesus did: the power of the Lord is present to heal. Healing is not optional for the believer and every Christian is healed by the same blood that saved them. I know some believer, myself included, that are not walking in the fullness of the price paid for me at Golgotha but truth does not change based on my experince.
We, Christians, have a way of downgrading the truth of God’s word to meet what we experince in our ministries but we should upgrade our experinces to match the Word of God. Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God to earth destroying sin, sickness and the curse of them. Satan is under our feet and as Paul said, “the God of peace will soon crush satan under our feet.” (Romans 16:20)
While some are denying the innement return of the Lord in the air; some are teaching what is called “Kingdom Now” theology where basically we are trying to “prepare the earth for the second coming.” However, the truth is God is not interested in saving the world, He is only interested in saving humanity. Matthew quotes Jesus as saying “The heavens and the earth will pass away…” John tells us of the vision where this happened in Revelation. We are to be about saving tree, whales or anything else Al Gore tells us we should. We are to be about four things: preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.
Several years, I was given an opportunity that I will never forget all my days. I had coffee with Dr. Oral Roberts. He told me several things but one of them is worthy of stating here, “Expect a miracle TODAY!” He did not tell me to believe for miracles or pray for miracles but to expect them. Those words live in my life and ministry all my days. When I travel to the nations and pray for the sick and demonized, I do not believe for signs and wonders, I expect them.
Today, after the “Lakeland Outpouring” mess that end in the worse possible way; many are questioning if healing ministry is a valid expression of the Kingdom of God in the 21st century. However, God is not moved from his position during Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John or Acts. He is the God of the gospels and He is the God of the Now. If He is God, He still heals. If He still saves, He stills delivers. If He still delivers, He still heals. It is a package deal.
The problem with healing ministry is not on God’s end!
Judgement comes to steal, kill and destroy but mercy gives life and more of it! When we speak ill over someone’s life even when it is true, we are choose to speak forth destiny of destruction, death, and failure. I am not saying we become “name it claim it,” but we do have to be become how we see people and the what we speak about them. You see out of the heart, the mouth speaks. When we speak bad things about someone, it is because we have bitterness, resentment, and hatred in our heart. The Holy Spirit can not dwell in a heart filled with these things.
I have tasted first hand of the friut of the accuser of the Brethen. I know what can happen when people determine in their hearts to “expose” people. I have had on more than one occasion has people who had a desire in their heart to try and “expose” me due to weakness and past failures. They were choosing judgement over mercy and when you choose that, you choose to link arms with hell’s fallen angels. Judgement does not empower conviction; it empowers comdemnation. It is mercy that paves the way for conviction.
When we know something bad about someone else, we have to use great mercy with that information. Why did God give us that information for? Was it to “expose them” or was to have mercy and encourage them unto freedom? You see love covers a multitude of sins. Covering them is not exposing them nor is it covering them up. It is giving room for people to work out their our issues in mercy. Is there a place and time to expose sin? YES! It is not in judgement and it is not on Google either! People with a mean spirit sometimes choose to use blogs and Facebook to release demonic judgement on believers.
Let us not forget that to the degree we give mercy, we receive it. If we choose to forgive, we are taking the higher road. I personally am choosing to take the higher road of forgiveness concerning a person who tried to destroyed my life, my company, and my ministry this week for personal gain. The fighter in me says to fight back and go after them like they did me but the Holy Spirit in me says, “Take the higher road. You are the believer here.” Therefore, I am just choosing forgiveness.
We live in a time when the people of God have become a self- seeking and self- serving culture. We have departed from the place of passion and purpose. Most believers are currently in places far below the place of God’s calling. This is mainly due to the lack of forerunners in the spirit of John the Baptist. He did no miracles in the logical sense but he did the greatest miracle humanity had seen to date: he raised up a nation for the visitation of Jesus Christ. Every generation needs a John the Baptist. We need a group of radical believers that will raise us up to be devoted worshippers of God. As most generation of History did not have, sadly we do not have it either. Yet, that is.
The Prodigal Prodigy
Let’s face it. We are a prodigal prodigy. We are a VERY gifted people that are wasting our time, talents, and treasures on things that do not count for eternity. We have created a concept of spirituality that is not the Lord’s concept. We see victorious living based on performance in the various ministries of the local church. God sees victorious living based on passion for His heart and desires. We have two very different paradigms. God is saying to us ” My thoughts are not your thoughts.” Mike Francen, a highly respected voice in evangelism once said, “the richest place on earth is the local graveyard. It is where every dead dream and invention lays to rest forever.” Because we have not realized God’s heart and His ways, we have departed and became the prodigal bride in the prodigal world.
The Bride of Christ has for many years said to God “Father, give me my share.” We have masked it with things like prosperity, divine healing, and hyper-faith but in the end all it was is us telling our Heavenly Father “give me what is mine and I want it now!” God gave us what we asked for in faith and we have used it for personal gain and selfish ambitions ever since. We used it for a time of “wild living.” We came to church every service but in our hearts we were far from the place of passion and purpose God made us for. We air our fifth in style across every major television and radio network on earth. We air it through our massive mailing lists. We air it through our books and teaching tapes. We were and mostly still are proud of our filthy theology.
We have spent millions and millions on pointless things in the name of God and now we are bankrupt not only spiritually but also financially. Because we live our wild and lavish lives, we are just as broke as the guy next door in this depression of Wall Street. We are to the point where we can not fill not only our spiritually stomach with manna but also our natural stomach. The Church is in no better place financially than the any other group right now largely due to outlandish living in the recent times. We are facing the same problems in our banking as every one else due to our lack of wisdom.
It is safe to say that the Bride of Christ is for the most part living in the fifth of humanism. We are just as interested in philosophies devoted to personal profit as the guy next door. Most believers will have the latest Rolling Stones on their coffee table before they will have Charisma. They are also more concerned with the come back of Carlos Santana than the Come back of Jesus Christ! Much of what lines our personal libraries and local “christian” bookstores is christianized psychology. The thing is we love living in the fifth of humanism but it will only last so long, my friend!
When we will wake up?
How long will it be? How much more of humanistic garbage do we stand before we come to our senses? What does God have to allow to us to realize He has never did anything but love us and cherish even in our weakness? The Cross is not just an icon so we can wear it around our neck; it is a call to the Bride in every generation. Our only hope for humanity is found at the Cross, which is the place of repentance. Believers are saying “Not Your will but mine be done” but Jesus is saying ” not my will but the will of the Father be done.” What a contrast!
There is a cry among many Christians for the emerging of the prophetic utterance. It is needed and desired by God to be given to us in this hour. The prophetic word of the Lord is quite simple: O, Bride of Christ, arise from the fifth of humanism. Quit serving yourselves and worship Me! God’s heart is set on us living in holiness in the grace of God. If there was ever a word of the Lord for us it is “come to your senses.” Paul wrote Timothy on the condition of divine inspiration saying, ” the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” We have the prophetic word from God to come back to reality and humble ourselves before Him. The question of what will we do with this prophetic word still remains!
The reason we have been in this dream of humanistic theology is we have disrespect for the Baptism of Fire. Yes, we want everyone to pray in tongues and we call that being baptized. But my understanding of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not do you pray in tongues but do you loose angels and bind demons when you pray? Does the authority of Heaven back you up or not is the test of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Revivalist Leonard Ravenhill said, ” If we was as scared to miss fire baptism as we are water baptism, we would have a flaming church and another Pentecost. The `old nature’ may dodge the water baptism, but it is destroyed in the fire baptism.” It is not too hard to grasp that the Church is a prodigy but we are sound asleep. We are called in Heaven “the victorious and glorious Church” but we show no manifestation of that calling presently! We are the prodigal Bride.
Is that My Bride Emerging?
When the prodigal son was on his way home to his father, the Bible says “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” As the prodigal Bride, our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, is watching for us to emerge from the landscape of humanism and fall into His arms of embrace. He is crying out to us “Will you please steal my heart from Me with your love? He is calling us to be victorious and glorious but not in the ways we have fitted it into our nice little theological paradigms over the generations. The Glorious Bride must emerge and it must happen quickly!
The Apostles and Prophets of every generation from the book of Acts to this generation have been crying with one voice, “Repent and ravish.” This is the hallmark slogan of God’s Kingdom. The glorious Bride will be a people devoted to two things: living a life aimed at stealing God’s heart with their worship and living a holy life through their devotion to God and not because of legalism. Everything in the heart of Jesus for His bride is summed up in being overwhelmed by our love and us being holy in the grace of God.
The emerging Glorious Bride is our destiny. It is our calling to walk in the spirit and power of Elijah as John the Baptist. In the days prior to the first coming of Jesus, there was a burning man. Each generation has added momentum to the point that in the last generation, a burning man has become a burning generation! There will no be one man or woman like John the Baptist but there will be a million people just like John the Baptist. Their divine job description is “prepare the way of the Lord.” O, Lord raise up forerunners in this hour!
Are you ready to be the Glorious Bride? It may mean laying some things on the altar to be burned to ashes by the fire of God. It may mean you have to give up people and places as well. It may mean you have to admit you do not know God as well as you think you do. It requires the “renewing of the mind.” It is the cry of my heart for you to arise from ashes and soar as the glorious Bride deeply rooted in the Love of the Father and the embrace of Jesus Christ!
I will never forget Feb. 8, 2006. I was in my office working on my things when I got a call from a friend of mine that is in Asbury Seminary. He was excited because, “God was pouring out in chapel.” I thought to myself, “Asbury, Methodist school in KY? Huh? This does not register!” I told my friend to tell me what God was doing. He told me, “Well it looks like it did when you took me to that Brownsville thing in Florida back in the day.” So what did I do? I flew to Kentucky to see this move of God!
I walked in the chapel and saw a girl curled up in a ball weeping in intercession for her school. I look up at the altar and saw many students laying prostrate seeking the God of heaven for breakthrough in their lives. The president of the college told me he had not seen anything like this before. My response was simply, “Brother, if we are going to see what we have never seen, we have to do what we have never done.”
So what on earth do Asbury College and Lee University have in common, and why do I write to you about this? If God could pour out His Spirit at a Methodist school in Kentucky, why would He not do it at a Pentecostal school in Tennessee? Could we have a move of the Holy Spirit happen in our chapel services? What would it be like if the leadership of Lee had to cancel classes because the wind of the Holy Spirit blazed His way through our mundane chapel meetings? These are questions the move of God at Asbury has raised in my heart.
I was born into revival. When I was at Central Bible College, I saw God comes in such power, the president cancelled classes for a week as we cry out in intercession for the denomination we were part of. It is clear as yesterday, laying on the floor of E. S. Williams Chapel wailing in the Spirit for hours only to stand up to go lay hands on a girl in a wheelchair that got in a wreck several weeks before. The girl was never going to walk again but she was doing “victory laps” around the chapel that day! Why was it? I believe it was because there were a people who had made prayer propriety. If God can do at Central Bible College, I believe he can do at Lee.
Okay, so what do I suggest to get this type of presence on our campus? As a people, we must start to look at our lives and answer the question, “Am I living worthy of the call of God?” Once that is answered, we can get set ourselves before the Lord in prayer contending for God to pour out His Spirit in a tangible way. The other thing I know about moves of God is they do not like to be put in the box of time restraints. Is a move of God possible at Lee? Yes! Will we pay the price for a move of God with our personal agendas?
That is the question that must be answered and the decision will change the destiny of every student, staff, and faculty. How bad do we want a move of God?
Recently, I was at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City and The Holy Spirit began to minister this prophetic message to me:
He said this generation being born from 1981 and on would be the Forerunner Generation. This generation of Forerunners will prepare the way for the Rapture of the Saints. They will see the fulfillment of Joel 2:28: I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams; your young men will see visions. They will operate in the Spirit of John the Baptist.
The following is eight passages the Spirit of God led to concerning the Forerunner Generation:
In Isaiah 40:3 the Bible records this: A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. This generation that God is raising up will cry out in one voice meaning there will be a unity among the saints of God. It will no longer be about doctrines, denominations, and sects but about seeing the Spirit of Revival consuming the hearts of humanity. This generation is going to taken from the desert and dry places in the Spirit and receive a mandate and impartation to prepare the way for the Rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ. They are going to go into the highways and byways proclaiming the Year of God’s Favor. They will preach the gospel in the spiritual wilderness of the world and make the gospel clear with power leading to the way to Heaven, which is Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 3:4 the Bible records this: John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. This generation of Forerunners will not be given to excessive prosperity doctrines. This generation will be more consider with fulfilling the call of God on their lives to be caught up with a desire to live in the fancy homes, drive the expensive cars, and wear the finest clothing. They would rather spend their money on funding the move of God to save the masses for Jesus Christ.
In Luke 1:14-17 the Bible records this: He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” This was a prophetic word given through an angel to the father of John the Baptist. This generation will be a joy and a delight to the generation of its fathers and grandfathers. The generations that went before this coming generation will be the cheerleaders and intercessions for this generation of Forerunners. This generation will have great favor, grace, and blessing from the Father. It will see blessing after blessing because of its uncomprising message of bridal intercession and prophetic evangelism. This coming generation will be children of God that will not let impure things into their bodies, minds, and spirits. They will not be on fire for God one week and backslidden the next. They will be sold out believers burning all bridges to the old life. This generation will lead millions to Jesus. They will impart revival into complete unreached nations. They will lead kings and presidents to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. This generation will see fathers and children reconciled. They will see fathers that left their babies when they were conceived come back into their lives because of the passionate pursuit of this generation. This generation will see massive move of prodigal children coming back to the heart of the Father.
In Luke 3:11 the Bible records: “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” This coming generation will have a heart for the poor that only Jesus had. They will minister to the poor by also meeting their physical needs. They will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, invite strangers in, and visit the sick and the prisoners. They will see a massive revival of salvations, healings, and deliverances among the poor because the poor will know Jesus Christ cares about them.
In Luke 3:13 the Bible records: “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” This passage tells us two powerful truths about the Forerunner Generation. First of all, they will be a generation committed to ministering the Gospel will boldness. The Spirit of Boldness will be all over this generation. They will minister the Spirit of Revival with no reservations, no holding backs, and no compromise. Secondly, this generation will be real with people. They will minister honesty to the people of this world. This coming generation will not be a “seeker sensitive” generation but one that is full of the Holy Spirit, grace and power.
In John 1: 29 the Bible records: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This generation will not like the generations of their fathers and grandfathers. They will not be seeking to use the name of Jesus to promote themselves and their selfish motives. They will seek to be “nameless and faceless” simply wanting to lift up the name of Jesus Christ and put down their own names. This generation will be a “Bless Jesus” generation instead of a “Bless me” generation that has been promoted in former generations. Everything this generation does will be to lift up the Lamb of God, which is Jesus Christ. They will live with the reality of when the name of Jesus is exalted; He will draw all men to the saving grace of himself.
Finally, in John 3:29 the Bible records: The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. This generation will be a friend to the Gospel. Jesus says he is calling humanity to be his friends not his servants. As we long to hear the voice of a friend so will this coming generation long to hear the voice of Jesus. When they hear Jesus speak to them they will be full of joy and complete.
This is the revelation God gave me concerning the coming move that he will use this generation known as the Forerunner Generation!