Monday, January 28, 2013

What Is This Revival Going to Look Like?


Before I moved to Canada, I was looking for the Third Great Awakening to start at any time in the US. I didn't know what it was going to look like, but I felt that something really big was going to happen. After being in Canada awhile, I started doing a bit of research on revivals and what they looked like. Canada has never had a nationwide revival, although there have been several pockets of a real Move of God. In my research, I found a few prophecies that stated Canada was headed for a great awakening, or Move of God, and that through this (or at the same time), the US and other nations would have a revival.

The following is a list of characteristics of what I believe will happen in this Move of God.

1. This revival will be different from anything that has happened in the past. Do not look for God to do what He did in the US during the Great Awakening or the Second Great Awakening. If you do, you will miss what God has for you. (confirmed by Charlie Robison on 03/22/2011 in Kelowna).

2. The revival will be led by lay people, not pastors, preachers or evangelists. The lay people will be those that are in tune with the Holy Spirit and have a heart for God. Those gifts that were intended for use outside "the church", will be used in a dramatic way. People will be healed, and eyes will be opened with words of wisdom and knowledge from "normal" people. People will suddenly feel the Spirit of God move within them, and they will speak as if God Himself were speaking. The lay people will "naturally" do what is right, being led by the Holy Spirit. This is not to say that pastors, etc. won't have a role, but the main thrust will be through lay people.

3. There will be a God ordained "civil war" within the church. In the same way that Paul had to rebuke Peter for compromising the Gospel through his actions with the Judaizers, there will be a desire to get back to the pure truth of the Gospel: that is, that there is no way to the Father except by a confession of faith in the Lord Jesus. We are not talking about doctrinal differences. Those that get into a fight over doctrinal differences will be left behind in this revival (or may find themselves in a fight with God). Instead, we are talking about any "gospel" that is preached distorts who God (the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit) is and teaches any other way to the Father than through Jesus. (this has already started)

4. Related to the items above, the Lord will use the people who have been rejected by "the church" in the past. These include those that have sinned greatly, but have been miraculously transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Apostle Paul was transformed from a murderer to a warrior for God, so shall these days be. As people are being saved, God will transform them into soldiers for God. God is going to use ex-drug dealers and addicts, ex-gang members, ex-prostitutes, etc.... those people who "many sins have been forgiven," will love much (Luke 7:47).

5. Because some in the current church do not understand what is happening, because some will take offense at the outcasts that are coming to salvation, and because there is a split over the True Gospel, many will leave the church, but many more will be moved into the Body of Christ. Those that take offense and don't repent will start mocking, and then move to persecuting the Body of Christ. This may very well include those the are true children of God, but don't accept what is happening in the church.

6. The Body of Christ will become "spotless and without blemish," i.e., she will move into the Righteousness and Holiness that God intended.

7. Any Move of God also includes a great Move within the youth - the very young through the college age. This will be from the very beginning (and may have already started). This will, of course, include the outcasts, but also include the youth from our mainline churches who just "catch fire." The youth will move in the gifts of the Holy Spirit in a mighty way, so much so that it will astound the older generations.

8. This Move of God will cross all denominational boundaries. This is not about who is right doctrinally, but who God is! Those that deny the Move of God as legitimate because it didn't come from their church or denomination will be left unchanged. Those that claim that the Move of God started with their denomination or church, or lead by their denomination or church, will be left unchanged through this Move because of their hard hearts - they may even open themselves up to the judgment of God. There will be attempts for some to lead this movement, but if they have personal motives, they will crash as an example to others. This movement will truly be lead by the Holy Spirit. He will raise up "leaders" that do not want to be recognized but want the Kingdom to be advanced. Individuals in the Body will just "do" what they are supposed to do.

9. There will be a 24/7 prayer movement in major regions or cities across denominational and church boundaries. (this has already started)

10. There will be a restoration of David's Tabernacle, that is, there will be a movement for 24/7 praise and worship in major cities and regions across denominational and church boundaries.

11. There will be a Move of God to promote justice across all boundaries (socio-economic, racial, etc.). Please note that there is a false "social justice" movement in place at this time that will not get (and will not even try to get) justice. You will recognize the difference in the two by their results.

12. There will be a move by the Body of Christ to secure a place in society for the "fatherless." This includes the UNBORN. Today's trend of abortion on demand will be reversed by the Spirit of God. The Body will make every attempt to empty the orphanages and adopt the fatherless.

13. The Body of Christ will become the New Testament church once more. As the church walks in Holiness and Righteousness, the miracles of Acts will be seen once more. It will be both glorious and terrifying.

14. As the Body of Christ sees what Jesus means to her, individuals will live sacrificially with their finances and their time. Material possessions will become meaningless to the "alive" church. Seeing people added to the Body of Christ will be the church's main focus.

15. The revival will cover all (or most all) nations. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. (that is, people from all religions) will have their eyes opened to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be converted.

16. The Body of Christ will learn to truly "walk in the Spirit" and walk in the authority that God has given her.

17. There will be great conflicts and disasters during this time - but for those of us who are focused on Jesus Christ, it will not matter. These troubling events will only strengthen our resolve to do what God has called us to do.

18. This last revival will remain in place until the Lord's return.

Compiled by Don Deskins, Kelowna, BC, Canada



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Monday, January 14, 2013

The 7 Worst (and best) Things I Did in Traditional Church Ministry


by pastor Smith

I recently left a twenty-five year pastorate and the professional ministry. The move came after a two year struggle of conscience where I tried to do what Wolfgang Simpson describes as “trying to cross the river without getting your feet wet.” After a year of reflection I offer to you the seven worst/best things I did as a conventional  church pastor.

1. Took a full-time salary. Until I left the ministry I had no idea how corrupting a compensation package is to the church. It changes the way you think about yourself and changes the way people view you. You become a sort of professional  Christian that floats above the unwashed masses of laity. It affects your decision-making almost every day. The Trinity becomes Father, Son and Holy Cash Flow.

2. Defended tithing as a principle. This is closely related to the first point. By “defended” I mean that I never really believed that tithing was a  New Testament requirement but I kept the clergy conspiracy of silence in order to protect the finances of the church. By “principle” I mean a nicer word for “law.” No one in our congregation had to  tithe but if they wanted to be in any leadership role…well…

3. Preached every Sunday. This was a surprising one for me because like most pastors I had a high degree of (over) confidence in my ability to inspire, entertain, and transform lives from the pulpit. Now, of course, I realize that being the  voice of God week after week creates a group of listeners who have no confidence in their own ability to hear God let alone teach others.

4. Promoted music as worship. Anyone attending our church for very long would come away with the idea that the half-hour music concert at the beginning of every Sunday morning celebration was the high point of praising and worshiping God. Presenting yourself as a living sacrifice each day came in a distant second.

5. Marketed the church. I spent an inordinate amount of time and money through the years keeping the church in the public view of our community. Advertising, signage, and special events, took the place of signs, wonders, and miracles in practice if not in doctrine.

6. Established an equipping track. The equipping part is classic discipleship. It’s the “track” part that crossed the line. Trying to systematize spiritual growth is not only inorganic and unscriptural, it is also impossible. Much time, energy, and emotion blackmail was expended pushing people through artificial, inflexible programs that at the end of the day puffed up more than they built up.

7. Purchased a building. My crowning achievement as pastor was saddling my congregation with 20+ years of debt and maintenance costs.

Life isn’t all bad, however. Here are the seven best things I did as a pastor:

1. Established cell groups. Beginning in 1994 we spent more and more time and emphasis on small groups. Routinely we had more people involved in cells than were attending Sunday mornings.

2. Taught people how to have devotions. I spent two years equipping the congregation how to journal their way through the Bible. People still contact me to tell me how much it has meant to them.

3. Became a police chaplain. In a desire to reach out beyond the congregation and model evangelism, I acted as police chaplain of our city for 16 years.

4. Reached out on campus. The church I pastored is located in a college town. With several others in the church I reached out regularly doing surveys with students. Some of my best ministry memories happened during these outings.

5. Made disciples. The longer I pastored the more time I spent building relationships with people and the less I spent preparing for Sunday. Ironically the less time I spent on “quality control” the better the services became.

6. Never stopped praying or learning. I have always viewed prayer as the R&D department of the church. It was prayer that launched me into the ministry, prayer that sustained me in the ministry, and ultimately it was prayer that led me out of the ministry.

7. Pastored bi-vocationally. The first two years and the last two years I worked part-time outside the church. The first two out of necessity and the last two out of choice. The last two also prepared me to support myself in the simple church ministry role I have now.

I can summarize these two lists this way: Most of the worst things I did as a pastor I did promoting, protecting, maintaining, and leading Sunday morning services. Most of the best things I did as a pastor I did during the course of living life during the week. Hopefully these lists will help equip others to avoid the same mistakes.

Pastor Smith was a conventional church pastor for 25 years in the Northwest. He now lives with his wife in Las Vegas, NV coaching simple churches, reaching out to the lost, and ministering bi-vocationally.

Originally published here:
http://www.story.house2house.com/2011/03/18/the-7-worst-and-best-things-i-did-in-traditional-church-ministry/

Also found here: http://on.fb.me/Uc4Ie7

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