Have you ever played “catch-phrase”? One person has a word given to them on a screen and they try to get their team to guess their word without saying it by describing it and often times using words that are associated with it.
Much like a game of catch-phrase, “revivals” and the “glory of God” sometimes have words associated with them that make me cringe and often times scratch my head. For example, I was recently speaking at a prophetic conference and had a conversation with some young people who I asked to give me several words that come to their heads when they think of “revival” and the “glory of God“.
They instantly started giving me words: moral failure, lack of accountability, families destroyed, churches shutting down… As they continued to go on, I stopped them and said, “Okay, but what about the salvations, healings, manifestations etc?” They replied, ” Well yes all of that too, but everything we spoke of is kind of tied in together with one another. You have one guy moving in power and miracles, meanwhile he is cheating on his wife. You have another church ‘hosting the glory’, meanwhile the church in five to ten years shuts down or can barely stay afloat because they can’t pay their bills and the original pastor left.’”
As I flew home from this conference and conversation with these young adults, the Holy Spirit began to stir inside of me. The more I inquired and asked the same question to hundreds of young adults around the country in “revival cultures” and regions where “the glory of God” moved, they all responded in the same way. To my horror, there seems to be an entire generation of young people who believe synonyms for revival and the glory of God are: moral failure, lack of accountability, families destroyed, and churches shutting down. My question is: Did God intend for that list to actually be antonyms? Is it possible to walk in real miracle power with upright character all at the same time? Can revival and the glory of God descending upon regions actually bless the church instead of destroy it?
Here are 3 keys to lead us in the right direction….
1. RECOGNIZE THE SHIFT
My good friend and author R. Loren Sandford is famous for saying, “There is a glory that God sends to regions that is intended to bless the church, but if their is a crack in their character, what God sent to bless them with will actually end up crushing them.” I’m going to take it one step further and say that if revival and the glory of God can destroy a ministry, church, and the man or woman of God leading it, maybe its just revealing how carnal the structure and accountability really is. And to make things worse, revival history is littered with individuals who loved mixture more than they loved Jesus. Men and women refused to deal with their issues in the secret place so that when they were raised up, their flaws were exposed in the public place and the body of Christ was mocked once again and rightfully so! How many more Christian leaders are going to use the example of David and Bathsheeba as to why their affair is okay? Do we realize that the Bible is full of flawed individuals to show us how much we really need Jesus, the model of perfection, instead of using their sin to excuse our sin? Oh that a generation would fix their eyes on Jesus. He came to reveal the Glory of God (John 1:14) and every definition of revival is contained inside of His person (John 7:37).
I want to call a generation of leaders to deal with the lion and the bear. We must consistently and constantly turn the light on in the closet and lay all the skeletons out before God and man. If we will be faithful to the battles that no one see’s, God will be faithful to raise us up for the battles that everyone see’s and WE WILL HAVE VICTORY. But if we are unfaithful to the battles that no one see’s, God will be faithful to raise us up for the battles that everyone see’s and we will be humiliated and bring shame and reproach upon the body of Christ. Don’t be deceived: there are many pseudo David’s running out to take on the Goliath’s of our day, but it’s not them that are going to cut His head off at the end of the day, it’s Goliath that is going to eat them for lunch!
I was in the Garden of Gethsamene several weeks ago while visiting Israel. As I was deep in prayer and mediation, the Holy Spirit kept saying to me, “If you do not deal with your flesh privately, your flesh will deal with you publicly.” The Father is raising up a new breed of revivalists who are going to put to death every idea in people’s heads about words that are associated with revival and the glory of God. I foresee an era in the body of Christ where the new synonyms for powerful moves of God and people that carry the glory and anointing will be: holy, uncompromised, righteous, loving their wife as Christ loved the church, above reproach, not lovers of money, and most of all; radically Jesus centered!
2. IRREVOCABLE CALLS ARE DECEIVING
To be sure, one of the most confusing elements of revival and the glory of God moving in regions is how individuals can still perform signs and wonders, yet be living in a compromised lifestyle. This is so deceptive and mind boggling to people, that it actually serves as a solid foundation in people’s minds and hearts, rather than a serious and grave concern. Too many individuals generally accept powerful gifting and moral flaws as a packaged deal. They believe that you cannot have one without the other. And what’s even more grieving is that we lack so much discernment in the body of Christ that people tend to not even care. “Give us the miracles and who cares about their lifestyle” many cry out! Does that sound like the ministry of Jesus to you? I hope not!
Romans 11:29 says, “for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable”. Another translation says that they are “without repentance”. In other words, individuals can continue to perform miracles and prophesy without repenting of their sin! What a terrifying concept and only God Himself knows why He allows this, but one thing is for sure: While individuals can operate in their gifts and calling without repentance, THEY CANNOT WALK IN THE ANOINTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITHOUT REPENTANCE! We do not need to look any further than the life of King Saul who lost the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 15:26), but still prophesied and led Israel for another 20 years. The only person in the whole nation of Israel who knew and recognized that Saul had lost the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit was Samuel the prophet. An entire nation was deceived and led astray by the irrevocable gifts and calling upon King Saul’s life. And so it is today, thousands are being led astray by compromised voices astounding people with their gifts and calling, but yet not having the approval and touch of God upon their life. They will be like those in Matthew 7 where Jesus said, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not cast out demons, and in your name perform miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness’.” We must pray for greater wisdom and discernment in the body of Christ to know the difference between the actual anointing of God versus individuals that are just operating in irrevocable gifts and callings. Remember, when we stand before Jesus on Judgement Day, He will reward no one for the gifts He gave them. No one with the gift of prophecy will be rewarded for prophesying and no one who was given the gift of miracles will be rewarded for the miracles they performed. We will simply be rewarded for HOW WE STEWARDED the gifts that we were given.
After Todd Bentley’s moral failure during the “Lakeland Outpouring” and the massive fallout in the body of Christ that took place after it, Dutch Sheets offered a letter of apology to the public. His words are both sobering, revealing, and incredibly weighty to the next generation of leaders in the earth:
“We, the leaders of the charismatic community, have operated in an extremely low level of discernment. Frankly, we often don‚t even try to discern. We assume a person’s credibility based on gifts, charisma, the size of their ministry or church, whether they can prophesy or work a miracle, etc. (Miracles and signs are intended to validate God and His message, not the messenger; sometimes they validate the assignment of an individual, but never the person’s character, lifestyle or spiritual maturity.) We leaders in the Church have become no different than the world around us in our standards for measuring success and greatness. This has contributed to the body of Christ giving millions of dollars to undeserving individuals; it has allowed people living in sin to become influential leaders – even to lead movements, allowing them influence all the way to the White House.
Through our lack of discernment we built their stages and gave them their platforms. We have been gullible beyond words- gullible leaders producing gullible sheep. When a spiritual leader we’re connected with violates trust, is exposed for immorality or falls below other accepted standards of behavior, it does not exonerate us simply to say we don’t condone such behavior. Those we lead trust us to let them know whom to trust. We have failed them miserably in this regard. For this lack of discernment, and for employing and passing on inappropriate standards of judgment, I repent to the Lord and ask forgiveness of the body of Christ.”
3. RESTORATION OF FALLEN LEADERS
How then do we handle those who refused to deal with their flesh in private and their flesh ended up dealing with them in public? What do we do with these men and women of God who carry such powerful gifts and callings, yet place so little value on character and holiness? What is God’s plan according to His word for these men and women.
Matthew 18:15-18 says,“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.”
James 3:1 says, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”
Much of the accountability and systems of restoration that church leadership has set in place for fallen leaders has been so completely contrary to Scripture and sound wisdom that it’s heartbreaking at best. In order, restoration for fallen leaders according to Scripture must follow this process:
1. Restored Back to God
2. Restored Back to Spouse and Family
3. Restored Back to Body of Christ
4. Restored Back to Ministry
Unfortunately in many Christian circles, the focal point of restoration has been completely centered on being restored back to preaching and teaching and I want to be clear: THAT IS THE LAST ISSUE ON THE LIST BELOVED!!! I’ll even take it a step further: If the only reason why individuals who have fallen are willing to repent is so that they can get “back into ministry” they are NOT REPENTANT and are quite frankly addicted to ministry and people that are addicted to ministry do not need to be in ministry! PERIOD. For a man to have an affair on his wife and marry that woman and then to be “restored back to ministry” not only makes him an adulterer, but also his new “wife”. Can this person continue to operate in miracles because he has an irrevocable call? ABSOLUTELY! Will they ever walk in the anointing of the Holy Spirit again? NOT WITHOUT DEEP AND BIBLICAL REPENTANCE! It would do the body of Christ a lot of good if fallen leaders were simply content at being restored back to God and their families and perhaps long down the road, God might open up doors for them to minister in some capacity, but rarely back on the public stage in no time.
THE TRUMPET BLAST
Hear the word of the Lord saints:
The days are drawing near in the body of Christ where men and women will demonstrate the kingdom of God found in Romans 14:17. They will walk in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. To many people’s surprise, their peace and joy will come from a cleansed conscience who has embraced the message of repentance and bears much fruit that will last. Some will call them “law preachers”, others will call them “religious” ,but Jesus will call them, “sons of the living God”.
A new standard of moral purity and holy living is being raised in the body of Christ. Expect with great anticipation miracles, signs, and wonders and prophetic words that shake nations to come from vessels who love Jesus more than they love their hidden sin. These individuals will be branded with a distinct marking and is encompassed in two words: Wilderness trained! For it is in the wilderness that we learn how to die to ourselves. We take up our Cross and follow Jesus. The end of us is the beginning of Him! In the words of John the Baptist, “we decrease so that He increases”.
Be on the lookout for carriers of revival and glory that steward and host His presence in ways that blesses them, not crushes them. The public will not know their name, but heaven will. Pray for discernment. Ask your Heavenly Father to show you the difference between gifts without repentance and the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. Lastly, pray for our fallen leaders. Cry out for those who longed for the Giant, but never turned aside for the lion and the bear. May we walk forward with wisdom, humility, and most of all Christ-likeness. Our greatest days in the body of Christ are ahead of us!
The Unknown Dreamer,
June 17, 2014