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Archive for September, 2010

Drench the Sacrifice

And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
1Kings 18:33

I spend a lot of time emphasizing the absolute need for reading the Word of God.  There is no substitute for it.  The Word of God gives us the power to be able to contend in prayer so we can reach the Throne of God; it gives us the strength to overcome sin and temptation, and it teaches us the wisdom, knowledge, or understanding to guide us in the path. But more than that, it feeds our souls and draws us close to God. There cannot be a revival without it.

Elijah called for four barrels of water to be poured on the sacrifice. Then he called for another four barrels two more times. He poured it on the sacrifice until the water ran over into a ditch. The message to us is that we have to drench our sacrifice with the water of the Word of God before the fire of God will ever fall.  There will be no revival without it.  I have emphatically preached this message wherever I have gone, but yesterday the Lord gave me the reason why revival is so dependent upon the Word.

If God were to send a revival to a people who were not immersed in God’s Word, then they would not be able to nurture and raise the new souls that were coming in to get saved.  How could they tell them what God expected of them if they themselves hadn’t read it in the Bible?  We spend so much time listening to others speak, we read all kinds of other books and watch videos, we spend so much time going to conferences, seminars, and meetings … but we don’t go to the Source and sit down to read the Word of God itself.  Oh sure, we nibble at it, but do we devour the Word as if our lives depended on it?  As a result, we have a majority of believers who are not empowered with the Word of God, and therefore would not able to sustain new souls that would come in if God sent them a true Holy Ghost revival.  Those new souls would die — or worse, they would become just like us.

Satan knows this.  He is intensely aware how weak and susceptible to his influence a Christian is who does not have the depth and power that only comes from reading the Word of God.  So he works overtime to convince us that it is okay to listen to someone else, or read someone else’s book or watch their video.  “Moses, you go up the mountain and meet with God, and we will stay down here and buy your video for a Love offering of $19.95 when you come back down.”  Unfortunately, we end up worshipping golden calves instead.

In many of the places I go, there are few Bibles amongst the people. Even the pastors, especially out in the bush, are sometimes barely clinging to tattered copies held together with tape.  How do you preach a strong message of revival and not provide them the means to do it?  What do we tell them?  Be thou warmed and filled?

So I buy hundreds of Bibles every year – as many as I can afford – and hand them out.  It is never enough. Even when I filter out those who could buy a Bible but instead, use their meager resources for other things like cell phones – necessary, yes, but not as necessary as the Word – there is still never enough Bibles to go around.

But their hunger is such that they snatch up whatever they can get from God.  One church I went to had 45 members.  Only the pastor had a Bible, and it was barely holding together. The way he would feed his flock was to pass the Bible around and let everyone read a portion and then pass it on to the next person to read. He did this, he said, so that everyone could “feel how good it is to read the Word of God”.

Wow.  Tell me that doesn’t grab your heart.

Dear God, give us the inspiration to rise to the challenge of Mordecai so that we do not hide behind the palace walls of wealth and prosperity, but that we look over the palace walls to our brethren who are in such need and do what we can to sustain them.  I am not talking about an entitlement program where you mindlessly send a check just to assuage your conscience, but a serious effort in prayer and support.

Here is the kicker.  I believe that God’s last great revival will begin in Africa. Oh, I know many of you think it will rise up first in the USA, but America is nowhere near as desperately hungry for revival as Africa is.  We are the Church of Laodicea — much too comfortable and unwilling to pay the intense price that is required for a real revival.  Neither are we are inclined to break to our knees in deep brokenhearted repentance for the apostasy that is so rampant amongst us.  (Actually, we have a wonderful church.  It’s the other guy’s church that needs to repent.)

If that is true – and I don’t think there is any doubt about it – then what we do to support the church in Africa will ultimately reflect upon the church in America.  And what we do not do, will also reflect upon what mercy the Lord will or will not have upon us.

“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself,
but shall not be heard.”
Proverbs 21:13

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And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? “ Judges 6:13

Tragedy and human suffering is endemic in Africa. It is more than just the poverty that covers this land.  There is a dark oppressing cloud of wars and genocide, human trafficking, drugs, crime and witchcraft that wafts through the air like smoke.  And yet in spite of all this trouble, there is a strong core of decency that runs through these people.  There is also a greater sensitivity to spiritual things in Africa than I have seen in other cultures.  It’s as if the pain has opened up their hearts to the deeper realities of the spiritual things of God, and conversely, to the powers of darkness, and makes them vulnerable to both.

The desperate hunger for revival is unlike anything I have seen.  They need God.  It’s as simple as that. And they are willing to do whatever it takes to bring His Holy Spirit back into their lives, their churches, and their communities.

But to come here and preach a message of revival that has no cost is vain.  They know better.  They know that there is a price to pay for a true and lasting move of God.  The Grace of God is not cheap.  They just need someone to point the way for them.

Today, the first of a 3-day series, I brought a hard message and showed them in the Scriptures how far the churches had fallen from where they once were and how that the Bible prophesies of the spiritual desolation that would be here in these last days.  The signs are obvious.  The altars are empty, the power is gone, and the miracles are missing.  The prophet Joel, Hosea, and Amos all cry out that God would send a spiritual famine because we had left our first love for winning souls.

It was not hard to convince them. The message was strong, but the altar call was incredible. For almost forty minutes, their cries reached Heaven, and while they were praying, God sent down two miraculous healings on people who were hopelessly sick. It was as if God answered them immediately to tell them that the miracles, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and a true Holy Ghost revival are on their way.

Hearts and souls were transformed today.  There was a spiritual brokenness here that was so strong that you could feel the snap in the air.  And this is only the first day.  Who knows what will follow in the next couple of days?

I know this is only one little city in Uganda, but pastors have come from miles around to be here, and they will carry the torch to their churches. When those churches are lit up, they will spread the fire to others, and ultimately to this entire country.  I believe that with all my heart.

Then we shall have an answer to Gideon’s cry.

Brother Dale, www.Revivalfire.org

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In the Bush of Uganda

Ministry in Africa never ceases to amaze me.  You will find God moving in some of the most unexpected places.  But then, that’s how He always moves, doesn’t He?

For the last few days, we have been leaving the noise, squalor, and buzzing of the city of Mbarara to head 50 kilometers off into the Bush, as they call it here.  After a few kilometers, we are thrust onto a dirt road that for the next hour threatens to jar every bolt and screw loose in our little Toyota van. Driving on this road is like playing a video game where you can never let up your intense focus as you drive around obstacles, holes, and rocks.

Every so often, we pass a small group of dilapidated buildings that signify that we are passing through a town.  Men languish around doorways in what looks like slow motion, while barefoot kids are running around staring at the Muzumgu (white man) that is passing by.  Every town looks the same – a line of faded colored buildings that looks like an old frontier town from the Old West, tinted in a shade of the red dirt that is everywhere.

When we finally arrive at the place where we will be having a series of revival services, it would seem like you could not have picked a more remote place, but people have come from miles around to be here. Many will spend the next couple of nights sleeping in the church and cooking their meals over community fires just for a chance to hear this message.  Many have walked all day to be here. I’m amazed at the hunger they must have for a move of God.  They did not come because of slick advertising and a well planned promotion, but because of an incredible amount of hope that God really will visit His people.

My message is hard.  I tell them that right from the beginning. I did not come to make them feel good about themselves, but to bring the Church in Uganda to a place of repentance so that God can begin to move in her.  In order to do that, they will have to break the old ways of “church as usual” and cry out to God for forgiveness. That message will not fly in America, but here in Africa, they get it. Deep inside they know it is true. There is an innate knowledge inside them that a deep repentant cleansing is needed to wake up the Church. They are tired of the same old thing – it doesn’t work.  They want a revival and will pay whatever price is required to get it.

The place is packed from wall to wall with a sea of open faces sitting on little makeshift wooden benches.  Let me tell you what this church is like so you can get the picture. There are four walls constructed of crude bricks cemented with haphazard mortar. There is no ceiling – just walls — so they have spread some tattered canvas sheets over the top of it and tied them down with twine to some bricks hanging over the sides of the walls.  At one point, a rain storm came in and threatened to blow down the whole building. The walls were bowing in and out while the wind was blowing the canvas all over the place along with the bricks which started crashing in on us from over the sides of the walls. We simply crammed into a little mud hut that was next door and kept on preaching.  We never missed a lick.

They have been excited during the preaching, but it has been the call to prayer after each message that really has blown things sky high. For thirty minutes to an hour, they would be crying out to God with all their hearts.  Their intensity brought tears of repentance with hands in the air and voices crying out at the top of their lungs. It was like this at every service.

A skeptic might try to dismiss this by claiming that these people are normally emotionally charged anyway and so naturally they will react this loudly all the time.  But all you would have to do is talk to them after services to realize how real this has been to them and how serious they are.  They really do mean it. They really are that desperate.  And they really are that determined to have God answer them and send a revival.

“God please forgive us, revive us, and call your Bride back to you, oh God!”

Few in the West would be able to relate to the intensity of their cries because we are just not desperate enough.  When I am home, I attend a prayer meeting for revival with a small group of people who are fairly serious about having God send revival, but there is no comparison to the level of intensity that these people have way out in the bush of Uganda.  If those folks could only be here to see this, it would change the whole way they look at their prayer meeting.

Everywhere I go it has been the same.  I feel something very different in the air here.  It’s as if they have been waiting for someone to come and strike a match to start the fire.  I realize that I have seen only a very small part of this country, but if what I have seen is any indication of the rest, then an outbreak of the fires of revival must not be very far away.

And I am lighting matches as fast as I can.

Brother Dale
www.RevivalFire.org

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Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

Uganda. The very name summons dark images for most of us in the West, but the reality on the ground is a country with the same open-hearted people that I have found throughout East Africa. I don’t know yet what the core of the Church is like, but I am sure it will reveal itself as the message of revival is brought forth to them.
So far I have not seen the superficiality of the titled ecclesiastical class here, although at a pastors meeting this afternoon when I made a statement against the phony titles and the assumed positions of privilege that Church leaders often take upon themselves, there was a lot of cheering from these men and women. (Someone told me that a couple of bishops got up and left, but that’s typical.)
What I have seen, however, is a genuine hunger for revival, but a lack of knowledge on how to get it. So they do what Christians do – they pray for God to light the fire in their churches and look to God as children look to their Father and trust Him to move for them. God loves widows and orphans, and when the church realizes their separation from their Father and cries out for deliverance, He will answer them.
Earlier in the afternoon, I was preaching to some students at a High School here and could feel the call of God on this new generation that is coming of age. This is the generation of little David that has been anointed from a ram’s horn to replace the old established church of King Saul. The anointing is being passed to a new generation that is disenchanted with the old religious system and wants to see the reality of God’s power and experience the vibrancy of His Spirit. This is a Gideon generation — they don’t want to talk about it; they want to see it. I agree. I want to see the same thing.
As I preached to them, several of them were listening so intensely that it surprised me. Some were not, to be sure, but I also had the feeling that God was still planting seed in hearts and that many of them who now seem disinterested, would be the ones who turn to God with the most fervency — just as God took a little shepherd boy and turned him into a great king. I don’t know, that’s just the feeling I got as I was delivering my soul to them this afternoon.
I am just getting started here, so I have no idea what I will be plowing into, but I can tell you that if the amount and intensity of spiritual warfare that I am going through is any indication of what is going on, then this is going to be a battle for high stakes. I feel like I have landed in the middle of a snake pit. The spiritual oppression is like walking through a dismal swamp. But revival is coming and nothing will stop it, and that is the prize that I keep focused upon.
I don’t know how Uganda fits into the spiritual landscape or what God will do in this country, but I see a desperate hunger here that God is sure to answer. As always, God lays the challenge for those who are hungry to answer the call.
Those who do will be filled.

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