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Archive for September, 2012

“Any objection to the carryings on of our present gold-calf Christianity is met with the triumphant reply, ‘But we are winning them!’  And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world´s treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course the answer to all these questions is no.” – A.W.Tozer

“And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offence of the cross ceased …  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”  (Gal 5:11 & Gal 6:14)

Over the years, I have watched churches with good intentions subscribe to a myriad of programs, seminars, study courses, video presentations, and vaudeville productions in an attempt to launch their church into an exciting, new and vibrant walk with God – something that will energize their congregation and enliven their pastor so that his normally dull sermons will be revitalized with power and excitement.  And it sometimes works … for a week or two.  But water seeks its own level and will always sink back to where it is the most comfortable.  Good intentions alone do not equate into results.
God did not leave us without His instructions; the blueprint for a true revival is in the Book of Joel.  The problem is that that solution is not what we want to hear. And since we are so smart, sophisticated and educated, we will figure out our own solution, thank you very much.  As a result, we are left to run around in circles trying desperately to catch our tails.
What is it that we really want?  Are we really after revival?  Or do we just want a richer experience so that we can be spiritually entertained?
The thermometer for the church is not the Sunday service which we all consider to be the apex of our spiritual week, but the Wednesday night prayer meeting at 7pm.  (Did you even know you had a prayer meeting on Wednesday?) There is where you will find the furnace for the entire church.  It is the Labor Room where moves of God are birthed. If there is no fire there, you won’t find it anywhere else.  The price for real revival is not paid by the front office, in the offering basket, community projects, or with mindless accolades and “ataboys” for the preacher.  It is paid for on your knees.
If that is so, then why aren’t our Wednesday night prayer meetings packed to capacity? Why are they so dull that no one wants to come?  Could it be that we really don’t believe that God will answer our prayers? Or maybe our prayers are so anemic that He doesn’t even hear us? Or maybe we just really don’t care that much? Life is good; we’re okay; hope everybody has a nice day.
Revivals have to be prayed in with deep, contending, gate crushing, desperate prayer.  It has been said that God doesn’t answer prayer – He answers desperate prayer!  Desperate prayer like Rachael’s Cry in Genesis 30:1. (Those of you who are hungry will look that up; the lazy ones will not.) If you want God to send the rain, then you have to pray like Elijah – you have to storm the Throne of God.  If you want God to move, they you have to move God, and contend before Him until He does.
Revival has a price … and it is not the price that human flesh would like to pay.  But if we will shed the baggage of our own theological endeavors and instead allow God to strip us down to the bare metal of our souls so that our only sufficiency is in Him, then we will find not only the strength, but the will and inspiration to walk that crucified walk that leads to the Cross.
And only there will the fire begin to burn.

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I want to tell you about something that promises to be so exciting that there is no telling what will develop from it.

A couple years ago, we held some 3-day meetings in some places out in the remote areas of western Uganda that pastor Noah planned and organized for us. This is an area that, like many other places that are desperate to see the real power of God, has been largely ignored by the big evangelists. It’s too remote and does not seem like there are enough people there to make it worthwhile.  But those are the places that I generally find the Lord sending me to.

The meetings were incredible!  Under old ragged tarps held up with tree limbs, you could feel a cloud of the Holy Spirit enter in and take over. The excitement in the air was like electricity.  Many people who came in paralyzed, crippled, and sick would get immediately healed when they stepped in under the tarps. The place was set on fire!  And then they would take that fire out into the villages after the services and hundreds came to Salvation.

God stayed long after we left. Pastors and churches who previously would not have anything to do with each other, suddenly started coming together and were united in a new understanding of the commission that Jesus had placed upon them.  Noah led them to begin to reach out to the Pygmy tribes around them that, for generations, had seemed to them like animals or sub-humans who were not worthy of Eternal Life. Pastors began to ask God to forgive them for hunting and killing these souls and God began to place upon them a huge burden to reach into the demonic darkness of the jungle and bring the Light to these desolate people.

Well, the seeds that were planted have begun to sprout.  Gradually, inroads have been made to build a new trust with these lost and forgotten tribes.  Because of persecution, Pygmies are generally very reclusive and will not come out of the forest except to steal food. But slowly they are beginning to allow these Christians to venture into the jungle to give them clothes and food … and they are beginning to listen.

Just recently, a young Pygmy boy was healed of a demonic oppression and two others received Jesus Christ as their Savior. The others are watching to see what the old demonic gods will do to them.  A family who had to sacrifice their youngest child to these spirits last year (yes, here in the 21st century, human sacrifices are still going on.), were now called upon by the demons to sacrifice their third-born child.  But the tribal chiefs, seeing that these new Christians seem to be immune to satanic attacks, have held up the ritual … for now.  If this is true that Jesus Christ can save them, that God actually loves them, and that the power of these demonic forces can be broken, then that changes everything!

This is just the beginning. A sliver of Light has fractured the obsidian wall of darkness that has held the Pygmies captive for thousands of years. This brand-new idea of the love of God is piercing the Darkness in the jungle for the very first time.  And you know that when you shine the Light, the darkness flees.

Noah is going back for a couple of week-long meetings starting on the 20th. He is bringing food, Bibles, and the Gospel.  They are expecting thousands of people to come to whom he will deliver the same age old challenge to go out and win souls.  The Pygmies are coming also and will hear the words of Eternal Life.  It has begun.

Noah will need help. Many of these people will be walking for miles to come hear the Word of God, sleeping on the ground under the tarp for 5 days and walking for hours back to their homes. They need to be fed with more than just the Word. The cost for food, tarps, and supplies will be at least a few thousand dollars, besides the expenses for Noah and some helpers to get there.  Add to that the cost of Bibles, which few if any possess. He will provide to them what we provide to him.

You may want to be part of this. Consider that if you were to go broke buying Bibles, it would be a good way to go broke.

“Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 
(Esther 4:13, 14)

Brother Dale,  dale@revivalfire.org

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     “Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. 
     And Elisha said unto her, what shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil.”  (2Ki 4:1,2)

 Here is a picture of the church in a time of spiritual recession. Her husband had been a prophet so she had at one time known the ways of the Lord, but now he was gone and she sat alone in poverty, powerless to save her own sons from bondage.  Elisha did not give her money, but instead asked her what she still possessed in herself.

A pot of oil.  Just a residue of the anointing that she once had in abundance.  How like the Widow of Zarephath with Elisha’s predecessor who in the time of spiritual famine only had a little meal (the Word of God) and a little oil (the anointing).  But unlike the Widow of Zarephath whose task was to support the prophet until the appointed time, this woman’s task was to exercise what she still possessed in God.

Bring in all the vessels you can find, borrow from anyone you can, and bring them into the House of God that they may be filled with Oil. Do you believe God? Do you REALLY believe?  Then bring in the vessels, not a few. Bring in the souls to the House of God that they may be filled. Do you really believe in Salvation?  Do you really believe in Hell?  And when your faith is done, then close the door. The extent of your vision is determined by the depth of your faith.

Faith allows God to multiply the anointing.  He will not pour out His Spirit on a church that does not believe Him. But when faith grows, so will the outpouring.

Is this the formula for revival? I believe so. While I am loud in proclaiming that no revival comes without repentance and that all revivals have to be prayed in with a desperation that drives us past the limitations of our own flesh, I am adamant that revival is first, foremost, and always about winning the lost. It is the primary principle to understanding revival.  In the Book of Joel, God cries out to us to be ashamed because the harvest of the field is perished (Joel 1:11), and that He has cut off the corn, the wine, and the oil from the House of God as a result.   When we turn our focus away from a burden for winning lost souls, we turn off the faucet to the Spirit of God.

The solution to seeing the anointing flow once more in the Church is to fix the problem that caused it to cease. Cry out to God, not for your personal blessings and prosperity, but for God to shower us with His Holy Ghost conviction.  Dear God, allow us to see, allow us to repent, allow us to return.  Have mercy on us so that we may, in turn, have mercy on others.  Our children are sold to be bondmen to the world because they see no power in the Church. The anointing we once had when our husband was alive in the church has dissipated to a fading memory. We have a form of godliness, but we have denied the power thereof. We have a House, but it is nothing but a shell of the glory that it once had.

     “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? But now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. 
     And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?  (Judges 6:13,14)

 

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Just a note to say that things are changing for me.

I have felt it coming for a while.  It was as if September was like a stone wall looming before me that I couldn’t see past. I don’t know what is coming next, but I feel like this 10-year campaign in Africa is drawing to a close.  I have faithfully planted seeds for revival from Kenya to Cape Verde, from Tanzania to Nigeria, and literally a thousand places in-between. But there comes a time when those seeds have to be allowed to grow and push up through the clods of dirt while I am called to other fields. The Lord has passed the baton in this relay race to the next generation in Africa and it is up to them to take up the torch and spread the fire.

The message of Four Steps to Revival has been spread farther than I would have ever dreamed.   Somewhere around 15,000 or more booklets have been distributed and other pastors have taken the message and reprinted them even further. I have suggested that the printers in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and anywhere else that has printed this booklet be allowed to put their own advertisement on the back so that they can be contacted to sell these books directly to whoever wants them.

The booklet is always there on my website, www.revivalfire.org/foursteps.htm  and can be reprinted or downloaded.  I have also posted the audio broadcasts for this message that I have preached so that pastors can replay them or write to CD’s to be played.  I don’t know if that is something that will help or not, but it is clear that I cannot come in person to every place that wants me to come preach this message. This is the best I can offer for right now.

The fire that has been lit is spreading. I have struck my little matches, but others have fanned the flames.  New churches are still being planted, thousands are still getting saved, and I hear about more and more miracles that are happening in several places.  It is working, it is working, it is working.

I don’t know what is next for me, only that I am sure I will not be put out to pasture just yet.  I am hoping to preach at a large Youth conference in Kenya over Christmas, and I would really like to return to Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda in October if the Lord is willing.  If He is, He will send the money; if not, then we will see what else He has planned.  Maybe India and Pakistan; maybe Miramar (Burma).  As yet, God has not opened the doors to bring this message to the churches in America.  Maybe it is too strong for them to receive or maybe He has groomed someone else to light the fire here. Whichever way God has chosen, as always my job is simply to just show up and let Him do the rest.  And He always does.

It is time for a new chapter to be written in my life, a new campaign and a new direction.  Whatever the next 10 years will bring I am sure will be good.  It always is. I have learned to let go of what I want to do and let Him take control. Whenever we put God in a box, we bind up the moving of the Holy Ghost with our organized plans and agendas, but when let Him out of the box and just let God be God, it opens the door to allow Him to do the miraculous.  Frank Bartleman, who was foundational in the Azusa Street Revival, said that God told him that if he could just be nothing in his own sight, what great things God could do!  Amen.  I want to see just how big God is and what He can really do when He is let loosed to do it.

Send revival, O God and let the fire burn!

Brother Dale

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An Autumn Day

I’m sitting here on my shaded patio, one of my favorite places in the world, enjoying that woodsy air of Fall that surrounds me. The sun is strong and filters through the tall Silver Maple that towers over me, shading me with a dappled greens and yellows. The temperature is perfect.

The breeze that comes and goes through the leaves above is like a great exhale of wind from the breath of God. It sounds like the rustling folds of silk. And then it gently sighs into a soft peace that drifts down on me.  All is well.

I could sit here for hours and do nothing but soak up this ambiance deep into my bones. Is this what Heaven will be like? Will it have that distinctive rustic feel in the air that autumn brings? One can only wonder.

There are places on Earth that are hard and stark with little joy or peace. I know that I will return to these places again before too long, but right now all I can do is sit here and soak up as much as I can.

It is enough.

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There are things I have trouble understanding about God. And there are some things that I wish were not true. Not much I can do about it, but that’s the way it is.

I don’t understand how holy God is. It says in Job that the heavens are not clean in His sight. How can that be? Yeah, I can understand that our atmosphere is full of dust, ozone, fluorocarbons, and other ugly stuff that we spit out, but in the vast virginal expanse of space, isn’t that all pristine? And yet even the that is not clean to Him.

And then He says, “… how much more abdominal is man who drinks iniquity like water?”  So we need a Savior. I get that part; I just don’t think the mind of man is capable of grasping the holiness of God. Which is okay until you get to the part about Hell.

Faith has never been easy for me. Even after 43 years of walking with God, I am still amazed that He is really, really there. The idea of Eternity has always been beyond my grasp because it just doesn’t make sense to the carnal mind.  Like most little kids, I grew up with a basic belief in God – didn’t know much about Him, but just naturally accepted the idea that He was up there somewhere.  Some old guy with a long beard up there watching us.  But when I reached 12 years old, I began to wonder where He was and why He was hiding from us all. I went through an intense struggle until, out of frustration, I decided that the idea of God just didn’t make sense. We’ve all been kidding ourselves.  The problem was, however, that if God wasn’t there, then neither was life after death. Maybe eternity was there, but it was bound to be a cold, lifeless expanse of nothingness forever. I had a problem with that. There had to be something more to life than what met the eye, but my rational mind couldn’t accept it. Wishful thinking; fairy tales for old ladies and little kids; fabricated answers for the unanswerable questions.

And then God revealed Himself to me. Three times. (I had a hard time believing it the first two times). But it was real.  I didn’t know which God or how to find him, but I knew He was there.  And then I got saved. I had never heard about being “saved” or “born again”, but I knew something deep and dramatic had happened to me and I was changed forever.

I have had over 40 years of supernatural experiences with God, and yet He is still a mystery to me. That’s okay; it’s enough to know that it is all real — I’ll figure it all out when I get to the other side—but there are still some things that I don’t like nor understand. Like the reality of Hell. And why most people will choose to ignore it.

If I could write the book on Eternity, I’d like to put in a clause that everybody gets a 2nd chance once they face Judgment and finally realize that it was all true.  Or maybe just burn them for a couple hundred years or so before snuffing them out.  Something – anything – that will get around the horror of an eternal place of torment. But I didn’t get to write the story.

So what can I do? That’s what really bugs me. Sometimes I feel so powerless. I want to rip open the curtains of reality and shout to the whole world that there is a final and eternal judgment that everyone is going to face, and if they don’t choose Salvation, they will be lost forever.  I have read that, counting the 7 billion people alive today, there have been 15 billion people who have ever lived.  About half of all the people who have ever lived are here today. And most of them have no idea what is waiting for them.  Except the Christians, and most of them live like they have no idea either.

Yeah, I don’t like the idea of Hell, but there it is in all its flaming glory, written into the Word of God for all of us to read. I don’t know what to do or how to do it … and that’s what really bothers me.  We have had some great men of God in the past who were endued with incredible power in God, but they are all gone. Today we have a lot of nice guys in the pulpits, but we’re missing the thundering echoes of the power and authority in God to expose to an unbelieving world that God is not only real, but He can really, really save.

We need a revival today more than we have ever needed one.

Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,  as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!”  (Isaiah 64:1,2)

Amen.

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