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Archive for December, 2012

“To what purpose is this waste?”   (Matthew 26:8)

When I was brought to the place where the meetings would be held, I didn’t know what to think.  I had been told to expect around 400 young people for this convention, so naturally I expected to see an auditorium of some sort, but here we were standing outside a small classroom at a small rural Primary school. Inside were a couple dozen kids waiting to hear from the preacher who had come all the way from America.  I have to tell you, was a little bit dismayed.

I don’t have many financial supporters – I can count them on one hand – so I feel a personal responsibility to each of them for the finances that they have entrusted to me.  How was I going to report back to them of a response of only 5% of what had been expected?   I know that they never question anything that I am doing; nevertheless, I could not escape feeling dismayed at the obvious deception I had bought into.

So what do you do?  You suck it up and make lemonade with the lemons.  I plunged into the meetings just like I always have.

But there was another issue at stake, and that was whether or not I was in the Spirit enough to accurately hear from the Lord. Was this a mistake? Had I jumped ahead in own my presumption instead of being led by the Spirit? This was a much more serious issue because if that was so, then there were much larger problems in my spiritual walk to deal with.

But no, I know I was supposed to be here regardless of the tiny response I saw before me.  God was riding with me on this; I knew it; I could feel it.  So I just let it go.  My job, as I have always been fond of saying, is simply to show up. Well, here I was.  It was time for God to take it from here.  It was, in the final analysis, His money that was being spent, not mine.

One thing that I have a reputation for is that I am willing to go into places where no one else will go.  All the American evangelists focus on the places where they can preach to large numbers.  Even African preachers disdain the villages and the remote places in the bush in favor of the cities and places that are financially sustainable.  But I have repeatedly found myself in remote places where people would have to walk for sometimes as much as 12 to 13 hours just to get to hear the Word of God — places that never see evangelists, never mind someone from America.

I notice that Jesus wasn’t concerned about numbers. He didn’t hold any meetings in the Roman Coliseum, but he went to where the people were … and sometimes where they were not – to bring forth the most important message of all time.  And He changed the world.

In the next couple days, I saw those classrooms fill up with a hundred kids who were set on fire by the Spirit of God that crashed down on us every day. Something deep and powerful happened here; something that will come back in a great harvest like bread cast upon the waters. Only God knows what happened, but be sure that something did happen.

There is our way of doing things and there is God’s way of doing things – and His ways are past finding out.  The difference between the two has something to do with our spiritual pride.  When we learn to yield instead of trying to organize and figure everything out, we lend ourselves to something greater than ourselves so it is God, not us, that gets all the glory.

Amen, Lord. Let me not be like Judas who was concerned about the waste, but let me be like that woman who, regardless of the cost, broke that alabaster box of her heart and poured out her precious ointment of praise.  Wherever this Gospel has been preached in the whole world, this memorial has been spoken of her.

“For who hath despised the day of small things?
for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven;
they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.”
(Zechariah 4:10)

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Agonizomai

“I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing…” Revelations 3:17

Prevailing prayer is an acquired taste.  It not something that is flipped on with a switch or developed with a snap of the fingers.  And once acquired, it can be all too easy to lose for the very nature of prevailing prayer demands an intensity that is born out of desperation – something that our flesh does not possess in and of itself.

When I consider the Church in America, I see a structure that has been built to great heights, but is nevertheless, only a shell of what those who built it had intended for it to be. What ever happened to the great warriors of the Faith that we have read about? There are plenty of books written about the great exploits and power of these men and women of God who tore down strongholds, established a Gospel of power in the land, and changed the very fabric of our society.  But today we have nice pastors preaching nice messages to very nice people in large, comfortable nice churches.  Am I missing something here?

When did we get  so comfortable?

When we were first saved, how thrilled we were to be ushered into our new relationship with God!  The curtain of Eternity had parted for us and we could actually touch the Throne of God and commune with Almighty God.  I had never experienced anything like that in my life.  None of us had.  And so we prayed with a fervor and intensity that pierced the heavens and ignited a fire within us that drove us even further into the Spirit of God.  We were on fire for God!

As life progressed, however, and we settled into a more normal routine in life – house, car, job, kids – our intensity began to fade.  We still considered ourselves good, established Christians – we never missed church, we lived clean lives, and we professed our Christianity and were never ashamed of our faith – but somehow that wild exciting fire that used to burn inside us had settled down.  Perhaps we were no longer desperate as we once were. Maybe we just got used to being saved, or maybe we just didn’t feel the need.  Whatever it was, our ardor cooled down and we became the very ones we had once disdained as lukewarm.

The problem is that we never saw it coming and cannot see it in ourselves today. Ask anyone of us, and we will be quick to tell you of what on-fire Christians we are, true and faithful, strong and sharp.  But there are no fruits of our labor that we can point to.  Oh, we are active in all sorts of church activities, but as for how many souls have we won? Well, uh, we support all kinds of works and help out wherever we can … sort of.

And then there are those of us who are so holy that they refuse to go to church because they don’t want to be tainted by those whom they have deigned as lukewarm. They refuse to be associated with a “dead church”, so they recluse themselves from any responsibility to the Body of Christ as they shrink back into their cave of self-righteousness where they can peer through the opening of the cave at the rest of us poor Christians who hold a dimmer light than themselves.  And where is the fruit of their labor? How far abroad has the love of God been spread by their testimony?  Not much farther than the opening of their self-appointed prison.

I can understand each perspective and I can relate to how easy it is to slide into a quiet mediocrity or ascetic reclusiveness. At one point in time or another, I have experienced the same, but any of those positions could still be justified if they were backed up by strong, agonizing prayer for revival, for souls, and for the kingdom of God.  But that’s the problem … they’re not. 

I never hear about the victorious battles these people have waged in the prayer room, or what a strong prayer hour they have had recently, or how they had a great all-night prayer meeting and saw the light of victory in the early morning hours.  It makes me wonder if they even know what it means to pray like that … or are they so absorbed with their own righteousness that they have not considered the plight of others and the essence of the call of the Cross?

Maybe I’m the one who is being judgmental or critical here. Maybe I just don’t see the glow of their spiritual life that is hidden inside somewhere.  But if that is the case, where is the manifestation of the power of God? Where are the fruits? Where are souls getting saved? If there is a fire burning inside you, why can’t I smell the smoke?

The funny thing is that the same things that are true about us also perfectly describe our churches today.  I guess you could say that we are what we eat.

I believe it all goes back to the prayer room. The Christian you are on your knees is the Christian you will be out in the world. When there is no fire burning in the furnace room, there will be no heat in you or in your church, and the results of a cold faith will show up at your empty altars.

There is a Greek word that Paul used to describe how we should walk as Christians – agonizomai. It means to struggle and wrestle as in a contest or game, making every effort to win the victory; it is to contend in a task of faith by persevering amid temptation and oppression; and it means to strive and labor fervently in special pains and toil until you have won.  He uses it to describe prayer.

Do we agonize in prayer like our forefathers did?  It was their agonizomai that laid the foundation of faith to win our souls.  Are we doing the same for others? I have to believe that if we were, God would answer.  And if he does not, what does that say about our faith?

If there was a fire burning in us, you could smell the smoke and feel the heat.  But our altars are barren, cold brass because the fire has gone out. The horns on those altars are no longer covered with blood. We go through our religious ceremonies of “church as usual”, but there is no incense going up before the Throne, no sacrifices of blood, and as a result, there is no move of God in our land.

“And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.” (Isa 63:5)

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It’s the end of the day and I am sitting in a veranda watching the golden sky turn into pastel hues as the African night begins to settle in. The crickets and cicadas are starting up their evening symphony as the birds are ceasing theirs. The temperature is perfect and the air has a soft quality to it. As I sit back in my cane chair, I can imagine what the British colonial masters must have felt like a hundred years ago in this exotic place.

I have just finished my first day in a week long revival conference for the youth of this area in western Kenya.  I was expecting 400 kids, but there were hardly enough here on this first day to fill a small room. Typically for Africa, the first day of any meeting is considered the “travel day” as the people make their way here.  But it doesn’t really matter.  I know that I am supposed to be here even if there is only one attendant.  God is going to do something here, and as usual, He starts with small beginnings so that all the glory goes to Him and not us.  My job is just to show up; God does all the rest.

Some of these kids can’t be much older than 14 or 15 and I can’t help but make a mental comparison with the summer Vacation Bible camps back home.  But there is no comparison here because these kids are not here to play and have fun, but to make a difference in their world. The idea of revival hangs tantalizing before them and they want to hear more.

The messages that I bring are usually delivered to adults and at first I was worried that they would be too serious for these kids, but once I started rolling with the first message, I could tell I had them. Their eyes were shining and they were sitting up hanging on every word.  I have told them that they are the Gideon Generation and God has called them to change the world. They believe me.  It’s as if all of a sudden a brand new vista has opened up to them and the possibility of what God can do through them has become real.  I am trying to implant a vision in their hearts that reaches far beyond the horizon around them; a vision that is big enough to believe that, yes, they really can change the world.

More kids will come tomorrow as we get into the meat of the revival message. I have no idea how big this conference will get, but for now, I know a spark has been lit in these few kids that are here now.  All it takes is for just one of them to grab hold of the reality of this message and turn into the next John the Baptist and the world will change.  And that’s why I am here.

 

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He Came Seeing

He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”  John 9:7

What a moment!  What an incredible moment!

Here this guy had been blind all his life, and Jesus had passed by and had changed his entire life in one moment.

Now, why did this guy let someone just come along and plaster spit and mud on his eyes and tell him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam?  He could have just been some would-be wanna-be who was promising all kinds of stuff that he couldn’t deliver on.  Hadn’t this guy had a tough enough time sitting on the side of road all his life begging for scraps to survive without being mocked on top of it?  He might have just blown off this Jesus, but he didn’t.

He had hope. 

Hope is something that reaches out past all reason, past all common sense, past everything that the world would condemn us to, and reaches for that slender thread that tells you that there is something more to this life that what you see around you.  There has to be something more to life than this temporal existence. 

You hope because you can feel it in your soul.

And then there’s that incredible moment when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior – you wash and all of a sudden, you can see!  This man didn’t just come back – he came back seeing!

All the colors!  All the things that were just sounds before!  People’s faces!  Rocks and trees!  Oh, and look at the sky!  He didn’t just come back – he came back seeing!

The neighbors stood looking in amazement.  Was this the same guy?  Some said yes, but others said, “I don’t know.  He looks like him, but he ain’t the same beggar we used to know.  Something has changed about him!”

They didn’t get it, did they?  Nobody seemed to understand.  Even his parents were taken aback.  They were so afraid of getting kicked out of the church that they sidestepped the whole question.

But he didn’t care.  He was saved!  He could see!  He was alive for the very first time!  Really alive!  If others didn’t understand, it was only because they hadn’t tried.

But those who should have known couldn’t see what he saw, they couldn’t feel what he felt, and since he didn’t go to church, then they figured it must not be of God.

Why, herein is a marvelous thing that they couldn’t figure it out with their theological expertise, and yet he had been touched by the power of God.  But he didn’t have to figure it out – he could see! — And that’s all he needed to know.

If you have never experienced that incredible moment of Salvation, it may look so strange to you.  It doesn’t follow any set formula that you know about, and you can’t feel that Spirit, but if you have hope – if you just have hope! — you will reach out anyway.

And when you do, you will touch the face of God, and you will see like you’ve never seen before.  The Spirit of Life will raise you up from death; it will open your eyes,

 … and you will come seeing.

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I just got this letter from Pastor Noah, who has been ministering with me over the last few years.  I made several grammatical corrections, but left most of it as he wrote it so that it would retain the feel or his original letter:

“Dear Servant of God, I would like to share with you what the Lord is doing through this Year trip in the countries that Dale and I visited.

We visited Burundi in March where we gave 2000 booklets of Four Steps to Revival , plus several boxes of Bibles which we donated to Pastor Domitiane of Africa for revival ministries.

This Pastor had a vision to start 86 churches in all the whole of Burundi; the Bibles we got from Pastor Tony and the booklets we got from Dale did a great job.  Pastor used Dale’s book to teach the church those practical steps in the booklets, to keep the church on fire.  In 7 months’ time, they have Planted 62 churches in the whole of Burundi. The Bibles did a great work because they could not have preached so much like this without these tools in their hands.

                RWANDA

At the crusade we did in Rwanda, there were 5000 people, whereby 360 people responded to faith. I was able to visit this church later, sent By Dale to take the bibles and more booklets, which was sponsored by Pastor Tony too.  I found that they had brought another Pastor to help this lady pastor by the time we went there.  Because of this one trip that Dale and I made there, so many people have gotten saved that they no longer fit in that building.  Instead they have resorted into planting several churches around it.

One of the great exciting testimony is that the Hutus who would not come to this church saying that it was dominated by Tutsi tribe, have been reconciled and now they are serving God together.  Over 50 Hutu are fellowship with Tutsi here! Wow, Dale knows what it means for a Tutsi to sit and eat with a HUTU.

Hutu are the ones who killed many Tutsi in Rwanda from that time. There has been a huge gap between these tribes.  It has been so hard to see this thing break and that people are able to sit together and worship the lord together! When you hear that this is happening in this church you realize that this people responded to this Message.  Please, Rwanda desperately needs your prayers to have this deep bitterness leave their Heart. Some revenge is still going on into some families between some tribes. Dale, you remember when you were in Rwanda, they sent a bomb which killed a big number of people in Hutu Tribe where we had conducted a conference. Reconciliation is going slow but sure because the spirit of God is moving changing their Hearts as they yield to the spirit of God.

TANZANIA

Dale and I visited many places in Tanzania But I was excited yesterday to hear from Aman Minja who coordinated our meetings in Arusha.  Outside the town, the Bethel community church in Arusha was under a spirit of confusion with the leadership when we reached there.  Things were tough for each of us because there was a strong resistance.  The people seemed as if they were not ready.  We called this an ice brea , it was a breakthrough for me and Dale.  (Note from Dale: this was a cold church where it felt like we were facing a wall of ice. I had a breakthrough on the 3rd day, but not like we’ve had in many other places.)

When we left, we prayed and asked the lord what was going on, but now after some months later, this people have picked those books (Four Steps to Revival) and read them.  Minja says that they have realized the times.  This people have a done a great job than others.  Never despise a day of a small beginning.  Where you could not expect that anything good could come, that’s where it will come from! The church is full now. Not only that, but the pastor is saying that after Dale left that place something unusual broke. Even the people that had gone back come back to the church. They have set evangelism program, people are always up there each Saturday winning souls to the Lord.

                                              UGANDA.

The Lord has been doing a great work in Uganda; one of the exciting things is when Pygmies have come to the Lord.   Their fellowship is doing great!!! Some point to laugh at! Mr Kule happened to meet a Witch Doctor, whom they could consult whenever spirits would raise up against them. He heard him talking about a God he met who is more powerful than the Bachwesi spirit and ancestral spirits. He was telling people all the good things that Christ would do in their lives if they had accepted Jesus.

When the witch heard about this, he confronted Him and threatened to send curses on him that He could die.  Kule says that He had those spirits coming beating his house.  He heard His son crying saying that something was squeezing Him in the neck. He began to cry and scream.  Guess what, Kule says that He raised up and got hold of the Bible since the Pastor had told them that the Bible the word of God, is a shield and is the sword, He picked the bibles and begun to call the name of Jesus, laying the bible at the bottom of the son.   There and then Satan left the kid!

From there He got excited; he went telling everyone what His lord has done.  My prayer is that such people who have a great faith in the Lord could be treated with a lot of care and see what the Lord wants to  put into this people.  I like their zeal so far.  I believe if this people could be exploited well, they could in turn become a great blessing to this community.

 MBARARA COMUNNITY CHURCH,

Our church is doing great.  The fellowship that was started by sister Cindy has turned to be a great thing in this community.  These ladies are reaching their fellow ladies with Gospel which has provoked men to also do something,

Last week I was inspired the Teaching of Pastor Tony’s teaching about when you believe God but don’t share your faith. This inspired me too. I shared it with the church and felt they need to do it.

This week we have the former prostitutes who come to the Lord has asked us if we could go and share the same message with their friends who are prostitutes, and many ladies responded to faith.

We are moving nearby next week and we need your prayers that the spirit of God will Go before us.  I am glad that the hearts of people are so hungry for the lord.  The field is ready but the haves tors are very much few , please Lord send harvesters who could Join you in the field… you don’t need to hear the story of these ladies and reasons why they are doing this Job,,, you wonder in the world why do such terrible things happen into people’s Life. Dear Lord you come that the people may have life and life in abundance!!!

My heart’s cry is that if the Lord would provide, we could rent a building and put (Jesus) ,the church ,in the midst of such huge Darkness.  Kids are everywhere in this area, the only thing is known here is murder, raping, theft, fighting’s.  This people named the whole community Sodom and Gomorrah. Every evangelist has given up on this place.  Kids are running up and down worried, scared for their life because people here practice child sacrifice.  They are worried since there is no one who cares about them.  They struggle hard to live.  Something good needs to be planted here.

Who will shine the torch into this Darkness?  Please servants of God, you have been with us in many areas, and you have heard our need and responded positively.  I pray that as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and send gifts to our friends, how I pray   that we shall hear the cry of this place , which has not seen and tasted the Light that change its name and take this ground too for the Lord.

Let us give them Jesus as the gift. Please consider to carry it as your burden, let us pray and break through.  How I pray that we Plant the church in this place no matter what!

I believe we can claim this land back to Jesus, by preaching and touching the ground with the hands of love, when He loved the World He gave His son.  We are His hands and feet.  YES WE CAN CREATE A DIFFERENCE AND CLAIM THIS LAND BACK TO HIM!!!

Thanks to you Brother Joseph and your dear wife, for being a great blessing to people of God in Africa.  People are so excited, Rev Sadi is so glad, His son is still ill, but the fear of death has gone, there is a great hope of healing a upon his son ,  How I greatly appreciate you all Praise the Lord because you a great warriors in the Kingdom !! You have given us Hope. Praise the Lord. I trust you and am proud of you , grateful to the Lord because of you , your prayers and your generosity is going to do a great Work of shining a light in this community.  Christ came for this very people.  I love you.   You are always in my prayers,

In his love and prayers,  Brother Noah Kamanzi (noahkamanzi@yahoo.com)

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