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Archive for January, 2013

It was a great day today in spite of the fact that my system is still upside down. I’m exhausted at 6 pm but wake up at 2:30 am. But that makes for some good reading and prayer time in the morning.  And this morning’s prayer hour was great.  I know I’m ready to launch into today’s messages … I just don’t know what they are yet.

The drive to the church we are holding services at is 1-1/2 hours long, and most of that is on dirt roads. We drive through an area that had been controlled by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) just a few years ago. The situation then was dire. Road blocks were set up everywhere, and if you were a young man or woman, you were taken for the army.  If you were a white guy like me, well, let’s just say you won’t be coming home anytime soon.  But those days are over to everyone’s relief.

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Once again, we are met on the road in front of the church by the children all dressed in blue waving flags in the air and singing and cheering.  It makes you feel like a war hero coming home or something. You can tell they are genuinely excited as they accompany the car all the way up to the church. I got it on video this time so you can see it.

I am so completely out of my element here that I am totally reliant upon God to deliver the message. That’s not just some cute “spiritual” saying – I really do not have a clue and it is a bit unsettling! This is not a meeting of pastors and church leaders, but of common people from all over the area.  We are not in an urban area where the church can immediately affect the community around it, but in the middle of the bush where you can only guess that people live around here.  This is not the first time that God has placed me in this type of setting, but it just seems that the message I have to bring is not designed for this. I have no idea what these people need to hear … but God does, and He drops the message on me as I stand up.

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Wow. Almost two hours later, the Spirit of the Lord has grabbed hold of hearts in a deep grip that even I don’t understand.

The afternoon service is a repeat of the morning.  The message poured out of me like a river that kept flowing and would not stop. I can tell that these people are genuinely transformed.  Something has happened here that is beyond my understanding.  It’s like God has a special thing going with these people but He hasn’t let me in on it.  I’m just the guy delivering the message. Gee, thanks.

I am really puzzled at this.  It’s obvious that it is no mistake that we are here in this outpost way out in the bush. Could it be that this is exactly how God does things?  He confounds the wise and mighty and uses those humble vessels that depend upon Him to do great and mighty things. I honestly believe that God will raise up from this group of 100 or so people some mighty men and women who will make a significant impact on this country, and who knows? Maybe even the world. That would be just like Him, wouldn’t it?

I have two more days of double services and the Sunday service to go yet.  It ain’t over yet.

[This is article 3 of a 24 part series which was written and published during my trip to Uganda in 2011]

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I was greeted today like I have never been greeted before. They were so excited to see me that it was somewhat humbling.

We are 50 km from the nearest city and 30 km from the nearest paved road, but there are people living all over here in the bush. During the hour long ride over dirt roads through the scrubby bush country, I was told that there are no more dangerous animals here – only pythons which live under anthills and spring on unsuspecting people who walk by. Oh, that’s nice to know. I don’t suppose I’ll be taking a walk through the bush anytime soon.
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As we arrive, however, there are dozens of young girls coming out to greet me dressed in bright blue dresses with garlands made from bright pink flowers, yelling and waving their hands. Loud in the background is that strange high-pitched warbling that the women do here in Africa. It is deafening. It is as if they were welcoming royalty or some homecoming national hero, and a bit unsettling as my host, Bishop Girado, tells me that I have to get out of the car so they can welcome me into the church. This is not what I expected, nor what I am prepared for.

I have come to preach revival, plain and simple. I am not here to build churches or conduct city-wide crusades – I am here to ignite those who will. I am preaching a strong message that will wake up and ignite the churches here and inspire those “John the Baptists” that I know are here to rise up and set their country on fire with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. An entrance such as what I experienced today was not in my plan.

Nevertheless, I know that it is a demonstration of how much these people are hungry for God, even way out here where you would not expect to find many people. So I spent the afternoon with about 60  people, giving an overview of the vision I have, what I am going to show them out of the Word, and carefully leading them to something new – a fierce driving to God to win souls and send revival.

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I hope it works. This is not what I was ready for, and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say anymore. Few people here have Bibles, so I don’t know how sophisticated their knowledge of the Scriptures is. Regardless, here I am, back in that ol’ familiar situation where I have no idea what I am doing.

Sometimes I wonder if God thinks this is funny. I have no idea what to say, what message God wants for these people, and what I will be doing for the next 4 days. I only know I am here, that I really believe in the coming revival that I preach, and that I am expecting a supernatural outpouring of the Holy Ghost even way out here in the Bush. (Sigh) So here we go, stepping off into the unknown again.

We’ll see what happens in the next four days. Will it be just an exciting time as they come to see the muzumgu (white man) and leave entertained but not changed, or will God do something supernatural here that has not been seen in generations? If all I am here to do is entertain, then my mission has failed. “God, break the heavens and pour out the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit so that this world can see the reality of your Truth!”

That is what I am here for.

[This was written during a trip to Uganda in 2011.]

 

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We just finished up three days of double services, a radio broadcast and main church service on Sunday.  I still haven’t adjusted to the jet lag so I’m pretty whooped … that is until it is time to go to sleep, which is when all of a sudden I wake up. <grimace>

We have gotten off to a slow start, which while that always worries me, it is pretty much par for the course.  The 2nd day, however, much more passion rose for both services.  It was really good – not great mind you, but better than anything we’ve seen in America for a long while. Image

 But the 3rd day, we went through the roof!  In the morning service, I could feel the Spirit pouring out of me. Wow. I was pretty excited.  The people were pretty excited also.  But for the afternoon, which was the last service for the 3 days, I didn’t even preach!  I prayed over the bishops and anointed them with oil, and then I made them pray over the pastors and anoint them.  Then I was going to have the pastors turn around and pray over and anoint the people like I had done in Burundi, but I felt a strong leading not to do that. The people needed the inspiration to come from me praying over them, so for an hour or so, we prayed and prayed and prayed.  You would have loved being there, getting your hands full of oil, pouring out your heart in prayer over each and every one of them, and feeling that miraculous flow of the anointing through your hands.  Wow, it was really, really cool!

A couple of days of rest and searching for Bibles and a printer for the 4 Steps to Revival booklet, and then it was off to the next city for 4 days.  Usually, the momentum builds during this time. You’d think that was a little strange because God doesn’t need to build momentum, but that seems to be the way it always works.  I guess it must be me that needs the runway to take off on. <grin>

The hold that the Catholic and the Anglican churches have on this society is strongly against the Pentecostal born-again churches.  Under Idi Amin, they rejoiced when they saw Pentecostal churches burning, and they are only marginally better these days.  The President of the country is born-again and is greatly loved here, so that should bring some change, but there are deeply rooted strongholds that have a firm grip on this society.  

But we have the power!  And the Glory! And the Anointing of the Holy Ghost!  Watch for the miracles to follow.  They are already being manifested in the south where the pastors that I visited last year are burning for revival and taking it to the streets. God is beginning to move in Uganda, and I am excited.

[this series is taken from the Uganda booklet, written during a trip to Uganda in 2010]

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69 Weeks

The prophesy in Daniel 9:24-27 has to be one of the most amazing proofs in the Bible of the absolute inerrancy of the Word of God and the absolute proof that Jesus is really the Christ. I shared this prophesy with some folks just recently and was surprised to learn that they had never heard this, so I thought I would broadcast it to everyone on the blog and on the email list. If you’ve not heard this before, you will be amazed. You can also find it in a bit more depth at www.revivalfire.org/tracts/Danielsprophesy.htm.

Here’s the prophesy: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

(Daniel 9:25)

 

Most scholars agree that the date of the commandment to restore AND to build Jerusalem was on March 14, 444 BC. Using this as a starting date, we should be able to predict the date when the Messiah would be presented to Israel. Since Jesus was the Passover for us, and the Passover lamb was to be presented on Nissan 10th, then the date of His entrance into Jerusalem on Nissan 10th, 32 AD should be the date that we are looking to match with Daniel’s prophesy.

“Weeks” is translated from the word that means “sevens”, or in other words, seven years. The first seven weeks, or 49 years, is what it took to build the Temple. The next 62 weeks plus that 7 equals 69 weeks, or 483 years. Because the Jewish calendar is lunar based, not solar based like our Gregorian calendar, it is generally accepted that the prophetic year in Scripture is 360 days. Using that for our calculation, we come up with 483 x 360 = 173,880 days. Okay, remember that number.

From 444 B.C. to 32 A.D. is 476 years; 476 X 365 is 173,740 days. Add 116 days for leap years and you get 173,856 days. (Almost there)
Now we finally add the days from March 14 to April 6 (the day of Christ’s triumphal entry) which is 24 days, and you get a total of 173,880 days!

Amazing. Is there any doubt that God wrote this Bible? Is there any doubt that Jesus Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world for us? Is there any doubt that not only is He in charge of the affairs of men, but that He will fulfill every promise He has made to us, including His soon-coming return? If this is all true, how should we then direct our lives?

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2Peter 3:11)


 

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There is one last story from this trip that I would like to tell, but I worry that if I tell it exactly the way it happened and in the full color of all its intensity, I will turn a lot of people off or at least cast a shadow over their belief.  But I have nothing to gain or lose in the telling, and it may be that I will at least open a crack for us to peer through the veil into the invisible.

My last service here was in a tiny village up in the mountains east of Lake Victoria. A long and tortuous dirt road takes you past a landscape dotted with tiny dwellings and small gardens to the top of a high ridge.  This is the real Africa, the rural one that few tourists ever see because there’s nothing exciting to see up here. Just small muddy buildings with tin roofs.

I was done and anxious to get going and start my journey towards home, but Pastor Robert was delayed at the church counseling a young teenage girl.  When I went back to the church to say a final goodbye, I found him trying to get the girl just to say the word, “Jesus”. She couldn’t.  You could see this intense struggle going on inside her, but she just couldn’t say it.  I knew we were dealing with a demonic spirit.

For the next hour, Pastor Robert, his wife, and myself dealt heavily with her.  We prayed, we commanded, we rebuked, we invoked the name and the Blood of Jesus, we took authority, we cajoled, and we persuaded.  This girl (I will call her Bell) was swaying and falling in obvious torment as this demonic thing was cringing and wrestling to maintain its hold on her.  It would not let go.  Bell seemed like she was in a trance, sometimes not knowing where she was, but she stayed with us.

After a while, the thing allowed her to say, “Jesus”, but would not let her ask Jesus to come into her heart. Bell was trying, but it would not let her do it. I’ve seen when a demon will try to trick you into thinking that it has left, lying dormant for a while, only to resurface when it sees that you have not been fooled.  That had to be what this one was trying.  But we kept at it.

And then, all of a sudden, there was this sigh of relief and a peace that fell on the room. Bell slumped down in the chair and her whole body relaxed.  For a moment, I thought she fell asleep, but no, she was just finally at peace.

Then came the best part of this whole experience — listening to her reaction after she had been delivered.  She kept repeating that she felt light and airy, how free, really free she felt, and how wonderful it was.  But it was the joy that she now felt that really put a lump in my throat.  How tormented had this little girl been!  She had tried to commit suicide three times, but now she was not only free, she had joy!

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t get much better for me than seeing stuff like this.

Africa is full of these demonic situations.  Africans who will read this will relate fully to what happened with Bell, but Americans will wonder.  I don’t know why this is so common in Africa but so rare in America, but I would warn the skeptics in the West that this is very real. There is an entire spiritual world that you cannot see but is nevertheless more real than the world we live in.  I don’t have to understand it, analyze it, or submit it to a psychiatric process – it is real, and you dismiss it at your peril.

So you can see why I am hesitant to submit this. People have a tendency to believe or disbelieve what they want.  Proverbs says that the wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit. In other words, a fool’s folly is to allow himself to believe what he wants to believe in spite of the facts.

Bell is now happy, saved, and praising the Lord.  Pastor Robert and his wife are continuing on to bring revival to their community and to the youth of western Kenya. And me, I am heading home.  What about you? Do you believe this is real?  And if it is, what does that mean in terms of how you are leading your life and the things you are pursuing?

If these demon forces are real, then doesn’t that mean we are at war?  An invisible war perhaps, but nevertheless the fiercest and bloodiest war that has ever been fought.  It is God vs. Satan in the epic battle for the souls of mankind, and Satan’s greatest weapon is his invisibility.  Only as Blood-washed saints of God can we see into the spiritual realm where the contrast between Light and Darkness comes into stark focus.

Time is short and the battle will increase in intensity as we approach the end. We will begin to see more demonic things happen in our society (like the senseless shooting of 20 little children).  Things will become more polarized as time goes on, but as the powers of darkness arise, so will there also be warriors of God who will rise to face the challenge, and they will do exploits.

It is a time of war.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”  (Mar 8:36-37)

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One More Service

One more service.  That’s it, and I go home.  Maybe for the last time.

I shouldn’t be so ready to go; its’ been one of the shortest trips I’ve taken and I’ve had more days off than at any other time, but wow, am I ready to get back home.

You never know what will come out of these trips.  Sometimes the anointing falls so heavy that you literally can hardly stand; other times it is so intense that it’s as if the Spirit of God was like a knife cutting through the veil of Eternity.  But often it is just a regular service without all the fanfare.  I am beginning to believe that those “regular” services are the ones that have the most impact because they are the ones you hear back from a year later.

That’s the kind of services we’ve had on this trip.  I’d like to tell all the guys back home about all the supernatural outpourings mingled in with a bunch of miraculous healings and hundreds of souls that got saved … but that didn’t happen on this trip.  But I have a feeling that we will see a lot of miraculous things will happen from the seeds we have planted on this trip.   Just a hunch.

The first week was with the kids, mostly from the university with some high school kids mixed in. They would sit there and stare at me like sponges with eyes wide-open like owls. I couldn’t figure out if they were getting it or not. I shouldn’t have wondered. They got it alright. Many came to me after it was finished to tell me that not only had their whole outlook been changed, but they were going to carry the torch to light the fires of revival back at their homes.   

After the Youth Conference, I preached 3 messages at one church and a quick open-air meeting at another.  It is always the altar call that is the true indicator of how powerful the Spirit of God moved.  I am not always able to feel it – maybe because I’ve been so used to it over the last 10 years – but when you see the whole church on their faces before God, crying out at the top of their lungs, you can pretty much bet that you hit the mark.

That’s how it has been in both churches.  I have one last service where I will show them the prophesies in Joel about this great revival that is coming to this generation. If I can only inspire them and plant a vision in their hearts that will burn and drive them to light the fires of revival wherever they go, then I can go home satisfied in knowing that I have lit the  torch for the Gideon Generation to take into the battle. 

“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” (Psalms 71:18)

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I met Susan today.

I arrived early at the church this morning – actually I arrived on time at 9 am. It’s just that everyone else showed up on “African time” a couple hours later.  But Susan came early, so the two of us sat and talked.

Susan is an orphan. Like so many of the thousands of orphans roaming the streets throughout Africa, Susan was a victim of a combination of social disasters– AIDS, poverty, and too many unwanted pregnancies.  She was born in Uganda to a single mom in a Muslim home.  Dad was gone, which is so common here that it is almost expected, and her mother was left to struggle to feed her.

Because Susan was another mouth to feed, she became a burden to her mother who began to make life increasingly difficult for the little girl, at one point, even trying to kill her.

It was when Susan heard the Gospel from a local church and decided to become a Christian that it became an easy decision for her Muslim mother to throw her out onto the streets. At 14 years old, she was forced to sleep in alleys, in back street corners, eating scraps of whatever food she could find, and doing God-knows-what-else to survive.  She found a church and begged for a place to sleep, but with the overwhelming burden of unwanted orphans roaming the streets, there was only so much the church was willing to help with.  After a short time, she had to go.

She found her grandfather here in Kenya, but by the time she got there, she found that her mother had died and her grandfather could not take her in. Thank God, her mother’s sister reached out to take her in.

Susan is now born-again and has been living with her aunt for a few months now. Life has been hard. She badly wants to go to school like the other kids, but now at 17 years old, it is too late.  She would like to start a business selling clothing like so many do in a street side kiosk, but that takes money she doesn’t not have. She says that’s okay because she has all she needs in Jesus and believes that God will open a door for her. And if not, it is still okay because He was there for her when she had no one else, and she knows He will not abandon her now.

Susan’s story is not the exception here in Africa.  Many children are thrown out into the streets, some even younger than 8 or 9 years old.  Usually it is because of poverty – their fathers are non-existent and their mothers cannot feed them – but often it is because of a born-again conversion to Christianity.  What is unusual is that while you would expect that from a Muslim household, it is just as often the case in Catholic and Anglican homes.  And yet Christianity thrives.

There is one difference between Salvation and any other religion – it is the presence of the Spirit of God.  It is that one thing that these kids have found that is worth all the hardship to endure and maintain that innate knowledge that God is with them and will never leave them forsaken.  The world may forsake, abandon and persecute them, but Jesus never does. And that is the peace and hope that I hear in their voice and see in their eyes.

I believe in these kids. This is the Gideon Generation that God will raise up to use to bring in this last great move of God.  As usual, He takes the foolish things of the world, the small and despised, the rejected and beaten, to bring about His glory.

Things like Susan.

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