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Archive for June, 2013

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We are in Goma, a city in eastern Congo that has seen so much war during the last 15 years that it has become as much a military camp as a bustling city. There is little infrastructure here because of the constant instability. You can feel it in the air, like a dust that hangs over everyone and smothers freedom and peace. Even the US Embassy has issued warnings to stay out of North Kivu, which is the area we are in.

But this is where the need is, and this is where God has sent us. I wondered what message I could possibly bring to such a war-torn place that is steeped in such suffering.  In the face of such desolation, what do you tell people?  Since I really did not know what to say, I decided not to try and figure it out.  If God had truly sent us, then surely He had a message for them, and if He was big enough to create the Universe, then He can surely speak out of my mouth.  So I let Him preach.

About two hundred pastors had come from hundreds of miles around.  I think most of them expected the same old soft “Jesus loves you” message that they usually get from American evangelists, but that is not what the Lord gave me.  Instead, I challenged them not to fall back on their pain and suffering as an excuse, but to use it instead as a springboard that would propel them to bring the Gospel to the lost. I took it from John chapter 5, the Pool of Bethesda, where the cripple responded to the call from Jesus with his weak excuses of why he couldn’t get into the pool to be healed.  Thirty-eight years lying beside the Living Waters making excuses for why he couldn’t be healed was just like the Church here, wallowing in their self-pity for thirty-eight years since the last move of God had run through this area.  Instead of leaning on excuses, I charged them to overcome and have the courage to believe God for victory.

Of course, you can’t just tell everybody to rise up, take up your bed, and walk.  You have to show them how, and that’s what the three days was all about.  Once they caught the vision and could see in concrete terms that, yes, they can do this, it was “Katie, get up and bar the door!”  They were as excited as a bunch of kids ready to charge out back to their churches and spread the message.  They were on fire!  It was really something to see.

We start again on Monday in another town nearby. I expect to see the same thing again.  Leaders of this organization of almost 1,000 churches throughout the Congo have come to hear the message and have opened up their entire organization to me.  They believe this is the message that is needed to stand the Church back on her feet.

A broken, whimpering, weak Church that has been defeated by adversity can never overcome the powers of darkness that run rampant in this land.  Only a Church that is made up of warriors who will take the fight to the enemy and charge into the battle, knowing that the Lord of Hosts is going before them will ever be able to break the demonic hold that Satan has on this people.

We are here to fight.  This is a dangerous place, made more so by the fact that I am driving a spear right into the heart of Satan’s stronghold.  He has not been challenged like these pastors are about to challenge him.  He knows that the fury of the Lord is about to break over the spiritual barriers that have oppressed and destroyed this area, and I am sure he will fight back, tooth and nail.

Well, I’m from Jersey, and I love a good fight!  Especially when I know who is going to win.

Keep praying.

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     Tomorrow we start our campaign for the Congo in earnest.  It has been a week getting here, stopping first in Nairobi to meet with two different large church denominations based in Kenya. Both have read my message and have followed me for a few years now, but this is the first time I have met with either of these church groups.  They want revival and fully understand that it will not come through any easy message of blessings and prosperity, but only through a hard message of repentance.  The attitude in the churches is changing. The old-timers still remember the old fashioned message of holiness and the fear of God when true revival blew through their churches.  And now this new generation’s message of a soft gospel of blessings, love and prosperity is beginning to lose steam.  They’re finally realizing that it’s not working, and it’s not going to.

     From Nairobi, I flew to Kigali to hire a taxi to take me into the Congo. What a beautiful ride! We climbed mountain after mountain on a perfectly smooth road up into the fresh mountain air. The sun was strong and the air was cool. It felt like northern California or Colorado. If I lived in Africa, this is where I would want to be.  Rwanda is unlike its African neighbors in that it is a controlled society when it comes to cleanliness, order and industriousness. They actually fix things when they break!

     Of course that all changed once we hit the border of the Congo.  Corruption, dirt, squalor, and poverty rose up out of the ground within a matter of a hundred yards. But this is where I have been called, and this is where the challenge is.  If they didn’t need me, I wouldn’t have come.

     This evening, I met with the leaders of the churches that have invited me. This is another large organization of churches like what I met in Nairobi, but what a different situation!  Here we have a monumental challenge of some of the world’s worst suffering.  Almost 5 million people have died, along with countless atrocities and untold desolation for millions more.  There are not words to adequately describe the suffering and pain that is found here.  And I hardly know anything at all.  I would imagine that I will go through a baptism of sorts this month, entering into a depth of human pain and raw wounded emotion like I have never seen.  I will probably be a very different person by the time I leave.

  I asked about what message they expect me to bring. Obviously this is not my usual audience.  Where I am usually called to wake up churches and set them on fire, these people are coming looking for even the smallest ray of hope that God is mindful of their sufferings.  I cannot fail.  The wrong word spoken can destroy these fragile souls. I will have to have a message that is completely from God, no fooling around, no maybe, no “I hope God answers” – totally crucified, sanctified, and straight from the Throne. 

     I am totally out of my element in a situation that is so desperate that it defies description where there can be absolutely no mistakes. And yet, here I am.  I have to believe that He knows what He is doing, even if I don’t.  If ever there was a time to “lean upon Jesus”, this is it.  I cannot take a chance in figuring out what the message will be and come in with my own pile of disheveled notes and spiritually-sounding lecture.  There is no room for theological dissertations from some carnally based Bible scholars. This has to be released from the mind, from perceptions, from what I think and what I have learned. I have to let go, surrender completely and step off the edge of the cliff.  Get out of the way and let Almighty God preach the message.   Only He knows what to say.

      Keep praying.

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Ten years. That’s how long it has been since I first came to Africa to preach revival.

Ten years. Sounds like a long time and makes me feel old, but honestly, the years have just flown by.  I can’t tell you how many trips I have made here, but I can tell you that my passport had to have a bunch of extra pages added to it, and it is nearly full. 

I never did keep a count of all the churches I’ve preached at, how many pastors I have ministered with, or how many souls have been saved.  It never seemed pertinent for some reason. Looking back, I can see that I would have just lost track after a while. I’m not too good with keeping details like that. 

I can’t tell you for sure what kind of impact I have had here.  I know it has to be something deep and wide, but I can’t point to anything concrete that would show the extent that this message has traveled.  I know there are many pastors – some of whom are reading this column – who would vehemently disagree because they were there and saw the Spirit of God at work during those revival meetings and witnessed the results. Nevertheless, I am still a relatively unknown with no established ministry.  Of course that was never the point anyway. I didn’t come here to build my ministry; I came to build theirs.  Still, it would be nice to know.

And now I am about to launch off into a new adventure. In a few days, I will be heading into the Congo, right into the area that has seen so much warfare these last 15 years. If there was ever a place that needed God, this would be it. The devastation from so much warfare has created an intense need for God in these people.  They are desperate for relief.

This will call for a very different message than I usually bring. There will be no need here to reprove them about an easy-going, lazy “church as usual” attitude. That message of reproof is reserved for calmer areas of the world with established churches that are settled back on their lees and have lost their zeal and fire.  No, there is no lacksidaisical spirit here that would be a barrier to a move of God.  What I expect to find instead are deep, festering spiritual wounds that are debilitating their faith in a God who seemed to be missing in their time of horror. I have had people from Rwanda ask me where God was while a million people were butchered in 100 days. That is a tough question to answer when looking into the face of someone who had to watch as their little children were hacked to pieces, tortured, butchered and raped in front of their eyes.

Satan had his holiday and reigned supreme over these people during that time and through the years since.  But now it is time for God to burst through the darkness. We are going into the midst of a fog of despair to bring hope. I don’t have all the answers – I don’t even have most of them – but I do know that the only hope and salvation for them is through the Blood of Jesus Christ, and that somehow through all the pain and suffering that these people have been through, God will reign supreme over Death, Hell, and the grave. 

This next month should be a high water mark in my ten year campaign. I expect to see the power of God revealed in ways that overpower and exceed the intensity of pain.  The glory will outshine the darkness, and we may see God move in ways that have not been seen since Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem.

Pray for me.

Brother Dale

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