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Archive for May, 2016

One of the messages that I have brought many times is the story in chapter 14 of 1st Samuel about Jonathan, the son of King Saul. It was one of the very first messages that the Lord brought to me about revival. Over time, it has grown to encompass messages about the necessity of the Word of God and prayer in bringing revival and the need for a vision for God.

King Saul had mustered 330,000 men of war to defeat the Philistines, but then sent them all home after the victory except for 3,000 men. But guess what happens when you lay down your defenses. The enemy will attack. And that is what happened to Saul.

The Philistines came with more than a hundred thousand men, and the men of Israel fled to the caves and dens of the rocks. Only 600 men remained, but none of them had a sword. Only Saul and Jonathan had swords. What happened to all the swords? When we do not maintain our grasp of our sword, the Word of God, we lose our defense against the enemy.

But Jonathan was not like his father. He was a man of vision for God. The circumstances around him did not matter. It was not how big the enemy was that he saw, but how big his God was. Jonathan turned to his armor bearer and said, “…There is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6)

And up the mountain he went.

Jonathan climbed up that hill on his hands and knees, just as we must do battle on our knees with our hands clasped in prayer. At the top of that hill, as Jonathan wielded his sword, twenty men fell before him. That is the power of the Word of God when it is joined with prayer that contends all the way to the top of the mountain.

But that was not what made the revival break out. What did twenty men matter in the face of 100,000? What good would such a small effort do to bring down such overwhelming odds? Why bother with those little out-of-the-way churches with small congregations? How can God possibly use such puny things to spark a worldwide revival? I don’t know. I just know He is God, and that’s what He does.

God saw the faithfulness of a man who simply believed God and took hold of a vision for God that spurred him to action. Jonathan never looked at the situation around him, but he looked beyond the horizon to a God that was bigger than any problem and any army of the enemy. He had the courage to believe God. That courage drove him up that hill. Had he stayed at the bottom, nothing would have happened and Israel would have been destroyed.

But when God saw that faithfulness, the earth began to quake and the rocks began to fall and the entire Philistine army began to run for their lives. They went down killing each other in their panic to flee.

And the Israelites that had run to hide in the caves? They came out and began to chase the enemy. In like manner, when real revival breaks out, all those Christians that have run to the caves and dens to hide because of their discouragement with a dead religion, will suddenly see what they had been looking for in a new revived outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and will come forth.

This is the picture of revival that I see. It is not by might or by power but by the Spirit of God that revival will come. It is the little people of the Faith, not the big shots, which God will used to bring this great, end-time move of God just before Jesus comes back.

Revival is coming. But it is not coming to everybody. Only to those who answer the call and are willing to climb up that mountain, armed with the Word of God and the power of prayer. We need Jonathans with vision to lead the way up that mountain so that God will shake the earth once more.

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

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Kisii is a small city nestled among the hills of western Kenya, not too far from Lake Victoria. I have been here twice before – once just passing through on my way to Tanzania, and the other to preach in a church here. This time I am scheduled for two days at a church that I have not been to before, but before I can leave Kisumu, another pastor in Kisii has been pleading for me to come to his church.

This happens a lot. They are hungry – no, starving – for revival! We in America do not do not understand the depth of this hunger. We are more like the Church of Laodicea in our satisfied complacency.

This pastor has begged, pled, and entreated my host, Bishop Kibedi, to please squeeze them in somehow. But the only free day is the day off spent traveling to Kisii. That means hurry up and drive for 2 hours to Kisii, find a hotel somewhere and check in, figure out where his church is, and get there by 10 am. [pant, pant]. Uh, I don’t think so.

But he pleads that the people will wait no matter how long it takes me to get there. How do you refuse a request like that?

As it turns out, when I get there it is a family church with a dozen members and a very young pastor who doesn’t know what to do. There is no “60 people and many pastors”, neither is it the 20 minute drive from Kisii like I was told. But hey, this is Africa and everything is fluid here. Hakuna Matata, “no worries”. Or as they are so fond of saying, “doan warry”. There is no “hurry” in Africa.

But this is what I do – go to the places no one else will go to minister to those who have been overlooked or dismissed because it is not “cost effective” to spend the time and money to reach them. I’ve been doing it for twelve years and one thing I have noticed is that when you reach down to minister to the “foolish things of the world”, God always shows up. I guess that’s just the way He is. He loves little children, widows and orphans, lost causes, the weak and helpless, and little people. It is what He does.

The pastor from the main church that I am preaching in the next day is impressed. He realizes that the need is great for seasoned men and women of God to raise up these young pastors so that the flocks can be fed with the Word of God. As it is, even in the bigger churches, few people read the Bible. Some do, but most do not, so it is a small wonder that they are starving.

These last couple days in this last church are exhilarating. Maybe because the call to get home is so close that everything is ramped up for me. Maybe it’s because I am giving one last great effort to ring the bell for revival before I make my final curtain call.

Whatever it is, the electricity runs wild. The people in this last church I am in not only “get it”, but they have caught the fire and are already organizing the church to reading and prayer so they can be on fire when they head out into the streets to bring in the lost. I have told them the formula for revival and that once the Lord sees their faithfulness, He will begin to move.

They are not waiting; they are already on the march.

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Mornings in Kisumu are fresh and clean in spite of all the dirt that is in the city streets that seems to rise out of the ground during the rush and hubbub of the day. In the early morning, the sidewalk vendors are staking out their sidewalk territories and getting ready for the business of the day as the city slowly rises out of her slumber of the night. I love this time in the morning.

I have just spent the last two days with a very small band of pastors in what seems to be an abandoned schoolroom on the outskirts of the city. The roads that lead to the meeting place have become mud holes and impassible lakes after the all-night rain we just had. We had to forego a couple of the roads because the water was too deep. As it was, I plowed through a couple of 20-foot wide puddles that were up to the axles, hoping and praying that I would not get stuck. This is the rainy season, so this is no surprise for me.

Less than a dozen pastors have shown up to hear the message that I have brought them. My friend who is organizing these meetings for me is developing a network of churches across Kenya and these pastors are part of it. Although there’s only a few of them, if I can plant a seed deep enough in their hearts and light a fire of inspiration that they will take back to their churches, then it will be worth plowing through the mud. God knows what He is doing, even if He doesn’t let the rest of us in on it.

At the end of two days of meetings, they are so excited that they are already planning for a great big conference for me next year. I get this same response from every place that I minister at. Everybody is always so lit up from the message that they all want me to come back the next year. I always I tell them that, no, I am not coming back. If I have to come back, then I didn’t do my job right the first time and what good would it do to tell them the same message again? If I did do my job right, then they don’t need me to come back.

Seriously, though, I don’t think I’ll be back. I can feel the passion and intensity of the burden slipping from me. All I want to do is go home.

But I have one more city to visit. Kisii is a small city a couple hours away and I have three days of meetings there at two different churches. After almost two months out here, I’m almost done.

As I am pulling out of Kisumu in the early morning and I soak up the freshness of the air that has come after the rain last night, I am reminded that we are encouraged to cast our bread upon the waters and it will come back to us. I have done that here. True, the water here may be muddy, but I have cast my bread out there nonetheless.

Someday, who knows when, it will come back to me in the form of churches revived and souls saved. That will make it all worthwhile.

“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.”
(Ecclesiastes 11:1)

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