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Archive for August, 2019

Three Days in Kavumu

It has been a while since I’ve written. Food poisoning took me out for a day or so and three days later, I still have no drive or energy. So much for believing that the food is safe at the hotels.

I missed the first day of a 3-day seminar. There was no way I was going to make to this place that was 2 hours away, so I turned it over to my host, Pastor John, to fill in for me. He did a great job, which is proof that they really can do this without me.

The next day I showed up to a group of over 500 pastors, most of whom belong to CEPAC, a conservative Pentecostal organization that started during the revivals that swept through Africa during the early ‘70’s. I knew they’d be scrutinizing every thing I said, but I also knew that this younger generation chafed at the legalistic restrictions that the organization had put upon them over the years.

Like all religious organizations that are birthed in times of a move of God, the fresh excitement of revival slowly fades into a more organized replica of it’s original raw and wilder version. They retain the same vision, believe the same doctrine, sing the same songs, but they just get polished and sophisticated and begin to add more and more rules to maintain their perceived place on the path to Salvation. It’s like they grew up and became adults and lost the freshness of their youth and vitality. They become boring and are no longer fun.

They also change their status in society. Whereas they used to be on the other side of the theological tracks, they have now moved into the respectable section of town. But they have lost something in the transition. They become stiff with a programmed approach to the things that used to be led by the Spirit. And along with that they develop a “churchy” personality, but they never see it.

So I knew what I was stepping into when I stood up to address all the dark suit coats sitting out there. But I also knew that everything I was about to say for the next two days was based solely on the Word of God. I don’t troll all the latest Christian self-help books, subscribe to the podcasts, or view everyone’s videos. I don’t want to replicate someone else’s ideas. I want the Word of God to direct the message so that everything I say can be backed up by God.

I needn’t have worried. They were with me every step of the way. Yeah, there were the expected questions when it came to Question-and-Answer time, but it was more because they wanted to know how to answer these questions. Questions like makeup, lipstick, a glass of beer, women wearing pants, and a variety of the same old issues. When I answered that they were more concerned with a tube of lipstick than the fact that souls were dropping off into Hell, and that God blamed them for allowing the harvest to perish, you should have heard them cheer. Yeah, they cheered! They got the message.

Both days were great – they always are – and I left with a confidence in these simple, humble people that they would take the message I left them and begin to put it to work. They were so happy that they gave me a goat to take home. Yes, that’s right, a goat. And a strange twisted rope that contained a dozen hard boiled eggs. I guess that means they like me.

We tied the goat up in the backseat of the car and waved goodbye. I don’t know if I will ever see them again. Kavumu is a bit out of the way, but God knows exactly where it is and He is able to start a fire in a place like Kavumu that no one has heard of and send it around the world, because He is God and that’s what He does.

Like so many out-of-the-way places that I’ve ministered to, you can only deliver the message God has given you and leave the rest in His hands. He will water the seed you’ve planted, cultivate it, and bring it to harvest.

Brother Dale, www.Revivalfire.org

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Sunday is my first day on the ground here in the Congo, so naturally we are headed off to one of the local churches. I say “local” with some literary license. This place is not exactly local.

After I left the Congo last year, the brothers here were on fire to spread this message of revival everywhere. This church is just one of the many churches that were planted. As I heard it, this pastor heard of me and came to last year’s meetings and asked if they could plant a church in his village. So I started this time in a church that is one of my seeds. I thought that was pretty cool.

But local it is not. We drove up and over the mountains that surround Bukavu, and then we drove down the other side and kept going. Maybe it really wasn’t that far, but it sure felt like they were taking me way out into the bush. Then all of a sudden, we took a left hand turn straight into a tea plantation. This is a road? Well, sort of. But then, we took another turn straight up a rocky, muddy path. Are you kidding me? Horses can’t go up that path, and you’re going to drive up there with this little Toyota?

Out on the outskirts of this huge tea plantation was a tiny village. It was nice, neat, clean, and orderly. Nothing like the squalor that you find in the cities. And in the midst was a tiny church packed wall-to-wall with about 100 people singing and praising the Lord.

Services out here are nothing like you experience in America. First of all, the service lasted over 5 hours. Let’s sing another song! Let’s pray again! How about another message? Add to that an altar call for the nine souls that got saved and a water baptism for another 8 souls. My little message was only a small part of all this.

Africans do not do church like we do in the West. The level of intensity would blow most of us out of our pews. The music is loud and boisterous, and the dancing is ferocious. The praying is so intense it lifts the roof up a few inches or so. And the preaching is serious and anything but the boring lectures we receive in American churches. You got to really want God to dive into church at this level. The thing is, they do. And we don’t.

I think that’s the thing about Africa that I find the most telling – they are desperately hungry for God. From what I’ve read about revivals, that seems to be the one initial ingredient that is necessary for any outpouring the Holy Spirit. You gotta be hungry. So hungry that it will push you past the traditional limits of your typical staid and organized church. You cant fake this. That “churchy” thing has to go along with the half-hearted sincerity and the affected holy voices. The “unchurched” know what I’m talking about. Most of you church-goers do not.

The fervency extended to that evening’s radio broadcast. They had me on for an hour with a salvation message. People not only get saved, but they also get physically healed just listening to these broadcasts. I experienced the same thing when I had a radio broadcast in Liberia. It’s not me that makes the difference; it’s their desperate hunger for God. They need Him and they need Him desperately, and they expect the miracles, and so He brings them.

Us in America? Um, not so much. And that is why I believe revival will break out in Africa first before spreading around the world. We may be the last to get it. And that is IF we are willing to give up our comfortable religions, our weak, insipid messages, and our arrogance of being from “Christian America”.

We are the Church of Laodicea.

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelations 3:32)

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Brother Dale

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Back to the Congo

Back to the Congo

Eastern Congo has no serviceable airport that can be reached by major airlines, so I have to fly into Kigali, Rwanda and then hop a prop plane to the border. From there, the brothers and sisters will pick me up to cross into the Congo.

While I am here in Kigali, news of the new emerging Ebola Crisis in the Congo is filtering through. Rwanda briefly closed their border because of the increasing deaths in the Congo. They have since reopened them, but the tension is wavering about what will happen next, especially if the outbreak continues to grow. So far, almost 2,000 have died.

Rwandans kind of look down their cultural noses at the Congo. It is evident that there is a huge difference in the two societies in money, prosperity, infrastructure, business, social responsibility, and much to the point, health. There’s all sort of reasons for this, most notably is the huge influx of cash into Rwanda from Western nations trying to assuage their guilty feelings from sitting by during the Genocide in 1994. In contrast, the Congo has been in a constant state of war for 10 years, both from militias inside the country and invasions from other countries trying to steal their mineral wealth. One country is clean, organized, and prosperous while the other is in tatters, shattered, poor, and under a cloud of darkness.

These are the kinds of places that we as Christians are sent into. While the bulk of American Christians will run to Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda because it is safe there and has an established infrastructure, the real battle and desperate callings are to places like the Congo. It is a difficult place, but it is in such places that the Light shines brightest.

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little scared, and I sure haven’t told Cindy yet. I have already been through this same thing when I was in Liberia when the Ebola Crisis broke out over there. There is a feeling of death in the air that is palpable. I felt it then, and I can feel it now. Is that the devil? Probably. Does it matter? You still feel that ominous weight of fear in your innermost soul. You can tell me how brave you would be, but it would sound more convincing coming from you if you were on the other side of the border.

But we go anyway, don’t we? To quote a friend in Florida, “It’s what we do.” We go. Anything less would be treasonous. We are dead in Christ and called to the sufferings of the Cross. Those people that are there are souls that are precision in His sight and someone has to bring them the Light. So we go anyway.

When I landed at the border, I was met by a whole contingent of brothers and sisters who came to greet me, all wearing polo shirts emblazoned with my cross-and-fire logo on their breasts and “Revivalfire Ministries” printed across the backs. Talk about a welcome!

This is why I come. The fire is not only already burning, it is growing and these brothers are fanning the flames. The Ebola Crisis is only adding to the fire. The same thing happened in Liberia. They started packing the services every night while the disease was devastating the country. When their mortality is staring them in the face, people tend to turn to God.

In “The Hiding Place”, Corrie Ten Boom wrote “thank God for the fleas” because they kept the Nazis from coming into their barracks. If this disease is drawing people to the meetings and causing the excitement level to rise, then I thank God that He is able to use something so deadly to save souls. The trick is that someone has to come and bring the Gospel to them.

And so we go.

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