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Posts Tagged ‘preaching’

I’ve been delivering a lot of new messages lately. All variations of my standard set, but with new twists added and from completely different perspectives. It’s been great, with lots of new stuff that I had never thought of before. I’ve been just as excited as the folks who were listening to me.

I should tell you that, after close to 1,000 revival services across Africa, I have developed a series of messages about revival. The basic structure of the overall message is always the same: four steps and six principles. Mix ‘em up, put ‘em together, and spit ‘em out. Sounds dumb, doesn’t it, like I have no imagination or any fresh word to say, but just before every service, the Lord gives me the direction He wants me to go in, and I pick a message and go. Most of the time, I have no idea where it will lead, but after about five minutes into the message, I can feel Him take over and away we go.

I was taught not to prepare my messages. Open your mouth and let God fill it, is what the Bible says. Whenever you prepare the message, then that is your message. Let God take over and deliver the message because only He knows what they need to hear. You have to get wet with the Holy Ghost if you want to swim with God. He can’t speak through your mouth if you’re still talking. Works for me.

During one service in Nigeria, I was so sick I didn’t know where I was or what I had already told these people. I could barely stand up, never mind deliver a message. I had no idea what I was going to say, but just before I was called to stand up, the Lord spoke to me plainly, “Do you trust Me?” I thought, yeah, I trust you. It’s me I don’t trust. Nevertheless, something inside me prompted me to answer, “I trust you Lord. You lead, and I’ll follow.”

There it is. The secret to being led by the Spirit.  Let go of the steering wheel and let Him drive. You may not know where you’re going or when you will get there, but you will arrive on time at the right place.  Sounds like when God called Abraham to go into Canaan. I can imagine his brother being incredulous at what he was hearing.

“What? You’re leaving? We just got here! Everything is finally going well, and you’re taking off? Oh, and God told you to go. Right. And where did He tell you’re going? Oh, He didn’t tell you? But you’re going anyway?”

Hmmmm. Seems that’s always the way. It must have something to do with trust. If you want to do great things in God, you have to let Him do it. He can only work with a soul that has surrendered. A broken spirit and a contrite heart; isn’t that what Scriptures says that He loves?

Frank Bartleman, the man who chronicled the Azusa St. Revival, wrote that God once told him what great things He could do with someone who was small in their own sight. And I might add to that, someone who no longer cares about recognition and is broken to their own glory. With someone like that, God can move in supernatural ways and not have to worry about that person being destroyed by pride. It is, after all, God’s glory that will draw men, not ours.

Can we trust God to use us if we let Him? Are we able to let go of the things we so desperately hang on to, that we are afraid to let go? If we are truly broken to His will, it no longer matters, and when we release ourselves into His hands, then He can use us to do great and mighty things that we know not.

But first we have to trust Him.

As I have said, if you never step off the edge of the cliff, you will never learn how to fly.

Brother Dale
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I love to sit on my porch in the mornings as the sun is coming up and watch the dragonflies bob and weave across the lawn, snatching up gnats like winged Pacman’s. The sun’s rays cut across the morning’s chill and catch their weaving flights like illuminated spots of light. They never seem to run out of gnats to pick up; the swarms are renewed every morning. By noon, however, they are all gone, disappearing under the heavy blanket of Texas heat as the sun asserts its dominance on the day.

In some ways, that reminds me somewhat of the Church. How many times has the exciting times that comes with the emergence of the Son in a time of spiritual refreshing slowly settle into the lethargy that comes with the afternoon’s heat. Like a heavy blanket pressing us into drowsiness, time has a way of reducing us into spiritual slumber.

As our fervor begins to wane, our prayer life becomes conversational and formal whereas it was once full of passion and fire. Services go from fiery calls for repentance and the fear of God to intellectual messages on theology and how we should live our mediocre lives. Altars for repentance, which used to be called “the Mourner’s Bench”, now have become havens for “pity lines” for the sins we never seem to overcome. We are encouraged to be nice to one another by “feel good” ministries whose reputations are bolstered by their best selling book rather than their prophetic effectiveness to call the people of God to repentance. (Jer. 23: 22)

“And my people love to have it so …” (Jer. 5:31)

Jeremiah makes the point that false prophets of peace and safety flourish in times like these. Prosperity is the ensign that our leaders wave in their pursuit of wealth so that they can show how God has “blessed” them (1 Tim. 6:5). We love the comfort of settling into a soft gospel that lulls us to sleep like the heat of a Texas afternoon. We are satisfied; we are comfortable; and we feel blessed.

Several years ago, I pleaded with God for the people in the American church. As I was wrestling in prayer, I cried out, “But God, they are really nice people!” There was that ominous pause, like what you feel before a storm breaks, and then the Lord answered me directly in words, “I will spue the lukewarm out of my mouth … and you think they’re nice?”

We are in desperate need of revival. The problem is that as the Church slides deeper into apostasy, they are less and less able to see it in themselves. There has to come a spiritual earthquake to wake them up. The deeper we fall asleep, the more we need a revival, the greater the calamity that is needed to awaken us.

“Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season:” (Jer. 5:24)

No revival comes without repentance. The harvest will not come without the former and latter rain (Joel 2:23), and they won’t come without our prayer life being gripped with the fear of the Lord to crack our knees in abject, heartfelt repentance. The kind that moves mountains.

Jonathan in 1 Sam. 14 had his earthquake after all Israel had fled because he climbed the mountain that was before him on his knees to engage the enemy and fight. We need to take on his same faith and tenacity to fight for the people of God and climb that mountain which is before us. If we won’t fight for this, who will?

It’s another hot, sultry dog day afternoon in Texas. The temperature is hitting 105 degrees and the heat smothers you. Tomorrow morning the air will be fresh and cool again and the dragonflies will be back, zooming around like dive bombers playing in the rays of morning sun, but then by noon, that oppressive heat will be back again, draining the life out of the rest of the day.

Lord, we need it to rain.

Brother Dale

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“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.” Titus 3:1

(Sounds like good advice for our political candidates.  I wonder if any of them have read this.)

Of all the commandments in the Bible, these have been some of the hardest for me to keep.  The big sins that we all know about are obvious – don’t commit fornication, don’t get drunk, don’t lie, don’t steal, etc.  It’s relatively easy to avoid them because they are so blatant.

If I want to shoot some Pool, I need to go to the Bowling Alley instead of a topless bar.  If I want some trinket bad enough, I need to go to work and pay for it instead of stealing it.  If I am caught in a tough situation, better I should just shut up than lie my way out of it.

Okay.  That seems simple enough.  I can do that.

Then there are all those commandments that we make up.  And there’s a bunch of them.

Like you have to go to church on Sunday and sit through some theological dissertation that is intellectually endowed, but spiritually lifeless.  Somehow that misses the whole purpose of church.  I want to go where the power of God is experienced, not just talked about.

Or, you can’t wear lipstick, or you can’t talk about religion, or you have to be nice, or you have to dress nice, or you can’t have long hair, or you can’t smoke a cigarette, and on and on.

Yeah, I can do all those things too.  I don’t think that’s what is going to get me into Heaven, but that’s all right.  It’s a lot easier to go along with a lot of this stuff just to avoid the hassle.

But I really get stuck on attitudes and social skills.  It’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut sometimes when I see things that are just dead wrong — especially when it concerns people who are supposed to be in authority as leaders of the Church.

Is it speaking evil when you call a preacher to task for being lukewarm?  Is it being a brawler when you confront the con artists on TV that make lying promises based on how much money they can suck out of poor unsuspecting Christians?  Am I required to obey some supposed spiritual big shot when they are leading the people down a path that leads to Judgment just because they have a Ph.D.?

Does meekness mean being submissive to leaders who have no power in God and have lost their way?  Am I just supposed to be nice?

I guess I’m just a very baaaad boy.  But I take comfort in the fact that I’m in good company.  The old prophets were the same way – in fact, they were worse.  Even Jesus whipped them out of the Temple and called them some pretty nasty names.  And don’t get Peter, Paul, and James started!  They had a few choice words also.

I guess I’m just an old-fashioned, Holy Ghost Texas preacher with a New York attitude who doesn’t give a rip what they think.  If they’re a Jack of Spades, then they ain’t no Ace of Hearts.

I once asked the Lord back when I was preaching on the radio if we could please tone these messages down a bit. The messages were fierce every week. And they were directed by name to the local pastors. They were hearing all this outrageous rebukes. And I do mean outrageous.

“After all”, I explained, “I’m not making any friends here.  In case you hadn’t noticed, God, these guys are not exactly asking me to go bowling with them on Fridays.”

You know what the answer was?

While I was praying, the Spirit of God came down, and I could feel that ice cold feeling like, “Uh oh, I’m in trouble again”.
He spoke directly to me (and yes, God does speak directly to us):

“That is not your broadcast,
and that is not your message,
and they are not your people.
Now, you tell them what I tell you to tell them … and you tell them I sent you!”

And He didn’t sound very nice when He told me that.

Brother Dale

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“Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him…” Mk 6:20

If you picked up a newspaper today and saw that John the Baptist was holding revival services at a local church, would you drop everything you’re doing to make it there?  How about Elijah?  or Peter?  Would it be because they are famous?  Or is it because you would expect to hear a man speak with authority in God?

Souls are drawn to men of God who can stand up in the power and authority of God.  Revivals are poured out on anointed vessels to whom people flock to hear the Word of God and see the amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit work.  They came to Jesus to be healed, but stayed to listen because He spoke with authority.

We need that authority today.  Actually, we are desperate to see a man of God stand up in that kind of power and authority.  We have a lot of nice preachers, quite a few charlatans, and a whole pile of evangelists who would have you believe that they are the vanguards of the next great move of God, but we don’t have any John the Baptist’s, Elijah’s, or Paul’s.  Why is that?

Search the Scriptures and you will find that the kind of power and authority we are referring to only comes the hard way.  We all read and pray, but how many of us STORM the Throne?  We fast, but how many of us crucify our flesh?  And what is it that we seek the face of God for?  For ourselves, or for the lost souls of others?  All this only lifts us up to a higher plateau in God.

The real holy boldness, the real strength and power in God, and the genuine authority in God only comes through the fear of the Lord.  That is what gives a man strong confidence, makes his face to shine, gives him that entrance into the presence of God’s power.  Moses’s knees smote together, David’s flesh trembled, the prophet’s spoke of Him being their dread, Paul feared and trembled.  It is the common attribute for every powerful man with authority in God.  And we need that today.

In the last 20 to 30 years, the message of the Fear of the Lord has been extracted from our pulpits and has been preached out of our hearts to the point that most Christians don’t even believe it anymore.  They’ve been told that Love is the most important element.  Read carefully, my friend.  The Love of God is not possible without the Fear of the Lord.  Neither is wisdom, understanding, depth, or power.  And we will not see revival, nor a strong move of God, nor another strong man of God to stand up in the kind of authority we so desperately need without the Fear of the Lord.

Brother Dale

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Mornings here are crisp and fresh and the sun feels sharp and strong. How refreshing it is to get up and meet the morning here!

My focus, however, is not so clear. We have been hard at it for over a month, starting with a 3-day conference in Rwanda, on to a week of services in the Congo, Burundi, back to Rwanda, and now finishing up in Uganda. We’ll have done 35 services by the end of tomorrow and I’m getting a little foggy. That’s why I haven’t written many articles on this trip. I’m just too tired.

But the reactions have been great. Service after service, these people get lit up and excited about the message. I suppose I should feel good that it feels like it has almost become routine. You know (yawn), just another supernatural service with the power of the Holy Ghost coming down. What else is new?

But it is anything but routine to these people. The Africans I meet in these small rural churches, and even in the bigger urban ones, have incredibly soft hearts. It is not hard to fall in love with them just by looking in their faces. Small wonder that after 10 years I keep coming back.

I will miss them. I will miss the rousing song services that lift your soul into the arms of God. I will miss the fresh exuberance they exhibit when they grasp what you’re saying and the light goes on in their heads. I will miss hearing them pray. And the altar calls of broken hearts crying out to God in deep passion for who knows how long. I will miss getting the reports of how the message transformed them and gave them the impetus to win souls, not only expanding their church, but planting more and more. They tell me, “You said to go out and win souls. So we did.” Hahaha. So you have. Keep going!

There comes a time when you have to step back from the sowing and allow the harvest to grow up out of the ground. Others will water and prune. And still others will harvest the crop. In the end, it is enough that I was here and had a part of what God is doing. I have always believed that the Great Last Days Revival spoken about in chapter 2 of Joel and in Isaiah 32 will begin here in Africa. Nowhere have I heard of a people with such a desperate hunger for God. God has to answer them.

The mornings are crisp and clear here and full of promise. A new day is beginning here. I may be tired and foggy, but I can feel the rays of promise cutting through the air.

Revival is coming.

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I ate in a French restaurant yesterday. Trying to order in a French restaurant off a menu that is written in a language you don’t understand can be a little disconcerting. You really don’t know what you are ordering and can only hope that it won’t be too weird. It’s like a Pentecostal trying to explain what the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is like to a Baptist. You know they aren’t going to fully understand the concept, but you hope they can at least get the general idea.

I ordered Lapin, which is rabbit … I hope. That’s as close to a rat as I want to get – a rodent with long ears and a short tail. I just hoped they didn’t bring out Fried Lapwing Bat or Muskrat Stew. You never know with the French.

And I hate to say this, but guess what? It tasted like chicken! Surprise, surprise. Next time I will order spaghetti.

Revival ministry in Africa is often like that. You don’t always know how everything will turn out, but you go ahead with the same message you have been bringing and hope that the results will be something good.

Sometimes the whole place ignites; sometimes they all are crying in brokenness; and sometimes they just sit there and stare at you. Go figure.

You could worry yourself sick about the different results (the devil always tells me that it is my fault because I didn’t pray hard enough), but the truth is that your job is just to show up. It is God’s job to take it from there. It is His anointing, not yours, that will pierce hearts and touch souls. All you can do is be enough in the Spirit to deliver what He gives you. The results and the timing of their effects are His responsibility.

That takes all the sweat out of it for me. Sure, I have a responsibility to seek His face in deep prayer and to saturate myself in His Word, but that only serves to allow Him to use me as a conduit. He is the one who does the work.

So I ordered the lapin. Not bad, even for chicken.

Bon appetite.

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In ten weeks’ time, Dale and I visited over 10 cities in four different countries, had from one to four services each at 21 different churches, and held 10 women’s meetings!

Our first stop was at Noah’s church in Uganda. Dale, Noah, and Daniel, an evangelist who came along to experience what revival is like in Africa, held crusades in 2 villages, one street crusade, and Sunday services in Noah’s church. In these villages over 400 souls got saved. Both these areas have not had churches established there because of the Muslim influence and witchcraft/demonic activity, but we planted a church in each place that is still thriving. At one of the meetings, a man was supernaturally delivered from a demon possession (he was completely insane, rolling on the ground, eating dirt, with cuts and scars from cutting himself). He got saved and has continued in the newly established village church! It was an incredible deliverance and testimony. When all the people saw this happen, they started bringing all their idols in to be burned. It was just like the Book of Acts! I visited the Ladies of Hope for two days and toured the recently purchased orphanage buildings and the school.

Our next three weeks were in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Goma, the first city we visited, we held services in six different churches, ministered to three different women’s groups, and visited a refugee camp church. The spiritual oppression is heavy there; you can feel it as soon as you cross the border into this dark country. We battled issues regarding jealousy among pastors, greed, hotel problems, government corruption, and the after effects of a country battered by many wars. While some people we met were only interested in what they could get from us, some pastors took the Four Steps to Revival message to heart and put it immediately into practice. They prayed for the unsaved souls and then went out witnessing to bring them in! We were so encouraged by their hunger and zeal it made the hardships easier to overcome.

We traveled to Bukavu, Congo on a 3 hour boat ride, which was a lot of fun! While in Bukavu, we ministered in two different churches. The Penuel Church was amazing. Our translator was one of the best in both ability and spirit. We spent four days there where I met with three different women’s groups, and Dale did a radio program, a TV broadcast, four revival services and the Sunday service. The Spirit of God moved in some powerful ways during those services. One woman who had been crippled for three years was healed…she made a point of finding Dale two days later to make sure he knew and saw her! Someone in the congregation was baptized in the Holy Spirit right during services! Many other testimonies of having the Lord touch them and feeling the anointing of the Spirit were told to us the last day we were there. They did not want us to leave. What a blessing!
As we crossed the border into Rwanda, you could feel the spiritual oppression lift off us. The people in Rwanda have a lot of issues because of the genocide 20 years ago. While we were there, the 20 year Memorial Service was held for the Genocide victims. We watched the service and heard the speeches on TV. All meetings were cancelled that first day across the whole country.

We had services in Kigali, Gitarama, and Cyangugu for a total of four churches. A woman who was deaf was healed in Pastor Robert’s church. At another church, our translator (and Noah’s brother) Emmanuel was so excited about the message of Revival, that he was getting the rest of his church excited! He was ready to start a fire under his pastor and everyone else! Pastor Isaiah had already taken the Four Steps to Revival message that he heard from Dale last year, and was conducting street crusades in several cities. Isaiah is a famous Gospel singer in Rwanda and he would take some equipment, set up on a corner, and start singing. Crowds would come and at the end of the “free concert” he would preach and souls would get saved!

We had a women’s conference out in one of the villages and about 250 women showed up! I am humbled by the women who endure such oppression with little spiritual nourishment. They were starving to have someone tell them they could endure and overcome and feel the Lord actually loved them.

Our last three weeks were in Nairobi, Kenya. Pastor Daniel was thankful that we came to the slum area that his church was in to preach a message that challenged his congregation. He is ready to organize another conference with many other pastors for this coming fall! Then we travelled to Namanga to preach at Pastor Samuel’s Maasai church for two days. Back in Nairobi, we ministered with Pastor Gideon, who was already on the path to revival. His church already had witnessing groups going out to win the unsaved to Christ. But after hearing Dale preach, he got down on his knees along with his whole congregation to ask for forgiveness and seek God’s power to win more souls! Our last church service was with Pastor Kibedi. During that service, several children were dedicated to the Lord and they had Dale ordain four new pastors.

Altogether, there were a total of 45 services and 12 women’s meetings. Many churches were energized, over 600 souls asked Jesus Christ into their heart, two crippled ladies were healed, many other illnesses were healed, a demoniac was delivered, and a deaf woman was healed. Even before we left some of these cities, we were hearing of more souls getting saved and women gathering together to read Bible and strengthen each other. In the Congo, the Lord showed the pastor that an American and a Ugandan would come together and bring revival in their church. Two weeks later, Dale and Noah were there! At another church in Rwanda, a woman who was a prayer intercessor praying for revival said that Lord told her He was sending someone from America … two weeks before we showed up. This has happened again and again and it just shows how hungry they are for revival and how desperate their need is for someone to come and show them the way.

We have planted seeds of revival everywhere we have gone. I know God is on the move to raise these people up with hope and vision to carry this message forward and to spread it across the land. I’m just so glad that I got to be a part of this to watch the hand of God move.

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