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Posts Tagged ‘revivalfire’

The African soul is tied closely to the earth, almost as if was somehow merged with the soil from which we have all come from. It’s not the bare feet or the rural setting that you find here, but more of a huskiness and an earthy feel to everything, from their art and music, to the brightly colored primitive designs of their fabrics that they wrap themselves in that lends color and atmosphere to the air you breath. It’s as if their connection with Mother Earth inhabits their very breath.

Western sophistication seems artificial in contrast. Our high-paced electric intensity, lit in the neon lights of our digital society, may seem brighter at first glance, but somehow loses a depth of color that hints at a depth of soul that is shallow in comparison. It’s something that is hard to put in words but can be felt when you are here, immersed in their midst.

True revival is not based on money or sophistication. Actually, I believe those things actually work against a true revival. When we become set on our own artificial substance and abilities, we lose the essential reliance upon God that is an absolute requirement for God to move among us.

Not” by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)

Revival will break out in Africa first because they need Him more than we do in the West. Yes, they have a long way to go in other essentials, but their hearts have a childlike reliance on God that we have lost. They can learn to do those other essentials, but it is not so easy for us to change our soul.

I don’t know what to think about all these things. I look out over the patchwork of tiny garden plots amidst the shambles of worn out shacks, poverty, and dirt and I wonder how will God do this? Is this really possible that He will raise these simple, earthy people to a place of revival that the world will envy?

But then, that would be just like Him to do that.

Me? I will just keep on hammering out this message that He has given me. It seems to be working everywhere that I have brought it. Sometimes I wonder how that is possible to go to places no one else will go, to wring out my soul to a small people in small churches in desolate places, and watch them ignite in place after place.

The Lord gave me a vision once where I could see myself taking precious seeds and sticking them deep into foot-high furrows of soft brown earth. The seed will germinate in its time and miraculously reappear as a harvest.

I don’t have to know how; I just have to keep planting that seed into those soft furrows of earth and pray that the rain will soften the hard fallow ground back home.

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The call to bring revival to a nation is not something that can be accomplished through any strength or wisdom that we possess in ourselves. No matter how badly you want to plunge into the fray and proclaim liberty in the land, the power to bring the presence and power of God that will ignite the Church is not something that can be flippantly learned in Seminary or produced with any carnally designed program. Only God can do that, and only in complete surrender are we able to lend ourselves as crucified vessels that He can work through.  Frank Bartleman, in recounting an encounter he had with the Lord, wrote that the Lord told him after he had received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, “If you were only small enough, I could do anything with you.”

Ah, here’s lies the crux, almost a Catch-22 if you would.  How does one maintain, or better put, achieve that place of true humility so that God can use you to do His mighty works?  On the one hand, we strive to get to that place of righteousness to have power in God while at the same time, try to be stay in that broken, crucified walk in God so we can be yielded to His power.  How does one strike that perfect balance?  Sounds simple … or is it?

David had it; Saul did not.  Perhaps that was because, for Saul, it was always about Saul. When he was little in his own eyes, he was hiding amongst the stuff, but a couple years later, he was such a big shot that he didn’t think he had to wait on God’s prophet.  For David, on the other hand, it was never about David; it was always about God. Because of that, he was able to take on Goliath as a kid, and later as an adult with just two other guys, the entire Philistine army.  (2nd Samuel 23:9)

Any man of God who has had the power of God work through him will immediately be attacked by the enemy. Whether it is miracle healings, dynamic preaching, or supernatural revelation, no sooner does one experience the touch of God’s hand than that little wisp will pass through the back of his mind that, yes it was God’s power, but … ahem … He did choose to use you!  Satan will lightly sneak those thoughts in as subtly as he can. Obviously, if you think about it hard enough, you will recognize the devil’s handiwork, so he keeps as light a touch as he can … and then another … and then another, merging them ever so slightly into the several streams of your thoughts until he can find an anchor somewhere in your heart to attach his lines of vanity and plant his seeds of pride.

The challenge that faces a man of God who desires to be used in a supernatural way, therefore, lies in how to be “meet for the Master’s use” (2 Timothy 2:21) and yet keep his ego and self completely invisible.  God does not bestow His power on just anybody.  He may work through anybody, but He is careful to whom He entrusts His power. We must be careful that our desire to be used by God is not rooted in our own self-image or desire for position in God, but entirely upon the promotion of the kingdom of God.  As I Corinthians 13 tells us, you can all the faith to move mountains, but if you do not have charity, it is worth nothing.

Easily said; not so easily achieved.  Any fool can spout off religious platitudes that boast of unearned righteousness and spirituality, but it is an entirely different matter to fight your way through the spiritual swamp of fleshly ego and pride that you have to negotiate through to arrive at that place where God can use you.

I often hear young Christians naively spout off that they have been called to be a prophet. My first response is to tell them to pray and beg God to change His mind and please choose someone else because you will die a thousand deaths before you enter into that calling.

Ego, pride, and self-awareness must be burned out of you before you are ready to enter into that place of real power.  God will give it to you in pieces – just enough to lift you up so He can break you down again.  Line upon line, one step at a time, until you gradually become empty of self.  Jacob had his Laban, Joseph his prison, and Moses his desert, and you will have your desert place of cauterizing fire to take the “you” out of you so God can fill you up with Himself.  His goal is not to change you, but to kill you.  You are to be purified into transparent glass so that when people look at you, it is not you that they see, but the fire of God that is in you.

And so with the power that works through you, there is a deep innate understanding that it is not you but God who is working through you to do these miracles. You are nothing but dust and ashes; you don’t even own the breath in your body. You are dead in Christ, crucified to the world, numb to pride and arrogance. Any place that Satan could have gotten hold of has been broken away. You have finally surrendered to God.

When you are no longer mindful about yourself or your spiritual place in God – when you just simply do not care anymore – then you are finally “meet for the Master’s use” and ready to wield the power of God so that He, and He alone, will get the glory.

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Another article from the booklet, Nigeria-2012


Nigeria is a very different place. I’m not sure how different it is from the surrounding countries in West Africa, but it sure is a lot different than any of the other places in East Africa that I’ve been to.

Your first impression when you get off the plane feels slightly out of focus. On the surface, everything seems the same as other African countries, and yet there something that lies just beneath it that you can’t quite put your finger on.  It’s just different somehow.  A somber blanket lies in the air that lends a subdued feeling to everything. There isn’t that feeling of color and laughter in the air.  It’s as if Nigeria has stepped out of Technicolor into a world that is colored in shades of grey. Life is a serious undertaking here.

Is it the culture? Is it just the way it is?  Or is it something deeper than that makes everything seem so drab – something deeply spiritual in nature?

I have spent the last two weeks bringing a message of revival to several churches whose hearts are turned to God for something other than the same old stuff that they have been hearing.  Something different has to happen. Their desperation for a true move of God is rising and pushing past the ineffective platitudes of blessings and good things that have been promised to them free of charge. It’s not working and they know it.  I am embarrassed to say that these messages of false prosperity and unmerited blessings have poured forth from America, and so many innocent people have believed that, because America has been so blessed, this message must be true.

By now, however, they are beginning to realize that it’s not working.  Something is missing.  This is not the same gospel that our grandfathers preached and they are not getting the same results.  We have forgotten something along the way as we followed the Pied Pipers of Prosperity and Blessings off into a modern Gospel that is softer and more “loving” than that old message of repentance and the fear of God. Our Bible colleges churned out a new generation of pastors and taught them to discard the old God of Judgment for a new God of Love.  And in the process, we lost something so vital in the Church that we don’t know how to find our way back.

Satan has done such a complete job of turning our focus onto ourselves that we don’t even realize how far we have turned from the Cross.  The message that I bring is predicated upon the concept that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about you – it is about others – and revival will not come until we turn our focus to the lost that are dying in sin.   But no matter how hard I drive this message home, I will often hear another preacher get up right after me an promise the same people all kinds of new blessings, new deliverances, new miracles in their lives … all for free!  And the crowd that just bowed their heads in recognition of their own self-serving ways will jump to their feet and cheer as this new preacher promises them all kinds of blessings and negates everything that I just preached.  Just human nature, I guess.

Revival is not free — neither is it cheap — and breaking through this cloud that covers their Pollyanna Gospel mindset, not only in Nigeria but all across Africa, is essential before any move of God will come. Is this the spiritual cloud I feel here that sucks the life and joy out of the very air? Could it be that Satan has entrenched himself here in Nigeria as his last stand of resistance to stop revival at any cost? Is Nigeria the last bastion of darkness that must be conquered to allow the Great African Revival to break forth?

Many here believe that Nigeria is highly chosen for this great move of God and that is why Satan has concentrated his darkness to destroy this nation.  It is not the sinners he must control; it’s the Christians.  And what better way than to lull them into a false sense of security with a “love gospel” that has worked since he first used it in the Garden of Eden.  It’s all about you. Don’t worry.  Hakuna Matata. Thou shalt not surely die because God loves you. Here, take a bite.

There are heroes here in Nigeria. Men and women who are willing to take a stand that will invoke the ire of the Church in an attempt to wake them up.  Many will hear the call of the trumpet and rise to the challenge.  Many will not, but will resist and attack those who will. Battle lines are forming, choices are being made, and destinies are being decided.  It is a time for war, and Nigeria is the battleground.

“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;”  (Joel 2:1)

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[Here’s another post from the Nigeria-2012 booklet that I thought I’d pass on. There’s a couple more that I’ll send later. — Dale ]


It’s the eyes that get you.

All the shouting and the praising is great, but it is when you look into their eyes and see the sincerity of their heart that you really know that God is doing something special here. It’s not just another meeting to sing some songs and hear about how much God wants to bless you and bring you into some vaunted abundant life.  The stuff we saw tonight is down to the roots of the soul – serious dedication to do whatever it takes to have revival.

Nigeria is very different from East Africa in that this is a serious people. You do not see the color and gaiety here that you find in Kenya, but neither do you see the lackadaisical attitude that you find in East Africa. Nigerians work hard and have a more serious outlook on life.  Their approach to the Gospel reflects that same attitude.  Whereas in Kenya, the shouting and singing may be louder initially, their ardor begins to wane when it comes time to dig in and do the work of the Gospel. Nigerians, on the other hand, may not be so open and emotional, but they seem to have a more serious fixation on the hard facts of the price that must be paid to have a true revival.

A prominent pastor here told me that they have been fasting and praying for revival but God is not answering.  Something is wrong, and they want to know what it is.  Now that is a serious cry for revival!  This is past the singing and dancing and enters into the serious reality of what God requires. The Altar of God is not a place of singing and dancing, but of blood and sacrifice and death.

One of the biggest lies that Satan has sold the Church is that we can just sit in our little pews and God will have mercy on us and send us revival.  Sorry, but if you do nothing, nothing will happen.  Mercy is not handed out free – it must be paid for.  Mercy begets mercy, unto the merciful He will show Himself merciful, and as James tells us, judgment shall be without mercy on those who have shown no mercy.  What a trip the devil has put us on!  And we believed him!  Or should that be in the present tense?

But these guys know differently.  They know there is a price to pay for everything in God – everything. And the price for a full Holy Ghost revival is extremely high.  That’s why they are so rare – nobody wants to pay that price.  That is precisely why you have to be desperate in order to see revival come.  So desperate that you are like Rachael in Genesis 30:1, “Give me souls or else I will die!”  So desperate that you are willing to give your life so that souls can be saved.  If you are not, you will not see a real Holy Ghost revival because you won’t do what it takes to get one.  You’ll just have some really good “church”.

But these people tonight have had enough of “church”.  They are ready for whatever God has placed before them and are ready to answer the call of the trumpet that is blowing in Zion – the call to the last battle between God and Satan for the souls of Man.

You could see it in their eyes as they came in droves to kneel at the altar.  The entire church came down — even the ushers!  They emptied themselves of their self-interest and pride as they ripped their hearts wide open to repent and surrender all to Jesus.  The passion at the altar was only surpassed by the cries of “hallelujah” that were so loud that my ears over-amped!  There was victory in the church tonight.

When you see a serious dedication like that, you can expect serious results.  I have no doubt that their passion will carry them into the Word of God to give them the power to fast and pray for God to build a fire in their church.  And then watch as that fire spills out into the streets to bring in the lost and dying into that same Holy Ghost blaze.

Just as in childbirth, revivals are birthed in pain and labor and travail. They also end up with the same kind of rejoicing.

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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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Ahhhhhh. Three days off! One to travel from Kitale to Kisumu, and two days to do absolutely nothing! I feel like a rich man with time to squander however I want.

Kitale was the same experience as so many other places. Hungry for God to do something special in their lives, they come expecting a miracle. Because I am not like all the other American preachers, they get something they didn’t expect, but once they taste it, they want more.

They expected a soft message of peace and blessings – which is always nice to hear – but they got one of repentance and price, and they recognize the difference. I have found that their understanding of scripture and of the ways of the Spirit are often more sophisticated than we in the West expect. They get the difference between the old fashioned gospel from 50 years ago and the modern gospel they are hearing from us now – as evidenced by their exuberant “amens” when I hit certain points.

They know the truth; they just need someone to inspire them, and only the Holy Ghost can do that. He is the One they are waiting for. Once the fire is lit, however, get out of the way! It is like standing in a field of wheat that is so dry it has turned white and brittle, striking a match, and then dropping it into the wheat. The results are always explosive.

That is what I am experiencing out here. I am getting phone calls and messages from the places I have just been to over the last month or so telling me that the fire is still burning and that souls getting saved. Nothing unusual about that; the message works. Always has.

As I was leaving Kitale after three days of meetings, I stopped at the Challenge Farm, an orphanage run by Cheri Thompson, an American woman who came out here, fell in love with the kids, and never left. She has turned a dream into a sprawling reality. There are hundreds of kids running all over the place, smiling, playing, studying, and growing up as strong, productive Christians. This woman has accomplished something incredible.

As for me right now, I am trying to turn off all the switches and just coast. My batteries are run dry and my spark of inspiration is dead. I need to just shut it off for a while until I can catch up to myself again. I hardly come out of the room. I’ve already seen Kisumu so what is there to see? I’ve been to enough restaurants in my time and seen enough sights, so leave me alone. I’m fine right here. Is this what it is like to get old?

I have heard from the lady pastor at the church I will be going to tomorrow. They are praying. What else can you say? They are praying. God, she says, is faithful and will direct me to meet the brethren of the Lord who are patiently waiting for me. They are praying.

That’s all it takes to rekindle my fire – they are praying. They don’t know who I am, but when has that ever mattered? They are waiting for Him. And He will be there.

 

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What a week!  Four days of services in Gitega, Burundi were the best we’ve had in a long time. Gitega is in the center of Burundi, which is in the center of Africa. I had been here two yrs ago when the church was small. Now they are huge.  They say the messages I  brought them back then was what lit a fire in them to go out and win the lost. They now have 34 churches and over 2,000 members.

There are times when I look back over the path and wonder if I am having any impact at all, did I make a difference, or was it all just a bunch of flashes in the pan?  And then you see something like this that they say is because of the fire I started in them.  I’m not sure if I’m supposed to feel this way or not, but it makes my heart swell inside me.

The song services were so good – they lifted your soul!  They lasted over an hour each time, but you didn’t want them to stop. it was that good.

Each time I got up to preach, there was an anointing that was so strong that it literally carried me along in a rushing wind. Just before the 2nd service, as I was worrying about what to say, the Lord slipped me a small piece of Scripture – “…having no confidence in the flesh…”  wow.  I just sat back and smiled. Everything was going to be okay. He had this one.

On the last day — Sunday service – it was like a goodbye service. I ended with an altar call, my usual plea for people to shed those sins and chains to come down and get set free.  At first, there was nothing.  Then I noticed a young man standing over on the side.  C’mon down, I called.  He did … and so did over 100 others.

They came pouring down to the altar!  There were about 600 people there and I began to wonder if the whole church was coming down to the altar.  What a way to end a campaign!

We are in Rwanda now, preaching in a little tiny church on the border.  I had to remind myself that I told the Lord I would go wherever He sent me, even to the places no one else would go.  I’m in one of those places.  But you know what?  The Spirit of the Lord showed up.  We packed over a hundred people into a tiny little ramshackle building about the size of our Fellowship Hall.  What a service!

But that story will be for another post …

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