Posts Tagged ‘Sudan’

I’m losing track of what day it is. Services have been great here in South Sudan, but I can’t seem to get a grip on which day I am where or how many places I’ve been to. I’m not sure if that’s just because of how intense things are or the fact that I have given these messages so many times that I’ve lost track. Or, maybe I’m just getting old.

The response from the different churches has been the same, though. They get so excited that they are spreading the word to other churches. One of the advantages of speaking to a small group is that the message becomes more personal and seems to go in deeper and have a greater effect.

Of course, the question is after the excitement has worn off if they will still take the message to the streets and carry the torch of revival. I’ve seen these grand extravaganzas out here with 100,000 people attending and with hundreds going down to the altar, and then the next day everything is back to normal. But with small audiences, the commitment becomes more real and more personal.

My message is different than what they preach in these big crusades. Where the purpose of evangelists is to get sinners to repent and change the way they are living, the purpose of a revivalist is to get the church to repent and change the way it does church. I guess they haven’t had any revivalists around here because I hear repeatedly that no one is out here preaching this message out here and they need it badly. They are begging for us to come back. The bishop over all the Foursquare Churches in Juba is willing to pay the airfare for Cindy and me if we will come back for a month. I just might do that. The excitement level is so high that the potential for something supernatural is immense.

The bishop explained something to me that gave me a very different perspective. He said this is not just about the Church. The continual warfare with its atrocities seems to be about tribal differences, but it is not. It is about a demonic attack to destroy Sudan as a Christian country. The churches have been powerless because all they have ever heard was the “love” gospel that is full of blessings and prosperity that God was supposed to shower upon them. Never had they been challenged like this before, and it was clear and evident that this was the answer then needed to shine a light in the encroaching darkness.

He was pretty serious. Actually, he was really serious. This wasn’t just a religious issue for him – it was about survival.

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re doing or what effect you will have on others around you. Sometimes, like me, you don’t even know what day it is. We answer the call that God has given each of us and cast our bread upon the waters. It is up to God to take it from there. How He works through us is a mystery, but that’s not our problem. Whether it is to affect our workplace, our school, our community, or maybe a nation that is under demonic oppression, it is not our place to figure out how He will use us. Our job is to answer the call, and He will take it from there.

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

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It’s been a tough three days.

Out here on the front lines, it is like entering into a war zone. You can go through periods of relative peace, but then the bullets start flying, the smoke of gunfire is all around you, and you’re blurred by the fog of war. It’s like trying to walk through water – you can feel it but you can’t see it – the spiritual darkness is like a heavy wet blanket smothering you. It comes in quietly so that you hardly notice it and are not able to recognize what it is. Sometimes it will get really intense before you can pull yourself out.

I do not want to glorify the devil here, but this is the kind of spiritual warfare that rages on the front lines of heavy evangelism. If you are not a threat, things will probably go smoothly for you and you will not really grasp what this is like, but if you are, you can expect all hell to break loose. True, not everything is the devil’s fault, but this is war out here and there are no rules of engagement.

We had some electrifying services last week here in South Sudan. Many pastors came to us saying that this is the message that Sudan is desperate for, that it is not like the message that the rest of the Americans bring, but this is the one that they needed to hear. I agree. It is simple and straight out of the Word of God. It has worked in every place that the people have worked it.

Unfortunately, as the excitement began to spread here, notice must have reached the bowels of Hell because out came the swarms, and the battle began in earnest.

Spiritual fire is invisible. Yes, there are the physical challenges you go through, and they can be difficult, but at least you can see them. Spiritual fire is what we call “head fire” – it all happens in your head. Satan is the prince of the air and he tries to slide into your thoughts as subtly as he can so that you won’t recognize him. Slowly, he increases the intensity until he has a fire raging inside you. When he has gotten that far, it takes a strong effort in prayer to root him out. And even then, he will leave a residue behind him.

Last week, I felt like I was in a hurricane. Or more like a boxing ring where I was getting hammered by a pro while swinging wildly without landing any punches. But then this morning, I broke out of it like a clear sunrise. Clear blue skies, bright sunshiny day. What happened? The people back home decided to pray.

Yeah, it’s just that simple. Do not underestimate the power of real prayer.

I have often said that the battle has to be fought and won in the prayer room before it can ever be won out on the front lines. The Word of God is our weapon and the promises of God are the horns of the altar, but prayer is our method of warfare because prayer moves God.

So why is it that we don’t pray more than we do? And when we do pray, why is there so little passion and desperation? Could it be that we don’t really believe that God will hear us and answer us? Perhaps our lack of holy boldness is a direct result of our lack of reading the Word of God.

A friend once asked me if I knew what true honor was. True honor, he said, was not about position or titles or respect. True honor was when God heard your prayers … and answered them. That, he said, was true honor.

I agree. God honored someone’s prayers and broke me out of that battle with a clear bright victory. I am now ready to run back into the fray and tear Satan’s guts out. We will win and we will have revival and we will set Africa on fire, not only because it is written, but because we have the courage to believe God and refuse to give in.

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Yesterday I crossed the White Nile River. Even way back here in the Sudan, thousands of miles from Egypt, this is a pretty good-sized river and it flows fast. Images of Dr. Livingston, Ernest Hemingway, and Humphrey Bogart in the African Queen come to your mind as you cross the old iron-grated bridge. I kept wondering, as I crossed over, how long this rickety old bridge was scheduled to last. I should have taken a picture to show you, but I was more interested in the thrill of crossing the Nile and the prospect of the bridge collapsing into it.metal-church

We headed to a small church south of Juba where several pastors had come to hear this new message of revival that they had been told about. The church was little more than several poles stuck into the ground holding up sheets of corrugated iron for walls and a partial roof. Dirt floor and plastic chairs. Just like churches all over Africa.

Sometimes I wonder why the Lord has not sent me to very many large churches. I know that for one, the Spirit of God is not released as powerfully in the big auditoriums like it is in the small, out-of-the-way churches. Every blind person I have seen receive their sight has been in the rural villages. The same goes for most, not all, of the deaf, crippled, and paralyzed, some of which get healed as they step inside the tent or canopy. I am sure there are a plethora of reasons why, but I’m not sure it matters. This is where He sends me, and this is where the power of God comes down.

metalchruch2And here I am again. I promised God a long time ago that I would take the jobs that no one else wanted and I would go to the places nobody else would go to. He must have been wide awake and listening when I said that … I think He even wrote it down.

Hearts seem more personal here, or maybe more needy, or maybe there’s just no distractions between these people and their desperation for God. Whatever it is, they are drawn to the call. But they do not want to hear a soft American gospel – they’ve gotten enough of that and it doesn’t bring true revival. They want that old-fashioned message of repentance that they heard 50 years ago. Yes, they do know the difference. It is a shame that we do not.

That is not to say that they do not have their charlatans and opportunists. I listened to one guy get up and talk about how he is an apostle and how great his calling is. Let me tell you, if you have to wear a title around your neck so we can all know how great you are, then I am not impressed. If you have real power in God, you don’t need some stupid title. There are metalchruch2tons of self-proclaimed apostles and prophets of the wind running around doing their best to lie to the Church and keep her away from the altar of repentance. We have them all over America too, especially in the evangelical churches. But Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice, and these people know the difference.

I go back to this church today to talk about how to build a fire in the church. They are excited because finally here is a solution. Everyone talks about revival, but how do you get it? How do you go about to bring down that fire that will light up not only the church, but everyone around it? In America, we talk about revival, but few will do what it takes because they just are not desperate enough. But here in these little churches that are so poor they can barely pay for the lights, the world does not hold much for them. They desperately need God, and they are willing to do whatever the Word of God tells them.

As I crossed the river on my way back to the hotel in Juba, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was some message there. As a white man, I had crossed the White Nile to bring a message of revival to this dark place. Whether or not they take up the torch and spread the fire will be up to them, but I have crossed the river to strike the match.

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