Monday, April 6, 2009

Seeds of Revolution: A Preamble

As I have more diligently prayed about this site, I’ve sensed the Lord leading me to go beyond documenting what the Father is doing in our church, church planting family and the body at large. Call to Revolution is an extension of a prophetic message. The purpose is to spread that message and trust the Lord to ignite the vision he is renewing in His people to pray into Revival and Restoration.
I believe Revival is a Sovereign work of a loving God who will answer the cries of His people in His time for an extraordinary outpouring of His Spirit in power. But even as we pray for true revival, we all must be about the work of Restoration. In most cases, the work the Lord wants to do cannot be contained in the “old wineskins” most of us attempt to walk within.
For those of you most familiar with this site, or those who know me best are aware that my life has been profoundly impacted by the ministry of Terry Virgo, especially over the past 18 months. Much of what the Lord has been teaching me over the years was written about in his book “Restoration in the Church”. If you have not read it, please order it today and begin reading what I believe is an apostolic and prophetic blueprint of what the Lord is doing around the globe. In fact, the first major value of Newfrontiers, the church planting ministry Virgo pioneered, is “Restoring the Church”. Implicit in this value is the conviction that we’ve drifted off course and ceased to be who He’s called us to be and walk in the way He’s called us to walk.
But before we get into structure, let me make one thing crystal clear. First and foremost we need more of JESUS! There’s an abundance of religion and church in our land, but the compelling and passionate life of Jesus is not so easy to come by. One scripture the Lord has consistently stirred in my heart is in Matthew 5:6. He says:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
As I meditated on this during a late night prayer walk moments ago, the Spirit of the Lord prompted me with something powerful, that a hunger and thirst for righteousness is… hunger and thirst for JESUS! Jeremiah 33:16 says ‘The LORD is our righteousness” It is He who we hunger and thirst for. And I believe this is THE plumb line for everything we are and do as true followers of Jesus and as churches. Everything should revolve around getting more of Him!
Now I must meddle. This means our highest pursuit should not be a consumer oriented approach to church. What should draw us to a body of believers above all else is a clear sense that God is there and that above all else there is an insatiable desire and pursuit for MORE OF HIM! This should begin with the leadership of the church. If you’re where you are simply because of good preaching, or the children’s ministry, or the youth program, or any other program for that matter, or all of the above, you may have given up your birthright for a bowl of soup… a lukewarm one at that.
What was the Psalmist captured by in the temple of old? Was it the building or the ceremony or any human element? No! He was preoccupied with one thing!
Psalm 63:1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.

His soul was desperate for the Father, for his power and glory! That was the only true source of his satisfaction. He FOUND God’s power and glory? Have we? Or are we simply content to “go to church”? Does God really show up, or do we just go through the motions and find contentment in “doing church”? I would argue that most of us American Christians live lives that are supernaturally deficient. And I would go a step further and contend that most of us live lives that are even substandard by OLD TESTAMENT standards! Look at the story of God’s people and how God’s hand was so clearly visible in their journey, visible to them… and to the unbelieving world around them. (Remember the fear of God Israel’s neighbors experienced after hearing of God’s mighty works on behalf of His people?)
Now I don’t know about you, but I want much more of this in our midst than I currently see. People who know me have probably heard me express a longing for genuine, authentic New Testament life that looks more like that revealed in the book of Acts. I believe the Lord wants to do just that, but the gentlemanly Holy Spirit will not force that on us. We can be content to live with “what is” and most of the church world will walk in lockstep with us, or we can dare to boldly ask, and seek, and knock, until heaven’s glory falls upon us so we can truly walk out the life of Jesus so the world can see Him.
In Acts 1:1, Luke tell us in the previous book in his name he recorded “all that Jesus began to do and teach”. Isn’t it fitting that this kicks off the story of the church? The church is the continuation of the life of Jesus! He called us to continue that life IN US! That’s where the essence of Restoration begins. We must set our sights there. What was his life? Was there teaching? Yes. Was there discipleship? Yes. But it wasn’t words alone. Our Savior came in power! Jesus walked in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit… the same Holy Spirit He gives to His church to empower our mission.
Do these words burn in your heart? Do you long to see God’s glory fall: in our prayer closets, in our small group meetings, in our Sunday gatherings? If this is your passion, cry out to God and begin asking for this, with people who share that desperation. I love when Paul spoke of false teachers troubling the church in Corinth. Paul sought the Lord for the opportunity to come to set things straight. He was ready to walk in the authority the Lord gave Him. Did he threaten to come and debate theology with these men? A thousand times no. He said this:
For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power (I Corinthians 4:20)
With that, there’s really nothing more to say other than this. I want to see the Lord reveal His glory in our midst and show us His power, and I’m not willing to settle for anything less. How about you?

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