The church is to train commandos not committees, special forces not special spectators.
The church has to shake off the lethargy produced by replacing the supernatural acts of God with the wisdom of men.
Preachers have to stop preaching messages written by others based on human ingenuity instead of an intimacy with the Living Word Himself. Jesus said that if our righteousness did not exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees we would not enter the Kingdom. The Scribes and Pharisees were teaching the people what someone said someone said God said. Jesus came and taught as one having authority and not as the Scribes and Pharisees. I figure He actually heard from God Himself and then told the people what He heard.
I was shocked to discover men of God actually stand before the people of God and preach canned messages someone else wrote. Where have I been? How old school of me to think people still studied the Bible for themselves, got in their prayer closet and heard from God. I always wondered how churches could have so many sermons with stages setup with illustrative backdrops and props. Man, I’ve questioned my call from God because I am not that creative.
I have a friend that visited a church in a city in South Carolina where a message was preached with a boxing ring set up on the platform. He told me later that a friend of his told him that his pastor preached a sermon with a boxing ring as a prop. And this is promoted as being relevant. Relevance is preaching a now word that resonates in heaven, on earth and in hell. Relevance is healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. When we start doing that on a regular basis then we can brag about being relevant.
When human ingenuity replaces intimacy with God intellectualism replaces God’s power. When God’s power is reduced apostasy is produced. Study the life of ancient Israel. When they lost sight of [interest in] God’s powerful intervention in their lives they slid into apostasy. The church has been no different throughout her history unto today.
Someone once said the church can live without revival because it can live without revival. Really? The church was born in revival, and was intended by God to remain in revival. From heaven’s perspective revival is a movement not a meeting. Revival is a Person not a performance. The price for revival is enormous but it pales in comparison to the price paid when there is no revival.
Revival is messy because men cannot control it. The apostles and early church could not contain revival in the 1st century. They tried to contain it in Jerusalem and in the Jewish religion. Persecution had to come to the Jewish believers in Jerusalem before they would obey Jesus’ command to go into all the world. There was still a huge uproar when Peter visited the heathen Cornelius with the Gospel of God’s Kingdom. That message was met with an outpouring of God’s Spirit just like on the day of Pentecost [Acts 10].
The apostle Paul contended with Judaizers. Judaizers were Jewish people in the Church who wanted the non-Jewish believers to follow the Law of Moses. Moves of God irritate those not wanting to move. In fact, it is a historical fact that the worst persecution of those in a fresh move of God come from those in the past move of God. “Surely God would not do something without consulting or using me.” Really?
Jesus had to bring judgment to Jerusalem and their beloved Temple [70 A.D.] to show the world He was serious about His new move [Christianity]. He was moving and there was no room for the “old time religious practices of ages past [Judaism]”. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I longed to gather you under My wings like a mother hen gathers her chicks. But you were unwilling. Therefore your house will be left to you [desolate].” That last statement was the final indictment of the previous move of God. In essence what Jesus was saying was Ichabod. This is a Hebrew word meaning the glory has departed.
The glory departing meant the presence and anointing of God no longer resided there. The truth is that it had been gone for a long time. When God ripped the veil in the Temple from top to bottom He revealed the big secret – the Ark was not in the Holy of Holies – Ichabod! The Ark stood for His Presence.
Pomp and pageantry can never replace God’s manifest presence. In the so called post modern Christian world where props, pomp and pageantry are the norm is it any wonder people are not getting healed and delivered. They sit in awe of a great production instead of the great Producer. Quit it!
It is time the Church returned to the value of the first century revival church by relying more on the Holy Spirit’s activity than the ability of men to entertain. As much as I don’t want to say this our generation would even do well to learn from the ancient O/T church in the wilderness. They camped around God’s Presence. Those days were filled with God’s exploits. So was the first century A.D. Is that supposed to be God’s high water mark for the miraculous?
How messed up would most churches be if God actually came in His glory like He did in the O/T? How messed up would the church be today if He showed up like in the book of Acts? Have we read chapter five lately? Lying to God cost people their lives but the church exploded in growth. People in the church and the community were scared to death but God added multitudes of them to the rolls of the church. Holiness and honor were paramount. God was moving and He expected the church to move with Him.
Even in the O/T when the Cloud and Fire moved the people were to move too. They could stay if they wanted but they would be left as God moved on. He has not changed His mind or His methods. When God moves He invites everyone to go with Him. Bummer if we say, ‘no.’
His power is needed today like it has never been needed before. Christian leaders who create cultures where they have a handle on things may not offend any of those who sit in their seats but the greatest offense is reserved for a holy and powerful God that has been throttled down. They put a governor on the Governor.
The leader that doesn’t want the activity of the Holy Spirit for fear of disappointing someone who doesn’t get it, or want it, has already disappointed the one person in there who desperately needs a breakthrough from God.
I long for the day when God’s church is not afraid to be God’s church.
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury