My team meets every week to pray for the work and the mission that God sent us here to New Jersey to accomplish. Last night, as we were praying, God dropped something on me. It hit my spirit like a ton of bricks, and I just gotta process it out.
I have seen several varying opinions about how we are supposed to be using all this extra time that we have due to quarantine: Learn a skill, be productive, organize your house, pursue your dreams, be still. All of these are great ideas, but which one is right? It can get overwhelming, just a smidgen. I’m here to talk to the Church. If you are a believer, this is for you.
God is using this time to sharpen His Church. I’m not saying that God caused Coronavirus to happen, but what I am saying is that we are about to see what it means for God to work everything together for the good (Romans 8:28). I wholeheartedly believe that God is using this time to call His people back to a true, authentic, genuine relationship with Him. He is reviving the hearts and minds of believers, those of us who serve Him for His purposes, and not our own.
God keeps giving me a vision. I’ve seen several variations of this vision, but the meaning is the same. I’ve seen a page-turning. I’ve seen well-known “leaders in the faith” die. I’ve seen a shedding of skin. Here’s the meaning: Those who have stood in the way of God’s agenda for selfish gain are being removed. A new generation and a new crop of faithful leaders are about to emerge and lead the Church to the glory that God has for it. There is a separating coming between those who proclaim Christ with word and those who exhibit Him with word AND deed.
My pastor said it like this: Will the real Church please stand up? The real Church. That’s the Church that endeavors to have the character of Jesus. That’s the Church that won’t be afraid of persecution for the sake of the Gospel. That’s the Church that puts the needs of others above themselves. The real Church is the Church that will risk life and limb and freedoms to boldly share the Gospel. This Church isn’t in it for self but is in it for building the Kingdom of God.
If you put your ear to the ground and listen, I mean, really listen, you can hear the pulse changing. You can hear the tenor of messages shifting. No, it’s probably not your big name or familiar preachers. They’re still preaching about self-preservation. They’re still preaching about ways that you can be better and ways you can have a better life. They aren’t preaching about this yet, and probably won’t. But there is a sound rising where men and women are preaching the true, unadulterated Gospel. And a revival is coming.
God showed me last night that this revival will be different. He is breathing on His Church to strengthen us to do the work. For many years, when the Church said “revival,” it meant a few weeknights of preaching and teaching to get people hyped up and excited. It was what they liked to call “good church.” The people would come and get a good word for several services, then would go home “feeling better” and live life as usual. This kind of revival was for them.
The revival that we are about to experience is not for the Church to have better church. God is sending His Spirit to breathe on the Church, to reignite the flame and the passion that His people have to carry out the work that He left us to do.
I’m reminded of Ezekiel 37:1-14. This accounts the Valley of Dry Bones. Ezekiel was led to this valley that was filled with bones. People who had died and decayed. It was just bare bones. No skin or tissue, no muscles, no life. God took him here right after He gave Ezekiel a word about restoring Israel. God told Ezekiel to speak to the bones:
So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’” So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.Ezekiel 34:7-10
These bones had no life, yet when God wants to breathe on a thing and make it come alive again, he has the power to do just that. These bones became an army, a GREAT army. And that’s what He’s doing with His church. Through revival, God is raising up an army of believers who are desperate to see a return to the authenticity of the Word of God. And those who are desperate to see a return to the fervor of the work of God.
I see this revival shaking up the kingdom of darkness and causing a great harvest to enter the Kingdom of God. As God’s people, we will return to those things that are critical for us to fulfill the commission that Jesus left for us to carry out.
As God breathes on His church, we will see a passion return for prayer. And not just praying for the things that we want God to do in our lives, but praying for souls. God is increasing the burden for the lost.
This revival will cause an outpouring of evangelism. This work will not be left to a few, but to all who name the name of Christ. The true believer will be so moved to compassion that they cannot go without sharing the Gospel. Maximizing every opportunity to seek and save the lost.
I see this revival causing a return to the Ascension gifts. Ephesians 4:11-12 teaches that Christ gave gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These gifts were given to train and equip the people to continue to do the work. Their responsibility is to teach Godly living and to help us as a Church be more effective in the work.
I see this revival calling to return the strength of the true prophets of God. Those who will speak the heart and mind of God with genuine affection for the people. Not the “you get a house and car” prophets. These prophets will be able to instruct the church on what God wants for them and to call those back to repentance who have strayed away. Just like the prophets of the Old Testament.
I see this revival calling the Church back to true repentance and righteous living. For too long, the Church has looked and sounded like the world. There has been little to no distinction. For those proclaiming to be followers of God, this revival will create a line of demarcation. You will clearly begin to see it, not by their talk, but by their conduct. I’m not saying perfection, but the heart and willingness to be made perfect (mature).
In Acts, when Jesus left, the early Church went into the room and shut the door. They didn’t waste the time they were given on frivolous things. They knew that they had a promise coming. In anticipation, they prayed. They readied themselves. They allowed God to work on them.
Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit…Acts 2:2-4a
Like a windstorm. The Spirit of God came in and breathed on them. And they were all filled with the Spirit. They were ignited and brought to life. And revival came. They left the place where they were locked up with power and boldness, ready to take the world on for the Kingdom of God.
Believers, this is my prayer for us. That you have heard the word of the Lord today. That your hearts are pricked and burn with anticipation for God wants to do. That you allow Him to build you during this time. That you get on your face before Him and cry out for this revival that He has spoken. And that when the doors open, that you go out in power and boldness, unashamed to declare the Gospel. Not worried about your life, but ready to do all that He has called and anointed the church to do.