Prophecy

ACPE: 2017: Year of Breakthrough

Since 1999, the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders has gathered some of the most respected prophetic voices from around the nation to pray and seek the Lord for a word for the coming year.

(These meetings took place November 14th - 16th, 2016 and some of the events have already transpired.)

Here is Cindy Jacobs' introduction to the word this year:


THE YEAR OF THE BREAKTHROUGH

2017: The Breakthrough Year

“The One who breaks open will come up before them; 
They will break out.
Pass through the gate,
And go out by it;
Their king will pass before them,
With the Lord at their head.”

Micah 2:13 (NKJV)

The Symbolism of the Number 17

The number 17 in scripture symbolizes “overcoming the enemy” and “complete victory.”

God overcame the sins of rebellious humans when He began to flood the earth and rested on the 17th day of the Hebrew month. Noah’s ark and its eight passengers rested on the mountains of Ararat on the 17th day of the seventh month of the religious year (Tishrei), right in the middle of God’s Holy period known as the Feast of Tabernacles. 

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is in the seventh month (Tishri) and on the tenth day of the Hebraic calendar. This day calls for the turning from our sins through repentance that brings us to victory.

It is the time for the breakthrough to victory.

There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders. The anointing will be so strong that it will break significant and long-standing strongholds that have plagued people's lives. 

It shall come to pass in that day
That his burden will be taken away from your shoulder,
And his yoke from your neck,
And the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.”

Isaiah 10:27 (NKJV)

For the Lord says, “My people are entering into an overcoming season that will produce great breakthroughs. For the enemy has come in like a flood, but I, the Lord, am releasing great victories. I will stem the tide of violence. I will bring peace to the land. I will bring an awakening! I will release revival!”

Receive Your Breakthrough This Year

This is the year that the blessings will overtake us, if we obey the voice of our God!  If we put out hands to the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God for His sake, we will begin to prosper. It is critical that we spend time seeking the Lord for the right alignment in our relationships for us to release these blessings.

For some, it will mean a geographic move, for others, the leaving of the old for the new. For others, it will be mean staying in covenantal relationships even when they are tested. 

The Promise and the Condition

Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God”

Deuteronomy 28:1-2 (NKJV)

We need to understand the Hebraic meaning of our times. The year 2017 on the Roman calendar corresponds to the year 5777 on the Hebraic calendar, which is symbolized by the crowned sword. 

The sword cuts off the old and releases the new. The enemy has been trying to “cut off” many relationships and come against the new move of unity coming to families and the Body of Christ. We see Satan being defeated on many levels as we experience great breakthroughs, both personally and corporately. 

This is the year of breakthrough to release the following things: 

  • Mantles or anointings of the Holy Spirit released across generations. This is the year of securing your legacy.
  • New leaders recognized and released.
  • Shifts in government and new international alliances forming.
  • More corruption exposed on national levels, both in the United States and other nations. 

Mantles are being passed

The passing of Peter Wagner was a game-changer for the Body of Christ. Old wine structures are going to be tested, and those who will be willing to become new wine

will be promoted. Churches who allow themselves to become apostolic sending centers will grow and see many saved.

Fuller Theological Seminary is going to come into a time of renewal as in the days when C. Peter Wagner invited John Wimber to teach his signs and wonders class.  The Holy Spirit will be poured out once again upon the professors. Other divinity schools such as Princeton will also be visited by God as young professors are touched by God’s power and come into spiritual renewal. New wine curriculum will be introduced into seminaries and Bible Schools around the world.  The renewal legacy of Peter Wagner combined with that of John Wimber is about to come upon a new generation.

A diversity of mantles is falling in this time like unto what Peter Wagner carried. Mantles from God for the writing books, prophetically “seeing” trends, keeping the church (ekklesia) fresh and ready for each new move of God are being distributed to properly aligned leaders in this hour.

There will be many, many changes in this coming year. Changes in locations, houses, buildings, and the breaking off of generational systems of debt.

A new generation of spiritual warriors will be trained and arise to do governmental and prophetic intercession.  Old prayer movements will be strengthened, and a new generation of prayer warriors will arise for battle. There will be an awakening of prayer and spiritual warfare. Deliverance will take place on many levels through this fresh movement.

There will be continued shakings as the sword of the Lord pierces the darkness of centuries over the nations. Some will experience great tumults and shakings.

The good news is that, in the midst of the shakings, there will be a time of renewal and coming together like in Ezekiel 37, when the shakings of dry bones caused new breath and life coming into the army of the Lord. 

Let the Ekklesia Arise 

Networks of Kingdom Alliances with the voice of hope are emerging in very intentional ways. Many will teach on the “ekklesia” from their pulpits and in their conferences, inspiring the people of God to arise and be the called-out ones.  

There will be a strong anointing on the ekklesia to root out and pull down the “gates and walls of the enemy.” By this, as we are faithful to move out into society to be a voice of change, there will be a dismantling and shaking of old corrupt systems. 

The economies of nations who have refused to shift and are keeping their people in bondage will see massive shakings. Exposure after exposure will come to those corrupt individuals who thought they were too protected and embedded through bribes and intimidation. They will find themselves falling out of power, going to prison, and, in some cases, even dying.

The Lord showed us clearly that this is a new season where the ekkesia is being given the anointing not only to root out, and tear down, but this will be a special season of building and planting. The revelation of blessing our cities and nations will be a kingdom anthem for the ekklesa.  If we root out, but do not plant, then the nations will only be exposed to worse than they had been before. 

Therefore, we admonish the intercessors to pray beyond the tearing down of old systems and pray into the structures and systems that need to form afterward.  Let’s intercede for new leaders and effective systems to be put in place that will build up their nations. 

It’s Time to Build!

Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:

Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”

Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”
And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”
Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.”
Jeremiah 1:9-12 (NKJV)

One of the things to be planted is what could be called “The Love Revolution.” Just as the Summer of Love in 1967 changed the landscape of a generation, so now, 50 years later, the world will see the face of Christianity in a new light.

The admonition in 1 Corinthians 14:1, "Let love be your aim" will be planted in the nations as the church rises up in a more visible way. The words of the theme song from the Jesus People Movement, “They will know that we are Christians by our love” will have a new resonance as this message of loving God and loving one another is sung in new ways. We will be carriers of God’s goodness wherever we go!

Changing Financial Structures

The way people make money is going to change. A new breed of entrepreneurs will arise who are “out-of-the-box” thinkers. New structures of wealth creation will open up. For example, in the past the stock markets were major generators of wealth, but this will be the era of YouTube millionaires.

The church, missions organizations, and other ministries will benefit greatly from the creation of wealth, as new donors will rise up to help finance the building of this global vision. The gift of giving will be highlighted in the coming move of God, and people of wealth will understand how to use their gift to advance the Kingdom of God. 

Watch Latin America as structures that kept people in poverty are going to begin to unravel and weaken. 

A New John 17 Movement 

The Lord spoke to us that next year we would see a new John 17 movement begin where the prayer of Jesus will be answered. Many streams will run together until we see a river of revival flow across the earth. There will be major reconciliations between denominations, nations, and peoples.

God will anoint peacemakers in this season who are especially empowered by God to be a voice for unity between factions and help heal the breaches.

This John 17 move will extend to families as well as there is a “focus on the family” where longstanding breaches between siblings, and between parents and their children are healed. God is calling for families to pray together and “light” the family altar.  Strongholds in family systems are going to be broken in powerful and supernatural ways.  This will even extend to strongholds of poverty, disease, alcoholism, and drug abuse.

The John 17 movements will align against injustice and religious strongholds as they decide together that they want a new move of the Holy Spirit.

We are hearing the words, New Wine, New Wine!

A convergence of all the past moves of God coming together with the manifestations of Pentecostal Fire, the Healing and Deliverance Crusades. The Latter Rain Glory being poured out with new realms of glory, the Evangelicals' Burden of the Lost, and the Jesus People Movements love for the lost, the gifts of the Holy Spirit from the Charismatic Movement, the Third Wave Theological Credibility, the Revelation of the Prophetic Movement, and the Relational Networking of the Apostolic Reformation that includes an understanding of reforming and transforming society in each mountain (or sphere).

This great Convergence of the Ages is coming with a historic Fourth Wave of the Holy Spirit and a reformation that will lead to the Great Transformation of nations.

The wind of the Holy Spirit is going to blow with new renewal movements arising in the youth upon centuries-old churches. The power of the Holy Spirit will be poured out in a new, fresh way, manifesting through the young and old. The miracles that have seemed only to happen infrequently are going to be dramatic. 

Many “working of miracles” that are creative in nature will be seen in hundreds of churches across the world. Centuries old churches that have prayed for a renewed move of the Holy Spirit will see their prayers answered. It is the time for a new Pentecost! Some that criticize those who are longing for renewal will find they are put out of leadership in their churches and denominations. Both the young and the old will see the power of the Holy Spirit fall upon them. 

This again will result in many, many new missionaries being sent out across the face of the earth that are willing to go to the most difficult and hard-to-reach areas.  Central Asia will be majorly impacted by this mission’s movement. God is calling a new generation who will go out and evangelize the world! The numbers of those going to preach will increase in large proportion compared to the generation before them.

These missionaries will carry the gospel, anointed with revelation to give “hope solutions” to the current needs of the nations where they are sent. 

The heartland of the United States and the cities along the Mississippi River will be used by God to mend the great divide that has come to the nation as a result of the recent polarizing US elections.

The warfare from the last season that has “worn out” God’s people will fade away as the refreshing rains of the Spirit of God fall afresh. It is time for breakthroughs and the breaking off of the pain, discouragement, and battle fatigue of yesterday.  

Harvest Season

The greatest harvest of souls the earth has known is upon us. Hundreds of thousands will be saved. The Middle East will experience a revival and this will extend into the evangelization of both the Arab and the Non-Arabic-speaking Muslims. Look to Egypt to be a leader in this revival and awakening. 

The Glory of God is going to be poured out across the United States and these areas were specifically given as revival centers:

Los Angeles, California; Silicon Valley, Redding, California; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Phoenix, Arizona; a new spring coming out of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Oklahoma; Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Madison, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Orlando, Florida; Fort Mills, South Carolina; Virginia; Annapolis, Maryland; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; New York City; Boston, Massachusetts; as well as other cities and regions.

The inner cities of America and the areas in which Satan has built is greatest strongholds will begin to rebuild, and the revivals in such cities as Detroit and Chicago will astound the news!  God says, “I will not forget the inner cities!”

This harvest time will result in the salvation of high-profile leaders both in the media, government, and education spheres of society. They will be vocal and unashamed! Their bold presence on social media will cause a huge stir in the news services. 

God is going to shake pop culture!  He is going to use it for His glory.

Look to the reserves and reservations and tribal lands of the nations of the earth.  The indigenous peoples of the earth are about to be touched by God’s power.  Where they were oppressed through colonization, they are going to experience great healing and receive the power and grace to forgive the terrible atrocities committed against them. As a result, they will be used to touch many nations with the truth of God’s saving power.

The historic wells of revival are going to flow again as bold evangelism takes place on the streets and on the campuses of schools where progressivism and Marxism have taken root.  Latin America will be a leader in this move of God.

A New Renaissance

New songs and new sounds will flow from emerging worship leaders. The Tabernacle of David will see the release of many, many new Psalmists that will sing the song of the nations. A new, even more passionate generation of abandoned worshippers is emerging!

Songs will be written that influence not only the church but also society at large.  These songs will disciple nations in the way that the Beatles and the Summer of Love released a “free love sexual revolution” in a negative way as well as rebellion and sin. We will be singing the sounds of awakening in society! The bells of true liberty will ring in song once again.

Andrew Fletcher, a politician from Scotland, said, “Let me sing the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” In other words, the power of the voice singing creates movements for societal change. 

Power worshippers will arise as a new generation moves into cities and regions and breaks open the heavens in a massive way. Through praise and worship, they will “pierce the darkness” created by principalities and powers over regions.

These worshippers will become “sent ones” who will go into unreached parts of cities and nations to prepare the way for the evangelists who will come after them. 

This worship movement will see an even greater rebuilding of the Tabernacle of David with many more 24/7 Houses of Prayer being established. They will have an understanding of the connection that God has given between the church and Israel, and many will call this new move a “Davidic Messianic” movement of believers.

A Movement of Reformers

2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Many, many people will talk about the need for societal reformation and desire to be reformers. Young people will band together to form movements that display a passion to go into each area of their culture and see reformation.

This will set the stage for the greatest outpouring of the spirit and awakening the world has even known! Nations that were never impacted by the reformation will begin to experience one now.  This will happen in all the continents!! “Africa, Africa, Africa, you are moving into your greatest hour, says the Lord!”

Germany and France will be deeply impacted by this move of God. The Calvin’s and the Luther’s are arising!  Books will be written and the history of past moves of God will be studied. It will also go into the Catholic churches, the Coptics from Egypt, the Orthodox churches in Russian and Eastern Asia. It will affect both the Eastern and Western Orthodox churches.  While many of the older leaders in these denominations and church movements will rejoice, some will rise up and persecute this new of God.

Social media will be the Gutenberg press in this reformation.

The news will be amazed as very liberal owners of social media begin to announce that they are now believers. This will impact the Silicon Valley community in California in a big way. The Holy Spirit is calling for massive intercession for influencers in these sectors of society. 

The youth who have seemingly crashed in the past season into being part of the “hard left” with liberal, humanistic agendas will suffer great disillusionment. But if the church will reach out to them in this time of lost dreams, they will be saved and become part of the most powerful move of evangelism and discipling that their nations have ever known.

The Effects of the United States’ Election 

Several of our prophets received words that Donald Trump would become the next president and will become a 21st century Cyrus. He is called to break the mold of political correctness. We received the word that if we pray for him, he will heal, rather than divide, the nation.

Intercession must be made or this will not happen in the way God intends. Racial division must be healed and the people of all ethnicities must come together as part of this John 17 movement.  This cannot be a “whites only” movement, but the church must work to fight for unity and be a massive voice against racism that still exists in the nation.

There will be many civil rights reformers who will not let this need of healing of the nation creates divides.  We received a serious admonition that the church must pray to see the nation healed or the breaches will only grow.

Native Americans will be part of this civil reformation and antiquated laws, and even the Bureau of Indian Affairs will be reformed. 

There is coming such scientific proof concerning the science of the pre-born child that this will result in reformations in the medical field’s stance and thinking as a whole. The pre-born child will be declared a human being. Some that have held this stance all along will break their silence and become strong advocates for the pre-born. 

We prophesied a conservative revolt, and now we prophesy a “social media revolt” in which many use this form of communication and it will result in the crippling networks and newspapers that persecute the truth of God. God is about to arise in a way to release the anointing of truth. There are media revolutionaries who will change the way everything is being done concerning communications. This will result in financial shakings will cause long-standing news media to begin to lose millions of dollars, even causing some to go under! This will be a shock to many who relied upon them to be their “voice.”

As a backlash against this conservative social media revolt, the liberal press will even accuse God’s people of lying, giving the biblical analogy of the sons of Belial

who lied in court to get Naboth’s vineyard.  However, accusations of the liberal press will not prevail.  Intercession must be done for the church to be protected.

Corruption is going to be exposed in the media as well and the disillusionment will deepen in people in general with “traditional media” sources. Out of this season, new, anointed news anchors will come to the forefront who will be unashamedly believers and they will experience great favor. 

Washington DC will be “ground zero” for the exposure of corruption. Some that are exposed will shock the nation as God continues to move to cleanse both political parties.  Corrupt judges will also be exposed in the circuit courts.  We were told to use Ezekiel 22 as a model to decree against corruption.

The whistleblowers will come out in droves!  Aides and interns will speak and tell what they have both seen and heard.

Collusion between the Federal Drug Administration and the pharmaceutical companies will be exposed in surprising ways. 

The lobbyists are going to be removed from their places of influence in a significant way, and the influence of corporate giants over Congress will also be reformed. 

Term limits will be put in place for Congress in the future. Reformation is coming to every aspect of society.

Major trade deals are going to be re-written and old enemies will become trading partners.  God is aligning the nations for His purposes. The global elites are going to find that they are not able to move freely like they did on the international scene. Corruption and collusion will be exposed and many will be shocked.

A new season of mercy has been given, even though for some it does not appear to be so at this moment of time. God wants to reboot the nation and get it back on track.

The Lord wants to release both protection for the nation as well as wisdom for compassionate immigration reform while dealing with the criminal influence. This needs serious prayer. The Body of Christ is forerunning racial reconciliation, and this will display a unity and synergy that the world is looking for. 

A call for continued concerted prayer to continue to bring both peace, protection and stability to the nation went out.  God wants to give a path to establish what could be called “thrones of glory” all the way through the year 2020. If the intercessors continue to pray for 2020 vision, God will release His glory on a scale none of us can imagine. 

The Economy

The US will be the safe refuge for investment around the globe. 

Family economies will be blessed if they seek the Lord on how to get out of debt and save so they can invest in new financial opportunities that will arise. 

Significant investments in new innovations and inventions; some even given through dreams, will be released.  The Mid-West and what has been known as the rust belt of the United States will begin to blossom.  New investments in inner cities will open up as they are set free from historic violence and drug abuse.

The churches of the nation will begin to rise up and systematically work to eliminate poverty. This will impact the inner cities greatly as they will be considered both a mission field and a treasure field. The people of the inner cities are treasures to God.

Economic shakings are coming to Europe.

Italy, Spain, and Portugal will be tested. God’s people will be taken care of in the midst of the crisis. Alignments with Israel are critical in this season.

North America and Alaska

The wealth of North America will be unlocked and resources will be opened. There will be a new gas pipeline in Alaska. It will be in the news as “hidden riches” of gold and rare minerals are found. 

The US Military – Terrorism and ISIS 

There will be a rebuilding of the United States’ military. Religious freedom will be restored and the chaplains will once again be able to freely preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit pointed out the necessity of this happening in order to see God’s favor poured out on the military.

Reformers are going to be put in place in the military. The power of God is going to visit entire military bases around the world. 

New strategies to defeat ISIS will be given by new leadership put in place and fear will fall upon those who are “rogue” terrorists. The mainstream media and social media voices who are favorable to allowing refugees with terrorists backgrounds are going to suffer major blows. 

Those nations who are promoting and hiding terrorists will be ostracized both politically and economically. Rogue nations such as North Korea are going to be put in check. 

New Alliances Between Nations

There will be a tightened alliance between the US and the UK. Trade agreements will be made between these two nations that will shift the balance of trade.

God is dealing internally with the Parliament of the UK and strong voices will arise to speak out for alliances with Israel. Brexit and Amerix! The exiting from one wineskin to another.

(Note-this by no means that God is not moving within the people of the EU!) 

United Nations

The extreme political and social agenda behind the UN is going to become apparent to people of many nations. Righteous nations will stand up to their plans for social engineering through International Planned Parenthood and eugenics. Reformers will arise from the midst with godly philosophies who will be strong voices for a realignment away from this perverted agenda to one that gives compassion aid without “strings” attached to unrighteous organizations. Ambassadors who are evangelists will rise up ashamed of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Funding will be withheld as righteous nations in the UN they stop supporting radicalized social agendas that promote homosexuality as a life-style and the abortion of babies.

Israel

Signs and wonders will break out in many places. Nazareth and Haifa will see the power of God in great demonstration.  The Russian Jews are going to experience a harvest of souls in a large way and become powerful evangelists to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

The nations who align against Israel will find themselves becoming more economically challenged in the coming days. Nations will withdraw their funding from the UN initiatives and countries who persecute Israel. 

Israel will become a flashpoint among the nations.  There is a confusion of the nations that will take place and an accelerated polarization of light and darkness. 

This will start a process where the Temple Mount will once again be brought up as a central issue among the nations.

More shakings will take place in the nation but God will release a youth movement between the Jews and Arabs that will become voices of unity in the land.

Brazil

More corruption will be exposed and the shake-up of the government will continue all the way from the national to the local levels. There will be new government leaders run for office from the church, and whereas they were not successful in the past, some will see a breakthrough when they run again.

Iran 

There is a growing underground movement that is strong although not yet seen.  There will be much trouble brewing from Iran in this season, however, God wants to encourage the church that He is hearing their prayers and has a plan to liberate His people from radical ideologies. 

France

Revival fires are burning! The move of God has started and will not be quenched.  It is time for the prayers of the generations must be answered. The John 17 movement from France will affect the other nations in Europe.

The prophets are going to rise up from France and speak very accurately.

Asia

Vietnam is preparing to be the “Star of Asia” as far as the numbers of people being saved. This will even have a great impact on the Communist government.  Hanoi will become a beacon of light to the nations. 

China

There will be some continued shakings. However, look to Inner Mongolia for the greatest moves of God yet! 

Australia

Australia is a reformer nation and will produce great shifts, as well as some clashes on a governmental level. However, the Daniel’s and Joseph’s are arising in this land.

Egypt and the Middle East

There is a massive awakening coming to the Egypt as well as the whole Middle East. It is the time for Isaiah 19 to be fulfilled! Reformers will arise in these nations as well.   The blood of the martyrs is crying out from the ground where ISIS has beheaded so many believers in Jesus Christ. Their sacrifice is going to result in many “Saul’s” who have become radicalized will become Paul's.


We see in part and know if part. We are the test all things and hold fast to that which is good. Some words have immediate fulfillment and impact. Other words have conditions that must be met in order for them to be fulfilled. But this is a Year of the Breakthrough! This is a historical time when another Great Reformation shall take place!

 ------
Presented by Cindy Jacobs, Generals of Intercession


_____________

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Prophecy

ACPE: 2017: Year of Breakthrough

Since 1999, the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders has gathered some of the most respected prophetic voices from around the nation to pray and seek the Lord for a word for the coming year.

(These meetings took place November 14th - 16th, 2016 and some of the events have already transpired.)

Here is Cindy Jacobs' introduction to the word this year:


THE YEAR OF THE BREAKTHROUGH

2017: The Breakthrough Year

“The One who breaks open will come up before them; 
They will break out.
Pass through the gate,
And go out by it;
Their king will pass before them,
With the Lord at their head.”

Micah 2:13 (NKJV)

The Symbolism of the Number 17

The number 17 in scripture symbolizes “overcoming the enemy” and “complete victory.”

God overcame the sins of rebellious humans when He began to flood the earth and rested on the 17th day of the Hebrew month. Noah’s ark and its eight passengers rested on the mountains of Ararat on the 17th day of the seventh month of the religious year (Tishrei), right in the middle of God’s Holy period known as the Feast of Tabernacles. 

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is in the seventh month (Tishri) and on the tenth day of the Hebraic calendar. This day calls for the turning from our sins through repentance that brings us to victory.

It is the time for the breakthrough to victory.

There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders. The anointing will be so strong that it will break significant and long-standing strongholds that have plagued people's lives. 

It shall come to pass in that day
That his burden will be taken away from your shoulder,
And his yoke from your neck,
And the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.”

Isaiah 10:27 (NKJV)

For the Lord says, “My people are entering into an overcoming season that will produce great breakthroughs. For the enemy has come in like a flood, but I, the Lord, am releasing great victories. I will stem the tide of violence. I will bring peace to the land. I will bring an awakening! I will release revival!”

Receive Your Breakthrough This Year

This is the year that the blessings will overtake us, if we obey the voice of our God!  If we put out hands to the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God for His sake, we will begin to prosper. It is critical that we spend time seeking the Lord for the right alignment in our relationships for us to release these blessings.

For some, it will mean a geographic move, for others, the leaving of the old for the new. For others, it will be mean staying in covenantal relationships even when they are tested. 

The Promise and the Condition

Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God”

Deuteronomy 28:1-2 (NKJV)

We need to understand the Hebraic meaning of our times. The year 2017 on the Roman calendar corresponds to the year 5777 on the Hebraic calendar, which is symbolized by the crowned sword. 

The sword cuts off the old and releases the new. The enemy has been trying to “cut off” many relationships and come against the new move of unity coming to families and the Body of Christ. We see Satan being defeated on many levels as we experience great breakthroughs, both personally and corporately. 

This is the year of breakthrough to release the following things: 

  • Mantles or anointings of the Holy Spirit released across generations. This is the year of securing your legacy.
  • New leaders recognized and released.
  • Shifts in government and new international alliances forming.
  • More corruption exposed on national levels, both in the United States and other nations. 

Mantles are being passed

The passing of Peter Wagner was a game-changer for the Body of Christ. Old wine structures are going to be tested, and those who will be willing to become new wine

will be promoted. Churches who allow themselves to become apostolic sending centers will grow and see many saved.

Fuller Theological Seminary is going to come into a time of renewal as in the days when C. Peter Wagner invited John Wimber to teach his signs and wonders class.  The Holy Spirit will be poured out once again upon the professors. Other divinity schools such as Princeton will also be visited by God as young professors are touched by God’s power and come into spiritual renewal. New wine curriculum will be introduced into seminaries and Bible Schools around the world.  The renewal legacy of Peter Wagner combined with that of John Wimber is about to come upon a new generation.

A diversity of mantles is falling in this time like unto what Peter Wagner carried. Mantles from God for the writing books, prophetically “seeing” trends, keeping the church (ekklesia) fresh and ready for each new move of God are being distributed to properly aligned leaders in this hour.

There will be many, many changes in this coming year. Changes in locations, houses, buildings, and the breaking off of generational systems of debt.

A new generation of spiritual warriors will be trained and arise to do governmental and prophetic intercession.  Old prayer movements will be strengthened, and a new generation of prayer warriors will arise for battle. There will be an awakening of prayer and spiritual warfare. Deliverance will take place on many levels through this fresh movement.

There will be continued shakings as the sword of the Lord pierces the darkness of centuries over the nations. Some will experience great tumults and shakings.

The good news is that, in the midst of the shakings, there will be a time of renewal and coming together like in Ezekiel 37, when the shakings of dry bones caused new breath and life coming into the army of the Lord. 

Let the Ekklesia Arise 

Networks of Kingdom Alliances with the voice of hope are emerging in very intentional ways. Many will teach on the “ekklesia” from their pulpits and in their conferences, inspiring the people of God to arise and be the called-out ones.  

There will be a strong anointing on the ekklesia to root out and pull down the “gates and walls of the enemy.” By this, as we are faithful to move out into society to be a voice of change, there will be a dismantling and shaking of old corrupt systems. 

The economies of nations who have refused to shift and are keeping their people in bondage will see massive shakings. Exposure after exposure will come to those corrupt individuals who thought they were too protected and embedded through bribes and intimidation. They will find themselves falling out of power, going to prison, and, in some cases, even dying.

The Lord showed us clearly that this is a new season where the ekkesia is being given the anointing not only to root out, and tear down, but this will be a special season of building and planting. The revelation of blessing our cities and nations will be a kingdom anthem for the ekklesa.  If we root out, but do not plant, then the nations will only be exposed to worse than they had been before. 

Therefore, we admonish the intercessors to pray beyond the tearing down of old systems and pray into the structures and systems that need to form afterward.  Let’s intercede for new leaders and effective systems to be put in place that will build up their nations. 

It’s Time to Build!

Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:

Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”

Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”
And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”
Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.”
Jeremiah 1:9-12 (NKJV)

One of the things to be planted is what could be called “The Love Revolution.” Just as the Summer of Love in 1967 changed the landscape of a generation, so now, 50 years later, the world will see the face of Christianity in a new light.

The admonition in 1 Corinthians 14:1, "Let love be your aim" will be planted in the nations as the church rises up in a more visible way. The words of the theme song from the Jesus People Movement, “They will know that we are Christians by our love” will have a new resonance as this message of loving God and loving one another is sung in new ways. We will be carriers of God’s goodness wherever we go!

Changing Financial Structures

The way people make money is going to change. A new breed of entrepreneurs will arise who are “out-of-the-box” thinkers. New structures of wealth creation will open up. For example, in the past the stock markets were major generators of wealth, but this will be the era of YouTube millionaires.

The church, missions organizations, and other ministries will benefit greatly from the creation of wealth, as new donors will rise up to help finance the building of this global vision. The gift of giving will be highlighted in the coming move of God, and people of wealth will understand how to use their gift to advance the Kingdom of God. 

Watch Latin America as structures that kept people in poverty are going to begin to unravel and weaken. 

A New John 17 Movement 

The Lord spoke to us that next year we would see a new John 17 movement begin where the prayer of Jesus will be answered. Many streams will run together until we see a river of revival flow across the earth. There will be major reconciliations between denominations, nations, and peoples.

God will anoint peacemakers in this season who are especially empowered by God to be a voice for unity between factions and help heal the breaches.

This John 17 move will extend to families as well as there is a “focus on the family” where longstanding breaches between siblings, and between parents and their children are healed. God is calling for families to pray together and “light” the family altar.  Strongholds in family systems are going to be broken in powerful and supernatural ways.  This will even extend to strongholds of poverty, disease, alcoholism, and drug abuse.

The John 17 movements will align against injustice and religious strongholds as they decide together that they want a new move of the Holy Spirit.

We are hearing the words, New Wine, New Wine!

A convergence of all the past moves of God coming together with the manifestations of Pentecostal Fire, the Healing and Deliverance Crusades. The Latter Rain Glory being poured out with new realms of glory, the Evangelicals' Burden of the Lost, and the Jesus People Movements love for the lost, the gifts of the Holy Spirit from the Charismatic Movement, the Third Wave Theological Credibility, the Revelation of the Prophetic Movement, and the Relational Networking of the Apostolic Reformation that includes an understanding of reforming and transforming society in each mountain (or sphere).

This great Convergence of the Ages is coming with a historic Fourth Wave of the Holy Spirit and a reformation that will lead to the Great Transformation of nations.

The wind of the Holy Spirit is going to blow with new renewal movements arising in the youth upon centuries-old churches. The power of the Holy Spirit will be poured out in a new, fresh way, manifesting through the young and old. The miracles that have seemed only to happen infrequently are going to be dramatic. 

Many “working of miracles” that are creative in nature will be seen in hundreds of churches across the world. Centuries old churches that have prayed for a renewed move of the Holy Spirit will see their prayers answered. It is the time for a new Pentecost! Some that criticize those who are longing for renewal will find they are put out of leadership in their churches and denominations. Both the young and the old will see the power of the Holy Spirit fall upon them. 

This again will result in many, many new missionaries being sent out across the face of the earth that are willing to go to the most difficult and hard-to-reach areas.  Central Asia will be majorly impacted by this mission’s movement. God is calling a new generation who will go out and evangelize the world! The numbers of those going to preach will increase in large proportion compared to the generation before them.

These missionaries will carry the gospel, anointed with revelation to give “hope solutions” to the current needs of the nations where they are sent. 

The heartland of the United States and the cities along the Mississippi River will be used by God to mend the great divide that has come to the nation as a result of the recent polarizing US elections.

The warfare from the last season that has “worn out” God’s people will fade away as the refreshing rains of the Spirit of God fall afresh. It is time for breakthroughs and the breaking off of the pain, discouragement, and battle fatigue of yesterday.  

Harvest Season

The greatest harvest of souls the earth has known is upon us. Hundreds of thousands will be saved. The Middle East will experience a revival and this will extend into the evangelization of both the Arab and the Non-Arabic-speaking Muslims. Look to Egypt to be a leader in this revival and awakening. 

The Glory of God is going to be poured out across the United States and these areas were specifically given as revival centers:

Los Angeles, California; Silicon Valley, Redding, California; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Phoenix, Arizona; a new spring coming out of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Oklahoma; Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Madison, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; Nashville, Tennessee; Orlando, Florida; Fort Mills, South Carolina; Virginia; Annapolis, Maryland; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; New York City; Boston, Massachusetts; as well as other cities and regions.

The inner cities of America and the areas in which Satan has built is greatest strongholds will begin to rebuild, and the revivals in such cities as Detroit and Chicago will astound the news!  God says, “I will not forget the inner cities!”

This harvest time will result in the salvation of high-profile leaders both in the media, government, and education spheres of society. They will be vocal and unashamed! Their bold presence on social media will cause a huge stir in the news services. 

God is going to shake pop culture!  He is going to use it for His glory.

Look to the reserves and reservations and tribal lands of the nations of the earth.  The indigenous peoples of the earth are about to be touched by God’s power.  Where they were oppressed through colonization, they are going to experience great healing and receive the power and grace to forgive the terrible atrocities committed against them. As a result, they will be used to touch many nations with the truth of God’s saving power.

The historic wells of revival are going to flow again as bold evangelism takes place on the streets and on the campuses of schools where progressivism and Marxism have taken root.  Latin America will be a leader in this move of God.

A New Renaissance

New songs and new sounds will flow from emerging worship leaders. The Tabernacle of David will see the release of many, many new Psalmists that will sing the song of the nations. A new, even more passionate generation of abandoned worshippers is emerging!

Songs will be written that influence not only the church but also society at large.  These songs will disciple nations in the way that the Beatles and the Summer of Love released a “free love sexual revolution” in a negative way as well as rebellion and sin. We will be singing the sounds of awakening in society! The bells of true liberty will ring in song once again.

Andrew Fletcher, a politician from Scotland, said, “Let me sing the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” In other words, the power of the voice singing creates movements for societal change. 

Power worshippers will arise as a new generation moves into cities and regions and breaks open the heavens in a massive way. Through praise and worship, they will “pierce the darkness” created by principalities and powers over regions.

These worshippers will become “sent ones” who will go into unreached parts of cities and nations to prepare the way for the evangelists who will come after them. 

This worship movement will see an even greater rebuilding of the Tabernacle of David with many more 24/7 Houses of Prayer being established. They will have an understanding of the connection that God has given between the church and Israel, and many will call this new move a “Davidic Messianic” movement of believers.

A Movement of Reformers

2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Many, many people will talk about the need for societal reformation and desire to be reformers. Young people will band together to form movements that display a passion to go into each area of their culture and see reformation.

This will set the stage for the greatest outpouring of the spirit and awakening the world has even known! Nations that were never impacted by the reformation will begin to experience one now.  This will happen in all the continents!! “Africa, Africa, Africa, you are moving into your greatest hour, says the Lord!”

Germany and France will be deeply impacted by this move of God. The Calvin’s and the Luther’s are arising!  Books will be written and the history of past moves of God will be studied. It will also go into the Catholic churches, the Coptics from Egypt, the Orthodox churches in Russian and Eastern Asia. It will affect both the Eastern and Western Orthodox churches.  While many of the older leaders in these denominations and church movements will rejoice, some will rise up and persecute this new of God.

Social media will be the Gutenberg press in this reformation.

The news will be amazed as very liberal owners of social media begin to announce that they are now believers. This will impact the Silicon Valley community in California in a big way. The Holy Spirit is calling for massive intercession for influencers in these sectors of society. 

The youth who have seemingly crashed in the past season into being part of the “hard left” with liberal, humanistic agendas will suffer great disillusionment. But if the church will reach out to them in this time of lost dreams, they will be saved and become part of the most powerful move of evangelism and discipling that their nations have ever known.

The Effects of the United States’ Election 

Several of our prophets received words that Donald Trump would become the next president and will become a 21st century Cyrus. He is called to break the mold of political correctness. We received the word that if we pray for him, he will heal, rather than divide, the nation.

Intercession must be made or this will not happen in the way God intends. Racial division must be healed and the people of all ethnicities must come together as part of this John 17 movement.  This cannot be a “whites only” movement, but the church must work to fight for unity and be a massive voice against racism that still exists in the nation.

There will be many civil rights reformers who will not let this need of healing of the nation creates divides.  We received a serious admonition that the church must pray to see the nation healed or the breaches will only grow.

Native Americans will be part of this civil reformation and antiquated laws, and even the Bureau of Indian Affairs will be reformed. 

There is coming such scientific proof concerning the science of the pre-born child that this will result in reformations in the medical field’s stance and thinking as a whole. The pre-born child will be declared a human being. Some that have held this stance all along will break their silence and become strong advocates for the pre-born. 

We prophesied a conservative revolt, and now we prophesy a “social media revolt” in which many use this form of communication and it will result in the crippling networks and newspapers that persecute the truth of God. God is about to arise in a way to release the anointing of truth. There are media revolutionaries who will change the way everything is being done concerning communications. This will result in financial shakings will cause long-standing news media to begin to lose millions of dollars, even causing some to go under! This will be a shock to many who relied upon them to be their “voice.”

As a backlash against this conservative social media revolt, the liberal press will even accuse God’s people of lying, giving the biblical analogy of the sons of Belial

who lied in court to get Naboth’s vineyard.  However, accusations of the liberal press will not prevail.  Intercession must be done for the church to be protected.

Corruption is going to be exposed in the media as well and the disillusionment will deepen in people in general with “traditional media” sources. Out of this season, new, anointed news anchors will come to the forefront who will be unashamedly believers and they will experience great favor. 

Washington DC will be “ground zero” for the exposure of corruption. Some that are exposed will shock the nation as God continues to move to cleanse both political parties.  Corrupt judges will also be exposed in the circuit courts.  We were told to use Ezekiel 22 as a model to decree against corruption.

The whistleblowers will come out in droves!  Aides and interns will speak and tell what they have both seen and heard.

Collusion between the Federal Drug Administration and the pharmaceutical companies will be exposed in surprising ways. 

The lobbyists are going to be removed from their places of influence in a significant way, and the influence of corporate giants over Congress will also be reformed. 

Term limits will be put in place for Congress in the future. Reformation is coming to every aspect of society.

Major trade deals are going to be re-written and old enemies will become trading partners.  God is aligning the nations for His purposes. The global elites are going to find that they are not able to move freely like they did on the international scene. Corruption and collusion will be exposed and many will be shocked.

A new season of mercy has been given, even though for some it does not appear to be so at this moment of time. God wants to reboot the nation and get it back on track.

The Lord wants to release both protection for the nation as well as wisdom for compassionate immigration reform while dealing with the criminal influence. This needs serious prayer. The Body of Christ is forerunning racial reconciliation, and this will display a unity and synergy that the world is looking for. 

A call for continued concerted prayer to continue to bring both peace, protection and stability to the nation went out.  God wants to give a path to establish what could be called “thrones of glory” all the way through the year 2020. If the intercessors continue to pray for 2020 vision, God will release His glory on a scale none of us can imagine. 

The Economy

The US will be the safe refuge for investment around the globe. 

Family economies will be blessed if they seek the Lord on how to get out of debt and save so they can invest in new financial opportunities that will arise. 

Significant investments in new innovations and inventions; some even given through dreams, will be released.  The Mid-West and what has been known as the rust belt of the United States will begin to blossom.  New investments in inner cities will open up as they are set free from historic violence and drug abuse.

The churches of the nation will begin to rise up and systematically work to eliminate poverty. This will impact the inner cities greatly as they will be considered both a mission field and a treasure field. The people of the inner cities are treasures to God.

Economic shakings are coming to Europe.

Italy, Spain, and Portugal will be tested. God’s people will be taken care of in the midst of the crisis. Alignments with Israel are critical in this season.

North America and Alaska

The wealth of North America will be unlocked and resources will be opened. There will be a new gas pipeline in Alaska. It will be in the news as “hidden riches” of gold and rare minerals are found. 

The US Military – Terrorism and ISIS 

There will be a rebuilding of the United States’ military. Religious freedom will be restored and the chaplains will once again be able to freely preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit pointed out the necessity of this happening in order to see God’s favor poured out on the military.

Reformers are going to be put in place in the military. The power of God is going to visit entire military bases around the world. 

New strategies to defeat ISIS will be given by new leadership put in place and fear will fall upon those who are “rogue” terrorists. The mainstream media and social media voices who are favorable to allowing refugees with terrorists backgrounds are going to suffer major blows. 

Those nations who are promoting and hiding terrorists will be ostracized both politically and economically. Rogue nations such as North Korea are going to be put in check. 

New Alliances Between Nations

There will be a tightened alliance between the US and the UK. Trade agreements will be made between these two nations that will shift the balance of trade.

God is dealing internally with the Parliament of the UK and strong voices will arise to speak out for alliances with Israel. Brexit and Amerix! The exiting from one wineskin to another.

(Note-this by no means that God is not moving within the people of the EU!) 

United Nations

The extreme political and social agenda behind the UN is going to become apparent to people of many nations. Righteous nations will stand up to their plans for social engineering through International Planned Parenthood and eugenics. Reformers will arise from the midst with godly philosophies who will be strong voices for a realignment away from this perverted agenda to one that gives compassion aid without “strings” attached to unrighteous organizations. Ambassadors who are evangelists will rise up ashamed of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Funding will be withheld as righteous nations in the UN they stop supporting radicalized social agendas that promote homosexuality as a life-style and the abortion of babies.

Israel

Signs and wonders will break out in many places. Nazareth and Haifa will see the power of God in great demonstration.  The Russian Jews are going to experience a harvest of souls in a large way and become powerful evangelists to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

The nations who align against Israel will find themselves becoming more economically challenged in the coming days. Nations will withdraw their funding from the UN initiatives and countries who persecute Israel. 

Israel will become a flashpoint among the nations.  There is a confusion of the nations that will take place and an accelerated polarization of light and darkness. 

This will start a process where the Temple Mount will once again be brought up as a central issue among the nations.

More shakings will take place in the nation but God will release a youth movement between the Jews and Arabs that will become voices of unity in the land.

Brazil

More corruption will be exposed and the shake-up of the government will continue all the way from the national to the local levels. There will be new government leaders run for office from the church, and whereas they were not successful in the past, some will see a breakthrough when they run again.

Iran 

There is a growing underground movement that is strong although not yet seen.  There will be much trouble brewing from Iran in this season, however, God wants to encourage the church that He is hearing their prayers and has a plan to liberate His people from radical ideologies. 

France

Revival fires are burning! The move of God has started and will not be quenched.  It is time for the prayers of the generations must be answered. The John 17 movement from France will affect the other nations in Europe.

The prophets are going to rise up from France and speak very accurately.

Asia

Vietnam is preparing to be the “Star of Asia” as far as the numbers of people being saved. This will even have a great impact on the Communist government.  Hanoi will become a beacon of light to the nations. 

China

There will be some continued shakings. However, look to Inner Mongolia for the greatest moves of God yet! 

Australia

Australia is a reformer nation and will produce great shifts, as well as some clashes on a governmental level. However, the Daniel’s and Joseph’s are arising in this land.

Egypt and the Middle East

There is a massive awakening coming to the Egypt as well as the whole Middle East. It is the time for Isaiah 19 to be fulfilled! Reformers will arise in these nations as well.   The blood of the martyrs is crying out from the ground where ISIS has beheaded so many believers in Jesus Christ. Their sacrifice is going to result in many “Saul’s” who have become radicalized will become Paul's.


We see in part and know if part. We are the test all things and hold fast to that which is good. Some words have immediate fulfillment and impact. Other words have conditions that must be met in order for them to be fulfilled. But this is a Year of the Breakthrough! This is a historical time when another Great Reformation shall take place!

 ------
Presented by Cindy Jacobs, Generals of Intercession


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If you’d like to comment on or discuss this word, come to the Facebook page where it’s published. Start with https://www.facebook.com/northwestprophetic

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Devotionals, Letters

Responding to this Election

There are maybe two primary kinds of people reacting with distress to the election results.

One kind is all about outrage. That outrage has occasionally been public and violent. There’s much evidence that at least some of the protests are paid events, staged for prime-time television, but the outrage is still real.

Many of the faces and voices in the media are outraged, of course, and in the halls of power. Some are willing to express it; others less so, hiding behind explanations and accusations.

The other, larger, and often younger population are nearly invisible, feeling wounded and betrayed. How could these neighbors whom I’ve trusted vote for such a hateful man and such a hateful agenda. They truly fear for their future, for their lives and well-being and those of their friends. Their fear – whether we understand it or not – is very real, their pain is real.

This is the group that I’m most concerned about.

Many of these are Millennials, the generation that is only now stepping into power. They are young enough that they don’t understand what this election was reacting against. And while they recognize that there’s bias in the media, they are still a media generation, and the media still speaks to them and for them.

If we wanted to alienate these good people, if we wanted to drive them away from us, from ever respecting us, then we should condescend to them, we should disrespect their fears and mock their pain. A number of Christians, a number of conservatives are doing exactly that.

And of course, Internet memes are good for this. And while a few are genuinely humorous and make us laugh, they drive a wedge deeper between people, and a thorn deeper into their hearts.

“But they’re believing a lie! I must convince them instead of the truth!” Balderdash. Do you remember the Bible-thumping trolls who haunt Facebook and other online communities, mercilessly wielding their version of Truth? Do you remember Westboro Baptist and their hate-fueled vitriol? This need to “convince them of the truth” is what motivates them. Don’t be like them.

Honestly, we don’t have the authority to speak truth to anyone until we’ve helped them deal with the pain they’re feeling. Have you ever noticed that whenever Jesus taught truth it was always in the context of healing their pain: healing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead, multiplying food. The only exception was when he was talking privately with his disciples.

That’s a really good course of action: start with healing. We can heal supernaturally; that’s always good. We can heal through social means: food banks and street missions need our help in this season more than any other. We can heal through personal means, listening to their pain, and loving them eye-to-eye, heart to heart.

We can be Christians: we can be Christ to people.


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Devotionals, Letters

Responding to this Election

There are maybe two primary kinds of people reacting with distress to the election results.

One kind is all about outrage. That outrage has occasionally been public and violent. There’s much evidence that at least some of the protests are paid events, staged for prime-time television, but the outrage is still real.

Many of the faces and voices in the media are outraged, of course, and in the halls of power. Some are willing to express it; others less so, hiding behind explanations and accusations.

The other, larger, and often younger population are nearly invisible, feeling wounded and betrayed. How could these neighbors whom I’ve trusted vote for such a hateful man and such a hateful agenda. They truly fear for their future, for their lives and well-being and those of their friends. Their fear – whether we understand it or not – is very real, their pain is real.

This is the group that I’m most concerned about.

Many of these are Millennials, the generation that is only now stepping into power. They are young enough that they don’t understand what this election was reacting against. And while they recognize that there’s bias in the media, they are still a media generation, and the media still speaks to them and for them.

If we wanted to alienate these good people, if we wanted to drive them away from us, from ever respecting us, then we should condescend to them, we should disrespect their fears and mock their pain. A number of Christians, a number of conservatives are doing exactly that.

And of course, Internet memes are good for this. And while a few are genuinely humorous and make us laugh, they drive a wedge deeper between people, and a thorn deeper into their hearts.

“But they’re believing a lie! I must convince them instead of the truth!” Balderdash. Do you remember the Bible-thumping trolls who haunt Facebook and other online communities, mercilessly wielding their version of Truth? Do you remember Westboro Baptist and their hate-fueled vitriol? This need to “convince them of the truth” is what motivates them. Don’t be like them.

Honestly, we don’t have the authority to speak truth to anyone until we’ve helped them deal with the pain they’re feeling. Have you ever noticed that whenever Jesus taught truth it was always in the context of healing their pain: healing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead, multiplying food. The only exception was when he was talking privately with his disciples.

That’s a really good course of action: start with healing. We can heal supernaturally; that’s always good. We can heal through social means: food banks and street missions need our help in this season more than any other. We can heal through personal means, listening to their pain, and loving them eye-to-eye, heart to heart.

We can be Christians: we can be Christ to people.


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Devotionals, Letters

I Don’t See It That Way

We confuse two very different thoughts, and I wonder if maybe we do this fairly often:

We begin with "I don't see it that way," and that's well and good. It might be “I don’t see why that baker wouldn’t bake the gay couple a cake,” or "I don't understand why a gay couple would come to a Christian bakery for a cake," or even, “I don’t see why Christians would want to drink alcohol.” It's good to be able to see things differently than others; that’s a sign of health, of our ability to think for ourselves and not just rely on the opinions of others around us.

But it’s easy to take that one step too far, to impose the way we see it on others, and we expect them to see the situation the way we do. This very seldom reaches the point of words, but it works out like this: "I don't see it that way, so they shouldn't either." or something along these lines. Fundamentally, it’s about “They need to think like me!”


I’ll be honest, I don't see how baking a cake or not baking a cake speaks of Christ. Either one sounds to me more like it speaks of flour and frosting. But those bakers don’t have the benefit of my perspective. They are working with their own conscience. And I applaud them for doing that; it happens so seldom these days.

This issue of “You should think like I think” is pretty rampant in our culture. Regarding the story where a Christian baker declined to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, the intolerance of certain members of the homosexual community were identified (by a lesbian) as “the Gay Gestapo.” But it happens in other realms as well. There’s an “Abortion Gestapo,” an “Evangelical Gestapo” and many others.

I’ve seen the cry, “You need to think like me!” in both sides of the homosexual movement, both sides of the abortion conversation, both sides of several race conversations. I’ve even heard evangelistic sermons based on this way of thinking.

Note that this doesn’t apply to every conversation in these areas. There’s a world of difference between “Abortion is murder, and I’m going to stand against murder,” and “This is the way I oppose abortion, and you should do it this way, too!”

I get it when the unredeemed think and act in unredeemed ways, like this. I don’t understand when Christians, particularly Christian leaders (who are supposed to be mature) tell each other, “This is the way I see it. You should agree with me!”

Fundamentally, this is an argument about which side is the right side on this issue. And fundamentally, Christians aren’t called to take sides, especially not political sides. We’re called to love people. We’re called to heal the sick and raise the dead, whether literally or metaphorically.

It’s particularly frustrating when Christian leaders declare “If you see it differently than I do, then you’re guilty of breaking the unity of the saints!” Not so. Unity doesn’t come from agreeing on doctrine (it’s about being part of the same family, but that’s another conversation).

But it’s just plain foolish when Christians expect non-Christians to think Christianly. (That’s called “hypocrisy,” people. We don’t like hypocrisy.) At no point does the Bible command us to make non-believers act as if they were religious. Let’s get over that right away, shall we? 
Instead of looking for the “the right side of the issue,” I’m going to recommend that when we find ourselves saying, “I don’t see it that way,” to follow that up with “…but you do, and I respect your thinking for yourselves. Look for a way to love those who don’t agree with you. (I think you’ll find that love converts more people than arguments, any day of the week!)

Or we could push for extra credit, and try to see it their way, try to understand why they see it that way, even if only for a moment. Seeing like they see is one way of loving them.



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Prophecy

I Don’t See It That Way

We confuse two very different thoughts, and I wonder if maybe we do this fairly often:
We begin with “I don’t see it that way,” and that’s well and good. It might be “I don’t see why that baker wouldn’t bake the gay couple a cake,” or “I don’t understand why a gay couple would come to a Christian bakery for a cake,” or even, “I don’t see why Christians would want to drink alcohol.” It’s good to be able to see things differently than others; that’s a sign of health, of our ability to think for ourselves and not just rely on the opinions of others around us.
But it’s easy to take that one step too far, to impose the way we see it on others, and we expect them to see the situation the way we do. This very seldom reaches the point of words, but it works out like this: “I don’t see it that way, so they shouldn’t either.” or something along these lines. Fundamentally, it’s about “They need to think like me!”

I’ll be honest, I don’t see how baking a cake or not baking a cake speaks of Christ. Either one sounds to me more like it speaks of flour and frosting. But those bakers don’t have the benefit of my perspective. They are working with their own conscience. And I applaud them for doing that; it happens so seldom these days.
This issue of “You should think like I think” is pretty rampant in our culture. Regarding the story where a Christian baker declined to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, the intolerance of certain members of the homosexual community were identified (by a lesbian) as “the Gay Gestapo.” But it happens in other realms as well. There’s an “Abortion Gestapo,” an “Evangelical Gestapo” and many others.
I’ve seen the cry, “You need to think like me!” in both sides of the homosexual movement, both sides of the abortion conversation, both sides of several race conversations. I’ve even heard evangelistic sermons based on this way of thinking.
Note that this doesn’t apply to every conversation in these areas. There’s a world of difference between “Abortion is murder, and I’m going to stand against murder,” and “This is the way I oppose abortion, and you should do it this way, too!”
I get it when the unredeemed think and act in unredeemed ways, like this. I don’t understand when Christians, particularly Christian leaders (who are supposed to be mature) tell each other, “This is the way I see it. You should agree with me!”
Fundamentally, this is an argument about which side is the right side on this issue. And fundamentally, Christians aren’t called to take sides, especially not political sides. We’re called to love people. We’re called to heal the sick and raise the dead, whether literally or metaphorically.
It’s particularly frustrating when Christian leaders declare “If you see it differently than I do, then you’re guilty of breaking the unity of the saints!” Not so. Unity doesn’t come from agreeing on doctrine (it’s about being part of the same family, but that’s another conversation).
But it’s just plain foolish when Christians expect non-Christians to think Christianly. (That’s called “hypocrisy,” people. We don’t like hypocrisy.) At no point does the Bible command us to make non-believers act as if they were religious. Let’s get over that right away, shall we? 
Instead of looking for the “the right side of the issue,” I’m going to recommend that when we find ourselves saying, “I don’t see it that way,” to follow that up with “…but you do, and I respect your thinking for yourselves. Look for a way to love those who don’t agree with you. (I think you’ll find that love converts more people than arguments, any day of the week!)
Or we could push for extra credit, and try to see it their way, try to understand why they see it that way, even if only for a moment. Seeing like they see is one way of loving them.

Standard
Devotionals, Letters

I Don’t See It That Way

We confuse two very different thoughts, and I wonder if maybe we do this fairly often:

We begin with "I don't see it that way," and that's well and good. It might be “I don’t see why that baker wouldn’t bake the gay couple a cake,” or "I don't understand why a gay couple would come to a Christian bakery for a cake," or even, “I don’t see why Christians would want to drink alcohol.” It's good to be able to see things differently than others; that’s a sign of health, of our ability to think for ourselves and not just rely on the opinions of others around us.

But it’s easy to take that one step too far, to impose the way we see it on others, and we expect them to see the situation the way we do. This very seldom reaches the point of words, but it works out like this: "I don't see it that way, so they shouldn't either." or something along these lines. Fundamentally, it’s about “They need to think like me!”


I’ll be honest, I don't see how baking a cake or not baking a cake speaks of Christ. Either one sounds to me more like it speaks of flour and frosting. But those bakers don’t have the benefit of my perspective. They are working with their own conscience. And I applaud them for doing that; it happens so seldom these days.

This issue of “You should think like I think” is pretty rampant in our culture. Regarding the story where a Christian baker declined to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, the intolerance of certain members of the homosexual community were identified (by a lesbian) as “the Gay Gestapo.” But it happens in other realms as well. There’s an “Abortion Gestapo,” an “Evangelical Gestapo” and many others.

I’ve seen the cry, “You need to think like me!” in both sides of the homosexual movement, both sides of the abortion conversation, both sides of several race conversations. I’ve even heard evangelistic sermons based on this way of thinking.

Note that this doesn’t apply to every conversation in these areas. There’s a world of difference between “Abortion is murder, and I’m going to stand against murder,” and “This is the way I oppose abortion, and you should do it this way, too!”

I get it when the unredeemed think and act in unredeemed ways, like this. I don’t understand when Christians, particularly Christian leaders (who are supposed to be mature) tell each other, “This is the way I see it. You should agree with me!”

Fundamentally, this is an argument about which side is the right side on this issue. And fundamentally, Christians aren’t called to take sides, especially not political sides. We’re called to love people. We’re called to heal the sick and raise the dead, whether literally or metaphorically.

It’s particularly frustrating when Christian leaders declare “If you see it differently than I do, then you’re guilty of breaking the unity of the saints!” Not so. Unity doesn’t come from agreeing on doctrine (it’s about being part of the same family, but that’s another conversation).

But it’s just plain foolish when Christians expect non-Christians to think Christianly. (That’s called “hypocrisy,” people. We don’t like hypocrisy.) At no point does the Bible command us to make non-believers act as if they were religious. Let’s get over that right away, shall we? 
Instead of looking for the “the right side of the issue,” I’m going to recommend that when we find ourselves saying, “I don’t see it that way,” to follow that up with “…but you do, and I respect your thinking for yourselves. Look for a way to love those who don’t agree with you. (I think you’ll find that love converts more people than arguments, any day of the week!)

Or we could push for extra credit, and try to see it their way, try to understand why they see it that way, even if only for a moment. Seeing like they see is one way of loving them.



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Devotionals, Letters

Does Love Mean Acceptance?

I’ve been challenged by some of my brothers. The context has been how to respond to homosexual believers, but the issue is bigger than that. This is about how Christians relate to unbelievers, to people who have sin in their life.

They have held that unconditional love does not equal unconditional acceptance: that loving them does not mean that I accept them or their lifestyle.

I disagree. Unconditional love absolutely DOES mean unconditional acceptance of the person you're loving. The two cannot be separated. Conditional acceptance is absolutely conditional love, which is to say, it’s not love at all. Maybe it’s manipulation or something, but it is NOT love.

Someone would probably point out that accepting the person is not the same as accepting their lifestyle, and that's TBI: True But Irrelevant. Accepting their behavior is never part of the issue of loving the person. Let me clarify:

I love people whose political views offend me. I love people who believe lies and who tell lies, about themselves, about others, and about God. I love people who haven’t admitted that they struggle with gluttony, or with manipulation, or who don’t know how to submit to anyone else. I love people who take advantage of me. (Let's be honest: if I loved only perfect people, I would never love anybody; I could never even love myself.)

In all of this, I don't interview people before I decide to love them: “Are they good enough for my love? Do they deserve my love? Is there something that they do which disqualifies them from love? Would people on Facebook be offended if I loved this person? Would it look bad on my resume?”

Bottom line: the VAST majority of the time, their sexuality, their pridefulness, their gluttony, or any other sin should not even be part of the conversation: that's their business; that's pretty much between them and God. There are two exceptions.

The first is that if they are a danger to me or mine, whether great danger or small, I suspect (I’m not actually convinced of this one – see Christ’s example) that I have the right to separate myself from them. Because I love to be alive, I don’t hang around mass murderers, and because God made me an introvert, I limit how much time I spend in crowds. That’s fairly straightforward.

The second exception is when we're in a covenant relationship together: when I have their invitation to speak into their life. Then I can talk about their sexual preferences and whether that's sin or not. But if we’re in covenant, then they can also speak into my life about my egotistical preferences and whether that's sin or not.

But under NO circumstances do I ever have the right to stand apart and either judge or reject another human being because of their actions, their preferences or their choices. I can choose whether to love them or not (though the Bible does not give me this choice, I can choose it nevertheless), I can choose whether to be in a relationship or not, but I may not declare them unfit for love based on their actions.

Seriously: how would it be if God decided to love us based on whether we were good enough? “Oh, this guy judges people, that woman has bad theology. I’m not going to love them. I’m not going to bear their sin on the cross. Sorry. Sucks to be them.”

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8.



Standard
Prophecy

Does Love Mean Acceptance?

I’ve been challenged by some of my brothers. The context has been how to respond to homosexual believers, but the issue is bigger than that. This is about how Christians relate to unbelievers, to people who have sin in their life.
They have held that unconditional love does not equal unconditional acceptance: that loving them does not mean that I accept them or their lifestyle.
I disagree. Unconditional love absolutely DOES mean unconditional acceptance of the person you’re loving. The two cannot be separated. Conditional acceptance is absolutely conditional love, which is to say, it’s not love at all. Maybe it’s manipulation or something, but it is NOT love.
Someone would probably point out that accepting the person is not the same as accepting their lifestyle, and that’s TBI: True But Irrelevant. Accepting their behavior is never part of the issue of loving the person. Let me clarify:
I love people whose political views offend me. I love people who believe lies and who tell lies, about themselves, about others, and about God. I love people who haven’t admitted that they struggle with gluttony, or with manipulation, or who don’t know how to submit to anyone else. I love people who take advantage of me. (Let’s be honest: if I loved only perfect people, I would never love anybody; I could never even love myself.)
In all of this, I don’t interview people before I decide to love them: “Are they good enough for my love? Do they deserve my love? Is there something that they do which disqualifies them from love? Would people on Facebook be offended if I loved this person? Would it look bad on my resume?”
Bottom line: the VAST majority of the time, their sexuality, their pridefulness, their gluttony, or any other sin should not even be part of the conversation: that’s their business; that’s pretty much between them and God. There are two exceptions.
The first is that if they are a danger to me or mine, whether great danger or small, I suspect (I’m not actually convinced of this one – see Christ’s example) that I have the right to separate myself from them. Because I love to be alive, I don’t hang around mass murderers, and because God made me an introvert, I limit how much time I spend in crowds. That’s fairly straightforward.
The second exception is when we’re in a covenant relationship together: when I have their invitation to speak into their life. Then I can talk about their sexual preferences and whether that’s sin or not. But if we’re in covenant, then they can also speak into my life about my egotistical preferences and whether that’s sin or not.
But under NO circumstances do I ever have the right to stand apart and either judge or reject another human being because of their actions, their preferences or their choices. I can choose whether to love them or not (though the Bible does not give me this choice, I can choose it nevertheless), I can choose whether to be in a relationship or not, but I may not declare them unfit for love based on their actions.
Seriously: how would it be if God decided to love us based on whether we were good enough? “Oh, this guy judges people, that woman has bad theology. I’m not going to love them. I’m not going to bear their sin on the cross. Sorry. Sucks to be them.”
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8.


Standard
Devotionals, Letters

Does Love Mean Acceptance?

I’ve been challenged by some of my brothers. The context has been how to respond to homosexual believers, but the issue is bigger than that. This is about how Christians relate to unbelievers, to people who have sin in their life.

They have held that unconditional love does not equal unconditional acceptance: that loving them does not mean that I accept them or their lifestyle.

I disagree. Unconditional love absolutely DOES mean unconditional acceptance of the person you're loving. The two cannot be separated. Conditional acceptance is absolutely conditional love, which is to say, it’s not love at all. Maybe it’s manipulation or something, but it is NOT love.

Someone would probably point out that accepting the person is not the same as accepting their lifestyle, and that's TBI: True But Irrelevant. Accepting their behavior is never part of the issue of loving the person. Let me clarify:

I love people whose political views offend me. I love people who believe lies and who tell lies, about themselves, about others, and about God. I love people who haven’t admitted that they struggle with gluttony, or with manipulation, or who don’t know how to submit to anyone else. I love people who take advantage of me. (Let's be honest: if I loved only perfect people, I would never love anybody; I could never even love myself.)

In all of this, I don't interview people before I decide to love them: “Are they good enough for my love? Do they deserve my love? Is there something that they do which disqualifies them from love? Would people on Facebook be offended if I loved this person? Would it look bad on my resume?”

Bottom line: the VAST majority of the time, their sexuality, their pridefulness, their gluttony, or any other sin should not even be part of the conversation: that's their business; that's pretty much between them and God. There are two exceptions.

The first is that if they are a danger to me or mine, whether great danger or small, I suspect (I’m not actually convinced of this one – see Christ’s example) that I have the right to separate myself from them. Because I love to be alive, I don’t hang around mass murderers, and because God made me an introvert, I limit how much time I spend in crowds. That’s fairly straightforward.

The second exception is when we're in a covenant relationship together: when I have their invitation to speak into their life. Then I can talk about their sexual preferences and whether that's sin or not. But if we’re in covenant, then they can also speak into my life about my egotistical preferences and whether that's sin or not.

But under NO circumstances do I ever have the right to stand apart and either judge or reject another human being because of their actions, their preferences or their choices. I can choose whether to love them or not (though the Bible does not give me this choice, I can choose it nevertheless), I can choose whether to be in a relationship or not, but I may not declare them unfit for love based on their actions.

Seriously: how would it be if God decided to love us based on whether we were good enough? “Oh, this guy judges people, that woman has bad theology. I’m not going to love them. I’m not going to bear their sin on the cross. Sorry. Sucks to be them.”

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8.



Standard
Devotionals, Letters

A Personal History with Unchurched Believers

I grew up in the church. Later, I met Jesus in another church during the Jesus People revolution. That was far more interesting than regular church!

For decades, after I’d graduated from Bible college, I got a real Bible education in a Bible-believing church. And I learned the importance of being part of a church, a local congregation. A campfire of only one log will quickly burn out; a campfire with many logs will burn long and hot: believers, I was carefully taught, belonged in the campfire with other believers, and that meant in a Sunday congregation.

Over the next few decades, as I worked as an associate pastor with several churches, and Father began giving me a heart for His children, and as I watched God’s children in churches grow up, I became more concerned for those children that didn’t have the advantage of a church family.  

I met a small number of disenfranchised believers in this season: men and women who were angry and bitter at the church, and sometimes at God, too. And I prayed more for believers who didn’t have a church to call home. I pitied them.

I remember one particular evening while I was praying for the unchurched believers. Father showed me two things about this group of people that I felt a burden for: First, there were more of them than I ever expected, and second, that he was going to do something – something that I call revival – among them. So I prayed for that revival! And I pitied them: lost sheep without a flock to call home.

I prayed for and pitied unchurched believers for years, and as I did, Father’s love for those poor people grew in my heart, fueling more prayer, and probably more pity as well.

One spring Saturday, a friend I respected held an event that I saw as a church service for people who didn’t fit in church real well. It was encouraging for several reasons, not least of which was that I wasn’t fitting real well in my own church at that time.

Unfortunately, when I returned home, I discovered I had left my jacket, with my wallet, behind, and I didn’t recognize it until I returned home, an hour’s drive away.

The next day, I brought a friend and a cell phone with me and drove back to the site of the event. It took more phone calls than I expected by finally someone was able to tell me that my jacket was probably with “Ken and Barbie,” well outside of town.  

Great. I really don’t need a Ken or a Barbie in my life right now: I don’t need pretend, doll-type people my life. It was only a Goodwill-type jacket; I considered giving it up for lost, but my wallet was in the jacket. I couldn’t give up my wallet; I guess I needed to go visit Ken and Barbie.

When I arrived at their well-worn farmhouse, I scratched my head: this wasn’t the type of house I expected for “Ken and Barbie” type people. We knocked cautiously and were greeted by one of the more un-doll-like men I’ve ever met. And I recognized as soon as we stepped inside the house that we were well and truly welcome. I described it later as a family reunion with family I didn’t know I had.

We spent four hours together with these wonderful and genuine people, hours spent sharing their hearts, our hearts, stories of our Father. I learned that Ken had been a pastor for a number of years, but made his living as a carpenter now. I realized that even though I was currently a Pastor, I wanted to be more like these people. So I asked what I always ask: “So what church are you guys part of?”

The silence was deafening as Ken and Barbie glanced at each other, and I could see the question in their eyes: “How much should we tell them?” Eventually they admitted that they hadn’t been in church for more than a decade, and they told me their story of how God led them from “churched” believers to “unchurched” believers.

Then they told me about several of the folks I’d met and appreciated the day before, including my friend the event coordinator, and how they had also made the transition from “the churched” to “the unchurched.”

I was in a conundrum: I had believed that believers ought to be part of a church, but here were a whole lot of believers that I wanted to be like, whose life I aspired to, believers who – contrary to my training and my expectations – were solid and mature, and who were pillars of strength in their families and their communities. Here were believers who did not have the “advantage” of a local congregation, who were better believers than those that I knew who had that advantage. My head was spinning.

I needed to re-examine a belief that I’d held as unquestionable, and it started me asking a lot of questions about things I’d never questioned. Let me just summarize by saying that this was an exciting season in my walk of faith, and skip to the part where God confronted me about the church I was part of, where I was the associate pastor, where I was on the worship team, and where I was one of the primary preachers on Sunday mornings.

“When are you going to stop working in another man’s field, and start working in your own?” I knew it was time to leave the church, to leave that church, and to leave the church community in my city. I questioned whether I was supposed to “plant” my own church, but realized that that was just a distraction: we were to become part of the “unchurched” community.

I had a couple of dreams in this season: one before we left, clearly describing our preparation for leaving, and the sequel, after we left, where he warned me of three things:

1)      I would be disoriented, not knowing where I was, or where to go. And
2)      I would be powerless to steer my life, anyway, even if I did have an idea about where to go. But
3)      I would be able to hear Father’s voice substantially better, now that I was outside of the busyness of church, better, perhaps, than ever before.

He was, of course, correct: these were accurate descriptions of our life. He brought some excellent fellowship into our lives, often into our living room, and nearly always centered around a meal. And I found excellent fellowship online, of all places! That one really surprised me!

Curiously, our fellowship is better now that we were “out of fellowship” with Sunday morning congregations. That one surprised me, too. We are still people with imperfections, and we are still in relationship with people with imperfections; there’s no perfection here. We still deal with misunderstandings and stuff. That’s part of life.

But our place in the Body of Christ is more of what it should always have been, now that we’re no longer part of a congregation: better friendships, less judged, more received for who we are, more free to exercise our God-given gifts. In other words: church outside of “Sunday morning church” has been a substantial improvement.

Now, let me explain: I’m not writing this in order to give you a model to follow, or a standard to measure your life by. I’m writing this only as a testimony: this is the confused and real-life experience that I had; perhaps it might encourage you wherever you are in your own walk.

And let me encourage you in this: God is very much able to take you through whatever you’re going through, and to bring you out the other side in extreme and overwhelming victory.


Standard
Prophecy

A Personal History with Unchurched Believers

I grew up in the church. Later, I met Jesus in another church during the Jesus People revolution. That was far more interesting than regular church!
For decades, after I’d graduated from Bible college, I got a real Bible education in a Bible-believing church. And I learned the importance of being part of a church, a local congregation. A campfire of only one log will quickly burn out; a campfire with many logs will burn long and hot: believers, I was carefully taught, belonged in the campfire with other believers, and that meant in a Sunday congregation.
Over the next few decades, as I worked as an associate pastor with several churches, and Father began giving me a heart for His children, and as I watched God’s children in churches grow up, I became more concerned for those children that didn’t have the advantage of a church family.  
I met a small number of disenfranchised believers in this season: men and women who were angry and bitter at the church, and sometimes at God, too. And I prayed more for believers who didn’t have a church to call home. I pitied them.
I remember one particular evening while I was praying for the unchurched believers. Father showed me two things about this group of people that I felt a burden for: First, there were more of them than I ever expected, and second, that he was going to do something – something that I call revival – among them. So I prayed for that revival! And I pitied them: lost sheep without a flock to call home.
I prayed for and pitied unchurched believers for years, and as I did, Father’s love for those poor people grew in my heart, fueling more prayer, and probably more pity as well.
One spring Saturday, a friend I respected held an event that I saw as a church service for people who didn’t fit in church real well. It was encouraging for several reasons, not least of which was that I wasn’t fitting real well in my own church at that time.

Unfortunately, when I returned home, I discovered I had left my jacket, with my wallet, behind, and I didn’t recognize it until I returned home, an hour’s drive away.

The next day, I brought a friend and a cell phone with me and drove back to the site of the event. It took more phone calls than I expected by finally someone was able to tell me that my jacket was probably with “Ken and Barbie,” well outside of town.  
Great. I really don’t need a Ken or a Barbie in my life right now: I don’t need pretend, doll-type people my life. It was only a Goodwill-type jacket; I considered giving it up for lost, but my wallet was in the jacket. I couldn’t give up my wallet; I guess I needed to go visit Ken and Barbie.
When I arrived at their well-worn farmhouse, I scratched my head: this wasn’t the type of house I expected for “Ken and Barbie” type people. We knocked cautiously and were greeted by one of the more un-doll-like men I’ve ever met. And I recognized as soon as we stepped inside the house that we were well and truly welcome. I described it later as a family reunion with family I didn’t know I had.
We spent four hours together with these wonderful and genuine people, hours spent sharing their hearts, our hearts, stories of our Father. I learned that Ken had been a pastor for a number of years, but made his living as a carpenter now. I realized that even though I was currently a Pastor, I wanted to be more like these people. So I asked what I always ask: “So what church are you guys part of?”
The silence was deafening as Ken and Barbie glanced at each other, and I could see the question in their eyes: “How much should we tell them?” Eventually they admitted that they hadn’t been in church for more than a decade, and they told me their story of how God led them from “churched” believers to “unchurched” believers.
Then they told me about several of the folks I’d met and appreciated the day before, including my friend the event coordinator, and how they had also made the transition from “the churched” to “the unchurched.”
I was in a conundrum: I had believed that believers ought to be part of a church, but here were a whole lot of believers that I wanted to be like, whose life I aspired to, believers who – contrary to my training and my expectations – were solid and mature, and who were pillars of strength in their families and their communities. Here were believers who did not have the “advantage” of a local congregation, who were better believers than those that I knew who had that advantage. My head was spinning.
I needed to re-examine a belief that I’d held as unquestionable, and it started me asking a lot of questions about things I’d never questioned. Let me just summarize by saying that this was an exciting season in my walk of faith, and skip to the part where God confronted me about the church I was part of, where I was the associate pastor, where I was on the worship team, and where I was one of the primary preachers on Sunday mornings.
“When are you going to stop working in another man’s field, and start working in your own?” I knew it was time to leave the church, to leave that church, and to leave the church community in my city. I questioned whether I was supposed to “plant” my own church, but realized that that was just a distraction: we were to become part of the “unchurched” community.
I had a couple of dreams in this season: one before we left, clearly describing our preparation for leaving, and the sequel, after we left, where he warned me of three things:
1)      I would be disoriented, not knowing where I was, or where to go. And
2)      I would be powerless to steer my life, anyway, even if I did have an idea about where to go. But
3)      I would be able to hear Father’s voice substantially better, now that I was outside of the busyness of church, better, perhaps, than ever before.
He was, of course, correct: these were accurate descriptions of our life. He brought some excellent fellowship into our lives, often into our living room, and nearly always centered around a meal. And I found excellent fellowship online, of all places! That one really surprised me!
Curiously, our fellowship is better now that we were “out of fellowship” with Sunday morning congregations. That one surprised me, too. We are still people with imperfections, and we are still in relationship with people with imperfections; there’s no perfection here. We still deal with misunderstandings and stuff. That’s part of life.
But our place in the Body of Christ is more of what it should always have been, now that we’re no longer part of a congregation: better friendships, less judged, more received for who we are, more free to exercise our God-given gifts. In other words: church outside of “Sunday morning church” has been a substantial improvement.
Now, let me explain: I’m not writing this in order to give you a model to follow, or a standard to measure your life by. I’m writing this only as a testimony: this is the confused and real-life experience that I had; perhaps it might encourage you wherever you are in your own walk.
And let me encourage you in this: God is very much able to take you through whatever you’re going through, and to bring you out the other side in extreme and overwhelming victory.

Standard
Devotionals, Letters

A Personal History with Unchurched Believers

I grew up in the church. Later, I met Jesus in another church during the Jesus People revolution. That was far more interesting than regular church!

For decades, after I’d graduated from Bible college, I got a real Bible education in a Bible-believing church. And I learned the importance of being part of a church, a local congregation. A campfire of only one log will quickly burn out; a campfire with many logs will burn long and hot: believers, I was carefully taught, belonged in the campfire with other believers, and that meant in a Sunday congregation.

Over the next few decades, as I worked as an associate pastor with several churches, and Father began giving me a heart for His children, and as I watched God’s children in churches grow up, I became more concerned for those children that didn’t have the advantage of a church family.  

I met a small number of disenfranchised believers in this season: men and women who were angry and bitter at the church, and sometimes at God, too. And I prayed more for believers who didn’t have a church to call home. I pitied them.

I remember one particular evening while I was praying for the unchurched believers. Father showed me two things about this group of people that I felt a burden for: First, there were more of them than I ever expected, and second, that he was going to do something – something that I call revival – among them. So I prayed for that revival! And I pitied them: lost sheep without a flock to call home.

I prayed for and pitied unchurched believers for years, and as I did, Father’s love for those poor people grew in my heart, fueling more prayer, and probably more pity as well.

One spring Saturday, a friend I respected held an event that I saw as a church service for people who didn’t fit in church real well. It was encouraging for several reasons, not least of which was that I wasn’t fitting real well in my own church at that time.

Unfortunately, when I returned home, I discovered I had left my jacket, with my wallet, behind, and I didn’t recognize it until I returned home, an hour’s drive away.

The next day, I brought a friend and a cell phone with me and drove back to the site of the event. It took more phone calls than I expected by finally someone was able to tell me that my jacket was probably with “Ken and Barbie,” well outside of town.  

Great. I really don’t need a Ken or a Barbie in my life right now: I don’t need pretend, doll-type people my life. It was only a Goodwill-type jacket; I considered giving it up for lost, but my wallet was in the jacket. I couldn’t give up my wallet; I guess I needed to go visit Ken and Barbie.

When I arrived at their well-worn farmhouse, I scratched my head: this wasn’t the type of house I expected for “Ken and Barbie” type people. We knocked cautiously and were greeted by one of the more un-doll-like men I’ve ever met. And I recognized as soon as we stepped inside the house that we were well and truly welcome. I described it later as a family reunion with family I didn’t know I had.

We spent four hours together with these wonderful and genuine people, hours spent sharing their hearts, our hearts, stories of our Father. I learned that Ken had been a pastor for a number of years, but made his living as a carpenter now. I realized that even though I was currently a Pastor, I wanted to be more like these people. So I asked what I always ask: “So what church are you guys part of?”

The silence was deafening as Ken and Barbie glanced at each other, and I could see the question in their eyes: “How much should we tell them?” Eventually they admitted that they hadn’t been in church for more than a decade, and they told me their story of how God led them from “churched” believers to “unchurched” believers.

Then they told me about several of the folks I’d met and appreciated the day before, including my friend the event coordinator, and how they had also made the transition from “the churched” to “the unchurched.”

I was in a conundrum: I had believed that believers ought to be part of a church, but here were a whole lot of believers that I wanted to be like, whose life I aspired to, believers who – contrary to my training and my expectations – were solid and mature, and who were pillars of strength in their families and their communities. Here were believers who did not have the “advantage” of a local congregation, who were better believers than those that I knew who had that advantage. My head was spinning.

I needed to re-examine a belief that I’d held as unquestionable, and it started me asking a lot of questions about things I’d never questioned. Let me just summarize by saying that this was an exciting season in my walk of faith, and skip to the part where God confronted me about the church I was part of, where I was the associate pastor, where I was on the worship team, and where I was one of the primary preachers on Sunday mornings.

“When are you going to stop working in another man’s field, and start working in your own?” I knew it was time to leave the church, to leave that church, and to leave the church community in my city. I questioned whether I was supposed to “plant” my own church, but realized that that was just a distraction: we were to become part of the “unchurched” community.

I had a couple of dreams in this season: one before we left, clearly describing our preparation for leaving, and the sequel, after we left, where he warned me of three things:

1)      I would be disoriented, not knowing where I was, or where to go. And
2)      I would be powerless to steer my life, anyway, even if I did have an idea about where to go. But
3)      I would be able to hear Father’s voice substantially better, now that I was outside of the busyness of church, better, perhaps, than ever before.

He was, of course, correct: these were accurate descriptions of our life. He brought some excellent fellowship into our lives, often into our living room, and nearly always centered around a meal. And I found excellent fellowship online, of all places! That one really surprised me!

Curiously, our fellowship is better now that we were “out of fellowship” with Sunday morning congregations. That one surprised me, too. We are still people with imperfections, and we are still in relationship with people with imperfections; there’s no perfection here. We still deal with misunderstandings and stuff. That’s part of life.

But our place in the Body of Christ is more of what it should always have been, now that we’re no longer part of a congregation: better friendships, less judged, more received for who we are, more free to exercise our God-given gifts. In other words: church outside of “Sunday morning church” has been a substantial improvement.

Now, let me explain: I’m not writing this in order to give you a model to follow, or a standard to measure your life by. I’m writing this only as a testimony: this is the confused and real-life experience that I had; perhaps it might encourage you wherever you are in your own walk.

And let me encourage you in this: God is very much able to take you through whatever you’re going through, and to bring you out the other side in extreme and overwhelming victory.


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Devotionals, Letters

Returning to the Glory of the First Century Church

Every so often, I hear someone moan wistfully, “If only we could return to the glory days of the first century church! If only we could be as full of faith as they were!”

I think if I hear that again, I’m going to scream.

May I speak plainly? That’s one of the stupidest spiritual-sounding things we could say in this day and age. I make the assumption that people who say that mean well, but come on! Let’s think about this a little bit:

The first century church, the church in the book of Acts, was a wonderful beginning. But they were only a beginning: this was the baby church, in diapers, as it were. I can tell you that I have no interest in going back to diapers. That would be such an epic failure, for the church of today to return to the “glory days” of the first century church! What was for them glorious success would be the worst of failures for us.

● “But,” someone will moan, “There were three thousand saved in a day!” That’s pretty good for rookies. Today, that’s less than an hour’s work in the Kingdom, and some reports suggest that’s closer to 20 minutes’ work.

Let us note that it only happened twice in the Book of Acts that three thousand were saved in a day. Today, more than three thousand people come to faith every single hour of every single day of every single year.

I’m thinking that’s an improvement.

● “But there were signs and wonders!” Somebody is seriously not paying attention. There were fewer than 20 miracles reported in the book of Acts, though there were repots of “lots of miracles.” Nowadays, we have lots of miracles on a regular basis.

I know one group that has a 100% success rate at healing the deaf, and nearly as good success healing the blind. I know two groups that won’t let people become elders unless they’ve raised someone from the dead. I know a group that legitimately calls themselves “The Dead Raising Team,” and they’re successful at it. I can’t tell you the number of successful healing teams I’ve heard about! They’re everywhere, and best of all, NOT just among the leaders, like the book of Acts.

Bethel Church in California reports thousands of documented miracles every time they send their students on outreach. And have you talked to the Healing Rooms movement recently?

Besides, I’m not sure I want more “Ananias & Sapphira events.” It’s my private opinion that even when that happened in Acts, it was an error, and not the will of God, but that’s another story. Surely it won’t be best for folks to fall dead in our meetings, when nobody can agree why it happened!

● “But they had all things in common!” I’ll grant that this is an area that we have room to continue growing in. But I am also aware that we’re talking about completely different cultures here. In that culture, if you couldn’t work, you starved to death. In our culture, the homeless guys on street corners make a (meager) living that in most of the world (or in the first century church) would be considered unmitigated wealth. (http://nwp.link/1s8woOt)

This does NOT mean that I propose that we stop helping the poor! Heaven forbid! This means I propose that we quit berating ourselves simply because we still have poor people among us: Jesus said we always would! (Matthew 26:11)

● “But they sold their homes! That’s dedication!” Well, some of them sold their homes. That was just good business; these were smart Jews! Jesus had clearly declared that the city would be destroyed shortly. It’s just good business to sell a house this week for full price that’s going to be destroyed with the city next week and be worth nothing! And clearly, if they “met house to house,” then not everybody sold their homes.

For the record, I know a bunch of people who’ve sold their homes for the ministry, several more than once. I know of others who sold themselves into slavery so that they could bring the good news to those in slavery, and they died in slavery. Most of these folks haven’t had books written about them, so they’re not known as well. But then Jesus taught us to keep quiet about our generosity, yes?

We could go on.

It is NOT my intent to disparage the excellent start that the Church had, as reported in the book of Acts. That was glorious.

What we have now is substantially more glorious. And that, too, is what we were promised. (See Isaiah 9:7)

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