Many posts ago I had presented a treatise that dealt with control and the Spirit of God in our movement today. I would recommend that one find this post and pursue its contents. There may be some similar concepts presented within this post, but I will do my best to avoid redundancy.
In a recent conversation with various men of God, I was engaged in a very serious and challenging line of questioning I feel is very important in the hour that we live in. But let me first preface something that God has been dealing with me in prayer and has completely and radically transformed the way I preach, teach, and minister. It all began in a time of prayer, early in the morning, as I prayed in regards to the coming service of a current revival I was in. In this prayer I was asking God to touch me, the church, visitors, pastor’s, and everything that had breath! My prayer soon shifted to seeking a move of God to sweep through the house and for confirmation “if’ I happened to preach.
I have always been very careful to pray and solely focus on what I want to see happen and spend more time asking God for His perfect will in that service to be done. If that involves me sitting still, getting swept up into a spirit of intercession, somebody else preaching, or a “run-away” service (as we often call them.) I want to ensure that I am serving God and what He wants rather than serving myself and what I want. One preacher once told me, (B.J. Wilmouth), “Instead of trying to find out what the people need for a service, ask God what He needs.” I hope I have done justice to his excellent advice.
In this moment of prayer, God suddenly impressed into my spirit (I rarely hear what would be explained as an audible voice) that I needed to preach the Word of God. Well, here I am praying that God would give me direction for the Word of God, confirm the Word of God, and do whatever He wants in the service and help me to be a sensitive vessel and God responds, “Preach the Word.” Ok? I planned on preaching the Word, typically I do…right? Now, I am aware that God will often speak in such simplicity that we fail to grasp the simple because we are always looked for the profound. In this case I was! And then it came….the thought slammed into my mind and I more than likely sat with my mouth hanging open, dumbfounded at my simplicity and humbled at His Wisdom.
The first question I ask you is as follows:
How much of our “moves of the Spirit” are actually God moving and God’s doing?
Before you judge the contents of this treatise I ask you to consider the question at hand. How many services have we been in where the worship, enthusiasm, or energy of the service seems to be lacking? We have seen many like this! Now I will clarify before going further that there are times that we need the push from ministries towards worship. Much of the Psalms was a mandate to worship. One has a hard time reading the book of Psalms without becoming motivated to worship and there are times that we need to be motivated and focused in upon the purpose of gathering together to glorify God.
However, I believe we are presenting this generation and the generations to follow with something that is extremely dangerous to the church and the real and genuine move of God. It is done often, especially in services geared for younger generations, men take a microphone and begin to scream and shout and push all the right buttons until those hearing begin to clap, shout, dance, or enter a frenetic frenzy. Once this happens, men become satisfied that God has moved because NOISE has increased and energy has increased, and everyone leaves saying, “what a powerful move of God.” We have therefore birthed a generation already immersed in a media driven world of entertainment to only respond to the push, the hype, the noise, and the raucous worship. In other words, I ask this question:
How many men are attempting to CREATE a move of God?
Could it be that the reason our services are dull, dry, and boring and seem to lack all signs of energy and pulsating power is due to the lack of prayers before our services? Wait! I am not talking about the perfunctory prayers of trained Pentecostals. I am talking about men and women and young people in pressing prayer.
God we have to have your presence!
God forgive me and cleanse me of sin and unrighteousness. Prepare my mind and spirit to be everything it can for your kingdom in this service today!
God anoint and give direction and wisdom to the (pastor, evangelist, missionary, etc!)
Pull down every stronghold, every hindrance, anything that could effect the liberty of the Spirit to do what It desires to do!
The list goes on and on but the general idea is quite clear. It is obvious when one sees perfunctory prayers verses pressing prayers. One can feel the passion and force of those engaged in the pursuit of the miraculous. And yet, many youth conferences, meetings, seminars, and other Pentecostal meetings are void of this very thing! Sure, there is always a small scattering of those who will find a place of prayer, but they remain very quiet because the general majority of the room is enjoying the fellowship. Now, I am all for fellowship, but we are turning our meetings into social gatherings. Because of this we are relying so heavily on incredibly talented musicians and “one-minute” evangelistic tirades and the people have come to expect these things to excite them and motivate them for a move of God.
We somehow think that the fire will fall before we build an altar! This is impossible and if it does happen it is only because there are people in that place that have built altars! Sure, God is merciful and will show up when it seems nobody is inviting Him, but this is such a rare occasion. Therefore, the picture we have seen so often, involves a stoic and unmoved group of Pentecostals who are waiting for something to excite them. Preachers start to get frustrated and wish the music directors would have chosen different songs or chosen a better singer. Then comes the force of mankind who attempts to give the people what they are waiting for, ” a move of God.
Adolf Hitler (I am not calling ministers Adolf Hitler!) could whip a crowd into a frenzy when talking about the radical destruction of an entire race of people. History is full of tyrants that had aggresive and powerful personalities who had the ability to lift an arena into a mob of fanatics. I am firmly convinced this is the reason we are seeing a constant stream of men filling puplit minstries on national circuits that are exposed to have been living in sin (often terrible sin!) We have become so enthralled by the talented, the charismatic, and the orators of the hour because it pumps our sevices, engages our people, and pleases the itching ears. If we are not careful we are setting a generation up for a fall as false teachers and preachers enter the arena.
Now I present to you the incredible dynamic of what God revealed to me. “Preach the Word.” What did this mean? In the most simple of terms and explanation it means exactly what it says! The primarly thing that God gave preachers was the SEED which is the Word of God. We were told to become sowers of seed in this field of the world. It is our job as preachers to sow the seed of the Word of God. It is through the preaching of the Word of God that men are saved. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God and how shall they hear except a preacher be sent?
We were never commanded by God to “HAVE A MOVE OF GOD.” Our commandment and mandate as preachers is that we become preachers of the Word of God! He gave us the seed and thus we must SOW the seed. The Spirit of God in us is meant to help us and guide us. It is meant to operate among us in the manner of gifts for the edifying of the body. However, when Nicodemus asked about the born-again of the Spirit it was Jesus that made the declaration, “the wind bloweth where IT listeth.” Jesus then said, “SO ALSO IS THE SPIRIT!” If God wants to move in a service then He will move. Sure, there are things that He responds to, but one thing it is not is psuedo-worship and the noise and clamor of an apathetic people.
God is not a puppet or a servant we can ring a loud bell and make move in our midst. How many services has God sat still while we had our emotional frenzies as we were moved by charismatic preachers whose aggressive personalities pushed and forced and the music appealed to our auditory senses? That is why I am convinced that some of our most ineffective preachers are preachers that always have a “good thought.” A “good thought” never changed my life! It motivated me to study perhaps, but I cannot name on one hand where some great and grand thought changed lives. I have so many times had “good thoughts” and said… “this will move them!”
No…preach the Word preacher! Lock down in prayer and fasting and study that precious Word of God. When you preach the pure and powerful Word of God it is a hammer that can break any barrier. It can soften the hardest of hearts! The Word of God, while it needs to be presented eloquently and with apt illustrations to bring in to the level of those listening, has far more power than our simple efforts to CREATE a MOVE OF GOD.
Leave the MOVE up to God. If the people will not prayer before a service…we do them an injustice to create the feeling they have achieved a real touch of God that often times is no more real than a rock-concert emotional experience. Preaching can effect the prayerless, the apathetic, the sinful, and the disconnected. We must become a people determined to meet God on His terms instead of trying to get Him to meet us on ours.
Isaiah 1:11-13 (KJV)
11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
Isaiah 29:13 (KJV)
13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
So preach the Word preacher! There is more power in the Word of God than in all of our hype, music, and personalities.