Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Times They Are A Changin'

The new year is upon us. There were lots of different topics that the handful of bloggers I read, wrote about. It was pretty standard stuff for this time of year. I wasn't especially moved. I am not sure why. But don't be offended if you are one of my favorite bloggers, it's probably me.

The Bible talks about both years, and seasons; I guess both are necessary. The "year of the Lord," "for everything there is a season" - you get the idea. We mark an orbit around the sun and call it a year - it's a good thing we don't live on Mercury. During that time, stuff happens. Kids make bad decisions, another learns something new, there are flat tires, bills, work, money, snow - a whole year of sleeping, eating, drinking, and TV.

We mark the times of our lives in seasons: High School, College, single life, married life, middle-age and yikes, old-age. Seasons can last years, or they can be a few months. Time, it slips a way a few moments at a time.

I have been meditating, praying and pondering how things will go with my upcoming class. Some of these thoughts I have had for 10 years or more. I have taught on-and-off for decades. Transferring knowledge is not the only purpose of teaching - well not to for me.

Certainly I want God to do something in my class - I mean His class! I especially hope for much more than I could do just reading my book out loud to the class. How boring would that be?

God doesn't change, but His methods do. Because I know God, I can occasionally anticipate what might happen when i partner with Him. I have grown accustom to some of the ways in which He works. In addition, I have received an occasional dream detailing specific events before they happened. I have also received prophetic words from others outlining the move of God in my life, or one that identifies a season. Revelation from God is essential to the Christian!

I am happy to report that God still surprises me. That is what I am hoping for. I love it when God is free to do what He pleases, and does. I love the story of Peter and John as they healed a lame beggar. Folks were surprised!

That is the sort of God that I want to be hanging out with, the kind that does amazing stuff.

I don't exactly know what season we are in as a church in my region, but I do know that the more than any other time in the past, the 5-Fold ministry is starting to become a much more popular subject. You got to ask yourself, I wonder why that is.

Over the last century the church has had some seasons. We had a seasons where there were lots of evangelists, Billy Graham is one from that season. There were many healing evangelists in the middle of the century too, Kathryn Kuhlman was one of the most well known. We later had the shepherding (pastoring) movement pioneered by folks like Bob Mumford and Derek Prince. Their main message was accountability, character and deeper relationships.We had a season where we had lots of teaching and out of that grew the Word of Faith movement. In it was Rod Parsley, Kenneth Haigin and James Robison. They were grounded in the need to live and breathe the Word of God. In the 90's we had a prophetic explosion. It took off with the Kansas City Prophets like Bob Jones and Paul Cain. They ministered to individuals, churches and regions, some of it with tremendous accuracy.

Each one of those movements unfortunately became known for their eventual excesses. In their beginning stages I believe that God released the anoninting. In the end, some abandoned God or were shipwrecked on serious doctrinal issues. If we look at the history of revival, they all ended with, what many folks called, fleshly acts. It seems sort of natural. The Israelites get out of Egypt then worship a golden calf - this stuff happens.

The failure of man to do the work of God does not mean that we shouldn't believe the word of God, shy away from prophecy, decry altar calls, stop asking God for healing or despise accountability to another; it simply means we need to know Him better.

It appears that we are on the brink of an Apostolic Renewal as the year begins. Christians have three choices in the matter: A) we can embrace it with humility knowing that all that answers are not as easy to come by as some folks like to think, or B) we dive in with fleshly expectations and old religious paradigms, or C) we can reject it because we don't understand it or believe that is not the way God does things. I doubt the latter two choices will stop God from doing much needed work in the church. He didn't ask the Pharisees's permission to be born, He didn't wait for the Israelites to believe the good reports about the Promised Land, He didn't wait for Peter to "get it" or Paul to stop sinning. He just showed up, and advanced the Kingdom of God in spite of the religious men who knew Him.

I know a lot of Christians don't really know what to believe - but I have written a short book with Scripture references. See what you think. HERE is a link. I'd love to discuss it with you.

Because we haven't had this season before, I don't know exactly what it will bring - but I am sure that God will surprise those with faith. He always does.

How about you, have you seen seasons in your church life?


Andrea (on-dray-ah) York said...

I missed the explosion of the revivals that started in the 90s but my journey towards supernatural expectation started then, despite the fact that I had NEVER witnessed it or heard first-hand testimony. I still believed that God healed, set captives free, and generally still worked in the prophetic gifts that Paul talks about. That set me on a journey different than my [strong evangelical] upbringing had taught.

In the 12 years since, I've developed a strong Bible knowledge foundation, for which I'm grateful because it gives me a frame of reference and explanation for the manifestations of his presence that I am finally now experiencing. Twelve years ago, I simply longed to witness these things, never daring to actually believe that God would heal people through me.

For 7 years, I've felt like a kid on Christmas Eve - so excited that it's hard to relax. Each year, the expectation grows. This year is no different. I do believe that there will be more chaos before there is order (11=chaos; 2000=increase in multiplication). I'm not worried, because God is going to shake things up to shake out what isn't necessary and to shake in things that are necessary, and Scripture tells us to stand firm (except maybe to dance a little).

In the past year, I've worshiped in charismatic circles and heard strong Bible teaching (dispelling the myth that charismatic churches forsake depth in the Bible in favour of the "experience") and I've served as an Alpha leader in an Mennonite Evangelical church and seen people healed (dispelling the myth that God doesn't do that anymore - except in extreme cases).

I am firmly planted in my Mennonite church for the purpose of bringing the Holy Spirit back (along with other "secret" charismatic believers). The movement is slow but it's coming, and likewise, I see changes in charismatic churches and the expectation that they are also waiting and watching for God to see something amazing come to pass.

I received a tambourine for Christmas. I know that God told me to get one and someone prayed the Spirit of Mariam over me. I don't know what it's for exactly so I'm waiting for the Holy Spirit to show me. I know that it is an instrument of war so along with the anticipation that God is getting ready to surprise us with amazing signs & wonders, the tambourine is in place for a reason.

Andrea (on-dray-ah) York said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David said...

@Andra - well there you have it, exactly what I am talking about. The Spirit-led life is extremely exciting!

Thanks for sharing and reading along.

photogr said...

"How about you, have you seen seasons in your church life?"

The answer is yes.It has been a roller coaster hot and cold adventure.

I still see and witness miracles out side of the established brick and mortar church but not many inside one.

Evangelism and charismatic experiences knows no season I have found out. What really scares me is the experiences when you least expect them to happen and are not prepared.

Guess that comes from my early pious affiliations from some churches we attended years ago.

What we need is a good old time revival led by the Holly Spirit and no restrictions or time tables.

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

its interesting that each seasons seemed to end because of it being taken to excess - we just can't handle power it seems - takes us down each time.

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