The critical hour in which we live calls for a mindset and an understanding that is Strategic and not primarily Sympathetic.
That is not to say that there is no sympathy in the heart of God for all people, all the time or that the church lacks or should show no sympathy in its ministries and at its heart, but when an army goes to battle, regardless of individual sympathies and impassioned individual concerns, the army goes forth to battle with singleness of purpose which is to defeat an enemy to win a war and that army must therefore be focused, committed, determined, steadfast and singular in its purpose, intention and deployment.
Strategy is the great plan and specific design that an army uses in order to confound, contain and conquer an opposing militant force. And while hell has its strategies, so does heaven have strategies born in the mind and in the heart of our God and Savior through His Christ in conjunction with us, the church that Jesus promised He would build against which the gates of hell shall never prevail.
If we have not learned in the past half century of ecclesiastical history that the devil, our adversary, Lucifer and his wicked minions are intent on destroying the church and the plans of God, we only need to survey a segment of recent church history and view the carnage that litters the spiritual battlefields of our world for understanding.
Beginning in the late 1960’s and 1970’s a great spiritual awakening took place primarily among the youth of America and Europe especially.
We call it today the Jesus People Movement. Beginning in 1967 and flowing through some of the most unlikely personages, the Holy Spirit of God moved outside of the mainstream church into coffeehouses and homes and streets where a whole generation of youth defied sacrosanct religious sensitivities and conformities and long-haired hippies began proclaiming the Good News of the gift of salvation through the blood of Christ and the power of the Cross. And thousands upon ten thousands of young, desperate, hungry hearts responded to that message with completely and fully sacrificed lives.
I was one of the recipients of that move of God and on May 15, 1971, while I was alone in my parent’s bedroom, Jesus Christ appeared to me and transformed my life. I was born again when I didn’t know what born again was. I was saved before I realized I had been lost.
I was converted, not to a religion or a denomination or a theological system, but I was born a second time into a relationship with the risen Christ. I was saved more from myself than from any real or perceived devil. I was converted from a fleshly heathen to a holy saint of God. I was saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost on a Saturday morning before I placed a foot in a church building, or understood denominations or wrestled with the question of Calvinism versus Arminianism.
I didn’t know about Wesley but I knew about wellness and healing in my soul. I didn’t understand Augustine, but I knew that Austin was OK with Jesus.
I’m not minimizing the need for solid theology and biblical doctrine, but I’m making the point that Jesus saved me and not a church, a building, a system, a pastor or a missionary. It was Jesus in 1971 and it’s Jesus in twenty-eighteen.
Members of my generation who either were brought to Christ in that great move of the Spirit or were believers already recall those days with great wonder and nostalgic reminiscence.
But as so often is the case, we find ourselves in the year 2018 blinded to the forest for the interference of the trees.
And is so often the case, we look at the generic whole of a revival and miss the specific intention of the visitation of God’s Spirit into our lives and into our world.
We naturally embrace and personalize what God intends to be supernaturally embraced and spread, scattered like seed to the whole field and not to our private little garden plots of spiritual life and understanding.
Millions of people around the world came to Christ through the JM and many of those men and women have affected millions more and are church leaders today. Pastors, Missionaries, Evangelists, Prophets, Apostles, Presidents and Bishops and Superintendents of major church denominations can point to that great, brief revival movement among the youth of the world as the cradle and conservatory of their spiritual journeys.
So now as we move towards the second decade of the 21st century, we survey the arena of the church in much of the Western world and view a growing stream of men and women exiting the organized, institutional church in search of something, the description and appearance of what they don’t cognitively understand and therefore cannot define, but they are leaving with an “I’ll know it when I see it” attitude.
Following the Jesus Movement came both the Word of Faith movement and the Charismatic Movement. Through these two came revelation, the opening of hearts and minds and spirits to the essential recognition of faith and of the active moving and ministry of the Holy Spirit of God.
Through the Charismatic movement, hundreds of thousands of believers in mainstream protestant movements and even within the Roman Catholic Church were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Glossolalia, or speaking with other tongues, speaking in a heavenly language became almost commonplace in Lutheran, Methodist and other mainstream churches.
As the Charismatic movement began to become accepted in, the church was being prepared for the next phase of God’s strategy in the earth: Beginning in the early 1990’s, in the midst of an economic holocaust in Argentina, a desperate businessman named Carlos Anacondia walked into a fallow field and cried from the depth of his soul, “God, save Argentina!”
That move of God was filled with manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The move of God ushered into the church a whole, new understanding of Who God is. Millions have been changed in their thinking and in their understanding of the ways of God, but all this was preparatory. All that God accomplished in those years of refreshing was leading to the next, great move of God.
And now, in 2018 we have arrived at a place of knowledge and experience in the kingdom known to few,, former generations.
We know how to worship God. We know about David’s tent. We know how to cast out demons, heal the sick, we know about intercession and 24 hour prayer. We understand the anointing and we walk in revelation, but what good is a bank account of millions of dollars without anything to spend that money on? Money is worthless if there’s nothing to purchase.
Knowing how to shout and sing, dance and pray and worship and cry and take authority and decree and proclaim and believe is of no worth if those things are not used, employed, expended.
We must live out, walk out, breathe out, see out the principles and the secrets of kingdom living.
A dying, broken, wounded and terminal generation cries for an answer to their desperate lives. Something, some vital truth and action awaits a coming forth from the church of the living God.
And there are three commands that God has issued in this hour that will begin to answer that cry:
Be the church
Do what Jesus left us on the earth to do
We are a mature church; we are not spiritual infants.
We are an educated church; we are not an ignorant church.
We know the principles of the kingdom of God, we have read until we’re overfilled with knowledge – but too many of us have perfected a form of godliness while in our daily experience we deny the power thereof.
I began this evening talking about strategy – There are strategies of men and of devils and they are many; but the strategy of heaven has never changed and remains the same as it was thousands of years ago when God placed a tree in a garden.
That strategy is simple, it is powerful, and it will prevail in any environment and among any circumstance. That strategy is love.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 Jn 4:7,8).