Posts filed under 'prayer movement'
by Billy Humphrey
Something unusual has happened here at IHOP-Atlanta the last few weekends. It’s difficult to explain any encounter with the Lord. You never want to hype or overstate anything. But simultaneously you want to credibly do justice to what has happened. As I considered how I might faithfully relate what the Lord has been doing in our midst, I was reminded of Jesus’ words to John the Baptist’s disciples, “Go and tell … the things you have seen and heard…” (Luke 7:22). So here it goes…
Last weekend we called special renewal services because we felt impressed that the Lord was moving in an unusual way. On Tuesday the same presence of God we felt the previous weekend was released in our all-staff prayer meeting. Many were encountered by the Holy Spirit, most notably the children. The next day in our school, the classes were interrupted by the power of God. Many of the children experienced the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit in profound ways. As I went to the school building to see what was happening, I was greeted with the tangible presence of the Lord and my legs began to physically tremble. I entered a classroom that had been overtaken by the Holy Spirit to find 20 or so 4th & 5th graders in travail with tears streaming down their faces, crying out for God to come in power and revival. It was fearsome. You can’t teach a thing like that. It was a sovereign in-breaking of the Holy Spirit.
On Friday David Sliker and Brent Steeno from IHOP-KC flew in to help lead the weekend’s meetings. That evening as we gathered there was a real sense of expectation. The room was full and you could sense the spiritual hunger. In moments the presence of God filled the place and the power of the Holy Spirit was in manifestation. Jesus was doing it again. Friday through Sunday night we experienced the same outpouring of the Holy Spirit we had experienced the previous weekend. Many were touched with the power of the Holy Spirit. Many were weeping, laughing, falling, trembling and shaking under the Spirit’s power. Many testified of physical and emotional healings.
The physical healing included healing from Mononucleosis and Hypothyroidism. A fractured ankle was instantly healed as was a broken toe and hemorrhoids.
My favorite physical healing was a lady whose eyesight was healed. I got to witness her eyesight being restored firsthand. She had received prayer on Saturday at which time her eyes began to burn but she did not have an immediate change in her vision. Our staff member encouraged her to continue to believe that she received her healing. She came back to the meeting on Sunday night with her eyes still burning. She told me she purposely left her “coke-bottle” glasses at home, believing her healing would manifest. Toward the end of the meeting she realized that she could read the video screens. She came over to tell her testimony with her husband standing by her side. I asked her to read a paper with 12pt font at arms length. She began slowly and then read several sentences breaking down in tears as she read. She was completely healed! Her name is FAITH! Her husband and I high-fived and hugged as he confirmed that she could’ve never read that page without her glasses.
We also received multiple testimonies of emotional healing and deliverance, including deliverance from depression, self-hatred and the emotional scars from sexual abuse. Many, many experienced a dramatic refreshing and renewing in the love of God.
Another sweet testimony came from a young girl named Angel. She told us that she had not been to church very much. In fact the only church she had ever been to was one where, “You weren’t allowed to talk.” On Sunday night she walked into the house of prayer and almost immediately began to weep. She said the people were so joyful and she wanted to know what she needed to do to experience this same joy. The friend who brought her, shared the gospel with her and Angel immediately gave her life to Jesus! As I prayed for her she began to shake and weep as the presence of the Holy Spirit flowed over her. It was absolutely beautiful.
God has given us a prophetic word that He has opened a fountain of refreshing over IHOP-Atlanta and that He is changing the International House of Prayer to the International House of Presence. I believethis is what we are experiencing right now. A fountain has been opened and living water is pouring forth. This morning as I walked into the building I immediately felt the weighty presence of the Holy Spirit upon me. Even now as I write this blog, I sense His presence, draping me like a heavy cloak.
I don’t know how long this season of visitation will last. But I do know that we want to give the Holy Spirit as much room as possible so He can move as He pleases. Therefore, we are extending the renewal services for at least the next two weekends, the 12th – 14th and 19th – 21st. David Sliker from IHOP-KC has agreed to make trips to Atlanta to serve the Lord’s purpose in this outpouring for as long as the Lord is moving by His Spirit. All I can say is “More LORD!”
Service times are:
- Friday @ 7pm
- Saturday & Sunday @ 6pm
Please forward this blog to whomever you think is interested to know about this outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Go to www.ihop-atlanta for information and directions.
February 9th, 2010
This is a blog post from billyhumphrey.com written by my friend Billy, who is the director of the International House of Prayer - Atlanta. In it, he describes what happened to us last weekend as we were ministering together for a House of Prayer Leadership Summit. I have such faith and excitement in my heart as I eagerly wait to see what the Lord is going to do next in America. These are some of the most exciting days of my life and the thrill of watching Jesus minister with power and tenderness is worth the wait.
by Billy Humphrey
How do I explain what happened this weekend? It’s nearly impossible to communicate in a blog, but I will do my best.
Let me start by saying that I have a great distaste for hype or self-promotion. I have a great value for reality and truth, especially when it comes to testifying of the works of the Lord. I dont’ think exaggeration helps anyone. With that said, I hope what I share next stirs your hunger and faith.
This past weekend at IHOP-Atlanta we had a leadership summit with about 70 leaders from around the nation. We were gathering to receive strategy and impartation to build the houses of prayer. My good friend David Sliker, from IHOP-KC, has ministered with me and others in this event for the past five years. This year was different because He and I were the only speakers.
When I picked up Dave from airport Friday afternoon, he was deeply experiencing the Holy Spirit’s presence. He told me that when he woke up Friday morning he felt the Lord resting on him powerfully. That night at the summit it was evident to me that Dave was carrying a deposit from the IHOPU Student Awakening services in KC. The presence of the Lord was rich.
The next day the Lord began to deeply minister by His Spirit to the people. Dave said to me, “I think it’s going to blow up tonight.” I also felt like the Lord was building towards a climax on Saturday night. I felt led to speak on hunger for revival. Just before the service Dave had a vision of angels holding buckets of coals of fire and wine over the building, ready to pour out the power of God on the gathering.
When I gave the altar call the leaders responded with great hunger to see a breakthrough of the power of God in their regions. When I asked the Lord to release His fire, the fire of God fell on the gathering. Many were groaning and shaking under the power of God. Dave then came up and asked the Lord to release the refreshing wine of His Spirit. Within a few moments the room was engulfed in the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit. God coursed through the place for the next several hours. Many were weeping, laughing, falling shaking and experiencing the refreshing touch of God’s love upon their soul. We didn’t get out of there until 12:30 AM. God’s love was so real and His presence so tangible. I didn’t get to sleep that night until after 2:30.
The scenes and experiences were so familiar. I have been in many revival & renewal services in my life. I am so thankful how God moved. I couldn’t help but wonder if He was doing something that might be lasting. I figured we would know if something was really happening after Sundays services.
The next morning our normal Sunday AM crowd was joined by the leadership summit crowd. The room was full and the worship was really sweet. During worship Dave had a profound encounter with the Lord. The Lord told him that He had opened a fountain over IHOP-Atlanta and the the Lord was going to transform the International House of Prayer into the International House of Presence. Once we prayed for the Holy Spirit to come, the same power that we experienced Saturday night manifested again all across the room. The service went from 10:00am til about 1:30pm. God was moving. I was filled with expectancy as to what the evening service might hold. I could feel myself beginning to believe that maybe God was up to something more than just a good weekend of services. The risk of faith can seem so feeble. But the Lord loves it when we dare to believe in His greatness.
You have to understand, I REALLY LOVE a move of the Spirit of God. But I am also exceedingly jealous for the real deal. I don’t want to call every spark a bonfire. I seriously petitioned the Lord as to what He had in store for us. Could it be that God was opening a fountain of refreshing here in Atlanta?
Suffice to say, last night’s service was amazing. The power of God broke upon us in waves. The Holy Spirit blew through the house of prayer as many were drunk in the Spirit and refreshed in the love of God. 15-20 people were instantly healed of various sicknesses and infirmities. When I left at 12:30AM, 25 – 30 people were still here. Most were on the floor, drunk in the spirit, overwhelmed with the Presence of God.
At some point during the meeting I felt the Lord invite me to call additional meetings to make room for the fountain of the Lord to continue to flow and refresh us. Dave and our senior leadership team were unanimous that we should continue the meetings. Therefore we are going to hold more renewal services this weekend at IHOP-Atlanta. Dave has agreed to fly back to Atlanta this weekend to help serve what the Lord is doing here.
Service Times are:
- Friday, Feb 5th @7pm
- Saturday, Feb 6th @ 6pm
- Sunday, Feb 7th @ 6pm.
As I am writing this the Lord’s presence is resting upon me. I am so hungry for an outbreak of the Holy Spirit in Atlanta. If you are hungry for a move of God in your life I want to invite you to join us this weekend. Who knows what God will do. I know this, my faith is stirred to see an outbreak of God’s power engulf and overwhelm our city and nation. I want to engage with whatever the Lord is doing unto this end.
We don’t know if we will continue past this weekend, we just want to show up with hunger and ask the Holy Spirit to come. Come join us.
Would you forward this blog to those you know that might be interested. I believe God wants to open up a fountain of refreshing and turn it into a river of fire that will birth revival and reformation.
February 3rd, 2010
by Lou Engle
To The Black Church in America:
Since 1776 this great country has been a beacon of light to the rest of humanity in demonstrating the divinely allocated value of each and every human individual. Though America has struggled to ensure freedom for every people, her enduring attitude “liberty for all” has prevailed at least in measure to every race, gender, and creed. Our country was securely built on foundational truths that, though at times have been wanting in application, have remained our countries basic societal and moral cornerstones. Thomas Jefferson articulated these basic values in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is this credo that has driven this nation to the heights of glory and power it currently resides in. The Constitution that governs this nation was founded on the belief that no man’s freedom can come at the cost of another and all men deserve to live free of repressive edicts, fear of death, and tyrannical oppression.
With this freedom in mind, forty-five years ago on August 28 a great prophet Martin Luther King trumpeted the sound of “I HAVE A DREAM” in front of thousands gathered at the mall in Washington D.C. It was from King’s resounding voice that hope was re-kindled in the hearts of a people who for years had been bound by oppressive chains of racial segregation and bigotry. They stood on that day in the shadow of the great memorial of President Lincoln in which is engraved the words of the Gettysburg Address: “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” This dream spoke of by King was a dream carved out of the bloody backs and sweaty brow of slave ancestors; it was a dream re-birthed out of the thousands of dead soldiers bodies that littered the killing fields of Antietam, Gettysburg, Manassas; and it was a dream forged from the sweltering heat of poverty, segregation, and racism.
Abraham Lincoln, a man well versed in the scriptures, most certainly drew his inspiration from Numbers 35:33, “So you shall not pollute the land where you are, for blood defiles the land and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it except by the blood of him who shed it” as well as Genesis 9:5-6 “ Surely for your life blood I will demand a reckoning… Whoever sheds mans blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God he made man.” Lincoln came to understand that the Civil War was God’s divine discipline upon a people and a nation who refused to live according to God’s laws. Lincoln was aware that the Civil War was a day of reckoning for the horrific injustice of slavery and the shedding of innocent blood done in the name of economic gain and racial oppression. If what Lincoln came to conclude was true and if 600,000 men died on the battlefields of the Civil War for the blood of slavery, what will it mean if God brings a day of reckoning for the shed blood of conservatively 48 million aborted babies since Roe v. Wade 1973?
The dark shadow of abortion stretches itself across the moral fabric of our nation. Since the landmark case Roe v. Wade in 1973, yearly the blood of up to 1.3 million babies has been spilled upon American soil. Undermining the basic foundational moral and societal cornerstones laid in both scripture and by our founding fathers, abortion strikes against the very life of our nation. A living, moving, feeling, and breathing child being abducted from the womb is not a “side-line” socio-political issue. We are talking about the murder of a child- a child who is just as “human” as the African American slave one hundred and fifty years ago working the cotton fields.
John Noonan, Professor of Law at the University of California says it this way, “Once or twice in a century an issue arises…So far reaching in its consequences and so deep in its foundations that it calls every person to take a stand.” In past times the forced removal of Native American Tribes from their homes was such an issue but very few took their stand. Slavery was such an issue, and the civil rights movement carried this kind of moral gravity. Undoubtedly there were many issues during the days prior to the Civil War that pressed upon the nation but God was bringing one issue to a divine apex. Based on whatever side you took in that day history now stands in judgment of you. And so it will be another forty years from now. History will stand in judgment of a nation that appallingly aborted its own children and assigned millions of her women to live lives plagued with shame, regret and devastated relationships.
This is not the end: the ready access to abortion now is fueling the worldwide proliferation of human sex trafficking in which women are kidnapped and forced to have sex with men 10-20 times a night. When these women become pregnant, they are then compelled to abort their children in order to remain economically useful. How is this for fruit of the feminist cause célèbre? We have ended up enslaving our own daughters! We are unleashing a sexual insanity into the earth in epic proportions and abortion is the atomic bomb that has cleared the way for the gradual destruction of our nation’s moral values. This is not just a social issue; this is the shedding of innocent blood. Blood affects the spiritual realm and fuels the demonization of a whole culture.
In the scriptures the shedding on innocent blood is the ultimate crime, a crime that God would not pardon. 2 Kings 24:4 records that God removed Judah out of his sight because of the sin of Manasseh, “because of the innocent blood that he had shed, for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the Lord would not pardon.” Brothers and sisters, a great turn has been taking place in America on the ideology of Abortion. Movies are shouting adoption is a better answer than abortion. The movie Horton Hears A Who prophesies to millions that, “a person’s a person no matter how small.” Judges have been appointed in the US Supreme Court and the lower courts that are now ruling against partial birth abortion and agreeing that a child in the womb is a unique human life. Today we live in the shadow of possibly the most defining election in American history, and lamentably as I write this, millions of believers of Jesus are being courted by a mans charisma rather than his voting record. Senator Obama stated publicly, “35 years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade its never been more important to protect a women’s right to choose…Through my career, I have been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice and have consistently had 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL pro-choice America.” We have come to an Elijah v. Jezebel showdown in which America will choose LIFE or DEATH. And the church, called to be the prophetic conscience of a nation, melts away like snow in the summer heat awash in moral relativism.
As in the days of slavery and in the days of segregation, it was the moral blindness and silence of the church, even her involvement in the national sin, that caused generations after to wonder, how could a nation built on such godly foundations drift so far? The moral confusion within the church today over the issue of abortion is strangely reminiscent of a mindset that existed within the church in the midst of segregation and slavery. I believe as the church we have come to a defining moment in American history. In our repentance we may prayerfully see an end to the decrees of death legalized in Roe v. Wade and a new movement of adoption and compassion spring forth from the church of America. Likewise, if we fail to respond to the crisis of bloodshed within our nation and continue to waiver between two opinions, we may very well go through the fires of an ordeal that will shake this nation to its knees.
I believe that this election will literally be the churches’ choice between life and death and that it all comes down to this one singular issue. We can no longer “reason the issue away” as if it was just progressive maternal healthcare. 2008 is not entirely unlike 1858, the year that the Supreme Court of America ruled in Dred Scott v. Sanford that the slave was not a person but was property. Three years later, in 1861, the Civil War was unleashed and men went into battle singing, “Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory Of The Coming Of The Lord, He is Trampling Out The Vintage Where The Grapes of Wrath are Stored, He Has Loosed The Fateful Lightning Of His Terrible Swift Sword, His Truth Is Marching On.” Though they may not have known it, they were prophesying the judgments of the Lord against the bloodshed of slavery. God is not mocked, what you sow you will reap America. For 150 years after Dred Scott, Roe v. Wade now flies its bloody banner over America and it has yet to see what the reckoning looks like.
A group of young people who have been standing for four years in front of the Supreme Court pleading the cause of the unborn with LIFE tape over there mouths were given a dream. In the dream, they were going from court room to court room to court room which then lead to a long hallway and entered into a large court room and there God was preparing to bring His own court case against Roe v. Wade and in the dream the name of that court was Appomattox Court House. Appomattox is where God finished His court case against Dred Scott. Because Americas courts did not deal with slavery in its own halls of justice God took it to the Appomattox Court House where General Lee of the South surrendered to General Grant of the North. This was after 600,000 men’s blood was poured out on the battlefield of the Civil War as the full payment for the blood shed of slavery. Brothers and sisters, what will Appomattox Court House look like if America doesn’t deal with Roe v. Wade in her own courts.
Part 2 below.
October 24th, 2008
This is part 2 of an article by Lou Engle that I’m sure you’ll see in many other places. I’m posting part 2 first so that they appear in order on my website.
by Lou Engle
On September 15th 1963, 2 weeks after the “I Have A Dream” speech, a bomb exploded in Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church and 4 young black girls were killed. Martin Luther King was shattered with grief. What was equally heart rending as the atrocity was the appalling silence of the white majority. The white church either did not care or no one in it was willing to challenge the heavy politically correct atmosphere of racism that hung over those dark days. In his eulogy King called the girls, “Heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity whose deaths tell us to work passionately and unceasingly to make the American dream a reality. “Then he declared, “they did not die in vain, God still has a way of wringing good out of evil. History is proved again and again that unearned suffering is redemptive. The innocent blood of these little girls may well serve as a redemptive force that will bring new light to this city.”
Today we affirm mightily that those girls deaths were not in vain. Today, a black man, Barak Obama has moved the nation running as a candidate for President. On November 4th, millions of black men and women can vote in America and for this we rejoice. But to my black brothers and sisters I am constrained to ask, was the innocent blood of those precious girls in Birmingham of any other biological makeup than the innocent blood of 4,000 babies (Psalms 106:37-38) who today was spilled in abortion clinics across America, 35% of which are Black American? Are not these little ones as much, “heroines of a holy crusade for freedom in human dignity as those 4 little girls?” And will not their innocent blood serve as a redemptive force that will bring new light to this dark nation? Or will the blood of these babies be the target of another “generation of oppression” who demand sexual freedoms at the expense and suffering of the most marginalized voiceless people group in America, the unborn? If the blood of these unborn human babies is a redemptive force (and they are human beings if we indeed believe the scriptures we preach), then does not the deafening silence of the mass of black and white pulpits over this great human tragedy weigh heavy against our people on the eternal scales of justice?
Was it wrong that Martin Luther King was disappointed with the white church in Birmingham? No, a million times no! Then will it be wrong to say that I am deeply disappointed with the Black American church whose voice is virtually silent amidst this holocaust and in the whirlwind of this presidential election. I will never know the pain of your past, your experience of poverty, or your history of lynching, but I am convinced that the “promised land” will not be found in some political “messiah” that promises change. In a speech before Planned Parenthood immediately after the Supreme Court had righteously upheld a ban on partial birth abortion, Senator Obama declared that the first thing he would do as president would be the drafting of the Freedom Of Choice Act. This act would virtually remove every restriction from every abortion procedure from conception to birth and could possibly even permit live birth abortions. In his speech Obama went on to say “ we know that a woman’s right to make a decision about how many children she wants and when – without government interference is one of the most fundamental freedoms we have in this country.” Where did this fundamental right to abort our children spring from? Not from our forefathers and certainly not the scriptures. But here again the ancient lie asserts itself just as it did in the days of our constitutional forefathers. They refused to include the black slave in the ancient credo “liberty for all.” They built their freedoms on the bloody backs of slaves and now we demand our freedoms on the dismembered limbs of our children. Can we by conscience make alliance with this ideological and political throne? In Matthew 23 Jesus cries out “Woe to you scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites because you build the tombs of the prophets, (like we have done with the Abraham Lincoln Memorial and numerous memorials to Martin Luther King) and adorn the monuments of the righteous and say, if we had lived in the days of our fathers we would not had been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up then the measure of your fathers guilt.” (Matthew 23:29-32) The modern day equivalent to this scripture would be ——- If one honors Abraham Lincoln and agrees with his quotes engraved on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial, “…Till every drop of blood drawn by lash must be repaid by that drawn by the sword…” and then supports and votes for a man and a system that legalizes the shedding of blood of babies, then truly this one accuses himself before the very words of Jesus and agrees with the masters indictment, “Pharisee and hypocrite.” In your silence and in effect acceptance of abortion, and now in your voting you become like the sons of the white slave bosses and slave traders and the silent white church of America who enslaved and murdered the black race.
I write these things not with a vindictive spirit, I only ask that you prayerfully listen to my argument. I have prayed for 5 years for the Black American Church to lead us into a national healing for that is your redemptive gift. I have wept in intercession in Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham. I have walked the Trail of Tears. The Lord has shown us that abortion is connected to the ongoing injustices to the Black and Native Americans. Now is the time to forgive us and unite against this holocaust of abortion. Today I take courage and am filled with hope as I see a new company of black voices arising in America who are raising their voice against abortion declaring that the dream cannot live as long as we kill our children and wound our women. These are the new black prophets who carry forgiveness in their hearts like Martin Luther King toward those who have oppressed them who hold holiness of heart as a life standard, and in whom prayer is their breath. They are calling their people out of the fog of political alliances into the bright shining light of that ancient prophetic promise, “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers unless I come and strike the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6) The turning of the fathers to the children is the remedy to the curse, not the raising up of a charismatic leader. Church of America, abortion is the complete antithesis to Malachi’s divine remedy.
Again to my black brothers and sisters, in California black leaders have raised their voice to ban same-sex marriage that was legalized this year by four judges who over-ruled the will of the people. I thank God for your faithful stand on the Word. But when you vote for Barak Obama you are aligning yourself with one who has stated firmly that he will appoint judges who will legally affirm the gay agenda. By doing so you actually contradict your own moral stand and you throw open the door to a flood immoral rulings that will affect not just your children but also the generations to come in America.
Some of the black church may say while reading this “What Shall We Do?” Forgive the white people, the US Government, and the white church for its lack of care for the poor and its racism. If you forgive you will receive redemptive authority like no other people group to lead this nation into the sunlit future of revival and reformation. Take up your prophetic calling again and lead the nation into true justice. Demand the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Expose her racist root springing from Margaret Sanger who targeted the black race for extinction. We must disarm her authority of immorality and take the millions of her death dollars and turn it into a stream of life to the inner cities. We must raise up massive mentoring programs across the nation and the church must lead the coming movement of adoption. Lets launch prayer and fasting movements that can alone challenge the spiritual darkness over our inner cities. We must proliferate crisis pregnancy centers and pregnant mothers homes. Then let us with one voice Black, White, Latino, and Asian, as was the dream of MLK, lift up a mighty chorus of fasting and prayer for God’s divine intervention in America. More than change, we need God’s mercy for the shedding of innocent blood. Let the dream go on for the binding of the wounds of our racial division and for the ending of abortion that together we may see another Azusa Street revival that was birthed by that great black prophet William Seymour. Black church of America lead us into another great move of justice and into another Great Awakening in America.
October 24th, 2008
I haven’t posted for a week or so because, late last week after finishing the latest round of teaching Old Testament Survey, my family hopped into our car for yet another cross-country trip. This time, we made our way to Beaufort, South Carolina for a funeral service for Tracey’s grandmother. Her passing was both swift and expected, the right time and all too soon - as these moments in time often are. She was saved, which is joyous and glad - and it was sweet to meet her pastor and some members of her Wednesday night bible study. My wife shared a little at the service, and it was fun for me to point out to our girls just how amazing their mom is. Her poise, joy, insight, and wisdom in the manner in which she shared about her grandmother’s role in shaping her heart was beautiful. I am proud and honored to be Tracey Sliker’s husband.
There isn’t anyone like her.
Then, a day later, I was introduced as the new Executive Director of TheCall, an assignment I will be jumping into fully beginning November 2nd, after TheCall California. On that Sunday the baton will be passed by the current holder of that post and I will begin another adventure in this bizarre life that the Lord has invited my family to enjoy. I am still 100% a senior leader at IHOP-KC via what we call our “Prayer Department” (where I give leadership to our second prayer room), will still be teaching at IHOPU (albeit much less than before), and will still be giving leadership to the Student Ministries Department.
I am, however, rather excited about this next assignment from the Lord because of the singular way in which I get to run with cool people that I love and serve Lou and Therese Engle in a tangible way.
As I look at the above list, I shake my head, aware that other changes are sure to come on the heels of this one. Yet I cannot deny that the Lord clearly orchestrated this latest move and I have been a passenger on a sovereign train whose destination is still unclear. I am trusting that the wisdom of what the Lord has done in placing me in TheCall world will become clear once the story unfolds a bit more and I have more information to understand His plans and purposes in this regard. So I am in the phase as things begin where I often find myself when He shifts and shakes my life in startling new directions - closing my eyes and holding my hands open to Him, waiting for Him to speak and give clarity.
Of course, there is an item missing from that list that will be glaring to three or four of you - whither the book I have been working on? Wherefore art thou, oh bane of my existence? Right now I am “stuck” and need to carve out the time and space to focus on finishing that project. I have no idea how I will do it. I have no idea when I will do it. I am convinced that, at some point, I will finish it. For now, however, I will anchor myself like a feather to the gentle breeze of the Lord that is carrying me to destinations and adventures that only He knows about. I can’t wait to find out what He has been thinking.
I have a few political thoughts and human nature thoughts that have struck me over the past few days that I might throw out there before continuing the Joel series. We’ll see. In the spirit of Joel chapter two…who knows?
September 30th, 2008
The Unsolvable Crisis
As we have seen in the previous section, God has orchestrated an inconceivably difficult scenario for the citizens of Judah to navigate while alerting them to an insurmountable, inescapable scenario that is bearing down on them soon after. God has created (and given freedom for the emergence of) for them, then, an unsolvable problem. As I write this, I feel as if I am watching my own nation decline and descend slowly into its own insurmountable issues - the sentences above form, then, an intensely personal lens by which I view the book of Joel.
As we speak, huge mortgage brokerages have been assimilated into the federal government that is already spending and borrowing at record deficit levels. Two more major banks, paragons of Wall Street for over a century, have either collapsed or are on the verge of insolvency. Millions of babies have been and are being aborted and my nation is seriously considering electing a leader whose primary agenda is to open the doors to greater numbers of abortions in the name of “reproductive rights”. Immorality is on the rise in terms of cultural normalcy and national slumber - what was unthinkable even a decade ago is becoming accepted and normal everywhere you look.
I am running out of places that are safe for my eyes. My heart is burning and aching over the absence of ideas that represent even a sliver of wisdom and hope that there are real solutions forthcoming to turn the tide of financial ruin, political impotency, infanticide, and cultural degradation wiping out the collective conscience of a generation of unsuspecting teenagers. I can now imagine what stirred the prophet Habakkuk to cry out for justice 2600 years ago. I cannot yet imagine the dread of God’s response bearing down like the unyielding tide upon Judah under the weight of judgment.
There Are No Answers
When one surveys the political scene or turns on the continuous news and talk cycle that is now dominating our airwaves, one is confronted with a truth that can be similarly hard to bear: no one knows what to do. A cult of personality has become a happy anesthetic. I do not begrudge our candidates their current strategy - what choice do they have? Admit to the American people that no leader, no government, and no people can find a solution to the avalanche that has subtly begun - and cannot be stopped? It is easier to distract in the safest, most generic way possible than to risk ridicule in presenting useless proposals that are like scooping a spoonful of water out of a sinking ship.
Israel’s history is littered with kings from the northern and southern kingdoms that attempted in vain to apply their collective gifting and intellect to formulate a way forward out of their national trouble and crisis. Every economic and political solution was considered, every human answer was proposed. Alliances, treaties, bargains, tributes, and all manner of overt and subtle maneuvering only accelerated Israel’s decline. God had truly hemmed her in, leaving her with only two options if she dared admit the truth. One of those options, of course, was to take the prophet Jeremiah’s counsel, not fight against the inevitable, and let the wave of judgment from God’s hand run its course.
There is Only One Answer
The other option was to heed the advice of Joel: turn with weeping, fasting, and mourning in appealing to the mercy of God. The terror of this course of action is that both prophets were correct. Not even Joel would prophecy a full turning of the Lord from judgment - Jeremiah spoke the truth. The best that Joel could offer the people at the stage of decline and crisis that they fond themselves in was to accept both truths: yes, judgment was coming and was inevitable. There were no solutions. There was no way to fight their way out, no alliance or no nation that could aid them now. Thus there was one clear thing that they must do if some were to survive what was coming: repent, gather, and pray.
It was actually the kindness of the Lord to box in this proud, independent, gifted people and give them no other option but to cry out for mercy. God left them no other option but to examine themselves - how had their sin, their selfishness, and their arrogance bring them to the brink of extinction? How could they survive the coming wave of judgment at the hands of the Babylonian army? God’s answer to Habakkuk held the key: “the just shall live by faith.” In other words, regardless of the intensity of the threat against them, the promises of God would never fail.
Thus the one who stood confidently in the hope of God’s zeal for His promises would see them come to pass - even if they died before the fulfillment of those promises. Babylon could do their worst. Those who put their trust in the Lord would not be ashamed - even if God had to raise them up later on to see that trust vindicated. God is not the God of the dead - but of the living! Thus the sincere and the tender could stand with their fathers, the great patriarchs and prophets, and believe that God would prevail and that His mercy endures forever. Now, what hope wold they have as a nation? How could God’s promises for all the Israelites prevail?
Imagine the answer given today to the next President of the United States: “Mr. President, the only hope for the survival of our nation is if the people truly repent of their sins, fast, and pray in large gatherings in every state.” Imagine if that was the bill a trembling Senator presented on the floor of Congress. Imagine if the government agreed that there were no other solutions that could work but this one. And even then, who knows? What if our politicians presented this option to the people and honestly said to the people, “who knows?” God is a huge fan of political suicide for the sake of righteousness, in the hopes that some would respond and believe in the God that delights in mercy.
Joel’s Prayer for Mercy
Joel lays out for the people the importance of and the program for the national solemn assembly. It should be a consecrated (set apart) day in which the peoples fast before the Lord. Everyone should attend the assembly - the elderly, the children, even those who had planned weddings should cancel everything and gather to cry out four their future. The priests were to lead the way in weeping and mourning in front of the people. All should pray Joel’s prayer: “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” Joel has them take the same approach as Moses had once taken in appealing to the glory of the name of God amongst the nations.
Would it work? Would God leave a blessing behind?
God was ambiguous about whether or not the peoples of that generation would be spared. It was not clear, nor was it promised, that they would see the goodness of God in that time frame. The Lord, however, gives them even more than the potential survival of their nation as the motivator for their prayers and fastings. He also defines for them what the prophet means when He speaks of potential “blessings” left behind in the kindness of the Lord. God desired to do more than spare them from judgment - it was always in His heart to bless them extravagantly. The catalyst for true and wholehearted repentance must be knit to a hunger and a yearning to lay hold of the full measure of the blessing of the Lord on our lives.
Before examining the blessing itself, however, the question hangs in the air - even today , as our national resources grow more meager and slim by the day. Do we believe that He is gracious and merciful? Do we believe that He is slow to anger, and that it has taken a while in sin and compromise to reach this point? Do we believe that He is of great kindness and desires to relent from doing harm to those whom He loves?
With no guarantees - only the invitation to turn towards Him that He might, might, turn towards us - how much do we desire His mercy and His blessing on our lives and on our nation? How much is it worth to us - how much can we give? Joel asks this in a pointed way to an agriculturally devastated people - would they gather up whatever meager heads of grain and scattered grapes remain to make a grain and drink offering to the Lord? In their lack - or something beyond even lack - could they take their last remaining scraps of food and drink and offer it before the Lord in the hopes that He might perhaps relent and bless them?
How much do we actually believe that God desires to turn and relent from doing harm?
Next: Joel 2:18-27 and the heart of the Lord to bless His people
September 16th, 2008
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
—George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman
I wanted to follow up on a few comments I made yesterday related to Ralph Nader. Honestly, Nader has been an unfortunate afterthought for me, as I often have other things on my mind (see: the title of this website). Atlantic Monthly recently named him one of their “100 Most Influential Americans (ever)”, and he is one of only two living americans to make that list (Bill Gates being the other). You can view the list here - it’s actually quite impressive. Margaret Sanger made me cringe, but the inclusion of Jonathan Edwards made me smile.
A few months ago, I accidentally stumbled onto a documentary that profiled Nader on PBS (and their “Independent Lens” series) called “An Unreasonable Man”. As you can imagine, I loved the title - and enjoyed the George Bernard Shaw quote. Being an unreasonable man happens to be one of my life aspirations - I am convinced that any true intercessor is by nature unreasonable related to the issues of injustice and unrighteousness that characterize this fallen world and the deep darkness that threatens to cover it. Only unreasonable men would set themselves on a night and day pursuit towards speedy justice breaking in over the night sky at the end of the age. What we do seems completely unreasonable at times, and the nobility of our unceasing pursuit seems futile or foolish to some.
I think that’s why I felt a wave of kinship and affection for Ralph Nader as I watched the documentary.
I can’t recommend it highly enough - not because I agree with Nader’s politics or found the documentary enjoyable (though I did), I rarely if ever recommend movies. This particular entry into the Sundance Festival, however, had my attention all the way through. There were two things in particular that I enjoyed about this doc: how mystified and disillusioned Nader’s friends and co-laborers over the years were at his decision to run in 2000 and then run again in 2004; and how angry the right people got at him both times. It’s a fascinating story - and Nader’s convictions are intense.
At the end of the day, his story can be summed up thusly: he’s a man who has discovered that something is not right with our political system, and he decided that he was going to do what he could to effect change. As he began to mov forward with his plans, he became over time rather “unreasonable” in his pursuit of justice. What his friends and former allies could not reconcile is that the same doggedness that served him when he took on General Motors in the sixties (despite the best attempts of the auto maker at the time to expose him, discredit him, and trash his reputation), the same Nader that has taken on so many public safety and health causes over the decades, is the same Nader that attacked this last great cause with equally dogged and stubborn fervor.
Suddenly, however, the Democrats that idealized him related to his social activism suddenly reviled him for his political activism. And he lost most of his friends, allies, and financing in the process. Thus his friends and co-laborers still involved in Democratically-financed organizations built by Nader watched helplessly as all of their funding dried up in vain attempts to buy Nader’s inactivity. Democratic supporters and businessmen openly tried to buy his “non-candidacy”, promising lavish funding if he would simply drop out of the race.
He didn’t. It cost Gore the election.
Enraged, his whole life shifted and friends bailed. Nader insisted to the documentarians that they interview the men and women that opposed him and despise him (I love that). In other words, Nader didn’t care. He was unmoved and dead set on bringing change to what he considered a “one-party system” too heavily influenced by corporations that were unconcerned with the good of most Americans. I happen to agree with his point, and I don’t have a fraction of the information he has on the subject. Not only did Nader shrug off the massive amounts of venom that was spewed at him in liberal publications and broadcasts, he did the unthinkable in 2004:
He ran again.
As you can tell, I really enjoyed the story of those two presidential campaigns and what it cost Nader to run (he actually ran four times, but it was the 2000 election that earned him the most notoriety). I enjoyed some of the baseless and foolish accusations against him, and the way in which liberal rage translated into smart guys being incredibly illogical and well, unreasonable in their anger at Nader. The documentary is worth your time. It was worth mine, for as I want to reiterate, I aspire to be an unreasonable man in my own right.
February 12th, 2008
I apologize in advance for the title. I was mostly looking to lead off this afternoon with the grossest understatement I could possibly formulate. As I’m sure many of you heard, “the Heavenly Man” was here at IHOP-KC yesterday for a few hours, connecting with Mike Bickle, then our leadership team, and finally the IHOP family. The afternoon session will be online at the ihop.org website at some point.
We have many national and international leaders come through the doors of our little prayer room. The coolest guys are the ones that pop in and and out (like that great California burger joint) with nary a peep. There are many key guys throughout the body of Christ that tell us after we meet, “I sat in the back of the prayer room” - and those are the guys you end up wanting to be buds with. You just appreciate the guys that come in sans entourage and minus expectations because they are coming to encounter God in the place of prayer. While I appreciate the value of networking, you sometimes find that a few leaders put the cart before the horse on a few key points.
This, of course, is a side note - guys like Brother Yun have to do the entourage thing because, well, he speaks little to no english. I’m not sure if he drives. Also noteworthy, the guy had prison doors fling wide-open and guards become blind to his exit. That kind of thing tends to attract attention. So I don’t really mind entourages - I understand their purpose most of the time and don’t want to make unhelpful, accidental comparison statements. I was mostly going to use the illustration of the traffic flow of leadership from around the body of Christ in these parts to note that I am not awed by guys too often. I loved Brother Yun when I met him. How could you not? Part of his story involves the pain of rejection by some of the folks he has encountered in the west - that is unthinkable to me. Um, hello? Imprisoned three times, tortured and beaten, with great stories that exalt Jesus? I’m not connecting with the hostility.
What struck me the most about his story (beyond the, “Um, that super bold but humble guy suffered intensely for his faith while training people to be disciples of Jesus by embracing martyrdom” part) was how some of his endurance, perseverance, and encouragement in great trouble and pain was knit to two things, according to his testimony:
1. Singing. This accounted for the vast majority of his story - he would seemingly, at random times in both meetings I attended, break into song. The songs were a critical part of his story, and he is proud that he is a singer. He would sing to convicted murderers on death row. He would sing to his jailers. He would sing to himself. He would sing to train and prepare the people for martyrdom. He would sing the word.
I think that this is a significant piece of information for us to file away on the importance of singing and music when your bible is taken from you. The Chinese church has learned to become the most fervent, dedicated church in the world with little to no ability to read or study the word of God consistently. In many settings there are only a few bibles to share amongst themselves. That is significant and interesting - not to devalue the study of the word (since it’s my obsession), but to stand awestruck at the leadership of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in that part of the body of Christ.
2. Passion for Jesus, by Mike Bickle. This was a little side note that he talked about more clearly in the leader’s meeting, but it was one that made me proud of my friend and awed at the way God moves. After his third release from prison (the miraculous one), Brother Yun had few that were willing to take him in and help him, as he had technically escaped and was still a wanted fugitive. In his struggle and near despair over his situation, he found Mike’s book and read it cover to cover. Encouraged and blessed by the love of God, he moved on to the next season and assignment in his life.
That’s just cool.
End-Times Simplified is being translated into Chinese and Korean this year (it’s already been translated into Polish, Spanish, Dutch, and…Thai!) I wonder what random guy is going to pick up that book and, well, learn stuff about the end times. Okay, I feel dorky having even crafted that last sentence - but still, you never know when you write books, record teachings, and watch as things take on a life of their own. Anyways, that’s another side note.
The interesting thing about the visit here is the connection that unfolded over the few hours. IHOP-KC has a real heart for the Back to Jerusalem initiative; secondly we were truly blessed in ways we cannot fully appreciate yet by what Brother Yun imparted here. We had a powerful time of prophetic ministry over him, but I mostly thought, “What do I have to say over that guy’s life?” He is truly the target of humility, holiness, and perseverance I am shooting for at this point in my life.
February 6th, 2008
Did something happen on Friday that I don’t know about?
I’m not a big “stats” guy, because it always seems like more people read this thing than what the “stats” engine tracks. Every conference, everywhere I go I meet folks that read this space. I enjoy looking at the “stats” thing because I enjoy seeing who is peeking in - but there are many of you out there (especially if you use “Google Reader”) that the stats tracker misses. There are better codes and sites out there to figure out who is reading where, but I’m not tech-savvy enough to figure all of that out. It’s a miracle that I even have this website - it took me a year and a half to launch it.
The reason I ask the question, however, is because there was a “record-low” number of readers logged on the stat engine on Friday. I’m used to a certain number per day, and it’s held pretty steady even as new readers have jumped in (because, I’m guessing, old readers jump out as they break their daily reading habit). Friday, however, was so unusually low that I’m wondering if there was a random monster attack in downtown Tokyo that I missed. There was some other time where the stats thing was on the fritz and it was obvious - I went from the normal number one day to, well, zero readers the next day.
Am I numbers-obsessed? Nope. I would do this if there were zero of you reading this space. I wouldn’t write a post like this one if there were none of you out there, and would stick to the other “non-conversational” posts that frequent this site, but I would crank away nonetheless. As I said to Shawn Blanc a while back, zero readers times zero dollars is the same amount of money as a million readers times zero dollars. The impact of a space like this is more difficult to measure in the natural realm. It doesn’t transfer in tangible, immediately notable ways - much like prayer, fasting, and preaching. My life is about producing words to an invisible God and teaching materials and resources to invisible people. I could never measure the impact of my life on this side of eternity. I do what I do because of the invisible, unmeasurable impact that only God knows and cares about.
As I said, however, the numbers do help me get a feel for who, what, where, and why. I write about things that I care about - but I also like knowing who you are because I can throw stuff out there that you care about as well. So - thanks for reading; I do treasure the connection in the spirit. Just not on Friday, January 25th, 2008.
January 27th, 2008
We’re on day three of the IHOP-Atlanta House of Prayer Leadership Summit, but it feels like day ten. Billy Humphrey spoke on Friday night on Zechariah 4 and the subject of “grace, grace!” for those leading houses of prayer. I went on Saturday morning for two hours on “Strategic Leadership for the End-Time Prayer Movement”. Kirk Bennett took the afternoon and talked about the tabernacle of David in the afternoon and played a twelve-minute oracle by Misty Edwards at the end that had us all weeping. Then Allen Hood spoke last night on the necessity of Christology related to the great falling away. As you can imagine, every session felt like a full day.
Allen is speaking this morning, right now in fact, one of his key messages, “Growing Through Mistreatment”. So, while I’m listening to him urge us all to relinquish our personal rights and use mistreatment as a gift to grow in love, I thought I would express my gratitude for his friendship. Allen and Rachel, beyond their generous and fun friendship, have been a key spiritual brother and sister for my wife and I. I am so tender when I think about the hours Allen has spent helping me navigate difficult situations, talk through spiritual matters, initiate strategic think-tanks, and work through general “life at IHOP-KC” stuff. His patience and tenderness has been a true gift from God.
Beyond our friendship, however, Allen really is one of my heroes. I am continually provoked and challenged in watching Allen privately as he lives his life before the Lord as a husband, father, and servant leader unlike anyone I have ever met. The way he lives his life serves as a helpful “target” for me to shoot for in contending for the fullness of God. Watching bible verses get lived out in a practical way fills my heart with vision and ideas for how I want to live my own life before God as a husband, father, and servant leaders.
I’m already gripped to get back in the prayer room and carve out more time there - with a little more fasting mixed in as well. I leave times with Allen wanting to pray more, fast more, and consecrate myself more for the Lord. That’s the kind of friendship that one should fiercely guard. I’ve had too many social times where I leave weary and spent - where no lines were crossed by my inner man was a bit dissipated in the exchange. I’m not a fan of wasted time.
So, this post is mostly for me n’ God - but it’s also a neat opportunity to highlight one of my true heroes in the body of Christ. One of the key prayers of my life is that my secret reality in God would exceed my public reputation. Watching Allen Hood I find a worthy target to follow as he follows Christ.
January 27th, 2008