Apostles and prophets see the broad picture – in different ways and from different perspectives – but they see the end result that 98% of the people do not see. While prophetic and apostolic people do experience things spiritually that allow them to catch the vision at some level, to some extent, the broader foundational architecture is seen and understood by apostles and prophets. That is, apostles cannot lead apostolically without apostolic people, and prophets cannot lead prophetically without prophetic people.
At whatever level of assignment apostles and prophets function, they see the broadest picture from their perspective – local, city-wide, regional, national, international – of kingdom architecture and to communicate that into personal, city, regional, national, and international details that set people, the Ecclesia, and the kingdom into place for function. Some apostles and prophets have a scope of leadership that is local, others regional, etc.
When we speak of Awakening Revival we are including both the restoration of the Ecclesia and the salvation of the lost. Both at the same time. In this scenario, newly-rescued people experience a revived Ecclesia, and a revived Ecclesia is influencing and impacting the culture as more than a religious subculture.
So, the group that argues that revival is all about “souls” should think through the reality that “souls” are people in the kingdom being revived and people not yet in the kingdom being spiritually reborn. Both. If we have either one without the other, we do not establish kingdom beyond the personal level: we establish kingdom in individuals without carrying through the broader mandate of the Great Commission to disciple cultures. The personal level is the grassroots level that is vital, necessary, elemental to the greater influence and impact of the kingdom, but without the broader restoration of proper kingdom structure the personal awakening is blunted, short-lived, and subsequently dysfunctional at some point.
Clearly, just getting people born anew and accumulating them is not the fullness of the kingdom or the Ecclesia given what the Bible reveals to us about both the kingdom and the church [ekklesia]. The assumption seems to be that when everyone is born anew, we will have a kingdom culture; yet, we fail to have a kingdom culture at any level, with a hundred or ten thousand; or at the very least, we experience kingdom culture is very rare in our present approach. That is, to find an expression of Ecclesia, at present, that has apostolic and prophetic foundations, leading apostolic and prophetic people, that functions with kingdom strategies and authority so that the Ecclesia is what Jesus originally designed “church” to be is exceedingly rare.
In other words, we should be able to experience kingdom culture with a hundred if we are going to be able to experience it with ten thousand with an aim to experience it with a hundred thousand or a million. Simply assuming that accumulating born anew people will result in the establishing of a kingdom culture that can influence and impact cultures would mean that we would see kingdom culture at every level by having greater accumulations. We do not see kingdom culture at any level at this time, in the way we do church, and an experience of spiritual cultural is rare, let alone a kingdom culture.
Understanding Apostolic and Prophetic Foundations
For an A/P foundation to function as Jesus designed it, the entire architecture of the kingdom culture must build upon the foundations shown in the blueprint Jesus has given. According to Paul, what we build upon that foundation will be tested by fire. What we do not build on that foundation will not stand the test of fire.
Most of christianism functions with few hints of the apostolic, within a purely historical context, so that a person being born anew only experiences a real, pure, kingdom experience in the sense that the Gospel the apostles and prophets set into place is communicated to them and they believe it. Is that kingdom? Yes! It is kingdom at the personal level because the a person who is spiritually born from above sees and enters the kingdom of God. However, it could happen tens of millions of times within a culture without transforming that culture. It could happen tens of millions of times within a culture and that culture remain anti-christ in nature and function. It could result in a majority of the citizens of a city being born anew without the city experiencing kingdom culture at all, because accumulating believers is not the definition of Ecclesia, nor the measuring stick of kingdom culture.
Think of it this way: modern American culture is moving further away from God’s Truth because it is removing more and more of His absolutes from its institutions. At one point in history, the general culture of America ran somewhat parallel with Biblical values with glaring inconsistencies to be certain, but incorporating Bible truths into its mindset; but now the culture of America runs cross-grain to those same absolutes as Truth disappears from the cultural institutions.
To the extent the original foundation was functioning, the culture was influenced and impacted by Truth. While it had glaring inconsistencies, such as the injustice of slavery and treatment of First Nations people, these were glaring. These inconsistencies brought about a war! They were so inconsistent with the presuppositions of liberty that they could not continue.
At present, the very concept of Jesus Christ is being erased from the culture while a plethora of other religions are being given consideration, respect, and promotion. The anti-christian culture is on full display! Not just a culture resisting some consequences of Truth, but a culture rejecting the very foundation of Truth.
The culture of the nation can be full of believers but the influence and impact of those believers on the culture steadily diminishing, not because the believers aren’t really born anew, but because those believers are functioning with kingdom culture authority and power. The believers are just as saved as anyone has ever been saved when they believe the apostolic Message, but that Message has become less and less an apostolic and prophetic influence because it isn’t a functional part of a kingdom culture in which those believers live, breath, and function in kingdom authority and power.
In other words, the disappearance of believers from the population isn’t the problem as much as the dysfunction of believers as kingdom citizens. As amazing as the culture of America rejecting the Name of Jesus is the rejecting of the modern American church of the kingdom!
The Gospel of the Kingdom is not preached at all, or very rarely. The Gospel of “someday Messiah will come and fix everything” is being preached just as it was in the days of Jesus resulting in the rejection of the very One they were supposed to be waiting for. Jesus’ generation failed to function as the kingdom of God on earth, so when He arrived, they saw Him as a threat instead of a promise. The only way that generation could have been prepared for His arrival would have been for them to be functioning in the kingdom culture God had established for them. They had the trappings of that culture but had found a way to reverse the spirit of the Law and Prophets from their intended purpose and fulfillment. They had made the Word of God ineffective by their traditions.
Apostolic and prophetic foundations must be re-laid. At the beginning of Awakening, not as add-on features, signs on the wall, titles in a frame, relabeling of existing dysfunction. A reset so fundamental that it produces fragmentation is necessary; things must be blown apart and put back together again upon a new foundation else this next awakening will result in another repeat of history: a few years of awakening followed up with a strong-arm religious dictatorship, a religious mafia, structuring the kingdom with a set of heathen system controls.
The Ministry of Jesus
Last week I heard that a mega-church sent a directive to the growing “deliverance ministry” to “tone it down” because “that’s not who we are.” Take that sample and extend the thinking to this: the ministry of Jesus has been removed from ‘church’ and exiled into ‘para-church’ ministries. Teaching is allowed as an “informational and motivational” medium. Socialization replaces koinonia as the functional structure for the accumulation of believers. In reverse of roles, what might be the legitimate role of a parachurch ministry has become definition of the church.
Christian entertainment is a very valid aspect of the kingdom. It is not the ministry of Jesus. Christian socialization methods are definitely part of the broader cultural mandate. It is not the ministry of Jesus. Holy Spirit as a spiritual career consultant is something we should understand in terms of personal destiny and purpose. This is not how Holy Spirit functions in the ministry of Jesus. Establishing a subculture isn’t the aim of the kingdom.
So, the ministry of Jesus gets moved out of church-anity and odd forms of christian entertainment and media become the centerpiece of the accumulation of believers strategy. Need deliverance? We don’t do that. Need healing? We do courtesy prayers for your comfort. Need preaching? We don’t yell at people and insist they repent, change, surrender, or even grow up. Worship? Relax and enjoy the show. Intercession? “Oh, you mean prayer? Sure! We do that before every meeting.”
What does the modern American church provide? Counseling with a therapist as a service to their members. A country club atmosphere where their members get cool stuff, a private school, a healthy childcare provision, a social grouping for their age-group or interest-focus. A course in natural-man potential discovery from “successful people” in the workplace. Rub shoulders with the cool people, identify with the successful, and network with a large group to sell real estate, insurance, and other services as a “christian professional.”
None of this is the ministry of Jesus. It is not ‘what Jesus did’ as a basis for doing ‘more than Jesus did.’ [“You shall do what I do and you shall do more because I go to My Father.”] It avoids revolutionary, radical life-change as a basis for cultural transformation. It just another form of choreographed religious performance updated to appeal to the natural man. Do people really get born anew? Sure! Is it a work of hell? No! Should we start a protest outside the building? No!
But, if we want the Ecclesia to be what Jesus designed and originated Her to be, we will have to do something radically different!
Personal Awakening Revival
Real revival will ultimately bring about riot. It is that radical. It will produce such a conflict with “what is” that a form of spiritual war arises that produces a natural demonstration. This begins at the personal level but must continue at the local level, gaining momentum in a way that will influence and impact a region.
Gone are the days when an awakening in America will be welcomed on any level! An awakening will “mess with” everything that is going on in this culture and in the church world. Everything. What I mean is that 99% of the believers in this nation would not recognize Holy Spirit if Ananias and Sapphira drop dead! They would run so fast the other direction, screaming, “the devil did it!” that your head will spin. The kind of preaching and demonstration that such an awakening would establish as the new norm would offend the minds of most modern American believers. When the authority and power of the kingdom causes demons to manifest in church leaders, they would run so fast the other direction, screaming, “the devil did it!” that it would make…well, you get the idea.
The ministry of Jesus is not what the modern American church wants to see on display. They simply wish to “do church” a different way. Just talking about your “shadow” healing the sick will cause a vast majority of believers to say, “New Age witchcraft. We know that’s not God.” In other words, if God did now what He did in the days of Jesus, what’s recorded in the Acts of Holy Spirit, such an awakening would offend modern American believers in the same way Jesus offended His generation. Tradition would trump truth.
In Jesus’ generation the Law and Prophets were just as real and true, and He didn’t arrive to destroy them. Yet, when He did what they promised and predicted, He was accused of being “full of the devil” and His disciples were accused of being “ignorant fools hoodwinked by a mad man.”
I don’t think that the whole of the modern American church is apostate. Some of it is, for sure. But, a vast kingdom rightwing conspiracy could happen at any moment that would include millions of modern American believers, both existing believers and emerging believers, the now-saved and the newly-saved. Yet, such a grassroots movement still must be built upon A/P foundations if it is to restore the originality of the Ecclesia and the Gospel.
Personal awakening revival is more than being born anew. In any form, in any definition, it is the beginning of the process of restoring what God created a person to be so that person can do what God has called them to do. The process remains radical and transformational in every step, at every turn. The process is nothing like what is happening right now in the name of “church,” because PAR should build upon A/P foundations as much as the whole Body does, and the whole Body builds upon those foundations or becomes something “other.”
For PAR [Personal Awakening Revival] to become GAR [Great Awakening Revival], A/P foundations must be available locally so they can be available nationally and internationally.
PAR will produce a people more interested in sacrifice than success. Jesus’ generation insisted that He give them fish sandwiches every day to prove His Messianic credentials. They were all out for a leader who would treat them as babies. Filled with entitlement, they wanted to replay the wilderness: “We are God’s people and He needs to start doing a better job of being God. We are under Roman rule. We have to pay taxes. We are supposed to be ‘free to be me’ people! Messiah will arrive to give us what we want like Moses did Israel in the desert!”
Jesus let them know that PAR people would embrace sacrifice and sword, carry a Cross just like His, leave normal behind to follow so they could be discipled, and make the highest of life the rule of God. At one point, He was completely alone because of these kingdom fundamentals! PAR produced leaders who did just what Jesus said they would do: die, spiritually, of course, but for many, physically.
PAR requires a commitment to sacrifice both spiritually and physically. Born anew is a spiritual beginning that will produce a spiritual death, a living sacrifice lifestyle, the newness of life will confront the oldness of death in every arena of life and living. The greatest struggle of identity comes at the end, not the beginning: your Gethsemane prepares you for destiny more than your birth!
PAR Becomes GAR
By over-analyzing outbreaks of revival, we can pick them apart with Monday-morning-quarterback precision. Even the most sustained of the moves of God get rotten-egg treatments from people who didn’t experience the revival or those who created expectations for that move of God that were not fulfilled. Personally, I would take a different approach in analysis. Even the poorest examples of a move of God have taught us something essential. Even the most embarrassing irregularities have, at the least, demanded that apostolic and prophetic foundations be strengthened and their function vastly and rapidly improved.
So, I believe that developing a long treatment about why the Brownsville Revival didn’t transform the city or why someone didn’t do something about Lakeland’s dysfunction or why Promise Keepers wilted really serves little purpose. All the “somebody dropped the ark” discussions miss the point rather badly and do more to discourage and discredit what God was doing than improvement our prospects for great awakening revival.
The faulty foundations we have in place require such a radical and fundamental reset that nearly all of the present conditions must be upset. The basic premise of “what we are doing is right else we wouldn’t be doing it – here let me prove it from Scripture” leaves us with little wiggle room for the radical shift that must take place if we are to move revival into awakening with a sustainable momentum.
What I see in the moves of God is either an amazing response to the move God that embraces “church growth” but persecutes A/P foundations or A/P dysfunctions that cause the move of God to explode with scandal. In each case the real issue with regards to revival and awakening lies in the foundations of kingdom leadership function.
On the one hand, the existing structures are delighted with “revival and awakening” if they see that it will fill their building and grow their churches. That is, in fact, their only definition of great awakening revival – whatever makes my church get bigger, accumulates more believers, that is what we need! They will measure every move of God by how well it will play on their stages so that it will attract more people, money, prestige, and validation of their own leadership.
On the other hand, the emerging A/P structures are so immature and incomplete that fundamental function does not exist at the foundation level of apostles and prophets to sustain a move of God and move the momentum of revival into awakening.
At present, Awakening has already begun. “Ready or not, here is comes!” We need a focused and considered strategy for our kingdom response to this awakening as revival becomes riot. We need to break the move of God out of the churchanity box while providing a strong, fully-functional fathering leadership for moves of God that not only make them healthy and sustainable but align them in a way that expands kingdom.
At present, I believe the pieces exist! I believe what is needed has been provided! I believe we now have the best opportunity to see the fullness of the Church in the fullness of time by the fullness of Spirit!