“Revival” is an expansive term, and this broadness opens to door to misunderstanding when used to describe moves of God. Many times, I’ve heard leaders use the term “revival” in contradictory ways, or heard them say something about “our definition of revival” or “our kind of revival” or “false revival.” Not really sure how any of us get to define “revival” ourselves without falling prey to a tendency to make our experiences into principles, or an effort to distinguish our definition from someone else’s. I think that produces greater fragmentation in the kingdom when the purpose of any move of God is much bigger than any one aspect of the kingdom.
While I strongly agree that there are leaders who should provide clarity to God’s people about false or pseudo imitations of God’s genuine actions and activities, most people could invest their knee jerk reactions to moves of God into better enterprises. No matter what God is doing, someone is sure to think, “it’s not God.”
Revival and Purpose
We always misjudge the genuineness of a move of God if we do not have a clear grasp of His purposes. We may see what He is doing as odd or even contradictory to what we think He should be doing if we aren’t tuned into a fuller revelation of His purpose, and His strategy to fulfill that purpose. This misjudgment comes from a failure or insufficiency in our own lives to fit what God is doing in and through us into the kingdom purpose: that is, we become so focused upon what we do, our gifts, our passion, our focus, that we make what we are doing the whole of the kingdom instead of properly fitting what we are doing into the greater strategy of God.
“Revival” can occur in any aspect of the kingdom because it is dead or dying or is ready for a reset. “Revival” can properly be characterized as a “revival of intercession” or a “revival of joy” or a ” revival of repentance” or a “revival of healing,” to use overly simplistic examples, because God is reviving something dead or dying or because God is resetting that aspect of the kingdom in anticipation of “what He going to do next.”
Of course, when we experience “revival” in one aspect of the kingdom, we tend assume “this is it” pretty quickly, as if any move of God is the totality of what God is doing in His kingdom. We can also fall into the trap of defending that “revival” at the expense of that aspect of the kingdom, failing to fit that move of God into the greater strategy of the kingdom. In our defense of what we hold to be supreme, we actually separate that aspect from the kingdom to protect it from being treated less seriously that we would like.
Or, we fall into the trap of seeing any one aspect as the totality of what God is doing.
Any strong move of God will make existing aspects of the kingdom seem less exciting, and people who fear that “people will go too far” in revival immediately start trying to bring correction to the passion and power of a particular revival emphasis. They start preaching about whether or not something is Biblical, why people are majoring on minors, why people in revival of healing or intercession aren’t reading their Bibles or seeking holiness instead of “chasing miracles” or “just praying.” They attack prophetic experiences as if these will minimize Scripture. They attack worship experiences as if people are hooked on spiritual entertainment when they should be “out there winning the lost and dying.” Or they cry out about money spent on meetings that should be feeding the hungry.
This is all a work of flesh that gets empowered by a work of darkness to bring division and controversy to the kingdom. Usually, the controversy comes from people who aren’t positioned as kingdom leaders so that they would have a fuller understanding of all God is doing. Such division is not the work of God.
Revival Leadership and Kingdom Purpose
I have witnessed the weariness this brings. People get themselves all worked up about whether or not people should be experiencing God in powerful ways because they seem to immediately convinced it will create a dangerous distraction from their particular emphasis.
Then, leaders of a move of God have a particularly difficult time fitting their “revival of” into the greater kingdom strategy because they are treated with disdain or suspicion even when they are sincerely attempting to make the move of God part of the whole frontline of the kingdom. Knee jerk reactions and even vicious misunderstandings move the focus further away from God’s purpose.
God does things without asking you first; get over it! When God is moving in a particular way, and God does move in particular, strategic ways that do not fit your own special “this is how God should be doing things” mentality, He has a broader purpose, and He is never going to do something contradictory to Himself and His strategy. So, a season of surrender to change, adjustment, and reemphasis is required.
Revival begins with revival leaders. God always provides increase fathering leadership in order to prepare inheritors of that increase. If that increase is worship, gifts, intercession, mercy, evangelism, or healing, God has strategic leadership in mind who can father that move and bring it properly into alignment with what He is doing to fulfill a purpose greater than that move of God. The momentum of revival grows as these leaders produce more revival leaders and populate this move of God into the whole kingdom.
Revival begins with revival leaders, and revival grows by producing new revival leaders. In all this, the move of God is designed to bring life to something dead or dying and/or reset the kingdom for a greater effectiveness of fulfilling Divine purpose.
I have been touched powerful at Brownsville, experienced God’s power and Glory in Brasil and other nations, as well as drinking deeply from other wells that have brought new life and reset to worship, intercession, evangelism, mission, mercy, apostolic and prophetic leadership, and revelation. I have also received greater strength from Faith, Miracles, Gifts, and Activation movements that are bringing a robust health to the entire Body.
In each case, I have to sit back and wonder at the childishness of people who waste their time and everybody else’s fussing about their particular pet passion, attempting to compare “what God is doing” with “what they are doing,” and jump up and down screaming like little kids about whether Daddy is giving them the attention they feel they deserve. In addition, I have experienced the outright viciousness of Christians red in the face and screaming at me about God’s people doing anything but what they are doing. (These are always people who demand to lead when they should follow.)
Kingdom resets are part and parcel of true revival. When God revives something dead or dying, this sudden life flow will startle people who have gotten comfortable with the deadness, like an arm with blood flow restriction suddenly opened again.
When God resets intercession, prophetic ministry, healing, repentance, holiness, worship or some aspect of the kingdom in a particularly strong way, the reset will feel like a threat to many people who have invested emotion and passion in “the way things are.”
When we do not have leaders with international authority and power available at the local level, it is especially difficult to make the move of God fit into the purpose of God for the entire kingdom. Three or four spiritual generations of a concerted effort to make everything local or redefine kingdom leadership into more of an institutional structure has left us without the kind of leadership needed to make God’s resets and revivals available to the whole kingdom. And, an important function of the apostolic and prophetic foundations must be restored to make kingdom order available to these moves of God.
This kind of leadership bring order to the moves of God so that new life and resets fit into a larger strategy to fulfill purpose, no move of God gets into exaggeration, and every move of God brings expanded effectiveness to our efforts to “get God what He wants” in our generation.