Beware the tendency of the enemies of pioneering to glamorize previous pioneers. At the same time, beware the tendency of the enemies of pioneering to demonize previous pioneers. The enemies of pioneering, and the pioneering spirit, marginalize this foundation of leadership in more than one way, in other words. Turning pioneers into super heroes or pirating monsters diminishes the present-day function in either case. With a casual wave of the hand, pioneers are dismissed: “the stuff of comic books and cinema, now let’s talk about the real world.”
Jesus ran into this sentiment with respect to Moses. His generation had turned Moses into a super hero, a spiritual X-man, then attributed to Messiah a set of criteria that could be measured by their own dramatic creations. While they were, perhaps, willing to talk about Messiah as a Pioneer, they were defining Messiah by their own rewrite of history.
“Moses gave Israel manna in the desert. Lord, give us the fish sandwiches you multiplied every day! We are entitled as the chosen people to this level of super hero leadership.”
Exaggeration is the number one enemy of truth, the quickest way to devotionalize Truth into something left to supersaints defined by whatever the extremes of our religious systematic prescribes. Humility was exaggerated into pure putrification: nuns claiming holiness because they had never taken a bath for decades; hermits claiming holiness because they hadn’t spoke a word, touch a woman, eaten a decent meal, had any pocket change, or slept in a comfortable bed. Dedication was exaggerated into observable oddity: odd hair cuts, long specifically prescribed robes, ceremonies for tithing and giving to the poor, street corner performances of prayer.
Moses, the pioneer, was exaggerated into a hero and the experiences of desert dwelling given mythical memorialization.
Jesus took a 2 x 4 to that idea: “If you do not drink My Blood eat My flesh, you have no part of Me.” That pretty much clean out the non-pioneers from Jesus’ conferences! People said, “He can’t talk to me like that,” but they were really miffed because they hadn’t brought any lunch and wanted a free fish sandwich. They were trying to sign up the Messianic welfare system but didn’t get past the first screen: “Messiah Jesus of Nazareth offers you all that He can provide through His death and resurrection, spiritual life, new life and living, and enrollment in the kingdom of heaven. You will be able to drink His blood and eat His flesh.”
I’ve heard this sentiment used to describe the next Awakening, the restoration of the healing movement, and several of the unique definitions of “revival.” The idea seems to be that little preaching, discipline, effort, fasting and prayer, and personal preparation will be needed or desired. “Common” people will simply walk around healing with their auras and waving their hands at disease as thousands fold to the streets awaiting their morning walk to Starbucks. Everyone will love believers because no one will be able to question the authenticity of their miracles and wisdom. Television cameras will report every incident with awe-inspiring clarity, and the world will be won.
In other words, a rewrite of history that makes the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth into a movie filled with glamor shots and stage lighting surface slush.
Forget it! Pioneering is dangerous, deadly, death-defying, daring, and distressing. Jesus suffered. Paul suffered. Simon Peter suffered. Silas, Timothy, and John Mark faced the dangers with endurance. John Mark learned how to stick it like a man. John wrote The Revelation of Jesus Christ on a deserted island with rocks paved with bird dung (and his cell phone service was cancelled.)
All the while, leaders can’t make it to fill their places in training because they had family in from out of town or their kid had soccer practice.
The point is that the things the Ecclesia should be doing now so they become expert at them now are the things they should be doing with Great Awakening Revival hits its highest peaks, when thousands are added to the Ecclesia daily, when the Presence of God is strong in the streets, and when extraordinary miracles are happening. Instead, the pioneering spirit is something discussed dramatically as an example of an extreme or extraordinary experience for supersaints. The truth is that if we can’t do it now, we won’t be ready to do it then no matter how different the atmosphere may be.
Awakening Revival doesn’t problem-solve away the fakes and flakes. We are supposed to do that now! We supposed to get this right before the Awakening waves hit so we can provide kingdom leadership in the season of kingdom harvest. We’re stuck on the accumulation of believers, thinking “our buildings will be full” when Awakening comes.” We are saying, “I know God wanted us to build this campus of Disneyland adventures so we can accommodate the crowds when Awakening comes. Yet, when Awakening is in full swing, these are the very things people will say kept them from God in the first place. The decoration will come down so we can have space for the real work of the kingdom. We will be turning our country clubs into barracks for the training of pioneers!