WE ARE THE RESISTANCE

Casting social distancing to the wind, protesters march across America. Suddenly the virus is not dangerous. The very same media that screamed bloody murder when a handful of people worshipped in church, are rooting for thousands to stand shoulder to shoulder, as they riot in every major city.

Why? Because they are the resistance! They are the voices of reason and truth. They alone know what justice for George Floyd should look like. They are the newly anointed keepers of the flame. The virus can’t kill the vanguards of truth. They hold the key to America’s emergence from the dark ages.

Sadly, their movement is already falling apart. Not because the crime that catalyzed it wasn’t evil enough. The killing of George Floyd should horrify and outrage all of us. No, the problem is not their idealism, it’s the irresistible pull of human nature on the resistance—it’s the core absence of the one element that brings justice.

That is why sincere protesters will be drowned out by violent thugs who are spoiling for a fight. You will not hear the call for change above the din of smashed cars and burning buildings. The speakers will be upstaged by the looters as they pass by carrying stolen televisions.

Like so many times before, a noble venture has degenerated into mob mentality. They will scream the screams we have heard so many times before. Their bullhorns will cry out the same tired slogans. And like so many times before, their anger will not turn back the tide of wickedness in America. Their voices, like so many times before, will flicker and die.

Meanwhile, the true resistance—with the exception of a prophetic core— is asleep at the wheel. The army that holds the only answer to racial injustice—for the most part—doesn’t know who they are. They took the gold out of their message and replaced it with powerless sermons made of tin.

Had there been more of the fire of God in the church, there would be less fires in the streets. If there was more of hell preached in the pulpit, there would be less hell being lived out in the inner city. The people with the solution and something relevant to say, are apologizing instead of evangelizing. The people with the bankrupt human remedy who have nothing to say, are declaring it with conviction.

No movement that lacks authority over Satan will ever break the vicious cycle of history. The Who had it right when they sang, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” There will be no peace. There will be no justice, until the power of Satan is broken. The devil merely allows one regime to replace another. And soon, the new regime practices the same abuses as the old one, and so, on it goes.

 

That is, until reformation arrives through a revived church! It all begins with this realization: WE ARE THE RESISTANCE! Why? Because the Word of God says: “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

We carry the cure. We own the real power to bring about the end of evil. We are the resistance! On this Sunday, two thousand years ago, 120 people who didn’t know what they were destined to be, waited in an upper room. They had no inkling of the role God had saved for them. They had no seat at the table of human progress. They were not the voice proclaiming the solutions to the wicked misery of mankind.

Then something happened to change all of that! The sound of a might rushing wind. Divided tongues of fire rested on each of them. A dam burst. Languages roared out. They left the safe zone of the upper room to introduce the world to the resistance!

The outpouring of many tongues stripped the thousands who heard them of their protection against God. At the crescendo, when the crowd had been convicted to the heart, Peter stood to make the bravest declaration in history:

“THIS IS THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY THE PROPHET JOEL!”

Today is the day for us to submit to God and resist the devil. Resist what Satan told the government to do to your church. Resist the cowardly Christians who assail you for doing church today. Resist your own fears and the need for “community acceptance.”

There is a greater victory to be won. There is a glorious and mighty God ready to arm His church with words, gifts of power, miracles, and authority over the devil and all of his byproducts of suicide, addiction, fear, hatred, and prejudice. Shout it from the highest mountain…we are the resistance and our mighty God is proclaiming liberty throughout the land! Preach it, vessel of God! Preach it!

“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also, on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,

There shall be deliverance as the Lord has said,
Among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:28-32).

But, what did it mean for Joel’s words to be fulfilled? It meant that injustice, tyranny, and perversion would be challenged by the Cross. The defeat of Satan was now being enforced by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The teachings of a gentle Carpenter would soon topple the Roman Empire. A movement had arrived that would not be silent, but would resist the devil, until our Lord returns!

 

 

 

 

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Don’t look for another Jesus Movement. Look for something better.

The Jesus Movement was glorious. I know, because I was there. I saw the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in many parts of California. I preached at the festivals. I saw thousands saved on campuses, including the radical University of California at Berkeley.

But, I am not looking for another Jesus Movement. I am looking for something better. I believe that those who try to recreate something God did before will always be disappointed.  Here are the reasons why:

God is fiercely original.  Psalm 97:1 says, “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.” Have you noticed how every revival has its own unique sound?  One of the very first byproducts of a revival is a new song.

Our God is a creator of infinite variety, a creator who never stops creating. He wants originality. He never runs out of surprises. Did you ever notice that every miracle in the Bible is unique? That is why Satan can never fully prepare for the approach of revival.   Even after the devil has checked all the doors, tried all the windows, and scanned every horizon, he is still going to be caught completely unprepared when it strikes.

We should thank God for past awakenings, but we must also understand that the next outpouring will look like nothing we have ever seen before. Isaiah 43:18, “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?”

Don’t try to organize revival into existence.God will do it in such a way that God alone can take  credit for it.  Today I see a dangerous trend—even among leaders that I highly respect—in which many prophetic and revival movements are trying to organize a ‘New Jesus Movement.’  They are pooling their talent, wealth and influence, thinking they can make a global miracle happen.

I am begging everyone who thinks this is a good idea: please consider history. In 1907, the news of the revival in Wales reached America. Christian businessmen and famous church leaders met to recreate the same revival. They assumed Americans deserved at least as good a revival as Wales.  They raised huge sums of money. They pooled their celebrity and influence, assuming God and the church would follow suit. It died with a whimper, and failed spectacularly, because God refused to be manipulated.

Overlooked by all of these famous Christians was a one-eyed black brother praying in a rented livery stable in downtown Los Angeles. Far from the luxury and prestige of Christian power brokers, in the dust and dinginess of the Azusa Street Mission, the authentic volcano of God-born revival erupted.

Today’s famous revivalists need to reexamine their trust in their own might and power—because “it is not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord!” (Zech. 4:6)

The best and safest move for those who desire true revival today is humility, brokenness and repentance. Don’t try to tell the Body of Christ who the superheroes of revival are going to be. Don’t think for one moment that great influence or celebrity is the catalyst to revival. They never have been and they never will be.

Book sales, notoriety and fame, are of no importance in the strategy of heaven. We might think we are able to predict who will be the vessels of Fire and Glory who will usher in the next move of God—but we can also be dead wrong.

Who knows if, at this very moment, somewhere out there, an obscure preacher in a dilapidated church is sobbing tears of desperation over his tiny congregation? What if ground zero for awakening is an inconspicuous wooden chapel, and not a gleaming church campus?   What if God’s plan is to work through them to bring about something so powerfully explosive on a worldwide scale, that it will make the Jesus Movement look like a polite touch by comparison?

Remember, the greatest heavenly invasion in all history began in a manger, just outside of a small town named Bethlehem. The next one began in a little upper room in Jerusalem. Wherever the next wave of God is going to begin, prepare to be stunned…

 

Join us for prayer in Fresno in Chukchansi Stadium Sunday October 20th

I HAVE TO ASK

Whatever happened to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?  You don’t hear about it anymore.  Churches don’t pray with people to receive it anymore.

There’s a big reason why.

Preacher, if you have stopped presenting the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to your people, it is Satan himself who has caused you to do it.  If there is no room in your services for people to receive this gift that is so urgently needed—the enemy has seized control of your agenda.  If your people don’t even know what it is—you will answer to God.

No matter how noble, persuasive, or convincing the argument, the decision to exclude the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from the life of the church is a decision conceived in hell.

Omitting this Baptism was a masterstroke of Satan.  He knew this was the most destructive deception possible.  It created lukewarm Christians.  It single handedly wiped out a huge amount of soul winning.  And, it opened the door to untold heresy.

Today we are swimming in more false teaching, false prophecy, and false Christianity than ever before.  All across the internet, ministries dabble in New Age hybrids of the Christian faith, exotic extremes, drunkenness, and even perversion.   Sadly, as it turns out, the church is the other swamp that needs draining.

Noted Christian Apologist, Ravi Zacharias, said, “I had dinner with the most popular preacher on television.  He told me that he did not see much difference between Islam and Christianity.”

How can we hang the blame for such foolishness on neglecting the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?   Let’s examine the evidence.

Jesus said, “John 16:13  “However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all Truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

Jesus calls Him the Spirit of Truth.  The Holy Spirit is the One Who imparts a hunger for Truth.  It is futile to administer truth to the unwilling soul.  False teaching will always abound when there is not the hunger for Truth that the Holy Spirit awakens.  Let’s go back to the roots of this gift:

Don’t make a move without it!

Acts 1:4: “And being assembled together with them, (Jesus) commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “Which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.””

The church has no witness without it.  Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The Apostles considered it an extreme urgency for all who believed to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

-Acts 8:14 “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.”

-Acts 19:1 “And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”  4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him Who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”

We have two extremes in the church today:  Those who believe in nothing, and those who believe in everything.

Or, to put it another way: We have those who know nothing of what the Bible says, and those who believe anything anyone says about the Bible. Both are products of a lack of discernment and power.  It is only after you have experienced the real presence and power of God that you can recognize a counterfeit.

Look at the resulting number of disciples won by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost:

Acts 2:41 “Then those who gladly received (Peter’s) words were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”

One big reason that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not preached today is because it is the natural enemy of church-marketing.

When the power of God falls on church culture, it is instantly transformed.  Human promotion becomes obsolete.   An audience morphs into an army.  An insatiable hunger for the Word of God replaces sales pitches.

The preacher who withholds the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is guilty of treason—of withholding a priceless gift bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus. They are guilty of holding back a weapon of power that would keep the believer strong, alert, and able to win others to Christ.  It endows a congregation with a prayer language and power that pierces all adversity.  How dare we hold this back!

The Pentecostal revival is the greatest Christian revival in history.  Beginning in the humble Azusa Street Mission, it has blazed on worldwide for over 100 years, with over 650 million converts.  Only one thing explains it:  The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost Sunday would be the perfect time to preach the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and to lay hands on your congregation to receive power from on high!

Join me for a night of miracles in Fresno California Sunday Night August 11!