If you’ve not yet read my earlier post on Todd Bentley, the Florida Healing Outpouring and the Seat of Scoffers, please read that first. This post is a follow-up to that earlier post and the stream of comments it provoked.
Since I wrote that post, I have spent three days and nights in Lakeland at the outpouring. A couple of those days I was with my friend Randy Bohlender. I concur with his assessments and refer you to his blog for those. Basically Randy notes there are a ton of hungry people there – and some strange folks as well (who can control who comes to a public meeting?). Randy notes… this is mostly God and there’s more going on than you see on TV.
My focus in blogging on this twice now has been to counter some of trash talk out there from the supposedly “Christian” self-appointed, anonymous, unaccountable, unfruitful, on-line revival police – these unloving people are sowing a fear of deception in the Body of Christ robbing many people of an innocent faith in a God who only gives good gifts to his children. They hinder children wanting to come to Jesus. These people only have faith for a counterfeit to show up on the scene. I’m now deleting most of the comments from those sitting in the seat of scoffers because they are missing the point of my posts. I’m not dialoging here about the rightness or wrongness of tattoos or any of the other things people are finding wrong about this revival. Most of what is coming in is mass “pasting” of links and selected Scriptures shot as arrows from places of concealment (Ps. 64).
I have my own growing list of relevant Scriptures. Read these carefully and you’ll begin to see my point. After that, I will share some very important things I heard said in Lakeland by the leaders there.
Romans 14:1,4,12,14 “…do not pass judgment on disputable matters… who are you to judge someone else’s servant? …each of us will give an account of himself to God… let us stop passing judgment on one another…”
Ephesians 4:29-30 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
In one of the comments in my previous post, a fellow took after me calling me “gay” and “limp-wristed” for not speaking against this… he then swore. He did send a follow-up comment the next morning to apologize. I forgive him, but this is my point… unwholesome talk is coming out of the mouths of people right now – the Spirit is being grieved – praise and cursing don’t come from the same mouth. These folks need to repent, and not to me, it’s not my revival. Jesus nailed these folks to the wall…
Matthew 12:34-37… You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Here it is again from the Message… “You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”
Regarding the reaction of some to what is happening at the revival – 2 Corinthians 2:14… “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Regarding Todd Bentley – 1 Corinthians 1:27… “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise”
Proverbs 12:18… “Reckless words pierce like a sword, the tongue of the wise brings health.”
And my personal favorite – Philippians 4:8-9… “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Why don’t people focus on the good stuff going on here? Jesus is the focus of these meetings – that is indisputable. God’s Word is sung for hours, preached, there are powerful altar calls where people are getting saved. I was a part of a training where 600 people were trained in the basics of street evangelism and sent out in the community of Lakeland to witness and pray for people. The stories and testimonies coming back were awesome. 120 people were saved in the three days I was there through the work of these street evangelists. Nearly all of those going out into the streets have never done that before and were nervous-as-can-be. We should be praying for them. These hyper-critical scoffers on-line ought to log off indefinitely and go out in their communities to win the lost. But here’s the deal there… they have no life to offer the dying. They are so caught up in the “ministry” of killing what God is doing.
Why not focus on this… this is a picture of a seven year old boy who was severely cross-eyed five minutes previous. Now his eyes are normal and his mom and family members were absolutely beside themselves. The boy talked about Jesus touching him and how he loves Jesus. It made 8000 people cry. The scoffers have what to say about this?? They are blind to what God is doing here.
This revival started in Ignited Church which is pastored by Stephen Strader. Strader spoke in a morning session about what it was like to pastor something like this and how hard it was to be on the brunt end of merciless criticism from people supposedly in our camp. He said when this started April 2, God spoke to him to “not steady the ark.” People were calling saying “correct this” and “rein this in” but Strader says “we sensed we were not to steady the ark.” He’s referring to the time the oxen stumbled while bringing the ark of the covenant into the city of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6). Uzzah reach out to steady the ark and God struck him down for his irreverent act. David took six steps and sacrificed a bull and fattened calf.
DON’T “STEADY THE ARK”
Pastor Strader and Todd Bentley are stewarding the presence of God here trying to usher it into cities around the world by imparting what God has given them to those who come wanting it where they live. And they sense they aren’t to “steady the ark.” Instead, Strader and Bentley are following David’s example in taking six steps and then sacrificing. Six is the number of man and Strader says they are interpreting this as representing the hand of man and how they are to do all they know to do, and then pray. For six days they are doing what the leaders collective experiences and counsel and wisdom say but then they are stopping on the seventh day and offering themselves up.
Strader preached a message on May 4 explaining why they sense they are to let the wheat grow with the tares. The message is called “The Wheat and the Tares” and includes this illustration:
(My paraphrase) Down the street is one of my favorite places to eat – it has a great buffet. But on that buffet are beets and I hate beets. But I don’t walk in the restaurant and make a scene and scream out to the manager – “This restaurant has beets on the buffet, get rid of them!” I’m not out spreading a bad report in the city saying “this restaurant has beets and the manager won’t get rid of them. This whole restaurant is bad and will kill you and everyone eating there is being poisoned!
Pastor Strader’s point is just come to the buffet and eat – stay away from the beets if you don’t like them. There are a lot of other things being offered here. Let’s focus on all the good things!