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A few months ago I stirred the pot with a post called “Why we aren’t going to Urbana 09.” I needed to hear the honest responses I got from leaders at Urbana. Even so, here is a plug for what I am fully behind during that same time slot– onething’09 – December 28-31.

This year onething’09 will focus on the theme “What is the Spirit saying to the Church?” I appreciate the consistent, unwavering message coming out of Kansas City and here’s why.  I recently heard of a US Senator who went to seven major ministries in America with the question, what is God saying right now to our nation? Sadly, he reports he got seven very different responses.

Maybe this letter from Lou Engle and Mike Bickle will fire you up as it does me. My initial comments on the IHOPU Student Awakening are here. Paragraph by paragraph, from the evangelism explosion on school campuses to the false justice movement embedded even in evangelicalism, I couldn’t agree more with what is written below.

Dear Friends,
 
We stand at a critical juncture in our nation’s history. It is time to encounter God and to take action. The Holy Spirit is visiting His people with power. At the same time, the powers of darkness are raging against the moral fabric of our nation. The light is getting brighter as the darkness gets darker.

Many of you will have heard of the spiritual awakening at our Bible school. On Wednesday, November 11, the Spirit fell on a class for more than 15 hours. The word spread quickly, and over 2,000 people spontaneously gathered in the auditorium from all over Kansas City, as deliverance and physical healings continued to increase. We canceled our classes for the next week so that each one of our 1,000 students and interns could receive from the Spirit in an extended way.

We decided to meet four nights a week from 6:00pm to midnight because His manifest presence continues to increase. Visitors are pouring in from many places across America to partake of this spiritual awakening.

We will continue these evening meetings until our onething conference, December 28-31, 2009, when we are expecting 20,000 young adults to gather to worship, hear teaching, and participate in the supernatural ministry of the Spirit.

Last year, over 16,000 young adults attended this conference. We are still hearing testimonies of lives that were changed. This year, we are expecting to receive even more from the Spirit. We believe that this will be a historic and important conference, and encourage you to attend.

The theme for onething’09 is “What is the Spirit saying to the Church?” Our team will proclaim what we believe the Spirit is prophetically speaking to the Church in this hour. We will also share practical ways in which we can “adopt” high schools and colleges across our nation as we envision young people impacting each sphere of society with works of justice and acts of compassion. At the conference, we will have extended ministry times to receive healing, renewal, and impartation from the Spirit. We believe that the Spirit will release His power at this conference, as evidenced by what He is currently doing in our evening meetings.

Mark Anderson, a senior international leader in YWAM (Youth With A Mission), who also works closely with Campus Crusade for Christ, will host forums for leaders to discuss how we can systematically evangelize entire cities and campuses in partnership with the houses of prayer in their area. Mark has remarkable insight that comes from his thirty years of successful ministry in evangelism. The Lord has given him some bold new strategies for this hour.

The crisis in our nation is real. The serpentine stranglehold of abortion continues to squeeze the life out of over 4,000 wombs daily. Sexual immorality, both heterosexual and homosexual, is reaching epic heights of perversion. The number of women and children being trafficked into the dark underbelly of the sex industry in our cities is growing at an alarming rate. Entire school systems are giving way to darkness. The sanctity of marriage is under siege, threatening to destroy the moral foundations of our nation.

We will also address the growing crisis that is emerging in many churches across America. A new wave of confusion is systematically seducing many young adults into deception. Sincere young people whose hearts were once ablaze for Jesus are being allured into compromise on foundational biblical truths and practices, while at the same time they are increasing in works of compassion and justice. No amount of increased ministry activity can “balance out” their profound spiritual compromises. In the name of tolerance, they are settling for a humanistic and “politically correct” theology that trivializes the glory of Jesus. Many young adult ministries are falling prey to this as they are seeking “relevance” that dulls the razor’s edge of truth for the sake of man’s approval. It is not enough to mention Jesus’ name if they deny foundational truths about Him. Our works of justice must flow from deep allegiance to Jesus and the Scripture.

Our nation has never stood on such a precarious footing as today. The onslaught of spiritual darkness is increasing in our classrooms, boardrooms, courtrooms, and bedrooms. We must confront the confusion that is pouring forth from many pulpits as well as from the halls of Washington. It is time to draw a line in the sand. We must hear what the Spirit is saying, and we must act on it. The Spirit will confirm the truth with demonstrations of power.

It is darkest before the dawn. Our hearts are full of faith. We know another historic “Great Awakening” is soon to sweep across our nation. We look with confidence to God’s promise: “In the last days . . . I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17-21). All nations will receive the witness of the kingdom with power (Mt. 24:14; Rev. 7:9). What a privilege to live in this awesome hour of history.

At this very hour, Jesus is raising up young adults who are being mobilized to cry out in night and day prayer, win the lost, heal the sick, and do works of compassion and justice as they impact the very fabric of our society. Join us in Kansas City from December 28–31. The onething’09 conference is FREE. You can register at IHOP.org.

With passion for Jesus,
Mike Bickle and Lou Engle

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I’m going to start posting some on the IHOPU Student Awakening.  I snuck down there (Nov. 2-4) during the Global Bridegroom Fast to see my son Caleb who is a second year student at IHOPU. My drive home was one of the strongest times I’ve been with the Lord in a long time. It was hard to come home. ((I also went to KC to see my brother who has been in a battle for his eyesight. He was prayed for twice at IHOP while I was there and was delivered of a spirit of self-hatred at an IHOP Joseph Company meeting there on Saturday.))

This first post I’ll just paste the statement on the Awakening found on their website. My commentary on all of this will start in a subsequent post.  I’ll also embed a video clip of Wes Hall who gives context to what has been happening there.

On November 11, during a 9:00am class of first-year students, led by Allen Hood and Wes Hall at International House of Prayer University (IHOPU), the Spirit moved in their midst with physical healings, deliverance, and a spirit of joy. That class, on November 11, continued for more than 15 hours. The word spread quickly, and over 2,000 people spontaneously gathered in the auditorium from all over the Kansas City area, as deliverance and physical healings increased. The meeting continued well past midnight. Recognizing that the Spirit was moving, the leadership of IHOPU canceled all classes for the next few days so that we could gather to receive all that the Spirit wanted to do.

We recognize that the Holy Spirit is awakening our students and many others. In each of these meetings, many people are being set free from addictions, shame, depression, demonic activity, and every sort of emotional pain. We are also witnessing an increase of physical healings, as God is touching and restoring bodies inside the building, as well as healing people watching via the webstream. Moreover, we greatly rejoice as we are seeing lost souls being added to the kingdom of God during these meetings. We are receiving many testimonies and reports that this move of the Spirit is spreading to other churches and prayer rooms that are joining with us each night via the webstream.

It all began on November 4, on the last day of the monthly Global Bridegroom Fast at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (IHOP–KC). A move of the Holy Spirit began to stir during the student chapel at IHOPU, as students testified about receiving deliverance from self-hatred, shame, and depression. Students began to experience supernatural joy at the revelation of God’s love for them. A powerful spirit of joy rested on many the next day at the IHOPU student-led 6:00am prayer meeting, and the Spirit continued to move throughout the week in our classes and during the faculty meetings.

What started during our IHOPU student chapel on November 4 is continuing today. Visitors are pouring in from many places, with some driving over 1,000 miles overnight to participate in these meetings. Consequently, on November 12, we moved the Prayer Room to our Forerunner School of Ministry sanctuary from 6:00pm to midnight each night, to accommodate more people. We will continue these nightly meetings as the Holy Spirit leads us. We earnestly pray that this awakening will continue, as our nation is in desperate need of another great awakening in this hour.

Throughout history, college and university campuses in our nation have been an epicenter and a catalyst for spiritual awakening. Since the 1700s, our nation has witnessed multiple moves of the Holy Spirit that have touched and awakened students on college campuses, including Princeton University, Yale University, Asbury College, Wheaton College, and more than a dozen other college campuses. These spiritual awakenings often progressed beyond the campuses and resulted in a great number of souls being added to the kingdom of God. History also attests to a strong correlation between spiritual awakening and missionary movements. We pray that this spiritual awakening that is touching IHOPU and the rest of our IHOP–KC Missions Base will break out all over our nation in different cities.

Here’s the video.

 

For those who are not used to seeing a grown man heave and twitch under the power of God, I’ll point you to my friend Randy Bohlender’s blog this morning where he notes this is God because that isn’t typical for Wes. In the Book of Acts, the only grid people had to process when they saw people affected by the weighty presence of God was to conclude they must be drunk.

The KC Times article yesterday on the 24/7 prayer at IHOP-KC has caused me to reflect again on a massive 24/7/365 prayer movement that emerged from here (Germany) a couple centuries ago. I’ll have to rely on pictures from our time in Herrnhut a couple years ago because we haven’t been able to get there during our time here this summer.  Here we are at the edge of town. The tree-lined one lane road behind us went a mile from Zinzendorf’s home (Berthelsdorf) to the prayer community in Herrnhut. As you can see on this map, Herrnhut is as far east in Germany as one can get, it’s right on the border of the Czeck Republic.

Herrnhut 1

Herrnhut, Germany is the home of the renowned Hundred-Year-Long Prayer Meeting. In 1722, persecuted Christians from Moravia fled to Saxony and found protection in the domain of the regional Count Nicolas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. (I’ve always loved to say his name!) Here’s what he looked like:

Me and zinzendorf

Zinzendorf was influenced by his godfather’s (P.J. Spener) pietism and the pietistic renewal movement in the Lutheran church – that faith (prayer and Bible study) should be personal and that we can relate directly to God – that religion should be from the heart, not the head. I’ve been quoting Karl Barth on this trip so I thought his comment on Zinzendorf would be fitting here; “Zinzendorf is perhaps the only genuine Christocentric of the modern age.”

The Lord’s Watch
Zinzendorf established a Christian community for oppressed religious minorities on his land. When a fleeing Moravian named Christian David showed up at his door, Zinzendorf welcomed him and invited him to invite others. A Moravian settlement was established on Count Zinzendorf’s land. When the community started to experience discord and division in 1727, Zinzendorf called them to prayer. They later named their praying community Herrnhut (Herren hut), which means “the Lord’s Watch.”

Initially, twenty-four people took one hour shifts during which they committed to pray – the Lord’s Watch. More joined the watch and this prayer watch went on unbroken until 1847. Throughout the decades hundreds attended these prayer meetings and worship services – many of the people were overwhelmed by the strong presence of God and would sing and lay prostrate on the floor for six to eight hours. The anointing touched the children and led to a revival among children.

Prayer births a mission movement
As Moravians at Herrnhut started to sense God’s missionary call to take the good news to the lost, they would hold funerals for the missionaries before they sent them off to places like Jamaica. (We found Moravian missionary graves when we were in Jamaica a couple years ago!) Imagine holding a funeral for someone who is about to leave because it was understood that the call of Jesus was to go give your life reaching lost people and that you’d not return in this life. To reach the slaves in Jamaica, the Moravian missionaries would sell themselves into slavery as it was the only way to gain access to Caribbean slaves. Stories of supernatural visitations and provision accompany each missionary account of the Moravians.

John Wesley wrote that he was led to Christ by a Moravian missionary from Herrnhut while sailing on a ship to America. When the ship was nearly overtaken by a storm, and he and the other passengers panicked, however the Moravian fellow on the ship was calm, had peace and prayed. In his revivals Welsey often talked about the “warming heart” moment of his born-again experience with the Moravian missionary.

Here is Caleb in the Moravian graveyard at Zinzendorf’s grave. About fifty yards away we found the grave of Christian David. This stuff comes alive when you read this book released a couple years ago from 24/7 Titles – Regal.

Zinzendorf's grave

The goal for Zinzendorf and his friend Christian David was to form ecclesiolae in ecclesia—”little churches within the church”—to act as a leaven, revitalizing and unifying churches into one communion. Caleb, I, and our good friend Andy spent several days out in Zinzendorf’s forest – it was a powerful time – a strong prophetic flow and presence of God – we even commanded storms with our prayers!  Here’s a pic of wet heads Andy and Caleb after that experience…

Commanding storms

We stumbled on places in the forest called “bandengrubens” – these were earthen dugouts with rock benches in a circle where Herrnhutters came each day to study the Bible together and pray. Caleb has plans to build a bandengruben dugout in our shelter belt along the creek at home. Here’s a bandengruben we found in Zinzendorf’s forest…

Bandengruben

In the forest we also found a well which is curiously named Isaac’s Well (all this is in Saxony – sacs sons – Isaac’s sons – some of you reading this know why I’m underscoring all of that). Here’s a pic of that memorable spot…

Isaacs Well Herrnhut

A new sound released in Christian worship – JOY
In the first 65 years of this Herrnhut prayer meeting 300 missionaries were sent and the modern missions movement was born. Also, equally significant, joy came back into Christian worship as the uplifting Moravian hymns were embraced by the church worldwide.  (Their music was led by trombone choirs – I bought a CD when I was there – wild stuff!) Isn’t this amazing… this a 100+ year long 24/7/367 prayer meeting produced the global missions movement and changed the worship expression of Christianity for generations. Here’s the prayer tower that now stands above the Moravian graveyard at Herrnhut.

Herrnhut prayer tower

Heads up – – the following is not rated PG. But I share what I’m about to share to show how good and Godly people are not perfect people and that even the greatest move of God has it’s fleshly moments. (I’ve also recently written here on what I see as one of Luther’s two faults). Some today throw the baby out with the bathwater in terms of those God is using today – they see the great work, but are unable to get over some doctrinal quirk the minister has, or whatever. (Relating this back Mike Bickle and to the difficult but incredible days of the KC Prophets, those who’ve never read his book “Growing in the Prophetic” will never see how Bickle was able to change the dirty bathwater without throwing out the baby.)

An unfortunate controversy
Zinzendorf was involved in an unfortunate controversy about the wound of Christ. During a later period of his life he started to reflect on the wound of Christ (In Latin, “wound” is a form of the word vulva–opening, vagina– no kidding). In all the crucifixion pictures of Jesus’ wound Zinzendorf noticed the wound of Christ indeed did bear a remarkable vulva-like resemblance. He postulated that the “wound” that gives life to all of humanity is the vulva of Jesus. He encouraged followers to visualise Christ’s vulva in great detail – critics hammered him for this intense psycho-erotic meditation on the wounds of Christ. Feminist theology today embraces this reasoning. Zinzendorf later backed off this sexually-charged theology and agreed it was aberrant.

Herrnhut today
Also, I want to report that the Jesus Haus in Herrnhut is emerging in the house of prayer and missionary flow that historically came from Herrnhut. It was a blessing to be with those folks in that community and we also so appreciated the hospitality of those at the YWAM base in Herrnhut. YWAM has an intercessory prayer training focus today at Herrnhut.

So, Jesus says (Luke 4:18)… “Will not God bring about justice for his elect who cry to him day and night?”  Yet the moment someone stands up to do just that – here come the “cult” labels from those who don’t have a clue what they are looking at. Remember this – a fanatic is someone who loves and obeys Jesus more than you do.

Yesterday my hometown paper, the KC Star, decided to do a lengthy story on the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, founded by Mike Bickle. Read the story yourself. In case you are wondering, we are thrilled that Caleb returns in a couple weeks for his second year there. Kristen and I have often wondered over the years what our lives would have been like had we stayed there in the 80’s. We fully support what is happening at IHOP-KC. (For those of you who feel led to “fill me in” on this some more, don’t bother, maybe you aren’t aware that we were there in the 80’s during the days of the KC Prophets and though we were young and dumb, what personally hurt us was the adultery of Bickle’s accuser, not Bickle – he stayed faithful). 

I thank God for Mike Bickle and that God has used him to raise up 24/7/365 prayer all over the earth. Like I told one cynic recently, he who has a better prayer life than Mike Bickle can cast the first stone. He who lives the Sermon-on-the-Mount lifestyle more closely than Mike Bickle can cast the first stone. I should have said this: I wonder what they’d write and say about you if you were even a tenth as successful at raising up tens of thousands of twenty-somethings to pray non-stop night and day for mercy and justice for every concievable issue facing planet earth.

Also in the newspaper, the Washington Times, is this op-ed by my friend Pastor Walter B. Hoye II. I honored Pastor Hoye recently on my pro-life blog. But more than what I have to say I hope you’ll read what he has to say about black genocide and abortion. It’s no secret that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was a eugenic racist – calling for abortions and forced sterilizations of those she dubbed “human weeds” (the blacks Jews and the other, as she called them… “dysgenic races.”) Planned Parenthood has never renounced their racist roots and continues to target poor communities and countries with their population control programs.

Pastor Hoye is trying to let others know we are aborting more black babies than are being born – that because of abortion, Black America now has a negative population growth rate. Thanks to those who profit from abortion, as Pastor Hoye states, “Black American’s are no longer replacing themselves.” And, at the present rate of birth, “the entire black community in the United States could be wiped out by the year 2100.” (And America’s first black President is leading the charge! Oh the irony of that! ) Can you imagine a black pastor who remains silent about the genocide of his people? Thank God for Pastor Hoye!

Here’s a good place to plug my friends Darlene and Danielle Wibeto children’s book… Justice Loves Babies.

While not wanting to fuel any debate with those in the seat of scoffers, I’m devoting a few additional posts on the Florida Healing Outpouring to explain why I’m not thwarted in my belief that “this is mostly God” even by reports of things like angel appearances and other Christian mystic experiences (post on this to follow) and even the matter of Todd Bentley’s violent methods. What follows is an transcription from my final point in my message Sunday where I spoke from Matthew 11:12. You can check out my earlier posts on the revival here and here. I appreciated Peter Kirk’s post yesterday on this topic of violence and the Kingdom of God so you’ll want to check that out. Peter is from Essex, UK. I especially appreciate him drawing in this quote from C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian.

Aslan pounced. Have you ever seen a very young kitten being carried in the mother cat’s mouth? It was like that. The Dwarf, hunched up in a little, miserable ball, hung from Aslan’s mouth. The Lion gave him one shake and all his armour rattled like a tinker’s pack and then – hey-presto – the Dwarf flew up in the air. He was as safe as if he had been in bed, though he did not feel so. As he came down the huge velvety paws caught him as gently as a mother’s arms and set him (right way up, too) on the ground.


Expect the new wine to come forcefully.
This will really stretch your old wineskin… Matthew 11:12 brings us to key point of controversy regarding Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Outpouring. “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” 99% of the church has no understanding of this verse. We gravitate toward the nice verses at the end of the chapter… come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest. But verse 12 is every bit inspired as verse 28 and verse 12 says the Kingdom of heaven is forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it. A literal rendering read “the violent take it by force.”

Many church people are rejecting the Florida Outpouring because Todd Bentley is so violent. We’ve all seen him body slam people on stage and knee people in the stomach. And he talks openly about this – he said one time the glory of God wasn’t evident in a meeting and he asked God about it and God said, “It’s because you haven’t kicked that woman in the face.” He said, “What? You want me to kick that 80 year old woman in the face.” God said, “Yes, with your work boot.” And so Todd kicked the woman in the face and just as his boot got to her nose she fell back under the power of God and God’s glory visited that meeting.

You can understand how this kind of thing is causing many to be offended and reject everything about this guy. Surely a loving God wouldn’t tell a guy to kick an 80 year old woman in the face! Are you sure? He told Abraham to sacrifice his son. “Do this Abraham – no wait, don’t… I just wanted to see if you would.” Are we sure the God who shakes nations with earthquakes is always safe and soft?

We all know God doesn’t need us to kick people in the face for them to be healed and Bentley says its not the point – the point is his obedience. Maybe Bentley operates at a great level of power because he is radically obedient. Maybe many in the church are walking in the lowest levels of God’s power in their lives because we won’t even obey a simple prompt from the Holy Spirit to give a bigger offering next week.

The Bible talks about those who have a form of godliness but deny the power. The word power is the word “dunamis” – dynamite, explosive power or force. Those who walk in this power seeing signs and wonders are often forceful, aggressive and walk in a holy violence. Part of the problem is most evangelicals have no knowledge of church history or what is happening in terms of deliverance ministry in the church globally. Nothing Bentley is doing is any different than what is normal many churches in Africa. I’ve been there a couple times… they aren’t driving foul spirits away in Africa by saying “shoo.” African Christians get in the devils face. They are kind/gentle. From what I’ve seen, Bentley is tender with children and it’s indisputable that he’s and his ministry are kind to the poor – he weeps when he talks about intimacy with Jesus. But facing a sickness or a devil, at times he comes out swinging – mostly though with strong words.

Seventy-five years ago Smith Wigglesworth was having mass revival meetings here and all over the world. Wigglesworth is one of the American revival heroes. He considered every type of sickness a work of the enemy – sometimes when he’d identify the part of the body that was hurting he’s punch the person in that part of the body. He’d grab the tongue of a stutterer and some people got upset that he was hitting the sick. He’d reply, “I don’t hit people, I hit the devil and people just get in the way.” Through his ministry people regained their hearing and sight, new limbs were created, cancerous growths disappeared and demons fled. Twenty-three people were raised from the dead at the hands of Smith Wigglesworth.

He once took a corpse out of the coffin and threw it up against the wall. The people were shocked until they saw that the deceased had sprung back to life. I’m not saying you need to rubber stamp this kind of violence, I’m saying we need to be careful to pounce on things like this so quickly as not being from God. I’m saying “the kingdom of God comes by force and forceful men lay hold of it.” The Kingdom of God is not the kingdom of the cushioned pew.

My own testimony is that I was healed when a minister hit me. I was healed of debilitating migraines in 2001 when a guy from Texas came to Church at the Gate for a prayer conference. He hit me on the forehead with the heel of his hand and said, “spirit of infirmity, be gone!” My hair would hurt when I’d have a migraine, and my wife will tell you, touching me was a no-no. So this guy hit me in the head and I haven’t had a migraine since. I don’t recommend that methodology to our prayer team people, but folks, God is God and he does what he wants.

The context of this verse in Matthew 11 on the violence of the Kingdom of God is Jesus talking with John the Baptist’s followers about John. Jesus asked them, “who did you go out in the desert to see, a man in soft clothing?” Is anyone else tired of the soft-clothing preachers who have words but don’t have any works to offer – who have “words” but the sick aren’t healed and the demons aren’t cast out? They ought to put signs out front – DUNAMIS-FREE ZONE, IT’S SAFE HERE – DEMONS WELCOME.

A couple verses later is Matthew 11:16-17. These verses are a bit perplexing. Jesus says; “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.” In other words, yours is a generation that is immature in the things of God. You are out there in the world thinking like children and this verse is about expectations and particularly how God isn’t doing what they set up for him to do. Is your church a church that dances to God’s tune or a church that tries to get God to dance to ours. I believe this to be the key issue each of us need to sort out– will we dance to God’s song, or wait til it’s over and try to get him to dance to ours?

God is not coming as we expect. He never limits himself to our expectations. He will not conform himself to our likeness, or liking. I heard Mike Bickle say once that “people are very comfortable with the Jesus in white, but not the Jesus in red.” The red is regarding the blood splattered on his garments when he returns to make war against the kings of the earth and violently remove everything that hinders love. As we near the end of the age, we can expect a great increase in the violent clash between the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness. Maybe next week I’ll preach the John 2:15 verse which talk about Jesus making a whip… 🙂 Would the Jesus you worship really make a whip?

UPDATED – Thanks to Andrew for commenting on this post and pointing us to this verse… 1 Kings 20:35f “Now a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to another BY THE WORD OF THE LORD, “Please STRIKE me.” But the man refused to strike him. Then he said to him, “Because you have not listened to the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as you have departed from me, a lion will kill you.” And as soon as he had departed from him a lion found him and killed him. Then he found another man and said, “Please strike me.” And the man struck him, wounding him.”

Apparently, God does tell people to hit people.

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