The month of February has been a good one. Nothing absolutely over the top in terms of confrontations or the miraculous, but we’ve been receiving breakthrough after breakthrough and progressing very steadily from glory to glory. In the last few weeks we have experienced a sudden forward shift in many of the neighborhoods that we have been in for the last year. Households and individuals that had stonewalled us to this point suddenly opened wide. Instead of standing at the door and knocking we got invited in to share Jesus and bring the Kingdom.
What’s funny is that when I normally talk about the stuff going on in neighborhoods, people think we are working some pet program that just applies to our church. What they fail to recognize is that we are simply participating in a worldwide move of God! All over the world, the same general pattern is erupting in cities, neighborhoods and townships with astounding results. The dead are being raised, the sick are being healed, the Gospel is being preached and churches are being planted. This isn’t being done by (to borrow from Larry Randolph) “The Evangelist from Los Angeles” or some “Colossal Apostle” but rather normal, everyday saints that have learned of the power of God they possess.
1. Firstly, the saints are mobilized by the Holy Spirit to GO and PREACH the Gospel with signs and wonders in their villages, neighborhoods and cities.
2. Secondly, the saints plant house churches of new believers in every village (neighborhood) that they go to. These house churches are strategic outposts for the Kingdom of God where the Gospel overtakes the powers of darkness in a neighborhood/village and new believers are discipled into maturity.
3. Thirdly, as village after village falls to the overwhelming power of the Gospel, communities and cities are impacted as maturing believers spread the message to their family, (Acts 16:31) friends and loved ones, reproducing great commission house fellowships wherever they go.
WHERE WE ARE AT
You’ve already heard me talk of how we go into neighborhoods and go door to door preaching “The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand”. Getting people saved, healed and delivered is the easy part. In all of the neighborhoods we are in, we have one or more families that have received a healing, miracle, salvation or deliverance. The next step is to gather all of the new believers in a neighborhood and start a house fellowship which takes the new believers into maturity. Getting all of the new believers together in one place and getting a house meeting going has proven to be the hardest and most difficult step so far. Once we get the new believers into a meeting and the meetings stabilize in terms of scheduling, the believers seem to mature very quickly. Already we have several individuals and families moving in the power of God themselves, healing the sick and leading their friends and family to the Lord.
Over the last several months there have been several neighborhoods where we have struggled to get a meeting going. In these neighborhoods, we still visit individual households every week or so, but getting all of the new believers together had been hindered. We had been turned down, left out in the rain, stood up and rejected time and time again. And by people that had received healings, miracles and salvations! So we decided to do what most Western Christians won’t do.
We pressed in.
We stepped up our prayer, asking God to melt hearts and transform lives. We stepped up our fasting, doing without food to seek first the Kingdom. We kept scheduling meetings, only to have them be cancelled again and again. We kept going back to the neighborhoods, even when we didn’t want to. We kept “doing the stuff” even when we didn’t feel like it. And you know what? We got a breakthrough. Doors opened, hearts melted and families gave their lives to Jesus.
NOT SO TIDY
Most Western Christians feel like if it’s not easy, then it’s not God. They feel that if it doesn’t happen instantly, then they should abandon the cause. Most Western Christians are very uncomfortable if everything isn’t sanitized and all neat and tidy. Most Western Christians wilt at the first sign of discomfort. But real life in the Kingdom isn’t that way. Things are messy. Bad things happen and good people often have to press through all hell to get a hold of Heaven. David Hogan says that Americans are looking for a problem-free utopia and calling that the Kingdom of God. But that’s not what the Lord promised us at all. The things that He promised were things like persecutions and tribulations, not a tidy little existence devoid of abject circumstances.
The Kingdom of God is righteousness. But righteousness isn’t a counterculture where unrighteous people aren’t even let through the door. The righteousness of God invades the darkest perversion and triumphs. Translation: when you take the Kingdom, you are assaulted with every kind of wickedness and evil you can imagine. Uncleanness, immorality, promiscuity and addictions of every kind flourish in the ripest harvest fields.
The Kingdom of God is a matter of peace. But peace isn’t the cessation of all conflict. Peace is a supernatural calm in the midst of a storm that is trying to kill you! The peace of God is manifested where there is no peace, not in a tranquil environment with orchestral music playing softly in the background. Many Christians mistake quiet for peace. But you can be in turmoil on the inside, even when you are quiet on the outside. Sitting in a quiet sanctuary, isolated from the din of humanity is one thing, but trying to get a hold of the peace of God while a family literally fights it out in front of you is another. But when you see the peace of God descend in a hellhole of confusion, anger and insanity, then you know the true definition of peace.
The Kingdom of God is a matter of joy. But true, Kingdom joy is not found in perfected circumstances. The joy that comes from the Spirit is an inexplicable happiness that comes from the Spirit, in spite of your circumstances. It’s manifested when bills are past due, when everyone hates you and is saying terrible things about you and when the Doctors say there is nothing more than they can do. When you can laugh in the face of the enemies’ best assault and actually derive strength from the onslaught, you know you have found the joy of the Lord that is your strength.
Indeed, the Kingdom of Darkness is DARK. But the LIGHT of the Gospel far surpasses it. Our Gospel light shines brightest in the darkest places. Most Christians don’t ever venture where there is no light and consequently they do not know of the light they possess. To them I say,
"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of Jehovah has risen on you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but Jehovah shall rise on you, and His glory shall be seen on you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning." Isaiah 60:1-3