Whether it is in judgement, cleansing, or refreshing God uses water to cleanse first (John 3:5), and then fire to completely purify (Prov. 17:3). I believe with everything in me where are very near a wide-spread, deep-felt move of God’s fire. It will bring judgement to the church of America and awakening to the Church.
People will be moved to actions of love and kindness to bring God glory not just bring awareness to their church or faith. People will pray for the sick not because they should but because they are ready to see people recover and know God will answer. People will seek the lost, not to condemn or to condone but to love and bring the kingdom into their reality (the Kingdom of God is the real reality folks [Mat. 10:7]).
This will not be confined to church buildings and in fact will be marked as an “outside the church
” movement like has not been seen in our nation for many generations. This stirring is not another Azusa, another Toronto, another Brownsville (for my Pentecostal and Charismatic friends). God is not sending us another Great Awakening but he is sending just what we need at this moment. He is way more aware of the condition of the church and our nation than we are. He sees the next 12 months, 12 year, and 12 centuries as we see the current words on this page.
Our God, the only true God, who sent His Son Jesus to live for us, die for us, and rise again for us will send another move of His Spirit in this nation. This proclamation is not the hope of a wishful pastor in the Bible Belt of the southern United States. No, I am consistent with the voice of many Pastors, Teachers, Evangelist, Prophets, and Apostles in this day (yes they are all still active in the church). God is moving quickly. Shepherds (Ezek. 34)had better be humble (I Pet. 5:1), hungry (Isa. 26:9), and lead in repentance (Joel 2:17)as people turn to God in a mighty wave or they will find themselves swept away in the undercurrent of compromise and spiritual decay.
The coming months will be a time of shifting. Alignments, allegiances, and associations will change for many bodies of believers. Many churches, church organizations, and ministries will be challenged and changed. As these changes take place uncertainty will be replaced with confirming signs. Our God who is a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24, Heb. 12:29) will answer our cries for him to come and our action to trust him with signs of fire (I King 18:24, 2 Chron. 7:1,Psalm 104:4, Luke 3:16, Acts 2:3).
In 1995, God showed up in a major way at my wife and I’s home church in Pensacola, FL. “The River of God” was a often used theme in song, word, and action during that time. We talked of God flooding our hearts and the area. The hope was for God to overwhelm us with the flow of his presence and signs that would follow. In that season we saw a wonderful move of God for over five years. It was an amazing experience for many, especially for myself and my wife. In fact, we got married during this wonderful era. It was the second time in my life I had been involved in a church where people could not wait to get in the building so much that they lined up outside well in advance. In both cases this happened week after week for a long period of time, it was not an isolated incident. In two cases that season ended in a very unfortunate manner for the churches involved.
I have prayed for God to stir again in my heart, in our ministry here, in Pensacola. As I have prayed through the years it has been clear to me that what God began in Pensacola in 1995 is incomplete. God is not finished using Pensacola as a place of exemplary ministry for the Kingdom. I do think that the precedent of God moving differently, first by water then by fire, applies here.
Notice the shape and motion of the storm system in this NOAA image.
(You have to click on the image and view it in another tab to see the action. It is well worth it.)
On the night of April 29, 2014 Pensacola was hit with the worst rain in 130 years
. This rain continued through the morning hours, prior to sunrise, of the next day. When the sun rose and we saw the total devastation that had overtaken our area it was heartbreaking. I have seen friends lose cars, homes, many possessions, and nearly their lives., My family narrowly avoided disaster on three occasions that evening as we drove home from a worship service in Fort Walton Beach, FL. At that time people were still talking about the flood of God coming to our area, the river rising again, the wellspring of waters being uncovered. I felt a cause to pause as I walked past neighbors houses, spoke with them, looked in their eyes, and surveyed the half of a yard they had left on top of the eight foot cliff that formed overnight in the wash of the storm. Was God sending this kind of thing here? Yes, I know I have just segued from symbology to reality. However, can we seriously expect God to be ignorant of the natural when he clearly uses the natural to reveal the spiritual (Rom. 1:19-20
)? Would he promise a river in the Spirit and then let our entire area experience a devastating flood in the midst of his stirring the churches here (The stirring of God that is now known as the Gulf Stream Revival
started during this time.)?
As I prayed over this stirring of God among his people in and around Pensacola, I could not shake the thoughts of what I was seeing right in front of my eyes. Then in prayer, outside in the driveway, the Lord allowed me to understand. I could see it clearly. The enemy had seen the work of the Lord rising, he was aware of the past, he had heard our words about the present and the future, he understood what we expected and were proclaiming. So, he sent a flood, yes he did it. The enemy is the only one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). This flood was sent to mock the move of God growing here. It was intended to discourage the people of God and take the words, literally right out of our mouths. What did God have to say about this?
In I Kings 18:30-39, I found the answer. God was not afraid of the enemy, nor surprised by him in the least. In fact he welcomed the enemies veiled attempt to win, stopped him short of his desire to take hundreds of lives, and was sending a word to leaders in this area that we would answer by fire. It is a move of fire that God is sending to the church of America. Pensacola, is one of the places God has used before and is using again. In Isa. 43:2 the people of Israel are warned that God would be with them through the “rivers of difficulty” and the “fire of oppression”. In Exodus 30:20-21 Moses is instructed by God to prepare Aaron and the Levite’s for ministry in his presence by washing first with water before they enter his presence and offer with fire. John the Baptist told those listening to him that he baptized with water but there was one coming, referring to Jesus Christ, who would “baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16). God has promised not to judge the Earth again by flood like he did in the days of Noah but Peter warns that He will judge the Earth by fire (2 Peter 3:7).
Are we ready? Let the enemy cause his side to shout and dance. He is powerless to answer on the altar they have made for him. We will see the water poured on the altar and still know that our God will answer by fire and we will see this: “ And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!” (I Kings 18:39
). In the words of the great Methodist Hymn “Send the Fire Today”!