Catching the Fire of Revival – Part III

Today is the second day that I have been praying for a revival to break out in Canada. Far-fetched, you think? It’s not as unrealistic of a prayer as you realize.

In 1904, a revival took place in Wales. A man named Evan Roberts had prayed for ten years that the people of Wales would come to know Jesus, and even when years went by and there were no results, he kept praying for his country, because why not?

When the revival broke out, it was characterized by prayer, praise, joy and victory, as the people of Wales re-discovered the Holy Spirit. In six months 100,000 people came to Jesus. Yes, I did say 100,000, not 100, or 1000, but ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND people of Wales came to know Jesus as their savior and dedicated their lives to living for His Kingdom.

Evan Roberts, just a man who prayed for his country.

At any point Evan Roberts could have deemed his prayers useless or bent to the lie that his country was not going to turn from their beliefs and come home to their Father. But every day, he prayed, no matter how he felt. And 100,000 people was the prize for not giving up.

When I learn about things like this, my immediate thought is, I want that for Canada! But then I think about it more and I say to myself, “Well, Canada is a lot bigger than Wales. And with all the different cultures, there are so many language barriers. And these days our government doesn’t care a whole lot about God. Our situation is much different, it’s unlikely that a revival would happen here.”

Wrong. All wrong. Actually, this is EXACTLY where a revival should happen.

If you have read any of my past Catching the Fire of Revival posts, you already know that a revival doesn’t take place on “green grass” or in an area that already has it all together. A revival needs something to revive. A revival occurs so that the dead grass comes back to life. When the people in the grittiest battles finally decide to lay down their weapons and surrender. A revival comes when things are not all good.

All over this country I have heard of churches closing down, denominations dying out, schools that once thrived in sharing the love of Jesus becoming a place where the name of Jesus is only used as a cuss word, and Christians everywhere battling depression, disunity, and destroyed relationships in their own homes and families. But this is not God’s plan for this country. It is never God’s wish that His people live under a cloud, depressed and quiet. My prayer is that this revival happens first with the Christians laying down their battle uniforms and no longer picking sides, and coming together as one congregation under God’s leading, and getting on their knees in a quiet place instead of raising their voices in public. I don’t believe that a revival happens where there isn’t first surrender, and confession. As a result of personal cleansing, love pours out from all the people involved, spilling out into their atmosphere, affecting those in their circles and communities, drawing in crowds and changing other hearts.

(And trust me, our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has more of a history of encountering the Holy Spirit in his own life than you think. Pray that he remembers those moments from his past.)

Let’s just be real for a moment. I can think of many much more strenuous things I would do in order to see a revival come to this country, and see thousands come to know the Lord, than pray for my country for a couple of years. That seems like a no-brainer to me. All I’m asking is that you would pray with me, whenever you remember. Put a post-it note on your mirror in the bathroom so that you remember to say a thirty-second prayer in the morning while you get ready for your day.

This is not a long blog post, and I know I haven’t written for a while, but this is present on my heart and totally applicable to what the Lord is doing right now. In my former Catching the Fire of Revival posts, I have referenced the book The Calvary Road by Roy Hession, and I have based the previous posts on that incredible little book. I still recommend that you read this book if you want to know what revival is and how to get it in your heart. And trust me, it’s not a “bad time” for you, nor are you “not in the right head space” to experience a revival. It really doesn’t matter if you haven’t talked to God in a while either.

Thank you, God, that your love is unconditional. We suck.

As I have said before, God is on the move. Let’s get in on the action.

Catching the Fire of Revival Part I
Catching the Fire of Revival Part II

The Big Comeback

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In June I started writing a magical Christmas novel and for some bizarre reason I’ve stayed fully dunked into the Christmas zone for months. Yes, I was in some other sparkling snowy world all summer. Doesn’t seem very Canadian of me, acting like those precious hot months of summer weren’t really there. I’m probably insane. I’m sure there are people in my life who think so.

Thankfully, I don’t give a flying fart in the winter wind what they think.

My mind has been bubbling over with creativity, so much so that I really can’t keep up with it. There isn’t time for all of these “gold minds”! My “mind-field” is at full capacity. Yet, still the unexpected colourful explosions come. And this is both a chaotic scramble and an enormous relief, because for a while I thought maybe I had lost every creative bone in my body. Except for my funny bone, of course. Somehow that one managed to stay. Which was a comic relief. A relaxing clean break. Just side-splintering, as a matter of fracture.

I’m fairly certain that what brought forth the change was all the time I spent in the presence of Jesus, basking in the fiery glow of love that He has for me, getting fuelled and recharged. Music started pouring out of my soul. It was my own personal revival; my dry bones waking up to dance, my aching voice coming out of captivity for the first time in years, and my stomach being filled with fire. Stories are being intricately woven together in my mind. My head is so full.

And what crazy timing. In about two weeks my friend Jess and I are putting a worship conference on at our church called Set Free. I haven’t talked about it much on here. In fact, I haven’t written often at all in the months that we have been praying for this conference, but now I’m going to tell you why you need to be there.

God is doing something miraculous. In the past few weeks He has been pouring out, and every week it’s growing into more. I’ve never planned a conference where I’ve had so little to do. God took care of everything.

This is how my God works. Praise Him!

See you in the tidal wave.

Peace.

Try Not to Eat the Menu

My kid eats paper. It’s weird.

Recently he ate part of the back cover of one of my friend’s books. He thinks this is hilarious and I really can’t figure out why.

A little while ago he got his hands on a pizza menu and had consumed a hefty corner of it before we realized. He thought it was funny as we panicked and tried to fish the cardboard out of his mouth. I would love to some day understand what goes through that little head of his on a daily basis. Seriously. There are so many yummier things than paper.

Lately God has been helping me to understand a few things as I pray in preparation for the worship conference that is going to be taking place at my church. I am so ready for the Lord to deliver people from sickness, physical pain, mental problems, strongholds, outstanding debts, whatever. But there was an instance recently where I prayed for someone and they weren’t healed. I found this to be discouraging at first, and continued to pray throughout the week, “God, please, please heal this person!” I couldn’t figure out what had happened. I had released the healing power of Jesus into this person’s body, the healing power that also resides in me. This person should have been healed.

I think this is something that happens often, and sometimes we leave feeling confused and question God about what happened. After all, there is enough of the Holy Spirit for everyone to be healed. Always. It doesn’t run out or run dry.

Well God has been pressing a few Biblical accounts into my heart lately and for some reason I didn’t make the connection until this week. I feel almost foolish for missing the point He was making, because as I look back I realize how obvious it was. God wasn’t asking me to go into this with a method. He was asking me to go in with obedience.

I’ve always considered myself to be someone who didn’t use formulas, and didn’t go in with any preconceived ideas about how something was supposed to look. I didn’t want to put God into a box and try to tell Him how to heal someone or what He should do. I wanted to look around the room and ask God what He was doing, and only move when He told me what He was going to do. I must have been living on another planet because this is actually what I thought I was already doing.

The truth is, God doesn’t need my help to heal the sick, to deliver someone from depression, or to restore a relationship. And if I am living under some delusion that I can go in and fix these things, I’m wrong. My job isn’t to seek out the problem and fix it. It’s to ask God where to go and go in the direction that He leads regardless of what I think should be happening, or how it makes me look, and regardless of whether or not I understand what He’s doing. God is almost always doing more than what we realize in the moment. This is humbling. Because over and over again we are constantly reminded that we know basically nothing and are proven wrong if we think we do know things. It’s even slightly comical, really.

How in the world does God not get exhausted from watching us do the things we do? We should probably be more embarrassed by our constant human driven logical thinking. God is enormous, powerful, holy, and mysterious. He is an intricate masterpiece, not a solid one-colour painting. And we are specs of dust in comparison.

Yet we walk into situations where God is moving and think we have the answers. What is wrong with us?

Jesus didn’t approach everyone the same way, and use a perfectly mastered formula to heal each sick person. He said, “I only do what I see my Father doing.” And when He walked up to a blind man, he spit in the dirt, rubbed it between His fingers, which is gross by the way, and smeared it on the man’s face. This probably looked really bizarre. I would have made an odd face if I had watched this happen in person, because I’m not the greatest at remembering to compose my facial expressions. But because of Jesus’s obedience this man got to be healed.

No, there was no pre-planned set of steps that Jesus was going over in His head as He approached this blind man. There was just Him asking the Father what He wanted. God wanted Him to spit in dirt, pick it up, and poke people with it. So strange as it seemed, that was what Jesus did.

All throughout the Bible the followers of God were doing odd things like this. It makes me wonder that if God asked me to do something equally as insane, would I do it or would I think it was too weird? I hope I would do it. I wonder what would happen if I did. Maybe I ought to chuck my “ways to bring healing” menu out the window and just ask God what He wants to do whenever I enter a room. Everything from the past that I am trying to recreate is irrelevant, because today God might want to do something different.

You lead, I’ll follow.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you…”

This brings me back to the menu that my son decided to eat for lunch. Can you imagine walking into a restaurant and sitting down to have a meal, but instead of waiting for the delicious feast that was to come, you decided to start mowing down on the menu because you couldn’t see beyond it? Maybe you forgot that there was something better beyond the menu? I have to wonder if maybe I am eating up the menu in my life, eating up the rules and formulas to try and get to the food, instead of waiting for the incredible gifts that God is about to pour out? I think its time to toss the menu aside and say, “Surprise me, God!”

Peace.

The War Ship

It really is like a ship, spearing through the darkest oceans, going to war on behalf of its Captain. I’m talking about worship. Which cleverly, sounds a lot like “War Ship”.

How perfect.

Worship was never meant to be just singing songs for the sake of singing songs. Goodness, how bored I would be. I’ve only seen people fall asleep in church a few times and I’ll admit that every time it was basically hilarious, especially when they grunt a little while they wake up, but I can’t imagine being able to stay awake myself if I went into worship without the intent of really giving glory to the King of Kings and embracing the presence of my Creator.

If I was the Captain of a ship, which I dare say would be just fancy, I don’t think I would want to simply glide along on a sailboat. Too easy. Too dull. And this isn’t because I find sailing to be dull. But if I was a Captain with all the potential to take my vessel on wild adventures sanctioned by the King and wage wars against the most frightening enemies, and all I did was glide along…man. The King of my country would be disappointed in me. I would be disappointed in myself.

Worship can be so much more than we commonly let it be in our lives. Not only is it a way to step into an atmosphere of the Holy Spirit while He is moving and give honour to the one who loves us beyond measure, but it is also a battle cry.

Life sucks? Okay. Go worship.

Terrified of something? Okay. Go worship.

Suffering from pain? Go worship.

Fell empty? Lonely? Tired? Overworked? Jealous? Hurt? Worship.

There are a lot of tragedies in this world. Unfortunately that’s probably not going to change. But when we rise from our circumstances regardless of what they are and start to sing a chorus of “Hallelujahs” unto the King, something starts to shift in the spiritual realm and strongholds begin to break.

This is what God has been showing me. That I am to praise Him in whatever state of mind, health or emotion that I’m in. And what happens is a change of heart and an opening of my eyes.

Wow. His glory. Wow.

There is a record of history in the Bible about David, who was heading out to war. He could have stuck his most chiseled, scruffy, ruthless war heroes at the front of his army to intimidate his enemies. But instead he sent the choir, in full hallelujah-swing, ahead of his army. He was striking at the darkness, not with spears and swords, but with worship.

And yes, David was infinitely known for crushing his enemies. His passion to pursue and understand God’s heart was invaluable to his reign as King. Just a harpist, a worshipper, stepped forwards and killed a giant when he was a boy that everyone else was living in fear of. His worship was what also chased away the darkness that was tormenting King Saul.

My weapon of choice, is worship.

The enemy can’t stand up to worship.

Our God is a great God. I’m so happy that he is taking me on this adventure, charging my ship to sail into war against the darkness. He has been showing me so much about love, compassion, and boldness in these times of simply praising him.

I hope that you try this – to respond to any hardships by praising the King. Because He is still faithful in the good times and in the bad.

Peace out.

Catching the Fire of Revival: Part I

CATCHING THE FIRE P1We make it soooo hard. But Revival is actually quite simple. It’s the life and glory of God pouring out into our mere human hearts.

I’m reading through the book The Calvary Road by Roy Hession, though I’ve read it a couple of times before. If I had a better memory and didn’t constantly forget to, I would read through this book every year. There are many reasons why I like this book, the first being, shamefully, that it’s so short. I can whip through it in well under two hours. Yeah I probably look pretty lazy to some of you out there, but I’ll be honest, that’s my kind of book.

This tiny purse-perfect sized book isn’t expensive either. I think you can buy it new for under $4 online in a few places, and I recently found it downloadable for free on Kobo so I can carry it with me all the time on my phone. This blog post is only going to be on the first chapter, and if my atrocious memory doesn’t get the better of me I want to post more on the incredible power that is in this book as I go through it. I’m hoping this short blog series will inspire many to engage into sparking a revival, starting in our own hearts and in our homes and then reaching those around us with healing and miracles.

Also…this is an older book and the way Roy Hession writes sometimes sounds a bit dated, but everything he speaks on is like experiencing the breath of God wash over, restoring and reviving. Just good life-changing stuff.

First things first: Us vs. Him.

We are inconceivably weak and shamefully smeared by mistakes and incapability. This is unfortunately true, though we love to deny it. We pull the “Look at me, I’m perfect” card a lot. Too much. In fact, we should probably be embarrassed about how much we play that card.

In Heaven they are always praising God for His victory because He is always victorious. Thankfully, He succeeds where we fail. And if we can’t recognize that we fail, then we need a reality check (and we won’t see revival until we realize where we fail/have failed/are currently failing). We all have weaknesses and limits. Tons. But His power is boundless.

This is the first key to revival; recognizing our weakness and His power. But it’s not just this, it’s becoming broken, because brokenness is the stage-setting for a revival. You can’t revive what isn’t broken. (What an epiphany). Revival isn’t making green grass greener, it’s taking the dead dry bones and bringing them back to life. So stop focusing on how green your ‘lawn’ is and expecting God to reward you for how pretty you’ve made it look. He wants you to confess that underneath the green everything is dead and you can’t fix it without Him.

It’s sort of like ‘rolling out the red carpet’ for the party, except that you’re not rolling out a red carpet at all. Your carpet is filthy. It’s gross and people might scowl at it. But unless you’re willing to roll out your sludge-filled carpet and expose the truth about yourself, you’re not giving Jesus anywhere to set His feet.

The proud self within us needs to be broken. And being broken is painful and humiliating, and usually it means others get to see our flaws. It means that people are going to get let in on the secret that we aren’t perfect. It means that the hard unyielding self needs to melt, relinquish control. The self who justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights, and seek its own glory finally bows it’s head to God’s will, admits it is wrong, stops trying to make its own way to Jesus, surrenders it’s “rights” and surrenders the chase for its own glory. It means we die to ourselves and our attitude. It means we let Jesus fill our “self” and choose His way instead.

My boy Roy Hession explains this very well in Chapter 1.

It is this dangerous, spirit-hindering self who gets irritable and worried. It’s the “self” that is hard and unyielding in our attitudes, especially towards others. And we always read these sorts of things and instantly think of others who are like this – not us. Am I right? No wonder we need breaking.

Are we truly wanting a revival? Or are we just searching for some fun and wild experiences? Because in order for a revival to occur there needs to be a breaking first. A time of repentance. A time of recognition. A time of being truthful, vulnerable and willing to let others see our flaws. Don’t be too proud to take this step, as it is the most important in lighting up a revival. But pride can be such a revival-killer. And if we are willing to surrender and become vulnerable, admit our mistakes, look like a fool even, whatever, then this can also be the cause for many restored relationships.

This isn’t just a one time thing either. We need to be re-broken constantly, probably daily, as we continue to lay down the part of ourselves that thinks we know best and accept that God knows better and is willing to redeem us. When we stiffen our necks and refuse to repent or acknowledge our behavior it hurts Him deeply; this is because He knows how much our stubbornness is hurting us and how much better off we would be if we just let it go.

He cares about us. More than we know.

But this means that we are going to have to reserve ourselves, we can’t necessarily speak every time we want to, and sometimes we won’t get our own way. Instead we must choose to believe that we don’t know best. Most of us have these habits that are hard to break. But God knows best. He just does. The sooner we can let this sink in the better.

Jesus is our prime example. His willingness to be broken, publicly, and strung up on a cross in our place should be motivation enough. He, rather than taking the prize of elevating himself on the same level as God (which He was), humbled himself as a servant and let himself become shamefully exposed and brutally killed; the most unfathomable act of selflessness. He let men gawk at him. Spit on him. He didn’t retaliate or defend himself. He chose to have no rights of his own. He did this knowing that it would give us the right to be redeemed, should we so chose it. Our slime and selfishness was what he took on. Maybe we should stop being so proud of the image of perfection we have created for others to see and try harder to be proud to know the King who let himself be ridiculed in our place.

The Sermon on the Mount teaches of non-retaliation, love for enemies, and selfless giving. He also acted this out as an example. These weren’t just empty words, these were the words of life-giving power, the power to revive people, churches, cities, nations.

All day long the choice will be before us. My way or His way. All day. But it’s always our choice.

This means a constant yielding to those around us, even if they humiliate us, are mean to us, publicly define themselves as our enemies, try to control us, whatever. Wow, that’s hard. I don’t particularly enjoy being in the company of people with the “My way or the highway” attitude. I sort of want to hoof them in the face most of the time. But you will constantly run into people like this, heck, sometimes you might be this person without realizing it. But I guarantee that people who rub you the wrong way will be everywhere you go, even in the places where we are supposed to feel safe. Even in our own families. Or our circle of trusted friends. And God wants us to trust that He will redeem us (in other words, we can stop trying desperately to redeem ourselves or salvage our own reputation). He loves justice. He’s going to keep His eye on things and lift up the pure in heart. We need to be willing to actually let Him do it though, on His timing, instead of trying to fix the problems our way. Trust, trust, trust. He is bigger than even the loudest, meanest, most controlling person you know. He’s bigger and far more powerful and influential than your boss. Than your overbearing family member. Whatever it is. He’s more powerful and He certainly doesn’t need our help to turn the tables. We don’t have the power, we will just make it worse by taking action on our own, because we are pathetic, and quite frankly, not very smart in comparison to Him. Which brings me back to the most significant point:

It starts with recognition: We are scum. We are sinners. We aren’t perfect. We don’t always get it right. The sin we are trying to hide away in the closet is starting to smell like garbage and stink up the house. God is perfect though, and He is all powerful. He is the champion of Heaven. Conqueror of earthly problems. He will succeed where we are not strong enough. But we are not going to get it right without Him.

Secondly, we need to confess our stuff (take your time on this one and feel free to say out loud to God whichever ones are yours, or add your own sins to this list): I have a hard time letting God take control. I often think I know best and try to do things by my own strength. I’m bad at being patient and trusting that God’s timing is perfect. I get offended easily. I stand my ground and when I should let God fight my battles. There are people close to me that I really don’t like. I am proud. I want others to see me as being successful, without flaws. I want to have a following (or I want people to praise me). I feel the need to be right in every argument (or I am fighting with someone, and deep down I know that I’m actually wrong but I’m too embarrassed to admit I’m wrong in fear of what others will think), I have a hard time admitting my mistakes. I always justify my actions, even when they might be wrong. I gossip. I steal. I’m an adulterer. I sleep around. I lie. I’m a closet alcoholic. I lust. I lash out at others. I secretly orchestrate painful situations for the people I don’t like. I’m a bully. I try to pit people against each other. Other stuff.

All of these sins are equal to Him, by the way. So don’t assume that yours is the worst one.

Whatever it is, just take responsibility for it. Admit it and be set free from it so it can stop having power over you. And you may need to apologize to some others, but admit it to God first. Trust me, He doesn’t care that you did it, only that you admit it and stop trying to justify it (to Him, to others, and to yourself).

Ah, freedom. Finally, we will experience freedom like never before and the stage will be set for the oncoming release of His glorious Spirit and earth-shaking power. I don’t know about you, but I want some of that.

STEP 1: Prepare to be broken. Let yourself look a little foolish for a change. Hallelujah.

 

CATCHING THE FIRE OF REVIVAL: PART II