As soon as I walked into the building I could sense the presence of God.
We were visiting one of our spiritual sons who has planted a work in the southeast part of our country. We were only passing through. It was just Carolyn, me, and him. The atmosphere in the small building where he was holding services was charged with the presence and power of God. I knew him to be a man of prayer so that did not surprise me.
Our visit encouraged him and birthed some things in him, but it also left its mark on my wife and I. I have not been able to shake it. In a day when many churches are toning down on the move of the Spirit, structuring their services in such a way where it leaves no time and space for the Holy Spirit to work, and following the latest Madison Avenue tactics and cultural church trends, it was refreshing to hear the testimony of a brother who is moving in the opposite direction.
There are always certain birthmarks of a real move of God in a church or a city. Here are the ones we witnessed in the testimony of this unnamed brother and the work he is doing.
1. He is not following the money. God has led him to be high intensity on the power and glory of God and low profile on money emphasis. Of course, we are not opposed to receiving offerings, but in his particular case he is not receiving conventional 10-15 minute offerings that are attached to a tithing/offering message. Instead he leaves a basket in a corner where people can give if they choose to.
I used to think this method was a form of shame, that most people wouldn’t give, and it would cheat the people out of a blessing. But because of the day’s extreme emphasis on finances and the diminishing level of trust in Christian leadership, this brother has chosen to allow people to give out of the move of God that is touching them instead of a forced agenda. It is working for him.
Money doesn’t control him. He stays detached from the system of unbelief. Some men recently tried to manipulate him with a large tithe and he sent them on their way, refusing to let them use money as a form of manipulation to control him. How refreshing that is in today’s church culture!
2. He is following the glory. This work is marked by a passion for the glory of God. Many miracles, signs, and wonders are taking place. Instead of the focus being on the wealthy and those who can give, it is on the poor and those who cannot give. The example of this is seen in at least two places in Scripture: the parable of the great supper (Lk. 14:16-24) and the cleansing of the temple (Mt. 21:12-14). Instead of the traditional ministry philosophy where the members of the church serve the pastor and his vision, the pastor and the vision serve the people and empower them to fulfill their calling and destiny. There are rules, boundaries, and protocol but love is the law that prevails.
In January the church did an outreach in the open air for the drug addicts, the prostitutes, the sick and diseased, and the outcasts of society. Miracles were reported and many were saved, healed, and delivered.
They began taking the gospel to the projects on Sunday afternoon after their church service. They would pray and then go out. The power of God started moving in these projects. One day about a dozen gang members and hoodlums came out and this brother talked to them about the Lord. They wanted nothing to do with church or God. In the south, religion, man’s traditions, and hypocrisy have choked the life of God from its churches and embittered many.
This brother challenged them and asked them if God were to come down and touch them, would they serve Him? They answered yes. Then he prayed a short prayer and the fire of God came down on the street and they were all slain in the Spirit. Glory to God!
Every time this unnamed brother goes to the projects some of these men now go with him. Word of mouth advertising is spreading quickly and people keep coming and the Lord keeps adding to the church.
One millionaire businessman who owns the plaza (strip mall) where their facility is located has begun to tithe to the church because since they’ve been there the businesses in this plaza have been revitalized. At one time they were all close to foreclosure. Empty buildings are now being filled. This millionaire is not even a church-goer and is giving to this church and work because God has touched his business.
3. Finally, the work is built on true worship and prayer. There is a love affair going on with the Lord here, and it begins at the leadership level. People are learning through precept and example to seek the face of God more than His hand. The birthing of the glory of God and the movement of Divine activity have come out of that place of true worship and prayer.
Here is something every pastor needs to know in this hour. The glory of God will take care of a thousand concerns that you have. When you satisfy the heart of God and let Him build His house of prayer He perfects everything that concerns you. His glory touches other areas of your life and ministry so you will never have to address them. Take care of His business and He will take care of yours.
I have known for years that there is a move of the Spirit that modern day Charismatics know nothing about, and we’ve got to get it back. He wants to build houses of prayer that are filled with His glory. This alone will satisfy God’s heart and the heart of every man.
The works of God that will stand the test of His holy fire are gold, silver, and precious stones. Conversely, works of wood, hay, and stubble will be burned up.
My fervent admonition to you today is to go for the gold. Go for the glory. For unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain that build it (Ps 127:1).
Oh ministers of the Lord and you who bear His vessels, the Holy Spirit has been sent to help you. Pray, listen, and follow Him. This is the season He wants to make everything new, fresh, and alive again.