Entry 1

Over the next couple of weeks I will be doing a series of blog entries on things I feel God has been saying to me concerning 2009. I will be speaking from a couple of perspectives – as a Pastor to Pastors, and as a prophetic voice to the Church. Do I have the whole picture?  No, but I do believe that I have a reasonably accurate view of where we are at and what God is wanting to do. This will not be a ‘pull down the Church’ time but an honest call to re-embrace the original call of God for the Church – to be those who carry the heart and power of God into our communities – setting free those who are bound, healing the sick, raising the dead, bringing people into a life-changing, power-filled relationship with God and Christ.

To start, though, let’s take an honest look at where I feel we are at as the Church in NZ.

I believe we are not where we should be, but we are also not where we were five or so years ago. This is a good thing. We have seen over the past five or so years a genuine cry coming forth in the Body of Christ for God to be God in our Churches again. There is evidence of God moving in peoples’ hearts with an increasing hunger being displayed in different parts of the Church in NZ for the glory and power of God to be released in our midst. We are moving away from  a preoccupation with doing ‘nothing in our services (and our lives) that would offend a non-believer’ or being ‘seeker friendly’ back to a hunger for God to move in power in our services and lives again. And to be honest, it’s about time. 

‘Seeker friendly’ hasn’t ever really worked. Why? Because what it mostly does is bring people into a theology – a belief system – more than an experiential Christianity which sees the power of God released to work in them and through them. We have thought that if we bring them in by that door we can then start to introduce them to the things of the Holy Spirit and they’ll catch on, but it is a flawed logic and the reality has been far different. We now have a nation full of Churches where we have become powerless and, instead, have embraced performance, form and ritual. And in our hearts most of us, if we are really honest, are not satisfied with where we are at as the Church in this nation.

In relationship to the things of the glory and power of God being released, and revival, I believe that we, here in NZ, have been far behind other nations because of our innate suspicion of new ‘moves’ of God. For a long while we have been suspicious of anything new that relates to God moving outside our comfort zone, especially the whole area of manifestations. This has, of course, closed down whole segments of the Body to the things God has been releasing around the world.

There are, however, pockets of people who have continued to believe and move into what God has been doing. These people are seeing the glory and power of God being displayed like never before. We are in the beginnings of a revival in our nation, if we would but recognise and embrace it. What is a revival? It is a restoration of things to the way they should be – plain and simple. We have given the word ‘revival’ meanings that it never should carry – meanings and explanations based on our personal preferences or things we believe have been moves of God. God is calling the Church back to its roots – to be a body of believers who exhibit the power and heart of God in this time and place, doing the same, and greater, works as Jesus. That is the revival we are in. Its implications are far reaching, both inside the church and out, but until that happens, until we recognize and embrace what God is doing, the world around us will largely go untouched. 

From my perspective the Church in general has been largely ruled by personal preferences. We can dress it up and give it fancy names, and even say we’ve done it all in God’s name and by following His leading, but if we’re really honest, too often our own preferences as Pastors, and those of our congregations, have guided us. No, I’m not saying everything we’ve done up until now is worthless but it’s time for us in the Church to put aside our personal preferences and honestly look for, and move with, the things God is wanting to do in our nation. 

More and more we are seeing it – the growing dissatisfaction with ‘church as usual’. Our congregations are hungry and if we as Pastors don’t wise up we will continue to lose people in droves. Our nation has a huge contingent of Christians who have left the Church because they are dissatisfied and hungry and are simply not finding what they want in our super-organized, form-filled services. And if we are honest, a lot of it has been our fault as Pastors. We have not recognized the cries for what they are – a wake up call from the Spirit of God. 

So let’s wake up, humble ourselves before God and man and cry out for God to come – in whatever way He sees fit.

There you have it – my opinion, for what it is worth. What God is doing in our nation is a great work of bringing us into that place of being fully revived and once again moving in power, seeing Him do wonders and miracles in our midst.

Please take the time to read the next few entries as I believe they are a part of the heart of God for the Church in this nation for this time. Thank you for reading this one. Please take it before God and ask Him to speak to you through it despite any inadequacies it may contain.