I lead a wonderful team that leads Gateway Christian Fellowship. It’s a church with an amazing 40+ years history. She has been known for many things, but primarily for winning people to Christ, discipleship, outreach, miracles, worship and revival. In the last three and a half years, it has been our journey to grow as a family because I believe it’s the only way to create healthy legacy and to have a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, empowering and sustainable revival that brings reformation to cities; restoring the lost and desolate places.
With that in mind, we recently invited a guest speaker to come and share with us biblical wisdom and release an impartation of God’s grace, by God’s Spirit that would strengthen us, empower us and provide for us what is necessary for building God’s Kingdom as described above. Click here to know more about impartation.
It was an amazing weekend. We had over 90+ testimonies of healing. Hundreds from across the New England region came and were encouraged. They encountered God and left with a greater expectation and excitement about God and about what He is doing in our lives and region. Many received miracles. I believe it was a watershed moment for Gateway and for those who participated in the weekend. However, when the weekend was over and our guest speaker was on a flight home, I laid on my couch, fatigued, excited and curious and I kept thinking to myself, “Now what? What do we do now? How do we leverage this opportunity of a lifetime during the lifetime of the opportunity?”. I’ve learned that there is no breakthrough without follow through, which is why I’m writing. I want to provide a framework for what happened and offer some suggestions for what we can do to leverage this opportunity, this moment.
As I said earlier, I believe this was a watershed moment; the opportunity of a lifetime that must be stewarded during the lifetime of the opportunity. This reminds me of the time in Acts 2 when Holy Spirit fell upon the believers in the Upper Room. Those who were not experiencing Holy Spirit, asked two very important questions. They asked, “What does this mean?” and “What do I do?”. I am asking these very same questions today, as I ponder our important weekend. What is the Father saying to us? What is He inviting us into? What does the place of obedience look like in this new moment? Without these questions, our weekend becomes nothing more than a “blip on the radar of encounters”. Its lasting impact fades as quickly as our memory. I don’t believe that’s God’s heart, His purpose nor His wisdom. A moment like this can best be summed up as - “A REVELATION(encounter) is an INVITATION for an IMPARTATION, that with INTEGRATION, we experience TRANSFORMATION so we are a MANIFESTATION of the original REVELATION. The two questions are our attempt to receiving an impartation and an engaging integration. Transformed people are those who transform cities. We believe what the bible describes as “the priesthood of the believer.” Simply put, we believe that every follower of Jesus has been called to heal the sick, disciple others, operate in supernatural power, etc… When “everyday” citizens live that kind of lifestyle, I believe that a city will start to experience the transforming and reformational wisdom and kindness of God.
I experienced and saw during our weekend, the power of simple and childlike faith, people having powerful encounters with God, an increase in expectation and faith for God to great things, people being healed as their friends prayed for them and followers of Jesus increase in confidence as they prayed for people and saw results. I believe what I saw, and what I experienced is just another way to describe the impartation that God gave us.
This impartation has be to be lived out in the everyday life of a Christian. Followers of Jesus need to be interdependent upon each other, the church, and the corporate gathering on Sundays. But, followers of Jesus can’t expect the church to do everything. Logically, there are 168 hours in a week. The above average church attender will spend 7 hours a week in “church related things” - 3 hours at church on Sunday, 2 hours at church during the middle of the week and 2 hours at a bible study/small group. So what does this mean? This means that the average follower of Jesus is going to have to make some adjustments in the other 161 hours of the week that they have left.
Here are some suggestions that I have for “integrating the impartation” without depending solely upon the corporate church gathering:
- Get training. The local church is called to equip you. If they are not doing that, let them know how you can help. Don’t criticize. Be a part of the solution. If we really believe in the “priesthood of the believer”, then we need to train God’s people to live naturally supernatural in their everyday rhythms of life.
- As you grow, invite others into your journey and disciple each other.
- Make some lifestyle changes.
- Watch your words. Displace negative talk, complaining or criticism with words that are more hopeful, joyful and expectant. Words have the power to create life or death. Make sure you are speaking words of life. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything.
- Be prepared for counter attacks. Graham Cooke says, “It’s one fight to get free. It’s another fight to stay free.”. You can overcome counter attacks by using your words, but use them to rehearse the testimony of what God did in your life. Declare the promises of God’s word over your life. Stand together with all the saints, rooted in God’s love and leverage the power of community and covenant relationships.
- Make decrees. Prayer is awesome and powerful. Make sure your part of your time is not simply requesting, being thankful or asking, but make decrees. As an ambassador, you have been given authority to make decrees. Again, this is using your words, your spiritual identity and position to govern the Kingdom of God here on the earth.
- Spend time in worship and soaking. When I was growing up, my mom would always play country and western music when she wanted to clean the house. I guess, there was something about that “honky tonk - two step” music that helped my mom get her work done. Music is powerful. I encourage you to find some great Christian worship album primarily with slower or softer music, play it and just lay down and rest. Ask God to visit you, to refresh your spirit, soul and body. During that time, just welcome Holy Spirit and His presence and activity in your life. Be alert about the things you think about, the things you are feeling, etc… It’s ok if you think of “tasks” during this time. Just write them down and immediately return to worship and soaking. Worship is not always about singing, but it’s about communing with God. John 15 describes a “oneness” lifestyle with Jesus. John 17 is Jesus’ prayer for us to live as one with the Son and Father. During this time, it is also helpful to read the Psalms, pray the Psalms or meditate upon certain bible promises. Engage a new rhythm. Do this before bed time and give God the night season. When you normally watch TV, turn it off and do this with your children. Give them crayons or markers and have them draw pictures that they are imagining or pictures they believe Jesus is giving them. This is a great family thing to do.
- Step out and take risks. There are so many things we can do to cultivate greater intimacy with God, but at some point we are going to have to step out and take risks. John Wimber used to spell F-A-I-T-H as R-I-S-K. For Jesus followers we are called to live by faith. That means a life where we take risks. That means that when we feel the nudges of God and the promptings of Holy Spirit to pray for others, we should pray and expect results. If you are praying for physical healing and if it is appropriate, ask them to test the injury and see if they are experiencing healing. If it’s emotional healing, ask them to be mindful of their emotions. Are they experiencing less of the negative emotion and more of a positive emotions? The fullness of Christ being formed in us is for our joy, but also that we may be sent as servants of God, serving the crown of His creation - PEOPLE! If someone is experiencing the grace of God and His power, ask them if they want to give their lives to Jesus who is so kind and loving. He will forgive them and establish them in God’s family. If you get this far in their journey, be prepared to disciple them because that’s our responsibility as followers of Jesus.
- Engage in community and covenant relationships. We need each other. Not everyone’s situation will go to our benefit or the benefit of others. We need each other for spiritual support, encouragement, healing and to accomplish what Jesus is asking us to do. We do not want to only align ourselves with God, but we need to be aligned with others as well. Do away with “convenient” relationships only, and establish “covenant” relationships. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are a part of a body, a family and a house. It’s for your benefit.
- Ask this question - “How does this impartation/encounter further clarify my identity and who the Father says that I am?”. I believe that each encounter with God is about God bringing clarity to our understanding of who He is and who we are in Him. Attached to my encounters with God are upgrades to my identity, my understanding of my identity and my expression of Jesus to the world. I don’t want to simply encounter Jesus as if it’s a “roller coaster” ride; once I get off, it is over. My encounters with Jesus are to form Christ in me so that Christ can be demonstrated through me. I know people who have had supernatural experiences with God and who have seen the miraculous power of God at work in their lives, but when you ask them, “Who does the Father say you are?”, they have no answer.
God is doing amazing things in this hour. He is pouring out His Spirit and He wants your life to be impacted and shaped by what He is doing in this hour. You are called to shine like a city on a hill. What now? Make some adjustments in your lifestyle and you will experience transformation, and therefore become a manifestation of God’s goodness and grace.
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