Okay, this piece may not resonate with everyone but it hopeful resonates with someone. So you’re a person who loves God with all your heart. If that has been the overwhelming cry of your heart for the past few decades some of us have been taken on a wild ride. Let me review in a tiny synopsis a general progression one could observe in the body of Christ before I make my point. Early 1500’s reformation of the concept of earned placement in heaven through the church – Martin Luther. 1700’s evangelism had the wind of heaven behind it on a number of people abroad and in America – Johnathan Edwards, George Whitfield, John Wesley, etc. Mid-nineteen hundreds we have healing and miraculous through Billy Graham, Smith Wigglesworth, A.A. Allen, Oral Roberts, etc. 1980’s Kansas City Prophets with a new normal being establish in hearing from God. 1990’s we have Toronto Outpouring that really redirected the lives of Apostles like Randy Clark, Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, etc. In late 2000’s we have Lakeland and IHOP in glory and presence and miracles and grace with Todd Bentley and Mike Bickle and others. Then in the early 2010’s it was the seven mountains, going out, taking position, reigning and influencing.
We’re now in the late 2010’s. WHAT NOW?!? What is God doing?!? How are we growing?? What are we learning??
I know for the last four years in particular there are SO MANY people surrounding me that were the crazy-on-fire-for God type a decade ago that now look drastically different. But I don’t want there to be misunderstanding and so I write. Let me start off by saying I don’t see the devil. What I mean by this is that God is not in some cataclysmic warfare against an almost equal opponent in the sky. God has no enemy that provides any sort of threat and is writing a love story and an expression of himself that we get to be gloriously wrapped up in. Moving on.
I don’t see the drying up (on a corporate level) of the last jumping-around-in-the-river-season as human failure, performance blunder, and now the body of Christ is supposed to get back on the work-up-the-glory-treadmill to try and conjure up some past experience so that we can roll around and go back to where we were. I think that those crazy corporate times ended large-scale because they were meant to. There was purpose accomplished in them and now we are moving on with new experience and fuller understanding. There was no mistake, no failure, or “drying up.” When I say moving on, I’m not saying abandoning anything or that anything was wrong. On the contrary, we’re learning, we are moving on to the greater.
Let me summarize some things for you. The last for years has brought so much tumult to so many people riding the top of the waves of the last season and has left some people not recognizing the glory saturating their lives now but I see and want to share. I know a number of people who have been shaken to the core. Literally the thing that is most important to them was destroyed, has ended, was taken away, or has changed to the point where even we ourselves at our core are hardly recognizable to ourselves. I too am included in this group.
Unfortunately, (but it was not unfortunate because there was purpose in the experience), I spent so much time thinking I was broken. After way too many attempts to fix myself with old tools without success the unknown and unrecognizability continued. I met with a group of people I know intimately this past weekend and asked so many inquisitive questions. I almost universally have found people in the same position as I: the way we used to operate in certain gifts operate that way no longer, the certain relationships I grew up in operate that way no longer, health or body do not operate how they used to any longer, that person I loved is alive no longer, how I viewed reality before didn’t cut it and I had to change, the entire life I’ve known up until this point looks so different.
So if you in the body of Christ are out there wondering why this growing hurts so much, or why those relationships ended, or why you were allowed to be disappointed or fail there, or why you feel like you aren’t really experiencing Christianity as you once knew it, IT’S BECAUSE CHRISTIANITY IS CHANGING. Let me clarify; CHRIST ISNT CHANGING, WE ARE. Especially in the lives who literally would abandon everything for God’s will in any moment of their lives.
I used to say that the latest thing God was doing was family— strong, firm, and free— which is partially true, and a glorious expression of God himself, but incomplete as far as an explanation of what I see going on around me. So many people are in marriages, raising babies, working hard for them, but there were always those that are not, and how does that fit I used to ask.
Yes we are in a season where we are operating with the creator inside us all and living our dreams but there is more. Things that the body of Christ are learning in any season have already been true in every season, we’re just learning through experience now more fully.
So many people I know and love are going through their days entirely unobservable as “Christians” to their own eyes, hearts, or to others in outward culture or ritual. BUT. But I am wholly excited for God in the NOW. Productivity has stopped on so many other levels so that that which has always been important to God is what remains. There really is no separation of heaven from earth. They are one and the same place. God is not in some ethereal distance place, or movement, or teaching, HE IS YOU. God is not in some sign or doctrine or CHURCH. GOD IS YOU. There is taking place a complete melding of holy and secular. YOUR WHOLE LIFE IS HOLY.
God wants each of us to see that the only thing that matters to him is our connection with him, not our PERFORMANCE FOR HIM. He really doesn’t need us in the way we think he does. Us being ourselves is the most powerful and clearest expression of himself. Even though you don’t see all those Christian practices, even if you don’t feel all those holy spirit power feelings, even though you don’t influence people the way you used to, even though you don’t have those relationships you used to, YOU ARE NO LESS POWERFUL. YOU ARE NO LESS HOLY. Your communion with God is no less complete.
God gave us rivers and signs and glory and then transitioned out corporately on a wide scale because he wants us to look in another direction with him. Quit looking for him in the past signs, experiences, and external stuff. One of the leaders I’ve worked with that I respect the most listened to people when they came up to him about healings and deliverances that happened in his meetings but never gave them a further mention or time or attention. He remained entirely unimpressed with SIGNS because everything is about Christ, the person they’re pointing to here, now, inside of us.
So many have moved away from religious people, structures, places, or experiences because it was exposed that their foundation was something other than love and we can’t tolerate that anymore.
Family is included in this concept because LOVE is the only binding force between any family unit. It is the purpose of shared life. There’s no ulterior motives and so family as a structure remains and thrives, even through the messes that happen within them.
God is in the moment, this moment, the conversation, this conversation, in the now, and here. So much of the glory of Christian culture is fading away. Christ is in no way fading away, the culture we’ve created around him that does fade is NOT HIM. Language, doctrines, titles, hierarchies, separation, exclusion, condescension, none of them have been missed by me now that they’re gone. DO YOU REALIZE SOME CHRISTAINS NOW LOOK LIKE SECULAR PEOPLE BECAUSE EVERYTHING THAT WAS RELIGIOUSLY DEAD IS NOW GONE FROM THEIR LIVES?
What if ONLY LOVE REMAINS?? What if all those glory experiences, all those hours in prayer, all those encounters of love, all those hard times, our identity being shaken to the core, all those structures, all that revelation, were meant to build this one thing in us; our ability and capacity to love one another. To love our families. To Love ourselves. And everything else was a circumstancial tool to that end of being unconditional love. And not in the fluffy performance sense but the gritty steadfast kind that people are changed by, including ourselves.
I believe God is reducing the glory of everything that is not love. If something, anything in life, religious or not, is rooted in anything other than love it has lost its taste in our lives. And ANYTHING, whether religious or not, that is ROOTED AND GROUNDED in LOVE is breathes fresh air into our spirits in this season.
Love isn’t some vague idea, it is practical connection between ANY two human beings or any human being and God. This is the boiled down essence of everything that is the person of God and his kingdom. Everything God does is in the purpose of building or preserving that. If anything remains in our life for any reason–religious or not (especially religious ideas and concepts fostering any amount of rejection)-that actually threatens connection, it is moving counter to the kingdom of God and the living expression of love itself; heaven on earth.
This is just a view from my slice of the pie. Hope this encourages someone. Peace.