Summary: There were seasons in America’s past when sinners became so convicted of their sins that they collapsed under the weight of their guilt. People were sensitive to sin, its consequences and the power of the Holy Spirit. Where is it today? Can such a movemen
Introduction: As we begin a new year I urge you to join me and other believers across the nation for praying and fasting for the body of Christ in the USA and around the world.
Never in my 18 years of ministry and 29 years of knowing Christ personally have I known a time of such intense spiritual turbulence. God is shaking everything that can be shaken, including our Christian colleges, our mega-churches and our most prominent ministries.
At a time when a U.S. senator is investigating the financial practices of six well-known preachers, I sense that God has taken out His holy plumb line to conduct His own detailed inspection of every church and ministry in this country. He wants to unleash a nationwide revival, but He must bring His correction first. ‘For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?’ [1 Peter 4: 17]
These are desperate times that require desperate measures. That is why I will be getting back to praying and fasting this coming year and I will encourage you to do the same. Here’s a list of the things we will be praying for during this year:
1. The fear of God:
Holiness was so tangible among early Christians that false prophets were blinded and greedy liars fell over dead. As a result of God’s judgment on Ananias and Sapphira, “great fear came over the whole church” (Acts 5:11, NASB).
The Word of God says that, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) And Psalm 14: 1 says, The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
How to ‘Fear God?’
(b) Have little ~ Proverbs 15: 16 declares, ‘Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, Than great treasure with trouble.’
(c) Instruction of wisdom ~ Proverbs 15: 33 declares, ‘The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.’
(d) Non-envious of sinners ~ Proverbs 23: 17 declares, ‘Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous (passionate) for the fear of the LORD all the day;’
Where is this sense of “shock and awe” today? How can Christians be so cavalier about divorce or so flippant about adultery? How can television preachers sleep at night after robbing God’s people with manipulative fund raising appeals?
We celebrate His mercy but ignore His severity. We need a thunderclap from heaven and a display of Elijah’s fire to remind a wayward church that God will not be mocked.
2. Integrity and purity in the body of Christ [church]:
(i) Leviticus 20: 26 ‘And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.’
(ii) 1 Peter 1: 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
(iii) 1 Corinthians 3: 16 & 17 ‘Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.’
Our movement hit rock-bottom last year when charismatic pastor Donnie Earl Paulk of Atlanta announced to his stunned congregation that a DNA test had proved he is not the nephew of Bishop Earl Paulk but is in fact his son. That such unspeakable depravity was permitted to thrive for decades at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is an indictment against the elder Paulk and all leaders who refused to challenge his behavior when they first learned about it years ago.
This and other recent religious scandals have so tarnished our credibility that we have become a curious freak show. Many unbelievers now associate ministers with wife-swapping, wife-beating, no-fault divorce, gay affairs and $10,000-a-night hotel rooms. We need a Holy Ghost housecleaning.
3. A return to evangelism:
Matthew 28: 19 & 20 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
In the 1970s we were less sophisticated but so much more zealous for Jesus. Putting our best to fulfill the last commission. We handed out tracts and witnessed to everyone. Sharing our faith was the priority. Yet most people in churches today have never led anyone to Christ.