A spiritual awakening is underway at the White House. Some of the most powerful people in America have been gathering weekly to learn more about God’s Word, and this Trump Cabinet Bible study is making history. They’ve been called the most evangelical Cabinet in history – men and women who don’t mince words when it comes to where they stand on God and the Bible. Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries told CBN News, “These are godly individuals that God has risen to a position of prominence in our culture.” They’re all hand-picked by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. “I don’t think Donald Trump has figured out that he chained himself to the Apostle Paul,” Drollinger laughed. (READ MORE)
In a recent interview the “Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff says watching pastors who act more like entrepreneurs focused on branding is part of the reason why he decided to leave evangelicalism and join an Eastern Orthodox Church. I can appreciate Hanks heart in this matter and others who feel the same way – entrepreneurship has been an ongoing issue in our nation for many years but let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Many churches are focusing on humility and a deeper walk with God. Don’t judge the entire church in America based on what you see on Christian television. Leonard Ravenhill said something many years ago that impacted my life: “Will we look back with shame as we remember nights of prayer and genuine gifts of the Holy Ghost? When we were not clock watchers, and our meetings lasted for hours, saturated with holy power? Have we no tears for these memories, or shame that our children know nothing of such power?” Many churches want to experience God and see lives radically changed; they are not self-focused. (READ MORE)
With the teens and millennial generation of today prioritizing “voice be heard” activism like our country hasn’t seen since the Vietnam War of the 1960s, it’s not a stretch to say that at the beginning of this current spiritual awakening in America, young people will be at the forefront of God’s army, marching in with a blaring battle cry against the enemy as the driving force of another “Jesus People” movement. This awakening has every potential of being just as powerful and historically important as the one driven by the “love all” mentality of that era…but it also has the potential of being just as counterculture, based on the radical rallies, parades, marches, and events making headlines at this moment.
What we may be facing, then, is not another “revival.” It may not even be another “Great Awakening.” With the fearlessness, passion, zeal, and “I refuse to be silenced no matter the cost” mantra we are observing from today’s young people, this movement could perhaps be a Church Reformation like the world hasn’t witnessed in five hundred years since the “95 Theses” were nailed on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg by radicals of equal zeal, sparking what we know now as the Protestant Reformation. Such a movement today could usher us into a bright era of interdenominational or post-denominational peace and unity toward—finally—a common goal of the real Great Commission.
But is that much change a good thing? Do we all feel comfortable leaving the fate of our Church in the hands of such “radicals”? Does this concept spark inspiration toward a new Church ripe with true-Gospel adherence, or fear that we’ll get even further off the mark than the Body has been in the last several generations?
Personally, I feel both excitement and trepidation. Let me explain…
So much of today’s Church Body emphasizes “this generation.” That’s certainly not a new thing, as every preacher and teacher of repute since Martin Luther seems to continue steering focus back to the question of how to reach “today’s youth,” regardless of what era that sermon belonged to. The youth of Luther’s day have long since passed away from this earth, and the young people alive right now will someday meet the same fate. And I do believe it’s important to reach the lost in that group because they are the Church of tomorrow, but one day their role will be as the mentors of even a later and possibly greater generation, so it is crucial that we stop and consider how the youth of today will be reached, what they will be taught, and by whom, in order for the longevity of this movement to produce the correct teachings for tomorrow. A great move of God is only a great move—of God—if the theology being spread reflects the intent of His Word in the first place.
Therefore, equally important to the zeal of the teens and millennials is the mentorship of the elders who have gone before us to study with exegetical precision.
I recently attended a Christian conference in Arizona. I had the privilege of observing intense outpourings of the Holy Spirit upon a very hungry people. Hour after hour for all four days I was there, lives were being changed forever, and every single speaker seemed to be preaching the same message:
God is doing a NEW THING. He is raising up a NEW PEOPLE for His name from among the Gentiles (see Acts 15:14).
But for as sincerely touching as this message was (and I believe it was spot on), I observed a very disturbing underlying theme that week. The focus of this “NEW THING” was so prevalent that the “old thing” of orthodox Christianity was left at the wayside in exchange for human excitement and emotional phenomena. And this is certainly not the first time I have observed this.
God revealed enough to me in that week in Arizona that I came home with two new book outlines that I will be working on in the coming year. One of those messages was the following, and it came to be as crystal clear and powerful as a gong in an echoing cave:
Youthful zeal and passion is wonderful. But youthful zeal and passion without discernment is dangerous.
Elders and parents, we need you. The “out of the mouth of babes” concept is an inspiring one, no doubt, but without the proper training that only the elders can lend, it is a dangerous one. So many youth today are blind in their understanding of Scripture, and if this is allowed to go unchecked, this movement has the capacity of becoming a “blind leading the blind” movement that will end in pure chaos and a great spreading of misinformation. Never believe that just because your mantle may have passed, that your calling has also. Never believe that just because your mantle may have passed, that your usefulness went away with it. We cannot do this properly without you! The role of each young, passionate person is key, certainly, but the role of the elders who led, mold, and shape them for a Kingdom use is vital.
This incoming Great Awakening and possible Reformation is not for any specific generation. It is an “all generation” movement that requires even the elders to be radical.
However, some of these radicals will crush the cookie-cutter expectations that the elders have regarding what “clean church leadership” ought to look like. There will be people from every corner of the world and from every walk of life—gothics, Muslims, New Agers, drug dealers, prostitutes, criminals, even homosexuals—who will catch wind of this “Jesus Christ” fellow and they will never be the same again. They will be “radically saved” through the timeless power of the Gospel message. But without being shown love from someone in the Body of Christ, the discipleship process necessary for them to reach fruition and touch others in their circle of influence is fantastically stunted. Therefore, elders and parents, we not only need your advice, we need your love.
A Christ-ian love.
Love to every man, woman, millennial, teen, and child within that blessed “whosoever will” spoken of in John 3:16, regardless of whether or not their current life offends you. If they are to come to know the Lord in the first place, it will be through love, not through a wagging finger. And if they are to continue growing in the Lord, it will be a process requiring steadfast patience and continual mentorship while overcoming the ripples of a former lifestyle—not an instant, emergency conversion that grows stagnant when the honeymoon phase is over.
Calling ALL generations: Your time is now.
Young people: Take the passion you’re channeling into the unfulfilling pride parades, rallies, and social activism, and redirect it into the spreading of the Gospel. Nothing else will fill the void you’re feeling. Humans were designed by the Creator with a yearning for Him that nothing else will satisfy.
Parents: Show your children what real men and women of God look like. Treat your spouse with respect and support. Be good models of femininity and masculinity. Teach the Bible from home so you are never solely leaving your child’s scriptural understanding in someone else’s hands, and when you arrive at a verse you don’t understand, research it. Show your kiddos that salvation can be an “as for me and my house” (Joshua 24:15) family experience so they don’t grow up believing God is an emergency-only action plan when tragedy befalls. God desires relationship, not just belief.
Elders: Open your minds to those in your path that may not flatter you. Even James, the half-brother of Christ, in his epistle honored the prostitute Rahab, referring to her as “justified” (some translations say “righteous”) by her works in the ancient city of Jericho because she saw the error of her ways and turned from them. Today, that same name is celebrated as one of history’s most incredible redemption stories. Don’t write off the people you meet and assume that they are beyond the Gospel’s reach. The power of the true Gospel knows no bounds, but it is only through love that the true Gospel will penetrate. That next “offensive” or “sinful” person you meet might just be the next Rahab reformed. Don’t try to correct the sin (treating the symptoms) before you love the individual (treating the condition).
Jesus was the Radical of all radicals. He was the Reformer of all reformers. He unabashedly crumbled the apathetic and Pharisaic walls of tradition. Don’t fear those who have been sent by God to shatter today’s apathetic walls of modern church tradition. Love them, teach them, and share the movement with them so it can be done correctly.
I have been a student of sweeping revivals and massive spiritual awakenings since I was in elementary school. Maybe it was how the Gospel transformed my very tough, very urban family from a gang of fist fighters to a group of street preachers almost overnight. Maybe it was the youth ministry that gave me a vision beyond the four walls of our church to a world that was in desperate need for spiritual awakening. But, for whatever reason, I’ve always been drawn to find the “secrets” of what made revivals of the past work. Great preachers like D.L. Moody, John Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Hudson Taylor, William Booth and Jonathan Edwards have always captivated me. I’ve read their sermons, searched their books and scoured their lives to find the strands of Divine DNA that made the spiritual awakenings, they were all a part of, so massively effective and powerful. And the more I’ve looked to the past the more I’m encouraged about the future. As a matter of fact I’m convinced that we are on the verge of the next Great Awakening. Here are 4 reasons why… (READ MORE)
Evangelist Anne Graham Lotz has warned that the United States is “disintegrating into anger, anarchy, division” because of its “rejection of God.” The daughter of evangelist Billy Graham and founder of AnGeL Ministries told the Biblical Recorder in an interview that prayer is America’s answer. “We need God. Our nation is unraveling …The polarization seems to be paralyzing our government. There seems to be little civil discourse and lots of chaos and confusion. At the same time, we are being threatened by terrorists who are dedicated to destroying us,” Lotz said. “God has promised to hear us, forgive us and heal us on the condition that we pray. Therefore prayer is essential. It is not an option, it is a necessity,” she added. (READ MORE)
Muslim refugees fleeing the increasing violence in their home countries and cities are shedding their Islamic religion for Christianity. As European countries accept the migrants, the migrants, in turn, accept Jesus. They’re the driving force behind a growing revival in long-struggling churches. “European churches have struggled for decades to share the gospel with modern secular Europeans,” Matthew Kaemingk, a professor at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Seattle, told Fox News. “They have found Muslim immigrants to be much more open to the message of Christianity.” As migrants leave behind everything they’ve ever known, the church becomes a beacon of hope. (READ MORE)