Update January 19th 2013: In the light of history it’s easy to be critical of the Lakeland outpouring, and although mistakes were made, it must not be forgotten that for the most part it was an authentic and powerful move of God that saw many awesome testimonies fully documented. I stand by the original article I wrote in 2008 that you can see here in that I believe God’s desire through Lakeland was to empower the church for harvest. Was there an excessive focus on the evangelist on the platform? Yes and as a result I believe that that hindered what God wanted to do through it. History shows that in past revivals The Church squandered golden opportunities it was given to be restored to its Early Church paradigm of moving in love, unity and great power to see a glorious harvest of souls, and go beyond what even the early church walked in. The same mistakes must not be made again. Too many people look to the minister at the front and feel inadequate. This comes down to a misperception of their identity. Higher levels of authority are conditional and come out of intimacy with The Lord, but every believer has an authority that comes purely out of knowing their identity in Christ. There is only one Kingdom worth seeing built and that belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In defense of Todd I believe that he understood what God was wanting to do in Lakeland and that is why he would stay late into the night to make sure that everyone who wanted it received an impartation to take back to their city, region, and nation. Many did use what God gave them, but sadly I believe that a big opportunity was missed for reasons mentioned earlier. Paul Keith Davis referred to the Lakeland revival as being the last of an old order. I would agree, but I believe it was meant to be the beginning of something as well. What is encouraging are some prophecies relating to the apostolic for our new season that we can embrace and see His Kingdom come. With that in mind, here is my archived entry from July 2008:
Let’s look at the bigger picture again because it does tie in with posts in this blog that document through video footage miraculous healings on our streets.
Many people are not convinced that this new move of God is genuine. As a result, there has been criticism. However, much of this comes from people who have never been to any of the meetings. I’ve been to Lakeland, and many evening meetings in Dudley, and I can tell you that without a shadow of doubt this is an authentic move of God.
With over 100 nights of revival in Florida, initially breaking out at a conference in Ignited Church, Lakeland, Florida pastored by Stephen Strader with evangelist Todd Bentley and Fresh Fire Ministries, and over 75 nights in my church Revival Fires Dudley pastored by Trevor Baker, people from all over the world are coming to experience God’s glory presence, receive miracle healings, and receive impartation. The question people are asking is what is God doing? What is His sovereign purpose for pouring out His Spirit so powerfully?
One of the most notable features of this move is that people are getting more intimate with God through worship, especially as they experience His manifest presence, and also people are getting physically healed. There are many testimonies of this that you can find on the internet through going to http://www.revivalfires.org.uk http://www.ignitedchurch.com http://www.freshfire.ca and http://www.god.tv Miracles bring glory to God. They point to Jesus, and if people look to the minister who has prayed for people and not The Lord Jesus Christ then they are missing the point. Miracles of physical healing demonstrate the veracity of Jesus Christ, and tell us that God loves people, and sickness is not His will for our lives. They also lead people to give their lives to Jesus Christ. I’ve found that when I’ve been out ministering in the streets in Dudley and elsewhere that the demonstration of The Spirit’s power is far more effective that any “enticing words of man’s wisdom”. ( 1 Corinthians 2 4-5) , and you can see from the testimonies and video footage in this blog that that bears true. When I don’t minister in my own strength and God shows up and does what He wants to do, the results are so much better! We need The Word and The Spirit together, not sterile religion devoid of a genuine encounter with a loving and all powerful God.
I agree with what I’ve heard from Todd Bentley, my pastor Trevor Baker, John Arnott, Mark Stibbe, Jerame Nelson, Charlie Robinson, John Laframboise, Patricia King, Bob Jones, Paul Keith Davis, Keith Miller, and many other notable speakers that this revival, this outpouring is for the harvesting of souls. It is to empower the church for harvest. Yes we need God’s love and compassion. However, we need something that will show people that Jesus Christ is God, and the only way to Heaven. We have an inheritance as the body of Christ that we have neglected for generations. We have believed the lie that miracles were just for the early church, or at best the special apostles, but the bible never said that. Why is it that people who start stepping out in obedience to God to pray for people with signs, wonders, and miracles following are then persecuted by the church? People are accused of trying to build their own thing, or not operating in God’s power. People often get jealous, or if they can’t understand something or believe in it, will attack it.
It needs to be emphasised that this move of God is for all the body of Christ. A powerless church is not going to be effective. With so much pornography, violence, and degradation available on the internet, isn’t it time that we as the body of Christ showed people The Kingdom of Heaven invading earth? I’d like to see the internet full of videos of ordinary people being used by God doing great exploits in His name (Daniel 11 : 32 “And the people who know their God will be strong, and do mighty exploits.”) Do we want to see genuine revival in our community? Then let’s seek God and pray fervently, but also take the fire out there with much love and compassion onto the streets, our communities, in our workplace, amongst our family, friends, and neighbours. Bobby Conner says “talk is cheap. Evidence persuades.” Some years ago God lead me to start a website jesusevidence.org to show people that Jesus is real. I started off by collecting historical documentation about Jesus. It went a long way to proving His existence in history. I realised that I needed to demonstrate His divinity on the website too though. God showed me that evidence of His supernatural works today would be very compelling. I started researching into other phenomena such as the bible codes, the Turin Shroud, near death experiences, and signs, wonders, and miracles. This lead me on a fascinating journey of exploration. I would have found it difficult to imagine that I’d be praying for people and seeing Jesus miraculously heal them in front of my eyes and even on camera for me to put on the website to glorify His name.
The simple truth is that we live in a sceptical world that are tired of religion. People want a tangible encounter with God! When people get miraculously healed, or receive a word of knowledge that could have only come from God, or just experience His manifest presence then it often softens their hearts, and brings conviction to save them. That’s why we owe it to the lost to introduce them to the reality of who God is, and The Kingdom of Heaven. Testimonies glorify Jesus Christ, stir people’s faith, and show them He is real.
I would encourage people to continue to tune into God TV, and watch the Florida outpouring meetings. You can also view meetings at Revival Fires Church Dudley on the internet live.
Let’s all be encouraged to take a risk for Jesus. He died for you and me. Let’s give Him everything we have, and remember how valuable every person is to Him. Let’s also love and encourage each other to step into all that God has for each one of us. The Lord is building His Kingdom, and to Him alone be all the glory, the honour, and the praise!