Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we
tried to stop him, because he is not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus
said, "for whoever is not against you is for you." Luke 9:49,50
Is the healing revival in Florida God or man? Every day we get inundated
with emails about this healing service, that Holy Ghost revival, any number
of meetings and events that are going on in different places around the
globe. Obvsiouly, I simply don't have the time to research each one, nor
can I hope to know the hearts of the people involved. However, since so
many have been asking about a healing revival that is happening in Lakeland,
Florida, only about an hour away from our offices, I thought this would be
the perfect opportunity to address that particular event and deal with this
issue that so many ask about. How do you know if one of these "revivals" is
God or simply man?
Having spent the first 3 years of my ministry on the road, preaching in over
500 churches all over the nation of every denomination and racial make-up, I
have seen and experienced most everything you can name. During my time in
the Christian television world, I worked with and had very close contact
with all of the major media ministries, including their crusades and live
events. Let me start off by giving you a couple of guidelines. The most
critical is that God's timing is NOT our timing. Just because we are have a
crusade at 9pm or a healing service at 7pm, does NOT mean that the
supernatural power of God will show up. God is sovereign and we don't
dictate to Him when His miracle working power falls. GOD MOVES IN HIS
TIMING, NOT OURS!
Another key point is that in the Bible, miracles, signs and wonders,
followed the preaching of the GOSPEL! The fact is, the greatest miracle
there will ever be, is when a lost soul heading to hell is saved and becomes
a new creature in Christ. Paul went out and preached the Gospel of Jesus
Christ, Christ and Him crucified, and miracles followed his preaching of the
Gospel. It is a huge red flag when I hear of or see these "signs and
wonders" and "miracles" meetings, where the Gospel is never or barely
mentioned. Also, like in all cases, is what the preaching saying backed up
by God's Word? Usually, these meetings are attended by people I refer to as
"experience chasers." These are people who go to every meeting where it is
reported supernatural things are happening.
Does this mean what goes on in these types of services is fake? Absolutely
not. Sadly however, most of these services are more hype and flesh than the
true power of God. Remember what I have told you often, you can't duplicate
the power of God, your can't package and sell the power of God, and you
can't dictate the timing of the power of God. When you are involved in a
true move of God's Holy Spirit, nobody needs to tell you, YOU KNOW SOMETHING
SPECIAL IS GOING ON! It is an incredible moment as you get a glimpse of
God's power. He gives you that taste to bless you and to encourage you.
Knowing many people who have been to the Lakeland meetings and having
watched it the other night on TV so I could write this message today, I can
tell you with virtual certainty what happened there. God soverignly chose
to let His power fall on that meeting somewhere in the first few nights.
The power of God fell on those who were there, including the preacher.
People were saved, people were healed, and no doubt many great things were
happening in the lives of those who were there. What has happened since
those first few nights has been lots of flesh and human intervention.
Word spread through area churches there was a move of God occurring, so
Christians came to experience it for themselves. No doubt God honored the
faith of many who came and touched their lives, but man decided to move the
meetings to a larger building, man started advertising and hyping the
meetings, man sent the TV cameras to broadcast the services, man sent out
reams of press releases to get people to come. I've seen this so many
times in the past. It is like in the financial markets. The people who
read about things in the Wall Street Journal are the last to know. By the
time they read it in the WSJ, the real action has already moved on to some
Listen, I am sure those involved with the meetings in Lakeland have good
hearts. They were part of a real move of God. Trust me, having been
through it many times, you never want it to end. You don't know how long it
will last, but when it is over you keep expecting that rush of God's power
to return. The key is having the maturity to accept that it is not
something YOU can control. You just have to be thankful for those times
when you are blessed to experience it. Sadly the flesh kicks in and man
starts producing healing CDs, hyping the meetings, going to other cities
claiming to be bringing the "cloud of God's power" with them, and
merchandising the power of God much like Simon the Sorcerer wanted to do in
the Book of Acts.
It is when these meetings become mostly hype and flesh that the detractors
are given all the ammunition they need to scoff at what is happening and
dismiss it as ALL hype and flesh. One of the ways these meetings can get
very "fleshy," is people being "slain in the Sprit," or "falling out."
People really do "fall out" under the power of God's Spirit. Remember the
Roman guards at the tomb of Jesus (Matthew 28:4)? It is an oppressing force
that literally renders you physically powerless. I have seen it first hand.
I have also witnessed people who come up for prayer pre-conditioned to "fall
out." Benny Hinn blowing on people, waving his jacket and whole sections
falling out, is pure hype and flesh. People can get so emotionally worked
up that it is not the power of God making them fall out, it is themselves.
At the altar when I pray for people, I refuse to use "catchers." The
catcher is the person who stands behind the person when they fall out and
catches them. If it is truly God, they can fall out, hit the back of their
head on the pew, and they will be fine. If they are simply falling out on
their own, they are gong to get hurt. I have watched people fall out under
the power fo God and it is amazing. I have felt that power, been part of
it, experienced it, it is real and it is intoxicating. Like the Bible says,
you act as if you are "drunk." Having experienced it, I do understand those
who have been in the power of God wanting to feel that power again. The
point is, be thankful when you are fortunate to experience His power, but
realize it is not something any man can unleash at their will, it is
unleashed at God's soverign will.
I love you and care about you so much. I have no doubt that in the first
few days, God's power fell in those meetings in Lakeland. I also have no
doubt that it has now become mostly hype and flesh, since man can't control
God or His power. Listen, having written the Daily Devotional every morning
for nearly 9 years, I can tell the handful of times I could literally feel
the Holy Spirit guiding my hand as I typed the words. Those are such
special occasions, moments frozen in time you never forget. You never know
when they will happen, but you know it immediately when they do. That is
why the key is to be obedient and faithful each day as you serve and follow
Him. That is why you need to seek Him out each day with all of your heart.
That Bible says that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!!!
I have told you many times last year and already this year, revival IS
coming. Healing, signs and wonders will follow, but this is a revival of
SOULS. It will be greater than one man, it will happen OUTSIDE the 4 walls
of the church, and it will be NON-CHURCHED people getting saved and healed
and seeing the power of God unleashed in their lives. There won't be any
buildings, since it is going to happen on the Internet! There won't be any
need for hype since the news media will be covering it, especially since
they won't be able to understand what is happening. It is going to be a
great worldwide outpouring of the Spirit of God that will touch hundreds of
millions of lives! How is that for a word?
In these last days, we will see the wrath of God unleashed, but we will also
witness the power of God unleashed. The world will be amazed as they
witness the awesome power and majesty of God transforming lives, a miracle
only God can perform. So, be prepared and be expectant. The church has put
God in a box. They have become so predictable in how they expect God's
power to fall, in what they think they are supposed to see and hear, in what
they are to experience, that they will be the last to appreciate the
magnitude of God's Holy Spirit being unleashed on this lost world. Hint,
the real power of God will be where lost souls are being saved. The signs
and wonders that follow is like the icing on the cake!
While the church is measuring God's power by how many "fall out" and claim
to be healed, Heaven's scoreboard will be measuring God's power by how many
souls are saved!!!