The Move of God: Coming or Here?
A little over ten years ago, God renewed a dream in our hearts about a move of God coming in Northern Colorado that would be multi-generational, employ the arts, be relational in dynamic and Holy Spirit powerful in expression, while being centered around the person and presence of God as expressed in His numinous, that is His manifest presence among a people.
I have lived through the Charismatic renewal, the Jesus’ people movement, the rise of the third wave the Holy Spirit, the stunning outpourings of the Toronto Blessing, Asbury revival and the move of God in our world in the nineties. I have been a person who has wanted one thing my whole life: revival that is based in hosting and ministering to the Holy Spirit and His work.
His touch is the most powerful and precious thing in this life and the next. It was His touch that I observed as a child that touched drug addicts, people who were let down by society, criminals, mafia members, and some who were certifiably insane, become transformed, lovers of Jesus and people, healed, set free from captivity and become love carriers for the life of Jesus.
As a young Bible College student, I sought the worship of God, engagement with His person and presence as a key to seeing this release at our school. I was stirred when people who actually moved in that arena were brought in to lecture in our Friday assemblies, being intrigued to pursue what they presented. It was here that I first encountered the ministry of John Wimber. It was here that I remember the Spirit of God breaking out. It was here in Bible College that God laid a foundation of life long pursuit of the ministry of Jesus in practical ways, but always in pursuit of revival. (Not to mention meeting and marrying my dear Janice, a critical part of my development as a lover of Jesus and pursuer of revival.)
While I was in Bible College, I would take what I was exposed to and experiment with it among my youth group. We would eventually see a move of God break out amongst those kids that continues to shape them to this day. They went out in packs, knocking on doors and inquiring of people inside if they could pray for them. We saw the sick healed, drunks made sober and entire family groups come to Christ. As a result, there was a lot of friction between those that wanted to preserve the status quo and what was innocently being done by others who simply wanted to do what Jesus said we could and should.
This pursuit led Janice and I to the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Anaheim, led by Dr. John Wimber. I had attended a one-week intensive with him that changed me in profound and deep ways which still continue to this day. During these days, we worked so we could attend the church. I commuted close to three to four hours a day into Los Angeles to provide for Janice and I. We had committed “career suicide”, resigning from our commissions as pastors in one denomination to pursue revival breaking out in a local church. We attended, gave, served and prayed and drove the hour to Anaheim from where we lived just to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit. As we would drive to church, we would comment to each other, “I wonder what God is going to do today?” We would tow our young son along in a borrowed van, with clothes for the day and night, hang around the town and go to morning and evening services. We would listen to worship music on a cassette and pray into the gatherings. It was wonderful, because God was there. We attended classes during the week and couldn’t wait for, in fact lived for the weekend when we could attend services.
We saw fruit from this hit the Colorado and midwest area as the denomination we were a part of called us to come and be youth pastors in Denver. We started to host seminars throughout the region and saw God heal people and renew them. Again, we got pushback from people who had experienced God earlier, in different ways, very appropriate to their time. Because we were asked to lead worship, when we would have a Sunday off to enjoy the presence of Jesus in church and just soak His beauty and wonder among our people, we would have people turn around to us and castigate us during worship when a song they loved was sung and would be told, “That’s real worship, and not what you are doing.” We were heartbroken many times when we realized that people would actually despise us for simply being lovers of Jesus with no malice towards them. We simply wanted the presence of God, to touch and interact with Him among friends. It was a painful reminder of what religion could be and do. Despite that, Jesus began another movement among the youth and in the church. Churches we went to began to seek His presence in new ways, cancers were healed, families restored and God moved in wonderful ways. We eventually left to plant a church in Studio City, California and then restart a church in Fort Collins that had ended. We always did so pursuing Him. He was always gracious.
When we experienced the revival from Toronto, we weren’t looking for it. We simply wanted a job and the only thing I knew to do was to pastor. We were hired as associate pastors in a church here in Greeley to help stabilize a youth group and church that had gone through the wringer because of moral failures by leadership. By the end of the second year, the grind was so difficult, that I was contemplating leaving ministry for good to teach seminars, which were all the rage then, and care for my now family of six and counting. It was then that an article came across my desk. I spent the next hour absorbing it. It catalogued the move of God that originated in Toronto a few months before and had spread to my original home church in the Vineyard of Anaheim. They were hosting a conference that was generally unrelated to the revival, but I sensed that when revival hits, nothing its untouched. I sent the article up to the senior leader of the church, who came down two flights of stairs to my office and stood in the doorway saying he wanted to go, but there was no money. I had received a personal gift from out of state that came in the mail after I placed the article on his desk. It was enough money for three of us to go to Anaheim, airfare and lodging included. God had provided in advance and had created a means while He was producing a hunger.
I have related this story on many occasion and will unpack it in writing at a later date, but I must tell you that this mercy of God, His unavoidable call, caught with Janice and I and sent us in pursuit of revival again. We began weekly meetings at the church that many from other churches began attending, we saw the sick healed, the religiously dead brought back to life, people thrust into ministry, both formally and informally and God move into preeminence. We weekly had a small group where it was not uncommon for people to be overwhelmed in the Spirit and have to assist them to their cars and pray for them on the way home. Did we do it perfectly? Far from it, but we were in His fire. When you are born in the fire, the smoke won’t do.
We planted a church from there in Denver that held some of our greatest victories and most deep pain. We saw revival come in the early years of that affecting the entire city of Denver. Many pastors would gather weekly to pray for revival. Although they tapped into a different stream, it was an honor to be a part of that group and to see a region touched by God. Many were called into the ministry from that time and some of the missionaries and pastors we have relationship with were young people in that church.
One day, I will write of all that pursuit of revival and what led us to come to Greeley again to establish our family and set up a place that pursued God with everything within us and let God build a church around His presence and the pursuit of revival. But for now, I want to say this: the move of God is already here. It is not “coming”, as if it it is not here, it is only coming in the sense of growing, deepening and intensifying.
Hear me. God is moving now.
That means change, our constant friend, will be at our elbow. Leaders change, structures change, systems change, priorities align and calendars and wallets adjust in the move of God. We are being called to a deeper and more intentional life of prayer and pursuit of His presence. In the near future, priorities are going to have to bend with the move of God, personally and corporately. When He moves, our lives adjust, and He is moving now. An old mentor of mine used to say it this way, employing an analogy from blacksmithing: strike when the iron is hot.
Do you feel it? The hunger for more. The hunger to know God more, to see Him not as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy System, but as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all engaged in drawing our hearts to Him? It was that thing that rose up as I gave testimony to the revivals I have seen. It is your own recollection or longing to see God move. It is that, and not our holding onto petty, temporary things that sees a move of God on a scale that changes nations. It is the unapologetic, powerful pursuit of Him and His presence. All else flows from that!
Take time today to ask Him about lifestyle and priority. Ask about how to re-align with His purposes. Ask about what to pick up in this time and what to let go of. Remember, the good is the enemy of the best, especially in revival.
The move of God is here, are you ready?