Renewal, Revival, and Reformation
by Graham Cooke
In recent years there has been a great outpouring of God’s Spirit around the earth. We are witnessing some incredible sights and sounds as the Lord releases fresh waves of power and anointing on His beloved people.
Whatever people think about the recent renewal, it has had a dramatic effect on the Body of Christ. It has brought a fresh passion for Jesus, a new desire for intimacy. It has left a higher watermark of expectancy for God’s loving nature. People have been restored to God. They have been filled with a new desire for holiness and purity. Heartfelt intercession has increased in men and women grown cold in prayer. New worship of a greater depth and caliber has sprung up in our midst.
I agree that renewal also splits churches. Whenever the Spirit moves, the flesh rises. These two are locked together in powerful animosity. The flesh of man rails at the Spirit life with venom and destructive behavior. The Spirit antagonizes the flesh, exposing carnality of thought, word, and deed. It is a wonderful thing to behold and does my heart glad to see it.
We should smile and worship God when sin is exposed and dealt with by the church. Exposing the presence of sin and secret lifestyles proves the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit. Better out than in!
Carnality splits churches. Jesus said that He came to bring not peace but a sword (see Mt. 10:34). The word of God divides attitudes, intentions, and ambitions (see Heb. 4:12-13), and no one is spared. When renewal came, there was such a profound increase of love, purity, desire, and intimacy with God that the Holy Spirit unearthed everything that did not belong to the nature of God.
When rain falls on a field ready for sowing, all the stones come to the surface. All that is hidden and hard will emerge as the Spirit falls upon the church.
The big issue after greater intimacy with God is the one of “Who is in control?” Sadly, I watched some leaders shut down renewal meetings because of this concern. Many felt unable to preside over something they could not direct. “The wind blows where it wishes…” (Jn. 3:8).
I watched other leaders adopt a “sons of Sceva” approach to renewal (see Acts 19:13-17). They did not want to serve what God was doing; rather, they wanted to use the outpouring to grow their own church and ministry. God visited briefly but did not stay, and all they could do was pretend that something very powerful happened. Most people failed to realize that renewal was a test as well as a blessing. The Lord was looking to see whom He could trust in the next phase of anointing and growth.
Who would use the outpouring for their own ends? Who would control and channel it rather than release it? Who would be willing to pay the price for the presence of God? Who would humble themselves and surrender the church back to God? Who would criticize the move because it did not fit their experience and theology? Who would help other churches to be released into what God was doing?
The Lord was testing our hearts to see what we would do (see Deut. 8:2-3). Now, I believe that He knows the men and women He can trust with revival! He knows the churches that He can begin to use to evangelize the unsaved. He knows where His Holy Spirit will be welcomed and not abused.
Revival is here, present among the Church. However we must be careful here of our terminology. One of the continued offenses of the Church against the Lord has been that she has desired His power more than His presence. We have majored on events, functions, and outpourings of God for a purpose. Our emphasis has been on doing and not being. Renewal changed all that for those who were impacted by it. Renewal of our first love is the foundation for God to reclaim the hearts of His people.
We have now moved into that second phase of the move of God: revival. It is here, though, that we must adjust our terminology. There is no obvious phraseology in Scripture that would connect revival with our aspirations to see huge numbers of people coming into the Kingdom of God. In all definitions, revival is synonymous with restoring, renewing, rekindling, and recovering. The prefix re denotes: a) action in a backward direction, i.e., recede; return; revert; b) action intended to undo a situation, i.e., respond; restock; remove; c) action intended to demonstrate than an original act was impermanent or inadequate; and d) that the performance of the new action brings back to an earlier state of affairs.
Revival means to restore to life and use, to take up and make valid again. The Greek word in the New Testament is anathallo, meaning to flourish anew. Clearly, it is not talking about non-believers, but Christians. We cannot revive something that has never been alive; it is dead and needs to be reborn. Revival is for people who have become lukewarm and who are not walking with God fully.
This is currently happening now in many places in the world. People are getting right with God, and His holiness is developing again in the hearts of the Church.
Revival is the revelation and demonstration of the manifest presence of God within the Church to release the corporate man of Christ to impact society.
Revival is not an event; it is a Person revealed. Revival is not a demonstration of God’s power; it is an outbreak of His presence. Revival is not an exhibition; it is a revelation of occupation by a Person who is bigger than you! Revival that breaches the world is connected with the manifest presence of God. When our churches are full of His presence, then Heaven will come to earth. The manifest presence of God will be contested violently by the enemy and by any religious spirits inhabiting the church.
Revival occurs when we have the same kind of spiritual atmosphere outside the church as we have within it. Revival is about releasing God’s people into God’s presence. Many people are praying for revival, wanting to see souls saved and demonstrations of power in the church. We should not set our sights so low. We do not want another visitation that can be abused and peter out like the rest.
We must have the manifest presence of God stay among us. We do not need a visitation; we need to make for God a habitation, a dwelling place. (Read John 15:4-8; Ephesians 2:19-22; 3:17; I Corinthians 3:9-17; II Corinthians 6:16-18; and I Peter 2:4-10.)
The dream of God has always been to live in the hearts of His people-not just in individual hearts, but in the corporate heart. The early Church had a unity, a oneness of heart and purpose. They had one voice; they were devoted in a corporate sense to prayer, fellowship, teaching, and communion (see Acts 1-5).
If we are merely praying for a visitation and not actively working to make our church a dwelling place for God’s presence, we deserve not to have our prayers answered. The Scriptures say that we are living stones connected together with relationship and love for God and one another. Who are you connected with? Like bricks in a wall we are living stones. Who is under you, supporting your life and ministry? Who are you resting on and accountable to? Who is alongside you in service and ministry? What is your relationship like with your coworkers? Who is above you, whom are you supporting? Who is resting on you and accountable to your integrity, love, and ministry? We are living stones in friendship being built together into a habitation for God. He lives in our friendships and our unity. Is He welcome among us?
Are there strifes, envyings, criticism, grudges, negative fellowship, and backbiting among us? Is there a lack of vision, purpose, destiny, and cohesion? Are we devoted corporately to all that the early Church felt was important?
Revival is about a corporate fear of the Lord descending on the church (see Acts 2:43; 5:ll; 9:31). Revival is about stewardship and sacrifice, having all things in common (see Acts 2:44-45; 4:32, 34, 37). In revival, there are no personal possessions and no needs across the church. Only the manifest presence of God can free us from ownership to total stewardship. Still want revival?
Revival is about a preoccupation with the Person and the presence of Jesus. It is about the corporate grace of God being on everyone at the same time. Corporate grace is the glue that holds us together, giving us favor everywhere (see Acts 2:47, 4:33).
The effect of revival is reformation. This is the third stage of the transformation process that equips the Church to reach the world.
Reformation is the effect caused by a united body of people flowing together in Kingdom purpose and power, within God’s presence. It is a deliberate and disciplined unity focused on the person of Jesus. Reformation occurs when the revival of God’s dream is fulfilled in the Church. The dream of God is for a people who are fulfilling the first and second commandments, which are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Jesus said that in these two commands depend the whole law and the prophets (see Mt. 22:37-40).
Everything could be cut down to fit these two commands. If you ever wanted to simplify your life and ask for a word from God that would cover most eventualities of life, church, and ministry, this would be the word.
With everything in you, love God. With His love reciprocating in and through you, love the people around you, wherever you happen to be. The dream of God is to have a habitation among His people. It is not to visit occasionally when circumstances permit and conditions are fulfilled. His dream is a place to live in a Church that has done everything in her power to attract her beloved.
When God comes to live, His manifest presence breaks out into the community. Demons fall, strongholds are cast down, and the hard-hearted cry out for salvation. Three thousand souls are saved one day. Faith is alive on the streets because the sick are being healed and the dead raised. Heaven comes to earth in reformation. Laws are changed, unemployment is reduced, and the crime rate falls. Marriages are restored and the divorce rate drops. Domestic violence decreases. Miracles of every description occur as society is turned upside down.
The windows of Heaven are flung open and God displays His majesty. People share all they possess because the presence of the King generates such confidence and love. No one withholds anything, thus adding to the quality of life.
The Church attacks the enemy without mercy. Every cult, coven, and occult organization is stripped of its power and key people, as salvation rips through the ranks of the ungodly. Every secret organization of powerful men is torn apart by truth and righteousness. Reformation is Kingdome mayhem on the ungodly streets of the world. People do not dare to join the Church, yet multitudes are added (see Acts 5:13-14). The Church is an enigma, a huge talking point. The world does not want to associate itself with them, but everyone holds them in high esteem. To gain a reformation, we have to give the Lord what He wants in revival.
If your church missed renewal because it never knew it was happening, the grace of God will bring you up to speed in the revival of your people and your corporate destiny. If you messed up renewal because of your own pride and greed, you need to repent of your misconduct and bow the knee to God’s fresh purpose for you. You need to serve others in the flow of revival and regain a place of trust before God. It may be that He will grace your life with a new vision and authority as you demonstrate your humility and servanthood. If you try to pull the same stunt you did in renewal, this time they may carry you out of the church permanently!
Revival is no place for pushing and jockeying for position. Put away that hierarchical nonsense and serve the Lord. Remove the worldly value system from your heart. This is a people’s revival. A nameless, faceless generation is being raised up to do the work of the ministry. Only those people who actually raised up people in discipleship will have any place in leadership. But, do you know what? Most of those men and women will not care about status, position, or recognition. They won’t notice that God has elevated them to any recognized place. Just like the apostles, they will be doing menial jobs in the church and will only change as occasion demands it (see Acts 6:1-4). To be eligible for ordinary tasks, such as waiting on tables, you will have to demonstrate a good servant reputation, be full of the Holy Spirit, and possess qualities of wisdom! May God help us to be so humble and such excellent servants!
Taken from A Divine Confrontation by Graham Cooke, copyright 1999, used by permission of Destiny Image Publishers; 167 Walnut Bottom Road; Shippensburg, PA 17257 (USA).
Graham Cooke has been involved in prophetic ministry since 1974. In 1986 he founded the School of Prophesy which has received international acclaim for its advanced series on in-depth training programs. He has written two excellent books, Developing Your Prophetic Gifting and A Divine Confrontation.
Seven Habits of One Highly Effective Person
The way people die can sometimes tell us how they lived. Jesus died forgiving His enemies, redeeming a thief, caring for loved ones, overcoming the powers of darkness, confessing human need, finishing His assignment, and trusting His Father in death. What a way to die!
FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.
“Yes they do, Jesus. They’re killing you, an innocent man. Why aren’t you angry? Why aren’t you trying to get even? It’s hard for me to forgive, Jesus, especially when it’s unjust, especially when I’m right. Nothing angers me like injustice. But you forgave, and you hurt more than I ever have. Would you help me to forgive like you do? Jesus, help me to live as you died. Give me grace to forgive without strings, the way you did.”
When East Germany asked forgiveness of Israel, they responded, “The shame of the action cannot be removed.” But Jesus can remove any shame, even the shame of killing Him. He removed it as they were doing it-and He’ll remove your shame, too. Just ask Him.
TODAY YOU SHALL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.
“Jesus, You take the unlikeliest people with you to heaven, people who sure don’t deserve to go there. Oh yeah, no one does. But I haven’t stolen like he did-well, except time, or friends, or a reputation. I’ve stolen with words as well as actions. You came to seek and save the lost, and did it even at your last hour.”
The power of Christ’s life and death is seen in His dying moments. Salvation is extended to a criminal, who has nothing to contribute before he passes into eternity. But he will still shine with the stars of heaven and he will praise the blood of the Lamb. Better people will go to hell because of their refusal to do what he did. What faith! “Remember me…” And what a response of faith: “Today you will be with me…”
I can picture him going to heaven’s gate. Imagine Peter asking, “How can you come in here? You’re a thief.” He would respond, “Jesus said I could.” “Really, when did He say that?” “Just today, a few hours ago.” He was a thief, an undeserving one. But at his dying moment he took more than he had ever taken before as a thief-he took eternal salvation. We will meet him in heaven, thanks to Jesus. One blasphemed, the other believed. What a difference for eternity.
WOMAN, BEHOLD YOUR SON. BEHOLD, YOUR MOTHER!
“Jesus, when I get a headache, I don’t think of other people much, even those close to me. I think about myself. Sometimes when I hurt I get grouchy. I feel that others should wait on me, take care of me, be considerate of me. How is it that at the time of your greatest need you are thinking of others, like your mother? She was weeping for you, and you were looking out for her. The unique Son of God, you were also the son of Mary. You were a good Son. What love you had for people, for your family, for your mother! Put within me your heart of compassion for people, for the needy, for our loved ones.”
MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?
“You’re a reject. You came into this world a reject. Your birth was called illegitimate. Your parents were poor, and so were you. You were an itinerant preacher. The hometown folks received you, until you preached your first sermon. Then they tried to throw you over a cliff. Hardly a welcome. You came to your own and they didn’t receive you. ‘You were despised and rejected by men.’ The rejection continued at the trials. You were worse than Barabbas, a criminal and worse than a criminal. But you knew it was going to happen. You had told your disciples that ‘the Son of man (would) suffer man things and be rejected by the elders.’ The worst had to be when God rejected you. You had never known even the slightest moment of separation. Now you are condemned, even by the Scripture: “Anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (Deuteronomy 21:23). You had only known God’s favor. Now you feel His curse. You knew no sin. You became sin itself for us.”
What a battle! Hand to hand combat with the powers of darkness. The Lord lays on Him the iniquity of us all. He is being stricken by God. The Father is beating up His own Son, who feels the agony and cries out, not to His Father, but to God. There is no darker hour in human history. No place is He more a representative of the human, fallen race. His cry, “My God, my God, why…,” is the most wrenching cry of the universe. Unspeakable horror, undiminished shame. Jesus paid a high price for our sin. Consider it the next time you think Jesus doesn’t care, or the next time you feel the need to indulge yourself. No one understands suffering like Jesus. What great sorrow! What great love!
It wasn’t until He looked to the needs of others that He said, “I am thirsty.” He dealt with the thief’s thirst for salvation before He asked for a drink. He drank when all things were accomplished. In the heat of battle, one cannot yell, “Time out.” The demands of the fight far outweigh the desires of the flesh. That Jesus now confesses thirst is not only a sign of thirst. For John it is an indication that the battle is over. And He said it in fulfillment of scripture.
At no point in the conflict did Jesus ever lose control. Caiaphas did-and tore his robes in anger. Peter did-and swore his denial of having ever known Jesus. Pilate did-and tried to wash a guilty conscience away with water. The crowd did-and shouted, “Crucify him,” like bloodthirsty dogs tearing at their victim. But Jesus, the victim, never lost it. He knew what was happening all the time and what He needed to do. History was on schedule. The king was about to be crowned. And He said, “I thirst.” He was the Son of God and Son of Man. His confession of need encourages me to be human, to be honest about my needs.
The one who created Niagara Falls, who made the lakes in the Rockies, is now dehydrated. He had been preparing to give eternal water to the thirsty, and now He grows thirsty in the process. He had poured out His soul to death. He deserved to be thirsty.
He had just cried out, “My God, my God.” That was the worst kind of dehydration, the most awful exposure, the exposure to the elements of darkness without the help of God. But He was also facing the physical exposure. The soldier understood Him and gave Him some of the sour wine, the cheap stuff given to soldiers as part of their rations. Earlier it had been offered to Jesus and He had refused it. Why now? Because He was about to die, His work was over. He did not want to be drugged earlier, because He chose to be in full awareness of what He was doing. He needed to “taste death for everyone.” When He received the wine, He gained sufficient strength to cry out.
IT IS FINISHED.
He didn’t say, “I am finished.” He didn’t die a victim but a victor. He finished it all. That means that there is nothing left for you and me to do. “There is therefore now no condemnation.”
He accomplished it all-single-handedly. It had started at the dawn of creation. Satan, who had led a rebellion in heaven, then convinced Adam and Eve to rebel. The devil wounded the heel of Jesus, but Jesus stepped on his head. Everything on the other side of the cross would be the mop-up campaign. Heaven must be rejoicing.
What do we add to the cross? Our good efforts? Our church attendance? Our zeal? Our devotions? Our tithe? Nothing can be added. Our salvation in Jesus Christ is the cross plus nothing. We have amassed a great debt, but it has been paid in full. We, too, can say with Christ, “It is finished.”
FATHER, IN YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.
He ended as He started, praying to His Father. The Father must be so pleased now. The Son is finished with the assignment. He will soon be coming home. The Son has always trusted His Father. Now He entrusts His spirit in death. He trusts the Father to raise Him up again. Jesus chooses to die. He yields up His Spirit, almost like a child praying, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” The 3lst Psalm was one of the first psalms Jewish children memorized. Jesus was saying His closing prayer, quoting from that Psalm. This was the third time He quoted Scripture from the cross, as He walked through the valley of the shadow of death, like a man on a mission. He came to die-and now He does.
The Father is conforming His children into the image of Christ. He would teach us to live-as Jesus died.
The Master’s Institute – A Journal Entry
by Diane Snyder – Administrative Assistant at The Master’s Institute
September 13, 2021
“Today was so exciting! It was the twentieth anniversary of the start of The Master’s Institute. Boy, it sure doesn’t seem like it’s been twenty years since our first seminar. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we held planning meetings, wrote policies, developed curricula, and put in many hours just hoping this new seminary would actually work? So much has happened since then.
Our original nine students have all been obedient to Your call on their lives, Lord, each with stories to share of what You have done in the last twenty years. I started to cry when Andrew shared his jungle adventure stories. It’s amazing to think that thousands of South Americans have come to faith in You since he began his Aviation Mission Society. He shared how the character formation segment of The Master’s Institute had so impacted his life that he continues to be mentored and to mentor others. Because of that hundreds of others have risen to the cause of taking the Gospel to previously unreached people groups.
Tom is now the senior pastor of Twin Cities Community Church. What a ministry that is with a staff of over thirty pastors to oversee their ten churches in the local area, with more being planted all the time. His natural gifting in ministry was honed during his leadership training at North Heights under the supervision of the pastors. What powerful and relevant experience he was able to gain by learning from those already in full-time ministry!
Oh, yes, and how I laughed as I listened to Nate preach, using his unique twist of knowledge and sense of humor! No wonder so many flock to his Biblical teaching seminars all over the world. It all started, I believe, as he was traveling with his wife, Sara, during her time in the Air Force. You have used that to open doors for many to be trained to preach Your Word in their own countries.
Then there is Caroline’s counseling ministry. Countless people have been helped through the books she has written over the years. The list just goes on and on. There is so much to be thankful for, Lord! You have done so many mighty things in the lives of the original nine students and the hundreds who have followed. It sure makes the early days of typing reports and photocopying records worth the effort. Only You, Lord, can make even those simple tasks count for Your kingdom! To You alone be the glory!”
We can only imagine, of course, the impact The Master’s Institute will have. But our vision is big and our God is bigger!
Like a Child
by Gary Bistram
I was at the Fellowship Hall at North Heights Lutheran in Arden Hills, MN. At the beginning of the service a group of girls about seven years old were doing a worship dance. As I watched them dance before the Lord and the whole congregation, I was moved by their freedom to worship the Lord with their dancing. The Holy Spirit reminded me of Matthew 18:4, “Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
I wanted to be like these dancing children, uninhibited before the Lord. But I don’t like dancing-at all! So I asked the Lord to help me dance before Him. I began with small steps as I stood by my chair while the congregation sang the next worship song.
Then Paul Anderson, the Director of Lutheran Renewal, came to the front of the church and asked, “How many of you men have wanted to dance before the Lord like these young children, but have held back?” I raised my hand along with many other men. Paul called us to come out into the aisle and dance. I responded, and as we danced around the room I felt freed up to worship the Lord with my entire being-soul, spirit, and body.
The Lord used the worship dance of these children to usher me into His presence and sho me how to worship Him with my dancing. I am thankful for these little girls and for their teachers for how the Lord used them to speak to my heart.
Gary and his wife, Susan, are members of North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills, MN. Gary is a professional photographer and has taken pictures of our August Conference.