Attention Pastors and Leaders!
We are very pleased to tell you that we are able to offer an insightful and practical book written by our friend and Lutheran Renewal board member, Pastor Mike Bradley.
The Ongoing Journey is a new, 300-page book intended to help you walk step by step in the visioning process for your church or for your own personal life and ministry. Not only does Mike share the wisdom that God has given him through years of tested pastoral ministry, but he has also gleaned many nuggets from the vast amount of visioning and leadership material currently available. This book is up-to-date and is written in a user-friendly form.
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
“Because vision is a picture of future reality, a visioning team may be pregnant with God’s vision for some time. They may live and lead and serve their people without having an ‘official’ vision statement….as they patiently await the ‘arrival’ of that which God is birthing.
The time spent ‘awaiting this arrival’ is not a time of inaction. Ministry is going on in peoples’ lives. God is moving and acting in and through the body. The vision is continuing to be formed within the hearts and minds of those to whom God is giving impartation. The vision is being nurtured and developed. But, it may not yet be time to ‘give birth’. So, a visioning team may simply need to live with the vision for a time.
Leigh Anderson writes:
‘Years ago, when Wooddale (his church) relocated to our present facility, no one believed it could be done. As a leader at Wooddale, I was responsible to voice the vision to build a facility…Someone with vision lives in the future. I ‘lived’ in our new building at Wooddale for years before the church actually moved in (Anderson/Shelley, pp. 19-20).’ ”
Mike Bradley and his wife, Debi, have five children. He continues to serve at Trinity Lutheran Church in Rapid City, SD where he has ministered for the past 12 years. Mike’s life-message is helping God’s people to rediscover what it means to be a safe place and a safe people.
Catching The Waves of Renewal
By Dan Siemens
Standing high atop a sea-cliff, overlooking a rocky section of the California coast, I found myself with a panoramic view of the action below. Here, a band of twenty surfers, tightly encased in their shiny, black, seal-like wet suits, plied their trade. Lured irresistibly by the rising sound of crashing seas, they challenged the uneasy surf and braved the chill of this January afternoon.
After watching them intently for some time, I observed that being a successful surfer required the recognition of a specific cycle of wave activity. There were two distinct parts to this cycle.
First, there was a time when the waves began to noticeably decrease in intensity, moments where inaction and stillness ensued. Even the sound of the water breaking on the shore became strangely muted. During this part of the cycle, the surfers would simply straddle their boards, facing outward toward the open sea, and there they bobbed silently in staggered unison. With all eyes scanning the horizon, they attentively watched and waited as they rested atop the liquid rhythm of the heaving sea.
Once in a while, as if to tempt anyone brimming with impatience, a feeble wave would develop with the false promise of an exciting ride. But not to be fooled, the experienced eye let it roll harmlessly past to break in weakness upon the shore.
Then suddenly, surfers came alive with activity that signaled the second part of the cycle. As if someone had fired a starting gun, each person, now lying horizontally on their craft, began to frantically dig armfuls of ocean with a windmill-like motion that propelled them seaward.
With a carefully timed approach, the paddlers reached the peak just as it was cresting in intensity. Totally changing the direction of their travel to now race back down the steep incline, they boldly stood to their feet. Empowered by the crashing wave and spray, which folded under in continuous motion behind them, these surfers were rewarded for their patience and could now experience the ride of their lives.
Like surfers looking for the next wave, we must learn how to recognize the cycles or seasons of wave activity relative to renewal movements.
In Rick Joyner’s book, A Prophetic Vision for the 21st Century, he notes from the history of past revivals the importance of preparatory watching, recognizing and ultimately responding to the moves of the Holy Spirit. He writes:
“In the previous great awakenings or revivals in church history, very few individuals were anticipating the move of the Holy Spirit. In almost every one of the awakenings, the existing churches and ministries were damaged by the new move, simply because the groups were not ready for it. In contrast, today there seems to be almost a universal expectation of impending revival but very little has actually been done to prepare for it. The next wave of the Holy Spirit is in reality bigger than we have dreamed, but because we are dreaming, instead of preparing, we are now in serious jeopardy from the very wave we have been hoping to see.”
Here are two ways we can prepare today for what God is sending tomorrow.
I. We must be vigilant and watchful with spiritual sensitivity in order to recognize the sovereign, rhythmic waves of the Spirit. This is especially true during the lulls in between the waves.
I learned from observing the surfers that there seemed to be more time waiting and watching than actual surfing. Biblical, expectant waiting is not a bad thing at all. Proverbs 8:34 says, Blessed is the (person) who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” Expectantly searching the horizon of the Spirit makes me more vigilant and ready for what God will be sending. Watching and waiting also makes me hungry for more; it is a way of agreeing with God about my own desperately weak condition. Here I realize that I cannot make a single thing happen without the power of his Spirit.
Watching and waiting prepares my hungering heart with grace in order to embrace the next move of God, because every wave of renewal comes with a price.
The effects of the most recent wave are still being felt around the world. It has renewed our love for the Father, and has sovereignly healed our hearts. It has also allowed us to experience just a fraction of the fearsome power of God, so that we will not be afraid when He comes to us in a stronger manner in the future.
But already, many are sensing that another swell is coming. Things have gotten somewhat quiet on the shore. In spite of this lull, we must also remember that biblical waiting doesn’t mean inactivity. There is a healthy tension here. (See Kevin McClure’s article in this issue). Although we long for the Spirit to be poured out afresh, that doesn’t mean that if God doesn’t send revival today that we are helpless to move on. God’s Holy Spirit is always with us. The Kingdom work of plowing, sowing and reaping must always continue in season and out of season (I Timothy 4.2). During the quiet times we are also called to integrate what we have learned from our previous ‘ride’ as we allow its unique emphasis to become deeply imbedded in our spiritual lives.
II. Our God is infinitely creative. Every wave of the Spirit must not only be recognized, but it must also be embraced in its God-ordained uniqueness.
No two waves of renewal are exactly the same. Each carries with it a familiar, yet distinct, message, a specific momentum and a capacity to sustain. Although each wave of renewal is birthed from the same ocean and is built upon by the momentum of previous swells, the Azusa wave differed from the Charismatic wave. The most recent wave which has flowed out from Toronto, Canada, has crested and is rolling onto the shore of the Church seeking to fulfill its own distinct purpose.
Surfers do not have the luxury of riding the same wave twice. We cannot recognize or move to the new unless we let go of the old. Surprisingly, one of the hindrances that keeps us from recognizing and embracing a unique, new move of the Spirit is our intimate connection with the previous wave. Joyner notes that “usually those of a previous move are retreating as the next wave advances, creating a clash that hinders the incoming wave.”
I love the way RT Kendall in his book, The Anointing, makes this point. He writes:
“God does not always repeat himself when manifesting his glory. We must come to terms with what may be yesterday’s anointing. It will do us no good to pretend that what happened yesterday is happening today, if it isn’t”.
He illustrates this by using the Old Testament account of Saul, Samuel, and David. Saul had the blessing and anointing of God and led a powerful move of the Spirit through Israel. But through his overt disobedience, he lost it. King Saul, in effect, became yesterday’s man, but he still publicly wore the crown for quite some time. What God was secretly sending was a new movement with tomorrow’s man, David. He received the new anointing, but was without the visible crown until God’s appointed time. How difficult it is to recognize the new when the old is firmly in place!
Samuel is a picture of today’s person, like you and I. He desired to be prophetically attuned to the now work and movement of the Spirit. But even when God revealed where he was heading with David, Samuel had a terrible time letting go of yesterday’s anointing on King Saul. God had to come to him and say, in so many words, “Samuel, that wave is past. How long will you mourn for Saul?” (I Samuel 16.1)
So where are we today? Have we embraced, appropriated, and released the past moves of God? Are we currently in-between the Spirit’s wonderful waves? Do you see the rising swells? As certainly as we move ahead with the ongoing work of the Kingdom, we must also watch together in listening prayer and plead in intercession for God’s new wave upon the horizon of the vast rolling ocean.
Why must we plead in earnest for this new wave? Let’s publicly admit that as much as God has done in every previous wave of the Spirit, the acts of God that we desperately need to awaken our churches and shake our cities are not being performed in our midst. We need so much more!
As we continue to cry out to God for more, may we have eyes to see the approaching swell of his mercy, and may we have the courage to ride out to meet it when it comes.
Dan Siemens and his wife, Denise, are parents of two teen-age girls, Ali and Teresa. Dan is on staff full-time with Lutheran Renewal as the Ministry Coordinator.
By Mary Ann Herzan
“…He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will'” (Acts 13:22).
Years ago when I first read that David was “a man after God’s own heart,” I decided that I would keep an eye on him. I wanted to learn from him what a person after God’s heart looked and acted like. In recent days the things that I learned from David, as I came to know him through the Scriptures, have come fresh to my mind. I sense the Lord saying that in these present days, and especially in those to come, we will need to be, like David, “after God’s own heart.” Jesus warned us that in the latter days “the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13). David’s love for the Lord endured to the end.
David understood what was most important-to be a person of prayer, staying intimately close to his God. We read his heart’s cry in Psalm 27:4-
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.
Jesus spoke of this to Martha when He came to Mary’s defense for sitting at His feet instead of being “distracted with much serving.” He said, “…one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion.” David chose it too. He knew that all he needed would flow from this “one thing,” whether he was a shepherd, a warrior, a psalmist, or a king. He knew that who he was with God mattered much more than what he did for God-that doing right things without a right heart had little value.
David loved the Lord. He loved Him with all of his heart, soul and strength. There was no place he would rather be than in the Lord’s presence. He delighted in the Lord and found that with Him a cave was as a palace and without Him a palace was as a cave. The Lord took delight in such abandon and poured back upon David the “hidden manna” of His love.
Yes, David was a sinner-like me and like you. But he understood true repentance; that it is more than just seeking pardon, but seeking a “clean heart”, a “broken and contrite heart” (Psalm 51). The “man after God’s own heart” knew where God looked to see the truth of a man. He even asked the Lord to deal with his “secret heart”, that which was beyond his own knowledge (v. 6).
David understood true leadership, “And David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people” (2 Samuel 5:12). He didn’t seek to grasp the kingdom from Saul or keep the kingdom when Absalom his son sought to take it from him. He left Jerusalem saying, “behold, here I am, let Him do to me what seems good to Him” (2 Samuel 15:26), and “went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went” (v.30). This was the same Mount of Olives where hundreds of years later Jesus wept, saying “nevertheless not My will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). The Lord’s people, and especially leaders, must be able to hold any commission from Him in open hands. Like Abraham with Isaac, we must always be willing to yield up the very promise the Lord gives to us.
In his last days, David spoke to his son, Solomon, and said, “…know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (1 Chronicles 28:9). Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived; yet his wisdom did not give him endurance to the end. He did not heed his father’s words to give the Lord his “whole heart,” and consequently, in the end, his heart deceived him (1 Kings 11:4).
Nineteen years ago at this time of year, I was in a hospital bed, not sure if I would ever walk again because of a head-on collision with a drunk driver. One night the Lord drew near, and with gentle power He spoke a command to the depths of my heart: “Tell them it’s their hearts that I want.” That command has come with fresh fire in my life today. The Lord is calling us to whole-hearted devotion so that we might be equipped with His richest and His best, and that we might “endure to the end” with a love that will not grow cold.
Mary Ann Herzan has taught at retreats, conferences, and Bible Studies for over 20 years. She served as office administrator at Lutheran Renewal for the past 10 years, but is now seeking to devote more time to teaching, speaking, and writing, encouraging the body of Christ to be a people “after God’s own heart.” She ministers under the theme of “David’s Heart.”
My Trip to Iceland, Latvia, and Denmark
By Doug Norquist
In late summer of 1998, the Lord spoke to my heart, and thus set in motion the course of events that sent me on a ministry trip with Paul Anderson last summer (August 1999). Over the course of the year, God directed our path from the initial thinking and praying stage, to making plans, canceling plans, then making new plans. As it turns out, the final plans were the best!
Most Timothy Project trips are in North America, but this one took us to Latvia and Denmark. The pace was quick, even grueling sometimes, but the rewards were tremendous. Within the first six days, we met with a Lutheran charismatic pastor in Iceland, and with the director of the Reykjavik airport; we had fellowship with a leading charismatic State Church pastor in Denmark; we attempted to communicate with a Latvian couple who knew almost no English but drove us on a two-hour journey to northern Latvia; we participated in two open-air meetings and two church services in Latvia; we had a meeting with the Latvian archbishop; we engaged in productive dialogue with a number of Latvian pastors and theologians, a few of whom were vehemently opposed to our message; we met with the Danish leader of Oase, the equivalent of Lutheran Renewal; and we participated in a beautiful prayer service at Karlslunde Strandkirke in Denmark. Even listing all of this does not communicate how full our days were. On the seventh day we headed to Silkeborg, Denmark where we had various meetings with pastors, an all-day renewal conference, several worship services, and a bit of sight-seeing.
The trip brought ministry opportunities and chances to meet people in a way I could not have dreamed. It enabled me to learn and to receive by impartation simply by being with Paul and the other fine Christian leaders. I also learned a lot just by watching them in action. And on top of everything else, I had fun!
Pastors, especially young pastors, will benefit as I have by spending time with Paul. The Timothy Project will help make this possible and will almost certainly open doors for ministry as well.
Pastor Doug Norquist lives in Buxton, N.D. with his wife, Shirley, and daughters, Grete and Karin. He is an ELCA pastor who serves Immanuel Lutheran Church in Buxton, and Highland Lutheran Church of rural Cummings, N.D.
By Kevin J. McClure
Revival has occurred throughout the history of the Church. Sometimes the revival has been confined to a particular geographic location; sometimes it is global.
In our day, some of us have actually seen, but most of us have at least heard, about the revivals ignited in Toronto and Pensacola.
Most Christians I know long for revival. No matter how authentically committed one might be, there remains in our hearts a longing, a gnawing ache, if you will, for something deeper.
In every age, even when revival fires have not been evident, there have been people whose personal lives have reflected the very heart of revival life. The fire that burned deep within them was not dependent upon a “happening.”
I do not say this to disparage the reality or importance of revival. My desire is to communicate that every Christian can experience the heart of revival every day as he or she learns to walk with the Author of all true revival.
How? I have no formula to share, nor do I claim to walk as I am proposing, but the desire burns, and it is my aim to walk in this way. Put simply, revival is really about God having all of us, about God being completely enthroned in our hearts. This doesn’t happen on merely one or two or even fifty occasions, during which we receive a special touch from God, but it is an ongoing kind of thing, usually the never-completed (this side of heaven) result of a daily walk with Jesus.
If personal revival will take place, not merely occasionally, but daily, then I believe that the following things must be happening. I need a heart that God has captivated. Paul describes his relationship with Jesus Christ in Philippians 3:12. He says that he was “taken hold of” by Christ. This phrase can be translated, “arrested”, “seized”, or “taken into custody.” In other words, it’s not about trying hard to have a heart that’s devoted; it’s about God doing something for me that I can’t do for myself. Oh, that we might pray that God would do this for us, and pray until it happens, and pray that it would continue to happen!
Also, I not only need the experience of consistent, weekly, corporate worship, but I need to be receiving the life of Jesus Christ from other believers. When I face temptation and the pressures of life, is there someone to whom I can confess my weakness and who will help me carry my burden?
Finally, as a Christian, I need to fuel the ministry of the Spirit by consistent, daily Bible reading and prayer. Fire is the result of fuel, oxygen, and ignition. I like to think of God’s Word as the fuel, prayer as the oxygen, and the Holy Spirit as the ignition. If we are not consistent in daily Bible reading and prayer, what are we giving to the Spirit to ignite?
Join me in praying right now: Jesus, help me to love you more than I love me; more than I love any pleasure that I know or hope to know; more than I love any person, place, or thing; more than I love any honor, accolade, title, rank, or privilege. Help me to love you pre-eminently, above all else. Make my heart a revival heart. Amen.
Rev. Kevin McClure and his wife, Laura, have four teenage children. Kevin is on the pastoral team at St. John’s Lutheran in Rosemount, MN. He is also a member of the Holy Spirit Conference Planning Committee.