|Church in Reformation - Prophetic Wake Up Call - Denny Cline|
"A Prophetic Wake-Up Call: We Are in Church Reformation"
Denny Cline, Albany, OR
Introduction: The subject of Church reformation is a big one; therefore, it is way too big to include many aspects in one small article. I do not consider myself an expert on this subject. However, it's good to hit the pause button on what we have always done and ask why we are doing what we do as the Church. That's especially true if our previous why is not bearing the fruit we hoped for.
I would say this article is more like a "prophetic wake-up call" to the American and Western Church. Read it with that in mind, as I am sure many issues left out will come to your mind. That's good though, because we need to be thinking about positioning ourselves to be a part of the greatest move of God in history.
A Question First: What Really is Church Reformation?
In my limited study compared to those who major on Church history, I would say this: I believe it is about re-forming to get back to God's original intent for the Church. This would involve shedding things that weaken us and distract us, and tearing down walls that divide us, while replacing them with bridges that bring us together.
I also believe it includes, but is not exclusively about, new models, ways of communicating the Gospel, and reaching the unreached. But this should not be with a different Gospel (which is the Good News of the Kingdom), or a different Jesus than the Jesus of the Bible. The Person, work, and message of Jesus is timeless regardless of cultural changes.
It is important to stay on the foundation that Jesus, the apostles, and prophets gave their lives for in birthing the Church. The early Church was outward-focused more than inward-focused; when you read the Book of Acts, it is a going Church full of passion, purpose, and power.
Two Main Needs in Church Reformation Today
Martin Luther's protest was warranted because of the heresy and corruption in the hierarchy of Church leadership of his time. That reformation gave way to thousands of new movements and denominations that we have today. It even led to a new surge of missionaries being sent throughout the world. However, after centuries, in the Western Church today, we are more focused on right doctrine and some on practice, but not so much on going. But that is changing.
In much of the Church, the focus is more on the idea of learning about "what it means to be a Christian" than actually "being like the disciples of Jesus". They were Kingdom-minded and outward-focused on doing the works that Jesus did. It is almost as though the Western Church lives in a bubble and does not see the other nations of the world and what is happening there. So here, as I see it, are two main needs in Church reformation today:
1. Return to the simple Gospel of the Kingdom, which is focused on Christ-likeness while also doing the works that Jesus did. Preach Good News, make disciples of Jesus, heal the sick, cast out demons, heal the broken-hearted, help the poor, and even raise the dead. And do it with the same heart of compassion and love of Jesus.
2. Restore family. The key to revival and reformation is the restoration of family. I believe this is true because of the massive assault on family worldwide and the breakdown of its structure. This is true at the deepest levels of understanding for becoming functional, loving families in every way possible. Family is like the root of a tree whose branches reach into every level of society.
How Do We Bring About Reformation?
How does this happen? Well, first we have to do a heart check and come back to what Jesus died for. Yes, He died to forgive our sins individually, but ultimately God is passionate in having a family like His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. So, we need to wake up and change the way we see family beyond the Church. The simple Gospel is for everyone before they are born again. Jesus made disciples before they were born again. Selah!
It has to be a priority in our mind and heart to live for Jesus and reach those whom have yet to come into relationship with Him. Sitting in church, learning week after week, and not doing is detrimental to everyone in the Church and to those whom have yet to find Christ. No one needs permission to go outside a church service and, with love, do the works of Jesus.
Love is a verb. We know how important love is and that we need to experience God's love as sons and daughters, but if it is only a message and not something that moves us to action, it is self-centered and not really love at all. If we are overwhelmed by the love of God, at some point we are moved to love like Jesus. Christ's love is full of passion, purpose, and power that changes the world.
That love is impacting the world on a massive scale with tens of thousands coming to Christ every day in many nations!
It seems the Western Church is just waking up, even though we have had seasons of renewal, revivals, and lots of equipping. That's all good. We just need to see from Heaven's perspective and not a Western Christianity perspective to get this thing going at hyper-speed. We all should want another outpouring of Holy Spirit on the level of the Book of Acts.
The evidence is a Church full of boldness, power, and world-changing activity. We should be seeing at least that level of influence today. If the first disciples waited and prepared for the first Pentecost, it would do us well to re-form and prepare for being a part of the greatest outpouring in history.
Our news media in America does not report much but the bad stuff, the latest politics, and entertainment these days. It's a shame that the media does not report the hundreds of thousands of Muslims coming to Jesus in Pakistan, nor the Hindus in India, Buddhists and communists in China, all coming to Christ.
Not to mention there are thousands every day coming to Christ in Africa. I could also mention many other countries in South America, and it's ramping up in Russia. We are actually in the largest worldwide move of God in history, and yet the Western Church knows little about it.
Two examples are recent videos I have viewed. In the first, about 500,000 people attended one Pakistan crusade over the course of a week led by a ministry I am very familiar with. Nearly half came to Christ with massive healing, miracles, and three people raised from the dead on stage. Another was a short time ago this year, when 1 million, mostly Muslims, in Pakistan heard the Gospel with the ministry reporting nearly 80% responding to receive Jesus in one meeting. The pictures of the crowd and people responding to the Gospel were staggering.
You Don't Have to Be a Five-Fold Evangelist to Advance the Kingdom of God
In closing, I pray, "Father, open our eyes and our hearts to realize that the world is not just America or the Western Church. Father, pour out Your Spirit on America and the Western Church to have another great awakening.
I love this country. Another great awakening is the only hope of our nation. America's lampstand is to be a light to the other nations of the world. So, it's important we don't lose it. That means the priorities of the American Church must change to be more like the Church that Jesus equipped and gave His life for.
When He poured out His Spirit post-resurrection, the Church was born in power. It advanced the Kingdom as its top priority. That is not a rebuke but a call to our greatness. We have everything every other Believer worldwide has. Let's not waste it or spend it on only ourselves. God sees everyone as His family, even if they don't know it yet. Some will reject Christ, but they need to hear the Gospel. This is our labor of love.
As the Church, we get to go to those who don't know God yet or have not heard the Good News. There are many ways to do this. We can do this with acts of love, kindness, healing, sacrificial giving, and every gift of the Spirit in the fruit of the Spirit, as carriers of His presence.
You don't have to be a five-fold evangelist to advance the Kingdom of God. Every part of the Body can do what we are designed to do as sons and daughters of God to advance the Kingdom of God. An all-saints move of God will bring about authentic Church unity in love. We can do this in America.
Let's re-form. Let's start a great awakening. Let's make Jesus famous.
Denny Cline is the founding pastor of Jesus Pursuit Church. Denny has a rich history of revival and awakening and raising up sons and daughters to know the love of the Father and do the works of Jesus. He is dedicated to seeing America come back to God through the power of the Gospel. He is available for schools, conferences, and events like this year's Northwest Reformation Summit April 22-23, 2016. Information and itinerary can be found at www.jesuspursuit.org
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