Megatrends in the New Millennium

From Morning Star Ministries web site. By Rick Joyner

We are in one of the greatest watershed periods in human history. There has never been a more exciting time to be alive. Great sweeping historical events are cascading down upon us at an increasing rate. However, the church is not only called to perceive future trends, but to start them and set their course. One of the greatest changes coming will be the result of the church giving birth to leaders who do not just follow the world's trends, but who start trends that the world will follow. Before the end there will be a church that is the true light of the world. Now is the time for the church to arise and walk in her great destiny.

The Sword And Cup

There has never been greater opportunities, or stumbling blocks, in the path of mankind. Even if the world is determined to stumble over the stumbling blocks, we are here to point them out and save as many as we can. The church is called to be a prophet to the nations. To accomplish this I saw the Lord giving her a sword and a cup. The church did not immediately understand either of these, but when she did she began to use them. Now is the time for us to understand the great authority that has been given to us.

There will be a great famine for hearing the word of the Lord(cite). This will come as a judgement because the church has had so little esteem for His Word. Judgement always begins with His household because He cannot judge the world when His own people are bound by the same sins that are bringing His judgement. Even so, this famine for hearing His words will stun the whole earth. The heathen are going to understand how tragic it is not to have His Word.

When the church repents, she will be given the cup of His Word to both drink and serve. Then she will be given the sword of His Word. This sword will be raised and have the attention of the nations. It will strike terror in the hearts of those who do evil, and it will be a beacon to those who do good. There is a time coming when the Word of God will be so esteemed among the nations that those who know it will be as Solomon, with people coming from the far corners of the earth to hear the wisdom of God with which they have been entrusted.

The cup that was given to the church was the cup of His word that brings refreshing and hope. It was a hope so great that it brought refreshing to all nations, opening many to the gospel of salvation. Because of this cup, the church will be able to give direction and purpose to much of the world. The church throughout the earth will experience a time of great esteem. This is from the Lord, and will be a great opportunity for the gospel, but it will also come with many stumbling blocks for believers. Only the grace of humility will keep us on the path of life during these times, which in some ways can be more dangerous than the great times of darkness that will also come.

This period of great esteem for the church is like a parallel of the first years of the church in Jerusalem. Then the people held believers in high esteem, but also feared them. We must be prepared for this time as it will be a great opportunity for leading multitudes to the Lord, and to give direction to the nations. However, this does not negate the fact that there will also be times of great darkness sweeping the earth, just as great destruction later came upon Jerusalem.

The Greatest Reformation

In preparation for these great events, the church is about to go through a metamorphosis. She is going to change from a worm into a butterfly. A caterpillar in confined to the earth, and its path must conform to the contour of the earth. Likewise, for nearly two thousand years the church has often conformed more to the ways of the world than to the ways of the Spirit. Soon the church will go through a change so dramatic that it will seem to emerge as an entirely different creature. It will be like another birth. This time we will have wings to soar high above the ways of the world.

Possibly the greatest struggle that a butterfly will ever experience is freeing itself from the cocoon where the great transformation has taken place. However, if it were not for the strengthening of the butterfly that takes place during this struggle, it would never be able to flap its great wings and fly. Not only does the church have a transformation to undergo, but it must then prevail through the struggle of freeing itself from the place of the transformation.

The church has been bound by forces that have greatly inhibited her from becoming all that she was created to be. Evil religious spirits have become substitutes for the Holy Spirit. Control spirits have dominated and crushed creativity. The basic nature of God and those who have His Spirit is creativity. Political spirits have caused the church to cower under the fear of man so tightly binding the church, that both the devil and the world are convinced that she will never be anything but a worm. However, even under this extreme pressure, a transformation is taking place on the inside of this worm. Even though she is still imprisoned, wings are growing! There is about to be a jailbreak!

The church is about to bust out of the prison that the devil and the world have tried to keep her in. The church is about to come forth both beautiful and strong. And she will be able to fly! The sky will be her home, and the wind of the Spirit will be her guide.

When this new church emerges, she will be so different from what is now perceived to be the church, that the whole world will not even recognize that there was ever a connection between the two. As the new creation church begins to soar, the old forms will become filled with every evil thing. The corruption of the old will be total, and it will no longer be possible for the righteous to stay in the old.

The Spiritual Civil War

Years ago I was shown that a spiritual civil war was coming upon the church. This was a war of brothers fighting brothers. This great conflict was fought over spiritual issues that reflected the natural ones that the American Civil War was fought over, such as the "plantation mentality" of some church leaders, slavery versus freedom, union versus rebellion, etc. This war is approaching, and preliminary skirmishes are now breaking out.

Even so, there are things that we can do that will greatly lessen both the scope and endurance of this conflict, just as the American Civil War could have been greatly shortened by strong, decisive leadership in the beginning. We must pray that the Lord raises up strong decisive leadership so that truth can prevail quickly. This war is coming, but it does not have to be a long, drawn out affair such as the American Civil War.

The Power Of Creation

The power of creativity is going to be released through the church so that even the world's greatest inventors, artists and visionaries stand and marvel at the church. Christians, who know the Creator, should be the most creative people on the face of the earth. We have a well of living water in us that can never be exhausted.

However, it is a river, not a lake. A river is always flowing, going somewhere. True Christianity is the most exciting, invigorating life that can be experienced, and that river is about to become an irresistible force. If we are going to work with Lord through these times, we must break free from the shackles and fears that pressure believers into conformity. This is one of the most devastating strongholds that have exalted themselves against the true knowledge of God.

For example, when the Lord Jesus performed miracles, it seems that He never did them the same way twice. One of the reasons why the church has had only sporadic power for healing has been our tendency to depend on methods and formulas more than on the Holy Spirit. If the Lord heals one way, we usually try to duplicate the way, such as praying the same prayers, doing it in the same setting, even getting the same people together to pray rather than looking to the Healer. It is obviously the very nature of the Lord to be creative. He is even creative in the way that He heals.

Using formulas and patterns is actually a form of witchcraft, which is counterfeit spiritual authority. There is a true authority about to be released in the church that will release a level of creativity in believers that is literally unprecedented in human history. This will actually release such faith in the church that powerful miracles will be the result.

The common denominator of the great heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11 is that they all did something that no one had ever done before. To press beyond the present limits of thought or action is a demonstration of great faith. That is why Abraham, who is called "the father of faith," was compelled to leave behind all that he had known to seek God in unknown regions. True faith still requires a walk far beyond our comfort zones. When we do this, we are no longer putting our trust in our environment, or in other people, but in God.

It is in this way that a great people are about to emerge from the present forms of church that have been built upon the ways of men, and they will risk everything to seek that which God is building. This will threaten the forces of status quo, the powers that are now oppressing the saints, and will be the fundamental cause of the coming spiritual civil war. However, a true union of the church is not possible until the forces of spiritual slavery are defeated and all people are set free to follow the Lord in their own quest.

This is not the license to depart from sound doctrine, or to rebel against God's established authorities. However, there is about to be a clear distinction between those who have received their authority from above, and those who have promoted themselves, or been promoted by institutions. The latter authorities will be increasingly revealed as operating in the control, political and religious spirits.

This is Satan's "cord of three strands" that he has used to bind the church. That cord will soon be broken, and the true liberty of the Spirit released in the world, and the church which will fall into increasing tyranny and bondage to evil. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty" (II Corinthians 3:17).

True faith is also true liberty. The freedom of faith is about to be released. As stated, this will also result in unprecedented miracles. Just as the Spirit moved upon that which was "formless and void" (Genesis 1:2) in the beginning, and brought forth such a glorious creation, the Spirit will move through believers to bring forth glorious new creations even out of the greatest chaos. The Holy Spirit is not intimidated by chaos, and neither must we be. Rather we must see chaos opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work. It will be in the most desperate situations that His greatest works will be revealed. The truth must be sown deep within us to see meltdowns of authority and civil order as an opportunity to see His great work.

The Children are for Signs and Wonders

There is an increasing onslaught of the devil against children and youth. The confusion and disorientation of youth will continue to increase dramatically. The enemy of all life has released his greatest darkness against youth because he knows that this is the generation of God's deliverers. In the midst of this onslaught, great and noble leaders will begin to emerge, with some of them being very young children. Their fierce resolution to follow the Lord will lead many out of the darkness. God will do great miracles through them. We must learn from these children; we must become like them to enter the kingdom.

Children and youth ministries must be given our highest priorities. These ministries are often given a low priority because children and youth do not have much to give financially, so many only do enough to occupy the children while the parents can receive ministry.

Those who are going to be a part of the coming move of God will understand that the most important ministry right now is to equip and train children and youth for their callings in Christ, and they will begin releasing them into ministry now. Their generation is going to enter the kingdom. There will be some "Joshuas and Calebs" from the previous generation, but we must put our highest priority on preparing the coming generation. Those who do not do this will quickly begin to fall from their place.

Because so many children have been reared more on television than by instruction, they are often conditioned to respond only to sound bites. Many of their attention spans have been reduced to just a few seconds. They are addicted to constant bold stimulation and anything less than this cannot break through to them. However, God is going to break through this.

We see in the Book of Acts that the first Christians were continually in awe concerning the great things that God did among them. That is the nature of true church life. There is nothing on this earth more interesting, fulfilling and exciting than God! The next move of God is not going to just be built around another doctrine. The next great move of God is simply going to be God moving. The Lord is going to suddenly come into His temple, and the whole world is going to know it. When His glory fills His temple -the church- no flesh will be able to minister, but will flee.

Children and youth are about to become much more interested in God than in all of the distractions and traps that the enemy has set for this generation. They will be drawn to God, but they will never be drawn to dead forms of religion and programs. We cannot compete with the world on the level of entertainment, and do not need to.

The anointing of the Holy Spirit is much more interesting and compelling than anything that the devil has. We must stop trying to entertain the kids and simply draw near to God. If we are drawing near to Him so that He is truly lifted up, all will come to Him. Those who are getting near to God will be the most contagious people on the earth. Those who are simply offering religious programs will look increasingly ridiculous and out of step with the times. It is God whom the children want, and nothing else will substitute for Him.

Strong Foundations

With all of our excitement about the new, we must fulfill the commandment to honor our fathers and mothers, in the spiritual as well as the natural. We must also esteem the aged, refined wine that they can serve us. If we are able to go another step it is only because of how well the ones who went before us have prepared the way. They too will partake of the fruit.

They have earned the right to be a part of the great company of witnesses whom God the Father will sit with to behold the dawning of the day of Jesus Christ. Our Lord has conquered. He is about to take His rightful place as the King who rules over all nations. Those who have gone on to be with the Lord will be coming back with Him. It is right that they are honored.

In Malachi 4:5-6 the Lord states,

"Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse."

Elijah is the ministry that prepares the way for the Lord. One of the greatest things that we can do to help prepare the way for Him is to restore the hearts of the fathers to their children.

We must also understand that one of the follies that brings the greatest curses on any land is the departure of the fathers from their families. This is especially a curse upon the West at this time. Families are breaking down, and it is almost always the father who leaves the family. Mothers seldom need to be restored to their children because they are seldom estranged.

I Timothy 5:8 says, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." Note that this word is not to "she," but rather to "he." Providing for our own is not just paying child support, it is being a father.

There is a kind of leadership and nurturing that only mothers can give, and there is a kind that only fathers can give. Children need both in a family. Fathers who leave their families for selfish reasons are departing from the faith in a very basic way, and their judgement will be most severe. Church leaders who do not take a stand on this truth are also denying their calling.

Thank God for Promise Keepers and the other great family ministries that have been raised up because they are certainly worthy of our support. However, the local church is always the front line of the battle, and it is the local church that must fight for the family, especially in restoring the hearts of the fathers to the children. To not do this will bring the greatest curse of all on our land.

Jesus Is Knocking

Revelation 3:20 is a crucial message for our time, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me." This describes how He is on the outside knocking, seeking to enter His own church. In this scripture we see both the unfathomable patience and mercy of our God, and the unfathomable tragedy of the church that does not even know that the Lord is not with them.

As Revelation 3:20 states, it is not those who hear His knock who open the door to Him, but those who hear His voice. One of the key issues of our time will be whether or not we know the voice of the Lord or not. Because of this there will continue to be an increasing crescendo of attacks by the enemy to try to turn people away from seeking to know the voice of the Lord.

In Acts 2:17-18 the Lord says, "And it shall be in the last days,' God says, 'That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; Even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy."

It is clear that one of the primary signs of the last days is that the Lord will pour out His Spirit and that dreams, visions and prophecy will come upon the old and young, men and women, which obviously includes everyone. If you are going to receive His Holy Spirit at the end these signs are obviously coming with Him. These are ways that the Lord has spoken to His people from the beginning, and we are assured that it will also be so in "the last days." If we are going to understand what He is doing at the end, it is obvious that we will need to understand dreams, visions and prophecy.

It is no accident that the prophetic ministry has been under almost a continuous assault for the last ten years. Some of the most vicious attacks have come from those who claim to be friends of the prophetic. However, we should not think that this is strange. John Wesley was condemned by many church leaders of his own time for the "unspeakable presumption" of referring to himself as an evangelist. The restoration of every ministry to the church has come with a greater opposition from the church than it did from the world. Some will reject restoration out of jealousy, some out of fear, and most will try to find anything wrong with it that they can in order to justify their rejection of it, but it is still coming.

The prophetic ministry is being restored to the church at this time, and it is coming with increasing power and credibility. The hand may continue to say that it has no need of the eyes, but it is clear from the Scriptures that we cannot accomplish our last day mandate without the prophetic. The prophetic gifts are going to be poured out on everyone who walks in the Holy Spirit. Don't let the attacks discourage you, but determine to sink your roots even deeper into sound biblical truth, and determine that you are going to know the voice of the Lord even better.

As the Lord Himself stated in John 10:4 when He referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd, "When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice." The sheep "follow Him because they know His voice." We will only be able to follow Him to the degree that we know His voice. We must never compromise this devotion to know His voice, regardless of how friends or foes seek to deter us from it. The call that the Lord made to every one of the churches in Revelation was to those who overcome. We must let every attack only increase our resolve.

The Lord allows such attacks to separate those with true faith from the pretenders. Every test is for the purpose of promotion. As Francis Frangipane likes to say, "We never fail one of God's tests. We just keep taking them until we pass." We also seldom pass with a perfect score. However, every one that we pass enables Him to release a greater anointing and authority to us. Likewise, the prophetic ministry is growing dramatically in both anointing and authority on a worldwide basis. More than anything right now we need the humility that will keep us in the grace of God. We must never close ourselves to correction from legitimate sources, and we must accept accusations and slander as opportunities to die a little more to the pride that can be the most dangerous stumbling block of all.

Church is not a Spectator Sport

One of the spiritual megatrends that will quickly have a radical impact on the church is the rising devotion to seeing the mandate of Ephesians 4 accomplished. The entire book of Ephesians describes a church life that probably has not been fully experienced since the first century.

However, it is a mandate that we know will be fulfilled before the end comes. For this alone to happen the change would be even more radical than that which was called "The Reformation." Ephesians 4:13-14 describes the result of the church functioning as it is designed, which is our calling and which we must pursue:

"until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.."

Is there even a congregation on the earth that has come to the unity of the faith, the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man that is "the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ"? Is there even a congregation that still has life but is not constantly tossed about by every new wind of doctrine? I have not seen or heard of one. However, we cannot settle for less than this. How do we get there? The two verses previous to those just quoted tell us:

"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ" (verses 11-12).

Here we see that the ministry of the church is not centered on just one person or ministry, but on a team. We also see that those who have these callings are not to just do the ministry, but are to equip the people to do it. Twentieth century Christianity has generally had a greater resemblance to a spectator sport than to the church life described in The New Testament. Twenty-first century Christianity will break free of the terrible shackles that have so limited the true life of the Spirit. Change is coming.

"Spectator sport" Christianity is another cause for much of the lukewarmness that now prevails in the church. It is also a primary reason for many of the problems that churches experience with people becoming disgruntled, or even worse, bored. Every Christian has been given a calling, a ministry. They were known before the creation of the world and called with a purpose. The frustration of not being equipped or given the place to fulfill what we were created for is causing many of the church splits and other problems many experience today.

I have asked several audiences of thousands of Christians how many even knew what their calling was. With but a few exceptions the answer is consistently less than 5%. When I ask how many are actually functioning , it usually drops considerably. How well could we live if only 5% of our body was functioning? Is this the way that the Lord designed His body? This has been one of the tragic failures for which we must repent of if we are going to be true New Testament ministries in the church.

Freedom is coming. A new breed of leader is going to arise who will fulfill the mandate of true New Testament ministry to equip the people, and allow them to do the ministry. This will probably come in many forms, but it will come. It must. A true New Testament church leader is only successful if he or she is raising up others who can do what they do. Is that not the model that the Lord gave us for leadership? Then we will also have true church growth, which is not just growing fat, but growing strong as well.

Future church life is not going to be built on meetings, but on the moving of the Holy Spirit through His people. "Church" will not even continue to be thought of as the meeting place, or the meetings. The Holy Spirit will be as free to flow through His people as much on Monday morning as Sunday morning.

New Church Life and Government

There is room in the New Testament for a diversity of church governments. However, a system of church government has evolved in many denominations and movements that perverts ministry. It is to the point where it is difficult for a true pastoral ministry to function in it, and nearly impossible for the others. Therefore the Holy Spirit has placed some of the most effective and anointed pastors in secular positions where they can actually do their job better. Many are school teachers, business leaders and workers in almost every field.

These people are truly pastoring their students, employees and co-workers. If you are one of these, the church may not now recognize your ministry, but God does. Be faithful to your calling because you are more in harmony with the future of the church than much of what is now thought to be church. You are a part of the new breed of ministry that is coming forth.

The purest form of church life we have in the Scriptures is found in the gospels. When Jesus walked the earth, He showed us the way that He wants us to live. He did go to the temple to teach occasionally, but mostly He ministered where the people were to be found in their daily lives. He seemed much more at home sitting by a seashore, or in someone's house, than He did in the temple. Our greatest times of fellowship with the Lord, and with each other, will usually come in such natural settings. The new church will not continue to be identified with buildings, but with life.

This is not to say that church meetings are not important. There are times for teaching and special ministry which is much more effective in such designated settings. Even so, as the church in the Book of Acts met in the temple and from house to house, we must recognize that the "house to house" meetings are just as much church as those that take place in our buildings. Just as Jesus met and called most of His followers from the midst of their every day activities, He has not changed and still is far more prone to meet with people where they live and not in some artificial pseudo-spiritual setting.

If the church is to be relevant to our times we must break out of the prison made by four walls of our designated church buildings. If we can only move in the Holy Spirit in our designated buildings, we should question the authenticity of what we are doing. Just as Jesus did the bulk of His ministry in the settings of every day life, He will still do His greatest works in the midst of everyday life, in everyday settings.

New Breed of Leader

The new church leaders will also be chosen and prepared very differently than those of the past. We must learn to recognize true spiritual leadership as the Lord did. He did not go to the great religious institutions of His time to find His leaders for the church, but He went to common people who were being prepared by common, everyday life. Life does more to prepare us for ministry than any institution. Institutional preparation for ministry can bring forth the most unrealistic leadership that is out of touch with real life. This is one of the reasons why the church has become increasingly out of touch with the times.

While I still believe that seminaries can have a place in ministry preparation, they were never intended to be the primary place. Seminaries are dying, but they can have a great contribution to the future of the church if they will allow their purpose to be redefined. As one of the great theologians and visionaries of our times, C. Peter Wagner, related to me several years ago, conferences have displaced seminaries as the primary place of equipping for the future leaders of the church.

I believe that this is true, but the primary Biblical way to prepare leader- discipleship is yet to be recovered. Many still cringe at the word "discipleship" because of some of the excesses of the past, but we must not reject this crucial form of leadership preparation. We will not get to where we are called to go without it.

Discipleship is God's primary way to prepare future leaders and ministries, and another great movement toward recovering this is coming to the church. However, it must not become a separate stream and emphasis, which will cause the corruption of any truth. It must flow within the life of the present churches and movements. Every "Paul" who does not have a "Timothy" is wasting a good part of their ministry, and failing to make what could be their greatest lasting contribution to the church.

The Great Battle Of Our Times

The Lord Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:12-13, "And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. "But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved." This is now! Many Christians are growing cold. Studies now show that there is very little difference between the morality of those who claim to be born again Christians and unbelievers.

The Scripture exhorts us II Corinthians 13:5: "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test?" If there is no difference between the way that we live and the way that others live who do not know the Lord, then we have failed the test!

If we are lukewarm in our faith, it is time to get in or get out. We are better off departing from the church than staying in it if we are not on fire for God. If we are not on fire for God, we are hurting ourselves by becoming a hypocrite, and we are hurting the church with our presence. True church life is not an appendage that we add onto our lives for a couple of hours a week so that we can feel better about ourselves. If we have not given our lives to the Lord, and not just a few hours a week, then we are the one to whom this applies. If this is true of us, and if we do not remove ourselves, then the Lord will soon spit us out of His mouth as we are told in Revelation 3:16.

However, there is another option. Get hot! He is the Lord of all; He gave His own life to purchase ours, and He is deserving all of our devotion, day and night. How many of us would have married our spouses if on our wedding day they had said to us, "Darling, I love you so much I am going to be faithful to you three hundred and sixty-four days a year. I will only be unfaithful to you one day a year." Is the Lord worthy of a bride for whom the reverse is actually more true that she is only faith a few days a year?

The Lord is coming. Before the end the Lord will have a bride who is so passionately in love with Him that she will make herself ready. Like the bride who so loves her bridegroom that she is determined for her dress be without a single spot or wrinkle, the bride of Christ is about to return to her first love. She will be known by her love, first for the Lord, and then for one another. That will be a radical change. That is the nature of radical Christianity.

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