Many Christians today have given up on America. They feed on a steady diet of doomsday books and negative headlines—both from CNN and Fox News—so it's no wonder they've lost hope. As far as they are concerned, this country and the world can go to hell as long as the rapture happens soon.
I'm not buying this. Just because things are dark doesn't mean God has turned His back on us. Spiritual trends may not be positive at the moment, but all it takes is one visitation from heaven to turn things around.
I believe we are about to witness another outpouring of God's power in our generation.
During a recent retreat in the mountains of Tennessee, God spoke to me from Isaiah 35 about another wave of the Holy Spirit that is coming soon. He told me, from verse 6: "For in the wilderness waters shall break out and streams in the desert." Verse 7 goes on to say: "The scorched land shall become a pool and the thirsty land springs of water."
Isaiah wrote those words at a time when Israel was in deep spiritual crisis. Prophets always see the light at the end of the tunnel. Anybody can look at negative trends and predict the worst, but God's prophets look beyond the discouraging darkness to find His redemptive purpose.
I have never been more convinced that God is going to refresh us again with a sudden outpouring of His presence and power. What will it look like? Here are a few things we should expect:
1) The gospel will penetrate previously closed nations. Today the world cowers in fear because a small minority of barbaric ISIS terrorists are threatening to blow up airplanes and embassies as they slaughter people in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other nations. But what we don't hear on network news is that the Holy Spirit is working in unprecedented ways to reach Muslims in the Middle East.
God has many surprises up His sleeve when it comes to reaching the Muslim world. He will do the same in other difficult world hot spots, including North Korea and Venezuela. The same God who toppled the walls of Jericho will tear down the walls of 21st-century dictatorship and spiritual oppression.
2) Asia will become the world's largest hub of Christianity. Even based on current growth trends, China will be a Christian nation by 2035. It could happen even earlier if we see a more powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit there. Already the churches of China, Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea and the Philippines are emerging as a potent mission-sending force.
This will only continue—and at the same time nations like Japan that have been tough to crack will finally open fully to the gospel. This could exceed the spiritual impact of the evangelization of South Korea. When Japan embraces the gospel on a large scale, expect an aggressive army of evangelists to emerge quickly.
3) Old-wineskin churches will fade off the scene. The bell has tolled for many of America's largest Protestant denominations—and they will die off over the next few decades because they abandoned the heart of the gospel. But this does not mean Christianity is fading in the United States. New church networks will replace those that compromised the message of Christ. While many traditional churches close, even more nontraditional churches will open.
4) Denominations will be completely reconfigured. Many leaders of evangelical and Pentecostal denominations will discard old, hierarchical structures and programs and open their movements to innovation. A great pruning will occur as methods are re-evaluated. The result will be a new focus on evangelism, discipleship and church planting.
5) A Christian youth revival will produce a new generation of leaders. American churches will become more intentional than ever on reaching children and teens—and vibrant expressions of Christianity will arise amid the spiritual darkness on college campuses. Expect to see many student-led evangelism movements, fueled by passionate worship and prayer.
6) Christian wealth will fuel a global movement of compassion and justice. In the past, many Christians who obtained wealth were content to spend it on themselves. A new movement of generosity will sweep through the church, and business owners and entrepreneurs will become channels of blessing to fund church planting and to confront global poverty, slavery, domestic violence and child neglect.
7) Women will emerge as leaders in the global church. From India to Nigeria to Ecuador, anointed women leaders will break the gender barrier in ministry. Many of them will bravely plant churches in places where women don't have rights; others will champion the cause of the poor and marginalized. Churches will launch new efforts to train women to maximize their impact.
8) New Testament-style miracles will increase. The Pentecostal/charismatic stream of the church is growing faster than any other segment of Christianity, and trends show this continuing—especially in the developing world. Because more people believe in the miraculous power of God than ever before, we can expect Spirit-filled faith to result in supernatural demonstrations of healing, deliverance and other miracles.
9) Wars, plagues and global disasters will open opportunities for Christian outreach. Hollywood disaster films have filled us with fear about the end of the world. But if you look at history you see that God's truth marches on in spite of momentary doom and gloom. Jesus even told us that earthquakes, famines and "wars and rumors of wars" are just "merely the beginning of birth pangs" (Matt. 24:6, 8). Birth pangs are not bad! They herald the birth of something new!
It's possible that we may witness horrible global disasters in the next season of history—and because of technology we will all witness these disasters on high-definition screens. We may even witness the "Big One" in Southern California. But this does not mean we crawl in a hole and hide. The church must shine brighter than ever when gloom settles over our cities.
10) More people will be saved in the coming season of revival than in any previous time. During a recent prayer time the Lord took me to the parable of the vineyard in Matthew 20. In that passage, the owner of the vineyard sends workers into the fields in the morning, at midday, in the afternoon and "at the eleventh hour" (v. 6), which was 5 p.m. In the end, the owner paid the late-coming workers the same as he paid the first shift.
The Lord has been speaking to me that there is an 11th-hour miracle coming. We will see a greater spiritual harvest in the last days than in any other time in history. Jesus said Himself: "So the last will be first, and the first last" (Matt. 20:16).
This does not mean one generation is more valuable than another. But it does mean that before Jesus cracks open the sky to return for His bride, His glory will be revealed like never before to a generation that calls on His name.
Our cry in this season should not be, "Lord, get us out of here!" We cannot throw away the hope of a global spiritual awakening. We should cry out: "Come, Holy Spirit! Fill this early with Your glory!"
J. Lee Grady served as editor of Charisma from 1999 to 2010. He currently directs The Mordecai Project, a ministry focused on confronting gender-based violence in developing countries. He is the author of several books including The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale and The Truth Sets Women Free.
Find out how God is using female missionaries to reach underprivileged and often abused women in Asia at gfa.charismamag.com.
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