The wave of God's glory that is coming upon the church needs to be released into the earth. Revival was never meant to be characterized by a start and end date; it was meant to confront and redefine what we consider to be "normal" Christianity. Sadly, we see too much of a revival ebb and flow throughout history. Know that this is not God's will or evidence of some kind of dispensational theology.
We often like to assign a theological framework to the "ebb and flow" of the Holy Spirit, when in fact, the ebb or decrease is due to the church mountain neglecting responsibility to release carriers of outpouring into the other six mountains of society: family, education, government, media, arts and entertainment, and business. In fact, the very history of revival is defined by outpourings that dynamically started, inevitably waned and ultimately, stopped.
The Revival That Will Never End
I believe this next, and consummative, wave of outpouring will be so intense, so dramatic, so glorious, that the church will not be able to restrain or contain it; the mighty rushing river will be released into the earth!
I believe the Lord is preparing us for the revival that never ends. The heart of God is for His kingdom to increase until the Jewish man, Messiah Jesus, splits the sky and returns to planet Earth (see Is. 9:7).
Why does revival ebb and flow, namely in the church? Simple: the church was never meant to restrain Holy Spirit outpouring and keep it to themselves. Revival may be birthed in a church context—not necessarily in a building, but among the community of God—but it's purposed to be released into every sphere of society, that the kingdoms of this world would become the kingdom of our God and His Christ (see Rev. 11:15).
That supernatural governmental shift, where nations are discipled and influenced by the kingdom, will never take place as long as Holy Spirit outpouring is exclusively defined as extended meetings held within the confines of our church sanctuaries and auditoriums. Yes, we want our services to be characterized by the glorious, intense and dramatic movement of Holy Spirit. They must be! What's what church should look like, but it's unto something. Outpouring has an assignment, and Jesus is intent on receiving the inheritance of nations (see Ps. 2:8). He will only receive this as His people, filled with the Spirit, go into all the world and fulfill His great desire: disciple the nations.
Jesus Is Kicking People Out of the Church
In a recent vision, I saw the most humorous picture of Jesus kicking people out of the church. OK, so let me give you some context. He was not kicking people out in terms of excommunication or discipline. He was not severing people from vital connection with the body of Christ. I saw Jesus, with a big smile on His face, kicking people out of the institutional church buildings. I saw people getting powerfully touched by the Spirit in these meetings. I saw Jesus evaluating the people who received these encounters, and then, with a smile, giving these individuals swift kicks in the behind, flinging them out of the church mountain into their respective mountains or spheres of influence. And yet this sounds a lot like something Jesus would do. Didn't He say, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (see Matt. 28:19a)?
The river of God must flow from the temple in order for it to continue flowing in the temple. In other words, the presence and power of God must be carried into all nations in order for us to see the great global agenda of heaven come to pass. Otherwise, we will continue to simply enjoy periods of renewal behind the four walls of our church buildings, with wonderful, but limited results.
I believe the Lord is turning it up. He's turning up the power. He's turning up the fire. He's turning up the intensity. Turn it up, Lord! He's turning it up so that the level of power encounters in His presence is so strong that there is no alternative but to take what we receive in revival and release it to the other six mountains of influence.
The end objective is beautifully pictured in Ezekiel 47, which this prophetic journey moves toward: "... their water issues out of the sanctuary. And their fruit shall be for food and their leaves for medicine" (Ezek. 47:12d).
Everywhere the river goes, there is life and healing. I believe the Lord wants us to have a very clear picture on how the river is carried into the nations so that its healing work can be accomplished this side of heaven.
The Evidence Is All Around
Back in the 1990s, there were three major moves of the Holy Spirit in America that were purposed to shift the spiritual landscape: the Toronto Blessing, the Brownsville revival and the Smithton outpouring. Of course, there were other notable movements of the Spirit during this time and after: the revival meetings held by Rodney Howard-Browne in Lakeland, Florida; the IHOP awakening and the Bay (of the Holy Spirit) revival in the 2000s; the emergence of Bethel Church as a global center for sustained outpouring and exporter of revival culture to the nations and more.
So what's coming now? As we prepare for this next (and most likely, conclusive) wave of Holy Spirit outpouring, I strongly sense that the degree to which the church enjoys the blessing of sustained outpouring will be directly related to the church exporting people who are touched by outpouring into the other six mountains of culture.
On a side note, I'm grateful for catalytic thought leaders like Dr. Lance Wallnau who, although they love the move of God, are frustrated with the disconnection between Holy Spirit outpouring and a dry and thirsty land. Revival becomes relevant to society when our meetings become portable. We need safe places where people have space to encounter God powerfully and dramatically. However, I prophesy that in this next wave of glory, people will become portable centers of outpouring and revival, carrying the touch of God outside of the four walls and into strategic spheres of societal influence.
I prophesy that those with significant wealth and influence, businessmen and investors, politicians and media moguls, actors and directors—those who present themselves as dignified and refined—are going to experience undignified, glorious, overwhelming glory encounters in the presence of God. The church will be a safe space for such meetings to take place—but these will be for the purpose of awakening individuals of influence to the potential of God's presence within them.
Larry Sparks is co-author of the book, The Fire That Never Sleeps, with Dr. Michael Brown and John Kilpatrick. Larry's mission is to help teach all believers how to experience and sustain personal revival—enjoying a deep relationship with God through encountering the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. To this end, he maintains a blog through Charisma magazine, is a published author, teaches revival seminars, and is the co-founder of Renewing South Florida, an organization committed to uniting the local church for regional outpouring. Larry holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University and presently serves as vice president of publishing for Destiny Image Publishers.
You can receive daily empowerment for personal revival from Larry on Facebook (facebook.com/larryvsparks).
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