The key to Holy Spirit outpouring in this next season can be found in the following passages of Scripture in this order: Psalm 63, Psalm 46, John 7:37-39, and Ezekiel 47:12.
1. Have heaven's perspective of your sphere of influence.
O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh faints for You, in a dry and thirsty land with no water" (Ps. 63:1).
Notice that the psalmist does not call the world "lost and dying." Although this is popular language among evangelicals, I do believe we need to change our description of the world and its people, as our description defines our level of interaction. If we see things as lost and dying, it is possible to embrace a hopelessness that robs us of our assignment. It's easy to embrace an escapist approach when we view the world as lost, hopeless, dying and damned. We'll do our best to win as many people to the Lord as we can, while also, hunkering down and preparing for everything to explore like the Death Star.
For the Lord would say: "See the world, not as lost and dying, but as dry and weary. See the people in your world, who are disconnected from living water, not as hopeless, but as those who are thirsty and desperate for the fountain you carry. Yes, the people and also, the very culture. The world. The very soil and ground, for the whole of creation is groaning and aching, longing for the manifestation of sons and daughters who carry my solution into dry and weary places. My solution is outpouring. My solution is Holy Spirit. My solution is Myself, for you are where you are because I want to be there. You are where you are because I want my presence and my rule in that place. You uniquely bring people into proximity with Me. Do not disregard your present station and place of assignment. Most likely, it's not where you are going to be stationed forever, for I am the God of glory to glory and changing seasons. However, you will walk in a sense of destiny and fulfillment to the degree that you walk aware of your assignment to carry My presence and My kingdom into the place you are currently placed."
2. Recognize that you carry heaven's Solution into the chaos.
"God is our refuge and strength, a well-proven help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah" (Ps. 46:1-3).
Does this sound like the world you presently occupy? A place characterized by fear, anxiety and trouble? Can you relate to the psalmist's language of mountains falling into the heart of the sea, waters roaring and foaming? Doesn't this feel like life sometimes not for you—maybe for those around you? In the midst of the shaking and trouble, what is the solution? What is the answer? The psalmist prophesies the answer in Psalm 46:4, and Jesus clarifies in John 7:37-39.
"There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High" (Psalm 46:4).
In the midst of all the chaos and calamity, heaven has a solution—there is a river. Now comes the question: where will this river come from? Out of heaven? No.
3. Heaven's river is here.
Back in the 1990s, Vineyard worship released a wonderful prophetic song of praise called "The River Is Here." Such an expressive, joyful way to give voice to the words of Jesus in John 7:37-39:
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water." By this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believe in Him would receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).
We are not waiting for outpouring to come down from heaven; rather, heaven is waiting for it to come out from the church. For the world to be reached, the river must flow out of the church. Not church as in the buildings or physical structures, but church as in the redeemed community of God filled with the Spirit of God. The level to which we embrace this next season of outpouring will be dependent upon our awareness of the presence and person of the Holy Spirit, and how we decide to accommodate His movement in our lives and in our church services. While there is a sovereign element to the Spirit's movement, in terms of how He moves in a certain context, the fact is that, since the Day of Pentecost, He's been released into the earth and He has been moving. He's been searching for a people who live in tune with Him enough to move with Him.
The problem is that the church has desired to restrain the Spirit and call it revival. I'm not talking about restraining the Spirit's supernatural movements and manifestations; I'm meaning that we have wanted to keep revival locked up behind four walls and insist that the world comes to our services. Often, the motives are pure; just confused. We truly desire the outpouring of the Spirit, but we neglect to consider the flow of outpouring. It flows through so that it can flow to. Reconsider Jesus' mandate in Acts 1:8, "But you will shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
"You shall receive power ..." The "you" refers to the church, the Spirit-filled people of God on planet Earth.
"When the Holy Spirit comes upon you." This refers to the expression of outpouring.
"You shall be My witnesses ... to the ends of the earth." Right here, Jesus gives us fruit of what outpouring and revival must produce.
So we reflect once again. Could it be that we've only played in the shallow end of Holy Spirit outpouring, not because God has sovereignly withheld it or because we're in some special dispensation, but because we have believed revival was to flow into the church, when really, it was meant to flow through the church? Remember, revival was never meant to have a start and stop date. This only happens when it becomes restricted by buildings, walls, gatherings and services. Yes, we will continue to gather as a body and have services, but I prophesy that rather than extended meetings, every meeting will become an opportunity for dynamic Holy Spirit encounter. What was considered unusual in the bygone days of revival will become the new normal, as the people of God become increasingly hungry for the Spirit's movement in their midst.
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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