During the Protestant Reformation, as Martin Luther was nailing theses to church doors, leaders like him attracted many followers who would willingly lay down their lives for the new doctrine taught by these great men.
These followers would adopt the doctrine of the leader and later formed into a network we call denominations. These denominations have operated for hundreds of years and have accomplished and are accomplishing many great things for the cause of Christ. The denominations generally became very exclusive and fellowshipped and worked together within their group.
Being cordial to outsiders seldom provided a boundary of the denomination violated. In fact, some of these groups held the position that if you were not baptized by their group, your baptism was not valid. Sadly, the very boundary that was designed to protect the group became a wall of isolation. The isolation caused spiritual inbreeding within the network of Christians who ultimately would cause the deterioration of the denomination. As I wrote the words "spiritual inbreeding," I could hear the voice of my wife saying, "What is spiritual inbreeding?" So I thought it would be good to share my thoughts on the subject.
Spiritual inbreeding is a term the Lord spoke to me recently concerning local fellowships, networks or denominations that isolate themselves to their own group. I was a member of a network that preached being "unequally yoked" to include anyone outside of the network. Spiritual inbreeding can be seen when the major growth of a group comes from within the group. Thereby the group is perpetuated by the natural growth of families instead of new converts.
In recent years, God has been bringing the five-fold ministry gifts back into their rightful place within the body of Christ. As God has brought apostles and prophets back to the forefront many have begun to follow them. Many apostles and prophets who never intended to form a network gathered a following and a network formed. Some of the apostles and prophets even resisted because they saw the weakness of the denomination in being clannish and did not desire to repeat the mistake.
Networks small and great have formed within the past 25 years. Most of the networks are young and the pioneering apostle is present within the group. The fire of the pioneer is still burning brightly and the networks are filled with anticipation and excitement.
Revival and awakening are their very heartbeat. Men and women, young and old are laying down their lives and pouring themselves out over this nation for revival and the networks are ablaze with passion. Many are praying fervently for a third great awakening and are tirelessly crying out for revival.
The modern-day pioneers are using modern technology to spread their message and gather on prayer calls to bombard heaven for a third great awakening. Certainly, the networks are "Appealing to heaven" for this nation.
The Lord spoke to me recently saying, "Network the networks." We are doing a good job of building the networks, but it is now time to connect the dots or Network the Networks for awakening. Each network is different and fulfills different assignments.
The doctrine and practice of the network is not the issue. Where the networks agree, they can connect. The networks can agree in prayer for awakening in this nation. We all agree Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God and worthy to be praised and worshipped. On that foundation, we can connect to pray, fast and petition the throne of heaven for awakening, not only in America but also worldwide.
While serving as a missionary in a foreign country, I noticed something with the body of Christ in that country very troubling to me. I saw it also when I returned to America, but I never realized it before traveling abroad. In the foreign country, Christians, especially the women, dressed a certain way, covering their heads and not wearing makeup. The problem arose when new believers came into the congregation. The ladies would immediately begin to instruct the new-believing women how to dress so they would conform to the group. The new believer then looked like everyone else and conformed but, unfortunately, lost their identity and individuality.
While it is necessary for us to agree in certain areas to have a point of connection, we do not have to conform to each other to connect for revival. We do not have to lose our identity and individuality to network together. In other simpler words, "You can be you, and I can be me. You do not have to become like me to network with me."
Our networks do not have to be conformed to each other to connect. To network, we must allow each other to be ourselves. The same thing is true doctrinally. We do not have to conform to connect.
Time has come to network the networks. We must connect with network leaders in our sphere and outside of our sphere and reach out to them. We are at a kairos "opportune" moment for the body to connect, each fulfilling their kingdom purpose and destiny.
When the networks network, the kingdom of heaven will be propelled forward resulting in a great harvest of souls. The harvest is truly white and plenteous unto harvest, waiting on the kingdom of heaven to connect on earth to gather them in.
When the networks network, we will form a great worldwide net in which we will gather the last great harvest before the coming of the Lord. Check the prophetic calendar and it is easy to see we have moved into days that many of us have proclaimed were coming for decades.
Recently, I attended a high school football game in our small rural city. I was appalled as homosexual couples openly displayed affection. The time is desperate, and we can sit back no longer. The kingdom of heaven on earth must act and act now.
Let's connect where we agree and form a great net of prayer, intercession and worship over this nation and around the world ushering in the Third Great Awakening.
The founder and president of Keys of Awakening, Jim Rawlins is the author of Twenty-One Keys of Awakening; A Prayer Journal for Personal and National Revival; The Kingdom, Yesterday, Today and Forever; Dream Boat and Bible Study Made Easy. He has served in ministry for over 40 years as a pastor, school principal, college professor and missionary. He has dedicated the rest of his life to fulfilling his lifelong dream for his beloved country, America, to experience a Third Great Awakening. Visit keysofawakening.com.
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