This is part two in a two-part series. For part 1, click here.
Definition of Authority: the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience; a person or organization having power or control in a particular, typically political or administrative, sphere.
Check out this breakdown of a powerful passage of Scripture:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power [miraculous force] through his Spirit [pneuma, breath, wind, spirit] in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend [seize, possess, apprehend] with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge [doesn't exist in the visible realm, or even in the dream realm], that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power [miraculous force] at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Eph. 3:14-21, ESV).
Paul was praying for the Ephesians to be awakened to the reality of the power that God has given them. Growing in that revelation is key for anybody assigned to a church (that's all of us). We must know our assignment and we must be equipped to conquer via the Spirit of God. When we are assigned by God in a region, as an authority, we have the power and right to give orders, to enforce obedience in the spiritual realm. This is a governmental, supernatural call.
One key principle I discovered years ago was invaluable. God will establish authority in regions, and it's absolutely mandatory that those governing leaders learn how to discern in the spirit and conduct business in the spiritual realm.
Shortly after my wife, Amy, and I planted Revolution Church in Manitou Springs, Colorado, we started experiencing some powerful and revealing things. Our primary ministry method was prophetic intercession. We'd prayer walk that quirky town day after day. We'd receive fresh prophetic revelation and instructions by the Holy Spirit. After it was all said and done, I bet those streets had been prayer walked thousands of times. One particular target of our prayer was a specific church, the largest of five churches in Manitou Springs. This church was part of an apostate denomination and led by a man many including the police department and City Hall, considered to be the pastor of the city. This man admitted to someone in my church that there was no hell and demons didn't exist. He refused to participate in a ministry alliance in the town because he didn't want to offend his "pagan and Muslim brethren." Clearly, this individual walked in unholy authority and had significant influence in the spirit in Manitou Springs, and that reality demanded a confrontation.
Our young family moved into an old home in Manitou Springs near the beginning of our ministry time there. Instantly I started discerning something very heavy. Every morning I'd wake up with a distinct "taste" or feeling in my spirit. It was demonic, disorienting and honestly a bit debilitating. Strangely, I couldn't pray it off or shake it off, but as the day wore on, it would dissipate. This happened every day.
Some time went by, and I received an invitation to meet the pastor of the apostate church. The church building was just beyond the back yard of our house, so I walked there one afternoon for our meeting. The heavy oppression that I woke up with every day had worn off that by then and I was eager to connect with this city leader. I wasn't prepared for what was about to happen. The moment I walked through the doorway of the church, the exact taste, the same distinctive oppression that I had experienced for so long every single morning, slammed me with force. I pulled myself together, put a smile on my face and shook hands with the pastor. We sat down and engaged in small talk. I mentioned to him that their church was very close to my house. He asked me to describe the house. I told him what it looked like and where it was located. We then compared notes on what it looked like inside. What he then said rocked me. "Oh, yes! My family and I lived there for years!"
I didn't have to be a math genius to put two and two together. The demonic anointing the pastor walked in lingered. I bet those demons were quite surprised when a man of God on assignment moved in. After that fateful meeting with the pastor of the city, the oppression stopped. God communicated what I needed to understand. From that point on, I was able to govern in the Spirit with precision. The spirits that were anointing that man's "ministry" were uncovered.
Rumor has it that past city officials have also lived in that house. It was clear that, for whatever reason, authorities had lived there and I needed to consider what my apostolic, governmental responsibility was. I sensed in the Spirit a baton had been passed to me and our team. That revelation was invaluable as I truly understood God had our back and we could be confident in our advance.
We Cannot Survive as a Church Without the Supernatural
From that time, our prayer and apostolic strength increased. We would pray on the top of Pike's Peak and in caves under the earth. Many undeniable supernatural happenings would stun us time and again. We'd confront witchcraft and watch God work wonders. Demons would come out in the middle of services, leaving visitors wide-eyed. One deeply resistant and demonized young man vomited in the parking lot the moment we were praying for him with his girlfriend in the church. Moving in authority brings a shift to the atmosphere as demons can't help but respond in obedience.
They were all amazed and said among themselves, "What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out" (Luke 4:36).
Is our ministry causing people to be amazed? If not, go deep into the spirit and, as it happened at Azusa, you won't be able to stop the presses. Word will get out and the amazement and mocking will both commence! Some will run to your church. Many will flee.
They were all amazed and perplexed, saying to each other, "What does this mean?"
Others mocking said, "These men are full of new wine" (Acts 2:12-13).
The message I'm attempting to communicate is that we must go extremely deep behind the scenes. We have to stand in our authority. We must learn how to decree and declare and legislate in the Spirit. Leave the prayer lists and prayer topics behind. Defer to tongues and prophetic intercession when you don't have a theme to focus on. Let revelation drive your prayer meetings. Lean not on your own understanding.
As I look back at my time in Manitou Springs, I know it would have been impossible to break through and do what we were called to do without constant prayer meetings, prayer walks, engaging the enemy, moving in the Spirit, stimulating a prophetic culture, having dreams and visions and moving in great authority.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:19).
My recommendation is to avoid trying to manufacture a vibrant atmosphere. Many worship teams and charismatic preachers are very skilled at this, but those who are sharp spiritually can see right through it. Let's just stop the production and go deep Monday through Saturday and come into our Sunday services rocked and shocked by the revelation of Jesus and the spiritual battle we've run to. Live a life that provokes demons and angels. Expect the supernatural to happen. Shake heaven and hell. Enlist people who know how to groan and intercede night and day. When that happens, the lid will blow off our Sunday meetings. Whatever you do, don't put the lid back on! Let the supernatural scare away the resistant, awaken the sleepers and activate the remnant! "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him" (John 6:66).
If you don't stand in your authority, how will the church advance? If you don't pray nonstop, how will you have strength and insight to advance against witchcraft and all that the enemy is bringing against you? Most curses and strategies that witches and others are targeting local churches with go unnoticed. People have no idea there are demonic beings wrapping their arms around the congregation like a vice.
I could share story after story of shocking and bizarre and absolutely critical encounters in the invisible realm we've had over the years. We must learn how to see in the Spirit. What is happening? How should we contend in prayer?
The American Spirit-filled church simply isn't Spirit-filled enough. We are barely touching the surface. We are too concerned with keeping the visitors. A church full of those who would be scared away if God showed up is a church full of false-positives. Those particular people in the pews may very well not even be saved. We can't just have happy services with laughing and dancing and handshakes and presume all is well. There is warfare raging and spiritual forces to be exposed, confronted and taken out.
I've said many times, I refuse to tone down the activity of the Holy Spirit out of respect of those less hungry. Supernatural, messy services that break human control must come. The only way human control releases is if those humans encounter God day after day. God has to convince them.
When we dig deep, uncover the demonic roots in our regions and invade the darkness, and refuse to ask the Holy Spirit to "settle down," the church will experience powerful advance.
It's time for the freaky stuff to return to the church. "Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies" (1 Thess. 5:19-20).
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