The Pew Center did a massive survey in May 2015, generating many statistics, in general concluding that evangelical churches were growing while others were declining. Also, within Evangelical churches “non-denominational” churches were growing significantly. American society as represented in the media is in decline morally and spiritually, aided by liberal judges in the Supreme Court and in the other two branches of Government. This should come as no surprise, unless it is about the speed with which American society is transforming. What does this mean to those comprising the church in America? What lies ahead given such circumstances? What is happening in the American church irrespective of statistics of population?
The church, the…body of Christ, is pivotally critical to America’s future. The church is the preserving element of our nation; it determines our future destiny; as it goes with the church so it goes with other aspects of our society, our destiny, our purpose as a nation. The world laughs at this, our wicked media led society laughs and fumes at this, and the enemy cringes at it. The American media circus, the wicked groupings of like-minded degenerates, the demon led haters who push their intolerant “lifestyles” in the face of reason and sanity are of no consequence, no weight, no significance in light of the Eternal truth.
Jesus told a parable about a farmer who sowed a field with wheat. In the night the enemy sowed tares (weeds) among the wheat. When the seeds began to emerge the servants saw the weeds and asked the farmer if he wanted them to pull up the weeds. “No”, he said, “lest you destroy some of the wheat in the process”. You see God is concerned about the wheat, rather than the weeds. He merely tolerates the weeds for a short time, then they are burned up. In worldly society the weeds are prominent, but God’s concern and decisions are based on what is best for the wheat.
The church is changing in some good and important ways toward God and our brothers and sisters. Walls of sectarianism are breaking down, and unity on important matters is growing, as disputable fine points fall into the background. Yeshua, Jesus Hebrew name, is being exalted, He is drawing His people to Himself. The Holy Spirit is more active, more desired, more exalted in His people, even among the many different expressions, Holy Spirit is being allowed to lead, in prayer, in outreach, in gifts and gifting. Whether charismatic or not, more church leaders are acknowledging the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in us with empowering love. Much of this started in the Jesus movement of the early 1970’s, but the fruit is now being seen, unity in Yeshua is growing, among those who are growing in Him. It is true that some parts of the broader church in America, as well as Europe particularly, are in decline as they embrace worldly thinking, and reject these moves of God toward unity in Messiah, Holy Spirit indwelling, and standing firm on the Bible. Prayer, praise, and worship are all in transformation as a direct consequence of what God is doing.
Prayer in the church has far to go still, but we see an increase in God’s prayer warriors, His prayer specialists – intercessors. Prayer groups and those with a particular prayer gift of intercession are coming together and getting alone with Holy Spirit in their prayer closets calling on God in His great Mercy and Love, as the Holy Spirit leads, and this work of God is bearing fruit, captives are released, bondage is being broken, prisoners are set free, and the lost are finding a way home. Prayer in recent years has brought revival to many towns and churches in America, such as the Promise Keepers movement, the Brownsville revival, the Toronto Blessing, and many others without name or notoriety. Whether you embrace each of these revivals as true works of God in total or not, is not for you to judge, time and the Lord himself is the judge. Most, if not all of these events began in prayer, and that is the point – prayer is rising, God’s children are calling on Him and He promises to hear and answer.
Praise and worship has become more intimate more heart-felt to those who needed it to be. Churches are beginning contemporary worship gatherings and many are responding with renewed praises. It is not about the songs or worship style, because traditional hymns are still great, but about bringing praise to God in Spirit and truth. The body of Messiah is responding with praise and God is answering with revelation and insight to those who are seeking Him and His guidance. Praise is a powerful spiritual tool in the arsenal of the church; with praises God will bring down the walls of spiritual Jericho.
Contemporary Christian music didn’t exist before the 70’s, and it has included intimate praise and worship choruses that congregations sing with voices. Not all was perfect, but God was drawing His church to himself in new and greater intimancy. Worship is sweeping through the American church, even in its imperfection and instances of selfishness or showmanship. When the enemy comes in like a flood the Lord raises up a standard. God has promised to prepare a bride holy, pure, and righteous for Yeshua. Judgment begins with the household of God. Revival can come to the inner cities of America, those in decay and in great distress, Spiritually and morally bankrupt, but this is where the Lord often begins His work, among the needy, the weak, those who the Lord is saving, delivering, setting free, healing, and making into new creations. In the late 1800’s, Nashville, Tennessee was one of the most morally corrupt cities in America, with wide-spread alcohol usage and prostitution. When the Cain Ridge revival broke out and influenced the city in such a way a notorious riverboat captain was saved, who built a large church, that was later known as the Ryan auditorium. Citizens gave up their alcohol use, prosititutes were saved, and the practice outlawed.
One other very significant and recent move of God in the American church is love for Israel, not because it is necessarily deserved, but because it is the heart of Yeshua and He is drawing Israel to himself. In 1947 after 2000 years in exile Israel became a nation in their land again. Today, a remnant of messianic jews are leading the way back to Israel’s Messiah, and it is like the dawn of a new age. As Israel joins the congregation of believers world-wide it brings a fullness and blessing that the church is welcoming and embracing. This is not an event prompted and orchestrated by men, it is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is very much like the supernatural protection and provision of Israel amazingly demonstrated in 1967, but continued to this day. All past Revivals will pale in comparison to the one that starts right after Israel declares in unison, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Keep your eyes on Yeshua, lift up your head, the Lord Almighty reigns supreme. Do not be distressed by the world that is passing away, set your heart on eternal things, and remember that nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus.