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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

True Revival

Yesterday I got a chance to catch up on what’s been happening in the Christian world as of late. Apparently a whole lot can happen in the span of a few weeks, and as I read accounts of what was to be the most glorious revival of the past century, one that was to sweep the world and change men’s perception of God, my heart grew heavy, and I grew increasingly grieved.
To those of you who wrote me encouraging and admonishing me to go get soaked, catch the fire, absorb the anointing and dozens of other platitudes, well now you know why I did not go. No apologies needed. I understand.
The thing about revival is that when it is man centered, its inevitable end is obvious. Sooner or later all that is built upon sand, upon the character, charisma, or quirkiness of a man fizzles and dies out because there was no Sovereign substance to be had.
The reason I am grieved in my heart is not because sin was exposed, but because once again the faith of many was bruised, and in the end it is the sheep that end up suffering, shipwrecked and uncertain of where to turn. I know that some of you will roll your eyes and think to yourselves, ‘if they believed it, then they deserve everything that’s coming to them, all the hollowness, emptiness, disillusionment and hopelessness’, but lest we judge too harshly, remember that you were once a babe in Christ yourself. For those with no spiritual foundation, for those with no practical knowledge of the truth of God’s Word, it is easy to get caught up, and swept away. Again, the need for truth in this hour of great deception is obvious to all.
One would think we would have learned our lesson by now, and we would turn to God rather than seek out the anointing of men, but some souls just refuse to accept the simplicity of having a true and unshakable relationship with God. There has to be something that entertains, something that shocks the system, and something that is tangible and visible to the naked eye. Well, dear friend, true revival begins and manifests in the inward heart of a man. True revival begins not with a bang, a bam, a cacophony of noise and uncontrollable shaking, but with repentance and broken heartedness, with humility and meekness. True revival is not a means of entertainment, or a vehicle by which we exalt an individual, but the experience of realizing our own impotence, sinfulness, and depraved state, and surrendering ourselves to the grace and love of Christ Jesus.
Men with titles such as ‘Apostle’ and ‘Prophet’ are now scrambling to see what went wrong, how it was that such a movement was derailed in such an explosive and shameful fashion. If we look in the Word, the answer is obvious, even to one such as myself, who bears no title other than a servant of Christ.
When the messenger rather than the message is the center of attention, when man rather than Christ is lauded and lifted up, it is no longer a question of if something will go horribly awry, it is simply a question of when.
I have always been a firm believer that the messenger should remain faceless. When one recalls a meeting or a sermon, it should not be in the context or recalling the man’s appearance, or his face, but the message itself. When you can’t seem to recall what the messenger looked like, but remember every word of the sermon, when the message burns in your heart long after the face was forgotten, then the servant of God has done his duty, and presented Christ and Christ alone.
Unfortunately this will not be the last such ‘revival’ and soon enough I will start receiving correspondence once more encouraging me to go, and feel and experience something out of the ordinary. As I stated in a post some time ago, Christ is sufficient, and I desire nothing more than to be in His presence every morning and every evening, having fellowship and intimacy with Him.
Lest we return to the simplicity of the Gospel, lest we embrace the love of Christ, and desire nothing more than His presence in our lives, the faith of many more souls will be shaken, bruised, and otherwise brought low, because they will continue to go from one place to another, from one event to the next, seeking to find what can only be found in repentance and righteousness.
There are no shortcuts dear friends, no magic impartations, no means by which one can bypass the cross, by which one can do away with a time of seasoning and maturity. God established an order for a reason, and that reason is becoming ever more obvious with each passing day.
As Philpot so aptly put it, ‘Man’s religion is to build up the creature. God’s religion is to throw the creature down in the dust of self-abasement, and to glorify Christ.’

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

12 comments:

Kevin said...

I felt sorry for the people who were involved in the Lakeland movement, but I was upset and found myself being judgemental with the leaders who endorsed the movement.

My wife and I had talked about this when we read all the articles about this movement, Holy Spirit told us that Jesus said in the end times such deceit would abound that if possible, the very elect would be deceived.

I was in shock when this movement came to a Denver church that I used to attend. My old pastor and other big leaders wholeheartedly endorsed all what was going on. It saddened me so much. My old pastor used to preach with such passion and tears in his eyes, wanting to know why our church was not seeing miracles in our midst. He really wanted to see people healed so badly.

What is happening proves so much as to what you have been teaching Michael. We each have to hear Gods voice and rely on Him alone and not man. It is imperative to have a real personal relationship with Him and hear His voice. When I talk with Holy Spirit sometimes there is a bodily feeling or experience, but 99 percent of the time there is not fleshly manifestations, it is a wonderful relationship and don't need any goosebumps to prove anything.

Sometimes I wonder if there are any leaders in the church who really hear God's voice. Everyone says they do but their actions prove otherwise. What a perilous time we live in, if, we do not hear our Lords voice for ourselves.

I am sorry for the rambling but I am so saddened to see so many people deceived, it breaks my heart.

With much love,

Kevin

deannaslater said...

Well Dear Brother if we are talking about who I think, then I must say that at least 7months back I rebuked a prophet for standing up for this man and leading the reader with false adoration through distorting the scripture, I had found this man to be completely out of order and that the works that came forth were nothing then that of Satan, and that living in this day and hour with so much rage and abuse, I seen him jailed so I wrote in righteous anger, if there is such a thing, Blow me away, NO I wasn't even the least bit surprised, I praise God for exposing the counterfeit. Glory to the Lamb of God who Lives and Reigns forever.

deannaslater said...

Hi Michael I found the article I wrote, and my gosh it was just in June, feels longer.

Dear Patricia, I am so sorry, but I have such a check in my spirit, the whole outlook or answer on Todd Bentley violence was covered up, you used acts in the bible that never resulted in physical violence, they were ask to do this or that, but God stop them before they could actually do it, besides the dipping in the sewer as you called it, that would not be physical violence, I cannot believe in this day and age with so much abuse upon children, woman, the violent world we live in today with kids killing one another in our schools the video games teaching them to hurt hurt hurt, that Our King, would tell this man to do violence to the body of any, man , woman , or child. As for smiggleworth, I believe with all my heart that he was off base I don't care if healing came or not. He was out of control, this is no example to leave behind, this man is nobody better, then you or I and I feel he is missing it no matter if healing comes or not, don't you know that Satan, can make those things happen too. especially in these last days. I see him in prison, eventually or being sued, he is being set up big time by the enemy, and we all need to pray for him. I have been saved for 26 yrs, I have seen angels, have travailed in the spirit, have had visions and dreams, and violent ones, there will be violence coming on America, it will be Gods Wrath. And who are we to say to the potter? God will do as he will, but he also is a protector of his people, and this is only opening up the doors for this man to fall and fall hard, Satan is full of tricks, and I call it as it is, get thee behind me Satan!! Jesus is the only one who suffered and died for our sins beyond recognition, and you cannot even compare this act in itself to anything violent, this man does. Please don't offend the Holy Spirit of God that lives within me.



With Love in Christ



Deanna Slater

rleigh said...

Amen to all you shared, amen to grief for the deceived ones. I know this is the heart of the Father, to grieve for His little ones snared and devoured by the enemy. May He use this exposed deception to open the eyes of those who have not already been devoured. May their own times of personal pain and grief draw them close to the heart of their Father, who longs to heal them and fill them with true life. May they find the place of personal abasement and true humility that will lift them up to the prize of their deepest longings--centered in the heart of their true Father and ours, the One True God. May God help our wounded brothers and sisters to find the way to their only true home. May God show His mercy to us all.

From Israel said...

In todays church, your are not ALLOWED to have a simple walk and relationship with God, where you depend on Him alone, you HAVE to "depend" on your "annointed leaders" or there is something wrong with you.
I so objected to the "worldliness" in my congregation I felt led to leave. To this day, so many of the people whom I still love dearly there ask me,"hath God REALLY said"? "Are you SURE you've done the right thing by leaving?" God forbid today you should want to be pure, that you should obey the call of God and want to "come out from amongst them and be seperate". You will be considered a heretic.

deannaslater said...

Michael, here's the article I commented on, Pathetic answer!!


As the Lakeland Healing Revival continues, more and more people are talking about it, and some have questions about Todd Bentley’s ministry. Many are appreciating his powerful ministry, some are criticizing it, and some are asking really good questions. We recently received a question from a wonderful woman who was concerned about reports she had heard of Todd Bentley ministering healing in some unusual and seemingly violent ways.

While Patricia is not able to respond to all the inquiries we get, due to her busy schedule, she felt the need to publicly address this question and give her input. Below is the question, and Patricia’s response.


QUESTION:

Dear Patricia,

I have heard that Todd Bentley shares publicly over the media about how God told him to engage in some violent acts (i.e., kicking a woman in the face with his boot, tackling a man to the ground and choking him, and “leg dropping” individuals) in order to minister healing. Someone informed me that they actually saw him do some of this. I also heard that Todd used the example of Smith Wigglesworth hitting a man. That doesn’t make it right, even if Smith Wigglesworth, or anyone else, wrote about it in a book.

We know that the Scriptures are our final authority, but I do not find anywhere in them where we are taught to do such abhorrent things. I just don’t see in the Scriptures where God instructs us to represent Him with such violent acts. Since Jesus is kind, gentle and loving, this type of behavior seems totally out of line, misrepresenting the Lord. I can’t imagine the Holy Spirit ever initiating such actions; it is contrary to His nature.

Can you help me? I do not want to be judgmental or critical, but I know this is not orthodox behavior and, in my opinion, is very dangerous. Who is addressing this? What about his accountability team? I know you have some input into Todd’s life. Are you going to do anything about this behavior? It seems like someone needs to bring correction and give public explanation and adjustment. I don’t think anyone should be teaching and instructing the body of Christ to engage in this type of ministry.

Respectfully,
A Concerned Individual


ANSWER:

Dear Concerned,

Thanks for writing and sharing your heart – feel free to do so anytime. There are many unique things happening in this hour through different individuals and streams. In all these things we have an open invitation (as well as a responsibility) to inquire of the Lord “to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

I have read Smith Wigglesworth’s testimonies. Some of them, for sure, are alarming (like the one where he punched a woman in the stomach and, in another case, either threw or kicked a baby across a row of seats). To me this is definitely vexing to my natural mind ... BUT ... “wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Luke 7:35). We always need to look at the fruit as well as the Scriptures. The reported result in both of these situations was healing and not injury. The name of Jesus was mightily magnified, and continues to be today, through these accounts.

I think of some of the strange things that Jesus did ... like spitting on people’s eyes (see Mark 8:23) ... and calling a group of people a “perverse generation” (Matthew 17:17 KJV) ... or John calling religious leaders a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 3:7). These examples don’t seem like nice, gentle, or polite actions to take, but they somehow fulfilled God’s righteous plan and were inspired by the Holy Spirit. In 2 Kings 5, Elisha instructed Naaman to dip in the filthy Jordan, and yet it produced the humility and faith that brought righteous results.

I am not saying that I would teach people as a healing technique to spit on eyes, call people struggling with unbelief a perverse generation, declare to religious leaders that they are a brood of vipers or instruct someone that comes for healing to jump into a sewer. Even though we might actually draw attention to these Scriptures, we would want to give this qualifying and clarifying point to the students: “Only do this if the Spirit leads.”

If Todd indeed actually instructed and activated people to punch in the stomach or head those who are suffering, or knee-drop people, then there could be some danger ... but if he was simply sharing a couple of testimonies and not actually telling people to do it, then perhaps you might find that more acceptable. From what I understand, Todd has never taught or instructed people to initiate this type of activity as a healing technique.

I would agree, though, that this type of testimony needs to be carefully shared with only the right people and the right precautionary teachings surrounding it. Yet, Scriptures do record some violent acts of God for every generation to read, and they do not always include any qualification or explanation.

In Matthew 11:12, Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” The word violence from Strong’s Concordance is Brazo, which means “to use force, to apply force, to inflict violence upon.” The word violent from Strong’s Concordance is Biastes, which refers to an individual who is “strong, forceful, using force, and violent.” The word force in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is stated to mean: “strength or energy exerted or brought to bear; active power; violence, compulsion.” This particular Scripture in the light of these definitions is an interesting concept indeed. We see this type of violence when Jesus overthrew the money changers’ tables in Mark 11:15,16, and when He cursed the fig tree, commanding it never to bear fruit again (see Mark 11:14).

We see this violent behavior demonstrated through the Lord Himself, and yet we know that Jesus was meek. He described Himself as gentle. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). The two behaviors seem to contradict each other, but they don’t. They simply add fullness to the revelation of the nature of Christ.

Another consideration is the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is foolishness to man’s mind. For example, we see the wisdom of God when King Solomon gave orders for the mothers who were fighting over the child to cut him in two and divide him between them (1 Kings 3:25). Wow! I wonder what kind of emails or articles Solomon’s critics would have written in that day.It didn’t look like wisdom, but it was. It looked like a violent act, but it brought about the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

It didn’t look like wisdom for the Lord to ask Abraham to sacrifice by death his son of promise, but again, let’s look at the outcome of this violent act.

It didn’t look like wisdom for our Lord to be beaten, scourged, humiliated, and crucified ... but the outcome of this act of violence was brilliant for all people and for all time.

I have heard Todd report that the few times the Lord has directed him through the Holy Spirit to perform an unusual healing activation, as you mentioned in your letter, it has borne good fruit. The individuals receiving the ministry have apparently confessed healing. This is what we need to look at. I do believe that Todd is giving warnings for people NOT to do any such things unless they have a direct word from the Holy Spirit. He desires to continue to obey the Spirit at all cost.

I hope this will help you as you process. Our God’s ways are so enormous that the Bible says that God’s ways are beyond finding out (Job 9:1–10). We can help each other learn more of Him and His ways as we wrestle through things like this.

Todd is a very submissive person to the Holy Spirit, to his advisors, and to his team. Like all of us, he is not perfect, but neither is he a flippant or disrespectful individual when it comes to the things of God. He has great honor for the Lord and great integrity in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this will put your heart at ease.

Bless you for your love for the Lord and His Kingdom. This letter is my public input ... the input that you asked for. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond.

With love as my greatest aim in life,


Patricia King



If you would like to learn more about Todd Bentley’s healing ministry, we would highly recommend two of his books on healing:

Christ’s Healing Touch Vol. 1 by Todd Bentley

Christ’s Healing Touch Vol. 2 by Todd Bentley

deannaslater said...

To:
info@extremeprophetic.com

Dear Patricia, I am so sorry, but I have such a check in my spirit, the whole outlook or answer on Todd Bentley violence was covered up, you used acts in the bible that never resulted in physical violence, they were ask to do this or that, but God stop them before they could actually do it, besides the dipping in the sewer as you called it, that would not be physical violence, I cannot believe in this day and age of so much abuse upon children, woman, the violent world we live in today with kids killing one another in our schools the video games teaching them to hurt hurt hurt, that Our King, would tell this man to do violence to the body of any, man , woman , or child. As for smiggleworth, I believe with all my heart that he was off base I don't care if healing came or not. He was out of control, this is no example to leave behind, this man is nobody better then you or I and I feel he is missing it no matter if healing comes or not, don't you know that Satan, can make those things happen too. especially in these last days. I see him in prison, eventually or being sued, he is being set up big time by the enemy, and we all need to pray for him. I have been saved for 26 yrs, I have seen angels, have travailed in the spirit, have had visions and dreams, and violent ones, there will be violence coming on America, it will be Gods Wrath. And who are we to say to the potter? God will do as he will, but he also is a protector of his people, and this is only opening up the doors for this man to fall and fall hard, Satan is full of tricks, and I call it as it is, get thee behind me Satan!! Jesus is the only one who suffered and died for our sins beyond recognition, and you cannot even compare this act in itself to anything violent this man does. Please don't offend the Holy Spirit of God that lives within me.



With Love in Christ



Deanna Slater

a seed sower said...

God Bless you young brother Michael, Yes we don't have to run some place or travel to some place to be in the presence of God. He is able to be accessed right in our homes. All we need to do is get on our faces before Him and seek Him with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind. He is able to minister to us through His Holy Spirit and His Word and heal encourage and restore us.
Any time we look to a man to be our go between we will be disappointed, because men and women fail, but God never fails, Jesus is able to do all things, man is not. The danger in running here and there seeking signs and wonders is that one can (If not grounded in the Word of God) be caught up in the excitement and the deception that is masquerading its self as being a move of God that is out there today..many many false prophets preachers and teachers are leading people astray.
I would not have expected that you would have ever even entertained the thought of attending the latest so called "Revival" that has just ended. Praise God for a young man that has discernment.

Anonymous said...

Brother Michael,

I exclaim in response to your comments a hearty "AMEN!" I thank our gracious Lord that we can count on at least one pastor to see through the spiritual deceptions of our times. May you bravely continue to speak His truth, always and everywhere.

Praying for you, your family, and Hand of Help,

Melanie

randy said...

As we decrease and He increase. It is all about Jesus; not a minister, prophet, or disciple of one sort or the other.

The Spirit of God is in us; why run to some man or woman who is having a good run of things for a short season?

He will lead us into all truth; I do not need to fall to the ground unless He allows me to see Him in His glory, not man's glory! I do not need to have one lay their hands upon my head and be pushed to the ground. Personally, I like a space of about three feet when I speak with or meet another person!

Peter was so full of the Holy Spirit that people were healed by his shadow as he passed by. Peter did not start a "Shadow Ministry" after this happened. He was a humble servant of the Most High God and he feared and trembled at the presence and continuing revelation of who God was. People died when they appreared before Peter; Anninas and his wife. I would like to see a ministry start up advertizing itself as the "Drop Dead" ministry??

His sheep know His Voice. To hear Him speak requires quality, intimate times with Him; loving Him, adoring Him, praising Him regardless of our circumstances.

Many of us are continuing the sufferings of Christ in our daily lives; He is an ever present help in times of trouble and distress. Even in the darkest of times when we feel faithless; He said He is still faithful! It is His faith; not ours anyway. He gives abundantly if we patiently wait upon Him and do not faint or grow weary.

He is our ressurection-He is our life-He is our Redeemer-He is our Saviour-He sustains us-He heals us-He blesses us-He cares for us because we are part of His wonderful Body-He is coming again to receive us unto Himself!

What else could we possibly need! The Kingdom of God is within YOU!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
When I heard a little bit about Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Revival, I knew in my spirit it was NOT of the Lord. Thank you for saying what you did. We all need to hear it. Thank you for posting what the others who have commented had to say also. God has given them discernment as well.

Those looking for physical manifestations instead of growth in their spiritual relationship with Christ, are putting themselves in a dangerous position of being easily led astray.

We must be anchored in the Word of God and desire His Will above our personal comfort as we allow the Holy Spirit to rule in our lives.

"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

May you continue to be a holy and useful vessel unto the Lord.

Blessing to you and your wife.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering when you would comment on this, Michael. My concern is not what happened to Mr. Bentley but rather the behavior of the body of Christ. That is most concerning to me. I can only add the following comments:

John 10:41,42: "John didn't perform miraculous signs," they remarked to one another, "but everything he said about this man has come true." And many who where there believed in Jesus.

Luke ch 3: (An example of John's preaching.)

Luke 7:28: (Jesus) "of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John."

A few years ago, the Lord taught me about the gifts of the spirit and the fruit of the spirit. Starting in Gen.1:16 (the greater light and the lesser light), he showed me that the greater light is the fruit of the spirit and the lesser light is the gifts. Consider how the Scribes and Pharises always demanded signs and wonders from Jesus and also how the crowds followed Jesus because "he fed them." Yet Jesus often had to flee from them because they might take him by force and make him king. Wasn't it Herod who desired to see Jesus so he could see a miracle?

The point is that the gifts of the spirit are only outward reflections of the fruit of the spirit, i.e, the moon reflecting the sun (The true source of the light, Jesus).

I've only barely touched on this truth here. Search the scriptures to see if this is true or not. Nothing wrong with the gifts, but the fruits are central to God, for they come from his heart.

Gal. 5:22,23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, against such there is no law."