We’ve just made one of the most significant decisions of our family life so far. We are moving. From Urban Bristol all the way to Sunny California. It’s been on the cards for a while but we feel this is the right time for us to taste America as a family in ministry. Our plan is to go in January 2012.
Now, what’s really interesting about this move is that a lot of well known respected prophets are warning people about the judgements that are to come for Southern California – weirdly a lot of them are for 2012. Hurricanes, tsunamis, riots on the streets, the collapse of the dollar and a dirty bomb are some of the prospects for us. The reason I’m writing about this is not to comment on what I think about the actual prophesies (although thats an important topic in itself) rather I wanted to share with you how intrigued I was with my own reaction on hearing these predictions that oddly collided with our move.
Weeks after making our decision a steady stream of people in ministry that I respect started telling people to move away from California. That’s hilarious I thought, God seems to be telling me and Chris to go to a place that the prophets are telling Christians to leave! But it really got me thinking about the call that’s on our life and some of the assumptions that we carry.
There’s a lot of teaching in the church about the call to be reformers and revivalists. People who get into societies 7 mountains of influence and bring God’s Kingdom, strategically bit by bit changing the world. That’s something I thoroughly buy into. I believe it, I want to see it happen and I want to do my part in equipping as many Christians to be as effective as heavenly possible in this call.
However whilst reflecting about our move and the predictions that we could face I was reminded that there is in fact another strong call for the Christian – for me and Chris in-fact. That’s the call of the overcomer – a person called to the eye of the storm, armed with weapons of faith, a person who stands in the face of danger and overcomes the fear of death.
In fact God spoke to me about this call before He put the passion in my heart to be a revivalist. As a new Christian some 15 years ago I had a striking prophetic dream:
In the dream I was being chased by fear. Fear in this dream was personified as a man all in black on a motorbike. He was after me and I knew it. It was quite a chase scene – through houses, back gardens, street alleys, until finally I ran into an open field. I continued for a bit but in my heart I knew that I needed to stop running. So I stopped and I turned to face this man of fear. As I faced him (he was standing about 30 meters away) he reached for his gun and pulled the trigger. I could see this bullet flying through the air towards me, everything went in slow motion, and then the strangest thing happened -I put my hand in my pocket and pulled out a white stone. I held it up high and as I did so the bullet shattered in mid-air.
At the time I had no idea what this dream about. I was a new Christian. A few years later I was doing a study on the book of revelation and was stunned to see that a white stone existed in scripture.
Revelation 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
God was showing me that I needed to be an overcomer. A person who stays to face the crisis and doesn’t retreat to safety.
I personally don’t think its the case that some are called to be overcomers and some are called to be revivalists. Instead I believe we are called to both. I think there are different callings that are placed on us that are determined by our environment. In the environment of God’s glory and favor I believe the call on the Christian is to lead, reform, revive society. But in the environment of crisis we are called to be people who overcome, who stand, who help, who stabilize.
The question is are we prepared?
This brings me back to my reaction. I don’t know what I think about those prophesies,there are some that write them off and there are some that wholeheartedly believe in them. My dilemma wasn’t whether I believed in them or not but rather whether I let them deter our move – a move we believe God has ordained. Like every human I’m hoping that me and Chris can operate in the environment of Gods glory and favour – I’m looking forward to being a reformer/revivalist in Southern California. But if we find ourselves in the middle of crisis are we prepared to be overcomers? or will we only go where the environment is stable?
I believe in this hour God is wanting to prepare us for the possibility that we might have to be overcomers for a season. Its not that the revivalist call has lost its sound but instead that there is another side to the coin – and as a church we need to be prepared.
How we rise up in crisis is as important to how we rise up in glory. Selah