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Joined: 2002/12/11
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 [revival] ARE YOU a PIONEER??

Encouraging the Next Generation of Revivalists To Stay on Course!
-by David Smithers.

While driving to town the other day I unexpectedly came upon a
busy stretch of highway that was under construction. Bumper to
bumper, the line of cars ahead of me waited their turn to follow the
directions of the brightly colored detour signs. Seemingly, without
any thought or hesitation they all quickly sped away from their
original course in pursuit of smoother traveling. The road ahead
was unquestionably rough and unpaved, but it was still open to
traffic and definitely the most direct route to town.

Suddenly I found myself thinking about the state of the modern
Church. Many Christians today are being enticed into the
well-paved highways of convenient Christianity at the expense of
their personal calling and original destination. No doubt just the
sight of that rough, unpaved road communicated "RISK" to many
of the drivers that day. It threatened all of us with the risk of
uncertainty, inconvenience and even the risk of physical danger or
loss. As I sat there waiting for my turn to move, something else hit
me. "All the well-paved roads in the Church today are only going
places that most of us have already been." Those big, flashing
church signs too often lead us away from where God’s pioneer
work is being done. By the time the concrete sets up and the
paint is dry, most of the heaven and earth moving is all over!

How long will we continue to travel down the same old, predictable,
powerless highways while the promises of God beckon us to enter
into a fresh move of the Holy Spirit? There is still so much of the
presence and power of Jesus Christ that is readily available and
yet untouched. Be assured God is not standing still! He is even
now seeking out and raising up a NEW generation in the Church
who is willing to take extreme risks to REDISCOVER the highway
of holiness and revival power. God is raising up a new generation
of revival pioneers!

Go West Young Man!

The call to pursue revival is a call to be a pioneer! A revival pioneer
courageously and even sometimes naively seeks to rediscover
new and forgotten places in the Spirit. Pioneers instinctively
challenge the modern Church to go places she has never been
before, places long forgotten and overgrown by decades of man-
made traditions and spiritual decline. Pioneers dare others to
dream and trust God to do ALL that the Bible plainly promises.
Pioneers are not satisfied with superficial reform. They hunger and
thirst for spiritual REALITY. Their calling demands that they defy
the laws and limitations of man-centered religion. In their pursuit of
more of Jesus, they unknowingly challenge the foundations of so-
called "NORMAL CHURCH". Like young Joseph in the company
of his older brothers, the pioneer’s dream of revival often provokes
strong reactions from within the established Church. -(Gen 37:5)
The young pioneer is sure to be confronted by giants of
intimidation and mountains of unbelief and religious control. At
other times they are simply spurned and dismissed as
immature extremists and idealists.

All the great pioneers of revival have had to face these same
obstacles and hindrances in their zeal to bring Heaven down to
Earth! Most of the early American pioneers that moved westward
between 1760 and 1850 encountered countless dangers and
extreme hardship, because they were not content with what they
already seen. The knowledge that there was still something better
beyond the horizon drove them to take extreme risks to improve
the quality of their lives. A true pioneer is relentless. He refuses to
compromise or substitute the barren plains of lifeless orthodoxy for
the living presence of Jesus! No amount of religious rhetoric or
decorum will ever satisfy his God-hungry heart. The God-breathed
promises of Scripture hound his soul, reminding him over and over
again of his destiny and calling. Promise of green forests, fruitful
harvests and rushing streams compel him to continue to seek and
pray for something MORE. -(Isa 35:7, Isa 41:18-19, Isa 44:3-4, Isa 51:3)

Forerunners & Mountain Movers

Revival pioneers are ordained of God to violently move Heaven and
Earth. The English term "pioneer" was originally derived from a
French word meaning PICKAX. Later it was also used to convey
the idea of a foot soldier. The Germans use the term "trench digger"
to convey the idea of a pioneer. A pioneer during wartime was one
who marched before an invading army to prepare and repair the
road. They did everything from clearing away barricades to setting
mines for destroying the works of the enemy. Pioneers are
pathfinders and scouts. Like Jeremiah, a pioneer is one who goes
before to remove obstructions for the purpose of preparing the way
for others that must soon follow. "See, I have this day set you over
the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to
destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant." -(Jer 1:10) These
prophetic people do not set mines and level mountains of
ungodliness just for the thrill of watching things blow up. No, the
revival pioneer understands that it is his job to prepare the way and
make it easier for others to enter into the manifest presence of Jesus Christ.

The revival pioneer labors to restore the highway of holiness,
removing stumbling blocks, so it will be straight and level again.
This work is done not only for the sake of a coming army, but also
for the spiritually lame and crippled. The prophet Isaiah repeatedly
reminds us of this important truth. He declares, "Strengthen the
weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who
are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will
come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come
and save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the
ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like
a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst
forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched
ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water;
in the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass
with reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and a road, and
it shall be called the Highway of Holiness…" -( Isa 35:3-8)

"And one shall say, ‘Heap it up! Heap it up! Prepare the way, take
the stumbling block out of the way of My people.’ For thus says
the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
"I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and
humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the
heart of the contrite ones". -(Isa 57:14-15)

The High Peaks of Prayer

The American pioneers moving west were always looking for some
high vantage point from which they could catch a glimpse of the
path just ahead of them. The pioneers of revival are no different.
From the towering heights of bent knees they scan the spiritual
horizon for some small token of a coming move of God. These Holy
Ghost trailblazers are consistently scaling the mountain peaks of
prayer in hopes of spotting even the smallest sign of revival. Revival
pioneers cannot afford to live on second hand reports and
experimental theories borrowed from books. The divine immensity
of the pioneer’s vision and calling demands that they hear from
God for themselves! They need Heaven’s insight and perspective if
they are to stay on course and avoid falling short of their eternal
destination. Only through regular and extended times in prayer can
they maintain their bearings and spiritual compass.

Every true pioneer of revival is well acquainted with the taste of hot
tears and heartache. Prayer for the revival pioneer is not only a
means of fresh direction, but also a supernatural outlet for the
burden of a broken heart. The pioneer is repeatedly tormented by
the growing crisis of a powerless Church in the midst of a lost and
sin-sick world. Religious wastelands and deep valleys filled with
sun bleached bones mock and challenge his hopes and dreams.
Yet, strangely enough it is these same bleak and threatening
spiritual conditions that keep the pioneers of revival praying and
pressing deeper into new frontiers of the Holy Spirit. For them to
stay and settle in such places would mean the death of their
ministry and vision.

For those truly called to be a pioneer, revival is not merely another
church growth trend or some spiritual luxury. Revival is a reason for
being, a created purpose and divine destiny. Though at different
times many young pioneers try to deny the vision and hope for
revival, they can’t escape it! The tears and intense longings for
revival always return. This passion and burden was part of their
spiritual inception and new birth. They have become RUINED for
anything less than genuine revival. The pioneer can’t rest or give up
until God’s revival glory is released in the Earth. They would rather
die than miss or abort the coming visitation of God. These young
pioneers are driven to continue to pray, weep and believe for revival.
Though at times, they grow fainthearted and discouraged in their
heavenly pursuit, they always finds themselves rising again
to cry out for God to rend the heavens and come down.-(Isa 64:1-4)

You’re NOT Crazy!

Has this divine heartache ever made you wonder if you were going
crazy? Many of the early pioneers that pulled up roots and moved
west often experienced similar emotions before leaving the safety
and comfort of their established homes. In spite of the fact that
they enjoyed and valued their property and neighbors around them,
they still somehow felt as if they didn’t quite fit in and belong. As
hard as they tried, they couldn’t seem to shake a growing hunger
and burden for something more. The pioneer spirit deep within
them as driving them to keep moving and looking west. In much
the same way, today there are thousands of young revival pioneers
who share these same intense and sometimes bewildering feelings.
I am talking about something born of the Holy Spirit, a divine
discontentment that will not let you settle for anything less than
the manifest presence of Jesus Christ.

Unfamiliar with God’s revival process, some young pioneers seek
to escape the touch of God upon their hearts. Over and over again,
they struggle to fit in with the Church’s most recent "cutting edge"
agenda. Yet, lasting relief seems to never come. Even in the midst
of renewed and vibrant fellowships, the young pioneer oftentimes
still feels like a spiritual misfit and outsider. While others in the
Church seem completely satisfied, the revival pioneer in the exact
same setting fights to hold back the tears and hunger for
something more. Do these disjointed feelings and uncomfortable
emotions sound familiar? Is your hungry heart confused and
puzzled over where you fit in the house of God? Perhaps God has
not allowed you to "FIT" in!

Often there is not a hearing for the pioneer’s prophetic message
until after a fresh work of God has begun to be realized. Therefore,
young pioneers should not be surprised when they are accused of
being idealistic and impractical in their message and methodology.
Such criticism and misunderstandings are often a part of God’s
training process in becoming a spiritual forerunner. These trials
help to deepen the work of endurance and humility in the pioneer’s
heart. Though at times they are slighted and even harshly rejected,
the true pioneer learns by trial and error, how to bear it all in
meekness, patience and love. Nevertheless, let each pastor and
spiritual leader take care that they don’t too quickly dismiss a
young pioneer’s sincere passion and zeal as simply the critical
spirit of an immature rebel.

Young pioneer, be encouraged! These feelings of loneliness and
holy dissatisfaction are all part of God’s process within you.
Pioneers have always gone out in small waves in order to prepare
the way for the masses. Nevertheless, beware of letting the
uniqueness of your calling be an excuse for fleshly strife and
division with other believers. Remember that we will NEVER build
the house of revival with Satan’s tools of anger and strife! Don’t
waste your time constantly striving and wrangling with those who
don’t share your vision and passion for revival. Get in the prayer
closet and unburden your broken heart to the Father. Give yourself
to fervent prayer and don’t stop until the glory comes. Ask the Lord
to send people into your life with a similar gift and vision. Read the
classic works on the great moves of God. The Father wants you to
nurture this passion and vision for something MORE, but you will
have to make sacrifices in order to keep it. The larger the vision,
the lonelier the path you will have to walk.

A Generation on Fire!

The greatest revivalists of the past were young men and women
who dared to believe God for something more for their own
generation! George Whitfield, Howell Harris, Count Zinzendorf,
Charles G. Finney, Charles Spurgeon, Evan Roberts, Robert
Murray M’Cheyne, William C. Burns, Hudson Taylor, C. T. Studd,
David Brainerd and countless others were all mightily used of
God while still in their twenties. Why then are so many of us still
looking to the fruitless institutions of decaying Christendom for the
steps to our revival dreams? We will never realize our spiritual
potential by imitating the unrevived methods of status quo
Christianity. God has not called us to mimic the weak and half-
reformed religion around us. Like Abram, we have been called out
of the land of barrenness to inherit the harvest-fields of revival
fruitfulness for this generation and generations to come. -(Josh 24:2-3)

True spiritual pioneers are the embodiment of URGENCY and
ZEAL. They recognize their eternal responsibility for their own
generation. The apostle of faith, George Muller once said, "My
business is with all my might to serve my own generation. In doing
so I shall best serve the next generation, should the Lord tarry…I
have but one life to live on Earth and this one life is but a brief life
for sowing in comparison with eternity for reaping." General Booth
conveyed the same thought with the following lines: "Your days at
the most cannot be very long, so use them to the best of your
ability for the glory of God and the benefit of your generation."
Catherine Booth, the mother of the Salvation Army, daily charged
her nine children with something similar, "You are not here in the
world for yourself. You have been sent here for others. The world is
waiting for you!" More than once, I heard the late Leonard
Ravenhill predict that God was going to raise up a new generation
to bring the fires of revival to this sin-sick world. The late Keith
Green, echoed these same urgent sentiments. In his final days,
he repeatedly unsettled many of us with the following words. "This
generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls
on the Earth!" Have you been awakened to your eternal and
personal responsibility for this generation?

A good pioneer is always eager to learn from the insight and
experiences of others, but stand still – NEVER! Not while the
promises of revival are still unknown in this generation. Not while
Christ is still a stranger to countless lost and dying souls around
the world. Not while there is still one blind and stubborn heart that
refuses to give praise and honor to our King Jesus! Are you
willing to break new ground and rediscover some of the forgotten
treasures of Jesus Christ? Are you ready to take His manifest
presence to the ends of the Earth? Young pioneer, NOW is the
time to look to Jesus Christ and dare to dream for something
MORE! "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent
take it by force". – (Matt 11:12)

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2006/5/19 16:41Profile

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