The Original Goodness

I love my charismatic/pentecostal heritage especially because of the pursuit for the manifest presence of God . But one thing that had to be unlearned from my pentecostal roots is this portrayal of a God to fear. Now I believe in the fear of God so don’t stone me yet. My view of God became so intertwined with my failures and God’s judgement on my life that I operated in clean up mode and expected others to do the same. This mentality limits you from operating in your full potential. A lot of what we have been taught dwells on the theology of original sin and total depravity instead of dealing with the total goodness of man marred by sin.

So here is what we say? Because of original sin we are all born with sin, going to hell and nothing is good within us. Many denominations believe that even infants who die will not find heaven. Then some try to justify it with the age of accountability. The notion of "original sin" was created by Augustine nearly 400 years after Christ so that he could justify his over indulgence to sin. You see Augustine had a sexual problem that he didn’t want to deal with or was so involved that he needed deliverance. Therefore he created this notion that we are born with this original sin from Adam and that we had no control over sin in justification of his experience. Calvins version of this doctrine was known as total depravity. There are some truths in this doctrine but too many take it out of context and all mankind are evil until they come to Jesus.

What if we looked at this doctrine a little different, What if we said that all are created good and then marred with sin. It seems that all that God created was good and still is good. I meet people from all over the world and find an overwhelming majority of creation is created good even by my standards. My perspective is that he is a good God. Therefore he created us good. We are created in His image or the “Imago Dei”. How could man be created in the Image of God and be evil. So I look at man in a different light. If you know me, you know I love shirts. One of the images I picture is man as a beautiful shirt that has been made by a wonderful Italian tailor (bear with me). Now this shirt was created with pinpoint cotton and woven with the highest blends of fiber. Not one stitch is loose and raveling; it is a work of art. Precisely made to fit and to express the beauty of its creator. This is the original condition of every baby born to this world. This is the original goodness of God you might say. But during the first wear of this original creation of the beautiful work of this tailor, wine was spilled accidentally leaving the shirt marred. This is the position of each of us after sin; marred but still created good. Like a shirt with a stain so is man with sin. It’s not the evil shirt that marred the shirt, but the evil stain. The tailor finds out that his original goodness has been marred by this horrific stain. He spends all that he has to restore this great creation back to its original condition. This is what our God has and is doing for us.

The Old Covenant points to the revelation of the Goodness of God in the Glory of God. His goodness is in His image and we all bear the original image of God. Man is better than you thought because his blueprint was from heaven. Yes the original creation is marred by sin, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water (or send him to hell yet). Moses said let me see your glory. God said I will let my goodness pass before you. It is this goodness that is not only seen in creation but is seen in the redemption of man. The Bible says He is merciful, gracious, long-suffering, abundant in goodness, full of truth, forgiving iniquity, forgiving transgression and forgiving sin.

Jesus was the exact representation of His character and goodness. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father. He was the exact representation of God on earth. Jesus came to erase the stain of sin off of Gods beautiful creation. We were never an evil creation but just one marred by sin. Jesus came to restore us to the “image dei” the perfect creation of God. When we step into Him by faith, we are washed clean and free of sins stain. We are the approved of the goodness of God.

The church is called to be the goodness of God. Somewhere in this mix we begin to act like Augustine and build our theology around our failures. Its easy to see how a man addicted to sexual sin might see himself as evil or in total depravity. It is also easy to see how the goodness of God can seem to good to be true. What I have found is the goodness of God leads us to repentance. When you focus on sin, it’s hard to get free of sins grip. When you repent and do a 180 degree turn and focus on Gods truth, then sin seems to lose its power. The Church is created to be the full representation of Christ on earth. When you see us, you should see Christ. If we become the fullness of God it will be the revelation of the glory of God which is the manifestation of the goodness of God.

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” What we lack more than anything is not the revelation of how bad we are but a revelation of how good our God is in the land of the living. We are His beautiful creation made out of the goodness of His nature. We are not negating the power of sin but establishing the power of His Original Goodness.

A New Perspective

In 1999 I went to a conference in Brunswick Georgia with a group we were associated with called FCMI. Jen and I had been serving as youth leaders and associate pastors at my home church. We were always seeking revival and were hungry for a move of God. This night would change our ministry forever. There was this man from Redding California coming that was experiencing some sort of revival take place so we were "all in". We had never heard of this man before this night but hunger for "His" presence enticed for the 4 hour trip to the service.

I remember as he was introduced to stage "Welcome Bill Johnson" I never saw what was going to happen to my Charismatic/Pentecostal heritage from that day forward. I remember him speaking and although I was not understanding the whole context of the message (because of my different religious training perspective) something was burning in my Spirit. Often during the service, Bill would turn around and face the stage wall and say "That was good Bill". Most of us knew what we were hearing was revelatory but were not grasping this new view. In the early years if someone asked about the Bill Johnson conference you would say it was awesome. They would ask what he said and most peoples response was "I don't know but it was good".

Back to my original story. At the end of the service, we went forward for prayer (touch from God). Now Jen was "great with child", that's how Bill tells the story, and cute as a button I must add. Bill walks up to us and asks if we had met before because we looked familiar. We had never met before but were hungry for whatever God wanted to do. We had been a part of Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, The Laughing Revival with Rodney Howard Browne, Toronto Blessing and even had experienced a major move at our own church where thousands were saved and delivered. So Bill lays hands on us and we are immediately rocked by the presence of God. Now I was rocked back to the ground and Jen being "great with child" was rocked forward and Sarah who was the child in the womb was caught by Bill in this forward falling encounter. Which way would a woman "great with child" fall? Forward apparently. We would have Bill at our church for nearly 10 years afterward and would see many miracles and this progressive somewhat slow change would take place in our theology (which for the most part only worked on paper).

So what would take place over the next ten years was this change of perspective of the gospel. The lens by what we view revelation gives us a grid to see and grasp. I remember putting on "beer goggles" in school and seeing from a drunk man's perspective in a sober view. You can't tell a drunk his perspective is distorted therefore we have so many drunk drivers on the street. I come to the conclusion that you can't teach a religious man new revelation without first changing his perspective. Bethel has penned four truths that I now refer to as the Foundational Pillars of Our Perspective. If any of these pillars are distorted in our perspective we cannot operate in the revelational truth being taught. It's like a blind dog in a meat factory. I smell it and know that it is good but I can't see it. Once I embrace these truths, my eyes are open and I can partake of the meat on the bone. So here is an overview of the four pillars. We will dive deeper spiritually into the next four blogs scripturally.

Pillar number one is "God is Good". His very nature is good. He is a good, good Father. If you had an amazing father, like me, He is even more amazing. Religion tends to project the nature of judgment, sickness, and punishment on God. Our theology begins to be formed by the "perspective" of our experiences rather than the nature of Christ. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father. Jesus never gave sickness and disease so that He could reveal His mercy and grace. That is like me physically hurting my child just to reveal my mercy. I would be arrested and rightly so to do this to my children. So repeat this very deep theology after me. "God is good and the devil is bad". Period.

Pillar number two is "There is nothing impossible with our God". As a Charismatic/Pentecostal pastor, I would say I believed this but not enough to move into life practice. So revelation is not revelation without being able to manifest in experience. You can have knowledge that you believe in healing or the impossible, but until it is practically manifest in our lives it’s just knowledge. There are not impossible situations, only impossible people. Our lack of faith and experience is not the revelation of the character of God. Jesus is the revelation of the character of God. As you read through the synoptic gospels this revelation is that nothing is impossible with God.

Pillar number three " We believe in the finished work of the cross". This contains more truth than we can even start to express in this paragraph. The cross and resurrection was the climax and shift of the gospel where we are empowered by the "grace" of God. Two key words in that sentence are empowered and grace. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. Grace empowers salvation. Grace empowers healing. Grace even empowers discipleship. Christ’s work on the cross was more than a historical event in time but was the manifestation of God bringing change to the cosmos altogether. I was crucified with Christ. I was buried with Christ. I was raised with Christ. I am empowered in salvation, healing and to be a disciple by what He did for me. I am a new man, a new creation.

Pillar number four is "Every believer is significant to the Kingdom of God". While not all are called into the 5 fold ministry, all are created and equipped by God for Kingdom significance. When God thought of you, it was not as an insignificant piece of work. He looked at you as His greatest masterpiece created with beauty and significance. You are not a mistake, but one of the greatest masterpieces of God.

As we embrace these truths in our lives, we will begin to hear differently and see differently. Now when I hear Bill or Kris speak I feed off of their words with understanding and revelations. Maybe you were raised in a religious environment that did not build a kingdom perspective. This may be why you do not see miracles and you live with a doom and gloom perspective. Take off your religious beer goggles and change the way you think about the kingdom. We can't afford for another generation of Christianity to live with a mindset contrary to the mind of God. Who can know the mind of God? YOU.

The Call of the Remnant

One of my favorite movies of all times stars Patrick Swayze the leader of a remnant of misfit teenagers who form the Wolverines in their defense of Mid Western rural America from the attack of Communism, in the classic RED DAWN. Though many died, including Patrick Swayze, it was this epic battle for the freedom of America. By the end, as with most movies, I’m balling my eyes out and daring anyone to invade America. Heroism such as David and his mighty men are often found in small groups of disciples who answer the call for their season.

It was early in the morning on Sunday June 3, 2018 that I heard this clear distinct word for Revive San Francisco. At the present time we had not visited San Francisco and had not been called to the pastorate. It’s always my desire to have a living word when I speak. Most of the time it is revelatory but this word was different; it was prophetic in nature. Through a series of fortunate events God was weaving our hearts with people we did not know and a city we had never considered living. Prophetically I see in pictures and numbers mostly. I began to see these series of numbers that led me to this encounter with Micah 2:12-13.

“I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob,

I will surely gather the remnant of Israel;

I will put them together like sheep of the fold,[fn]

Like a flock in the midst of their pasture;

They shall make a loud noise because of so many people.

13 The one who breaks open will come up before them;

They will break out,

Pass through the gate,

And go out by it;

Their king will pass before them,

With the LORD at their head.”

I knew this was a prophetic encounter that I would need to share as we visited San Francisco and Revive on June 10th. The word in verse 12 that I want to expound on today is the gathering of the remnant of what I want to title “The Call of the Remnant”. It is in this season that God is bringing together a group of elite disciples to carry on the heritage of Revive SF/Promised Land Fellowship. There have been two major moves of God in our church history and visits from wonderful men and women of God in the likes John Wimber, Cindy Jacobs and Bill Johnson.

THE REMNANT

The “remnant” is defined as a small remaining quantity or a surviving trace in the dictionary. Scripture likewise has treated the remnant as leftover food (Ruth), food at the Passover (Leviticus), and anointing oil (Leviticus). We see it in disasters and catastrophes such as with Noah in the Flood (Gen. 6), Lot with Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19). Elijah was sure he was the only one who had not bowed down idols but God assured him of the remnant of 7000 in 1 Kings 19. In Romans 9 we see this remnant of the Israelites that will be saved. This idea of the remnant is often looked at as “seconds” or “refugees”. Whether the remnant is from wars, disasters or divisions in the scripture, God always seems to gather a remnant. This prophetic word will not return void and carries the power to assemble these elite disciples.

THE CALL

Have you ever wondered why the disciples were willing to lay down everything for the call to follow Christ? There was something so powerful in the voice of Christ that when the call goes forth it is immediately followed by the response of obedience. This boggles my mind and creates this huge cataclysmic gap between this call and obedience. Reason cannot justify their willingness to leave both family, careers and cities by the mere “call” to “Follow ME”.

“And as He passed by he saw Levi, the son of Alpæus, sitting at the place of toll, and He saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed Him. (Mark 2.14)”

It is this call from Christ that we see Peter and James leave their fishing vessels. It is this call from Christ that Levi leaves his wealth and titles. There was something supernatural about the call that Jesus could make and the obedience that would follow. The same grace that brings salvation is the same grace that moves us into discipleship. Some men have enticing words, but to see Christ call with such response from mankind is void of reason. The process of weighing out your decisions and making choices that are rational are nonexistent. I’m a very logical person with a college education in the Sciences who has been well versed on decisions that require logic and testing the hypothesis. Don’t get me wrong, I worry about people who aimlessly wonder through life with no vision or thought, but something is different in this situation for all of us. It is this mystical call that can be neither calculated nor tested but requires obedience. We have been warned about blind obedience and it’s dangers. Something in His voice that resonates in my spirit causes me to abandon my previous life to follow him.

I remember when Jen and I were in college and had just gotten married. Through bitterness with the local church I had determined to not return. Jen was not raised in church and had no grid for the things of God. We would visit my Dads church of about 40 people in Webb, Alabama occasionally as we would visit home. I was a pro at the art of blocking the conviction of God. Jen on the other hand would leave with the conviction of the call to follow Christ every time. I would almost get frustrated and on more than one occasion would tell her I was not going to walk with God. God seems to have the card game in his favor and moves us to the place where we fold with the call. It was that call that would eventually rock our world. Not a call to just salvation but this call beyond reason that would cause us to lay down our lives for Him. It was so overwhelmingly easy after our initial response of obedience. Not only would we leave the “boats from where we were called” but we would burn the boats to never return. Many of you have experienced this call.

So I stand assured that we do not have to convince people to come. We do not have to reason over the past or the future. We must stand in obedience and proclaim the call that Christ has ordained. Return oh Remnant of Revive for God is calling. The very sound of His call is the same irresistible grace of salvation and the irresistible grace of discipleship. It’s like the old adage, “Which comes first the chicken or the egg?”. We could also ask, which comes first faith or obedience? I’m not sure, but my thoughts are that they are both married in this grace from heaven. To obey produces faith and faith produces obedience. It is with this call that goes beyond the call of salvation to elite discipleship. This season will bring many who are equipped beyond measure for the heroic adventure that awaits us. It will not be by reason that their choice is made but by the call of the one with an irresistible voice. Jesus is calling, “Come Follow Me”.

Pray For Laborers

“When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like a sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38

Living in revival is both exhilarating and tiresome at the same time. It is phenomenal to see God move in salvations, healings and deliverance. When the harassed and helpless, those in despair, are crying out for freedom it draws the compassion of God. It is His church who is equipped with the same compassion and supernatural gifting that brings kingdom transformation in their lives. We at Revive SF live for this kingdom and the transformation of our cities. One of the phenomenal parts of this passage is not that He heals everyone (which He does) but His focus on their need for workers following their heavenly invasion. It is this declaration for intercession of the importance of “sending out workers into His harvest.”

Many times in intercession we see this spiritual warfare for the weary and broken. As we discussed in our series on the Sound of Deliverance there is warfare against the principalities and powers. It is a very legitimate prayer in being the intercessor between the broken and our heavenly father. It is also a very legitimate prayer in being an intercessor against principalities and powers. It is also a very legitimate prayer for “workers into His harvest.”

Intercession is the action of intervening on behalf of another through prayer. Intercession is warfare and is a huge key to revival. What we see in the scripture points us to the will of God. It is His will that none should perish. It is His will for salvation, healing and deliverance. And it is His will for workers. Part of this calling for workers is the call for intercessors. Intercession finds Gods will and promises, and stands in the gap until His will and promises are fulfilled. Intercession can be fueled by the promises of God.

“If you want to see how poplar the church is, attend Sunday morning worship. If you want see how popular the pastor is, attend Sunday evening. If you want to see how popular God is attend a prayer meeting.” Everything By Prayer, Fred Hartley, page 123

CALL FOR THE REMNANT

The Lord spoke to me one morning when I woke up as we were praying whether to make this move to San Francisco. The first part of the word was found in Micah 2:12 “I will surely assemble, O Jacob (REVIVE), all of thee (100%). I will surely gather the REMNANT of Israel (REVIVE); I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah (San Francisco), as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men”. If you remember the story of Jacob born nearly 1837 years BC he had a twin Esau. Jacob supplanted Esau in his deception of his birthright which he was already promised beforehand. Just like Jacob in many ways we all try to take things in our own hands to retrieve the blessing instead of receive the blessing. Just like Jacob God has a promise on Revive for the city of San Francisco. Jacob has an encounter with God at Bethel. Many years later he then, in this act of grace, survives a wrestling match with God and gets his name changed to Israel. So His name is changed from Deceiver or Supplanter to the ONE WHO PREVAILS WITH GOD. Im not sure if God just likes to wrestle with His children like we humans do but it definitely was an act of grace that he prevailed. The place where he wrestled Jabbok means to EMPTY YOURSELF and was named later Penuel, the FACE OF GOD.

“We find ourselves trying to obtain by works what God has granted us through inheritance” Clint Adams

I relate to Jacob in so many ways and find myself in the position that Jacob did trying to obtain my calling by works and not by inheritance. I believe that you at Revive Church can relate with me also. Just like Jacob, God is gathering together our tribe together in San Francisco and changing our name to Israel, GOD PREVAILS. Bozrah was fertile pasture land in the midst of the Edomites territory or land of Esau. They were an enemy to the Isrealites. So right in the middle of San Francisco we will be given fortified fertile land. So our prayers of intercession is for workers to come forth in the midst of Edom. God will put us together with a sound for the city.

Remember intercessors are driven by the promises of God. Revive, formerly Promised Land Fellowship, has many prophetic promises that declare its “destiny” in the city. From the times of the Golden Gate Outpouring when many were touched by God till now in this season of revival it finds its desire for revival. As I said in the beginning revival is both exhilarating and tiresome. Tiresome without the workers needed to sustain the work of God. Let us be moved into deep intercession for those who God has called for this revival. I pray “Return O’Remnant of Revive to the work that God has given us. There is a season coming when our city will see the face of God. The Lord of the Harvest we call upon you with dreams, visions and encounters for the return of those in our tribe. We intercede with the heart of a warrior for you to come and with the heart of a Father, Welcome Home.”

The Sound of Heaven Touching Earth Series- The Sound of Deliverance

     There were many instances growing up that ignited my belief in the supernatural.  I was raised in a charismatic church so we would see and hear things that were not ordinary.  It was common place at New Covenant Church in Dothan Alabama to hear people speak in tongues or see them fall under the presence of God.  Every once and a while you would hear a testimony of someone who was delivered by the demonic realm or the grips of satan.  In 1982 my Dad became pastor of a charismatic church New Freedom Church in Webb Alabama and what God would do in that town of 500 would shape my grid for the supernatural.

     We would often see salvations as many would come to Jesus and lay down their addictions and sin.  We had a remarkable time of several thousand saved in just a few years.  We would see healings and often my father would lay hands on my fever ridden head as a young child and it would leave immediately.  Sometimes you would hear the story of a barren woman becoming pregnant after the church prayed.  But one of the things that became a staple, especially in my mothers ministry, was what would be called "deliverance".  Now to me deliverance comes in salvation and healing also but this is not what Im talking about.  Deliverance became so well known in our church that at one time people were making appointments all week long from all over the southeastern United States.  This deliverance was from those who were oppressed by the devil in such a way that they had no control.  For me it seems that demonic forces respond when Im around.  Since being in San Francisco there have been a few times on the streets where people oppressed by the devil would "pick" me out.  Jesus came to set "captive free".  Could it be that the demon recognizes the authority upon us?  Could it be that we are the ministers of deliverance to those who are bound?  I say yes to both.

     People find themselves in the bound condition based on three reasons.  One because of what we did or do (sin).  Two, because of what others did to them (hurts).  Three, because of allowing an open door to demonic influence.  Jesus never really tried to deal with all the theological and social implications of "why" but went about doing the works of the Father.  Acts 10:38 "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."  Another scripture says "if I drive out demons by the finger of God the kingdom has come upon you".  It is this authority that every believer has been given in the Kingdom.

We see in the scripture that according to Revelations that "satan and his demonic forces" we will call principalities were cast out of heaven and fell to earth.  Jesus said "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven".  Adam and Eve created in the image of God were given authority and power on earth to multiply and subdue.  This authority was relegated to satan by Adams and Eve in the original sin.  Throughout history we see this picture of Gods people moving from bondage to freedom, especially in the Promised Land Adventures.  God has always wanted to bring deliverance to His people.  In Isaiah 60 and 61 we see this prophetic picture of deliverance by Christ.  In one instance in the new testament Christ goes into the temple and reads Isaiah 61 and declares its fulfillment in His coming.  Through Christ perfect life, death on the cross, burial and resurrection He defeats death, hell and the grave.  Somewhere in this I see him kicking open the gates of hell and coming to a showdown with satan.  Not that satan is in hell because that is where he will be one day.  The Son of Man finds satan who knows his time has come and Jesus takes back what was relegated in the garden by man.  After His resurrection he finds the church and says "all authority in heaven and earth I give to you" and declares our power over the forces of satan.  

"When he called His disciples He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease".  In Luke it says, "Then the seventy returned with joy, saying "Lord, even the demons are subject to Your name. And He said to them, "I was satan fall like lightning from heaven.  Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm you."  Philippians 2 says "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth".  Revelations 12 says "they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony".  We have been given authority and power over the works of darkness in San Francisco.  Its our destiny to lead our City into the promised land spiritually and bring freedom to the people.  We are to make the City of San Francisco the City of our God.

How do we do this?  I want to give you two words; Communion and confrontation.  God has called us to be in perfect fellowship with Him.  Spiritual Warfare comes with communion with God.  Our deep communion with Him gives us the anointing that when we confront the works of darkness we do so with power and precision.  Confrontation comes in the form of resistance against the powers of darkness not people.  James says, "Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" this is communion and confrontation.

Communion always calls for a separation unto the Lord.  My wife likes double dating but she loves a date with just me.  God is so in love with us that He desires this one on one communion with His beloved.  Its in these times that we see the greatest rest, peace, transformation, equipping and power displayed upon our lives.  So my spiritual warfare begins with communion before confrontation.  I don't commune to confront but in my communion I am given the power to confront.  I believe we can be more efficient and effective in spiritual warfare spending 90% in communion and 10% in confrontation.  We need to increase our communion time with Him.

Confrontation is against the principalities of darkness not people.  2 Corinthian 10 "though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds....".  My warfare against principalities and powers of darkness is militant but my warfare to the people is Love.  Satan is our enemy not people.  So in my prayer time I may radically bring declaration and confrontation against the powers of darkness with militant demeanor, but in my city among the bound its expressed through love.  

Revive, we need to seek the Lord with all of our hearts and live in such communion with him that as Psalms says we become "the song of deliverance" that He is to the people of San Francisco.  Let the sound of deliverance be a sweet song of freedom as we escort people from Egypt to the promised land.

 

The Sound of Heaven Touching Earth Series- The Symphony of Heaven

I remember in college the first time I attended a symphony.  My chemistry professor Dr. Katz gave us the opportunity to get bonus points, which she said I really needed, if we would attend the symphony which she was playing.  We arrived at the symphony with the attitude you might have to get free points on a chemistry test from a source of great boredom.  The musicians were all warming up at the same time which had a sound of chaos which fed into our restlessness.  As the conductor came to the front of the individual melody of chaos, they shifted to strict form an attention bringing myself to much the same pose.  I remember the first sound that came from this masterpiece written by some great composer such as Mozart or Beethoven that for the life of me I can not remember or probably would not have know at the time, resounded with such precision and beauty that I was captivated to the point of tears.  From this point forward, I sat with anticipation and excitement at every crescendo and solo performance of different instruments as they pulled my very emotions. Dr. Katz was the smartest person I had ever met and even in her peculiar ways I never looked at her the same again.  It was a sound that was more than I had ever heard which brought me to some sort of spiritual experience.

I have been blessed to have parents who were Pastors and open to change.  It was this ability on their part that in the chaos of church life to always listen for the sound or symphony of heaven in the form of revival.  From the glory days of the Laughing Revival with Rodney Howard Browne and some radical South Africans, to the powerful sound of the Toronto Blessing, from Lindel Cooley singing We Will Ride With You at the Brownsville Revival and last but not least the sound of my current tribe with Bill Johnson and the Kingdom Message, we were a part of all of these distinct sounds.

Even in our home town of Webb, Alabama, where there was a population of around 500, we became our own sound that drew many from all over the southeastern United States.  Thousand were drawn to this little town with no traffic lights and only two stores that were competing gas stations directly across from each other.  In just a few years, thousands would give their heart to Jesus, many would be delivered from the grip of satanic powers and other would be healed of cancer and various diseases and ailments.

Now I find myself in the midst of the most unique city I believe in the United States with what I believe looks more like heaven than the hell that has been portrayed all of my life.  It is a beautiful compilation of every tribe and tongue from throughout the world seeking to live in this 7 mile by 7 mile peninsula once thought to be the place of great gold.  I can't help but think of the scripture that the Desire of all nations has come to "The City".  San Francisco has so many unique sounds, some that are pure and some that are defiled, but it seems to be more receptive to the "spirit realm" of any city I have visited.  Could Revive have a sound that shakes a city?  I believe so.  I believe that Revive's significance is on the horizon and the Giants of San Francisco (not the baseball team) will fall at the sound of our praise.

Revelations 4:1 says "After these things I looked and behold a door was standing open in heaven.  And the first voice I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying come up here and I will show you things that must take place after this."  As I read this scripture I became excited like my experience at my first symphony that God is calling us to bring a sound to San Francisco.

1.  Lets position ourselves for an open heaven.

The Bible speaks of an open heaven in many passages in the Old and New Testament.  The Old Testament revealed Jacobs Ladder and this place called Bethel where Heaven touches earth.  It opens up the Radiant One of Ezekiel.  In the New Testament, we see from the very beginning the Holy Spirit descending on Son of Man like a dove and the open heaven with the revelation of the father.  We see the heavens receive the Son of Man after His earthly triumph and the falling of the Holy Spirit on those gathered in the upper room where cloven tongues of fire and a new sound was birthed in tongues.  Saul has this transformation encounter as the heavens open and God reveals himself opening his spiritual eyes to heaven.  Stephen in his very death as he is martyred for the kingdom sees Jesus stand up in heavenly places.  John, the Revelator, has the heavens open and a vision of things that happened and will come are given to ink and paper.  What I have found about revival and open heavens is not profound but it is true...GOD BECOMES MORE REAL TO THOSE HE IS REVEALED.  Will you intercede with me for an open heaven over our beautiful city?  Will you join with me where our spiritual warfare against the dark realm of the enemy is militant but our warfare with the people is love?  Lets become so hungry and desperate that the only thing we desire is for the heavens to open and God to be revealed to San Francisco.

2.  Heaven has a creative, beautiful and life changing sound "like a trumpet speaking to us".

It's creative; the Word spoke the very world into existence.  It was the Word, a sound, that was in the beginning; it was the Word that could calm seas; it was the Word that caused demons to leave; it was the Word that healed every disease; it was the Word that declared "Thy Kingdom Come on earth as it is in heaven.  It was the Holy Spirit that came as the sound of a mighty rushing wind and filled the place with cloven tongues of fire and a new language from heaven.  Our God is a creative and beautiful sound.

3.  Revive has a significant sound for the city of San Francisco and "he will show us what things are to take place next."

He is calling us "up", calling us "higher", calling us to repentance (returning to the penthouse), calling us to the watch tower that Habakuk climbs to see what the Lord is saying.  It's in these high places that as Psalms 42 declares when deep calls unto deep and the sound of His waterfalls, all of His waves have gone over us that we began to be changed into the instruments of Heaven.  The Conductor covers us with His sound and we become in concert and unity with each other and heaven.  The symphony of Heaven only takes place when we are continuously covered by His song.  Our unique personal lives are significant instruments in this symphony of Heaven, a unified sound on earth.  

Let one thing linger in your spirit today and that is this: "We are instruments of heaven created to resound the nature of our Heavenly Father over San Francisco."  It is vital that we contend for an open heaven over our city and that we steward His presence in such a way that He is glorified and our city is saved.