By: Richard Gazowsky
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At the beginning of the book of 1 Samuel we are given an incredible story about how God uses the handmaiden, Hannah, to turn all of Israel around to begin hearing the clear voice of God. As a matter of fact, the Bible says once Samuel became the prophet in Israel, all strife from Israel’s enemies ceased and the country was at peace all of the days of Samuel’s life. Samuel’s ability to hear the word of the Lord was responsible for this lasting peace. And when conflicts did arise, they were quickly resolved by miracles of the Lord.
I believe that the transitional period that God had Israel enter into is a parallel to the transitional period that the Church is experiencing worldwide. The book of Revelation pointed toward the day that we are living in when it said, “Rejoice ye apostles and prophets” (Revelation 18:20). John appears to be giving us a clue that the day of transition God is referring to is one where we will see apostles and prophets arise out of obscurity and come into a new limelight in the Church. All of you should already be aware of what is happening throughout Christianity, that there has been a dramatic rise in the number of prophetic voices being heard.
Though the prophets have been around for quite a few years, they haven’t been recognized by mainstream Christianity. Most of the current big movements that exist in the Body of Christ were prophesied about quietly behind closed doors. Yet when it comes to large public meetings, the prophets have mostly been shut out because they are too unpredictable. And current leaders have a hard time dealing with that because they feel they must always be in control. In the year 2012 I believe this will all change. The church I pastor in San Francisco will be holding our first conference in many years. For almost a week two prophets will be speaking freely to leaders all over America.
I have watched as these two prophets have dodged controlling spirits for most of their ministries. At this conference they will be completely free to say whatever the Lord places upon their hearts. The dates when Timothy Snodgrass and Paul Cain are speaking will be April 4 – 8, 2012, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 8, at 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. God told me that this meeting is something that He is calling in order for His personal will to be performed. I have absolutely no expectations or understanding about what God is going to be telling us. I feel that those whom God is calling to attend should enter into the prophetic meetings with the spirit that Hannah displayed in her prayer in 1 Samuel, the second chapter.
Hannah begins her prayer by saying, “My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, my horn is exalted in the Lord: My mouth is enlarged over my enemies; because I rejoice in Thy salvation.” Hannah is declaring what kind of spirit prophets must have. The Lord is exalting the voices of the current prophets in the Church and they are to be caught up in rejoicing and having fun ~ and not fighting old battles.
“There is none as holy as the Lord: For there is none beside Thee neither is there any rock like our God.” This verse talks about the uniqueness of the prophetic voices that we are about to hear. When a true prophet speaks, he doesn’t use old tired metaphors and examples that have been heard thousands of times. These voices will be new and unique. Not only will they be fresh, but solid as a rock. It’s very important that we understand this as listeners. Prophets may sound funny, but at the same time their words can be tough as a rock. That means if you resist them they will break you.
“Talk no more so exceedingly proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: For the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.” This is a warning that God is giving the Church. We must be careful, especially us who are leaders, to stop our arrogant declarations that are hidden under masks of faith. I have committed this sin with my own voice, so I’m not speaking to you from a place of perfection. It’s time for us to quit calling ourselves men of God, declaring how mighty our churches or ministries are, and how we think we are going to reach the world.
Let us place on cloaks of humility because the Lord is a God of knowledge and He’s heard all your declarations on how effective your ministry is. But He knows you’ve said them primarily to bolster up your donation base and keep your outreach solvent. In the past God might have smiled at such behavior, but today He is weighing our actions. Jesus warned us that if we honor ourselves our honor is nothing. Believe me, this word was hard for me to hear. But then I realized that God has no problem honoring His children. He just wants us to close our mouths so He can open His.
“The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girdled with strength.” “Bows” refer to the ability of a ministry to send forth young people. The Bible refers to children as arrows, and “Blessed is he whose quiver is full.” Though there are hundreds of ministries that are sending out their young people, it’s time for us to come to the realization that many of those bows are broken. God is going to pick up new ministries to raise up children warriors. They may even be ministries that have stumbled and embarrassed themselves in the past. But God is going to gird them with strength. Not by religious resolve with its self-righteousness, but by the kind of strength that captures the attention of the young. This is the kind of strength that will effectively reach the generation we live in.
Many of the leaders we shall see guiding these young warriors will not have the standard credibility that pastors and traditional leaders usually look for. Instead, they will be forced to use flawed ministries because it will be so glaringly obvious that the bows of other mighty men are broken. To clarify this word even more, many of you have seen how some previously first-class, stadium-filling ministries suddenly became ineffective broken bows, and you can’t even tell why. You just know they were rendered useless.
“They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: So that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.” Hannah is declaring one of the most fearful truths of this transitional prophecy. Hannah was under the oppressive spirit of her husband’s second, and successful, wife, who made Hannah suffer because of her barrenness. This situation was allowed to occur by God because only that kind of pressure could’ve squeezed Hannah’s spirit to the point that it would eventually bring forth out of her dry womb six babies (six being the number of man).
I feel that prophetically this is going to happen in the Church world. My cautionary advice is that you pastors, no matter how successful you’ve appeared to be in the past, must willingly chose to put on cloaks of humility, realize that your brothers who’ve been broken, barren, and obscure, are going to be exalted and risen up, and their empty wombs will suddenly be filled with children. We are seeing this phenomenon occur in the secular world right before our eyes.
There are reputable companies that for forty or fifty years have ruled the industrial world. It seemed that nothing could shake them from their high perches of industry. Now their cars are being recalled and they are failing in the simplest of new technologies. But then there is an obscure company ~ that was made fun of for years, mocked by industry leaders, and faced bankruptcy ~ which has suddenly become the largest company in the world in its field and has taken over huge sections of business that ten years ago it had absolutely no interest in. This company is Apple Computer. I don’t know if you fully realize what a prophetic voice this company has had in the computer world.
“The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” Hannah’s words can be applied to the phenomenon I just described in the business community. We must understand that it’s the hand of the Lord that is going to bring either life or death to companies before our very eyes. It’s important we hear His voice clearly and do, “only that which we see the Father doing.”
“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dung hill, to set them among princesses, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He hath set the world upon them.” Now we come to the real meat of God’s prophetic voice to this generation. You must realize that God’s real intentions over you are to take you out of the dust that has made you obscure, and lift you from the dung hill to literally set you among princes. You will be placed among people that not only have riches, but possess inherited wealth.
The next point God is making in this verse is that you will “inherit” the throne of glory, for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s. To get a fuller picture of what God is saying, you need to look at Ephesians 1:21-23, which states, “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (KJV).
To make these verses even clearer I want to quote them in the Message Bible: “In charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from His rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which He speaks and acts, by which He fills everything with His presence.” What is so powerful about this scripture reference is that He says the church is not peripheral to the world but the world is peripheral to the church. This is a reversal of 90% of our worldviews. The purpose of the prophets is to change this outlook.
For years the Church has copied the world in music, books, entertainment. Even church management is borrowed from McDonald’s, instead of receiving it in the prayer room. It is the prophets who will plug us into Christ, the center and head of the universe. Without the prophets this can’t be accomplished, but with them it is inescapable. That’s because the prophets speak from the heart of Christ, and that’s what makes us desperate to hear more. This is why Ezekiel began his prophetic ministry by declaring the wheel in the middle of the wheel, which is what will speak to this generation. It is this “gyroscope” of visions that talks about the Church finding its center, which is Christ. But it also puts the world in its proper dimensional perspective.
Christ is the center hub of the wheel in the middle of the wheel. This wheel is surrounded by a set of eyes, which is a search engine (like Google, Bing, or Yahoo) of the Spirit, that searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. Remember, these eyes are not searching the business world for ideas. They are searching the Spirit of God for fresh new innovations that will fulfill the Church’s destiny, which is to fill the earth with His glory. When you allow God to turn your small world around to where everything faces Christ, suddenly you will gain access to ultra cutting-edge music, runaway-bestselling books, super-sensational movies, mind-boggling sermons, life-changing outreaches, eye-popping companies, never-before-seen business ventures, ground-breaking travels to captivating cities…maybe even visiting worlds.
I think I’ve said enough…See you on the flipside.
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Richard Gazowsky pastors a church in San Francisco called The Voice of Pentecost, and is also president of Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks. He has directed the films, “Guardians” and “The Roman Trilogy.”