Further to last Thursday’s triplet of postings centred around the Holy Spirit’s changing Lillian Brown’s message to say instead “Brace yourself…the return of the Lord is sooner than you think!” I got some muddled disagreement over that on Facebook.
I’ve occasionally encountered opposition over some postings – thereby indicating they are of particular significance, which then gets quickly confirmed within a day or two that my action was definitely on the right track. On this occasion I soon received the following from the leader of Catch The Fire in Toronto:
GOD IS CRASHING OUR CHURCH MEETINGS
By Steve Long
But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. (NIV)
Let all things be done decently and in order. (NKJV)
Doing all things in a beautiful and orderly way. (Passion)
1 Corinthians 14:40
Around the world, the Spirit of God is moving. There are signs within Catch The Fire Partner churches that a fresh wave is here and it’s about to crash in on us again. Many other churches in other denominations and movements are experiencing similar things. God is showing up uniquely.
The ‘Luke 4:18’ Prophetic Word
Years ago, Paul Cain’s mother passed away on April 18th at 4:18 pm. (Paul was one of the key prophetic people whose ministry focused on revival.) Just before Viola died, she came out of her coma to give a prophetic blessing to her son and Mike Bickle (leader of International House of Prayer), who was also in the room.
The prophetic word was from Luke 4:18 related to the anointing. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”
Fast-forward to April 2021. Chris Reed, who is about to minister at IHOP on the April 7-10th weekend, has a dream from the Lord. The dream says “When the prince has passed, 4:18 will begin.”
Chris shares this with the IHOP leadership to see if it meant anything to them. Daniel Lim, the CEO, knew of Paul Cain’s prophetic word about 4:18 and tied them together. On April 9th, while Chris was ministering at IHOP, Prince Philip of England passed away.
On Sunday, April 18th, 2021 the anointing from Luke 4:18 was seemingly freshly released around the world. It would appear that none of the churches experiencing this wave yet knew about the 4:18 word.
At Hope City Church, a Catch The Fire Partner church in Melbourne, Australia, the Spirit of God dramatically interrupted their Sunday meeting on April 18th.
Andrew McGrath, the senior leader, said, “As I stood up to preach, people fell out of their seats, unusual manifestations occurred. I had heard God say in the week leading to the 18th that I needed to start teaching on the glory, so I prepared to teach on Matthew 17 and the transfiguration. And it came. On the 18th, a spirit of prophecy flowed, and I felt I could prophesy over everyone with such ease. People have been delivered, and others were filled with the Spirit after the service in the cafe!”
God Is Moving In Catch The Fire Partners
Since April 18, churches throughout the Catch The Fire Partners family have seen an increase in God’s movements. At Catch The Fire Church in Auckland, New Zealand, gemstones appeared at the feet of many of the attendees. Pastor Stu Allan said that “The Spirit identified the evangelists in their congregation and marked them via these gems.”
At Catch The Fire Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, they are seeing the spontaneous weight of God’s glory, laughter and deliverances. Jacob Murphy says, “A few times, the preacher has moved WAY past their prepared notes into revelatory preaching.”
At Catch The Fire Church in Boulder, Colorado, the Holy Spirit is releasing spiritual sight. The seer gift is resulting in dreams, visions, and angelic activity, especially with children. Christie Owings shares, “We are experiencing God’s presence in tangible ways, and we are all filled with awe and wonder!”
At Catch The Fire Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, people who had formerly left the church angrily have come back with repentance and humility. They are also gaining a reputation as a place of inner healing and restoration.
At Horizon Church, a Catch The Fire Partner Church in Lorrainville, Quebec, they are seeing a measured increase in God’s presence. They have greater freedom and authority to release the anointing. Pastor Terry Caron says, “I feel we are entering into a new season of His glory.”
At Catch The Fire Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, they have, over the past three months, felt a coming revival similar to the Welsh and Hebrides revivals. They’ve had a dramatic increase in angelic and spirit visitations and prophetic dreams. Pastor Ken Haslam says, “One of the words over us as a church right now is to prepare the way for the Lord.”
[NB] At Catch The Fire Church in Toronto, Ontario, Lillian Brown was preaching on the topic of end-time glory, when the glory came and she just couldn’t continue to preach ! Toronto is in lockdown and the few others in the room were on their faces under the weight of what was happening.
All of these churches, plus many others, have seen this increase in the presence of God since April 18th, 2021.
What Is An Encounter With God?
Many of the Catch The Fire Partner churches around the world share the same vision statement; To Encounter God’s Transforming Presence. We believe that God is to be experienced, not just talked about. When the Bible says to know Father God it isn’t talking about information and facts, rather it is referring to tangible experiences.
Every significant personality the Bible talks about had experiences with God. Enoch walked with God, Moses talked to God face to face, David had God’s heart, Paul met Jesus on a road, the twelve disciples all had God moments.
Revival and A History Of Critics
When God shows up, not everyone likes it. I’m not talking about people outside the church. There are some followers of Jesus who don’t like what their church now looks like.
In 1994, Catch The Fire Church in Toronto (then known as Toronto Airport Vineyard Christian Fellowship) had about 300 attendees on a Sunday. They were a growing congregation experiencing God moving occasionally via healings, some people being slain in the spirit, some people crying. People were okay with occasional occurrences, but when it was almost everyone was having tangible experiences, it frightened and confused people. Many left.
It wasn’t until September 1994 that we were able to double the size of our meeting space by leasing an empty warehouse in the industrial plaza where we were located. We told all the international guests to go to the overflow and watch the Sunday meeting from there while our church family met. Shockingly, there were only 100 people left in the church meetings. 200 attendees didn’t like the crowds, didn’t like the manifestations, didn’t like the long meetings, didn’t like something and left.
Bill Johnson tells the same story. When he pushed in for more of the Spirit at Bethel, in Redding, California, and when the Spirit came; people left. In his case 2/3rds of the church family left as they didn’t like the way that Bill and Benni were allowing the Spirit of God to operate.
The critics of what happens when the Spirit moves, often refer to the verse at the start of this blog. They say, “1 Corinthians 14:40 says that things need to be done decently and in order.” They feel that leaders aren’t leading the way they should be.
But what is the criteria? What does decently and in order mean?
As we read 1 Corinthians, we see many corrections that Paul is making for this church, and for us today. He gave protocols for how we take part in remembering the body and blood of Jesus. He talked about eating meat offered to idols. He spent two chapters talking about how prophecy and tongues fit into a church gathering.
Look at Paul’s conclusion on how church meetings are to be conducted.
Following The Spirit and Scripture
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. 1 Corinthians 14:39-40 NIV
Paul says that the supernatural is to be pushed into rather than being limited. We are to be expecting that the prophetic will happen each meeting (in our small groups and large gatherings). When people have prophetic words via tongues, we give room for them to be shared and we listen.
Perhaps because our church in Toronto started out as a Vineyard church, I lean on the wisdom of John Wimber who was the founder of this brand of church. He was very used to people not liking how the Spirit of God was manifesting at his church in Anaheim, California, or in his international travelling ministry.
I remember Wimber in Toronto speaking at a pastor’s gathering with several hundred leaders from our city. The question was asked by someone who didn’t like our “brand” of Toronto blessing meetings. “What I see at these meetings is not decent and in order.” He quoted 1 Corinthians 14:40.
John Wimber in his wisdom asked the pastor. “Do you allow the prophets to speak every Sunday? Do you let people sing and speak in tongues during worship?” The Toronto pastor answered “No.”
John Wimber then said something like this. “The verse you quoted starts out with Do Everything. Because you haven’t started obeying that part of the verse, you have no right to criticize me or John Arnott. We are attempting to do everything. We are seeking to lead decently and in order but you can only do that after you start Doing Everything.”
Wow. What an answer.
I remember how pastored and fathered I was as a new leader at Catch The Fire Toronto. I remember that my spirit jumped and encouraged me to push for more of the Spirit, rather than holding back.
When God Comes To Your Church
John Wimber was also famous for asking another question of pastors. “How do you know that God attended your meeting last Sunday?” He was looking for tangible evidence that God was in the room doing things that only God can do.
Anyone can speak a great sermon. You don’t need to be a follower of Jesus to do that. Anyone can say a nice-sounding prayer. Anyone can sing a song backed by a great band of musicians. None of these are evidence that God showed up to your church.
So how do we measure God being in the room?
By experiences that people have. By an accurate prophetic word or words of knowledge. By a dramatic healings and miracles. By testimonies of changed lives. By seeing demons leave people. By favour coming on people and giving them promotions and opportunities. By healing the emotions of troubled people. By raising people from the dead, and more than we can even imagine.
As we see more evidence that the Spirit of God is visiting the Catch The Fire Partners churches around the world, let’s all push in for more. Let’s celebrate when Lillian Brown can’t finish her talk. Let’s celebrate when gemstones show up, feathers float down from the rafters, people shake for an hour, and experience God is ways that we couldn’t have imagined.
It means Father God is in the room, and that is always a good thing! Let’s start by doing everything!
Nina and I have very fond memories of our times in Toronto, especially her awesome healing when John Arnott heard the Lord telling him ignore his message as He wanted to do some healing. So visit Catch The Fire, read their take on prophecy and politics.