On a recent trip I had been having a hard time connecting with the Lord. I felt overburdened and overtired. The schedule of the trip was strenuous and I had come into the trip already tired. As I sat down early one morning the Lord said to me, “Come to me and I will feed you.”
It’s amazing how one statement from God can have such a profound effect on our inner life. This promise gave me an anchor to hold on to. And God is faithful with His promises. Every time I came to God, He fed me.
Any authentic prophetic ministry must begin in silence before the Lord
One of the unspoken, or rarely remembered truths about prophetic ministry, is that we must have a deep intimate relationship with the Lord to be fruitful. If I don’t hear from God for myself, how can I hope to hear for others? And furthermore, if I am not being actively formed by God in my heart, how can I hope to be used by God to form the hearts of others?
The Lord said something to me recently that struck me, and it seemed to come out of left field. He said:
For 600 years I haven't pushed the church too far.
That statement caught my attention, but it did not make any sense. How could it be that God hasn’t pushed his church too far? I recalled the stories of the Great Awakenings: Wesley, Edwards, and Whitfield. I thought about the Pentecostal revival on Azusa street in Los Angeles. I considered the Jesus people movement of the 1960s and the Vineyard movement, the Toronto Blessing, and countless others. How could it be that God hadn’t pushed the church too far when all these incredible moves of the Spirit have happened in the past 600 years.
Sometimes God says something just to get you thinking.
Then God interrupted my pondering to say:
You are equating pushing the church with supernatural manifestation. Most do this. They expect the church to grow if more supernatural stuff happens.
It dawned on me. That was so true. I figured the church was pushed forward when signs, wonders, healings, and miracles occurred. But God has a different perspective. So I began pondering the question, “What does it mean to push the church?”
The one-word answer that kept resounding within me was simple:
That makes so much sense. The explosive element of the early church was not so much the signs and wonders. It was the radical redefinition of relationships:
Paul is not so much interested in redefining culture as he is in transformation of the heart, and the effect that would have upon how we relate one to another. Anything supernatural flowed out of that new relationship. The “one accords” we find in Acts was not that they just submitted to leaders or thought correctly about doctrine, but that they radically redefined their relationships. Slave was no longer slave, master no longer master. Possessions was no longer possession. He does not advocate for a removal of positions, but rather a mutual love, honour, and respect.
We live in an age where denominational lines are eroding
This is a good thing. When ideas separate you, you do not have family, community, or love. The people of God are the family of God. As family we fight for one another, believe the best about one another, and die daily for one another.
The church is not the church because of the supernatural display of God, it is the church because of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. The supernatural display will come, but it is not the point. Jesus did not say that the world would know us because of the great miracles that we did, but the great love that we carried for one another. I believe wholeheartedly that God is in the business of challenging His church to grow in love. And love requires sacrifice.
For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends. John 15:13
It can be easy to pray for someone. But what about walking with each other through the pain of loss, the pain of betrayal, and the pain of hardship? Believe me, I want to see the supernatural power of God on display, and I think it is a good thing. But I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is meaningless if I cannot love the people right next to me.
Did you know we launched a new website? Check it out!
Did you know we launched a new video series on the Desert Fathers and Mothers? Watch the video here!
The trip I recently returned from convinced me that the need for the church in persecuted countries is incredible. We are working with some key leaders in other nations to resource, equip, and develop leaders to impact the church on a global sphere. It is an exciting time in this ministry, and in the world. Details will come out in the forthcoming months about the work Wind Ministries is forging ahead with.
We need your support
Here are a few prayer points:
General health for the family. The kids have all been under the weather on and off for the last few months. A break from sickness would be great!
Wisdom in what direction to focus our attention
Favor and open doors in the nations we in which we will be traveling
Time to connect as a family
Energy to carry out what the Lord has put on our hearts
Protection, especially as I travel and Erin is home with the kids
As always, your prayerful and financial support is greatly appreciated. We are confident that in all you sow into this ministry, God will richly and abundantly bless you.
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A Visual Reminder
I created a background image for my phone to remind me that God invites us to dine with Him. The image is here and you are free to use it as you see fit. Simply right click on a computer, or press and hold it on a phone, and choose “Save As”. It has been a rich reminder to come to the Lord for my sustenance, and I hope it will do the same for you.
We love and cherish each and every one of you.
Joshua and Erin Hoffert