This is a message that Marc Dupont gave to a group of international pastors and leaders in Toronto, Canada in January 2003
I would like to relate some perspectives concerning the season of 2003. One of the pitfalls of this postmodern information age is that we probably have a harder time than any other period in history of assessing history. You know the old saying; “if you don’t know you’re past you don’t know where you’re going”. So many of us are so completely consumed with the tasks at hand, we are unable to distinguish between the tree and woods. Consider Joseph who, as a young man, received that great vision of God using him for wonderful things; what was it like some five, or ten, years down the road after he had been put into a pit, after he had been sold by his brothers, after it had seemed like the favor of God was on him only to end up back in jail? How many of you have had times where it seems like the favor of God is there, to have had a bit of break through, a bit of promotion only to end up in a bigger pit than to begin with? If Joseph had not hung onto the life vision he had received from the Lord, perhaps he would have given in to despair, and in turn, unbelief and sin.
I’ve been doing a message the last couple of Sundays in different churches called ‘being in the pits with Christ’. I love what it says in the psalms about Joseph, that “Until the time that his word came to pass, the Word of the Lord tested him”. Normally we think of testing as coming from the devil but at the end of the day Satan is only a tool in the hands of God. Even the fathers of the early church acknowledged that God had predestined that warfare to come against Jesus. I believe that what’s at stake is the things that God has been doing in places like China, South America and in parts of Africa and Brazil, being birthed in our western world cities. I think that if we could have asked Joseph some ten or fifteen years after the vision that God had called him, or if you could have asked Moses around the thirty ninth year of being in the desert, what about “that sense if destiny” you had along tine ago, he would have said well that was a pipe dream, an illusion of grandeur. But really they could not have been more in the will of God when they were going through those times. I have begun recently to speak on what I think God’s perspective of the School of the Spirit is. We think the School of the Spirit is learning to pray for the sick, prophesying, cast out demons, evangelize, teach and preach. That is learning to work with the tools of ministry. God’s School of the Spirit is learning to be Christ like. I think there are a lot of men and women in ministry in many denominations, many churches, many backgrounds, some may be in their sixties and seventies while some may only be in their late teen years right now who have been going through the school of the Spirit. There is a church generation consisting of the young, the old, the male and the female, that God has been preparing for a wonderful move of the Spirit. And I really believe that as fantastic as the last eight or nine years have been in this wonderful move of the Holy Spirit that all of that is just preparation for what is to come. It’s a great joy along the way and it’s wonderful and life changing what the Holy Spirit has been doing but the best is being released at this time.
I’ve asked the following question from pulpits all over the world; When Jesus turned the water into wine and they took it to the head waiter, we all are very confident about what his response was, that “most people serve the best wine first but you have saved the best to last”. However that is not what He said. The man stated; “you have saved the best until now”. Most of us in our thinking especially those in the ministry are constantly preparing and building for the future. We preach on Sunday so people will live a better life in the future. We counsel people for the future, we administrate for the future, we try to build people up for the future- both the long term future of heaven, and for their future on earth. The great danger is that we develop a mindset where either consciously, of sub consciously, we have a hard time believing God wants to pour out His best today. That is not to say, that in general, as we go on with God, and especially in heaven, which is to come, things will not get better and better. The problem is we have come to a place of not really believing that God wants to do great things today!
In the summer of 2001, I was drawn by the Lord to focus on three passages in the Bible almost every day- Lamentations 3:22-23,
Psalm 118.23, and 23.6. Each of these has to do with the blessings, the mercy, and the compassions of God being for TODAY. Not merely, for the future. The problem with living primarily for the future is we will never completely grasp hold of the fullness of what God has for us today if were constantly focused on tomorrow. God is able to transcend the past, the present, and the future. We, however, can only live in the “right now”. I believe God is wanting to raise up a “now people”, who by the grace and leading of God will “seize the day”!
Today is the day that the Lord has made. We can never live in tomorrow, because even when you get there it will be today! He has made new compassions especially and for this day that may never be available again! He promises us that His mercy and compassions will follow us all the days of our lives- but unless we realize today’s blessings today we will miss out!.
I believe that there are many things culminating in regards to our God created destinies for many leaders in the body of Christ, whether they are Anglican, Baptist, Pentecostal, Mennonite, Lutheran, or Charismatic. God has been preparing many pastors and leaders from all over the world for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I’m not saying that it’s all coming at this moment but I do believe that the word the Lord has given me and some other people for 2003, it’s the year of breakthrough. It’s not the year of breakdown it’s the year of breakthrough. God is going to be taking us from the breakdowns to the breakthrough.
There are some things that help qualify us for what God wants to do. I love what it says about David in 1st Chronicles 16 when he finally managed to bring the Glory of God, the Ark of God into the City of David. It says he brought it to the tent that “he had prepared for it”. A tent in comparison to a building is a place of flexibility. The Hebrew people lived in tents traveling through the wilderness being led by the Spirit. They had to be in a lifestlye of constant flexibility in order to come into the promises of God.
Steve Witt, while speaking before me, mentioned that one of the great things about this move of the Spirit the last nine years is that we have learned to be a people that are a little more flexible. We have learned that it is not necessarily rude when someone laughs during your preaching on a Sunday morning. We have learned to be flexible knowing that God is far more creative, far more broad and far more wonderful in the ways that His Spirit works than we were, or are, familiar with. Secondly, the thing about being in a fixed ridged building, metaphorically speaking of course, is when you want to add onto or remodel the building you have to first do demolition work. Blessed are the flexible for they shall bend and not be broken. We have been learning to be a flexible people in approaching ministry times and worship, Even more than our meetings, however, I believe that our hearts are the true tents that God wants to make a resting place for the Spirit of God. This is one of the reasons that since we started planning the Partners in Harvest network of churches, these values of ministering out of a healed heart, the value of representing the Father, the value of not just representing the vision but the compassion and the mercy of God have become predominant. All of this however, is not and end in and of itself, but rather preparation so that might have both vision and health to enter in to our God given destiny.
Again, let us consider that when Moses was going through it for those forty years and when Joseph was going through his times in the pits most likely they were not always aware of God’s timing and purifying work within them, which was so very necessary to bring them into fulfillment of the destiny which He had ordained for them. Many of you in the last several years and some of you even this year have been preparing your hearts to be a resting place for the Glory of God. Sometimes there are seasons that are periods of breakdown, but I believe that we are in a season of break through.
Quite often we come to Partners in Harvest meetings because we are just so desperate for encouragement and renewal and that is a wonderful place to be at- humble and hungry for God. However, I believe that God wants to re-instill in some of us a sense of adventure, a sense of the joy of serving God, a sense of the privilege of preaching the word of God, a sense of excitement in giving an alter call. As I said I have been speaking the last few Sundays about this year of breakthrough, and two of the references I have been using are Psalm 40 where David talks about being in a pit of destruction and how he waited patiently, the Lord heard his cry and lifted him up, and God put a new song in his heart. As we have been bringing our hearts and our lives into focus with the perspective of the Father heart of God many of you have been gaining a critically important sense of personal security and significance. This sense of VALUE has been gained not because of your church size, nor because of your reputation but simply who we are in the Father heart of God. So to speak, God has been putting a new song in your hearts. Psalm 23 is such a powerful song. But it is not merely a song of survival, but rather a victory song- a song belonging to those whom Paul called “more than conquerors”. When David sang of being trapped in this miry pit of destruction and helplessness he rejoiced in that God slowly lifted him up and put his feet on a solid rock. God has been teaching many of us to stand on the victory of the rock of our salvation- the Lord Jesus Christ. But, David did not stop at the place of survival. He boasted that God put a new song in his heart that many will hear, many will see and many will turn to God. The healing God has for us in not merely unto survival- rather it is a healing unto our true identities and destinies which God ordained for each of us long before we were even born. In deed, Jesus came so that we might have life super abundantly!
David sang of one type of pit- a pit of destruction. Often we end up in these types of pits for one of two reasons. First, sometimes through no fault of our own, such as with a child that is abused by his, or her, parents. Secondly, we sometimes end up in pits of destruction of our own making when we don’t employ wisdom and the leading of God. Even in the context of God’s great love, we still often reap what we sow- but that does not mean that God abandons us!
A pit that is in complete contrast to David’s is found in 2nd Chronicles 23. It talks about one of David’s thirty mighty men. In those times they had lions in the wilds of Israel and the surrounding nations. To hunt them they would dig a deep pit, cover in over with a false covering of branches and put a piece of raw meat out on top and then hide down wind. A lion would then, hopefully, get scent of the meat and would investigate. If all went according to plan the lion would then walk on the faux covering to get the meat then suddenly find itself in the pit. The hunters would then stand at the mouth of the pit with their bows and arrows, or spears, and kill it. However it says that on a wintry day they trapped a lion but David’s man, Beniah, did not want to just stand above and shoot an arrow in it. Beniah had a true sense of adventure. Instead, he jumped into the pit and went against it one on one with the lion with a knife in his hand. I believe that God wants us to be recaptured by a sense of excitement in representing Christ Jesus, I believe He wants us to be recaptured with the perspective that we are not here on earth merely to survive, and then go to heaven, but rather to experience the fullness of what He has created us for. John Eldridge in his incredible book “Wild at Heart” states this quite succinctly; “Life is not an ordeal to be survived, but rather an adventure to be lived”! Jesus did not come to give life abundantly to all, except those called to full time ministry. It’s a privilege to represent Christ, it’s a privilege to preach the gospel, and it’s a privilege to minister to His majestic ones in whom He delights. On top of that, as we consider and pray about the harvest fields it’s important to realize that at this very moment the harvest fields are ripe and people are being saved, healed and delivered. In San Diego, last week in the meetings we were seeing people walking away from crutches and walkers. People are being healed of dyslexia and MS and all sorts of wonderful things are happening in the Name of Jesus. Obviously, not all we pray for are being healed but in many, many churches in the western world nations now things are dramatically increasing and the gospel of the Kingdom is being preached! One church I minister in quite frequently in Dayton, Ohio has had between 400-500 first time conversions in the last 9 months! (at the time of editing) We are in such a time where God wants us to know the joy of representing Him, and, of course, part of that is tied in with us getting healed of past hurts and disappointments. But if we can have the perspective that just as Joseph was tested by the word and still managed to hang on to the vision of what God had put in his heart then we can look at the difficult seasons of our own lives and know that God is surely in it. Not because He is against us, but, but rather, because He is committed to each of us coming fully into our destinies. It was through the learned humility that he learned to walk in that great authority God gave him over the nation. The same is true of Moses Through those forty yeas of obscurity he became the most humble man that ever lived, which is what qualified him to walk in such a tremendous anointing and authority. I feel that the Lord wants to challenge us about having His perspective on our own history and not just looking at the last season, or the last few seasons, or the last time you had a bad offering on a Sunday morning. Let’s put into perspective the years of our life, the DNA that God has put within us and prophetically realize the seasons of breakthrough.
The last thing I’d like to address regarding seasons of breakthrough is to realize that even though not everyone in a congregation, or family is on the same page, we are all part of the same family. My wife and I are about to move to a different house. But, we will not look at our three children and say “well, the two of you who got all A’s in school can make the move, but the one who got A’s and B’s has to stay here by themselves! No, of course not. The whole family will make the move with us. It’s just the same in the family of God. God is a wonderful Father who wants to bring all of His children across the river and into the promises- even if we are at varying degrees of maturity and giftedness. There will, however, be varying stages and degrees of fruitfulness according to our gifting and our callings. But, as it’s been said before “if were doing what God is calling us to do with our whole hearts the pays the same”!
I believe that God has destined us for a time of great breakthrough and to really be captivated by a burning desire to see our cities and communities given to Jesus as an inheritance and wedding gift. The thing about God putting a new song in David’s heart and many turning to the Lord, is that “the messenger is the message”, “the teacher is the teaching”, the “preacher is the preaching”, the “prophet is the prophesy”. When you stand up and preach and minister and pray for people, if your not excited about the person of Christ Jesus don’t expect the people in your ministry to be excited. I’m not speaking about being excited about truth, and Biblical perspectives, and the critical theological tid-bits we throw at people, but, rather excited about the truth Himself- the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! We cannot afford to allow the busyness of churchianity, church meetings, and programs to replace a contagious passion for Christ, Himself. If you are not excited about the person of God don’t expect the congregation to be. If you’re not excited about giving alter calls and praying for the sick don’t expect the recipients of your prayers and your words to really experience and live burning, transforming lives either. When John Wesley was asked how you start a revival, he said; “I collect a crowd, I light myself on fire, and let them watch me burn for God”. Let’s not get burned out by endless religious activity! Let’s burn for the all-consuming fire of His Glory!
I know God wants to put this new contagious song in our hearts, but He also calls for a response on our part. He is challenging us to dare to believe in our heart of hearts that He has nothing but the best for us. Let’s decide to not settle for anything less than what He has destined us for. As we, the church, learn to delight ourselves in Him, He promises to fulfill all that He has placed within us. Let this generation of the church realize that God is the God of history, and that includes our own times and seasons, as well.
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen! Ephesians 3.20 & 21