|by David Wilkerson | October 18, 2012|
When the Spirit fell upon His disciples, they became fearless. As they went forth to the temple to witness, the Holy Ghost made their words cutting, convicting — as swords piercing the heart. They preached the gospel with power and authority because they had Holy Ghost fire within them.
Under this anointed preaching, in just a short time some five thousand people were saved. Even priests were converted. And further outpourings happened in nearby villages, in distant cities and even among Gentiles.
The best part of this unbelievable scene is that the church got all of its direction from the Holy Ghost. Nothing happened until the disciples had shut themselves in with the Lord and fasted and prayed. When they did this, the Spirit came and began to direct their every move.
Something else happened that was very important. The disciples were to take the gospel to every nation, every people, yet Jewish tradition forbade them even to touch the clothes of a Gentile. How were they supposed to bring the good news to people with whom they weren't even allowed to associate? It seemed to be an impossible command because even the Jewish converts held to these prejudices.
The widespread proclamation of the gospel began only when the Holy Ghost took over. The Spirit visited Peter during his daily prayer time on a rooftop: "The voice spake unto [Peter] again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common (unclean)" (Acts 10:15).
He told Peter, "Don't dare call unclean what I have sanctified and made clean. Now, go downstairs, because there are some Gentiles knocking on your door. I want you to go with them and preach to them about Jesus!"
The Holy Spirit had solved the prejudice problem overnight. He opened up the Gentile world to the gospel simply by speaking to His followers. It was all clearly directed from heaven!
The powerful first-century believers received all their marching orders from the Holy Ghost Himself: “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed” (Acts 13:4). They never made a move until they first got alone with God and fasted and prayed. And the Holy Ghost answered them by giving clear direction!
|by David Wilkerson | October 17, 2012|
When the apostle Paul looked out at the idolatrous multitudes in Athens, his spirit was moved (see Acts 17:16). Likewise, as I look out my apartment window every evening, gazing upon the masses in Manhattan, I experience what Paul felt. I see many beautiful buildings — from the Midtown skyline to the Statue of Liberty — yet they all appear as tombstones. They are full of the walking dead, multitudes of people dying and going to hell. I have to cry out daily, "Lord, we need You! We cannot do anything to reach these people without Your guidance and power."
Jesus knew everything His church would be facing today, the overwhelming opposition, the many obstacles. And He knew exactly what would happen to our society. He knew there would be a moral landslide, that humanity would wax worse and worse, and that an angry devil would spew out a river of hell against His Church.
Jesus would not have sent out His disciples without their knowing that the power given to them would be more than sufficient to meet every need and opposition. These men who had run in fear when the soldiers came for Him were timid, fearful, unskilled and untrained. Yet Jesus knew that these men — when fully yielded to the Holy Ghost — would work miracles, put demons to flight, and overcome every adversary and challenge.
I believe Jesus' words to His helpless disciples apply to us today: "Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye . . . until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).
Jesus was saying, in essence, "If you try to evangelize in your own strength, you will fall on your face in a short time. I know the battles and obstacles you face and I will give you a power greater than any in the universe. You will be able to stand up to kings, princes, governments with authority over demons and principalities. But you cannot do anything for Me unless you are full of the Holy Ghost.”
|by David Wilkerson | October 16, 2012|
As I walked up Broadway during rush hour and looked into the faces of the passing crowds, a thought struck my soul like a thunderclap: “Almost every person passing by is going to hell.”
I realize this may come across as harsh or presumptuous. You might think, “Surely some of those passersby know the Lord. Certainly many in that massive crowd had seen or experienced religion of some kind.”
With every block I walked, I was hit again and again with the thought: “They’re lost. They’re going to spend eternity without Jesus!” Finally, I tried comforting myself with the thought, “But our church has seen thousands of people converted. Times Square Church is one of the largest congregations in New York City.”
Still, something nagged at my soul. I had to acknowledge before the Lord, “Oh, Father, I don’t have the burden I once had. I don’t weep the way I did when I first came to New York City!”
In 1958, Gwen and I were living in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, a town of around 1,500. In those days, I would walk into the woods near our home and weep for hours over the souls in New York. I owned a little green Chevrolet, and each week as I drove to the city to minister, I wept during the entire three-hour drive.
Today I preach in one of the most beautiful theaters in the world, the historic Mark Hellinger Theatre. Yet, I wonder how many in our congregation and how many reading this feel the way I felt walking up Broadway. I had to stop and ask myself: “How long has it been since you wept for the lost? Do you still have the Lord’s burden to reach them with the gospel?”
Are you able to work alongside your colleagues, greet your neighbors, talk to your unsaved family members and never once be concerned for their souls? Is your mind occupied with simply surviving — providing for your family? Are you no longer burdened, witnessing, reaching out to the lost and dying world?
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalms 126:5-6).
|by Gary Wilkerson | October 15, 2012|
“Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6, ESV).
“I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt” (8:8-9).
God took His people by the hand and led them out of bondage, out of slavery, out of misery. He led them miraculously by opening up the Red Sea into the wilderness and then into the Promised Land. That is a good covenant, but Hebrews says that the new covenant is better and more excellent.
The second part of Hebrews 8:9 tells us: “For they did not continue in my covenant.” That is why a new covenant was needed.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:10-12 ESV).
God says the new covenant is going to be better, more excellent than the old, not like the one He made with the children of Israel in Egypt. He is going to do something different this time; it is not just a covenant He makes but a new power that He gives. The new power will enable us so that we can be almost as faithful as He is in keeping His covenant because He is now living in us. That is the difference in this covenant, the everlasting covenant!
|by David Wilkerson | October 12, 2012|
God seals all His promises with an oath and we have the “legal” right to stand on them. God cannot back away from any of His promises or He would not be God. So we can hold to each promise and say, "Lord, I'm going to stand on what You have said.”
You may say, "Wait a minute. Do you mean we're not supposed to commune with the Lord?" I do not mean that at all. But the fact is, our communion with God is not restricted to worship, praise or prayer. We commune with Him by actively leaning on His written, revealed Word and our communion with Him also includes trusting Him.
The Holy Spirit "speaks" mostly by leading us to pertinent Scripture passages, showing us God's mind on any matter and telling us what steps to take. Why should He speak with an inner voice when we will not "hear" His revealed, written voice?
God does not have to tell us everything or reveal all His plans to us. In fact, we can have intimacy with God simply by giving up our efforts to figure out His voice. This kind of intimacy says, "Lord, even if I never hear another word from You, You still give me everything I need. I know You love me. Your Word has come to me and I am going to rest in that."
David is an example of this kind of trust. As this godly man lay on his deathbed, he said: "Although my house be not so with God . . ." (2 Samuel 23:5). In other words: "I have not yet seen the fulfillment of all the words the Lord has given me, yet I have been given a promise that my house will not fall."
David had no prophet standing nearby, telling him these things. He had no dream, no vision, no inner voice speaking to him. Instead, as he faced eternity, he said, "God gave me a covenant promise in His Word. And I'll go into eternity standing on that promise."
David went on in the same verse: "For this is all my salvation, and all my desire." He was saying, in essence, "I can face death now because His promise is all I need."
We may fail in our discernment, our hearing, our decisions, but we can rejoice in our God, who is our strength. We must simply yield, stand still and see His salvation!
|by David Wilkerson | October 11, 2012|
To stand still does not mean to be passive or to rest on fate. Fate says, "Whatever will be, will be." But faith changes everything. Standing still is an act of faith, an active resting on God's promises, a cessation of all questions, doubts and useless strivings.
Ever since I have been in the ministry, a major area of striving for me has been knowing the voice of God. I believe this struggle is common among Christians. We ask, "How can I know if the voice I hear is God's or my flesh?"
Whenever I face a critical need that requires an answer, I turn to the Lord in prayer. I cry out, "Father, Your Word says You speak to Your people. Please, God, speak to me. Give me Your direction!" And then I quote Scripture promises:
- "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).
- "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it" (Isaiah 30:21).
- "[My] word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart" (Deuteronomy 30:14).
Indeed, a still, small voice often comes to us and as God begins to speak, we suddenly have a great sense of peace and calm. The voice is comforting, soothing, and we leave our prayer closet feeling wonderful. But sometimes the word we hear in prayer does not come to pass and we realize we have heard another voice — not Christ's. In such a case, it was either the voice of our own desires and ambition or the voice of our flesh.
Paul says, "There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification" (1 Corinthians 14:10). There are many voices, including a voice of the flesh, a voice of the will, a voice of ambition — and they all scream for our attention.
No matter how much we pray or how close we are to the Lord, we all are fallible and make mistakes. Our flesh still has a voice and at times it will get in the way.
Let me tell you how God brought me through this test of faith. I am convinced God prearranges and sets up all my circumstances. He has promised, by covenant, to lead me and guide me by His Spirit and to keep me from falling. So, now I pray in faith, believing His word to me and I stand still and wait for Him to act.
|by David Wilkerson | October 10, 2012|
After Samuel anointed Saul as king, he escorted him to the edge of the city and said, “Stand thou still a while, that I may show thee the word of God" (1 Samuel 9:27). Imagine! Israel's king was commanded to stand still rather than act.
Samuel was saying, "Saul, I have just anointed you, and already your mind is racing. You're thinking, 'What is God doing? How can I know His voice, His will?' Stop striving, Saul! Do you want to hear from God? Then stand still and listen and I will give you God's word."
This perfectly illustrates the principle I want to emphasize here: The word of the Lord — the voice of direction and deliverance — is given to those who stand still before God.
Judah was being invaded by a coalition of mighty armies and Scripture says that King Jehoshaphat "feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah" (2 Chronicles 20:3).
The people began to pray, “In thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? . . . For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee" (verses 6, 12).
Once again, we see that there is nothing wrong with being afraid. God is longsuffering toward us, and He does not hold our fear against us. In fact, we are to pray the same prayer that Jehoshaphat prayed: "Lord, I'm frightened! The enemy is coming in like a flood, and I don't know what to do. But I know that You have all power and might, so I will do nothing, Lord, except pray. I will fix my eyes on You."
The Spirit commanded: "Be not afraid nor dismayed . . . for the battle is not yours, but God's. . . . Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you" (verses 15-17).
The phrase set yourself means "take your position; do not waver in this matter." In other words: "Take a position of faith. Be convinced that it is the Lord's battle to fight — not yours!"
|by David Wilkerson | October 9, 2012|
God speaks to His people by the voice of His Spirit: "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isaiah 30:21).
The voice of His Spirit comes to us primarily through the Scriptures. He may open up a biblical passage that will be the key to our deliverance. But before we can hear His voice of direction, God requires something of us: We are to stand still and wait for Him to act.
This word is not a suggestion but a commandment. It is the secret to our total victory and deliverance. Indeed, the Lord commanded His people to stand still on many occasions.
In Joshua 3 we read of another crossing Israel had to make, at the Jordan River. God instructed the people: "When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan" (Joshua 3:8). Then the Lord added: "As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests . . . shall rest in the waters of Jordan . . . the waters of Jordan shall be cut off . . . and they shall stand upon an heap" (verse 13).
God was saying, "When you get to the water, plant your feet in it and just stand there. Be still, rest. Just wait for Me to act and I will part the waters for you!"
The Hebrew word for stand still in this passage means "stop all activity, cease all striving." Yet, how many Israelites obeyed when they came to the Jordan? As they stood with their feet in the water, many must have thought, "How do we know this is going to work?"
Some might have been tempted to build some sort of pontoon bridge and try to get across on their own ingenuity. But that would have been in vain.
God did act on that occasion — He parted the waters. Israel's act of obedience was accompanied by faith — and God answered their faith!
|by Gary Wilkerson | October 8, 2012|
The Holy Spirit has called us to be a “gospel community.” Many churches are trying to have community but they do not have authentic biblical community because the gospel is not functioning within their fellowship. They do not know how to truly love one another because they are trying to have community without the Word of God.
In Luke 8 we read: “Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.’ But he answered them, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it’” (Luke 8:19-21, ESV).
Nowhere in Scripture are you going to read specifically of the gospel of fellowship, or small groups, or counseling, or worship. So, you may ask, what is it? I believe Jesus was giving us the definition of a gospel community here in Luke.
Jesus was saying, “My community is not made up of the crowd surrounding Me nor of just My mother and brothers. My true gospel community, My brothers and sisters, are those who hear, who know, whose lives are invested in the Word of God. The members of My community hear the Word and they do it.”
True gospel community is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It means doing the Word of God together. It means hearing God’s Word, loving one another, and helping others when they are not living according to the Word. It is a group of people who build their lives around hearing the Word of God, understanding what this Word is speaking, and knowing the Holy Spirit who empowers this written Word.
Jesus is always the center, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He is everything in our gospel community and must always hold the preeminent place as we grow together in Him.
|by World Challenge Staff | October 6, 2012|
Thank you for praying for the Colorado Expect Conference last week.
If you have time, please read some of the testimonies of pastors and leaders who attended the conference.
Here is a 3 minute video report.
We are getting ready to hold a one day conference in Chicago next Thursday, October 11th.
Please pray for Pastors Gary Wilkerson, Jim Cymbala and Francis Chan as they minister to pastors and leaders at Moody's Church. Please pray for great anointing and that the mighty presence of the Lord would open hearts, encourage and refresh many. May the Lord touch and renew us in Chicago.
“The conference has more than met my expectations. I came with a heavy heart in some areas and God has just met me here and spoken to me through the messages, the worship, and the people from all over the world, I have met here. It has been a really good conference for me.”
— Pastor Rich Lammay
“This has been a fantastic conference. You just feel God move. It’s the real thing. It is helping us get rid of all of the cultural aspects of Christianity, and looking for the very heart of God and putting that into focus. I am so glad I came, and I am already looking forward to the next [conference].”
— Pastor Charles Todd
“Much of the teaching that is popular today can leave pastors feeling they are not teaching Bible correctly because [doing so] isn’t always exciting to the ears. What we are hearing here is reinforcing valuable and sustainable faith — something that will keep on going.”
— Pastor Rich Lambright
“It’s very relaxing just to know that we can trust [the speakers]. You don’t have to be listening and always on guard, questioning whether they are speaking the truth or not. These are seasoned men. We have read their books, we have listened to their sermons, and we know we can trust them to speak the truth. It’s refreshing to the soul to come and to hear from men that love the Lord with all their heart.”
— Sheri Lambright
“[The Expect Conference] is challenging in a way that causes you to stop in your ministry and consider where you are, and where you need to be.”
— Pastor Alex Sushchik
“[The speakers] are imparting life to us, and sharing the grace and power, to encourage us to not loose hope but to look up and find God as our source. I thank God for the investment these man have made to come together and share with us.”
— Michael Beene, Missionary