On the 28th February 2020 I prepared this prophetic blog and was saving it until after our scheduled Spirit & Word Leaders Summit, as I was going to share the contents there first. The Summit of course, never happened, due to the global pandemic.
Re-reading the prophetic word and following advice, it seems more pertinent then ever, that this is indeed what God is doing:
As we enter 2020 many global prophetic ministries are unified in declaring that we are entering not just a new season, but a new era.
Isaiah 43:18-19 is being cited as an apt scripture for this decade:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
In a nutshell this verse means that:
1) God is doing a new thing.
2) It is paramount we perceive it and can recognise it,
3) …as he is pioneering pathways into uncharted territories and…
4) …he is making previously uninhabitable places, habitable. We will be able to go to places, and occupy realms, in a way we have never done before (because there are streams flowing in the unhospitable desert).
So, what are the prophets saying about this new era? To blast through some of the “new era” headlines quickly, many prophetic ministries, including myself, are declaring that these new things are taking place:
- While the old era has been about a basic level of church unity, in this new season we are moving to higher Kingdom collaboration.
- We are moving from denominational behaviours, to new, deeper friendship alignments.
- We have been in a season of formation, preparation and imitation (for learning), but we are entering a new era of establishment, acceleration and innovation.
- We have been in a time where the Church has focussed on the “goodness and grace of God” – and while that won’t end as such, we are coming into a new era of the power, awe and fear of the Lord.
- We have been in the era of the Church being formed for purpose, but we are now entering an era of the Kingdom of God invading the kingdoms of this world.
- We have been in an era of “building the temple”, we are entering an era of glory filling the temple.
- …and much more!
How to Enter A New Era
Entering new seasons with God are hard enough, so how do we enter a new era? It would seem we enter through “perception” – (Do you not see it, perceive it?) so I have been pondering much on the posture required in a leader to optimise his or her clear perceptions of a new day in God.
In simple form, here are 7 things I think optimise our clear perception of God’s new things:
- Be Well Travelled – Experienced, culturally well-travelled leaders, can spot the difference between what is eternal and temporal, cultural or divine, much quicker than those who are deeply entrenched in their own stream, denomination, national culture or history. Get out more, and you’ll see more clearly. Read lots, podcast lots, visit lots (especially outside your normal stream) and you will be wiser.
- Be BIG Hearted – Leadership and ministry is hard. It’s easy to end up with a shrivelled, grumpy, cynical heart (Been there, done that!). Many leaders find themselves small-hearted, as a result of protecting themselves from the “wars” of ministry life. But it also means you end up cynical, envious, distorted and jaundiced. Stay BIG hearted. You can tell if you are big-hearted, by your innermost conversations about others, especially successful others. If you are envious, harsh, judgmental and protectionist, rather than kind, gracious and celebratory at the success of others – then you have some heart work to do, and your blinkered envious perspectives will hinder you perceiving what God is doing easily.
- Stay Organisationally Mobile – The best churches feel like movements, not clubs. This means changing scenery is part of the norm. “Dust settles” they say, and we are made of dust – our sinful flesh settles and calcifies so easily. Make your church or team a place very used to the flexible world of fresh movement, by doing new things often (and even just for the sake of it!) The result is that you will all embrace divine change more easily when it comes.
- Value Intimacy above Method – Moses was kept out of the Promised Land by God, because be chose method over intimacy. God considered it idolatry to “strike the stone” (as he had in the past) instead of “speak to the stone” (the clear instruction God had given him in Numbers 20). Clinging to our methods, at the expense of listening to the still small voice of instruction, is idolatry – and is far more common than we would like to admit. Even the freest Spirit-filled churches end up stuck in forms of their own liturgy at times. We need to spot it and get back to God’s voice where necessary, as fresh worlds await us there.
- Develop a palate for the new – When Jesus speaks of new wine needing new wineskins, he goes on the say that when we taste the new we will say “the old is better, easier, more comfortable” (Luke 5:39). Wow…what an analysis of human nature! New wine, and new ways, are sharp to the taste. New shoes pinch a little, unlike our old favourite pair! So train and retain a mature palate, one that can cope with the sharp, uncomfortable taste of a new day, knowing that you will adjust, grow and the payoff will be worth it!
- Develop New Alignments – Those you hang around affect you more deeply than you often know. We absorb attitudes, gifts, perspectives and strengths (and weaknesses – be warned!) more than we realise. I have been blessed to be around some remarkable apostles and prophets of late, and I have felt myself physiologically and spiritually changed by just being near them (Oh yes, your brain biologically changes when you experience new things). Make some new friends, ones who are ahead of you spiritually, in influence or intellectually and you will be broad enough to enter a new season. This is a time of new alignments, and they are vital, not optional, in this new era.
- Seek His Face – As leaders, we must never lose the ability to “clear the decks” and strike out a week, a month or a long sabbatical to seek God and hear Him afresh. We cannot live on fast spiritual food, snatched between busy work – we must eat at Fathers banqueting table. We cannot grow fresh ways of thinking from tiny margins of input. Deep change takes time. As churches, we must be able to slow our work down and give some weeks to seek God again. This will teach our churches not to simply run headlong at life, but to pause, sabbath, ‘Selah’, reflect, and listen to what the Father is saying. Church is not a mere human endeavour, but a divine invasion! I have given days, weeks and months to periodically seek God throughout my ministry, and each time I have come away with a fresh energy, plan and blueprint from heaven. How can we bring heaven to earth, if we will not take the time to go and be in the Strategy Rooms of the King? Plan the time, or else God might simply exile you to Patmos, to enforce you to rest in His presence! Ha! (Revelation 1:9-10)
May God grace with you a healthy personal and organisational posture and perspective, so that you will clearly see what God is saying as we enter this new era. He WANTS us to succeed….so I am sure He will help us all!