America’s Great Prayer Awakening

In light of the current awakening at Asbury University and several other college campuses in our nation, it’s exhilarating to read this reprint article written and posted four years ago: February 14, 2019, and believe that our Lord longs to visit our region with the same. Enjoy, beloved!

The Great American Prayer Awakening of 1857

In 1857, four years before the outbreak of the Civil War, a Great Prayer Awakening swept unexpectedly across America. As if drawn by an invisible force, multitudes daily gathered in churches, halls, fire stations and auditoriums to pour out their hearts to God.

The First Great Awakening breached the racial chasm in Colonial America and unleashed a “moral outrage” against slavery at a time when it was practiced and accepted throughout most of the world. Now, 100 years later, this great prayer awakening would release the spiritual and moral forces necessary to end slavery and preserve a nation through a devastating Civil War.

This prayer awakening began when a businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier, began a noon-hour prayer meeting on Fulton Street in downtown New York City to pray for the conversion of the many new immigrants who were pouring into the city. Although it started slowly, the daily prayer gathering caught fire with hundreds attending from throughout the city and many marvelous conversions to Christ occurring.

From this Fulton Street meeting, a spirit of prayer seemed to be unleashed upon the nation. Prayer meetings began springing up in Philadelphia; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Pittsburgh; Cincinnati; Indianapolis; Chicago as well as many small towns and rural areas. It seemed that God Himself was gathering the people to prepare them for the dark and terrible night that was looming.

Charles G. Finney told of a prayer meeting in Boston in which a man stood and declared that he had just traveled almost 2,000 miles from Omaha, Nebraska, and had found “continuous prayer meetings all along the way.” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 22).

Finney described 1857-58 as a time when “a divine influence seemed to pervade the whole land.” He estimated that at the height of the revival 50,000 per week were being converted—and that without the aid of modern communication and technology. (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26).

Conservative estimates place the total number of conversions at around 1 million, but some have suggested that as many as 2 million may have been converted. The March 1858 issue of a religious journal reported: “The large cities and towns from Maine to California are sharing in this great and glorious work. There is hardly a village or town to be found where “a special divine power” does not appear displayed.” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26).

The prayer meetings were characterized by a solemn sense of God’s presence and much convicting power. Sinners seemed helpless in God’s presence as the arrows of the Almighty pierced their hearts.

In a noon prayer meeting at a church in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan, the sanctuary was crowded with a standing-room-only crowd when a prayer request was read from a wife asking prayer for her unsaved husband. Immediately, a man stood to his feet and with tears exclaimed, “I am that man. My wife is a good Christian woman, and she must have sent that request. Please pray for me.” He sat down, and immediately, a man in another part of the house stood to his feet weeping, and as if he had not heard the first man, declared, “That was my wife who sent that request. She is a good Christian woman and I have treated her badly. Please pray for me!” He sat down and another man stood, also convinced that it was his wife who sent the prayer request and after him a fourth and a fifth with similar confessions.

Four young sailors began a prayer meeting on the battleship, the North Carolina, which was docked in New York Harbor, serving as a receiving ship for the Navy. Crewmen from different ships changed their assignment through this ship. As the four young men prayed night after night, revival suddenly erupted as God’s presence filled the ship, and powerful conviction gripped the hearts and minds of all on board. Night after night, sailors bowed humbly before the Lord and, with tears of repentance, called on His name. Hundreds were converted. Many were afterwards transferred to other ships, and revival fires were kindled wherever they went.

One writer described a “zone of heavenly influence” that pervaded the Eastern seaboard, extending out into the Atlantic and impacting the passengers and crews of approaching ships. He wrote: “Revival began aboard one ship before it reached the coast. People on board began to feel the presence of God and the sense of their own sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicted them, and they began to pray. As the ship neared the harbor, the captain signaled, “Send a minister.” Another small commercial ship arrived in port with the captain, and every member of the crew converted in the last 150 miles. Ship after ship arrived with the same story: both passengers and crew were suddenly convicted of sin and turned to Christ before they reached the American coast.” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 25).

A young D. L. Moody attended daily prayer meetings in Chicago and wrote to his mother, “Oh, how I do enjoy it! It seems as if God were here Himself.” In Washington, D.C., Presidents Pierce (1853-57) and Buchanan (1857-61) attended prayer meetings organized in that city.

In Charleston, South Carolina, John Girardeau, the black pastor of the Anson Street Presbyterian Church, a church established for slaves, began a prayer meeting in 1858. He exhorted his congregation to pray and “wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” The prayer service grew until the auditorium was overflowing with more than two thousand people. As on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit suddenly fell upon those at the Anson Street Church. They began to sob, softly, like the falling of rain; then, with deeper emotion, to weep bitterly, or to rejoice loudly, according to their circumstances. It was midnight before he could dismiss the congregation. The meeting went on night and day for weeks. Large numbers of both black and white were converted and joined churches in the city. (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 26-26).

The Prayer Revival had a profound impact on all segments of the society. It was a common sight for businesses to have signs on their doors informing customers that they were closed for the noon prayer meeting. Newspapers carried regular reports of the revival and its progress. The editors of the daily New York Herald carried a regular section called “Revival Extras” by which they informed their readers of the latest news concerning the revival.

One Chicago newspaper carried a report which shows the impact the revival was having on the society at large. It read: “So far as the effects of the present religious movement are concerned, they are apparent to all. They are to be seen in every walk of life, to be felt in every place of society. The merchant, the farmer, the mechanic; all who have been within their influence have been incited to better things; to a more orderly and honest way of life.” (Hyatt, The Great Prayer Awakening, 30).

Although this great prayer revival is often identified with the years 1857-58, it did not suddenly cease after those dates. Those dates merely identify the revival at its height and period of its greatest impact. There is evidence that the effects of the prayer revival continued to influence the nation throughout the years of the Civil War.

For example, with the North suffering one defeat after another and things looking grim for the state of the Union, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution asking the president to proclaim a national day of fasting and prayer. President Lincoln then designated April 30, 1863, as a national day of humiliation, prayer and the confession of national sins, which would include the sin of slavery. The following is a selected portion of his proclamation:
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessing no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Because the Great Prayer Awakening was still fresh in the minds of the people, they responded en masse to Lincoln’s call to prayer. And after this national day of repentance and prayer, there was an almost immediate turn of the war in favor of the North—but not before one last severe test of faith. The following June, a confident General Robert E. Lee led 76,000 Confederate troops north into Union territory, that is, into Pennsylvania. The populace was terrified and there was much panic. Lincoln, however, having been impacted by the prayer revival, found solace in prayer. He said: “When everyone seemed panic-stricken, I went to my room and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed. Soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul that God Almighty had taken the whole business into His own hands.”

The Confederate forces were defeated at Gettysburg on July 3, and that battle proved to be the turning point for the war.

It was from this era and out of this environment of both prayer and war that the Negro spiritual came forth that included the repeated phrase, “Ain’t gonna study war no more.” It captured the deepest feelings of many who longed for peace and God’s blessing on the nation.

Gonna lay down my burdens
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside

Ain’t gonna study war no more
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside

Gonna sit down with Jesus
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside.

Could it be, in 2019, with the nation again in so polarized in hostility the Father yearns to pour out another prayer awakening on our land?

Father, sweep through our region once again. Pour out Your Spirit and awaken Your Bride in prayer. Deliver Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona to Your Son!

JSB • February 14, 2019

Confessing The Sin of Presumption

I believe the Lord is judging prophecy in His house. I believe He is assessing the hearts of those of us who would “presume” to speak on “Dad’s” behalf, to others within His household, and to the world on behalf of His household.

This isn’t a prophetic word about prophetic words. It’s simply my informed, prayerful observation of what I am seeing in the Church in America right now.

I earnestly believe in prophecy. 
I believe in the Church’s vital need for prophecy. 
I watch for it. 
I believe in the Holy Spirit’s power and compassionate zeal to release real “Words from the Father” for His children.

By His Spirit, the Lord has even occasionally used me to bring genuine prophetic words to various segments of our Household.
Some words have been for a specific fellowship.
Others have been for a specific region, and/or people group.
A few have even been for the whole church within our culture.
The Lord is my witness regarding the handful of these Words.

Of course, all of this is Holy ground. Who would honestly dare to speak on behalf of the Father, asserting that “my words” are indeed His Words? Who would be sufficient to say that what “I am saying” is how and what the eternal Lord of glory is saying?

I suspect this is a large part of what Isaiah was trying to express in Isaiah 6:5 when the Lord came to him and commissioned him to speak on His behalf to the nation of Israel. “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips” wasn’t about Isaiah having a salty vocabulary. It was the honest disclosure of a man who knew his propensity to speak impure words with an impure heart; words that fell far far short of the Words of the eternal God. In a sense, Isaiah’s response to the Lord was an expression of worship unto the Lord. In essence he was saying: “Lord. No one speaks like You do. You alone are pure, and speak with a pure heart.”

I’m saying all this in order to set up a confession. 

I have (even recently – this past December) issued “presumptuous” words as though they were “the pure words of the Father”. These words have had the entire Church in our culture as their intended audience, and I have presented them as something more than my own prayerful, educated conjecture. I presented them as “the sure Words of the Father” to our household when I should not have.

This is my public confession of my public “sin of presumption”.

I am not repenting of this because the “word” may be inaccurate, or because I believe the tone of my declarations were “unloving”, or I lacked sufficient prayer or confirmation. I’m confessing my “sin of presumption” because I am being sobered by the holiness of God and the holy manner in which He speaks His Words of judgment, consolation, wrath and restoration.

The truth of the matter is, I am far too cavalier about speaking authoritative words on the Father’s behalf. This is the root I am at pains to have crucified within myself.

I want the fear of the Lord burning in my soul more than I want the reputation of someone who hears prophetic Words for the Church in my generation.

“Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with judgment.” (Proverbs 15:16)

JSB • February 7, 2023

The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing


Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kindgom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

Before the Lord God made man upon the earth He first prepared for him by creating a world of useful and pleasant things for his sustenance and delight. In the Genesis account of the creation these are called simply “things.” They were made for man’s uses, but they were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him. In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come. Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God had showered upon him.

But sin has introduced complications and has made those very gifts of God a potential source of ruin to the soul.

Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and “things” were allowed to enter. Within the human heart “things” have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there no longer, but there in the moral dusk stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne.

This is not a mere metaphor, but an accurate analysis of our real spiritual trouble. There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets “things” with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns “my” and “mine” look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.

Our Lord referred to this tyranny of things when He said to His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

Breaking this truth into fragments for our better understanding, it would seem that there is within each of us an enemy which we tolerate at our peril. Jesus called it “life” and “self,” or as we would say, the selflife. Its chief characteristic is its possessiveness: the words “gain” and “profit” suggest this. To allow this enemy to live is in the end to lose everything. To repudiate it and give up all for Christ’s sake is to lose nothing at last, but to preserve everything unto life eternal. And possibly also a hint is given here as to the only effective way to destroy this foe: it is by the Cross. “Let him take up his cross and follow me.”

The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things. The blessed ones who possess the Kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing. These are the “poor in spirit.” They have reached an inward state paralleling the outward circumstances of the common beggar in the streets of Jerusalem; that is what the word “poor” as Christ used it actually means. These blessed poor are no longer slaves to the tyranny of things. They have broken the yoke of the oppressor; and this they have done not by fighting but by surrendering. Though free from all sense of possessing, they yet possess all things. “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Let me exhort you to take this seriously. It is not to be understood as mere Bible teaching to be stored away in the mind along with an inert mass of other doctrines. It is a marker on the road to greener pastures, a path chiseled against the steep sides of the mount of God. We dare not try to by-pass it if we would follow on in this holy pursuit. We must ascend a step at a time. If we refuse one step we bring our progress to an end.

As is frequently true, this New Testament principle of spiritual life finds its best illustration in the Old Testament. In the story of Abraham and Isaac we have a dramatic picture of the surrendered life as well as an excellent commentary on the first Beatitude.

Abraham was old when Isaac was born, old enough indeed to have been his grandfather, and the child became at once the delight and idol of his heart. From that moment when he first stooped to take the tiny form awkwardly in his arms he was an eager love slave of his son. God went out of His way to comment on the strength of this affection. And it is not hard to understand. The baby represented everything sacred to his father’s heart: the promises of God, the covenants, the hopes of the years and the long messianic dream. As he watched him grow from babyhood to young manhood the heart of the old man was knit closer and closer with the life of his son, till at last the relationship bordered upon the perilous. It was then that God stepped in to save both father and son from the consequences of an uncleansed love.

“Take now thy son,” said God to Abraham, “thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” The sacred writer spares us a close-up of the agony that night on the slopes near Beersheba when the aged man had it out with his God, but respectful imagination may view in awe the bent form and convulsive wrestling alone under the stars. Possibly not again until a Greater than Abraham wrestled in the Garden of Gethsemane did such mortal pain visit a human soul. If only the man himself might have been allowed to die. That would have been easier a thousand times, for he was old now, and to die would have been no great ordeal for one who had walked so long with God. Besides, it would have been a last sweet pleasure to let his dimming vision rest upon the figure of his stalwart son who would live to carry on the Abrahamic line and fulfill in himself the promises of God made long before in Ur of the Chaldees.

How should he slay the lad! Even if he could get the consent of his wounded and protesting heart, how could he reconcile the act with the promise, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called”? This was Abraham’s trial by fire, and he did not fail in the crucible. While the stars still shone like sharp white points above the tent where the sleeping Isaac lay, and long before the gray dawn had begun to lighten the east, the old saint had made up his mind. He would offer his son as God had directed him to do, and then trust God to raise him from the dead. This, says the writer to the Hebrews, was the solution his aching heart found sometime in the dark night, and he rose “early in the morning” to carry out the plan. It is beautiful to see that, while he erred as to God’s method, he had correctly sensed the secret of His great heart. And the solution accords well with the New Testament Scripture, “Whosoever will lose for my sake shall find.”

God let the suffering old man go through with it up to the point where He knew there would be no retreat, and then forbade him to lay a hand upon the boy. To the wondering patriarch He now says in effect, “It’s all right, Abraham. I never intended that you should actually slay the lad. I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that I might reign unchallenged there. I wanted to correct the perversion that existed in your love. Now you may have the boy, sound and well. Take him and go back to your tent. Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou bast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.”

Then heaven opened and a voice was heard saying to him, “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou bast done this thing, and bast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is `upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou bast obeyed my voice.”

The old man of God lifted his head to respond to the Voice, and stood there on the mount strong and pure and grand, a man marked out by the Lord for special treatment, a friend and favorite of the Most High. Now he was a man wholly surrendered, a man utterly obedient, a man who possessed nothing. He had concentrated his all in the person of his dear son, and God had taken it from him. God could have begun out on the margin of Abraham’s life and worked inward to the center; He chose rather to cut quickly to the heart and have it over in one sharp act of separation. In dealing thus He practiced an economy of means and time. It hurt cruelly, but it was effective.

I have said that Abraham possessed nothing. Yet was not this poor man rich? Everything he had owned before was his still to enjoy: sheep, camels, herds, and goods of every sort. He had also his wife and his friends, and best of all he had his son Isaac safe by his side. He had everything, but he possessed nothing. There is the spiritual secret. There is the sweet theology of the heart which can be learned only in the school of renunciation. The books on systematic theology overlook this, but the wise will understand.

After that bitter and blessed experience I think the words “my” and “mine” never had again the same meaning for Abraham. The sense of possession which they connote was gone from his heart. Things had been cast out forever. They had now become external to the man. His inner heart was free from them. The world said, “Abraham is rich,” but the aged patriarch only smiled. He could not explain it to them, but he knew that he owned nothing, that his real treasures were inward and eternal.

There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the life. Because it is so natural it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is; but its outworkings are tragic.

We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.

Our gifts and talents should also be turned over to Him. They should be recognized for what they are, God’s loan to us, and should never be considered in any sense our own. We have no more right to claim credit for special abilities than for blue eyes or strong muscles. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what bast thou that thou didst not receive?”

The Christian who is alive enough to know himself even slightly will recognize the symptoms of this possession malady, and will grieve to find them in his own heart. If the longing after God is strong enough within him he will want to do something about the matter. Now, what should he do?

First of all he should put away all defense and make no attempt to excuse himself either in his own eyes or before the Lord. Whoever defends himself will have himself for his defense, and he will have no other; but let him come defenseless before the Lord and he will have for his defender no less than God Himself. Let the inquiring Christian trample under foot every slippery trick of his deceitful heart and insist upon frank and open relations with the Lord.

Then he should remember that this is holy business. No careless or casual dealings will suffice. Let him come to God in full determination to be heard. Let him insist that God accept his all, that He take the things out of his heart and Himself reign there in power. It may be he will need to become specific, to name things and people by their names one by one. If he will become drastic enough he can shorten the time of his travail from years to minutes and enter the good land long before his slower brethren who coddle their feelings and insist upon caution in their dealings with God.

Let us never forget that such a truth as this cannot be learned by rote as one would learn the facts of physical science. They must be experienced before we can really know them. We must in our hearts live through Abraham’s harsh and bitter experiences if we would know the blessedness which follows them. The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us will not lie down and die obedient to our command. He must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence as Christ expelled the money changers from the temple. And we shall need to steel ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self-pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart.

If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy we must go this way of renunciation. And if we are set upon the pursuit of God He will sooner or later bring us to this test. Abraham’s testing was, at the time, not known to him as such, yet if he had taken some course other than the one he did, the whole history of the Old Testament would have been different. God would have found His man, no doubt, but the loss to Abraham would have been tragic beyond the telling. So we will be brought one by one to the testing place, and we may never know when we are there. At that testing place there will be no dozen possible choices for us; just one and an alternative, but our whole future will be conditioned by the choice we make.

Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its things. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but 1 do come. Please root from my heart all those things which 1 have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter avid dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Where Is the Church’s Voice Against Anti-Semitism?

Again. December 9, 2022. Both the Israeli news outlet “The Times of Israel” and “Haaretz” are reporting Donald Trump’s egregious choice to castigate Jewish leaders rather than Kanye West and Nick Fuentes as he prepares his 2024 run for office.

Folks. This isn’t a little problem. And it isn’t going away. This is the third egregious anti-semitic episode from this man. The third time the press in Israel is sounding the alarm about former President Trump’s broad-stroked hostility toward Judaism. And the third time our evangelical leaders are saying nothing.

Let that sink in – Our pro-Israel, we know “The Hiding Place” by heart, watchmen on the wall: Wallnau, Sheets, Kirk, Metaxas, Baker and the false prophets have said “NOTHING” about the candidate our family favors to be President again in 2024; the one who, five weeks ago called Jews who do not endorse him, “not real Jews”; who three weeks ago invited openly anti-semitic friends to dinner, and refuses to denounce them for their pro-Hitler, pro-Nazi propaganda; and whose next statement isn’t clarification about his own views about Judaism, but shaming and verbalizing more anger toward Jewish leaders who won’t support his bid to be re-elected.

These wolves are famous for saying “It’s time for the Church to stand up. Evil thrives when good men say nothing.” And yet for mere political idolatry they are staying silent about the very issue that gave inspiration to many of the very statements they love to quote: anti-semitism.”

Beloved. None of this is lost on the Lord. Neither is this a run-up we get to “do over”. Our silence has massive consequences on earth – AND in heaven. The judgment of the Lord is heavy upon us over this issue right now. Today. We either see how deeply contorted we are because of our idolatry and repent on the threshing floor of the God Who sees it all clearly, or we’ll bluster ourselves and our Jewish neighbors right into pre-war Nazi Germany, while corrupting the heart and soul of millions of our own sisters and brothers in Christ.

“6 If the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.

8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.

9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 33:6-9)

JSB • December, 9, 2022

Post-script. Last year in our book, “Seek My Face” we identified “anti-semitism” as being the third judgment that the Lord was releasing upon His household (1 Peter 4:17); a judgment over which the Church largely was being rewarded for. The Lord continues to refine hearts, and separate rhetoric from reality. Our posture toward the Jewish people has massive implications toward our partnership with what Jesus is doing on the earth in the minutes before He returns. This isn’t a failing grade for which we can receive a mulligan. If the Church won’t tangibly support Israel, she’s in league with the enemy’s end-time army.

What the Lord Says to Us About False Prophetic Narratives

“Who will contend with Me? Let us stand together. Who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me.” (Isaiah 50:8)

My people, there are SO MANY CONTENDING NARRATIVES in your ears…

The mere fact that there is so much contention within you is a SIGN that I, the Lord, have entered into judgment with you.

You ask, “How are we to know when a prophet of the Lord has spoken? How do we know the true narrative of the Lord?”

Here are eight distinguishing marks of false prophetic narratives…

a.) If a prophet speaks and his narrative calls you to increased zeal for a divinely ordained nation; realize that this was the false hope of the false prophets in the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

b.) If the prophet speaks and urges you to rise up, while they themselves do not bow down low, realize that there is no spirit of humility in them. They cannot be walking in My grace. (James 4:6)

c.) If the narrative is being spun by someone who refuses to be held accountable for 4, 5, 6 and more prophecies that have not come to pass – ’nuff said. Do not listen to this one. Do not fear him, or those who follow him.
“If you say in your heart, ‘How will we recognize the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When the prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, and the thing does not happen or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you are not to be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)

d.) If the prophet urges you to seize special permission to override My Son’s Sermon on the Mount, realize that My Kingdom is not divided against itself. (Matthew 12:25) These ones are “workers of lawlessness”. (Matthew 7:23)

e.) If the narrative that he speaks does not primarily and centrally call you to My threshing floor in repentance, realize that his words are wholly out of step with every single Old and New Testament prophet that I have sent!

f.) If the narrative shames you to dismiss the crisis via nefarious and malicious conspiracies that do not call you to contrition and an increased fear of the Lord – it is of a false and lying spirit.

g.) If the prophet himself urges you to be bold against political enemies while he stays silent (even about issues like blatant anti-semitism) to protect political allies, realize that he is a wolf, and an enemy of My people.

h.) And should these “prophets” and “teachers” fail to call you to selflessly trust Me, and never exhort you to “deny your self and take up your cross for My Son”, tell them that it is the devil who is speaking through them (Matthew 16:23) – and like their father, these prophets will flee from you. (James 4:7)

Beloved. Many are being driven into “apostasis” from the stability that only I can provide in the hour of tribulation. This is a day to “test all things; and hold fast to what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

JSB • December 8, 2022

The Man

The consuming desire of the first century Church was the Man and the proclamation of that Man; not causes, strategies, moral standards, epochs, or destructive insights into the fallen world order. They understood that without the Man there was no reason, nor power, nor hope for the building of any other societal scaffolding.

John the Baptist came proclaiming a Man, the disciples followed a Man, the apostles proclaimed a Man, and the last book of the New Testament is entitled “The Revelation of that Man”.

Christ is the entirety of our message, our hope, our life, our vision, our strength, our consolation and our glory. To pursue theologies, politics, justice, and philosophies without centrally, incessantly, and vigorously pointing to the Man, Christ Jesus is to bear a husk of a message and miss the seed, the root and the fruit of the matter altogether.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-2)

“It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose… Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:27, 29)

“I determined to know nothing among you except for Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

“For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return of our Lord Jesus Christ; no, we were eyewitnesses of His grandeur. For He received honor and glory from God the Father, when that voice was conveyed to Him by the Majestic Glory: ‘This is my dear Son, in Whom I am delighted.” When this voice was conveyed from heaven, we ourselves heard it, for we were with Him on the holy mountain.” (2 Peter 1:16-18)

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:1-3)

“From Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’ Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. (Revelation 1:5-8; 12-18)

“I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” (Revelation 4:2)

“Even so, come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

JSB • December 8, 2022

THE Glaring Omission of a Generation

THE GLARING OMISSION of a generation of American evangelicalism is precisely the one thing Jesus demands we have if we follow Him.

Its absence has permitted scholars and leaders to sit in judgment of the scriptures…

Its absence has enticed millions to embrace LGBTQ…

Its absence has defrauded generations from engaging their destiny on missions fields…

Its absence has allowed the Church in our culture to pursue, sell and endorse endless fantasy, wealth and consumerism without restraint…

Its absence has confused the world’s understanding of the gospel as we do battle over political matters…

Its absence has corrupted the Church’s vision of power and greatness…

Its absence has given our children and our children’s children open license to bottomless carnality…

Its absence has allowed us to live in, and even celebrate enmity, unforgiveness, “raca” and malice…

With it present in our lives…

…it obliterates our rebellion,

…it purges our sinful hearts, 

…it buries our falsehood, 

…it defines wholeheartedness, 

…it propels us to the lost,

…it enables us to turn enemies into brothers,

and it empowers us to manifest first-commandment love, and the breathing Presence of Jesus in our worlds.

In 40+ years within American evangelicalism, I’ve never had a class or attended a conference or break-out-session that had it as its emphasis.

You’re hard pressed to find a leader who has published a single book on the topic in the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, 10’s.

Singers and musicians are the ones among us who most often reference this necessity…

…but we almost never (can’t think of one instance) when a pastor/leader/teacher has explicitly explained, detailed, taught about the topic in a practical and Biblical way.

It’s an omission that’s especially peculiar to the wealthiest, most free, rights conscious, mutually affirming Christian church in the history of the world.

It’s not included in the material that we give and teach to new believers…

…even though its the most ubiquitous way that Jesus bids individuals, groups and leaders into relationship with Himself.

Its also what Jesus calls “satanic” when His disciples attempt to live in His Kingdom without it.

When I look at the way the American Church justifies celebrating celebrities while ignoring foreign missionaries; touting war and hostility while allowing peacemakers to sit quietly in the corner; creates wholesale theologies that tackle Jesus’ call to racial compassion and contrition; and even champion political candidates with an antiChrist spirit, I don’t wonder why. (I really don’t.) We’re the trees of seeds that have been planted for as long as most of us have been believers in Jesus of Nazareth. We have no grid for what has not been planted, valued, encouraged, and cultivated in us…

And in an hour when the judgments of the Lord are upon us, unless we develop a paradigm where the “it” becomes the norm instead of an exception millions of our American sisters and brothers will suffer real shipwreck of faith.

JSB • December 2, 2022