John and Carol Arnott are the Founding Pastors and Presidents of Catch the Fire (formerly known as the Toronto...
Recently I was speaking with my friend and associate in ministry, Jack Frost. We were doing a conference together in Denver, and of course, we got on to the subject of the Father’s Love.
Jack reminded me of Bob Mumford’s comments about the Agape Reformation. Bob believes, as I do, that the message of the love of God is bringing powerful change to the church worldwide. This was Paul’s message to the Ephesians, to be “rooted and grounded in love” and “to be filled with all the fullness of God.” Paul was appealing to the Ephesians to get the message of the Father’s love imbedded in their hearts. John, in Revelation 2, appeals to them to return to their first love or else Christ will come and remove their lamp from its place. Apparently they didn’t listen. The city is a deserted ruin today, a silent reminder of the grand civilization that once was.
But this is the focus of the Holy Spirit’s work in this revival. As we soak in God’s presence, we establish a firm foundation of being rooted and grounded in the love of God and can begin to comprehend the immensity of the Gospel message. As we continue to soak in His love, we continue to be filled with all the fullness of God. I believe that is a Love Reformation, and it is the very thing that will bring the Church worldwide into a release of God’s power for signs and wonders unparalleled since the days of the Early Church.
I am still amazed that for so much of my Christian life, I missed the foundational truth of all scripture: that God is love, and that He has rooted and grounded His Kingdom on this central reality. Oh, I knew the doctrine of the love of God, but the foundational heart realities of it all never really got through to me. I was in pursuit of truth, not realizing that the truth is that God is love. Whenever I ran across ‘love’ teachers, I felt that they were being soft on sin, preaching an ‘easy grace’ message, and so, unlike the Bereans, I did not search the Scriptures to see if these things were so.
It was in 1982 when I first met Jack Winter whose teaching on the Father’s love became nothing short of a personal reformation for me. I saw it clearly for the first time. Jesus, our Saviour, was taking us somewhere and that place was to the Father (John 14:6). Suddenly, it all fell into place. “For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Son . . .” Jesus had come into the world to redeem the world, yes, but also to reveal to us what God our Father is really like. (John 1:18) So before His passion, Jesus seems surprised at Philip’s request, “Show us the Father.” (John 14:8) and responds in the next verse by saying that if you have seen Him, meaning Jesus, you have seen the Father.
Jesus says that He and the Father are one.
He is just like the Father and the Father like Him. Jesus healed, helped and loved people everywhere, and He only did the perfect will of God.
I started to see it. The great commandment is the most important thing. Love God, others and yourself. Become established as a loving person. Be rooted and grounded in the agape love of God, and then you meet the foundational requirement for entering into any kind of ministry and fulfill the Great Commission.
In order to love God with all your heart and soul, you must understand that He gives His love for you freely and bountifully. This is the most liberating and life- giving of all truths. Jesus Christ has paid your debt. The justice of God is satisfied, and now He is ready to lavish His love upon those who accept the sacrifice of His Son, turn away from their sins, and enter into a loving and intimate relationship with God. He is a personal God and wants to be known intimately.
So the love of God is the absolutely essential foundation. It must be in place in the hearts of those who minister. The Church must be a “love Church,” a safe place for broken, hurting people to come and discover that the God of love has a safe Kingdom of love and rest for them to enter into. It is also a place of freedom and power.
So here we are now, celebrating eleven years of revival. How well I remember wondering where all of the power would lead us. Randy Clark and I were so overwhelmed. Was the harvest upon us? Were great healings imminent? Now I see it ever so clearly. God wanted to put His heart of love into the Body of Christ, and He is doing it by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The foundation He put in us during the ‘80’s, He now wants for the world. It is not so much about healings and harvest just yet, though I thank God for the hundreds who have been healed and the thousands who have been saved. It was then and is now about God the Father revealing His love deep in the hearts of His people.
I have watched it happen thousands of times right before my eyes. What does it look like? It looks like this: a person falls to the floor under the power of the Holy Spirit who is now able to speak intimacy and healing deep into that person’s heart. The result: the individual is more in love with Jesus, their Saviour, more in love with the Holy Spirit their comforter and baptizer, and more in love with their heavenly Daddy than ever before. Revelation has come. God loves them. He wants them close. He has adopted them as sons and daughters.
I have often noticed that people who feel unloved and who do not love themselves struggle to love others.
Yet loving is the standard that Jesus said we would be known by. The way we love others and love one another should be evident. Love becomes something that oozes out rather than being forced out legalistically.
So this is my analysis of the last eleven years. It is foundational preparation. Our wonderful loving God is teaching us by the Spirit to be lovers just like Him. To be lovers of others, even loving ourselves, and, of course, loving God with our heart, our emotions. We become loving sons and daughters of the most wonderful person in the universe. It is a prerequisite before being entrusted with His power for miracles and harvest.
Haven’t we all had enough of powerful miracle ministries that end in dishonor because of moral failure? Knowing at a heart level that God loves you truly provides the only safe place to bring secret sins, hurts and shame into the light for healing. Yet it seems to be taking a long time for us to trust God with our hidden secret. Let His love and healing come in so that we can rest in His love.
While this process continues, what are we to do? Keep on letting the River flow. Keep on bringing multitudes of new ones into the Agape Reformation. Let them experience the life-changing presence of the Holy Spirit running deep into their souls.
This is the way forward. As you and I go deeper and lower into the River of God’s love and presence, richness grows in our souls that can then pour out in ministry. You cannot give away what you have not first received. But now “Freely you have received, freely give.”
So what’s ahead for this year? What about the next few years? I really believe that Jesus will call these lovers unto Him and give them power and authority over all sickness, disease and all demons. (See Matt 10:1, Luke 9:1.) He wants to give us eyes to see and ears to hear so that we will be like Him. We will only do what we see the Father doing, and speak what we hear the Father speaking. Ministry will become sharply Spirit led and accompanied by great signs and wonders.
If this sounds like something you have heard for years and still not seen, then be reminded that powerful signs and wonders are happening right now all over the earth in many developing nations. Explosive growth is happening in China, Africa and Latin America, because of miracles of healing and deliverance being poured out in these nations. The last are first and the first- world nations last. But better late than never.
The love message of the Agape Reformation is the only message that will be heard by an indifferent, hurting culture describing itself as ‘post Christian’. With all of our western affluence, we have become bankrupt in all the important values of life – in purpose, in healthy, unselfish relationships and bankrupt in hope for the future and eternity.
Consequently, the message of the love of God is now sweeping the churches of North America and Europe. Ministries like those of Jack Frost, Ed Piorek, James Jordan and many others, including Toronto, are blowing this trumpet and the Church is responding and embracing this life-changing message. It is preparing the Bride for the Bridegroom, drawing the hearts of the prodigals, and it is preparing the earth for the harvest.
We are seeing the outworking of this Love Reformation in many practical ways. Toronto is still going strong after eleven years. Amazing! Thousands are still coming. Dozens of itinerant ministries have been spawned by this outpouring and are taking the message of God’s healing love to the nations. Great revival has broken out in southern Africa through the ministry of Rolland and Heidi Baker, with thousands of new churches being planted. Another great revival has broken out in the Ukraine and former Soviet Union. The power of the Holy Spirit, flowing out of the Love of God, is changing scores of churches and thousands of Christians there.
Our School of Ministry continues to be a turning point in the lives of scores of students. Partners in Harvest, our family of churches, continues to grow around the world with over 120 churches, not including those in the Ukraine and southern Africa. Our Soaking Prayer Network is growing profusely with over 5,000 people purchasing a Training Kit and beginning soaking prayer centers in over 50 nations.
These home or church-based centers are also springing up in schools, retirement homes and even on a US warship. Facilitated almost exclusively by “lay” people, these folks are learning to soak in God’s love and hear His voice in contemplative prayer. They are being filled up with the love of God and then moving in the power of God. They are giving it away to their friends and neighbors and families. Miracles are happening.
Families are being healed and restored, physical healings are taking place, and hearts are set on fire for Jesus.
So what is the state of the River, eleven years into this young vibrant Revival? It is running deeper and wider still, and it is thrilling to see it and to be in it.
My only regret is that many have misunderstood its purpose and have come out of the river. Not realizing that God looks on the heart, not understanding the importance of having clean hands and a pure heart, they though, “it will make my ministry grow.” “It will make me a successful leader, it will help my finances...”
Please understand that more than God wants to make you a successful Christian, and father, husband or wife, He is first and foremost a God of Heart. One who loves and desires to be loved in return. He wants intimate relationship with each one of us. Don’t settle for less. It is the key to everything you dream of in terms of powerful ministry, effectiveness and seeing the great Commission fulfilled.
So, get ready. Get on board God’s “love boat.” The best days of Church are just ahead. This River is living, alive and well and changing the hearts of individuals and families. It is reforming and changing the church. It is an Agape Reformation that is sweeping the world.
This archived article was written by John Arnott for release in Jan, 2005. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.
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