Larry Sparks is co-author of the new book ...
There is a principle in the book of Zechariah that applies to the present outpouring of the Holy Spirit: "Ask for rain in the time of rain" (Zech. 10:1). What does this mean?
More than a prophecy of outpouring, it is a principle of outpouring. More than an Old Testament prophecy to be decoded within a New Testament framework, this statement in Zechariah 10 reveals something about how we are to respond to the rain of revival and outpouring: Ask for more! Ask for increase!
Throughout Scripture, rain has had a prophetic significance. There is something about water that speaks of the Spirit of God, and rain signifies an outpouring of living water.
The fact is, it's been raining since the Book of Acts. It's been raining since Peter got up on the Day of Pentecost and declared, "You are seeing what was written in Joel. Your eyes are beholding what was prophesied." Peter announced that Pentecost marked the inauguration of a supernatural outpouring of the Holy Spirit that would begin at that moment and continue and increase until the consummation of the age—until Jesus literally returned to the Earth.
From that point onward, there was no reversal. There was no going backward. There was no option of the New Testament church returning to an Old Testament paradigm. The Spirit was raining.
Now what? Where are we in God's divine timetable at this moment in history? Could it be that we are living in a dispensation—an era—sovereignly marked by God for unique outpouring and revival? Possibly.
More accurately, though, we are doing what Jesus Himself made reference to; we are pressing in to the present reality of the Kingdom of God (see Lk. 16:16). The violent are taking it by force. The power and the provisions of the Kingdom of God have been made available to us and belong to the children of God; there is no begging for what has already been bought, paid for, and placed in your account.
For us to beg God for outpouring reveals a few issues that need addressing: 1) We are behaving like orphans (beggars), so we need to get a fresh glimpse of our identity in Christ,; 2) We are asking for what has already been poured out, which means we need a fresh glimpse of what Jesus already made available. We are not begging God. We are not trying to twist His arm. We are not praying under the impression that the length, volume, or intensity of our prayer efforts have something to do with God relenting and opening His clenched fists, releasing a "blessing."
Our prayers are intense, yes. They are fervent, of course. But it is a fervency resulting from the revelation of abundance, not lack. Our fervency is the result of a divine confrontation: We see the lifestyle that Jesus modeled for us and the early church demonstrated. We desire that. Miracles were normative. The church was a force of Kingdom effectiveness and power in the Earth. Entire regions and cities were transformed by the power of God.
We see these examples in Scriptures and something begins to burn within us: "Do it again, Lord!" There is NO reason why we shouldn't be seeing such demonstrations of power ... and GREATER! There is no reason why we should not be crying out for the sick to be healed, the oppressed to be delivered and even the dead to be RAISED.
The only reason I can give for why these things are NOT happening as normatively as they USED to is this: hundreds and hundreds of years of forgotten spiritual inheritance. Lost inheritance. The religious darkness of the middle ages. The seasons where the power of God and miracles were relegated to only a few saintly individuals, then to corrupt royalty, and then, to shrines and statues made of stone.
The supernatural was not only forgotten, but it was preached against because of its association with idolatry and false doctrine. And yet, there have always been men and women throughout the ages who pressed in to experience the reality of the Kingdom.
They were few and far between, yes, but they existed. Even church fathers who are believed to have taught against the supernatural witnessed God's miraculous power in action.
Now, we are standing at the dawn of a new day—entire communities of people are pressing into experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit! It's no longer a scattered few, here and there. Churches are believing God for entire cities and regions to be transformed by His supernatural power. It's coming! The day of "greater than Jonah" is at hand. We look to the preaching of Jonah at Nineveh as a benchmark for the supernatural, transformative power of God impacting cities. And yet, Jonah was a prophet under the Old Testament.
Jonah did NOT walk and live under an open Heaven like Spirit-filled saints do today. Jonah was not filled with presence and power of the Kingdom of God. Jonah was a vehicle that God used to release a message of repentance to a sinful city ... and he was a broken vehicle at that! And yet, city-wide transformation took place in one of the most ruthless and sin-laden communities on the planet! If God could do it for Nineveh in the days of Jonah, I say "Lord, do it today! Save cities and regions! Bring entire communities people to repentance! Perform the miraculous in the open streets and marketplace!" I believe it's coming. Do you know how I know this? Because a collective voice on Earth is finally saying "Amen" to everything Heaven has said "Yes" to.
The Spirit of God is awakening the church across the Earth to what she possesses in her spiritual account. He is awakening us to our full inheritance. Some mistakenly teach that because of this inheritance, we need to do nothing. This is false.
Yes, our account is full. Yes, we are sons and daughters and have received legal right to boldly enter in. Yes, Holy Spirit outpouring has been released since the Day of Pentecost... and is available NOW. The question: Who will receive it? Who will say "Amen" to everything God has said "Yes" to? Heaven is looking for a "Yes" from the Earth.
This is not the hour of men or ministries; it is the hour of God's Manifest Presence. Miracles will become commonplace, not because people seek out the miraculous, but because they seek God. His Presence is not some formula that, when inserted into your equation of prayer, produces your breakthrough. He is your breakthrough. He is your life. He is your breath. And He is becoming the essential need and deep desire of His people once again.
His Presence is everything to us, and it is Holy Spirit's great delight to dwell in us, and with us. He dwells in every Christ-follower because of Jesus' blood, but there is an increasing measure of His dwelling with us—among us - manifest in our communities because there is an increasing hunger to see the fullness of His power and presence released.
So posture your heart. Back in the 1990's, the common cry in revival was "More, Lord!" This is the simple prayer and posture of the heart we need to assume to experience everything the Holy Spirit wants to release in our lives.More, Lord! This is not a statement of spiritual greed; rather, it is birthed from hearts that recognize one of the key characteristics of the Kingdom: It is ever advancing and increasing in nature: "Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:7, ESV). Heaven's travel plan is from glory to glory (see 2 Cor. 3:18).
Until Jesus physically and visibly returns to the Earth and brings this age to a close, it is legal for us to pray prayers and live lives that press in for more.
Recently, at the Brownsville Revival 20th Anniversary Reunion, I was deeply moved by the Holy Spirit as He spoke to my heart: "Don't be easily satisfied. My people are so easily satisfied when I have made so much available to them!"
Even if we perceive that we are thriving in "one level of glory" or one level of dynamic encounter with God, it is certainly cause to celebrate, but no reason to stagnate. Why? There is more. This is a key reality that we must present to an emerging generation if we expect them to give their lives wholly to God.
Praying a one-time prayer, going to church on Sunday, and trying their best to live moral lives won't cut it. A generation must be told that the life yielded to God and filled with the Holy Spirit is a live of continuous Kingdom increase. No, this doesn't mean life is without hardship or struggle. And No, the increase has nothing to do with finances and wealth. It is an increase of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us and desire to rest upon us in an increasing measure.
I am forever grateful that God deposited His Holy Spirit into my heart. I am endlessly thankful that I am sealed for Heaven and setup for eternity because of the regenerative power of God's Spirit. While I live with gratitude for these realities, there is also another fact that we must consider: the Spirit who lives in us wants to demonstrate through us. He doesn't come ONLY to get us to Heaven; He dwells within us to produce the fruit and power of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Well, I want everything that Holy Spirit has made available to me! How about you? I want to see the church operating in the fullness of His presence, exhibiting the purity of Jesus and manifesting the power of Jesus! I want gifts and fruit. I want character and power. It is absolute deception to believe it's "one or the other." Jesus never proposed such a theological framework: gifts or fruit. The Spirit of God deposits it ALL!
The challenge: Are we satisfied too easily? Are we settling for too little? I know I am. Remedy? Lift up your eyes. Look around. It's raining. Can you see it? Can you feel it? The Holy Spirit is being poured out in powerfully, dramatic ways. How do we respond? Zechariah 10:1—"More, Lord!" More in my life! More in my family! More in my school! More in my business! More in my thought life! More in my words! More in my ministry! More in my church! More in my region! More what? More of everything that looks and sounds like Jesus. After all, such is the ultimate fruit of outpouring: Jesus Christ being more clearly revealed and glorified throughout the Earth!
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