Pastor John Sanger is an international speaker known for his ministry of the demonstration of the Holy Spirit's...
Throughout history God has always had those with understanding of the times in which they lived. Jesus challenged His generation because they had the ability to understand natural times, but had no understanding of spiritual times. Today there are those who understand the culture in which we live. They study patterns and accurately predict the new trends. We are wise when we listen to these modern “seers” and gain insight into this culture. In the last several years, I have been on a quest to find what these cultural prophets are seeing. I have been gathering information from a wide variety of sources. This is what I’ve discovered.
In the last century, the Western world has made several cultural shifts. Society has moved from an Agricultural, to an Industrial, to an Information Age. Currently, we are in an Experience Age, which is beginning to shift into an Emotional Age.
While the culture is speedily changing, the Church is stuck primarily in the outdated industrial model of ministry and is therefore, out of touch with the people we are attempting to reach. We are still working the assembly line and stamping our trademark on what we manufacture, largely unaware that people outside the Church are resisting our molded image.
"We have the opportunity to offer an ongoing experience with the living God."
People today are seeking experience. The post-moderns are not looking for something to believe. They are ready to believe in angels, demons and almost anything else offered to them. They are craving experience and collecting experiences like former generations collected things. Yet while the culture has shifted from rational to experience based, the Church is attempting to become more rational. We think that the more we can define and explain our beliefs, the more we will touch this generation.
Unwittingly, we are opposing the needs of the people. The pressure of modern day “Pharisees” who are demanding rational explanation has caused the church to react in fear of being branded as placing experience above the Word. While we attempt to satisfy these critics, the world is being captured by New Age experience and Eastern mysticism. With the fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we have what the culture is seeking. We have the opportunity to offer an ongoing experience with the Living God. We who are in the River are positioned to harvest this generation by inviting them to come and experience the River of God’s love and power.
This culture is also looking for participation because society has moved from representation to participation. People no longer want someone to stand in for them while they sit in the crowd as a spectator. This generation wants “to be in the game,” to be part of an army, not an audience. Listen to the many people who came to Toronto as spectators and who became participators when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Many who said they would never participate in this “emotionalism” now can’t get enough.
Today people are not coming to church to be entertained; they want to be involved. Watching someone lay hands on the sick is very exciting, but they want to do the same thing; and yet many leaders are afraid to equip and release people. In this recent outpouring of the Spirit, we are releasing people into destiny and answering the deep desire of this generation to participate.
Image is everything in the industrial church. Over the past several years we have experienced a push to develop a mission statement. Another shift has taken place within this culture from a mission statement to an image statement; moving from something read to something seen. The image may change every few months, but this generation is looking for something more.
This generation is looking to connect. As the shift has taken place from independence to interdependence, networking is the current wave and synergism is the result of connection.
"The fundamental realities of the universe are spiritual, not physical, invisible not visible."
Recently, while surfing for something on TV, my wife and I were captured by the performance of a famous music entertainer. We watched transfixed as he connected with the large audience, moving, running and touching the people in a way that made everyone feel a part of an experience they won’t forget. This culture today is not looking to attend another meeting. They desire to make memories. When they experience Christ, they leave with a memory.
The last century was filled with the word ‘vision.’ In the business and church worlds, people attended conferences and filled volumes of notebooks on vision. “Without a vision we perish” was the watchword.
In this millennium, however, the search is for sound. The culture is leading the way into new research on the effects of sound. The church has missed the greatest discovery of all science. We now know from complexity scientists and super string physicists that the heart of matter is not matter but vibration. Matter is composed of vibrating threads of energy. These discoveries show that the fundamental realities of the universe are spiritual, not physical, invisible not visible.
In one experiment scientists placed metal filings on a thin sheet of metal. When a musical note sounded, the filings configured into the shape of a snowflake. When another note sounded, they reconfigured into the shape of a star. This continued with each note sounded. Is all creation responding to sound?
Intelligence data revealed that the noise vibration level around the world rose significantly before the attacks on September 11th. Now much more attention is being given to the levels of sound around the world.
"We have a powerful weapon to change our generation by the sound we release in the earth."
In the Scriptures, sound is a mark of divine revelation. From Mt. Sinai to Revelation, sounds called people to God. John heard “a loud voice” behind him in the Revelation. He described it as “the sound of many waters.” Before John knew what Jesus said, he knew how He sounded.
The middle ear transmits sound to the brain cortex in the form of an energy charge. The higher the frequency, the greater the charging effect. In Acts 2, a sound came from heaven that energized the people, gathering and transforming them into world-changers. The sound gathers the harvest. When Peter stood and spoke to the crowd, his words became “as a sword,” cutting the hearts of the people.
Toronto has become known for the sounds that occur in the meetings. Some have criticized, and yet the stories continue of lives transformed, bodies healed, oppressions leaving and families restored. How many times have people said, “When Carol groaned, it felt like electric current charging through my body?” As the crowd begins to lift a shout to the Lord, many are overcome by the Spirit and their bodies begin vibrating. Hearing a group laughing has chased many demonic, oppressing spirits from people.
Imagine a generation with an understanding of the power of sound. Former Communist countries feared Western music because they knew music could change the culture. We have a powerful weapon to change our generation by the sound we release in the earth.
Joshua’s victory at Jericho resulted from sound. Trumpets and a shout brought the walls down. Paul and Silas singing in prison caused an earthquake. Jehoshaphat’s choir confused the enemy and gained the victory for Israel.
Science has proven that sound travels faster and longer in water. A whale can hear another whale halfway around the world. How far do the sounds of heaven travel through us who are experiencing the River of God?
A few years ago my wife Maureen and I were in Toronto at ‘Catch The Fire’ before going to Israel to minister. John, Carol and Randy Clark prayed for us. During this time my wife heard the sounds of Africa, then saw a vision of many Africans. Less than a month later we were invited to minister in Africa. Maureen had seen two men, specifically, in the vision and we met these men on our trip.
While ministering on this first trip, I prophesied to our host, Pastor Paul, that there would be a Christian president in his nation and that this pastor would sit next to him. At the time, a military coup had taken place and the future of the nation was uncertain. Within one year, a Christian president was elected.
Maureen and I have just returned from Africa again. On this trip our friend, Pastor Paul, was installed as President of the Evangelical Churches of the nation with access to the president of the nation. We were honored to be invited to the Presidential Palace to meet with the president and pray for him. What if we hadn’t followed the sound and vision we received in Toronto?
Elijah heard the sound of the abundance of rain before the cloud appeared. Sound will produce vision. This generation must learn to vibrate with the sounds from heaven and change a culture. Jesus is playing the flute and we must join the dance.
This archived article was written by John Sanger for release in Jul, 2002. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.
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