Needed: Prophetic Ministry

Prophetic ministry is often puzzling, often alarming, and often misunderstood.  As my wife and I watched the prophetic words flowing in 2008 about the Lakeland Outpouring and then about the election, we were troubled at the disconnect between prophets whose words were not coming to pass and churches and believers in whom prophecies were not producing good fruits.

We saw a culture that polarized around Lakeland, some calling it the definitive move of God for the next few years and others calling it the great end-time deception.  It was neither; it was God working through flawed people.

We saw a culture that polarized the church at election time, and many of our prophecies simply didn’t come to pass.  Are we false prophets?  Are we in touch at all with what God is saying?  Frankly, a study of scripture shows that almost every prophecy of God is conditional.  There may be more to judging prophecy than many of us realize.

And we went through a scare that lasted several months — a disaster prophecy that frightened many people in our region — and then it didn’t come to pass. JoAnn and I were troubled at reports of children who were crying themselves to sleep because of fear, of people who were making impulsive decisions in their panic, and of prayer warriors who were putting all their energy into warding off the disaster through spiritual warfare.

There will be disasters in the earth.  Jesus said so in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.  But He did not command us to live in a state of hysteria.  “Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid.” The church needs prophetic understanding so we can navigate the difficult times we live in, carrying a cloud of His presence with us.

I believe we are in troubled times.  It doesn’t take a prophet to see this; watch the news.  But if Christ lives in us, He wants to equip us to live triumphantly in the midst of these challenges.  Prophetic ministry is needed because the whole church will need to hear from God so we can overcome.  God is faithful to speak, and Christ in you will give you an ear to hear.

But we will need understanding so we can judge the prophecies God gives the church.  Judging isn’t just a matter of discerning whether it is true or false; it is a matter of putting prophecy into context so it can accomplish the purpose God sent it for.

And we will need understanding so we can learn to discern God’s voice when He speaks to us personally, and so we can know what to do with what He tells us.

That’s what this blog is about — I’ll address these and other issues one by one as they come up.  Your comments are welcome, though I probably won’t have time to answer them all one by one.  Please keep them short; feel free to disagree with what I write, but let’s keep a tone of mutual respect.

There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets.  He will show all of us everything we need to know so we can do His will.  But He expects us to take time to listen, and to use scripture to put His Spirit-given words into perspective.

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3 responses to “Needed: Prophetic Ministry

  1. I agree with your statement about questionable prophesies and for that matter prophets it takes His voice to be echoed in a culmination of many
    matured prophets one thing is for sure we know in part and prophesy in part
    soon enough the partial will be done our part will be complete so the theological fantasies will be finished. Despite all the glory on people who prophesy human is as human does.

    • We prophesy in part and we know in part. Some are offended at the fact that prophecies are only part of the picture; others feel the same way about theological knowledge. Either way, we are all much like Job, wondering why we’re going through whatever we’re experiencing. And like Job, our friends comfort us with a partial explanation of the ways of God. But when Job saw God face to face, that which was in part was done away. So it is for us. It is right to long for Him who is perfect to come…

  2. Hi Stan – I was browsing fb and stumbled over this page. I graduated two years of Pinecrest years ago and remember you and JoAnn come and minister. It was valuable then, but I didn’t expect you to cut thru current prophetic situation in such angle, I’m loving it. All the questions above about Lakeland and elections are right on, and conditional prophecies, I couldn’t agree more. Thank you! We need prophetic that flows out of face to face encounters with God. We need people today who will not succumb to the pressure or status quo or popular opinions and doctrines, but fully yield themselves to the testimony of Jesus and His Spirit that produces love, joy, peace etc., as they minister.

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