Read an ExcerptEl Guerrero Adorador
By Chuck D. Pierce Zondervan Publishing Company
Copyright © 2003Chuck D. Pierce
All right reserved.
Chapter One A New Thing
I've been bought with a price I've been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb I've got the love of the Father and His Spirit living in me Now I'm having done with my old ways And I'm looking ahead to some new days And I'm leaving behind my previous destiny Now I'm ready to get up, show up, stand up and speak up Raise up a howl, put my hand to the plow I won't back down, back up, quit or let my love grow cold I'm finished with tame faith, smooth knees, small dreams No more mundane living or chinchy giving I've grabbed a hold the hem of His garment and I won't let go John Dickson, Get Up!
Hang a banana on a string in a cage full of apes, with stairs under the banana. Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb toward the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the apes with cold water.
After awhile, another ape will make an attempt, but the result will be the same-all the apes will be sprayed with cold water. This should continue through several more attempts. Pretty soon, when another ape tries to climb the stairs, the otherapes will all try to prevent it.
Now, turn off the cold water. Remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new ape will see the banana and want to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other apes will attack him. After another attempt and attack, he'll know that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original five apes and replace it with a new one. The newcomer will go to the stairs and be attacked. The previous newcomer will take part in the punishment.
Replace a third original ape with a new one. The new one will make it to the stairs and be attacked as well. Two of the four apes that beat him will have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest ape.
After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes, all the apes, which have been sprayed with cold water, will have been replaced. Nevertheless, no ape will ever again approach the stairs. Why not?
Because that's the way they've always done it, and that's the way it's always been around here.
I love this story! It vividly illustrates a point I want to make. How many times has someone said to you, "We do such-and-such this way because we have always done it this way"? We get going in one direction and no matter how much the world around us changes, we keep doing the same thing over and over again.
This "thing" can be the way we fold our clothes, the food we eat, the route we drive to work or any of a zillion other everyday acts. A method or measurement works when it is first done, but then we repeat it and eventually transfer it from generation to generation. No one ever questions the act or considers a more creative or effective approach because "it was good enough for my grandfather, so it is good enough for me." In other words, we have always done it that way.
We are guilty of this habit in the Church, too. We have our customs, rituals and regimens when it comes to preaching, membership, leadership, prayer and so many other factors-including worship. There is nothing wrong with common sacraments in and of themselves, but too often what were once fresh expressions of faith become lifeless traditions.
Even in "contemporary" churches we have established new conventions and often repeat them. We sing the same songs, turn the lights down low or raise our hands. These started out as authentic acts, and some continue to spark vibrant ministry, but many are similar to a sailboat. The captain will raise and maneuver the sail, so it catches the fullness of the wind and the boat builds up speed. When the wind changes direction, the sail will remain full and the boat will zip along for quite some time because of the momentum. If the sail is not tilted with the wind, however, the boat will slow down and soon lie motionless, dead in the water. The key is to adjust the sail at just the right moment so that the wind continues to push the boat forward at full thrust.
When it comes to worship, we need to see what God is doing that is new.
A New Season
When God says, "I am doing a new thing," He does not necessarily mean something that He has never done before. In fact, while His purpose and promises never change (see Heb. 6:17), there are seasons, and His saving actions on behalf of His people have always had a variety of emphases, objectives and flavors. Look at what the Bible declares about His way of communicating with His people: "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways" (Heb. 1:1-2, NIV, emphasis added).
God's View of "New"
I love prophets. They get us going one way and then turn us another way all in a matter of minutes. Consider the words of Isaiah: "Let me remind you of how God brought the people out of Egypt." The prophet has the Jewish people reflect upon a marvelous miracle, but he does not let them tarry on that memory. "Forget that!" he quotes God. "For I'm going to do a new thing, do you not perceive it?" (see Isa. 43:18-19). Here God's new thing is a new act. However, the prophet uses the past as a reference point to steer His people forward. God does the same for us today. He uses past events in our lives to prod us to the next level. He is doing that with worship right now.
Consider your great moments with God. When was the last incredible meeting time you had with the Lord? Was it your day of salvation? How about that time when God met you and healed you? Or was it when He brought your wayward child back into the fold?
We can praise God for each blessing, but we cannot rest our hope in any of them. Biblical faith does not relegate God to yesterday. If we expect God to act today only in the ways He has acted in the past, we could miss what He is doing now to bring us into a new place. God's actions will always be biblical-He never wavers from that foundation-but that does not mean they will not vary.
The Start of a New Thing
When the Lord launches a new thing, He builds new relationships with us. In fact, such freshness of relationship is the cornerstone of each new season and each spiritual breakthrough. However, if there is to be new relationship we must open our hearts. That is where worship comes in and why it is so important. Through worship we have intimate contact with God and unlock His blessings. As we come close to Him in true worship, He will renew and reshape our hearts and we will see His heart.
Another aspect of the new is death. We must die to something for new life to come forth. For instance, when we die to our old methods of worshiping God, newness of life begins to spring forth in our hearts and on Earth. When we worship in a new way, we conceive. And when we conceive, we bring forth what God wants for this hour and time.
When God does a new thing, we go from one place to another. We move from strength to strength, faith to faith and glory to glory. Notice that we do not dwell in our current strength or faith or glory; rather, we go forward just as the Israelites did. We move from one strength to another, from one faith to another and from one glory to another. We cannot do this on our own, but through worship God can carry us there.
In a way, God progressively takes us from one new thing to another, but how do we know what the new thing is that God wants and when we are to move into that which is new?
A NEW PLACE
God not only does new things in the heavenlies, but He also brings what is new into our individual lives. These new things can be small or big. They can be tweaks of attitudes or directions to new paths that will forever change the courses of our lives. The big new things can occur quickly and often. One happened to me on December 31, 1983. Here is my story.
I had been praying intensely for the Church in the Soviet bloc, particularly what then was still the Soviet Union. As I prayed, I saw the Church strapped down with oppression. I observed the Body of Christ of that nation and counted seven straps holding it from coming into the influence the Lord wanted it to have. The Spirit of God spoke to me and said, "I want the straps cut."
I had an incredible prayer time that night and went to bed ready to start a new year. Then, sometime after midnight, I awakened and the Spirit of God visited and spoke to me. He began to give me a strategy of how He was going to free the Church in the Soviet Union. He said "change of leadership" and showed me that when the third leader came into power in the Soviet Union the Church would have an open window to advance. That night I spent approximately two hours with the Lord and wrote down everything He said to me.
The next morning I got up and at breakfast told my wife, Pam, about my visitation. After giving her the details, I announced: "I must be called to the Soviet Union."
At that time, we were administrators of the second largest children's home in Texas. I never will forget her response: "You might be called to the Soviet Union, but I'm not. As a matter of fact, I was walking across the campus and the Spirit of God spoke to me that He is going to heal my body and I am going to get pregnant."
Pam then added, "This is going to be an interesting walk with you called to the Soviet Union and me getting pregnant."
The Meaning of Following
With two such clear, but contrasting words from God, we knew that we had to seek the Lord's direction concerning our future. In my quiet time that night, the Spirit of God quickened two words to me: "Follow me." Pam and I agreed to study the principle of following God as it is declared in the Word of God.
As we began our study in the Old Testament, we looked at the life of Abraham. He was called out of one form of worship in Ur of the Chaldees-the worship of Molech, which is part of the Queen of Heaven system-to follow after a Holy God. This brought Abraham into a blessing-filled covenant agreement with God.
After reading Genesis 12 and 15, Pam and I saw that we could enjoy the same blessings Abraham enjoyed because as believers we are grafted into the same covenant. We realized that if we were to see our Abraham-like blessings manifested we would have to follow God and worship Him in a new way. Just as Abraham left the familiarity and comfort of Ur, we would have to be willing to give up our traditions.
In our study, we also noticed a pattern set by Jesus when He called His disciples. They were to leave their homes, careers, families, friends and old forms of religious practice, and they were to follow Him. Some of the disciples had attended temple often; others knew very little about worship.
Jesus set an example of a new thing in worship. He went directly to the Father on their behalf and told them that they had access to the Father's will for their lives. This clearly sets forth the biblical relationship between going and worship that unlocks a person's destiny.
As we studied the model of Jesus, the Lord quickened these words to me; "If you will learn to follow me, you will see revival." "Revival" means to restore to life that which has been diverted into a process of death. I thought of Pam's womb, and I also thought of the Church in the Soviet Union. Both would see revival.
Signs Along the Way
Pam and I knew we were hearing from God, but we still did not know all of the details. One night we were on our way to a prayer meeting at a Baptist church when I stopped for gas. As we began to drive away from the service station, we saw a large truck that had two words written on its back side: FOLLOW ME. I knew this was a sign from the Lord and followed the truck. When I got closer I could read the smaller lettering: Harpool Incorporated, Denton, Texas. Pam got the strangest look on her face and explained, "I am reading a book called Peace, Prosperity and the Holocaust by Dave Hunt. The book is not specifically about the Soviet Union, but it is dedicated to a missions group that is located in Denton, Texas, that works in the Soviet Union."
That missions group was Mission Possible Foundation, Inc. I made a quick decision to take vacation time the following week so that I could visit the organization's leaders to share with them the insights about the Soviet Union that I was receiving from the Holy Spirit.
Worship in Spirit and in Truth
Mission Possible's leaders readily received me and listened to the concerns of my heart. That night Pam and I went to a conference hosted by James Robison. God used the worship time to build up this new thing He was doing in our lives.
As we worshiped God, Pam and I expressed ourselves in different ways. I was exuberant, filled with incredible joy, waving my hands because of the liberation God had brought into my life. Pam, on the other hand, clearly understood the biblical principles of worship but was more reserved in how she expressed herself to the Lord. She worshiped in word, and I worshiped in spirit. That night I saw it this way: since we were (and still are) married, we stood and worshiped as one. We worshiped in Spirit and in truth, and whenever, as believers, we do that, we actually enter into the reality of God's purposes.
Pam did not exactly see it the same way as I did. On the way home that night, she made a curious observation: "I only see two places in the New Testament where it talks about raising hands. You are so expressive in your worship that it has created problems for us."
I quickly replied, "I don't really care if the principle of raising hands is only in the concordance of the Bible. I only know that God has set me free and I cannot keep myself from responding to that freedom."
Increasing the tension between the two of us, I then added, "If you get as desperate as I once was to allow God to do things that need to be done, you'll probably express yourself in worship a different way."
Healing in Worship
The next day we returned to the conference and I felt the presence of God surround us. I looked over at my wife, and she had both hands in the air and was waving them. I gently asked, "What is happening with you?" Amidst the tears that were streaming down her face she said, "The Lord is healing me!"
The presence of God began to flow down her body. She describes it as something similar to hot oil going through her veins. God's power actually pushed the clots (that had resulted from endometriosis) from her uterus and out of her body.
Two weeks later, Pam became pregnant. Then she got pregnant again and again and again and again! The power of God had been released in her body as she worshiped God in a whole new way.
I eventually ended up serving as the executive director of the missions agency that was working in the Soviet Union. I remained a part of that organization until those straps were removed from the Church in the Soviet Union and there was a window for evangelism to advance.
Pam and I had followed God and had learned to worship in a new way. We had come into a new level of unity in our marriage. Worship had broken the power of barrenness in our lives. God's anointing had broken the yoke. If we had done things the way we had always done them, we would have never seen breakthrough to new things God wanted done in our lives.
A New Thing In Worship
God is doing a new thing in worship. This is happening not only in individual lives, but in the whole Church. Over the ages worship itself has shifted, grown and blossomed. From the Georgian chants of the fourth century to Wesley's hymns of the eighteenth century, there have been many variations. In the twentieth century alone we spanned a full spectrum from George Beverley Shea's gospel tunes to the Vineyard's deep soaking in the presence of God to Mike Bickle's intensive 24-hour-a-day model at his International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri.
Excerpted from El Guerrero Adorador by Chuck D. Pierce Copyright © 2003 by Chuck D. Pierce. Excerpted by permission.
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