Yesterday while on a trip out of my city I was asked if I was reading and paying attention to the many prophetic words being posted on the internet during the end of 2013 and the start of 2014. My answer was no. To be honest I have not read one of what I am assuming are many predictions posted. In the past I have spent time looking through them. In the past few years I have simply avoided doing so because I see little purpose in reading them and weeding through all the typical nonsense that gets listed and blamed on the Holy Spirit.
Here’s what I believe to be the emphasis for 2014… based on two things. First, my observations during 2013 in the many places I had the honor to minister. Secondly, these are based on a basic understanding of the New Testament and specifically the words of Jesus Christ. In 2014 the emphasis will be:
1> To actually experience God’s presence and power on a regular basis – in our daily time with Him, in our assemblies during the week and on Sundays, and as we share Jesus with others. No more “going through the motion without the emotions.” No more “holding to an outward form of our religion but denying the power thereof.”
2> To bring our lifestyle and daily lives into line with what we already know. In other words, to apply the Word to our lives also that we continue to live in the world but don’t live like the world. We are to be different and live a life that is remarkably and noticeably different than those who do not know Jesus. In other words, “be doers of the Word and not hearers only.”
3> To actually become a witness for Jesus. Witnessing is not something we “do” – it is something we “are.” Jesus said, “you shall be My witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” He did not say, ‘you will go witness.’ So letting others know we are Christ-followers is something that should arise naturally out of who we are “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is a very important change we all need to make in 2014
4> To see the need and importance of belonging to the local church – to be connected and vitally involved in the life of the church. More than attendance on Sundays – this will mean being relationally connected to other believers in your local church. “Church” is not something extra connected to an already very active life – one more thing to squeeze in. It must become part of our life flow and the place where people come to know the “real person” and hold you accountable and responsible. In other words, learning to “be the church” and not just ‘attend church.’
5> A year when we need to see a change in our prayer life. There needs to be more “life” in the prayers we offer. Prayer needs to become a daily dynamic in our lives where we experience “times of refreshing in the presence of The Lord.” Gone will be the routine, mechanical prayer times. Instead, prayer will become something He initiates and we respond. We will “be still and know that He is God.” In that stillness we will listen and hear His voice as all born again believers are certainly able to do. Then we will respond to what we hear – praying in line with His will and His Words.
This will overflow into the life of the local church where the biblical mandate of “being a house of prayer for all nations” will become a reality. Then, we will see the closure of most “international house of prayer” para-church ministries that have flooded North America and the world doing what the local church was not doing. So, when the local church picks up its God-given mandate we will see less need for these other “houses.”
6> The emphasis in the local church and thus the life of the believer: discipleship (growing into maturity), ministry to others (reaching those outside the church), and missions (gaining a Kingdom focus and seeing the need in the world for many new church plants). This will mean that although your needs will be met by others in the church (body ministry) – your needs are no longer your or our emphasis. We have an agenda given to us by The Lord of the Church and that must take serious priority in the life and direction of the local church.
7> With the further release of apostles (and prophets) we will see the emphasis in the assembly becoming “the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry.” Thus the teaching ministry will become much more practical and applicable. This means that the teaching will become interactive – people will become involved through asking questions, discussing the material presented, and then actually applying the teaching within the context of the meeting as well as afterwards in their life in general.
The Church is entering a year when many things will need to change if we are continuing to follow the lead and move of the Holy Spirit. Of course, many Christians and even many churches will just continue “business as usual.” However, this must not stop those hungry for more of The Lord from moving forward in the things of The Lord. Be prepared to move forward regardless of the cost – and there is always a cost. Be prepared to go with God regardless of the “Red Sea” that you might have to cross and the mountains that you may need to speak to. This is a year of massive change… and many will find new life and new liberty if they will simply take up their personal cross daily and follow Jesus.
After all, this is what you signed up for when you made Jesus Lord and Savior. He said to you at that time “Follow Me…” and this is what He is still asking of us in 2014.