("God's Mission Protocol" Series 2, Post 6)
*It would greatly benefit you to go back and read/watch previous messages within “God’s Unfolding Message” and “God’s Mission Protocol” in order to prepare yourself for this message, for God has been building upon His message. Please pray about doing so. Thank you.
I was excited to do an online conference this year that I have done the last two years, a conference for Christian content creators, for God had used it each time to greatly speak to me and to propel me forward into His calling on my life. This year after praying about whether or not God wanted me to do this conference again, He said, “I want you to do this conference Susan but not for the reason you expect.”
God wasn’t kidding for still on the second day of this conference, I can hardly bring myself to finish it. For sure enough, God’s reason this year definitely does not match His reasons for the last two years. Yesterday, sitting in front of my laptop, praying, and waiting for it to start, God spoke. He said:
Susan, write these words down: I love you Susan. . . Feel My Spirit. He is real. He is alive and He lives within you. Know therefore that I can and WILL guide you into your future, your destiny, and I WILL NOT DISAPPOINT. Believe Susan. Believe that I am in control . . .
I knew somehow that God was pointing out that I no longer needed this particular conference to propel me forward. That I could trust Him to move me forward by His Spirit and in new ways.
By the lunchtime break I was really struggling with this conference. I was feeling bored, but also struggling with the content. Not once did they mention the times that we were in. Instead, they simply acted like everything was fine with the world. That everything was hunky-dory. I struggled with the fact that they hadn’t chosen to gear their material in a way that helped us present our Christian content within the context of the world today, this changing world, within some of the modern issues that we face.
I also couldn’t stop thinking about how we are entering a time when these self-help, Christian-living books, ministries, and resources that these attendees were yearning to start, were not going to be enough. These thoughts did bother me however. So much so that my husband got an earful over the phone during the lunchbreak. I told him that I didn’t feel like I fit in with this crowd anymore but that a conference based around prophecy and end times would probably scare me or overwhelm me as well. Where do I fit in?
Later, I lifted these thoughts to the Lord, asking Him to show me if they were His thoughts, especially since they seemed judgmental. He said, “Susan, you’ve moved past this conference,” after which He instantly brought another ministry to my mind. So, as the next speaker spoke, I went onto this other ministry’s website to find that they had an upcoming conference that revolved around the times we are living in and how we need to, as Christ’s Bride, prepare for His return. The first thing I read about this conference in their provided introduction was about how current church models, books, and yesterday’s messages will not prepare the Church for the greatest time in world history. Wow! That was exactly what I had just thought and had lifted to the Lord. I knew God was giving me confirmation towards my thoughts and I couldn’t agree more. So, I began to realize that this is what God wanted to show me through this current conference I was already attending.
After this, still thinking about how I don’t seem to fit in, I later asked, “Lord, who am I?” He said:
Mine Susan. You will carry a heavy burden but I will be with you every step of the way. Your burden is My burden, your yoke My yoke . . . I know you are scared Susan. Don’t be afraid. You know I will be with you. Every step of the way you will hold My hand. I will not let you fall, be in danger, or discredited . . .
So, I signed up for that new conference for September with this other ministry.
Before the conference started today, God said:
Susan, write these words down: My Beloved, you are correct in your thoughts concerning this conference. It is time for My people to go deeper. It is time to move onto more important affairs. It is time for My people to get out of their own minds and to truly set their minds on Christ and upon My Kingdom come. Susan, these women desire ministries that will help life to be more bearable, but the time is coming when My people will have no choice but to focus on the eternal. Christ didn’t come to teach people how to find a more comfortable life on earth. No, He came to point people to the Kingdom of God. He called people to lay down their lives in service to Him. I do long to fill My people with an abundant and purposeful life, but My people have taken this too far. Life is short My people. Therefore, it is time to put your focus in all you do and teach back upon Me and away from how to simply have better lives. My people are wayward, self-promoters, and almost all that I have called deep down really just want to become famous. They have made it about the numbers and their social media platforms but I supersede all of this. Return to Me My people. Let Me fill you with My true purpose for you. I do long to use your lives but for My sake, My glory, and to make Christ famous, not you. My people, it is time to go deeper. The teachings that I have brought forth for a season soon are no longer going to be enough. People will NEED more. People will need deeper truth. They will need the WORD of your testimonies, not simply self-help guidelines. Go deeper My people. Let Me fill you with new, with a deeper understanding of Me and My ultimate plan. I desire for you to be a part of this, this revolution. You are and you will be. Believe. Believe and surrender. Surrender your wills to Me, the Giver of all true purpose.
The first keynote speaker started talking after this. He simply started by talking about all his online outlets, numbers, speaking engagements, published books, essentially his credentials. He didn’t pray first, and he didn’t mention God or Jesus during his entire talk, just briefly at the end. He essentially talked about how to establish and successfully get an online influence. The first thing he mentioned was that we needed to “shift” our views, that we needed to think more like our viewers and less like ourselves. All I could think about is, “How about think like God?”
He then said that we would always have an audience if we could figure out how to resolve their troubles. Ug! I was disgusted by that comment. We cannot solve anyone’s problems, only God can. As he kept going, all I could hear over and over were the words, “audience, self, yourself, you, their.” He said that we will finally get what we really yearn for once we give the people what they truly yearn for; that we will then create fans.
I was SO angry at this point! Especially after hearing God through His last two prophetic words to us talk about how it’s time to make Christ famous again. He the One who deserves the fans!
He then talked about our need to identify our audience’s “WIFM,” which stands for “What’s in it for me?” or essentially “What’s in it for them?”
He then stated that this doesn’t make us self-seeking just human. Exactly! We are only human. That’s the point. That’s the reason why we shouldn’t make it about ourselves, or even our audience. It’s needs to be about God!
His next point literally made my stomachache. If I was a cartoon character, smoke would have been coming out of my ears. I got so frustrated, especially as I watched the comments from the other viewers scroll by praising everything this man was saying. For, he told us to pretty much saturate everything we did through what he considered one of the most important words – “You.” I then wrote in the comments myself, though I doubt anyone saw it, “The most powerful word is God!”
He then said that sharing too many personal stories was bad. As you can imagine, more smoke from my ears, and we wonder why we have shifted so far from God, the true Vine, why we need a major paradigm shift. Not the kind of shift this man was talking about but a God shift. This is why. God is the God of stories, of His people’s stories. It isn’t that God doesn’t want us to talk about ourselves, it’s just that He wants us to talk about ourselves through our experience of Him. The entire Bible was written through God’s people, but what did they write about? They wrote about their experience of God and of Jesus Christ. They didn’t just talk about themselves, their “You” for the sake of winning personal followers. God yearns for us to do the same. And, we are entering a season, as God has pointed out, when these stories will be the only things that will get us through, through the uncomfortableness of this world that is coming, the desert, and onward towards the Kingdom of God.
This man finished by encouraging us to use “You,” meaning us, as what we filter all of our content through, and then mentioned that people are attracted to things that make their life better. Ahh! The complete opposite of God’s words to us just now. All my ears could seem to pick up after that was, “You. You. You. You.”
The next speaker came on, and after what had just happened, at first, I didn’t want to listen and didn’t. Instead, I went back to read God’s prophetic word, but then right after reading, “Christ didn’t come to teach people how to find a more comfortable life on earth,” I heard her mention the title of a social media platform that included the phrase “A better life.” Ah!
Her talk was on building a social media platform. She started with how it’s important that we plan how often we post and plan ahead. What God brought to my mind is what happened two days ago. I often pray that God will be the Lord of my schedule, and whether I like it or not, He is. Two days ago, He laid on my heart to do a live video on Instagram, but I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t want to but even still, I heard God say, “It’s not up to you.” I knew He was right. You can’t pray for Him to be the Lord over your schedule and then complain when He tries to be. It isn’t about how I feel or whether I want to do something, it’s about being filled with God’s Spirit and ready to move when He moves and calls me into action. Planning isn’t bad. Being prepared isn’t bad, but we have to leave room for God’s Spirit.
This lady then told us that we needed to post as much as we can. She talked about a peace that comes when we plan ahead, that no one likes to wake up not knowing what they’re going to post that day, but she then alluded to how we needed to post anyway. UGG! If you don’t know what to say, don’t speak. If God hasn’t purposely laid a message on your heart, don’t create one out of duty, because of the numbers, or self. I may not have wanted to make a live video the other day but I knew exactly what God wanted me to share and I have never made a video where I didn’t know exactly what message God had laid on my heart to bring forth. I have never pulled anything out of nothing just to get something out there.
She then encouraged us to post something that reflected who we are. That was not a completely negative statement for we need to show the world who we are, but it needs to be who we are in Christ. For she then went on to say that we needed to pick a topic that interested us and mentioned that some topics could be “parenting, marriage, farm life, and home decor.” My friends, I can assure you that God picks my topics and they are not always things I’m interested in, like this one. Do you think I like having to convey this message? This isn’t a topic that I’m particularly interested in. I would rather have a blog on home décor. I love home décor and this topic is for the most part non-offensive. But God never promised me comfort. He didn’t promise any of us comfort. Many people are not going to like this message, and again I admit that it is a hard one for me, but the Apostles carried around a message that many people didn’t like either, mostly the religious people and leaders of the day. It’s about pleasing God, not you. I don’t exist to please you, my audience, although I wish I did. Things would be a lot more hunky-dory if that were the case.
This speaker ended by mentioning how easy it is to forget that everything is about God. And all I could think about was, “Well yes. Yes, it is. It is when all you do is finish your talk with Him instead of start with Him.” The most powerful word on earth, in the universe, in all of creation, is God. We have forgotten this. God doesn’t offer us a more comfortable life, or even a better life, but an abundant life. But even this life is only possible if we go first to the True Source of Living Water, the True Source of great purpose, and strive to make Him famous again, not, “us, you, they, them, we,” or any other pronoun. There is only One Name to whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess, and it isn’t any of those pronouns.
We are in need of a major shift, a paradigm shift. Badly. Lord, help us! Show us where we fit in.
Well, I paused to go to something for my daughter and then came back and faithfully started to watch the conference again and I was encouraged by what I heard. First, a speaker testified, saying how after she had her breakthrough and became a famous author, that she realized that it wasn’t all that great. In fact, as she shared, it was rather uneventful and didn’t really make her life easier. I personally needed to hear that.
The final keynote speaker was amazing and for the first time during the conference my pen could not keep up with the message. God used her message to bring a lot of confirmation to what He had been showing me. She talked about one of my favorite stories in John 20, about Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the Risen Savior. God has already used this story a lot in my life to highlight His calling on us to testify but this lady pointed out some things that I had never thought about before. First, again she pointed out that Mary was the first human to see the resurrected Jesus, after which He tells her to go and tell the others. But here is the part I had never thought about before. She pointed out that Peter and John had just been there. They were just at the tomb, Peter, whom Jesus appointed to build His church upon, and John, whom we know Jesus loved. Yet, Jesus waited for these two to leave.
As this lady went on to mention, as a woman Mary was culturally disrespected and therefore her story would be discounted, yet even still, Jesus waited to appoint her be the one to go and tell, to testify. Can we argue that history is repeating itself? Doesn’t there seem to be an attack on the definition of a woman? This current subject matter, I admit, has put a little fear into this woman concerning her testimony. But, could it be that once again Satan wants to attack, in an effort to discredit testimony? Maybe my testimony? Maybe your testimony? Maybe a man’s testimony? Maybe any woman’s testimony? ALL TESTIMONY my friends. He will do whatever it takes to stop testifying from happening because he knows that it is what did and will again defeat him (Revelation 12:11).
I had to pause again to go somewhere to help my husband and the first thing I heard on the radio when my car started was a talk show host saying how certain people “refuse to define what a woman is.”
Jesus had saved Mary from being possessed by seven demons. Therefore, one of the main things that qualified her was the same thing that qualified that lame beggar that these exact two disciples, Peter and John, ended up freeing at the gate Beautiful. Previous to this, God pointed out that this man was qualified to also go and testify to the religious leaders and people of the day due to his transformed life. He testified and praised God in front of them and to them. This is what Jesus was asking Mary to do, this woman whose life He had transformed. God changes lives through transformed lives, through the testimonies of the transformed.
Mary obeyed Jesus. She went to tell the disciples. She did do so because she was drawn to what they would think of her, because as a woman she had every reason to believe they wouldn’t take her seriously, no she obeyed out of love for Jesus.
Covered by the Blood of the Lamb, let’s arise transformed people of God and testify. Let’s go and tell out of our love for Jesus and nothing more. And let’s remember that no matter how much Satan attacks, he has already been overcome.
I appreciated this woman’s final prayer. It was long and good, but I specifically liked how she ended by pointing out that everything is about God’s “fame,” God’s glory, not our own. Amen and amen. Let’s testify! Let’s join together, male and female, and make Jesus famous again!
On the way to church the following day, the program that happened to be on the radio was a pastor talking about persecution. He was in the middle of talking about different ways that people have been killed over the centuries through horrific, torturous deaths. I began to think about the United States and about my generation in particularly. Overall, we have had it really good. We have never really had to know true hardship and religious persecution, not like others in different countries. We have never had to truly, out of desperation, exercise great faith and perseverance, like they have or like the Apostles did.
We have been within a season of great blessing. Because of this, we have been able to create content based around how to have better lives here on earth. I personally used to think about different ministries and their leaders, specifically about the woman who leads the ministry that sponsored this online conference I just finished. I really wanted to be her and to have a ministry like hers, but every time I lifted this desire to the Lord, He was very quick to point out that my ministry would look a lot different. I didn’t understand this at first, but I do now. The ministry God is bringing forth through my life is a ministry for a new paradigm, a new season that is upon us. As He said not too long ago through one of His prophetic words through me, it’s time for us to graduate, to move onto a new level. As God has talked a lot about the desert that is coming, He knows what we need in order to be prepared, prepared for a season that will look different than anything we’ve ever endured before. This change isn’t just for me and my ministry either. It is for all of us.
In church, God spoke. He said:
Shine Star shine. Believe and don’t shrink in fear. No fear Susan. No fear, for My daughter, am I not with you? Though the enemy attacks, I, the Lord, have ALL control. He will not prevail, ever! . . . The road before you is covered by My grace and sufficiency. Nothing that will ever come against you will prosper, only dissolve and disappear as fast as it came upon you. This is My promise to you. But persecution will come Susan, BUT rejoice in it for it only serves as proof that you are on the right path. People are hard-hearted Susan, unwilling to change but nevertheless change is upon them and they WILL, WILL give into it for My Spirit will go out and bring revolution to My people. . . Open door, open. It truly only obeys My voice, My Spirit. But Susan, know this, when I speak mountains move and life abounds. When I speak change happens. When I speak lives change. When I speak hearts are renewed. My voice is power and My voice is about to roar. Roar Lion of Judah. Roar! I am about to ROAR- ROAR- mountains move. Hearts be changed. Revival is at hand - at hand. Hand. The hand of God - who can stop? No one! No one and nothing. NO ONE and NOTHING. I am unstoppable. I AM UNSTOPPABLE. . .
Wishy-washy religion. NO MORE! A new season is upon you My people when the teachings filtered through this world will no longer be enough to sustain you. You WILL need more. You will have no choice but to tap deeper into My Spirit and His power. YOU WILL HAVE NO CHOICE. You will be lost without it.
At this point God heavily brought a story from my life to my mind and I knew He wanted me to share it. I have shared it before. When I was in China years ago on a mission trip, I took a cab ride back to where we were staying by myself. I didn’t speak Chinese so a teammate had told my driver where to go. However, he dropped me off in a location that I didn’t recognize and I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. This was before cell phones were in the hands of every person. I stood beside this tall building watching the cab drive away not knowing what to do. I had no choice but to cry out to God to help me. This is the first time in my life literally when I had to exercise faith and truly believe that God would help me. I was desperate and scared but God showed me that His Spirit is real and alive and truly there to help us. For, I heard a still small voice within me tell me to go left. I did. When I reached a corner, I heard the same voice tell me to go left again and so forth and so forth until finally I saw my destinations in the distance. I recognized the university far off where we have been staying. In my desperation and helpless state, God showed up and didn’t leave me stranded.
Though a simple story My people, one that points out this truth. This world is turning into a great web of lies and in order to navigate it you will have to rely on My Spirit. He is real, alive, and eager to be utilized within you. Release Him. RELEASE HIM. He is yours to utilize. With Him activated within your lives you will be equipped to arise and shine, shine the Light of Jesus Christ through your lives. This will be a great light - My people aligned, woven together, covered by the Blood of the Lamb, together testifying to the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. This Wonderful Web of Wonder will overpower the world, the web of lies and you will, WILL find victory. Experience Me My people. Go deeper. It’s time to go deeper. Topics that mattered in the past, won’t matter in the future. This doesn’t mean your life’s works have been in vain, it just means a new focus and season is before you. It’s time for new, for a shift, a shift back to Me, the TRUE MAIN FOCUS. I long to make you new, to renew your focus, your mission. Paul didn’t write letters that taught net weaving. John didn’t write a book on dealing with isolation. Mary didn’t write a book on how to successfully give birth. Luke’s most famous writings were not those in medical journals. The most relevant and most powerful, timeless, work every written was the Word of their testimonies. They gave birth, collectively, to the Word, My Word. This Bible, as you call it, is life, My life. It’s your time, your season, to do the same. Write My story, My continued story. Give birth. Give birth to the Word of your testimonies, your experience of Me. This is life. This is freedom. This is My will for you, My people. This is what will not only sustain you to the end but it will be what I use to seek and save the lost, those who don’t yet know Me. Make Christ famous again. This is how you do it. You testify. I created you to testify. Testify My people. Through your transformed life by experiencing me anew, testify and through you and your story, I WILL TRANSFORM OTHERS. Amen and amen.
As I mentioned earlier, this has been a hard message for me, at least in terms of having to be the one to share it, a hard truth to present. I wondered briefly how God could confirm such a message through my pastor’s sermon, like He often does, but sure enough God did. The first thing my pastor said was, “What do you spend the most time worrying about? The effect.” That is so true. Not only do we worry about the numbers, about gaining followers, but we worry about what people think about us and about whether or not we will offend people. I used to long, and admit still do, for a non-offensive ministry.
My pastor then began his message, talking about times of refreshing based around Acts 3:17-19. Within this passage, as my pastor pointed out, Peter had to present a hard truth to those listening. He had to offer bad news. My pastor said, “Sometimes you don’t like to tell people the truth because it’s hard.” He then mentioned that “True friends tell you the truth. They don’t just smooth it over.” As he said, “Peter is telling them straight. . . Jesus also told us like it was. . . We don’t want to offend or make people feel uncomfortable.” He then talked about drugs, how often times a drug will take away the pain but doesn’t really treat the root of the problem. He then mentioned that some people only tell you the good news and never tell you the bad news. This sounds like the type of ministry I used to long for.
But here is the part that greatly caught my attention. Acts 3:19 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” As my pastor pointed out, God calls us to repent and turn from sin for then we will experience a season of refreshment. This caught my attention because this seemed to summarize a lot of “God’s Unfolding Message” in my life. He has been calling us to turn back to Him while also telling us that a desert is coming. But that as we fill ourselves more with Him and His Spirit, and willingly step into this desert with expectation of Him showing up for us there, that He will. He will offer us an oasis within this desert. This is how those Christians persecuted in other countries do it. This is how they thrive. This is why they seem more Spirit-filled, closer to God, and thriving. It is because they have been forced to rely on God and in doing so, they have found refreshment within the resistance because of the fruit of the Spirit working in their lives.
1 Peter 4:12-14 (NIV) says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” If you are persecuted in the Name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. This is true refreshment, an oasis that we can have in the desert, through anything that comes upon us.
As my pastor pointed out, after Peter’s sermon, we can see at the beginning of Acts 4 that he is persecuted. He is arrested. My pastor mentioned that this is the first recorded persecution that paved the way for centuries of it. I recalled that on the way the church that I had heard an actual list of different forms of persecution that took place over the years. I knew God was speaking. My pastor went on to ask, “How many of you would like to hear a sermon where your pastor gets arrested at the end of it?” Well, even though Peter was arrested, 5000 believed after he testified. Even though the one giving the sermon was persecuted, they still signed up (Acts 4:1-4).
My pastor went on to say that resistance and refreshing share a common path. He then mentioned that most persecuted Christians in other countries are thriving, yet we, having had a lot of freedom, are stagnant. Coincidence? I don’t think so. As he went on to mention, Jesus promised that we would suffer persecution. He then said that the plans of God will be fulfilled, but maybe, just maybe, resistance will be the right way for God to accomplish this. For God’s plan will prevail, always. For as my pastor mentioned, when things seem contrary to hope, “God has a super plan.” Satan cannot stop God. Like in the example my pastor shared, Satan moved on Judas’s heart but how did that turn out for him? God uses what Satan does for His glory and purposes, always.
My pastor finished by saying, “We all want people to like us . . . Guess what, they probably won’t.” I want you to like me. But, maybe you won’t. But I’m not supposed to let that matter. I am supposed to obey God. Although I yearned for a ministry that made people like me, God’s plans for me are different. His plans cause me to endure persecution but we are supposed to live like the Apostles and to be like Christ. The testimonies of those in the Bible prove this truth. Paul says, in 2 Timothy 3:10-12 (NIV), “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” And John said in John 15:20 (NIV) that Jesus said, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” And Matthew said in Matthew 5:10 (NIV) that Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
After the service we found out that one of the leaders of the ministry whose conference I signed up for in September is going to speak at our church. Hmmm. I thought that was interesting.