This past Pentecost weekend we were in Alsace, a land rich in history, in conflict, and a place that is situated strategically within Europe. Within its boundaries is Strasbourg with the controversial European parliament. It was a time when certain things came together, perhaps being with a people who had looked to be impacted by the Holy Spirit and to see generational blessing released might have been a factor.
Whatever the key elements there seemed to be a flow not just for that area but a release of something for the continent. Timing is almost-everything in God, and it seemed as the weekend transpired that there was something very strategic about the timing. There was almost only one solitary theme that the Holy Spirit was pressing home, and that was the entrance of a third phase to the outpouring of the Spirit. This does not mean that phases 1 and 2 will not continue, nor that there is not a transition that will in itself take time but that there is a shift. There is a ‘before’ and an ‘after’. Not everywhere is on the same time-scale, and we did not sense that we could push the time-scale beyond the European context.
We know the pattern when Jesus sent out the 70/72 disciples (symbolic of mission to the nations) – eat, heal and proclaim – the all-but total reverse of what has been normally practised. This pattern is preceded by a comment that he sent them out two by two to every place where he intended to go. We are going to see an increase in the sending out, not in strength but in weakness. Not being sent out in conformity nor uniformly, but certainly having to deal with the protection / provision issue.
There is a paradigm shift that is taking place where the world is seen positively. In one sense, the conversion in this next phase is more for us than for the world, it is learning to re-see the world as the wheat field that Jesus proclaimed.
The bigger challenge though is to know that the real transformation is not coming where we are… it is where ‘they’ are. There are a number of prayers and prophetic words being answered as the streets resound to the noise of a new day. Wisdom is crying out in the city square.
In this there is rough new wine to drink – and it is not as good as the old wine. The trouble with the wine that has matured is not that it is bad, it is simply that it will run out.
There is a break in what we have considered normal serivce. We have focused on doing the right thing on the right day and being around the right people. A Jesus-centred movement is rising where like him, we get ourselves in trouble for doing the ‘wrong’ thing on the wrong day and become guilty of hanging out with the wrong people. This is the challenge that the church in Europe must now embrace if she is to make the transition that has been prayed for.
There is a huge paradigm shift from carrying the presence of God into the world to living with the presence of God within the world. As that takes place the people of peace will become both visible and vocal. Watch for and listen to them.
There is a greater restoration of a Hebrew world view
Italy and Greece are not our parents, with a dualism that focuses on saving souls and compliance. The seeds of the West have had their day. A Hebrew thrust that places an emphasis on family (not defined by the nuclear family) and the release of the generational blessing so that the generations (from now and future) can run further and longer, and live further away from the false boundaries that have been deemed safe.
Imminently there is coming an Arts movement. There will be newspaper headlines that a new art wave has hit Europe. It will explain that this does not have one source, it did not begin in one specific place. This movement will begin in these summer months. On the back of the arts movement will come a new economic movement. It is the arts that will rebalance the economic books. When art is properly valued it will bring a re-valuation to property, to the housing market. The creative work of God was the first to be valued. This rebalancing is not tearing down it is bringing into a right order.
Pentecost a wind and speech
The winds of God in Creation released speech (there was a wind over the deep and God spoke) and likewise in Pentecost (a rushing wind came from heaven and they spoke). So in this coming phase we are to expect languages. Languages from the land are to be released. The education language is to be restored. A language that is not about achievement and standards but about discovering and releasing the potential of those seeking to learn. A language in business that challenges the bottom line of money and realises that there is a power in true business that connects destiny and people together.
Without language Europe will languish. This is currently hapenning but Pentecost releases languages. It is on the rise.
The three phases of Pentecost
This was the strong thrust of the time in Alsace and we consider this is the thrust that is here with us now for Europe. Pentecost has an immediate thrust. It is for YOU.
That is vital – but if this remains the emphasis the wine that was once new will run out, any movement that runs round and round that mantra will die.
There is a second phase (and for your CHILDREN) that has been articulated: generational blessing. Rightly understood this is not about ‘sons and daughters’ but about ‘mothers and fathers’. Releasing second and thrid generations who reproduce. It is not about a serving ‘up’… However, this is the phase that is ending. It needs to continue, but if this is the continuing emphasis without a shift to the third phase, we will likewise see movements that die.
There has been a timing issue for the release of ‘AND FOR THOSE AFAR OFF’. On the original day of Pentecost Peter spoke the word. Then in spite of a three-fold (Peter and the ‘threes’ and he still does not get it!!) revelation he could not comprehend the fulfilment of the ‘afar off’ prophecy. The Holy Spirit fell and he had to reluctantly catch up with a tentative, ‘who can forbid them to be baptised?’ response.
This now is the phase that has been released in this Pentecost season. It is the time for the ‘afar off’.
It is not to bring them in, the conversion is for the church as much as it is for the ‘afar off’ ones.
Years ago a friend from Argentina who lived through the revival there put it this way. In one of their gatherings the outpouring was so strong that a bus was ‘hit’ by the presence of God. Driver and occupants became inebriated and he could not get the bus on the right route. Round and round the building he drove. Eventually they stopped the bus and pulled them in the meeting. Salvation and great rejoicing followed. Years later, my friend, says that was the day they misunderstood the shift. God was saying loudly that he was not in the building, he was on the bus, it was time to get the bus-ticket and get on the bus!!
That event puts in story-form the shift.
This is not just about ‘now for mission’. It is about a total shift of sight, and the beginning of a move among the ‘afar off’ ones.
If we connect with this we will be praying not for our angelic encounters, our dreams, but for those who are afar off to have the angelic encounters and dreams. We will not be seeing this as a way to grow our church, but for the body to grow ‘horizontally’.
It will be the answer to our prayers but not the fulfilment of our dreams
(Martin Scott is a friend, a voice, an encourager. Married Gayle in November 2008, now based in Cadiz, South West Spain. The man I hold responsible for ruining a good ministry, a good church and a good life. I thank God daily for that and so much more beside. One of the very few Spiritual fathers for the present road we are upon. This is reproduced with his permission.)