Some things just get better with age. “The Wayback Machine” posts occur at the end of every month and reference the best posts of that month in years past. My hope is to provide a good jumping on point for readers who have never been to Pursuing Glory.
Todd Bentley leading a major healing revival in Lakeland, Florida, falling during its height, and then being restored is probably one of the notable events in the charismatic world over the last decade. I had written about the Lakeland Outpouring previously, and this follow up post looked the restoration process Rick Joyner was taking Todd Bentley through.
March of 2008 marked a return to not just blogging but to the internet as a whole for me. Previous to this post, I had made some mistakes with some posts I had written on this blog, had my only computer crash, and hadn’t had internet for three months. It was during this season that the Lord Jesus taught me a few things about blogging that I thought would be helpful to share. If you’re a blogger, I think you’ll enjoy this post.
Welcome to post number 199 here on Pursuing Glory. You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged here recently, mostly because I’ve been wanting to do something significant for the 200th post. Normally, I’m not a big numbers guy, so I wouldn’t make a big deal over the 200th post, but for whatever reason, reaching that post number has got me thinking about the direction of the blog, who comes and reads what’s here, and what God intends to do through this blog. All of this is motivated me to take a look at my top posts and ask this question: Why do people come and read this blog.
Looking at the stats is a little telling. The number one post here on the blog is "A Summary of the Lakeland Revival." Undoubtedly, this blog post came out during the final months of the Lakeland Revival when controversy was beginning to swirl and so many came looking for information about what had happened. But I also think it speaks of the desire in the body of Christ to truly experience the power of Christ not only in our own lives but in the lives of the lost and dying. This post is significant because you come here believing God desires to pour out his Spirit in a dramatic way that awakens the nations.
The next most popular blog (which is really shocking to me) is called "Mark Driscoll Kicks Terry Virgo’s Butt." This blog recaps Mark Driscoll’s visit to New Frontiers and points you to the blog posts of both Mark and Terry. I’ve been totally shocked by how many times this page has been viewed. What is even more shocking to me is the fact that about half the traffic comes looking for information on Driscoll and half comes looking for information on Virgo. What’s driving those hits, I believe, is a sincere desire to experience and understand true apostolic leadership. Both of these men represent significant movements of believers around the world struggling for the truth of the Gospel to be presented to a lost and dying world. I believe some of you come because you’re hungry for the kind of Christianity where apostolic leadership is welcomed and encouraged.
"While We Slept" and "Wolfgang Opens A Webshop" are two other high ranking posts that feature Mercy and Wolfgang Simson. The content of these posts announce Mercy and Wolf each opening up a presence on the internet. I believe that these posts are visited frequently for the same reason that "Mark Driscoll Kicks Terry Virgo’s Butt" gets traffic. However, Mercy and Wolf represent something different as well. Mercy definitely has a prophetic anointing resting on her life. Wolfgang is definitely an apostolic leader in the body of Christ. But both of them also represent the growing house church movement that is developing all over the world. I’ve never discussed the house church movement in a very structured way but this blog definitely has become a place to discuss the shift going on in many peoples’ hearts to a more relational form of Christianity that meets in homes. I believe some of you come here to catch a glimpse of this transition that is taking place across the world.
Another post that gets some pretty significant attention on this blog always seems to be "Red Moon Rising Quote #2." This blog is a quote that came straight from the book "Red Moon Rising," which chronicles the birth of a prayer movement in Europe that challenges young adults to live lives of extravagant devotion to Jesus in the context of prayer and service. I know people come to this post because of the quote, but I believe that throughout the body of Christ there is a hunger to live lives of deep prayer and consecration to Jesus. I believe you come to the blog because you know that the move of God that is coming will be supported by a revolution in prayer, both individually and corporately.
Finally, Stuff I’m Reading has always been a significant page on this blog. This blog is significant in a way that is different from all the other posts. This page is all about me and what material God is using to grow and mature me. And in a way, I think this page is popular for the same reason that posts like "I Win (And Proof That I’m Not A Bad Sport)" and "Because She’s My Valentine" remain popular on the blog. If I can say this without being self-centered, I think a lot of you come here to stay caught up with me. This to a large degree was and is still the purpose of the blog. As I’ve slowly moved over to Facebook and Twitter, a lot of that personal "what are you doing" sort of content has slipped out of the posts here. However, in my attempt to focus in more on the blog again, look to see more of this as we go on. I’ll explain that later.
So this blog has a lot of people showing up for different reasons. But I believe that God is going to raise up a move of the Holy Spirit marked by radical signs and wonders, lead by seasoned apostolic men, who are extending the Kingdom through prayer, evangelism, and house church planting. I call it “this thing,” and if you’re interested in seeing where it goes, stick around. We’re in for a fun ride.
Last summer I wrote a short history of the Lakeland Revival that was hosted by Ignited Church and lead primarily by Todd Bentley. For reasons I may look at shortly, this is still the most popular page on my blog. My intention was that when I had a little more time I would write an appeal to the body of Christ at large to pray for Todd and his restoration to ministry. My appeal never “made it to print” but the reality that Todd needs people praying to be restored has not changed.
I bring all this up for this reason: Todd has begun the restoration process. Todd has now moved to Morningstar Ministries in the Carolinas and is working with Rick Joyner and their team to repent and be restored. I applaud this step. No matter what you think about Todd, being big enough to admit mistakes and submit to a restoration process in a sign of great humility. I also applaud Rick and his team for being willing to take this head on.
Please begin to pray for Todd and his family as he begins this process. Pray for Morningstar as they take this new step forward in their calling. The level of warfare they experience will surely increase. Whether you agree with everything Todd does or not, he caries a genuine gift of miracles that we haven’t really operated in here in the West. God was forming a gift in Todd to give to the larger body of Christ. His restoration will be of great importance.
Below you’ll find the first of several video updates Rick and Todd are doing to keep the body of Christ up to date on the process. I hope that you’ll use them to interceed for the situation on a more personal level. More video updates can be found here.
We in the body must be about restoration of those who have fallen, no matter how seemingly significant or insignificant they are. We may not in a place to restore a Todd Bentley, but most of us know someone who needs restoration and ALL of us can pray. The days will come when many will be falling away from their walk with the Lord and many will not return to Him. But some will find mercy and for those that do, we must prepare now. Please, join with me in praying for Todd and extending mercy to others around us. I believe the Lord will be pleased.
Five months ago a series of meetings with evangelist Todd Bentley erupted with the power of God in Lakeland, Florida. Boasting a range of healing miracles not seen in probably two generations or more, the Lakeland Outpouring (as it became known) began to draw attention from Christians and Non-Believers all across the planet. The revival became widespread knowledge due to the connectedness of Todd Bentley to various streams of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements and the daily broadcasts of the meetings on God TV. Bentley’s ministry estimates 300,000 people visited the meetings and 1.2 million watched it through GOD TV or the internet. Probably unlike any revival before it, the Lakeland Outpouring became an international phenomenon.
The quick and sudden impact of the revival caused knee-jerk reactions among many in the body of Christ. The access to information that allowed news of the revival to travel so far also allowed critics to raise their voices to a new level. Todd Bentley has certainly never lacked his critics, but his new rise to prominence caused even Pentecostals and Charismatics that usually side with him to be suspicious. Questions were raised about his ministry style (which included punching people to heal them), his theology (he believed angels and even dead believers would visit him with messages), and his lifestyle (Todd received a number of tattoos during the revival). So, while every revival has critics, even those who you would normally expect to be excited about massive signs and wonders breaking out in the United States were sometimes calling for reform during the outpouring.
The turning point of the revival came in early August. Todd confessed to his board of directors at Fresh Fire Ministries that he had been ensnared in sin. (I’m leaving out unnecessary details because I believe we frequently enter into gossip in the name of journalism.) Todd turned the reigns of the outpouring to Stephen Strader, the pastor of the church where the outpouring began, and stepped down from ministry to begin a restoration process. With the shift in leadership, the size of crowds at the revival shrunk to a more manageable size that allowed it to be housed in Strader’s church building.
Despite everything that happened, I believe the revival was a real outpouring of God’s Spirit. Todd’s critics don’t bother me a bit. It was obvious that most were motivated by jealousy or fear of the supernatural. The Pharisees and Saducees hated Jesus for the very same reasons. Bill Johnson tells us that his grandparents knew Smith Wigglesworth, but not everyone loved Smith Wigglesworth back in his day. It’s only now that we revere him as a prophet to his generation. Todd Bentley is undoubtedly a sincere believer who has pursued Jesus at an extraordinary level despite the weakness of his flesh. The Bible is full of people who have accomplished the purposes of God with their lives and then gone on to sin in a way that seems shocking to us. David is a prime example. However, David’s sin did not disqualify him from God’s mercy and God’s evaluation of David’s life is wholly different than someone who would just look at the facts of David’s life (see Acts 13:36).
I do believe that many of the miracles that happened in Lakeland were real and legitimate. Having never gone, I can’t testify to seeing any amazing miracles firsthand, but a number of people I trust have reported powerful miracles above what is normally seen here in the States. The revival has also opened up a number of other places to begin flowing in an increasing level of powerful demonstrations of the Spirit’s power. Morningstar Ministries, Harvest Rock Church, Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Albany, Oregon are just a few of the places that have been impacted. The fruit of this move has proven its worth, despite the controversies.
In my next post, I hope to issue an appeal to believers who are reading, talking, and blogging about the Lakeland Revival.