Apostolic Worship and the Revolutionary Spirit

Last night, I was watching a Jackie Chan film called 1911 which chronicled the 1911 Chinese Revolution led by Sun Yat Sen. I have always wanted to read up on Chinese history, but the expanse of it was always too intimidating and I never really knew where to start.

1911 was a precis about the momentous events that led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the fall of the last emperor of China. What was really interesting (processing it through my sanctified Christian mind) was how the language of the revolution was very similar to the language of Christianity. The characters talked about “reviving the spirits of the people”, the power of standing together in unity and sacrificing for the next generation.

As embarrassing as it is to admit it, after I watched the film, I did a bit more research on Wikipedia and discovered that Sun Yat Sen was baptised into the Christian faith whilst he was in Hong Kong and he pictured the revolution as similar to the picture of the salvation mission of the Christian church.

If I were to define “apostolic worship” simply, it would be this: Apostolic worship is worship that brings in the the governance of God on earth as it is in heaven. In expression, apostolic worship involves intercession, the prophetic and spiritual warfare.

Ultimately, apostolic worship is linked with spiritual revival and societal transformation. When the governance of God comes into our hearts, passions are renewed, wounds are healed, captives are freed, wholeness is restored, dreams are activated. When the governance of God comes into a city, lives are transformed, resources are released, the poor are lifted, righteousness and justice prevail.

Jesus didn’t just to come to seek and save “the lost”, but to seek and save “that which was lost“.

I was talking to a pastor who had recently arrived in Perth and he told me that he felt very strongly that revival in Australia would begin in Perth, and that it would be sparked by the Asian church because of the passion of the Asian church. Little did this pastor know that many well-known international prophets have longed prophesied that Perth would be the catalyst of revival in Australia.

Another pastor once told me that the redemptive gift of the Asian church is its strength of discipleship.

I also learnt that a pastor who is involved in prototyping transformation models under the ministry of Ed Silvoso is now working in Perth.

I get the sense that the church in Perth is on the cusp of great spiritual awakening and worship will play a vital role.

If you look throughout the history of the church, you can see a pattern of loss, beginning at the zenith of the church of the book of Acts, reaching its lowest point in the Middle Ages and now moving into a time of recovery, beginning with the Protestant reformation. Today, we are beneficiaries of the move of the Holy Spirit now known as the Charismatic Century: a move of God that has spanned over the last 100 years and is continuing in greater force than ever before.

In this pattern of loss and recovery, worship has always been a key issue. After Constantine institutionalised the Church, the concept of New Testament priesthood was lost. No longer was worship the realm of the masses, it became the vocation of the professional clergy. All throughout church history, worship has been the centre of friction and fissure, from the Eucharist, to baptism, to the use of hymns, to the introduction of folk song. In recent years, discord has stemmed from things as trivial as whether the electric guitar and drums are valid instruments for worship; to the appropriateness of dance in the church; to silly arguments about which songs people prefer to sing. Commentators refer to this latter phenomenon as the “worship wars”.

But in every disintegration, there is restoration. In recent years, we have seen the recovery of the five-fold ministry, particularly in the last decade the gift, function and office of apostle. There has been a move towards seeing entire cities being reached and transformed for Jesus. The gospel of grace is becoming firmly entrenched in our theologies.

I believe that the restoration of apostolic worship will be one of the moves of God that will signal the redemption of our societies.

Acts 15:16-18 says this:

After this, I will return

and rebuild David’s fallen tent.

Its ruins I will rebuild,

and I will restore it,

that the remnant of men may seek the Lord

and all the Gentles who bear my name,

says the Lord, who does these things

that have been known for ages.

God is rebuilding David’s tabernacle. Whereas worship has in the past been a cause to split the church, I believe that in the restoration of the Tabernacle of David, the church will once again be united around worship. And the presence of God will mark the united church in the city so powerfully that the church will become irresistible to the lost. And as apostolic worship goes forth, societal transformation will occur at every level, from the marketplace, to the government, to the media, to our education systems. God is aligning the city of Perth to walk into its great destiny as a revival catalyst for the rest of Australia.

Revolutionary writer Victor Hugo said this:

No army can withstand the power of an idea whose time has come.

The idea is the restoration of David’s tabernacle. The time has come for the church. And no army can withstand it. Revolution is on its way.

Blessings Reel – January 2012

Okay, I admit the title to this post is a bit tacky, but I’m in a tacky kind of mood.

I actually can’t believe that it’s February and January 2012 has already come and gone.

During the first sermon for 2012, Joseph Prince shared on “Unceasing Fruitfulness” and one of the things he mentioned was that the tree of life had 12 fruits. These fruits speak of 12 different blessings for each month of the year. Looking back over the last 31 days, I can say that I’ve experienced the blessings of God.

It’s a bit difficult to say which one blessing is the one fruit for January, but here’s some of the things that I’m grateful for in the last month:

  • First day of the year: a brilliant sermon at New Creation Church on “Unceasing Fruitfulness” to set the scene for the next 364 days (actually 365 as this year is a leap year). In the year of drought, I can experience unceasing fruitfulness as I meditate on God’s word! Amen.
  • Ling and I had a great time in Singapore for holidays, with plenty of eating and shopping and spending time with her side of the family.
  • At work, I won a difficult appeal in the Refugee Review Tribunal for a Coptic Christian from Egypt. The Tribunal accepted that Australia owed my client protection obligations. The Immigration Department is now processing the remaining requirements and I expect that this client will be granted permanent residency in the next couple of months. I don’t care what people say about the refugee situation in Australia, but when you sit across the table from some guy whose life is on the line, all the ideological grandstanding about boat people and border protection goes out the window. This guy is extremely relieved!
  • We got to go to the Influencers Conference (or parts of it) and heard some inspiring preaching. A friend of mine had booked for the entire conference and wasn’t able to make it, so Ling got free use of his pass for a whole day!
  • We had a great jam session with some old friends from Full Gospel Assembly.
  • We had the opportunity to meet with an apostolic leader in the city and I sense that God is starting to open new ministry doors in 2012 (even though I feel a bit disenfranchised at the moment not being part of a local church). I’m also privileged to be able to serve alongside Shaw Cheong and Judy Low in some developing projects as part of Grace and Fire MInistries.
  • We started going to Faith Community Church for the month and I was completely floored by Pastor Benny Ho’s sermon last Sunday. I’m on the way towards building a strong, consistent devotional life.
  • My blog is going well. It’s only been going since December and as at 31 January 2012, it’s recorded 1353 views! (Okay some of that was me looking at the blog myself, but most of it was legit!) I hope it’s been a blessing to others so far!

And to cap it all off, on the last day of January 2012, a friend told me that Pastor Benny Perez had tweeted my blog. In fact, his church had tweeted it first, and then Benny Perez retweeted it. What an honour. I’m actually not sure how twitter works exactly, but I’m thankful that at least on this occasion, my writing has gone half way around the world!

So looking back through January, I’m thankful for all that God has done for me. I’m deeply loved, highly favoured and greatly blessed!