Two years ago I wrote a piece called “The Coming Youth Revival” based upon a visionary experience; this prophesied a massive turning of young people to Jesus in arenas that looked to me like rock concerts, schools etc. Subsequently, the news of an Impact World Tour (IWT) evangelistic campaign for 2007 was announced in Perth. I believe the vision and the IWT are intimately related. The end of the above prophecy briefly commented on the “parenting” needed for this move of God to endure and mature. Today, at the “Contending for Cities” seminar with John Dawson (international president of YWAM) I believe God gave me more insight into the pre – conditions needed to ensure his coming sovereign work among young people will last.
In pray this morning I sensed that around the world there is a growing spiritual movement to radicalise youth. This is presently manifesting itself most visibly in the violence from young Moslems racking France. Across the planet thousands of Islamic young people are willing to suffer and die for their most deeply held convictions. Soon however it will be manifest that the Holy Spirit is working to release a mass of radical young Christian disciples from across the globe, including Western Australia.
What is presently holding this back is the conservative nature of the spiritual gatekeepers of this city. Our average church leader (though not a bad man/woman) is a relatively prayerless, money concerned, status quo, maintenance – minded person. The solutions being proposed to the current crisis in the church, especially in terms of “leadership”, deeply mirror the corporate structures in secular society and so do not reflect the cutting edge nature of the kingdom of God. The body of youth the Spirit is seeking to release will not be nice men – pleasers but radically willing to follow Jesus at whatever cost. On present trends, the new and old generations cannot unite as one.
God is Calling for Stone Carriers
John Dawson’s key text was drawn from Joshua 3- 4. This relates the crossing of the Jordan into the land of promise at harvest time (3:15, a spiritual type for ingathering) when the river is in flood (the energy of the Spirit)
A key and neglected text is Joshua 4:5- 7, “Then Joshua summoned the twelve men from the Israelites, whom he had appointed, one from each tribe. 5 Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, one for each of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 so that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever.”
I believe the Lord s is calling the spiritual leaders in Perth to each “carry a stone on their shoulder”. The “shoulder” represents governmental spiritual authority. It is prophesied of Jesus, “6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” The stone signifies a burden or weight that is to be visibly carried. This includes the “burden of the Word of the LORD” in a prophetic sense (Isa 13:1; 15:1 etc.), judging between cases (Numbers 11:14), bearing one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2), empathetic anguish (2 Cor 2:4), prevailing and travailing prayer (Col 1:9; 4:12) and persecution (Acts 20:23). All of this amounts to a highly visible and shameless (Luke 11:8) corporate intercessory suffering for the sake of others voluntarily entered into by the spiritual authorities of this city.
Explosion or Implosion
I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit is going to cause a spiritual explosion in Perth in the next few years. Explosions go outwards- this symbolizes a mass missionary thrust out of Perth. Scarily however I saw in the Spirit something else this morning – it was like the walls of a house falling in on itself – an implosion. If the right foundation is not set for the young people to come by the present older generation of elders and fathers there will be no enduring work of God but an inward collapse of what began as a sovereign divine work. This is what happened to the Jesus Movement in the hippie youth culture of the U.S. in the 60’s/70’s and it can happen again.
Breaking the Spirit of Isolation
According to Joshua 4:7 the stones carried by the tribal leaders from the Jordan and deposited in the Promised Land “shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever.” This speaks of the suffering of the father/mother generation permanently affecting the spiritual consciousness of future generations in Perth. This permanent change in the spirituality of this city can come about in the following way.
John Dawson quoted Joshua 5:9, “9 The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.””, then remarked that those present (not himself) would understand its meaning.
I believe Perth’s “reproach of Egypt” is an orphan spirit of isolation. The repeated refrain that goes up from visitors from abroad and “wise men from the east” is that W.A. is a wonderful place, “except for its isolation”. So great has been this isolation that a secession movement has persisted in this state from the nineteenth century up until today.
One only has to read through The West Australian to get a sense that the rest of the nation (particularly the big boys in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne) does not give us a fair go.
Australia is littered with memorials of suffering, every large park in every town or city has a stone obelisk to those who died in past foreign conflicts from Gallipoli to Vietnam far from these shores. The Australian psyche has always known isolation from the time of the First Fleet and the convict sense of abandonment by Mother England. God is talking about the different sort of memorial to suffering.
This is a living memorial piled up in the blood, sweat, tears and prayers of burden bearing men and women who will labour in spiritual travail to see a generation birthed in this land who will never feel like they have felt, never feel like spiritual orphans, never feel isolated from God, the land, from one another or the rest of the world.
A Global Future
If the current spiritual leaders in the city of Perth rise to the challenge of God this city will see a long lasting transformation. According to the kingdom principle “the first will be last and the last will be first” (Matt 19:30), Perth (not Melbourne or Sydney) will become one of the spiritually most connected cities on the face of the earth. In a great and a dynamic movement to the west and the north, hosts of missionaries and vast resources will flow out and many will visit this land for healing and refuge.
The Spirit of the Father is speaking about long –lived relationships in the body of Christ, of a new generation who KNOWS that it is attached to many spiritual fathers and mothers whose sacrifice testifies infallibly to their hearts and minds that they will never be abandoned. This generation of young people will stand in the heat of the battle that will surely come –not merely because of their radical profession of Christ, but because embedded deeply in them is the Word carried forth on the wind of the Spirit through the prayers of a founding generation who themselves have “have fought the good fight…have finished the race…have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4:7)
Explosion or implosion? It all depends on whether and how we will pray in response to the call of God on our city. The time to begin is now.