Christianity in Today's America
Nigeria is a very different place. I'm not sure how different it is from the surrounding countries in West Africa, but it sure is a lot different than any of the other places in East Africa that I've been to.Your first impression when you get off the plane feels slightly out of focus. On the surface, everything seems the same as other African countries, and yet there something that lies just beneath it that you can't quite put your finger on. It's just different somehow. A somber blanket lies in the air that lends a subdued feeling to everything. There isn't that feeling of color and laughter in the air. It's as if Nigeria has stepped out of Technicolor into a world that is colored in shades of grey. Life is a serious undertaking here.
Is it the culture? Is it just the way it is? Or is it something deeper than that makes everything seem so drab – something deeply spiritual in nature?
I have spent the last two weeks bringing a message of revival to several churches whose hearts are turned to God for something other than the same old stuff that they have been hearing. Something different has to happen. Their desperation for a true move of God is rising and pushing past the ineffective platitudes of blessings and good things that have been promised to them free of charge. It's not working and they know it. I am embarrassed to say that these messages of false prosperity and unmerited blessings have poured forth from America, and so many innocent people have believed that, because America has been so blessed, this message must be true.
By now, however, they are beginning to realize that it's not working. Something is missing. This is not the same gospel that our grandfathers preached and they are not getting the same results. We have forgotten something along the way as we followed the Pied Pipers of Prosperity and Blessings off into a modern Gospel that is softer and more "loving" than that old message of repentance and the fear of God. Our Bible colleges churned out a new generation of pastors and taught them to discard the old God of Judgment for a new God of Love. And in the process, we lost something so vital in the Church that we don't know how to find our way back.
Satan has done such a complete job of turning our focus onto ourselves that we don't even realize how far we have turned from the Cross. The message that I bring is predicated upon the concept that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about you – it is about others – and revival will not come until we turn our focus to the lost that are dying in sin. But no matter how hard I drive this message home, I will often hear another preacher get up right after me an promise the same people all kinds of new blessings, new deliverances, new miracles in their lives ... all for free! And the crowd that just bowed their heads in recognition of their own self-serving ways will jump to their feet and cheer as this new preacher promises them all kinds of blessings and negates everything that I just preached. Just human nature, I guess.
Revival is not free -- neither is it cheap -- and breaking through this cloud that covers their Pollyanna Gospel mindset, not only in Nigeria but all across Africa, is essential before any move of God will come. Is this the spiritual cloud I feel here that sucks the life and joy out of the very air? Could it be that Satan has entrenched himself here in Nigeria as his last stand of resistance to stop revival at any cost? Is Nigeria the last bastion of darkness that must be conquered to allow the Great African Revival to break forth?
Many here believe that Nigeria is highly chosen for this great move of God and that is why Satan has concentrated his darkness to destroy this nation. It is not the sinners he must control; it's the Christians. And what better way than to lull them into a false sense of security with a "love gospel" that has worked since he first used it in the Garden of Eden. It's all about you. Don't worry. Hakuna Matata. Thou shalt not surely die because God loves you. Here, take a bite.
There are heroes here in Nigeria. Men and women who are willing to take a stand that will invoke the ire of the Church in an attempt to wake them up. Many will hear the call of the trumpet and rise to the challenge. Many will not, but will resist and attack those who will. Battle lines are forming, choices are being made, and destinies are being decided. It is a time for war, and Nigeria is the battleground.
"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;" (Joel 2:1)