A Volcano in Cabo Verde
Three Weeks of a Breakthrough in the Cape Verde Islands
I’m sitting here at a sidewalk café overlooking the ocean enjoying the morning breeze. Cape Verde – or Cabo Verde as they like to say it here – is just what I thought a tropical resort island would be like. The air is clean and very clear, the sun is strong, and there is a faint wisp of that tropical feeling. The houses are lined up in pastels and cream colors as if they were made of different flavors of ice cream. The cobblestone streets and irregular alleys make you feel like you are in Portugal or some Mediterranean village by the sea. Everything has a quaint feel about it.
But the people don’t quite fit the picture I had imagined of a tropical paradise where everything is beautiful and life is a song on the beach. When you scan a crowd, it is difficult to find a smile in it. How odd that is for a place with perfect weather, a bustling economy and picturesque streets! Smiles have to be forced here; they do not come easily. Apparently life within the heart is not as good as life appears on the outside. It has something to do with the ubiquity of sin in this country.
The dominant god in Cabo Verde is pleasure. It beckons to you from every corner. You can see it in the carefree attitudes tinted in lust that cover this town. Fun and Pleasure, the twin sisters of Sin, own these streets, and they bring with them the burden of sin and the sorrow of heart that accompanies it.
I have not seen many churches yet, but the pastors whom I have met are hungry for revival. Just as I have found in other places, they want the real thing. They’ve had enough of the American gospel of Prosperity and Blessings. They want a real revival of power even though there is a price that must be paid to achieve it. They don’t care; just tell them what to do.
What I do not understand is why they see the message as something new. It is the same old Gospel that they have all heard before. It comes straight out of the same Bible that they have all read before. The same principles that have always been in place are still in place. So why does this seem like something new? I’m not sure, but regardless, they grasp for it and hold it tight. They really want revival to come to this country and are willing to carry the torch to light the fire.
I don’t know how God will do what He will do; I only know He will do it. I don’t know when or where revival will come; I only know that it will come. The promise of one last great revival is written in His Word. More than that, it is the only answer that is possible to the prayers of these men of God who have put their trust in Him to rescue them, their churches and their country from being swallowed by the sea of Sin that surrounds their islands.
It took the Children of Israel 400 years to finally cry out to God for deliverance, but when they finally did, God heard their groaning and remembered His covenant with Abraham and delivered them. When we come to that same point of pain where we are ready to cry out to God with desperation that sends our cries all the way up to the Throne of God, He will answer us also. I believe these men are at that point.
I have always been a “results-oriented” guy. I understand results – it’s patience that I have a hard time with. And patience is what is needed here in Cabo Verde.
I feel like I’ve gotten off to a slow start here. It’s not that everyone isn’t excited to have me here – they are more than excited – it’s just that I feel like I am not making any breakthroughs. I have preached my heart out morning and evening every day, but I haven’t shattered the glass ceilings over anyone’s faith nor have I felt that snap when a congregation really breaks before God. They’re on their feet shouting Hallelujah, clapping their hands in excitement, and rejoicing in God for the message … but they aren’t broken. They are excited about the message of revival, but they have not quite yet understood the price that they will have to pay to get it.
While that may sound a bit morbid, for any true revival to take root, there has to be a strong repentance that snaps the hard shell of flesh and cracks open hearts that have been polished to a hard shine with “church”. I have not seen that yet. They’re excited by the messages; they believe, they want it, and they’re glad I have come … but we are not where we need to be. Not yet.
They hang on every word as I tell them what revival is really like. When I describe what it is like to feel the electricity in the air, the nearness of the presence of God, and the other-worldly Shekinah Glory that fills the church, you can see the hope in their faces that God will please, please send it here to Cabo Verde. They know it is not a matter of hanging a sign outside their church and coming every Sunday to hear the preacher. They know there is much more… and they want it. They just don’t know how to do what it takes to get it.
This is new stuff for these people. Cabo Verde is so laid back and easy that the very air lulls you to sleep. Everything rolls along at an easy pace … including church. But they know that they want revival and that what they have right now is definitely not revival. As a matter of fact, they have never had a revival.
But they haven’t gotten to that place of repentance where that hard shell has been cracked wide open. But it must be coming. I can feel it and they can sense it. Something palpable is in the air. God is moving on their hearts. We are breaking ground that has lain fallow for generations, and it is going to take some time to break it up so that the seed can be sown and take root.
I took them witnessing on the streets this morning. When they saw how easy it was, they took off in every direction handing out tracts to everyone on the streets. It was like a light bulb went off in their heads. All of a sudden, they understood – go out and get the sinners, bring in the souls and you will have revival. Sit and wait for something to happen and nothing will ever happen. It’s just that simple.
This is faith in action. Believe God, do what He tells us to do, and God will do what He has promised. It’s just that simple.
But sometimes it just takes time.
I have never been a place where English was so scarce. I am inundated with Portuguese. You hear it everywhere running in a rapid staccato like a fast rushing stream tumbling over rocks. But nobody speaks English.
Well, hardly anyone. Every once in a while someone will try to squeeze out a few lilting words with a heavy Mediterranean accent, but for the most part, I'm on my own. Even my host here in Cape Verde is from Nigeria and speaks with that thick, ponderous Nigerian accent.
I tried turning on the television – no luck there. It just emphasizes the feeling of isolation.
Ordering food is the worst. You never really know what you're going to get. Yesterday, I had to strut like a chicken, clucking and flapping my wings and laying an egg just to order an omelet. And even then, they put it in a sandwich. (Sigh).
Preaching an impassioned message with this kind of handicap is even harder. I've had a different translator in almost every service and all of them have done very well, but when you are wringing your soul out and you have to stop, repeat, and then repeat again so that he can figure out what to say ... well, it sort of loses it's punch.
I have to believe, however, that the message is getting across. There are times when they will raise their hands and praise the Lord in response to something I said or wipe away tears from their eyes, so I can only assume that God is covering everything. (Unless of course, my translator is just up there cracking jokes or something. Hey, you never know in Cabo Verde.)
This morning I left to go eat breakfast at one of the higher priced hotels here. As I was sitting down, an young lady stopped by my table as she was leaving. She was so relieved to hear someone speak in real English! She is here from Washington D.C. to instruct the military on how to use Intelligence software ... and they forgot to get her a translator! Yeah, I know the feeling.
Nevertheless, the miracle here is that the Word of God has no bounds. Language is no barrier, and neither are cultural obstacles. When God has stirred up the hearts of a people to cry out to Him for revival and to seek Him with all their hearts, He will answer. He can use a jackass or a guy from Texas – it doesn't matter. There is something ethereal at work that cannot be seen with the eye. It works on the deeper level of the heart, and is on a wavelength that only the soul can hear.
They will call, and He will hear them. English or no English.
shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will
hearken unto you.
To Cindy and my girls,
I'm writing this ahead of time so I can jam it into Gmail when I finally find an Internet connection. Just like everything else here in Cabo Verde, the Internet is either slow or non-existent. I suppose there are some Cyber-Cafes around somewhere, but it just isn’t anything anybody worries about around here. As a matter of fact, I don’t think they worry about anything.
Cabo Verde must be one of the most laid back places in the world. Everything is so slow that I doubt if anybody ever dies from a heart attack. But hey, it makes for a nice tropical vacation. Which is okay, I guess, if you are on vacation, but it's lousy if you’re trying to get anything done. I sat at an outside café today with a guy from Morocco who is importing some American invention that can provide water. Water is scarce here, so you'd think the government would jump on giving this guy a permit. but oh no, it has to be done in time - and there is normal, slow, very slow, and Cabo Verde slow. Their resistance to any kind of change is mind-numbing.
You can feel the same sleepy effect in the air, as if you are getting lulled into a daydream. It's kind of a weird feeling.
This is what is stymieing me. I seems like my messages are just not breaking through like usual. In Africa, there would almost always be a crescendo and a breaking in the Spirit which would lead to some really strong altar calls that would sometimes last for 30 minutes to an hour. You knew you broke through in those services. Ask the girls -- they remember what it was like when they came to Africa.
But here, there is no breakthrough. They know, they believe, they want it, but (yawn) they just don't get it. It has been hard for me is to figure out what is wrong or missing. I have been beating myself up for not being more powerful in God and all that usual accusations that the devil throws at you, but this really isn't about me. Still, what am I missing? How come I can't get through? Why can't I get them to break? What do I need to do to see revival come to this country?
This morning, we had a meeting/seminar with about 10 pastors. It reminded me of the story of the 1949 revival in the Hebrides Islands where God raised up 7 men as the pillars for the revival there. That’s encouraging because the situation is so similar. Instead of preaching, I just laid my heart out with these men. It was great. We reached through a lot of layers and touched something supernatural.
And then we prayed. Wow. It was like someone turned a switch on! The Spirit of God lit us up. I was busting through the heavens, as I followed the leading of the Holy Spirit for what He wanted to endow upon each of these men. You could feel it come crashing down! It was great! It flowed out of me like a river was pouring out of my mouth. Now what does that tell you? Something is going on here.
I know I’m not some great prophet of God or anything, but God doesn’t need any big shots to bring forth revival here. I really feel like God is going to use these 10 men, and who knows how many others before we’re through, to do exactly what God wants to do. Period, the End. It may not happen while I’m here (I always miss the good stuff), but something is going to happen. For sure.
People will ask you what to pray for. Tell them to pray for me that God will anoint the words that come out of my mouth with power. Pray that He breaks the shell around the fallow ground here, and pray for a blanket of Holy Ghost conviction on a country that is wholly given over to lust and pleasure. Somebody has already been praying – that’s obvious. We just have to pray it through.
“And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know
that a prophet hath been among them.“
That’s the word the Lord gave me yesterday. Scary, isn’t it? But that is what I am experiencing here in Cabo Verde.
Wherever I have preached this message on revival in Africa, congregations have responded with zeal. They have been desperate for a move of God and know intrinsically that the things they have been doing is not bringing revival to their church. They are so easily broken at the altar of repentance that you can literally feel the snap as the floodgates open from the Throne of God. What a joy it has been to bust through and see a church ignited with the fire of God!
But not so in Cabo Verde.
My message has centered on what I say are four steps to revival. The first step is to bring the realization that they do not have a revival right now and that their church is not experiencing the power that accompanies a real Holy Ghost revival. That is easy to do. All you have to do is ask them how many souls got saved last week. They get it. They’re a barren wife to God.
The second step is about getting an all-consuming desire for revival like Rachel’s cry to Jacob, “Give me souls lest I die!” It is also easy to make them realize that the price for revival is high, that it will cost them everything. In Africa, just tell them what they have to do and get out of the way -- they are ready to do whatever it takes.
But here in Cabo Verde, they hear the message -- and are excited -- but although they want revival, they just can’t seem to grasp that they actually have to do something! Night after night, I am stuck on driving home the message that they need a burden for the lost more than the comfort of their weekly church services. They stare and blink, but it doesn’t go in. I have even taken them out into the streets to witness, but it only lasts while I am there with them.
I’ve told them about the Good Samaritan, the Great Commission, and the parable of the Great Banquet where the Lord commands us to go out into the streets and compel the lost to come in. I have shown them the command in Ezekiel 33 of the watchman on the wall to warn the people of the coming danger and that they would have the blood of those souls on their hands if they did not. I’ve explained 1 John 3:16 that the love of God is to lay down our lives for others. I’ve shown them how Jesus in John chapter 5 went to the Pool of Bethesda where the sick were while the “church people” were clean and untouched over at the Temple. I have brought forth this same message out of I don’t know how many passages until it is scaring me, never mind them!
But there is a wall that I cannot seem to break through. But isn’t this the same in America? So why am I surprised?
The core message has always been that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about us – it is about others. It is about winning souls while there is still time. This is the message of the Cross. Until we cry out for God to give us that kind of a burden for lost souls and repent for being a barren woman who has not brought forth children for our Bridegroom, God cannot and will not send a revival.
Revival is not about feeling good in exciting services and watching miracles performed – it is about winning souls. Everything else is just what accompanies it. When the altars are bare, so is your church. It is so simple: if you want revival, go out into the streets and get one! Bring in the lost and God will pour out His Spirit. If you don’t, neither will He.
But there is hope. In Philippians 2:13, the promise is that God will work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. God can break open the fallow ground of our hearts to drive that desire into us. When he does, the wheels of revival will begin to turn.
Like Nehemiah and Daniel, let us call out to God in deep repentance and beg Him to return to His people with forgiveness so that we can be restored to the glory that belongs to His Bride.
“Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?
Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.”
The Power of Praise
Never underestimate the power of praise!
We had a service this evening at a Brazilian church in the city and, wow, did we have a service! By Brazilian, I mean that the pastor and his family have come over here as missionaries from Brazil to start a church in Cabo Verde to win souls. This family is just bursting with the joy of the Lord. It is infectious in their conversation, their praise, and their music.
Did you ever notice that some singers have a certain touch that brings life to a song and lifts your heart in praises to God? Some have it and some don’t. This pastor and his family have it. Even though all the words were in Portuguese, I could feel them lift my heart to soar in praise. I don’t know what they were saying, but I could sure feel it!
I have always been taught that music – good music – is extremely important in services, and last night was a good example of that. The music made the service like celebration. By the time I got to the pulpit, everyone had been so lifted up in the Spirit that their hearts were ready to hear whatever God had for them.
Even though I preach a hard message that repentance must come before revival, they were ready to receive it. They understood that the call that is placed upon us is to bring forth fruit unto God -- which means winning souls -- and that we have not done that. But the encouraging hope of this message is that the path to revival – true revival – lies through that same repentance for our church, our community, our country. Just like Nehemiah, when we cry out to God for forgiveness, then we have the firm hope that He will hear and answer. There is no revival without repentance.
The carnal mind cannot receive these things because they are spiritually discerned. That’s why a church that is not crucified will be more focused on Prosperity messages, “feel-good” sermons without judgment, and a Pollyanna mindset of love, peace and blessings. But that is not the Gospel that nailed Jesus on the Cross, and it is not the message that will bring a division from this sinful world to ignite a true revival. Only hearts that are broken for God, that have spurned the things of this world and are burdened for the Truth can truly understand and embrace that kind of message. It is what separates the sheep from the goats.
This church had a crucified heart. I’m not sure if the music is what lifted them to that level, or their hearts are what lifted the music to that level. Whichever it was, the Spirit of the Lord was free to move amongst us and deal with hearts. It was a service they will never forget.
I can feel the tide beginning to turn in Cabo Verde. If you hammer at a rock long enough, it will finally break. God says that His Word is that hammer that breaks the rock in pieces. I believe I am finally beginning to see a crack in that rock.
Patience and dedication go hand in hand with determination and faith. If we believe God and are faithful to keep His Word, we will see the glory of God revealed.
It’s just a matter of time.
shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return
unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall
prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
I wonder how old these cobblestones are that I am walking on? I’m wandering down the narrow alleys of Praia, the capital of Cabo Verde, and there is an ancient feeling that hangs in the air. The cobblestones under my feet are black and slick from ages of wear. There’s no telling how old they are. Old is measured here in centuries, not years.
I can just picture Portuguese soldiers in shiny breastplates and those funny curved helmets running down these very same alleys with their pikes and habergeons to the breastworks to defend the city from another attack by French or English. Rusty old Portuguese cannons from the 17th or 18th century lay around as if they are discarded reminders of wars from times past.
The Plateau, as they call it, sits high above the harbor overlooking a deep blue ocean while a tropical breeze flows in cooling these old brick and plaster walls from the equatorial sun directly overhead. In a typical sidewalk café under an expansive orange umbrella, you can sip a cup of strong espresso and enjoy the peaceful feeling of a lazy afternoon. Old men gather to play chess around a table and argue in rapid-fire Portuguese with old friends, while young men and girls can be heard laughing at the next one. Time doesn’t really pass here – it floats away. It is almost as if there is no time, and life drifts softly into the sunset. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound maudlin, but there really is no other way to describe it.
It is in this hypnotic landscape that Christianity has had such a hard time gaining a foothold. It is as if these islands are in a dream world where there is no tomorrow, no yesterday, only the languid presence of now. No one cares about anything because they would have to work too hard to take it seriously. The prospect of pleasures today far outweighs the consternations of Hell tomorrow.
But there is a group of pastors who know better. They know they need something from God that is strong enough to shatter this dreamy illusion. Even their congregations are affected with a laissez-faire attitude toward church, sinners, and Eternity. Instead of their focus being directed to the Cross, it is directed toward them; instead of looking for ways they can serve God, they are looking for ways that God can serve them. It is the intoxication around them that has affected their outlook.
But there are pockets here of real Christians who really want revival, and it is for them that I have come. I believe that they will be the lightning rod that God will use to break the demonic spirit that has such a hold on these islands.
Last night, we ministered at such a church. Very few people showed up for the first service and I wasn’t sure if it was just another example of “African time”, or just nobody really cared. The Lord gave me a simple and a short message, so I delivered it and sat down. Oh well. That was all He gave me.
I figured that it was pretty much over and that the evening service might be a dud when a girl in the congregation said she had a question. A question? Wow. A spark of life! She wanted to know what real-life experiences I had with revival. Ah-hem. Excuse me, but how much time do we have?
For the next 45 minutes or so, the crowd came in and sat mesmerized as I described what true supernatural revival is really like. They sat with open hearts drinking it all while I painted a picture for them in vivid colors of what revival was really like. By the time I was finished, the place was packed! The pastor encouraged them to put what I had said into action and handed them Gospel tracts to hand out in the streets around them for the next thirty minutes and then come back in time for the evening service.
Needless to say, that service was a great! I don’t know how long I preached, but I know how hard. The Spirit of the Lord had taken over and we were in His presence. What a service!
And then, as I handed the microphone to the pastor to close with an altar call, a woman came forward with her two girls to get saved. She had gotten a tract during that 30 minute session between services and had come to church to hear the Gospel. What an incredible breakthrough! I felt like jumping up and down yelling, “See? See? I told you it works!”
But I didn’t have to. They were jumping up and down themselves.
Yesterday, we were at a camp that had been established to rehabilitate men who had been lost in drugs and bring them to salvation. I understand that, in the 14 years that this camp has been in operation, hundreds of men have come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Many pastors have come out of here and established churches all over Cabe Verde.
We gave an altar call at the end of the second service and everyone came down. I’m not sure that they fully understood what we were asking for, but about 50 men came down to the altar. Oh well, we prayed them all through anyway, just to make sure.
In between the morning and afternoon services, we have been handing out handfuls of tracts and sending everyone out in twos to go witnessing in the area around whichever church we are at. It works like a charm! This is something new for almost everyone – they have heard of this, but have never done it. The results are always stunning and immediate – souls come in for the service and many get saved. Once they realize how simple this is, it is as if a light bulb goes off in their head. They get it. Revival is this simple. Go get the lost and bring them in to the House of God so they can be saved, and you’ve got revival!
We are breaking ground here that has never been tilled. The concept of revival is no longer an ideal that has happened somewhere else, but has now taken on a tangible reality that they can reach out and touch. It is no longer a remote possibility, but is now a concrete reality. This is no longer what they wish for or hope for, but for what they have taken to the Throne of God and have claimed in the name of Jesus Christ. God has awakened the substance of faith inside their hearts, and revival is not far away.
There is still one element that is missing, however, and I am struggling with it every day. It is not enough to want revival or even to have the faith to receive it – there must be repentance. It is not only for our own failures but the failure of the entire church to keep the fire burning on the Altar. Revival can only take root in the soil that is found in broken hearts.
Like Nehemiah and Daniel, we must fall to our knees and ask forgiveness for falling into our lukewarm, comfortable ways of “church as usual” and our refusal to carry the torch of the Gospel to the lost and dying souls out in the highways and byways of this world. It was the last commandment our Savior gave us before He left, but we have not kept it. He said “Go!” but we have not gone. He said to make disciples of every creature, but we have barely made it to church.
We are a barren woman who has refused to keep God’s most important commandment – to bear fruit. We have not had a love for souls and as a result have lost our first love for God. Everything else we have done is like a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.
We are in sore need of repentance.----------------------------------------------------------------------
Hey. Only a few more days left!
Things are heating up here. We went to Prophet Gift's church and people were so packed in that they were standing on the street looking in the windows.
At the Rehab Camp in Pedro Badejo we sent them out after the 1st service with tracts and they brought back souls with them for the 2nd service. We gave an altar call and everybody came down! I didn't know what to do (they were all supposed to be Christians), so I just prayed through everybody again. Oh well.
Today we were in the city of Assomodra. Same thing. Revival is in the air.
Up until today, I've been struggling with what was missing – that broken cry of repentance. I have followed the leading of the Lord for every message and I'm sure I have been right. I know everybody else sure thinks I was led of God! They can feel the anointing. But still, something has been missing and I was beginning to wonder if I had failed somehow. I just could not break through that wall!
And then a couple nights ago, I had a breakthrough in prayer. The Lord gave me a revelation, and I knew I had it! I have to bring them to repentance, but I guess there must be a step-by-step process up to this point. Man, I couldn't wait to get to my next service. Sure enough, we shattered the glass! Wow, oh wow.
I'm sailing now! Get outta my way! And so are these pastors. They are following me around everywhere. They are so jazzed that it has literally transformed their lives. They have been praying for this for a long, long time. I am like a supernatural answer to prayer for them. This is hard for you and me to really wrap our minds around, but to these guys it is the biggest deal in their entire lives. One pastor who has been saved since 1972 and is one of the leaders for the entire Nazarene church in the country has been praying for this for years and years. He told me that my message about the Pool of Bethesda turned his whole church around. They are now set and determined to go out and win souls. He said they are never going back to the way they were. He's been waiting for this for a long time.
It's the same way with all of them. Revival is no longer a wish, but a reality. Now they know what to do and how to do it. Now they know that it is a promise. Now they know that all they have to do is follow the instructions and God is bound by His Word. They get it. That was all they needed.
As usual, just about when the fire is starting to break out, God pulls me out. He has done that to me so many times. I will leave just about the time that this thing explodes.
But that's okay. I miss my girls – all of them.
I have preached in so many churches here that I’ve forgotten what I’ve said to whom – Baptist, Pentecostal, Nazarene, Assemblies, and a few that I don’t know what they were. It doesn’t really matter what the denomination has been because these people just want to hear from God. There have been divisions between these churches for as long as anyone can remember, but that has all vanished. They are ready for a change. There is a hope of revival in the air and nothing else matters.
I wish I could take credit for what is happening here, but honestly, I really don’t know what I am doing. I can’t understand a word that is being spoken around me, so I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do next. But all that doesn’t matter. I just stand up and deliver the message that the Lord has just given me, which usually comes to me just minutes before I have to deliver it – sometimes while I’m delivering it. No, it’s not me; it’s something that is going on between God and His people. I feel like I’m on the outside listening in while they and their God are having a great time together.
Sometimes I just have to laugh. In one service, as I was calling to rise up and answer the call of God on their lives, guess what? The whole church rose to their feet, hands raised in the air, crying out to God at the top of their lungs. I don’t know what the interpreter said to them, but whatever it was, they were ready! Well, I guess that was the end of my message. Whatever works!
That’s what it is like here – hungry souls, ready for whatever God has for them. They are tired of sitting in church waiting for something to happen – they are ready to answer the call. Even if it is coming from some American who can’t speak their language. God send us revival!
Now why can’t we have this in America?
In each service, the intensity has increased. It has been like an avalanche picking up speed. When I first came, I felt like I couldn’t break through the wall between us but now it is exploding around me. All they needed was someone to strike a match. I can’t tell you what will happen in the weeks to come – that is the job of the pastors to keep the fire burning – but I can tell you that God has lit something here that will not be easily quenched.
It is now time for me to leave. We will have one more meeting with just the pastors before I go. I still don’t know what I am going to say, but I haven’t known what to say since I got here, so what’s the difference? That is how it is supposed to be. When preachers have to spend time preparing their message, it becomes their message and the Spirit of God is left out of the process. We have become “control freaks” who no longer trust God enough to let Him take over. But these are His people, not the preacher’s; this is God’s revival, not ours. When we forget that, we dampen the fire of the Holy Ghost and leave little room for God take over.
Gideon asked the angel what happened to the miracles that their fathers had told them about. It wasn’t that God has left us; it’s that we became religious in our theological posture and replaced revival with church.
When we become hungry and desperate enough to give God control again, we will see the Spirit of God take over once again. But not until we relinquish control.
I love these sidewalk cafes. Small tables and chairs are set out on almost every other block where people from the surrounding streets come to sip a horribly strong coffee in tiny cups, share a small snack with their friends, and chatter away in Portuguese. There's a pretty neat feeling here – it's a relaxed atmosphere mixed with a sense of friendships, old and new, and “doce vida” - sweet life. We Americans could stand to learn a lot from Cabo Verde.
Today is May 1st and it is some kind holiday here. Since I am encapsuled in a bubble of “Anglais-only”, I have no idea what festivities are going on today or where. Perhaps I will play tourist and go see the old fort or some other sights, but honestly, I have seen old forts before. I just want to put a cap on this trip and go home.
There will be one more meeting on Monday. This will be with the pastors in whose churches I have brought the message of revival. They have heard the hard, breaking message of repentance from dead church-as-usual, the call to win lost souls, and the immediacy of this Last Days revival. They know. If their congregations didn't get, they did. If they didn't get it, I know their congregations did. They felt the anointing of the Holy Spirit that has broken up ground in hearts that has lain fallow for as long as anyone can remember. The Lord has dealt with them, and they know it.
I have one more message, but it is for their ears only. It is not going to be a final word of sweet parting between friends or some happy message of how much fun we have had. It will be a final word of warning right out of Ezekiel 33:30-33 and Proverbs 1:22-33. Their hearts have already been pierced, but will they continue in that brokenness? Will they take on the call to pay the price that is required to have a true revival? Or will they slide back into the “doce vida” and return to “church as usual”?
The Lord has been dealing with me that the choice for revival is theirs. The simplicity of the message has been to step out of their walled churches and witness to the lost souls that are all around them. If they will take that step of faith God will meet them and send the revival. He has leaned on me to impress upon them how simple this is – just do it, and God will keep His promise.
How simple this is! We keep waiting for God to send revival, as if it is up to Him to choose who and when He will keep His promise. But God's Word is simple – if you do what He says to do, He will do what He says He will do. Now how hard is that to understand?
But we look for excuses and reasons to get out of it. I understand. Really I do. The price for revival is high. So high that few are willing to sacrifice all they have to get it. Oh, we'll have our little prayer meetings, hold hands and mutter cute little prayers with each other, but will we storm the Throne of God like Rachael in Genesis 30 … and stay before that altar all night long until God HAS to answer us? Will we break out of our bushel basket that we call Church and go out into the hyways and byways like He has commanded and compel sinners to come into the House of God that they may be saved? Or will we wait for them to slink in by osmosis?
We have lots of excuses – believe me, I have heard them all. But in the eyes of God, an excuse is nothing more than an excuse ... and there are no excuses before the Judgment Bar of God.
The word of God to these pastors may not be friendly words of parting, or a pat on the back because they gave it a good try, but a warning that if they do not take hold of the call that God has placed before them and do it, then He will pass over them and move on to a people who will. But, as God promises in Ezekiel 33, they will stand guilty in the day of Judgment with the blood of those souls on their hands.
“He that hath an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
What a great dinner we had!
Pastors came from all over the island to break bread together and bid me goodbye. We ate, we laughed, we even sang. These were men who were genuine; bonded by blood and united in cause for a real move of God to come to Cabo Verde.
I am touched on several levels. First, I am thankful for the appreciation these men of God have for the fire we have kindled here. The Lord really did something special in their churches and deeply affected their congregations. I have heard them say it over and over. They have come all the way to town to celebrate what He has done.
The other reason why I am so touched is to see these men not only celebrate but to make a statement of their faith, hope, and determination to see this through. Some of them have been praying for years for God to move. I have heard many stories of what they have done in prayer, even to climbing the mountain overlooking the city to cry out to God to come, please God, come. These are serious men with a serious dedication to see a serious move of God. God has to meet them.
I have also heard of several attempts that have failed. I'm not sure of why or of what the spiritual conditions were behind some of these failures, but several attempts by evangelists and pastors have ended in varying degrees of failure, even to the point of disaster. Who knows the invisible spiritual battles that have been waged over these islands?
One elder pastor stood up who has had a ministry here for many years rehabilitating drug addicts and through whose ministry many of the pastors in this country have been birthed. He is a spiritual grandfather here -- a greatly respected elder to everyone – and when he speaks, everyone listens. He made the statement that Cabo Verde has not seen anything like this in 30 years; that this was a genuine miracle of God. There has to be certain timing at work here, because one thing is for sure – it is time for God to move.
I have seen the evidence in every service. Only I know how custom-made the messages were for each service, given to me each time just minutes before I stood up to speak. The sermons that I thought I was going to bring would always wilt before me, even to the point that I would sometimes wonder what on earth I saw in them that had been so exciting a couple of hours ago. God has so many intriguing facets; you never know what He is going to do next.
I left these men with a final message about faith, hope and charity. Hope for revival by itself is just wishful thinking. Faith that God will send revival that is not bolstered by works is just presumption. It is Charity that is the greatest of these because Charity is Love in action – the giving of oneself out of love so that souls can be saved. But Charity that does not reach past the walls of the church and never makes it past the door is not charity. And without a charity that is real, we are left with nothing but an empty faith and an unfulfilled hope.
… and then we said a quick grace because the food was getting cold and dove into the best dinner we have all had in a long, long time.
A Few Emails from Cape Verde
Thank you very much for your support to send the revivalist DALEN GARRIS. It was a wonderful ministry among us:
1. He preached to the Pastors and missionaries. As a Pastor for 39 years and praying for revival along these years, I felt that God spoke to me through that faithful God's man.
2. He spoke in churches to help them to know what revival is and the steps to reach that level.
3. He spoke to our Church (Nazarene denomination) and the believers understood what the revival is really. What I appreciate very much in him is that in each Church, God speaks to him to give appropriate sermon to that congregation. He did the same when he spoke to the God's men.
As God spoke to me very clearly, I changed some strategy after hearing him. Praise God! He came in God's time. It was so practical!
4. On Monday, we had a time for dinner and friendship. He spoke again to us. He brought something new to be put in practice. I was personally challenged.
5. Before the flight to Boston, he spoke of his experience to distribute tracts. I will challenge the believers to do more using tracts every day. I have a plan and I will put it in action. Alleluia!
Thank you very much for your support. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.
In God of revival,
Good afternoon Evangelist Dalen Garris,
I do hope that you had a wonderful and safer trip back to Texas. How is life in your family? Guess God Almighty has always been there for you all.
I really thank you from the deepest of my heart concerning your love and kindness you showed to us all on your short but wonderful revival trip here in Cape Verde Island.
May the blessings, peace, love, grace, favour of our most beloved Lord Jesus Christ continue to be upon you and your entire household in the Vineyard, Amen? All I wish you is long and fruitful life for the concern of the lost and dying souls and may our God reward you abundantly in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen
On behalf of the entire congregation of God’s solution Chapel, Cape Verde Island, I sincerely appreciate your love and care for us all. We will always join hands in prayer for you and your entire household.
I am confident that you are like John the Baptist of our own time who came for the revival towards the Kingdom of God. I pray that God will always give you the strength and boldness to speak the raw word of God like John De batist.
Thanks and Remain blessed in the Lord’s Vineyard all the days of your life Amen.