This word by Larry Sparks is quite "in your face," so to speak, and it's good to have words like this from time to time.
We are in a new paradigm shift...and, yes, literally, we are in a new decade as well. God is calling many in the Church to take on new roles in society and culture.
You're going to get a real eye-opener in Larry's word as we embrace walking into this new era. No more hiding...come out of your cave! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
"Show Up and Speak Up!"
Crossing into 2020, the Holy Spirit directed me to study the prophetic ministry of Elijah – specifically his emergence onto the scene of Scripture. I find it interesting that not much information is given about his context. We simply read: "Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab..." (1 Kings 17:1). That's all we have and truthfully, that's all we need.
We simply witness a man, Elijah, who comes from a place â€“ Tishbe â€“ stepping onto the scene and boldly decreeing the word of the Lord to Ahab (the demonically influenced and empowered governmental leader married to the infamous Queen Jezebel).
I prophesy that it's time for an Elijah company of prophetic people to boldly step onto the center stage of cultural conversations and prophetically speak the word of the Lord. The two key phrases here are step up and speak up.
SPEAK UP: We Need to Redefine "Decree and Declare"
We begin with "speak up." The language of Scripture does not introduce Elijah as a prophet, and yet it does. The narrative does not identify him as "the prophet Elijah," but his prophethood is revealed by witnessing his office in operation. There are people who don the title "prophet" but are not operating in the true function or office of the prophet. I believe the Lord is calling for a company or collective of those tapped into the wisdom of the "age to come" to release prophetic strategy and solutions into the "here and now!"
I do believe there is prophetic validity to the evaluation that 5780 is the "Decade of Decree." I resonate with that descriptive, but I sense a weightier vision of what it means to "decree." Our decrees must be coupled with bold decisions to act. Was slavery abolished because someone declared and decreed? Did wars cease, movements start, and tyrannical regimes end because someone makes a spiritual proclamation?
History is made by those who marry prophetic decrees with courageous action. They speak up, yes, but they also show up to the front lines. Remember, Elijah spoke up because he showed up.
SHOW UP: The Place Where Prophets Are Meant to Operate and Have Influence
There are two realms you are called to show up in. In 1 Kings 17:1, Elijah stands in two dimensions at the same time. He makes this decree to King Ahab: "As the LORD the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word." It's obvious he is physically standing before Ahab, but he also said that he stood before the Lord.
The apex of ministry "success" is not standing before crowds in packed stadiums; it's the supreme delight of standing before the Lord, and that position being enough. It's only when you stand before Him that you receive words that carry Heaven's weight.
Don't dismiss your access to this realm, saying, "Yeah, but that was for Elijah the prophet!" Because of the New Covenant, you are seated with Messiah Jesus in heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6, NIV) and thus have anytime access, through His Blood, to stand before Him in "holy places" (Hebrews 10:19, ESV). This is not spiritual jargon, nor is it a mere theological concept: you have access, by faith, to stand before the Lord and simultaneously stand before whatever situation or sphere you are called to prophetically speak into as an influencer.
Although Elijah stood in a spiritual dimension before the Lord, he did not prophesy in his prayer closet. He stood before the juggernaut of his day, represented by evil King Ahab.
Who (or what) are the "Ahabs" facing us today? There are many people operating in governance (not just in the natural government, but those who are occupying the high places of society where culture is determined) who are empowered by demonic forces. They want to change the landscape of nations by influencing citizens through the media airways, academia, the arts, policy and law, and every other institution that is shaping modern culture.
Today, we are warring to secure the very future of morality in our nations. Sin is being redefined. The ancient boundary lines, established by a good God, are being moved so that life/conception, marriage, absolute truth, and all manner of life-giving, life-preserving standards are being redefined. Technology and innovation should be pioneered by those who are connected to the wisdom of Heaven, instead of many demonic spirits occupying the high places.
No More Hiding in the Cave
Those meant to be on the front lines of the cultural conversation in education, government, politics, technology, entertainment and so on have allowed themselves to be pushed into a cave by the evil one. I say, "No more!" Make no mistake. The devil, though defeated, is still that age-old cunning and crafty serpent. He's decorated the cave to be very appealing to Christians, especially those operating in the prophetic.
Jezebel intimidated Elijah with a report that said, "Tell Elijah I am going to kill him!" (1 Kings 19:1-2). The history-making prophet who just served as the catalyst in the Mt. Carmel "fire from Heaven" confrontation was now afraid and running for his life. The devil is trying to get prophets to run away from demonic intimidation and hide in nice, cozy charismatic caves.
There is a conversation happening on the center stage of real life culture that demands prophetic engagement. There are major issues at stake and hanging in the balance, and we are not even involved in that conversation, but rather having conversations about that conversation in safe places. Bottom line: we are often comfortable maintaining success in a subculture while God is calling an Elijah company to the center stage of cultural conversation.
The Cultural Conversation Demands Prophetic Voices
It's good to have Christian marketplace events and groups; this is where we rally together, build relationship, and get discipled. The gatherings, meetings and rallies are a necessary starting point, but God is not evaluating our Kingdom success based on attendance numbers at a Christian event; He's evaluating our impact based on how we are contributing to and influencing the greater cultural conversations.
Where are the prophetic leaders who become respected, or at least listened to, who speak on the center stage of economic discussion or political debate, or the formation of laws, or in developing mainline television programs or films? I know there are some, but not enough.
Truth be told, I believe the quantity of prophets intended to have "office" in the local church is very limited; many of the prophets being raised up today are meant to take their place as influencers and innovators in the "center stage" of cultural conversations. They are called to be prophetic strategists, innovators and problem-solvers within Apple, Google or Microsoft, etc.
I believe the Lord gave me this language: "The center stage of cultural conversation." This is the place where the innovators, artists, entrepreneurs, moguls, kings and rulers of this day gather to communicate. While they are exchanging "inspired ideas" that are directly discipling nations, most Christians are content in a "side-room" somewhere, having conversations with other Christians. You don't belong in a side-room; your access to Heaven and prophetic voice are meant for the "board room!"
Vision of the Board Room, the Throne Room and the Prophet
The Lord showed me the following picture/vision which I believe applies to this prophetic word. There was a business board room where a bunch of people were gathered around a table. I felt like it was a humorously exaggerated atmosphere. Papers were flying all over the place as people were frantically scratching their heads, seeking a solution to some crisis. I knew the people seated in this board room were highly qualified. They had letters after their names, titles, and all manner of academic pedigree. Yet, they still struggled to find a solution.
Then, the door opened and someone stepped into the board room. I knew a few things instinctively about this person. One, this person had a place at the table, but they were certainly not as qualified as the other people struggling to find solutions. Two, right before stepping into the board room, I knew this person was in another room: the throne room. Third, when this person stepped from the throne room into the board room, the atmosphere immediately shifted. The papers that were hovering in the air immediately dropped upon the table. Stability was released. And when this person spoke, it was evident they had accessed wisdom from Another Source, another age, another dimension. What they received in the throne room and then decreed into the board room released a prophetic solution to a problem no one could naturally solve, and the fear of the Lord fell.
Did they mention Jesus or preach a salvation message? Not necessarily. There is a time to be uncompromisingly overt and there is a time to be prophetically covert. When you release wisdom you receive from God, it carries the weight of His presence and will accomplish His supernatural purposes. This is an example of why it's vital for us to show up and speak up.
Conclusion and Final Clarification
Prophecy can be confrontational and, at times, very challenging, but it should always come forth with a redemptive solution. Keep decreeing and declaring, for the decree is the first step in Kingdom advancement. Just recognize it doesn't end with decreeing: God's calling you to show up and speak up.
We must keep assembling with our brothers and sisters in Christ while growing, maturing, and being supernaturally trained. We need this! But remember, it doesn't end with us attending a conference or seminar; may what we learn in those environments embolden us to step onto the center stage of cultural conversation and contribute the word of the Lord!
Also, please understand, there will always be prophets in the Church or "Religion Mountain." Your office will be in the context of a local church or parachurch ministry, and that is your calling. But I do believe this message applies to you. The office of the prophet in the five-fold ministry is not just to hear God for someone, but it's to equip and train all Believers how to become increasingly more prophetic in their everyday walk with God, and in whatever their Kingdom assignment is.
In short, let's continue to do what we are doing; however, it does not end alone with conferences, training and equipping, but rather, the fruit will be "societal reformation" as prophets take their place.
Larry Sparks, MDiv
Larry SparksÂ is a prophetic author, speaker, and lecturer on revival. He presently serves as publisher for Destiny Image, a Spirit-filled publishing house pioneered by Don Nori Sr. in 1983. Larry is fueled by a vision to help the Church community create space for the Holy Spirit to move in freedom, power and revival fire, providing every Believer with an opportunity to have a life-changing encounter in the Presence of God. In addition, Larry is a regular contributor to many publication outlets. He is author of Breakthrough Faith, The Fire That Never Sleeps with Michael Brown and John Kilpatrick, compiler of Ask for the Rain, and co-author of Arise with Patricia King. He earned a Master of Divinity from Regent University and enjoys life in Texas with his beautiful wife and beloved daughter.
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