California Shall Be a "Resurrection State!"
I heard the Spirit of the Lord sovereignly speak this to me during a time of worship. While in a moment of being overwhelmed by His presence (during a spiritual warfare conference in New Jersey, February 2020), the Lord spoke this to my heart and illustrated it by using a person in the audience: Deborah Berteau—wife of Pastor Glen Berteau. Why is this significant?
Glen had suffered a major heart attack and, naturally, should have been dead. I believe because of the prayers of the saints, he experienced a miraculous healing that would legitimately borderline on being classified as a "resurrection."
In the "swirl" of the moment, I prophesied over Deborah and proceeded to text Pastor Glen the following recap:
I believe your (Pastor Glen) resurrection is a firstfruits of a state wide resurrection in California.
I believe the Lord says that California is meant to be known as a "resurrection state."
Northern California has been contending for resurrection. Bethel has been doing this, most recently and notably.
Then you had your resurrection.
I believe the heart and passion of the Lord is for California to be a resurrection state—that physical resurrections would be signs of awakening and spiritual resurrection.
I specifically noted Bethel Church (Redding, CA) in this prophetic word. This is because, around the same time, the world heard about the tragic death of little Olive, the daughter of Bethel Church worship leader Kalley Heiligenthal. In the natural, Olive had died. However, Kalley, her husband, and the Bethel community stepped in and, in my opinion, exhibited a spiritual maturity that is seldom visible in the church world today. Yes, they were being ridiculed and criticized. Severely. And sadly, by many fellow Christians. But they persisted nonetheless.
It reminds me of the days of Hannah (mother of the Old Testament prophet Samuel). When the priest of the Lord, Eli (the one who was supposed to be spiritually mature), saw Hannah in a place of deep travail and anguish in prayer, he misidentified her as being drunk on wine. His discernment was off because of his distance from the Lord. He may have been identified as a priest, but when you study the context of his life (and his evil, worthless sons), you quickly recognize that Eli was not poised to make the most spiritually discerning observations.
Those who claim the religion of Christianity but personally live at a distance from the Lord will often misidentify true spiritual passion and obedience to God as extreme and imbalanced. It's simply because they claim a religion, but they don't intimately know a Person.
Precious Olive was not raised from the dead—but she is forever with the Lord in glory, and the seeds of faith that were expressed through tenacious Believers continue to work toward a massive move of resurrection in the days ahead. I believe the spiritual backbone was strengthened in the Christian community of California (and across the world), as they exercised their faith to believe for something Jesus said should be a normative, defining mark of all Believers everywhere: "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons..." (Matt. 10:8, ESV). I believe He was calling for a resurrection of "normal" Christianity.
God Sees and God Remembers!
Over the course of my last few visits to California, particularly the Los Angeles area, I was gripped with this thought: God remembers and God finishes what He starts. Keep this hopeful statement in mind as I make the following assessment of "reality." (Photo via Unsplash)
Driving around the LAX airport, I have been confronted with the sad physical deterioration of communities in the Los Angeles area. You can witness the same thing in beautiful coastal cities like San Francisco and even San Diego. From growing homeless populations to widespread pollutions (on the ground, in the air), one witnesses a geography that was destined for beauty falling prey to the influence of sin and satan. These are physical manifestations of key individuals occupying places of leadership and governance influencing the course of California with radical, progressive, anti-Christ ideologies. They are not sensitive to the needs of people. They are not promoting the good of humanity. Far from it!
The ancient boundary lines are being moved and removed (see Prov. 22:28). Truth is not absolute; it's absolutely up for debate. Gender is fluid. You can marry whoever, or whatever, and brand it as marriage. You can identify yourself as whoever (or whatever) you feel like. And furthermore, the gates of Hell are opened wide through Media and Hollywood to disciple nations and generations with doctrines of demons, where evil is called good and good called evil (see Isa. 5:20). But there is hope because our God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! He remembers what has been sown into the spiritual soil of California.
While my heart broke over the immorality and physical ruin much of California was in, the Lord pierced the darkness with a prophetic reminder: I remember...
I remember Azusa Street: the historic revival that broke out in 1906 that exported modern Pentecostalism across the earth. Additionally, this took aim at the horrific, racial divide taking place in the USA at the time, as the key catalyst of this movement was William Seymour, a near-blind African American man who has become a modern pioneer of Pentecost. At first, people came from far and wide to attend the little mission church where reports went out of divine healing, Holy Spirit baptism, speaking in tongues and physical manifestations of God's presence. Then, people went out from this place, carrying the fire of God to the ends of the earth. This was all out of Southern California.
I remember the Charismatic Movement: in 1960, a priest named Dennis Bennett (rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church) experienced a powerful baptism in the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues. He began to share about his experience, so much so that the testimony went far and wide, provoking spiritual hunger in other mainline denominational Christians. Soon enough, out of Van Nuys, California, a movement swept the earth where no denomination (which included our Catholic brothers and sisters) was safe from the Holy Spirit. (Check out Bennett's wonderful book Nine O'Clock in the Morning, which chronicles his story of being filled with the Holy Spirit.)
I remember the Jesus People Movement...and I am not finished yet: Following the Charismatic renewal in the 1960s, there was a sweeping revival in the late 60s and 70s where God started radically saving young people—many of whom had been caught up in the hippie culture of "free love" (sexual anarchy), drugs, rock and roll, and counter-cultural rebellion, etc. These were not your normal "church folk" who were becoming converted to Christianity. One day, they were radical worldly sinners; the next, they were wholehearted, burning followers of Jesus.
I remember Calvary Chapel and Chuck Smith: During the Jesus People Movement, God raised up amazing churches like Calvary Chapel, and pastors like Chuck Smith, who embraced both the move of the Holy Spirit and the priority of expository preaching from Scripture. Furthermore, they were willing to embrace the young people who were coming to Christ by the masses. They opened their churches to those who maybe didn't look like traditional church people (whatever they are supposed to look like). They baptized these passionate converts in the Pacific Ocean. They were willing to adjust the "wineskin" or operating system of church to accommodate this move of the Spirit.
I remember John Wimber and the Vineyard: The key thrust of this movement was that all Believers were filled with the Holy Spirit ("everyone gets to play"), and thus, all were qualified to operate in the gifts of the Spirit, particularly for bringing healing to the sick and operating in the prophetic.
Consider other evidences of God's amazing, continuous work in California: the sound of worship through Bethel Music, Jesus Culture and the Vineyard Anaheim; the evangelistic zeal of Greg Laurie, the cultural impact of Pastor Jack Hibbs (Calvary Chapel Chino Hills), the charismatic statesman that is Dr. Jack Hayford, and so on.
God is not finished with California. Not only does the past give ample evidence to this, but again, consider the present. Consider the moves of God that are continuing and having influence around the globe. The Lord will have His inheritance in the "Golden State."
Destined to Export Moves of God Across the Earth
California has a destiny as an "exporting state." For better or worse, what is exported out of California goes to the nations. This was spiritually seen in the Azusa Street Revival of 1906, when nations across the earth were set ablaze because of the Pentecostal fire experienced in that little sanctuary. The "Charismatic Renewal" was exported from Van Nuys across the earth, as Christians of all denominations discovered it was God's desire to fill them powerfully with the Holy Spirit.
Sadly, California has also exported a counterfeit, demonic way of life to the nations through the messages preached through the entertainment pulpit of Hollywood. Furthermore, we see academia and the government in California being epicenters for some of the most anti-Christ, progressive ideologies on the planet.
While the darkness can be overwhelming, allow this word of the Lord to stir your heart: "All I need is a remnant!" When the remnant of Believers mobilizes as one Church, one Body, and one Ekklesia, recognizing its assignment to displace darkness and advance the Kingdom of God, anything is possible. (Photo via Unsplash)
The Third Missing Move of God: It's Time for the Remnant to Arise!
I prophesy that the Lord desires to raise up a remnant who will pick up where things "left off" during the Jesus People movement. Where did things leave off? The 1970s left us with an incomplete move of God. That sounds like a harsh indictment, but let it challenge us to be found "well doing" in the perilous times ahead.
In 1960, the Church started to experience renewal (Charismatic Renewal). The Holy Spirit touched the Protestant and Catholic Church in a powerful way, and in many respects, I believe the Church birthed the Jesus Movement through its newfound, dynamic relationship with the Holy Spirit. The Jesus People Movement was undoubtedly a revival, where the unchurched, unsaved, and the downright heathen, were meeting God in powerful ways. But...there is a third missing move of God. We had renewal and revival, but we did not have reformation.
What was meant to happen? The converts of the Jesus People Movement were meant to run towards the areas of society that satan was establishing a foothold in. In the 60s and 70s, though it was a spiritually dark era, there was some level of societal God-consciousness left over from the 40s and 50s; albeit, it was ever-shrinking.
Sadly, a shoddy eschatology (theology of the end-times) rendered a potentially powerful and culture-shifting remnant army impotent. Instead of running towards Government, Hollywood, Media, technology, academia, and the like, these "sanctified" people of God ran away from these areas of darkness, desiring (in purity) to make themselves ready for an "any moment" rapture and ultimate destruction of the godless, left-behind society.
The rapture didn't come; nor did reformation. While the Church hunkered down and waited for an "any moment" rapture, the devil moved in and proactively discipled the nation. Since there were so few Holy Spirit-filled Believers engaging the highest places of influence in society, the devil was sure to move his pawns into the most strategic positions. Remember, the spirit world, both Heaven and Hell, seeks a host. Heaven uses those who are born again, in whom the Spirit of God dwells; Hell uses the unconverted, as they are classified as "children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3) and "sons of disobedience" (Col. 3:6). Unless God dwells within us—the evidence of the new birth—we are under the influence of the "god of this present age," satan (2 Cor. 4:4, WNT).
Bottom line: It's time for a nation-sweeping reformation. And I believe this move of God is going to be birthed out of some of the most unlikely and spiritually-written-off regions of the United States, namely California. We're seeing it even now as the Spirit of God is powerfully breaking out on the beaches of Southern California, using everyday people like Jessi and Parker Green, who are simply willing to say "yes" to whatever God asks.
God finishes what He starts; it's in His very nature (see Phil. 1:6)! The people and movements I referenced previously that were birthed in California were not conclusions; they were starting points. Now, it's time to partner with God and pick up where the Jesus People Movement left off. Just maybe, the converts being birthed into the Kingdom on the beaches today will become the senators and actors and screenwriters and professors of tomorrow!
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Larry Sparks, MDiv
Larry Sparks¬†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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