The New Generation | Positioned to Ride the River
It’s an incredible day to be alive isn’t it? We are living in a time of outpouring. These are “River days,” and I wouldn’t miss them. God is awakening our hearts to the revelation of His love. Many generations have longed to see the day we are living in.
I was 22 when the outpouring began in Toronto in 1994, and though I had absolutely no grid for what we were seeing, my heart was beating with a new expectation for the future. I knew then that it wasn’t going to be life as usual any longer, and it was going to be great. At the wise old age of 22, I determined that if this was God’s River, I would get into it as deeply as I could and see where it took me. I did and I’ve never been sorry.
Our church location on Dixie Road in 1994 was a place where the River was flowing and God was moving in such a powerful way that it caught all our attention very quickly. We went from being self-absorbed adolescents to seeing the reality of the kingdom of God come among us. When God challenges young people with this reality, they respond with all the energy of their youth. I recall being at the church early each evening and waiting eagerly to see what God would do. When we would leave in the early hours of the next morning, we would be overwhelmed by the presence of God and His goodness. What I saw then, I still see now all over the globe: youth and young adults laying down their lives without reservation for the reality of the King and His kingdom.
THE RIVER IS STILL HERE
In Ezekiel 47, the scripture speaks of the River of God’s presence being so deep that it could not be forced. In other words, it wasn’t possible to wade through it. It was too powerful. God is not looking for our permission or direction in what He is doing. He simply wants our faith and submission to it.
What can we expect from that River?
The River that Ezekiel saw brought three things: life, fruit and healing. No wonder everyone who has seen the effect of what God is doing now calls this flow “the River.” God is moving with teens and young adults all over the world, from Finland to California, from Brazil to Toronto causing them to be hungry to learn to heal the sick, to prophesy the word of the Lord and to live lives full of integrity.
This generation of God’s servants has been spawned in this flow of life, and they are used to experiencing God’s presence and seeing Him work miracles. One of the most exciting things I see is the River flowing in TACF’s School of Ministry where young people from all over the world come for five months to be refreshed, healed and equipped for the ministry. They are being called back to life by the presence of God.
Ezekiel 47:9 (NASB) prophesies, “It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.”
Wherever this River of blessing flows, it is bringing life to dead places. The words, “become fresh,” are the translation of a single Hebrew word, rapha which is otherwise translated, “healer.” How many spiritual lives of Christians have been revived and how many bodies as well as emotions have been healed as a result of God’s love during this season?
He heals us in these waters so that we may live the lives we were created to live. In the last 12 years, the River’s waters have brought emotional difficulties to the surface in the form of lies we’ve believed. Some of these lies are in the form of negative expectations based on bad experiences that condition us to doubt God. When the River of God’s love flows in with powerful force, these attitudes which we have long accepted as facts dislodge. We recognize them and release them to the cleansing flow of God and experience healing.
God will bring about fruit much more quickly from our lives when His love flows from us unhindered. Imagine learning this while still young so that it is possible to live a life of faith. No wonder it is the God-hungry youth who are fanning revival to full flame in the adults, in many congregations, who have grown a little tired, tied down in the busy routine of living.
RELEASING AN ARMY OF YOUNG EVANGELISTS
If you are wondering whether God is moving, I invite you to come to the youth conference called “Freshwind” that we host every year over Easter weekend. Since 1994 thousands of youth from all over the world have come to be filled up with God and then return home transformed.
During the Freshwind conference last year, we held a track of training workshops where we taught the young people to evangelize using the gifts of prophecy and healing. At the end of each session, we took them out and let them loose on the public. The youth came back each day testifying about seeing salvations and healings all over Toronto. As they went out for coffee or a meal, they allowed the River of the Holy Spirit to flow out from them as they prayed for people they had never seen before to be healed and to encourage them with a prophetic word.
After Freshwind was over, we received reports from several busloads of young people who had attended the conference, of the miracles that followed them all the way home as they stepped out and healed the sick at the rest stops!
At a camp in Finland, we also saw youth and adults begin to flow in prophetic evangelism and healing the sick. We finished the day of workshops with a fire tunnel asking for boldness and more of His presence to carry His love out the doors with us. By the next morning when pastor picked us up, he had already received several text messages and e-mails from these same people who had gone out into the streets and their work places and healed the sick. Why?
The youth seem to be less afraid and more thrilled about the fact that God is using them!
They are not waiting until they are 30 or 40; but right now in their schools and jobs and friends’ houses, God is showing up because they have given Him permission to use them wherever they are!
During the youth conference at Folly’s End in Croydon, England, my husband, Alyn, and I along with our friend, Gary Morgan, spoke about prophetic evangelism and provided opportunities for “practice.” We divided the group into small teams with the assignment of prophesying over 3 people they didn’t know. We spread out and hit Starbucks, clothing stores and restaurants and asked God for words that would reach people’s hearts. The youth were totally pumped and going for it.
The next day Alyn and I taught on healing evangelism and then divided them into groups again. Many of these youth were around 11-13 years old, and they were absolutely fearless.
One of the first people that Alyn’s group encountered was a deaf person on one of the main streets. Alyn asked them who would like to go pray for the person. They all wanted to, but because we try not to overwhelm people, he picked two and off they went. No one was safe from these junior healing machines!
One of the places we stopped was a pastry and coffee counter. Two of our boys went up to the counter and asked the lady serving, “Do you have any pain in your body?”
The lady behind the counter called a large, somewhat intimidating fellow over to the counter, and the boys asked him, too. After they prayed for the man, his pain left, and he was somewhat astounded by these pint-sized wonders!
For two hours we walked through shops and saw God heal people. At one point, our team divided down into pairs so that we could pray for as many people as possible in a few hours. My prayer partner was a young guy named Tom from Oasis Church.
As Tom and I walked through the shops, we stopped and prayed with many shop assistants and saw God heal them.
One of the first people that Tom and I prayed for was a Sikh lady who was a waitress and had a severe pain in her shoulder that required physiotherapy. We asked her repeat a four-line prayer and then asked her to check her shoulder. She rolled it around and then moved her arms over her head in absolute shock.
Then she said, “The pain is gone and I can move it! How did you do that?”
We explained that God loved her before someone came into her section that she needed to serve.
A short while later we talked to another lady who was standing at a perfume counter. She had recently had surgery on her ankle. We prayed with her and her pain was instantly gone. Again we got to share with her about God’s love for her and how He knew exactly where she was.
The youth were totally fearless and completely genuine at the same time. Their non-threatening manner enabled them to open conversations and disarm the defensiveness of people who were older than they were.
We are so excited about this year and what God has for the younger generation. It feels like we are on the brink of this next wave, doesn’t it? I believe that the young are very well positioned to ride this next wave like I was with this one that began in 1994. It pleases me to see that they have the boldness and desire to do it and intimacy with Him that gives them the love motivation.
They are going after God like never before. I want to be a part of it.