Things may not be so good out there. I am quite sure that many of you already knew that. And now you are left asking the important question of “what now”? Well, diagnosing a problem is only the first step. A skilled physician not only determines what’s wrong, he suggests a cure.
I believe that the church is about to get hit broadside with a revival that they did not see coming. It is my earnest prayer that the church will heed the current crop of prophets out there saying that there is a problem. Because my generation will be the ones involved with this revival. And I am not willing to see one of them fall away due to the church’s insistence on repeating its own mistakes time and again.
First though, let’s try and set all of this up by a quick summation of what we consider to be the key issues we are dealing with:
1. There is a large segment of the Spirit-filled church today that has fallen asleep, counting things of no real spiritual impact as being primary and discarding the important issues as being marginal.
2. Generations X and Y, those born from 1968 through 1985, are earmarked by anti-social behavior and appearances and a hunger for the extreme.
3. These groups are widely misunderstood by the church and in immediate danger of facing alienation and separation from the Body of Christ.
4. There is a revival on the horizon for these groups with God raising up prophets and preachers from the ashes.
Mario Murillo gave a prophecy in his book entitled, “Fresh Fire” about a future generation that he called “The Lazarus Generation”. According to Mario, God had some specific plans for his end time’s army and these included a whole generation of individuals that were widely considered to be dead. Former Satanists, skinheads, witches, New Agers, Goths, skaters, punks, gang members, drug addicts and criminals were going to get saved and form a radical army that proved to be key in God’s plans for the last days.
Taking into consideration what they came out of, these young believers would be intolerant of superficial beliefs and church normalcy. They would hunger for God like no other generation who came before them. They would not be scared of the enemy or of taking the Gospel into the worst parts of the cities because they were from there too.
Mario had a strong warning for the church in all of this as well. He said that the church would be in danger of repeating its mistake with the Lazarus Generation that occurred with the Jesus People of the late sixties, early seventies. They came out of the Hippie movement in droves, looking for God. But the church was too concerned with maintaining the status quo and assimilating their young converts. And so as quickly as they were saved and coming to the churches, they fell away.
The major difference between the Jesus People and the Lazarus Generation is fairly easy to discern. The Jesus People were drug-taking peaceniks. They were all about free love and free choice, peace, love and understanding.
Not so with this generation. In direct contrast to the Hippies who were saved, this generation is about hatred, malice, violence, self-centeredness and anti-authoritarian stances. These are deep seeded issues that must be dealt with, lest we find that in bringing them in, we destroy what remains.
You simply cannot take a drug dealer who was just saved and expect the same conversion and subsequent behavior from them as you would a clean-cut kid from the suburbs of Happyville. They have lived in extreme reality for all of their lives. Not a nice and cute reality, either. But a grim reality filled with OD’s, AIDS, suicide, rape, murder and other things that the hippies would have wet themselves, thrown away their flowers and run like 12-year old girls, had they been exposed to them.
And when they come into the church after having been saved from certain death on the streets, they will not stand for the Emperor’s New Clothes. I would give them about 2 weeks total. Then they will call you out and demand to know why it is that you are propagating lies. They want reality. More than that, they want God in their reality every day.
The Bible says to lay hands on the sick and they shall recover? Great, let’s do this. How about in the Mall on Friday night? Why don’t we go to the hospital then? And when you fall back on your spiritual excuses and doubt-jargon, it’s over with between you and them. Above all else, this generation knows when it is being played and you can count on them not standing for it. If you say it is so, you better be able to prove it. If the Bible says that God can provide all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, count on them jumping out of the boat then there and seeing if it’s true.
And herein lies the crux of the problem that the conversion of Lazarus brings with it.
Many in the church are used to the Christian lifestyle. Saying NO to strip joints and beer. Saying “no way!” to adultery and premarital sex. Attending a youth group with friends and praying around the pole together once a year. Talking about all the things that God could do, if you just believed enough and not talking about how you have never quite gotten to the point where He actually will.
And Lazarus will smell your game two miles away. To be perfectly honest, if they so much as consider the fact that the whole thing is a lie and that the church is faking it, they will walk away for good. And once they do, they will not sit by silently and let you carry on, friends. They will do their best to expose you as a fraud and bring about the ruination of the whole great game.
The dilemmas then that faces us is this: God has great plans to save an entire generation before Christ comes back and use them to shake the world; we just are nowhere near ready for them right now. And we really do not have the luxury of time being on our side anymore. Because the prophecy was right about the Lazarus Generation, I should know, I am one of them. And the time is not far off in the future when they will start getting saved out of the worst possible circumstances—it is right now.
We then in the church carry upon our sadly delicate shoulders the unenviable task of preparing for an imminent event that will decide the future population of Heaven on a shoestring budget. Our accounts are full of hype, but the truth deposits are way lower than what they need to be right now. The solution for this is for us to get as real as possible in the shortest amount of time.
We will need to trim the fat from our doctrine, letting go of our soft-serve doctrines and seeking the face of God for an outpouring of real power. Now.
This Lazarus Generation is very important to God’s plans in many different ways. Number one, they are the front lines that will be used in the middle of Hell itself in the upcoming days. I want you to imagine a poverty stricken ghetto in Chicago or LA. There are gang members on the stoops drinking beers and drug dealers standing on the corners. How do you reach people? Walk up and smile saying, “Jesus loves you” and handing them a cartoon tract of Willie the ex-drunk? Well, good luck with that approach, I hope you have lots of “faith” so that you can deny away them sticking a gun in your ear or beating you to a pulp.This generation will be unafraid of the world and have no desire to acquire the kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof. And that is why we need them, church.
Sure they are going to be hard to handle. Sure they will question what you do instead of kissing your feet as proper serfs. In exchange for this “gross rebellion”, they will go where the church does not dare to anymore. And what is that worth? Perhaps not much to you. But it is of inestimable worth to God. And that is why we must center our prayers now and brace ourselves up like men and women of God because Lazarus is coming and nobody told him that God was just a hobby.