Great Shaking and Awakening

The shaking and dismantling continues around the world’s systems, within the church systems, and within each of us. False foundations exposed brings opportunity for godly foundations to be established. I just got back from the annual Charismatic Round Table held at the offices of Strang Communications in Orlando. This continues to be a valuable dialogue, and I am thankful for Steve Strang, Lee Grady, and Strang Communications for their obedience in hosting this venue each year. 75 church and ministry leaders gathered to understand more fully where we are, what we are doing, and especially what must we do going forward, to improve and give God glory in this segment of His church in America. There were various discussions surrounding several topics, and hopefully all of us came away with some possible solutions as we go forward.

This pondering came forth as I reflected, as well as looked ahead to the opportunities before us. This year culminated similar to the trend of recent years, yet with more shock and awe to those not discerning the times. It was another year of God exposing us to us. Exposing the weaknesses in our systems and methods of trying to touch Him, and trying to touch the world around us. We seem to continue to lower our standards in valuing character and integrity, especially in those who lead. Many have fallen into experiential leading of self-agenda’s, comical methods, and frenzied impressions of His presence. Nobody is laughing any longer, these are serious times, and it demands a people who know the wealth we carry in us, and the God who designed us for so much more.

There is no question that much of this has come through hunger for the real thing, so I thank God for that hunger in those seeking His presence. For those who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, He is a loving God that answers them regardless of the chaotic environment in which they may find themselves. We saw some of that again this year as well. The good news is that many are hungry. The bad news is that some are hungry enough to manufacture a filling for their desires. We are created in His image, and so we do have the ability to create. When we create outside of His heart, His leading, and His character, we can sure make a mess of things.

Thank God for grace, but we are living in the days of toleration for leaders regardless of their personal character or integrity. In pursuing what seems to be His glory, many may drop their guard and engage, rather than having full disclosure as to who is leading, what are they doing, and where is this all going? Many have neither matured towards rightfully discerning God’s truth, or they have chosen to shut down discernment for their own agenda’s or desires. When the mess comes the leaders may try and present a silver lining in the chaos, or utilize spin-filled reasoning for the lack of sound judgment. Finally, it sometimes sadly comes down to the fact that they just don’t care what happens as long as somebody got touched for good. There are those in the world, and even among us that may be more likely to trust a bartender than a Christian leader, and that is truly sad. I apologize to the bartenders in advance for comparing them to these types of leaders.

Many are questioning the established church because of its failures, and inability to impact the people and communities we live in. They are wondering why it just is not working. There are so many expressions of Christianity, and so many that are missing plumb-line truth, that it leaves one confused as to what Christianity really is. I am often compelled to give a more complete answer now when I am asked if I am a Christian. Here is my current response, “I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and the ways of His eternal Kingdom”.

Expressions and labels are inadequate of themselves in communicating and bringing forth the power of who we really are. We are Christ to the world and our identity must be in Him, and through Him. Our identity must be in the person of Jesus and not in a label—whether it is what others have given us, or one we have given ourselves. Denominations and church gatherings of all types are vehicles of directing us towards Him, but we will come to a powerless halt when we look to them, rather then the Father and His Eternal Son. It is not about the structure, but He will shape the environment and the community as we seek Him first.

“The shaking we are experiencing today is a move of God, who wants to live and move and have His being through His people. He wants to change the world through us!”
God is bearing down upon established systems of men, whether it is government institutions, or institutional churches. I must include organic gatherings too, because humanity often has it’s grip in those gatherings as well. He is truly shaking all things so that all that we can look to for security is Him. He is making it clear that He is a jealous God, jealous for our love, our affection, and our very lives. During this season, He is giving us a tremendous opportunity to go a better way, to walk in His eternal ways, and to love in His supernatural and transforming love.

Because we have continued to make the wrong things the main things, He is bringing us towards simplification of the one and only truth, It’s ALL ABOUT HIM. We have relied on systems and it was never about the systems. We have relied on Government systems and Jesus paid very little attention to Caesar and made it clear that Caesar was only to be given that which was his. Certainly we were not to entrust ourselves to these systems and governments, nor relying on them for sustenance that can only come from Him.

He did not want us to look too intently on our church structures, because at best they were inadequate in light of whom He is. This is not to diminish our need for gathering with one another, or making sure we engage with those that God has ordained as teachers and nurturers of our soul. He wants our identity and focused attention on Him and not on the peripherals of this world. His original intent was not for religion, though He has used it, but His original design was for a people freely willing to be called unto Himself.

We are seeing so many looking here and there, for “this” and “that”, while expecting the deceptive “this” and “that” to be the keys in finding Him. Father is desires for us come to Him so He can show us this, that, and the next thing He has for us. If you are spiritually unsatisfied, don’t remove yourself from your faith community to search after a better one, seek Him first and He will point you to all the right places and all the right faces. We do not want to continue to be looking for love in all the wrong places. Don’t expect that by moving from one system to the next, you are going to find what you are looking for. Father knows best, ask Him what you must do.

The Lord is bringing a mighty shaking to man-made religious, government, and various other structures in this hour. He is beckoning us to be free. He does not want anyone or anything to interfere with His personal guidance for each one of His children.

In other words, He desires for us to be in the world, but not of it. Our divine priority is not to so much in establishing organizations that grow, but to establish people who grow in relationship with Him, and each other, while pursuing Christ-likeness.

I like the way The Message describes the shaking we are experiencing: “‘One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.’ The phrase ‘one last shaking’ means ‘a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered’” (Heb. 12:26-27).

We have seen various movements and church systems come and go through the years, and many have been ineffective in producing lasting spiritual fruit that releases people into God’s directive destiny. We have institutions that have done little to impart to, empower, or release God’s people so that we can have genuine impact for the kingdom of God.

None of these organizations are necessarily wrong, but often they point to men or methods rather than releasing them to hear from the Father themselves. Scripture led controls under the descriptions of protection, covering, and obedience; often enslave those whom Christ has set free.

These organizations often become destiny stealers rather than destiny enablers. They captivate people within the four walls of a building instead of empowering them for service in the harvest fields of everyday life. Deception, fear and unhealthy authority structures often pull people into man-centered movements that fulfill the leader’s agenda.

When we become free from systematic controls and false “coverings,” Jesus can rule and reign within us and guide us into all truth. We will continue to chase experience, chills, and frills, in substitution of the real thing, until we decide to use our brains, common sense, and at least an ounce of discernment. A friend of mine recently made a profound comment to what we are seeing, “We have taken a quart of His Spirit, and three quarts of humanity, and called it a gallon of God.”

In the last 25 years in every county in America, the growth of Christianity has decreased per capita. That does not sound like the overcoming church in which the gates of hell cannot prevail against. Thus the shaking and awakening from a loving Father who sees His potential in us that we have yet to realize.

CLARIFICATION: Please do not misunderstand me; this is not a call to leave a system or institution to another form, but a calling forth of a revolutionary people that will not settle for what was, or even what is, but to engage in more of what the Father wants. His desire is for more relating with Him personally, outside of our larger gatherings, while going to another level in relating and loving one another within them. As we live as His disciples, we can then take His love and presence into the marketplace and into every fabric of society the Lord has released us into. Let’s kick our unfruitful habits to the curb, while allowing His presence and His nature to abound.

The shaking we are experiencing today is a move of God, who wants to live and move and have His being through His people. He wants to disciple and transform nations through us! He is working a divine exchange by demanding His plans to prevail over ours.

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man's heart... but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

Jesus said, “‘My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me’”.
If we listen to His voice, it doesn’t matter what denomination or structure of community we belong to. It is not about a system; it is about Him.

The rumbling we hear will continue until revelation of Him increases in order for us to walk powerfully in the reality of His purposes for each of us. As we yield our will for His, He will empower us to present His supernatural Kingdom to the world. His power and love will pour out of us as we allow Him to use us to bring about His purposes. Let us now choose to embrace the shaking, examine ourselves, and shake more of the flesh away to reveal His Spirit.

Father, may we bring you glory in the freedom we have in you, and in your ways. Shake us and wake us towards your Kingdom and your truth. Help us to live in moment-to-moment reality of your presence, and your better way, in Jesus name.

Robert Ricciardelli