The Lakeland Series:
A Case Study in Advanced Prophetic Listening
Reflections on Lakeland 6 -- "Is It the End?"
A Coffee Klatch with Special Guest "L. J." Christ
[ Part 4 ] [ Part 5 ] [ Part 6 ] [ Part 7 ] [ Part 8 ]
August 24, 2008
By now, most if not all of us have read the apology from Dutch Sheets that reverberated late last week through the mainstream and wilderness churches. It was the noblest confession I have ever read from a mainstream culture prophet. A less widely read but equally noble piece came out from Christine Beadsworth who is sometimes published on Storm Harvest--giving a heartfelt warning to the "I told you so" wilderness camp. [Ed. Note: a concluding statement was also released by Peter Wagner the day after this section of Reflections on Lakeland was released.]
Under the hubbub around Todd Bentley however, my own heart has been in another place altogether. That place is revealed in an imaginary conversation I had with our Friend the Lord Jesus ("L. J.") Christ at Starbucks late last week. For whatever its value in leading us to something past Todd, I share it herewith. (The Lord's words are in red. But for those who can't see the dialogue in color, His words are marked with a "+" sign.)
In my mind, I walked into Starbucks a couple nights ago, though I wasn't sure it was not really a tavern. On entering, I saw the Lord sitting at a table for two over by the right wall. As I walked by He looked up and invited me to sit down. He knew I had a lot on my mind; and as always, I was glad to see Him.
+"Coffee?" He asked. (He knew I didn't drink coffee, but He seemed to like His.)
+"And so?" (said He) as I sat down, giving me the desired opening...
"Well, Lord, what do you make of the whole Lakeland thing? What gives? Is it over?"
+"What do you make of it?"
"Well, I know what I think I see. There were miracles, healings. You were certainly present. (I know you certainly touched me.) But the thing with Todd Bentley and all. It seemed like when I first tuned in, it really was about You. But now it's all about Todd. I mean, sure, things have happened to him. But it's like nobody can see past him--like You were never there at all or had anything to do with it."
"Well, were you there (or was it just my imagination)? And if so, why all this out of it? What's the point?"
+"Yes, I was there. In fact, I saw it all coming."
"You mean you authored this thing, even though you knew this was going to devolve into a 'Todd-on-trial' show?"
+"Chris, you have said you want to see My ways. So have your friends. Everyone says they want to see My ways. But when I actually show them My ways, they cannot accept that is what they are seeing. They already have an image of what My ways should look like. So when they see what I am doing, but it doesn't fit their image of how I should act or what I should allow, they conclude I am not in something or behind it or in control of it."
"What is Your point then?"
+"My point is I am trying to accomplish something in My People. And in order to do it, I have to send my Spirit on those who are desirous to receive Me for what I can do for them, but who don't understand the larger picture of who I am, of what I require of them, and who even retain things in their lives which I abhor, and which they know I abhor."
"But what does that accomplish? I mean, if you want glory, why show up in compromised situations like this where in the end it's just going to become about one more man, especially a fallen one? Why don't you send your Spirit on people who have already demonstrated they've paid the prices for following You?--people you can trust!"
+"First of all, I haven't said it's 'the end.' You have. But beside this, you've been asking me that same question for 25 years, and you've done your best to understand. But even you don't get it all yet. Now, who were those people you were speaking of that I could trust? Did you mean yourself?"
"Well, I mean..well, yes, I guess so. But not just me. All your obedient wilderness people. You know. Like I said, all the people who have already paid the prices--people who've given up everything to follow you like you've asked of us."
+"Do you think I can trust them?"
+"Who are they talking about?"
"You mean right now?"
"Well, Todd Bentley, of course. Everybody's talking about Todd."
+"Didn't you just ask me how if I want glory, why do I show up in compromised situations?"
+"Well where is my glory among the ones you think I can trust if they are just as fixated on Todd as they claim everyone else has been?"
"OK. I think I see."
+"No. You have only begun to see. This comes back to my saying 'I have a work to accomplish in My People' by these compromised events. When I said, 'My people,' I meant ALL my people, not just 'those' people. You see, I have just proven again that My People are not truly ready for My Glory. I have tested them all, and found fault with them all. Hardly has a man been able to remain fixed on Me throughout this outpouring."
"But it doesn't seem fair, Lord. I mean, haven't You told us to discern the true from the false in all these things? What about all the false Christs You Yourself said would come? Didn't you praise the Ephesians for trying false apostles?"
+"Indeed I did. But did you also notice I had to rebuke them as well? And what for? For failing to remain fixed on Me and keep their first love sharp."
"So how can we discern and try things without departing from giving you all attention?"
+"Son, this is exactly what your friends need to understand. You cannot truly discern if your attention does become removed from Me. If you remove your gaze from Me to prosecute what I show you, your discernment is no longer of Me, it is of you."
"So our discernment about Todd was false? I mean, look what happened? He cooked His own goose! Weren't all the discerners proved right? And I could have just as easily joined them and even led the charge if it hadn't been for You saying, 'Just listen!'"
+"Not so much false, but distorted so as to be of no use to Me in preserving MY pre-eminence. The truth is, Chris, for all that you have seen, neither Todd's people nor your people yet know the whole story about Todd. And they never will. And there is yet far more for all of you to hear regarding My ways in all this than anyone has heard. The question for all of you remains, 'Is the discernment I gave you of Todd Bentley where your faith ends concerning what I reveal of Myself through Lakeland?'"
"It looks like that is where we are headed."
+"Remember, it is not I who said Lakeland has 'ended.' It is your companions who have made this declaration. I have not ceased revealing Myself to those who are still receiving of My release there--yourself included. But for all whose faith has taken them no further than to have seen Todd or how I have dealt with him--for them Lakeland is 'ended,' for I am no longer their center of attention--if I ever was."
"What's to become of us then?"
+"My first people circled many mountains before they were ready to be led out of the wilderness. Do not forget that all the delays in fulfilling My People's destiny were self-imposed through lack of faith in Me."
"So you are saying we have not received the promised revival because we have delayed it through our own unbelief--even those of us seeking for pure revival?"
+"You have seen with your own eyes that those who have cried loudest for pure revival have no more kept their eyes off a man than those whose revival desire is less mature."
"So we will have to circle again? Another dubious outpouring?"
+"I am about to pour myself out on more confounding men. I have said I will pour myself out on all flesh. And I will continue to do so until all who cry for pure revival prove to Me they are capable of fixating on Me and receiving from Me without regard to the nature of those whom I choose to visit. Many of my cross-bearing people await a 'faceless' revival. Yet none have shown the ability to look past the face of the men by whom I appear in order to receive ME in spite of them."
"But what do we do with our discernment over what's wrong and needs to be exposed! I mean it is YOUR Spirit showing us all this stuff about the people you fall on! We're not making it up. In fact I know that a lot of our people would rather not even have to deal with all of what they see."
+"Whose Voice would you rather have speak to the evils, yours or Mine?"
"Yours, of course."
+"Then where should you direct your discernment? And for what purpose do you think I have released it to you?"
"I guess intercession then?"
+"That wasn't so hard, was it?"
"But Lord, that sounds like so much of a 'cop-out'! Just 'pray' about it?--while all the junk goes on? I mean what is discernment for if we're not supposed to declare it? How will anything get exposed and dealt with?"
+"If your people are saying they can't trust me through intercession to strategically intervene to expose and root out tares amid my outpourings, on what basis do they trust themselves to do it?"
"I know Lord, but if it hadn't been for all the people with discernment nailing Todd Bentley, how would he have ever been found out?"
+"You are still without understanding. It was not the unbridled internet voices of your people that enabled me to deal with Todd. It was the voices of those who cried to Me in secret, allowing Me to strategically move among those in the authoritative line of Todd's own relationships to bring his hidden issues to light."
+"Chris, my prophetic people still have a very long way to go in properly handling My power of discernment. You know how I have had you write on this already. All of you have yet to learn how to both receive from Me while discerning what is not of Me. Do you think that by maturing your power to discern, I intended to quench your child-like ability to receive? No matter how much you gain in perception regarding the work of the Evil One, you will never outgrow your need to receive from Me with the simplicity, innocence and humility of a child."
"Lord, it's impossible to receive from You and discern what's not of You at the same time in these mixed moves! And the more you show up through impure vessels in impure settings, the 'more impossible' it is.
The truth is Lord most of our people would really like to receive what they sense of Your Spirit in these visitations--at least I think they would. (I hope they would?) But they're scared because if they dare admit Your Spirit is truly healing people through such dubious vessels, they fear it will compromise their discernment. If they lay it down to receive from You, they fear being untrue to You and party to covering up what lurks behind these ministers (not to mention receiving of a false spirit themselves). I mean, ARGHH it's just too hard!! Why do you make it so hard? How can we ever receive from you under such conditions??"
+"Did you say 'hard?' Yes, it is 'hard.' I am a 'hard Lord.' Discipleship is 'hard.' Advanced discipleship is even 'harder.' But why should your fellow disciples complain to Me about this seeing they already accept hardship as the price of following Me? Are they now saying they will not follow Me in this hardship?
Yes, it is impossible to discern and receive from Me at the same time--IF you are holding onto discernment! For my gift of discernment comes planted within the shell of your own cynicism, and your faith can never rise to receive Me where your cynicism remains unbroken. But I didn't give you My discernment to hold onto. I gave it to you to release back to Me for My action through intercession, and thus to break off your cynicism so you might receive from Me.
And did you say my discerners are "afraid?" You say they fear that if they dare to receive Bread from My Spirit, I will instead give them what serpents also lurk behind my anointed ones? This is unbelief, and calls for casting out by a perfect Love fixated in Me that blinds them to all else but Me. Such is the fearless first love I still yearn for from my 'Ephesian' wilderness faithful."
"There's not much I can say to any of this, Lord."
+"That's a good place to be. For I have said that every mouth would be stopped before Me."
"Yes, You did, didn't You."
+"When my obedient ones learn the mystery of discerning and receiving, and of how I use poison to purge from poison, it is THEN they will be entrusted as My choice stewards in revival. It is not upon My larger church that I wait. Otherwise why do I continue pouring Myself upon them? It is upon my faithful desert dwellers in their unpurged discernment--on them, I say, I wait. For until they learn to see, trust and receive of Me alone while discerning of Me over my impure vessels, I cannot entrust them to be vessels of the purified revival for which they long."
"Are you waiting on me? Can You trust me yet?"
+"Now that you understand, you know what you are to do.."
The conversation was over. There was no more to be said. I got up to leave. But I knew what I had to do.
And now, I have done it..
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Page created January 24, 2017