A Passion For Global Impact
There is no new way to have revival! What it took to get us here is what it will take to get us there. The only hope the church has to produce Global Impact is to possess the power of God’s passion. God is looking for passion from His people, a passion that reflects the passion He possessed when He redeemed His people. Bible scholars often call the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the passion of Christ. Can you imagine a dispassionate Savior who took the job only because no one else would do it? It would be a thankless job, but He passionately accepted the role. To love the unlovable would take the life out of Him, yet He did it because He was passionate about saving the world.
Passion is far more than an action. Webster’s Dictionary defines passion as “an intense, emotional, driving urge or feeling that totally possesses an individual to the point of giving oneself to a cause.” People who are passionate are people who are also committed. The lethargy and lack of zeal that fills our churches today can be traced to a loss of passion. Passion is the birthplace of dreams, the impetus to all action, and the inspiration of all spiritual accomplishment.
Passion is faith’s fuel. It ignites our desires while defying status quo. Passion condemns unfruitfulness. It becomes our permission to do what God has called us to do. Many men and women of God have found their permission from God because they became passionate about the things God cared about, and it loosed them into ministry. The accomplishments of the United Pentecostal Church International have been directly tied to our unbridled passion. Our future dreams and the myriad of hopes we possess will be realized only through our passion for God. Passion is the power that generates life and it is the power that moves us to perform our mission.
God Speaks the Language of Passion
What man or woman of God has ever deeply expressed his or her passion to God and found Him not understanding their words? He knows the sound of passion because He speaks the language. Consider our strength in doctrine. It comes from God’s passionate commitment to His Word.
God is passionate for us to know and understand Him as He really is. “Hear, 0 Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4) and again, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:3-4).
God did not want Israel to miss His master plan when He would image Himself in the man Christ Jesus. He wanted them to know that Jesus was not only their Messiah sent to save them; He was their God whom they had worshiped throughout the Old Testament.
Other utterances by the Lord let us know He is passionate about what He requires of us: “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The passion of Christ produced salvation for a world, but for that world to lay hold on salvation, they had to obey the commands of Christ as they were preached through the apostle Peter: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). The mission of the church is further realized by receiving the Holy Ghost; “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This is more than speech and rhetoric; this is the language of passion. This is the language spoken by the early church, and it must be spoken by us.
The church of Acts was born in the fires of Holy Ghost revival. Our founding fathers lived the Book of Acts and they were so possessed with passion that nothing could stop them. Even though Rome threatened and the religious rulers protested, passion allowed Peter to declare that it was better to obey God rather than men. Passion will turn fear-filled saints into fire-filled messengers. There was no river too deep, no mountain too tall, no valley too wide, or no obstacle too great that could cause them to stop preaching in the name of Jesus.
People who have passion for God cannot be stopped. You cannot kill them quickly enough, rebuke them often enough, or push them down enough to stop the strain of passion that is in them. Faith’s Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11) tells of the saints of yesteryear who passionately pursued God’s promises rather than choosing to enjoy the comfort that doing nothing would have offered. Some people around them- might have said, “Don’t upset the system. Things are fine as they are.” But their passion was not listening. They would not stop because the passion in them defied the mandates of hell. You could not dampen their zeal, keep them quiet, or shut their mouths. They would not be deterred, denied, or dismayed. They simply could not be stopped. Passion is what caused the church to be the church in that day, and passion will cause the church to be the church in this last day.
The Proof Is in the Passion
Jesus proved at Calvary that passion provides the internal motivation when the external rewards drop out of sight. This is why our Lord did what He did. He endured the cross and despised the shame because of passion. His face was set like a flint to do the will of God. Passion for a lost world moved the Master to give all that He had to all that were in need. People are instructed by reason, but they are inspired by passion.
After Jesus’ resurrection He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs. My question is this, “As a church or movement, what are we after? Where do we want the church to be in twenty years?” If we want the future church to be passionate, we must first possess passion because we cannot give what we do not possess. The disciples of Jesus were passionate because Jesus showed Himself alive after the manner of His passion.
What motivates us to come to church, day in and day out? The proof that we are who we say we are will be in our passion for the message and the masses. Our mission is to connect the masses with the message. We are reconciled to God by Jesus Christ, then we are given the ministry of reconciliation. As people directly linked to the dynamic experience of Pentecost, we must be consumed with passion that carries us through the long-term plan of achieving Global Impact.
God will take passion over ability, then give you the ability to carry out His passion. Show me a man who has passion and I will show you a man God will use. I am not talking about passion as it pertains to the world around us. Many people have passion about different things. Sports fans will gather by the thousands and scream until their voices are gone. They do not mind letting you know whose side they are on. Hobbyists will rise before daylight to shop for trash and treasures in garages across our nation. But the passion I am speaking of is true passion that comes from a Holy Ghost experience with God, which changes your life, alters your mind, and renders your heart ready for service to God. Preachers, give your churches passionate messages filled with direction from above. Give them a display of passion in your life and they will reproduce it in theirs.
If we lose passion, we will become a byword to our generation. The popular word “whatever” is the antithesis of passion, and it is used prolifically today. The word “whatever” used in this fashion means, “it just doesn’t matter.” It seems the word “whatever” epitomizes many in our society today. Their “don’t care” attitude surfaces in that one word, “whatever.” It is the code word for the loss of passion! The preacher preaches about revival, and we say, “Whatever.” God’s requirement is prayer; our response is “whatever.”
Life has a way of draining your spiritual energy. As one person said, “The problem with life is that it is so daily.” Amid the daily grind, passion begins to fade. You do not lose passion in some cataclysmic event; rather, it tends to seep out until you become the shell of the man or woman you once were.
In Revelation, John commended the church at Ephesus for their discernment, their perseverance amid trials, and their work for His name’s sake, but then he gave them a severe warning: “You have left your first love! You have not lost it, you’ve left it and if you leave something you know where it is.” Hear me�it is possible to fall in love with the church and not Jesus, with the programs and not the power, with the people and not the presence.
Our prayer is that God will restore passion back into the hearts of His people. It is God’s passion that energizes your life and moves you from being a spectator to a participant. Passion will turn the commands of God from legalistic drudgery to life-giving opportunities. Passion will not allow Pentecost to be your profession, but your possession. I am possessed with a passion to do more than just come to church. Church has got to come into me because He is not coming after me until He comes in me.
Who can be interested in embracing a faith that does not move the person trying to share it? If you are not moved, how can you expect anyone else to be moved? Our passion for God becomes contagious. It will not jump from the pulpit to the sinner; it must move through us to get to them.
In chapter 9 of his book, the prophet Isaiah gave a powerful prophecy concerning God’s people and the way
God would bring about the great outpouring of His Spirit in the last day. In verse 3, Isaiah said, “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy.” Is it possible to be more blessed than we have ever been and still be unhappy? We need a passion to get back the joy we once had in God. The LORD is telling His people, “I’ve blessed you, but why are you not happy about it?” It is not the fact that we are not growing. We are growing; we are praying new people through and baptizing new souls in Jesus’ name. But the people of our churches just sit there. They have lost the joy of the harvest. We have more blessings but less joy.
“Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy; they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil” (Isaiah 9:3). Isaiah was talking about the joy of the fruit bearer. The people who are happy are people in harvest; those who are joyful are those who are passionate about revival, harvest, and souls.
Are we trying to live our lives, do the work of the ministry, and engage our ever-changing world without passion? Without the component of passion, our frustration leads to our failure to effectively reach for our future. Someone once said that to explore, we must first excavate. To discover, we must first recover. To reframe, we must first reflect. To imagine, we must first examine. And to move forward, we must first step back. We will find our future when we go back to our beginnings. As a church, God blessed us with a strong foundation on which to build. But let us remember that we are not heritage-driven, we are future-pulled. Passion will not let us live in the land of past experience, yesterday’s blessing, or Dad and Mom’s prayer life. Passion opens the door to the opportunities of now!
How soon do we need to move concerning Global Impact? James articulated it best in his epistle: “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain” (James 4:13). We must have a passion for now! Not tomorrow. Passion invites the Spirit of now to invade a church. Passion creates urgency that demands our response. One of our preachers was on a flight a number of years ago and he started a conversation with W C. Firestone, the son of the founder of Firestone Corporation. The preacher asked, “What are Firestone’s criteria for hiring people?” Firestone replied, “We have a simple test. The people that cannot be motivated have no place in the Firestone Corporation.” People who will not be motivated have no passion to succeed in business and without passion they will ultimately fail.
In fact, passion does not operate very well in tomorrow Passion operates best right now! Passion that is delayed, detoured, diluted, and diverted soon turns to passivity which is defined as “the trait of remaining inactive; a lack of initiative; submission to others or to outside influences.” People who do not do anything for God when they have the initial passion to do it, succumb to passivity and remain inactive because of a lack of initiative. People who have a passion to do something for God and delay doing it, often submit to the familiar voice and influence of others who say, “We’ve already tried that and it didn’t work.” Well, that was two years ago; try it again! “You can’t do that in this city; it doesn’t work.” Do not listen to passive people because they will tell you “where it won’t, when it didn’t, and why it can’t!” Listen to somebody that is passionate and they will tell you it can and we will! Passionate people will bring the message of Acts 2:38 to the world, and initiate Global Impact. Passion makes it happen. Thomas Edison went back to the table of invention over one thousand times before he invented the lightbulb; but he did it because he was passionate.
The pathway of passion leads to the land of accomplishment. Passion will not allow a person to remain in neutral. It consistently strives to engage the road before it and go forward. The spirit of passion refutes the idea that something should be done tomorrow and believes that everything can be accomplished now! How many churches have procrastinated in the middle of a prophecy that God gave them by saying, “When we get a bigger church, then we’ll be able to start a bus ministry like the pastor across town.” Or, “When we are more ethnically diverse, then I will preach against the spirit of racial prejudice.” Passion screams for somebody to get up and go … now! Revival is the restoration of a passion for now! Passion will always push, pry, pull, or pick up, but it will not stop until it has succeeded in getting results as quickly as possible.
“Go to now” is the direct product of passion. The sense of urgency that we feel comes straight from the spirit of passion that Christ possessed. His word reminded disciples, “Say not there are four months and then cometh the harvest.” His words compelled them to do some-thing now! Go to now! It is time that we go to revival; go to evangelism; go to discipleship. It is high time to awake out of sleep. Our passion will not let us sleep and be lethargic concerning the conversion of an entire world. Our passion releases God’s power and moves prayer from a tedious task to a divine encounter. Our prayer, our worship, our witness will be effectively transformed because of passion. Passion pulls us into God’s purpose!
In Genesis 37 Jacob’s sons stood before him waiting for their next assignment. “Where will we take the flocks this time, father?” His response was, “Take them to Shechem.” The word Shechem means “the place of burdens,” and it was at the place of their father’s burden that their passion for their father’s purpose was tested. God often knows our passions by how we respond to His burden. They did not like it there so they left their father’s purpose and the place of burdens and went to Dothan. The word Dothan has no meaning. God wants us to know that when we have no passion for our Father’s purpose and refuse to carry His burden, we will always end up in the land of no meaning. And in the land of no meaning they said, “Let’s kill the dreamer.”
As a church and movement, we must not allow our dream and vision to die. I believe our passion is the strength that will bring Global Impact to the world. The world awaits eternity. May our passion provide them with God’s truth and prevent them from making the wrong choice.
The above article, “A Passion For Global Impact” was written by Jerry Dillion. The article was excerpted from Haney & Johnston’s book Turning The World Upside Down.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”