When we received a directional prophecy about building a 1,000 member church with King’s Church in the future - our response was in the ‘now’. It was ‘OK, let’s get on with it. Let’s put a new building up, let’s do multiple meetings’. But the important thing is not to get stuck on the future – to but invest in the present time.
Sometimes people get prophetic words over their own life (‘you’ll be this, you’ll be that’) and I’ve met people who are so taken up with the future that they are neglecting the ‘now’. Their head is full of ‘I’m going to be this, I’m going to do that’ and they need to be told to get out there and lead their small group or play their part in the youth group/worship band – or whatever. It’ll be OK.
When prophecy comes, the key thing is our response now. Sometimes the word is predictive.
During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius). The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. (Acts 11:27 - 30)
Here is a recognised prophet in the New Testament who brings a prophecy which predicts a famine that actually came to pass in the reign of Claudius - but what’s the response? They take up an offering at that time so it can be sent to the church in Jerusalem so they can be strengthened. The ‘now’ response is key.
Most of the time what you get is not directional words but what I call general prophecy, if there is such a thing. An encouragement, a comfort that highlights an attribute of God, His holiness or His Spirit. Most of the time we’re living in that realm. But occasionally words come which impact what people do with their money – like Agabus’ prophecy that redirected that church’s action.
To be continued...