Open Letter to Harvest Church

28 May 2017

 

Dear Harvest Church,

The church in New Zealand is in rapid spiritual decline and the numbers attending church is shrinking at a steady rate. In much of Western Europe the church has all but disappeared, and Britain is following this trend. In Australia and New Zealand, the situation is dire and I believe unless something radical happens, the church in New Zealand will have largely disappeared in the next generation or two. The rapid rise of violence of all kinds, family violence and abuse, suicide, mental illness, social injustice, selfishness, greed, corruption, widespread drunkenness and drug addictions, pornography, sexual perversions of all kinds, gay marriage, gender confusion and unbelief is horrifying to anyone that has lived long enough to know that this is not the way New Zealand use to be.

I believe the church needs revival and reformation, and that this is only going to happen when some churches experience major reformation in their doctrine, when they come back to essential doctrines such as the holiness and love of God, original sin and the total depravity of man, penal substitution, the necessity of regeneration, the sovereignty of God and the moral responsibility of humanity, a return to a traditional eschatology of heaven and hell, and a fuller understanding of our common historic evangelical soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) and that this would then lead to fervent prayer for revival. I believe that there is a desperate need for a church to help lead this charge in Christchurch with other similar minded churches. A church that holds the Word of God in the highest regard and that this Word actually shapes their theology and practice. A church that studies the bible, memorises it, preaches it expositionally as well as topically with the anointing of God on its preaching. A church where it’s members understand basic doctrine and also learn the word of God for themselves and actually obey what it says; that is, they grow in holiness, put aside worldliness, act in radical love, obedience, generosity and proclaim the word of God to a dying world.

I believe Christchurch needs a church where it’s members don’t just preach the gospel to friends and strangers alike every week, but they preach this gospel with faith in their hearts in its power, with tears in their eyes, with alarm for sinners whom God loves but who are going to hell, and with the power of God filling them so that conviction of sin falls and many mighty signs, wonders and healings accompany this preaching. I believe we need a church, that works with existing churches in caring for the poor, the sick, the broken and the mentally ill in our society. A church that accompanies gospel proclamation with prayer for the sick, feeding the hungry and caring for those in need. A church where there is a radical love for God and each other, an acceptance, openness, transparency, servant leadership, holiness and ongoing spiritual growth and sanctification in this community.

I believe Christchurch desperately needs a church that has prayer for revival has one of its highest priorities, and many of its members attend several revival prayer meetings during the week and they also pray individually in their homes for a move of God that our nation so badly needs. There is a holy desperation and strong desire for God in this church and a radical openness for the leading of the Holy Spirit. There is intercession for the lost, for souls to be saved and radically born again, for the government and for other nations. There is intercession for the gifts of the Spirit, for healing and deliverance to be restored again to the church in jaw-dropping power. Above all there is a seeking of God with all their hearts, all their minds, all their strength and all their souls.

I believe this city of Christchurch needs a church, that partners with other churches, that actually begins to see at first dozens of people radically saved, with tears of conviction leading to tears of joy. This then leads to hundreds and then thousands as this revival cannot be stopped. These radical converts are set free from all manner of sin and demons, they are filled with a holy love and zeal for others to be saved, and their families, communities and ultimately the nation is changed as a result. These new Christians are effectively and loving discipled and grounded in all of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith so the enemy doesn’t lead some from this move of God into heresy and various sects, which he has often done in past revivals.

If all this happens, then this church and other churches like it will see both reformation and revival spread through the rest of the church of New Zealand leading to the first great awakening that New Zealand has ever experienced with hundreds of thousands of people being saved, the church rapidly growing and society transformed. This will require a few to start this by truly laying down their lives, their money, much of their leisure time and their pursuit of earthly success and riches. They will be mocked, ridiculed, persecuted and at times grow very discouraged. This will sometimes come from the rest of the church and at other times from the world. They will be accused of being legalistic, fanatical and intolerant.

The road to revival will not be easy as many have started on this journey, only to pull back because of the price that must be paid. But they will take up their crosses and focus on Christ who went before them and who paid a far greater price than they could ever imagine but of which they are motivated to do all this out of sincere gratitude to their Master. They will be filled with a holy love for Christ and for each other and an irrepressible joy and hope as they know their eternal reward will be great, one of which will be the many who are there with them because they gave their life to Jesus and the gospel so whole heartedly.

Members of Harvest church, we can be that church if we are willing. God has given us the vision for it and if we want to see it we must now be willing give our whole hearts to it. Up until now, some of us have been dealing with burnout, sickness, the effects of spiritual abuse, sin and discouragement. Some of our church members have found it hard to come every week or attend any prayer meetings or extra evangelistic outreaches. But now, the grace of God is available in special measure for us to radically change as individuals and as a church.

On 28 May 2017, during an open worship time I heard God clearly speak to me. I believe he said that if we will pray for revival in Harvest church, consistently, several times a week together for the next six months, then in 2018 we will experience revival. Each of us will be personally revived and we will begin to see people radically saved who will come to Harvest church. Imagine if in 2018, on average, each of us lead one person to the Lord who came to Harvest church (a friend, family member or stranger we evangelised). Perhaps some lead two or three people to the Lord and others none, but all the work belongs to the Lord. Harvest church would grow to 40 people in 2018. If this revival continued, if each radical Christian in Harvest church, including the new Christians, lead one person to the Lord on average. Then in 2019 we would be 80 people. Then if it continued in 2020 we would be 160 people. If this revival continued for 20 years until 2038 there would be 10.4 million people. If it continued for 31 years until 2049 there would be 10.7 billion people! Most revivals only last a few years, and then the growth rate of the new movement slows down, but this simple maths shows you that if you can have a revival and stay hungry and surrendered to God anything is possible!

Please prayerfully consider making God your top priority in your life by putting aside every idol that has crept in front of your relationship with him, whether it is career, spouse, family, friends, recreational pursuits, worldly ambition and make your top priority spending time with God every day, attending church every week and attending the fortnightly Revival Prayer Day meeting where possible and any prayer meetings that are happening during the week across the city if you can (some of the Revival Network prays together on Tues, Wed, Thurs 5-7pm). For those of you who feel called to street evangelism, commit to coming out with us after church each Sunday. Some of you have made some big commitments already this year and I believe God will guide you here, there is no pressure to attend any of these meetings (but I believe attending a church service regularly is important for every Christian). But if this challenge is from God to all of us, this will require you to have a radical mindset adjustment and some timetable changes in your life, but please consider the desperate need of the hour and Jesus’ words:

  • “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14:33)
  • “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) – [This means, in comparison to our love for God, even our deep love for our families seems like hatred in comparison].
  • “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)
  • “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:18-20)
  • “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:7-9)
  • “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

If several of us are willing to do this and seek God with all our heart for the next six months I believe we will experience revival and the start of something that could be incredible. God bless, thank you for reading this and I love you no matter what you decide. I will always be your friend and will always pray for you. All are welcome at Harvest church no matter what happens! If I have misheard God about this and revival doesn’t start sometime next year, at the very least we will have laid down our lives for Jesus and the gospel and given Harvest church our all for six or twelve months. If a move of God doesn’t start and people aren’t radically saved next year we will look into integrating with an existing church in late 2018. But I don’t believe that is God’s will for us and I believe he has some very exciting things ahead for us. I believe he is going to bless us with renewal and revival in 2018 if we are willing to pray!!!

 

Love in Christ,

Chris Chalmers

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