Total Change Ministries



Posted by Terry (terry) on Oct 30 2007 at 9:25 PM

I was at a pastors meeting in Niagara Falls in 1988. Our denomination had decided to ordain homosexuals and many  Spirit filled pastors were now wrestling over reforming the institution, or s tarting a new one. One evening  the Lord called me down to the falls  and used it as a prophetic illustration of His message to me.  I was walking just upriver from the brink, where the sidewalk is right beside the water.  The Lord began to give  me a prophetic message using the various features around me.

The features symbolized:

  • The Niagara River, upper rapids, and falls represented the course of humanity rushing to destruction.
  • The mist represented  "the smoke of their burning rises day and night forever"
  • The bank of the river represented the church doing the great commission, -  God's  people rescuing the  perishing from the water before they fell to destruction.
  • The two towers on the hill above the falls represented God's Word and Spirit as beacons to the world.

Then the  Lord said three things to me.  

  • "My people have gathered around the my Word and my Spirit for entertainment." (There are amusement complexes in the base of each tower.) 
  • "Call to them to come down from the towers to take up their work at the shore"
  • "Walk up and down the shore,  strengthen and encourage them" .

I thought I understood these words at the time and we ended up leaving that liberal denomination and joining a Spirit filled denomination    I took my calling seriously, and would never have believed  I was engaged in tower entertainment. Yes, my sermons  were changed by the passion of my encounter with God, so  I  now taught "the theology of the river" and "the anointing to work on the shore".  We even had conferences on the "power of the towers".   The problem was,  we never actually worked at the shore.  Sometimes  we did rescue people from the river, but the purpose was to bring them to the tower!    I couldn't see what God saw. My heart was still for  the tower, while God's heart was for the shore.

How could the Lord ever move me out the tower and down to the shore and the great commission?  After all, the towers of  the Word and the Spirit are from God, and the people inside were God's people also.  It's all His, so I thought I was where I should be!  But step  by step He changed my perspective and lovingly adjusted me.  Heres some steps we have experienced.

1. Idolatry Exposed
It's a strange thing, but the towers of The Word and The Spirit are the setting for a lot of idol worship.  This always happens when God's purpose for something is distorted for mans own ends.  Personally, I had an idol of ministry.  I couldn't see it, and wouldn't change, until the Lord revealed it.  It's true that I entered the ministry because I had a genuine call. But I gradually succumbed to the "great vision of tower ministry".  Like the serpent on the pole in the wilderness, what started out holy was being perverted.  It ended in a real confrontation with God.  He revealed that I was living like the priests in the book of Ezekiel and serving an image on the walls of my inner room (my heart).  In my case I had moved from serving Jesus to serving a graven image or picture, that we call "the vision of ministry".  

I couldn't understand how this idolatry was possible until the Lord showed me that it was  my flesh serving this perverted image of  ministry - a vision of success, fame, youth, money, position, buildings, organization, all coming by revival and the glory of God.  My hearts motivation was wrapped up in it. I prayed for God to bless it, confessed it, and looked for it. I had spiritual warfare killing me around it, so I thought it must be right! But I was unsubmitted to God, so the devil wouldn't go!   When ministry went according to the image I was happy. When ministry went badly I was depressed.  This was my flesh serving another god!  How revolting!  How repulsive! How this revelation broke me.  I confessed it quickly, but spent years overcoming it by overturning my change tables and going beyond the tower walls. Unfortunately, it also moved me  outside the circle of acceptance by my colleagues. 

The problem with this idolatry is, others encourage it within the great towers of the Spirit and the Word.  We can never see it there unless the Lord reveals it.

2. Divine Discontent
In the mid 90s I started experiencing a divine discontentment.  We had the best "Spirit  and Word " meetings  my ministry ever had. But  I would come home vaguely dissatisfied.  There was a longing for something I couldn't explain. I kept saying "God, I don't get it, what's wrong? Your are here, you are  blessing.  We are experiencing your power and glory! What's this feeling of discontent?"  Like a mother bird taking the feathers out of the nest, God Himself was making us increasingly uncomfortable in the nest that was once so perfect.

3. From My Ability To His Ability
Next, God shifted me from depending on my ability to spiritually perform, to depending on His ability  in me. I call this "the love anointing"  Up in the towers, ministry is all about our ability to know the word, learn the right method, and have the right spiritual experiences. It's all about spiritual performance. Thats why there is a constant flow of teaching and conferences. Success goes to those who reach the top, or so it appears!   But for my ministry, success seemed elusive. I especially wanted to see miracles. But, no matter how hard I tried we could not move there. Sometimes miracles did happen, (because God loves people) but it was always serendipity, not a flow of ministry.  It was like He said "you can get this far and no farther. My power is not for the tower" 

Finally I experienced a great shift. God's love for people and His ability in me (the love anointing) became the focus, rather than me and my spiritual ability. Suddenly miracles opened up in my ministry.  I found out that God was not obligated to anoint my mission, or my work in the tower. But he always anoints  His great co-mission. At Niagara Falls, the two towers are there because of the river and the falls, not the other way around!  Like wise, when I found the focus of His heart, His power found me.   

4. The Great Commission Gets In My Face
Finally the Lord connected me  to a powerful "on the shore" work when we went to India.  It was there that I saw what could happen if a team of Christians actually DID the great commission. I saw the love and co-operation of believers, genuine apostolic ministry, the grace and provision to help the least of people, the healings and salvations of the thous ands, and real social change wrought by the Kingdom of God.  I couldn't resist. I finally had to break away from where I was. So now I've ended up at the shoreline, walking up and down, calling the saints down from the towers and encouraging those who rescue the perishing.

Life At the Shoreline
So, what is it like laboring at the shore of the river? Hows life just above the falls,  where men are rushing  to destruction, and being pulled out?

1. Well, for one thing it's a lot more real  than life in the towers.  Now we connect to Canadians an d their joys and pains.  I never knew how much of a sub-culture living in the tower creates.  People look like ants from up there.  

2. The definition of Apostle is different at the shore as well. I never could figure out out how apostles fit in the tower. It seems that in the towers of the Word and Spirit, an apostle is defined by "how high" he is.  At the shore,it's quite different. An apostle is known by how far he goes into the water to rescue someone. Now  I question if the tower apostle is  genuine.

3. Money. At the shore it becomes painfully obvious that almost all the resources  go into building up the towers. The shore only has a sidewalk. Actually it's been quite astonishing how little the church in the tower uses for the great commission.

Personally, I'm looking for the day when  all that g reat high tech equipment is permanently moved down to  the shoreline and put to use where it belongs. The towers are meant to be the beacons of the Word of truth,  and the power of the Spirit, for the task at hand. Lets hope the Lord doesn't have to bulldoze our favorite tower just to us where we belong.

Blessings in Jesus

Terry Somerville