THE 'NED FLANDERS' SYNDROME

-by Andrew Strom.

Why the church has been losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the 'man on the street' for the past thirty years.


Most of you will have seen numerous episodes of that worldwide 
TV sensation, 'The Simpsons', which is still rating incredibly highly
after all these years. Ned Flanders is the Simpsons' neighbor - the
"born-again Christian" of the show, who is often the subject of comedic
derision and irreverent mockery for his mild-mannered "churchy" ways.

Of course, like all the characters in the Simpsons, Ned Flanders is a 
caricature - an exaggerated stereotype. But the "born-again" model that 
he represents to the world is sadly a genuine reflection of what Bible-
based Christianity has come to mean to many people today.

Ned Flanders is the apologetic, eager-to-please, church-going, glasses-
wearing, overly-"nice", conventional and dull neighbor to the manic yet 
somehow 'real', edge-of-dysfunctional Simpsons. The contrasts are stark, 
and often unflattering. The jokes are almost always on us. Ned Flanders 
has obviously been created to represent modern-day evangelical 
Christianity, and for many youngsters he is the "Christian" that they 
know the best - the one whose life they see the most. And whether we like 
it or not, every one of us is subtly being tarred with the same sickly 
brush every time he appears on screen. But in truth, all this goes back 
well before Ned Flanders.

As someone who is involved with the media every day - TV, radio, music, 
video, writing, etc - I guess I should state at the outset what the
basic premise for this article is:-  My premise is that the church has
been losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the 'man on the street'
for the past thirty years or more. In fact, we have been losing so
disastrously that in many cases we are no longer even on the battlefield.
We have been routed, annihilated, out-gunned and out-manoevered on almost
every front, and the devil is laughing all the way to the awards ceremony.
My contention is not that we are losing the propaganda war, but that we
have already lost it - and lost it so terribly for so long that we are now
almost out of the race altogether. And tragically it is God's name and
God's cause that are suffering alongside that of His church. For we are
His representatives - His "ambassadors" in the earth. The 'salt' has lost
it's saltiness, the 'light on the hill' has been subdued.

The basic questions I will be examining in this article are:- How big is
the problem? How on earth did it get so bad? And what can be done about
it?

As to the first question, let me use a rather extreme example from 
history. How important to Hitler's cause was Goebells' internal 
propaganda war using radio, film and the media? Answer: It was utterly 
crucial and without it Hitler would never have been able to carry the 
German people with him into all that followed. The propaganda war had to 
be won first before anything else. The people's hearts and minds had to 
be won over, and then their actions would follow.

As I said, this is an extreme example, and I use it only to show how 
influential the media can be in shaping people's thinking and beliefs. 
Today, the media is vastly more pervasive than in Goebell's time. One can 
hardly escape the blare of a million televisions or radios in our big 
cities. Despite the rise of the computer and the Internet, it is still
television that dominates the landscape. For it is hard to match a medium
that grabs both the eyes and the ears (as well as the heart and mind if it
can) for several hours every day, right in a person's own living room.

In fact, it has been argued by Marshall McLuhan and others that modern 
man no longer has an old-style 'community' like in former days, when 
everybody in a neighborhood knew everyone else and news was shared over 
the garden fence or in local meeting-places. McLuhan contends that modern 
man is losing touch with his neighbors, and that he is now tending to 
'gather' around the television set - from which he receives his news, his 
entertainment and many of the influences that shape his world-view. Thus 
the media is becoming more and more powerful in the lives of everyday 
people. And the tragedy is that vital, credible Christianity is almost 
completely absent from this window that the average man or woman has on 
the world. To all intents and purposes we have abandoned the battlefield 
to the enemy, and he has taken massive advantage. Christian television of 
the "evangelists-in-suits" variety may still be reaching the faithful 
today, but it is hardly calculated to impact the real world where most 
ordinary people live. We need drastic measures for drastic times.

Today, the only time when evangelical Christianity is likely to be 
mentioned in the news is when some terrible scandal breaks involving a 
well-known preacher, or some similar fiasco. The media love to ignore 
Christianity for the most part, but when they do focus on it for a few 
moments it is often the negative, the extreme or the scandalous elements 
that are highlighted. Michael Medved noted in his incisive best-seller 
'Hollywood versus America', that when believers are portrayed in movies 
or on TV today, they are often either deranged psychopaths or bumbling 
hicks. Very rarely do we find sympathetic portrayals of Christians on 
fictional TV shows (apart, perhaps, from the odd ecumenical Catholic 
Priest). In the Simpsons, the "born- again" is the butt of continual 
snickering humor. However, for the most part, Christianity is utterly 
ignored by network television (and thus by many ordinary people also). 
This is particularly noteable in the USA - a nation with over 30% church 
attendance - one of the highest rates in the world - yet where are the 
credible Christians on American TV (-which is watched worldwide)?  

The brutal fact is that we have allowed ourselves to become silenced and
marginalised in the most watched 'news, values and ideas' venue of our
time. This means that our message and our Saviour are silenced and
marginalised also. And the people who are suffering most from this are the
youth - who are impacted more by the media than any other agegroup. The
devil gets to preach his seductive lies to them all day long using the best 
in music, films and TV, while the church sleeps on apparently unconcerned. 
The mocking "Ned Flanders Syndrome" is working wonders for the enemy, 
who already seems to be the winner of the 'media war' for the hearts and 
minds of our young people, with us barely firing a shot in reply. Friends, 
this has got to change, and it has got to change fast... But how?


"THE GAGGING OF GOD"

We have already discussed how little impact the church has in the lives 
of the "man and woman on the street" today. As we have seen, credible 
Christians are notably absent from the media windows that most 
unchurched people use to look at the world, whether it be their TV set,
the radio stations they listen to, the movies they watch, the newspapers
or magazines they read, etc. The Christians live in their own cloistered
little world - with their own radio and TV and newspapers,- and the
secular people have theirs. And never the twain shall meet, it appears. 
When evangelical Christians do appear in the 'normal' media it is often
accompanied by a not-so-subtle put-down. Some Christians say that this 
is "persecution" for righteousness' sake. We are supposed to accept this
as being "just what we should expect". But I say it is persecution for 
ignorance and apathy's sake - on our part. We have made ourselves an 
easy target for mockery.

A whole generation is growing up with little regard or interest in the
things of God,- largely, I believe, because the devil's lies have won, 
out there in the real world where the hearts and minds of the young are 
at stake. He has slowly taken complete control of the dominant outlets 
for ideas, world-views and beliefs in our society. The Christians are 
left largely preaching to themselves, while the devil gets to preach his
seductive lies to the young all day every day. And we wonder why things
are getting worse every year? We have largely lost the ears and eyes of
the "common people" whom Jesus came to reach. We are absent from 
their everyday reality.

The turning point in this war, I believe, was the 1960's. That is when the
tide suddenly went out, leaving the church beached high and dry while the
devil made off with all the spoils of battle. It was a sudden and massive
tactical assault, and the church was simply left floundering in it's wake.
This is what I believe occurred:-

The 1940's and 1950's were years of healthy growth and prosperity for the
church in the West overall. Starting in 1948 came a great 'Healing
Revival' led by William Branham (-later controversial), Oral Roberts, T.L.
Osborne, A.A. Allen, Tommy Hicks and many others. But even this paled in
comparison to the massive worldwide success and broad appeal of Billy
Graham, whose crusades often focused the attention of entire nations onto
the vital issues of the gospel. 

To give you an example of this, in 1959 Billy Graham came to my home
nation of New Zealand. It was probably the closest that my country has
ever come to a national Revival. The whole country virtually came to a
halt to hear Billy preach. It was the dominant conversation-point of the
day. My own father was converted in one of those massive meetings, and to
this day if you ask the older pastors (50yrs+) that are around, many will
tell you that they were first converted in a Billy Graham meeting in 1959.
It had an enormous impact. This was a time when the church was generally
respected in society, and prominent ministers were given at least grudging
respect - even by unbelievers. A visit by someone with the stature of
Billy Graham was a big deal. Not everyone went to church, but even the
unchurched often sent their children to Sunday School. Who could have
predicted then that the church would become one of the great PR disasters
of the late twentieth century?

In 1967 Billy Graham returned to New Zealand but the response was nothing
like what it had been eight years before. The tide had well-and-truly gone
out by this time, and the church was battling to even begin to understand
the massive wall of CHANGE that had come hurtling down upon Western
society. 

Basically the church completely failed to understand or adapt to
what had occurred, and still hasn't to this day. And the signs show that
the devil has been stomping all over us ever since. It really is that bad.
And there is no end in sight unless drastic steps are taken.

What occurred in the sixties was nothing less than a massive CULTURAL
REVOLUTION. I believe that in spiritual terms it was as big an upheaval as
Luther's Reformation or the European Renaissance in their time. Suddenly
everything changed. The old orthodoxy was overthrown. Completely new
spiritual paradigms became dominant. (-And they were not godly ones,
either). But this was not just any kind of Revolution. It was a Revolution
led by the YOUNG ARTISTS. (It had actually been brewing for some time).
They were hungry for Truth, but they were looking in all the wrong places.
And they carried the whole world along with them.

There can be little doubt that it was the songwriters and musicians who
led the charge throughout the 1960's. But CHANGE was already in the 
air. They were simply the first to latch onto it. (Music can be very
influential because of this). After Elvis and the early rockers, it was
Bob Dylan and the Beatles who were the first of the 1960's era to really
latch onto the great wave of change that was building. These were closely
followed by the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Doors, the hippy American
acid bands, and a vast host of young writers, artists, film directors and
fashion designers, etc. The airwaves and the newspapers were soon full of
the colour and the music and the vibrant creativity that were part of this
whole great explosion. Yet the church was almost nowhere to be seen.
Complacency had robbed her of her place in it all. She was completely
sidelined - seemingly stuck back in the 1940's or 50's somewhere.

There can be no doubt that this was a blitzkrieg, an invasion, a full-on
media offensive, and the church was clearly knocked out cold in the first
round. And she has never really recovered since. It seems in hindsight
that the church had been coasting for some years before this, and she was
simply caught flat-footed. When the Beatles and the Rolling Stones came
knocking, looking for answers to the big questions, she had no credible
answer to give. She seemed like one of the "old guard" - gray, insti-
tutional, respectable and dull - the very opposite of Jesus and the early 
church. But the young artists weren't to know that. They didn't have time 
to hang around for the church to get her act together. They were already 
off chasing drugs and Eastern Religion in their search for some kind of 
Truth that didn't have the air of conformist plasticity or institutional 
hypocrisy about it. "Preachers in suits" didn't impress them too much. 

And thus we have the beginnings of the mass drug culture and the modern
New Age movement. The sexual revolution, ultra-feminism, modern
witchcraft, the abortion movement and the gay pride movement all made
quantum leaps into mass acceptance at that same time. The devil had 
gained absolute control of the whole rebellious mess.

But to understand the real depth of the Sixties Revolution, I believe it 
is also crucial to see the massive, fundamental change that occurred in 
the MEDIA at that time. For this was the beginning of the modern era of 
mass popular culture - especially ELECTRONIC culture in the West. This was
when the "new television" and the "new music" and the "new film" became
utterly dominant for the first time. A new youth era had begun. And the
devil had his hands firmly on the steering wheel (-and still does). He has
been stomping all over us ever since, in greater and greater measure. And
the kids have begun to believe his lies - for they hear almost nothing 
else. 

For the first time, in the 1960's bands such as the Beatles and the
Rolling Stones could dominate the hearts and minds of the world's youth
through complete creative control of their art and their image. It was the
artists and their producers who now called the shots. Tin Pan Alley was
dead. The message to the old, gray institutions was clear:- "Adapt or 
die". And they did. Soon the Record Companies, the Film companies and the
TV Studios were all dancing to the new rebellious tune. And to this day 
it is the musicians, the writers, the film-makers and the Producers who
dominate our most important communications outlets with their message 
of subtle rebellion. The old media corporations and institutions have been
'taken over', and now enforce the new party line:- Everything is to be
questioned, especially all that used to be called "good". It was through
the artists that the devil first took control of the media, and it is 
through their descendants in the arts that he maintains his hold.

It took a long time for the church to come up with any real reply to this.
And when the reply did come, it was not from within the institutional
church. And sadly, it did not last for long. In the early 1970's came a
move of God that became known as the "Jesus Movement". Basically, it was a 
long-haired Christian hippy movement that swept like wild-fire around the
world. Influenced enormously by the Charismatic move, it involved a return
to the primitive Christianity of an earlier age. Young hippies were being
baptized in their droves in the sea and the rivers. A 'new music' arose,
known as "Jesus Rock", which helped unify the movement and gave it a
greater voice and impact. Musicians such as Larry Norman, Chuck Girard 
and later Keith Green rose to prominence. Free 'Jesus Papers' were 
distributed en masse, and many new fellowships came into being. But by the 
mid-1970's this movement had largely petered out, though while it lasted 
it had revitalized the Christianity of the time and added thousands of 
young converts to the church. What it failed to do, however, was to really 
change the shape and structure of the church in order to meet the challenge 
of the new media era. A few new developments in music and outreach were 
established, but for the most part the church's structure and methodology 
remained firmly stuck in the 1940's and 1950's. Thus the devil could 
dominate the field more and more. Yet for a brief time the Jesus Movement 
had shown that it is possible to win well against the devil, even in the 
new era.

Today, while the devil's hold on our young grows ever-stronger, the church
remains largely stuck in her 1940's time-warp. In fact, much of her shape
and structure is centuries old, with little relevance either to the time
we live in or to the early church which the apostles founded under Jesus'
specific guidance. We tend to do things the way "we always do them", while
the devil adapts quickly to new conditions and new opportunities. While he
has control of the most effective propaganda tools ever invented, we are
largely still stuck in our "Cathedral" mentality, expecting the world to
come to us inside our four walls to hear a 'man in a suit' deliver his
weekly sermon. Or perhaps we invite them to a "crusade" or a TV show in 
which a slick evangelist in an expensive suit will attempt to emotionally
woo them down the front to make a "decision". Doesn't sound much like
Jesus to me. And it doesn't sit right with most ordinary people, either.
How sad and predictable it all is. The church has a massive credibility
problem, and unless something drastic occurs this is not going to change
in a hurry. Fortunately, God specialises in drastic measures for times
such as these. But such measures will bring massive SHAKING upon
His church.

Exactly how are we to take back what the devil has stolen from us? 
And how would God have us make our message and our Saviour heard in 
today's media world? (Obviously, prayer is the first key, for this is 
currently the devil's territory). Let me simply say that I believe that 
the coming move will be as much a MEDIA REVIVAL as it will a STREET 
REVIVAL. 


"BRINGING BACK THE FAME OF GOD"

"Joshua asked, 'Who are you and where do you come from?'  They 
answered: 'Your servants have come from a very distant country because of
the FAME of the LORD your God. For we have heard reports of Him: all that
He did in Egypt and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites east
of the Jordan...'"  (Josh 9:8-10  NIV).

Notice in the above Scripture the awe and respect that the nations held
God and His people in because of the things that He was known to have done
THROUGH THEM. It was through His PEOPLE that God did great exploits that
brought fear upon the nations round about. Let me ask you this:  What
great exploits or victories have the people of God been involved in
recently that brought the respect of the Lord down upon the Western
nations? Can you think of any? I can think of only one in recent times:-
The martyrdom of the young Christians at Columbine High. And it is
important to note that this was (or became) basically a MEDIA EVENT. How
did you or I hear about it? Through TV, radio, newspapers, the Internet.
How does anyone in the West hear about anything these days? Through these
self-same media channels. And for a brief moment, the depth of the tragedy
and the courage displayed caused the media to give the Christians a
sympathetic hearing. Apart from such rare examples, the church seems to
have lurched from one unmitigated PR disaster to the next for the last
thirty years or more. And it reflects badly on GOD when His people are
seen in such a way. The nations lose their fear or respect for the Lord.

I have said this before, but I will say it again:- The tragedy of this
hour is that GOD IS NOT GLORIFIED in the earth - at least not in the
Western nations. And the fault for this can be laid squarely at the feet
of His apathetic, lukewarm church. GOD IS NOT GLORIFIED - knowing it tears
at me night and day. For how can we who know Him stand to have it so?

We live in an age where battles are fought, not with spears and swords, but 
rather with words, images, ideas and symbols. If you can dominate the arts 
and the media, you can dominate today's world. And the devil happily does 
so, while the church sleeps on, blissfully unaware, it seems. But perhaps 
Columbine was the beginning of our wakeup call? Perhaps the sleeping 
giant begins to stir?

In recent years the evangelical church has responded to the continuous 
losing of this battle in several ways. Part of the church has essentially 
withdrawn into it's own little 1950's Christian world, while others have 
seemingly gone about desperately making themselves as "cool" or as 
'feel-good' as they can, to try to appeal to the world on it's own 
shallow, selfish terms. Still others specialise in providing somewhat 
dubious spiritual 'experiences'. None of these approaches is working.

On the one hand we have the (generally older) "conservative" Christians,
clinging to the old 1950's forms and practices as best they can. The music
may be a little more up-tempo, but otherwise little has changed. The same
'man in a suit' preaching the same kinds of sermons to a comfortable,
well-dressed congregation full of "nice" people. And the same old go-to-
church-on-Sunday "Cathedral" mentality. Dress up, go to church, stand up,
sing some songs, sit down, sing some more songs, listen to the sermon,
read the notices, sing and go home. All very nice. All rather old. (-But
nothing like the book of Acts). Even many Pentecostal meetings today are 
as predictable as the older denominations.

On the other hand we have the "cool" young crowd (-Boomers or younger) 
who are often so desperate to make their Christianity 'hip' and relevant 
that they are seemingly willing to downplay issues such as "sin" and 
holiness to concentrate on being as dynamic, as entertaining and as 'ragey' 
as possible. Many seem hell-bent on proving just what "fun" - what a 'party'
the Christian life can be. They think they can win the world if only they
can make "our party" better than theirs. They figure (correctly) that we
must "speak the people's language" to get them to listen, but they also
often seem willing to compromise their message in order to do so. With
the younger of them being eager proponents of head-moshing and stage-
diving, they tend to spawn bands who favor style over content, and 
"partying" over holiness. Who would ever know that the Bible commands us 
to "be not conformed to this world"? And whatever happened to - 'Whoever 
would be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me'? 
Foreign concepts, all.

None of this is losing the devil any sleep. Whatever approach we use, 
our evangelical churches today show little sign of causing him any real 
headaches. Overall he is still winning the war - and winning it hands down.

It is time now to discuss what I believe God is going to DO about this
situation. As you know, I have been saying for several years that massive
Reformation of the church and a great 'street-Revival' are imminent in the
West. God cannot allow this current situation to go on forever. I have
also said that in the end this will be as much a "media Revival" as a
'street-Revival'. But what exactly do I mean by this?

My belief is basically that the coming move will deal very deeply with the
hearts of God's people, bringing repentance, cleansing and restoration to
many on a massive scale. (-Though some will oppose what is happening).
Without such an outpouring, all is lost. The devil will continue to run
rampant. But this outpouring will also bring a massive REFORMATION to the
church's structure, her leadership and her entire way of doing things. As
God has said, "I am going to CHANGE the understanding and expression of
Christianity IN THE EARTH in one generation." Now THAT has the hallmarks
of a 'GREAT Reformation'!

We have spoken before about the coming "street-church" movement, where
thousands will gather in the streets, miracles and anointed "repentance"
preaching will occur daily, and the 'Cathedrals' will be abandoned in
favour of gatherings of the saints "from house to house" - just like in the
book of Acts.

I believe very strongly that the leaders of this movement will be "street"
types - men and women who may appear a little "rough and ready" but who 
will have a tremendous heart after God. This is the kind of leadership
that God has prophesied will arise. These will be the new apostles,
prophets and evengelists, etc, that must arise to form a "foundation" 
for the new move of God. 

Now I want to make a key point here:-  From a media point of view, these 
"street"-type leaders will bring a MASSIVE ADVANTAGE to this new movement. 
For if it is one thing that has become clear since the 1960's it is that 
"men in suits" send entirely the wrong message to young people today. 
These days, men in suits are often seen to represent all that is "old-
establishment", institutional, big-business, bureaucratic and conservative. 
In films they are often not to be trusted. The fact that the church is 
still seen largely as a "men in suits" type of organisation is one of the 
biggest reasons for our lack of credibility today, I believe. It says 
mountains about just how badly we have failed to adapt to the modern era. 
Our swished-up TV evangelists in their flashy suits and expensive shoes 
simply come across as fake, plastic hustlers to many secular people. (-And 
half the time they may be right). Our crusades and church meetings have 
exactly the same kinds of credibility problems, often. In these areas we 
are simply stuck in a 1950's time-warp - back in the days when these 
things actually worked and were respected by society at large. We are 
fifty years behind the times. And the devil is having us for breakfast 
because of it.

When Jesus came to earth He came as a poor man preaching to the poor. 
He himself was a carpenter and His leading apostles were a bunch of
poorly-educated fishermen. He was one with the "common people". He did
miracles in the streets and preached in the open air. Today we have gotten
well away from the simplicity of Jesus' own model of ministry. But when
the new move of God comes it will be back with a rush. That is what the
'street- church' is all about.

However, I also believe that like every Revival in history the coming move 
will adapt to the climate and conditions that it finds itself in. In 
Luther's day, the newly-invented printing press was put to massive use by 
the Reformers who filled Europe with common-language Bibles and literature
outlining the great teachings of the Reformation. Without this new medium
it is very doubtful whether the Reformation would have had anything like
the impact it did. Luther and his supporters also invented a "new music" -
simple melodies that worshipped God in all His holiness, and that carried 
the great Truths of the new movement far and wide.  

Two hundred years later, in the Great Awakening, John and Charles 
Wesley likewise invented a "new music" based on the popular tunes 
of the day, which helped the common people to worship God in a new 
way, and also to latch onto the truths they were preaching. The man
and woman on the street loved it, but the religious church-goers weren't
so sure! A hundred years after that, William Booth, founder of the
Salvation Army also found it necessary to adapt the popular "drinking
songs" of his day to great hymns of faith. These were blasted at top
volume out on the streets by a new form of musical combo - the brass 
band. Loud marches, uniforms, flags, handbills and posters, as well as
widespread newspaper coverage were all seen by Booth as "weapons" in 
his holy war against darkness and the devil. And with God's help, it was 
a war he was starting to win. (-To a large extent he did so, for forty 
years).

All of these men felt the need for "drastic measures" because of the state
of the existing church of the day. Like David facing Goliath, they did
what they did because something had to be done. They could not live with
this mockery of the God they loved for one more day. And so they found new
weapons to war against the enemy with.

I have a friend who received a couple of very interesting dreams about
five years ago. (-This was the same man who received the open vision of
the Bride leaving the Cathedral). In the first dream he found himself in 
a kind of local dance - somewhere in the 1930's, he thought - in which
everything seemed rather drab and the men were all wearing the same kinds
of suits and shoes, etc. (-They were looking at him strangely because he
was wearing sneakers). Everything seemed old-fashioned. Then, in the next
dream he saw what looked like a gray, drab old building - but suddenly
God reached down and splashed dazzling colors all over it - all the colors 
of the rainbow. That was the end of the dream. My friend believes that 
these dreams apply to what God is about to do in the coming move.

We published another dream recently on our Prophetic List in which some
ancient weapons of war were rediscovered - from the 1870's or so. Now 
the 1870's and 1880's were the absolute heyday of the Salvation Army.
General Booth's new weapons swept all before them at that time. It is
interesting to note also that in James Ryle's dream of the 'Sons of
Thunder', God prophesied that in the last days there will be a new
'Salvation Army':- "The Lord God will release into the streets an army 
of worshipping warriors known as the 'Sons of Thunder.'" All of this 
resounds with a huge "Amen!" in my heart. 

It is my belief that as a result of the coming move, God will bring about
a Christian "explosion" of music and colour in the arts and the secular
media that will rival that of the sixties. But the results will be very
different. A new sound that is utterly glorifying to God will sweep the
earth, with an impact at least as great as that of the Beatles and their
cohorts. We will very quickly take back ground that we have been losing 
for the last thirty years. And secular television will be a vital 
ingredient in this media war. The 'street-church' with it's street-leaders 
will invade the Living Rooms of the world with God's message. This will 
not cost the earth. The media themselves will gladly foot the bill, just 
to be allowed to report what God is doing. I tell you, once this "new 
music" arises, watch and see how fast all this occurs. The media will be 
falling all over themselves to be a part of it. God will indeed "change 
the understanding and expression of Christianity IN THE EARTH, in one 
generation."  The street-Revival will become a media-Revival. When you 
think about it, this may be the best way that the youth of the West can 
be reached en masse today. But how humble the new leaders will need to be 
to cope with the pressures that will come with this.

A similar thing actually occurred in the great Welsh Revival of 1904 - in 
the days before Radio and Television, when newspapers were the dominant 
medium. Evan Roberts' preaching was being reported word-for-word by 
secular newspapers around the world at the height of the Revival. Numerous 
people were converted as a result of reading these sermons. But the 
pressure eventually got to young Evan Roberts. Eventually he stopped 
preaching and went into seclusion, after the Revival was barely a year 
old. There was a kind of "new music" that arose in Wales during this 
Revival also.

Personally, I cannot stand to see the devil winning and God being mocked
and our young people being dragged into ever-deeper darkness every day for
the rest of my life. I happen to believe that Jesus won a COMPLETE VICTORY
over the devil at the cross, and I see no reason why we can't enforce that
victory over the devil in our day, or any day. Jesus purchased it for us
at great cost, didn't he? So why are we losing? Why do we not spend our
time "destroying the works of the devil" - as He did?

I believe that the coming Reformation and Revival will restore the church
to what she is meant to be - a glorious Bride, without spot or wrinkle,
clothed with the glory of God. This is exactly what Jesus purchased at
Calvary, so it is exactly what I expect to see. Why settle for less? Are
we supposed to be letting the devil stomp all over us like he has been?
The "media war" for the hearts and minds of our youth should be ours to
win, not his, surely? Or did Jesus only half-redeem the earth?

I believe in FULL redemption. I believe Jesus "bought back" everything
lost in the fall. And frankly, I believe we are to enact that victory 
over the devil right here and right now. Otherwise, why bother hanging 
around down here? Is it right for God to be represented by a bunch of 
apologetic losers? Is that all we are supposed to be? Are we to just keep 
losing as great deception grows and then whimper off into eternity? I 
don't think so. I don't think my Lord suffered what He suffered to 
purchase THAT. He purchased back everything, to the fullest. And I intend 
to use that fact to make the devil's life as uncomfortable as I can make 
it. In fact, if I get the chance I intend to make the devil's life HELL. 
I cannot believe in these doctrines that make the devil and his deceptions 
the only winner and the Bride of Christ the great loser in the last days. 
I cannot accept it, and I will not go down without a FIGHT.

"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and
OVER ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY" (Lk 10:19). "Heal the sick, cleanse the 
lepers, RAISE THE DEAD, cast out devils: Freely you have received, freely 
give" (Mt 10:8). "He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do 
also; and GREATER WORKS THAN THESE SHALL HE DO; because I go unto my 
Father" (Jn 14:12).

Now, to finish with a few practical thoughts:-  What exactly would
God have us DO to prepare for the coming move? Obviously, PRAYER is 
the great key to any successful invasion of the devil's territory. And
it is the key to WE BELIEVERS getting prepared also. This is first and 
foremost for any move of God. But I also believe that there are other 
things that many of us are called to do.

I know that there are a number of musicians, writers and other 'media'
oriented people who will read this. I believe God is right now preparing 
people like you to become part of what He is about to do. I believe that 
people who are really gifted with audio and digital/ visual skills will 
be crucial members of God's "commando army" in the coming media war. In 
theory one can now dominate the world's media from a desktop PC. You 
can record and edit music, create videos, issue press-releases, program
web-sites, you-name-it - all from a modern desk-top computer. I tell you,
this is changing the media world forever. So get involved! Don't be afraid
to try new things. If this is what you feel God is calling you to, know
that there is a big purpose behind the skills He is having you learn.

And another thing - for the musicians. Don't get depressed if you do not
become the "next Beatles" overnight. The original Beatles first got 
together in about 1957 or '58. They wrote hundreds of songs that no-one 
ever heard. They completely FAILED THEIR BIG AUDITION with Decca Records
who had them come in and record in their studio. They were about to give
up when they almost ACCIDENTALLY got another audition with Parlophone -
which was EMI's "comedy" label. The Beatles did not record their first
album until 1962. Their first song was NOT a top-ten hit. Their first 
American singles were all flops. BUT THEY DID NOT GIVE UP. The gift was 
there all along, but it took a long time for it to blossom enough for the 
WORLD TO SEE IT. And song-writing and music need PRACTICE - even for the 
most gifted and inspired song-writers.

With my own band, recording and producing our own first CD has been
one of the sharpest learning-curves of my life. It has often been painful,
but it has also been GREAT, because I am learning to become good at my
craft. And I still have to keep learning. But I TRULY BELIEVE IN WHAT WE
ARE DOING, AND THE CALL OF GOD ON OUR LIVES. I am really looking 
forward to our next lot of recordings.

And just as I write this article, God has been directing me towards 
starting my own TELEVISION SHOW ON SECULAR TV - on a youth/ alternative 
channel in Auckland. It will be a half-hour youth magazine show that will 
air at 5:30pm every Saturday - very openly Christian. The first show is 
to feature my friend Tuhoe Isaac - an ex-gang President who has a full- 
face 'moko' tattoo. Will it cost money? Yes, it will. Why on earth am I 
doing it? Because I feel God wants me to. I can't escape it, so I am going 
to do it. I have made music-videos before, but never a TV show. So no 
doubt I will learn a lot. And I believe God is telling me to "despise not 
the day of small beginnings". Who knows where it will lead?

If you think God is telling you to do something to glorify Him, then DO 
IT. It may be preparation for something bigger. Who knows? We have all 
got to prepare in practical ways as well as spiritual. Whatever God tells 
us to do. Like David with his "five small stones" that he used to slay 
Goliath, or the boy with the five loaves and fishes that Jesus used to 
feed the five thousand, we don't know what can happen when we simply 
give God the "small things" that we have to offer. He can use anything.

So please continue to PRAY for Revival, and also to ask God what 
practical things you can do in preparation for Revival ministry. This
Revival is going to be like no other - the possibilities are endless. 
So listen to God and do whatever He tells you. And may He richly bless 
you in whatever He calls you to do. I believe this may be the hour for 
'stepping out', my friends.

God bless you all.

-Andrew Strom.

- CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE 'NZ REVIVAL BULLETIN' HOME-PAGE.

- CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR BAND'S WEB-SITE.


'The Ned Flanders Syndrome' copyright (c) Andrew Strom, 1999.
Feel free to download, photocopy or distribute.