“Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.”
2nd Timothy 4:14,15
Burundi is a tiny country nestled in the midst of East Africa. Only a few short years ago close to 300,000 people died here in a 12-year civil war, but now it is clean, open and peaceful and a welcome relief from the squalor you find in Kampala and other cities in Africa.
But for such a small country, I had an incredible amount of resistance and trouble. It all surrounded one single person who caused so much trouble. And guess who that person was – our host, the guy who invited me there – my own personal Alexander the Coppersmith!
Without hanging out all the dirty laundry, suffice it to say that it has been a battle, but we knew we had to work through it, and in the end, we reached dozens of pastors and leaders with a startling message of revival that they had never heard before. They are ignited and ready to turn Burundi ablaze with a new fire that they have been praying for.
There are churches all over the place and probably 85% of the population are true practicing Christians – even the President of the country is born again – but there is such a lack of depth here. They pray like warriors, but they read Bible like children. Many pastors here have only a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible. I had to help one of them today find the Book of Judges because he didn’t know where it was.
With that kind of deficiency, there can be no power in the Church … and no revival. Only the Word of God can bring forth revival.
- Without a deep hold on the Word, your faith will be anemic and you will not have the power to raise your prayers past the ceiling. Oh, you can pray loud, but you won’t get very high.
- Without the Word of God, any repentance will be superficial at best because it is the Word of God that separates between flesh and spirit to open your heart for Holy Ghost conviction.
- Without a knowledge of the Word, how will you tell the new souls that come in what is right and wrong?
- Without a depth in God’s Word, how will you recognize the devil when he comes to destroy the church?
No power, no wisdom or understanding, no depth, and no strength. It’s as if they have all the pieces here except the most important one.
Ah, but once they grasp the importance of reading the Bible, they cannot hold their excitement. This is what they have been waiting for. It’s as if they have been sitting in a dark room and someone just ripped open the curtains to let in the bright sunshine of the day. And then it’s, “Get outta the way, ‘cause here they come!”
I was taken to a church way out in the bush country in northern Burundi. Pastors and people came from miles around to see the white man from America. At the end of the 2nd service, we gave them some oil to pray over their people for revival. They didn’t know what to do with the oil because they had never done this before, and stood there looking at us with blank faces. But oh, once they got the idea, it was like pouring out hot fire on dry tinder!
I don’t know how long we prayed – first over those who wanted the fire of God in their lives, then the children, then for healing, and who knows what else after that – that place was transformed. The very air changed. There was a feeling of warm wholeness in the air that gave you a feeling of light. (Sorry, but that’s the best I can do in trying to describe the feeling).
Miracles took place there. Miracles that so many of the churches in America and Europe have long ago traded for a modern sophistication that has left them like the Church of Laodicea -- rich and increased with goods, but not realizing how blind and poor and naked they have become.
Satan knew. He knew that these people were a tinderbox ready for a move of the Holy Spirit if they could just be pointed in the right direction. So he sent Alexander the Coppersmith to do everything he could to stop the move of God.
In the end, however, God will have His way. He did with Paul in Ephesus, and He did with these people in Burundi. But sometimes that means you have to stand in the battle to fight all the way through to claim that victory.
But the victory is always worth it.