George Otis

Sid:  Recently I was watching TBN television. I saw my guest he was a guest on TBN and his name is George Otis, Jr. He is the Head of the Centennial Group in Lynwood, Washington I have him on the telephone. And one of the things that fascinated me is he was talking about cities that had transformations, not just a little revival in a church where people were being touched by God’s Spirit, but where the entire cites were being transformed. And he made the statement “This transformation you don’t see long term in the United States but yet you see it in other areas of the world.” And the thing that intrigued me was the question: Why don’t we see these transformations in the United States? George Otis, Jr. why don’t we?

George: Well, there 7 obstacles that we have identified to transforming revival that are particularly evident in western society and culture. It would probably take more time than we have to go through all of them but some of these things will not come as surprises to your listeners. One of the obstacles is theological misperceptions. We assume that revival is just something that comes as part of the arbitrary fiat of God. God decides at some time for reasons known only to Himself that He is going to visit a particular people or community.

Sid: As my wife’s grandmother used to say “God works in mysterious ways.”

George: Yeah and certainly we can’t fathom all of God’s reasoning so I’m certainly not suggesting that we can understand all of the mind of God. But when it comes to preparing the way of the Lord which is something we’re instructed to do in scripture repeatedly we’re not left to scratch our heads wondering how to get started because God has laid it out very very clearly for us in places like Isaiah 58; 2nd Chronicles 7 chapter 7 and in numerous other passages. There’s a collection of principals and instructions and revelations into the heart of God. And if we will respond to these things and will invite the Lord to come after we have done what He has told us to do preparatory wise then He will come into our community. So that’s one of the things is what is our role and what is God’s role. We’re also seeing problems with misplaced motives where people pray and ask God to come but only for the purpose of alleviating pressure and misery and solving various problems that they have. Now we should hasten to say that God is really interested in doing those kinds of things and in the cases we’ve documented around the world they’re absolutely stunning in example of the power of God fixing people’s broken environments and lives. But that’s not openly why we call upon the Lord to come. We call upon Him for Himself; we’re calling upon a lover and not a handyman. So that’s another thing that I think that has caused us to not see transforming revival in the west. Also, we have the infatuation and a preoccupation with programs. And we want to stage manage the Kings appearance and I think God has shown that He’s very resistant to that. We’re sure that God is going to come into our community He’s going to come in a certain way and at a certain time we try to create the right ambience for His arrival and roll out the red carpet and get the lighting just right and hire musicians. And at just the right moment horns are blasting He tends to make His entrance through an unlit emergency exist.

Sid: (Laughing)

George: That’s how he entered our world in Bethlehem and that’s how He does that today. And it’s not just to get away from our pretense it’s also that entrance through that emergency exist is the perfect entrance into that community. And if we knew all that God knew about the community we would have been there to celebrate the perfect entrance. And then there’s lack of appetite or lack of hunger. We are willing to pray for revival or ask God to come, but only generally in time slots that have already been set aside for religious observance and that’s not enough. And one of the things that I noticed as a major difference between western believers and the believers in other countries that are actually seeing God come in full measure is that they have abandoned themselves to the process of preparing the way of the Lord. And we have stopped somewhere short of that. We would like Him to come but we would like Him to come at a convenient time and in a comfortable manner. So that’s why we’re still looking at the testimonies that are coming from other parts of the earth.

Sid: And you know a thoughts crossing my mind George, we have a phenomena that you’re aware of in the United States of probably the fastest moving growing churches are what are known as seeker sensitive. Isn’t this almost the opposite of hunger?

George: It is, and a lot of people don’t see it as that but that is exactly what it is. You know a good friend of mine said recently we’ve got a big problem in the western world right now were giving global church growing staffs down and that’s very true. We get absolutely all worked up over a single local church whose membership doubles at a given year and we think “Man can it get any better than this?” Well, the short answer is “Yes, it can get a lot better and in most of the other areas in the world it is.” And it’s been said “That life is filled with many tempting parking places and we in the western world seem to find all of them” and we luxuriate in our small victories and don’t realize that God has so much more in mind.

Sid: Well, as you say we luxuriate in our small victories at church forget a couple hundred. Let’s suppose a church grows to 3-4,000 we get all excited. But I see the statistics of what’s going on with Islam and they wouldn’t get excited if they had 2000 people in mosque. They want to take over an entire city.

George: Exactly right, exactly right. Sid I think that one of the things that we ought to remind ourselves of is that huge results are occurring in our world today and even in our society that are the handiwork of a relatively small group of people. And in the Islamic world you’ve got a revelry small group of real hard core fundamentalist operatives that are controlling the huge circumstances. And in our culture today the same thing is happening with the homosexual lobby. Which is a relatively small percentage of our population but these folks are incredibly persevering and gifted at changing the way that millions of people think about what is okay and what is not okay.

Sid: I have to believe they’re not just brilliant, although they’re hard workers. I have to believe both in Islam and homosexuality these lobbies have people in the invisible world that are helping them.

George: For sure there is no question about it. When you read in Ephesians chapter 6 about principalities and powers, when you’re talking about principalities you are talking about demonic powers in potentate have human spiriters working with them. And you find the King of Tyre operated in this role, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon operated in this role and many others did in scripture and we do today where we find… Adolph Hitler was another co-conspirator with the demonic power.

Sid: So how are we going to get a human coconspirator with the powers of God to overcome because we know He that is within us is greater than him that’s in the world. So what are we believers waiting for?

George: Well, here’s… you’ve touched on something that I think is a very important point here. There are a number of people that we met with over the last several years who have seen these transformations videos and been inspired and said “We want to see that kind of fruit, those kind of results where we live in our back yard, how can we do it?” And they immediately tend to go out and try to do unity and they call a meeting of all of the believing people in the community to come together and they’ll talk about what they’re going to do and everybody’s excited the meetings full if for no other reason than professional courtesy everybody comes to an initial meeting.  But when we hear from these people again it maybe 6 months or 9 months down the road and they’re bemoaning the fact that now in these planning meetings they called there’s a lot of empty chairs. I try to explain to them that God is not fixated or focused on the chairs that are empty He’s focused on the chairs that are filled He’s brought you there. But we get this idea in our head that if this key player, this pastor of this big church is not involved in our program then how are we going to get there? How are we going to see transforming revival take place in our community? And the good news is this, that God almost never works with the majority or with critical math.

Sid: That’s good news but we’re out of time right now.

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