It is 5:00 a.m. I have been up all night praying and agonizing over the condition of America. While praying for the nation in general, and also concerning a gathering this summer to cry out for awakening in America, I felt drawn to the book of Joel. While reading it, this word began to stir in me for our nation. I know it is lengthy, but please read it prayerfully. Not since October of 2000 have I been so burdened for America. At that time I issued a call to prayer, which, due to the favor and anointing of the Lord on it, went viral. Millions received it and prayed. My heart cry is that the same thing happens with this word, for I am actually more burdened now than I was then.
America is in a horrendous crisis of monumental proportions, a season much like Israel in the days of Joel. This Old Testament prophet warned of devastating judgment coming to Israel, but laced the warning with hope and God's mercy if certain things occurred. That is precisely where we are in America. We Americans are a confident and optimistic people, which is often good, but can also create a dangerous denial and crippling passivity. This is happening with many. But please do not be deceived by those who are saying everything is fine. The truth is that we, as a nation, are in serious trouble. Listen to these words from Joel—they are accurate for us today:
What a day! Doomsday! God's judgment day has come. The strong God has arrived. This is serious business!...Shake the country up! God's judgment's on its way—the Day's almost here!—Joel 1:15, 2:1 (The Message)
The State of the Nation
If God brought corrective but serious judgment to Israel, we are horribly deceived if we think it will not happen to us. If something doesn't happen to lessen this judgment—and it can be lessened—we are headed for very difficult times. The economy is going to be devastated. The stock market will go well below where it went a few months back—a crash is coming, and soon. More terrorism and violence will occur in our land, perhaps even war. In my spirit I've seen buildings crumbling and cities burning. Devastating natural disasters will take place. In general, hard times will be prevalent. Why is this so? Because we have turned from God and His ways. Consider the true condition of America. This assessment is bleak but accurate.
1) Our government is in decay. The current leaders of Congress promote homosexuality, abortion and socialism, while arrogantly ignoring God and the wishes of the people. They are proud, power-hungry, self-serving, career politicians, not the statesmen/women we so desperately need. Our President fits the same description. Along with the above, while honoring—in the White House—the Muslim day of prayer, homosexual activists and a coalition of atheists, he refused to honor the time-honored traditions surrounding the National Day of Prayer. And along with Congress and the President, we have many Judges with no regard for God's Word, the Constitution or our true history. The predictable verdict is in: America is in a moral and spiritual crisis of such magnitude that it is almost unbelievable.
2) What does this look like practically? From my grandparents' day until now, we have gone from 65% of Americans having a biblical worldview to now 4% of today's young people sharing these beliefs. This is staggering! Apart from an absolute miracle, which I believe is still possible, we have lost a generation of Americans to satan and secular humanism. Generally speaking, we are a narcissistic, self-loving nation that has accepted a culture of death, perversion, drugs and violence. We have murdered 51 million babies in the womb, and to satisfy the cry for a toleration of immorality and perversion, we are ready to throw away 6,000 years of honoring God's definition of marriage and family.
3) The Church, which is supposed to be salt and light for this mess, is neither. Though a remnant has remained faithful, for the most part the Church of America has become totally irrelevant and completely ineffective. We have produced lukewarm Christians and a generation that doesn't know God or His ways. Our pulpits are filled with smiles, not tears; entertainment, not passion; and self-help stories, not prophetic truth. Our feel-good messages and mega fun-centers have anesthetized us to the reality of our condition and, as opposed to offering solutions, are actually part of the problem. We, the Church, are not changing our world, we're being conformed to it. It's easier to find the truth about our condition as a nation on talk radio than in our churches. We have left our first love and abandoned our cause. In short, an apostate church, an ungodly government and a culture of death, perversion and self-centeredness has earned us an appointment with judgment.
There Is Still Hope for America
But there is still hope. God desires to bring a Third Great Awakening to America. It can be truly amazing—millions saved and delivered; all of society impacted in a huge way; the youth of America finally introduced to the true Christ in all of His power. But please hear me when I say this: Our prayers and actions will determine the magnitude and timing of this awakening; and the level of awakening will determine the magnitude of our judgment. Again, the hope-filled words of the prophet Joel are very pertinent:
But there's also this, it's not too late—God's personal Message!—"Come back to me and really mean it! Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!" Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here's why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot. This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. Who knows? Maybe He'll do it now, maybe He'll turn around and show pity. Maybe, when all's said and done, there'll be blessings full and robust from your God!—Joel 2:12-14 (The Message)
What powerful words of hope! Re-read them. Our God is so ready to show mercy. But not to the proud and indifferent! The prescription to turn a crisis such as Joel warned of and that which we face today, and the trigger that releases the spirit of awakening to offset it have never changed: repentance, humility, prayer and fasting. Please hear me: This is our only hope for a reduced sentence. Judgment cannot be fully averted, but it can be lessened.
A Joel 2 Gathering: Wilderness Outcry
With this in mind, I now believe more fully than ever that a strategy recently given to some colleagues and me is from the Lord. There are and will be numerous opportunities for Americans to gather corporately and cry out to the Lord, but this is one that I know God has ordained and will use greatly. Through dreams and other confirmations, He has spoken and directed several national spiritual leaders to call for a "Joel 2 gathering." We are calling for tens of thousands of Believers to join us this June 14-18, for five days of worship, prayer and some form of fasting (a meal a day, etc.) in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. (Though we will have worship Monday and Friday, the heart of what occurs will be three days, Tuesday through Thursday.) Listen once more to the words of the prophet Joel—he articulates what we are calling for:
Blow the ram's horn trumpet in Zion! Declare a day of repentance, a holy fast day. Call a public meeting. Get everyone there. Consecrate the congregation. Make sure the elders come, but bring in the children, too, even the nursing babies, even men and women on their honeymoon—interrupt them and get them there. Between Sanctuary entrance and altar, let the priests, God's servants, weep tears of repentance. Let them intercede: "Have mercy, God, on your people! Don't abandon your heritage to contempt. Don't let the pagans take over and rule them and sneer, 'And so where is this God of theirs?'"—Joel 2:15-17 (The Message)
A Call to the Entire Nation
Can you hear the passion and desperation in these words from the prophet? One translation says: "Sound the alarm." No one was exempt from Joel's call: spiritual leaders had to come; young and old had to come, even nursing babies; honeymoons had to be postponed! No one was excused. And this sweeping appeal is no less appropriate today. I plead with you to hear the call: We have come to a Joel 2 time in America! So much hangs in the balance! How we respond to Him today will decide what America looks like for the next 50-100 years!
This Joel gathering will be led by individuals who have truly been mantled by God for such a time as this: Lou Engle, who carries the greatest mantle of our day for solemn assemblies and Nazirite consecration, will lead much of the gathering. Lou feels this could launch the next phase/generation of the Nazirite movement that was embodied in TheCall gatherings of the last 10 years. (Please go to www.wildernessoutcry.com to read a dream one of Lou's spiritual sons had about this gathering.) Karen Wheaton and Damon Thompson of the Ramp will also be leading the gathering with Lou and me. Without question, the Ramp has the greatest mantle of/for awakening that I know of anywhere. They will be releasing this anointing. There will be approximately 25 very anointed worship leaders joining us—the worship will continue 24 hours a day, pausing only for a few short messages—as well as other national leaders from around the nation. This is not a concert and it isn't a festival. It will truly be "presence" driven, and the Holy Spirit is going to hover over us for these special days and nights as we humble ourselves before Him. Can you imagine what it would be like if thousands of people from all 50 states did this in one accord for several days? I don't know if there has ever been a gathering quite like it.
Many of those attending will be camping in tents and campers on the land. We have room for 35,000-40,000 people to camp on this incredible property. (Go to www.wildernessoutcry.com to register for a site.) Many others will camp in nearby campgrounds, and for traffic flow reasons, be bussed back and forth throughout the day and night. Still others will stay in nearby hotels and also be bussed in. Even if you have to stay as much as an hour away, I assure you that these days will be some of the most significant of your life! And just think, in Joel's day they walked for hours—probably days—to join the gathering.
Please come! It is not too late for America. Together we can release the transforming effect of a Third Great Awakening. If Woodstock 40 years ago could change a nation, what could thousands of Believers crying out to God for several days accomplish?! We would like to have people from all 50 states, all ages and all walks of life. We can do this! (We already have a group coming from Hawaii.)
It is a small thing to ask for the Lord and the future of this nation. Help us sound the alarm. Even if you absolutely cannot attend, spread the word. Send this email to everyone you know.
I hope to see you in Poplar Buff, Missouri, as together we answer the call and cry out for mercy and awakening. Here is a final quote from Joel that states what I am believing for, not just through this gathering, but because of the many prayers and the true repentance that I believe will take place in the coming days in our land:
At that, God went into action to get His land back. He took pity on His people.—Joel 2:18 (The Message)
May it be so, Lord!
For awakening and reformation,
Dutch Sheets Ministries