Lately I have found myself spending quite a bit of time in the book of Haggai. I truly believe God is trying to get the attention of His leaders. He is raising up new leaders as well as sending a message of hope to encourage existing leaders.
God is reminding us of His plans to do great things in our midst. His desire is that His glory might fill the earth. But is His glory filling the earth today? The answer to such a question is an obvious one: no.
Does this mean God has changed His mind about having His glory fill the earth? Again, the obvious answer is no. However, God is raising up leaders who will faithfully listen for His voice in order to receive His strategy instead of the voices and strategies of men.
God never moves through a program. In fact, He moves in a totally opposite way. God moves through the power of His Holy Spirit coming on a people willing to stay and wait until they are clothed from on high with power (see Acts 1:4-8).
The prophet Haggai writes: "'For thus says the Lord of hosts: "Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory," says the Lord of hosts. "The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine," says the Lord of hosts. "The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former," says the Lord of hosts. "And in this place I will give peace," says the Lord of hosts"'" (Hag. 2:6-9, NKJV).
I believe God is saying we have mourned past losses and failures too much. We can compare this to when God removed the anointing off Saul as king. Samuel was quite upset about this. After all, he was the one who anointed Saul in the first place. Samuel basically kept pleading with God saying, "But Saul, what about Saul?"
Finally God came to the point where He basically said to Samuel: "Grow up, get over it and move forward. You have heard the next word." The next word was: "Saul is done, go and anoint David since he is the one after My own heart. I had to give Saul a new heart, and I had to make him a new man, but David already has a heart after Me."
Could it be God is saying to the body of Christ today that it's time to stop mourning the past and move forward with the next word? Instead of looking at the past to learn from it, are we actually mourning it?
God is promising a greater glory. This promise is to His people who are willing to stop lingering in and being distracted by the past. He desires us to move forward into His glorious future. Leaders today need what C. Peter Wagner refers to as a new ministry focus.
The traditional view of ministry is heritage-driven: looking at the present by going back to the past. However, the new ministry focus is looking at the present through the promise-filled, hope-inspired future. In doing so, we must ask ourselves, "How do we get to there from here?" To move into greater glory, we become vision-driven instead of heritage-driven.
There is no future in living in the past. This cliché contains vital truth. God is saying this to us today through Haggai. It's in the learning, and the letting go, that we truly begin to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. Then we will begin seeing the "greater glory" He is speaking about.
God is searching for a people who are tired of standing still and looking backward. He has a remnant within the remnant who are willing to let go of the past in order to make room for His glory.
Our prayer today needs to be: "Father, help us move out with You into all the things You would have us do. We pray You will release Your glory in each one of us. May Your glory come forth as we declare that the glory of this house will be greater than what has gone before."
Rus Jeffrey is pastor of Gananda Community Church in Macedon, New York. He and his wife, Sandra, have three sons.