I would like to introduce you to my great friend of many years Michael Sullivant. Michael is a deep friend, a rich treasure who is also an ambassador and voice of the hope message. He is a world class theologian who articulates well the presently unfolding Hope Narrative, as well as the context that this unfolding narrative fits into in the bigger story of the Hope Reformation and how we can be more intentional in building that out.
There are key ingredients of this unfolding Hope Narrative within this article. My hope is that as you hear the voice of hope speak, in this, and in each of our articles, you will find your own unique place in this Hope Narrative that is unfolding around us in this time.
Deeper Waters Ministry
In the first days of September 2012, a small group of us traveled to Redding, California, to spend time retreating and visiting with our friends involved in the leadership of Bethel Church and some of its related ministries. For weeks our little team had been constantly praying into and conferring about many past and recent prophetic encounters in Scripture, dreams and visions that related to this trip.
During the nights of September 4th and 5th, Bob Hartley was awake and contemplating various revelations our little band of friends had received through the years, and especially in recent days, concerning a global “hope reformation” God intends to bring about in our day. He was keenly aware of the presence of God and of a heavenly messenger who was standing in the room. He realized that his many thoughts were not merely his own…
The Spirit of God declared that we are now entering an astounding and marvelous new era in God’s plan where He receives all glory. This is a watershed season for God’s people. The Lord is issuing a compelling invitation to us to enter and dwell in a “reformation room”* that causes the “spirit of revival” – that has been poured out again and again since the early 1900s – to be creatively and wisely applied in and to every God-ordained sphere of life on earth: personal, family, business, education, government, and so forth. It’s similar to the change in eras when the children of Israel were called to enter the Promised Land and walk into their full inheritance. The manna ceased (revival), but the land produced (reformation). It is an invitation to advance to a greater maturity in Christ and partner with the Lord to “reform” the whole land.
The Lord is promising that in the warm, family-like fellowship of entering His “reformation room” we will find a place of rest where we can be totally unguarded and simply be ourselves before the Lord. We will discover forgotten “faces” of God and “faces” we have never known before. We will experience a healed and expanded view of God. Psalm 24:6 will be true of us: “Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.” We will have “constant visions of Jesus” both for others and ourselves, so we can see who He has been to us in our past, who He is in our present, and who He will be to us in the future. We will see how near He has been to us and what He was doing when we were unaware. We will understand our personal story from divine perspectives and see beyond any earthly crises and declare the redemptive intentions of God for the earth. We will discover new levels of the power of the “word of [our] testimony” to deliver us from evil (Revelation 12:11).
However, in those first two nights, Bob Hartley was actually being prepared for an even more vivid experience.
On the evening of September 6th, we were waiting on the Lord and discussing the prophetic “cargo” that we were carrying to Bethel and that we are carrying to the Body of Christ at large. There was a wonderful and special presence of the Spirit of God in our living room that we can only describe as “destiny.”
At 3 A.M. this same messenger sent from God appeared to Bob in his bedroom and engaged him in conversation. The messenger was again attended by a very strong and discernible presence of God Himself. After a warm greeting, he reported that Heaven was more interested in our conversation that evening than we had realized. He said that he was sent to confirm the reality of the intention God has in His heart to take His people from “revival” into “reformation” and that now is the time for the inauguration of this transitional development. Beyond this, he reported that this reformation issuing from the refreshing presence of the Lord will ultimately lead to the fulfillment on Earth of biblical prophecy – the time of the restoration of all things.
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom Heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago. Acts 3:19-21
The heavenly servant went on to inform Bob that the “hope reformation room,” about which the Lord has been providing our team with so much specific, unfolding revelation, can be seen in these two passages from Scripture: Amos 9:11-12 and in Matthew 6:9-13, which is the Lord’s Prayer.
After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old. (Amos 9:11-12 as quoted in Acts 15:15-18)
The messenger conveyed that the “restored tent of David” that clearly pointed forward to the risen Christ and His Kingdom is not only a reference to worship and prayer, but that it has sweeping applications to the full range of earthly life. The tabernacle itself was the center, but not the circumference, of David’s blessed kingdom. He emphasized how the restoration that begins by entering the reformation room will lead to the opportunity for all humanity to seek Him. Whole cities and nations are going to have the best chance ever known to seek and find the Lord. He will activate a host of hope reformers to influence every sphere of life and culture through both miraculous and practical applications and experiences with the presence and power of Jesus Christ. Divine perspectives of our world provided in the reformation room will be the “best view in town”!
The heavenly messenger then highlighted certain phrases from the Lord’s prayer that contain an important five important keys to our experience within this reformation room. (Obviously, the prayer also applies to many more things.) Following is the essence of his declaration.
Our Father: First Love
We will feed more richly on the knowledge of God, and He will truly be our first love. The beauty of God and His manifold wisdom will captivate us and saturate our beings. Like Job we will go from hearing about God and we will see Him:
“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you…” (Job 42:5).
We will be allowed to perceive His form as Moses did:
“And He said, ‘Hear My words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses. He is faithful in all My house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord'” (Numbers 12:6-8a).
We will live a deep and constant communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and we will see these constant “visions of Jesus.” We will see how He is to be lifted up in all situations. We will “see” the true essence of God, others, and ourselves in ways that will powerfully activate and accelerate the hope reformation.
There is no hope reformation without personal reformation. But He is promising to transform us in His presence. We will abide and live in an atmosphere of adoring the Lord. We will understand how undergirding and ongoing adoration of God Himself is foundational to all of life. We will be continually renewed in hope and faith and love through the power of the Holy Spirit. It will also be said of us as it was of our Messiah:
“…I saw the Lord always before me, for He is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For You will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let Your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence” (Acts 2:25-28).
The hope reformation God has in mind will not be activated by “smart” people coming together to strategize how to influence the world for Christ, but by normal people discovering who God has made and remade them to be and then going forth into our particular callings and demonstrating the presence and wisdom of Christ.
On Earth As It Is In Heaven: Finding Home
The messenger said with great strength that human beings are restless and lonely until we find our true home and that this is our essential problem. The light of this proclamation caused Bob to cry out with astonishment and hope. We will find our true home in God Himself and He will make His home in us. We do not have to wait until we die and “go to Heaven” or until the “Second Coming” to find our home. Heaven “comes” to earth…it will come into our very souls and will change the chemistry of our entire beings and the overall environment around our lives. The gnawing sense of “orphan-ness” deep in our hearts will be powerfully displaced by an overwhelming awareness that we are honored and blessed sons and daughters of the Most High.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. John 14:18-20
The children of God will see, comprehend, and enter more fully into our promised inheritance. We have lived too far below our privileges. A much greater portion of God’s precious promises are available to us in this age than we have imagined. The messenger made it very clear that many people have pushed their expectations of fulfilled promises off into a future age to avoid the challenges associated with contending for them here and now.
Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Man’s Way Or God’s Way
The servant of God said we must be steered away from the temptation of the way of man in order to be steered into a pathway of God in regard to ushering the presence of God into our worship, work, and ministry. King David initially attempted to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem in an improper way (see 2 Samuel 6:1-9). God killed Uzzah for improperly reaching out to touch the Ark to steady it when the oxen that were pulling the cart stumbled. David became frustrated and temporarily gave up his attempt to return the Ark to the city. After three months he was led to bring the Ark back to Jerusalem in a proper way and God smiled upon the process (see 1 Chronicles 15).
The presence of the Lord is a precious gift in our lives and communities. It’s not “just a box.” God is revealing a new Spirit-led pathway of encounter that will usher in a greater manifest presence of God into our lives and the realms of life that we are called to impact for God’s glory. We will find ourselves in awe and wonder at the way God’s presence is revealed within and among us and we will never take it for granted. He will deliver us from doing it our way.
Hope reformers will band together in special fellowship and healthy relationships rather than be like pioneers who die alone on the wilderness frontiers. We will no longer flee away from God and our people like Jacob did, but we will be transformed into princes and princesses of God (Israel) by undeserved, surprising, but desperately needed, divine visitations on the barren and stony hills of our lives. God will give us simple solutions to troubling issues. We will understand very practical steps and simple acts of worship that will bring Earth and Heaven together. This wisdom will bring reformation all over the Earth (see Genesis 28:10-22).
We will walk among people who are also called to be reformers who have lost their hope and lost their way. They are people from all stations of life lying like corpses on the ground. But their bones will live as the One who is “the Resurrection and the Life” calls them to life again (John 11:25). The Father will show them a “vision of Jesus” and they will be activated and placed into their callings to also become hope reformers. We will break free from the religious traditions of man that have suppressed our hope, faith, and love. We will unwrap each other from our grave clothes, dig one another out of the dirt, and the hope reformation will go viral.
A gracious “acceleration by association” is being engineered for our good by the Head of the Body. This will create great celebrations like joyful family reunions. We will sit together with the Lord at His table of communion and He will answer the questions we are inspired by the Holy Spirit to ask Him.
Deliver Us From Evil: Identity
What the messenger said next came as a great surprise to Bob. He said that there is an evil belief that the children of God need to be delivered from. It is our underestimation of who we are in God, who God is in us, and who God is in one another. We must repent from this unbelief and confess with strength what God has called us to be and become in Jesus Christ.
Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
In the new pathway of encounter, the children of God, both old and young, come before a great congregation, unroll ancient scrolls, and begin to confess what the Word of God declares about our new identity in Christ. Our bodies shake with holy reverential awe and we break down in tears of overwhelming gratitude before we can regain our strength to continue. The rising hope reformers break through the strongholds of guilt, shame, inferiority, self-hatred, and fear that have haunted us our whole lives. We release both our deeply embedded insecurities and the overrated self-confidence of the world and exchange them for a growing, mighty confidence in who God is in us. We also determine to no longer overuse our strengths for survival and submit them to the Holy Spirit for His exclusive use for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Though we have fractures and weaknesses, in the reformation room we will understand that we are more loved, more forgiven, more accepted, and more honored by our Father than we have known before. We will be liberated from all paralyzing legalism and the wrong expectations of conformity we take upon ourselves or that are put upon us by others.
The Lord is inviting us to become “inside-out” rather than “outside-in” people. The difference between these two things is monumental. We will find our “rest” in God, and God will find His “rest” in us. This is what will make us much more useful to Him. We will learn to walk in the “easy yoke” of Christ. We will rest while we work and work while we rest. The hope reformation will only go forth with power and strength if it proceeds from inside-out dynamics…too much of our past has been grounded in an anemic outside-in form of spirituality. But God will bless and crown with beauty all the structures of the earth…small and large…through an inside-out spirituality, which ultimately will win the day.
Yours Is the Kingdom, Power and Glory: The Commission
In this last phrase, the messenger of the Lord declared that whole cities and nations have divine identities and callings upon them that they do not yet know. The Lord will scale the hope reformation up to global proportions. A great number of hope reformers will rise up and offer individuals, families, organizations, businesses, schools, towns, cities, and nations an encounter with the genuine presence of Christ. These needy people look like concentration camp prisoners. But when they receive just one drop of this potent hope reformation, they are transformed into mighty hulks of spiritual strength that spread and perpetuate the hope message to every sphere of life.
The Lord will begin now to activate and commission many hope reformers. Let us beware to not limit the Holy One of Israel and to not push all our hopes for the knowledge of the glory of the Lord to cover the Earth as the waters cover the sea off to another age. He is not just interested in releasing visitations, but He is desirous of having a delightful habitation on Earth within and through His people. The children of Israel of Moses’ generation were unwilling to occupy their Promised Land because of unbelief. The Captain of the Lord’s host is visiting the Earth once again on the outer rim of our wilderness wanderings to simply take us by the hand and lead us into a substantially more full inheritance in Christ, not only for the age to come, but also for this age. The resurrection power of God’s Spirit for apprehending such promises is already at work in us!
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
This heavenly servant went on to say that a senior spiritual leader we know, would be able to confirm the divine source of this visitation by two specific past events in his life. First, that this man preached about “the restoration of all things” during an Easter Sunday service. Second, that twenty-one family members were present in his father’s room as he was nearing death some years ago, and that his dad had invited each of them to come close to him so he could put his hands upon them to bless them. When we later shared this visitation and message with our friend and his wife in a private setting, they did confirm to us that both of these events had indeed occurred.
*Background To the Visitation
The Lord has visited us in many ways and on many occasions through the years regarding a hope reformation that He has in His heart to spread across the globe through His people. This reformation is not primarily about changing structures, but about restructuring our hearts and lives on deeper levels. He wants to activate us to be reformers through personal transformation, who will then have the spiritual grace to identify and activate other reformers. This is how the Spirit of Divine hope will go viral.
A beautiful feature of this reformation, so often pictured to us by the Holy Spirit as a “room” in which to enter and dwell, is that it is not about us being conformed to humanly preconceived expectations of what such a reformer ought to be, look like and do, but it simply involves a deeper and broader discovery of who God really is. This then leads to Him revealing to each of us who we are uniquely called to be in Jesus Christ and how Christ wants to manifest His life through each of us in special ways. If God is creative and resourceful enough to make no two snowflakes exactly alike, of the trillions that have ever fallen on the earth throughout world history, how much more has He made the billions of human beings to be uniquely designed? Certainly, we are more valuable to God than snowflakes!
Through the years, we have invited our friends to “adore and ask” God together and to then “listen” for His voice. We have spent many years researching and publishing ways to do this well and we have sought to integrate these practices into our daily lives. We have experienced “acceleration by association” in regard to hearing His voice as we have been led into rich fellowship with one another. This hearing dynamic has intensified among us in recent months, and the Holy Spirit has been pouring revelation into our hearts about the hope reformation…much more than we can report in this brief communication.
Michael Sullivant resides in the Kansas City area, has been married to Terri since 1977, and is a father of five adult children. Their lives have been marked and shaped by a naturally-supernatural relationship with God as unashamed followers of Jesus Christ. Terri and Michael have been involved in active ministry since their days at Miami University in Ohio. They have given themselves to planting communities of faith in several U.S. states, pastoring, teaching, writing, coaching, building leaders, and traveling to offer ministry in many nations. Michael is the author of Prophetic Etiquette, Your Kingdom Come and a devotional commentary called, The Romance of Romans: God’s Big God-Story (2011). Michael and Terri are co-founders of Radius – an equipping ministry that reaches out to many people.