Archive for September, 2011
Years ago I heard the story of a young man who attended a Bible conference where he heard a great man of God speak of his deep experience with the Lord. The speaker talked of coming to a place where he was overwhelmed by the beauty and glory of Christ; he could do nothing but bow in absolute surrender to Him. (more…)
I feel the tide of revival is rising and coming in. I see it in the spirit of our worship these days. I see it in a growing urgency of many of you to pray, some at our three prayer times on Tuesdays, some in other groups that have spontaneously begun to meet. I see it in Sunday School classes who are studying what it means to have a fresh encounter with God. I see it in A2C groups where believers are experiencing a depth of Christ-centered relationships that they had not known before. I see it in changed lives, and testimonies that I hear from people, some from emails, some from personal conversations with people who have encountered Christ in a powerful new way in their lives. (more…)
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24).
As Jesus marched courageously toward His crucifixion He knew exactly what the Father had in mind. A powerful force was about to be unleashed upon the world that would eventually sweep untold millions into the Kingdom of God. Later in John 12 Jesus said, “I, when I have been lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (v.32). He was actually speaking about the death He would endure when His body was lifted up on the Cross to die one of the cruelest deaths imaginable – death by crucifixion. (more…)
AT PRAYER TIME – Before I get started this morning I want to encourage us about the matter of prayer in these days we have set aside to seek the Lord. We will not see revival if we just show up on Sunday and see what show God is going to put on. That’s not revival. Revival happens when God’s people have a deep sense of desperation that drives them to prayer … private prayer and corporate prayer. (more…)
On a recent staff retreat I invited Dr. Richard Ross to come to speak to our team. Richard is a seminary professor, but more specifically he is genuine student of revival and spiritual awakening. I wanted him to share with our men and women what he knows about the times when God moves among His people in an extraordinary way. (more…)
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
The life of a follower of Christ is very much a daily walk with Him. The goal is to live every waking moment in step with His Spirit dwelling within us. The great challenge of the Christian life is to maintain that consistent walk with the Lord.
I realize that this is such an elusive concept for us that it is hard to know exactly what this looks like. How do I know when I am walking in step with the Spirit? It is very much a matter of spiritual concentration and focus. And it can and should be maintained as we are going about the daily tasks of life at home, at work, at school, and everywhere our daily traffic pattern takes us.
This summer I reread John Pollock’s biography of John Wesley. Wesley was instrumental in the great revival that swept through the British Isles in the middle part of the 18th century. Fortunately John Wesley kept a daily journal that chronicles, in brief descriptions, the intensity of his daily walk with God. His journals have been a great source of inspiration for serious followers of Christ for over 300 years.
Here are a couple of examples from John Wesley’s journal from December, 1740:
“Sun.23 – While I was reading prayers at Snowfields, I found such light and strength as I never remember to have had before. I saw every thought, as well as action or word, just as it was rising in my heart; and whether it was right with God, or tainted with pride or selfishness. I never knew before (I mean not as at this time) what it was ‘to be still before God.’
“Mon.24 – I walked by the Grace of God, in the same spirit; and about eight (o’clock), being with two or three that believed in Jesus, I felt such an awe and tender sense of the presence of God as greatly confirmed me therein: So that God was before me all day long. I sought and found him in every place; and could truly say, when I lay down at night, ‘Now I have lived a day.’”
Wesley describes for us what it means to live each waking moment in unbroken communion with God. Again, I notice the concentration and focus that enabled him, throughout a busy schedule, to live in the light of God’s tender presence. He monitors every thought, action and word in light of will of the Lord. This must have been what David had in mind when he said, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8 ESV).
This is very much an active thing. Wesley found the Lord in every place because He sought the Lord in every place. Consequently when that day was over and he rested his head on his pillow he was able to say with deep joy, “Now I have lived a day.”
Allow me to place this vision before you – that you could begin to measure the success of any given day in terms of how well you stayed focused on the presence of the Lord that day. When you are interrupted by someone does the very real presence of the Lord govern your response? When you are faced with a temptation does the very real presence of the Lord strengthen your will? When you are changing a dirty diaper does the very real presence of the Lord give meaning to that moment? When you are presented with the opportunity to minister or witness to another does the very real presence of the Lord propel you forward on mission for Him? When you sit down to a delicious meal does the very real presence of God cause you to instantly pause to thank Him?
Imagine the abiding joy of coming to the end of the day, resting your head on your pillow and thinking, “Now I have lived a day!”
We are just one week away from the time we’ve set aside to gather as a people before our great God. For nine weeks we’ll be together in one worship service on Sundays. But also for nine weeks we will also be together in our hearts throughout the week as we seek God with intensity. Remember our schedule changes for those nine weeks, starting next Sunday, September 11. One worship service at 10:30am. Sunday School will start at 9:00. (more…)