"For nine months God moved. It
was nine years later before we realized we had missed God."
"In the Welsh, Azusa Street and
Hebrides Revivals, the people sang and worshipped God for hours. Then the Word of the Lord was delivered with power"
In 1983-84 we began
attending a church where the Holy Spirit had begun a fresh move. Regardless of the different tenures of leadership
through the years, it was a church with a consistent history of anointed worship. And during this season God moved powerfully
there yet again. You could feel God's presence within the sanctuary. I will never forget one church lady, Ms. Nan, who recently
passed a few years ago. The first time we met was when I heard her voice weeping behind me at the altar. Her
dear heart was moved at all the young people at the altar praying. We made regular visits to that altar. Every time there
was an altar call, the kids were down there just crying and praying. Ms. Nan was always there too, laying hands
on shoulders, praying heart-felt prayers and hugging the kids. And many adults joined us there too. The youth leader would
close the church late at night because we'd sing and pray till 3 am in the morning for loved ones; And then go to school the
next day. We'd pray after school and witness the best we knew how to others. The youth group quickly grew to over 100 kids.
"Every time there was an altar call, the kids were down there
just crying and praying. Many adults joined us there. The youth leader would close the church late at night because we'd sing
and pray till 3 am in the morning for loved ones; And then go to school the next day."
wasn't just the youth. Many more adults came to worship. The Holy Spirit moved upon people
and the church quickly grew from a couple hundred to over 1200 within a year. Quite a number of those were people who had
been saved, not just Christians who came from elsewhere. Objectively in retrospect, there was much to be desired when it came
to being better grounded in the Word and developing real leaders - meaning prayer leaders. We lacked for much in those
departments. But for nine months the presence of God moved. It was nine years later when we realized we had missed God.
Over time His presence was felt less and less, even though the crowds were still coming. We built a building, formed a vision
and watched people come and go. But now the budget took precedent. The church was dying in spirit, but we didn't notice because
of the pride of comparison.
It is a hard thing to not compare and be puffed up; To not be taken with
the numbers of service attendees rather than those consistently in prayer meetings. I remember the pastor heralding the season
by declaring that "There's no place like this place any where near this place. This must be the place!" Had it been
a one time, light-hearted statement with deference to God's presence, it would have been harmless. But he'd say it every Sunday
for months as our proud congregation joined in. It became our haughty motto and unwitting
death knell. We were already dead and didn't know it. We were riding a wave already passed and the pulpit, took
precedence over the Throne of Grace. We were producing proud Christian activists, not people of prayer. Ichabod, the
Laodicean, had come to rule. We focused way too much on the subject of the power of God and His deliverance capability rather
than the Heart behind the power; Nor on His reason for wanting to deliver: His deep love of people and even more, the deep
love the Father has for the Son and the Son the Father.
"In retrospect, what is most grievous is the loss of real friendships, which rather than being
founded on the Cross and bathed in His love continually, were instead sacrificed on the altar of 'ministry'".
"Seeking" prayer meetings became a thing of the past. Business meetings increased. Like Tolkien's
ring of power, we had a growing "ministry" to protect, market and manage; A machine. The machine drove us and
became the point of reference for all things though we claimed it was the Word of God. The heart of Christ and the
fellowship of love dwindled. We socialized rather than fellowshipped. Our excitement moved from the Heart of Calvary to the
prideful and prayerless civic organization we dared to call a church. We were gradually moving from
worshipping God towards worshipping
the idea that we worshipped God.
We developed niche "ministries" and gained other
congregation's members; But few new people were being saved. There were some very anointed services during those nine years, but
their impact was limited by our complacency. We were busy consuming data, but not seeking corporately. Like scientists, we
studied Biblical principle and process at the expense of purpose and passion. (The purpose is to know Him and the passion
is to please Him by making Him known. And He is best known at the foot of the Cross; A place we must strive to stay)
"...we studied Biblical principle and process
at the expense of purpose and passion."
|It's Time For Families to Worship Him Together
prayer meetings on the back burner, we took control of things and prayed God would bless our efforts. Under the longterm weight of OUR corporate prayerlessness, the pastor eventually succumbed,
caved to weaknesses within and soon the party was over. The machine had claimed victims from the top on down. There were no
winners and we were all to blame. Oversimplified narrative? Probably, but still accurate. We got carried away with
ourselves and new leadership was needed to clean the mess; A teachable moment for sure.
In retrospect, what is most grievous is the loss of real friendships, which rather
than being founded on the Cross and bathed in His love continually, were instead being sacrificed on the altar of so-called
"ministry". Large and small splits forced people to choose between friends. Many of them have gone to join other
churches. Yes, God's faithfulness transcends the fragmentation of our lives and His sovereignty brings chaos into order, but
one has to wonder if we are living more in God's permissive will than His perfect; That God moves despite us. We regard
the spirit of Darwinism more than God's Spirit. We too readily accept conflict as a way of life while pretending to know the
Prince of Peace. Look at our country. Look at our families! Look at the lost. We have got to quit lying to ourselves and begin
seeking God - together!
But there is still hope. His Heart has not gone
away. He still knocks on the door of our hearts.
More and more I long to worship Him. Worship
is not in the dna of a personality, but in viewing Someone Sincere Who both haunts and inspires. A Heart like no
other. No longer do I want His power; I want his company. He unbelievably wants mine! Yet power is going to come. Unity,
the passion and power to reach both the lost and the poor will come. One cannot look at Him and not want others to know Him.
The greatest evangelism in this final hour will come from the hearts of worshippers.
The time to serenade the Lord has come. It is not the music, but rather, He is
our Song. In the Welsh, Azusa Street and Hebrides Revivals, the people sang and worshipped God for hours; Then
the Word of the Lord was delivered with power; No post-modern conveniences of overhead screens or professional performers
neccesary. What was essential was a view of the Heart of One Living Man. He was enough.
Charles and John Wesley, were joined many times by good friends George Whitfield and Moravian Peter Bohler to sing hymns of
worship and praise; For hours! Three friends of mine, when we were in elementary and middle school, would sing hymns together
into the early morning hours when staying over one another's homes. We were either in Paul's backyard tent, my grandfather's
upstairs or Billy's father's camper - singing to Him. The wonder of God amazed us. It felt good. It felt pure. It felt
real. And it was real, because He is real and the Gospel is true.
"In the Welsh, Azusa Street and Hebrides Revivals, the people sang and worshipped God for
In the coming year, we're focusing on extended family gatherings where in our homes
we will worship and pray. In 2000-2003 our extended family experienced a move of the Spirit in
which quite a number of family members and neighbors came to Christ. As we held our mini "Gaither Homecoming-like"
gatherings, we grew in number and found different church homes for new believers. Recently, the Lord has been moving and dealing. A
few weeks ago, my 18 year old nephew called to say lets get other family members and ride around in Aunt T's SUV
and worship the Lord with good music. That night was amazing.
"How hard can that be? Jesus walks up a hill with a Cross on his back and all you
have to do is throw on the right cd."
In recent months it has begun again. You
can just feel it in the air. But we will also invite new friends to sing with us. They will include pastors, neighbors, local
worship leaders and lay leaders, not for the sake of building an organization, the pride of a movement or for some sense that
we are doing something, but for the purpose of being with Him and being together. We will get
to sing to Him, feel His love, pray out of that love and do so together - as a family within a community. The presence of
God will come to houses within our family and this community. And if you have a proud and critical heart, please don't listen
to the Accuser as you read this declaration. I am not bragging, but truly prophecying in Jesus' Name.
will move. People will surrender to Jesus; Because Nobody has a heart like His.
This kind of Heart pleads your case as you mock and crucify
Join us in this call in this coming year and turn off the ministry of Hollywood.
As for your house and cars - welcome Him! Plug in a praise and worship CD or even invite a local worship leader to lead your
family in worship; Take up a love offering for your guests. Throw down that foolish pride, even if you cannot sing a lick,
but be sure to call attention to the Humble Heart on the Cross; A Heart that lives. How hard can that be? Jesus walks up a
hill with a Cross on his back and all you have to do is throw on the right cd. If you worship, you will pray and
study Scripture to get to know this Best Friend better. Worship spawns discipline. It's no coincidence
that the Old Testament Tabernacle model puts petitioning AFTER worship, for when we see this Heart, we can pray with His power
for those who do not know Him. And He rides the prayers inspired within us into the lives of those being lifted up.
He is legally & literally loosed to confront them - one on one! And He saves them.
Lift up the Lord. He will change the air. He is real. He is freedom; Freedom from Hell, this world and best
of all - from ourselves. Come let us worship the Lord! For the Lord is worth the attention. And the benefits - beyond