Have you ever had one of those weeks where you looked up to heaven and said, “God, I’ll do just about anything for you to make sense of what is happening in the world around me.”
If are a follower of Jesus Christ these days, you probably feel a bit like Andy Griffith who accidentally found himself standing on the set of The Bachelor Pad.
Religion has suddenly taken a drastic left turn. It’s become something I don’t even recognize. Pastors are turning in their bibles for the latest self-help sermons. Church attenders have turned their pews into social club seating to fill the extra few hours they haven’t filled up with extra curricular activities. Church denominations are leaving scriptural teaching and voting for the newest politically correct doctrine taught by the latest and greatest “life coach.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of Religion. I’m tired of playing church. I don’t want to just fill up another space on my calendar. I want the real deal. I want to live so closely to Jesus that I breathe his breath, and speak his words.
Northern Indiana got a glimpse of this a few weeks ago as a droplet of revival fell on the tiny spot on the map called Elkhart County. Thousands of people came from miles for 53 days to meet with God. There were so many people who came to the nightly services, there were no seats left! People came during the afternoon hours just to save seats. The services were filled with thousands who wanted a face to face encounter with the Almighty God. As I watched it unfold, and got to experience it first hand the last night at our church, I asked myself, “What is the difference between these services, and a normal routine Sunday service where the “frozen chosen” gather to sing, listen, and leave?
What was the difference. What was it that turned the Heart of God to his people for those 53 days?
I think it was four things.
When is the last time you came to church expecting God to do mighty and powerful things in the service? When is the last time you expected to see healing or miracles? When is the last time you attended a service expecting God to change your heart and convict you? I know for myself, it has been a long time. The busyness of life has captured my attention, and going to church is just one of the good things I do.
Our pastor often talks about “Loading his guns” on Saturday night. (No, he’s not a 2nd amendment guy…at least I don’t think so) Every Saturday night he pulls away from life to prepare the final touches on his sermon. He gets alone with God to prepare his heart for the next morning. He is expecting to be used by God. He is depending on God to use him. Desperately seeking God’s face in expectation of answered prayer.
Why are we any different? Why would we not pull away from life to ask God to prepare our hearts for what he has to say on Sunday morning? What if we came to church expecting God to do miracles? What if we came to church with our hearts already prepared for a move of God?
What if we were expecting?
I believe that is the missing piece to the puzzle. We need to come ready and expecting God to change us. If we did that, I think we’d see revival fall over our nation.
When was the last time you were desperate to see the hand of God in your life? I saw a video one time that impacted me to the core. It was one of those videos that you not only watched, but you felt.
It was a video of a man who had his head under water for a long period of time. You could see his fingers twitch, and his legs begin to give out from under him. He was drowning. I caught myself holding my breath as I watched it. When it looked like it was the last-minute, he threw his head out of the water gasping for air. He looked at the camera and asked. “When was the last time you want God, as much as you wanted to take your next breath?”
Do you remember that time? Have you ever felt that desperation?
I don’t know about you, but I want to be that desperate. If the church would come to the place where they had nothing left, and they wanted to see God move more than their next breath… friends do you know what would happen to this dark world? There would be a transformation across the globe!
Desperation turns the heart of God to his people.
This means repentance. The heart of God is turned toward his people when we are able to fall on our face in repentance and adoration. We have lost this in the church. It’s become more important to self indulge, and self medicate to make ourselves “OK” than to repent and turn from our ways. God’s heart is drawn towards, and waiting on us to turn back to him. No matter what we have done, he waits. I believe the day of grace is coming to an end very soon. We need to keep short accounts with God. Many of us in the church are playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette with our faith, hoping we have done enough good to counter the bad.
How is your heart? Are you ready to see him face to face? Is there any repentance that needs to happen in your life? Take some time to do some soul-searching. Repentance turns the heart of God.
When is the last time you fell in love with Jesus? Do you remember how you felt when you first accepted him in your heart? Do you remember your long talks with him? When is the last time you shut the world out, and just worshiped him? Something happens when you do this. The cares of the world seem to disappear, and suddenly you don’t care about anything else but Him. His heart turns toward you when you worship. His heart turns toward you when you fall in love with who he is.
Life is busy. It’s easy to fall into a routine of work, raising children, and even going to church. Just like our earthly relationships, if we don’t spend time with each other, pretty soon, we realize we are living with a stranger! God is the same way. He longs to spend time with us. He longs for that relationship. When we grow cold, it is not because he has gone anywhere. It’s because we have. Find that first love again.
God’s heart is turned toward us when we worship and love him.
What would happen if God turned his heart toward our nation again? Revival would fall and we would see radical change in our churches, cities, states, and our government.
Ask God to send revival to your heart. Ask him to send revival to our cities and churches all across this land. Ask him to pour out his spirit just one more time!