“What’s brewing in your head?”
The question came from one of our young adults. She had caught me watching the small circle she was in and came over to me, curious of the look she read on my face. We were in the altar area after one of our Sunday night Fire Light services. Sunday nights have become a special time for a group of us in our local body. Most of the ones who attend are from our young adults group. They are hungry for a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit. They want more than the status quo and are coming together with a heart to seek a deeper relationship with our Father.
On this particular night, I had been spending some time quietly praying alone. After a while, I sat up on the bench and was reflecting on what God was doing in and among those that choose to attend. My eyes kept returning back to a group of three sitting off to my left. There was such peace as I watched them huddled in God’s presence. Such a ‘hodge podge’ group.
This is when the young lady caught me eye. She smiled and came to sit next to me. Looking at me she asked the question, “What’s brewing in your head?” Oh my! That did it! The flood gates opened!
“The church! It’s the church!”
She waited silently for me to explain my meaning. To me, that ‘hodgepodge’ group sitting near me represented the church being the church. The group in front of me consisted of an ex-lesbian and an ex-drug user. They sat on either side of an African American skate boarder with dread locks who, just that night, had walked in for the first time. They were sharing Jesus with him. He didn’t know anyone there. He only came because a rams-horn-toting-ex-lesbian walked up to him and said, “Follow me. We’re going to church.” Without question, he got in his car and followed. Little did she know that just before she walked past him with the invitation to church, this stranger had posted on social media that he ‘had no family to go home to and tell about his day.’
That’s the church! Showing the love of Jesus without walls. Without social barriers. I went on to explain that I’ve been in church/ministry all my life. I’ve seen revivals come and go. I’ve seen true revival and I’ve seen emotional revivals where people go from one place to another seeking a prophetic word or spiritual high without walking it out in every day life. I remember the two week, or more, revival services. The excitement each person felt as they entered the sanctuary, wondering whose leg would grow that night. How many would come to know Christ? Or what other healing miracles would we be a witness to? And each night we left wondering who we could invite for the following night. Never did we think about the amount of homework needed to be done. We just brought it with us. Sports or hobbies didn’t stop us. We knew to get there early so we could get a good seat. We stayed late not to miss anything that God might do for someone. And we grew spiritually as a family – together – and that changed the atmosphere of our home lives.
This young lady got an ear full as I, through tears of longing, recalled the wonder and glory of past revivals I grew up attending. Why? I hunger for more true revival. The kind where the actual body of Christ is revived in their passion for His presence to the point that nothing can keep us away from time with Him. You know, that ‘first love’ type of experience where you can’t stop talking about Him and everyone around you sees something is different in your life. The kind that reaches out to share Jesus with others, no matter if they dress or look the same as we believe they should. The kind that becomes the Jesus with skin on to a hurting world.
Recently, my husband visited the church my daughter attends in Dallas. Just listening to him describe the hunger he saw made the yearning in my own heart grow. At 4:00 that Sunday evening they drove to the church. By the time they arrived, a line had already started forming at the door. When the doors opened at 4:30, at least fifty people were waiting to enter. Why? To pray. From the first note of music at 5:00, the building was full and corporately the body of believers immediately entered into worship.
They came hungry. They came expecting. They came with open hearts.
They didn’t arrive with an agenda to leave as soon as possible. They didn’t attend just to hear a word of prophecy from a special speaker. They didn’t come to be patted on the back or hear a message that made them feel good. They came to be challenged. To be changed. To just BE with HIM. To be revived. There was a hunger in the hearts of those gathered to be in His presence. They, too, were a ‘hodgepodge’ mix of believers. All ages. From many different walks of life. Their church may not have a steeple. They might not all have agreed on the songs or the choice of paint for the walls. But they had found one common denominator – the desire to grow closer to JESUS!
Many today talk about wanting another great revival. Another Great Awakening. Are we ready? Are we ready to allow Him to mess up our lives in order to make us more like Him? Do we really want Him to come, or could we still be trying to find a way to fit Him into our schedules? Are we willing to come early and stay late so we don’t miss what might happen? Do we want true revival, or do we prefer to go place to place seeking a ‘make me feel good’ word?
Before leaving that night, I took another look at those gathered. Broken lives that came to be mended. Here I stood, the pastor’s kid who grew up to marry a pastor and raise missionary kids, and I was next to an ex-lesbian, ex-drug addict, broken skate boarder, ex-adulterer, the goody-two shoes child, and others. Each ready to go out and reach more broken lives for Christ. We accepted each other without walls. Why?
Because we ARE The Church…..being revived!