Outpouring

20170708_080615While our kids were small, we set aside Monday nights as our family night.  With the weekends busy in ministry, we wanted to make sure our family time was not ignored.  Once the kids were home from school, it was just our family.  No phones or appointments.  Our goal was to have quality time and fun memories as a family.  One of our family outings was going to feed ducks.  Recently, I started working at an office next to the same pond we visited in those early years.  On my breaks and at lunch, I often walk to the pond to feed ducks.  Most days the creatures that come are not the ducks but the turtles.  It’s fascinating to watch the turtles come from every area of the pond once I’m standing near the edge.  I may not see the shell as they swim my way, but the small head is seen coming toward me and the ripples of the water are proof that they are coming.  There’s probably about 20 turtles that come to feed.  As I throw the bread or crackers in the water, it’s a frenzy of small heads and hard shells fighting for a crumb.  Turtles crawl on top of the shells of other turtles  in order to reach just a crumb of bread.  There are a few very large soft shell turtles.  Their effort is to try not to get caught in the middle of the hard-shell frenzy, yet they rush towards the giver just the same.  Lately, I’ve stood watching in contemplation of what is happening.  The turtles just sense my presence when I’m walking up.  They don’t know if I have bread or not on that day, but they know that I, and others that come, often come prepared to feed them morsels from our own table.  And they are hungry.  And as they rally for the crumbs, they appear to have an unquenchable hunger.

Hunger.  As I watch the ‘gathering’ and frenzy of turtles, it strikes me, ‘That should be us seeking for His prescence.’  How often do we hear people speak of wanting an outpouring, but how many make their way to a personal prayer room seeking it?  And continue to do so.  Daily if need be. Just the movement toward that place of prayer would create a ripple effect and draw others.  Like the turtles, we should desire an unstoppable, unquenchable desire that will thrust us into action.  Our excitement should be contagious and cause others to also hunger.

Often I hear so talk about wanting an outpouring.  A revival.  A new awakening.  But life happens.  We can’t always attend every meeting.  But if we have an unquenchable hunger for His presence, it will be a priority to run toward the Giver as often as possible. Too often other things take priority when a call for fasting or an outpouring service is announced.  As I watch the turtles, I think of what it would be like if every time there was a gathering of believers seeking outpouring they all came ‘hungry’, expecting an outpouring.  They wouldn’t know if that day would be the day they would leave full, but they believe one day it will happen as they continue to come.   That belief ripples to others.  It causes hope.  Jesus saw the both hope and hunger in the people and was moved to respond and meet the need.

True revival cost something.  I don’t want just another good service.  And I don’t want revival just to keep it to myself.  I want an outpouring in order for His Spirit to ripple out of me to others!  I’m believing!  How about you?  Do you believe enough to shut yourself in a prayer closet some place and then go gather with others who also believe?  Don’t give you until He shows up!  I challenge you to do so.  It will ripple to others…..and He WILL respond!

I dare you to believe!    #tohostHisPresence #senseHispresence #comehungry

That’s the Church!

“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 hungryThey came expectingThey 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!