Something happened in me as soon as the Asbury revival took off on February 8th. I heard about it right away through some social media pastor friends. I do not know how to explain it. I never felt a pull to go there, but God sent a breeze to set ablaze the smoldering embers of my spirit. And as I was reminded in my chapter from Encounter with Spurgeon this morning, that means everything to the congregation. Spurgeon points our the obvious: the people of God are not awakened by the preaching of sleeping pastors. I always think about Jim Cymbala in Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire when he he says
“I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God showing Himself mightily on our behalf. Carol and I didn’t want merely to mark time. I cried out for God to change everything – me, the church, our passion for people, our praying. One day I told the Lord that I would rather die than merely tread water throughout my career in the ministry… always preaching about the power of the Word and the Spirit, but never seeing it. I abhorred the thought of just having more church services. I hungered for God to break through in our lives and our ministry.”Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire p. 22-23
I am not saying that I have not witnessed God’s mercies and miracles in my life. I have. But I know what God is capable of, and it is so much more than what I have witnessed thus far. For the last several years I have longed for more and feel like I have gotten less. Yet, I know the wilderness is not for naught.
This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and the easy thing for me, the thing I have done the last few years, was to have an hour in which people can come and go as they please to receive an imparting of ashes on their forehead. “Remember from dust you came and to dust you shall return”. But this year, because of the Asbury revival and the fresh wind and fresh fire in my innermost being, I knew we had to have worship. And we did. It was informal and I had no idea what I was going to say going into it. And God moved… so mush so that toward the end someone asked, “Can we do this again next Wednesday?” I didn’t even know what she meant. I asked, “What do you mean?” And affirmation came when someone else responded, “Can we gather for worship again next Wednesday.?” My first thought was “I don’t need another thing to do.” But I felt like I had to say OK, which I did. My next thought was, God is willing to break through if we will have Him do so. So not only did I say yes to next Wednesday, but for the next six Wednesdays through Lent. And perhaps that will be something we do for the season of Lent. Maybe it will start something we do every Lenten season. Or perhaps God has bigger plans. Time will tell if perhaps God is going to change everything.