Through the decades of ministering and outside speaking, I’ve been in a variety of situations. I’ve been in places where I’ve seen God work and others where “Ichabod” was written over the door and I’ve tried to get out of town as quickly as possible. It’s one thing to say you want God to work; it’s another thing to desperately want it.
The work of God is not a program or an event. It is a sovereign work. At the same time, God won’t work where He’s not wanted or welcomed. If we’ve got it figured out in our flesh, we can forget power from on high.
Every week I receive emails and mail from someone trying to convince me their conference will (a) make me a better communicator, (b) help me to raise money, (c) give me the tools to double attendance in six weeks, or (d) teach me how to be hip (but not necessarily holy). We’ve got the practical side covered. My question is, where’s the desperation for God? Where’s the hunger for God? I’m sick of business as usual. I’m tired of average. I want to see a movement of God.
One Ukrainian pastor recently said, “It seems American pastors are more concerned about church growth than knowing God.” He’s right on target. If I want to be hip, there’s a conference planned by a preacher who says he’s got it all together. He’s so “together” he has a gimmick a week to wow the crowd.
If I want to find out how to go deeper with God, it’s hard to find a conference that is working to hit that target audience. One reason I enjoy attending conferences at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove is because it’s the closest thing I’ve found for spiritual renewal and refreshment.
We are in a battle zone, but our promotions imply the church is a playground. We don’t need more programs; we need more power. We don’t need more machinery; we need a movement of God. THIS CAN’T BE ALL THERE IS! Surely Jesus died and the Spirit came to give us a church better than the one we have. Surely there’s more power than what we are experiencing.
There is no appetite in today’s culture for brokenness, revival, and awakening. Those thoughts are too deep for today’s pragmatic, shallow, cotton-candy culture. I like a little cotton candy, but a steady diet will rot your teeth and destroy your health.
I’m just wondering how the church survived these past 2,000 years without a huckster on every corner to show us their new way. Some churches are starting to “franchise” themselves, trying to reproduce their “brand” in other cities. You can franchise a program or a philosophy, but the Holy Spirit has the franchise on power. What the church lacks today in power, it makes up for in salesmanship.
Today, if you have a crowd, you are an expert. But there’s a world of difference between a crowd and a congregation. Jesus had a crowd until He started talking about the Cross, and then people started falling away. Crowds will come for miracles, but congregations will gather to be fed the meat of the Word. Unfortunately, I don’t find much appetite for meat.
In some ways, we are going backwards, not forward. It would help our watered down, Americanized, cultural Christianity to have a little depth. We need to reach the masses, but we also need to feed the sheep. We don’t need churches that put the food up so high that only a giraffe can eat it. But we also don’t need the truth so watered down that only a pig will eat it.
I feel like one crying in the wilderness. I know I’m going against the grain. I’m longing for people who will pray for Holy Spirit power. I’m asking God to give me a greater hunger for Him than I’ve ever had. I want a fresh wind and fresh fire in my bones. I need a touch from the Master. I need to know that it can be better, deeper, and sweeter than what I’m seeing. I’m looking for a remnant that will pray for me, pray for the church, and pray until God breaks through in Holy Spirit power. When He does, we’ll have revival because we’ll have Jesus who is, in fact, revival.