Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Last night was Women's Emphasis Night of our four night prayer revival. My wife took charge of the service and did an outstanding job in her presentation of the real and uncut story of Mary and Martha. Mary somehow always found herself at the feet of Jesus--a good place to be. Martha always seemed to be busy.
"Busy" is the battle cry of our generation. We're too busy to pray, too busy to witness, too busy to undertake responsibility of ministry, too busy to be about the "Father's business." Carol borrowed an excerpt from a Chinese native missionary whose ministry blessed us. He defined busy as:
After her presentation of the Word, each person was encouraged to come to the front and receive communion, but it was to be a personal rather that group time of communion. I remember as I knelt in a quiet part of the sanctuary, how unworthy I felt to be in communion with my redeemer.
The word "somehow" became part of my prayer last night.

Even though I become stubborn and insist on my own way, somehow, Lord, You firmly but lovingly check my steps.
Even though I become angry when things don't go my way, Lord, somehow You calm my heart and help me to not be so childish.
Even though I become discouraged and feel like quitting, Lord, somehow You find me under my juniper bush and ask, "What are you doing here?"
Even though I often fail You in my own willfulness, Lord, somehow You stop me in my tracks and direct me back to the journey of faith.

That "somehow" is His mercy. I don't understand how He loves me as He does. But I thank God for the "somehow" of His grace. I think communion took a little longer for me than it usually does. I wanted to savor every crumb, every drop, every moment spent with the Lord.

It was the best meal I'd had in a long time.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Good Kind of Tired

Last night was the first night of our four evening prayer revival. I felt God leading the church to a deeper, more active prayer life, than we've ever seen. I remember preaching Sunday morning that great things will happen when "God shows up" in your times of crisis, testing, and even attack. I was somewhat discouraged with the light attendance at the beginning of the service, but then...God showed up.
I wanted our focus to be prayer. The songs we sang were on that subject. The Scriptures we shared dealt specifically with prayer. The brief message I shared was on the topic, "Lord, teach us to pray." At the end of the message music was started very softly. I asked the church to come and spend some time in repentance before God. Repentance for the times we turned left when God wanted us to turn right. Repentance for the time when we told God no when we should have said yes. Repentance for being satisfied with just a "little bit of God" when He desires us to have a life that is "abundant" with His presence.
After that first session, we began a season of intercession. We interceded on behalf of loved ones, people for whom we were burdened, and situations in which God needed to move. Each person who had a burden of intercession prayed aloud, and I was amazed at how the Spirit enabled them to pray freely, directly, and with authority. I'm looking for great answers because of this time of intercession.
We continued with prayer for healing. Several had physical needs that only God could touch. As we prayed, I could feel the presence of God moving on each and every need. We concluded with individual prayer regarding the ministries of the church and revival. People were encouraged to either take a prayer walk through the church or take the journey in their mind as they pray. Again, people prayed earnestly, desiring an outpouring of God's presence on each of the local ministries.
When people were finished praying, they were free to leave. We had no agenda other than to pray. At the end of the evening, I was no longer disappointed or discouraged because of a low turn out.
I was tired, spent, and ready to go to bed, but it was a "good kind of tired." It was the feeling that something great had been accomplished for the kingdom that night.
Tonight it's women's prayer emphasis night with my wife leading the service.
Am I going to be there?
You bet! Why? Because I'm the pastor?
It's because God is going to "show up."