In response to Gary’s comment from yesterday: What is “God, do that thing you always do?”
It’s our loving and compassionate Father whose eternal nature is to save us and redeem us and reconcile us back to him moving among his people to be present with them and in them. And that presence is then powerfully manifested in an outpouring of confession and prayer and connection and change.
It’s God overcoming my weakness and my sin and my lack of vision and understanding to blow our doors off with his message of forgiveness and hope. It’s when he causes something incredible to happen in an assembly of his people — something that nobody can plan or predict. He puts his message directly into people’s hearts. He pours his love straight into people’s souls. And then amazing things happen.
It happens at retreats. It happens at workshops and seminars. It happens in living rooms and around kitchen tables. It happens on Sunday mornings Friday nights. And I can’t explain it.
It’s revival, maybe. It’s a reawakening to the Holy Spirit of God and the power he gives us. It works through intentional prayer and sacred songs and confession of sin. It works when God’s people truly humble themselves before him, recognizing their sin, and whole heartedly submitting to his Lordship.
I don’t know exactly what or how it is.
But I do know it’s our God who does it. He just jumps right into the big middle of everything we’re doing and almost disrupts things with his presence. And his people respond to that presence with tears of joy and sorrow, with prayers of confession and thanksgiving, and with an outpouring of love for each other.
And I know our God is present with us everytime we come together. But sometimes it’s more powerful than at other times. The feeling, not the presence or the power itself. Are we more in tune with our God and his presence and power at those times than at other times? Are our hearts more open and our minds more clear and our souls more ready? Or is God revealing himself in different ways at those times? Is he moving in us and through us differently during those times? I don’t have an answer. It’s a combination of all of it, I suppose.
All I know is that it happened Sunday morning and again Sunday night at Legacy. He’s getting us ready. He’s transforming us. And I’m convinced anew and more than ever that our God is going to do some powerful things in us and through us for the Kingdom.
I don’t have time or space to tell you all the wonderful things about Day One at the ACU Lectureships. Randy Harris’ session on humility sparked much conversation and debate and reflection for the rest of the day and night. Billy Wilson’s presentation on the blessings of God found in the great Psalm 23, I think, is going to show up in at least a couple of sermons at Legacy. A panel discussion between us old guys and a bunch of college students was eye-opening as to why a lot of them are jaded by our Church of Christ fellowship. It’s nothing we don’t already know. But it really pushes some of our shortcomings to the front. And then Landon Saunders nailed it at last night’s keynote with a call from Micah to reach out to the people in our communities who make churches uncomfortable. The people in our town who are dying for forgiveness, longing for connection, yearning for love and acceptance. And he puts church leaders — you and me — squarely in the cross hairs of Micah’s message.
Day Two is upon us. I’m refreshed and ready to go.
I hadn’t been on campus five minutes when I ran into Kirk Eason from Austin Grad. Stan Reid is also here and we visited a bit after last night’s session. I’ve also spoken with Dan and Reba Bonner, two wonderful people who went with us on our trip to Israel in January. Jim Martin, a godly man and gospel preacher in Waco and a longtime friend of the family sat two seats down from me during the morning keynote. Grady King from South MacArthur and Danny Sims from Alta Mesa are running the roundtable with the college students. Sid and Janetta Allen sat down right in front of me at last night’s keynote, dear friends from North Davis who were honored by ACU last night for their decades of Kingdom service in North and South Korea. Shannon Jackson’s here. Kyle Smith, one of our kids from Marble Falls hollered out “Larry!” out in the campus yesterday and I turned around. Of course. Later on, his brother Ryan and David Griffen showed up at Moody for the keynote. And I’ve seen Mackenzie Lewis, but I haven’t been able to visit with her yet.
May God bless us with a fantastic week in his service.