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Be Careful What You Ask For


Be Careful What You Ask For

There are many worship songs where we ask the Holy Spirit to “break out” among us, to truly cleanse us and make us new.  I’m not too sure that the church is ready for this, or flexible enough to handle the change,  because that is usually followed with deep mournful repentance for sin, followed by major life changes; it’s called revival in the church.  Folks better be careful when asking God to shake up their church because He just may shake up the individuals and the church to the point they and their church won’t look like it did before, and they may not like the end results.  And I would say a hearty AMEN to that.  The Great Awakening, Jonathon Edwards and Charles Finney come to mind.  I’ve read a lot about Jonathon Edwards’ ministry, and read Charles Finney’s biography and autobiography, and what God did under their teaching/preaching is truly amazing.

(There are those who disagree with Finney theologically; I haven’t wanted to know why, I don’t care.  Until those who disagree with him can do what he did in the power of the Holy Spirit, then they have no place to complain.  It’s easy to challenge another worker from the bleachers.  Get dirty and maybe one will find that some of the stuff learned in seminary isn’t true.  Probably because God never went to seminary and neither did Jesus, nor Paul.  Shame on Them!)

Yes, there was a lot of uncontrolled emotion during that time, something that evangelicals are scared to death of.  But the emotion was from conviction of sin, not some ridiculous hyped-up fickle hysteria like today.  Hell was real for those people because it was preached like it was real and that real people go there if they do not repent.  Those that find they are headed for hell and then find there is a way to be reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus, how can that not raise deep emotion in the convicted heart?

How can one contemplate the Cross and what Jesus did there for the individual and not fall on their knees in thanksgiving for what was done for them there?  If the these truths don’t hit home real hard, then it’s because there is no preaching and conviction of the sinfulness of sin.  But God chose me, the wretched man that I am!  Why?  I don’t know, but it makes me emotional at times and makes me weep.  I have received the mercy of God, the Grace of God, all bought with the precious blood of Jesus.  He has cleansed me of sin and broken me for His use. The God of the Universe can use me!  Miracles indeed do happen!

When one understands that, when a pastor understands that, when a church finally understands it,  it should be enough for all to fall on their knees and worship out loud in very un-conservative, non-evangelical ways.  Shouting “Hallelujah” would be appropriate, “Thank You Jesus”, would be heard, there might even be soft weeping, and maybe there will be a few in the corner over there who would not even look up to heaven, but beat their breast and crying out for all to hear, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

I know this does not fit into the nice little “churchy liturgy” thing that has been concocted these days to keep the Holy Spirit at bay, or from even showing up at all: “You go help those natives in Africa; we got this all figured out.”  I’m all for order, but if God wants to show up, then we better make room for Him to do so, without forcing Him into our conservative American Christian mold.  Very little of what happens in churches today makes it conducive for the Holy Spirit to work in people’s hearts; in most places He isn’t even needed for the church to function day to day.

There’s a story about a deacon, who in the prayer huddle before the service, prayed, “And oh God, please make something happen during the service that’s not in the bulletin.”  A very un-evangelical prayer indeed.   May his tribe increase.




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