Monday, March 29, 2010

Recap of The Solemn Assembly from The Creek

Last Sunday was one of those days that words were not enough to describe it! There are days that Gods presence is so heavy and He does so much that to actually tweet, blog or write about it is not doing the event justice. However, last Sunday was not an event but a begining of a great move of God! As perscribed in the book of Joel, our pastor called the creek to a solemn seek God, to listen to God and to respond to God! For too long our church, as many others, have been satisfied with status quo and reaching some yet ignoring others. We have become complacent in our worship, wasteful with our time and lost the passion to share the greatest news that changed our lives. Sunday was the day, we asked God to change us! As people came into the worship center, they were asked to remain quiet and prayerful as scripture scrolled on the screen. Signs were held around the room as a reminder and some people sat quietly reading their bible. You could sense from the parking lot that this would not be a typical service or Sunday, and that God was already dealing with hearts. The time came and the music started as we sang to God and worshipped Him as God Of The Ages. Hands were raised, tears were flowing and voices sang as if it were one single sound! Our pastor came to the platform and called us to the Solemn Assembly, explaining why were there and what we were asking God to do. We began seeking Gods face and asking God to break our hearts and our pride! When the call was given to respond, the alter quickly filled, with people who were hurting and broken over the pride of the heart. You could hear as people wept and cried out before the Lord! From that point on, the service took on a whole new light as people responded to each call to do business with God. As our Pastor called us to confess sin, pray for needs, repent, turn and seek Gods face, the people were being touched by the Lord and His presence was so evident. People that were dry, and thirsty for a fresh move of God called out to Him and He responded. As the service continued, some that were living life away from God, came and responded to Him by re-commiting their lives, while others who were not saved, came and gave their lives to Christ! Some came wanting to be baptized, and without reservation, we baptized them on the spot! Couples were coming to pray together for healing in thier marriage, for the children, and other reasons. Adults and students alike were responding to whatever God was speaking to thier hearts! All of this activity of God was so wonderful and exciting, but our prayer is not that it is contained in the walls of the creek! Our prayer is that God will start something in us that will spread to other churches, to our city, our state and our nation! The sad thing is, some will brand this move of God as nothing more than hype or emotion, but the fact is, if we seek God and respond to God He will move in our lives! It might not be the way you expect, or even something you are comfortable with, but as long as its Him at work, you can trust the outcome will be for your good and His glory!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Man In The Mirror

I was riding in the car the other day with my wife, when a song came on the radio. Mel commented that the song playing used to be a secular song but that she had always liked it, and now it was being played on the christian station. I listened to the words and it was true! The song that was written as a secular tune, actually could be applied to the christian life. We began to talk about the other songs that we knew that could be used the same way and what would you know, an old Michael Jackson song came to mind. "Man In The Mirror" began to play in my mind then the scripture passage from Proverbs started to come to me. "As water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the man". WOW! It could be said of some that vanity is a problem but not so much for me. I hate looking into the mirror. Every time I do, I see all of the blemishes, imperfections and unpleasent things I do not like about my looks. I see my big nose, huge eyebrows, crooked teeth, receeding hairline, etc. It is scary! Still, if I want to look presentable, I have to look at the man in the mirror to see what needs to be done. Does my hair need brushing? Do I have any food in my mustache? Is it time to shave? Until I take a look at the reflection, I have no idea what needs to be done to stay groomed, or even how to do it. We have to use a mirror in order to shave correctly or else, I would shave my gotee off. I have to have the mirror to comb my hair or it might stick up in places and not in others. Do you see the connection? As much as we hate it, sometimes we need to examine the heart to see if we really are measuring up to the standards that God has asked us to live by. The heart tells the story, and allows us to get a good snap shot of where we are exactly in our walk with Christ! Some of us are the same with our heart reflection as we are with our actual mirrored image...we would rather walk away and not look, but this is not an option for the child of God! We should always be willing to make changes in our spiritual apperance so that we reflect God and not ourselves! Looking at our heart reflection can sometimes be sickening, but the more we come to terms with who we really are and who He really is, the more we will be like Him, but it all starts with the man in the mirror! Let me close with this short story. I heard of a pastor once who, led a small church that had once upon a time been an on fire, lively, soul winning, growing congregation but had lost the passion to do just about anything over the years. Attendance had slumped, guests were not very welcomed, the nursery had dropped to 2 on a good Sunday and the only thing to report in the newsletter was how nice the social was last Saturday! Missions had become something that "other people" did and the vision for the church consisted of nothing more than a plan to maintain what was already going on. Churches around them that were growing were labled as "liberal" and "worldly" and many of the members gossipped but made sure to fashion it in the form of a prayer request. After becoming tired and distressed about the situation, the pastor commented that he felt like sundays were like going to a funeral home, so he had an idea. He decided to preach an entire message in the same style as if he were preaching a funeral. He talked about the "dearly departed" and how we loved the one who had passed. He talked about good times and the memories. As the pastor continued, he talked about all the qualities that were loved about the deceased and even how much others were dependent upon them, however throughout the whole message, the preacher never gave the name. All at once, the back doors came open and a casket, shiny, black with silver handles was rolled into the sanctuary. The pastor slowly made his way to the head of the casket as he closed his bible and opened the lid. He asked the church to come around row by row for the final viewing. As each person intrigued by who this poor soul was that had met with an untimely death peered into the coffin, they were astonished to find a mirror! In place of a corpse resting in peace, it was their own reflection that glared back at them! "This is a sick joke" one man whispered. "He has lost his mind" a lady from the back said. Finally the last row had came by the coffin and peeked in, then the Pastor stepped back into the pulpit and announced, "Thank you for coming to the funeral of a dead church". The people were angry and some even left the church, but the truth was still there! The people were dead and had failed for many years to take inventory of themselves personally and as a church, until they saw a familiar reflection, one they recognized laying in the coffin...their own! It was not until we get honest, open our eyes and look that we might find a similar situation in our personal and spiritual lives, but we must face the mirror and look into our heart!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Call to Repent

My pastor published the following article on his blog just a couple of days ago. After praying for a couple weeks, I really believe that God is getting ready to shake our church for His glory and bring about a fresh revival. I am so thankful for a Pastor whos heart is honest and trusting in God to move.

A Call to Repentance
Over the past few weeks our church has been seeking God for a fresh authentic move of God in our fellowship. For three weeks on Sunday morning we have been examining the parable of the prodigal son. The bottom line of those messages was this: God calls both the religious and irreligious to repentance.

Repentance is a prerequisite for any revival. As a church we have been talking through Joel on Sunday evenings and examining the prophet's call to return to God with weeping, fasting, and with torn hearts instead of torn garments. God's word is teaching us that true revival is impossible apart from true repentance. So with that in mind, here is our church's confession as we seek revival.
We believe Christ is brokenhearted over the state of His church – specifically ours. For too long we have taken credit for being better than what He knows us to be. We have been guilty of hiding behind superficial numbers and busy church calendars as evidence that we are good at doing church. We have written of church fellowships and special offerings because confronting the uncomfortable reality of the things that truly matter is much more difficult. We brag about those who have joined our church knowing that most likely many have just left another church. In the absence of God’s saving activity among us, we tend to retreat by writing about trivial things such as trips, bean dinners, brownie sales, or other things of the like.

However, in recent months, we have found ourselves in desperate need of revival. God has blessed us indeed, but we have become distracted by those blessings. To be quite honest, we are dry and in need of the rain of revival. It’s been too long since we have experienced a mighty move of God. It has been far too long since I have introduced someone to our congregation who I have personally led to Christ … and the same is true for our church staff and deacons. While sad to say, our church has been following our example. Undoubtedly, we have unconfessed, unrepented sin on many pews. It has been far too long since genuine repentance characterized one of our services. We are attempting to be obedient to Joel’s call to return to God with weeping, fasting, and with torn hearts instead of torn garments. We are guilty of hypocrisy and playing religion while people are dying and going to hell. We have been more in love with doing church rather than being the church. Please, forgive us – and pray for revival to come to our faith family. (Trevor Barton, Pastor)