April 15, 2017
Humming… “I just want to THANK YOU-U Lord…”
Friends, I do not know if you are familiar with the revivals of old. The revivals hosted by churches that lasted a full week and the guest evangelist preached every night like it was their last. Do you remember how each night had a different population emphasis – Youth Night, Women’s Night, Men’s Night, Healing Night, Bring a Friend Who Really Needs Jesus Night? Revivals of old were week-long gatherings to call people to repentance, restoration, righteousness, and rejoicing. I know I would be worn out physically but excited spiritually at the end of summer revival at my home church.
Week long revivals are somewhat obsolete these days and have turned into month long revivals hosted on the same night as your regular Bible Study because pastors know or assume the congregation will probably not commit to going to church every night for a week unless it is your denominational, musical, or popular preaching personality’s annual convention, convocation, or conference. Churches have also opted for a three-night revival with a different preacher each night in an effort to peak interests and keep people coming because who wants to hear the same person three nights in a row? [Sarcasm Intended] And while the traditional notions of hosting week long revivals may have evolved through the years, the necessity for our need of revival has remained the same.
We ALL need to be intentional about creating our own revival and we do not have to wait for our local church to do that. You can initiate a time where you get the spiritual jolt you need to intensify your relationship with the Lord and increase the expectation of yourself to answer the call to serve and build the Kingdom of God. We all need a revival of the soul, reawakening our spiritual consciousness so that we can experience God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. We need revivals to open our hearts to the ways we need to be renewed for the journey and open our eyes to see how we can help others experience the same hope and provision that comes when we actually obey the Greatest Commandment to love God, love ourselves, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Well, friends, this has been that kind of week for me. It has been full of the Word, and Worship. It has been a time for me to reflect and respond to God’s call in new ways. It has been a week of revival without the guest evangelist or the themed nights. It has been a week of service, gratitude, prayer, preaching, and praise. On Monday evening I sat with a friend for a few hours who was not feeling the best. On Tuesday, I led the prayer at a Holy Week Prayer Service with an evangelistic emphasis and my prayer focused on believers having the compassion, courage, and conviction to live a life full of God’s light shining in and through us. On Wednesday, I taught a group of church leaders a lesson on their responsibility to be watchful over the flock and to not be afraid to address the false prophets or false teachings that come through the mouths of wolves in sheep’s clothing. On Thursday, a group of friends and I launched The Living Room Christian Fellowship, an ecumenical gathering of believers who come together to seek, to serve, and to celebrate….more on that later. And on Friday, I preached the second of the seven last words, “Today, you shall be with me in paradise.” I preached it from the perspective and as a testimony of the thief who received that promise from Jesus on the cross.
Friends, I have been in revival this entire Holy Week. I have cried, repented, recommitted, fasted, prayed, witnessed, and rejoiced. And words cannot express how blessed I am as I have been reminded everyday this week of God’s amazing love! I have been revived. I have been revived so much so, and I have mentioned this before, that I feel as if NOW is the time to say HAPPY NEW YEAR! As we look at the full spectrum of the Gospel message from Good Friday to early Sunday morning, as much as I celebrate Jesus birth and His entrance into this earthly realm, I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving and praise that he came to die and he rose just for me! The grave is empty and he is the risen King of Kings and Lord of Lords, now seated at the right hand of the Almighty God! Hallelujah! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Now, I want to backtrack for a minute because I just have to say something more about the launch of The Living Room Christian Fellowship.
Ok. Yes, I know I need to say something more than WOW!
And I will… in just a second… but WOW!
This week was the inaugural gathering of The Living Room Christian Fellowship. Nearly two years ago, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me a vision for a gathering of believers for Word, Conversation, and Communion. The vision was to create an alternative worship experience with the intention of hosting it in a space that embodied the name. In other words, this space needed to be a fresh, comfortable, hospitable place that nurtured spiritual growth, deep conversations, authentic relationships. And it could only last for one hour. I will not go into every instruction that I was given regarding The Living Room, but suffice it to say that everything that is present and everything that takes place in that space is intentional and my humble attempt to be obedient. I will be very honest with you though. When I first received this vision, I did not think that it was for me. I was thinking about ways I could share it with the church I was serving at the time or even how I might can share it with other pastor friends of mine. But I never did. I actually did not tell anyone what I had been thinking and praying about for about one year. I was just dreaming, and planning, and envisioning, and praying for clarity and confidence to do ministry differently. I will definitely write more about my process in the future because I believe it could help others who are considering initiating a new ministry initiative or even help other church leaders to revive their current place of service.
On Thursday, we launched The Living Room Christian Fellowship and it looked and felt even better than I had dreamed. I am so grateful to EVERYONE for their prayers, presence, “Like” or “Share” on Facebook and Instagram, financial support, words of encouragement and congratulations, and positive thoughts in our direction. Above all, THANK YOU LORD for choosing to give me this vision and for already providing the provision to bring it to pass. THANK YOU for the many Thursday nights we will have to introduce Christ, have conversations about Christ, and celebrate Christ through Communion. THANK YOU for the people who will be drawn to The Living Room and how they will find new friends who want to see EVERYONE experience LIFE, LOVE, LIBERATION, and LAUGHTER in Christ! THANK YOU LORD for a space where revival can happen every week because we all need it and we all should want to share this grace with others. THANK YOU LORD for family and friends who believe in YOU and ME. THANK YOU LORD for The Living Room Christian Fellowship. This is YOUR Space. May we honor YOU and YOUR sons and daughters, our friends and guests, who will gather with us there.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, my friends!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Revive us again, fill each heart with Thy love
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above
Hallelujah! Thine the Glory!
Hallelujah! Thine the Glory!
Revive us again!
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!!!