Lately I have been spending a lot of time with the Lord asking Him for a greater and more powerful move of His hand and a greater demonstration in the conviction of His Spirit – conviction and power in my private life, power in my family life, power in my public life and power in our church. As I have been praying and pondering this thought, I know the Lord has been asking me, “Do you even know what you are asking for?” After all what exactly do I want to see happen? What does it look like? Do I want to see a move like that from the 1700’s when Whitefield and Wesley preached? Do I want to see a mighty move when the Anabaptists and Scottish Covenanters were being slain? Do I want to see a modern day Pentecost? I mean, what am I asking for?
As I have questioned myself of this over the past few weeks, and even months, I have been reminded to think back to how the Lord called us to make this move to Bartlesville. Maybe, at least for myself, there is some clarity to what I am asking. My wife and I have made many moves across the US in the last few years, why was this move so important? After all, the Lord has led our every step in every move we have made, but this move was a bit different.
Moving to Bartlesville
I remember that in early to middle of 2012, while we were living in Buckeye, AZ, I had a sense that we would not be in AZ for much longer. In March 2013 I was strongly convicted, convinced and resolved that the Lord was calling us to move, so much so that while we had family staying with us for the winter months, I called a realtor and placed our home on the market. We had no job prospects, no housing opportunities, no human callings, just simply a call from the Spirit of God.
Now against several people thinking I have lost my mind, I pressed forward but with no idea where were would be going. Now, this was no little move and no little pressure upon me as I have a wife and five children counting on me to protect and feed them. During this time I asked a couple of other brothers in Christ to pray for us. Within about two to three weeks, it seemed to be evident that Oklahoma, specifically the northern Tulsa area would be where we would be going.
During this time of prayer and seeking the Lord, I remember listening to a sermon one early Friday morning that was preached by a good friend and brother in Christ who, at that time, was a pastor/preacher in Barnsdall (visit this brother’s preaching site here). While listening to that message, I turned off the CD player and began to sense very strongly that the Lord was calling me to drive up to Bartlesville and stay with some friends of mine one specific weekend. I immediately responded to the Lord saying, “Lord, I cannot get the time off of work, I don’t have the funds and what is the point of going anyway?” I tried to work out at a local gym, and finding myself unable to escape the Lord, I wrestled and wrangled with God in prayer for nearly 2 hours. I finally said, “Your will be done.”
Directly from the gym I went into work. within the first ten minutes of my morning I was given the time off of work need for the trip up to Bartlesville. As soon as I had been given time off of work, I stepped out of our office and my phone rang, it was the HR rep from the Medical Center that I am now working at asking if I could interview the very Monday that I would be in town. Within a few days after this, a faithful brother in Christ sent me the very funds I needed for gas. The trip was provided for.So very much more about this move could be said, from the reasons why we were being called to move, to our promised rental house, to seeing God’s hand move.
While in Bartlesville for the weekend of my interview, one of the last things I knew the Lord would give me a word on is that I would know, without doubt, that we were truly being called to Bartlesville and that I would have a job before stepping foot into my home in AZ. On the way back home, my oldest daughter got really car sick on I-40, in the middle of no-where Texas in 100 degree heat. This set us back so far that we only made it to Flagstaff late that night. Early the next morning I was awakened to a phone call from the HR rep from the Medical Center, not only offering me the job, but offering me more than I had expected and with financial help with our moving expenses as well (something that is very rare in this day and age). Not to mention all of this, but the Sunday before my interview, I was able to preach at the little church in Barnsdall. As of to date, this was one of the hardest and most difficult times I have ever spoken at a church. So heavily convicted to say so many things and so many topics, I just tossed out all my plans and notes only an hour before and simply spoke everything I believed that I needed to say for that time and group – it was a true privilege for me (click here to listen).
Long story short
The long story short is that after being directly led, more by the obedience of my wife than myself, we are now starting to worship, connect and serve at our new church fellowship, Grace Community Church. Here is where I now find myself, here is where we are praying for the power of God to be poured out in greater measure, in greater demonstration of His Spirit, in greater authenticity and passion for Christ in many lives, and a relentless life of prayer, devotion, resolve and piety in the lives of hundreds and even thousands around our area, and then extending out from there. Revival, true powerful and passionate revival, is what I want to see and what we so badly need. But identifying the need does not always provide an easy answer to what it is we want to see, or does it?
As I think back to how the Lord’s had moved us I am reminded of how Abram (Abraham) was called to sacrifice Isaac. There was possibly a long period of time since the Lord last spoke to Abram and then he was all of a sudden called to slaughter his promised son. The details at first were somewhat vague and outcome was unknown. But once Abram had that flint knife up in the air and within milliseconds of killing his son, the Lord clearly said, “STOP.” Often, and for many of us, we simply do not want to obey the “voice” of God to go and when we do, we think that it should go on forever. Often I have been guilty of both, refusal to go and then refusal to stop.
What is it I want to see? Well, simple. I want to see men, especially men who profess to be Christians, come “face to face” with Christ, for real, where no one can hide their true condition, their true salvation, their true stance in or out of Christ. I want to see men come to repentance, a powerful and true repentance of their waywardness and idolatries of all sorts. I want to see men draw their strength, their passion, and their thought life all from the Author and Perfecter of the faith. I want to see conversations hinder around Christ, about Christ, for Christ. I want to see men embrace piety, holiness and godliness. I want to see men lead, I mean really lead, love, serve and die to themselves like Christ did and calls us to in the home. To really embrace 1 Peter 2:19-24 and 1 Peter 3:18-4:11 so that our prayers will not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7; 4:7). I want to see men take an authentic and powerful hope (1 Peter3:15) from down deep and evangelize because they cannot hold it in (Jeremiah 20:9). I want to see the Word of God, the Scriptures, embraced and held onto as a dying man holds onto a thread while being suspended over the pits of hell in this prosperous and affluent culture. I want to see piety, humility, conviction of sin, meekness rise up in the lives of men. And all of this beginning right in our own church(es). For if judgment begins with the household of God, then if we dare not get real for Christ right now in this day and hour, then what possible hope can there be for those who have never encountered the truth of Christ. Not to mention this, what will be the outcome for those of us who are called to “blow the trumpet” and are called to stand in the watch for this time in eternity – will we be called to account like Ezekiel? “If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.”(Ezekiel 3:18)
What is it I want to see – God’s hand come and set men’s hearts, eyes, ears away from the things of this world and firmly and securely set on Him and Him alone. I want to see professing believers actually believe that the Bible is indeed both inspired and sufficient for EVERY need and to quit giving mere mental ascent to such truths and doctrines.
What’s it going to take on our part
So what’s it going to take on our part? After all, am I not describing things too wonderful, too mighty, too powerful, too glorious for mortal man? Well, our part is quite simple. Just as with my moving to Bartlesville and all the movements of God and men the Lord has used mightily for His name, it will take simple faith. A faith that leads men to humility. A faith that believes the Word of God at face value. A faith pulls men and women to seek God in deep prayer. A simple and pure faith that practices the true religion of keeping ourselves from being stained by this world. All we simply need is to submit to Christ alone and join others who the Lord has placed such deep longings. We want to see God move, then we better get real honest with the Lord and let Him ask us – why?