Today is my third day in northern Indiana where the church is experiencing revival. Yes, I said it: revival.
While many pray and long for revival, it seems somewhat elusive. Can a church really be made new? Can a city? Can a state? And if so, what would it look like?
Have you ever read through Acts and thought, “My church and community look nothing like this; my life looks nothing like this.” I have. And I’ve been thinking the same thing as I’ve observed and participated in Revive Indiana these past few days.
Among these frigid, snow-covered plains and along the streets in towns such as Goshen and Elkhart, Indiana, something different is happening. Every morning for nearly two months (52 days), believers from a wide range of denominations and ages have come together early in the morning to worship, pray, break bread together and go out into the streets to share the good news of what Christ has done.
Teams return for a shared noon meal before going back into the streets, to homes, businesses and schools. Churches are prayed over. The hands of factory workers are anointed and blessed. Sick are healed, and Christ is proclaimed. Then, evenings culminate in shared meals, worship, praise, testimony and baptisms.
And, just to be clear, I’m not talking about small numbers, but thousands of spiritually hungry people who are longing for more than a life of merely going through the motions.
Believers from out of state are provided with in-home lodging and vehicles to drive. A church gave us their van to drive while our 10-person crew was here. All of this makes no sense to the natural mind. And it shouldn’t.
The amount of organization, funding, manpower and generosity required is astonishing. I might even think it impossible if I weren’t seeing it with my own eyes. But all of this is not just to hang out and enjoy each other. It has an ultimate purpose – the one Jesus Christ described in Matthew 28:18-20:
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
I don’t know about you, but the thought of going into the streets to witness was a challenge for me – for a number of reasons that really aren’t important.
I’ve seen God move here. I know deep down that I’m experiencing a lifestyle that is much closer to what God intends for us. And, I don’t want to recover! I don’t want to climb back into that old box, that old wineskin. And I’m beginning to realize that I haven’t had just one box, but I have had boxes inside of boxes. And each layer has quenched the Holy Spirit.
Though I’ll go back to my job and to daily responsibilities, I do not have to go back to a life of spiritual dryness. Although we have had more than enough to eat on this trip, I have been reminded of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. While the disciples were consumed with securing earthly food, Jesus was consumed with the bread of heaven – doing the will of His Father. The fields were ripe for harvest in that little Samaritan town. Oh that we would be consumed with this same Spirit.
What if we really lived like we believed the Holy Spirit was alive and speaking, showing, leading and guiding us? Not out there somewhere, but within us. When the apostles were out spreading the Gospel of Jesus, they depended on the Holy Spirit to guide and lead them to those whose hearts He had prepared. And He did.
And He still will.
For information, go to http://www.reviveindiana.org/