God Visited Church: How He Showed Up
About thirteen years after God began this passion for revival in my heart, I began to experience what I had longed for. As my wife Char and I pulled into a denominational meeting for pastors, she had been re-reading to me a portion of the book
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire
by Jim Cymbala. Char had tears in her eyes as she read that Cymbala had come to a place where he said “It’s Holy Ghost or bust.” We both felt desperate for God’s power to break through in our ministry.
Along with other pastors and spouses, we were prayed for by a man whose ministry had a powerful impact on several people. That’s when things started to happen.
The next day as I was sharing with one of the members of the congregation about the good things God had done at the meeting, she asked me if he could speak at our church. I informed her that that was unlikely because he was from England. But I asked: “What if we got God to come to our church?” I added, “He’s coming tomorrow!” I had an assurance in my heart that the Lord was going to break through in our worship service the next morning.
During our worship practice for Sunday service, the presence of God came in a way I had never experienced. His presence was palpable.
It went beyond getting goose bumps and feeling emotional about a heart-touching song. One gentleman came into the sanctuary and could immediately tell something unusual was happening just by stepping into the room.
Worship team members reacted differently to His felt presence. One began to walk between the pews and pray for the people who would be sitting in them. Another started praying for the churches of our community that would soon be having their services. My reaction was to worship by singing reverent songs. I was overwhelmed by His glory. Worshiping Him seemed like the only appropriate response.
There was a part of me that wanted us all to do what I was doing. My singing of reverent songs seemed like the right thing for everyone. I resisted the urge to gather everyone realizing that it was important that I not try to take control. God was up to something unique and I should not try to control it.
I was very eager to see what He was going to do in the worship service.
Earlier in the week, I had chosen songs, prepared an order of service and had written my message. But His visitation changed everything, and I didn’t dare stay with my original preparation. He was up to something unique and I gladly scratched my plans.
We made it through one or two worship songs and I could wait no longer. The message on my heart was burning within me. I physically trembled as I shared that there is more to the Christian life than what we were experiencing. God’s power, resurrection power, was available to us and was in us. I urged the people to not settle for a powerless and defeated Christian life.
I invited people to come forward to pray about their walk with God. Approximately 25 of the 80 present did so.
I was not used to one-fifth of that kind of response. God was beginning to move among us and everyone in the congregation knew it. People lingered much longer than usual after the service.
This “move of God” did not come about as I would have expected. I thought that if I would experience revival-like activity it would come as a result of a season set aside to pray for revival. I certainly believe in doing that but we were not in that kind of a season. He broke into our lives when He chose to do so. Humans were not the cause of it. Only God could bring about the kinds of things that were beginning to happen, and it was on His timetable.
Copyright Ed Skipper 2013