North America is in desperate need of a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God! When I look at the world around me I’m overwhelmed with the brokenness. Racial tension. Economic instability. Political unrest. Moral collapse. Violent terrorism. Marital failure. Brokenness everywhere. More than ever before I’m convinced that the only hope for our world is the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. It is time that we as followers of Jesus stop talking about politics and church growth and start being broken over the hurt and pain of a world without God. The prophet Isaiah cried it this way:
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence!”—Isaiah 64:1
And here is the good news—God desires to move through His people!
Don’t misunderstand me—we cannot create movement. But what we can do is understand some characteristics from God’s word that allow us to have our sails lifted should the wind of the Spirit of God choose sovereignly to blow. In the opening chapters of the book of Acts we read the story of God beginning a movement through His people—the local church. From their example let me list three defining characteristics among God’s people when we see Him move in great power.
- When God moves . . . His people are desperate—The people of God in the early church had a passion for God to move. They hungered to see God do what He had promised through the Great Commission. But they had more than passion. They took action . . . desperate action. They prayed. Prayer is motivated by desperation. The more desperate we are the more we pray. Vance Havner rightly stated, “The tragedy of the hour is that the situation is desperate, but the saints are not.” You study a movement of God at any point in history, anywhere in the world, and if you dig deep enough you will discover a remnant of God’s people crying out in desperate prayer. If we are going to see God move in power we must become desperate in our prayer! I have become deeply convinced of this spiritual reality:
God in His sovereignty has chosen to limit His activity to the prayers of His people.
- When God moves . . . His Spirit through His word changes lives—Another identifying trait when God moves is that there is a fresh awakening of repentance among His people . . . a renewed passion to be right with God and right with each other. Repentance is not a word we hear often in our contemporary church culture, but when there is a fresh move of the Spirit of God, there is always a response of genuine repentance towards God. Repentance is not just a one-time experience; it is a way of life for the follower of Jesus.
Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged.—J.I. Packer
- When God moves . . . His glory is made known in the church and the city—When God pours out His Spirit in a fresh way, it is ultimately about His glory! The bottom line is that you and I were made for the glory of God. God doesn’t ultimately move so we can have a spiritual experience, get our prayers answered, grow our churches, or simply to make life better . . . He moves so that His glory may be on display. And when this happens it impacts His church. No more watered down, man-centered, felt-need gatherings. His people gather and celebrate His glory. But a move of God doesn’t just impact the church. When God moves, like we see in the opening pages of the book of Acts, it spills into the streets of the cities. As a matter of fact, if what we are calling a move of God doesn’t spill out of the church into the city, it is not a move of God.
May we see God move in our day for His glory! “Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down!”