A Sovereign Visit

The following was taken from a church email:

"You...have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings
that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful."
(James 5:11)

What happens when the Lord sovereignly visits His people?

We are seeing at The Summit Church, in this moment a "mercy drop" compared to what we all long for, but a wonderful visitation from the Lord that began April 3 and has continued unabated for the past 20 days. We long for and need a great outpouring on our city, state, and nation. That God would do for us something that no method, scheme, or plans can accomplish. But we are unbelievably grateful for this mercy drop as we believe it is a call for us to intercede for the whole church-that God would purify His Bride (who He loves with an indescribably perfect love) and expand His kingdom.

At the risk of being misunderstood, and with NO desire to overstate, but accurately report what God is doing, can I humbly report what God is doing in our midst? What it feels like?

1. It is something that is happening TO US, but with which we must cooperate. The Lord has taken over our schedule. He is dictating what happens. He is gloriously in charge. There is little need to plan ahead because He is leading us in the moment. It is amazingly liberating.
But also, He has reminded us over and over again to follow Him and not "quench the Spirit." When He speaks-through His Word and His Spirit-listen and promptly obey so that His Spirit can be unleashed in and through us as He longs to do through His Bride.

2. We are being wonderfully cleansed. God is bringing to the surface so many things that have been impediments, hindrances to experiencing Him and being used by Him.
A man lays his PlayStation 3 on the altar because it is wasting God's time and precious time with his family

Pornography is being repented of and many are "laying aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness."

Anger, which consumes our energy and defiles others, is being released

Worry and fear which diverts our attention from the Lord and causes us to react and defend ourselves in needless and unnecessary ways is being removed

Hours (days and years really) of time wasted in the pursuit of entertainment is being diverted to seeking the advancement of God's kingdom

3. New Testament living is occurring-even if on a minor scale-but in ways so wonderful it is reminiscent of Acts 2, James 5, Matt 5-7, etc. (kingdom living)

We are meeting every day with gladness and sincerity of heart

The Lord is "daily adding to our number those who are being saved (59 baptized in the last 17 days)

We are giving. If a need is mentioned-even slightly-it is met by the giving of our people. Spontaneously, joyously. They are looking for ways to meet needs.

We are worshiping

We are listening to God's teaching and people are learning and growing at an extremely rapid pace

We are really praying, constantly praying. It is not an effort, but a joy, a delight. People cannot wait to get to prayer meeting nightly. One brother reminded us of the beautiful quote by John Newton: "Our pleasure and our duty, though opposite before, since we have seen His beauty, are joined to part no more."

God is receiving His "ordained" praise through the young-young believers, young people

People who are suffering...are praying

People who are cheerful...are singing praises

People who are sick (physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally) are calling for the leaders of the church to receive prayer every night.

We are confessing our sins to one another and praying for one another so that we may be healed

The effective prayer of man and women made right by Christ is accomplishing much
God is giving us faith to pray big prayers and we are seeing God's immediate answers. 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 seems SO real to us that God's "ear is attentive to our prayers," that we can pray and we seem to have the faith (supernaturally so) to believe that God is going to answer those prayers.

Like Elijah (who was a man just like us) we are having the highest privilege of praying for God's rain, and He is mercifully answering

Sinners are being turned back from the error of their ways and it is saving their souls from death and covering a multitude of sins.

4. The Lord is breaking our hearts for others. Over and over again, in multiple waves, God is helping us see His heart-through testimonies, exhortations, scripture passages and the gracious work of His Spirit and Word in our hearts, the two most important things: 

1) the need for revival in the whole church in our city, His Bride and

 2) the awakening of the lost in our city. This theme is the one constant every single night as we pray and seek the Lord together. 

We are expecting God to move in greater ways in the churches-not in any sort of judgmental way (on the contrary, our people are loving and honoring pastors and leaders and churches in their prayers, and tears, and comments with greater love and respect), but in a desire for God to cleanse and purify and awaken His Bride in this city for His great missionary purposes.

He is helping us see people. One of the ways that this is happening is through the honest admissions of our own needs. Another is through the salvation of the lost. Another way is just through God's gracious work of opening our eyes. 

One young lady yesterday stood to say that she was walking away from a convenience store, saw two rough looking men and felt impressed to ask if she could pray for them. Normally, she would have walked away, but she went back, they immediately responded with prayer requests, she prayed, shared what God was doing, and went on. How will God use this witness? It is happening over and over again.

5. We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard. Like every pastor, we have encouraged and exhorted our people to be a witness to others. We have a wonderful church, by God's grace, who seek to obey, but now-we cannot seem to stop telling others about Christ. Is this not what happened in Acts 2 as people saw the wonderful acts of God?

6. The Word is alive in new ways. For so many, the Word is a living, breathing letter through which God is speaking-specifically, daily, redemptively. It's not only making sense, by God's grace He is SPEAKING to us and we are hearing.

7. God is giving unusual grace to obey Him. It does not feel like a duty or drudgery, but a joy...an excitement to see what else He is about to do.

8. The Enemy is increasing his opposition. We have had an unusual and intense attack upon several of our people, particularly our leaders, that is evidence that he is upset. It has called for heightened vigilance and spiritual warfare to make sure he makes no inroads among us.

Let me not overstate the case-not everyone is experiencing all of this in our church, and let me also hasten to add that we have NOT experienced this to this measure every before. But I do want to glorify God by saying that HE IS SOVEREIGNLY SAVING US in ways that are unusual and different and "it is marvelous in our eyes."

Just think...if God would sovereignly awaken His Bride all across America?