Things I Think…
1. My expectation is that in six months no one will remember the Asbury awakening…not because something truly from God isn’t happening, but because it has no lasting effect on anyone who wasn’t there…I’ll still rejoice with those who rejoice…
2. The biggest critics of the “revival” have been those on opposite ends of the theological spectrum who believe they have already arrived at the whole truth…and who need revival the most…
3. Ancient pagans believed the presence of the gods was localized…you had to go to certain places to meet with them or avoid them…just a cautionary note I thought I’d throw in so we remember that the God of Asbury is the God of where you’re at…
4. People who try to explain how God works and why are primarily speaking to hear the sound of their own voice…and I’m well aware of the irony of saying that myself…
5. I’m not sure who is more wacky….those who believe that a true revival will cause a massive influx of people into the Republican Party or those who think the Peace Corps will be overwhelmed by applicants…both completely miss the point…
6. Some critics complain about “emotionalism”…as if being made in the image of God doesn’t include our emotions…which makes me get very emotional…
7. We don’t get to vote on how God does business…or who He does business with…
8. I don’t believe that the only way that God communicates is through Scripture…because that would exclude most of the ways I hear Him…Scripture just helps me discern between His voice and mine…
9. I would be remiss if I neglected to offer up prayer and thanks for President Carter who has entered hospice care…
10. “Amidst the vast scene of the world’s problems and tragedies you may feel that your own ministry and witness seems so small, so insignificant, so concerned with the trivial. But consider – the glory of Christianity is its claim that small things really matter, and that the small group, the very few, the one man or woman or child are of infinite worth to God. Let that be your inspiration. Consider our Lord himself. Amidst a vast world with its vast empires and events and tragedies, our Lord devoted himself to a small country, to small things and to individual men and women, often giving hours of time to the few, or to the one man or woman. For the infinite worth of the one person is the key to the Christian understanding of the many. You will never be nearer to Christ than in caring for the one man, the one woman, the one child. His authority will be given to you as you do this, and his joy will be yours as well.”
“I don’t believe that the only way that God communicates is through Scripture…because that would exclude most of the ways I hear Him…Scripture just helps me discern between His voice and mine…”
Good observation. This is what I have been attempting to share with my congregation for several years now. It is a subtle but important shift in teaching people that they can experience God themselves, and hundreds and hundreds of little Asbury events occur that are never publicized—or later made movies of—but have inestimable value in the Kingdom.
Several thoughts I want to respond to here Michael, but I’ll focus on #6 because this one has been a pet peeve of mine…
– I totally agree with you here. It chaps my hide (I’m not from Texas btw) that some in our family dismiss any and all emotions outright, as if they are automatically faulty and tainted by sin…
…gee, how’s that dry doctrine only thing working out for us? Nice to see we all agree doctinal…oh wait.
– Emotions are God-given, and I don’t need the lecture of how they need to be reigned in by the word of God. Our doctrine and thinking and rationale needs to be reigned in as well.
I completely agree…
Just don’t want to agree with these statements… but not for contrarianism but for hope.
There is a quality that was abounding in 1970 … a childlike spirit. It was present in church this weekend. My mind was utterly aghast but my heart was melted by what we witnessed. Then the sobbing of hungry and thirsty hearts … literally sobbing … About their own hardness. And prayers and confessions about walls and callousness. My own mind has been sharpened by study but calloused by observation and judgments.
Asbury was birthed in students … not their emotionalism but definitely not without their emotions. It was sustained worship… tears and prayers … like Jesus … who knows our frame…
So I hope…
I want to hope as well…for today, not just when the kingdom comes in fullness.
We’ll see…my comments were not meant to be critical of the event itself.
Thank you, Michael.
Would you agree that the safest way God communicates with us is thru scripture?
I guess I am thinking of those who feels “called” of God to kill people. Or the guy who says to a beautiful girl, “God told me you were gonna be my wife”
God leads us by the HS. But I still feel the safest most certain way He “speaks” is thru the scriptures.
Why do evangelicals always pick the low hanging fruit?
Assuming that one is not mentally ill or bent on immorality, it’s not something I worry too much about…especially because I find many popular interpretations of scripture invalid anyway.
Scripture is a plumb line to measure with…but God is a God of relationship and relationship demands many forms of communication.
I have heard God speak through friends, enemies, cats, and circumstances…and I need all of the above to navigate life.
Nothing about faith is safe…
“Or the guy who says to a beautiful girl, ‘God told me you were gonna be my wife'”
Not to lose track of the discussion, but that reminded me of a funny story; when I was at CCBC, I wrote a skit for our ‘talent show’ where I had a guy say that to a girl. I had her response as, “I’ll get back to you when He tells me that.”
Maybe we’re comparing apples and oranges when we talk about hearing God’s voice (although I don’t think we’re actually talking about hearing God speak).
In defense of my question, I’ve seen so many people in so many situations, in my 30 plus years of ministry say something similar to “God told me” or “God led me”
I’ve shared this before but several students had the opportunity to study at a bible school in Alaska or Maui, Hawaii. As they prayed about it they all said the same thing; God led me to Maui.
I am just not confident that most people can distinguish between their own fleshly desires and the actual leading of God.
Granted, as you say, living a life of faith is risky. But I tend to want to minimize the risk!
I am not so concerned for you, or other mature believers, but I’d be leery of how young believers would respond to your belief.
BTW. While it is true my journey has been shaped by Evangelicalism, I am at least attempting to view things from a different lens. So at least give me that 🙂
Pastors and the church community are to help people with this sort of discernment…and the average believer doesn’t seem to have much in any area these days…
In this discussion, one should acknowledge that the devil, his demons, and one’s own sinful flesh also speak. So, the question IMO is how and by what means should one discern the will of God?
There is no way to be absolutely certain…and I think perhaps God made us that way so that we might mature in many areas.
You can use Scripture as a plumb line, but Scripture won’t tell you where to work, where to live, who to marry, or what medical treatment to undertake…along with a million other decisions to be made every day.
Millions of Christians “discerned” that Trump and his ilk were God’s leaders for the country…
Like Alan said, something wonderful happened in the 1970’s. I was amongst those kids that God got hold of and transformed my life completely. I’ve never looked back. Yes, I have changed tribes over the years and been disgusted with things I’ve seen in the church these past 45+ years, but I’ve never doubted the beauty, grace, and power of Christ. SOMETHING happened back in the 1960’s and 70’s…something that changed so many lives and I pray that is happening again and lives are being transformed by the power of Christ.
I was part of the first wave of the Jesus revolution in 1970. Those were great times. I wish I had the same zeal for Christ now that I did then—before life and reality messed up my faith!
Michael @ Nr. 8:
Much agreement here.
Scripture is a great and wonderful thing but I also think it suffers from two great ills.
Not giving it the credence it deserves at one extreme, and making too much of it at the other polarity.
History holds revival does not tend to revive. I understand there are theological definitions and real ones, Michael, but there have been nothing but anecdotal examples of long term survival of any “revival”, at least in Christianity. Islam has had, and still is in a “revival”, and it has been decades. Sorry, but evidence as it stands, Christianity doesn’t have the capacity to maintain any “revival”.