For more than a week now, I have been overwhelmed with the conviction that our community needs to be on its collective face before God, crying out for His strength, wisdom, and general intervention as we seek to find ways to bring hope into the lives of a people who are, as a whole, feeling overwhelmed by the struggles around them.
I look around me and see so many people battling addiction, family struggles, money problems, work problems- conflict that is tearing at their very souls. My heart breaks. I try to find answers and offer hope and usually end up feeling like I've fallen short. I have. All to often, I walk away from the conversation and realize that I didn't begin to stress effectively the need for the Holy Spirit and His strengthening hand in their search for hope!
I realize that many of my friends don't share my faith and probably find me a bit "preachy" as I share scripture and the stories of how God has worked in my life. I'm sorry if I make you uncomfortable, but the fact is: The only story I have a right to tell is mine and my story is so tightly woven with the Gospel that it would be impossible to tell one without the other. I am ashamed of who I used to be. I was completely self-centered and very rarely had a second thought about anyone else. As I have grown in faith and grown closer to God, I find that I am much more concerned about helping others avoid the traps I've already been lifted out of! Sometimes, silence isn't an option.
So... (Finally!) the reason for this post: On the traditional church calendar, this Sunday, May 24th, is Pentecost Sunday. It's also Memorial Day. I know that most churches will take a moment and remember those who've given their lives in service to our country- as well we should! I am asking all of my friends to consider adding another component to their service. On this Pentecost Sunday, set aside a few moments and challenge your churches to pray earnestly for a move of the Holy Spirit in our churches and community. Pray that God will empower us with the boldness to step into the fray and proclaim His love and the power it gives to break the chains of spiritual bondage. Pray that the Spirit will move ahead of us and make people receptive to the word of God we proclaim. Pray that we will remember that we serve a sovereign God who is able to do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine!
I am convinced that we are living in a time when the power of God can be made manifest by a complete turnaround of this community. I am convicted that the body of Christ needs to put aside the differences that divide us into smaller factions and simply take up the cross which should unify us against all enemies! I claim the promise that His people, joined together, crying out in humility will be heard and that healing is possible!
At the last supper, Jesus prayed: