Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Slumbering Giant -or- Seeking Expectancy

I went to Faith Night at the Texas Rangers game tonight. According to commentators there were over 40,000 in attendence. I was impressed. I'm terrible at guessing how many people are in a crowd. So I could not tell you just how many people attended the pre-game MercyMe concert.

The concert was great. It's a pity that many know MercyMe just as the band who sings "I Can Only Imagine." They're quite talented. There were several thousand in attendence at the concert. My wife and I were sitting on the hillside among the masses and I began to muse as we listened to the music.

I would assume that most of the attendees at the MercyMe concert were believers. With so many believers (mainly from the DFW area) gathered in one place I could not help but ask what we are accomplishing for the Kingdom of God. I don't mean that gathering at the concert to enjoy music and worship together was in any way wrong. What I do mean to say is that I believe we are somewhat complacent as a church.

The book of Acts records a fantastic revival taking place at pentecost. Acts 2 gives details of what happened when the Holy Spirit moved upon a few hundred believers (the previous chapter recounts that there were 120 disciples present for the election of Matthias as the replacement for Judas.

Now setting aside the issues of charismata and cessationism (and the like), I feel that one may rightly ask why about 15M Southern Baptists in over 40,000 churches are not shaking the world for Christ(Frank Mead, Handbook of Denominations 11th Ed., 2001). To be honest I don't expect an answer. No one of us can assume responsibility for the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of our denomination in reaching the world-- we are responsible to God for ourselves and those that we lead.

Sitting amid thousands of my fellow believers I recognize that most of them genuinely do love the Lord and desire to serve him. Perhaps many are in fact serving. Suddenly the moment turns to introspection. I realize that I am not responsible to God for the effectiveness of the other concert attendees, but I am accountable for how faithfully (or unfaithfully) I obey the word of God.

Why blog about this? None of us needs another guilt trip or accusation that we are not doing enough for God. We do not need for me to state the obvious simply for the purpose of filling space on another webpage. The thing is this: God has worked in powerful ways during different times in history. We call these movements of God "Revival." It begins when God moves in the hearts of a few individuals. During times when the church had grown complacent or had been marginalized, God selected a few available vessels and poured his spirit out upon them, using them in a very powerful way.

There are many believers, or perhaps "church people" is a better term, who go about their daily lives in a state of complacency. Maybe it isn't that they mean to be complacent, but they have lost a sense of anticipation that God wants to do something spectacular around, in, or perhaps through them. My exhortation is for us to pray and encourage one another toward that end.

Perhaps the words of William Carey convey the message better than my own could: "Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God." My closing thought is this: I think that too often my expectations and attempts are often smaller than God is capable of. The greater my expectancations are of God (and thus my dependence upon Him), the greater the my works will be for His kingdom.

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