Sunday, March 24, 2013
Sunday Afternoon Tea
Today's Sunday post is once again written with pillows propped behind me. I will write and run a spell check and leave the rest to the reader. ;)
Quite often I don't know what I'm going to write about for Sunday until late in the week. Today's ponderings have been fluttering around my brain all week. I pray they land in an organized fashion that will communicate my heart's desire that we all learn to see God's work in our life.
I've written before about an excellent article I read a few years ago by an author who studied revivals in America. Quite a bit of the article was basic history I was aware of already. But then the author wrote a statement which floored me as he talked about "missing the revival".
He started talking about the Jesus Movement of the late 1960's through early 1970s. I remember it well for it was during that revival that I came to the Lord... an amazing time as thousands were being drawn to Him throughout America. What statement shocked me?
The evangelical churches of America had been praying for revival for years, longing for one on the magnitude of the Great Awakenings in previous centuries. However, they missed the revival called the Jesus Movement, which was on the level of the Great Awakenings.
At the same time, and often overlapping among people, the Charismatic Movement was sweeping the nation. The author wrote that old time Pentecostal churches had been praying for God's spirit to be poured out on America resulting in a renewed desire to serve him and the gifts of the Spirit manifested.
Their prayers were answered as a great outpouring of signs and miracles were manifested amongst Christians in America. But the people praying for it missed it. Why did both groups of Christians miss the answers to their prayers?
Because the answers didn't look like they expected.
For you see, while the Jesus Movement revival did bring all ages of Americans to the Lord, it is best known for drawing the "unchurched" teens, twenty-somethings, and hippies to Him. Even after salvation, they tended to still look "unchurched", too.
This group of converts changed the look of the Church, the sound of the Church (as it birthed Contemporary Christian music), and eventually the ministry of the American Church. For prior to this revival, most people who were saved were assimilated into the Church in such a way that they all looked alike, talked alike, and acted alike.
While still holding firm to the Truth of the Bible as did previous generations (this was not the beginning of the postmodern churches)... they were less likely to retreat within four walls of a church for this was not the way they were raised. Time does not permit going into detail but these converts, thousands upon thousands of new Christians, are now in their 50's, 60's, and older.
Their legacy is taking the Message to the people with their music, their writing, their desire to be Salt and Light in politics and the Market Place, opening Christian bookstores, starting Christian TV and radio stations, and while dressing modestly... they did not always look like those in previous generations of Christians.
As for the prayers of the Pentecostals??? Oh, my... they certainly didn't see this coming as God poured out His spirit in a Charismatic revival which started with the Catholics and spread to (shudder) Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and other mainline churches.
To make matters worse, these people didn't look like the Holiness Pentecostal Churches of the past. Did you ever wonder why we have Pentecostal churches and Charismatic churches? It's because the new "move of God" didn't look like the old "move of God".
So... what does this walk down history lane have to do with us today? This has been where my ponderings have taken me this week.
Do you miss God's answers to your prayers because they do not look like you expect?
I certainly have, it is actually a constant challenge. I get frustrated with budget constraints and I don't see a miraculous provision. I ask for healing and I don't see He gives me insulin and medicine. I desire my family to all live near me and I don't see how my children are happily married, walking with the Lord, are a great blessing, and feed me once in awhile.
I ask for healing for my husband and I don't see how God provided Social Security Disability on the first application. I prayed that we didn't have to sell our large house "in town" and I don't thank God for bringing us back home and making it possible to buy our "small-ish house at the corner of the forest".
I've learned to look for the God winks of my life, those times and places where the proverbial footprints in the sand can be seen. I love to ask Him to show me His Signature in my days. He loves to make Himself known.
For you see, when we ask Him conditionally then we... in our finite minds... risk not letting Him answer in a way that brings blessings to us and others.
Such as the Cross of Christ...
It was the religious leaders of the day 2,000 years ago who were praying for the Messiah. But they were expecting a Warrior, one who would save them from the Romans and make for them Heaven on Earth.
His idea was so much better although very difficult for us who are finite to understand. He came to suffer, to win back the Keys of the Kingdom for the Father, to fight the good fight of faith... to die before living again... to become the sacrificial Lamb.
We wanted Easter Sunday without Good Friday but we didn't understand one was impossible without the other.
As we are now entering Holy Week, I pray we all look for His answers and His footsteps in our lives. Perhaps the greatest gift we can give Him this week is to replace our Why with Thank You.
Picture: He Shall Hear My Voice (I have this artwork hanging in my dining area).