Revival, Renewal, and Review
Our revival services began on October 6th with Jon Reed preaching in the morning worship service. This was also the 14th day of my fast. I was wondering when to break the fast, either Sunday night or Monday morning. I had started thinking about food and of all things, I was craving breakfast food, especially biscuits and gravy. I had yogurt in my refrigerator and knew I would break my fast gently with some yogurt. I knew I needed to reintroduce enzymes in my stomach to help digest food.
Sunday morning was fairly uneventful but we did see a few people in the altar praying. I must admit I left the service a little confused. “God, I’ve fasted and prayed 14 days and I don’t know if I’ve seen anything different.” “Will it be church as usual all week?” “Have you changed me?” Jon and I spent the afternoon resting and talking about ministry. I juiced fresh fruits and vegetables for both of us to drink at lunch and again in the afternoon before we went back to church.
Things were very different Sunday evening and the rest of the week. I immediately noticed that our attendance was great with almost 150 people present on Sunday night. My normal Sunday evening attendance is about 70. Ron Mize, our Minister of Music had invited a fellow Minister of Music, Dan Blankenship to lead our revival services beginning Sunday night. Dan began the Sunday evening service at 6:00 p.m. and within 10 minutes of the service beginning I was weeping as I stood on the front row alongside of Jon. What was happening? The Holy Spirit was moving and my church family was worshiping in the Spirit (John 4:23-24) like I had not seen in the 2 ½ years that I had been their Pastor. Most of the members of my choir had their hands stretched toward heaven as they sang and as some of them wept. I grabbed Jon around the waist and spoke to him, “Is it me or is there something very different in here tonight?” Jon said, “No, it’s not you, the Spirit is moving in this place.” I stood to give the welcome and couldn’t speak because I was weeping. Many people in my church wept while I spoke.
Time and space will not allow me to chronicle every service between Sunday evening and Wednesday evening in our church. Let me share what happened in our church and in my life during revival and subsequent to it.
In Our Church
- We experienced a real breakthrough in worship. Most of the people in our church are not demonstrative in their worship (raising hands, clapping, etc. . .) but the Spirit brought a great freedom to our worship during revival, and now our church has more of a hunger for Spirit-led, energetic, refreshing worship.
- We experienced freedom as it relates to the preaching of the Word of God. Every night we saw the altars filled as Jon gave the invitation. However, I know that real life change does not occur just because someone comes to the altar at the conclusion of a service. I had never seen this kind of response from our church before revival.
- We experienced greater unity in our church. I spoke with several men and women in our church family during the week and they sensed a unity in our church that we had not seen in a long time. Churches are like families sometimes; people get angry or hurt. There are problem “children” who don’t like to follow. I sensed that God was bringing our church together to move into the future.
- We saw a high school student come to Christ. She made her decision public the Sunday morning after revival and wants to follow Christ in baptism.
- We saw people grow in their relationship with Christ. I have had conversations with men and women who testified to me that God had convicted them about areas where they need to repent and live biblically.
In My Life
- I am refreshed. God ministered to me all week through the pre-service men’s prayer time, the singing, fellowship, and preaching. The last night of revival, I shared a short testimony about my fast. During the service, I had several people hug me, give words of love and affirm their support to me as their Pastor.
- I am healed. I was angry, unsure, hurt, and confused leading up to revival. I can honestly say God has healed me spiritually as the result of my fasting and our revival services. I am at peace with my future and the future of our church.
- I have grown spiritually through the spiritual discipline of fasting. I had never fasted more than two days and it was pretty much a failure. I can testify of the fresh work of the grace of God in my life as a result of setting aside time to seek Him through prayer and fasting. Will I fast again? Absolutely. I hope my next fast will be 21 days.
- God has opened new opportunities for ministry. I prayed for some of these opportunities and some I did not pray for. I’m seizing these opportunities and stepping out in faith to minister in my church family and in our community. Only God knows what He will do next.
- God has made His will clear as it relates to our next Minister of Education. I, and our search committee, met with a candidate some during my fast. I was also praying extensively about God’s will for our church and the candidate’s ministry to determine if he was to be our next Minister of Education. I know God has answered in the affirmative. Our church will have the final approval through a congregational vote but I am convinced he will be my co-laborer as we minister to our church and community.
Thank you for reading my posts regarding my fast. I heartily encourage the discipline of fasting in your walk with Christ. However, please consult with a physician if you have mitigating health concerns that may interfere with a fast. We are all just as close to Christ as we want to be. Christ is ready to be intimate with us if we will merely get in His presence with the means of grace He has provided such as prayer, fasting, Bible reading, serving, solitude, and journaling.