Friday, March 28, 2008

Inklings of the Spirit's Work

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
- Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3:8

“But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.”
- Acts 4:4

“There was scarcely a single person in the town, young or old, left unconcerned about the great things of the eternal world. Those who were wont to be the vainest and loosest, and those who had been disposed to think and speak lightly of vital and experimental religion, were now generally subject to great awakenings. And the work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing manner, and increased more and more; souls did as it were come by flocks to Jesus Christ.”
- Jonathan Edwards, A Narrative of Surprising Conversions in Jonathan Edwards on Revival, p. 13

“My heart has been much on the advancement of Christ’s kingdom in the world. The histories of the past advancement of Christ’s Kingdom have been sweet to me. When I have read histories of past ages, the pleasantest thing in all my reading has been to read of the kingdom of Christ being promoted.”
– Jonathan Edwards, quoted in Sam Storms’, Signs of the Spirit, p. 185

When Judy and I were first married (soon 32 years ago!) I worked swing-shift driving a forklift at a large machine shop in Portland, Oregon. I worked there for almost eight years from 1975 to 1983. And when I was there a most astounding thing happened. This seemed like an unlikely place for the Spirit of God to move, but over several months time a number of men came to faith in Christ. These were rough and tumble union machinists and assemblymen. I saw union shop stewards broken by their sin and convinced of their need for a Savior. I saw born and raised Roman Catholics being converted by belief in the gospel. I saw drug abusers changed by the power of the gospel. I saw broken marriages restored. At one point we had almost 30 men meeting for bible study in a parts warehouse during our swing-shift lunch period. There were men praying for one another and counseling and encouraging one another. This was an extraordinary move of God that defies all of the machinations of church growth and revival operatives. God was pleased to visit that place at that time by His Spirit. There was no formula that we followed. The Spirit blew where He would, and men came to faith in Christ as Lord. Today I can point to men I know that have been forever changed by that work of God thirty years ago.

Last night Judy and I were with some friends and we were recounting the goodness of God in the life of COR. What we have seen in the first seven months of this church plant is nothing short of astounding. God is at work. We have no formulas to follow. We don’t have a church growth strategy mapped out, but God is at work, amazing us at every step along the way. We’re fumbling along, entirely dependent on God to bring increase and the work of the Spirit. Another friend recently sent me this link to what is happening at Mars Hill Church in Seattle Please be encouraged by what you read! The Kingdom of God is being advanced. The Conquering King is vanquishing sinners’ hearts.

Would you pray with me that Spirit would be pleased to blow through COR in even greater measure? What a joy it would be to see the Kingdom advanced in our midst in greater degre, and in fact, beyond our comprehension. Pray that there would be a thoroughgoing work of the Spirit in deep repentance, a passionate love for the Savior, magnanimous love for one another, and an incomparable love for those who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Pray that God would forgive our pretense, and that He would do what only He can do in bringing to life the hearts of dead men.

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