“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:7-11
It’s amazing to me how often God connects the Scripture that I am reading for the day with my own personal experience. Today is no exception.
I’m on a Movement Ministries Mens Sabbath Retreat to Estes Park, Colorado with twenty guys who love the Lord. Each night we share a meal, worship, pray and encourage each other. Last night was the most incredible session of them all. Although we had prayed and worshipped each night, and been deeply moved and encouraged, last night was different as we encountered what I call a “Holy Visitation.”
It’s not that God wasn’t present the other nights, but it seems to me like a combination between a radical outpouring of his Spirit and a readiness in the hearts of men for God to show up. After several songs and a good message – we began to pray. We did so by binding Satan, confessing sin, letting go of our addictions, and asking Christ to loose the chains that bind us. As I stood leading the men in prayer, I was physically shaking, my body barely enough to contain His glory. Two and a half hours later we called it a night and went to bed.
Peter writes, “Be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” We were and we did. We prayed. We opened our hearts to the loving embrace of the God of Creation and He consumed our desires like a burning flame. We loved each other, as Peter writes, and we confessed our sins. We used our gifts to exhort, encourage, and equip. And when we spoke, we did what Peter suggests — “We spoke the very words of God.”
I have been in His Presence many times in my life but it always leaves me wanting more. The smile of joy that came upon my face when He entered the room was unnatural. The joy of singing praises to Him with hands lifted high will not soon be forgotten.
Someone near the end of the time of prayer asked the question, “What is your vision for the future of the church?” I replied, “I think the church needs to look more like this and less like what it typically does. It needs to look like godly people praying, seeking His face, confessing sin, and loving one another.“
Are you seeking the Lord for your life and your church? Are you expecting a Holy Visitation, longing for more, ready to be consumed by a loving and forgiving God? Why not do so today.
“O Lord God, I am humbled to be in a room with your warriors. Mighty men of God who are deep in the battle. Who are defeating the darkness because of the blood of the Lamb that was slain for the world. Come now, Holy Spirit, use us to make disciples. Help us to love our wives and our children so they too might know the truth and see Jesus in us. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen