June 7, 2018

Expectancy

Geoff LaLone

“And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief” Matthew 13:53-58

The denomination I grew up in was heavily influenced by a religious movement in America known as Revivalism. If you are not familiar with the term, a revival is a series of special worship services, hosted by a church or group of churches, that can last for days, even weeks. Guest speakers are typically brought in, sermons tend to be lengthy, and they almost always conclude with an alter call, which is basically an invitation, given at the end of the service, to make a decision, either to become a believer for the first time or to recommit one’s life to God. In my denomination it was customary to hold a revival at least once a year, if not more often. As you can imagine, I have attended several.

Revivals can be special times in the life of a believer. They can often serve as major milestones in one’s faith journey. God’s presence seems more palpable. The voice of the Holy Spirit, calling, convicting, challenging, and encouraging, is especially evident. Lives are transformed, hearts are changed, addictions are overcome, and relationships between God and his people are restored and renewed. Have you ever wondered what it is about revivals that makes them so amazing? I know I have. Surely it is not because the Holy Spirit moves according to our calendar. I also don’t believe it is the ability of the speaker, or the musicians, or the atmosphere that makes the difference. I have decided it has a lot to do with the sense of expectancy people bring. People come to a revival service expecting God to do something. So he does.

Soon after beginning his public ministry, Jesus quickly rose in popularity, developing a reputation as a great teacher and a performer of miracles. In almost every town he visited, he would share the good news of the Gospel and do many deeds of power; healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, making the lame to walk again, and setting people free from many kinds of addictions. His home town, however, was an exception. This is where Jesus grew up, a place where people had known him ever since he was “knee-high to a grasshopper.” They knew his family, and all their dirty laundry. They knew his father was not a highly-educated man, but a simple carpenter. For these reasons and more, they apparently did not expect a whole lot out of him, or believe the rumors they had heard about him were true. Not surprisingly, he performed as they expected.

I’m not suggesting that God is rendered powerless unless we have faith in his power. In his sovereignty, he can choose to act, and often does, in spite of our feelings toward him. What I am suggesting though is that there is a link between the movement and display of God’s power and our expectancy for him to do so. Not because he is unable, but rather unwilling, to intervene where he is not invited or welcome. I believe if we approached every encounter with God the same way people approach a revival service, God would move in our midst far more than once or twice a year. I believe if we were more intentional about meeting with God, willing to prepare our hearts, minds and bodies for worship, praying for the pastor and others who will be involved in the service, and inviting God to bless us with his presence, amazing things would take place in our churches on a regular basis. I’m reminded of the words of James, “You do not have because you do not ask” (4:2). Let us be diligent and committed to asking, so that we can have all that God wants to give us.


I’m not suggesting that God is rendered powerless unless we have faith in his power. In his sovereignty, he can choose to act, and often does, in spite of our feelings toward him. What I am suggesting though is that there is a link between the movement and display of God’s power and our expectancy for him to do so. Not because he is unable, but rather unwilling, to intervene where he is not invited or welcome. I believe if we approached every encounter with God the same way people approach a revival service, God would move in our midst far more than once or twice a year. I believe if we were more intentional about meeting with God, willing to prepare our hearts, minds and bodies for worship, praying for the pastor and others who will be involved in the service, and inviting God to bless us with his presence, amazing things would take place in our churches on a regular basis. I’m reminded of the words of James, “You do not have because you do not ask” (4:2). Let us be diligent and committed to asking, so that we can have all that God wants to give us.

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Brick Church

Our congregation was founded in central North Carolina over 250 years ago by immigrants from Germany. Since then faithful people have been gathering here to worship and glorify God. Thanks for visiting our website, and we hope you’ll visit Brick Church this Sunday.
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