Last week we summarized what happened in Sylvan Lake Revival of the Heart. I’m always a little surprised at what God does at these conferences… I had to add a few bullets to the archived newsletter on the link. Let me share a story to illustrate the nature of the transition.
From My Pastoral Days – I used to be pretty strong on teaching people the word of God so they could understand Biblical principles… thereby living their lives within the will of God. Obeying the Holy Spirit was a large part of my vocabulary. I encouraged our congregation to “lay down their lives” for a higher purpose; loosely translated that meant helping me grow the church. Some great things happened. We really had a great time in worship through the Toronto years. It was liberating. However, that era passed and people didn’t entirely connect with “revival” or “church growth.”
The Good News – The reason we didn’t totally connect with God was that my message somewhat separated people from their hearts. I was continually suggesting God’s will was in one direction and their will was in another (Now I think it’s a somewhat “bipolar” message). New Christians do need to learn to “serve” God and “obey” His Word and His Spirit… regardless of emotional or logical pulls in another direction. However, we can’t live there forever. Eventually every believer has to graduate from “servant” to “friend.” Maturity is finding the connection between our heart’s desire and the “Father’s business.”
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other. John 15:14-17
Servants – bury their emotions and lose touch with their hearts; disciplining themselves to implement the principles and keep the rules. The church fills with peer pressure to stay on the diet of “denying self.” If you hunger to serve God the environment feels competitive to climb the ladder and stay the course. The majority of aging Christians eventually withdraw. They fill with resignation and stagnate spiritually in the pew or they simply quit going to church. Only the best “dieters” survive the swamp of expectations to become it’s leaders… and the church doesn’t feel very loving.
Friends – Something miraculous happens when you start telling Kings that their heart’s desire and the will of God might be the same thing. For the first time they look into their hearts and experience their emotions. We’re naturally enthusiastic about the desires God puts in our hearts. When we give ourselves permission to pursue those desires we not only find the will of God but we find an exciting adventure filled with answered prayer and incredible passion. We want to laugh and cry at the same time. There is a “healing” ingredient inside the experience. For the first time we are truly whole and truly holy. When we first touch our hearts desire and destiny it really feels like revival… and I want to suggest that it is.
Our Language – with the Father changes. Servants expect to receive commands and try to obey them. There is no place for personal desires. Friends are invited into the “master’s business” in a way that deploys the natural desires of their hearts. Instead of telling friends what to do, God is “inviting” them to ask for the “whatevers” of their heart. Our prayer changes from talking to listening. To our amazement we hear the Father asking us the Solomon question, “What’s your dream, how can I help you.”
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 1 Kings 3:5 NIV
Once we experience that dynamic of relating to the will of the Father through our heart’s desires, it changes the way we relate to our brothers and sisters. Here’s the most prophetic (and equipping) thing we can say to this generation of Kings that God is raising up all around us,
“What’s your dream?
How can I help you take the next step?”
The equipping ministry of the Church is just starting to ask this question and Kings are being birthed as a result.
Note: That phrase isn’t original with me. I heard it first (from God) at a CEO Space Conference. They probably got it from Solomon!
Here’s your personal invitation – Spend enough time with God and your heart to be able to answer the question… so that when someone (like God) asks, you can clearly articulate your dream and the steps you’re taking to make it happen. The help you need to take those next steps will flow through your confession toward you… straight from the throne room… and often through other believers. It’s an amazing process and in my mind it has “revival” written all over it.
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.