God is doing something awesome in our church. It began several months ago at a staff retreat when God called us to a much deeper life of prayer and desperation as leaders. The fire has been slowly spreading as the Spirit is exposing in many of us the utter foolishness of trying to lead this church without constantly seeking and passionately pursuing God individually and together.

You might say, and how befitting, that the fire of God fell upon us Sunday night during P.S. Pentecost. I would have a hard time believing that anyone present questions the touch of God that we experienced that night. And believe me, I am the most skeptical person on the planet when it comes to this kind of stuff. What was different about Sunday was that the whole experience was rooted in Scripture and unified prayer. It was the true and living God who touched us.

The flow of the evening was as follows: the Holy Spirit in Creation (our triune God's infinite glory), the Holy Spirit in new life and personal relationship (our triune God's intimate love), the Holy Spirit in empowering and sending the church (our triune God's mission). There were Scripture readings and corporate prayers at the beginning of each movement, followed by songs of praise and worship. During the middle movement, there was a time of waiting for the Lord on our knees, posturing ourselves in humility and quietly confessing our desperate need and hunger for the presence and power of God.

In the midst of our longing, I read aloud Acts 2:1-41, the story of Pentecost. I shared for a few moments what I sensed the Lord wanted me to say, the gist of which was the following "3-step non-process" we find in this passage: Seek God and the Spirit will fill you to preach Christ. I call it a "non-process" because there isn't a formula to the Spirit moving. (It was the formulaic approach to the move of the Spirit that created much of the baggage in my life, the bitterness from which I have spent the last eight years repenting by the grace of Jesus Christ and the healing ministry of the Holy Spirit.) And although we cannot force God's hand to move, we at least know, with biblical testimony, that God wants us to seek Him with all our heart, that He wants us to make Him our one desire, that He wants us to wait in stillness for His move.

We had just spent some time (not nearly enough) expressing in prayer and song our desperation and hunger for God. We had just heard the witness to His outpouring upon those who patiently waited for Him on the Day of Pentecost nearly 2000 years ago. Then my encouragement to the 120 or so gathered Sunday night (not kidding) was to get in groups of three or four, stand and join hands, and begin praying for these two specific things: 1) that the Spirit would create in each of us, and our church, a deeper desperation for Jesus, and 2) that the Spirit would fill us with power and boldness to declare the mighty works of God. Before we prayed, I gave one final exhortation: "Pray passionately. Don't be afraid to raise your voice. I doubt the 120 gathered in the upper room were holding anything back. Why should the 120 here hold back? We have one purpose, one hope, the same hope they had. Let's go after God and see what He does."

Then it happened. The place began to erupt with unhindered prayers. Chains were broken. Behavior that was previously unacceptable in church suddenly became right. I have never heard this church so loud and free. Waves of volume. Personally, in my group of six on the stage, the moment we joined hands, I physically felt that indescribable, head-to-toe rush of emotion. Nothing compares to the feeling of the Spirit's spontaneous infilling. And to be perfectly honest with you, for years I have intentionally avoided situations, environments, where that feeling could possibly overcome me. My flesh denies its authenticity. But do you know what makes this experience credible? It wasn't the feeling I was after. It was God I was after. It was a life of deeper desperation I was after. It was a Spirit-filled life of Gospel proclamation I was after. And the real possibility of this kind of life was just recounted from Scripture.

So we continued in unifying prayer for fifteen minutes or so and then sang at the top of our lungs a song declaring the story of Jesus, "Stand in Awe" by Jeremy Riddle. Every hand was raised to full extension, a sign I would typically not interpret as a measure of spirituality. But again it was the God of the Bible and His mission that we were after. What an experience! I can count on...well, two hands now the number of times in the last eight years I have encountered God in this way, or rather, God has encountered me. And, if I may steal my two-year-old daughter's favorite sentence, "I want more."

I want more of the Spirit to fall on the leadership of our church. I want more of the Spirit to fall on this entire church. I want more of the Spirit every minute of my life, not just at special nights of worship. Do I want more for my sake? No, I want more for Christ's sake. I want more of the Spirit's power and boldness to preach the Gospel. For Christ's sake, why am I not preaching the Gospel? Seek God and the Spirit will fill you to preach Christ. Let's get the first step of this non-process down. Let's seek God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, minute by minute. Let's diligently seek Him in His Word. Let's seek Him together. Let's seek Him alone. It is only in seeking God that we can live the Spirit-filled, Christ-proclaiming life.

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