I think the subject line says it best: something great is going on in Little Rock, Arkansas. God is working! In ways I've never seen him at work before. Dare I call it revival? I don't know. What I do know is the Spirit has stirred something here, and I feel very convicted to share it with each of you.
I have read about the great revivals throughout history. I've heard pastors speak about revival longingly. I've prayed for it myself, sometimes eagerly, sometimes fearfully. But this past week I've seen something I've never seen before: a mercy drop. A tiny glimpse of what it looks like, feels like, when the Holy Spirit mercifully reveals himself to a body of believers.
It all started last Sunday-- well, at least, I became aware of it last Sunday--when our pastor, Bill Elliff, gave his final message in a sermon series about the Holy Spirit. The verse was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all. Hold on to what is good; reject every kind of evil." I don't think I was the only one who began to feel convicted about how quick we are to quench the Spirit-- when he tells us to pray, and we don't; when he convicts us of sin, and we don't immediately confess and repent; when we are given opportunities to share the Gospel, we ignore them. Bill referenced a message from the Welsh Revival that we had heard a couple times before: Four steps to loosing the Holy Spirit, by Evan Roberts: (1) confess all known sin; (2) abstain from any doubtful habits; (3) obey the Spirit promptly; and (4) proclaim Christ openly.
Bill couldn't finish his sermon-- about halfway through, he stopped. As he was closing, someone in the congregation stood up and said, "let's take time to obey the Spirit now-- we can't afford to wait!" in just a few minutes, people were moving around the room, talking to counselors or other members of the congregation to whom they needed to confess. The microphone at the front of the room became an open forum for people to share, confess sin, praise God, ask for support, etc. The Spirit was moving! Our 11am church service, which usually lasts a little over an hour, did not let out until 3pm that day. In that time, people flooded the alter for 2 hours, 5 people spontaneously got baptized (jumped into the baptistry with clothes and all!), and a deacon who is currently unemployed gave his unemployment check (which prompted much more giving and a reverse offering where over $5,000 was given and $3500 taken out),
On Monday night, over 200 people came back and stayed for three hours praying and confessing and praising God. On Tuesday, over 300 people came for another 3-hour prayer meeting. Children laid hands on their parents and prayed for them. More spontaneous baptisms took place. (in the last 8 days, our church has seen 38 baptisms.) Prayer meetings took place at The Summit Church every night last week, lasting 3-4 hours each night. On Friday night, after the meeting ended at 11pm, college students moved the meeting downtown and prayer walked around downtown Little Rock. At 4am, they went home, made 100 sandwiches and bought bottled water, and at 10am Saturday morning were back in downtown feeding the homeless and telling them about Jesus.
At the risk of this sounding like a "Summit Church thing," we've also heard about the Spirit moving at other churches in the area. At Oasis Church last Sunday, 18 people were baptized. At Mosaic Church on Wednesday, they held a spontaneous prayer meeting. At Fellowship Bible Church, high school students met on Friday night at 9pm for prayer; when the church had to lock up for the night, the prayer meeting moved to the parking lot. Things are happening in Little Rock-- it has nothing to do with our church, and everything to do with God's mercy!
Which is why I felt compelled to share this with you. If all that results from what we've seen at The Summit are a few extra baptisms and one week of prayer, then it's not enough. Sure, the purification of the saints is an important step-- but it's not the end goal. The end goal is that God is glorified around the world. I can already see with what has happened this past week how God is preparing us for the next step: we are being cleansed, confessing sin, and being filled to overflowing. The next step is that we do overflow-- that we minister to the lost with the kind of tenacity today's church has yet to see, and that the Spirit of God moves freely from one church to the next, and from one city to the next. We have interceded in prayer this week for churches throughout Arkansas and across the country. I am praying for your churches, and that the Spirit would give you an even bigger mercy drop than what he has given us this past week. I pray believing, and cannot wait to hear how God moves in your churches over the coming days and weeks.
If you'd like to know more about what's been going on at The Summit, there are a couple videos, as well as a blog on the church website: http://thesummitchurch.org/