SOMETHING IS STIRRING

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The most recent Barna study shows this:

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of young adults who were once regular churchgoers have dropped out of church in their adult years.  

No longer the foundation of our social structure, even in the Bible belt, institutional Christianity has struggled to maintain its appeal. But in its place is a strong spiritual longing that could be the best news for our churches today. A lot of things are stirring in the Church, and a lot is stirring in us.

AARON WILLIAMS 

What has been stirring?  What is he inviting us into?

To put it simply, hunger for God. The Lord is giving me a holy craving for more of himself. I recently read this verse in Psalm 81 and felt it resonate with what’s stirring. Psalm 81:10 says “... open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.”

What jumped off the page to me was the phrase “open your mouth wide.” This phrase reminded me there are varying degrees of openness. For example, the top of a plastic water bottle is “open,” and the end of a fire hose is also “open,” but you certainly wouldn’t want to drink out of a fire hose, and you would never try to put out a forest fire with a water bottle. In this case, when the Psalmist is speaking about spiritual hunger he says “open your mouth wide.” He could have just said, “open your mouth and God will fill it.” Instead, he makes a point to say “open your mouth wide.” The Psalmist is keenly aware of two things: 1) God is willing and wanting to fill us, and 2) we need his filling but often don’t open ourselves wide enough to receive from God. 

I deeply resonated with this verse because, sadly, I don’t see a lot of hunger for God in our churches today. It seems that our appetite for God alone has been curbed by the relentless pursuit of lesser things. C. S. Lewis said it this way, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

One of the primary metaphors Jesus uses to describe what it’s like to live in his Kingdom is that of a banquet feast. We are in desperate need of “banquet feast” sized cravings for God in our churches. We need the kind of devotional hunger that won’t be satisfied by anything less than the heavenly feast.

I’m convinced that ten people hungering after God can impact the Kingdom more than 1,000 people mildly longing for him. I believe that one individual wholeheartedly open to God’s will can set many others ablaze. God responds to hunger and promises that those who hunger for him will be filled. Let’s pull up our chairs to the banquet feast, open wide, and receive what the Lord has for us.

KATHRYN MAACK

What has been stirring? What is he inviting us into?

What I see stirring is a holy discontent.

Many of us feel more comfortable being content. I like to find the good and focus on it, and I can point to the scriptural directive we have to be content. This can go so far, though, that my almost obsessive desire for finding the good can mask a spiritual apathy that is as comfortable as one of my old T-shirts. When we realize our faith has become status quo, it is good and right for us to honestly address that reality and embrace a holy discontent.

I think God is inviting us to experience his power at greater levels. I Corinthians 4:20 says, “For the Kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” This is convicting to me because it lets me know we can have the most confident assertions and the right doctrine and that won’t be enough to lead us into fullness of Kingdom life. 

As much as we need understanding, we need the Spirit’s power. We have to be ready-- the power of God is beyond us; his ways are higher and we cannot fully get our heads around them. He’s not in our control. There’s a mystery to aspects of him. There’s a lot about him that can’t be confined to a man-made theory or even theology.  

It can be possible to understand things about Jesus on an intellectual level and still not be in relationship with him. We can live life as if we are looking at him from outside a glass window… we can describe what we see of him but be removed from him.  I think he’s inviting us into the room with him, to experience more dynamic relationship. His power is available to us when we are truly walking in the Spirit of God. It’s dynamic, it’s adventurous, it’s even confusing to the world at times. It can be hard, but it’s not boring. 


What is God stirring in you?  What is he inviting you into?