Well it’s Friday and I’m sitting at the coffee shop. If you don’t know, I take time every Friday to “unplug” (no phone, email, meetings) and spend some time with God. I love my Friday’s. Just me and God hanging out talking.
On the book shelf was one of my all time favorite books Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. I first read this book when I taught Sunday School in the late 90’s. I picked it up and began reading through the first chapter. Hearing his story of starting the Brooklyn Tabernacle reminded me so much of what it’s been like starting Connection. I had to choke back tears (seriously) because I didn’t want to look like a blubbering idiot. Plus, there was a women’s group nearby and I feared they would come over and want me to join them:) Cymbala had become the pastor of a church in Brooklyn. He had no money, a dilapidated building, and 20 people. During a season of desperation God spoke to him to make prayer a foundation. He knew that “no new church growth idea was going to help. Only God responding to their cries for divine help. They were attempting the impossible.”
In the book he quotes Charles Spurgeon (one of the most amazing preachers in the history of England):
The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge of the amount of divine working among a people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if he be not there, one of the first tokens of his absence will be a slothfulness in prayer.
God gripped me with that thought. In fact, he’s been working me over in this area for some time now. Strategies, structure, and planning are good. But, they all fall short if they are manmade and not God given. We have got to be a people who pray and live in total dependence on him. Here’s a scripture that I have taped to my bathroom mirror.
[2 Cor.1:8-11] We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
I think that’s why I am so fired up about our new series How Big is Your God? This series has been burning inside me for about 6 months. I hope you’ll join us this Sunday.