Did you hear it?
You may have missed the sound of God at work in the hearts of pastors and leaders last night. You may not have heard the men and women sobbing in brokenness over their sin. You might have been in an ancillary session at the SBC or a reception elsewhere in the convention buildings.
What you missed was God speaking through Rick Warren and preparing hearts to hear the difficult message that James MacDonald preached.
You missed the exhortation to the convention to quit obsessing over numbers and instead begin pleading with God for his manifest presence to show up in our churches.
You missed the awestruck wonder of praying that God would begin to move.
You missed it as our desire to keep the program moving almost stole away the palpable sense of God’s presence.
You missed it as Francis Chan scrapped his planned message to simply encourage us to seek the presence of God.
You missed it as Chan informed us that although he meets with other conventions, conferences and gatherings that he senses a spiritual blockade that keeps Southern Baptists from revival and passionate soul winning.
You missed it as brothers and sisters fell to the ground weeping and agonizing over their lives and the souls of the lost as many stood up and simply left when it was time to pray – myself included (after all, who was going to get my children?)
Here’s my question: Has it really been that long, Southern Baptists, that we don’t recognize when God moves? When God was so clearly moving after Pastor James’ sermon, why did we joke about clothing and focus on an offering – even as important as that offering was? Why were so many of us headed to the exits during Chan’s call to respond to the clear teaching of Scripture? Why were we leaving so quickly when it was clear God was moving in the hearts of many? Why did we not join arms with those weeping around us or with those confronted with the realities of the presence of God? Why did it take an exhortation from the platform for us to not leave the auditorium when a time of prayer was called? What could have happened if we decided to stay and pray? Have we truly become a people so convinced of our pro forma duties that we no longer stop to hear from the Almighty?
This morning as God called me to repentance, I cannot help but wonder: will today be the same as we gather? Sure, we are here to do the work of the convention, but my dear friends, will you listen for the voice of God today?
John Mark Yeats