Spiritual Awakening

I’m the Lead Pastor at Renovation Church in Portage, Michigan. I’ve been excited about this month of March because I’ve sensed for a while that God was about to stir our church toward spiritual awakening. Our staff team designed a series of prayer & worship nights that would align with what we were doing on Sunday mornings. For me, the image of awakening and renewal kept popping up. I could see people engaged in worship like never before. Experiences of healing and revival continued to flash across my mind whenever I’d pray about it. I saw what it looked like, but not how to get there. In other words, I had a vision of the box but not the contents. Seemed like the best thing to do was create environments where people could engage with Father, Son, and Spirit in extended spaces. I’d call our folks to prayer, fasting, and other spiritual disciplines related to Lent. I could see it. I could feel it. Awakening was around the corner, if we wanted it. I want it. I want you to want it.

And then… BOOM. As it turns out, I keep getting knocked out. First, Lexi got this weird viral thing that put us in the hospital for a long weekend. After that, Britt and I got the same sickness. Then I crashed my Jeep. I continue to wade through related soreness and discomfort, not to mention the fact that my Jeep is done for. These events took me out for a couple of Sundays.

Today, I’m writing from the waiting room at Belle Tire, as I just blew my passenger rear tire on the freeway. I got the spare on and drove below posted speed limits. Now I’m drinking commercial-grade coffee, watching college basketball, and thinking deeply about Spiritual Renewal.

It sure seems more than coincidental that these bad things keep happening to me and my family. In his instructions about Spiritual warfare and the Armor of God, Paul reminds us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

Have you ever heard the phrase “first world problems”? It’s where we complain about our overabundant comfort being temporarily removed. We complain about bad cell phone coverage or spilling mustard on our jeans and blame the devil. Meanwhile, we have sisters and brothers around the world who are hiding from rulers and authorities that insist on killing them because they follow Jesus.

Ya know, maybe Satan didn’t spill mustard on your jeans, and maybe the AT&T tower is down. But it stands to reason that, in the bigger things of life, that the “spiritual forces of evil” would have it out for all of us who follow Christ, no matter our context. In communist China, it’s a death threat. In Southwest Michigan, it’s arrows of sickness, collision, and mechanical issues. We must acknowledge our enemy and remember: he’s going to do whatever it takes to take out a threat to the ways of this dark world.

I may not be in good shape right now, and I acknowledge that I’m battle worn and weary, and that my chest is sore from loosening those lug nuts on the side of the freeway. I say freely that yes, I am kinda frustrated and fed up with a long string of “bad luck” events, and that I can’t help but wonder if it would be safest to just huddle in my house for a few weeks.


I gotta say…

It feels good to be a threat to the kingdom of darkness. It means that whatever God is doing in and through me is BAD NEWS for whatever Satan is up to. I am a target to be acquired, a threat to be disposed of, a problem for the bad guys. Good! It should be that way for all of us who follow Jesus, right?

If you’re reading this, it means that I have the privilege of speaking into your life. I count that as a responsibility. I may not officially be your pastor, but I do care about you and your soul. If my assumptions are true, it would appear that I am meant to shut my mouth and not get involved. Therefore, in an act of obedience to Jesus and defiance of darkness, I will do the opposite.

Listen: Is God trying to stir you awake? Are you spiritually asleep? Are you avoiding Jesus? Are you comfortably numb, thanks to some kind of addiction? Do you know, deep down, that the Holy Spirit is talking to you right now?

My job is to bring the message. Social media keeps you and I connected. As a person in your life, I want to carry this message right into the middle of your spiritual house and ask: are you following Jesus? Have you given Him your all? Are you a fan or a disciple? Are you trying to become more like Jesus? Are you making space for the voice of Truth? Are you willing to put your life down and pick up the cross? Are you more concerned with what Jesus wants than what you want?

Let’s you and I talk. Let’s get real in the comments. You’d be a fool to say “I’m spiritually asleep, and I need prayer.” Here’s the thing: you can’t follow Jesus without doing something the world considers foolish. Scripture says that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it IS the power of God.”

It takes a certain level of vulnerability to sleep in front of someone else. I remember, back in high school, putting shaving cream on one of our sleeping volunteer leaders, Bill, during a youth group trip to the Ichthus music festival. We thought we were hilarious. Bill, a former Marine, woke up and immediately made it clear that he did not think we were hilarious.

Let’s just say that was the last prank of the weekend.

Sometimes it’s embarrassing to admit you were asleep, especially when someone else has to wake you up. Spiritually speaking, it’s Jesus who wakes us up and invites us to a new way of living. If you say “I’m asleep and need to be woken up”, people may think you’re not as spiritually mature as you portrayed. Fear of what they will think keeps us spiritually asleep, sometimes for years and years.

I can’t have people thinking I’m spiritually asleep. It’s embarrassing. This is for them, not me.

Bologna. You’re a follower of Jesus. We aren’t to be motivated by fear of what others think.

Besides — you know what they’ll actually think? They’ll think “I wonder if I’m asleep, too?” It only takes a few people responding to the Holy Spirit to start a movement — an awakening.

“Awake, o sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you the light.” (Ephesians 5:14)

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Where you at?

Would you consider joining me in pursuing a spiritual awakening?

Why do you think we resist this?

About radamdavidson

When I'm not blogging, I'm hanging out with my family, pastoring a church, or listening to vinyl. I think and write about Jesus, music, communication, organizational leadership, family whatnot, and cultural artifacts from the 1980's -- mostly vintage boomboxes. You can read my blog at www.radamdavidson.com, watch [RadCast], a daily 3 minute video devotional, or find me on socials (@radamdavidson). I also help Pastors in their preaching and public speaking (www.CoachMyPreaching.com).
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