So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”John chapter 3, verses 7 and 8; from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Unless you’ve been hibernating in some cave, hopefully you have heard by now about what’s been happening at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. On Wednesday, February 8, it started out as just another Chapel Service. Students are required to attend at least 3 per week. Zach Meerkreebs, an assistant soccer coach, was the speaker. He used Romans chapter 12 and talked about God’s love for them. At the end of the service, no one came to the altar. It was just another “Chapel” service. Even Zach felt that way. He texted his wife: “Latest stinker. I’ll be home soon.”
But. . .don’t you just love that word BUT. . .about 18 or 19 students remained in Hughes Chapel. And beginning at that moment, the Holy Spirit started to stir! Nothing phenomenal–but The Spirit was moving in those 18 or 19 students. One of those students stayed for about an hour before it was time to go to class. And when he came out of class, he heard singing something from the Chapel. His observation was: That’s weird! And a remarkable and powerful moment turned into an undeniable Awakening by the Holy Spirit.
And this Awakening has been going on since February 8, 24 hours a day. Today is the 24th and it’s still going on. It spread from the campus into a nearby church. It’s spread from Wilmore, Kentucky to other states and campuses. It’s the work of The Holy Spirit. The only Superstar has been and continues to be Jesus! The Administration of Asbury were astute enough to recognize what was happening February 8. They knew and admitted that they didn’t start it, so they couldn’t control it. So they did what the Spirit wanted–they met in a janitor’s closet and became instruments of the Holy Spirit to organize–not what was happening. Rather, the find ways to quietly assist those who were showing up. One of the first decisions made was to keep Hughes Chapel open. Then they simply practiced radical hospitality. And that small town of a few thousand folks, grew into tens of thousands of folks simply seeking the presence of God.
Award winning Christian artist Keri Job was there. Not to sing, but to experience what the Holy Spirit is doing. Again, No superstars but Jesus! And there are those, known as Churchians and Tenured Pew Sitters, who are convinced there’s no hope for this world. That’s it’s going to hell in a hand basket. And the younger generation? Well, they are only making it worse. So much for that balderdash. I heard the story of 2 women in Brazil who sold their car to have the money to go to a little Kentucky town called Wilmore. Again, No superstars but Jesus!
There are the detractors–those who say it isn’t real–just hype and emotionalism. Of course, most of those detractors are in the dying camp called the United Methodist Church. Believe it or not–God Really Knows What He’s Doing! Shocking, right? Who would have thought that? I doubt that those first 18 or 19 students who stayed in the Chapel after that mandatory chapel service recognized what The Spirit was about to do. They just knew they needed to be there.
Listen, you can’t explain how the Holy Spirit works or moves. That’s exactly what Jesus told Nicodemus. Be prepared for what I am about to say: The Holy Spirit Doesn’t Depend On Us And What We Do! I know this isn’t what the Bishops and leadership of my former tribe thinks. But it’s The Truth! An assistant soccer coach who thought it “whiffed it”, and those 18 or 19 students who did not have a clue as to what the Holy Spirit was about to do, became those earthen vessels (or cracked pots as I like to say) for The Holy Spirit to move and work through.
You see, the work of the Holy Spirit cannot be planned nor orchestrated by any of us. All we need to do is to pray and surrender to Him! To do what the administration of Asbury did–to seek ways to give The Holy Spirit the freedom to move and work–and to make sure no one hijacked what The Spirit is doing. There were a few, very few, who tried to do just that. And because of their prayers and commitment to this Awakening, no human has been able to hijack the Sacred and Holy Movement. One person was even given a police escort off the campus.
And so, what does this teach us where we are at this very moment? Hopefully it teaches us to fall down before God. To confess our own sinfulness. To acknowledge our need for Jesus. And to rely completely on the Power, Work, and Movement of the Holy Spirit. Awakening is happening folks! And we do not have to replicate what they did at Asbury. We just have to throw ourselves completely upon the mercy, grace, and love of God. Then let the Holy Spirit BE the Holy Spirit!
Already one local television station announced the Awakening is over today. (see the article here) No it’s not! This is only the beginning! So, let’s step aside, Church. Let the Holy Spirit BE the Holy Spirit and be convicted and convinced that we depend on Him! Not the other way around.
I leave you with an appropriate song done by Ryan Stevenson: