An authentic encounter


An authentic encounter with Jesus
will always be confronted by the devil to stop
          the move of God in your life.

One of the administrators of Asbury University says, “Can I tell you about my experience at Asbury? In case you didn’t hear, thousands of people from all over the world were/are flocking to Asbury University located in a small town in the center of Kentucky, to catch wind and see for themselves what was happening there. Many call it a revival.

The word revival to me sounds like bringing to life something that was dead. So that isn’t how I would describe my experience as my faith was not dead going in. I would describe my experience as an ENCOUNTER with Jesus.

I love how John Tyson says, “Jesus comes where He’s wanted.” He was definitely wanted on this campus. But I’ll also point out – He isn’t limited. So just because thousands and thousands had an encounter here- in this 100-year-old chapel, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an encounter … by yourself… at home in your living room. Or, at your local church among 1, 2 or 100s of others. He comes where He’s wanted. He’s everywhere all the time (omnipresent) but we so often miss Him for various reasons. We aren’t looking. We aren’t aware. We second guess. We are cynical. We dismiss and call it coincidence. We are afraid to consider, was that God? “What if I say that out loud, people will think I’m crazy” many may think. We are BUSY.

I saw pure hunger and passion like I’ve never seen. I saw humility and reverence. I saw purity on faces with no care what others were thinking about them. I took time scanning the room looking up, down, side to side reading body language and postures.

There were no lyrics on screens, no bells or whistles, no celebrities or known famous speakers. Just a whole bunch of people showing up to an unplanned gathering hoping they might catch the drift of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, February 23, will mark the end of this historic multi-week gathering at Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary with the National Collegiate Day of Prayer broadcast hosted on our campus.

I find it fitting that what started with college students on our campus is ending with college students joining in prayer and worship across the country.

“Stopping” Revival?

I have been asked if Asbury is “stopping” this outpouring of God’s Spirit and the stirring of human hearts.

 I have responded by pointing out that we cannot stop something we did not start. This was never planned. Over the last few weeks, we have been honored to steward and host services and the guests who have traveled far and wide to attend them. The trajectory of renewal meetings is always outward—and that is beginning to occur. We continue to hear inspiring stories of hungry hearts setting aside daily routines and seeking Christ at schools, churches, and communities in the US and abroad.

There are many other campuses that are joining in prayer for revival, those including Baylor University,Texas A & M University, Oklahoma University, Samford University, and many others.  There is also a new outbreak of encounters with Jesus in Uganda and Pakistan. God is moving in a way like the original Jesus movement on the day of Pentecost in Acts. That movement spread like wild fire. 

The Devil is fighting this outpouring.

The same old thing happened in Jesus’ time, is happening again. In Jesus’ time, the religious leaders did their work, to take control of the Jesus movement in their time and squash it..  When the whole world is experiencing a refreshing move of the Holy Spirit and people are encountering Jesus personally in phenomenal numbers, religion is making its own headlines as well – a distraction away from the move of God. In the post-Pentecost times, Paul and his colleagues faced difficulties with those who were trying to slow down the wild-fire movement of the Holy Spirit and great encounters with Jesus. The devil always uses whatever means at his disposal of trying to stop the move of God.

An example of this time of outpouring, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, largest denomination in the country, recently ousted Rick Warren, founder of Saddle Back Church, the Saddle Back Church and four other churches for having women pastors.  That is just not what Baptist do.  Kind of like in Jesus’ time when he went out and gathered bread to feed the hungry, the religious leader got their feathers ruffled because He did it the wrong way. He did it on the Sabbath.  Jewish religion just don’t do that!  Baptists just don’t have women preachers!

 Andy and Stacie Wood, did not qualify according to the Baptist faith and Message, Article VI, which only men are qualified in scripture to hold the position of pastor.  The Executive committee said they were “no longer in friendly cooperation” with Baptist views and were disfellowshipped on February 21, 2013. Saddle Back Church has some 30,000 attendance weekly, 14 campuses in California and international campuses Hong Kong, Germany, Philippines and Argentina.

When Southern Baptists last updated their official statement of belief — The Baptist Faith and Message — in 2000, they added this clause: “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

There are 4,000 Women pastors in the Assemblies of God, 4,743 in the United Methodists, 2,419 in Presbyterians, 1,358 in Evangelical Lutherans, 1,000 in the Episcopal church. Are all of these major denominations apostate in the faith? I think not. I believe we have misinterpreted scripture to our own beliefs, and the devil is using our interpretation against the cause of Christ.

It seems to me like the devils’ feathers are ruffled because there is an almost universal move of the Living God and he need to do something, anything, everything to distract from what God is doing, slow down that progress.  Creating a stir over the largest Baptist church in America, the ousting of the founder of that church, and ousting the church from the largest protestant denomination, which can eventually create a split in the denomination, which will bring a slowdown of the awakening, because people will be too busy fighting fights that should not be fighting in the first place. 

Paul said, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ. There are neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”[1].  Paul said several times that women were to keep silent in the church, however, those words were spoken in a time when women had new freedom in Christ and they were becoming overbearing in their new found freedom. It was a message that could bring about disunity in the church. It was not meant to be an overarching commandment. He had just affirmed that we are all in Christ Jesus the children of God.

Always, the devil will do whatever he can do to keep people from embracing the move of God because his time is short and he will eventually lose the battle.  Don’t let the devil get under your skin and miss out on one the greatest opportunities in your lifetime to walk in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with a genuine encounter with Jesus. 

Paul said to the Galatian Christians don’t let those who try to cut you off and keep you from obeying the truth.[2] This kind of persuasion does not come from God, but the one to distracts you from following you calling.  A little yeast works its way through the whole batch of dough.  Don’t allow those who try to throw you into confusion but follow the Spirit.  Hang in there, for the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ ultimately overcomes the world and all its distractions.

[1] Galatians 3:26-28

[2] Galatians 5:7

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