Just getting ready for one of the largest Christian gatherings to take place in the UK this year - Revival '12, which is taking place in the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, this Friday 28th September. If everyone who has claimed a 'free' ticket turns up, there will be over 8,000 people in attendance, and although we often like to play down the numbers of people who attend worship gatherings (since we sing to an 'audience of One'), the reality is that there is something exciting that happens in the natural and in the spiritual when lots of people get together to seek God's face.
'Revival' is one of those Christian-ese words that means different things to different people. Sadly, those who put their heads above the parapet to organise events like this often find discouragement from their own 'side'. I've observed that the unloving reactions on any 'side' are often due to lack of understanding, or unwillingness to try to understand. But I find it invigorating to be involved in a event like this, where there is a range of understanding about what Revival means and represents. I don't like confusion, but equally I don't think I know it all (yet...!), so even though the organisers and other groups can all sow differing vision of what they think it is about, ultimately God's plans and purposes are the only ones that will bear lasting fruit, and his is the only judgement I'm concerned with.
A friend posted some pithy theology on Facebook recently; one line read something like:
I do not pray for Revival, because I live what I believe and do not ask God to do what he has already asked me to do.
I think I understand the sentiment: that we don't need to pray for God to do a work in his church that he is already doing and hasn't stopped doing, and we just need to realise it and walk with him in it. But as I gather with Christians from a variety of walks of life at Revival '12, I am going to be encouraged and inspired, to have my understanding and worship of Christ broadened as I see him working in and through those around me while I am reminded again that God is much bigger and cleverer than me. It is good to take time to be inspired by God's people, and to banish the isolationist mindset that robs us of seeing one eternal truth, interwoven into the rich tapestry of God's Church on the Earth, expressed in the lives of his glorious Bride.
This is a life-changing, city-changing, nation-changing opportunity; I am excited about what God can do and will do through this event. It will be entirely worth the effort if even one life is turned around to follow Jesus more closely, love him more dearly, and honour him more fully each day.
Hope to see you there!