WHY GOD MOVES IN “SOME” PLACES
At Salt Church – at our Huntington Beach location one of the girls asked a really interesting question. It is likely a question that many of us have asked at some time or another. She asked, “Why does it seem like God is sometimes moving in one place and not another?” How many of us have wrestled with this very question? Wanting to visit some church, conference, event that guarantees a move of God. How many of us desire to experience the presence of God through the anointing of a speaker or rumors of God doing something somewhere? Yet, how often do we struggle when God calls us to a place – and nothing seems to be happening. You pray and there is no healing. You worship and there is no cloud of glory. You preach and no one cares.
I believe the answer is:
Submission + Stewardship
I love the fall and everything the season represents. I love harvest season, the reminder that God is on the move and desires for all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4). Growing up, every October my family and I would drive to the east end of Long Island. I have been participating in this tradition for nearly 28 years (wow, that’s a long time). When I was young, there was only 2 farms, no traffic and barely any people. We would drive and look for a farm that had bright pumpkins that we could pick.
As I grew up, something interesting happened. More farms began to open, with big painted signs, live music and delicious treats available for sale. Last fall, we pulled up to one of these farms and saw a large collection of pumpkins available. However, none of the pumpkins were on the vine. They were the perfect selection of bright orange but the fun of the discovery was now gone. One of the best parts of pumpkin picking was the search. We would go deep into the field in search of the “great pumpkin” and would shout with joy when we found it. My dad would carry it on his shoulders for the long trek back and we would all verbally process how great our find was.
How often is this our experience with Christianity? We want the instant gratification of the “big thing” and aren’t concerned with the process. We want to drive up to the conference, we want the presence of God to meet our needs, and then we come and go as we please. The problem is, we miss the joy of the discovery. Submission and Stewardship could be two of the least sexy words in Christianity – perhaps followed by repentance.
So why Submission?
Many of us know the popular salvation verse:
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
But what does it actually mean for Jesus to be your Lord? I have often preached that many of us love and accept the free gift of forgiveness of our sins on the cross. We have reverence and appreciation to be given mercy in our darkest moments. The issue is, that many of us are not following a RISEN Savior. If Jesus is alive, it means that a response is required from us. If we confess that Jesus is our Lord, it means that he is now in control. Is Jesus your master, ruler, in charge of your life? Not sure? Check your bank account, think about what you think about, look at your calendar. You can easily tell what is the Lord of your life by just assessing where you are investing it.
Submission is so important if you’re wanting God to move. We pray for revival but struggle when God asks us to give freely of our finances, time, life. I believe that often the greatest moves of God come from a group of committed believers that have submitted their lives to God. We see the fruit of years of submission and wonder why our “listening to a sermon in the car” lifestyle isn’t producing the same result. I think if we want to see revival, it begins with revival in our own hearts first.
For a year, God told me to pick up pennies off the ground. It was the weirdest thing ever. Every time I saw a penny on the street, I would sense the Holy Spirit urging me to pick it up. Now pennies are basically worthless. They are annoying to carry around and you can’t really purchase anything for a penny. After a little over a year, I was worshipping and I heard God say “Do you know why I had you pick up pennies?” – I quickly responded with “Um, no.” He then said to me, “I needed to trust you with pennies before I could trust you with lives.”
You see, it was never really about pennies – but it was about my heart and character before God. For years, I had people prophesy over my calling + gifting to preach, to reach people, etc. However, I often felt overlooked and unfulfilled in my calling – wondering when it would “happen”. The truth is – your calling is happening now. It happens in the day to day mundane moments. Your calling to preach starts off with encouraging words to the person behind the counter. Your calling to lead a church starts with discipling one person. You calling to see people healed starts with praying for other people besides yourself.
Steven Furtick said in a recent message “The people that know God, know when He’s making moves.”
When it comes down to it, are you aware of what God is doing amongst you? How often we can miss the very thing we were perhaps created for – looking at the fruit of years of stewardship + submission somewhere else.
My Challenge for You:
So what now? Today – I encourage you to take 10-minutes and find somewhere quiet. Get on your knees (literally) and ask God to speak to you. Ask Him to show you what He is doing amongst you and how you can partner with Him. Let me know what you hear!