Rather than a time of inconvenience, Covid has been conceivably a time of preparation for something remarkable that is about to happen. Could it be that in the future we will look back on this season and thank God for it as we start to identify all the things that God did in our lives? Post-Covid Christianity is about radical followers of Jesus, rather than being a people that have just popped into church on a Sunday morning, going through a routine.
My guess it that we are now emerging as a people who are ready for the new season that God has planned and prepared for us. We’re not equipped yet, but there is an invitation for us all to be refreshed, renewed and revived by the Spirit of God. A vast harvest awaits us — but we require the Spirit’s help — and we are becoming profoundly aware of that. God is beginning to reveal to us that He is at work in our midst, in our villages, towns, cities and nations.
When it comes to Word and Spirit, we have to some extent been plodding on faithfully, but for me it feels like the emphasis has been on the Word. Some people may even say that for them church just got a bit boring; the message of the gospel is still brilliant, relevant and challenging – it just lacks… “umph!” Let me explain by first saying where things might be for some people.
All things are possible
With God the “infinite, indescribable and improbable” is not merely possible, but extremely likely and probable. With God, all things are likely. No matter what the situation or circumstance you find yourself in, the awesome news is that he has no possible limitations or boundaries (Wonderful news for us!); his ways are not our ways, neither are his thoughts like ours. That is demonstrated easily by the encouragement in the scriptures for us to “Fear Not!” (Rick Warren says that God encourages his followers to fear not 365 times in the Bible, one for each day of the year.) Nothing is going to take him by surprise, startle him or shock him.God is unique, different to us, and that is convincingly demonstrated by his divine omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience and immutability (all qualities worth researching and responding to).
This is all fantastic, life-changing news but there must be more than this? Jesus said we would do the things he did and more, that we should ask, seek and knock, lay hands on the sick, cast out demons, cleanse lepers, raise the dead… the extensive list goes on. Jesus’ promises to us are still as valid as when he first spoke them, the problem is on our side. Post-covid it looks like God is reawakening a hunger in the heart of the Church for a fresh visitation, a new outpouring of His Spirit. I believe and hope so; with God all things are possible. (Matt 19:26)
Everything changes when revival arrives on the scene.
Experiencing a move of God does not start with a case study in building a “flashy church” or establishing a youtube channel, developing Spotify play lists, large Instagram followings or speaking at large conferences. These things are not bad in themselves and we welcome the creativity, but perhaps the energy and effort needed for them may be seen sometimes as more of a distraction than a necessity. Everything changes when revival arrives on the scene. Revival happens when God’s weighty presence comes on the Church, everyone is affected, new hunger and love for God, His Church and the unsaved increases. Suddenly ‘something’ amazing and inexplicable surges in the church and then those outside start to wonder. Revival is our #1 need at this time, but how does it start? Prayer is the obvious answer, and the church has been praying for a long time for God to revive the nation. As we wait on God in prayer, we might feel a need to do something, but what?
We are thankful for the small things that God is doing, but we want yet more of God and His purposes in our lives
The answer can be that we step out of passivity with intentional humility, faith and obedience. We are thankful for the small things that God is doing, but we want yet more of God and His purposes in our lives. We come as the Greeks who approached Philip who was from Bethsaida in Galilee and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:21) and we genuinely do – we want to see Jesus. We also long for the signs and wonders that follow the preaching of the Word, that wonderful dynamic of “Word and Spirit.” Even the apostle Paul says to the Corinthians, “my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” (1 Cor 2:4)
Looking back in the last 20 years or so the talk of signs and wonders, miracles, healings, angelic activity, God’s audible voice, dreams and visions it would appear that for one reason or another we became familiar, disillusioned or distracted from the works of the Spirit. In some ways there were abuses or misuses and it is understandable that in some quarters an emphasis on the Word of God alone became the norm. But God is/was still at work by His Spirit, we just didn’t realise it.
It is worth perseverance when it comes to anything God is doing. We pray and keep on asking because even if we don’t receive an immediate answer to prayer, we get nothing if we stop asking! As children if you stopped pestering for an ice cream, you wouldn’t get one! (Unless you had very kind parents!)
There is a reward for perseverance in stepping out in the things of God. Samson had to step out in faith that God was strengthening him, it wasn’t until after a time of disobedience, sin and stupidity that the Spirit of God left him powerless. Samson had got out of step, moving from faith and obedience to carefree presumption. We all have moments where “the Philistines are upon us!” and we need to find ourselves in that place of rousing ourselves to faith and obedience in humility to serving the Lord and the Church.
Ask God for great, big, amazing things!
I am confident that this is a excellent time to be asking for the gifts of miracles, healings, faith, distinguishing of spirits, wisdom and all of the gifts and workings of the Spirit you can think of. If these are the last days then expect dreams and visions! All of these things are not passive, we have to step out in humility, faith and obedience for them to begin to stir, encourage and comfort the church and for them to radically affect the unbelievers. We are a hand-crafted, God-built, blood-washed people being transformed by the work of the Spirit and God is about to manifest His glory both in and through the Church in the most radiant, majestic way.
Get ready for God, say “I’m in!” and lets see what a post-covid Church can look like in all of it’s brilliance!
I have seen a mystery,
The hopes of prayer and prophecy,
And rising from all peoples see, she comes.
Rescued, ransomed, lifted up,
Crowned with mercy, clothed in hope,
The object of all heaven’s love, she comes.
It is the church,
The hope of all the world,
And here I fix my heart and hand,
I cannot turn away!
It is the church!
The passion of God’s Son,
The goal of history, come.
You’ll see we’ve nearly reached the day.
And she will be all glorious;
Fitting for Him whose bride she is.