Tuesday, September 28, 2010

There Can Be No Revival, No Awakening Without Prayer

"There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer."  A.T. Pierson

The more we pray at Experience Life, the more we realize the necessity of prayer.  As we look at the New Testament and at church history we realize the quote by A.T. Pierson is so true.  Revival or Spiritual Awakening can not come except when it is proceeded by prayer.  In Acts we see the early church consistently in prayer.  The reason signs and wonders happened, the reason the gospel was preached with boldness, the reason the church exploded was that this early church knew the importance of prevailing prayer.

We opened Monday night prayer with thanksgiving.  Each week when we announce how many people have committed their lives to Christ the previous week we are celebrating how God has answered our prayers.

We prayed for a sister church in our city Trinity Church and asked Gods blessing upon a prayer time that they are having on Sunday nights as well as encouragement for their senior pastor Carl Toti and his family.

I told the story of a grandfather and grand daughter who were a reality cop show on t.v.  When a criminal came out of a house with his hands raised, the grand daughter said look grandpa he is worshiping.  The little girl recognized the man was in a posture of submission, I give up, I recognize you are the authority here.  This is how we wanted to enter into a time of worship tonight, surrendering and recognizing Gods as our authority.

We sang four songs finishing with "A beautiful exchange" and "the stand".  After worship Gary Galanos shared a couple of stories from the Hebrides revival that began in 1949.

Then we invited people to come up and pray for revival.  Young and old came up and called out to God to come.  Come in power upon us.  It is powerful to see them come and pray.  I have found that quickly after we pray corporately like this, something begins to happen.  I am excited and look in anticipation at what God is going to do with these prayers.

We prayed for people who sensed a call to be a person who helps pray in this next movement of God in West Texas.  We also prayed for people whose finances were jacked up.  We prayed for those who were dealing with depression.

We are praying that God will show himself great in our day and in our time.  We are praying for revival in West Texas.

Elements that worked tonight:
Sharing a story of revival (Hebrides revival in 1949) and then inviting people to the mics to pray.

Having two men at both mics to adjust height of mic or to let anyone who went too long know.

Memorable moments & phrases:
Over 100 people stood as we asked for those who sense a call to be part of helping usher in revival through prayer to stand.

There has never been a revival or spiritual awakening throughout history that has happened without people who prayed.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

World Changers

Our hearts continue to be pointed towards heaven on Monday nights.  One of the reasons we value having a worship set toward the front end of prayer is that it sets our minds on how big our God is and take our minds off how big our problems feel.  We understand this is the true reality.  God is bigger than any of our struggles and problems.  As we adore Him through singing, our hearts are warmed to this reality.

Our leadership team decided to share our big news this week at the prayer gathering.  So Chris, our lead pastor and Justin, our exec pastor took about 30 minutes sharing on how God had answered prayer about us expanding.  We have purchased the bus station in downtown Lubbock.   We are going to renovate it and it will become our first multisite campus.  Experience Life will have a downtown presence now.  Renovations will begin very soon.  We hope to have this campus up and running sometime in 2011.

God continues to bless what He is doing at Experience Life.

We took time to pray over the bus station.  We prayed for Gods favor in all the logistics, we prayed for all the needed resources to be provided and we prayed that God would bring all those needed to serve this location.

We ended with prayer ministry time.  We prayed for relationships to be reconciled and prayed for people who needed strength to pursue reconciliation.  We also prayed for any ordinary people who were willing to let God use them to be world changers.  I think we probably had about 250 people stand for this time.

Chris Galanos, our lead pastor closed in prayer.  Our prayer teams who are up front at the end of our time seem to be praying for more and more people.

Elements that worked tonight:
Because of time limitations with the big announcement, we started 5 minutes early so we could fit a full worship set in.

The announcement by Chris and Justin about the answer to prayer.

Memorable moments & phrases:
Peoples applause when we announced the bus station.

If your too big to serve, your too small to lead.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Transforming Generations

One thing that has stood out to me lately is the wide range of generations involved in our Monday night prayer gathering.  We have all kids 9 and up in the service.  This makes our age range 9 - 90 with all in between.

It was so encouraging Monday night as we opened the mics for anyone to express a prayer of thanksgiving to God.  We asked that it be brief.  We had about 25 - 30 people respond.  What a joy to see 9, 10, and 11 years olds come up and express prayers of thanks to God.

You can see this picture on the left that during one of the ministry times that we had people stand up and then someone around them pray for a particular need, a young girl prayed for a young boy.  Even though I was on the stage I couldn't help catch this shot with my iphone.  You know God is doing something when even these little ones have a heart for prayer.

Tonight we approached prayer with a heart of Thanksgiving.  We just came from our a weekend where we celebrated our 3rd anniversary.  We had 114 people stand to commit their lives to Christ this weekend which was awesome.  Then 100's more stood to say they would take their next steps with God.  One poignant moment in the service was when a young lady stood to commit her life to Christ, a friend sitting in another section saw her stand and ran over to embrace her friend and celebrate her life decision.

Tonight at prayer, we prayed for those who were experiencing spiritual warfare.  We prayed for those who are unemployed. One young man caught me after the service and told me he stood because he was unemployed and got two job offers before he left prayer.  At the end our prayer teams prayed for 15 minutes after we dismissed.  They told me they had never been the last ones to leave but tonight were.

Elements that worked tonight:
Having the open mics and letting people come up and offer thanks to God.

Spending some time pointing people to our prayer teams at the end of the service.
Memorable moments & phrases:

True obedience many times takes sacrifice.  Sacrifice is a step beyond convenience.

Short Term Trips & Short Leashes

Monday night prayer this past week had a missions focus.  We had a team that had been to Guatemala just a couple of weeks ago.  We used what they learned on the trip to encourage prayer for other countries as well as our heart for the world.

Giving God adoration and praise was first at prayer last Monday.  I love to see how our front rows and sides are filled with the young who aren't afraid to express themselves in worship.

We moved into a brief time of confession next.  I shared a story I had heard from Keith Craft, a pastor in Frisco.  Keith told of a friend who had a dog named Gwhiz.  Gwhiz loved to jump over fences into the neighbors yard.  The owners decided to fix this problem by putting Gwhiz on a leash.  With the length of the leash, Gwhiz could make it over the fence but not make it to the ground in the next yard causing himself major difficulties.  It didn't take long for Gwhiz to learn he had a new boundary and he couldn't just jump into the neighbors back yards.  I also told a story of how it seemed anytime I tried to get away with something in high school like sneaking off campus during lunch I got caught.  I think someones prayers had me on a short leash.

We asked God to put us on his short leash so that our own flesh nature couldn't take us far from Gods best for us.

Our Guatemala team then shared about our trip.  We prayed for our missionaries Mike and Terri McCombs and the 31 Bible extensions they are over.  We printed the names of the extensions on cards and handed them to people at the door.  We also prayed for anyone who had a heart to go on a short terms trip this coming year.

We prayed for people in the education profession during our ministry time.