Over the past week, there have been several events around the world that have influenced my thoughts and caused me to pause, pray, and reflect, and I will share two of them. The first event that impacted me was the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, claiming over 45,000 lives. It is disheartening to think about the thousands of grieving families, and my heart goes out to them. Our shared humanity connects us despite the distance and different religions that people may practice. We are all brothers and sisters, and our belief in the one monotheistic God unites us.
The second event is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. The revival has been ongoing for over a week, and a couple of other universities have also caught a spark of that fire and started revivals on their campuses. This is encouraging news, no matter who is involved, but particularly when it involves young people worshiping nonstop. Thousands of people flocked to Asbury to witness and participate in the revival. It shows a hunger for spiritual renewal and that young people are willing to take up the mantle of faith. Seeing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on a college campus filled with students is inspiring. This gives hope for the future of the church and the world. Asbury University is rooted in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition and theology, and the university is named after Bishop Francis Asbury, the first Methodist bishop in America.
The revival at Asbury University is a reminder that the Holy Spirit is not contained in a specific time, generation, location, community, denomination, or building, for it flows freely among people who sincerely desire God. It challenges us to reflect on how we can have a revival in our community. Can we also have the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our church and neighborhood? I can attest that I see a spark of the Holy Spirit when we gather on Sunday. I see this spark in children, youth, and all ages. And to continue this spark beyond Sunday and have it continue burning, we must first experience it (the outpouring of the Holy Spirit), spread God’s love, and pass it on. Just like the hymn, Pass It On.
There must be a deep desire in our hearts to seek God. We need to continuously ask ourselves if the work of the Holy Spirit is evident in our lives with how we speak to others and about others and with how we conduct ourselves and our affairs. How deeply do we desire God in our lives? Sometimes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit requires us to do uncomfortable things, but we know it’s from God. The Holy Spirit may lead us to leave the comfort of our building and go to places we may not want to go, but it is where we are most needed. It is a sign of whether we are only doing what we want to do or following God’s vision for us.
As we move towards Lent next week, we must repent of our sins, turn to God, and reflect on our role in the lives of others. We need to ponder on our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ, and reflect on how and if God plays a role in our lives. The events over the past week challenged us to think beyond ourselves and consider the needs of others. It is essential to consider how we can positively impact those around us, both near and far. We can take inspiration from the revival at Asbury University and work towards spreading the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our small groups and community. We can make a difference by fostering a culture of prayer and worship. Creating opportunities for people to gather and pray can ignite a spiritual awakening in our neighborhoods.
On Ash Wednesday, February 22, I invite you to come and receive ashes between the hours of 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. I will be in the narthex (primary entryway to the sanctuary). If you cannot get out of your car, just pull up by the door. I also invite you to brunch at 10 a.m. at the Westside Cafe on Camp Bowie. Here we can break bread, be a witness, and offer ashes to those who wish to receive them. And finally, you are invited to join us for our worship service at 7:00 p.m.
Thank you for your faithfulness.