"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?" Matthew 5:13
Whenever I have a get-together, I always invite Barry. Yeah, things can go just fine without him, but when he's there, he adds an extra spice to the party. I guess he's sort of half nuts, but the half of him that's nuts is a real fun nuts. He's kind of like the sweet and sour sauce that goes with your egg rolls ... that is, if you like egg rolls. You can eat them dry, but without the sauce, it tastes like something is missing.
Church is a lot like that. Oh sure, we have wonderful churches, with great pastors and real nice people. And I'm sure you all love your church services. But something is missing.
Ever wonder why so many folks out there are not flocking to your church? And I'm not talking about sinners - I'm talking about Christians! Ask them sometime. You'll find (if you can get around their initial polite responses) that they need something more than what they are finding at church. Something is missing and they are left still hungry when they leave. What is that thing?
It's not the setting or the message or the people. It's something that is difficult to put your finger on, but whatever it is, it isn't satisfying that hunger that so many people have in the depths of their souls.
I brought my family just recently to a service where someone was preaching that I knew was a real servant of the Lord. And it was good ... sort of. All the right theological elements were in place, the preachers said a lot of great stuff, and it was good to be there. But something was missing.
As we drove home, my wife pointed right to it - there was no anointing. Great message, wonderful preachers, nice place ... but no anointing. Egg rolls without sauce.
Now I'm sure that a whole bunch of you are going to say, "But oh, we have the anointing in our services!" Then why are hundreds of souls not flocking to your altar to get saved every week?
Think that's excessive? Back in the 1970's, we had 30 to 50 souls at the altar every night and twice on Sunday! And it was because the power of the Holy Spirit was literally pouring out on us every night.
If you haven't been saved long enough to have experienced the revivals in the early 70's, then really, you have no idea what you're missing. If you weren't there for the Brush Arbor revivals then all you have to compare your services to are the narratives that were written by those who were there. We have not seen anything like it for 40 to 50 years.
Once you have tasted of a Holy Ghost anointing, you will never be the same and you will never again be satisfied with "church as usual". It is the sweet and sour sauce to your egg roll services; it's the salt that flavors the meal that you are serving to saved and unsaved alike. It's the thing that draws souls to the altar in droves. It's the very essence of the Spirit of God.
And it's missing.
So what do we need to do to get it back? I'm sure that everybody's loaded up on volumes of Christian self-help books written by every pseudo-expert who has a new word from God to tell the rest of us ... for $19.95 of course.
And maybe that's the problem. We're so busy trying to figure it out that we're not letting God take control. Maybe if we threw out our prepared messages and burned our theological books, we could be free to follow the leading of the Holy Ghost. But no, we're afraid to do that. We have to do our Christianity according to the way we've been taught to do it. God brought us to the dance, but we want to lead the way we learned at Arthur Murray's Dance Class, so instead of waltzing with grace, we end up stepping on His toes instead.
When we are ready to admit our failure, God will be more than ready to pour out His anointing on us again, even more than what we have experienced in the past. I have always said that the way to victory is through surrender; the way to wholeness is through brokenness; the way to God is through repentance.
Let's start there and see where it leads.
Brother Dale, www.RevivalFire.org
cartoon by Cody Stromberg