by Stephen Simpson
Publication: One-to-One, Summer 2009

HOW TO MOVE FORWARD WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW THE WAY

Gatlinburg Conference Photos

At our recent annual CSM Gatlinburg Conference, we encountered the transforming presence and power of God. In the months leading up to the conference, we were at times unsure of the thematic direction we should take, who should speak, and what God wanted to do during this time.

Because of that, we spent more time fervently seeking God – calling out to Him for grace, guidance, and strength – than we have in times prior to similar conferences. The more we sought God, the more we sensed Him encouraging us to continue to seek Him.

The month prior to the conference, my father taught a series on “Real Revival,” which came out of these times of prayer, to make ready for a coming Sovereign move of God, to recognize the difference between such a move and a man-made event, and to know what the results of a real revival would look like. These times of prayer and preparation paved the way for what God then did in Gatlinburg among everyone attending, and even in the lives of our friends who could not make the journey to the conference itself.

One of the speakers, David Hoffman, declared prophetically:”…the kingdom of God is not in word but in power” (1 Corinthians 4:20).

This set the tone for an evening of extended ministry and renewal in God’s presence, as we repented individually and corporately for sin, including the failure to give due diligence to prayer and extension of the kingdom of God. This opened the flood-gates of God’s mercy and strength to be poured out on us, and many who had been weary and discouraged experienced a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit.

God’s power is never divorced from God’s purpose. One does not come apart from the other. Before He ascended into Heaven, Jesus told His disciples: “…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The power of Holy Spirit was given to the followers of Jesus so that we could be witnesses for Him – to declare in word and in deed the eternal reality of Christ’s Kingdom. In Matthew 28, Jesus said, “Go…and I will be with you.”

Likewise, the apostle Paul told the believers in Rome: “…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Here we see God’s power working in concert with God’s purpose and those who are moving with Him.

Too often, the enemy tricks us into one of two spiritual cul-de-sacs: either we are deceived into thinking that hearing the Word is the same as doing it, or we fly off into a form of spiritual self-indulgence and prodigal independence that ignores the purpose of the gifts we’ve received from the Holy Spirit.

We are called according to God’s purpose – and we’re not our own, we belong to Jesus, and each other. When all the words have been spoken and all the songs have been sung … when the laughter has been laughed and the tears have been cried …. There remains a mission that is ahead for us to bring God’s power to bear in a generation that is sorely oppressed.

Having heard His Word, we are called now to incarnate and demonstrate it … in His power.
 
Scripture Reference: I Corinthians 4:20; Acts 1:8; Matthew 28; Romans 8:28