THREE NOTES ON ASBURY, PART TWO:
Why am I going to Asbury?
It's a good question. My answer is both near and far.
From the macro perspective, I've been praying about this kind of revival for more than 20 years off and on. If this is the launch of our Great Awakening, I'd like to see it with my eyes and hear it with my ears.
I mean, if you could hear Charles Finney preach, or wander down to sing with the mixed crowds of Asuza Street, wouldn't you want to go? Why would you not go?
Also, it's a decision that Karen and I made shortly after we got married. In my seminary degree from Southwestern, there was a wonderful man of God named Dr. Garnett Pike. He told us that he and his wife had agreed that they wanted to be a part of what God was doing - and to never resist the new thing that He might bring. That idea really struck me, so I pitched it to Karen and she agreed.
And here we are!
I want to support and encourage. I want to show up and pray and experience, and listen and sit and be quiet and sing and cheer and give and maybe write a bit.
My daughter is in a cycle where she is setting aside the faith of her parents and investigating what faith of her own looks like. In that context I wanted her to see this firsthand.
I tend to be more of a risk taker than my beautiful and talented wife Karen. She balances and grounds me nicely thank you very much. I'm more of the throw down the musket and go for the claymore too early kind of guy - whereas Karen is more of a "hey you probably want to be wearing pants when you go do this..."
To be sure, that is the sound of the unreasonable voice of caution, but sometimes I'll listen just to humor her.
I've noticed that if Karen doesn't pump the brake or ask for a conversation when I suggest something like this, it is often a clear sign that God is leading. So when I said, hey, what are we doing tomorrow? Would it be an option to clear our schedules, have you take a day of vacation to miss muster, blow off our daughter's classwork and drive 20 hours roundtrip for a few minutes in what may or may not be a revival in Kentucky?
And not having heard or read anything about Asbury, Karen said, "let's do it" and started organizing the trip. It was cool enough to even make me pause for a minute.
And the last, and perhaps most authentic reason I wanted to go and see for myself.
Hope. Simple hope.
The last three years have been tough. Between Karen and I, we buried three parents during (but unrelated to) COVID. And I've been desiring that God would show up in my life, in my ministry and in my family in amazing ways that haven't happened as I would have hoped, at least not yet.
Our church is such an amazing place in many, many ways. We were able to give away almost $300,000 during COVID which is incredible for a congregation our size. That work continues with local, national and global organizations. My writing and teaching have never been more prolific or focused. I feel like I'm better than I've ever been musically.
And at the same time, there is such a discouragement that seems to surround. Some of it is unfair and internal, but I often feel like Jeremiah in the rubble, or Isaiah and the good word, on mute. Like the guy you don't hear much about in the back half of Hebrews 11 who gets to be lion food or a nite lite for Nero.
I've been thinking about how church could be vibrant in the life of this next generation and that connection seems so very absent.
Until about 12 days ago.
I'm not looking for Asbury to fix me. I'm not looking for Asbury to give me 11 secret revival herbs and revival spices to make delicious revival chicken to light the next generation in revival fire, although if that happens, I'll get a little paper hat and giddy up. I will load all of you up with napkins and sauce.
If there are really thousands of students who are hungry for God, for what is real, in the center of the Gospel, who want to be a blessing to this generation and God in His power and sovereignty is in their midst...
I want to see it. I want to rejoice with them. I want to offer my deepest supprt and enouragment. I want to see the joy in their eyes and hear their song in the air. So off to Asbury we go!
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.