To obey is better than sacrifice. – 1 Samuel 15:22
I just want to document what happened this past Sunday at Lifeline Community Church. There are church services, then there are CHURCH services . . . I’m talking when the presence of God is very thick. I think I am finally at the point where it takes two hands to count the ones that I’ve experienced. Anyway, this last one was just amazing.
I had just completed a 21-day fast. I wasn’t planning on eating regularly again until after the service. The band played wonderfully. When they played the song “Open up the Heavens,” something just shifted. It was like God opened up the Heavens. Our welcome/announcement guy had just spoken from Isaiah 58 about true fasting and our motives for doing it. In the three years I’ve been at Lifeline, he hadn’t done anything like that before. The service continued and it was just an uncommon atmosphere. People were very much in tune with the Holy Spirit.
I preached my sermon on “The Grace to Suffer.” Then I opened up the altar. So many people came. I turned and answered my own altar call. It was there that I heard from God. The first words out of my mouth were, “God, if we can have this, I’ll fast for another 21 days.” His response blew me away, “Adam, you think you are experiencing this because of something YOU did?” Immediately, I knew that I was so capable of doing what so many have done before me . . . trying to manipulate the Presence of God by following some systematic formula. I repented and asked God to simply help me stay in love with Him.
I got up and prayed for as many families as I could before they left the altar. Right before I prayed to dismiss everyone, I prayed in my mind, “Lord, I need some sort of sign that you have released me from fasting.” (As if getting on to me earlier wasn’t enough) Right after church, a lady brought me a homemade loaf of bread. She said at first that she felt bad for bringing it because she knew I was fasting. Then, she was delighted because it just so happened that she was the evidence that God had released me.
Lord, may every person who reads this experience you this year more than any year in the past. You are the Creator. Create in each individual a desire to honor you in absolutely everything we do. Create in our churches an atmosphere of Presence and praise that is absolutely irresistible.