Yesterday, 21st May 2013, I took two friends with me and travelled to Cwmbran in Wales. The reason I drove for a total of 8 hours and 402 miles was to attend a meeting of what is being called the ‘Welsh Outpouring’ at Victory Church in Cwmbran. I thought I would share a few thoughts and observations.
It was a long journey. I would travel further and longer to meet with God. As would a great many of the people who attended the evening with me. The sense of excitement and expectation was great before hand and, as the meeting progressed, a large room full of people yearning for God was wonderful. For some, it might have been seen to be a group of people carried away on an excitable atmosphere. I was one of the first in the queue outside and I can tell you that the atmosphere was not the product of manipulation through music or words, of excited individuals desperate to meet with God in a new way.
God was doing business. There were a few phrases that I found difficult, that came from the leader of the meeting. He invited us to “come for your miracle”, which I found very hard to hear. Yet God was doing business. People were being touched by the Holy Spirit and were responding with a cry for Jesus that was amazing to see. As I stood in the room I found myself praying and coming to the conclusion that it is too easy to reject God’s presence because it does not agree with my sensibilities. The leader was calling us to come to God and simply ask for the miracle we wanted. He told us, rightly, that God does not respond to need but to faith. So ask in faith and you shall receive. So I came to a conclusion. I would ask.
Time flew by. The meeting was officially 3 hours long, but the after hours went on longer. No one wanted to leave and we only went when we did because of the journey home. There was something special happening for so many of those who were present that they simply wanted to keep going. There was sung worship, scripture, preaching and testimony. But most of all there was time and opportunity to worship God the Father through Jesus the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. I was reminded of the throne room of God and all I, and lots of others, wanted to do was run to the front and be with Him.
It was all related to mission. This was not a meeting of internally focused chasers after the next Holy Spirit Fix. Everything that was said was built upon the clear foundation that what we were doing in that room needed to make a difference to the life we live and the witness we show to others. Jesus did not die for convenience of the saved, but for the salvation of the lost. The ‘impartation’ was for individuals and leaders of churches to take back home and out into the world of their lives. This was not a holy huddle, but a Pentecost moment.
Stuff happened. All three of us who travelled to Cwmbran left with something from God. The motivation to change something in our lives to better serve God. A sense of healing from being in the presence of God. A word to keep going and pursuing Him. Whatever it was, we were met by Jesus and we left in a slightly different way than we arrived. Same car, same people, altered hearts.
Why should it happen there? I don’t believe it should. I believe that God wants to meet people and overwhelm them with His presence everywhere, but that yearning pursuit of his presence is key. If we are to meet God in such a realistic way we must come to a point where meeting with God is more important than anything else. Where faith rises above pragmatism and necessity. It could happen in Braintree… if that is what we wanted. If we want God’s Church for God’s Work with God’s People in God’s Way then God WILL move in power and grace. Not because He has to. Because He wants to.
Judge by fruit. Is this a move of God? I have many friends who will read these words, if they got even this far down the page, with painful looks on their face as their brains give them all sorts of reasons to be cynical and reject this event out of hand. Ok. If that is your bag then fine. But do not judge the Welsh Outpouring by your feelings and sensibilities, but by its fruit. Having a precise understanding of every dot of theology is no guarantee of the truth or the presence of God. Look at the Pharisees. Judge by fruit as Jesus told us. I heard nothing heretical or vile at the meeting (and I listened for it). Had I done so I would have left and gone home. I was a little uncomfortable at times, but I have learnt that it is not possible to move into the presence of God and remain comfortable or the same. Look at Isaiah 6. There is great stuff happening in the lives of people and churches that is taking Jesus to a dark world as a result of these meetings and that is good fruit. I believe there is even more good fruit to come.
My one desire is to know Jesus better. I would travel further and longer and sacrifice more still simply to know Jesus. I have got to the point where I consider anything else as utter toilet rubbish in comparison to simply knowing Jesus and being known by him (Phil 3). It was a good night and I can’t wait for the time, soon I hope, when I will be able to walk to a meeting where the presence of God is so palpable in Braintree. I want revival to come to Braintree.
I want to end with this. The meeting was not perfect. The words were not perfect. The people were not perfect. But God was there. Go and see for yourself if you possibly can. Move your meetings and diary and make the effort. Better, lets get to the point where we want nothing in the world more than we want God’s presence because then it can happen here.
Come Lord Jesus!