Is This an Answer to Prayer?
For ninety days this summer this campus and congregation claimed God’s promise, “I will do a new thing. . . . I will pour water on those who are thirsty and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring” (Isaiah 43:19/44:3). And then at the end of the summer, we drew a large circle in the sand, stepped into that circle together and declared to God that we would not leave this circle until He fulfills His promise to send rain. Did He? Has He? I am firmly convicted that in fact He has already begun to answer our collective prayers. How else shall we explain the overwhelming response of this campus and community to the preaching/teaching of David Asscherick last week? Except for NET98, we have never seen the sanctuary so filled every evening of the week. Last Friday night there were so many eager students and seekers in attendance, that not only our sanctuary and balcony were filled, but so was our youth chapel, which then spilled over into our earliteen loft as well. Everybody crowded into this church to listen to a series, “This Is My Church?” A series title that ended with a question mark, but a series on campus that ended the same sentence with an exclamation mark! “I will do a new thing,” God has promised. And I am convinced that what we experienced on this campus last week was a divine down-payment on that promise. “I will pour My Spirit on those who are thirsty.” And by the hundreds the thirsty showed up each evening. And when it was over, 58 individuals made the decision to follow Jesus in baptism—hundreds of others renewed their commitment to Christ and pledged their lives in covenant relationship with Him for the rest of life’s journey. But I believe last week was only a down-payment. Which means there is more to come! You and I can be sure of that. More of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, more of decisions for Christ and baptism, more—many, many more—of lives now willing to place their all on the line (or the altar) for the call of Jesus to “go into all the world” on His behalf. Many, I believe, will trace their soon-to-be-made decision to become a Kingdom missionary (in this land or abroad) to their covenant with Christ last week. Which is why our autumn worship and pulpit series here at Pioneer takes a sudden and unplanned turn today. “Don’t Cry but Do” will connect our worshiping hearts with the passion of the God whose bouquet is now in the center of our table (what’s that “bouquet?”—listen to the recordings of David Asscherick’s presentations that will be made available—details for acquiring those recordings will be announced in our worship bulletin). And that is why, in the words of Lord Admiral Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar, “We have only begun to fight!” Meaning, we must not diminish our prayers for the fulfillment of God’s Isaiah promise even for a moment. Rather, we must pray even more now. Now that we have seen that indeed our God is able to mightily answer the prayers of His thirsty children. After all, isn’t it also His promise: “He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion by the Day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Then let us pray on!