Yesterday’s memorial service for Michael Jackson was amazing in a sense. Literally millions of people gathered in LA or watched on TV or online as the “king of pop” was carried in lying in a golden casket. In a perfect reflection of our culture, Christian music started the event followed by MJ originals and a speech by Brooke Shields calling on us to all smile as Michael sits in the sky with his feet dangling from a crescent moon. All the while images of Michael with light bursting from behind him, arms stretched wide, were displayed for all to see. It was more than a memorial service. It was a pluralistic spiritual experience deemed the most important event in the world on that day.
People hunger for spiritual experience. We saw clear evidence of that yesterday. My heart burned with sorrow as I watched a hopeless world turn its spiritual energy to an icon, an idol, a dead man. At the same time I saw Kingdom opportunity. When people are hungry for the spiritual, Jesus, the King of Kings, is on the move so to speak.
We need Spiritual Awakening in America. The kind of awakening where people confess their sins, turn away from them, and turn toward the one true God in fear, humility, love, and worship. What will it take to see this happen in our country?
It begins with me and you. As Christ-followers we must throw off our compartmentalized, apathetic version of Christianity which only waters down the truth and dissuades spiritual seekers. Luke 9:23 clearly teaches us that anyone who follows Christ must, “deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Together we must repent of keeping part of life for ourselves. We must repent of living a form of Christianity that is boring and predictable and unattractive in a spiritual culture. We must repent of avoiding conflict and lacking compassion. We must reconnect with a passion for obedience. We must put away our critical spirit and instead offer the one thing Jesus has that everyone wants: LOVE. Instead of worrying we should pray, begging Jesus to sweep across the face of America changing lives by the truth of his Word and the power of his Spirit. Awakening is birthed in the heart of the believer and carried out by the power of Jesus.
Awakening involves the Family. Awakening is never a planned event. If we are to experience a spiritual awakening in America it will not be in the form of tent revivals or packed stadiums at first. Instead it will begin in the place that God designed for generational spiritual formation. It will begin in the home. When parents awaken to the importance of teaching the next generation the fear of the Lord, the love of the Lord, the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, a renewed spiritual legacy will ripple into the generations according to Dt.6-7, Psalm 78, Eph. 6:4 and others. When parents demonstrate an authentic life in Christ daily in front of their children, a generation will rise up that walks according to a biblical worldview. This is a key component of spiritual awakening. I think the greatest awakening America has ever experienced is yet to come. I think it is a grass roots movement flowing from the family table, the living room, and the paths of every day life.
The Church opens it arms to those who Awaken. A day is coming in America when people will gather in community with a renewed passion for Jesus Christ that goes beyond the mundane to missional living. When spiritual awakening comes, the church must already be working the Matthew 22 and Matthew 28 principles of loving God, loving people, and serving the world. I believe spiritual awakening in America will come as we are humbled. Sometimes humility is a result of need and dependence. Will the church as the tangible representation of Jesus Christ be ready to meet needs in Jesus name in order to share the truth of the Gospel? I don’t know about you, but I see God preparing churches across the country for just this task. More and more churches are reaching out to the homeless, helpless, orphans and widows, victims of human trafficking, the hurting, and yes, even the rich young ruler who is in the process of realizing his dependence. More and more the church is equipping and encouraging the family to take the lead in the spiritual training of the next generation. More and more the church is burning bright as the culture becomes darker. In the darkest places, the light burns very bright. I pray the Lord is posturing the church for a great spiritual awakening in America that changes our culture forever.