When God Shows Up… Part I

A few weeks back at our Forge

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download it s a mad mad mad mad world intensive I was listening to Deb Hirsch tell the story of how she and her friends from the punk/gay/druggie scene were all involved in a wild move of God amongst their community.

After taking the family Bible to a stint in prison, ‘George’ the local drug dealer came out a changed man, all fired up and passionate about Jesus. He set off spreading the good news of his new faith to all in his network and as he did, God was at work radically changing these folk’s lives. It was both an hilarious and inspirational story of gutsy crazy, messy faith from people who certainly didn’t fit the churchy stereotypes of the time.

As I listened to Deb I found myself wondering… does that kind of stuff still happen today? Does God still show up in wild and wonderful ways and transform a bunch of people in such a way that there can be no doubt it was him?

And if he does is there anything we can do to make it happen? Can we set the climate? Can we create the environment?

I remember reading an old Charles Finney book entitled (something like) ‘How to Start a Revival‘ and just thinking it wasn’t quite as cut and dried as Charles made it sound…

I was reflecting on this today as I was out walking and it took me back again to my days as a youth pastor at Lesmurdie Baptist when the youth ministry expanded rapidly and young people were becoming Christians at an incredible rate. We started with 20 or 30 young people who were fairly unmotivated and seemed to attend church mostly as a social event, but within two years there were over 250 regularly involved with the Sunday night service and a heap more connected to the different aspects of the youth scene.

That little core group that I almost lost hope with, had changed dramatically in their own outlook and something had happened to spark what I can only describe as a move of God.

In many ways they were similar wild and wonderful times, but I tend to look back on those years thru a rather pessimistic lens at times – a ‘where are they now?’ lens. And while I think that’s a really important question, as I walked along the beach today I felt God getting in my face about my perspective.

He seemed to be asking ‘why do you downplay the LBC years and sometimes speak of them as less than significant?’. I sensed God asking why I don’t remember them with greater fondness, because they certainly were wonderful years with some amazing transformation occuring in all of our lives.

In many ways the LBC years (1996-2002) were my first foray into church planting as I got handed the evening service and was asked to turn it into a youth gig.

So as I was praying this morning I thought I’d take a little space on here to tell some of that story because it was definitely a time when God was at work and those were years that I should celebrate more than I do. I felt he was asking me to look back and see him at work in all that transpired.

So for as long as I feel is needed I’ll be sharing some of that story on here. I hope it doesn’t come across as self indulgent, because its not intended that way.

If you’re an old LBC’er then you might find it valuable to share this journey also. And if you were there at the time then feel free to contribute in the comments section and add to the story as appropriate. You might even want to pass the page on to others who can chip in and make sure the story gets told correctly!

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