Every once in a while something happens that cannot be explained. There should be regular occurrences in our ministries and lives of things with no explanation except that the Holy Spirit was involved. One such occasion happened just over six years ago. My family was in a state of transition. We knew moving was a big possibility for us, so I began asking God, “Should we stay or go?” “What’s next?” “ How will I know that it’s your voice and direction?” The only response I heard from God was, “Trust me and hold my hand!” That is very reassuring to say the least!
Without going into detail, within the next two weeks, First Assembly Memphis reached out to us for an interview to see if we may be interested in the student pastor position. Immediately, we were cautioned about Memphis.
“It’s the armpit of Tennessee.”
“You will need to purchase a gun.”
“It is not a great place to raise a family.”
I decided to at least give Memphis a chance, so I drove there, and as soon as I took Exit 16 onto Germantown Pkwy, something in my spirit shifted and I knew this was going to be home. Now to convince my wife! I asked her to go see a Wednesday night service with me and have lunch with Pastor and Sandi Lindberg. Amazingly, as soon as we took Exit 16, she said, “This feels like home!”
Six years later and we still love the 901 (greater Memphis area) and believe God is ready to pour out His Spirit! In Zechariah 2:1-5 (Don’t neglect the Minor Prophets!), it reads:
”Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.” And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, “Run, speak to this young man, saying: ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For I,’ says the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’ ”
Here are some thoughts I have as we all pray for the place God has called us to:
First, we need to lift our heads and look. God has something incredible in store for our cities, but we have to be expectantly looking and waiting for it. We must quit looking to people, culture, and things of this world for our inspiration and motivation, and start looking to God and His Word.
Second, to see. To see as Elisha’s servant finally saw, with spiritual eyes rather than natural eyes. To see the world through the lens of the Gospel rather than the Gospel through the lens of this world. Walt Disney, it is said, often saw things before they were a reality. We can believe this because we serve a God, “who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”
Third, we should believe for walls to be torn down. Most cities in this time period had walls surrounding the city. I believe our churches will be so full, the walls will not be able to contain the kingdom growth. I also know that there are many walls within Memphis that are built up. Race, income, social status and many more walls that are perhaps built up in your city as well. I dream of the day these walls are torn down. It won’t happen through good works and social justice. This only truly happens through kingdom progression.
Lastly, His glory will fall. I am not sure why God chooses one person over another, or one location over another to send His glory. My prayer is that God pours out His Spirit on the 901.
Here is my prayer for my city and a prayer you can pray for yours:
“Lord, let your churches be filled and overflowing. Let us see through your eyes, the hurting, unlovely and broken in Memphis. Tear down walls that would hinder anyone from coming to know You. Let salvation come to Memphis. Would You choose 901?”
Now is the time. Memphis is the place. Revival.