General Superintendent Greetings
THE CALL TO RETURN
Six months of 2021 have passed. Even as the COVID-19 situation remains fluid, and resumption of on-site services uncertain, we often hear comments, such as,
“I can worship God at home.”
“I am still able to encounter God at home.”
“If I missed the sermon, I could always listen to it online.”
“Coming to church is such a hassle, I’ll just wait till things return to normal.”
These statements ring alarm bells for me. All these mindsets and behaviors are manifestations of the depth of our relationship with God. A new danger is rearing its head.
The corporate worship experience is under attack and technology is not the culprit.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a litmus test to the strength of the relationships in the church and the commitment of the saints to return to church on-site after months of not being able to come together for the corporate worship experience.
Difficult situations are not reason enough to put asunder the plans of God. In Acts 2, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.” The disciples were in a tough spot. They were wanted by temple guards. They were under fierce persecution. Some of them have already fled to safe places outside Jerusalem but they remembered Jesus’ words to “stay in the city” and wait to be “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) and “they returned to Jerusalem” (Acts 1:12).
Today we are not being persecuted. We are not locked down. Yet we have relegated ourselves to a digital presence.
God is sounding the call for His church to return to the House of the Lord. He is waiting upon His church to be ready for Him to pour out a new anointing. And we need to be ready to receive it TOGETHER.
We need to return to the corporate gathering.
The original Greek word used for “together” in Acts 2:1 is “ὁμοῦ” (homou) which describes people who were assembled together in the same place and time. It wasn’t simply about having the same heart and mind toward God and desiring for an outpouring, but it was also in one place – the same physical location.
You could quip about how they did not have the internet then. But God is omnipresent. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit could have happened in satellite locations and been downloaded into different homes. Certainly, it would have been safer for the disciples who were hotly pursued by temple guards. But God did not. That speaks volumes of the power in being “together in one place”. If God’s intent for the church was to be in our individual homes, the church would not have been birthed out of a corporate gathering – in the upper room.
We need to return to pressing in for an invasion of heaven.
The disciples have been waiting with a posture to receive. God didn’t tell them it would happen on the day of Pentecost. It could have been the same afternoon Jesus ascended to heaven; it could have been three or seven days. Regardless, they waited until the Day of Pentecost came. I believe in that place, they were pressing into the presence of God. They were desiring, hungering and seeking for an outpouring.
There’s a tipping point when it comes to pressing in. A point where Heaven breaks open and the supernatural invades the natural. Acts 2:2 tells us of how “suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.”
Matthew 11:12 tells us that “from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.” The Greek word for violence “βιάζω” (biazō) speaks of applying force. To lay hold of the kingdom of heaven, we need to pursue the presence of God with intensity, and seek it with great zeal.
Church, we need to be zealous in returning to the house of the Lord. Technology may have broken physical boundaries but it will never break into heaven. I believe that there is going to be a powerful invasion of heaven as we press in to lay hold of God’s presence. His presence will cause miracles to happen. The world needs divine intervention. And we have the power to release that divine intervention. But we need to return to the house, to corporate gathering, to corporate worship, and to corporate hunger.
Let’s put aside every reason and return to the house of the Lord today!