Something amazing happened at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky.
After the regularly scheduled chapel service on Feb. 8, a handful of students remained behind, and when one of them confessed some of his sins to the small group, “the atmosphere changed,” according to student body president Alison Perfater.
That switch in atmosphere sparked two weeks of believers stopping by that spontaneous gathering at Asbury, tens of thousands of people each day joining in a revival, which became a viral sensation.
Two weeks of believers yielding to the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Tim Griffin, University Pastor, spoke of those events Monday at Grand Canyon University Chapel, also sharing with the Chapel audience the time he thought he was going to be recruited by the Dodgers.
He was a 16-year-old at a southern California high school that had become a mill for professional baseball players. After a game, he was eating a sandwich in his 1969 Volkswagen when he saw a scout making his way to his car.
That’s when the scout started asking about a fellow player, the team’s senior center fielder.
“Here’s the point of that story for me,” Griffin said. “Sometimes we don’t always understand what’s going on in the moment, and we think it’s about us when it’s not really about us.”
Same for what happened in those unexpected moments at Asbury University.
It is not the first revival, of course, of that scale.
Griffin was in Wales a few years ago at a church that was part of a great Welsh revival in the early 1900s. He stood on a tiny church balcony where the pastor of that church would preach over an intersection as people were riding their horses and their buggies through Cardiff. The masses would congregate at that intersection.
On that balcony, Griffin watched people going about their lives, “And I thought, this was one of the places where God started something in the heart of somebody that was a blessing to the world.”
Griffin said of the events at Asbury, “I’m not sure what to call it. But one thing I do know is this: It is good for God’s people to get together and pray and sing and listen to the Word of God and be encouraged by the Word of God.
“It’s good for God’s people to be in fellowship. … It’s good to be yielded, to be a people that present themselves into the hands of God for Him to do his work.”
What happened for him sparked deeper thoughts about what Scripture says about the work of the Holy Spirit.
“It reminds me that these moments come and they go,” Griffin said of those moments of awakening that seem to spontaneously happen. But when those moments do happen, “when God shows up to do something, we need to be prepared for that moment.
“So here’s what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit: the Holy Spirit will indwell believers,” Griffin said.
There will be times, such as those times of revival, when the Holy Spirit won’t just exist around you but will dwell within you and, further, not only will He exist in you, but He will teach you about Jesus and point to Jesus, not to Himself.
Griffin referenced John 14:26:
The advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.
“So that’s another aspect to the work of the Holy Spirit – that He will help us to understand and teach us things about our walk with Jesus.”
What Scripture also says about the Holy Spirit is in John 16:7, about the judgment and work of the Holy Spirit to bring about awareness of our guilt when it comes to our sin and the judgment to come.
“That’s not popular today. That doesn’t sell much. You’re not going to get many people to come to church if that’s going to be the theme of your message today,” Griffin said.
But that’s also part of the Holy Spirit’s work.
“You can know when the Holy Spirit is moving about you. There is this sense of need that only Jesus can fill, and the guilt that we have to bring before Him, the sin that we bring to Him, for forgiveness, all of those things that make up the reflection of his Holiness that shines a light on who we are in our brokenness.”
Griffin referenced Acts Chapter 1, when Jesus advised his followers not to leave Jerusalem, for in a few days, at Pentecost, they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. That baptism is followed by incredible scenes where Jesus worked through the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of followers.
He turned, too, to 1 Corinthians 6:19, how after the Holy Spirit came in Pentecost, the bodies of the believers became the temple of the Holy Spirit – that the Holy Spirit is within us.
“I hope that you appreciate the impact of that truth,” Griffin said. “Where you go, He goes. … When those hard moments hit us, we know that we have available to us the power of the living God in the person of the Holy Spirit who indwells us.
“When you feel your weakest, the Holy Spirit can give you power and strength.”
He advised that, instead of filling ourselves with alcohol or drugs, to fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit, to speak to one another in psalms and to sing and be thankful for what God has given us, as it says in Ephesians 5:18-21.
Griffin said that students have come up to him, telling him that God has given them a deep burden to see an awakening among God’s people that would turn into a surge of God’s work in and through us.
He encouraged those in the Chapel audience to posture their heart to be led by the Holy Spirit, like what happened at Asbury.
“I want to invite you, if you want the Holy Spirit to empower you, to lead you, to strengthen you, it means that you posture your heart to be led by the Spirit.”
He encouraged students also to listen to the power of music, sing the lyrics to the King in a way that blesses Him and others.
“Don’t miss these moments when we sing together to appreciate how God will work through these moments of ministry,” he said, and finally, Griffin said, to let our hearts meditate joyfully in the Lord.
|Next Chapel (11 a.m. March 6, GCU Arena):|
|Brian Kruckenberg, New City Church|
“Some of you brought some heavy things with you today that your brothers and sisters around you don’t even know what burdens you’re carrying, but God does. Part of what ushers us into the presence of God and the power of His Spirit to lead and control and fill us, is when we’re thankful for everything.”
Griffin ended his talk with one more baseball story, as it’s the beginning of baseball season.
He spoke of when he was learning to do a double steal and didn’t know what he was doing. He left first base at the wrong time and his coach yelled, “What are you doing?” He stopped between first and second bases and said, “I don’t know.”
“I guess I’m inviting us today to stop for a moment if you feel like you’re in between first and second on this ministry of God through the Holy Spirit. Just say, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’”
Just open your heart, let God do that work in you today that you can’t do yourself. Dwell in the presence of God, sing and be thankful.
Just yield to Him.
Manager of Internal Communications Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-7901.