Let me share some stories about how this first question – “Lord, what?” – has opened windows into the heart and will of God here at Clearwater.
1. In the last church I pastored in Oregon, the Lord began stirring in my heart an urgency for God to regain full charge of His church. Revelation 3:20 revealed the sad positioning of Christ standing outside the closed door of the lukewarm church in Laodicea, knocking for entrance. My heart was moved at what I saw as “Cultural Christianity” in the American church today. A passionate question was arising within me, “Lord, what? What will it take for Jesus to get His church back?”
The Lord allowed time to intensify my urgency to know the answer to this question about the full enthronement of Jesus in the local church. Then, in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996, the answer became clear to me. What He spoke to my spirit and mind was this: “You must listen!”
Doesn’t that make sense? Jesus is the Head; we are His body. The Holy Spirit is like the nervous system carrying the directives of the Head to all parts of the body. Jesus is the King, we are His ambassadors. We must listen to the King for all His directives in carrying out His will.
In our church governance, listening prayer is of highest priority. God is an excellence communicator. We are on a journey together to learn how to hear Him clearly, with a commitment to obey Him courageously.
Based on this applied principle of listening prayer, our leadership team has been led of the Spirit to ask the “Lord, what?” question in specific ministry situations. We want to bring our church into alignment with the will of our Head, Jesus Christ.
2. Our three-decade old “Outreach Center” ministry is another case in point. Recently, the Lord led our Church Council to form a task force as a listening team to ask, “Lord, what? What would You have us do to bring the Outreach Ministry into a greater level of effectiveness in the 21st Century?” The Lord honored this inquiry and opened our partnership with Serve 6.8 to increase the impact of our historic ministry to a level way beyond what we could imagine. Praise the Lord that He led us to ask that first question. See how God, in His perfect timing, awakened in us the question He intended to answer.
3. Another example is the way God led us to ask “Lord, what should our global mission effort look like to serve You more effectively in the 21st Century?” The Spirit then guided us to a new way to invest in unreached people groups by supporting some awesome Christian nationals, empowering them with the tools they need to advance the kingdom in their native lands and languages. Pakistan and Guatemala are examples of where we partner with our brothers and sisters in Christ to strengthen their hands.
4. Another example: For nineteen years, the Lord had put this “Lord, what?” question on my heart: “Lord, what could we in local churches do better together than we can do separately to advance Your kingdom?” It was the right question, but required the right timing, and the right partnership. But Clearwater Church is the answer to this question. And Randy and I love His answer. It is a unique approach we call a “Faith Venture.” It is unfolding awesomely in the power of the Spirit. Other churches are watching us to consider what they might glean from this adventure in unifying faith.
Special Note: The pastors and elders encourage you to join us in a new season of listening prayer, asking the “Lord, what?” question. Here it is: “Lord, what dynamic spiritual anointing can we anticipate that You desire to pour out on our youth ministry today? What can we see You do that is exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could ask or think, regarding youth ministry? There is a desperate spiritual need. What should our vision for spiritual vitality look like? We desire that they would experience Your presence in a way that would lift them out of bondage and into freedom in a true, deep, real, radical relationship with You, Jesus? Please lift our vision higher to match Your heart.”
We welcome you to join us in concerted prayer and fasting, to plead for an outpouring of the Spirit on the younger generation in our church and city. Jeremiah 33:3. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Let’s listen together.