I’ve heard of church and community leaders coming together in the wake of a crisis (weather, violent crime) to serve and to pray. And I’ve heard of pastors coming together in small groups to encourage one another. Crisis or ministry affinity often brings together believers from different backgrounds and church traditions.
But yesterday’s Catalyst Forum brought over 350 church and community leaders from Lake County, IL (and beyond) together for a time of spiritual refreshment and relationship-building. No crisis necessary; no other affinity point beyond the beautiful name of Jesus Christ. It was remarkable to see people from their 20’s through their 70’s, men and women, many ethnic groups, all together under one roof praying, laughing, worshipping, learning, eating and talking. A good number of the churches represented have come together in recent years to do all sorts of service projects in the county; others gather for prayer. But the Catalyst Forum is a unique opportunity for all sorts of Christ-following people to simply gather.
I had a wonderful “ah ha!” moment as I stood near the gym doors yesterday watching the people stream in to grab a slice of Lou Malnati’s and some salad. The Lord brought a simple phrase to mind:
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” – Acts: 2:1-4
Christ’s followers had been gathering to wait for the promise of the Father, as Jesus had instructed them to do. If you continue reading Acts 2, you’ll see the immediate, supernatural, multi-national, multi-ethnic, explosive effect of this baptism. The church grew from 120 to 3000 in a single day.
Their obedience and their longing for Him brought them together in one place, positioning them to receive. They had no context to imagine what this promised baptism might look like, when it would come, or what would happen as a result. But they all kept showing up, these 120 people, waiting and wondering together, until Pentecost (Shavuot), the Jewish celebration of firstfruits, became a whole new event.
They were all together in one place.
This little phrase will change the way I pray for revival in Lake County. This “together in one place” thing is the first step that positions us to receive what only God can give. “Together in one place” is can be a physical act that demonstrates our individual humility and hunger for Him.
May this deeper reality saturate these “together in one place” gatherings in this county.