Our plans for ministry do not release the power of God. Obedience does. When God decides to move, He moves. No plan of ours can take credit for such divine intervention.
In one meeting, Peter relayed what happened. “As I began to speak, the Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15) . “At the beginning” refers to the Day of Pentecost. Suddenly, a rushing wind from Heaven interrupted the meeting, and the power of God fell on all in attendance. Just as it was on the Day of Pentecost, what Peter had planned was interrupted by the greater plan of God.
A man named Mike Evans was invited to preach in London at the Kensington Temple. He shared a story of what happened that day. The story was especially vivid to me. On one of our visits to London, Jan and I attended a service at Kensington Temple.
When Mike arrived at the church, he shared that he had a masterpiece of a sermon prepared and could not wait to preach. The text of the message is where Jesus preached in the synagogue in Nazareth and read from the prophet Isaiah where the text begins with, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” When the Lord finished reading the text, Scripture tells us, “And Jesus sat down.”.
That day in London, when Mike finished reading his text at the beginning of his message, the Spirit said, “Sit down.” He resisted. He said it was a great message he had prepared to deliver. An auditorium full of people was waiting to hear the message. Again, the Spirit said, “Sit down.” Mike hesitated again. A third time, the Spirit said, “Sit down.” He finally obeyed and sat down. Mike said it was the most painful few moments of his life. The pastor was wondering what was happening. People were clearing their throats and nervously looking around.
After a few moments of awkward silence, in the very back row, people began to tremble and cry under the power of the Spirit. Others began to stand up and ask God for forgiveness. Then row by row, as if the hand of God was moving slowly across the sanctuary from back to front, people began to be healed, confess their sins, and cry out to God. When the presence of the Spirit finally reached the front of the sanctuary, a revival broke out. It was a sovereign move of God.
There are times when those of us who pastor churches or lead ministries need to put aside our service plans and our sermon notes and simply sit down under the direction of God’s Spirit. In those moments, the greater plan of God is revealed, a plan none of us could ever create or imagine.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins