“Let Your Kingdom Come!” Flourish 2019
The theme for Flourish 2019 is “Let Your Kingdom Come!” We are excited to have Dennis Jernigan this year, the composer of the popular worship song, “You Are My All in All.” In his book, Daily Devotions for Kingdom Seekers, he writes, “I have been praying the Lord’s prayer for many years now, specifically asking the Lord to bring forth His Kingdom in every area of my life.”
As I prayed and thought about this theme, I remembered a clear word that the Lord spoke to me a few years ago that sets the stage for our prayer to bring forth God’s Kingdom in every area of our lives. I will go back a bit in history so you have a clear backdrop in which to understand my story…
In 1967 God began something amazing in the Catholic Church. He placed a thirst in people’s hearts for a fuller Christian life, and then He quenched that thirst by baptizing a group of young college students with His Holy Spirit. It was a Pentecost experience, and just like in the New Testament, it spread like wildfire.
My parents were among the people who received this great grace of being baptized in the Holy Spirit, and so I grew up in my teenage years surrounded by people in love with Jesus, experiencing miracles, and seeing God alive and active in our community. It was a glorious time. Later, as an adult, I was also baptized in the Holy Spirit, and I too fell in love with Jesus.
In 2016, a new thought began to grow in my heart. Looking around at the remnant from that incredible time of God’s outpouring, I had to conclude something disconcerting: we are no longer living in those “glorious” days of renewal. That is not to say that many people are not filled with God’s Holy Spirit, or that He is not alive and active in our day. It is to say, however, that that time of renewal and huge outpouring of His Spirit is no longer here, at least not from what I can see in Western society. At the same time that this realization began dawning on me, a question grew in my mind and heart. Those glorious days might be over, yet I know that there is no expiration date on Jesus’s baptism in His Holy Spirit; He is always willing to pour out His Spirit as in the day of Pentecost to all those who earnestly seek His Spirit. Then I prayed, “Lord, I want to be one of those people. How do I live, filled with Your Holy Spirit as in those days I experienced when I was young? And there are many others who also long to live a life in Your Spirit. What do you ask of us, Lord?” My question was actually a deep yearning that continued in me for several months, even in moments when I was not in active prayer. It was a persistent longing for Him, for intimacy with God Almighty.
In September of that year, my husband and I went to visit our family out of town. One evening we went with my aunt and uncle to their regular prayer meeting. My question to the Lord still burned inside me, yet I had told no one about it. I sat there and worshipped the Lord along with everyone else in the room. It was a rich time of praise, and all the while I continued importunately asking God what I must do to live in the fullness of His Holy Spirit. Following the praise, a hush fell over the group and the room was completely quiet, yet filled with God’s presence. During this short time, maybe a minute or two, I spoke to God so clearly in My mind. I silently uttered my question again to Him, “What do you ask of us, Jesus?” And then suddenly my aunt broke the silence and spoke these prophetic words: “What I ask of you is to be holy, for I am holy.”
Tears filled my eyes because I knew that God had spoken to me. Love flowed through my heart in a way that only happens in the unmistakable presence of God. I rejoiced because God had given me the answer, the key to living a life full of His Holy Spirit. The answer is the pursuit of holiness!
Since that day, I have asked God to reveal to me everything I can know about holiness. That revelation, I am sure, will be a process that will take a lifetime on earth, but He certainly has begun the process.
So now as we prepare for Flourish 2019, and as we pray for God to come and be glorified in us and show us how to “bring forth His Kingdom” in every area of our lives, I remember His call to each one of us to be holy. How do we welcome His Kingdom here on earth? St. Peter tells us the answer:
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
1 Peter 1:15-16