I've recently finished reading the autobiography of Charles G Finney - The life story of America's Greatest Evangelist - in his own words. God has used it to impact me in so many ways! It's packed full of story after story of God breaking in and Finney experiencing sustained revival (just as God intended it) wherever he went!
It tells of a time when Finney was asked to say grace before a meal and how he was so overcome with compassion for the state of the soul of an unbeliever at the table that mid-sentence he began to weep. Before long, the unbeliever at the table left the meal and locked himself in his room until morning, at which point he came out having been converted overnight!
It tells of a time when Finney visited a factory and the conviction of God came upon the workers so strongly (just becasue Finney had walked into the room) that all of them stopped working in order to get their lives right with God. The whole factory was converted and revival broke out again!
I've felt convicted on so many levels - firstly because of my lack of compassion for those around me who don't yet know Jesus - secondly because somewhere along the line I've lost faith in the power of the gospel to radically and completely change lives - thirdly because I'm not regularly on my knees crying out to God for breakthrough, full of expectation that my prayers will be answered and His Kingdom will come! I've got so much to learn!
I am grateful to God that while on this journey of discovery we do get to see and be part of God's Kingdom breaking out on the earth. One thing Finney did was to encourage his church members to scatter themselves throughout the church building to keep an eye out for people God was impacting during his sermon so that at the end of the service they could go and speak to them and lead them to the Lord. 'In this way the conversion of a great many souls was secured.' Just last Sunday at King's Arms, a teenage girl came along for the very first time and God really met with her throughout the service. Inspired by Finney, at the end of the meeting I went to chat with her. Not long after we'd sat down together she was recommitting her life to God, tears streaming down her face, and then she was baptised in the Holy Spirit. It doesn't get much better than that!
This Sunday why not keep an eye out for who God is impacting at your church service and then, when you get the chance, go and speak with them. Who knows what God might do!