Why Have Extended, Special Meetings?

Over the years, church people have had different ideas about having guest speakers in.
They have argued about the usefulness of extended meetings. Some say, “You aren’t
going to have one of those old-fashioned revival meetings are you? No one does that
anymore”. Others, at the end of the spectrum, believe that “ it is necessary to have so
many special meetings every year, just because that’s the way we have always done it”.

Are extended meetings old-fashioned, based totally on entertainment and
emotionalism? Should they be replaced by leadership conferences and programs? Are
people changed by them?

As a minister who has traveled and ministered in extended meetings almost every week
for over eighteen years, and now, as a pastor who has traveling ministers into my
church, I see it from two different sides of the mountain.

We see in the Word of God, the importance of periods of pressing into His presence
with passion and hunger. Moses went up the mountain into the glory of God for forty
days. He received a ten-point message. However, the moment he saw the sin of the
people in worshiping the golden calf, he broke his ten-point message. God asked him
to come up again to experience His glory for another forty days. He had been touched
before, but a second forty days changed him. His very face shone with that glory to
such an extent that the people could not bear to look upon him. He was forced to wear
a veil. He realized that the intimacy of the glory of God, and His presence, was more
important to him than anything. He said he didn’t want to go anywhere, even into the
promised land, unless the presence of the living God went with him.

What do you think caused Enoch to press into the presence of God until he was not
found, for God took him? I believe it was the fact that he sat upon his great, great,
great, great, great grandfather’s knee, (Adam), hearing the stories of God walking in the
garden, in the cool of the day, with them. He heard of the beauty of the garden, walking
and talking with God, taking dominion and subduing everything, and wanted that. He
thought, “what would it be like to walk and talk with God like that? He thought, “Lord, I
want to know you like that. I want to walk with you in that kind of intimacy.” He
hungered until he was walking so near to God, that one day, he was no more. It didn’t
happen in one moment, but over time.

Before the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of pentecost, (the historical meeting
and birth of the church), it was preceded by days of prayer and waiting on God. I
believe that meeting started with many more than one hundred twenty. Jesus had
healed everyone in many cities. He had touched the lives of multitudes. I believe that
hundreds or more, began praying. Yet, after time, some said, “ I have to go. I have a
real life you know”. Others, said, “I have to go home and let the dog out”. “My sheep
carpet is being cleaned today”. “I have BPTA meeting to go to”. (Bethlehem, parent,
teachers association) Others said, “I don’t even know what we’re waiting for. Whatever
or whoever this Holy Spirit is, He should have been here by now. It’s ridiculous to have
to wait this long for who knows what.”

Every day the crowd dwindled a little more until only one hundred and twenty, thirsty,
hungry, desperate people were in that room as it was flooded with The Holy Ghost and
Fire. Can you imagine what it would have been like for one to have their neighbor say, “
It’s a shame that you left the meeting at 8:45 a.m. because just fifteen minutes later, all
of heaven came down”. “You mean, I missed the birth of the church because I went
home to clean windows? If only I had not been so impatient!”

When Elisha refused to depart from Elijah as he traveled from city to city, eternal
destinies were hanging in the balance. He would not leave his side because he was
determined to have the double portion anointing. Could God have given him that in one
moment? Technically, of course. God can do anything. However, Elisha would not
have been ready. God was teaching him, burning things out of him, birthing hunger and
thirst, and perfecting him so that his character would sustain that powerful anointing.

The Word of God tells us that only “those who hunger and thirst shall be filled”. It takes
time to get truly hungry. It doesn’t happen in a few minutes after eating the previous
meal. It also tells us “those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They
shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk
and faint.”

Everyone that I have heard of, read about, or witnessed, who has ever been used
mightily, waited upon God with passionate desire until they were changed and
empowered. They either said something like, “God come and touch me with your fire,
or take me home to be with you, but I have to have more.” Or, “Lord, I need fresh oil
from heaven to have something more than I have, to give someone.” Then the fire, the
wind, the oil, the rain, and the joy of The Lord came over them in a life-changing
experience. That’s what they minister out of today.

We are to seek Him, knock on His door, hunger for Him, take time out of our busy
schedules to say, “It’s all about You, Lord, not me”. Everything comes to a halt to
worship you, praise you, wait upon you, honor you, obey you, and yield to your Spirit.
Nothing is more important then letting you know that you have first place in my life. If I
can take a week for recreation, vacation, hunting, camping, visiting relatives, sightseeing,
attending ball games, or resting, I can take a week to seek you and be forever
changed.

It just so happened that a heart-broken poverty-stricken, betrayed, single mother, went
to an extended meeting in Alaska in November of 1992. What she received over the
next two weeks, not only healed up her heart, flooded her with joy unspeakable and full
of glory, gave her fresh vision and hope, but launched her to the nations of the world,
against all odds. She then could say, “such as I have, give I thee”. You have to get
something to have something, and then you must have something to give something.
He will get it to you, if He can get it through you. However, He is not a drive-through.
We can’t say, “I’ll take a happy meal and a roll in five minutes, thank you.” I don’t want to
hear, “could you not wait with me one hour?”

Neither do I want to have or be a part of extended meetings just to say we’re doing
something. It’s not about a sign saying revival, conducted by someone who travels from
place to place. That can be as religious as anything. It’s about hungry, thirsty, yielded
people who are desperate for more and refuse to be satisfied. Let’s press in! Come
and wait on God with us in July for Northwest Ablaze, July 27-August 1, 2014. Be
forever changed until people have to ask you “what is so different about you? I am
drawn to Jesus because of you.”