When is the first time you Saw God move–the first time you remember realizing there is a God, and this God is at work in your world?
When was the last time you saw God move?
When are you expecting God to move next?
God moved to create the world.
To create us in His image.
To unfold a plan of redemption in the face of our sin.
God has continued to move in history. In modern times, God has at times moved in ways we call great awakenings. He moved powerfully in England through some college kids like George Whitefield and the Wesley brothers. He moved in the American colonies through young preachers like Jonathan Edwards, who observed God sometimes moves in surprising ways.
More recently, God moved in the lives of a million young people a generation ago. Hippies, druggies, and outcasts became evangelists, missionaries, and worship leaders. I came to faith in this movement. It made the cover of major magazines like Time and Life. It was called the Jesus Movement.
We read in Acts of the first Jesus Movement. The gospel spread to the Roman Empire starting with a holy huddle in Jerusalem gathering in prayer. The first Jesus Movement started when Jesus Himself uttered His last words as recorded in Acts 1:8– “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
We need a Jesus Movement today. Not just like the last one in the 1970s, but a fresh work of the Spirit where we recapture the idea that Jesus matters above all else. What do I mean by a Jesus Movement?
First, a Jesus Movement is a Holy Spirit Movement. The dominant person in Acts is the Holy Spirit. When He FILLED believers, they spoke the gospel. When He SPOKE: He said “Go.”
I recently read one of the few books since the 70s written on that Jesus Movement. The author said what others testify: “the most obvious aspect of the JM is that it was a work of the SPIRIT.”
— What if the Holy Spirit touched you afresh? We love the dramatic, the sensational, the Hollywood-level event today. We judge our ministries by events and numbers but these can be devoid of the Spirit. The early church walked in the Spirit, so they witnessed in the Spirit, and they changed an empire.
Second, a Jesus Movement is a movement about Jesus. “Duh,” you say.
We are about a lot more things today than Jesus. We speak like experts but sound like fools about politics. We sing loudly in our services but become tight lipped around the lost. We overprotect our children yet we say Missions matters. According to the largest study of youth and religion in history, most youth are NOT getting Jesus. They are getting moralistic therapeutic deism.
Read the Acts: It was about JESUS. Sometimes people were healed. ALWAYS Jesus was preached.
In the Jesus Movement of the 70s, it was a movement of simplicity. We have over -complicated pretty much everything. But in the JM there were two core ideas: Jesus is the One Way to God, and He is coming back. Too many of us seem tired of Jesus.
I read of some hippies in DC about 1972 who had met Jesus. They were sharing Christ on the street when some preachers walked by in their nice suits.
“What are you hippies doing?” One preacher asked.
“Sir,” the young hippie replied, “We are doing what you just talk about.”
It’s time for the church: pastors, leaders, laity, young and old, do what we talk about. We need a Holy Spirit infused God-intervention in our day. May our children see a Jesus Movement in our time.