The setting for this movement was Franklin Heights Christian School in Kannapolis, NC during one of their weekly chapel services. I was asked to bring a message for this service but I am so glad that the Spirit moved almost from the beginning. Per the usual order of worship the student led praise team began to lead us and we were singing "Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone" by Chris Tomlin (Oh, how the Lord has used his music to move people's hearts so many times). Somewhere in the middle of the song my dear friend and teacher at Franklin Heights, Tony Wagoner, came forward and asked for a microphone. He encouraged the band to continue to play softly in the background while he spoke words that the Spirit had laid upon his heart. As emotion overcame him and a few tears began to trickle down his cheeks he shared that he believed that there were students there who were still bound by chains. These chains were hindering them from truly worshiping God freely. As he continued a few students and teachers began to make their way to the altar. Then the flood gates opened and more and more came forward until the altar was packed full of people on their faces before God. This time of spontaneous prayer went on for a full fifteen minutes and after all hearts were satisfied we finished singing.
At this point in the service it would normally be time for one of the teachers to come and give a devotional "thought for the day" but the Spirit was still heavy in the place and one of the students was moved to give testimony. He came forward and shared how God had acted in a mighty way during a time when he was asked to deliver a message at his home church.
After this young man's testimony it was time for me to bring a message. The good news for me, at a time like this, was that my only task was to NOT quench the Spirit that was already moving so evidently among the school. Thanks be to God that the message that I prepared was exactly the one for that moment in time and it was called "Pressin' On." Without getting into too much detail the overall message came from Philippians 3 where Paul talks about pressing on towards the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
After the message we showed the video of Derick Redmond, the track star of the 1992 Olympics who pulled a hamstring muscle during the race that he was highly favored to win. After collapsing on the track in sheer pain his father runs from the stands, pushing past security and helps his son make it across the finish line. The message? In our efforts to "press on" through the trials of this life, God, our Heavenly Father, is right there with us to make sure we get to the finish.
As we watched the video and the praise team came back to play a closing song the altar was once again jam packed to the point where students and teachers were crowding the aisles. Teens were praying with teens. Teachers were praying with teens and teachers were praying with teachers. Tears flowed freely and hearts were poured out to a gracious and powerful God.
This continued for another thirty minutes which overran the allotted chapel time by a long shot. Just imagine this, a group of middle and high school students praying and worshiping God in the middle of the school day for an hour and a half!
After chapel was over I reluctantly went on my way back to the church that I was serving in at the time praising God for His movement that morning. Later in the day, however, I spoke to Tony and found out that the revival went on throughout the day and more than one student was saved IN CLASS!
I want to be perfectly clear on this. This visitation by the Spirit was not because of my message, or the music, or the words spoken by Tony, or even the testimony of the young man. It was because there was a room full of people who were attentive to the Holy Spirit and ready to experience what God had for them on that morning. Furthermore, the school is blessed to have leaders who are willing to let the Spirit move as He will and put the spiritual well-being of the students above the earthly education.
Many times we hear of movements of God that last hours upon hours, days upon days or even years upon years. Those are the kind we pray for and seek but sometimes it is not how long the Spirit moves but how the Spirit moves and the lasting effects of it. I, for one, will never forget that morning at Franklin Heights and I know that it had some very eternal effects on many of those students. Personally, my prayer is that we have just begun to see God move in ways like this and we are praying that He will move in even mightier ways in the future. However, as we look around at the spiritual landscape of our nation and the Church we need to be excited about these, perhaps, first drops of rain from an approaching outpouring of God on our land.