Urgency

We’ve just finished Fall Revival at Oral Roberts University and I can’t tell you how blessed I am to go to a school that cancels class for corporate worship, powerful prayer, and spiritual rejuvenation. Our speaker for the last two days was Reggie Dabbs, a phenomenal man of God who’s given his life to speaking to students of all ages about the love of Christ. He’s funny and quirky and can play the saxophone like nobody I’ve ever seen. He plays every song, preaches every sermon, hugs every child, and lives every day as if it were his last day on earth.

Because of this belief, that every day could be his last, everything he spoke about had an urgency about it. Each word was laced with desperation and Reggie stopped what he was saying on many occasions to cry, his heart breaking for those in pain, for those without fathers and mothers that loved them, for those unaware of the Father’s great love for us. He just loves people and it’s so evident in everything he says and does. At the end of each sermon, he’d sit at the edge of the stage and hug and pray for every single person who needed it, usually staying there for hours after the service had ended.

I couldn’t help but cry multiple times as he spoke, and found myself laughing uncontrollably throughout the rest of his sermons. The man can make you double over in laughter followed by ugly sobbing with one compound sentence. My favorite thing about Reggie Dabbs’ teaching these past few days was his demand for response. He didn’t allow you to sit in apathy.

No, he gave you five seconds to stand up and repent of the sin you’ve been holding onto. No, he gave you forty seconds to get out of your seats and come to the altar if you need to rededicate your life to Christ. No, he gave you ten seconds to pray against the addiction in your life, speaking the words “In Jesus’ name” as loudly and as powerfully as you can.

His urgency is contagious, but this sense of urgency is a common thread I’ve seen in my life. It’s like the Lord has to constantly remind me because I’m so easily drafted into the seasons of apathy, of lukewarmness. He sends me reminders, usually in varying forms. Like last week I went to Hell Night at Praise Chapel in KC, a drama about what happens after you die. At the end of the drama, Senior Pastor Kelly preached the gospel, which was my favorite part of the show. He ended with a very difficult question, one that I’d heard a million times growing up watching that drama as a kid but never ceases to still my heart and force me to be honest. He asked, “If you died right now, would you go to heaven?”

Right there was a reminder of urgency.

Later that night, I had a conversation about lamenting my fleeting youth coupled with my fear of the future, an annoyingly paradoxical feeling. I was reminded that I’m twenty years old, one fourth of the way to eighty, so basically one fourth dead. And then I was faced with the realization that I still haven’t done as much as I could have, that so many days have been wasted.

Another reminder of urgency.

And then simply listening to the way Reggie spoke and the truths he preached these last two days were a massive reminder of urgency.

But what I’m reminded of the most is the fact that my life is not my own. That I’ve already wasted so many days that could have spent completely dedicated to the Lord. That every day following could be my last chance to live fully and solely for Christ. That every person I meet could be the person I’m supposed to tell about Jesus’ sacrifice and love. That every minute I breath could be the last minute I have to spend worshiping the Lord of the Universe.

During the last service of revival, Reggie stopped everything because the Spirit told him that there was a large group of students who weren’t right with God. He told those students to repeat after him and led them in the sinner’s prayer, right in the middle of worship. He then gave them exactly forty seconds to get to the stage if they had given their lives to Christ. He shouted that if you deny Christ before men, He will deny you before His heavenly Father. He counted backwards into the microphone.

“Forty, thirty-nine, thirty-eight…”

Ever so slowly, students emerged from their seats and tears sprang into my eyes as I watched them go.

“…thirty-two, thirty-one, thirty…”

More students came, scrambling over one another, gaining courage as the Spirit urged them. Some running, some walking slowly, all in surrender. The lump in my throat grew stronger as I watched lost sheep being found, runaway children finding their way home.

“…ten, nine, eight, seven…”

From the very back of the chapel, four boys struggled out of their crowded row and ran down the aisle as Reggie’s countdown came to a close. They were smiling and the rest of the school was on their feet, screaming and shouting, ecstatic that others were joining the kingdom.

“…three, two, one.”

The carpet in front of the stage was crowded with new children of God. Reggie called for the whole school to place a hand on the shoulder of someone in front of them, so it was as if the whole school had their arms around the students at the front. After Reggie prayed, the school erupted in celebration and as the born again students headed back to their seats, people flooded the aisles to give them hugs and high fives and kisses on cheeks, welcoming and loving them.

It was such a beautiful moment, one that causes me to tear up even now as I write about it, especially as I think about the joy that accompanies knowing one more person has been saved, renewed, made whole, loved just as I was when I met Jesus. I was reminded that altar calls are my favorite part of any service. I was reminded that getting others saved, bringing others to the same realization you once had, that Christ loves you and died for you, that’s what it’s all about. Growth is good, but if we aren’t pulling the world alongside us, we are doing Christianity very wrong. If our hearts don’t break for the lost, the oppressed, the broken, the people blind to the more excellent way, we haven’t understood Christ and His call to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.

So I’m feeling anxious, in a good way. Rather than remembering that I am still young and I have so much life left to live, I’m going to remember that I still have the moment I’m in right now, because I’m not promised tomorrow. I’m not promised the rest of my life. I’m not even promised the rest of my day.

But I have right now, and I’m giving that to God.

“So he told them this parable: ‘What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after that one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” -Luke 15:3-7

“Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” -Luke 15:10

“It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.” -Luke 15:32

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” -Ephesians 2:8-10

“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” -Romans 13:11

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” -Matthew 3:2

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” -Revelation 22:20

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