An open door has always spoken to me about welcome, being included – invited in.
When I became a Christian it was in part through reading a leaflet that included the scripture “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…..”(Rev 3:20) Our vision for Welcome Network has been to encourage and help the Church to welcome and receive one another across all the cultures in our communities. (Romans 15:7)
Today there is a preparation going on and we are all invited! It is a preparation that begins in our innermost beings, and spreads out to touch the whole body of Christ. It affects the buildings where we meet, our families, our streets, our towns and cities, the government, the royal family, and even the whole nation!
It is a Preparation for Revival!- WE ARE OPENING THE DOOR FOR GOD’S PRESENCE TO COME!
In the Old Testament, 2 Chronicles chapters 29-31 talk about the preparation and the Revival that followed. It begins with King Hezekiah, one of the good kings, like David, opening the doors of the house of the LORD, and repairing them. His father, King Ahaz had locked the doors during his reign, and had angered the Lord by worshipping idols. (2Chron 28:22-25) Hezekiah was making a Way for the people to come back to worship the LORD.
But when the doors were opened, what did he see? All the rubbish and the mess that had been left inside! So the King called together a group of leaders, those with willing hearts, to do the work of clearing out the temple. But first, he said, they needed to clean up themselves!
Isn’t it interesting that God always begins with our hearts? Just as opening the doors of the temple revealed the rubbish inside, so, when we open our hearts to God He shows us what is wrong inside us. (Psalm 51: 7-11…Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me) And as we stand before Him, open and transparent, nothing hidden, giving our lives to Him afresh, confessing our sins, He forgives and cleanses us completely! (1Jn 1:7 -walking in the light)
Preparation for Revival begins with opening and repairing the doors of the Temple – the building, yes, but also the hearts of the people, so that the rubbish can be cleared out, first the leaders- the levites and priests, then all the people, the whole assembly.
I am really excited about how this passage, (2 Chronicles 29-31), speaks into our vision of improving the welcome we give to those entering Church for the first time. We want to BE a Welcoming Church, that is US- the people, as well as where we meet. But above all, we want to make a place IN OUR HEARTS individually and TOGETHER for HIS PRESENCE TO COME!
When people encounter the presence of God, lives are transformed AND REVIVAL BREAKS OUT just as in King Hezekiah’s time!