LGD 015: Return to Me

People spelling out the word "love" with fingers

For years, we have heard that we need a revival in the country. As the Coronavirus has swept across the globe, the one message we are hearing is the thousands that are coming to faith in Christ.

People spelling out the word "love" with fingers

Today we explore a buried little passage in Joel. There is something so great about the Old Testament.

In the beginning of Joel, it says,

“The word of the Lord that came to Joel, son of Pethuel.”

Joel 1:1

The Lord wanted Israel to return to Him – they had lost their first love.

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Joel 2:12

It’s a mirror to our souls, even today. The weariness and the anxiousness that makes us unsettled is what will drive us to our knees for healing.

In the news, we have seen the signs that say “REPENT” or at ballgames – John 3:16, but in Joel, we read,

“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

Joel 2:13

God asks us to “return to Him”. It’s not the street corner yelling or the vigilante justice that we often see in the media, rather it is a gentle call to the nation of Israel (and us) to come back to the Lord. Come back to your “first love”.

“Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.”

Joel 2:14

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.”

Joel 2:15

It’s revival time! Today, we find ourselves in the midst of revival across the U.S. and the globe, and that is all because of COVID-19.

Here are some updated statistics I heard:

  • 228,000 people have accepted Christ through the Life.Church network and partner churches
  • Harvest Church (Greg Laurie’s church) stated they had 1 million people view their Easter services and 56,000 people accepted Christ.
  • Luis Palau ministries continue to see nearly 1,000 people per day come to Christ through their digital platform.

I know I am missing some statistics, but by my best guess, nearly 500,000 people have accepted Christ as a result of global pandemic. People flocked to churches (digitally).

Ministry partners met the needs in their local community by:

  • Providing parking lots for COVID-19 testing
  • Supporting healthcare workers with food, clothing, and hotel rooms
  • Providing day care for first responders and health care workers
  • Paying down debt for health care workers
  • Supporting other churches who were hit hard by the virus

The world almost missed it, because we thought revival may look a certain way. In our passage today, Joel says, “return to me with all your heart”.

God doesn’t do things the way we think He should, but rather what will accomplish His will and purpose. Could all of those people have accepted Christ in a “traditional” church, absolutely.

Would they have stepped foot in the church, though? 

During this time where the economy is opening back up, and work begins anew, I encourage you to be there for your community in whatever way that looks like for you.

Return to me with all your heart – this is God’s love personified.

Prayer: Lord, thank you another beautiful reminder that you pursue us even when we don’t deserve it. Thank you for calling us, begging us to return to you. I ask that our hearts would return to you today, and each day forward in surrender. We raise the white flag today. Thank you for your love, your grace, and your mercy. Bless this day and the weekend. Amen!

I am the host of an ABF Lifegroup - a collection of folks doing community and life together. We are a ministry of Agoura Bible Fellowship. When I am not leading this group, I love to travel, take photographs, share stories, and design workspaces that matter.

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