Thursday, September 19, 2019
   
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Hineni ("Here Am I, Send Me") Part One—How the Chalk Revival Began at Hillcrest Chapel

Let me begin by sharing a little of my personal journey from September 1996 to August 1997. This will give you a bit of the context for the beginning of the “Chalk Revival” and how the word Hineni influenced my desire for a personal renewal and revival.

In September 1996 I spoke at Hineni, a businessmen's conference at the YWAM base in Lakeside, Montana. After speaking for the opening session, I stayed for as much of the conference as I could. As a pastor I speak a great deal, so when I can get away from my regular schedule and hear someone else speak, it is a great treat.

 

The conference's focus was Hineni, a Hebrew word that means, “Here am I; send me.” The businessman who founded the conference did an excellent job of encouraging those present to consider their businesses places of ministry. He wanted them to pray, “Here am I; send me” as they returned, and be prepared to pastor/minister in their sphere of influence, the marketplace. He also challenged these businessmen to consider how they might use their knowledge and expertise in short term mission opportunities around the world. He wanted them to consider their role in God's kingdom as strategically important.

As he was speaking, I felt nudged to pray the same prayer and to be available afresh to what the Lord might say to me about where and how I should minister. The timing for that encouragement seemed good, in that I was coming up on my 20th anniversary as Pastor of Hillcrest Chapel in Bellingham. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't overstay my usefulness.

Since I attended the conference, I have prayed this prayer every night in front of my garage. (I'm not sure why I pray there. There is certainly nothing inherently spiritual about my garage!) I don't spend a long time praying, just long enough to pray these two short phrases, as well as pray about items that come to mind which are related to my present or future ministry.

I have had some unique experiences while praying in front of my garage. One neighbor walked by, talking to herself. When she saw me standing there in the dark, it really scared her, but she was okay when she recognized it was me. “Bob, what are you doing out here?” she asked. “Oh, just praying...,” I replied. “Oh, well, pray for me,” she said.

Sometimes the prayer has also prompted me to explore other possibilities: a desire to visit Russia, short or long term; an offer to teach full-time at Northwest College in Kirkland, Washington; an offer to head the pastoral studies area at AGTS (Assemblies of God Graduate School) in Springfield, Missouri.

As I explored these possibilities and others in prayer, I felt God affirming my call and opening doors to stay in my present ministry assignment and by His grace continue to influence and disciple. As I have prayed, I have been impressed again with a recurring theme: We can touch the world from no matter where we are if we are in God's will—either by our presence (going), or by our influence (sending).

As an affirmation and confirmation of the privilege to be an influence for the Lord, I have had continuing opportunities in those months to provide some measure of influence with pastors and Christian workers as well as with those of Hillcrest Chapel. I have been speaking with pastors and students all over the world, touching base with our missionaries, and developing our Hillcrest Chapel web page. These things, which have been happening all this year, have been really encouraging to me.

In May 1997, I went to Promise Keepers in Seattle. In one session, a speaker referred to a church saint who gave this admonition:"If you want to see revival, go into your prayer closet, take an imaginary piece of chalk and draw a circle around yourself. Then pray until revival comes first to the person in that circle—until it comes to you.”

 

As I had been praying “Hineni,” I had been praying that the Lord would revive me, and make me equal to the task before me. It has not been an easy dream; it has not been fun all the time. Some of you have had the same experience, as the Lord shines His light on you and reveals things that need to be changed. Yet the process has been wonderful for me.

Upon returning home, I believe I was prompted by the Lord to announce we were entering into the “Chalk Revival.” It will not be patterned after Brownsville, Florida or Toronto, Ontario or the Welch revival, etc., but we believe it will be a renewal unique to Hillcrest Chapel and focused on its individual attenders.

Therefore, the emphasis initially will not be on a corporate experience, any kind of exterior action, or the style of our worship services. Our focus will be on the circle of revival—our hearts. Ultimately, however, we believe there will come a time when revived individuals will have a larger scale of focus or influence on others: friends, family, neighbors, churches, communities, businesses, nations, etc.

On a Sunday morning in May 1997, I announced the beginning of our Chalk Revival. I believe the Lord gave me seven prayers or prayer focuses to encourage each person in the Chalk Revival to pray. (You can tell a lot about a church by what it prays about!)


I Want To Pray For:

  1. A revitalization of my spiritual life and also of this church and our nation—II Chronicles 7:14-15; Is. 57:15.

     

  2. A repentance from sin—secret sins—that wrap around my feet and trip me up; along with confession of sin to others; restitution for sin; and the granting of forgiveness to others when appropriate—Heb. 12:1; James 5:16; Lk. 15:21; 19:1-10.

     

  3. A restoration of my love for and study of the Word—Ps. 119:97-106; 2 Tim. 2:15.

     

  4. A release of the Holy Spirit to give me empowerment for service and a compassion for lost people—Eph. 5:18-21; I Peter 4:10-11; Matt. 9:36.

     

  5. A return to my first love, to love God and family more than ever before—Rev. 2:4; Mal. 4:5-6.

     

  6. A remembrance and thanksgiving for all He has done for me—Rom 1:21; Eph. 5:4; Heb. 12:28.

     

  7. A reshaping of my praise and worship so I truly worship with my whole heart, body and life—Ps. 95:6; 100; Rom. 12:1; Eph. 5:18-21; Matt. 5:16; James 5:13.

 

 

On that same Sunday morning, I asked my associate Kevin Brearley to go and find enough pieces of chalk for each adult in our congregation, and put each piece in a plastic bag. That was at 9:10. By 10:15 we had everything ready, and the chalk was distributed that Sunday. Along with the above prayers, this was to give us some focus and a reminder of the revival we were praying for!

Since then, I have emphasized and taught on one or more of the seven areas every Sunday. These prayers aren't everything we should pray, but I think they capsulize what the Chalk Revival is about for all those who desire a spiritual renewal.