Most of us from the Denison Forum are in Midland, Texas right now. We blew in, quite literally on Saturday. A lot of people have been planning for the Awake 7:14 conference which is taking place this week. We lived in Midland in the late 80’s and early 90’s. My husband, Jim Denison, was pastor at First Baptist Midland during those years. But this conference is about so much more than a church – it is about THE Church. Jim and I have watched this city prepare for this conference, pray for this conference and now attend it. Could God have chosen Midland, Texas to initiate a spiritual awakening in our nation? We think there is a good chance the answer is yes.
Midland is located in West Texas and got its name from the fact that it is the half-way point between Fort Worth and El Paso. It is windy 362 days a year. Saturday night I was remembering why I wore my hair in a short style while I lived here. There is a lot of country music, a lot of pick-up trucks and a lot of cowboy boots – and there is a LOT of oil. The population grew 4.6 percent from July 2011 to July 2012. There is a housing shortage, a ton of job opportunities and – did I mention a LOT of oil?
The churches in Midland are strong and most are large – but is that why Midland might be the catalyst for spiritual awakening? The people are experiencing success in business, but many are also experiencing the struggles that naturally result from that kind of success. The conference is called the Awake 7:14 conference, born out of 2 Chronicles 7:14. “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Why would God choose Midland, Texas? Because he has a LOT of his people here. The key to 2 Chronicles 7:14 is found in the first three words, “if my people.” Christians, myself included, have for a long time pointed at the moral decline in this country and blamed politicians, television, Hollywood, banks, lawyers, criminals and a variety of ethnic groups. When did we start blaming lost people for acting lost? God doesn’t.
It was the Tuesday before his crucifixion when Jesus confronted the Pharisees with their own sin. He knew they were plotting his death but he spoke the words in Matthew 23 anyway. There are so many moments of conviction in those verses. Everyone should find time to read Matthew 23 this Easter week. The verse that kept coming to my mind, in light of this conference, was verse four. Jesus said the Pharisees, “tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” Jesus told the church leaders of his day that they were making it hard for people to walk with God, when they weren’t willing to live the lives they preached about.
2 Chronicles 7:14 makes a similar point. God doesn’t place the responsibility for cultural decline on the non-Christians, he says, “if my people” would get it together spiritually, then I could heal their land. (A Janet Denison translation of 2 Chronicles. 7:14). Has God chosen Midland, Texas? He will if they will humble themselves, pray, seek his face and turn from the ways of the world back to the will of the Father. And he is waiting for “his people” to come back to him so he can heal their land.
When Joshua took the Promised Land, he was able to succeed because the Lord fought for him. The problems in this country are not because of the non-Christians acting ungodly, but because of Christians acting less than godly. Many Christians have accepted lower standards for their spiritual lives, and we lack God’s blessing on our land because of it. God doesn’t need a majority, he doesn’t need a government leader and he certainly doesn’t need more power. God is ready to bless – the minute his people are ready to be faithful and turn back to his will.
Midland, Texas is a windy city, in the middle of west Texas. They are booming and successful right now because there is a lot of oil. God put it there – for a reason. Has God chosen Midland? Yes. Please join us in praying that Midland will choose God. What if the next great awakening in our country will trace its roots to Midland, Texas? Pray that “his people” will answer his call- in this city, and then in yours.