First, I think the basic message is still sound. When I preach about a deeper experience in which the heart is filled with God’s love I find a receptive audience. Sometimes, it’s hard for me, who heard and responded to this message early on, to remember what a powerful message of hope it is. However, when I proclaim it and see people respond, it reminds me that it’s a wonderful, positive message.
Second, I think people are still very interested in outward manifestations of the inward work. However, the old approach is giving way to a more Biblical view of what that is. It used to be about (1) emotions and (2) legalism. There was an expectation that folks who “got it” would have a shouting spell and then settle down to walking the straight and narrow. Now, though, folks expect to see more compassion for the hurting – greater loving Christ-likeness – in the lives of those who have “gone deeper” in the things of God.
Third, I think people respond to genuine passion. They’re interested in being part of something worth dying for. Our doctrinal debates are mildly interesting to them, but they want to hear about a relationship with the Lord that’s about life and death. Others, they see, are happily content to get a stamp on their ticket to heaven, but they want to be part of something that demands their all.
A message of full surrender, based on a genuine hunger for all of God, and evidenced by Christ-like love and compassion is the one I think will touch lives today.