Thursday, January 26, 2012

Revival Reflections

The revival that wasn’t is about as captivating as the one that was. Real revivals are not re-runs or overruns. They are moments in time when God gets sick and tired of being misrepresented and people are so misinformed about the meaning of revival that God shows up himself, takes over to revitalize and inspire an impotent and anemic church.

The Church at Ephesus was still going through the motions. They hadn’t closed up shop, but they were in a rut trying to keep up their reputation of being exciting and dynamic. Their services were about as exciting as sitting out on the lawn with the heat of the sun bearing down their neck and watching the grass grow.

God had a shocking description of their sad state. He said, “Maybe there’s life in you yet, but I wouldn’t know it by looking.” Then he concluded, “Be watchful, and strengthen the thing which remain, THAT ARE READY TO DIE.”

The “ready to die” needed a revival. Boredom needed to be replaced with blessings, indifference with inspiration and monotony with a mighty move of God.

The word “revive” means to breathe new life into. This is my prayer. “O God, breathe new life…

· into my relationship with your Son Jesus Christ

· into my passion to worship you freely and spontaneously

· into recovering rejoicing in the Spirit as a way of life

· into my on again off again prayer routine

· into my expectations of seeing miracles here and now

· into studying the Bible not for the sake of reading it through but to assimilate into me through and through

· into my vision of and adoration of God until I tremble in your presence

· into the endearment and solemnity of the sacrament.”

During the great Welsh revival, a newspaperman went down from London to report at first hand the marvelous happenings of the historic revival. One of the reporters asked a policeman where the Welsh revival was. Proudly he placed his hand over his heart and declared, “Gentlemen, the Welsh revival is inside this uniform!”

This is what Jesus meant when he told the woman at the well, “But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; BUT THE WATER THAT I GIVE HIM SHALL BE IN HIM a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”(John 4:14) Praise God. Since God gives it and it is within you, there are a few things you need to understand about revival.

Number 1: Revival is not something we can produce apart from God.

A genuine, honest to goodness revival is an act of God. It can not be orchestrated by a committee or manipulated by slick marketing. John 15:5 Jesus made it perfectly clear that without him we can do nothing. In Psalms 77:14 the Psalmist declared, “You’re God who MAKES THINGS HAPPEN; you showed everyone what you can do.” Make note of this and don’t forget it. God can make revivals happen!

Number 2: Revival is not dependent upon a gifted speaker.

The speaker should only be a mouth piece of God. His (her) message should be “thus saith the Lord…” Speakers are not apologist. They are spokespersons for God interested only in conveying God’s message to mortal men. Richard Baxter condensed preaching “thus saith the Lord” as the preaching of a dying man to dying men. It’s preaching with conviction and compassion. Having a word from God is critical to having revival. Preaching is effective as long as the preacher expects something to happen-not because of the sermon, not even because of the preacher, but because of God. When a preacher can say, “thus saith the Lord” he (she) can face the audience with the zeal of a friend, with the sincere interest of a father, and with the exuberant affection of a mother. A word from God is the spark which starts revival.

Number 3: Revival is not a mere protracted meeting.

Revival is a soul piercing encounter with God. Without that encounter our efforts are in vain. They can be drawn out affairs afflicting the saints and annoying sinners. However, this is really not a problem now days. We don’t have protracted meetings. Our revivals consist of being protracted from 10:30 Sunday morning until noon. We put God on a time clock having concluded that revival should be quick and painless. I agree with the person who courageously declared, “We would like the positive results and benefits of revival - all at little or no cost. We want gain without pain. We want the joy of new life without the travail of labor pains. We want healing, without surgery. We want joy without mourning. We want to enter into the power of the Resurrection, without first suffering the agony of the Cross. We want our schedules and programs and institutions to stay intact - we want a minimum of disruption or interference with our plans and traditions.”

When we have an encounter with God, time loses it meaning. He is all in all. His heart beat becomes our heart beat. Communion with him is all that counts. Revival is not a drawn out affair. It is a dynamic, life changing encounter with God.

Number 4: Revival is not reformation. It is transformation.

Revival is more than a proliferation of information or reformation. It is transformation. It is resuscitation for spiritual suffocation. It is drinking from the fountain that never runs dry. It is feasting on the bread of life for the famishing. It is fire of inspiration shut up in the bones.

Billy Sunday declared, “Trying to run a church without revivals can be done when you can run a gasoline engine on buttermilk.”

I was impressed by these words from Duncan Campbell. “The average man is not going to be impressed by our publicity, our posters or our programs, but let there be a demonstration of the supernatural…and at once man is arrested.”

O, God, give us the supernatural to supplant the normal. We are so predictable in our services that little room is left for God to do the unexpected. Help us to get out fingers out of the mix until men will cry as did the people of Egypt after they experienced the miraculous visitation of God, “This is the finger of God.” At that moment, we will know TRUE REVIVAL HAS COME!!

Believing For Revival

Pastor Jimmy & Bob

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