Tag Archives: revival

A Change Of Heart

My pastor said something that really resonated with me. He said, “In the history of the world, church has never been done better than it is today, yet never have we had such little impact on our culture.” It has me thinking, “Are we focused on the right things corporately and individually?” What are we concerned with? Is the music too loud? Is there too much fog in the sanctuary? Is it too cold? Are we concerned more with our entertainment than reaching the lost? Are we too focused on our comfort and not enough on the lost? Do we spend our time talking about God rather than to Him? I don’t know, but I know that if our ability to impact the culture around us is going to improve, it has to start with us as individuals.

After Jonah preached to the city of Nineveh, he went outside of the city, sat down and waited to see what would happen. Even though he had obeyed God, in his heart, he still wished that God would destroy the city. To expose his heart, God caused a plant to grow up and provide him with shade. The next day, the Lord sent a worm to eat the plant. Jonah was mad enough to want to die over it. God responded in Jonah 4:10-11, “This plant grew up in one night and disappeared the next; you didn’t do anything for it and you didn’t make it grow—yet you feel sorry for it! How much more, then, should I have pity on Nineveh, that great city. After all, it has more than 120,000 innocent children in it, as well as many animals!” (GNT)

God is concerned with people and their salvation. Scripture says that it’s His kindness that draws us to repentance (Romans 2:4). We need to pray what Bob Pierce prayed, “God, break our heart for the things that break yours.” Jonah was more concerned for his comfort than 120,000 people dying. That’s a recipe for not having an impact on culture. God was able to move then, and He’s able to move now despite our heart. It’s much better though when our heart is aligned with His. I wonder if the story of Jonah ends abruptly right there so we don’t miss that point. As Jonah pointed out in verse 2, God is loving and merciful, always patient and kind, ready to change His mind and not punish people. Shouldn’t we be the same way?

Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash

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Moved To Action


The day before the United Cry event in DC, I went to the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. In one part of the memorial, they had headphones hanging on the wall. When I put them on, I heard the voicemails that the people on the plane had left for their families. It was emotional to say the least as you hear them trying to alert their families and to comfort them. As I was listening, a woman came up beside me and put on a pair of headsets. When she heard their voices, she lost it. She sobbed loudly and it became difficult for me to keep my composure.

I was sad, angry, and helpless as I listened. I wished that there was a way to go back in time and save them. Their voices were so clear that it felt like I was able to speak to them. I wanted to say, “Do something now!” With tears streaming down my face, reality set in that it was too late for them. I can’t go back in time and stop what happened. I couldn’t save them from what had happened 15 years earlier. I felt helpless and could only listen as they said their goodbyes.

Today, we are not under attack like we were on that day. We are under a different type of attack. A spiritual attack. There are thousands outside each of our church doors dying and going to hell. Their cries are reaching heaven’s ears. Have we put on the headphones to listen? Are their voices causing us to weep? Are we moved to action by what is going on? Moses heard the cries of Israel and did nothing to save them. He lived in the palace where he could ignore what was going on until God changed his perspective after 40 years in the desert.

In Exodus 3:7-11, God told Moses, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people… -I have heard their cries… -I am aware of their suffering… -I have come down to rescue them… -I am sending you” (NLT). God has seen what is going on in our world. He has heard the cries of those who are dying and going to hell. He is aware of their plight and is pouring His Holy Spirit out on all flesh to rescue them. He is also sending us out of the palace of our churches into the streets to make us see, hear, and become aware so we can be a part of the rescue. 

Revival will tarry until we are moved with compassion to lead people out of their bondage. We can’t ignore their cries anymore. We need to weep at the altar and be moved to action by the Holy Spirit. We need to become aware of the cries of over a quarter of the population that has no belief in God and of those that have left the church and have given up on God. They are our purpose. They are our mission. They are who revival is for. The fields are ripe for harvest. Are we ready to enter the vineyard?

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Open The Flood Gates


Recently, my community has been flooded. Thousands of homes were affected by the high water. As you drive through the neighborhoods that were hit, you will see piles of trash out by the road. Sheetrock, furniture, clothes, electronics, and anything that the water touched are thrown out into these piles. ThIngs that once cost so much and meant so much to these families are now worthless as they lay in those piles.

As I see those piles, I can’t help of one of the songs we sing at church: “Open up the Flood Gates of Heaven”. In this and many other songs, we pray for God to flood our lives with His goodness and rain down blessings. I’m not sure we really understand or think about what we are asking for. Floods are devastating. Floods destroy. Floods are very costly. If we are going to ask God to flood our lives, we need to count the cost.

When God floods our lives, our dreams get devastated. We realize that they were too small. God has dreams for our lives that are so much greater than we can comprehend. Through Him, we are able to accomplish and be more than we ever thought. The flood of His Spirit in our lives means that our perspective changes and often our purpose. When His flood comes in, our lives get displaced from complacency.

Another thing that happens is we lose the things we once held dear. Suddenly, we realize that the things we hold onto the tightest are really worthless when compared to what He wants to give us. When We invite Him to flood our lives, all the junk, clutter, walls, and things not pleasing to Him will need to get dragged out to the street and chunked. In order to fill our lives with the things we wants to give us, we need to get rid of things from our old lives. This flood invites change.

If we truly want revival to come, then we do need God to come flood our lives, our nation, and our world. We need Him to help us get our junk out and become renewed first. As Paul said in II Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (NLT) God wants to give us new life, but we have to let His flood bring about the change necessary. We have to be willing to be displaced from our old lives, to get rid of the things in our lives that tie us to that old life, and adopt the new life He gives. The next time we sing and pray for God to open the flood gates of Heaven, I hope we mean it.
If you want to hear that song, click here.

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Revival

  
Tomorrow marks the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles. It was the last great, sustained revival in the US. I know there have been several revivals since, but none have had as profound an impact on culture and society. I believe it is time that revival came to us again. George Wood recently said, “Culture reflects religion.” If that’s true, and I believe it is, we are in desperate need of revival in the Church.

This weekend, there will be two major prayer gatherings to pray for revival. One will be at Azusa Street (You can watch here) and the other at the Lincoln Memorial  (You can watch here). I will be attending the one in Washington, DC. I believe if we will humble ourselves, pray, and repent for the sins of the nation, God will bring spiritual healing through revival. I’d encourage you to join with us and pray this weekend.

To help, here are some verses about revival.

1. Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you?
Psalms 85:6 NLT

2. I am the high and holy God, who lives forever. I live in a high and holy place, but I also live with people who are humble and repentant, so that I can restore their confidence and hope.
Isaiah 57:15 GNT

3. Then will we not depart from You; revive us (give us life) and we will call upon Your name.
Psalm 80:18 AMP

4. When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
Psalms 69:32 ESV

5. In your faithful love, O LORD, hear my cry; let me be revived by following your regulations.
Psalms 119:149 NLT

6. O Lord, I have heard of what you have done, and I am filled with awe. Now do again in our times the great deeds you used to do. Be merciful, even when you are angry.
Habakkuk 3:2 GNT

7. And now, for a brief moment, grace has been shown us by the Lord our God, Who has left us a remnant to escape and has given us a secure hold in His holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
Ezra 9:8 AMP

8. I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy.
Habakkuk 3:2 NLT

9. And afterward I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and upon the maidservants in those days will I pour out My Spirit.
Joel 2:28-29 AMP

10. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT

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Our Mission

We live in a dog eat dog world. Most people are only out for themselves. When I was younger, you didn’t pass someone on the shoulder who had a flat tire. You pulled over and offered help. Now, we say, “They have a cell phone. I’m sure they’ll call someone for help if they need it.” We don’t give them a second thought because we are going somewhere and we don’t have time to be inconvenienced by someone else’s problem. That’s a spiritual problem that has bled over into our physical world.

  
The Church was founded and built upon helping those in need. It was a beacon on a hill because it was different. It was a group of people whose mission was to serve and help those who were broken down on the Road of Life. The Church fed the hungry. They clothed the poor. The people brought their extra money and possessions to the church with the intent of helping the whole community. When the Church did that, it grew by the thousands daily.

Now, the Church spends its money on many things and has lost its mission. Look at a giving envelope. Very few churches still have a line item for alms and even fewer people give towards it. I believe it’s the number one cause for the lack of explosive growth in the Church today. We have ceased to be a communal organization and have become more like an exclusive club you can belong to. We accept people who look right, act right, and live right. We’ve forgotten our mission to help the broken and hurting.

The military’s phrase, “Leave no man behind,” should be the Church’s mission statement. If we want to reach thousands, we have to get back to that communal place where our purpose and mission is helping others wherever and however they are broken down. It’s not our pastor’s responsibility to make that happen either, it’s ours individually. You can’t read the New Testament as if it was written to pastors, leaders, or even an individual. It was written to each of us as a community of believers.

In Ephesians 6:18, right after Paul tells us to put on God’s Armor, he tells us, “Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out” (MSG). That is written to you and me as individuals in the body. The burden is on us to heal the broken by loving them, to give to those less fortunate to help them along, to support those who are struggling in life, and to encourage those who are down. If each of us will do our part, we will revive not only the Church, but our nation and world.

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The National Day Of Prayer

As you read the Old Testament in the Bible, you come across several places where the nation of Israel were summoned to pray to God as one nation. It was usually during times of captivity that they remembered the Lord, fell on their knees, repented of their sins and prayed. God heard their prayers every time, delivered them from bondage and returned them to their land. Some times it only took a few people to humble themselves before God and He would rescue them. I don’t know why sometimes it took the whole nation and others it didn’t, but I do know that God hears our prayers.

Today is the National Day of Prayer. It’s a day where we as believers have an opportunity to pray with a unified voice for our country and to repent of our sins as a nation. I understand that most Christians may not join in this day of prayer and certainly not all Americans will. Perhaps today will be one of those days where God will listen to the voice of a few and restore an entire nation. Today could be the day that starts a revival that turns the hearts of our people back to God. Revival is sparked by a few and then spreads untamed across the land. Will you be one of the few that sparks it?

The most famous scripture used for days like today is II Chronicles 7:14. It says, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (NLT)” This requires more than a one day commitment of prayer. It requires continual prayer for this nation. It requires us, who are called by His name, to seek His face beyond a day of prayer. The Amplified version says, “Pray, seek, crave and require of necessity my face.” We have got to seek God as if He were a necessity like air in our lungs if we want to see this nation return to Him.

I’m glad that we live in a nation where all but two presidents since George Washington have set aside national days to pray and to seek God’s face on behalf of our nation. The leadership that God has placed in our nation has always understood the value of prayer of its people for the nation. It just hasn’t always been understood by the people. When we pray for our nation, God hears our prayers and moves on our behalf. God desires to restore this or any nation who will get on their knees and seek Him. It starts with a remnant of people who will accept that call. It starts with you and me. Will you join other believers today and in the future to pray for our nation? 

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Prayer Changes Us

In II Timothy 2:1, Paul says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them.” When I read those words, I wonder if they challenged Timothy as much as they do me. Paul didn’t tell him to just pray for people he liked. He didn’t tell him to just pray for Christians. He told him to pray for all people and to ask God to help them.

To me, that’s hard to do. There are people that selfishly I don’t want God to help. I’m like Jonah a lot of times. I know God’s desire is to bring others to repentance, but I don’t always act in accordance with that. When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, he disobeyed because he didn’t like them. We know that because later, when God spared the city, Jonah threw a hissy fit. He said, “I knew you were a merciful God. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.”

I wonder if Timothy was beginning to show the same signs. I wonder if he was being selective in who he shared the Gospel with. It’s not up to us to be selective with it or with our prayers. God doesn’t want anyone to perish. When we truly get that, we will start praying for others. We will intercede on their behalf. We won’t hold back from sharing the Gospel because we know that’s what God’s heart is.

God knows we let our human emotions get in the way of His will. We let how we feel about someone to override how He feels for them. Paul knew the remedy for the situation is to pray for them and to give thanks for them. When we begin to pray blessings on people we don’t like and thank God for them, our vision of them changes. We stop seeing them as humans and start seeing them as souls. We quit looking at their value to us, and see the value God places on them.

I’ve always heard that prayer changes things. One of the biggest things it changes is us. That’s why Paul urges Timothy to pray. He knew as a young minister, he could fall into the trap of being selective with the Gospel. He knew that Timothy needed a greater vision. One that included all men, not just a few. It’s a vision that you and I need today. The way we get it is to begin praying for all and asking God to help them. If we truly want to see the world changed, we have to get on our knees and spend some time interceding.

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