Sunday, November 8, 2009

“You who call upon the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.”  Is. 62:7

                This morning Margaret and I attended a delightful worship service.  And the message was a heartfelt and painful message about revival and the need for revival.  The pastor rightly divided God’s Word and made it easy for the congregation to understand (if maybe a little hard to digest).  And as I was listening to this man of God cry out for God to come and restore our land, I was reminded of some very core principles to make that happen.  These have been articulated by George Otis, Jr. in The Quickening and worth remembering as we see the exponential plunge into moral darkness in our land.

1.       God wants to be invited.  (2 Chron. 7:14)  Isn’t it amazing how seldom we invite God to join us as we weep over our Jerusalem?  He is always here, but most often He won’t show Himself without an invitation.  I am so tired of churches that are quick to pray for God’s help in sickness, but refuse to invite Him into the real issues of restoring the Church and the decaying of our culture.

2.       God is drawn to holiness and humility.  We must know that God is uncomfortable (to put it mildly) in our worldly endeavors.  Where holy people gather, humbly seeking the Lord, don’t be surprised if He answers our anguished prayers.

3.       Corporate revival begins with individual obedience.  I heard a preacher say one time the only way to encourage revival is to draw a circle on your closet floor.  Put your knees in that circle and pray until God transforms your heart.  Then revival can begin.

4.       Biblical unity is demanded by God.  We must understand that God despises our labels (Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, Catholic, etc. x 2500 times.  Labels keep people out of church.  I have avoided the wonderful church I attended this morning because of the label.  It was right out my door, but the label kept me away.  God wants His church to be one as He, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are one.  In all my years of ministry, I have never heard anyone give a proper justification of forming denominations and how denominations correlate to Jesus prayer on the night He was betrayed.

5.       Breakthrough prayer = destiny.  I call it Transforming Prayer and this was the subject of my doctoral thesis.  I am convinced that there is prayer that is transforming and that prayer will invoke the Presence of God and change our lives, our families, our churches, and the world.

6.       God will always be unique.  Don’t expect God to follow formulas or rituals.  When He comes we will know it, but the way He does it will not fit our pre-conceived notions.

7.       God uses servant leaders.  Bankers, M.D.s, CPA’s and lawyers need not apply unless they forget their worldly power and submit humbly to God.  Sadly I have found that these people with money dictate the life of a church and rob it of its power.

Otis identifies not just the core principles of revival; he also spells out the obstacles which keep it from occurring. 

1.       Theological misconceptions.  If a Body’s theology is not based squarely on the Word – the whole Word in its proper context – then denominations will spring up, abuses will happen, and God will be disgusted.

2.       Reliance on Programs – This may be one of the greatest sins of the modern church.  Pastors run around trying to find just the right program that will make their church grow.  Eugene Peterson was once approached by a woman who said, “I enjoy your church, but I don’t see any of your programs.”  To which Peterson replied, “Madam, if you will make me your pastor, you will not need a program.”  Praise God.  His congregation was never subjected to Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John Maxwell, etc.

3.       Lowered expectations.  C. S. Lewis responded to a question, “Do we ask God for too much?”  And his reply was, “Heavens no.  We ask God for too little.”  You see we ask for healing Aunt Matilda’s hip, when God wants us to pray for Aunt Matilda’s relationship to God.  We ask for a new building, God wants a powerful relationship which will force a new building.  We ask for peace of mind, God wants us to have peace with Him.

4.       Misplaced motives.  Do we want revival or do we want church growth, which means higher pastoral salaries, bigger staff, and yes the new building.

5.       Ignorance of the past.  Every church has a history.  People were mistreated, pastors were forcibly removed, and yes the church was involved in the clan, expansion of land which stole from the Native Americans and many Christians were slave owners.  If we think that doesn’t matter today, we simply do not understand spiritual warfare.

6.       No sense of membership.  The mega-church is born out of peoples’ desire to hide and not become involved.  They can sneak in the back door, 5 minutes late, and leave and really never connect.  God wants His people to be the Church of One Another.  Without that revival cannot happen.

7.       Lack of hunger.  Satan loves it when God blesses us materially.  He has been around long enough to know the human tendency to forget about God in the midst of blessing.  Remember ancient Israel.  Remember the rapid decline of churches in America during the last 50 years – the greatest era of material prosperity the world has ever seen.  God wants us to want Him.  “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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

God bless you Pastor Jimmy.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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