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05 April 2009

Confession and "Revivals"

In response to Preston's comment on the previous post, which is a line of questioning that must be brought up, I'm posting an e-mail that I sent to our church fellowship on the day that our "Awakening" services began. We used that word because we don't want people to get the idea that we have somehow scheduled a time for the Holy Spirit to fill us for a change, so that we actually start obeying (which, to be honest, is what the word "revival" communicates to me in the traditional context). We called it this because we have hoped for a spiritual awakening of the Church. I know that this is the cry of many.

Here is that e-mail:

To cut right to the chase, when I was younger I literally hated to go to revival services. (Should I say that?) Seriously, I did. I thought, "Not fair! We already have to go and be bored for several hours every Sunday. Why do we have to repeat it for three or four nights??" I also thought that if we had the sense to schedule a "revival" meeting, then we must know that we needed "revived," and if we knew that, then we ought to just get revived and skip the part about extra services.I'm not like that now.

These days, I believe the Church in America is in serious need of revival. It's not in need of taking a stronger stand for its rights in America -- we do "movements" rather well. It's not in need of programs or ministries -- we've done lots of those pretty well over the years, too.The Church is in need of the Holy Spirit's fire.

The Church should be full of vessels (that's you and me) who are totally emptied of themselves so they can be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.

In Revelation 3:1-2, Jesus said of the church at Sardis, "I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God." (emphasis mine)

Ow. No one would want to hear God say that about them. May that never be said of the fellowship at Wall Highway (or of your fellowship). On the other hand…

As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
     I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.
- Psalm 17:15 (NKJV)

May that verse be fulfilled in the body of believers at Wall Highway (and at your fellowship)!

Tonight at 7:00 we begin our first service of what we call, and believe will be, "Awakening." Though Ed Newton is a highly respected man of God and an accomplished and captivating speaker, a man cannot bring revival. Though I pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance in what we sing, music can't bring revival whether it's your favorite flavor or not.The Holy Spirit can -- and will -- use His Word and these acts of obedience to bring about revival, to bring spiritual, emotional, and physical healing (yes, I said "physical healing"), to break hearts that have become apathetic, to forgive those who have been playing the game and have never truly repented, and to make the "footprint" of Wall Highway in our community HUGE for His glory.

Psalm 67:2 (NLT) says this:

May your ways be known throughout the earth,
     your saving power among people everywhere.

May God use His Church to bring this about, and may what we begin tonight at "Awakening" be the start of a nation-shaking revival. (Don't think small!)


Leroy said...

Growing up in the Southern Baptist denomination has exposed me to many "revivals". I can honestly say the services at WHBC over the past few days was not the old-fashioned "revival", it was so much more! I think awakening covers it very well!!

It wasn't about performance, it wasn't about entertaining, it wasn't because it's been a while since we've had a "revival". It was straight-forward about (re)energizing the Church in our local area!

The responses to the services, I think, spoke for themselves and clearly show this was an awakening!

Preston N said...

Sadly, I don't think we've experienced revival on the scale of the Great Awakenings in over the past 50 years. Yes, there has been moments where God's light may have shined a little brighter, but over time it dims or fades as people return back to their way of living.

In order for Revival to occur the most important thing the church must do is:

1. Prayer, prayer, prayer, prayer - repentant prayer, intercessory prayer, crying out in unction prayer for the dying and lost sinners prayer. Are we crying over the hearts of sinners?

2. The church must be walking in humility - God will never use a church who is full of pride and somehow has come to think they are more anointed than others, churches whose pastor and staff think they have arrived theologically or they think their church can't live without them.

3. The church needs to repent! Repent of bad theology, repent of seeker sensitive movement, repent of lukewarmness, repent of post-modernism and return to holiness.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I, too am very concerned that U.S. churches have forgotten our first love. Where is the passion? Why are we not like the first churches in Acts? Is God pleased with our going-thru-the-motions and just coming to church to 'get a Word'? Like Ed Newton said Friday "We are NOT to be consumers OF God. We are to be consumed BY God!" What would the body of Christ (not one specific church)look like if we are truly abiding in HIM- not a human/one-sided agenda. What would *I* be like if I was not 'somewhere in the middle' - stuck between the alter and the door? (song by Casting Crowns) Have we/I gotten comfortable, dare I say 'lukewarm'? God forgive!! God awaken us!


Dean Lusk said...

Tiffany, I'm sitting here blogging about this stuff. I hope I'm not just "tuning" (see today's post). I don't want to offer talk that doesn't translate into actions.

I've stopped going through many of the motions (I believe this is an ongoing thing as the Spirit reveals more and more -- some things can be great tools in the hands of God, but we allow them to be idols instead), and I'm seeing that not everyone likes it. That's very encouraging!

BUT... sometimes I'm sure I'm just being an obstinate jerk, and that is not a good thing. May God give me wisdom to know the difference between being determined to follow Him and simply trying to get on people's nerves or push them or shock them.

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