The thought of revival has been heavy on my heart these last few days. Where is revival? Do we even desire to see it again in the church? What really is revival and are we willing to pay the price for it?
If there is something this nation needs it is revival! Furthermore, the church is at a critical place in America and revival is the only thing that will propel the church forward. There are thriving and alive churches but we truly need an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will result in changed lives.
I read an article recently that arrested my attention:
"Evangelism, fine as it is, is not revival. After a signally successful meeting, Billy Graham was asked, "Is this revival?" Graham replied, "No. When revival comes, I expect to see two things which we have not seen yet. First, a new sense of the holiness of God on the part of Christians; and second, a new sense of the sinfulness of sin on the part of Christians."
We might add a third and closely-related indication of revival: a new working of the Holy Spirit in the local church. Why? For two big reasons, among others; first, because the Word of God calls for it; and second, because the world challenge calls for it." —Moody Monthly-
If we take God's Word seriously then these words will beckon us to search our hearts. Revival will produce holiness and it will cause us to be aware of our own sinfulness. The problem lies in the fact that we have rewritten what holiness is. Christians embrace, watch, participate, and talk in ways that once were considered unholy. Has God changed His mind? Or have we changed our view of holiness?
I still read the Psalmist with a great fear of God when He said:
"1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts." Psalm 15 NLT
I believe the church will see revival when we lead the way of being a holy people, a people set apart to God and willing to ask Him to search our hearts and see if there is any wicked way in us. Uncomfortable? Yes! But necessary if we are to see God bring a revival to our church and our lives.
I pray, today, for You to give us a harvest of souls. Let there no longer be a drought of salvations; for our generation needs Jesus. Help us to be salt and light in this world and reflect you to our neighbors, our friends, and our family. The only hope for our world is Jesus and I pray that you would give us opportunities to share the Gospel and to show the love of Christ to others. Help me be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, so that I might feel His leading to reach out to those who are apart from You. I yield myself to You and make myself available to share Jesus with others.
In His Name! Amen!
Have you ever tried to find quiet in a noisy world?
Today’s life is filled with busy activities and things that clutter our minds. We often feel that the more we have to do on our calendar the better. After all staying busy, “Keeps us out of trouble”, right?
However, when is the last time you stopped to smell the roses? When is the last time that you sat down uninterrupted for 20 to 30 minutes and just meditated on the things of God?
Psalm 46 declares, “Be still and know that I am God.”
It is often hard to hear God’s voice or even to sense His presence when everything else is calling our name. We always have another place to go, another thing to do, another call to make. Remember, however, to take time to be still. God’s embrace is not very far away. You just have to stop long enough to embrace Him back.
I challenge you this week to take 20-30 minutes alone in a place that is free from distraction. Do not turn on your cell phone, or bring anything with you but your Bible and be still. That’s right, Be still! I know it is hard for some people to “sit around” but take the challenge anyway.
Be still and you will find refreshing for your weary soul.
One of the Classic Christian Authors that can instantly stir the passions of my soul is Andrew Murray. He spoke often of our relationship with God and our lives of prayer. Read these words and let your prayer life be stirred:
“The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God. The Divine life within us comes from God, and is entirely dependent upon Him. As I need every moment afresh the air to breathe, as the sun, every moment afresh sends down its light, so it is only in direct living communication with God that my soul can be strong.
The manna of one day was corrupt when the next day came. I must every day have fresh grace from heaven, and I obtain it only in direct waiting upon God Himself. Begin each day by tarrying before God, and letting Him touch you. Take time to meet God.
To this end, let your first act in your devotion be a setting yourself still before God. In prayer, or worship, everything depends upon God taking the chief place. I must bow quietly before Him in humble faith and adoration, speaking thus within my heart: “God is. God is near. God is love, longing to communicate Himself to me. God the Almighty One, Who worketh all in all, is even now waiting to work in me, and make Himself known.” Take time, till you know God is very near.
When you have given God His place of honor, glory, and power, take your place of deepest lowliness, and seek to be filled with the Spirit of humility. As a creature it is your blessedness to be nothing, that God may be all in you. As a sinner you are not worthy to look up to God; bow in self abasement. As a saint, let God’s love overwhelm you, and bowing, you still lower down. Sink down before Him in humility, meekness, patience, and surrender to His goodness and mercy. He will exalt you.” Andrew Murray, The Deeper Christian Life
Join me in praying the prayer for Rogers First Assembly every day this week.
Oh, that you would rend the Heavens and come down. I pray that the Ozark Mountains would shake at Your Presence. We ask you for a powerful move of Your Spirit and that we would know Your presence. Help us yield ourselves to what you want to do at Rogers First Assembly. Our desire is to have an Encounter With You!
Awaken us to the moving of Your Holy Spirit and let our eyes be fixed on You. Let our lives be a reflection of Your working in us and let Your presence affect our lives in a powerful way. We need You, O God!
In Jesus Name, Amen!
I came across this article again today and I believe it is a good reminder to us about how we can impact the visitors that come each week. God allows us to see visitors each week and if we will continue to love them as well as go the extra step to build relationships with them, we could see an increase in how many guests we see coming back.
Here is the article by Thom Rainer:
One of the more common questions I’m asked relates to growth barriers. For example, church leaders may want to know how to move past the 150-attendance level of the past five years. Or other leaders desire to know how to break though financial giving barriers.
Those questions are tough because they often presume a brief response to be adequate. In reality, there are many theological and methodological issues at work in growth barriers. Today, I am looking at a very basic barrier: lack of friendliness to church guests.
In a previous blog post, I noted things we should not say to a guest in our worship services. In today’s post I look at the positive perspective: seven things we should say to guests.
1. “Thank you for being here.”It’s just that basic. I have heard from numerous church guests who returned because they were simply told “thank you.”
2. “Let me help you with that.”If you see someone struggling with umbrellas, young children, diaper bags, purses and other items, a gesture to hold something for them is a huge positive. Of course, this comment is appropriate for member to member as well.
3. “Please take my seat.”I actually heard that comment twice in a church where I was speaking in the Nashville area. The first comment came from a member to a young family of five who were trying to find a place to sit together.
4. “Here is my email address. Please let me know if I can help in any way.”Of course, this comment must be used with discretion, but it can be a hugely positive message to a guest
5. “Can I show you where you need to go?”Even in smaller churches, guests will not know where to find the nursery, restrooms and small group meeting areas. You can usually tell when a guest does not know where he or she is to go.
6. “Let me introduce you to ___________.”The return rate of guests is always higher if they meet other people. A church member may have the opportunity to introduce the guest to the pastor, other church staff and other members of the church.
7. “Would you join us for lunch?”I saved this question for last for two reasons. First, the situation must obviously be appropriate before you offer the invitation. Second, I have seen this approach have the highest guest return rate of any one factor. What if your church members sought to invite different guests 6 to 12 times a year? The burden would not be great; but the impact would be huge.
Let’s look at one example of breaking attendance barriers by saying the right things to guests. Presume your church has two first-time guests a week. Over the course of a year, the church would have 100 first-time guests. With most of the members being genuinely guest friendly, you could see half of those guests become active members. Attendance could thus increase by as much as 50 persons every year.
Good interaction with guests is a huge step toward breaking attendance barriers, but it is obviously not the only step. We are launching a new subscription ministry called Church Answers. One of the three resources you will get every month is called “Breaking Barriers.”
Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.