One of the highlights of the year for me is revival meetings. There is something very special about gathering together with other believers to sing, pray, be challenged by God‘s Word through preaching and to seek God for personal and corporate revival. I have found that not all believers see the need nor will take the time to engage in revival meetings.
Some wonder, “Why a revival meeting?” Don’t we already have enough to do in life? True! There is a lot on our calendars. We are busy. Home, work, sports, friends all have space on our calendars and then there are our devices that deceptively suck hours of our time out of our days. Some will say in frustration and excuse, “I just don’t have any time this week for revival, Pastor!” May I have a moment to challenge your thinking.
Ephesians 5:16 tells us “Redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Paul was encouraging believers, who lived in days that were against God, to buy back time from being wasted on temporal pursuits and invest it in what was truly, eternally important. More important than anything else in our lives, is our walk with God and that walk being revived (reset or refreshed…whatever the need). Who you are with God is more important than who you are with your family, your coworkers and your friends. Your walk with God is more important than any program, than any project or pursuit. When we walk with God as we ought, we are the best spouse, the best employee, the best friend and the best child. Everything flows from my walk with God. Perhaps that is why Solomon challenged his son to “Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.“ (Proverbs 4:23)
Make the time by setting aside things that are not as eternally important as your walk with God. If a few Facebook friends don’t get a like from you, will that really matter in eternity? If you miss a ball game, your favorite TV show or your child misses a sport practice, will it matter in eternity? If you miss some sleep in order to gather with other believers to be under the preaching of the Word, will you regret that in eternity?
No one has time, we all have to make time for what is truly important. Our walk with God and the preaching of God’s Word for revival is truly important.
This year at Grace Baptist Church, our theme is By His Spirit. Zechariah 4:6 says, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, Saith the Lord of hosts.” God was communicating a powerful truth through Zechariah that was not for his day only, but for our’s today.
Many followers of Christ endeavour to live, witness and serve in their own strength and effort. Frustrated and defeat pile up leading to quiet despair. They consider themselves to be lesser Chrisitan who is unable to obey God’s Word and be faithful in God’s work.
The truth is, God did not design the Christian life to be lived out on our own and without help. He has graciously provided all the power with which to accomplish His ‘why’ for our lives. It will not be accomplished by our might or our power, but by His Spirit through us.
Prayer and the Word of God are key to living By His Spirit. I hope you are striving to make these Christian disciplines a daily routine. Beyond, your Bible reading, there are some related books that God has used to bless many followers who hungered for more. I challenge you to make this list a part of your reading goal this year. Each book title is linked to Amazon.
- By My Spirit by Jonathan Goforth
- I Saw the Welsh Revival by David Matthews
- The Calvary Road by Roy Hession
- Experiencing Jesus by John Van Gelderen
- Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray
- The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
- Praying Hyde by Captain E. G. Carre
- Rent Heavens R. B. Jones
- Revival in Our Time by Harold Vaughan
- Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray
- Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray
- We Would See Jesus by Roy Hession
- Victory in Christ by Charles G. Trumbull
We’ve all had a cold before. No big deal…right!? Unless you are five weeks old. This week has been a bit of a roller coaster for my wife and I and many who know us. As I write this, I am sitting at Children’s looking at my little girl hooked up with oxygen and monitoring wires. Earlier this week she was diagnosed with RSV. I have visited people who had their children in the hospital with this, but none of our children have had it. It is really quite scary.
We have been in the hospital three different times over this week. The first two times we were sent home because it was not bad enough for the doctor to admit her. We understood and did our best to follow instruction and care for her.
Earlier today, after having been up all night with her, it got worse…much worse. She was having a very difficult time breathing because of all the congestion. We decided to take her in for a third time. She was admitted to ICU and placed under good care.
Sheila and I were sitting here talking about the things that God allows into our lives. I commented how that this past Wednesday night I mentioned in my sermon that God often teaches us to pray as we go through difficult times. Even as a said that, I wondered what He would bring us through in order to learn to depend on Him in a greater way.
I simply write these thoughts to convey how good our God is while He allows us to go through valleys and leads us to greater dependance on Him.
I am reminded of this thought: I heard some time ago that anything that leads me to God is a good thing. This certainly makes sense in light of Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.“
In every generation God has used fully committed young people as influencers. God ability and desire is the same for Generation Z! There is no need to wait to follow God. You can follow God now! You will be amazed at how God will use you.
There is always something worry about! Right now you are likely worried about something. Worried about what you ate, if you are healthy, will I get enough hours this week or will I get stressed out while trying to figure out getting insurance on the marketplace. You are not alone! USA Today reported the top ten worries of Americans.
- Top Ten Worries of 2016 (USA Today)
- Corruption of government officials (same top fear as 2015) — 60.6%
- Terrorist attacks — 41%
- Not having enough money for the future — 39.9%
- Being a victim of terror — 38.5%
- Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition — 38.5%
- People I love dying — 38.1%
- Economic or financial collapse — 37.5%
- Identity theft — 37.1%
- People I love becoming seriously ill — 35.9%
- The Affordable Health Care Act/”Obamacare” — 35.5%
Worry! Worry! Worry! I have met some chronic worriers. I have gone through phases in my life of constant worry. It really is not very fun. It takes a toll on you both physically and mentally.
What is the answer to worry? What will usher worry out the door of our heart and mind? Though it might sound overly simplistic, trust is the answer!
Psalm 125:1 They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, Which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
God says that when I trust in Him, I will be just like Mount Zion. This is a mountain that stands some 2,500 feet above sea level. It is safe to say that Mount Zion is not going anywhere. It is stable, firm, steadfast, unmovable and sure. The Psalmist gives a vivid and accurate illustration of the one who trusts in the Lord.
Perhaps you find yourself troubled, anxious, worried about everything including your worry. Pause! Pray and choose to trust God with all your problems. You can sit and worry about things you cannot change or stand and trust them into the hands of Him that has the power to change them.
A little boy was loudly singing the well known hymn, “Trust and Obey” in church one beautiful Sunday. Instead he sang, “Trust and O.K.”. Little did he realize, his mistake contained a great truth. When we trust God, everything will be O.K..
Listen—Promises for the Trusting Heart
Recently I have been doing some thinking about outreach events. At Grace, we have at least four large outreaches each year—Easter, Vacation Bible School, The Big To Do and Christmas. Beyond those we schedule eleven Great Commission Saturdays, Wednesday Blitz’s and weekly soulwinning. Right now we are preparing for our Vacation Bible School. We have just finished our team training and are anticipating a wonderful event. Every year, God works in the lives of children, teens and adults through VBS. It is a tried and proven evangelistic tool. I am excited about it and our team is as well. However, a thought I have been considering lately has the potential to increase our effectiveness during outreach events.
Here’s my thought. It is easy as believers to look at outreach as an event rather than a lifestyle. Our church has an outreach event and so we flip the switch to get involved in Gospel outreach. Sometimes we flip the switch in order not to feel guilty. We go out on door to door soulwinning because everyone else is. When the event ends, we flip the switch and go back to our former secret Christian lifestyle. I have been preaching through the Gospel of Mark and the example of Christ is one characterized by consistently preaching the Gospel. It was not a weekly, monthly or quarterly event, but a daily lifestyle. He trained His disciples this way.
If we only reach out to people with the Gospel during outreach events, we will be ineffective witnesses. We must, on a daily basis, be praying for and seeking opportunities to preach Christ.
Let’s not be “switch-flippers” when it comes to outreach. Let’s make it our lifestyle at work, as we are about our communities, at the park and wherever we go. When outreach is our lifestyle, outreach events will be welcomed opportunities that increase our impact.
What person has God prepared for you to preach Christ to today?