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Preparing for Revival

Preparing for Revival

“In all labor there is profit,
But mere talk leads only to poverty”

Proverbs 14:23

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share a series of blogs on how to prepare for revival. I will post them on Wednesday mornings. Let me be clear that when I speak of revival, I am speaking of a time of scheduled revival meetings, not the actual act of spiritual revival. The actual act of spiritual revival is an act of God, and God alone. Man cannot bring forth revival. However, we can prepare ourselves for it, pray for it, and seek God for it with the faith and heart of seeing God pour out revival upon us. That is one of the main purposes of having revival meetings. Therefore, when I am referring to revival, I am referring to revival meetings. However, I am not interested in having revival meetings for the sake of having revival meetings but having revival meetings for the purpose of seeking God for genuine revival. In this blog, I will share both practical and spiritual ways that we need to prepare for these revival meetings.

Unfortunately, many churches are no longer having revival meetings. One of the main reasons they do not have them is because they claim they are no longer effective. Statistics prove this to be false. Churches that have annual revival meetings and use a God called, and gifted evangelist statistically has more baptisms and church growth than churches that do not have annual revival meetings. I will agree that churches and pastors who look at revival as just another scheduled event on the calendar and therefore put forth little to no effort will most likely have an ineffective revival.

The truth is, planning a successful revival is time-consuming work; at least it should be. Most churches plan for months in advance for their VBS, and so they should. The same labor-intensive work that a church invests into VBS should also be invested in a revival meeting. VBS is often called the greatest evangelistic outreach of a church. A well planned VBS should reach a great harvest of souls, and they very often do. At the same time, thousands of people, from young to old, are saved in revival meetings every year. As an evangelist, I am friends with many other evangelists. I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to hear from them of the great harvests that are being reached in their revival meetings from week to week.

The planning and preparing of a VBS is often very difficult and time-consuming. Though that is true, I have seldom seen or heard of churches looking at it as a tedious task. Rather, they enjoy the labor because they are full of expectation of what it will produce-souls saved. With that same joyful expectation, churches should excitedly labor in their preparation for revival. With that same joyful expectation, churches shouldn’t allow anything to stop them from having revival meetings. Most churches that regularly have VBS would be appalled at the idea of not having one-and rightly so. In the same way, they should be appalled at the idea of not having a revival.

Prior to accepting the call of an evangelist, I was a pastor for eighteen years. I know that pastors are busy and church calendars get full fast. But we are talking about revival. We are talking about the saved being kindled afresh, and the lost being snatched out of the domain of darkness and brought into God’s marvelous light. Isn’t that worthy of proper planning and preparation? Isn’t that worthy of any tedious and time-consuming labor we will endure? Hebrews 12:2 tells us that with the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. By no means was the cross joy. The joy was on the other side of the cross. Jesus had to endure the cross to reach that joy and make that joy available to us today. Anything worth having is worth working for. Let us labor for revival. Let us labor for lost souls. Let us labor for a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God. Let us labor in preparing ourselves to be usable vessels.

 
 

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A Clear Biblical Mandate

A Clear Biblical Mandate

Clearly the church is failing in regards to evangelizing this lost world. Thom Rainer, the CEO of Lifeway, recently wrote in a blog titled, Where Have All the Baptisms Gone? “I recently reported the latest statistics for our denomination. It’s not a pretty picture. Our membership declined again, this time by 105,708. And our baptisms were down to 314,956, the lowest level since 1948. But in 1948, we only had 6 million members. Today we have 16 million members. We are reaching less people for Christ, even though we have 10 million more members than we did in 1948.”

Lifeway isn’t just a great book store, they are also an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention and collect data from all of the churches within the SBC. Therefore, the denomination he speaks of here is the Southern Baptist Convention. More recently he stated that 93-94% of what many SBC churches call church growth is from transfers and not conversions. That isn’t true church growth. That is simply taking fish out of one pond and putting them in another. He also states that only about 90% of SBC churches are intentionally evangelistic. How sad. The other sad reality is, the SBC’s statistics are better than most other denominations.

Even the most spiritually blind person among us today can see that this world is becoming morally bankrupt while it slips further from the Lord. Immorality of every sort is socially acceptable in almost every facet of society, even in many churches. Bible believing Christians are left asking the question, why. Why is this world slipping further and further away from God’s righteous standard?

We are quick to make excuses that it is a sign of the times we are living in. We say the Lord is coming back soon and we are therefore seeing the apostasy. There may be truth in these statements, but this truth should cause us to work even harder for the kingdom and not less. We are even quick to pass the blame on everyone else. We say that the government, the judicial system, the news media, and the entertainment industry for the most part are anti Christian liberals who stand against us. We say things like, “If we can get Washington right we will reclaim this nation for the Lord.” However, there is a major problem with statements such as this. It is not the government’s job nor responsibility to lead this nation to the Lord-it is the churches. It is the churches, and only the churches, responsibility to evangelize this lost world.

The clear picture that statistics such as this, and many more like it, show is that the church is not doing its job in evangelizing the lost. God has given a clear biblical mandate to all Christians to share the gospel. Just prior to His ascension Jesus gave the final instructions to His disciples to go into all of the world and proclaim the gospel. (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:47-49, John 20:21). Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” He said, you shall be, or you will be, My witnesses. Jesus intention for His church to share the gospel is abundantly clear. Since the gospel, and only the gospel, is the power unto salvation, only the gospel of Jesus Christ can transform society. Don’t you think it’s time we start sharing it?

We can sit around and mope over our sad state, or we can get up and do something about it. I prefer the latter. For this reason, I am starting this series of blogs titled, Missions, Ministry, and Evangelism which I will post every Monday that will focus on practical ways we can personally share the gospel along with ways we can challenge our churches to get beyond the walls and into the community to be intentional in missions, ministry, and evangelism, for the sake of reaching this lost world with the gospel.

Stay tuned and go share the gospel. Feel free to share.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2018 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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