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Revival’s Coming, Let’s Make Sure Everyone Knows

Revival’s Coming, Let’s Make Sure Everyone Knows

I can’t tell you how many times throughout the years I’ve heard a church member say that they knew nothing about an upcoming event within the church though it’s been in the bulletin for weeks. Therefore, we can’t assume everyone, or anyone, knows about an upcoming event, though it’s been clearly posted. A church revival is one of the most important events of the year. You want it to be well attended by the church members, and, you want the church members to invite others to come. Therefore, it is vitally important that you do the best possible job you can in making sure everyone knows about it. 

            By all means, put it in the bulletin, for those who actually read it, yet, at the same time, find some other ways to make sure word is getting out. A month or so before the revival, start putting inserts in the bulletin with detailed information about the revival. Tell the church members to put it somewhere that they will see it regularly and encourage them to use it as a prayer guide. Make extra’s and encourage the members to use them to invite others.

            No one likes endless announcements in a worship service, so be creative in getting the word out during the service. Find people who have been saved or spiritually impacted during a previous revival service and ask them to share a brief testimony a few weeks before the revival service. This will remind the members of the upcoming revival service but also make them aware of the potential spiritual impact a revival can, and should, have. There should also be strong encouragement during this time for the members to invite lost people to come.

            Prayer is one of the most important ways that we can prepare for a revival. I will discuss in greater detail in a future blog on how we can pray for the revival service and how we can pray for the lost but for now, let me encourage you to have a special time of prayer in the worship service for the revival and for the lost. For a month or so before the revival, begin each service with an altar call and ask the members to spend some time praying for themselves in personal spiritual preparation. During the invitation, encourage members to pray for those they would like to see saved. This not only encourages the members to pray, but it also reminds them that revival is coming, and builds up the anticipation of its coming.  

            Several weeks prior to the revival services, the pastor should start preparing the congregation for revival in his sermons. He should preach on the need of revival, what revival is, the need of evangelistic outreach in inviting the lost, and the need for spiritual preparation. The pastor doesn’t have to make every sermon and every point about the upcoming revival, but he should reference it as often as possible in preparation and anticipation of the upcoming revival.

In doing this, the church will not only be fully aware that revival is coming; they will be ready. In fact, in many cases, revival will have already started before the evangelist steps on the scene.

            It is also wise to get the children involved in revival preparation. Getting them involved will get the whole family involved. Get the children to make invitations and handouts. Get them to make some crafts like signs and posters that can be placed around the church building that will promote the revival. Utilize them in as many ways as you can because they love to help, and their fire will quickly spread to the rest of the church.

            Be creative in getting the word out. Make every effort to make sure everyone knows that revival is coming. Don’t just make them aware of dates but the details, and the potential of what can happen if and when true revival comes.

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2019 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Do Revivals Have to be Sunday-Wednesday?

Do Revivals Have to be Sunday-Wednesday?

As stated in a previous blog, one of the concerns pastors have in scheduling a revival is whether or not people will come. My advice then was to trust God and schedule one anyway. That being said, this is a legitimate concern for many churches. The church today is in competition with almost everything. Like it or not, the church is no longer the center of the community. Regardless of the time of year, there will be something that will prevent some from coming. And, let’s face the facts, far too many put the church and its activities on the back burner. All the more, this should confirm the need for revival and should not allow this to keep us from scheduling a revival.

            If attendance and participation is a concern for you and your church, then start thinking outside the box. Many years ago, most revivals went on for weeks. Apart from a move of God, those days are gone. When I first started preaching revivals, it was common to schedule a revival from Sunday through Friday. Even those are a rarity today. Most revivals today are scheduled from Sunday through Wednesday.

            Though I will discuss other schedules for revival meetings to be considered, don’t discount the Sunday through Wednesday schedule. One of the great advantages of having a Sunday through Wednesday revival is that they seem to produce the most momentum. Each day of the revival, the pastor and evangelist encourage church members to invite others to come, and when the members see God moving, they generally do. Because of this, I have often seen the greatest number of decisions made on Wednesday evenings. Wednesday evening is also the night the majority of youth come and is a very effective time for reaching them. The youth are also the most likely to invite others to come, especially when they are encouraged to do so.

            But know, the Sunday through Wednesday schedule isn’t your only option. Over the years, I have preached many revivals that were scheduled for Friday through Sunday. These seem to be very effective in bringing in lost and unchurched people. Some of my greatest revivals, with the most attendance, and the most decisions, have been Friday through Sunday revivals. This schedule seems to be the most effective among younger families that are usually tied up with daily activities throughout the week. They will often struggle to get home from work, get the kids fed and ready, then rush off to church. This is often a great deterrent in their participation in a revival. So, strongly consider providing a meal on Friday evening and offer a nursery throughout the revival and you will likely see more younger families attend.   

            Another fun and effective way to draw people in is to have a weekend Harvest Festival. In a harvest festival, the church would plan a block party with plenty of activities for all ages on a Saturday. The block party will then end with an evangelistic service. The block party will also be used to invite folks to church the following day for another evangelistic service. This can be a very effective evangelistic strategy whether its schedule is limited to Saturday and Sunday, or amid a Friday through Saturday revival, or used as a kickoff for a Sunday through Wednesday revival. This strategy can be costly and will need many workers but has proven to be very effective. It can also be done with a cluster of churches working together.

            Many churches today have Harvest Sundays. A harvest Sunday is basically a one-day revival where the members work hard at getting as many lost folks to their Sunday morning service as possible where the evangelist will preach the gospel and will often see many saved. The Sunday School and/or discipleship training hour can also be used as a time where the evangelist can teach witness training. This strategy has been used by many churches and has been proven to be effective in seeing many saved. Be warned, though. Because it is only one day don’t think of it as being a means of putting forth the least amount of effort. The same amount of effort, planning, and preparation as a weeklong revival should be put into a Harvest Sunday. If the church members don’t get on board and invite the lost, it won’t be a very effective strategy.

            No doubt, there are many ways we can have and schedule a revival service in our churches so strongly consider having one. Think outside the box. Though no schedule will ever suit everyone, talk to your church members, and ask them what they think would work. Most importantly, pray and seek God for when and how you should have a revival. He may greatly surprise you. God’s way will be the only effective way.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2019 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Revival is an Act of War

Revival is an Act of War

“The Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” I Samuel 17:47

Rest assured, the moment a pastor and church decide they are going to have a revival their spiritual adversary, the devil, will do all he can to discourage, distract, divide, and dismantle any effort. Why? Because he knows how powerful a revived church truly is and will do anything to try and stop it. My purpose in making you aware of this is not to cause fear, but for you to be prepared. If you are planning a revival but not planning on thoroughly pray over it and properly plan it, don’t worry, you are of no threat. But when he realizes that your church and pastor are serious about seeking God for revival, watch out, he’s coming with all that he has. Why do you think so many churches no longer bother to have revival services anymore? For them, the adversary has won the battle.  

            The fact that he is attempting to disrupt the planning of the revival service is evidence that he is afraid of what’s to come. Though statistics prove them wrong, the discouragement might come from other pastors telling you, “Why bother with a revival service. Don’t you know those are old fashioned and ineffective in our day?” Don’t listen. The distraction might come straight out of the churches calendar that keeps you and the members so busy that you have little or no time to prepare. Make time. The division might come from the church members themselves grumbling that if you don’t schedule it around their personal preferences, they won’t come nor support it. Schedule it anyway. There will never be a perfect time that will please or work for everyone. Through all of these efforts, and more, the adversary little by little will attempt to dismantle the revival efforts. Don’t let him.  

            We don’t need to fear the advisory. Rather, we need to boldly stand up to him, knowing that God is bigger. We stand up to him by boldly stepping out in faith. The mighty soldiers of Israel stood shaking in their armor when the giant named Goliath challenged them. When David saw this, he knew immediately what needed to happen and took actions. This young boy, with a sling and a rock, boldly stepped out in faith to fight this mighty giant who was fully armed for battle. He probably looked like the greatest fool on the face of the earth to the other soldiers but in no time at all that giant fell dead at David’s feet.

            David didn’t defeat that giant with a sling and a rock. In fact, David didn’t defeat the giant at all. God did. David himself said, “The battle is the Lord’s.” Even their most valiant and mighty soldiers wouldn’t go out to face Goliath. They undoubtedly would have been defeated. But the mighty giant was nothing compared to Almighty God.  

            Step out by faith in your planning and preparing of the revival service. Know that when you do, the advisory will come with a full-frontal attack. But also know that God is stronger. Don’t fight him in your own power. He will destroy you. Fight him with the power of God through faith, prayer, and the Word of God.  

            When revival happens, souls will be saved, and Christians will be strengthened. When revival happens, those newly saved souls will be brought into a healthy church that will walk with them and disciple them to where they will become mature Christians that will win even more souls repeating the process. No, the adversary doesn’t want that to happen-but God does. So, trust Him, knowing that the battle truly is the Lords.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2019 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Should Our Church Have a Revival?

Should Our Church Have a Revival?

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” Psalm 85:6

A question that many pastors have asked over the years is, “Should I lead our church into having a revival?” My answer will always be, “yes, of course you should.” The pastor might then ask, “you don’t know anything about our church. How then can you say we need revival?” The answer to that is simple; every church needs revival. Yes, every church! Every church can, and should, benefit from a well planned and well prayed over revival. Some common questions that might soon follow are:

Our church is strong and healthy, why do we need a revival?

Answer these questions honestly, is everyone in your community saved? Is everyone in your church saved? Are there no backslidden members within your church? Do you believe that even among the strong and healthy there is no room for growth? The answer to each of these questions is obvious. Likewise, the answer as to whether or not your church needs revival is obvious. To say your church does not need revival is an act of arrogance, pride, and self-sufficiency. Every one of us need revival because every one of us battles with the flesh, the world, and with spiritual forces every day that tries, and often does, drag us down. We all need that encouragement to repent, grow, and pursue Jesus. Not to mention, if your church truly is healthy and strong, they would have the heart to reach their community with the gospel, and they would be more than willing to support an evangelistic revival. Therefore, a healthy and strong church is in the perfect position for a revival.

Our church is already seeing many saved, why do we need a revival?

            Have you ever heard the saying, strike while the iron is hot? That is very applicable here. Praise God if your church is seeing a large number of individuals saved. If you are, I can assure you that there is no greater time to have a revival. If your church has recently seen a large number of people recently saved, that means you have a large number of new believers within your church. Unlike people who have been saved and involved in the church for many years, new believers usually still have a large number of friends who are lost. At the same time, new believers usually have a deep passion for seeing their friends and families saved.

For this reason, they would be more likely to invite and encourage their lost friends and family to an evangelistic revival. To add fuel to the fire, church members who’ve been saved for many years usually get a zeal for seeing the lost saved when they start seeing the lost saved. Therefore, they would also be more likely to participate in an evangelistic revival. So, yes, your church needs to have a revival. Strike while the iron is hot.  

Our church is small. Can we have a revival?

            This is a very common question and concern. Without a doubt, you can, and should, have a revival. Many of the great revivals of the past started with only a handful of people. God is unlimited in His power and ability; therefore, we shouldn’t limit Him. Study Gideon as an example. Not long ago a fellow Mississippi Baptist Evangelist, Gary Bowlin, preached a revival in a church that had 18 in Sunday School the morning of their revival. That week, they saw 18 people saved. How awesome is that? Most evangelists will gladly go to any church of any size. If ten people come and God stirs revival within them, praise the Lord! The Lord will quickly use them and multiply them. Remember, Jesus started with 12.

If we had a revival no one would come, so why should we even try?

            Unfortunately, from small to large churches, this is becoming a major concern among pastors when deciding as to have a revival meeting or not. In reality, the lack of participation is one of the tell-tell signs that your church needs revival. In practicality, you might think, why put forth the effort if no one comes. Trust me; people will come. It may not be as many as you would like or hope for, but people will come. Revival is contagious, especially in parched ground. If only a handful of people come and are revived, the revival will eventually spread to the other members and light their fire as well. I’ve seen revivals where there was very little participation, very little enthusiasm, and very little movement throughout the week. But a handful of people were revived. Sometimes it’s the discouraged pastor that’s revived. The weeks following the revival, the fire begins to spread, and harts begin to change. Revival has come. Don’t worry about who will and will not come. Leave that up to God. He might surprise you.

            The bottom line is, every church can, and should, benefit from a revival. We can come up with an excuse for every scenario, but God always has a solution. A well planned, prayed over, and promoted revival should be successful. We may not always see the fruit of it immediately, but that’s not our responsibility, it’s God’s. Pastor’s and churches, don’t deprive your church nor your community of the opportunity to have, and experience revival.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2019 in Bible Study, Devotional, ministry

 

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Day 11 Praying for Revival

Day 11 Praying for Revival

The Plagues and Pestilence

When the church fails to be the church, it lays a wake of devastating consequence within society. It doesn’t take the most spiritually discerning individual to see that society is rapidly becoming hardened toward Christianity. I dare say that in the United States, a nation that was founded upon Judeo/Christian principles and has been known since its founding as a Christian nation is becoming increasingly hostile to true biblical Christianity. Sometimes we use the excuse, “These are the signs of the times”, or “Our nation is undergoing judgment.”

There may be truth in both of those statements; however, I am firmly convinced the reason society is becoming increasingly hardened toward Christianity is for the simple fact that the church is not being the church. Paul urged the church in Ephesians 6:19, “and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.”

Paul’s simple request of the church was to pray for him as he proclaims the gospel. The sad reality is that Satan has convinced the majority of all Christians not to proclaim/share the gospel although the Bible clearly teaches that it is every Christian’s call and duty.  What is even more frightening is the fact that so few are willing to take the time to till the ground through the power of prayer for those who are sowing the seeds of the gospel. A prayerless church is a powerless church.

In Matthew 13 we find Jesus telling the parable of the seed and the sower. Jesus tells of one who is casting seed everywhere he goes. As a farmer, he would be a bad steward of the seed. However Jesus tells us that the seed He speaks of is the Word of God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. In other words as you go, cast your seed everywhere and to everyone making disciples and teaching God’s Word. The result is not ours but God’s. We are simply being good stewards of the gospel seed, casting it as we go and leaving the result to God.

Although the end result is God’s, Paul told the church of Ephesus to pray as he proclaims the gospel. The sower of the seed sowed seed on the roadside, on the rocky places, in the thorns, and on the good soil. As we begin to pray, we begin the process of tilling up the soil for the seed to be sown in the good soil.

A farmer who does not prepare the soil prior to the sowing of the seed is not only foolish but also a bad steward of the seed. Every farmer knows that preparing the ground is the most vital element in producing a good crop. When the church fails to prepare the spiritual soil by refusing to pray, they are likewise foolishly being bad stewards of the gospel seed.

The stony, thistled spiritual soil of this modern day has proven difficult to sow the seed in. However this should encourage us all the more to pray. Our hearts should be so stirred with the compassion that Jesus had when He cried out to the stony-hearted inhabitants of Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”

            Untilled land unsown with the gospel seed that has the power unto salvation will only produce a crop of pestilence. The pestilence of sin plagues the unevangelized land leaving the citizens hopelessly lost to live out their lives in the immorality and the lusts of their flesh. So often we fuss about the ways of the unevangelized, but how should a lost person act other than as a lost person? “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14,15).

The condition of the spiritual soil within the land is no doubt a direct result of the spiritual drought within our churches that has opened the door wide for the devourer leaving the land desolate for the pestilence of sin to settle in. We fuss about the immorality and sin that has plagued our society. Sexual perversions of all sorts have become the norm; families are being torn apart; and drugs, crime, violence, and overall disregard for humanity are now a part of daily life. However, the plague of sin is simply the symptom and not the cause. It is the fever that allows us to know our bodies are sick. Clearly, the biblical cause is the spiritual drought that has gripped so many of our churches. The time for revival is now! The fields are white unto harvest. Let’s stand up and reclaim this land in the name that is above all names, Jesus.

Day 11 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Ask yourself why you serve God. If it’s not out of love, repent.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that the people of God will seek the presence of God in their lives and their churches life.
  • Pray that the people of God would hunger and thirst for Him and therefore, seek His face.
  • Pray that our churches understand spiritual warfare and engage in it.
  • Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that our churches will be a house of prayer.
  • Pray that our churches will be a shining light upon the hill.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
  • Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
  • Pray that the church would stand up to their calling and loose heaven on this earth.
  • Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
  • Pray as a result that the plagues and pestilences in society will be reversed.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 10 Praying for Revival

Day 10 Praying for Revival

The Destruction of the Devourer

            The reality is that we are at war-not a physical war but a spiritual war. Ephesians 6:12 tells us who the battle is against, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” It is a war that started in heaven as seen clearly in Isaiah 14 and was brought down to this earth resulting in the fall of man.

This spiritual battle continues to this day and is fought for the souls of mankind. Satan found that he could not steal God’s glory and was greatly humbled for trying. Therefore, he will stop at nothing to blind mankind from seeing and responding to the glory of God through salvation. II Corinthians 4:3,4 says, “if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

            Satan’s strategy is threefold. First, he will do everything he can to prevent individuals from responding to the gospel. He will distract them in any way possible to prevent them from paying attention to or seeing the need of the gospel within their lives. Second, he will send false prophets to proclaim a false gospel deceiving people into the gates of hell. And third, he will stop at nothing to prevent the church from proclaiming the gospel message so people cannot hear.

If a church has entered into the realm of spiritual drought, they will turn from being a gospel centered church to a self-seeking, self-honoring, and self-centered church. As a result, the church of spiritual drought has opened the door wide and rolled out the red carpet for the devourer to come and destroy. As far as Satan is concerned, a silent church is a successful church.

In Matthew 16 we see Jesus telling His disciples that He is going to give the church the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said with those keys the church will have the ability to loose and bind things on earth and in heaven. Keys are symbols of authority. Jesus was teaching His disciples that He will give the church the authority of heaven and that the authority (gates) of hell could not stand up against it.

Immediately after Jesus shared these amazing truths to the disciples, Jesus began telling them what was about to happen to Him. Matthew 16:21 says, “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” Peter gladly accepted the message of authority and was even blessed by Jesus for responding to a revelation from the Father. However, Peter would have nothing to do with these teaching of Jesus. Matthew 16:22 shows Peters response. “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You”; Wow! Peter rebuked Jesus and said, “God forbid it” to the very plan of God. Jesus immediately let Peter know who he was speaking on behalf of as seen in verse 23, “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s”.

How often do we say in our hearts (whether directly or indirectly): “I don’t care what God has said in His word; I’m simply not going to do it”. God has told us to go, give, teach, preach, pray, share, sacrifice, and love; yet, we continually tell God “no”. Why do we tell God no? We do so because we are not setting our minds on God’s interests but man’s, and we have played right into Satan’s hand.

God has given to us the message to proclaim that is the “power of salvation to those who believe.” (Romans 1:16). He has also given to us the power of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8) along with the authority to loose heaven on earth. Yet we stand amazed at the lostness of this world through the deception and distraction of the devourer while we have at our disposal the divinely powerful weapons of God to utterly defeat him.

Jesus said in John 4:35, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” When Jesus said that the fields are white unto harvest, He meant that if you do not harvest the field immediately, the field will be left to ruin. Clearly, the harvest is plentiful; yet, so many Christians idly sit by allowing the devourer to destroy the crop.

Day 10 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Ask yourself why you serve God. If it’s not out of love, repent.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that the people of God will seek the presence of God in their lives and their churches life.
  • Pray that the people of God would hunger and thirst for Him and therefore, seek His face.
  • Pray that our churches understand spiritual warfare and engage in it.
  • Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that our churches will be a house of prayer.
  • Pray that our churches will be a shining light upon the hill.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
  • Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
  • Pray that the church would stand up to their calling and loose heaven on this earth.
  • Pray the church will understand the urgency.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 9 Praying for Revival

Day 9 Praying for Revival

Spiritual Drought

The warning from Jesus to the church of Ephesus was simple: Repent or I will remove the golden lampstand from your midst. In Revelation 1, we find the beloved disciple, John, banished to the Island of Patmos as punishment for proclaiming the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. We find him in the Spirit worshiping the Lord on the Lord’s Day when Jesus appeared to Him with a voice as the “sound of a trumpet.” After hearing this demanding voice Revelation 1:12, 13 proclaims, “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man” He saw Jesus standing in the midst of the lampstands.

With the symbolic portrait of Jesus in Revelation 1 we have to decipher the meaning behind the symbolism. However, in regards to the lampstands, Jesus gave us a full description. He says in Revelation 1:20, “the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” For Jesus to remove the lampstand from the church of Ephesus would then mean that Jesus removed the very fact that they are a true Holy Spirit-anointed church.

I can’t help but to wonder how many meeting places there are in this world that have the name church on a sign just outside of their building. They function as a church. They call themselves a church. Others more than likely view them as churches. They are likely members of a denomination that have many true Holy Spirit-anointed churches within its ranks. However, they chose at some point in their history not to heed the warnings of Jesus and repent. For that reason, they gave the Holy Spirit an eviction notice because they are more in love with their ways than they are with God’s. It is not our place to judge churches as to whether or not they are true Holy Spirit-anointed churches. However, the frightening fact is that I believe the above stated scenario is played out in cities, towns, and communities all over the world.

Drought brings about death, and death is the absence of life. This statement is simplistically elementary; yet for some reason we have such a difficult time comprehending this very truth in spiritual life. If there is no function, there is no life. God has created the church to function. He has created the church to worship Him, to evangelize the lost, and to actively engage in missions and ministry. If we are not a functioning church, are we truly a living church?

I am not making a moral argument for or against artificial life support. However, we need to understand that when dealing with the church, artificial life support is nonexistent. Jesus is the only life support the church needs. Anything else is false fire which is manmade, man centered, and insulting to a holy God. We think having exciting music or excellent orators or an abundance of wealth is a sign of God’s blessings; yet, Jesus said to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:17, “you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

Exciting music, excellent orators, and an abundance of wealth are wonderful things if they are Jesus centered and used for His glory. However, when we view these and things of the like as signs of life rather than the presence of the Lord in our midst, we are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. We stand in need of repentance.

We have also fallen into the trap of thinking numbers, size, and finances are signs of the life and vitality of a church. An elephant void of vital signs is just as dead as a mouse in like condition. Likewise, a poor man is just as dead as a rich man when he breathes his last. Regardless of the size or wealth of the congregation, the true question is what is my church doing to have an impact for the kingdom of God in the name of and for the glory of Jesus Christ? Is my church functioning, is it moving, or is it simply existing? Jesus didn’t call us to simply exist; He called us to “go therefore”!

A church that is experiencing spiritual drought is not necessarily a dead church. Unresolved drought brings about death, but drought in and of itself is not death. It is a warning that the vital signs of the church are in critical condition and stand in need of action. If the church takes the appropriate action by repenting and turning back to Jesus, there will be revival. However, if the church refuses to respond to the looming reality of drought, death is inevitable.

I believe that God has given to us a great example of a healthy church in Acts 2:41-47. If our churches are healthy and vibrant, they should be devoted to the similar things that the first Christian church was devoted to. A church with the same devotion and passion as the first church is a healthy, vibrant church. However, if our churches are not lining up with the biblical model that God has given, we stand in need of repentance.

Before we move further I would like to give a warning. Often times we view a church that is dead or dying as a lost cause and lose hope for that church. We may then as vocational ministers of the church or as laymen have an inclination to jump ship and move to another church. I believe that this is one of the very reasons many of our churches are in such poor shape. Often pastors will stay at a church just long enough to discover that the church has problems only to go to another church to discover they too have problems. The problems are then left unattended and the church remains unhealthy and ineffective.

If churches were beyond hope, there would be no point in this study. The purpose of this study is not condemnation; it is for restoration leading to revival. Let us not forget that the same Jesus that called Lazarus from the tomb is the same Jesus that is working to restore our churches this present day. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8).

With this in mind let us set in our hearts and minds that we will be the light that shines on a hill and the salt that preserves the life of the church. As the old hymn says, “though no one join me I still will follow, no turning back, no turning back”. With humble hearts set on being the Lord’s servants, let’s set our goal to be the one who is “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord”. And though we may stand alone, let us be the one who stands in the gap! Let us not be a part of the problem but a tool of the Lord for a solution to the problem.

Day 9 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Ask yourself why you serve God. If it’s not out of love, repent.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that the people of God will seek the presence of God in their lives and their churches life.
  • Pray that the people of God would hunger and thirst for Him and therefore, seek His face.
  • Pray that the church as a whole would return to their first love.
  • Pray that the people of God would be passionately in love with Jesus.
  • Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that our churches will be a house of prayer.
  • Pray that our churches will be shining bright lights on a hill.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 8 Praying for Revival

Day 8 Praying for Revival

The Time for Repentance is Now!

In the second chapter of Revelation, Jesus praised the church of Ephesus for their perseverance in the midst of persecution, for staying true to the Word of God and opposing false teachers, and for standing strong in the name of Jesus. On the outside, the church of Ephesus looked like the perfect church. However, Jesus knew they had a deadly deficiency in their midst.

Jesus told the church of Ephesus that they are guilty of a great sin, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4). They began their ministry with passion and love toward Jesus. Yet, somehow through the years, their labor of love for the Lord slipped into the tedious traditions of the church. Jesus warned them and called them into repentance of their improper motivations of service. Just as so many churches today have replaced their passion for programs and their zeal for the name of Jesus for self notoriety, the church of Ephesus fell from being a church with a driving passion for Jesus to a church coasting along in autopilot.

Jesus told them that they needed to repent. Similar to God’s warning to Solomon, Jesus warned the church of Emphasis that if they did not repent, there would be serious consequences to pay. However, if they chose to repent by turning back to their zeal and love of Him, God’s glorious hand of blessing would remain upon them. God always gives us a choice. Clearly, His heart is for us to choose loving devotion to Him.

Stop and ask yourself right now, “Why do I serve God?” Is it out of a natural overflow of the love you have toward Jesus? If not, you stand in need of repentance! How can so many people who sit in churches Sunday after Sunday not serve the Lord? The answer is simple; it is due to the fact that they don’t love Jesus. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me you will obey Me.” Put simply, the church that refuses to serve the Lord is a church that does not love the Lord. Jesus did not say “If you obey me you will demonstrate your love for Me”; that is legalism. His heart is that we serve Him out of the overflow of love we have for Him with gladness and gratitude.

Solomon, along with the nation of Israel, sought God out with their whole heart in total surrender to His Majesty and glory. God saw their heart-led motivations and, therefore, blessed them with His presence and anointing, assuring Solomon with His words, “I have heard your prayer.” The warning of II Chronicles 7:14 is simple: When you see these signs of spiritual drought, the destruction of the devourer, and the plagues and pestilence “remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.” (Revelation 2:5).

As God told Solomon to pay attention to the signs around him, we must understand that the physical signs of drought, devastation, and pestilence are merely signs that God’s hand of blessing has been removed. We must also understand that in the Old Testament God dealt with His people in a physical way. Today through the New Covenant that is found only in Christ, God deals with His people in the spirit. (See John 4:24). In the Old Testament God’s people went into physical war; today we are in a spiritual war. Nonetheless, we see physical results of this spiritual war.

Today, America is obviously in a deep spiritual drought. Our churches are dry and void of life, passion, and power. This opens the door wide for the devourer, Satan himself, to come in and destroy churches, families, and entire communities. The community where I pastor has had years of church fights and splits that have left a spiritual void laying out the welcome mat for the devourer to come in and destroy. Today, our community is full of the pestilence of drugs, violence, and immoral sexuality that is just as devastating if not more devastating, than any pestilence this world has ever seen. These are all physical evidences of spiritual battles. They are all signs that something has gone drastically wrong, and Satan is winning the battle for souls.

As I look at the church today, I see signs of spiritual drought that is drowning our world in spiritual devastation. We have allowed the devourer to come in and bring devastating pestilence upon the very world God created and loves. We see it in preachers with no passion, deacons who are not dedicated, congregations clutching for control, churches who won’t console the contrite, and the word of God wavered by the ways of man. Our churches have become lodges and social clubs with privileged membership unwelcoming to the stranger. Pastors have become hirelings to do the work that no one else is willing to do “After all, that’s what we pay the preacher for.” The pulpit has become a place where a polluted gospel is preached as to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Dare we say that we are sinners, and there is a place called hell reserved for those who refuse to repent?  If the preacher were to preach the truths of hell, would it really matter? Even if we know our neighbor is hell-bound, do we really care, or at least care enough, to actually do anything about it? We fuss and complain about the wickedness of the world; yet, we hold the very keys to loose the power of God into this world. We have not lost that power; we have surrendered that power to the fleshly desires of man seeking glory for self rather than for God. The signs of spiritual drought are crying out before us, and God has given us the solution. However, we must accept the challenge God has given by doing things His way. We must repent and return to our first love, Jesus!

Day 8 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Ask yourself why you serve God. If it’s not out of love, repent.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that the people of God will seek the presence of God in their lives and their churches life.
  • Pray that the people of God would hunger and thirst for Him and therefore, seek His face.
  • Pray that the church as a whole would return to their first love.
  • Pray that the people of God would be passionately in love with Jesus.
  • Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches will be a house of prayer.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on February 25, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 7 Praying for Revival

Day 7 Praying for Revival

Seeing the Signs

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people”

II Chronicles 7:13

Immediately after God told Solomon “I have heard your prayer, He gave Solomon warning signs to look for: If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people”, (II Chronicles 7:13). God was telling Solomon not to take His current approval of their worship of Him for granted. His warning was clear. Although His hand of blessing was upon them at this current time, there was no guarantee that the blessings would stay.

God’s blessings are conditional and come with very clear warnings of the consequences of not following His directions. God does not say “let’s make a deal”. Nor does He invite us to the negotiating table. He clearly states His will in His word and gives us the choice of whether or not we will choose to accept His deal on His terms.

Somewhere in the course of modern church history we have come to the conclusion that we can simply do things our way and expect God’s blessings. Unfortunately for those of that persuasion the consistency of God’s Word greatly contradicts this notion. Have we forgotten that “He is a rewarder of those who seek Him”, (Hebrews 11:6)? Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Then he said in I Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily”. God’s heart is not for us to seek Him once and then forget about Him. His heart, and thus our heart, should be to seek the Lord daily.

Day 7 Prayer Guide

 

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Ask God to reveal and convict the church of sin.
  • Pray that the church would see sin as God sees it.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that the people of God will see the spiritual drought and be burdened by it.
  • Pray for the people of God that they would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray that the people of God would have a desire and stand in anticipation for God to pour out the fires of revival upon churches and a great awakening in our land.
  • Pray that God’s people will seek the heart of God and desire His will and not their own.
  • Pray that the people of God will seek the presence of God in their lives and their churches life.
  • Ask God to align His people and prepare them for a mighty revival and a great awakening.
  • Pray that the people of God would hunger and thirst for Him and therefore, seek His face.
  • Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on February 24, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 6 Praying for Revival

Day 6 Praying for Revival

Turn From Their Wicked Ways

Solomon prayed in II Chronicles 6:22, 23, “If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath, and he comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this house, then hear from heaven and act and judge Your servants, punishing the wicked by bringing his way on his own head.” In other words, Solomon was asking God that if a wicked, unrepentant soul comes before God, then God should give him what he deserves. God just said He wants us to seek His face. However, the Bible is clear that God will hide his face from sinners. See (Deuteronomy 31:17, 18).

All too often we make excuses for our sins. We think our sins are just little insignificant sins that are nothing compared to the people of this world, and we have the attitude that God overlooks the small stuff. However, Paul said in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Let me be abundantly clear; God is not, has never been, nor ever will be okay with sin-any sin. If we ever see yelling in writing, we see it in this verse when Paul says, “may it never be!” Paul said in this same chapter in verse 11, “consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to Christ Jesus.” When God said, “be holy therefore because I also am holy”, wasn’t a suggestion. It was a command.

A major excuse the devil gives to people for staying away from church is, “there are too many hypocrites in the church.” Now I know, as well as you, that if that excuse was gone, he would just find another one. However, THERE ARE too many hypocrites in the church. We get so bothered over the unredeemed and unchurched people acting the way they do when we have sin in our own camp. Jesus said in Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Here’s a clue: Lost people will act like lost people because they are lost people. However, Christians should act like Christians because they are Christians called by the name of God Almighty. Paul said in Ephesians 5:1-5, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

We cannot expect God’s hand of blessing to be upon us if we are in rebellion against Him. To be friends with this world is to be in hostility toward God according to James 4:4. We allow the world to influence us and wonder why God’s hand of blessing is not upon us. In II Corinthians 3 Paul rebuked the church due to the fact that he wanted to give them meat to eat. Instead he gave them milk. Meat is food for the mature, while milk is the baby’s food. He said because of their fleshliness, he gave them milk. We need to grow up, become mature, remove all fleshliness from our lives, and live for God. Then and only then will His hand of blessing be upon us. “Then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Solomon understood that although God’s hand of blessing was upon them this day His continual hand of blessing was conditional. In Solomon’s prayer he asked of God, “If Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and they return to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication before You in this house, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You have given to them and to their fathers.” Solomon was saying to God that when we see Your hand of blessing has been removed and we recognize it is due to our sins and we then repent, return to us Oh God, forgive our sins.

God answered Solomon when He told Solomon “I have heard your prayer. God said, “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” I often stand amazed at the stubbornness of man. I am included in that number. We buck against God bull-headedly determined to do things our way. Then when things fall all to pieces, we say, “Where have You been God?” God hasn’t changed, nor has He moved. We try to make deals with God rejecting the fact that God has already said this is the deal. There is no compromise. There is no negotiation. There is no middle ground. There is only His way and His way is the only way.

I also stand in amazement that when we finally come to the point of surrender and say to God, “I give up; I will do things your way”, a light bulb illuminates the dullness of our intellect; and we discover this is the right way. Then God’s hand of blessing, provision, and presence comes down upon us. The drought has turned into a deluge of deliverance, the devourer has been rebuked by the divine, and the pestilence has been replaced by His presence. I wonder sometimes if I stand alone in feeling like such a fool when I come to the realization that God’s hand has been there waiting for me the whole time. I just had to get me out of the way and allow God to be God.

Day 6 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Ask God to reveal and convict the church of sin.
  • Pray that the church would see sin as God sees it.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray for the people of God that they would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray that the people of God would have a desire and stand in anticipation for God to pour out the fires of revival upon churches and a great awakening in our land.
  • Pray that God’s people will seek the heart of God and desire His will and not their own.
  • Pray that the people of God will seek the presence of God in their lives and their churches life.
  • Ask God to align His people and prepare them for a mighty revival and a great awakening.
  • Pray that the people of God would hunger and thirst for Him and therefore, seek His face.
  • Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches will be a house of prayer.
  • Pray that the people of God will be living representations of Jesus.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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