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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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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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How to Prepare for Revival

How to Prepare for Revival

How to Prepare for a Revival:

After years of planning and preaching revival meetings I have learned a few things. The first thing I have learned is that a revival meeting isn’t necessarily a revival-it is often times only a meeting. In fact, I am thoroughly convinced that only a handful of people in our generation have experienced true, ground shaking, sin breaking, heart piercing, life changing revival. True revival doesn’t end at the final amen of the week. In fact, when true revival comes, that is only the beginning.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in meetings. I am interested in seeing a God glorifying, church transforming revival that leads to a spiritual awakening of even the most hard hearted within the community. Keep in mind, neither you nor I can bring about revival. Only God can do that. But, we can prepare ourselves, and the church, and petition our almighty God for such a revival within the church and spiritual awakening in the community. If you are planning a revival meeting here are my suggestions to help prepare your church for true revival.

Prepare by Preaching:  

Naturally you need to plan the when’s, the where’s, the who’s and things such as this. But that’s the easy part. Once those tasks are accomplished you as the pastor need to plan on preparing the church for revival; plan on preaching, plan on promoting, plan on praying, and plan on seeking the favor of God. The church will only be as enthusiastic about revival as the one behind the pulpit and will only be as prepared as the pastor prepares them and as they pray and trust in God to be.

Start off by preaching a series of messages that will prepare the church for the up coming revival. Preach on getting spiritually prepared, the need for prayer and fasting, the need for seeking God, the need to go and tell others, the need for revival in and of itself, among other things the Lord may lead you to preach on in this time of preparation as you seek His direction. Through the preaching and the promises of God’s word build the church up for an anticipation and expectation of revival.

I firmly believe that we aren’t seeing revival in our day because the people of God are not hungry for it. They aren’t hungry for it because they don’t see the true need for it. Therefore, the pastor should, through the Word of God, convince the congregation that they truly are in need, and that God can, and will, bring about revival if we are truly hungry for Him and sincerely seek Him. Through the proper preparation of preaching the truths of God’s word, revival should be desired, prayed for, and expected within the congregation prior to the actual revival meeting.

Prepare by Promoting:

Let everyone, and I mean everyone, know you are having a revival. There are countless ways to get the word out. As a pastor, you already have too much on your plate. For this reason, I highly recommend forming a promotions committee/team. They can make posters, purchase yard signs and banners, arrange advertisement, organize community canvassing and form a plan to get the whole church involved in a variety of ways.

For churches that can afford it, radio, television, news paper, and social media advertisements are a good means of promotions. However, I have found over the years that word of mouth and personal invitations are always the best means of getting folks to come. We have a whole host of ways to invite people these days. I know social media has it’s downsides but it has proven to be a great resource for promotions as well.

Be sure to get your Sunday School classes, R/A’s, G/A’s, Awana’s, and youth groups involved. Find some innovative ways to get the whole church plugged into promotions and personal invitations. This is not only a good way to invite people to your revival services, it will also unite the church in its anticipation for the revival. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have revival start prior to the evangelistic team showing up?

Prepare by Prayer:

We don’t simply want a house full of people-we wan’t the power of God. No revival has ever occurred apart from prayer. Prayer is fundamentally the most important aspect of revival. In truth, it only takes one or two to seek the face of God for revival. However, prayer doesn’t just petition God for revival, it also prepares the prayer warrior for it. The sad reality is the majority of Christians will never seek God for revival. However, I am thoroughly convinced if we can gather the church to pray we will have it.

I have preached revivals where droves of sinners were saved and a multitude of church members were moved to the alter in prayer and repentance. I have preached the same sermons with the same personal preparation in other churches where the only one’s who moved were the ushers passing the plate. What was the difference? The churches preparation for revival by prayer. When I know a church is prayed up, I know the fire will fall. God will always honor His people’s prayers. Just look at God’s promise of II Chronicle 7:14. In essence God said if you do your part, I will do my part and “I will hear from heaven.” Strongly emphasize to your church how important praying for revival is and get them on their face before a holy God praying. Pray and believe that God will rise up prayer warriors.

Plan a minimum of a month in advance for the church to start corporately praying for revival. Set aside a time in the week where praying for the revival will be the only focus. Train a prayer team consisting of mature Christians how to pray through the revival services by praying through the points of the messages that God would pierce the churches heart with His truths and bring repentance to the sinners. Train them how to pray through the time of invitation for the Holy Spirit to have His way. As an evangelist, I will always recommend a time to be set aside everyday for the pastor and the revival team to pray together. Invite the whole church to come 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or an hour prior to the revival to come in and pray with and for the revival team as well as the revival meeting itself.

Prepare by Petitioning God’s Favor:  

I know many churches have spring and fall revivals because that’s what they do and that’s what they’ve always done because that’s what the church expects. If you are having a revival because you want to fill a spot on the calendar-don’t expect one. It probably won’t happen. Or, if you want a revival because you believe God needs to come straighten your church folks out over some issues, or if you are wanting a revival to fill more pews, don’t expect it. Why? Because none of those things honor God and none of those things are seeking Him.

When true revival comes it is messy, ugly, painful, and sometimes humiliating. But, the end result is always beautiful and glorifying to the Lord. What is revival? Revival is when God shows up, and God takes over. It is when God has His way in our personal lives, our churches, and our community. So, what/who do we want for revival? God! God, we want You, God, we need you, God, we are not sufficient without You, dear Jesus, we can do nothing apart from You.

Again, we can’t bring about revival. The best churches, the best prayer warriors, the best planners, the best musicians, nor the best preachers can bring about revival. Only God can. But we can, and we should, seek His face and His favor, and only His face and His favor, and, when He chooses to bring about revival He will do what He sees fit to do. He is God after all. Remember, He is a rewarder of those who seek Him! (Hebrews 11:6)

I also believe in the power of praying through God’s word. How better do we know His will? In most of my revivals, I preach through the principles of II Chronicles 7:14, therefore, I give this suggested prayer guide of praying through II Chronicles 7:14.

Pray through II Chronicles 7:14

For yourself and for the church

“If 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.”

  • Ask God to revive yourself and His people
  • Ask God to rise up workers called by His name especially evangelists and teachers.
  • Ask Him to strengthen, anoint, embolden, and encourage those who are working.
  • Ask God to humble yourself and the church to trust only in His power and live in obedience.
  • Ask God to give yourself and the church a strong burden to pray for revival in the church and salvation to the community. Ask Him to rise up prayer warriors.
  • Ask God to give yourself and the church a strong desire and longing for Him; that we would seek His face. Pray the the church would only be satisfied with the power and presence of God.
  • Ask God to bless the church with His presence, Sunday School, prayer services, and the revival meetings. “Do not hide Your face from Your servant.” Psalm 69:17
  • Ask God to reveal any sin within yourself or the church and that the church would turn from any wicked ways.
  • Ask God to convict the church of righteousness that the whole congregation would live holy before Him.
  • Ask God to hear from heaven and send revival upon our church.
  • Ask God to forgive yours and the churches sin, then cleanse, and restore to righteousness to the church, and nation.
  • Ask God to heal our land and send a mighty spiritual awakening into your community where many will be saved. Ask that it would spread near and far.
 
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Posted by on October 12, 2016 in Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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