Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good Morning!

Helloooo out there!

Just in case someone is listening in from Christ for the Nations, it was great to see Carmen and Rebecca in service Sunday. They prayed with Amy and I up front and it was greatly appreciated. (or as Wesleyans say - a good time was had by all)

I wanted to give you an insight into what I'm reading right now. I've become a bit of a revival fanatic of late and I went to Amazon.com to see what I could find on the subject. The nice thing about Amazon is that you can buy used books so I took a chance on some three dollar titles to see if I could hit paydirt.

The first book is entitled, "The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever" by Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter. Elmer Towns is a familiar name to me, so I took a chance. The Jury's out so far on the book as a whole (and I always hated giving book reports as a kid anyway), but I took a quote away from the introduction:

"When most people pray for revival, they're probably asking for a wonderful experience at church next Sunday at 11:00 A.M. But revival is more than a Sunday morning experience. When you pray for revival, you're asking God for life-shaking experiences that will cost you plenty.

Revival is agonizing: It so terrorizes you over your sin that you repent deeply. Revival is consuming: It leaves no time for hobbies, for chores around the house, for work, for sleep. Revival wrecks your appointment calender, interrupts TV times, demands your full attention...and wears you out.

Usually when we pray for revival, we're thinking about the bad guys, and we're telling God to "sic 'em" Little do we realize that revival begins with us, the people of God."

That jives with everything I've been learning about true revival. And I'm convinced that it is what has to happen before God will do anything of real significance in our church.

I've been studying for the new sermon series based on the sermon on the mount. It is interesting that the very first thing out of Jesus' mouth is this:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:3 NASB)


The Greek word here for poor means to crouch like a cringing begger. One of the meanings for the word Spirit here means our mental disposition. So, if you put the two words together, the ones who inherit the kingdom of God will be those whose attitude or disposition is that of a cringing beggar. Not in a pathetic way, but in a "I'm terrorized over my sin" kind of way.

The next verse:

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4 NASB)


The greek word for mourn means "wail". Also, the word for comforted means, not to soothe, but to "to call near", ie. to invite. So those who wail will be invited to come near to God. He pulls those people closer to Him.

Now, I've always attributed this verse to sadness. If you are going through difficulty, turn to God because he will comfort you. I think we all would say that principle is true, but I don't think it necessarily applies here.

I find it interesting that he doesn't say what the people are wailing about. Wailing is defined in the notes on the verse as "audible grief." These people are clearly struggling, in agony even. Why? There is no context given except the previous verse - Those who are already poor in spirit. Those who are already crouched low because of their recognition of their sin. They not only recognize it, they are despondent over it. How could I have done this to God?

I love the fact that, instead of condemnation, they receive comfort and are drawn near to God. God loves, even rewards, this posture from us! These are the people that will inherit His kingdom! The next verse implies that the humble (the actual word used is mild) will inherit the earth. These verses seem to tie in pretty well together, don't they?

Question: Are will willing to agonize and be terrorized if it means revival will come? I guess the question really is, how bad do we want it? I guess we'll see...

And this is totally off the subject, but wasn't that a killer song at the end of worship Sunday? Wow.

Anyway, have a great week and be sure to share your thoughts with the rest of us.

16 comments:

john m said...

I can only speak for myself, but I have become more sensitive to references to purity, whether it is in the scripture I am reading or the songs I listen to. I am amazed at how it seems to leap off the pages at me. Verses that I have read many times before or songs that I have heard or sung many times seem to be more powerfull to me. I know it is changing the way I look at my thoughts and actions. I am just one person but I pray that the Holy Spirit is begining to draw others in this manner. Is anyone out there? Blessing, john m

eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric said...

Great blog!! First I wanted to say to Mr M. that I have been feeling a need for purity as well, a few weeks ago I became suddenly very aware of my integrity (purity) and how I, as I became older started accepting common ideas of grey areas and compromising my words or actions to "get the job done" whatever that job maybe. These past few weeks I have really been examining myself and seen how far I have strayed from the absolute truth I believed when I was younger.
Second, to PP I wanted to say that I really like the direction that you are taking the church, your comment that we are to be cringing as a beggar terrorized over our sin brings to mind the way of master series that our group had done and how churches today are attracting people by telling them that God can give them a "better life" and that they "have a God sized hole on their heart" instead of making the person aware of their sin and need for a savior. I think that is why our (American Church) is in the shape that it is today, because instead of fearing a God that will judge our sins people are looking for a vending machine god that gives out the appropriate selection with the wright amount of prayer. So i wnated to thank PP because he is leading our church in the direction of the cringing beggar instead of the vending machine god.

Phil said...

Hey, thanks, Eric! Welcome to the conversation.

And on a completely other note...comment deleted..Now I'm curious!

david m. said...

A strange verse came to mind when I read the blog today, from James 2:19, "...the demons also believe and tremble." It's weird to think about demons having faith, but apparently they do. If our faith doesn't lead us to true sorrow and repentance, we are in some sorry company! People (like me) sometimes pray for "more faith" but it may not be the amount, but the kind of faith we need to see revival (quantity vs. quality). I do sense a kind of spiritual (faith) struggle going on, which is probably necessary and hopefully a good thing.

I can truthfully and thankfully say that in the past 2 or 3 months I've experienced a greater appetite for God and for His Word that I had missed for some time. I pray God will make me quick to detect sin whenever it starts to creep into my attitudes and actions, and that I will find it as repulsive as He does.

Thanks, Pastor Phil for your messages that are finding their mark and for the blog. Excuse the slightly off-topic rambling...

Adam said...

...good stuff, pasta p! good stuff...enlighten me though, what WAS the killer song at the end of worship on sunday...??

KC said...

"Glory in the Highest" by Tomlin

eric said...

Oh yeah that, I started my blog then signed in and it posted the little bit I had already written, so I deleted it and started over.

Phil said...

David,

I'm so using your points about faith on Sunday. unfortunately, for you, there are not royalties involved.

eric said...

David M. Very interesting comment, I have read the verse "if you have the faith of a mustard seed" a hundred times over but after reading your comment that gives it a whole new meaning, a mustard seed is one of the smallest herbs in the world however it is also one of the most potent (quality vs quantity), great stuff!

Rebecca said...

I am so incredibly blessed by all of you, you have no idea! I know that God is doing amazing things at Dayspring and I am so encouraged by your words.

Pastor Phil, thank you for your blog. I agree with Eric when he said that he appreciated the direction that you are taking the church. We are all grateful to have a leader willing to strive for obedience and sincerity before God over "success", as is the mistake of so many. If I never told you this in so many words, I hope my actions were such that bore witness to its truth. I believe a greater revival is pending at Dayspring. God started a work there that will not be snuffed out. It is His work, so that's why I know it will last. (John 15:16) Right now we see it's beginning. The time is NOW to leave everything behind that hinders and live sold out lives for the sake of His Name and the gospel. Believe that God is going to do far more above and beyond what we could ever hope or even imagine, but the best part is -it will be REAL. Sincere hearts + His work = REAL fruit!

To everyone else who commented, thank you for being men after God's heart and for leading our church on your knees in whatever capacity that God has called you!!!

Be blessed!
Becca

Kathryn said...

Praise the LORD! This is so cool! Look what time Rebecca posted this comment about "pending revival" at 3:08 pm and it came at like 6:30 pm! Guys, this is so much bigger than we know! Revival came tonight! We need to be faithful to pray that God will continue His work in us. PRAISE THE LORD! Believe and don't doubt! Believe that God is changing you and purifying you because it is HIS WILL. Let it be done on earth as it is in heaven! The enemy will try to tell you that nothing happened! Don't believe him, he is the father of lies! God is transforming us to become like Christ. He is coming soon to get His Bride. Make us ready LORD!

Kathryn said...

Just for the sake of truth, I'm on the phone with Becca right now and she posted her comment at about 4:45 pm today, which is right as we were preparing to meet together tonight at church. The clock must be wrong on here because I posted my last comment at 11:06 pm and it says 9:05 pm.

John T said...

Well I'm Sorry to say today is the first day that i have read your blogs. I would just like to say. THIS IS JUST GREAT! I to fell that you are leading the church in such a Godly fashion. I don't know if this applies here or not, but i fill lead to share (because john did) God in the past few weeks has given me a MOTTO for myself and for others "It's not about me"

Keith said...

What a refreshing experience to hear God's Word as it is CLEARLY stated in the Scriptures!

Not twisted to make it comfortable and make people feel good about their Sins and double mindedness.

I appreciate Phil for sharing his walk, his struggles and his weakness in a transparent way to set the example of seeking God with Humility and Repentant Sorrow.

Great messages Pastor Phil!

Keith Campbell said...

One more quick thing....

It is easier to "Follow the Leader"

Wheh the leader is using the ULTIMATE Follower's Guide.

The Bible!

I forgot I already had an blogspot account, just no blogs? :(