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.