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Posts Tagged ‘revival’

The scripture plainly states that we both know, and prophesy in part (1Cor.13:9), that we see as through a glass dimly (1Cor.13:12), and that the wisdom of men is foolishness to God (1Cor.3:19).  It also warns that we should not lean on our own understanding (Prov.3:5-6), and encourages us to be slow to speak, and quick to listen (James1:19).  Despite these admonishments, Christendom is filled with a host of confident voices, weighing in on every imaginable topic, and/or current event.

Sadly, much of this commentary centers on critiques, and criticisms of other believers, with countless “ministries” devoted to little more than discrediting and disparaging other doctrines, practices, ministers, and ministries.  While we may rationalize that we’re simply trying to champion some sort of orthodox theology, to the naked eye it appears to be the anti-thesis of Jesus’ description of His body (i.e. they will know you by the way you love one another – John 13:35).  Indeed, we “Christians” seem far more adept at expressing what we’re against, than manifesting what we claim to believe in.

Recent events at Asbury Theological Seminary are a great example of how this works.  On one side, we have a chorus of voices attacking the authenticity of what’s happening there, based on a wide range of objections (e.g. it’s just emotionalism, no one is getting saved, there’s no legitimate authority, United Methodists are heretics…).  On the other side, there are people declaring it, “The Third Great Awakening”. 

Is it a revival, is it an outpouring, or is it hype?  What actually constitutes revival?  Do we really need revival?  How does this compare with other revivals?  Would God really manifest to a denomination who believes what they do?  And on, and on, and on.  Has there ever been a “Revival” that the religious establishment didn’t’ find a way to quench?

My question is, who really knows what’s happening at Asbury, and why is it so important to assume a position one way or another.  Many of the loudest voices belong to those who haven’t actually been there.  Even those who have attended can only speak to their own experience. 

Does it really matter if we call it revival, or an outpouring, or an awakening, or simply a really good prayer meeting?  Why are we so threatened by the idea that God might manifest Himself in a special way to a small group of young people?  Could it be rooted in the fear that God may be doing something in someone else’s building that He’s not doing in ours.

Conversely, what is the value of declaring this to be the beginning of the next great move of God?  After years of so called “Prophets” predicting an endless array of events that never actually happened, it seems prudent to simply watch and pray, lest we fall into the temptation to make something happen in our own strength.  Haven’t we already cast enough doubt with regard to the prophetic? 

When we process information through the lens of our own experience, what we’ve been taught, and how it makes us feel, we formulate opinions, which could rightfully be characterized as, “The way that seems right to us”.  From a scriptural standpoint (Prov.14:12) that leads to death. Indeed, it is often our insatiable need to express our opinion that leads to the death of relationship; as we gleefully brag about blocking and/or unfriending anyone who might disagree with our perspective.  Considering that relationship is the conduit through which the Lord works, this is no small matter. 

As the extremes of any particular topic continue to provoke us into an endless loop of contentious verbal jousting, there is one issue that gains clarity.  And that would be why our efforts toward discipleship aren’t more fruitful.  Indeed, who would want to become a part of a community where neighbors treated each other with such apparent contempt?  Who would want to marry into such a dysfunctional family?

If darkness is simply the absence of light, the only way for the dark to get darker is for the light to abdicate its position.

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In the midst of so much turmoil in the world, there are so many voices clamoring for our attention.  They offer finite answers to infinite questions, whereby even genuine revelation from God is often presented as if it is the sum total of what the Lord is saying, instead of part and parcel of a much bigger picture, which no one man could possibly know (1 Cor. 13:9 & 12).  Seekers of truth can easily get caught up running from one would-be Prophet/Teacher to the next, desperately trying to discern God’s priorities in this moment, but I sense that the Lord’s focus remains firmly on the posture of our hearts.  As He told the Prophet Samuel (1 Sam.16:7), He doesn’t regard outward appearances, which includes all the things we’re doing in His name; choosing instead to look at the condition/attitude/posture of our hearts.  While we like to think of our accomplishments “in Jesus’ name” as fruit, He defines fruit (Gal. 5:22-23) as Christ’s heart/character spilling out of us (Col. 1:27).   

The spirit of this age hopes to keep us focused on, and striving to change, what is going on around us, while the Lord is challenging us to look within.  Indeed, His eyes range throughout the earth, looking to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him (2Chron. 16:9).  He promises to work all things to the good of those who love Him and who are called to His purposes (Rom. 8:28), and He is faithful to reward those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).  None of those promises hinge on our performance, or perfect theology, or prophetic insight.  They all rise or fall on the posture of our hearts.  Even the oft quoted 2Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name…” is not about praying for our nation, it’s about the posture of our hearts if we hope for our prayers to be effective. 

God did not consider David a “man after God’s own heart” because of his impeccable character, his valor on the battlefield, or his perfect obedience, it was instead his relentless pursuit of the Father’s will.  What made the tabernacle of David so attractive to the Lord wasn’t the 24/7 nature of the music, it was the insatiable hunger for His presence that fueled it.

We need to quit asking God to send revival, as though we are trying to pry it from His reluctant hand.  He has placed the seeds of revival within the hearts of His people, and we are not waiting on Him to move, He is waiting for us to cultivate the fallow ground.  If we’ve yet to see the promised harvest, it is time to examine the condition of the soil (i.e. our hearts).  If something in the way we teach/preach the “Gospel of Kingdom” has served to take our eyes off the King, then we have taught amiss.

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