My Longing for Revival
- Are we making disciples of Christ who love Jesus and are sold out to his purposes?
- Are those disciples turning around and making other like-minded disciples?
- Is joy a major characteristic of church-goers?
- Do people visiting a church service experience the presence of God in a powerful way?
- Are professing Christians living holy and fruitful lives?
- Are people being genuinely converted to Christ on a regular basis?
- Are most believers using their spiritual gifts to serve others effectively?
- Are church-goers passionate about Jesus and eternal things?
- Is the Word of God or the ideas of our culture shaping people’s world view?
Do you find yourself troubled by
or similar issues?
The answer to these questions became painfully clear to me. The church had become largely ineffective. If people in our culture were to draw conclusions about the nature of God from what they saw in the American church, they would likely conclude that He is largely uninvolved and powerless.
I wasn’t the only one drawing this conclusion, of course, but many of the solutions that were being proposed seemed to miss the mark in a major way. Authors and speakers were calling for the church to be better organized, to be more culturally relevant and to use more effective methods.
But in my heart I knew that the church’s problem was too large to be solved by better methods. This was a spiritual problem that called for a spiritual solution. The church lacked life. It was the presence of God that was missing. What was attractive to people about the Christians in the book of Acts was the life of Christ in them, not their clever methodology.
I became certain that the lukewarm and apathetic state of the church, which is so repulsive to Jesus, was not going to be changed in any other way than by calling on the Lord and having him intervene on our behalf.
God himself was the only solution to this massive problem. Our human attempts to fix it would most certainly fall short. Solomon’s wisdom applies here:
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain”
(Psalm 127:1a). Our only hope was that He would rebuild the church.
To advocate a “better methods” solution to the lifelessness in the church would be like medical personnel concentrating their efforts on treating the cold of a patient who is having a heart attack. Yes, the cold is a problem but it pales in comparison to a much larger, life-threatening problem.
I was convinced that the church needed the life of God back and that our ineffectiveness was so severe that it required big-time divine intervention.
So I began to cry out to God for revival.
To revive means to have life once again. In times of revival God’s presence is felt in a palpable way. Spiritual progress happens in a much quicker and concentrated way.
Christians are convicted of their sin in an intense way and they embrace his mercy and grace with equal intensity.
Revival brings reconciled relationships, overwhelming gratitude for salvation, life to worship, passion for prayer, hunger for the Word, earnestness about living holy lives, and a desire to reach lost souls. Fruitfulness increases dramatically.
I began to eat, sleep and drink revival. I read everything I could get my hands on about the topic. Fervently calling out to God for revival dominated my prayer life.
God revived me personally. I saw glimpses of revival in my ministry, but nothing that was sustained. My revival obsession lasted about five years through my ministry in Springfield and continued on to a lesser extent as I took a new church in Lebanon, Oregon in 1998. About seven years later the Lord gave me the privilege of being able to experience revival fire firsthand. My next few blogs will describe that experience.
Copyright Ed Skipper 2013