Maybe it IS me

Jeremiah 8:20 — “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.”

I can decry the spiritual stagnation of our country, the American Church, etc., with the best of them. At least I feel that way lately. As I was in my latest state of mourning over the spiritual slumber of American Christians, the Spirit brought this thought to me… which I did not really appreciate…

“Maybe it is YOU in need of awakening.”

Now, that’s just RUDE.

Lord, stir MY heart. Stir MY life.

Revive us… Revive ME… again.

How to wait

The call of Jesus to his disciples was to wait until they were clothed with power from on high.

In the waiting, we need a sense of anticipation. For the Church, we shouldn’t be waiting alone. We should be waiting together. It’s not about sticking ourselves in a room until something happens… although I’m not sure that’s not a completely bad idea… But we need to wait corporately.

We need to be lining our hearts up with the Word.

We need to be hearing from heaven in our worship.

With worship, the Word, and praying with and for each other, there is an opportunity hear from heaven. When the Spirit gets our hearts plowed up, there is the opportunity for power.

In Nehemiah 8 Ezra stood to read the Scriptures and teach the people for hours. They saturated themselves with the Word and through hearing the Word came conviction and repentance.

In Acts 13 it was in prayer and worship corporately that Paul and Barnabas were set aside for missions work.

It was in prayer and waiting on God that the Student Missions Movement was born in the 19th Century. It was prayer meetings in the Hebrides Islands that led to revival. It was a pastor in Pensacola, FL who wouldn’t stop praying for a move of God in his church that led to the Brownsville Revival.

There is a prayer movement rising.

It will lift up our missionaries, like our friend Steve, until there is complete healing.

It will raise up missionaries to reach the last of the unreached peoples in our generation.

It will raise up church planters in our city, out of our church, to put a gospel witness in neighborhoods all around us.

It will raise our level of faith as we see people healed, set free of bondages, and transformed by the power of the Kingdom.

Whatever you do… wait on God. Don’t wait to wait on God!

Give him ten minutes a day. Just shut up and listen. Have your Bible open and just listen.

It is time to wait on God. Quit waiting to wait!

Thankful for the promises

The past few weeks have been powerful as I’ve prepared to time away in a prayer retreat, then asked God for messages for our leadership retreat. Now… it’s the work of fulfilling those promises. It’s the work of prayer.

As I prayed tonight I once again pulled out Isaiah 61. I was using my Olive Tree Reader, so I had some notes next to verses. I was bolstered in prayer because there were so many promises I had written in those notes over the years!

The work of prayer is sustained by the promises of God.

Why We Don’t Want Another Move of God

Call it revival, call it a “fresh outpouring,” call it a new move of God… 

What we generally want these days is the benefits of that move without the costs of that move. 

In the stories of Hezekiah and Josiah, the costs of a move of God aren’t just in prayer. If it was time in prayer, we would think about it… maybe.

It’s the cost in getting rid of the junk. The effort it takes to shovel out all the garbage in our lives to clear the way to hear the voice of God again is massive. And it’s only accelerating. The amount of junk available today to pile into my life is far greater than the amount of junk available in my parents’ day when they would seek the Lord. There’s just more junk floating around! We have more distractions. We can’t turn things off! 

We want another move of God if we’re lucky enough to get one without much effort. But if we have to haul junk… we’re a bit more hesitant. 

 

Fire and the Testing of the Heart

A crucible is for silver and a furnace for gold,
but the Lord tests the heart. (Prov. 17:3, CEB)

“But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.. (Job 23:8-10, NIV)

There is nothing “fun” about fire. There is nothing “fun” about testing. It’s probably why we don’t talk about too much, or if we do, we dwell on it lightly then move to the “FUN” part.

But testing produces what lies underneath. What lies underneath is gold. God knows it, but we’re too afraid of fire to let him bring out the gold.

No one “likes” fire… but the end result is amazing.

 

When All Seems Well, It May Be a Time to Seek God MORE

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new record high. It finished above it’s previous high in 2007, which was right before the huge slump and we went into an economic tailspin.

So… all is well again.

Yet, there is a sense that it’s not “all well.”

We put our gauges on the wrong meters and think everything is “normal.” The Spirit comes along with a deeper diagnostic reading, and there arises a sense of, “Hey! Pay attention! It’s not all ‘good.'”

What this culture calls “good” and “normal” may not be a good leading indicator anymore.

Over the past few weeks my own heart has been stirred more and more. As I read through the Lenten readings every day, there is a deeper stirring. All is not well in the American church. We talk around it all the time, but here is the thing: we talk around it. 

At some point, we need to get to our knees and pray. 

Let GOD tell us what is up! Let the Spirit stir the waters and give us the real report.

We need a return to the Lord, not a return to the Dow Jones record high.

12 “Yet even now,” the Lord says,
“return to me with all your heart—
with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Tear your hearts,
not just your garments!”
13 Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to anger and boundless in loyal love—often relenting from calamitous punishment. (Joel 2:12-13, NET Bible)

A Prayer for Revival and Reform

14 Please come back, God of heavenly forces!
Look down from heaven and perceive it!
Attend to this vine,
15     this root that you planted with your strong hand,
this son whom you secured as your very own.
16 It is burned with fire. It is chopped down.
They die at the rebuke coming from you.
17 Let your hand be with the one on your right side—
with the one whom you secured as your own—
18     then we will not turn away from you!
Revive us so that we can call on your name.
19     Restore us, Lord God of heavenly forces!
Make your face shine so that we can be saved! (Ps. 80:14-19, CEB)

We need to hear from heaven once again. We need a reviving in our spirits from heaven. We need a new reformation to sustain the new work of God we so desperately need in our lives.

Lord, please not only hear our prayer… but please let us PRAY this prayer!