Friday, March 03, 2017

Ever heard of Jonathan Goforth & the Manchurian Revival?

Jonathan Goforth was a missionary to China along with his wife Rosalind from 1888 into the 1930's.  Goforth survived a brutal sword attack during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 that left him with numerous near-fatal wounds. But they persisted. Jonathan was transformed by his encounter with revival in Korea in 1907 and desperately sought God through prayer, repentance and faithfulness to the scriptures that God might bring revival to China. 

And God graciously answered. In 1908 as Goforth spoke throughout Manchuria in various cities God moved in power bringing deep repentance of previously hidden sins among the Christians followed by thousands of conversions to Christ. The spiritual landscape was transformed. The fruit of this revival is felt to this day in the thriving Chinese church.

Goforth has left us some inspiring quotes on revival:

“There never has been a revival except where there have been Christian men and women thoroughly believing in and wholeheartedly pleading the promises of God,”

“Pentecost is yet within our grasp. If revival is being withheld from us it is because some idols remain still enthroned; because we still insist on placing our reliance on human schemes; because we still refuse to face the unchangeable truth that ‘it is not by might, but BY MY SPIRIT.’”

"I love those that thunder out the Word. The Christian world is in a dead sleep. Nothing but a loud voice can awake them out of it."

Thursday, March 02, 2017

How do you define a revival?

I like this one by Martyn Lloyd-Jones: "revival is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, brought about by the intercession of Christ, resulting in a new degree of life in the churches and a widespread movement of grace among the unconverted. It is an extraordinary communication of the Spirit of God, a superabundance of the Spirit’s operations, and enlargement of his manifest power.”

Let's ask God to work such revival in our lives, churches & the nations!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Did you know that revival is taught in the Bible?

The Bible instructs us in how to understand and pray for revival. We see patterns of decline and revival among the reigns of the different Judges & Kings. Almost every judge in the book of Judges is raised up in a period of national revival in Israel. We see great revivals during the reigns of David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah.

The New Testament, particularly as recorded in the Book of Acts, is one long revival from Pentecost to Paul's inprisonement and beyond.The addresses to the churches in Revelation is a call for revival for at Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea.

And we have a whole Psalm at least dedicated to revival, Psalm 85. Hear the pleas of God's people hungry for revival:

Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
Psalms 85:4-7

Let's pray that God brings deeper revival in our day characterized by a greater experience of the power of the Spirit, a fresh love and wonder for the gospel of Christ, and a life-changing awe at the holiness of God all resulting in radical consecration and service and an abundant harvest of lives made new!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ever Study Revival?

Every winter we take a break from the cold and mix R&R with study somewhere warm. Each time I pick a subject or more to dig into for personal & pastoral growth.

I'm excited this winter break to study revival.

Currently, I'm enjoying, "A God -Sized Vision" by Collin Hansen & John Woodbridge. Check out these quotes from the preface.

“We persist in thinking that we can set the situation right. We start a new society, we write a book, we organize a campaign, and we are convinced that we are going to hold back the tide. But we cannot. When the enemy comes in like a flood, it is the Lord who will raise, and does raise the banner. The fact of revival proves, I say, so clearly again and again the impotence and smallness of man left to himself.” - Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“The inevitable and constant preliminary to revival has always been a thirst for God, a thirst, a living thirst for a knowledge of the living God, and a longing and a burning desire to see him acting, manifesting himself and his power, rising, and scattering his enemies.” - Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Praying for revival!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Encouragement for the Younger Generation

"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."
I Timothy 4:12 

Jesus himself was only 30 when he started his ministry. Timothy was a key leader as a young adult. King Josiah reformed Israel at 26. Martin Luther started the reformation at 34. John Calvin wrote the Institutes at 25. George Whitefield helped start the Great Awakening at 24. CT Studd shocked England by giving away his vast inheritance and becoming a missionary at 25. Evan Roberts started the Welsh revival at 26. The Asbury College Revival was begun by college students. The Jesus Movement saw thousands if not millions of people come to Christ, most under 25. Much of the church planting going on in our country that seems to be bringing a quiet revival is being led by young people.

Don't be discouraged, my younger brothers and sisters, but show us what it looks like when Christ is at work through his church!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Is your church essentially a faith-based non-profit business?

I ask this because I think many Christians, including pastors, would say, "yes." But I can't really find anything in scripture that would put a church in that category. Yes, the IRS might do so, but if you rely on the IRS for your church identity you might want to look elsewhere. The church isn't a business but a body, the pastor is not an executive but a shepherd, you don't exist as a church to produce a product but you live to be a people. Our confusion on this is likely part of why most pastors and church members don't spend more than 5 years in a church.* Why not move on if it is just a non-profit business? There will always be another church/business that provides a better product or does things more efficiently. But that isn't the point, is it?

*see http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var1=ArtRead&var2=183&var3=issuedisplay&var4=IssRead&var5=17

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Maybe Your Church Shouldn't Be Purpose Driven

Don't get me wrong, I believe the bible is jam-packed with purposes for the church. And I believe no church should be lazy in pursuing biblical purposes. But I don't find scriptural warrant for a church being purpose-driven as a core part of its nature or identity. Just examine some of the biblical metaphors for the church - body, bride, family, temple*. These items are not things that are preeminently purpose-driven but nature-driven. Their identity is in what they are more than what they do. And they all define a relational reality more than a functional goal or purpose. Maybe the chief purpose of your church is simply to be what it already is vs to try to accomplish something in particular. So, given this, do you think if we regard our church as existing to be purpose-driven, in the typical way, we might be missing something? 

* see Rom 12:4-5, 1 Cor 10:17, 12:12, Eph 5:32, Rev 21:9, Mt 12:49-50, Eph 2:19, 1 Tim 5:1, 1 Cor 3:16-17, Eph 2:19-22, 1 Pet 2:5